'Special forces' may be crucial...
September 18, 2001 10:49 AM   Subscribe

'Special forces' may be crucial... "They are a hammer in the kisser," said Andy Messing, a retired major from the Army special forces. "They're directed like light coming out of the magnifying glass. The beam of light fries the ant."
posted by kd (24 comments total)
 
Well that's nice. Afgan males get their first pistol at a very young age. They are taught as warriors from birth and love their guns more than anything. All of the forces US special forces will face are descended from the people who threw out:
Alexander the Great, Britain ... twice, the USSR and soon the USA.
This is the only people on earth tougher than the Vietnamese. Your "beam of light" will likly have a red motif if you try this on the Afganies.

To put it simply ... all Afgan forces are special forces.

CC
posted by Poodler at 11:31 AM on September 18, 2001


Well that's nice. Afgan males get their first pistol at a very young age. They are taught as warriors from birth and love their guns more than anything. All of the forces US special forces will face are descended from the people who threw out:
Alexander the Great, Britain ... twice, the USSR and soon the USA.
This is the only people on earth tougher than the Vietnamese. Your "beam of light" will likly have a red motif if you try this on the Afganies.

To put it simply ... all Afgan forces are special forces.

CC
posted by Poodler at 11:31 AM on September 18, 2001


Ahh... perhaps I should start including an opinion rather than just throwing things out like that, implying I'm in agreement. I just found the article, and the not-so-sane comments of a retired military officer to be...thought-provoking. A glimpse into the military mind. Not a pleasant one.

The sub-headline on the ‘continued’ page stated: “Philosophy of ‘It Takes A Thief’ Applies”. What we're counting on then, is the “snake eaters and the night stalkers”.
posted by kd at 11:57 AM on September 18, 2001


special forces are really really good at some things, but don't do very well when they are put into situations out of their expertise, such as the SEAL teams in Panama that ran into heavy resistance and suffered some of their heaviest casualties ever. Large-scale sustainted combat isn't their ball of wax.
posted by th3ph17 at 12:03 PM on September 18, 2001


Rush Limbaugh was saying right now that "People who want to wipe out all terrorists from the world by executing them are the true peace activists."

I would think that he is doing a disservice to his listeners by implying that its easy to go into Afghanistan and execute a buncha people.

I wish I could ask him why he doesnt take his ass down there with as much ammo as he wants.
posted by adnanbwp at 12:16 PM on September 18, 2001


I know Special Forces people personally.

They are exactly as advertised if not more so.

They are not people to be trifled with.
posted by bunnyfire at 12:28 PM on September 18, 2001


The Green Beret I know is a swell guy, almost Mayberry-ish, but I wouldn't cross him.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 12:58 PM on September 18, 2001


poodler, afghan males are not exactly special forces. they usually only have training in terrorism (wonder where they got that from). special forces are highly specialized instruments. the afghans are just persistent, and know the terain very well. special forces are not lon-term forces, for sure. they are most effective for quick strike on small targets, not trudging through the desert looking for troops.

many u.s. children also get their first firearm at a very young age. and your examples of past battlefield greats isn't exactly relevant to today's wars. in modern warfare, special forces can be dropped behind enemy lines in the middle of the night, fighting mostly by nightvision goggles and through smoke gernades. i don't think alexander the great had a lot of those in his arsenal. and the vietnamese had trees for cover. there is little natural cover in Afghanistan.
posted by mich9139 at 1:01 PM on September 18, 2001


Ditto what bunnyfire said.

However, th3ph17 makes a very cogent point: they are special situation troops. While they are insanely tough and heavily armed individuals, they are small groups.

There aren't enough of them to handle a large engagement - that's not their job.
posted by Irontom at 1:07 PM on September 18, 2001


see what happens when special forces (rangers, delta force) are put into an extremely hostile environment without the full support of regular forces behind them. in a muslim country with bin Laden-trained fighters to boot.
posted by jfirman at 1:32 PM on September 18, 2001


You've cited, if I understand this correctly, a work of fiction.
posted by TeamBilly at 1:51 PM on September 18, 2001


not a work of fiction at all.

