Friday, February 13, 2009

Aussie Soldiers Bag One Taliban and a Whole Bunch of Afghan Civilians

Australian special forces serving under NATO command in Afghanistan took part in a night time gun battle yesterday that bagged just one Taliban fighter but killed and wounded nine or ten Afghan civilians.

In all, five children were killed, at least two children and two adults were wounded and one insurgent was also killed in the raid in Oruzgan province where Australian and Dutch troops operate.

It appears to be the standard story. The Australians were conducting a series of night time raids. Taliban fighters opened up, the Australians responded and, when the dust settled, there was mainly a bunch of dead and wounded Afghans - most of them children - to show for it.

Okay, time to refer to FM3-24, the U.S. Army's new counterinsurgency field manual, pages 47-51, chapter entitled "The Paradoxes of Counterinsurgency Operations":

"Sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction"

"Often insurgents carry out a terrorist act or guerrilla raid with the primary purpose of enticing counterinsurgents to overreact, or at least to react in a way that insurgents can exploit—for example, opening fire on a crowd or executing a clearing operation that creates more enemies than it takes off the streets. If an assessment of the effects of a course of action determines that more negative than positive effects may result, an alternative should be considered—potentially including not acting."

C'mon people, this is a no-brainer. The insurgents opened fire on you to goad you into slaughtering civilians. It worked. They won, you lost. Can you possibly be any dumber? They're already winning this war, why do you insist on making that easier for them?

Jeebus, it's right there in the book. It's in the damned book! Hell, it's right in every respected and informed book on this subject written by everyone from T.E. Lawrence, to Guevera and Giap.

You're Australians and special forces at that. You spent years learning these lessons in Vietnam. You know better.

If we're going to insist on losing this war, why don't we just leave and spare the civilians?


Anonymous said...

You sum it all up right here, "They're already winning this war, why do you insist on making that easier for them?" Those regs that you quoted are exactly what makes it easier for them and those types of things are also why the bad guys are "winning". The civilians harbor the fighters and allow them to hide in their midst. Thus, they are accessories and not really "innocent civilians" at all.

As soon as the world wakes up and realizes that war and diplomacy are mutually exclusive, only then can progress be made. We talk for peace or fight to win, there is no middle ground.

The Mound of Sound said...

Well, anon, you're partly right. The idea that "The civilians harbor the fighters and allow them to hide in their midst" isn't true.

The civilians don't get the luxury of deciding whether to "harbour the fighters." They're caught in the middle, powerless.

That's precisely why our side is supposed to have enough troops to flood the villages and secure the civilians 24/7. We're supposed to do that so that the insurgents can't enter those villages, establish their own authority systems, and, when it suits them, goad us into firing on the villagers.

They really are "innocent civilians" until we begin killing their wives and kids. Then they somehow turn to the other side. Here's the point- you would do the same if it was your kids torn to shreds in an airstrike.