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Old 02-10-2010   #41
William F. Owen
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Hypothetical scenario: the Nigerian bomber-to-be is id'd in a Yemeni city, shortly before he starts his journey to what we now know was Detroit. Attempt to capture or strike with high explosive?
Give me the briefing pack and I'll give you an answer....
Since he'll turn up at an airport, it seems like that might be a good place to give " 'im a tug" - a phrase I'm sure David is familiar with!
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 02-10-2010   #42
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Dead Terrorists Tell No Tales:Is Barack Obama killing too many bad guys before the U.S. can interrogate them? is an article in FP: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article..._tell_no_tales

It is a good read and this is a 'taster':
I disagree - the article has little value except for partisan talking points. Note that complete and utter lack of any sort of question of whether or not snatch missions are even feasible. He simply asserts that they are not being tried or even considered because the President does not value intelligence for unknown reasons.

Thiessen's expertise comes via his experience as a speechwriter rather than an intelligence professional, and the title of his book gives his perspective. He is a torture advocate, and his primary problem is that Obama has ended the practice.
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Old 02-19-2010   #43
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"Plus the author and group doing the polling are not fully id'd."
You reference a survey conducted by Ms. Farhat Taj of the Univ. of Oslo and a non-profit group called AIRRA (Mod's note their webpage is:http://www.airra.org/home/). Ms. Taj is an pashtun womens rights specialist and researcher from FATAville whose work is rapidly morphing into a crusade for the use of drones. I've had numerous e-mail conversations with her and she's done some interesting op-eds in the Pakistani dailies. Here are some of them to include the original survey-

Drone Attacks: A Survey-The NEWS March 5, 2009

Analysis: Drone Attacks-Challenging Some Fabrications NEWS Jan. 2, 2010

ANALYSIS: Drone attacks and US reputation-DAILY TIMES Feb. 6, 2010

Her cry was picked up by one op-ed columnist of whom I'm aware in Pakistan named Irfan Husain. His editorial is also worth the read-

Howling At The Moon-DAWN Irfan Husain Jan. 9, 2010

Ms. Taj contends that she's access to FATA IDPs inside camps in NWFP as well as other sources via phone. It makes for interesting reading. Still, I appreciate her perspectives and find that some of our leading voices in military academia to lack certain knowledge of target effect and populace reaction. In short, the area is highly isolated so claims of collateral damage and threats to Pakistani sovereignty strike me as fallacious and somewhat skewed.

Only the taliban know for certain who's been killed. Our intel have some idea. I doubt anybody else lacking special access has a clue.

Thanks.
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Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-21-2010 at 08:32 PM. Reason: Add Mod's note with AIRRA link
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Old 02-19-2010   #44
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Ms. Taj contends that she's access to FATA IDPs inside camps in NWFP as well as other sources via phone. It makes for interesting reading. Still, I appreciate her perspectives and find that some of our leading voices in military academia to lack certain knowledge of target effect and populace reaction. In short, the area is highly isolated so claims of collateral damage and threats to Pakistani sovereignty strike me as fallacious and somewhat skewed.
When has ever killing the enemy ever been counter-productive?
Until serving officers and other other academics gather the collective balls to start questioning these "leading voices", about the rubbish they peddle, they frankly deserve to conned.
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 02-19-2010   #45
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"Until serving officers and other other academics gather the collective balls to start questioning these "leading voices", about the rubbish they peddle, they frankly deserve to conned."
Well William, I've e-mail with one at U.S. Naval Post-Graduate School who's a department chair who's opposed named John Arquilla. His buddy Tom Johnson is opposed. Killcullen gave the classic testimony before Congress last April about only killing 12 HVTs and, I believe, Andrew Exum. Most seem to either fear some paktunwali-based backlash or violations of Pakistani sovereignty. The former seems overstated and the later duplicitous given the violations of Pakistani sovereignty by OBL, Haqqani, Hekmatyar, and Omar nevermind the various, chechyan, uighars, uzbeks and others scattered throughout FATAville.

Ms. Taj is embittered at the abandonment of the FATA people into the hands of these animals by the GoP. I suspect that's true. Most are aware of the devastation to the tribal maliks and I believe that represents only the tip of the iceberg there.

In anycase, I believe there is a subtle but discernable shift underway among the Pakistani polity from blatant opposition and into some more neutral ground. Most self-serving and largely a function of H. Mehsud's whacking. I spend a fair amount of time on a Pakistani defense board which caters to a rather "vibrant" crowd. We're hated but they're not often really sure why except that's the way it's supposed to be...oh, and Israel.

