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The largest military operation in Afghanistan since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban is under way.  Two hours after the passing of holy Friday, U.S. Predator and Apache aircraft launched missiles at targets(4) while dozens of helicopters ferried a combined force into the town of Marja itself.  They expect to have 7,500 troops in the town by nightfall.  With Taliban fighter estimates ranging from 400-1,000 with up to 100 foreign fighters, NATO is coming in "big, strong, and fast".  Five "Breacher" vehicles will be used to open up roads mined heavily by the Taliban- by Saturday morning, they could be heard destroying roadside bombs.  Each Marine unit has been partnered with an Afghan one.  U.S. Special Forces are working side-by-side Afghan commandos.(1, 2)

As of the posting of this diary, heavy firefights were presently underway between Marines and the Taliban.(3)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai gave the green light on Friday after the urging of hundreds of tribal elders from Marja.  As has been the case elsewhere in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, the greatest weapon available against the Taliban are the tribal elders.(4)  Despite urging to avoid air strikes, the southern-most part of Marja was struck as foreign fighters were believed to have massed somewhere in that area.(5)

Hundreds of Taliban are believed to have fled in the lead-up to this fight, including a lot of commanders- which is take as a sign that the Taliban leadership believes Marja is a lost cause.  The "shadow governor" of Helmand province was quietly captured last week as he tried to flee Marja.(5)  U.S. Special Forces have recently broadened their role to include operations against mid-level Taliban, making them very busy over the last few weeks pursuing these "shadow officials".

The war in Afghanistan may be a lot larger than the battle of Marja, but the battle of Marja is an important step to turning back the Taliban in the south.  This is the first infusion of the troop surge ordered on December 1st by U.S. President Barack Obama.  Marja is also where the Taliban and drug-dealers meet as the area has been pretty much turned from growing wheat and fruit to strictly opium to fill the Taliban coffers.  There are a number of drug-processing labs and bomb-making facilities.  With weaker coffers, the Taliban will not be able to make as many bribes and pay as many young men to fight.  This is also a major chance for NATO and their Afghan partners to finally halt and reverse the Taliban's momentum.

  1.  LA Times.
  1.  Dawn.
  1.  CNN.
  1.  Washington Post..
  1.  New York Times.
  1.  BBC.

Originally posted to Setrak on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 05:43 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I hope we win (11+ / 0-)

    By which I mean, kill Taliban without killing civilians. Air strikes give me qualms, but an Apache at least has a pilot.

    Be safe, Marines and Special Ops guys.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 05:52:17 AM PST

    •  Amen. (10+ / 0-)

      May the civilians, many of which who were forced by the Taliban to remain, be safe.

      And that's exactly the kind of animal we had here with Setrak. Some kind of mole - SpringtimeforHitler

      by Setrak on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 05:54:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  George Bush (7+ / 0-)

        Wouldn't have had NATO with him, McCain probably would have blown them off too and avoidance of most collateral damage.  For Dubya this would be another Fallujah.  All I know is that I have the best President at the helm to do this at this time.

        I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

        by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 05:56:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, wrt Afghanistan (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobdevo, truong son traveler

          Dubya Bush most certainly did have Afghanistan (and, for that matter, the UN) with him.  Varying levels of material support from member nations, of course.

          •  and compared to now (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, Big Nit Attack, deMemedeMedia

            Af-Pak was relatively stable. Fortunately for Afghanistan at the time, Junior was busy taking orders from Cheney on what to do in Iraq.

            We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

            by truong son traveler on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 08:21:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There was very little serious intel (0+ / 0-)

              collection going on in the area because Bush couldn't afford for anyone to know anything any different than the Taliban was on the run and only a couple of hundred remained.  He gambled wildly with global and national security.  Af-Pak was not more stable.

              I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

              by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 09:48:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  What are you talking about.. (0+ / 0-)

                Frankly, who give a Rat A about what Bush did.. The CIA and Military in the Region have conducted and implemented operations against the Taliban and AQ..

                The problems is Niether Bush or Obama are willing to do what must be done...

                "us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."  John F. Kennedy

                -+- -+-

                •  What needs to be done WilliamTell? (0+ / 0-)

                  Do tell

                  I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

                  by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 10:09:48 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I would leave that point to the (0+ / 0-)

                    Professionals in the field.

                    War is ugly.. No real soldier want war. No real soldier wants to kill.

                    But we are in a war.. An international War against Terrorist and Tyrants..  you can believe what you want.. I respect your free choice to do so..

                    I find it interesting that so many folks rather accept Tyranny as a means for peace..

                    Terrorist are the foot soldiers for Tyrants..

                    Both do no care about your free rights or beliefs..

                    They will kill you or control you..
                    Freedom be it small or big in any country around the world must prevail..  The freedom loving Humans on this planet must understand and protect their freedoms..

