Dozens die in Afghan air strike

#1
Dozens of people have been killed in a bombing raid by US-led coalition forces in southern Afghanistan, officials say.
The governor of Kandahar province said at least 60 Taleban had died in the air strikes in the Panjwayi district.

Sixteen civilians were also killed, he added. One injured villager told the BBC that Taleban fighters had used his house to launch missiles from the roof.

The raid follows a dramatic upsurge in fighting in southern Afghanistan over the past week.

Kandahar governor Asadullah Khalid told reporters that 15 civilians were also wounded in Monday's incident
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/5003478.stm
 
#2
Again, again, again. It never ends.

I seem to remember similar excuses offered up by the VJ to the KVM in Kosovo!!!!
 
#3
merkator said:
Again, again, again. It never ends.

I seem to remember similar excuses offered up by the VJ to the KVM in Kosovo!!!!
I suspect it happened in other wars, WW2 for example.

Guess we'll just have to stop fighting, scrap the military and be nice to everyone.
 
#4
NotyouAgain said:
merkator said:
Again, again, again. It never ends.

I seem to remember similar excuses offered up by the VJ to the KVM in Kosovo!!!!
I suspect it happened in other wars, WW2 for example.
Guess we'll just have to stop fighting, scrap the military and be nice to everyone.
Of course it happens all the time. And as long as you're on the 'winning' side you're pretty safe from justice.
 
#5
merkator said:
NotyouAgain said:
merkator said:
Again, again, again. It never ends.

I seem to remember similar excuses offered up by the VJ to the KVM in Kosovo!!!!
I suspect it happened in other wars, WW2 for example.
Guess we'll just have to stop fighting, scrap the military and be nice to everyone.
Of course it happens all the time. And as long as you're on the 'winning' side you're pretty safe from justice.
And if the taliban were hiding amongst the civilians as claimed, the guilty are indeed dead, along with those they put into the line of fire. Nice chaps eh.
 
#6
NotyouAgain said:
And if the taliban were hiding amongst the civilians as claimed, the guilty are indeed dead, along with those they put into the line of fire. Nice chaps eh.
'Orrible thing war, isn't it. Just make sure you're on the 'winning' side, or of a senior enough rank to push blame downhill.
 
#8
merkator said:
NotyouAgain said:
And if the taliban were hiding amongst the civilians as claimed, the guilty are indeed dead, along with those they put into the line of fire. Nice chaps eh.
'Orrible thing war, isn't it. Just make sure you're on the 'winning' side, or of a senior enough rank to push blame downhill.
Or following the GC, which my understanding has rules against hiding armed forces amongst non-combatants and again if I remember correctly clearly states that by deliberately doing so the taleban are breaking the GC (nothing new there). If the villagers let the taleban in willingly and helped them then they become combatants, although I would be surrpised if a village had the capability to defend themselves if armed 'militants' (terrorists, illegal combatants, what ever) turn up and demand sanctury.

At least thats how I understand it, not being a lawyer I'm sure I've missed some important parts, so .. no, the US could lose this and still be in the 'right' of it. Thats if there were combatants in that village and if they were using it as a base of ops.
 
#9
The Taliban signed the GC???? When did that happen?

In fact when did any Terrorist sign the GC? And since when have the septics cared who they bomb?
 
#10
NotyouAgain said:
Or following the GC, which my understanding has rules against hiding armed forces amongst non-combatants and again if I remember correctly clearly states that by deliberately doing so the taleban are breaking the GC (nothing new there). If the villagers let the taleban in willingly and helped them then they become combatants, although I would be surrpised if a village had the capability to defend themselves if armed 'militants' (terrorists, illegal combatants, what ever) turn up and demand sanctury.

At least thats how I understand it, not being a lawyer I'm sure I've missed some important parts, so .. no, the US could lose this and still be in the 'right' of it. Thats if there were combatants in that village and if they were using it as a base of ops.
Yes, yes. I appreciate all that. I haven't got my point across at all. Ignoring the fact that the Taleban haven't signed the GC, and never likely too either, as AF1771 points out - why is it that when the VJ acted against KLA terrorists/insurgents they were condemned, discussed in the UNSC, bombed and then summoned by the ICTY? Either it's right, or it's wrong, or it depends on whether your on the 'winning' side or not!

