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Thread: You have Mullah Omar on the drone's downlink feed...

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default You have Mullah Omar on the drone's downlink feed...

    ...and a Hellfire hanging on a hardpoint.

    Do you give the go signal or let the moment slip?

    Why?

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    Pull the trigger!

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    Situation dependent obviously, but I would err on the side of developing more intel.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Taliban & Co. have been remarkable at remaining a more or less cohesive political entity over many years.

    Mullah Omar has been the critical in maintaining that cohesiveness. He has a lot of respect and they all at least profess to defer to him.

    At the same time, there have been over the years continuing indications that there are strong differences of opinion amongst these people, differences that if perhaps some restraints were loosened, might tend to loosen the cohesiveness.

    Taliban & Co. breaking up into factions would be good for the current Afghan gov and for everybody else.

    Taliban & Co breaking up into factions would be bad for the Pak Army/ISI and their madman fantasies of a Punjabi empire being the loci of a new caliphate.

    Mullah Omar has been the Pak Army/ISI's man for a long, long time and there is no reason to think he won't stay their man.

    He is a prime tool, perhaps the prime tool, they use to control Taliban & Co.

    Taliban & Co seem to hate the Pak Army/ISI almost as much as they hate anybody and perhaps more. If they could just get loose of them... Of course different factions would differ on how loose they want to be.

    We can't only infer what is going on. Our spies can't seem to do much to figure out what is actually going on.

    With that in mind, the thought that whoever replaces MO may be worse is just a guess. He seems to be a critical person and as one who has wrapped himself in the cloak of the prophet, to not much objection, it is more probable to my mind that he cannot be replaced by somebody with similar stature.

    Soooo...Kill him.
    Last edited by carl; 10-16-2013 at 03:15 PM.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    Situation dependent obviously, but I would err on the side of developing more intel.
    I concur. Unless the classified information regarding MO greatly exceeds the publicly available information, how would it be clear that he ends up dead?
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
    I concur. Unless the classified information regarding MO greatly exceeds the publicly available information, how would it be clear that he ends up dead?
    Stipulate that he ends up dead. What do you do?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    Situation dependent obviously, but I would err on the side of developing more intel.
    How? Why? There he is. Say you can't snatch him. What more intel could you get?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Stipulate that he ends up dead. What do you do?
    If there are active negotiations, I let the moment slip. As soon as his death is confirmed the Taliban are going to back away from the table for the forseeable future. The positives of having the Taliban at the table would seem to me to outweigh the positives of putting MO in the ground.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
    If there are active negotiations, I let the moment slip. As soon as his death is confirmed the Taliban are going to back away from the table for the forseeable future. The positives of having the Taliban at the table would seem to me to outweigh the positives of putting MO in the ground.
    It is today. There are no negotiations occurring today. What do you do today?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    It is today. There are no negotiations occurring today. What do you do today?
    Unlike you, I am not certain that factionalization of the Taliban would be good for anyone. The Taliban rose to power because of chaos. So if I have intel leading me to believe that the killing of MO would lead to increased factionalization of the Taliban, I let the moment slip.

    If I have intel leading me to believe that there will be an orderly succession and that the next guy would be preferable (define ‘preferable’ as you will), I would have him killed. If I have intel leading me to believe that there will be an orderly succession and that the next guy would be worse (define ‘worse’ as you will), I let the moment slip.

    Please don’t replace my above ifs with certainties and ask me what I would do, Carl. I understand that you would kill him.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Violence is a form of communication. I would let rip and unleash the hellfire of war. Why? Simple. Does it degrade the capability of the Taliban? No. But it sends a message to anyone who wants to step into his shoes. "This is what you get when you mess with us". In terms of strategic communication it is simple and to the point. Certain actions have certain consequences. Tow the line, cooperate or face the consequences. There's too little of that kind of targeted suasion. Used properly, I.e. In the context of other shaping actions across DIME this sort of action is valuable. Done the American way...maybe not

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    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukhachevskii View Post
    Violence is a form of communication. I would let rip and unleash the hellfire of war. Why? Simple. Does it degrade the capability of the Taliban? No. But it sends a message to anyone who wants to step into his shoes. "This is what you get when you mess with us". In terms of strategic communication it is simple and to the point. Certain actions have certain consequences. Tow the line, cooperate or face the consequences. There's too little of that kind of targeted suasion. Used properly, I.e. In the context of other shaping actions across DIME this sort of action is valuable.
    Wasn’t that the Soviet take on things?
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukhachevskii View Post
    Violence is a form of communication. I would let rip and unleash the hellfire of war. Why? Simple. Does it degrade the capability of the Taliban? No. But it sends a message to anyone who wants to step into his shoes. "This is what you get when you mess with us". In terms of strategic communication it is simple and to the point. Certain actions have certain consequences. Tow the line, cooperate or face the consequences. There's too little of that kind of targeted suasion. Used properly, I.e. In the context of other shaping actions across DIME this sort of action is valuable. Done the American way...maybe not
    Absolutely! You want to fight us? Fine. We see you, we kill you.

    Boy are you right about the new American way, "Well maybe, but maybe not, but what if something goes wrong, well let me think about it, but what if something goes wrong..." is not working out well.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
    Wasn’t that the Soviet take on things?
    Perhaps, minus the DIME. There is a great deal of similarity between the soviet experience and ours in Afghanistan. That is because war has a grammar all it's own regardless of the character or constitution of the entities in question. I was actually thinking of Schelling when I wrote that. The logic of violence can and should be used properly. Unfortunately I find that most drone strikes seem to be tactical actions devoid of strategic effects. Just hitting them isn't enough. We need to have a narrative within which that action makes sense to BOTH parties.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
    Unlike you, I am not certain that factionalization of the Taliban would be good for anyone. The Taliban rose to power because of chaos. So if I have intel leading me to believe that the killing of MO would lead to increased factionalization of the Taliban, I let the moment slip.

    If I have intel leading me to believe that there will be an orderly succession and that the next guy would be preferable (define ‘preferable’ as you will), I would have him killed. If I have intel leading me to believe that there will be an orderly succession and that the next guy would be worse (define ‘worse’ as you will), I let the moment slip.

    Please don’t replace my above ifs with certainties and ask me what I would do, Carl. I understand that you would kill him.
    Fair enough that you think Taliban & Co breaking up some wouldn't be good. And the Taliban rose to power partly because of chaos. But the situation is different now. There is an extant government in Afghanistan that, for all its faults, that gives an alternative to Taliban & Co., especially for people who don't toe the Taliban line. In the past it was chaos or the Taliban to a large extent. It isn't like that now. So if Taliban & Co were to break up, it would make the current gov relatively stronger, which is good for us.

    When you use the phrase "If I have intel...", it seems to me you are saying "If I am fairly certain...". I don't think we can have that. Our human intelligence in this realm seems hopelessly inadequate. Taliban & Co and the ISI run rings around us. It has been my observation that open sources over the years are as good as anything. In this particular scenario, I figure you go with what you got. So to me, MO will never negotiate. Why should a guy who wore the cloak of the prophet and is winning negotiate? It is more likely negotiations would get going with some of Taliban & Co at least if he were gone.

    I apologize for my delivery. It was heavy handed.
    Last edited by carl; 10-16-2013 at 04:34 PM.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Well, as an American strategist, that would depends on the aims and strategy of the US involvement in Afghanistan. Which aim is unknown or unclear to most of us, so I cannot say what the appropriate decision is from an "American insider" point of view.
    From my POV (as someone who desires a peaceful South Asia with secular or near-secular democratic states with EU-like borders; and who would like to see the Taliban and their "confrontation-conquest-Paknationalist-Jihadist faction" mentors brought under adult supervision), its a no-brainer. You pull the trigger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    Well, as an American strategist, that would depends on the aims and strategy of the US involvement in Afghanistan. Which aim is unknown or unclear to most of us, so I cannot say what the appropriate decision is from an "American insider" point of view.
    Omar, you do have a way with words. I see a bright future for you as a satirist.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Go signal needs explaining, that is harder

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    You have Mullah Omar on the drone's downlink feed......and a Hellfire hanging on a hardpoint. Do you give the go signal or let the moment slip? Why?
    Hit him. Given the strategy pursued by the Taliban, under his apparent leadership and their continuing use of coercion to frustrate, if not defeat an internal peace compromise, do it.

    Now the really difficult option, how do we explain the hit? To the primary audience, which remains the Afghans in Afghanistan. I'd suggest "He was our shared enemy leader, he'd been given chances and always chose violence. We had had enough".
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    How? Why? There he is. Say you can't snatch him. What more intel could you get?
    Mullah Omar isn't the Queen Bee whose destruction will kill the hive. If you can add more fish to the frying pan...

    But again, there are a lot of assumptions so I can't say anything definitively, only that I would prioritize intel development all else being equal.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Let it loose. No hesitation.

    Until there is a cease fire or peace, everyone is still a target. There are no meaningful negotiations and it's difficult to imagine the Taliban positioning hardening. It wouldn't deter future Taliban action but it could to some extent disrupt its strategy. And it would force internal movements to accommodate new power relationships that could reveal new opportunities for targeting or engagement.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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