US is just playing around, says Northern Alliance.
October 18, 2001 6:31 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone seen any clear, unbiased assessment of the U.S. (and allies) military strategy thus far? It's early in the game, but one would think some picture would be developing regarding the successes and failures of the attacks. So far we've heard that we've established air superiority, crippled the Taliban's ability to resist an air attack, and hit a few unfortunate targets with "misses." What of the big picture? Have we made any progress in rooting out either bin Laden or the Taliban, or in diminishing their capacity for terrorist activities?
posted by rushmc at 6:35 AM on October 18, 2001

"The United States is doing its own thing for its own benefit here," said Commander Akhamat..

Ummmm. Yes? And?
posted by glenwood at 6:40 AM on October 18, 2001

the whole story, including the way it was written was...scatterbrained. to publish a story like that, one must be desparate. including the NA general (whom we will probably have killed in 6 months) what do these people want, frikkin napalm in the morning? want bombing, I'll give you bombing.
posted by newnameintown at 6:47 AM on October 18, 2001

Clearly the Northern Alliance are only thinking of their own interests in Afghanistan. They would much prefer the U.S. carpet bomb all Taliban-held positions, allowing their army to march in without any resistance whatsoever. They are going to be sorely dissapointed if they really believe American objectives include installing them in power.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:08 AM on October 18, 2001

hey lj. your right. during that evil day, i knew they would bring the king into the fray, they have. perhaps something akin to cambodia will emerge. A colition of Taliban(ex) Northern alliance, the king, an ex-pats here in the hood. Cambodia if finally starting to settle down despite Hun Sen and the old KR crowd. WE(the us) have done ok by staying out of the politics to an extent.(now that china is not so gung-ho on Cambodia)
posted by newnameintown at 7:19 AM on October 18, 2001

I have delightfully chosen to take every damned announcement made out of that country with a grain of salt. The Taliban and now the NA are making statements like every ten minutes or so, so that even the White House Press Office is sick of them. We have him! Where is he? He couldn't have done it! All your base! You will die in a ring of fire! Seik Bert! Don't attack us please! Don't be afraid of death!
posted by adampsyche at 7:27 AM on October 18, 2001

An asdie: today's New York Times reports that 84 percent of all the opium now being grown in Afghanistan is done under the Northern Alliance areas (farms), which they control and clearly also support. Our war on drugs?
posted by Postroad at 7:35 AM on October 18, 2001

Say it with me kids...

prop·a·gan·da n.

The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.

Material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause: wartime propaganda.
posted by chokersandwich at 8:37 AM on October 18, 2001

A couple of things, none of which are earthshattering.

One... Lj is right: the NA is smoking their own opium if they think that our military goals over there actually include them in anything more than a cursory manner.

Two... The article is -- if I read it correctly -- referencing NA reaction from the day after the first strikes. Something tells me that two weeks later, their song may have changed (although they're probably still complaining that they haven't been handed the key to Kabul yet).

Three... considering their exposure to weaponry that demands a gross amount of ordnance to make much of a dent in anything, I can understand their perception that three bombs wouldn't do much. Memo to NA commander: our weapons are a little more robust than they were in the 80s.
posted by silusGROK at 8:57 AM on October 18, 2001

Say hello to my tactical, nuclear friend, you stupid dimwitted, human filth. At least I think that's what they'll all be hearing over there in just a little while.

On the other hand, I really hope we're not just playing around because then our entire army will look as wussy as Colin Powell really is. Can we please get a George Patton running the show? Please?
posted by dopamine at 9:12 AM on October 18, 2001

Rush, only a fool exposes his grand strategy, because if it's known then the enemy can counter it. Surprise is a force multiplier.

After the war is over, we'll learn what the tactical objectives were and why the war was fought as it was. Maybe we'll discover that it was canny, maybe that it was foolish. But while it's being fought, we're not gonna get told.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:28 AM on October 18, 2001

Say hello to my tactical, nuclear friend, you stupid dimwitted, human filth. At least I think that's what they'll all be hearing over there in just a little while.

For Christ's sake! I hope not. Tac nukes are total overkill here, and they open the door to very nasty stuff. Not to mention giving away the moral high ground in this war once and for all.
posted by rodii at 10:31 AM on October 18, 2001

as wussy as Colin Powell really is. Can we please get a George Patton running the show? Please?

I thought Bush was running the show, and isn't Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense? The cabinet does what it's told or at least what they can agree to do. Anybody who breaks ranks will drop off your radar screen right quick.
posted by xiffix at 10:44 AM on October 18, 2001

Amen, roddii.
posted by silusGROK at 10:46 AM on October 18, 2001

Without Colin Powell we'd be unlikely to be able to do half the stuff we've done so far. What the hell is wussy about what he's doing? You do realize that the war is being run by Gen. Franks, right?

Objective one is clearly to eliminate Taliban air power. There is a faint hope that they will suddenly become a well-behaved state and turn over Osama, but it's very unlikely given the circumstances. Objective one was completed in one week -- 3 days, if you're not picky. What's wussy about that?

Objective two is to increase the political pressure on the Taliban and try to split them. This is where we are right now. Part of that is helping the Northern Alliance take territory, but we have to be careful what we let them take. We can't have them running the place when it comes time to put a UN-sponsored government in, because they're the dickheads who pulled the rug out from under the *last* government-by-settlement. So we can't let them take Kabul. They're understandably mad about that, but they'll just have to deal.

Objective three might be special forces establishing themselves in the southeast mountains where Omar and Osama are presumed to be.

None of this is really surprising, and it's proceeding according to plan. So I ask again, what's wussy about it? That we didn't melt the country? Go commit genocide on your own time.
posted by dhartung at 11:17 AM on October 18, 2001

The term "Northern Alliance" is both descriptive and deceptive: it's a loose baggy monster of a coalition, and since Masood's death, is not really that united. There's already the hint of a land grab among its disparate commanders. Take away the Taliban, and the "alliance" will resolve into its component parts. Which may be an advantage, if none is large enough to consider itself in a position to take power. But I suspect that there's no easy route to the stable, Westward-looking autocracy as found in neighbouring states, which is almost certainly the desired (if unstated) outcome for the interested foreign parties here.
posted by holgate at 1:03 PM on October 18, 2001

Rush, only a fool exposes his grand strategy

It may be too early to accurately discern the complete pattern, but it's never too early to look.
posted by rushmc at 5:59 PM on October 18, 2001

"fool exposes his grand strategy" thats not the point. the point is the fool has a strategy.
posted by newnameintown at 7:01 PM on October 18, 2001

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