February 12, 2006

War Sabotage Report

A Ground War Without Soldiers

U.S. special forces, Afghanistan, 2001
U.S. Dept. of Defense
Turning Back the Clock: A tiny group of U.S. special forces, without tanks or helicopters, on horseback with Northern Alliance members, Nov. 12, 2001
Communist-backed Taliban forces had only one chance of winning the 2001 Afghan war with the United States: turning the confrontation into a long-term guerrilla struggle without clear winners, until Americans would tire and give up. Taliban leaders openly said so, as did their Soviet-backed Iranian neighbors.1

Oddly enough, President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair supported the idea, and did their best to demoralize Americans and Britons right from the war’s outset. Bush’s Navy Secretary, Gordon England, got things off on the wrong foot just days after hostilities began, insisting that “this is not something that is going to be quick and sudden.”2

President Bush himself was more emphatic. “You mark my words, people are going to get tired of the war on terrorism [i.e., in Afghanistan]…. And by the way, it may take more than two years.”3

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, weighed in days later with more deflating language. “This is going to be a very, very long campaign…. It may take till next spring. It may take till next summer.”4

Not to be outdone, Prime Minister Blair more drastically tried to lower expectations of victory by predicting a years-long war,5 and his head of defense, Adm. Michael Boyce, clarified matters by estimating the fight would take “three to four years.”6

Behind all these voices lay the Fabian Socialist fifth-columnists whose tentacles had long invaded both governments. Speaking as an official of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Lawrence J. Korb revealed the true intent: no victory at all. “It’s like the War on Poverty or the War on Drugs,” he told the media. “We’ll never get rid of poverty, we’ll never get rid of drugs, and we’re not going to get rid of terrorists.”7

Given America’s tremendous military superiority over a backward nation like Afghanistan, arranging defeat wouldn’t be easy; it would require enormous restraint. History has taught that victory is not achieved without deploying large ground forces and holding territory, and thus precisely these two ingredients would have to be eliminated. Soviet Russia, the Taliban’s hidden sponsor, brainwashed American military officers accordingly. “Don’t go into Afghanistan with a large ground force, and never, never try to occupy territory,” repeated one former defense attaché to the Soviet Union, who obviously absorbed the propaganda well.8

The Communist-controlled Iranian regime went further, begging the U.S. not to send in any troops at all.9 Iran went so far as to propose no ground war and no air war altogether, preferring to have the United Nations step in to protect the Taliban.10

Given the political impossibility of pleasing Iran, Bush chose instead to limit and delay the arrival of ground troops as long as possible. At first, fighting consisted of nothing more than feeble bombing attempts by air. Even after more than three weeks of fighting, fewer than 100 U.S. troops had been sent in — special operations forces, purely for scouting and giving advice to the Afghan soldiers of the Northern Alliance.11 Not until the eighth week of the war were Marines sent in, and then only 1,000 of them, a small fraction of a division and not nearly enough to mount an offensive or hold serious territory.12 Even then, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was quick to insist there wouldn’t be much more.13

The lack of troops had another debilitating consequence. Without soldiers on the ground to spot targets, American planes in the air often couldn’t find the enemy. Taliban forces escaped bombardment merely by ducking out of aerial view, and tanks were protected by placing them under trees, where only ground troops would have seen them.14

At no time during the war did American troops launch traditional offensives or hold territory, thus paving the way for the war’s ambiguous transition to the ongoing patrolling operations with undefined objectives.


1. Tempest, R. & Marshall, T., “Taliban placing hopes on age-old hit-and-hide strategy,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 21, 2001, p. A9; Wright, R., “Iran’s president foresees ‘long warfare’ next door,” Los Angeles Times, Nov. 13, 2001, p. A3.

2. Perry, T., “Marines to add 2,400 for war on terrorism,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 18, 2001, p. A12.

3. Chen, E. & Morain, D., “Bush warns of long war on terrorism,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 18, 2001, p. A10.

4. Pae, P., “U.S. predicting fight will last well into spring,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 22, 2001, pp. A1, A4.

5. Champion, M., “Is the British military feeling frustrated?”, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 30, 2001, p. A17.

6. Wright, R. & McManus, D., “U.S. shifts gears after a week of setbacks,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 28, 2001, pp. A1, A25.

7. Cooper, R.T., “Bush works to define a war without clear lines,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 22, 2001, pp. A1, A10-A11.

8. Jaffe, G., “U.S. military strives to avoid Soviets’ costly blunders in Afghanistan,” Wall Street Journal, Nov. 26, 2001, p. A20.

9. Wright, R., “Iran’s president foresees ‘long warfare’ next door,” Op cit.

10. Ibid.

11. Richter, P. & Paddock, R.C., “Rumsfeld details ground operation,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 31, 2001, pp. A1, A17.

12. Hendren, J., “Deployment of Marines signals a new chapter,” Los Angeles Times, Nov. 27, 2001, p. A5.

13. Ibid.

14. Jaffe, G. & King, N., Jr., “U.S. says war is working, but Taliban remains,” Wall Street Journal, Oct. 26, 2001, pp. A3, A7; Murphy, K., “U.S. bombing spares much of Kandahar,” Los Angeles Times, Dec. 13, 2001, p. A22.