And even if it's OK tactically, it's best not to upset your 'partners' strategically:
BBC said:
Karzai anger at civilian deaths

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is to summon the head of US-led coalition forces for a "full explanation" of a raid officials say killed 16 civilians. Mr Karzai, who is currently abroad, has ordered an investigation into Monday's air attack in the southern province of Kandahar. He also condemned Taleban fighters saying they had hidden behind civilians using them as "human shields".

Full text: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/5009364.stm
 
#11
NotyouAgain said:
merkator said:
NotyouAgain said:
And if the taliban were hiding amongst the civilians as claimed, the guilty are indeed dead, along with those they put into the line of fire. Nice chaps eh.
'Orrible thing war, isn't it. Just make sure you're on the 'winning' side, or of a senior enough rank to push blame downhill.
Or following the GC, which my understanding has rules against hiding armed forces amongst non-combatants and again if I remember correctly clearly states that by deliberately doing so the taleban are breaking the GC (nothing new there). If the villagers let the taleban in willingly and helped them then they become combatants, although I would be surrpised if a village had the capability to defend themselves if armed 'militants' (terrorists, illegal combatants, what ever) turn up and demand sanctury.

At least thats how I understand it, not being a lawyer I'm sure I've missed some important parts, so .. no, the US could lose this and still be in the 'right' of it. Thats if there were combatants in that village and if they were using it as a base of ops.
Precisely the same argument the Serbs used to justify the attacks on Srebrenica and the other UN "Safe Areas" a decade or so ago too. Like Merkator said, how the action is ultimately viewed depends greatly on who wins.
 
#12
merkator said:
And even if it's OK tactically, it's best not to upset your 'partners' strategically:
BBC said:
Karzai anger at civilian deaths

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is to summon the head of US-led coalition forces for a "full explanation" of a raid officials say killed 16 civilians. Mr Karzai, who is currently abroad, has ordered an investigation into Monday's air attack in the southern province of Kandahar. He also condemned Taleban fighters saying they had hidden behind civilians using them as "human shields".

Full text: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/5009364.stm
I think this is more to do with following certain niceties and Karzai trying to convey the impression to the country that he's actually running the place and has some say in what NATO does.
 
#13
crabtastic said:
NotyouAgain said:
merkator said:
NotyouAgain said:
And if the taliban were hiding amongst the civilians as claimed, the guilty are indeed dead, along with those they put into the line of fire. Nice chaps eh.
'Orrible thing war, isn't it. Just make sure you're on the 'winning' side, or of a senior enough rank to push blame downhill.
Or following the GC, which my understanding has rules against hiding armed forces amongst non-combatants and again if I remember correctly clearly states that by deliberately doing so the taleban are breaking the GC (nothing new there). If the villagers let the taleban in willingly and helped them then they become combatants, although I would be surrpised if a village had the capability to defend themselves if armed 'militants' (terrorists, illegal combatants, what ever) turn up and demand sanctury.

At least thats how I understand it, not being a lawyer I'm sure I've missed some important parts, so .. no, the US could lose this and still be in the 'right' of it. Thats if there were combatants in that village and if they were using it as a base of ops.
Precisely the same argument the Serbs used to justify the attacks on Srebrenica and the other UN "Safe Areas" a decade or so ago too. Like Merkator said, how the action is ultimately viewed depends greatly on who wins.
And if their claim was right, that the UN "safe areas" where being used by Bosnian militia as base of operations , they had a point, the UN had allowed (as the controlling authority) the areas to become legitimate targets (could it be argued the UN was in breach of the GC?). That didn't excuse the killing of non-combatants they commited but would have excused the attack itself.

How the action is ultimately viewed usually depends on what kind of spin the news put on it , given the current climate most probably 10 years from now it will be "US butchers thousands of civilians over night in mass genocide against innocent babies!".
 
#14
Again and again we seem to miss the real issue here - did this action recruit more enemies than it killed ? If it did we're going to lose no matter how many bodies we stack up. This war will be won or lost in the information battlespace, not by kinetic actions. Until we accept this and make sure that every kinetic action has a positive impact in the information war we're never going to win.
 