"Journalist Mark Bowden delivers a strikingly detailed account of the 1993 nightmare operation in Mogadishu that left 18 American soldiers dead and many more wounded. This early foreign-policy disaster for the Clinton administration led to the resignation of Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and a total troop withdrawal from Somalia."
posted by jfirman at 1:59 PM on September 18, 2001


stop the violence against ants.
posted by jcterminal at 2:06 PM on September 18, 2001


somalia and panama both forced a re-evaluation of special units....the SEALs in panama operated in larger-than-normal groups to secure vital locations like the airports. The intelligence was off, and they ran into well-trained panamanian troops. Tactically--from what i've read--it should have been more of an Ranger/air calvary type operation, with more troops involved. Special units have their place in an attack or a hit-and-run mission, but a small group isn't going to hold against of hundreds of automatic weapons, grenade launchers and mortars...the common weapons of the afghanistani armies. With that said, in a 'fair' fight i'd bet on 5 rangers/seals/SAS/force recon/airborne guys against 15-20 freedom fighters any day of the week. But any more than that just isn't their style.

ok, i'm done, someone who REALLY knows what they are talking about can chime in now.
posted by th3ph17 at 3:12 PM on September 18, 2001


I think a lot of America's New War on Terrorism will be fought by special forces making quick raids. (And these Special Ops have their own risks.) Conventional forces will have large engagements against countries that resist our commando raids. Given that Osama bin Laden reportedly has groups in as many as 60 countries, we could be in for a lot of both.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:20 PM on September 18, 2001


see what happens when special forces (rangers, delta force) are put into an extremely hostile environment without the full support of regular forces behind them. in a muslim country with bin Laden-trained fighters to boot.

It was the first time this particular individual had led troops into combat and the plan was assumed to be extremely risky BEFORE they set out - so where is the huge surprise here? So, where are the stories of the five successful missions this unit had previously been a part of? You can't win every little skirmish and blowing one of them up to be representative of them all is irresponsible as hell...
posted by RevGreg at 3:28 PM on September 18, 2001


I don't remember mentioning a surprise. I was simply pointing out that special forces are not as invincible or "surgical" as hollywood and the US public (myself included) might perceive them to be, especially without proper support and rescue forces ready to respond. Besides, the battle that Black Hawk Down chronicles was a "success" along with the other five succesful missions, it just resulted in far more American casualties than any of the other missions.
posted by jfirman at 5:15 PM on September 18, 2001


It is absolutely stunning to me that I'm the first person to link The Onion on this thread... that picture of the yellow "C-130 short plane" still makes me laugh out loud! :)
posted by hincandenza at 5:28 PM on September 18, 2001


I did think of the updated version, here. VERY politically incorrect, but just what we (well, some of us) (well, me at least) need at this time.
posted by kd at 5:57 PM on September 18, 2001


Yeah, but that one has nothing on the Onion's slickness. :) Plus, I can't get enough of the short bus/plane joke... wheeee!

Although now I'm thinking Ralph Wiggum could be a valuable asset...
posted by hincandenza at 6:01 PM on September 18, 2001



I was simply pointing out that special forces are not as invincible or "surgical" as hollywood and the US public (myself included) might perceive them to be, especially without proper support and rescue forces ready to respond.

Sorry, I tend to have trouble remembering that most people don't sit through action movies getting really pissed at how unbelievable the "action" is. I mean, *I* can plug random, moving targets with a submachinegun at 50-100 yards, while in a movie a guy can run 50 yards at three guys with sub guns and kick the shit out of them. Add to that the fact that I am FAR from trained with these weapons and it takes on an air of complete unreality.

Besides, the battle that Black Hawk Down chronicles was a "success" along with the other five succesful missions, it just resulted in far more American casualties than any of the other missions.

So if the objective was attained what was your point then? I, for one, don't get it now.
posted by RevGreg at 7:34 PM on September 18, 2001


I guess my point was that the magnifying glass metaphor in the posted article was misleading because it implies that these kinds or operations are bloodless. I'll admit that I didn't do a very good job of making that point.
posted by jfirman at 9:30 AM on September 19, 2001


I guess my point was that the magnifying glass metaphor in the posted article was misleading because it implies that these kinds or operations are bloodless. I'll admit that I didn't do a very good job of making that point.

<sarcasm>I suppose I can forgive you this time but don't let it happen again!</sarcasm>

I'll agree with you on that point. This is by no means going to be a bloodless incursion. I just hope that the media can restrain itself from placing pop-up graphics in the corners of our tv screens to give us real-time body counts...
posted by RevGreg at 1:06 PM on September 19, 2001


As a personal note, my cousin, a 2nd Lt, graduated from Ranger school last Friday. I told him I'd be praying for him.
posted by argon405 at 1:19 PM on September 19, 2001


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