Protect and Defend

Welcome to my blog, Protect and Defend. You don’t have to understand me. You only have to agree with me. I can live with losing the good fight, but I can not live with not fighting that good fight at all. - Publius

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Worth it?

NATO: 200 Taliban Killed in Offensive

Associated Press, September 3, 2006

PASHMUL, Afghanistan - Warplanes and artillery pounded Taliban fighters hiding in orchards Sunday during a big Afghan-NATO offensive that the alliance said killed more than 200 militants in its first two days. Four Canadian soldiers also were killed.
If the estimate is confirmed, the battle would be one of the deadliest since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban regime five years ago. Reporters could not reach all the combat zone because officials barred traffic from all but one road in this part of southern Kandahar province.
An Associated Press reporter who traveled to Pashmul saw warplanes drop five bombs within about 20 minutes on orchards where militants were believed hiding. The reporter was about 300 yards away.
Explosions echoed across grape and pomegranate fields and clouds of dust rose amid the greenery and dried-mud houses of the Panjwayi district, which is about 12 miles from Kandahar city.
Operation Medusa was launched Saturday to flush out Taliban fighters from Panjwayi and neighboring Zhari district. NATO spokesman Maj. Scott Lundy said alliance and Afghan troops had gained ground and disrupted the militants' command system so guerrillas were moving in confusion.
Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said Taliban casualties were high, but could not confirm the NATO report of more than 200 dead.
A NATO statement said its figure was derived from "surveillance and reconnaissance assets operating in Panjwayi and Zhari districts, as well as information reported by various Afghan officials and citizens living nearby."
About 80 other suspected Taliban were arrested by Afghan police and a further 180 fled the area, it said.
The alliance said it had no reports of civilian casualties, despite the heavy weight of fire being used. But a spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry, Gen. Zahir Azimi, said earlier that an undetermined number of civilians were killed…
Ikram Ullah, an Afghan soldier at the roadblock, said he had heard that 60 or 70 Taliban had been killed by warplanes and helicopter gunships since Saturday morning.
He said most of the families in the area fled after they were told to evacuate _ although some civilians were nearby. A few children watched the bombing from the road.
"Only the Taliban are in the village," Ullah said, pointing toward the orchards, where clusters of homes were scattered among trees and vines.

I would assume that most of us agree that the Taliban are evil and need to be eradicated. If this is the means to do so while allowing the smallest chance of coalition causalities, is it worth it? Are the lives of 4 Canadian soldiers worth it to eliminate 60 to 200 Taliban? If not, do you have any other options?

7 Comments:

Blogger quakerdave said...

I'm sure the families of the four dead Canadians - and the loved ones of the Canadian soldier killed by an Amercian Warthog - might have something to say about "how much" their lives were worth.

But, as most Americans don't even seem to realize that we're fighting a war in that country, I'm not sure how much people here care.

Mon Sep 04, 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

You are right. The families of the 4 soldiers who died care along with their friends and loved ones. But ask a general if he is willing to lose 4 of his men to kill 60 of the enemy at a 1 to 15 rate and he will be willing or to kill 200 at a 1 for 50 rate and he would be willing. I know we are talking about people’s lives here and I know we are not talking about my life either, but the saying is true, that you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. When the Taliban fights with our soldiers we have 1 in 15 positive rate, but when the Taliban fights with our civilians we have a 1 in 156 negative rate.

Tue Sep 05, 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Rogue Mariner said...

You have to break a few eggs to make an omelete? Damn that was crass. While I get your point, there HAD to have been a better way to make you point.

Wed Sep 06, 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger quakerdave said...

Oh, man you didn't really use that line about omelets, did you?

Three summers ago, my family and I were unloading our (fuel efficient) vehicle along the sidewalk down at our favorite Jersey shore town. As now, the back window carried a "Peacemonger" bumper sticker.

A young guy on a bike, total stranger, out of nowhwere, pulls up and starts screaming (I mean LOUD) at us about the war. "Peacemonger, that's cute. What would you do about terrorism?" Blah, blah. The usual Limbaughesque talking points, but still kind of scary.

My wife says, "Ignore him, he's a loon." He gets louder. My older son says, "Let him have it, Dad. Tell him the truth!" He gets louder.

So I say, "No lying president is going to send my sons off to die for a lie." He comes back with the "omelet" chestnut.

That's when we all said, at once, like a choir that had practiced it, "We're not eggs. We're people."

Shut him up right quick.

Nobody's children should be described as breakfast food. They're not numbers.

And we're not "winning."

Wed Sep 06, 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Rogue Mariner said...

THAT is an awesome story. It's so rare to have the perfect thing to say at the right moment, and your whole family nailed it. I love it.

Fri Sep 08, 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

I did use the omelet analogy because those in the Taliban and Al Qaeda are not going to wake up tomorrow and decide they love American and don’t want to kill us anymore. So we can either go after them or let them come here and kill themselves off in suicide bombs or we can hopefully catch them and put them in jail. But if we take that option the odds are not in our favor. Better a dead terrorist in Afghanistan then in New York, DC, or London. But to kill them there, it does mean that there will be a loss of life by those on our side. Do I want to die? No. Do the soldiers who are over there want to do? No. But they are still there and they are braver than you and I. Yes, I wish the Taliban would decide tomorrow that they loved America, but because that is not likely to happen we are left with few other options.

Fri Sep 08, 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Rogue Mariner said...

and in turn, you were left with few other options, and forced to use the egg analogy.

Tue Sep 12, 12:28:00 PM  

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