Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Canadian View on Afghanistan

NATO forces in Afghanistan are doing marvelous work, though the MSM (especially in Canada) is full of doom and gloom.

An interesting Canadian blog called The Black Rod provides an update. See the whole thing, but here are some excerpts detailing recent events; 2007 is off to a fine start!
This week U.S. reconnaissance units spotted a couple of hundred Taliban fighters massing in the neighbouring North Waziristan area of Pakistan, where power has been virtually ceded to Taliban and Al Qaeda forces. UAV's watched as a fleet of lorries drove the men to the border and into Paktika, Afghanistan, in two columns, accompanied by several pick-up trucks later found to be full of ammunition. Pakistani forces helped monitor the fighters.

Coalition forces waited until the columns had gone just over a mile into Afghanistan. Then they pounced. Apache helicopters decimated the columns with their missiles and machine guns (645 rounds per minute) and attack aircraft dropped 500 and 1000-pound bombs on the surprised Taliban fighters. The fighting, if you can call it that, lasted over 9 hours as helicopters tracked survivors of the ambush through the mountains as they tried to escape.
This week we heard the details of a pitched four-day series of running firefights which may be the most important coalition victory yet even if the Canadian press hasn't caught on.

The Battle for Kajaki Dam started New Year's Day. 150 British troops--- Royal Marine Commandos backed by two Apache helicopter gunships and a special forces reconnaissance team--- swept through Kajaki and the nearby neighbourhood of Kajaki Olya, house by house, driving out Taliban fighters who had set up a training camp in the area.

British military officials said the enemy dead could be measured in "dozens". An agency close to the insurgents, Arab Islamic Press, said the figure was close to 100. The only casualty to NATO forces was one soldier who was shot in the hand.

But in this case it isn't the casualty count that's important. It's the prize.

By clearing out Taliban fighters from the area, the Brits have opened the way to complete the Kajaki Dam project, the single most important infrastructure project in southern Afghanistan.

When it was operational, the dam was the biggest single source of electricity in all of Afghanistan. In 2003 its two turbines seized up. Temporary repairs kept the dam functioning at a fraction of its capacity. Seven months ago Taliban attacks completely halted the project to replace the generators and build new transmission lines.

When finished, the dam will provide power for 1.8 million people! At the same time it will triple the area that can be irrigated in Helmand province, which means local farmers can grow food instead of poppies which thrive in soil too dry to grow wheat. This would be an immense blow to drug dealers who fund the Taliban and supply fighters.
On Wednesday, Scots Marines, backed by Estonian and Danish troops, took on 50 Taliban fighters in houses and ditches near the town of Gereshk in their fiercest battle yet in Afghanistan. At times the fighters were only 40 yards apart.

As NATO forces built checkpoints to keep the Taliban away from Gereshk, at the request of local elders, they were ambushed. NATO troops stormed a compound and fought the insurgents house to house before the Taliban, in long flowing robes and black turbans, were routed with the help of two Harrier jump jets and a couple of thousand-pound bombs. Then they found what the insurgents were protecting---a bomb-making factory.

And on Thursday, in the largest pre-planned operation in Helmand since British troops got there, between 60 and 100 Taliban fighters were killed when NATO forces attacked two compounds in a village near the town of Garmsir in the middle of the night. Snipers pinned down the insurgents as Apache gunships went to work. Among the dead was a local Taliban commander.
Canadian forces expanded their presence west to the Jalai district of Kandahar, a former Taliban stronghold. They met no resistance, which is the gold standard of the current mission, Operation Falcon's Summit. They've begun setting up checkpoints and clearing the roads of IED's.
So, cause for celebration?

Of course not!

The Black Rod points out that news coverage has been very predictably negative with such headlines as:
Afghanistan 'sliding into chaos'
Vancouver Sun, Montreal Gazette

Afghan mission 'doomed to fail'
Ottawa Citizen

Afghanistan headed for chaos
Edmonton Journal


The Press is determined to put a negative spin on every story out of Afghanistan. This is the Vietnam template.
Remember the Dread Afghan Winter that was supposed to do us in, uh, five years ago? Never mind that now, it's the Dread Spring Offensive that's going to get us!

The Black Rod goes on to wonder:
Why didn't we see headlines reading:

Canada Saved Afghanistan: Expert

We Did It, We Beat 'Em

NATO Tipped The Scales, Beat Back Terrorist Threat

Because that would suggest we're winning. That we can win. That Canada's role in Afghanistan is a good one.

And that would defeat everything the Press has tried to say since the start of the mission.
I really wonder why all these defeatists seem to think they have no stake in the outcome -- or if they do, that losing will be a positive thing.

Because they sure aren't acting as if they want to win. They'd rather poison everyone's mind with negative propaganda to sap the will to fight.

The Black Rod details the media campaign of the Taliban which the MSM eagerly regurgitates:
The Taliban has recognized it can't win a fighting war with NATO, so its changed tactics to fight a media war. Phase One is to offer "proof" that it controls the country and has NATO on the run.

The insurgents tried out this strategy in 2006. It's simple. A force of 50-100 fighters crosses into Afghanistan from Pakistan. It takes over a village for half a day. It burns down a few buildings, maybe kills some police officers, then disappears before the Afghan army shows up. A news release is issued declaring that the Taliban has seized Village X which is reported everywhere.
Whatever psychological payoff the MSM may get from defeat, I hope more regular people realize that's not going to be harmful in the long run, and reject defeatism.

The Black Rod, by the way, refers to:
The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England. Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.
Keep it up!


Blogger The_Bad said...

The payoff for defeatism in Canada is the same as here in the United States. Conservatives support this war, so liberals must oppose it in order to gain political power. Since the traditional media outlets have their strings held by liberals, you will continue to see these headlines. From a Google search today, the top headlines for Iraq:

President Bush must admit failure in Iraq - Swampscott Reporter, Daniel B. Kline, January 16, 2007

Bush has support of wife and dog on Iraq -- but how many others? - Free New Mexican, Associated Press, January 16, 2007

Iraq death toll soaring, UN says - CTV Globe Media, Associated Press, January 16, 2007

And Afghanistan:

Gates in Afghanistan for talks on fear of Taliban gains - USA Today, Associated Press, January 16, 2007

Resurgent Taliban is focus of Gates visit to Afghanistan - International Herald Tribune, Associated Press, January 16, 2007

U.S. officials say Taliban attacks surge - Houston Chronicle, Associated Press, January 16, 2007

So, according to the Associated-Liberals Press, the top three stories out of both Iraq and Afghanistan are dire in nature. I gave up on trying to find success stories online because the A-LP is simply not writing them.

Get your turbans ready - I imagine they will be mandatory when Frau Clinton takes office!

10:50 AM, January 16, 2007  
Blogger The_Bad said...

Speaking of headlines, why isn't this one a leading story anywhere?

Dow Hits Third Consecutive Record Close

I never thought I would long for the "it's the economy, stupid" days!

5:38 PM, January 16, 2007  

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