Sunday, June 18, 2006

"Last Throes" Cheney, Meet "Closing Window" Freakley

Haven't we heard this before?

As fighting in Afghanistan has intensified over the past three months, the U.S. military has conducted 340 airstrikes there, more than twice the 160 carried out in the much higher-profile war in Iraq, according to data from the Central Command, the U.S. military headquarters for the Middle East.

The airstrikes appear to have increased in recent days as the United States and its allies have launched counteroffensives against the Taliban in the south and southeast, strafing and bombing a stronghold in Uruzgan province and pounding an area near Khost with 500-pound bombs.

U.S. officials say the activity is a response to an increasingly aggressive Taliban, whose leaders realize that long-term trends are against them as the power of the Afghan central government grows.

"I think the Taliban realize they have a window to act," Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, commander of the 22,000 U.S. troops in the country, said in a recent interview. "The enemy is working against a window that he knows is closing."

Freakley apparently doesn't believe his own spin, though:

The enemy in Afghanistan is "adaptive" and "very smart," Freakley said. One tactic they have used lately to counter U.S. dominance in the air is to withdraw, when fighting, into compounds where civilians are located, which has resulted in civilian deaths in two sets of airstrikes near Kandahar.

The spate of recent civilian deaths caused by the bombing has hurt the U.S. image in Afghanistan.

It's called asymmetric warfare, says Pachacutec at Firedoglake:

Although some asymmetric wars can be won, they cannot be won without the support of local populations. The people of India kicked the British Empire's asses out, even if the British did win the key battle depicted in the film Gunga Din, notably, through the assistance of a local collaborator (depicted in racist tones as a doggedly loyal turbaned lackey).

The U. S. cannot win its current fight against terrorist cells operating within civilian populations militarily, and yet the entire Bushco foreign policy is staked on the notion that it can. Stock market bubbles burst. The idea that America's current strategy can win is a bubble. Start selling short. Remember, there is no actual "war on terror."

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