                    So Free choice to live in Freedom or Tyranny..

                    I make my choice simple.. I choose Freedom..

                    Terrorism and Tyranny must be outlaw and removed from Earth..

                    "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy." Abraham Lincoln

                    -+- -+-

                    •  OMG (0+ / 0-)

                      So you have no solutions of your own to the very real problems, only criticisms for those who face the real problems?  How enchanting

                      I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

                      by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 11:26:21 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I responded to your question (0+ / 0-)

                        Who have I critized?

                        I spoke reality...

                        Would it serve your wishbone for me to provide a solution for fighting this war.

                        I am not in the Military Position to make policy or tactical decision for this Adminstration..

                        Obama feels he can micro manage this war.. That is his experience to do so.....  It is the Congress and President to take ownership to decide on war..

                        It is the Military Generals and our men and woment to follow those orders, work up a plan of action, and conduct war.

                        Hopefully, returning home one day safely..

                  •  What needs to be done (0+ / 0-)

                    Here's what needs to be done, and why. There is no military solution but when your military is your most convenient foreign policy tool it is what we tend to use. Plus, influential and well-connected people in the MIC make more money that way.

                    Please view the entire video if you would really like to know.

                    We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

                    by truong son traveler on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:52:20 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I think Larry Wilkerson has slipped off (0+ / 0-)

                      his cracker by insinuating that the current administration is dealing with Al Qaeda in order to have a pipeline in Afghanistan.  I think underpants on fire now paints this Wilkerson interview as one from an uninformed person too.  Wilkerson understands the failing of the Bush administration and is a devout Republican too, and he obviously understands nothing about the Obama administration and may even go out of his way in Republican devoutness to tarnish the Obama administration.  I'm sure it bothers him to see a Democrat conducting this enterprise successfully.  Look at what the last two term Republican administratin did. And there was already a civil war in Pakistan, and it had worked into a total lather before Obama sent more troops.  We need to hear all opinions as well but if Wilkerson thinks we aren't working with other countries who will have to transition through this then he has a huge ego and is upset about no longer being in the "game".  If you think the President has taken the course of action that he has by only listening to the military industrial complex you would be completely nuts.  If you think that everyone hasn't been working their asses off to regain the trust of allies you would be nuts.  If you think that NATO isn't upping its commitment with us daily you would be wrong!  If you think the only solution being applied is "military" you would be WRONG.  The military is part of what is taking place, and Wilkerson is for "that solution" you may have noticed if you listened to this interview.  He is also for us getting our allies to help us more....fine, check that box too and check every single day as we fight for the trust of our allies that Bush burned to the fucking ground.  Months down this road, everything that Wilkerson wants in this interview is happening.  He jumped all over this before he even knew how Obama would conduct anything and then took a commitment of more troops to mean that Obama desired to be a Hegemon.  I really can't believe how quickly Obama has managed to get so much done either in such a short period of time. I wish he was this effective dealing with his own Senate.

                      I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

                      by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:52:31 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Wilkerson - devout republican ? (0+ / 0-)

                        Have a look at how he "supported" Bush and Cheney. Also please note his background if you go to the link.

                        But the tone of your post sounds as if you're more experienced and knowledgeable of the inner workings of government than Larry Wilkerson.

                        September 27, 1996: Victorious Taliban Supported by Pakistan; Viewed by US, Unocal as Stabilizing Force

                        The Taliban conquer Kabul [Associated Press, 8/19/2002] , establishing control over much of Afghanistan. A surge in the Taliban’s military successes at this time is later attributed to an increase in direct military assistance from Pakistan’s ISI. [New York Times, 12/8/2001] The oil company Unocal is hopeful that the Taliban will stabilize Afghanistan and allow its pipeline plans to go forward. According to some reports, "preliminary agreement [on the pipeline] was reached between the [Taliban and Unocal] long before the fall of Kabul .... Oil industry insiders say the dream of securing a pipeline across Afghanistan is the main reason why Pakistan, a close political ally of America’s, has been so supportive of the Taliban, and why America has quietly acquiesced in its conquest of Afghanistan." [Daily Telegraph, 10/11/1996]

                        The 9/11 Commission later concludes that some State Department diplomats are willing to "give the Taliban a chance" because it might be able to bring stability to Afghanistan, which would allow a Unocal oil pipeline to be built through the country. [9/11 Commission, 3/24/2004]

                        History Commons

                        Please note that the assistance provided by the Pakistani ISI came from the US and Saudi Arabia via the CIA.

                        Wilkerson says that Stability is the goal along with US remaining as the hegemon of the region. We need access to the energy resources of Central Asia and we still covet those of Iran which we lost access to three decades ago. In his assessment attaining these goals is not possible. IMHO, and for what it's worth, I agree.

