Less Troops = More Indiscriminate Air Strikes



Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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4 Responses

  1. Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

    In short, not only will this leave the population more vulnerable to Taliban incursions, the Administration intends to rely on “surgical” methods that dramatically increase the likelihood of civilian casual

    I made this point in another thread, below.
    Another point to keep in mind is that drone/special forces attacks, cannot be launched from “over the horizon.” There is a limit to the distance needed to mount such attacks. This leaves “surgical strikes,” which means precision-guided bombs. If this is all we have after withdrawing, then yourNixon scenario will probably happen. This is just one more in a long line of Obama/Nixon parallels.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      Obviously, Special Forces attacks can’t be launched from over the horizon. But more generally, unless I am missing your point, you seem to be operating from an all-or nothing assumption. I’m pretty sure any kinetic CT-based scenario currently being contemplated involves leaving ample troops on the ground to have a very potent target-acquisition force, along with the related force-protection missions. When the Times describes Biden as advocating a scaled back commitment, I’m pretty sure something on the order of what we had in country prior to the inauguration, maybe a bit less, is what he’s envisioning.Report

  2. Avatar Kirk says:

    Is the US going to be bombing Afghanistan indefinitely? Presumably, at some point the US will completely get out of there and civilian deaths will drop to zero. If you think adding more troops will “solve” Afghanistan, then you’re right. If not, then all it does is delay the inevitable point where the US starts doing exactly what withdrawal advocates are suggesting with a lot more civilians dead in the mean time.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      The reason I’m at least willing to support a COIN strategy is that it at least has an exit strategy envisioned, even if we don’t like the timeline. We’re done when certain political benchmarks are met, most saliently when we believe threats from within Afghanistan to its neighbors and beyond are contained to a level we can accept. As you say, if we just go to a drone/surgical ground strike campaign, how do we know when to end it? I don’t buy that that is when Obama has “leveled Afghanistan,” as Will believes for reasons I don’t comprehend. (It’s already pretty flat in terms of edifices, and mostly rubble.) But indeed, it’s hard to know how to say when we can cease fire.Report