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Obama: We’re just bombing civilians in Afghanstan (update)
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Apparently, according to "military expert" Barack Obama, we have a very limited military strategy in Afghanistan. During a stop in Nashua, NH yesterday:
Obama defended his push to prosecute a tougher military effort to root out al-Qaida on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which drew criticism from primary rivals for sounding too bellicose.

“Now you have narco drug lords who are helping to finance the Taliban, so we’ve got to get the job done there, and that requires us to have enough troops that we are not just air raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there,’’ Obama said.

Campaign spokesman Reid Cherlin said Obama was not endorsing the current Bush policy, which consists solely of air raids and bombing of civilians.
Two points to consider here. First we don't have a strategic bombing campaign going on in Afghanistan. That means strike aircraft don't strike at targets which haven't been nominated or designated by those fighting the Taliban or based on some good hard intelligence, such as that provided by a drone or such. So again, Obama hasn't a clue about that of which he speaks. He simply assumes we fly around willy nilly bombing civilians and villages because we might get lucky and kill some bad guys. Our strategy, according to Obama, is kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out.

Secondly, if that's not bad enough, when his campaign staff was contacted for clarification, they said, yup, that's what we're doing, just "air raids and bombing civilians."

Just a reminder - Afghanistan is now a NATO operation, not a "Bush" operation, and I can promise you without any fear of contradiction that NATO's rules of engagement don't allow for "air raids and bombings" that don't support a ground operation or aren't in reaction to hard and verifiable intelligence (you know like a drone downlink which shows 15 guys carrying RPGs and AKs headed toward an Afghan military outpost or the like).

This is simply another indicator of how unsophisticated and uninformed Obama appears to be when he talks things military and foreign policy. Even worse, his campaign staff doesn't appear to know that.

UPDATE: AP tries to fact check those who claim Obama is wrong. Yes, that's right - AP and "fact check" in the same sentence.

And the result is, well, rather interesting;
The U.S. and NATO say they don't have civilian casualty figures, but The Associated Press has been keeping count based on figures from Afghan and international officials. Tracking civilian deaths is a difficult task because they often occur in remote and dangerous areas that are difficult to reach and verify.

As of Aug. 1, the AP count shows that while militants killed 231 civilians in attacks in 2007, Western forces killed 286. Another 20 were killed in crossfire that can't be attributed to one party.
First note the fact that we're talking a total of 517 total deaths in 7.5 months according to AP. And that's assuming we take the word of "Afghan and international officials" that everyone of those killed was actually a 'civilian' and killed by NATO (or actually killed at all). Keep in mind there's money in claiming a civilian is killed by NATO forces. So according to these mostly unverifiable claims, NATO (not the US, NATO) has killed civilians at a clip of 38 a month while the Taliban is killing them at a rate of 31 a month. While regretable, the numbers are relatively small and hardly evidence of a concerted campaign to bomb civilian areas. If it is we need to hire a new Air Force.

And that's the second point - note that not a single mention of "air raids and bombings" as the primary reasons for the deaths. That's Obama's claim and it is never addressed.

That's the extent of the AP "fact check" of the Obama statement. A paragraph heading of the AP article is entitled "the spin". In fact, that could be the title for their entire effort. Who knew they'd signed on to the Obama campaign? They got this out faster than his own staff. And, it is just as clueless.
 
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You would think it would be hard to find people who knew substantially less than Obama regarding the military or military operations...

It does appear, however, that they found enough to fill a campaign staff with them.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Well according to the Brit’s that’s what we’re doing, so it must be catchy or true....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Heh ... yeah, and I believe it was the Brits in Iraq telling us how poorly we were doing in the hearts and minds game and how well they were doing and are who are now pulling out of their AOs there and leaving them to the shia militias even while they have interpreters who worked for them in fear of their lives and begging for asylum.

It is a difference in tactics is all. And, as is human nature, when you believe your tactics are better (and tell me a time the Brits didn’t think that) you have a tendency to oversimplify and denigrate those for which you don’t care.

