Monday, December 10, 2007

The Battle of Musa Qala - Same Old Story

It's the same old story. We surround and seal off a Taliban stronghold. No way out for the bad guys. It's surrender or die time. Then we go in for the kill and - they're gone, safe to fight another day at a time and place of their choosing.

Afghan army units rolled into the downtown area of the Helmand province village of Musa Qala today and by early accounts it was hardly a battle at all. NATO and US warplanes bombed hell out of the place to prepare for the infantry assault to retake the village.

So, isn't it better that this ended without a big fight? No, it's not. You have to engage the insurgents and that means killing or capturing them. They have to be taken out of the fight, for good. Allowing them to vanish so that they can come back again on their terms isn't a victory, except for them. For us it's a failure and it's one that we're getting pretty good at.

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