                        Wilkerson suggest not only our "allies" become more involved but others in the region and who have legitimate concerns about stability, including Iran, China and Russia countries which we don't consider to be our allies. This administration, and obviously the previous administration, have shown no interest in working with those countries for the common good of all.

                        Time will tell, meanwhile hundreds of $$ billions are gone, lives are lost, poor people have their homes destroyed and are forced into being refugees while the well-connected war profiteers are making a "killing".

                        We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

                        by truong son traveler on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 06:01:59 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  oops -- of course I meant (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            truong son traveler

            "NATO (and, for that matter, the UN)" etc.

          •  He had lost most real support by the time (0+ / 0-)

            we were shed of him.  Even the Brits wanted out...now that's bad.  Obama has had to earn so much actual working support back as well as the trust of our allies.  My husband works the joint shop in the combat zone, but my cousin in law is a Marine officer who works the joint administration side.  He travels all over Europe right now making sure that the allies are all on the same page and heard.  Bush handled everything exactly the way he wanted to and what any allies wanted be damned.  Obama has had to fix a lot of damage done, and people everywhere have been working their asses off to do that now that we have a President who cares about such things and wants such things done.  This approach isn't working so well with the Senate, but I think it is working in Afghanistan right now.

            I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

            by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 09:45:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Huh... NATO been in Afganistan (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          truong son traveler

          Since 2007...

          Not sure were you are going...

          Obama said the Afgan war is a war of Necessity...

          Which makes this war on his watch.. his war..

          He decides how it will be conducted, he decides how many more troops will be sent there..

          His vast Military training and tactics will overcome the Taliban..

          Yep...

          •  Most of NATO (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            soonergrunt, island in alabama

            would not allow their troops to actually "fight" or be involved in combat actions once it became obvious that Bush was not to be trusted.  Would you allow Bush to use your troops however he wanted to use them once you understood his motives?  Our NATO allies had been desperately seeking ways to not participate with Bush without ending up actually destroying the NATO alliance, tough tightrope to walk.

            I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

            by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 10:01:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I would agree with your point on NATO.. (0+ / 0-)

              Those NATO countries like Germany, French kept their units from getting involve in the Security levels within Afganistan..

              Though Germany was one of the NATO forces just providing construction support. They were identified by their own MSM as becoming inept and drunkers in the field. Not looking good or Professional..

              German Military removed those soldiers and replace them with two Units, one for construction, the other to provide Military support.

              The French also have replace their units to provide both construction and Security Operations.

              As for Bush destroying the NATO Alliance.. I not sure were you are getting this from.. NATO is still strong partner with the US..

              Walking a tightrope for destruction of the Free world seems to be the vent for some..  Not me..

              -+- -+-

              •  I didn't say anything about Bush (0+ / 0-)

                destroying the NATO alliance.  When Obama took office though I heard many military officers who had served in Afghanistan already declare the NATO alliance detroyed and finished though because there was no alliance in Afghanistan under Bush.  People worked their asses off though, trust was regained in a very short time and continues to be built.  It is a hell of a rough tightrope to walk though when Fundy Islamic Terrorism is a NATO problem and you publicly walk out on dealing with it.  There could be very very bad short term and long term consequences for doing so.  So how do you deal with a tyrannt like Bush without actually shutting the door in his face...which could be detrimental to your politics and even your country under certain circumstances?  Everyone did the best they could, somehow the powers that be managed to survive Bush and now move toward a new future and an actual alliance.

                I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

                by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 10:21:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh no... (0+ / 0-)

                  Most of NATO (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:island in alabama
                  would not allow their troops to actually "fight" or be involved in combat actions once it became obvious that Bush was not to be trusted.  Would you allow Bush to use your troops however he wanted to use them once you understood his motives?  Our NATO allies had been desperately seeking ways to not participate with Bush without ending up actually destroying the NATO alliance, tough tightrope to walk.

                  I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

                  by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 01:01:16 PM EST

      •  Where Did You Get The 'Information' That (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timaeus, bobdevo, truong son traveler

        The Taliban have forced people to stay?

        This action is just another blunder in the undeclared AFPAK war.

        ~Ruff

  •  Since war is ugly (7+ / 0-)

    There doesn't seem to be a whole lot to say. I have been informed though now. My son and I have been very very busy with other life issues, and my husband has been trying to keep up and calls daily to provide support if able.  My phone call yesterday was only about two minutes, and now I know why.  Be well Sestak

    I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 05:54:23 AM PST

    •  Oops, I meant Setrak (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soonergrunt, marina, Setrak

      Just didn't come out that way :)

      I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

      by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 05:58:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If he's there, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soonergrunt, marina, Phil S 33

      I'll put him in my prayers.