Fair enough. What you don’t expect is a presidential candidate to pick up on that sort of nonsense and take it for gospel. But then again, you usually expect such a candidate to be knowledgeable and sophisticated enough to know what is twaddle and what is the truth.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Narco drug lords? Isn’t that redundant? Oh, but it’s so tough guy - swoon!

Obama is definitely speaking and removing all doubt (about his foolishness) [but he’s so handsome and black - swoon!].

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
I have given up any hope that a certain party’s candidates will make sense McQ. As I understand it currently the received wisdom is leave Iraq, but invade it a second time if the Shi’i government we installed goes bad...though why that is preferable to staying and preventing genocide in the first place is beyond me. One party simply takes national Security more serioulsy I think....Which is not to say that either party is any great shakes, but that one has a tendency to be wrong more often.

I didn’t really want to comment on the Brit’s because well it would have seemd like sour grapes, but yes I thought, "Gee Britain, they’ve ALWAYS been ever-so clever, what with that whole Dunkirk thing to get the Germans over-confident." Plus it’s almost de rigeur that the Royal (Australian/Canadian) Sheep Buggerers are inherently superior to ANY US force, simply because:
1) The word "Royal" is in their title; and
2) They salute funny; and
3) They say "Leftenant"; and
4) They all talk funny; and
5) Apparently the term "uniform" means something entirely different to her Majesty’s Armed Services that it does in other people’s.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
How long unti Al-Jazeera starts quoting Obama?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"that we are not just air raiding villages and killing civilians,"

Isn’t that Obama’s plan for Pakistan?

Or by "so we’ve got to get the job done there, and that requires us to have enough troops" he’s saying he would physical invade Pakistan?
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
Who’s coming up with this stuff for him, unemployed Winter Soldier hack writers? Team Kerry?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Tis a shame...

I had hoped he (Sen. Obama) would do well enough to force the media to start asking tough questions of the Dems prior to the primaries. If he craters, then Hillary will, once again, be given a free pass on not only probing questions, but any question that she has not scripted herself.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Actually, there are two HQ in Afghanistan, one run by NATO and the other the American-run special-ops out of Bagram. That is the command that is getting criticized for using too much airpower. The French special forces pulled out of that too, so maybe there is something there. Is it still a good idea to have a separate "flying" command like that when we now have ground forces in most provinces?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"Plus it’s almost de rigeur that the Royal (Australian/Canadian) Sheep Buggerers are inherently superior to ANY US force, simply because..."

You neglected to mention the fact that they wear those spiffy morale-enhancing berets. Oh, right— but they have been wearing them longer! And more rakishly!
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The French special forces pulled out of that too, so maybe there is something there.
If the AP numbers are the extent of the problem as they’re claiming, then I’d have to disagree.
Is it still a good idea to have a separate "flying" command like that when we now have ground forces in most provinces?
I’m not sure what you mean by two "flying" commands, but the fact is that the air strikes are flown at the behest of someone and the targets are most likely designated by that same someone.

There are rules of engagment, so unless we believe they’re suddenly throwing aside the ROE to attack anything that moves, then, I’m not sure what the problem might be.

Americans have always used airpower to support operations on the ground. But in recent conflicts they have repeatedly and consistently made every attempt possible to avoid collateral damage. Again, if the numbers AP is claiming are accepted, then that’s a relatively small number for 7.5 months of airstrikes (and I’d be more than willing to bet a good portion of that number were killed in other than airstrikes).

Knowing the COIN doctrine and knowing what is necessary to win civilians to your side, I’m at a loss to understand why US forces would suddenly decide that random killing of civilians was a good idea and do something counter to that doctrine. The doctrine doesn’t change simply because you’re in a different country.

It makes no sense except to contend that perhaps our allies don’t like our tactics (it wouldn’t be the first time they’ve complained) and especially don’t like the "killing an ant with a sledge hammer" approach. If so, I’d say that’s a matter of military culture.

