Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hail Mary

In American football, a 'hail mary' is a last second and desperate long pass attempt at the end of game by a team that needs to score immediately or else lose the game.

Results of Kandahar offensive may affect future U.S. moves
by By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post

The Obama administration's campaign to drive the Taliban out of Afghanistan's second-largest city is a go-for-broke move that even its authors are unsure will succeed.

The bet is that the Kandahar operation, backed by thousands of U.S. troops and billions of dollars, will break the mystique and morale of the insurgents, turn the tide of the war and validate the administration's Afghanistan strategy.

There is no Plan B.

That sounds like a classic 'hail mary' to me.

Lets see, how did the trial run for this in the great metropoltian area of Marjan go. The US troops met greater resistance than expected, took control of the area slower than expected. Then, after they did seem (or at least claim) to take control, they had a hard time convincing Afghan officials to go there and take up posts. And at last account most of the villagers still seem sympathetic to what we call the Taliban, and are mainly just keeping their heads down until we leave.

Which will probably be when this offensive meets greater than expected resistance and we proclaim a great victory of the pacification of the greater Marjan metropolitan area and pull the troops from there over to Kandahar.

In a system where you know you don't get honest facts about what is going on, and the military clearly states that they wage media and psychological warfare to control information, you have to read between the lines. When you do that with Afghanistan, the picture is very worrisome.

Our major Bagram airbase outside the capital of Kabul is under attack. Last month I saw another story about a US base occupied by insurgents. Meanwhile, we seem to be launching a desperate hail mary offensive. Since such plays are only called when defeat is imminent, what does that say about the situation in Afghanistan?

The one thing the Pentagon is not short of is people who've studied lots of military strategy. Its easy to think that an inexperienced Obama is launching a bad hail mary offensive that a more experienced military commander would have avoided. But that's not how things work in 21st century America. The US military wouldn't give up a golf course unless they wanted to, much less turn over control of military operations to a civilian. So, this plan is undoubtably coming from those many people in the Pentagon who've studied lots of military strategy.

If those guys and gals are doing that, and they are not dumb, then the war in Afghanistan is much more desperate than it seems.

Given the flood of propaganda that we all get blasted with about our brave and wonderful troops and all the victories that they win, it seems incredible to think that we might be on the verge of losing the Afghan War. But, that's what this plan in Kandahar seems to indicate. Its definitely a 'hail mary' of a military plan.

If you like military strategy, you should read this article. Its hilariously funny. Although I'm certain that this important propaganda writer at one of the American government's lead propaganda organs didn't mean it to be so.

For just one example of many ....
U.S. civilian officials are simultaneously trying to wrest control from local power brokers and to correct imbalances that favor one tribal group. They plan to set up 10 administrative districts, each with a representative council and money to spend.

Since Kandahar is a largely Pashtun city, if they are 'correcting imbalances that favor one tribal group', then these councils aren't going to be very 'representative' of all the Pashtun's who live there.

But that's not as good as ...
"I actually think the U.S. military would love to find an enemy that was dug in on a piece of terrain, that we could establish a D-Day and we could attack with no civilians around," McChrystal said,

Uh, dude, guerrillas have known not to do that since at least "Lawerence of Arabia". And this is from the US military's leading genius on fighting a guerilla war. Or at least the propaganda says that. If that's true and this is what he's saying, then maybe I'll have to take back that part back about the Pentagon having lots of people who know military strategy.

[edit 5-24] ... from the story above. As this was being published, the guerrillas were coming out and offering just such a fixed battle when they tried to launch a ground assault on the perimeter of the Kandahar base housing 20,000 NATO soldiers/workers. There is of course one time when the guerrillas do come out in the open and fight. And that's when they've been building their strength for years and now feel strong enough to come out and fight ... and win. This is the final stage of a guerrilla war, when the guerrillas come out of hiding, show the true numbers that they've recruited, and march to take Saigon or Damascus. Gen. McCrystal might be having one of those times when you are sorry you get what you asked for.

No comments: