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Afghanistan Is Like Nothing You've Ever Seen 1346

Posted by michael
from the daily-deliveries-of-coffins dept.
DaHuNt writes: "A well written article about Afghan experiences by the Soviets... Food for thought... 'When Igor Lisinenko entered what he was told was an Afghan rebel base in 1982, he wasn't sure what to expect. It was, after all, his first assignment...'" Very good article. Too bad we aren't learning from the British and Soviet mistakes.
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Afghanistan Is Like Nothing You've Ever Seen

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  • by Seenhere (90736) on Saturday September 22, 2001 @08:04PM (#2335765) Homepage
    Too bad we aren't learning from the British and Soviet mistakes.

    How do you know we (U.S.) haven't learned?

    After all, we haven't done anything terribly rash and stupid in Afghanistan in the last 10 days.

    Colin Powell was in Vietnam, and learned a thing or two, and remembers. Bush of course was not, but he seems (so far) to have the sense to listen to his betters.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 22, 2001 @08:11PM (#2335786)
    Yeah, But this time we will hopefully use
    tactical nuclear warheads with the bunker buster
    missle. And also the Nuetron Bomb to waste the
    Taliban. if we don't then it's our own fault.

    6,000 Americans = 600,000 Afgas/Terrorist/Iranians/Iraqs/or whatever you want to call them.

    In order to stop terrorism we can't stop short of
    extermination of these scum.

    I am all for chemical interrogation of these pigs. Chemical Interrogation uses Sodium Pentathol, Herion, and LSD. Using these chemicals
    we can extract the information we need to bust up the cell terrorist organization.. but we need
    to get Bin laden. Shoot him up with Sodium Pentathol, if he does not talk, get him hooked on Heroine. , then string him out. when he begs for a fix shoot him up with heroine and sodium pentathol, if we are carefeull not to kill him from the dosage, we will get the information we want, no matter how strong his will is.

    When we get the information we want we should take
    him for a trip to the New York Zoo (Don't publicize this that way no one will think he's a martyr), don' feed the Lions for 2 weeks and throw the bastard in the cage.

  • by Rimbo (139781) <> on Saturday September 22, 2001 @08:15PM (#2335802) Homepage Journal
    First, give their women a better lot in life.

    Gain territory. Then make the territory safe. Then give the people within that territory everything their hearts desire. Food. Clothing. Shelter. Jewelry. Television. McDonald's.

    Build them a beautiful mosque. Allow them to pray. Give them a world where they need not fear, where they are defended by the United States military.

    When the Taliban tries to assert itself, it will find itself against its own population, who will have found the security and freedom we Americans usually tend to take for granted, and will sacrifice all to defend.

    You'll have difficulty keeping the defectors to your side out -- just as the USA today has difficulty accepting everyone who wants to immigrate here.

    You win by conquering the way Rome did. You make the conquered territory more blessed than your opponents' territory.

    Those few who infiltrate will grow accustomed to the softness of the new lifestyle, and be unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to fight their cause.

    You ask them what they want, and then give them more than they asked for.
  • Lessons of Vietnam (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The Man (684) on Saturday September 22, 2001 @08:40PM (#2335918) Homepage
    I would really like to think that some of the so-called "leaders" have an awareness of what went wrong in Vietnam. But I think I have a different idea of exactly what that was. Straight-up, you can't win a war against people who already have nothing.

    The NVA fought with rifles. The farmers and villagers had antiquated handguns and knives. The VC had a few grenades and bombs. The few large factories and power plants and other traditional targets of war were always located in or near civilian centers, which, for political reasons, were deemed off-limits. So for 10 years the US bombed the hell out of bamboo bridges, huts, and broken-down trucks. It had no effect because the Vietnamese are resourceful, clever people and were determined to win. They were the ultimate distributed network - take out one part, and another will step up to replace it while a small crew repairs the damaged area.

    Contrast this with the US - large, highly visible targets of obvious importance. Choke points and centers of strength. With a few million dollars' worth of bombs you could easily lower Americans' standard of living by half. The US is well-equipped to fight a war against a similar enemy - like the Soviet Union of yesteryear. It is ill-equipped and inexperienced to fight a lengthy guerilla war, on foreign soil, against people who are at once civilian and military, against people with radically different values and standards than our own. The Geneva convention is likewise unable to cope with this reality - killing civilians is illegal, but who qualifies for this protection? If a man shoots at enemy aircraft from his home while his unarmed wife and children are present, how can the pilot justify shooting back? How can the pilot justify *not* shooting back?

    This, I believe, was the fundamental question during Vietnam. And as we're thankfully starting to see, it will be the fundamental question in Afghanistan and wherever else the US may elect to demonstrate its might. In guerilla and terrorist warfare it is difficult or impossible to distinghuish innocents from combatants. Even the Israelis, who have dealt with this problem for many years, have never found a solution that permits both humanity and security. The US, in 10 years in Vietnam, never did either.