Again, if the AP numbers are to be accepted, I find it difficult to believe that they’re enough to "cause problems", in a broader sense.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Does the AP ever fact check the (D)emocrats?

So the AP keeps a special ’AP body count’, a "tally", in which they don’t distinguish between civilians accidentally killed by "Western forces" which would be reported by... "Afghan and international officials"... who have an agenda to report high counts, and civilians deliberately targeted and killed by the very "Afghan"s reporting those high "counts" of accidentally slain civilians.

Goebbels would be so proud.

NEDRA PICKLER. AP reporter and terror supporter.

 
Written By: DANEgerus
URL: http://www.danegerus.com/weblog/
Obama had the brains to oppose the Iraq invasion, occupation, and attempt at social engineering. No other leading candidate did.

This fact pretty much ends the debate about his foreign policy smarts. Obama got it right; everyone else got it wrong.

You see, Obama thought it would be a bad idea for American troops to die so that Sadr and the Iranians could take control of Iraq. And because he did, the right wing will never forgive him. Ever.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
This fact pretty much ends the debate about his foreign policy smarts.
For you that’s probably true. Not that it means much to the vast majority of others out here who keep monitoring what those who would be our leaders say.

Why is it MK that Democrats are always willing to fight the war we’re not fighting (Darfur) but never willing to do what is necessary to win the ones we are fighting?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Obama had the brains to oppose the Iraq invasion, occupation, and attempt at social engineering. No other leading candidate did.
Obama was a do-nothing state senator up until 2004 (having lost a big for the US House in 2000).

And considering what a little political whore he is, he would have voted right along side Clinton and the rest.

To make that claim like he’s some sort of virtuous saint is just plain moronic.
This fact pretty much ends the debate about his foreign policy smarts.
It surely does. He has none.

*I* have the foreign policy experiance Obama does, and more foreign policy smarts. Obama is like a foreign policy idiot savant...

Without the savant...
You see, Obama thought it would be a bad idea for American troops to die so that Sadr and the Iranians could take control of Iraq. And because he did, the right wing will never forgive him. Ever.
See, we’re actually trying to prevent Iran from taking over Iraq. It’s your side trying to make us lose.

Or don’t you watch the news any more...

And for that bolded section, I repeate something once said on here...

"You’re keeping score for the wrong team..."
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
attempt at social engineering
What a lark of a reason...

Liberals want to keep "our" money here for their own pet social engineering projects.
You see, Obama thought it would be a bad idea for American troops to die so that Sadr and the Iranians could take control of Iraq. And because he did, the right wing will never forgive him. Ever.
Seeing as how that is not what is actually happening...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Mkultra. The Drama Queen. As always.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Heh ... yeah, and I believe it was the Brits in Iraq telling us how poorly we were doing in the hearts and minds game and how well they were doing and are who are now pulling out of their AOs there and leaving them to the shia militias even while they have interpreters who worked for them in fear of their lives and begging for asylum.

It is a difference in tactics is all. And, as is human nature, when you believe your tactics are better (and tell me a time the Brits didn’t think that) you have a tendency to oversimplify and denigrate those for which you don’t care.

Fair enough. What you don’t expect is a presidential candidate to pick up on that sort of nonsense and take it for gospel.
Who says it’s nonsense? Don’t the Brits have a good military with smart people in it? This isn’t Michael Moore, it’s British military commanders.

If Obama can’t criticize our afghanistan policy based on a british general’s opinion who was there, whose clearance does he need? Gen. Douglas Lute’s? You think he’s going to get it?

Obviously, "bombing random civilians" isn’t our policy, and Obama knows it, and you know he knows it, and that wasn’t his point. Whether or not it’s our policy, it seems to be a result.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
For what it’s worth, the linked article has been changed to read "Campaign spokesman Reid Cherlin said Obama was not endorsing the current Bush policy in Afghanistan." This makes me ask two questions.

1) What did Reid Cherlin actually say?
2) Why won’t the Telegraph report it?

I have hunches.
 
Written By: Joe R.
URL: http://

 
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