      And that's exactly the kind of animal we had here with Setrak. Some kind of mole - SpringtimeforHitler

      by Setrak on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 05:58:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He is very safe (5+ / 0-)

        He is working out mission details, not doing them unless he's out on a mission to gather data and I don't think there has been a lot of time for HIM to do that.  I'm lucky....very very very lucky.  I sleep just fine.  I'm probably more at risk driving around America than he is where he is at right now.  I feel guilty though because other people lay awake at night, their loved ones are outside the wire and on the ground.  They are in my prayers.

        I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

        by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:02:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is he in the three shop this tour? (5+ / 0-)

          It sounds like it.  I know the feeling he has though.  He wants to be out there doing it.
          After my last medical exam, they told me I couldn't go out and lead troops anymore.  I could go to Brigade HQ and work in the S-3, staring at maps and pushing paper around or I could retire.
          So I retired with 22 years effective next Monday.

          Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

          by soonergrunt on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:07:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's where he is (5+ / 0-)

            Now they have NATO too, and the CIA, and the DEA.  Things seem to be going pretty smoothly though under Obama.  At least it doesn't sound like it has become the Cluster Shop :)

            I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

            by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:11:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  P.S. I don't believe you are retired (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            soonergrunt

            You'll just have to take a GS job teaching now or something.  You have needed knowledge.  My spouse complains about retention of knowledge from past wars all the time.  It has been a problem in the past.  When he transitioned from Cobra to Apache it was very obvious.  He had never seen combat but he was trained by the Vietnam pilots.  Then the Army got rid of Cobras and he had to transition to Apaches if he wanted to stay in the attack airframe and reluctantly he did.  Then it grew on him, but a brand new airframe for some reason meant dumping all the pilot knowledge from Vietnam.  He had some pretty terrible fights with command and other young pilots who had never been trained by anyone who had seen combat.  He used to come home and throw his paperwork across the house and stomp around :)  Another pilot at a get together pulled me aside and informed me that my husband was a Maverick and that was before it was even popular to be a Maverick :)  Then we went into Iraq, helicopters were shot down....20+ million dollars and two pilots bit the dust time and again and suddenly my husband wasn't such a pain in the ass or even such a paranoid dumbass :)

            I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

            by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 09:35:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm looking at a contract job (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Militarytracy

              My current contract for my civilian job, which is IT on an Air Force base is about to run out.  I'm looking at a job to teach ground tactics and individual ground combat techniques to Airmen and Sailors.  I don't know if I'll take it because it means a lot of travel.  I'd like to get another IT job, but they're all locked up these days.
              I'll find something.

              Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

              by soonergrunt on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 10:33:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good IT is really hard to find (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                soonergrunt

                in the "zone" I've been told.  It can be a toss up and you hope hope hope the next IT coming in is a "good one".  I'm  very glad that our forces aren't losing your skills and knowledge.

                I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

                by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 11:31:35 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I thought about taking an IT contract (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Militarytracy

                  in Afghanistan.  I could get about $120,000/year there, and the first $92,000 would be tax free, but my kids are 15 and 11 and I like being able to come home in the evenings.
                  I'll land on my feet.

                  Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

                  by soonergrunt on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 11:44:03 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  But I WANT to be retired! (0+ / 0-)

              I've found that I LIKE sleeping in on weekends!

              Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

              by soonergrunt on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 01:22:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  What are they thinking? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nio, corvo, truong son traveler, Lepanto

    This is a WWI offensive. To the Afghans we look exactly like the Russians. Madness.

    •  Funny, the Afghans I met over there (13+ / 0-)

      certainly knew the difference.

      Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

      by soonergrunt on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:02:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Russians.. (8+ / 0-)

      ..would have never used COIN, would have bombed the shit out of the town, and wouldn't care about civilian casualties.  The Russians would have probably have tried out-doing the Taliban in terms of mines.  We also didn't bring alcohol into Afghanistan.

      There is no comparison.  I don't know what you got to back up your assertion that "to the Afghans we look exactly like the Russians".

      And that's exactly the kind of animal we had here with Setrak. Some kind of mole - SpringtimeforHitler

      by Setrak on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:04:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't want to be a jerk (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soonergrunt, bear83, WilliamTell

      But does it matter if this resembles to you something you've seen in the past if this is the proper way to conduct this?  Our soldiers are much different soldiers too that WWII soldiers.  They do this as a profession and study and train constantly.  And how do you know what the Afghans think.  They are as varied at times as Americans are about thinking things.

      I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

      by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:05:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where are the trenches? (6+ / 0-)

      Where are the primitive tanks that get trapped in the trenches?

      Where is the mustard gas?

      Not like WWI at all.

      Moving 7500 troops by air into a city in one evening is a huge operation by WWII airborne standards.

