Tag Archives: air strikes

American Army Seeks Reducing Civilian Air Deaths

Continued mistakes by planes in their attacks on alleged hiding places of Taliban leaders have all too often resulted in air strikes that resulted in the death of innocent civilians. A May 4th bombing which caused the death of dozens of innocent Afghans has resulted in a new program that will seek to improve coordination between ground troops and the air force in order to end such errors. A new report recommends improved training including making soldiers role play scenarios in which they call for air strikes without leading to the death of civilians. It has become common for ground forces to call for air attacks without ensuring they are absolutely certain Taliban leaders are in particular locations.

The study of the May 4th bombing identifies use of a 2,000 pound bomb on an alleged house that was being used by the Taliban even though it was not certain they were in that location. The plane was told to bomb but dropped the bomb without securing a reconfirmation of the target. It may be necessary in fighting a guerrilla conflict to double and triple check before carrying out such operations.

Sri Lanka Government Ends What It Never Did!

During the past two weeks, the Sri Lanka armed forces have continuously denied employing artillery or heavy weapons in pounding away at trapped members of the Tamil Tigers. Today, it announced it was ending the use of artillery and air strikes which is remarkable given that they have never used such weapons in recent days. “Our security forces have been instructed to end the use of heavy caliber guns, combat aircraft and aerial weapons which could cause civilian casualties.” The United Nations claims that over 6,000 civilians have died since January due to the non-existent bombardment. A doctor working in the “no-fire zone” claims the area is still being bombed. Thangamutha Sathiyamoorthy says there have been nine air strikes in his vicinity during the day.

The Sri Lanka government yesterday rejected an offer by the Tamil Tigers for a cease fire arguing the offer was a “joke,” After decades of fighting and killing it is difficult for anyone to accept the Tamil Tiger claim they seek a cease fire for “humanitarian” reasons. They are whipped, they are defeated, and want a face saving way to surrender. Unfortunately, the struggle has lasted too long and they will not receive any consideration by the government.

Afghan Insurgents Avoiding Air Attacks

The history of guerrilla warfare provides abundant evidence that insurgents over time learn to adjust their tactics in response to attacks on their positions. Afghan militants are adapting to air attacks by scattering quickly after an attack on US or coalition forces. Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell noted insurgents “have a pretty good idea of how long it takes for close air support to arrive” which increasingly gets them to move away from the field of operation when they believe air attacks will soon be hitting them. The history of guerrilla warfare also provides evidence air attacks have minimal effectiveness against insurgents who do not fight in the manner of an organized army that confronts another force.

President Obama in his inaugural speech emphasized we would destroy terrorists. Unfortunately, the United States will not destroy the Taliban or al-Qaeda. Those groups will only be destroyed by people in Afghanistan who believe their government has earned their support.

Turkish View Of Gaza Conflict

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said attacks on Gaza had made impossible his nation’s continuation in a mediating role between Syria and Israel. “We call upon Israel to immediately stop the military operations. The continuation of the conflict may spread beyond the boundaries of Gaza and reach another phase that would pose a serious risk for the region.” The Foreign Minister also urged Hamas to halt rocket attacks on Israel and called on the international community to provide humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians in the territory. Babacan made clear to Israel, “To make war on the Israeli-Palestinian track and at the same time make peace on the Israeli-Syrian track–these two cannot go together.”

Babacan expressed his nation’s deep disappointment with the Israel air attacks but emphasized, “I repeat my call for an immediate cease-fire. The guns should be silenced and diplomacy should start working.” Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erodgan termed the air assault as a “crime against humanity.” Turkish president Gul said he had been in contact with President Ahmadinejad of Iran and during his conversation said the first task is to establish and cease-fire and provide humanitarian aid.

We offer these comments without editorial comment on our part.

Israel Pounds Gaza Causing Nearly 300 Deaths

Israel’s air force pounded at Hamas targets in Gaza causing massive destruction as well as the death of nearly 300 people. Apparently, most of those killed were members of security forces in Gaza although there are also reports of the death of innocent men, women, and children. The air assault also targeted tunnels used by Hamas to smuggle in supplies and there is evidence Israel pilots were using precision bombs. There are reports thousands of Israel troops are on the border of Gaza and may invade the area at any moment. The UN urged an immediate halt to the bombings even as Hamas fired 80 rockets into Israel.

This blog has been urging for over a week that Hamas tone down its rhetoric and cease daring Israel to take military action along with ending rocket attacks. The Israel attack is no surprise to anyone, except, perhaps to Hamas. The leaders of Hamas believe they can replicate the Hizbullah action against the Israel army, but forget that occurred in a mountainous area and Hizbullah forces dug in. Gaza is open and there is no place to hide. The bravado of Hamas is a factor in what is happening.

Both sides have blood on their hand. Both sides have refused to engage in honest diplomatic discussions aimed at peace. As always, in such situations, the innocent die.