#15
One_of_the_strange said:
Again and again we seem to miss the real issue here - did this action recruit more enemies than it killed ? If it did we're going to lose no matter how many bodies we stack up. This war will be won or lost in the information battlespace, not by kinetic actions. Until we accept this and make sure that every kinetic action has a positive impact in the information war we're never going to win.
Couldn't agree more.
 
#16
One_of_the_strange said:
Again and again we seem to miss the real issue here - did this action recruit more enemies than it killed ? If it did we're going to lose no matter how many bodies we stack up. This war will be won or lost in the information battlespace, not by kinetic actions. Until we accept this and make sure that every kinetic action has a positive impact in the information war we're never going to win.
In other words what you're saying is that we are never going to win because we cannot win the PR war. If the oppo know that to avoid being attacked they merely make sure that any attack would result in non-combatant deaths they win, you can argue that police backed by troops should be doing the work through arrests, but you know that the minute police attempt to operate in regions where the terrorists are poular they will be cut down in minutes and troops returning fire will kill civilians.

Any dead or captured terrorists you do manage to get your mitts on will become a martyr anyway and will "recruit more enemies".

So, do you have any specific policies that you think should be taken?
 
#17
NotyouAgain said:
One_of_the_strange said:
Again and again we seem to miss the real issue here - did this action recruit more enemies than it killed ? If it did we're going to lose no matter how many bodies we stack up. This war will be won or lost in the information battlespace, not by kinetic actions. Until we accept this and make sure that every kinetic action has a positive impact in the information war we're never going to win.
In other words what you're saying is that we are never going to win because we cannot win the PR war. If the oppo know that to avoid being attacked they merely make sure that any attack would result in non-combatant deaths they win, you can argue that police backed by troops should be doing the work through arrests, but you know that the minute police attempt to operate in regions where the terrorists are poular they will be cut down in minutes and troops returning fire will kill civilians.

Any dead or captured terrorists you do manage to get your mitts on will become a martyr anyway and will "recruit more enemies".

So, do you have any specific policies that you think should be taken?
First off, I believe we could win the PR war if we started to acknowledge that it exists. That means not undertaking any actions unless we're damned sure we understand the result on the population of interest and that it will be neutral or positive. Consider Abu Ghraib, Fallujah and Guantanamo Bay for instance - all of these have and continue to recruit for our enemies. They have had some positive results (bad guys off the streets, dead insurgents) but I strongly suspect that these results are outweighed by the recruits who have joined our enemies as a result of their outrage at our activities. If we are going to do dodgy stuff then make damn sure no-one finds out, or don't do it. Simple as that.

Another example, consider the Hellfire that took out some bad guys and civilians in Pakistan. Score to us, some scrotes dead (Hooah !, go team USA). Score to them - opposition to Musharraf's rule increased (a successful revolution places nukes in the hands of some real hardcore Islamic nutters), US perceived by target audience (clue, not middle America) as cowards who refuse face to face combat in preference to video game warfare and whose military would rather kill civilians than risk their own lives. The fact that the opposition are scrotes is irrelevant to perceptions, as they never claim otherwise. We do, and our actions fall far short of our claims.

So, what would I do different ? If we'd sent in a snatch squad, grabbed the scrotes and spirited them off for a trial in the Pakistani courts things would have been very different. We could have lots of footage from the raid showing brave US soldiers protecting civilians from terrorists, heroes who place themselves between cowardly terrorists and the innocents they try and use as human shields. You get the idea, I'm sure. Of course to do that we need some good int, which means good HUMINT.

And here, regrettably, the biggest obstacle to victory is US cultural insensitivity. The refusal to learn the language, customs and way of life of the locals means they consistently fail to get inside the mind of the opposition. They are so short of translators that they've placed a whole bunch of captured documents online in the hope that someone can translate them - despite having had enough time since 9/11 to train translators en masse. But there's always money for the latest gee whiz piece of technology.
 
#18
One_of_the_strange said:
First off, I believe we could win the PR war if we started to acknowledge that it exists. That means not undertaking any actions unless we're damned sure we understand the result on the population of interest and that it will be neutral or positive.
Which in many cases will pretty much mean we do sod all.

Consider Abu Ghraib
And jail time for (most of) those involved.

