[thechat] (no subject)was protesters

Martin martin at members.evolt.org
Sun Oct 14 18:01:56 CDT 2001

Jeff C wrote on 13/10/01 1:34 am

>>It's a basic rule of fighting terrorism - it's not a war you can
>>win militarily. You just add numbers to the opposing side.
>Terrorism can't be defeated militarily.  Miiitary action can make it more 
>difficult for terrorist to operate by depriving them of a base of operation.

Yes, that's attempting to defeat it militarily

>>Did you see the article I pointed out the other week, from a
>>former Soviet soldier who fought in Afghanistan?
>Missed it.  I looked in the archives and couldn't find it there either.  
>I'll look at it if you'd like to post it again.

It's from the LA Times, but they've moved it from the original

possibly because archived materials are only available
if you pay.

Here's the abstract (beware of URL wrap):

To save you the hassle of going there, here's what it says:
>AFTER THE ATTACK; MILITARY OPTIONS; Afghanistan Is Like Nothing You've 
>Ever Seen, Soviet Vets Say; Strategy: Soldiers who fought there warn the 
>U.S. to expect daily deliveries of coffins and few targets other than 
>The Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif.; Sep 19, 2001; MAURA REYNOLDS; 
>Words in Document: 1285
>Available Formats:
>     Buy Full Text 
>[Igor Lisinenko]'s reconnaissance led him to believe the Soviet battle was 
>doomed.; PHOTOGRAPHER: SERGEY KIVRIN / For The Times; Soviet military 
>forces, shown in a 1988 photo, occupied Afghanistan to bolster a shaky 
>Communist regime. The Soviet Union suffered heavy casualties, losing 
>15,000 soldiers, and pulled out of the region after a 10-year struggle in 
>1989.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Reuters; Igor Lisinenko, front, a ...

>>There are no terrorist training camps. There are villages.
>And at which village was the al-Quida recruitment video filmed?  The one 
>where the guys in the black hoods are kicking down doors and firing 
>automatic weapons at human shaped silhouettes with crosses painted on them.  

Change the clothing and the terrain, and it's indistinguishable from
any armed group in training. Which includes the US Marines.

And besides, if activities are going on in villages, you can't cleanly
take out the terrorists. Kill civilians and you have 3 problems:
1) You no longer have moral authority (because except for your
    own populace, your own civilians do not uniquely have more
    value than other country's civilians), and you've just waved
    goodbye to an alliance against terror
2) You've just lost all allies in the Arab world
3) You've recruited a large number of terrorists who want
    to defend themselves against you
4) You've betrayed your own values of peace and democracy
5) You've just proved Bin Laden's rhetoric of America the
    murdering bully to be correct

>Where a formation of hooded people are running in formation with automatic 
>weapons.  We should probably start with that one.  Along with the villages 
>that contain anti-aircraft battaries, ammunition depots, and other weapons 
>that could be used by the Taliban.

Swap 'Taliban' for 'Federal Government' and this justifies attacking
any US community containing a military presence.

>>Civilian and military are entirely enmeshed. It is not possible
>>to cleanly take out enemy soldiers.
>Laser guided and GPS guided munitions are a bit "cleaner" than passenger 
>aircraft loaded with fuel and people, don't you think.

They weren't in the Gulf. They weren't in Kosovo. I don't hold out
much hope of a dramatic improvement.

>>If killing civilians is wrong (and surely that's the point
>>of all this?) then bombing 'terrorist bases' which are villages
>>containing civilians is wrong.
>Didn't see many civilians in that recruitment video.

Don't see many civilians in the Marines' videos either,
but that's not an excuse to bomb communities where
Marines live.

>>For every civilian you kill, you create a hundred terrorists
>>or more. It's not only wrong, it's not effective.
>What is effective is to take away bases of operation from terrorist or would 
>be terrorist.  

Nope. Hasn't worked in any counter-terrorism operation.

>>As you said, when fighting terrorism you need to
>>work out what the terrorist wants, and then do the
>>opposite. This bombing allows him to portray himself
>>and Islam as the oppressed - one frail old man against
>>the superpowers. It lets him gather supporters, both
>>in Afghanistan and overseas.
>If we took no action, he would gain supporters because he was able to strike 
>a blow at the US with impunity.  

"Avoiding killing civilians" != "Taking no action"

>An increase in individual supporters is a 
>given under any scenario.  

Tiny increase or enormous increase, probably followed by
regional war. Which would you rather?

>:How many 
>goverments will allow terrorist to operate openly if they see that such 
>support may force them out of power?

Most governments who find themselves under attack strengthen
their resolve.

>>This is above all else a battle for hearts and minds.
>>Be assured, he's *good* at propaganda. And we're
>>reading off his script.
>He could spin whatever action we took.  

But why make it so damned easy for him? And why
do so in a way which will maximise the response to his

>The idea is to make it more 
>difficult for terrorist to operate.

The best way to do that is work out what the terrorist
wants and to do the opposite.

Bin Laden wants the US to be seen as a big bully, bashing
the Islamic world.

Bombing Afghanistan and killing civilians plays straight
to that script.

>After that has been established, we can 
>look at putting policies in place that address the root causes.  

Until the root causes are addressed, there will be no

>But, no 
>matter what we do, there will always be people unhappy with the US.

The best way to combat that is to show that their unhappiness
has no basis in fact, thus marginalising them.


email: martin at easyweb.co.uk             PGP ID: 0xA835CCCB
       martin at members.evolt.org      snailmail: 30 Shandon Place
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