      50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

      by TarheelDem on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:12:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Set-piece in mass formation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timaeus

        Just as you describe it.
        Appears I've stumbled into a redoubt of jingoism here so enjoy yourselves and I won't reply

        •  Yes, the pro war people love the Setrak diaries. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          truong son traveler
          •  For the record (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            soonergrunt

            I think this is a total bullshit comment.  Send everyone home.  Let Al Qaeda do whatever it wants to do.  See what happens to Obama then, and the whole Democratic party....and the whole nonMuslim world after that too because Al Qaeda and the portions of the Taliban that are pro Al Qaeda are not nice people who have simply been misunderstood and everything would instantly be better if our forces and NATO just left.

            I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

            by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 10:04:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Nobody here is pro-war, jackass. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            deMemedeMedia, cap76

            This may come as a shock to you, but most of the people on this diary know someone who was killed or wounded in the recent conflicts.  I happen to know eight people KIA and six WIA.  We don't want that to happen to anyone, least of all the people we know.  I don't see anyone in here cheering.

            My son has problems with people holding viewpoints opposed to his but he's 15 and has Asperger's Syndrome.  What's your excuse?

            Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

            by soonergrunt on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 01:47:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Foreign wars fought for domestic political ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              truong son traveler

              ...agendas get people dead.

              For the record I lost count of my friends who died in Nam and will never know how many died on the street here  when the VA and everyone else abandonned them. Invoking the dead is a jackass reason to keep sending children off to die.

              •  I didn't invoke the dead for a reason to keep (0+ / 0-)

                sending people to die.
                I'm fairly certain that I said:

                 We don't want that to happen to anyone, least of all the people we know.  I don't see anyone in here cheering.

                Yeah.  That's exactly what I said, the intent being to refute the extremely offensive label of "pro-war' that timmy likes to throw around.  Notice there's nothing in there about a reason to keep sending people to die.  Reading that meaning from what I actually wrote is either exceptionally mendacious or exceptionally obtuse.

                Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

                by soonergrunt on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 02:35:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Analysis does not equal approval (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          soonergrunt, cap76

          Appears I've stumbled into a redoubt of jingoism here so enjoy yourselves and I won't reply

          The major mistake in foreign policy was to consider the response to an instance of terrorism should be a war on terror using conventional arms and tactics.  It really was a law enforcement issue.

          But to call the Marja offensive a WWI tactic doomed to failure is not to understand the current moves or what happened in WWI.

          Do I agree with the surge and the current strategy in Afghanistan?  No, I don't.  Nonetheless, I do not seek it to be an abject failure just so the US looks bad.  If it is successful, it hastens the day when US troops can leave Afghanistan and possible encourages a political settlement.

          We have already learned the wrong lessons from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  That will not be easy to change until there is a thorough overhaul of the US national security strategy.  Forward deployment might just not be the most effective way of defending US interests any more; it is a Cold War doctrine that is woefully in need of review -- as is our super-expensive national security institutional structure.  Failure at Marja won't cause that review to happen, however.  At best it will provoke a doubling-down of the effort to win through superior will.  At worst, the GOP national security flacks  will be restored to power.

          50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

          by TarheelDem on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 10:05:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  And where the hell, pray do you get this? (0+ / 0-)

          We don't even do that shit when we're practicing for big wars against conventional mechanized enemies.
          Pick up a history book that was written some time after 1970, please.

          Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

          by soonergrunt on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 01:33:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  And a three week warning so the Taliban can be (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timaeus, truong son traveler, Lepanto

        elsewhere. Great strategry.

        "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

        by bobdevo on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 08:03:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, it isn't. No, they don't. (0+ / 0-)

      Show me on the doll where Rahm touched you

      by mydailydrunk on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:14:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  More like a Westmoreland tactic (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus, Lepanto, esquimaux

      destroy peoples homes and turn 'em into refugees. That is sure to win us a lot of friends in an effort to isolate the enemy and kill him.

      That worked so well. We heard daily reports about how we were winning. Many people even believed it. Many believe it now.

      COIN?... This is counter-COIN. Let's give more people a reason to hate us. It should guarantee a need for us to stay for a long time and that's a money-maker for some.

      We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

      by truong son traveler on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 08:10:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pshaw....... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Militarytracy

        You need the oil spot to grow the oil spot.

        And the locals back this action. 100%.

        They'll give you the Saudis' heads in a pile....

        Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + Pro-Life Christians

        =EQ=

        The GOPer Base

        by vets74 on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 08:15:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Forcing people out of their homes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Timaeus, Lepanto

          is no way to create an oil spot and it's not going to win any friends.

          Daniel Ellsberg is right. "COIN is horseshit."

          We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

          by truong son traveler on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 08:27:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're reflecting what happened in Vietnam. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Militarytracy, cap76

            Same for Ellsberg.