Given the town had practically fallen to an opposition is anyone really surprised about Fallujah?

and Guantanamo Bay for instance
You'd prefer the inmates to have been shot on the spot? Gitmo is a PR disaster largely because of the US Govt refusal to put those on trial to determine their status, what else should they have done with the inmates? hand them over to the Northern Alliance (and now the Afghan Govt)

all of these have and continue to recruit for our enemies.
And most of them un-aviodable to varying degrees anyway, only Abhu Grahib, had they had more professional troops onsite and given a swift kick to Rumsfield.

They have had some positive results (bad guys off the streets, dead insurgents) but I strongly suspect that these results are outweighed by the recruits who have joined our enemies as a result of their outrage at our activities. If we are going to do dodgy stuff then make damn sure no-one finds out, or don't do it. Simple as that.
Unfortuantly they'll make stuff up to stir up the ants nest. E.G. British involvement in the '67 war for example.

Another example, consider the Hellfire that took out some bad guys and civilians in Pakistan. Score to us, some scrotes dead (Hooah !, go team USA). Score to them - opposition to Musharraf's rule increased (a successful revolution places nukes in the hands of some real hardcore Islamic nutters), US perceived by target audience (clue, not middle America) as cowards who refuse face to face combat in preference to video game warfare and whose military would rather kill civilians than risk their own lives. The fact that the opposition are scrotes is irrelevant to perceptions, as they never claim otherwise. We do, and our actions fall far short of our claims.
We always have done, look at British claims of liberalism during the Empire. Turning it around, if the scrotes aren't attacked because they're mixed up amongst the individuals they win, they will gain recruits because they will be seen as strong succesful and taking the fight against the evil empire and surviving.

So, what would I do different ? If we'd sent in a snatch squad, grabbed the scrotes and spirited them off for a trial in the Pakistani courts things would have been very different.
And what happens when your snatch squad gets pinned down from fire coming from surrounding buildings? You've seen what happens when Israeli's carry out military ops in civilian areas, people die. Some father grabs a rifle runs to his kid's bedroom and starts blazing away at an IDF unit, the Israeli's return fire and a kid gets killed.

The US tried a snatch grab raid in Mogadishu, sure they got the buggers they wanted, also a body count of around a 1,000 somali's and 19 soldiers.

Civilians will die, your snatch squad will take losses, martyrs will still be created and opposition to Musharrif's govt will still continue to be fostered, if the US does what it has done inthe past and run from the field because they can't stomach the losses the oppo will get further substantial gains on the PR front.

Finally can the pakistani judicial system be trusted ? IIRC they also have a sharia court system as well. What if they get nabbed, handed over and then released again, or put into a joke jail?

We could have lots of footage from the raid showing brave US soldiers protecting civilians from terrorists, heroes who place themselves between cowardly terrorists and the innocents they try and use as human shields. You get the idea, I'm sure. Of course to do that we need some good int, which means good HUMINT.
Indeed, sounds like a good plot for a propaganda movie funded by the US military, still .. Blackhawk Down was a good movie ...

And here, regrettably, the biggest obstacle to victory is US cultural insensitivity. The refusal to learn the language, customs and way of life of the locals means they consistently fail to get inside the mind of the opposition. They are so short of translators that they've placed a whole bunch of captured documents online in the hope that someone can translate them - despite having had enough time since 9/11 to train translators en masse. But there's always money for the latest gee whiz piece of technology.
Bugger, they're soooo much like us it's getting painful, out of interest, how many Arabic speakers do we have in the Army? Any courses for the non-arabic speakers? I guess we're slightly better off due to being the ex colonial power in the region so the Iraqi's are used to seeing the Britsh Army and we have immigrants from the region.
 
#19
So your answer to a strategy that is not working is ... more of the same ? I'd much rather take some difficult choices and win, than lose but feel self-righteous.
 
#20
One_of_the_strange said:
So your answer to a strategy that is not working is ... more of the same ? I'd much rather take some difficult choices and win, than lose but feel self-righteous.
I don't really have an answer as I'm not privy to that much information, merely what the BBC deigns to pass my way which I then need to filter out the opinion of the journalist. However, I don't think we can win this purely by being "nice chaps" and trying to avoid non-combatant casaulties at all costs, the buggers they're fighting aren't playing the same game that we're use to and expected to fight with the Soviets, to them it seems war is total and there are no limits on how it can be fought.

You say the current strategy isn't working, but so far has it actually failed, has the oppo actually made any significant gains ?
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top