    But philosophical discussions aside, if I honestly believed that dropping bombs on Afghanistan until 6,333 people died would cure forever the prospect of terrorist attacks, I would suck it up, pray a lot, and give my government the green light. It wouldn't be right, but at least it would be equitable and most importantly effective.

    Of course, killing people, even killing the right people (and there's no real way to be sure who are the right people), has yet to solve anything. Executing the Nazi war criminals did nothing to prevent the atrocities committed by Pol Pot, Stalin, and others. Killing a few VC guerillas did nothing to prevent the fall of Saigon. And killing every Afghani in all the world, and parading bin Laden's head on a platter, will not assure Americans or anyone else of their security.

    And that, my friends and countrymen, is why going to war over this is pointless. War is a great evil, a last desperate measure when there is simply no alternative. If a nation is to make the decision to go to war, then there must be a clearly-defined objective, and the actions of war must be suitable for reaching it. This situation, like Vietnam, fails both tests. The government has never made clear any specific objective for action against Afghanistan - to get bin Laden? (We won't present any evidence against him, so what right do we have to demand his extradition?) - to punish the Taliban for being naughty? - to simply exhaust some grief and rage against some people unloved by many and mostly unable to retaliate? In no case has anyone actually pretended that even a 100% successful war against Afghanistan would prevent terrorism, but then one would really have to wonder why do it at all. In any case, even if we were to settle on one of these objectives, there is no clear evidence that even a successful war would achieve any of them. It's difficult enough to support killing when it's truly deserved. Witness the debates over capital punishment. It's even difficult, though perhaps less so, to support killing when it's truly necessary. But senseless killing to achieve no defined goals, with no clear purpose, of people who cannot be clearly identified as "enemies" is entirely unacceptable in a civilized society. And we are one, right? Right?

  • Funny you should ask (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GooseKirk (60689) <goosekirk&hotmail,com> on Saturday September 22, 2001 @09:45PM (#2336168) Homepage
    I'm currently reading a book that includes some history of the conflict in Chechnya, which apparently started when the Russians invaded about 250 years ago. Yeah, that's right - 250 years worth of conflict.

    Shortly after WWII, Stalin finally got sick of the mess in Chechnya and ordered the entire population of Chechnya moved. So they loaded 400,000 people into boxcars and hauled them out to the middle of nowhere in Soviet middle Asia. He moved the whole freakin' country. Several years later, when the people were allowed to return, apparently they weren't any less pissed off, because at the next opportunity (1990 or so) they started to make their attempted break from Russian control. At some point - and the rumors are, the decision involved lots of alcohol - the Russians decided to make Chechnya see the error of its ways by force. Again. With the same results they've always gotten. You'd think they'd try some different tactics after 250 years.

    The example of Chechnya should be compared and contrasted with, say, the Marshall plan. Not saying the Marshall plan would work in Chechnya, the point is, trying to change a population's mind using only applied force does not tend to work.

    That's a lesson we should all be considering these days.
  • by smack.addict (116174) on Saturday September 22, 2001 @09:50PM (#2336191)

    Too bad we aren't learning from the British and Soviet mistakes.

    What an ignorant comment! We have not sent in a single troop yet, and yet you feel you have a basis for making this claim?
    Guess what? We have Russian advisors assisting us in our military planning. Just because the English and Soviets failed does not mean the lesson is "Don't touch Afghanistan". It certainly is not "Don't touch Afghanistan even if they harbor terrorists who kill 5,000 of your citizens."
  • by istartedi (132515) on Saturday September 22, 2001 @09:55PM (#2336211) Journal

    A lot of what I've heard is along the lines of "you can take the cities, but you'll be forever deviled by hordes coming out of the high valleys".

    You also hear a lot of stuff like "there is no beach-head" and "this is a different kind of war".

    OK, so the proper response to a different kind of war is a different kind of fight. Instead of taking the cities and then trying to "mop up" the notoriously difficult mountains, why not do it in reverse?

    I've been thinking that we should check out these valleys and make sure that a small defensible area is clear. Then, you drop troops and supplies in that area to establish a "valley-head". You do this several places. The choices would be based on how much you can see, and what routes you can see. The mission of these forward bases is to shoot anything that carries a weapon, and to gradually explore and secure the area around the base, eventually establishing checkpoints, or "chokepoints" if you prefer. These guys eventually have to come out of their holes, and we can run surveillance on them day and night.

    Once this is accomplished, then, and only then you invade the cities. If they are in the cities it is not so bad because urban fighting is historicly our strength. Once a city is captured, it is secured by house-to-house search for any and all weapons and contraband.

