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Newsweek: U.S. Special Forces, Witnesses Say Operation Mountain Sweep was a Disaster
PRnewswire ^ | 9/29/02

Posted on 09/29/2002 8:19:22 AM PDT by Brian Mosely

Newsweek: U.S. Special Forces, Witnesses in Eastern Afghanistan Say Operation Mountain Sweep was a Disaster
Internal Review of Mission Launched, Some Officers Have Been Subjected to Internal Military Investigations
Sunday September 29, 11:09 am ET

NEW YORK, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The official story from U.S. troops in Afghanistan is that Operation Mountain Sweep -- a weeklong hunt for Qaeda and Taliban fugitives in eastern Afghanistan in August -- was a resounding success. But as Contributing Editor Colin Soloway reports, U.S. Special Forces, Afghan villagers and local officials living in or near the valley say the mission was a disaster. Witnesses claim that American soldiers of the 82nd Airborne division succeeded mainly in terrorizing innocent villagers, and setting back counterinsurgency and intelligence operations in the area by at least six months.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 09/29/2002 8:19:23 AM PDT by Brian Mosely
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To: Brian Mosely
Newsweak.
2 posted on 09/29/2002 8:26:30 AM PDT by b4its2late
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To: Brian Mosely
" Newsweek has not seen the document, but sources say..."

That is enough for me to believe it is BS
3 posted on 09/29/2002 8:26:47 AM PDT by jbstrick
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WIPE THE SMILE OFF OF THIS MAN'S FACE.

VOTE THE RATS OUT!!

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4 posted on 09/29/2002 8:26:53 AM PDT by Mo1
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To: Brian Mosely; rdb3
Pingerootus - the 82nd needed some Freeperesque leadership?
5 posted on 09/29/2002 8:29:43 AM PDT by ErnBatavia
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To: Brian Mosely
So we are mistaken and the Afghans were not... right, and Islam is the religion of peace within which terrorism and islamist illnesses do not breed either....
6 posted on 09/29/2002 8:32:27 AM PDT by lavaroise
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To: ErnBatavia
Yeah, if they needed their SINCGARS serviced!

But seriously, I wasn't with the grunts of the Division, but I can say that I have my doubts about this story.

7 posted on 09/29/2002 8:35:21 AM PDT by rdb3
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To: jbstrick
Newsweek has not seen the document, but sources say..."

Of course they haven't seen the "document," it's classified.
No problem for Newsweak, just make up a story and the sheeple will believe it.
"Sources" could be the guy sitting next to the writer in a bar.

8 posted on 09/29/2002 8:43:57 AM PDT by ASA Vet
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To: Brian Mosely
This has the ring of truth to me- and I am former S.F., but have worked with units of the 82nd at times.

There are HUGE differences in the approach taken to this sort of mission by Special Forces as opposed to the regular Army way. That is exactly why S.F. EXISTS! To be able to go into an area in small teams composed of very competent and mature individuals, EARN the trust of the people there, and develop good intelligence and possibly train and arm some paramilitary forces.

The "overwhelming force", kick-in-the-door, "grab-em-by-the-nuts and their hearts and minds will follow" approach is appropriate in some situations- probably not in this one.

This mistrust of unconventional forces has a long history in the U.S. Army, and it is not going away anytime soon. What we will need is better senior leadership, so that each element is used when and where it is needed, and people are not put on the ground just to get their "combat patch" tickets punched.

9 posted on 09/29/2002 8:45:25 AM PDT by RANGERAIRBORNE
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To: RANGERAIRBORNE
Most of the posters on this thread will not have been in Special Forces, and don't have much of an idea of what I was trying to explain, above. Let me try an analogy- the Special Forces A-Team would be more like the local cop on the beat, who gets to know his neighborhood and the people who live there, listens to them, gets a few good tips, perhaps, on criminal plans or gang activity, and maybe even helps them set up a "Neighborhood Watch" program.

The 82nd (or other conventional forces) would be like sending in a large SWAT Team to project overwhelming force into a critical situation, and end it. Making friends and listening to local people is not a high priority.

Both approaches are needed, but not for every situation.

10 posted on 09/29/2002 8:54:45 AM PDT by RANGERAIRBORNE
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To: Brian Mosely
Here's a link to the original story: On the Front Lines with U.S. Special Forces.

Who knows what the absolute truth is. The article is clearly biased for the Special Forces and against the 82nd. Afghanistan has become a classic guerrilla conflict: a largely invisible enemy vs. a very visible army overlayed on an indifferent population. How do you win a guerrilla war like this?

