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"They were acting like bin Laden was hiding behind every door. That just wasn’t the way to be acting with civilians."
September 30, 2002 5:18 PM   Subscribe

"They were acting like bin Laden was hiding behind every door. That just wasn’t the way to be acting with civilians." According to this Newsweek article, some members of U.S. Special Forces seem to think the military's recent operations to track down Al Qaeda went a bit awry.
posted by moonbiter (13 comments total)

 
Seems like it was only a matter of time til a story like that came out.
posted by Gargantuan at 5:36 PM on September 30, 2002


"witnesses claim that American soldiers succeeded mainly in terrorizing innocent villagers"
a proud american military tradition.
posted by quonsar at 5:37 PM on September 30, 2002




"We were told there were no friendly forces," said Guckenheimer, an assistant gunner with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. "If there was anybody there, they were the enemy. We were told specifically that if there were women and children to kill them."

http://www.newsfrombabylon.com/article.php?sid=1461
posted by Babylonian at 5:40 PM on September 30, 2002






Hey Babylonian - have you heard about this great site? . Lots of good political and war links there.
posted by crunchburger at 5:54 PM on September 30, 2002


point taken.. but it would be impossible to find the relevant articles without knowing where they are.. there's no obvious search term to use
posted by Babylonian at 6:02 PM on September 30, 2002


I do think you have an intelligent point of view and your site (I assume it is yours) links to some good material. But aren't you coming on a little strong? As far as I can tell from browsing your history , almost everything you link in a comment points to your site. I'm just saying, the first thing I wondered when I noticed that is if you were an actual new member or somebody's sock puppet.
posted by crunchburger at 6:08 PM on September 30, 2002


well, sorry

my intention was not to 'come on strong'.. merely to 'share the wealth'
posted by Babylonian at 6:10 PM on September 30, 2002


Does anyone else see this whole Iraqi thing and the Afghanistan situation spiraling completely out of control?

What scares me is that Rumsfeld and Bush (by proxy of Rumsfeld, Cheney, et al) just keep on their path, the rest of America be damned. Not Democrat or Republican, just people. Period. Hardly anyone really, really wants any kind of war.
posted by damnitkage at 8:01 PM on September 30, 2002


Prior to the operation, we were made aware of the fact that the hostile forces of the Whaleback might include women and children. In that event, if those women and children showed hostile intent, we were ordered to kill them as hostile forces, just like any other hostile force we encountered. However, this does not mean that we were ordered to slaughter noncombatants such as babies.
-- Clarificiation of statement by Army Pvt. Guckenheimer

Still feel "wealthy", Babs?

Breaking down doors, sure -- it's a problem. Front-line troops are trained to engage and kill the enemy, not to be policemen. The infantry and special forces, as well, have rarely gotten along exceptionally well except in the heat of battle; their jobs are fundamentally different. The good news is that there's a learning process.

Really, the Russians faced much the same kinds of problems, and at least for a time had the same mindshare as we seem to now. I hope more than a few colonels are have read The Hidden War, though surely the Pentagon is as cursed as ever with NIH syndrome. Then, commanders had to learn that the "dukhi" -- ghosts -- would fade in and out of view among ordinary villagers as fast as they could blink, and would play all sorts of games to get them to target the innocent. In time it became clear that almost any intelligence was useless. If it were good, the targets were tipped off in advance. If it were bad, some goat herder would get rustled. And then one day, a soldier on patrol with a friendly pre-teen Afghan bumming cigarettes would stop to take a pee, hand the boy his gun, and get ventilated.
posted by dhartung at 8:25 PM on September 30, 2002


Breaking down doors, sure -- it's a problem. Front-line troops are trained to engage and kill the enemy, not to be policemen.

The 82d are the wrong troops for constabulatory duty, no doubt about that. The question is, will the brass in the US military understand this and apply it to future situations?

They say they are addressing the issue, so we'll see. I'm sure we'll have a lot of examples to look at in the next ten years.
posted by moonbiter at 7:08 AM on October 1, 2002


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