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Aggressive Marine tactics thin enemy ranks, alter Taliban tactics



MSangin550.jpg

Marines of India company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division in Sangin, Afghanistan. Photo by Dusan Vranic / Associated Press.

Bing West files a report from his time embedded with Third Platoon of Kilo Company, Fifth Marine Regiment, in Sangin. His March dispatch adds another anecdote about the issue I raised in January: that the US Marines seem more aggressive than their predecessors in the volatile district, and Helmand province as a whole, and the Taliban react to this difference accordingly [emphasis mine]:

I had embedded with the platoon once before, in January, so the routine was familiar. A point man on a patrol detects one or more IEDs, and then a Taliban gang in civilian clothes usually opens fire. Marine snipers and machine-gunners shoot back, while a squad maneuvers around the flank, forcing the enemy to retreat.
...
Since September, the Third Platoon has shot somewhere between 125 and 208 Taliban--as many as one enemy killed per patrol. That rate may not seem high, but the cumulative effect has been crushing. Marine tactics, like Ohio State football, have the subtle inevitability of a steamroller. "We got a radio intercept yesterday," Lt. Garcia said. "Some Talib leaders in Pakistan were chewing out the local fighters for quitting. The locals yelled back, 'Marines run toward our bullets.'"

West's football metaphor and anecdote more efficiently echo my assessment, which was based on my embed in northern Helmand last summer:

But I can attest that the story of USMC entry into northern Helmand has been invariably, incrementally the same: Wherever the Marines took over for the British, the Taliban would initially engage them in stand-up fights, attacking with small arms fire and traditional ambushes; but after a period of about three to six weeks, the insurgents alter their tactics to rely heavily on IEDs and "shoot and scoot" small arms attacks at a distance.

In each successive area, the insurgents made this tactical adjustment because they suffered far too many casualties when trying to hold their ground after engaging the Marines. For example, in late June 2010, RCT-2 officers estimated that 3/7 killed about 100 Taliban fighters in a single engagement just outside a village called Regay, in southern Musa Qala near Sangin. And the Marines were happy to show off bulletin board material: transcripts of intercepted radio communications by insurgent subcommanders expressing dismay that the Americans were more aggressive than their predecessors.

Notably, stand-up Taliban resistance in Sangin has lasted longer than "three to six weeks." This is certainly due to the district's proximity to the border of Kandahar province and its status as a nexus for the insurgents' opium trade.



READER COMMENTS: "Aggressive Marine tactics thin enemy ranks, alter Taliban tactics"

Posted by TMP at April 11, 2011 3:23 PM ET:

Love it!

Posted by Victor at April 11, 2011 3:41 PM ET:

No better friend, no worse enemy. The Taliban now seem to be recognizing that they 'chose poorly'.

Posted by Alex King at April 11, 2011 4:05 PM ET:

It's too early for optimistic assessments. We've heard the same thing so often in Afghanistan. Let's wait and see what the fighting season brings.

Posted by Bill Ardolino at April 11, 2011 4:31 PM ET:

Alex - I will make the following assessment: regardless of whether the Taliban redouble their efforts in Sangin during the fighting season, they will not revert to sustained small arms engagements. As for a more comprehensive optimistic assessment: I have a feeling that the Taliban spring offensive will fizzle, but you're quite correct that we need to wait and see.

Posted by Mr T at April 11, 2011 7:40 PM ET:

I hope it does more than fizzle. I hope they fall flat on their face. Literally.

Posted by blert at April 11, 2011 8:03 PM ET:

The correct term comes from professional wrestling: cage match.

The Talibs have ruefully discovered that they can't shoot and scoot; they can't stand and fight.

Their only remaining tactics are IEDs and agitprop mechanics.

These last focus on using children as human shields or victims. They've been caught doing both.

----

Not mentioned here, but stated by Time & Newsweek: the opfor is suffering terrible combat shock losses.

Precision munitions + overhead assets + owning the night = a complete tactical nightmare for the opfor.

This is something that the safe and sound leadership can't comprehend back in Quetta.

----

The ISAF is clamping down on the distribution of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. I would recommend that it be made inert by blending it down with other matter. AFIK all of the IEDs are using AN as an oxidizer.

Posted by mike at April 11, 2011 8:15 PM ET:

Marines will always kill Talibs when they clash, but unless you're willing to take out their sanctuaries and hold Pashtunistan with a prolonged, heavy-handed occupation and counter-insurgency (not to mention rooting out decades-ingrained political corruption and religious fanatacism, which might be impossible except on a multi-generational time scale), the war is lost.

Time has come to consider a future of precision covert and overt operations against terrorists wherever they live, train, plan, and operate, because the political conditions for victory in Afghanistan and Pakistan do not and will never exist, save for an unimaginably catastrophic attack. And we would do well in the future to heed Secretary Gates' admonition against invasion and occupation as a viable model for achieving foreign policy goals.

All of that said, it's great to hear these stories, and there isn't enough of this kind of coverage in the mainstream media. Dead taliban? Yes, please.

Posted by James at April 11, 2011 11:21 PM ET:

I believe we've discussed this topic here before.

Concerning their opium crop, why not seriously consider "legitimizing" it via the pharmaceutical/morphine industry?

Has this proposition ever been seriously looked at by those that matter on the ground and in the immediate region?

Posted by jonty at April 12, 2011 3:59 AM ET:

Good in the 11th year there is some improvement.

Posted by Nick at April 12, 2011 4:22 AM ET:

James; legalizing and regulating opium production in Afg has been discussed for years. The main protagonist (now defunct Senilis Council but has re-emergered as ICOS) has since, at least, 2005 been pushing this line. However, there are many against the idea: DOS, DEA, and other main medicinal opiate producing countries like Turkey and Australia. The Big Pharmaceuticals are probably quite happy with the low supply/high demand ratio.

Posted by inspectorudy at April 12, 2011 10:43 AM ET:

I was a Marine in Viet Nam and we had similar radio intercepts from both the North and South Vietnamese. This is not a new phenomena. Nothing against the Army but the intensity of a Marine platoon is something to behold. From Parris Island or Pendelton the basic Marine is created to be tough and understand that he is part of a team that will not be beaten. There is truth to the axiom that you are what you think you are. Marines think they are tough and they are!

Posted by jb at April 12, 2011 11:27 PM ET:

God love the Marines...

Posted by Andrew Joyce at April 13, 2011 7:17 PM ET:

I was with BLT 1/6 in 2004 and they said the same thing about us then. They had never seen any Americans fight the way we did. It was a big source of pride for us.

Posted by Cheryl Starks at April 13, 2011 7:51 PM ET:

Marine's are trained to be the best, and to never give up. They are taught from the beginning that they are brother's and to protect each other. Long live the Marine's...Two of my son's are Marine's. I pray that these battle's will soon end but know their will alway's be fighting.

Posted by Jim Gill at April 13, 2011 8:30 PM ET:

Keep up the good work Dirty Dogs we're all proiud of the work you are doing! Sometimes you may here negativity but believe when I say we are extremely proud of what you give up every day!!!!

Posted by Pete Bensen at April 13, 2011 10:36 PM ET:

God Bless the Marines!

Posted by Frank Lucenti at April 13, 2011 10:49 PM ET:

Semper Fi Marines! Keep the fight!

Posted by Jan at April 14, 2011 12:53 AM ET:

I'm proud of the marines, my son is serving in Sangin right now. God bless the marines.

Posted by John Biggs at April 14, 2011 12:55 AM ET:

Proud of the US Marines! Stay Safe

Posted by Mike at April 14, 2011 9:55 AM ET:

reminds me of the what the North Korean's said about the Marines and to avoid fighting "those crazy yellow legs (reference to the Marine leggings). Semper Fi

Posted by Tanner at April 14, 2011 2:53 PM ET:

hated by few, feared by many, Respected by all-U.S Marines

Posted by Charu at April 14, 2011 3:35 PM ET:

Let's honor the bravery and courage of our marines by making sure that the blood that they have shed to hold territory is not in vain. The decision to hold and then cede the Kunar valley was a travesty and a kick in the gut for those who fought there.

Likewise, paying Pakistan to shoot at our soldiers is beyond absurdity. The Pakistanis are either 100% with us or they are the enemy and will be treated as such. This will mean a full naval blockade and no-fly zones (with all that this entails, meaning destruction of any capabilities that would interfere with enforcing this). For a country already on the verge of bankruptcy, they would collapse soon after. Fat lot that their nukes would do them at this stage, because their first attempt to use them would mean the instant extinction of Pakistan as a country.

Posted by Gil Brooks at April 14, 2011 5:12 PM ET:

God bless the Marines-they are true American heros.

Posted by James Harris at April 15, 2011 12:00 AM ET:

"...Dirty Dogs..??

I think U meant "...Devil Dogs..."

Posted by Neonmeat at April 15, 2011 9:51 AM ET:

Get some.

Posted by John Yanochik at April 15, 2011 11:43 AM ET:

Marines are taught in Boot Camp to charge"towards" the ambush and that you are part of a team. This has served us well through many campaigns as it does today.
OOH RAH Jarheads!

Posted by Will Fraser at April 15, 2011 5:42 PM ET:

Excellent commentary by Bing on the US Marine ethos. These young men have born an enormous burden for us. They will never be the same. Some are coming home maimed physically. Some will experience emotional problems . All can be very proud of what this team accomplished out there.
Im sorry to say though that there are going to be alot more jihadis coming, its a deep pool of educational and religious backwardness in the sub continent. They did what they were told and they
have cleaned the clocks of alot of bad guys.
The US Marine's have the training and
a mindset that are unstoppable. Wow.
Get some.

God Bless the Marines.
Will Fraser

Posted by Jeremy at April 17, 2011 3:51 PM ET:

Keep it up Marines! Seper Fi and be strong! Ill be there in a couple months.

Posted by Friend at April 17, 2011 6:19 PM ET:

As someone not connected with the military and concerned with the course of wars our nation is involved in, I cant help but see this story and see the pointlessness in it. It is great to see our soldiers proud but tragic to be fighting a war that is pointless. This story is about people being killed and to me this is more bad news. Why celebrate because people we call taliban were shot at by soldiers occupying their country? The name 'taliban' has been used to label the people there as enemies, as non-humans. Don't you guys think Americans are being labeled the same and that it is great that others celebrate when we are killed the same way?

This should not be mistaken as a 'victory', the victory is when one day this killing stops. there is no more wars and we start to respect/understanding others. To me this could not be any clearer. The US has a duty to stop imposing itself on the rest of the world, its no surprise much of the world resents us for that.

Posted by Soccer at April 18, 2011 12:54 AM ET:

Well maybe the day the Taliban stops harboring groups that fly planes into buildings, you'll get your wish, "Friend".

Posted by Friend at April 18, 2011 5:12 PM ET:

Soccer, you dont see how there are serious flaws with our foreign policy? Our nation has a stance with the world that provokes wars. There are root causes behind why people dislike our government. We continuously interfere in the affairs of other governments. We preach democracy and human rights but then we go and do the opposite so that US corporate power spreads and also so other governments are "pro-US" (so they can open up to US corporations and their favored policies).

Do you think this is good for peace and non-violence or even stability? One can say there is a chicken/egg situation and to some extent there is, except the flaw there is that we can control our foreign policy better than fixing the terrorist issue by controlling the whole world (our current approach).

Could you agree with that Soccer? Can others agree with that? Just because someone is a part of the military doesn't force one to be pro-war.

Another point, for every "tower" that comes down and every "terrorist attack", think how many more strikes our government does to civilians? Doesn't that cause more opposition and resentment? Doesn't that cause more "terrorists" that we have to hunt and kill and dominate?

Do you recall Central America and United Fruit and how we sent the brave marines to fight there? Did you agree with that mission? Can you see that perhaps our policy is not having the average American in mind, that corporations have a much bigger interest and voice in whether or not we go to war, how we do it, and why?

Do you agree that thinking about changing policy means that one is not "supporting the troops"??? Thats what the private arms corporations would say, with their own interest in mind.

I don't mean to accuse you of saying all these things but the comment you left supports these points I mention and want to know if you really do believe all of that and why?

Posted by Soccer at April 18, 2011 9:41 PM ET:

Your entire comment consists entirely of finger pointing and red herring talking points.

You constantly talk as if you are interrogating me. "Yeah, Soccer, civilians die. You like that Soccer, huh? You like that?".

I have already made it clear, that in THIS context, the war which the article refers to, 9.11 was the reason why we entered Afghanistan. Are you denying that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are bad people that planned and executed a mass slaughter in an American city? I hope not.

As for Central America, that's a red herring. We are not talking about Central America or fruit, we are talking about U.S. marines in Afghanistan. Stick to the topic, please.

"Do you agree that thinking about changing policy means that one is not "supporting the troops"??? Thats what the private arms corporations would say, with their own interest in mind."

America's defense systems and military infrastructure have been privatized for a few decades now, so your point is moot. Privatization of this sector assures maximum quality in gear, rations, armor, weapons, and anything else needed by the United States Military. Better to have it in private hands then in the hands of a public bureaucracy that can literally strip our troops of funding at any time they feel like it, for their own political reasons. That is what Obama tried to do a few days ago with the government shutdown, but I guess you don't want to hear about Obama's shortcomings. Only corporations are evil, right?

"I don't mean to accuse you of saying all these things but the comment you left supports these points I mention and want to know if you really do believe all of that and why?"

You certainly come across as frantic, and erratic, and you are lumping me in with your viewpoints when you say such a thing. I do not believe anything you have typed, at all, and it is dishonest on your part to put words in my mouth based on your own predispositions so you can make a political point.


Posted by ArneFufkin at April 18, 2011 10:25 PM ET:

@Friend: Sorry, but you sound silly.

One fundamental truth that the perpetual peacenik types never seem to grasp is that United States (and the West for that matter) is not hated by our enemies because of what we do, but because of who and what we are: Which is free, prosperous and enlightened.

We have helped Muslims all over the world with our American generosity (think Indonesians after the tsunami and through various earthquakes and floods in Pakistan) and yet our Islamist enemies hate us still.

The current Administration came into office with promises of a new approach, a new image to the world but it wasn't long before the hard realities set in and now they understand that there is no appeasement of those who wish only the very destruction of our American and Western civilization.

Posted by Kamirsen at April 18, 2011 11:52 PM ET:

Such foolishness, as if without Americans there would be no wars.

"Friend", Pax Americana is sadly coming to its end. Unfortunately' you'll get what you wish for, to the detriment of mankind. The truly Golden Age is passing.

Posted by JT at April 19, 2011 1:01 AM ET:

Friend

I respect your opinions, but suggest you look at chronology of events and facts more than generalizations.

Overall, most people have to deal with the world as it actually is, not as they hope it could be.

Posted by Friend at April 20, 2011 7:01 PM ET:

I'm not sure if my previous comment will be submitted, it responded to all the prior remarks...if not hopefully this last one will be allowed for purposes of debate and I will say no more.

These comments of mine are relevant for these reasons: story above implied the new aggressive tactics are going to bring victory. Following comments support and celebrate that conclusion, and further hope victory in the war will be achieved because of new tactics. This all works if basic assumptions for war on terror are true and do support the average interests of Americans and I disagree with those assumptions.

I intended to challenge those arguments; this never is represented in mainstream media, so I appear "extreme" however I invite everyone to rethink the assumptions and develop their own conclusions. With wrong assumptions, we are guaranteed tragic course for US and global policy. Our troops and society deserve better.

Here are a few sources that were just a 'google' away

http://ejt.sagepub.com/content/15/1/67.abstract

http://www.muslimhope.com/JamesArlandson/TerrorismAtItsRoot.htm

1st one is just an abstract but relating to Mid East policy and the backlash, the 2nd link is a interpretation of motives behind AlQaeda and Osama, its analysis I disagree with because it fails to consider economic/military interventionist policies of the US (The article says these are not factors because we dont get terrorists from "X poor country", while ignoring all the examples where US IS involved). There are countless free research, sites, and publications worth considering with good information that rarely makes TV.

The Muslim domination scare is all hype that TV loves to sell. Traveling whenever possible and talking to everyday people develops experience (I am grateful for having traveled abroad). Actually speaking with Muslims and people from the Mid East etc you learn they are human and have a lot in common with us. They are not all savages and terrorists...

Trust me, if not me, your own research. But you have to be doing that research!!!

Posted by Soccer at April 20, 2011 11:39 PM ET:

"I'm not sure if my previous comment will be submitted, it responded to all the prior remarks...if not hopefully this last one will be allowed for purposes of debate and I will say no more.

These comments of mine are relevant for these reasons: story above implied the new aggressive tactics are going to bring victory. Following comments support and celebrate that conclusion, and further hope victory in the war will be achieved because of new tactics. This all works if basic assumptions for war on terror are true and do support the average interests of Americans and I disagree with those assumptions."

You can disagree with said assumptions all you want, but don't get upset when people disagree with YOU and call you out for your biased viewpoints and your tendency to demonize one side over the other. You think you represent an "alternative' viewpoint but you don't see that your very argument has many flaws and holes in it, flaws and holes that you don't seem to like other people pointing out.

"I intended to challenge those arguments; this never is represented in mainstream media, so I appear "extreme" however I invite everyone to rethink the assumptions and develop their own conclusions. With wrong assumptions, we are guaranteed tragic course for US and global policy. Our troops and society deserve better.

Here are a few sources that were just a 'google' away

http://ejt.sagepub.com/content/15/1/67.abstract

http://www.muslimhope.com/JamesArlandson/TerrorismAtItsRoot.htm"

Using obscure amateur websites that are clearly biased in nature, and have their own political agendas, is extremely deceiving on your part, especially since you claim to represent the "truth" about the military and foreign policy. Simply pasting some cooked source adds no validity to your incoherent and jumbled argument.

"1st one is just an abstract but relating to Mid East policy and the backlash, the 2nd link is a interpretation of motives behind AlQaeda and Osama, its analysis I disagree with because it fails to consider economic/military interventionist policies of the US (The article says these are not factors because we dont get terrorists from "X poor country", while ignoring all the examples where US IS involved). There are countless free research, sites, and publications worth considering with good information that rarely makes TV."

Once again, playing up the role of the big bad bully, You fail to see *WHY* we are there, in Afghanistan, in the first place. Not because of global dominance, but because of national security and 9/11. The mainstream media has it's own agenda, but it merging with the alternative media, and if there is a credible source that reports on what happens, they will pick it up as they always do. You just choose to ignore it, and not to see it, and then point your finger and say "They are all covering it up!!". Nonsense on your part.

"The Muslim domination scare is all hype that TV loves to sell. Traveling whenever possible and talking to everyday people develops experience (I am grateful for having traveled abroad). Actually speaking with Muslims and people from the Mid East etc you learn they are human and have a lot in common with us. They are not all savages and terrorists...

Trust me, if not me, your own research. But you have to be doing that research!!!"

I, nor did anybody else on this site, claim Muslims are "savages and terrorists". What a ridiculous red herring wrapped in an ad hominem that was. Putting words in people's mouths doesn't earn you much credibility.

When you have a group of ideologically determined men who are violent in nature, and openly declare they wish to attack other people and countries, it is justifiable to act against them. You ignore these men and claim they don't exist, because it makes you feel better about the world you live in. Good for you for traveling abroad, I have too, and so has Bill. Simply traveling places doesn't make you by default better than someone else; you need to understand the facts of certain situations as well.

As for doing my own research, I do more than you could dream. I find it hilarious that you think you can talk as if you are above everybody here, while the owner of this site knows more about the current conflicts and political situation than you do. He knows more than I do as well, which is why I read this site everyday and listen to his analysis. When you develop a credible reputation and get your own website which reports HONESTLY on the EVENTS happening, and not just your personal opinion, maybe I'll listen to you too.

Posted by C Clark at April 21, 2011 7:16 AM ET:

Just remember “when the civilized masses lay down their weapons and say that they will
Fight no more; they will surely be killed or enslaved by those who will”.
I’m sure that when the Visigoths crossed the 7 hills of Rome, the Romans too late thought what has become of our Legions.
Neville Chamberlain was not a coward when he declared "peace for our time" immediately prior to the start of the 1st World War he was a fool.

Marines know this Roman phrase well: Si vis pacem, para bellum…

Semper Fi Marines.

Posted by Friend at April 21, 2011 4:19 PM ET:

(To the editor, thumbs up if you like to see great debates on issues, the ones where different views are included)

1. All information could be said biased considering the author/source, their prejudices and experiences. Good points can still be made regardless, thats exactly why Im hear listening to everyone here. Ignoring information on "bias" basis promises poor policies would never end because we'd never consider new information or alternatives. We can note the biases but still read, consider, and challenge the arguments.

2. The complaints of personal attacks and words put in mouth cut both ways, neither of us are innocent there. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings, I truly intend to engage arguments and the issues. If my arguments challenge a personal cause or occupation of yours, no need to feel so threatened by the different views.

3. Real debate is not about who wins or converts, but discussing the issues. I am still waiting for this to occur. I was the only one that offered some links. They still have yet to be considered or challenged by someone in terms of their content. I thought you would like the 2nd link more. It happens to be a christian website that provides the mainstream explanation of motivations of terror; similar to reasoning I saw responding to my comments. Both links I offered challenge the Islamist terror threat idea and the 1st one further states (in the abstract) the war on terror worsens the terror problem because of how it ignores the concerns of Islamists, people of the region, and the non-religious reasons of why people take arms up against the US.

I encourage others to get involved in this discussion too (where are others views on this? Im not bothered of others not agreeing but others aren't interacting with the arguments instead the credibility/personality 'attacks'), it really isn't all about Soccer and use of debate words that distract from the issue. Decent debate happens when we finally address these arguments/issues

Does the new Marines tactic change the outcome of the war? It depends on at least these factors:

-History of US involvement in the region before 911 and after. (Actions of the US, pro US and anti US states). Recall the mujehadeen and who funded and armed them and why? Recall how they were protected and allowed to escape post 911? Recall the hearings concerning how much was known about 911?

http://www.historycommons.org/project.jsp?project=911_project

-Intelligence service activity (Long War has great stories on the CIA drone strikes, ISI, JSOC etc)

-Diplomatic relations. Who are friends/enemies and why? Afgh/Pak governments have serious questions of their loyalty and legitimacy. Stories on this site totally support this. (Wikileaks has provided some interesting insight here, the Saudis role is interesting)

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/world/29cables.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

-Military operations, alliances, international orgs. NATO, the competing similar alliances that Russia, China, the Caucasus and the 5 'stans' are a part of and the other regional groups.

-Economic interests of the parties and their agreements. The various pipelines planned in the region like the regional one Iran, Pakistan, and India are working on. "Peace Pipeline".

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24318

The comments have not considered any of this and ignore history PRE 911. A serious mistake, that ignores everything from Cold War all the way back to the colonial times. Central American policy is an example of previous questionable interventions that did not have "American Interest" and its relevant because without quality debate, this war too suffers the same fate. This is all relevant to why someone would take up arms or blow themselves today (thats where my very 1st link connected)

All right theres my good enough rebuttal, I welcome you all to hack away at it, reason why each article is no good/wrong, but stop whining about 'bias'/credibility, personality attacks, and those debater words. Its about the arguments...the Marines deserve to be alive and home, I wish you all to come home sooner than later...demand for good policy, thats my support for the troops. Semper Fi

Posted by Soccer at April 22, 2011 12:28 AM ET:

You're simply doing what I said you were doing previously. Blaming *everything* on American foreign policy without ever bringing up why we are in Afghanistan, or the determined group of Al Qaeda, Taliban, and other men that ideologically wish to violently destroy the western way of life. You didn't address any of that.

I take it that when you complain about what words I'm using, it's because I'm correctly describing you. If you don't want me using such words then don't play into my hands and do what I'm accusing you of doing over and over again.

"The complaints of personal attacks and words put in mouth cut both ways, neither of us are innocent there. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings, I truly intend to engage arguments and the issues. If my arguments challenge a personal cause or occupation of yours, no need to feel so threatened by the different views."

I am simply referring to what you do. I don't see how you can consider me QUOTING you as putting words in your mouth, but have it your way. I'm not threatened by your views, don't get too high on yourself.

"-History of US involvement in the region before 911 and after. (Actions of the US, pro US and anti US states). Recall the mujehadeen and who funded and armed them and why? Recall how they were protected and allowed to escape post 911? Recall the hearings concerning how much was known about 911?"

The U.S. never supported ANY Arab groups, the groups responsible for 9/11. Your point is moot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfrDnUgXmLY

"-Diplomatic relations. Who are friends/enemies and why? Afgh/Pak governments have serious questions of their loyalty and legitimacy. Stories on this site totally support this. (Wikileaks has provided some interesting insight here, the Saudis role is interesting)"

What does that have to do with the Marines tearing apart the Taliban in Southern Afghanistan?

"Decent debate happens when we finally address these arguments/issues"

You are going off on off topic rants and discussing wars and issues irrelevant to the current article. I refuse to comment on your Central American debacle, as the comment rules state that you must stay ON TOPIC TO THE CURRENT ARTICLE CONTENT. Therefore I refuse to paste a bunch of links and go off on off topic rants like you do.

If you don't understand the reason we are currently in Afghanistan, then I really can't help you. I refuse to be drawn into a pointless debate that is mostly not even about the original topic, while you go off on rants and paste to your hearts content things you happen to agree with. It's just not relevant content to the story.

Posted by James Cregg at April 27, 2011 9:20 PM ET:

As my father said , a 20 year Marine, Iwo, and Koto Ri.....A good offensive position, is not always a good defensive position........Marines move into the attack!

Posted by Rob at April 30, 2011 5:45 AM ET:

I think one area where we need more effort is in the government's use of the media in reiterating why we fight. It is painfully inadequate.

This war could go on for fifty years and Americans have to accept that and be in it for the long haul if we are to win it.

There are teenagers now who have no idea of why we are at war, and 9/11 is something they learn about in school.

The taliban are no better than the nazis and we need to portray them as such, as was done just after 9/11.

Also, why do we have such a fear of collateral damage these days? Is that a sign of weakness or of strength? What would happen if we destroyed several taliban controlled towns even if there are civilians around which they are using for human shields?

We have B52s, why don't we use them?

Would it be better to annihilate the taliban held provinces and just get the whole thing over? Or, am I missing something in that idea?