[CrackMonkey] Operation Eternal Bloodshed now accurately reenacting Vietnam war
nick at zork.net
Fri Oct 26 12:03:08 PDT 2001
----- Forwarded message from glen mccready <gkm at petting-zoo.net> -----
[Didn't see this one on CNN...]
Forwarded-by: "Colin Burgess" <cburgess at qnx.com>
First US ground attack 'could have ended in disaster'
By KIM SENGUPTA
The much-hyped first American ground attack on Afghanistan ran into
fierce unexpected resistance and almost ended in disaster, senior
defence sources have disclosed.
The public admissions by Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary of State for
Defence, and US Navy Rear Admiral John Stufflebeem that they were
surprised by the toughness of the Taleban gives a glimpse of how badly
things could have gone wrong.
The attack was meant to be a purely cosmetic exercise for the benefit of
the media and the public against a relatively safe and poorly defended
But there had been a failure of intelligence, and the troops from the
elite 75th Rangers Regiment ran into such heavy fire on the ground near
Kandahar that they had to beat a hasty retreat. A Chinook helicopter
airlifting them out lost its undercarriage and had to make a forced
The Pentagon presented the operation as a complete success and evidence
that Operation Enduring Freedom was going according to plan. There was
blanket and mainly adulatory media coverage on both sides of the
Atlantic with the prognosis that the ground war had begun.
But, instead, what happened last weekend made US and British planners at
central command in Tampa, Florida, reappraise the military campaign, and
continue with air strikes rather than carry out any more missions on the
Within 24 hours the Pentagon has requested special forces troops from
Britain and Australia. And the British government was forced to consider
a much larger deployment of ground troops than originally envisaged.
The near shambles on the first Afghan ground mission had unhappy
memories for the Americans of Somalia where 18 soldiers died when their
two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by militiamen. There, too,
intelligence had underestimated the opposition.
One senior defence source said yesterday about the Afghan operation;
"The intelligence had been quite clear that the target near Kandahar was
pretty easy to take out. But what the Rangers discovered was that the
Taleban force there fighting back quite hard. The enemy regrouped very
well and their counter attack was such that the Rangers made a tactical
withdrawl. That's when the Chinook got into difficulties and lost its
" Some of us are surprised that such senior US figures are surprised at
the tenacity of the Afghans. They had been fighting for the last 20
Yesterday, the British chief of defence staff, Admiral Sir Michael
Boyce, pointed out that to beat the Taleban in their own lair would need
serious long term commitment and not just commando raids.
Pointedly, he added " The quick pinprick operation will be valid for
certain targets where you have really good intelligence. Sometimes one
might have to stay longer to achieve a proper reconnaissance of the area
you are looking at."
Sir Michael's views were contrary to that of Mr Rumsfeld who had been
repeatedly declaring that this was going to be a "new kind of war" of
super sophisticated commando operations. The differences between the two
men first appeared when Mr Rumsfeld contradicted Sir Michael's view that
the campaign could drag on until next year - only to have the
embarrassment of his own chief of staff, General Richard Myers, too,
talking about operations stretching until next spring.
----- End forwarded message -----
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