- Military news Analysis - -
Reports speak of the USA planning to launch a land assault on Afghanistan as President Bush says; "to smoke out of their holes the perpetrators of this crime". Given the fact that the Afghans are a clannish, tribal, highly emotional, short tempered society that is typical of an Islamic society; the USA has the following military options:
Launching a nuclear missile strike
Launching a nuclear missile strike with ICBMs having nuclear tipped payloads. This need not be an horrifying idea. Since the enemy is a killer squad which can be defeated only in its death. The Americans have used nuclear weapons at Hiroshima in 1945 and after knowing its devastating effects they used the same weapon at Nagasaki. So please do not tell us that the USA considers the use of nuclear weapons to be horrifying. We are asking the USA to follow a precedent that it has itself set.
This option involves the least loss of life and the result could be similar to the Iraq war when the Iraqis lost One Hundred Thousand soldiers; while the casualties for the USA were around Two Hundred.
Fighter Aircraft releasing their nuclear Payloads on Afghanistan
The second option involves a little more of risk since the lives of US fighter pilots would be at risk. The Afghans with their outdated anti-aircraft guns can be expected to bring down a few American F16s.
Long drawn Track and Kill Battle
The third option is what the Americans may end up doing, going by the signals emanating from Camp David, where Colin Powell said that we would "first cut it off and then kill it off" while referring to the enemy. This option is similar to what the Israelis are doing with their track and kill policy. But this may not work in a global war since the sphere of operations is vast as compared to the local sphere in which the Israelis operate.
A Land Assault - On this the Americans would be well advised to learn from the British and Soviet experience and their own in Vietnam
This is again another dangerous possibility which the American seems to be working towards. Although a laudable idea, it is impractical. The Afghans have defied the might of the British Empire and of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The former with all its imperial might had to give up and the latter with the entire ideology of intolerant communism, had also to retreat ignominiously after a decade long battle. The Americans would be well advised to learn from the British and Soviet experience and their own in Vietnam
The USA is stepping into the shoes of the British Empire and the USSR
If the USA is planning to step into the shoes of the British Empire and the USSR, then it is steeping into certain long-term failure, even if it means a short term victory. It is easy to occupy Afghanistan, but impossible to hold it. Like grabbing a hot potato, to be dropped once the hands clasp it.
What the Americans should have done
Knowing that Osama Bin Laden had been threatening to launch a spectacular attack on the what he calls "the Great Satan", the Americans should have within hours of the WTC/Pentagon attack, crashed a few hundred nuclear missiles on Afghan soil. The psychological impact of this would have been tremendous. And the global community, especially the terrorist community, would have known the Americans mean business. The cowboy spirit of the Americans is much needed today to face the challenge of theology-inspired terrorism. Without this kind of raw tenacity and an unrepentant killer instinct; the beast of theology-inspired terrorism cannot be overcome by the Americans (and the civilized world).
After this kind of a reflex-action response to the happenings of 11th September; a reasoned long term response could have followed. The Americans need to remember their own phrase "He who shoots first survives". Given the situation today the first option listed above is the best one in our view of the situation. We wish the Americans good sense in deciding the best option, which gives quick, long-term results with minimum casualties to the Americans.
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