Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Bombing Them Accomplishes Virtually Nothing

The policy of U.S. forces in Afghanistan seems to be centered around bombing the enemy relentlessly from the air:

A US Air Force B-52 bomber launched a record-setting series of strikes this week in northern Afghanistan -- dropping 24 precision-guided munitions on Taliban fighting positions during 96 hours of air operations "to destroy insurgent revenue sources, training facilities, and support networks," according to US Forces Afghanistan. 

The 24 precision-guided munitions dropped by the B-52 Stratofortress are the most ever dropped by one of the Air Force's oldest active aircraft, the service said in a press release

Weighing 185,000 pounds, the B-52 first entered service in the 1950s during the height of the Cold War -- originally designed to serve as long-range, high-altitude intercontinental nuclear bombers that could strike deep into the Soviet Union.

Here you have CNN allowing the Air Force to put a press release into circulation without so much as a hint of critical thinking or analysis. What it tells me is that we're going right back to the early days of the Iraq War. Journalists need to question what we're still doing in Afghanistan and point out that we still have a mission there to fight the Taliban but far fewer troops to accomplish our goals. Are we really going to avoid asking difficult questions?

  • Is it strategically wise to unleash this kind of bombing on the enemy, which often mixes with civilians in order to score points with the international media by showing how devastating these attacks can be for non-combatants?
  • Is it really in our best interests to kill a few Taliban with expensive weapons when we all know that we're going to have to leave Afghanistan eventually? 
  • Why are we creating more terrorists, and generating more support for the Taliban, through indiscriminate bombing missions that end up being touted as "record setting" and effective according to just one source, which is the military organization that dropped the damned things in the first place?

It's patriotic to question the mission. It's perfectly okay to question the strategy of our forces. And, I know this is journalism 101, but it's okay to doubt the effectiveness of a high-altitude bombing campaign because we've seen, time and again, that "precision-guided" weapons often miss their mark.

We've been bombing the living hell out of the Taliban since 2001. They're still there! We've even dropped Fuel-Air explosives on them. Guess what? They're still fighting for control of the country. We've spent untold hundreds of billions of dollars to create an Afghanistan that can be safe and secure. Guess what? It ain't!

In the Trump era, I can't believe anyone is falling for this again. It's as if someone is laying the groundwork for another senseless war and for the American people to be fed a bunch of lies justifying that conflict.

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