11 posted on 09/29/2002 8:58:39 AM PDT by mikegi
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To: RANGERAIRBORNE
A point well taken, when I was in Viet Nam the 101st broke in with us when they brought the rest of the Division over in '67 plus a Brigade of the 82, they didn't want to listen, we were only legs. They got a lot of people killed for no good reason with their hi didle , didle right up the middle mentality.
12 posted on 09/29/2002 9:02:38 AM PDT by Little Bill
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To: RANGERAIRBORNE
Your analogy is compelling. One of the worst things that can happen in my community is for the SWAT guys to show up when they are not needed and then slip the leash. Still, when you need them you really need them.

It's the command leadership that must decide who to use and when. When they send in the wrong folks they should be held to account. If they wind up with egg on their faces and try to pass blame to subordinates they should be relieved.
13 posted on 09/29/2002 9:11:09 AM PDT by SBprone
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To: SBprone
Of course, no analogy is perfect- but from experience, I can say that this one is pretty close (of course, in some situations the Specials Forces unit may also act as the "SWAT" Team...)

There is a tremendous incentive for large units to be put in, when the situation on the ground actually calls for a more low-key approach. Careers are made by even brief combat experience, and the awards and decorations that go with it. Everyone wants to get in on the action, and it takes a very wise senior Commander to keep these turf battles from happening.

That said, I don't think NEWSWEEK is the right place to hash all of this out.

This is going to be an "intelligence war", and we have already found to our sorrow that the gee-whiz NSA eavesdropping on every form of electronic communication in the world is NOT enough. We need people who can go into some very rough neighborhoods, live with the people there, and be trusted by them. That is our biggest need right now, and probably for years to come. The 82nd is very good at what they do, but their efforts need to be guided by the best intelligence information that can be gotten. (And don't tell me that they have their own Military Intelligence capability- it is not suited to this type of war. It is OK if they are facing large enemy regular military forces, with identifiable headquarters, supply depots, etc).

14 posted on 09/29/2002 9:25:13 AM PDT by RANGERAIRBORNE
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To: RANGERAIRBORNE
Ring of truth bump.
15 posted on 09/29/2002 9:27:28 AM PDT by norton
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To: rdb3
a SINCGAR sounds eerily X42 oval-office-esque.....
16 posted on 09/29/2002 9:41:01 AM PDT by ErnBatavia
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To: ErnBatavia
a SINCGAR sounds eerily X42 oval-office-esque.....

Hey! It ain't "cigars."

It's SINgle Channel Ground-to-Airborne Radio System. (SIN-C-GAR-S)

Ya can't either smoke or fornicate with this, my friend. So Klintoon would have had no use for it. ;-)

17 posted on 09/29/2002 9:53:19 AM PDT by rdb3
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To: Brian Mosely
SF and SEAL are highly regarded and specialized. They need to run the show. End of story. Paratroopers, like the 82nd, should only be deployed to the extent guerillas have been identified and are operating in a specific area.

I think there is some truth in this article, but I don't believe most of what is being floated by the media at this stage.

18 posted on 09/29/2002 10:07:37 AM PDT by Aura Of The Blade
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To: RANGERAIRBORNE; rdb3; SBprone; Little Bill
"Let me try an analogy- the Special Forces A-Team would be more like the local cop on the beat, who gets to know his neighborhood and the people who live there, listens to them, gets a few good tips, perhaps, on criminal plans or gang activity, and maybe even helps them set up a "Neighborhood Watch" program."

In support of your point, it is perhaps time to re-circulate one of the most valuable threads on Free Republic, concerning how wars such as this must be fought. And not fought...

Algerian War: 1954-62

Lots of lessons here: for the politicos, the generals, the warriors...and the kibitzers, like us.

19 posted on 09/29/2002 10:39:47 AM PDT by okie01
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To: RANGERAIRBORNE
SF is very good at what they do, grunts are good at what they do, that includes Airborne. In this type of war the grunts should support the SF people, when they need the support, not take control like the punchers did in my war.

If you want to lose a war like this real quick, have it directed by a six month in the zone ring knocker.

20 posted on 09/29/2002 11:03:57 AM PDT by Little Bill
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To: Little Bill
Well said.

Ring knockers in starched utilities have been the death of many a good soldier.

t
21 posted on 09/29/2002 6:06:11 PM PDT by P7M13
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