            And it ain't so.

            I'll post up what my nephew has to say about this fight. He's in the town.

            Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + Pro-Life Christians

            =EQ=

            The GOPer Base

            by vets74 on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 09:02:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wish your nephew well (0+ / 0-)

              When I was in Viet Nam we always heard we were winning. I didn't see it where we were but I thought it must be different elsewhere.

              Little did I know.

              People are the same everywhere. No one likes being forced from his home or having his home destroyed by a foreign military occupier.

              COIN says:

              Only attack insurgents when they get in the way. Try not to be distracted or forced into a series of reactive moves to try and kill or capture them. Provoking combat usually plays into the enemy's hands.

              Tactics are tactics whether employed in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Viet Nam. This one will not win us any friends.

              We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

              by truong son traveler on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 07:18:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The fact that he was a company commander (0+ / 0-)

                doesn't particularly impress me.  I've known a bunch of men who held either that position or held the appropriate rank and did something else.
                Some of them were pretty sharp guys.  Some of them were fucking brilliant.  Most were of average intelligence and could get by with the help of a couple of good NCOs and a squared away XO.
                A few weren't fit to pour piss out a boot with instructions written on the heel.

                COIN says:
                Only attack insurgents when they get in the way. Try not to be distracted or forced into a series of reactive moves to try and kill or capture them. Provoking combat usually plays into the enemy's hands.

                If you agree with this or it seems to make sense to you, can you explain why you just told us that the estimible Field Marshall Ellsberg calls it "horseshit?" or why you felt it necessary to inform us of his irrelevant opinion?
                And while I thank you for your service in Viet Nam, I, having been in Afghanistan, don't think you know what you're on about with regard to AF.

                Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

                by soonergrunt on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 09:11:52 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, I agree with it (0+ / 0-)

                  It makes sense to me and I would guess it makes sense to most people, probably more so to those who have not been indoctrinated by the military.

                  Ellsberg, and there's much more to his resume than having been a company commander in Viet Nam, calls it horseshit because we talk it up big and then don't bother to abide by it, as this current op clearly demonstrates.

                  Let's wait 5 years, or 10 years, and we'll see who knows what about Afghanistan.

                  Perhaps by that time we can convince the people of Afghanistan that having their country occupied by a foreign military is actually quite nice. There is a first time for everything.

                  We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

                  by truong son traveler on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:16:04 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Not exactly a great strategic thinker (0+ / 0-)

            Mr. Ellsberg.  His having leaked some documents thirty years ago does not make him an expert in tactics, strategy, logistics, doctrines, or the operational art.

            Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

            by soonergrunt on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 01:51:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Counting (0+ / 0-)

              When counting to thirty you are alowed to use your toes.

            •  Ellsberg (0+ / 0-)

              PhD from Harvard, finished 1st in his officers Basic School Class at Quantico which had more than 1000 graduates. Served two years as a company commander in Viet Nam.

              Yeah he must be pretty dimwitted, very little experience, hardly a strategic thinker.

              From the COIN Manual:

              The more force used the less effective it is.

              Only attack insurgents when they get in the way.

              An operation that kills five insurgents is counterproductive if the collateral damage or the creation of blood feuds leads to the recruitment of fifty more.

              We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

              by truong son traveler on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 07:10:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  ".. leaked some documents.." (0+ / 0-)

              Is that what the military teaches?

              The fact is he risked possible life imprisonment to expose the fact, to which he had already come to suspect, that the war had been waged by lies and deception. Perhaps most importantly, was the fact that we had realized by 1965 that the war was, most likely, unwinnable.

              It was nearly 40 years ago, 1971. "Some documents" ... was comprised of 47 volumes, about 7000 pages.

              Daniel Ellsberg is a true patriot and American hero to anyone who values the truth. He knows the lessons of Viet Nam as well as anyone alive today.

              We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

              by truong son traveler on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 02:25:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's great. Really. He did a service (0+ / 0-)

                that needed doing.  40 years ago.
                The lessons of Viet Nam--one of the lessons that those of us who grew up after Viet Nam was that there are a lot false lessons of Viet Nam, and that something that ended almost 40 years ago in one part of the world has little to no bearing on something that is happening today in another part of the world.
                That's why we don't read the manuals from World War I.  Viet Nam is only slightly less irrelevant.

                Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

                by soonergrunt on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:56:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  I don't get it . . . . (4+ / 0-)

    With Taliban fighter estimates ranging from 400-1,000 with up to 100 foreign fighters

    well, OK, but what about the . . .