    Once the country is controlled, it then becomes a matter of figuring out what government to install and/or how to partition the country. That is a more difficult problem. Expanding the former Soviet republics might not be such a bad idea since there are many ethnic Tadziks, Uzbeks, etc. already there. However, there would probably still have to be some kind of Afghanistan and we may not want to expand Pakistan or Iran.

    Imagine a "United States of Islam" or "Islamic Union". That could be much, much worse, especially if it took on the characteristics of a quasi-fascist megapower like China. Then again, it might also be tranquilized by the desire for trade. That is a tough call.

    The other worry is that if we stay there too long we could end up building infrastructure that might later be used by China to move troops into the oil fields of Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Remember, this is the old "silk road" we are talking about here. As China becomes more and more industrial we have to be wary of what they are going to do when they have the same thirst for oil that we have. So, regardless of what plan we execute we should be careful not to build a modern silk road.

    To a great extent this whole mess all started with the US fighting the Soviet Union by proxy. So much for the Cold War being over.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 22, 2001 @10:43PM (#2336345)
    Text of Yeltsin address on Moscow bombings (stop me if some of the rhetoric sounds familiar.)

    MOSCOW, Sept 13 (Reuters) - President Boris Yeltsin urged Russians on Monday to remain calm after a Moscow apartment block blast killed at least 45 people. He vowed a tough, swift response. Following is the text of his televised address to the nation (translation by Reuters, about 350 words):

    Today, a day of mourning, a new disaster hit us. There has been another explosion with more victims. Another night-time blast in Moscow. Terrorism has declared war on us, the people of Russia.

    I have given already the necessary orders. An anti-terrorist operations headquarters has started working with Interior Minister (Vladimir) Rushailo as its head. He will coordinate the actions of the Interior Ministry and other security bodies.

    We are living amid a dangerous spread of terrorism and that demands the uniting of all forces in society and the state to repel this internal enemy.

    This enemy does not have a conscience, shows no sorrow and is without honour. It has no face, nationality or belief. Let me stress -- no nationality, no belief.

    The struggle with terrorism cannot remain merely the business of police and special services. The situation makes us face the tough need to show willpower and unite our forces. Power should be consolidated in the face of this terrible threat.

    Federal and regional bodies should work as a united body. The government, parliament and president's administration should work as a well-coordinated machine.

    I am paying a special attention to repelling terrorist attacks in Moscow. We understand how difficult it is now for the Moscow city authorities, for mayor) Yuri Mikhailovich Luzhkov. I will give him all the help and support he needs in these difficult days.

    Respected citizens, I deeply mourn for those who have died and express my condolences to their relatives and friends. Our pain is immeasurable but I ask all of you to be self-controlled.

    The main aim of the bandits is to scare people and spread panic. I am sure they will not live to see this. The best response to the terrorists will be your vigilance and calm.

    Today it depends on each of you how effective the fight with this evil will be. The authorities will reply to the bandits' challenge in an adequate, tough, swift and decisive way.

    On July 20, 1998, the IMF deposited $4.8 billion in Russia's Central Bank.

    About that time, Russian banks, some under the control of government officials, were tipped off to the Kremlin's plan to devalue the ruble.

    The banks and government officials, who had purchased high-interest, short-term treasury notes issued by the government and known as GKOs, began selling them before the devaluation would drastically reduce their value.

    The banks took their ruble proceeds from the sales of the notes - including the proceeds earned by the government officials - and exchanged them for dollars from Russia's Central Bank. Some of the dollars in the Central Bank's reserves were from that IMF deposit.

    The banks then transferred the dollars to overseas banks.

    On Aug. 17, 1998, the ruble collapsed, leaving the GKOs held by the Central Bank nearly worthless. Meanwhile, the IMF money was effectively gone. "These people were tipped off, (they) speculated, cashed out and pocketed the difference," a U.S. investigator said. "It was not an accident."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23, 2001 @12:28AM (#2336619)
    Thisis reply to the many posts in previous US terror stories, who are sympathetic to the Muslims of Palestine. Yes, in this one post, I am an "Anonymous Coward", just as anonymous as the weak muslims of the World who carry their heads behind veils of shame and cowardice. I am not willing to allow my family be hurt or killed by local Muslims, just to get my message across on Slashdot.

    I am a white, Australian atheist. Not Jewish, Christian or American. I feel compelled to write here, to get the message across, that the muslims of our World are far from innocent.