US Miitary Hesitates In Fighting Militants

After the initial American success in Afghanistan, the Tabliban was allowed to group and once again become a powerful force. During the past few years, this has resulted in continual American and coalition military strikes which frequently have resulted in deaths of innocent Afghan civilians. An ongoing problem is lack of sufficient ground forces which has necessitated reliance on air power. Last week in an operation against Taliban militants, American forces held off from firing at points during the battle to avoid killing Afghan civilians. Several days ago, uS forces killed 37 Afghan civilians and wounded 35 at a wedding party which has increased pressure on the part of the American military to be cautious when civilians are in the area.

The Taliban obviously is now using the presence of civilians in order to assist in their operations. They undoubtedly will use the cover of civilians in order to carry out operations. The apparent solution lies in having more ground forces in Afghanistan.

Did Bush Veto Israel Air Strike Against Iran?

Senator John McCain and other Republican leaders have been arguing that Israel must be supported in its efforts to defend itself against possible Iranian attacks. There have been hints on the part of McCain about backing any Israel action, including possible air strikes. However, according to the British Guardian newspaper, President Bush bluntly told the Israel government he would not be supportive of any Israel military action against Iran. He told Israel that view would not be changed as long as he was president. Prime Minister Olmert supposedly discussed with Bush in May his nation’s thoughts about launching an air strike to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability.

The unconfirmed report about this Israel plan suggests even George Bush understands attacking Iran would result in disruption of shipping in the Gulf and the reality of an over extended American military mission in the region. Ironically, Bush when asked, has said the United States has never taken military action against Iran off the table.

George Bush lives in the world of rhetoric and sometimes his love of “tough language” leads to disastrous results such as in the flawed invasion of Iraq.

Gates — Time To Rethink Afghanistan Strategy

Seven years ago, the dynamic trio of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld directed an American invasion of Afghanistan which, ostensibly, was aimed at crushing the Taliban and capturing Osama bin Laden, dead or alive. Seven years have passed and the situation in 2008 is remarkable worse than it was in 2001. Ordinarily, when nations invade another nation it is based on a well thought out plan of action. But, in Bush America, the original plan invariably has major problems that are not discovered until thousands of people have died. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates noted yesterday, “you have an overall approach, an overall strategy, you adjust it based on the circumstances that you find. We did that in Iraq. We made a change in strategy in Iraq and we are going to continue to look at the situation in Afghanistan.”

For some reason, known only to President Bush, and his clique of incompetents, the initial invasion is never carried out by enough troops which leads to militants being able to organize and fight back. Years after militants have grown strong, Bush and his bunch of bozos finally grasp the point that more troops are needed. Actually, in 2003, the Joint Chiefs of Staff made that point about the Iraq invasion but were ignored. Sorry, John McCain, there is no record of you openly telling Bush he was wrong to disregard the advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Secretary Gates did get around to apologizing for American air attacks that resulted in the death of innocent civilians and urged military commanders to immediately apologize and then order an investigation rather than delaying to accept responsibility. This certainly is one shift in strategy that might assist in gaining support.

Unfortunately, it is now too late to shift strategy and gain quick victory. The Taliban are entrenched in mountains and have gained the support of large sectors of the civilian population. There is now need to investigate the possibility of using diplomacy in order to lessen violence.

What Really Happened In Afghanistan Civilian Deaths?

Controversy continues as both the Afghanistan government and US military leaders, attempt to unravel the tragic events surrounding the death of over 90 Afghan civilians last month. A spokesperson for President Karzai sharply contradicted the US military version that claims
the August 22nd raid killed up to 35 Taliban fighters. Humayun Hamidzada insists the American operation was based on “total misinformation fed to the coalition forces.” His government believes an individual was involved in a tribal vendetta and supplied misinformation to the Americans. “How the information was gathered, how it was misfed, and their personal animosity led to trying to use the international forces for their own political disputes, which led to a disastrous event and caused a strain on the relationship of the Afghan government and international forces.” The Afghan Interior Ministry says it has arrested three suspects who are believed involved in providing the misinformation.

NATO spokesperson Gen. Richard Blancheete, says the coalition will not talk with villagers once again to avoid harassing them. “We have the facts straight, we have all the information.”

A basic problem confronting fighting the war in Afghanistan is lack of sufficient ground forces and failure to have carried out a training process to create a new Afghanistan army. This has caused the need to rely too frequently to air strikes which invariably result in death of innocent civilians. This is simply another legacy of the misguided Bush policy of failing to finish the job in Afghanistan by going to Iraq.

Human Rights Watch Blasts US Military On Civilian Deaths

Human Rights Watch issued a blistering attack on US and NATO policies which rely extensively on air strikes in order to destroy Taliban forces in Afghanistan. In the first seven months of this year at least 450 Afghan civilians were killed in fighting related to armed conflict and at least 119 of these were killed by air strikes conducted by US or Coalition forces. “In response to increased insurgent activity, twice as many tons of bombs were dropped in 2007 than in 2006″ but the increase has become even more dramatic in 2008. The Human Rights Watch report believes “mistakes by the US and NATO have dramatically decreased public support for the Afghan government and the presence of international forces providing security to Afghans.”

The report also blamed American investigation of their own air strikes as “unilateral, ponderous and lacking in transparency, undercutting relations with local populations and the Afghan government.” Naturally, the United States government denies it ever makes mistakes. The Bush administration lied about the Iraq invasion and simply can not cease their lies.