    Hundreds of Taliban are believed to have fled in the lead-up to this fight, including a lot of commanders

    those are besides the 400-1,000 mentioned above? In any event, with all the top ranking Taliban gone, the following hardly seems possible . ..

    the battle of Marja is an important step to turning back the Taliban

    to me, it seems like the Taliban have not been "turned back" - the simply have been dispersed to elsewhere .. .

    •  Tough to say regarding Taliban numbers. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burrow owl, Militarytracy, vets74

      The Taliban spokesman in the area claims 2,000 fighters which is probably an exaggeration.

      It's possible that the "hundreds have left" bit came after the determination of "400-1,000 likely" or before they determined that range.

      Regarding your last bit, you are right- the Taliban in Helmand throughout the USMC-entrance have dispersed to Marja.  Many of them will likely end up escaping Marja(which is surrounded) and end up somewhere less-densely populated.

      And that's exactly the kind of animal we had here with Setrak. Some kind of mole - SpringtimeforHitler

      by Setrak on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:18:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In any event, the entire affair seems like (4+ / 0-)

        it's being staged for public relations purposes.

        And succeeding, I suppose, insofar as this town will surely soon be saved/destroyed.  

        •  Bingo. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobdevo, corvo, truong son traveler

          In this age of falseness, only howls of agony ring true.

          by Paul Goodman on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:59:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Locals have likely ID'd the "Taliban." (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          soonergrunt

          My first guess is that the fighters are drug gang-related. The usual $75/month mercs.

          Anything foreign will be SOL.

          Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + Pro-Life Christians

          =EQ=

          The GOPer Base

          by vets74 on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 08:18:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If there's anything Afghans hate more than us (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Big Nit Attack, vets74, nickrud, cap76

            and there are a LOT of things the Afghans hate more than us, it's the foreigners who support the Taliban.  They tend to make the Talibs look like liberals in their treatment of the locals.
            This does not, however, mean that they love us.  They really don't.  The average Afghan doesn't want the Taliban back in power and damn sure wants the Talibs foreign supporters dead or gone, preferably both and they want us gone too, AFTER we've gotten rid of the other guys because they know we're the only ones who can do it.  They'd like to see the warlords neutered too, but they know you can't have everything.

            Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

            by soonergrunt on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 08:36:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Still, Afghan television is a new thing for them. (0+ / 0-)

              And that is seen 100% as a benefit of the American presence.

              You're also getting such as neon lights, the little Indian cars, and modernization of the main languages with government-approved dictionaries coming out.

              And schools by the thousands.

              All of that is connected to America.

              "Hate" is no where important. The big problem is that the only real money in-country is the poppy money. $3- or $4-billion cash a year. Afghanistan is a narcostate kleptocracy.

              Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + Pro-Life Christians

              =EQ=

              The GOPer Base

              by vets74 on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 09:17:49 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  You are not saying (0+ / 0-)

        Obama has his own Bora bora..

        the Taliban can and will blend into the City population...

        Lets see what happens...

    •  MASSIVE OFFENSIVE = 11 captured. (3+ / 0-)

      From MSNBC:

      The massive offensive was aimed at establishing

      Afghan government authority over the biggest southern town under militant control and breaking the Taliban grip over a wide area of their southern heartland.

      Thousands of British, U.S. and Canadian troops also swept into Taliban areas to the north of Marjah, seeking to clear a wide swath of villages that had been under Taliban control for several years.

      Troops have recovered Kalashnikov rifles, heavy machine guns and grenades from 11 insurgents captured so far.

      But, hey, for the bargain price of $82,000,000.00 per day, how many Taliban do you expect them to capture?

      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by bobdevo on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 08:01:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  $82,000,000 a day you say? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timaeus, bobdevo

        That's eerily close to the amount the National Cancer Institute spends researching a disease that kills about 500,000 Americans a year . . .

        So, based on the outlay of funds, I'm guessing the Taliban is also killing about half a million of us each year as well?  

      •  MSNBC (0+ / 0-)

        Is that your source???

        the Operations just kick in last night..

        Give it a couple of days...

        No matter how many they kill or capture... The Taliban should be removed..

        •  Funny, that's not what Karzai, our puppeteer (0+ / 0-)

          wants to do.  He wants to reach out and include Taliban in the government.

          "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

          by bobdevo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:03:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  you're not necessarily applying the right (0+ / 0-)

      questions to the mentioned strategies:

      Marja is not and never has been about decimating the Taliban, or even capturing the the top leaders  (even though the BBC reports that the Afghan's and NATO report capturing the top leader as he tried to escape last week, along with others) it's about displacing them from control in the province.

  •  Charlie Wilson's War: US versus US (6+ / 0-)

    Didn't we arm the Taliban we're now fighting?

    "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

    by Benintn on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:31:37 AM PST

    •  Shhhhh! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobdevo, corvo, truong son traveler

      In this age of falseness, only howls of agony ring true.

      by Paul Goodman on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:59:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re: C Wilson-Super BBC interview from a few years (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, Tropical Depression, Setrak

      ago.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

      Well worth a few minutes...

