The upcoming war
September 26, 2001 7:50 AM   Subscribe

The upcoming war in Afghanistan and how the U.S. will fight it. I know we have linked to Stratfor in the past but these seem to be very well reasoned approaches that I haven't seen elsewhere. If this is what the U.S. is planning, doesn't it (pleasantly) surprise you that we have taken the option least likely to involve civilian casualties? Do you agree with their analysis? Is anyone else happy that we didn't just blow up an aspirin factory again?
posted by revbrian (16 comments total)
tells us something we dont know Good Rev.There is nothing pleasant about this whole thing.
posted by newnameintown at 8:23 AM on September 26, 2001

If we are able to avoid civilian casualties, I'll be very pleased. But am I surprised at the strategy? No. For once, it is actually in the best interests of the US not to kill innocent people. That ever-precious influx of Mid-Eastern oil depends on not pissing off the rest of the Arab world. I'm thrilled at how clear we're being that we're not at war with Islam, but I know (and am ashamed) that--if it were somehow in our best intests--we'd make this a Holy War right quick.

Cynical? MeFi? Never.
posted by jpoulos at 8:29 AM on September 26, 2001

I fear that any prediction about US action will be off, for one simple reason: all it will take is one more terrorist activity in the US to completely blind public opinion with revenge rage. It really won't take much for any plans to go to hell pretty quick.

The only thing predictable about this "war" is unpredictability.
posted by yesster at 8:31 AM on September 26, 2001

What is good -- although nothing is pleasant, is that they are avoiding the jujistu that Bin-Laden seems to have intended. We are not going after them in a quick retaliation that would just turn the Arab world against us.

The operation (if this is accurate) seems to make sense to me, although not surprised by it. I never thought the Bush team would just march in and blow everything up. And if Bin-Laden&Co. thought they would, well, they have not thought out the endgame well enough .

Is anyone else happy that we didn't just blow up an aspirin factory again?

I thought this was unecessary. Comparing the options in 1998 to now makes no sense. As if there will be no mistakes made in this operation too. There will be many commando strikes that will turn out to be against empty caves or long-abandoned buildings, and maybe even some damage to civilians or civilian property until we get Bin-Laden. It's amazing for me that we get support for Bush, yet we retain the ability to criticaxe the fomer President. Does anyone mention Clinton's careful cultivation of Pakistan, including a historic Presidential visit, which is paying off dividends right now?
posted by brucec at 8:56 AM on September 26, 2001

[all it will take is one more terrorist activity in the US to completely blind public opinion with revenge rage. ]

That is mentioned as part of Bin Laden's strategy actually. I don't think that will happen (the revenge, not the rage or the additional terrorist activity) given what I hear coming out of the US administration. Of course, who knows?

I would really like to see us feed the people under taliban control though as we get rid of the taliban.
posted by revbrian at 8:58 AM on September 26, 2001

guns and butter huh?
posted by newnameintown at 9:41 AM on September 26, 2001

I demand that the US blow up more aspirin factories. It is a well-established fact that aspirin is used by the left-wing communist sympathizers as a mind-control agent. Only crypto-socialist revolutionaries would support the use of aspirin in any form.

If the US does not incinerate every aspirin factory in the mideast, it will be proof that Bush is a martian chimpanzee sent to destroy us all!
posted by aramaic at 9:54 AM on September 26, 2001

While I can't vouch for the veracity of the source, this article claims...

"What is more, as announced by US Secretary of State Colin
Powell, if the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden, Washington
could consent to official ties with the Taliban and even help it gain official international recognition as the ruling regime of Afghanistan."

It seems way too outrageous to be true, but I've been surprised before. Anyone else hear this?
posted by digital_insomnia at 10:50 AM on September 26, 2001

What aramaic said!
Revbrian, that "aspirin factory" troll is so thin that even you should be able to see through it. More like: "Quit trying to divert our attention from Clinton's zipper by fighting terrorism!" Is the CIA as inept as ever? Recent evidence suggests yes. But what is an aspirin factory today could be a cyanide factory tomorrow, something Rush forgot to tell you dittoheads.
posted by nofundy at 10:51 AM on September 26, 2001

or could have been a cyanide factory yesterday.
posted by brucec at 11:14 AM on September 26, 2001


I don't know. It would seem to me you got to use the Carrot and the Stick when dealing with the Taleban. If they started to cooperate, why shouldn't we make ties. It would seem to me avoiding bloodshed would be a pretty good move.
posted by brucec at 11:16 AM on September 26, 2001

Avoiding bloodshed, yes. Officially recognising a regime known for it's horrific human rights record, that's something else altogether.

There are no good answers to this.
posted by digital_insomnia at 11:40 AM on September 26, 2001

digital_insomnia: yeah it was also in this drudge report-linked article today. (um, i posted it in another thread so i hope i'm not annoying anybody.) but it seems like the olive branch was quickly shot down by the hawks in the administration.

here's some more armchair analysis from slate :)

What do the terrorists care if the Taliban are overthrown, since the regime becomes a martyr to the cause whether it wins or loses the battle against U.S. and allied forces.
posted by kliuless at 11:49 AM on September 26, 2001

The Stratfor report (at least the linked one) makes no mention of the strategic importance (especially for certain organizations) of the oil resources in Central Asia (Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan). Afghanistan happens to be ia nice spot to pipe it to the Indian Ocean. See this testimony by an oil exec to the House which I got to via the excellent Ethel the Blog.
posted by mmarcos at 2:30 PM on September 26, 2001

It's no secret that Western oil interests would like stabilization in this region; so would Afghanistan's neighbors, like Iran and India. (Pakistan seems to be treating Afghanistan, at least up until now, like Syria has treated Lebanon; and one of the aims of the current action seems to be an attempt to delegitimize Pakistan's ISI intelligence service, which has proven far too independent and aggressive for the region). The only thing that's really changed is the oil guys in the White House paying more attention to the region: which is to say, while big oil may want the Taliban replaced, for once their aims are in concert with a lot of other people's reasons.

kliuless, it's important to realize that the US especially likes to use its vaunted 'openness' to float trial balloons and use lower-level comments to play good cop/bad cop. Right now it's important that we make certain noises about being able to work with the Taliban, which very probably indicate back-channel talks of some kind. It may be that we see an opening to split the Taliban. At the very least we're placating our nervous Islamic allies.
posted by dhartung at 4:08 PM on September 26, 2001

Arundhati Roy's brilliant new essay on the War against Terrorism
posted by Outspoken at 3:13 AM on October 3, 2001

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