Thanks.
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Old 02-19-2010   #46
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Well William, I've e-mail with one at U.S. Naval Post-Graduate School who's a department chair who's opposed named John Arquilla. His buddy Tom Johnson is opposed. Killcullen gave the classic testimony before Congress last April about only killing 12 HVTs and, I believe, Andrew Exum.
I'll fully confess to not knowing the who said what or when, - but I cannot for the life of me work out how someone contends that killing your enemies (people who would kill you) is counter-productive because this breeds "more enemies," or "drones = cowardice" or any of the other "wonderfully insightful because it's counter-intuitive" twaddle gets peddled. If about end-state, not style!
Killing the enemy leadership is a sure fire proven, works 9 times out of 10, if done well, useful. The only time it could backfire is if you are killing people who are not your enemies.
IIRC some genius actually said, we shouldn't kill the enemies leaders becuase that leaves no one to negotiate with... seriously....
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 02-19-2010   #47
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Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
I'll fully confess to not knowing the who said what or when, - but I cannot for the life of me work out how someone contends that killing your enemies (people who would kill you) is counter-productive because this breeds "more enemies," or "drones = cowardice" or any of the other "wonderfully insightful because it's counter-intuitive" twaddle gets peddled. If about end-state, not style!
Killing the enemy leadership is a sure fire proven, works 9 times out of 10, if done well, useful. The only time it could backfire is if you are killing people who are not your enemies.
IIRC some genius actually said, we shouldn't kill the enemies leaders becuase that leaves no one to negotiate with... seriously....
The world seems to be more difficult than that.

Let's take the leader assassination thing:
The paralyze effect is only temporary. It's in a long conflict only valuable if you can exploit is well.
The loss of competence effect is considerable, but you may also have the adverse effect if you kill a leader who's relatively incompetent.
You lose your understanding of the enemy's habits, preferences, ability and possibly even intent. You need to re-learn about the opposing mind because a new mind replaces the old one.

Finally one complication that should be very familiar in your neighbourhood; the replacement leaders tend to be more extreme, aggressive and young than the original ones.


So yes, killing an enemy leader may actually be counter-productive.
Imagine Alexander had killed Darius in the first battle; someone better, less cowardly, might have replaced Darius and bested Alexander in the next battle.


Killing leaders is no surefire thing to anything if the enemy organization has prepared for this contingency. Think of the thousands of officers lost in battle during the World Wars. Organizations can often replace such losses - and even raise the competence level while doing so.


Furthermore, I subscribe to the Hydra theory in regard to Afghanistan.
It's a bit complicated, though. I dislike the whole high visibility approach to the meddling in AFG. To have many troops in place, to let them patrol, fight and kill adds arguments to the enemy's arsenal.
It would be much tougher to agitate against infidel foreigners if the villagers had never seen a foreigner or a bomber's contrail.
The more we intervene the more troubles are added to the problem (and the more we become their enemy instead fo merely an exogenous influence) and the lesser the efficiency of our intervention.

To kill more enemies isn't necessarily leading to a significantly better end state anyway. Few (para)military powers of history seem to have lasted till their point of total destruction.
The German military of 1945 had more tanks, aircraft and submarines in its arsenal than in 1939. The tremendous attrition of almost six years warfare was often overestimated in its significance. The exhaustion of the important age group (young, healthy males) by late '42 (physical and psychical exhaustion) coupled with the enemies' superiority in material and personnel quantities caused the turn of the war (just as in 1918). The absolute power of the German military (measured in hardware and personnel quantity) didn't really decline significantly in 1941-early1945.

The exhaustion is linked to attrition AND replacements - any move that adds more to replacements than to attrition is not going to help.

The physical destruction of Taliban may be necessary for the mopping up phase, but it would likely be a minor contributor to a turn of the war's course.
Meanwhile, the troubles associated with pushing up attrition may very well prevent such a turn.
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Old 02-19-2010   #48
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Default ...it depends...

There's no clear and unequivocal answer to this issue--the impact of leadership assassination (whether by drone or otherwise) is entirely contextually dependent.

On the positive side, it not only causes attrition of those who (may have) shown considerable skill in order to rise to their current level of command, but it also frequently causes a degree of internal paralysis as the organization concerned assesses how its security might have breached. In highly compartmentalized organizations, some information may be lost with the target. It may also send signals about who has the upper hand, or about the reach of the instigating country/organization, that have morale effects on the organization or the general population. It can deter.