    Here in Australia, muslims (esp. Lebanese), have been getting out of hand for the past few years, with gang warfare, thefts, home invasions, vandalism and general terror in the streets against ANYONE who does not appear to share their beliefs of Mohammad. Over a period of about the last year or so, a particular group of Lebanese Muslims, had set up a safe-house, with supplies of condoms. They were systematically abducting non-Muslim girls from Sydney, taking them to this house and pack raping these girls, who have stated that when they asked these Muslim men why they were doing this, the reply was that "because you are Australian". These Lebanese immigrants, perhaps looking for a better life over here, instead of bringing hope for a brighter future, have brought extremely barbaric beliefs and attitudes to our peaceful and once almost utopian society where many different races were welcomed by the people and government of Australia. Australians are on the whole NOT racists, as the World media seems to be purporting in the past, which is proven in the failure of our "One Nation Party" becoming elected into a position of power. "Aussies" "take the piss" (joke about) with others, but most importantly "we take the piss out of ourselves". We have a larakin nature, that should not be mistaken for racism. Although, these girls that were abducted at knife point and pack raped (70 rapes), did not fit the stereotypical "anglo Aussie" image, of the ones I have seen, they appear to be of mediteranean origin, perhaps Italian or Greek. These Muslims don't care for anyone but themselves.

    These Muslims in Australia have shot up Sydney police stations with Uzi sub machine guns. They trade in drugs, guns and stolen goods and wish to use force to instill thier beliefs onto us. Muslim students in our schools cheer in the schoolyards at the news of what occured in NYC. We non-Muslim Australians are peacefull! We don't bomb or shoot them, let alone do anything like this because they are Muslim. A friend on mine (Egyptian origin), fled Egypt, because he and his family were Christian. He was told, become Muslim, or die. Look at what the Taliban did to the peacefull Budhists and thier shrines in Afganistan! Anyone remember the mass killings of a bus load of Greeks in Egypt? Killed because they are most likely Orthodox and not Muslim.THIS IS NOT A WAR AGAINST THE US CAPATILISTS, THIS IS A WAR AGAINST ALL NON-MUSLIMS. If anyone thinks, for one moment, that Israel is not justified in thier war against Palestine, they are simply either ignorant of the facts or are Muslim. I've seen Muslim mothers loudly state, "I want my son to die! For Allah!". These weak bastards follow the tradition of brainwashing this mental disease called Islam, into thier sons, who they then send in to attack and fight on front lines against Israel, and then some morons of the World look on Israel in shame for having to "kill children". You think Israel has a choice?

    Here is a little bit of history for you to chew on.

    In the 7th century, a merchant by the name of Mohammed preached that, "There is no god but Allah.", which brought him conflict with the citizens of Mecca. In 622 he left to live in Medina, which is when the Arab world starts its calendar. The word "Islam" means "submission". Mohammed taught that Christians and Jews where "people of the book" and that they and thier religion should be treated with respect, but would have to accept Muslim rule, but not be persecuted or converted by force. Persia fell to the united Arabs and Byzantium was pushed back. Jerusalem fell in 638. It looked like Constantinople would fall in 717 but the Arab armies were driven back from the city walls. At this stage the Arabs controlled the Near East, North Africa and the whole of Spain. They were even crossing the Pyrenees, going into the plains of Europe, where they found the cold weather too hard to bear. They carried the beliefs of Islam with them throughout this, Christianity disappeared from North Africa. In 750, the rulers of Islam moved the capital to Baghdad. In the 11th century, for 300 years, Arab civilization would be subjected to assaults by Christians from Europe and nomads from Asia, who were much more threatening, and brought the days of Near Eastern civilization to an end.

    They, are far from innocent. And seeing what they are willing to do to completely innocent men, woman and children of other civilizations, I beleive that the time has come, to erradicate completely, the Muslims of our World. Now we should turn the books on them, instruct them to burn their Korans and give up their faith, or suffer absolute genocide. I am feel sorrow for their innocent children, but if the question is their children or ours, then the choice should be obvious.

    I, as an innocent victim in my own land, am willing to carry out mass murder of these animals and support the US and our allies. The time has come to rid the World of this cancer, I hope for a nuclear retribution against this evil.

  • by sql*kitten (1359) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:57AM (#2340118)
    The Guardian in London reported Friday, citing a cable from the US Embassy in London, that the US was trying to rally an international campaign to remove the Taliban. Having removed them, we would then sponsor a UN-run temporary government in the nation.

    You know, I don't really think the Taliban are the problem, at least not directly. They are isolationist in the extreme, and have no foreign policy agenda worth speaking of. The problem is that they took al-Queda in as guests, and guest is a loaded word in Islam. Once someone is your guest, Islamic custom holds that you must be prepared to defend them with your own life, if necessary. I'm guessing that the Taliban never imagined that this would entail facing down massed NATO armies and fleets lurking nearby.

    The point is, the Taliban (which, incidentally means "students", not "death to the US" or anything quite as menacing) are caught between a rock and a hard place, and they don't oppose the West for the reason that most people think they do. Indeed, what they would like most of all is to simply by ignored by the rest of the planet.

    The question is, what is stronger, their desire to be left alone, or their desire to uphold their tradition? If is the former, then there is scope for a deal: give us al-Queda and the US will guarentee that you are left alone. If not, then things are going to get messy.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer