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Thread: Before Abbottabad: hunting AQ leaders (merged thread)

  1. #41
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    There is no earthly telling what all our great grandkids will learn once the declassification process runs its course. What a catch that would have been.

  2. #42
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    Default What is the shock behind this one?

    Please tell me this isn't shocking people? We continually observe borders that our adversaries do not and this isn't limited to our current conflicts. We suffer from some sort of phobia about image tarnishing and public fallout from possible failure in regards to missions that aren't fully rehearsed and prepped for...read Richard Kaplan's "Imperial Grunts" and his observations from his time in Afghanistan in 2004 and 2005. The special forces troops on the ground were continually constrained from timely action due to "higher headquarters" requirements to provide CONOPs and getting approvals from hundreds of miles away. We still suffer from the memories of Desert One and the bad day in '93 in Mogadishu, Somalia...despite our mantras and claims by the President we're not attacking foes "...anywhere, anytime..." nor do we "..make no distinctions between the terrorists and those who harbor them...". Not too mention, history tells us that Vietnam was run from D.C. and Saigon, I would argue that this war is also run from D.C. and Bagram and Baghdad and Balad. Our special forces continually suffer from too much oversight and staff requirements from higher to effectively do their missions.

    As far as allies go, I am still wondering why we even sided with the Pakistanis in the first place? Musharraf aborted CIA attempts in October 1999 to capture Osama Bin Laden in Tarnak Farms according to numerous open source articles. Musharraf refused to honor the deal between the CIA and the Pak government (that was formulated under then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who was overthrown in a coup led by Musharraf that same month) that would have provided Pakistani commandos to assist in such a raid to capture Osama Bin Laden should he be detected by CIA Predator drones (which he was). This was prior to the strike capability of the Predator, I believe had that mission gone off we would have seen UBL hauled to the Hague to stand trial for the '93 WTC attack, the '98 Tanzania-Kenya bombings, and possibly avoided the Oct '00 bombing of the USS Cole.

    This article is a sad commentary on how we fight wars and in some form or another I hope to someday find out why we sided with Pakistan in the first place. Plus, I won't even comment on how this alliance flys in the face of the so-called "spreading democracy" doctrine once touted by this administration.

  3. #43
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    Default Apologies for previous reply

    All,

    Apologies for the tone of my previous reply...this is a topic near and dear to my heart with which I find no easy answers and my emotions tend to get the better of me. Without going into much detail in this forum it is needless to say that I am a believer in Special Forces and our other SOF capabilities, and that the United States has by far the best SOF capabilty of any country on this planet. However, I also recognize that a horse will never run if it is left in the stable all its life. Enough said... -- PR

  4. #44
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic Thinker View Post
    All,

    Apologies for the tone of my previous reply...this is a topic near and dear to my heart with which I find no easy answers and my emotions tend to get the better of me. Without going into much detail in this forum it is needless to say that I am a believer in Special Forces and our other SOF capabilities, and that the United States has by far the best SOF capabilty of any country on this planet. However, I also recognize that a horse will never run if it is left in the stable all its life. Enough said... -- PR
    PR

    I read nothing that offended and I know that most of us if not all us have endured similar frustrations at sometime in our careers...

    Best

    Tom

  5. #45
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic Thinker View Post
    All,

    Apologies for the tone of my previous reply...this is a topic near and dear to my heart with which I find no easy answers and my emotions tend to get the better of me. Without going into much detail in this forum it is needless to say that I am a believer in Special Forces and our other SOF capabilities, and that the United States has by far the best SOF capabilty of any country on this planet. However, I also recognize that a horse will never run if it is left in the stable all its life. Enough said... -- PR
    No apologies needed. Charlie Mike.
    Example is better than precept.

  6. #46
    Council Member Armchairguy's Avatar
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    Default Article from msnbc newsweek

    Here's a link to a story on the hunt for OBL that was kind of interesting.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20430170...wsweek/page/0/

  7. #47
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Good link and nice find...

    Quote Originally Posted by Armchairguy View Post
    Here's a link to a story on the hunt for OBL that was kind of interesting.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20430170...wsweek/page/0/
    Next step is telling us why you find it "kind of interesting" - I'm prodding you along into full-fledged Councildom

  8. #48
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Beat us up first!

    I am constantly amazed by some American news reporting, yes the Newsweek article is interesting and some aspects have appeared before, e.g. smarter PR. Is all the material in the public domain? I think not. So why does Newsweek publish this? Sensationalism, settling bureaucratic scores and rivalry between parts of government?

    Looks to me as if the USA, or parts of it, are setting up a legend similar to "we were stabbed in the back", or in this case "we had in our sights, but had no bullets".

    Strange.

    davidbfpo

  9. #49
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default "...settling bureaucratic scores and rivalry between

    parts of government?"

    Mostly.

