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Collateral Damage

After a successful summit with the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan at the White House this week to rid both nations of the Taliban as well as Al Qaeda serious "collateral damage" incidents in both nations have created some some new difficulties on both war fronts. In Afghanistan, an incident blamed on U.S. bombing in which 120 civilians were killed has resulted in an angry pledge from that nation for the u.s. to halt all bombing missions on suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda forces. And in Pakistan, the ongoing and renewed war on the Taliban has now resulted in up to 500,000 refugees and a huge humanitarian crisis. Within days, it is likely that the number of refugees could top 800,000. pakistan refugees.jpg

This is a serious problem that threatens the success of the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in both nations. During the Vietnam Civil War, when Viet Cong fighters began to use bases in Cambodia, American efforts to combat these forces only helped to hurt the population of that country and destabilize that country and ensure that it fell to Communist forces.

As hard as the Obama Administration is attempting to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda in both nations, the huge problem with collateral damage as well as refugees only serves to defeat the overall purpose, and endanger the ultimate success of the mission.

The real problem for war is that it is always the civilian population that pays one of the highest prices of warfare. These recent problems in both Pakistan and Afghanistan both well illustrate this. And the populations left homeless or those whose friends or family members die at the hands of American bombs only will grow to resent the U.S.

Some problems it seems are far more difficult than just bombing away. And the continued war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan will only leave more civilians dead or homeless.

War is indeed a messy business.

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Comments (4)

Mac Lorry:

The problem for Obama is that he can't be mindful of the polls and sustain an expensive military operation at the same time. Eventually the left's anti-war wing is going to make Obama pick between victory over the Taliban or reelection. The 27% of us who would stick with any President in defense of the nation plus the 3% of liberals who will do so because it's Obama are not enough to give him the support he needs to defeat the Taliban in Pakistan, which is American troops on the ground (AKA another Iraq war).

Paul Hooson:

Hello Mac, I think that Mr. Obama has probably at least five major goals as president, the first fixing the economy and the second a foreign policy success defeating Al Qaeda, a third peace in the Mideast, fourth improved relations with Iran so as to prevent their nuclear program and war with Israel, and improving education and health care in the U.S. Each one of these problems are very difficult and frustrating. And when collateral damage problems threaten ongoing efforts in a situation such as in Afghanistan or Pakistan, then one hopes this situation isn't going the way of becoming another low tech warfare failure like Vietnam where a powerful country like the U.S. finds it's best weapons ineffective against low budget fighters living in caves.

Mac Lorry:
. . .one hopes this situation isn't going the way of becoming another low tech warfare failure like Vietnam where a powerful country like the U.S. finds it's best weapons ineffective against low budget fighters living in caves.

The Vietnam war was lost on the streets and in the news rooms of the United States, not in Vietnam. Walter Cronkite lied about the Tet offensive of 1968, which was a military disaster for the north, but because Cronkite was so trusted by the American people, his lie was accepted as the truth. Luckily for Obama, no one enjoys that level of trust anymore, so no single lying scum bag can undercut the political will to win. Nevertheless, Obama will face growing resistance from within his own party to cut and run.


I'd like to see outside verification of the claim that it was U.S. bombing that caused it, and who the victims were, and what the actual number was. There have been a lot of these claims that have later proven to be false. Karzai has to "appear" hostile to the U.S. to not offend the hard core non-talabani muslims, even though his government is totally reliant on US support for security, and economic growth (which Afghanistan desperately needs). I say our troops should come home when little girls can openly go down the street to school without worrying about having acid thrown in their faces.


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