On the other hand, it can backfire. It can be seen by the local population as a violation of local sovereignty. It can cause radicalization. It can be used as an aid to recruitment. It can have unforeseen second and third order effects. It can result in even more skilled leaders emerging, as Fuchs notes (Hizbullah/Nasrallah being a case in point). It can cause ###-for-tat killings, an expansion of the geography of confrontation, or uncontrolled escalation.

I can think of cases where the death of a leader had devastating consequences on an organization (Savimbi/UNITA, Zarqawi/AQI). It would have been pretty good too if someone had taken Hitler down before 1945. I can think of cases where assassination paid major operational dividends, but also somewhat strengthened the target organization politically (Ayyash/Hamas, Mughniyah/Hizbullah). There are cases where the operational effect was marginal, but the countervailing PR gains for the targeted organization were substantial (Israel's 1973 assassination of three PLO leaders in Beirut; Yassin/Hamas, or for that matter the PFLP assassination of Rehavam Ze'evi). There are cases where the diplomatic cost of the assassination outweighed the potential gain (Mishal/Hamas). There are cases where the short-term operational effects benefited the attacker, but there were unforeseen longer-term effects that offset these (Khalil al-Wazir/Fateh).

The point here is that this where diplomats, intel analysts, politicians, and perhaps even lawyers ought to earn their pay by doing some solid analytical thinking about costs, benefits, precedents, and contingencies, rather than reflexively adhering to the position that leadership assassination is always "good" or "bad."
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Old 02-20-2010   #49
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Finally one complication that should be very familiar in your neighbourhood; the replacement leaders tend to be more extreme, aggressive and young than the original ones.
OK, but since you can never tell the future, that's not a reason not to do it. The times where it does turn out to be counter-productive are not foreseeable and are very rare.
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So yes, killing an enemy leader may actually be counter-productive.
Imagine Alexander had killed Darius in the first battle; someone better, less cowardly, might have replaced Darius and bested Alexander in the next battle.
Can you give me an actual example? - Which the enemy could have reasonably predicted?
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Killing leaders is no surefire thing to anything if the enemy organization has prepared for this contingency. Think of the thousands of officers lost in battle during the World Wars. Organizations can often replace such losses - and even raise the competence level while doing so.
Nothing is war is "surefire." Killing enemy commanders is 9 out of 10 times works, and works well. There is simply no body of evidence to suggest it is not something you should not pursue aggressively.
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To kill more enemies isn't necessarily leading to a significantly better end state anyway. Few (para)military powers of history seem to have lasted till their point of total destruction.
Sure. The German Army was 1 Million plus men when it surrendered, but it's will to fight was broken and killing achieved 90% of that.
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The exhaustion is linked to attrition AND replacements - any move that adds more to replacements than to attrition is not going to help.
Sure. Tell Hannibal. Sooner or later you have to break the collective will to fight. You have to destroy more than they can replace and/or destroy the replacement mechanism.
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The physical destruction of Taliban may be necessary for the mopping up phase, but it would likely be a minor contributor to a turn of the war's course.
The best way to "defend a population" is to kill those people seeking to harm it.
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There's no clear and unequivocal answer to this issue--the impact of leadership assassination (whether by drone or otherwise) is entirely contextually dependent.
Agreed, but the context which makes counter-productive is rarely if ever foreseeable.
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On the other hand, it can backfire. It can be seen by the local population as a violation of local sovereignty. It can cause radicalization. It can be used as an aid to recruitment. It can have unforeseen second and third order effects. It can result in even more skilled leaders emerging, as Fuchs notes (Hizbullah/Nasrallah being a case in point). It can cause ###-for-tat killings, an expansion of the geography of confrontation, or uncontrolled escalation.
Agreed, but all unknowable, but never a reason not do it.
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....earn their pay by doing some solid analytical thinking about costs, benefits, precedents, and contingencies, rather than reflexively adhering to the position that leadership assassination is always "good" or "bad."
It's not a reflex. Evidence shows that 90% of the time it is better rather than worse, and the times when it is worse cannot be predicted with any certainty.
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Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 02-20-2010   #50
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Killing leaders will indeed suppress current capabilities. It will at the same time largely add fuel to the larger causal issues of the insurgency, so that when it brews back up with new leaders it will be even more powerful of a threat the next time you have to deal with it.