  10. #50
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    I have respected Evan Thomas, who wrote the article, since I read his book The Very Best Men ten years ago. And I consider Christopher Dickey, Mark Hosenball, Michael Hirsh, and Michael Isikoff, who all reported the story, to be some of the better journalists out there. True, there is not a lot of new information in the article, but in aggregate it made me sick to my stomach. I read it yesterday afternoon and am still angry.

  11. #51
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Interesting

    Here's a link. Scroll down to "Quotes." Notice the top one, the last phrase is telling, I think....

    LINK

    My observation has been that all you name subscribe to the same ethos. If one could call it that...

    See also my comment #10, above.

  12. #52
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    Unfortunately, in spite of the line up of pretty reputable journalists in the research, the article smacks of typical MSM marketing. You write what sells, you lead with what grabs folks attention enough to buy your mag. The job of newspapers is to sell newspapers, the job of politicians is to get elected.

    The underlying thesis of the piece is that higher ranking military officers are overly conservative and risk averse. Unexamined were the likely consequenses of 1) launching scarse U.S. forces into the mouth of an inferno without proper support, extraction plans, etc, -- imagine how that story would read 2) launching major attacks at every shadow that may or may not be UBL. or 3) launching attacks that needlessly (emphasis) kill innocent civilians, incite political consequences that lose the strategic war at the expense of the tactical victory.

    I was also intrigued to learn that Stan McChrystal was only a major when he commanded JSOC. Makes me automatically wonder what else is of questionable "fact" (see Ken's point above).

  13. #53
    Council Member Armchairguy's Avatar
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    Default RE:interesting article

    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    Next step is telling us why you find it "kind of interesting" - I'm prodding you along into full-fledged Councildom
    It's kind of interesting for me first because unlike many here I've not heard a lot of this, and can't vouch one way or another for the truth of it. It seems to point to a pretty large amount of incompetence. The idea of zero defect warfare is a lesson in the stupidity of micromanagement. If they feel the guys they sent need to be managed to that degree then they have failed by choosing the wrong guys, or they have failed by choosing the right guys and not trusting their judgement. Going after every tall person in Afghanistan, or dropping a bomb on the basis of rumors isn't the way you want to go either, but I'd hope there was a practical medium.

  14. #54
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    The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, 25 Sep 07:

    Assessing the Six Year Hunt for Osama bin Laden
    More than six years after the September 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden remains free, healthy and safe enough to produce audio- and videotapes that dominate the international media at the times of his choosing. Popular and some official attitudes in the United States and its NATO allies tend to denigrate the efforts made by their military and intelligence services to capture the al-Qaeda chief. The common question always is, "Why can't the U.S. superpower and its allies find one 6'5" Saudi with an extraordinarily well-known face?" The answers are several, each is compelling, and together they suggest that the U.S.-led coalition's military and intelligence forces are too over-tasked and spread far too thin to have more than a slim chance of capturing or killing bin Laden and his senior lieutenants.....

  15. #55
    Council Member Armchairguy's Avatar
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    Default Off topic

    I'm thinking if we ever kill OBL and his inner circle that we should not tell anyone about it. Just let the videos and pronouncements stop coming and the faithful wait for guidance that never comes.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Armchairguy View Post
    I'm thinking if we ever kill OBL and his inner circle that we should not tell anyone about it. Just let the videos and pronouncements stop coming and the faithful wait for guidance that never comes.
    Perhaps useful from an overall strategic standpoint; but impossible because of domestic politics. Killing OBL (or any of his lieutenants) is a big deal domestically, especially for a Republican party currently taking a beating on its bread-and-butter arena: national security.

    Also, I'm not entirely convinced how valuable that would be in the first place, particularly given the credibility gap we've created by talking him up and not getting him.

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

  17. #57
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    Default Dancing and Peeing On Graves

    He has already attained mythical status and killing him will only enhance his standing and stature - t'is a far better thing he mutter and threaten from flea-infested hovels on the Paki frontier thus keeping him off a white horse in full Public view on the Arab street.

  18. #58
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Right. So now it's a good thing that we allow the murderer of 3,000 American civilians to survive and continue to both lead his organization and propagandize against the U.S.

    No doubt Bill Clinton could have followed a similar tactic after the African embassy bombings and saved us some money on Tomahawk missiles and a CIA bin Laden unit. Much better to allow bin Laden to continue muttering from Afghan caves - what harm could a guy like that possibly do?

  19. #59
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    Personally I think he died of sepsis 5-6 months after Tora Bora and was cremated but the tally of their dead, and its been in the thousands since 9/11, gives us more than a pound of flesh and we are still killing them. His message is not reaching the mass of neutral muslims, not as long as we stand our ground in Afghan and Iraq. I'm not saying don't keep trying to kill him but once the insurgency surpassed expectations in Iraq, it became more strategically viable to not pin his ears on the door of the White House.

  20. #60
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    I wish you were right but I doubt it.

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