    •  No not correct. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, deMemedeMedia, Setrak

      The Taliban was created in 1996, the mujahideen is the group which Charlie Wilson and the US support, supplied to fight the Russians.

      After the Russian withdraw, The US abandon the mujahideen and Afganistan because of politics of situation there..

      The rest is history...

      •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WilliamTell, deMemedeMedia

        while you are generally correct, Haqqani and Hekmatyar were both recipients of U.S. aid in the 80's.

        And that's exactly the kind of animal we had here with Setrak. Some kind of mole - SpringtimeforHitler

        by Setrak on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 08:34:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Many of the current Taliban were Mujehedin (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Big Nit Attack, deMemedeMedia

          back then.  Taliban is a word from Dari and Pashto and it literally means Student of Religion.
          For a good view of the history of the Taliban and how they came to be, read I is for Infidel by Kathy Gannon.
          Unlike Ms. Gannon, I don't blame the west for the rise of the Taliban.  The Afghans asked us to leave them alone to run their own country and that is what we did.  It's not our fault they fucked it up, and if we'd stayed against their will, God alone knows what would've happened but it probably wouldn't have been good.
          Link here to Barnes and Noble because Amazon is run by a fucking republican.

          Being a liberal in Oklahoma is a lot like being a gay republican, without all the ickyness (the republican ickyness, I mean.)

          by soonergrunt on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 08:44:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would agree with you.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            soonergrunt

            It's a matter of Tribal alliance and Honor..
            To join the Taliban has two parts, of honor and money.  The funding of the Taliban from internal and external forces allows the Taliban to continue, their alliance to fight NATO and Afgan government.
            The so call holy war against the Western powers is a farce...  The Taliban grow and sell Poppy.. They commit rape, beheadings, torture of men, women and children.

            The Taliban with their ancient beliefs are and have comitted horrible crimes against fellow Muslims.. Using Jihad as an shield for their own tyranny to control a population is what it is.. A lie...

            No one here should even consider defending them or any International Terrorist or Tyrants (ITT's)...

            Venting your displeaures of war, I doubt it you have experience what the Afgans has experience with the Russians, Taliban and the past and present Corruptable Afgans governements.

            If Nato or any Free country can help humans become free be it in small or big measure. So be it.

            "The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea. " John Adams
            -+- -+-

    •  So what? (0+ / 0-)

      They were fighting the Russians. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. During WWII we supplied the Russians knowing that they would soon be our enemy. The fact that we armed the mujahideen when they were fighting the Russians isn't relevant to today's conflict. New times, new circumstances.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 09:24:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thzx for highlighting this---how soon now before (4+ / 0-)

    before Taliban starts again with it's attacks inside western Pakistan?

  •  Thanks for passing on the Pentagon propaganda. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timaeus, truong son traveler, Lepanto

    Meantime, the Taliban have essentially vanished . .. and will wait til we leave to return.  This is why Petraeus himself said it would take 1.2 million troops and 10 years to properly occupy Afghanistan.

    Just read the media reports:

    The massive offensive was aimed at establishing Afghan government authority over the biggest southern town under militant control and breaking the Taliban grip over a wide area of their southern heartland.

    Thousands of British, U.S. and Canadian troops also swept into Taliban areas to the north of Marjah, seeking to clear a wide swath of villages that had been under Taliban control for several years.

    Troops have recovered Kalashnikov rifles, heavy machine guns and grenades from 11 insurgents captured so far.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 07:57:04 AM PST

  •  The reality... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soonergrunt

    Terrorist are the foot soldiers for Tyrants.. They both want to destroy and control the free people of the world.

    International Terrorist and Tyrants should be swipe off the face of the earth. What is left of the free world must realized this and take action...

    "The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea. " John Adams
    -+- -+-

  •  Taliban’s Siraj Haqqani: Rape, Murder & Vi (0+ / 0-)

    Shocking news... Could it be?

    http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/...

  •  Heavy Fighting by Coalition Forces... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    The heat of battle

    A major Afghani Army operation...4,500 U.S. Marines, 300 U.S. Army Special Forces,and 1,500 Afghani soldiers? Virtually no resistance...this is an exercise in morale building for the folks back home. The U.S. command telegraphed the punch because they want to avoid confrontation...why? In guerrilla warfare, taking and holding real estate is meaningless, and allowing your enemy to fight another day is foolish. Suicidal. The last time I saw this kind of strategy, it was called Vietnamization. The first step...back. Hopefully, we are beginning our withdrawal process, bellus interruptus. I am amazed to see so many democrat hawks here. I suppose warmongering knows no party, only politics.

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