There are no historical examples of where merely killing insurgents or their leadership has solved an insurgency, but it will suppress one. (threat-centric COIN)

Similarly there are no historical examples where an external party can come in and essentially buy off the populaces support to a government that they perceive as illegitimate. (Population-centric COIN) They'll take your money and smile, sure, and cut your throat with that same smile on their face.

These are both very symptomatic approaches that are far more likely to create short term, measurable effects than they are to create any kind of enduring solution.

A "Populace-Centric strategy" however, as often proposed by yours truely, suggests that we must look past our tactical noses and recognize that the enabling of effects that support and have the blessing of the populace are the key to success. Governments will come and go, we should not lash ourselves too tightly to any one of them. Threats will come and go, let them. The popualce, however, endures, and is the basis of our relations with any nation. We've been able to ignore them historically, and make good use of "Friendly Dictators" to service our national interests. It's a new world. We need to get out of the Dictator support business, and get into the populace empowerment business. The governments those empowered populaces devise will most likely be quite willing to work with us.
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Old 02-20-2010   #51
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There are no historical examples of where merely killing insurgents or their leadership has solved an insurgency, but it will suppress one. (threat-centric COIN)
So? That is the whole point! The military objective when working against insurgents is to ensure that do no gain their objective by military means/violence. That is sole aim of the military campaign!

The aim is to break the will of insurgency (the use of military/violent means) to pursue policy by violence and to force them to use non-violent political and diplomatic means.
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 02-20-2010   #52
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Hmm, new words for a more clear message:

I understand Wilf's line as basically "kill the irreconcilables for victory".

My line is "You don't need to kill what's left of the enemy to defeat him."


Killing is an integral part of warfare, but it's usually overestimated in its importance. A military or warrior force that has fought for years won't suddenly have its will broken for fear of their lives. That works differently.

- enemies grew too powerful, numerous
- too many hopes (offensives) were disappointed
- too many days in combat have broken the veteran's utility for offensive actions
- attrition in the most critical group of men (young, healthy, aggressive) by several means (including POW, WIA) had critical influence on the force's ability to succeed in battle
- loss of too much terrain, no chance of further withdrawal
- insufficient logistical support for a long time
- enemy propaganda, internal political agitation
- disillusionment about the own leaders / leading class


Killing is a very usual component, but it's usually not sufficient in itself and there were few conflicts in history that led to total death of the enemy.
I think Wilf would furthermore be unable to show that any force has ever surrendered for exclusively the fear of getting killed otherwise - after having proved its courage in battle before.

There are on the other hand many examples where very different factors have led to victory. This is especially true in conflicts where the loser still had much to lose and thus strived to protect what was left.

In short; it's unnecessary to kill all or most of the irreconcilables. Nominal "victory"* can be achieved with better odds through other means - treating the killing as a side effect, some kind of cost of other actions.




I part the actions of war into three categories;
- supporting actions
- decisive actions
- unimportant actions

The unimportant ones create the huge noise and much of the cost of war. The hope is usually that their sum will help to win a war, but that's unlikely.
A sniper does not need to kill soldiers of an encircled unit that will surrender anyway once its water reserves run out, for example.

To kill much of the enemy (and at a faster rate than he can replace losses) would raise the cost of war and add many problems to the war. This includes the risk of creating resentment by sheer presence of foreigners.
Everyone here knows that polite soldiers in a war zone are the exception, especially in traffic and searching. It doesn't help that the only Muslim NATO ally, Turkey, doesn't provide a large force for the war (I wonder why there's almost no critique of this, but much critique on those who provide many, but not as many as wished auxiliary troops?).


I would be content with the military balance in place - the Taliban are incapable of using about 99% of war's repertoire because of the extreme difference in capabilities. Meanwhile, the foreigners are incapable of about 90% due to logistical, geographical and political issues.
The little remaining combat - minelaying, occasional attacks on outposts, occasional ambushes, harrassing fires - represents a very low level of activity in comparison to other wars. I doubt that much more can be achieved militarily without actually worsening the situation in other regards.

The reason is simple; the initiative is theirs. THEY decide on the intensity of warfare, on the degree of their exposure to their enemies' strengths.
They can reduce their exposure whenever they cannot stand the pain any more. They can increase their activity (and thus exposure) when they have recovered and regained confidence.
Their political strength isn't much in danger when they decide to expose themselves to achieve more in combat.

A fencer in the dark will not succeed to kill all cats around him unless they close in voluntarily.

The "kill" path is a short dead end. It doesn't lead to their defeat.
Other routes whose vector includes partially the same direction may still be open and lead to nominal 'victory',


----------
*: I doubt that OEF/ISAF will ever be able to claim that they met the most rational definition of victory; they will never be able to claim that waging the war post '02 was better than not to wage it at all.
They may sometime be able to claim a lesser type of victory; the lack of success of the enemy, possibly even meeting the (ill-conceived) political goals for the conflict.
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Old 02-20-2010   #53
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"A "Populace-Centric strategy" however, as often proposed by yours truely, suggests that we must look past our tactical noses and recognize that the enabling of effects that support and have the blessing of the populace are the key to success. Governments will come and go, we should not lash ourselves too tightly to any one of them. Threats will come and go, let them. The popualce, however, endures, and is the basis of our relations with any nation."
So Bob, in the absence of solid data indicating that PREDATOR is killing vast sums of innocents for a paucity of terrorists and in light of Ms. Taj's contentions otherwise, what's your view on drone strikes in FATAville?

Thanks.
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Old 02-20-2010   #54
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Default No, I get that it is your point.

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So? That is the whole point! The military objective when working against insurgents is to ensure that do no gain their objective by military means/violence. That is sole aim of the military campaign!

The aim is to break the will of insurgency (the use of military/violent means) to pursue policy by violence and to force them to use non-violent political and diplomatic means.
And I agree that over the past span of recorded history such temporal success have been sufficient to allow the National interests to be serviced with little threat of popular blowback on the folks back home. A deployed army and a Friendly Dictator took care of the occasional dust up.

I just don't think these are tactics that work in the modern age. Info has everyone too linked; and Jet travel has us too close to each other. What happens on the edges of the empire no longer stays on the edges of the empire.

It lands on your front stoop like a burning bag of ####.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 02-20-2010   #55
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Killing is an integral part of warfare, but it's usually overestimated in its importance. A military or warrior force that has fought for years won't suddenly have its will broken for fear of their lives. That works differently.
I agree and that is not my point.

I just adhere to history and Clausewitz. Killing is what breaks will. Defeat occurs when either the People, Leadership/Government, or Armed Force, (The trinity) cannot continue armed operations.

In Vietnam, the US Army was happy to go on fighting. The US People were not. Why? 57,000 dead. In Mogadishu, 18 dead broke President Clinton's will to persist with military action.

In the Falklands the Argentine Government and People wanted to fight on, the Army could not/would not.

Hannibal killed lots of Romans. He never broke their "trinity's" collective will to fight and in the end his Army was destroyed - via killing.

In 1945 Japan's Army and people were prepared to fight. Not so the Japanese Government after 2 x Atom Bombs - and they lost more civilians dead to conventional bombing.

Killing is the primary mechanism in the breaking of will. You may not have to kill that many to break will (Moa: Kill one, frighten a thousand) but you do have to kill. The skill in warfare is how effectively (and efficiently) you kill to secure the political purpose set by your leadership. That has always been the case and it will never change.
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 02-20-2010   #56
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Default I reserve comment on drone strikes in the FATA

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So Bob, in the absence of solid data indicating that PREDATOR is killing vast sums of innocents for a paucity of terrorists and in light of Ms. Taj's contentions otherwise, what's your view on drone strikes in FATAville?

Thanks.
To me, the greatest insights into the minds of those who live in the FATA were the words of a village elder there to one of our guys during the first operation of the Pakistani military up into that region back in 2002:

"You must appreciate, we really do not like the government forces coming up into our territory; but you we do not mind, because you are here for revenge...and revenge we understand."

But this was back when Pakistan was a largely stable country, and the government forces largely restricted their activities to the Indus River valley.
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Old 02-20-2010   #57
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I just don't think these are tactics that work in the modern age. Info has everyone too linked; and Jet travel has us too close to each other. What happens on the edges of the empire no longer stays on the edges of the empire.

It lands on your front stoop like a burning bag of ####.
It never did. Information is information. The Victorians had Telegraph. We've had radio since the 1920's. The catastrophic effect of Amritsar Massacre would be as decisive today as it was then. The actions of the British Army torture gangs in Ireland, basically lost the UK the war.
The bombing of Guernica caused outrage, as did the sacking of Peking. Martin Luther set Europe on fire by word of mouth.

Mai Lai massacre? - covered up for 18 months. There is no proof the internet would have made that less likely. Youtube footage of atrocities in Darfur?

The modern information age has not made the violence in Darfur, Bosnia, Sri-Lanka, or even Gaza any less likely in the future.

The idea that the information age has made changed "War" is faith based and evidence free. The sheer quantity of information has not changed it's quality. or it's meaning.
The information age, has not shown UFO's exist or that ET walks amongst us.
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Old 02-20-2010   #58
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I agree and that is not my point.

I just adhere to history and Clausewitz. Killing is what breaks will. Defeat occurs when either the People, Leadership/Government, or Armed Force, (The trinity) cannot continue armed operations.

In Vietnam, the US Army was happy to go on fighting. The US People were not. Why? 57,000 dead. In Mogadishu, 18 dead broke President Clinton's will to persist with military action.

In the Falklands the Argentine Government and People wanted to fight on, the Army could not/would not.

Hannibal killed lots of Romans. He never broke their "trinity's" collective will to fight and in the end his Army was destroyed - via killing.

In 1945 Japan's Army and people were prepared to fight. Not so the Japanese Government after 2 x Atom Bombs - and they lost more civilians dead to conventional bombing.

Killing is the primary mechanism in the breaking of will. You may not have to kill that many to break will (Moa: Kill one, frighten a thousand) but you do have to kill. The skill in warfare is how effectively (and efficiently) you kill to secure the political purpose set by your leadership. That has always been the case and it will never change.
I doubt that these examples are relevant to the AFG case.

The U.S. withdrew from conflicts when its interest in the region was little more than a delusion.
The TB's interest in the reason is almost a question of existence (I doubt that the Pakistan TB would last long as an important player if the AFG TB failed).

It's excessively difficult to break the enemy's will by killing under such conditions. KIA can be replaced and the fight can go on.
I already explained why I don't believe in a sustained higher KIA rate than replacement rate in this conflict.

The will needs to be broken by other means. The overall situation needs to become hopeless. High casualties that can be replaced are no indicator for hopelessness.

A radio series of a very high-ranking and charismatic cleric who explains that god doesn't influence wars - neither in favour nor against Muslim fighters - might be more helpful than 20,000 dead TB.



By the way; the decisive factor that lead to Carthago's defeat in the 2nd Punic War was the defection of their Nubian allies. The war was won by diplomacy long before Scipio was capable of doing so by force.
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Old 02-20-2010   #59
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It's excessively difficult to break the enemy's will by killing under such conditions. KIA can be replaced and the fight can go on.
I already explained why I don't believe in a sustained higher KIA rate than replacement rate in this conflict.
It is difficult, but not excessively so. I just depends how good you are at doing it. If you do not have enough troops with the right training, it may actually be impossible - so you are out of the Warfare business altogether - the reason why NATO is hand-wringing over EBO/Influence Operations is not because they are proven more effective, but they are not prepared to commit and risk the resources to do what is known to work.
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The will needs to be broken by other means. The overall situation needs to become hopeless. High casualties that can be replaced are no indicator for hopelessness.
What "other means" break will? Persuasion and negotiation do not "break will" - Breaking of will means a decision forced upon you, via violence or the effects of violence. How do you make a situation hopeless without killing or threatening to kill?
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A radio series of a very high-ranking and charismatic cleric who explains that god doesn't influence wars - neither in favour nor against Muslim fighters - might be more helpful than 20,000 dead TB.
OK, all good. Essentially it's their leadership telling them to desist from violence. How do you force him to say that?
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By the way; the decisive factor that lead to Carthago's defeat in the 2nd Punic War was the defection of their Nubian allies. The war was won by diplomacy long before Scipio was capable of doing so by force.
...and Nubians changed sides why? Political conditions set by violence.

Seriously, what is the argument here? What in Clausewitz's basic dictum is incorrect? Diplomacy and warfare are closely related, yet utterly distinct from each other.

Killing the enemy's armed force may be very difficult and hard to do. If you lack the ability to do it well, then it's useless. If you are skilled and committed, then it is never counter-productive, given a strategic aim that can be obtained via violence, and that aim is worth the price of the resources needed.
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Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 02-20-2010   #60
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"You must appreciate, we really do not like the government forces coming up into our territory; but you we do not mind, because you are here for revenge...and revenge we understand."
Yeah, vendetta runs strong in dem dar hills but, as you said, that was a while ago. Ms. Taj says the tribals feel squeezed between the army and the militants. She suggests the Pakistani army slings a lot more hardware without regard than the drones might ever do.

Of course, we wouldn't know as the ISPR has put the press damper on every op from Bajaur, SWAT/Buner, S. Waziristan and into Orakzai now. No way to tell.

Anyway, great quote.

Thanks.
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