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Russians invade Afghanistan
Dan Rather of CBS News appeared live (e.g.
uncensored) on Larry King from Afghanistan and announced:
KING: In a little while we'll he talking with Shimon Peres, the
foreign minister of Israel. We'll get Dan's thoughts on that as well, of course.
Dan Rather is with us from Kabul, Afghanistan. Have you
run in to any Russians?
RATHER: Yes, Larry, I'm glad you mention it. I think the Russians involvement
in what's going on in Afghanistan now is a vastly underreported story. No. 1,
the Russians had a full division, I think it was called the 201st, at least an
armored division right on the border of Afghanistan, and units of that division
and other Russian troops have been very much involved in what's been happening
lately, but they have kept themselves as much as possible out of sight.
There are reports, I have not been able to confirm them, but there are
reports that I do believe that what amounts to Russian special forces are, have
been operating for some time now even south of Kabul in the effort to make
Kandahar fall. And the Russians rushed in here with a humanitarian
They beat the Americans in here and nearly everybody else with humanitarian aid
setup. In fact just across this wall from where I'm talking, the Russians have
their version of a tent city, and have started their humanitarian aid operation.
This is an official Russian government operation as I understand it. So they're
very much involved here. What they are doing, Larry, is
the Russians are dealing themselves a hand and they want to deal themselves a
very big hand in what happens in Afghanistan next.
By the way, they have already opened their embassy where our State
Department is saying, well, we may have the embassy open in two weeks to a month
or something like that. Now, I think part of what the United States State
Department is doing is sending a signal to the Afghans, look, we're not trying
to impose our will on you. And of course, there's a lot of animosity in this
country with the Russians because of what happened during the 1980s.
KING: And are the Russians trying to change that? Is this a different kind of
Russia in there than was there years ago?
RATHER: Yes, this is a smiling bear. That's the reason they are placing, their
whole emphasis is on humanitarian aid. They are keeping --their
military operations have been almost virtually secret. I did see a sign
yesterday, in fact, I saw three signs yesterday, Larry, in and around Kabul,
scribbled signs, sort of graffiti, that said polar bear, go home.
The inference could not be any clearer, that this Afghans who wrote that want
the Russians to go back up north. But the Russians are
dealing themselves a very big hand here, they, along with the Iranians,
Pakistanis, Indians, they're all going to be involved in the future of
Afghanistan and that's one of the things that worries the Afghans the most just
Here is the link to Rather's interview: http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0112/03/lkl.00.html
Although every Afghan faction has at
least one of these countries as a supporter the rest will never except their
input. This is the historical tragedy of Afghanistan. I've been informed that the 201st is not an armor
division but an under strength Motor Rifle Division that's stationed in
Uzbekistan and has interceded on behalf of the NA a great many times in the last
five years. It was stationed first at Kunduz and then moved to Naibabad during
the Soviet occupation. It was one of the last units to withdraw from Afghanistan
in Feb. 89 and has remained in what is now Uzbekistan ever since.
This article from
appeared in the 6 March 1999 issue of "The Cyber-Caravan ' under the title:
Taliban - a Model for "Islamicising" Central Asia?
"The history of Afghanistan demonstrates that
seizing Afghanistan is the easiest part. Retaining control is the difficult
part. As the winter snows melt and the military campaign season begins anew,
the fighting will again flare up. But the real challenge, to restore Afghanistan
to peace and prosperity, will wait. The Taliban have demonstrated, so far, that
they are not up to the challenge. To effectively rule, they must moderate their
policies, broaden their base of support and participation and draw the
intellectuals and professionals into their ranks."
Ed. Where were the Marine Cobra attack helicopters
during the Kandahar fighting?
C-17s were flying into that "Fort Rhino" airbase, why not A-10s? And why not fly
in Marine M1A1 tanks aboard the C-17s and send them into the fight? Maybe its the
weather, but since the US military has reported zero combat deaths from enemy
action thus far, I
think its fair to call General Franks ground plan "timid".
They should have used Marines to surround Kandahar and blocked the retreat BEFORE
they bombed Kandahar. I know this is
armchair quarterbacking, and no one wants GIs killed. However, the
goal should have always been to trap al Qaeda, not to scatter them with
constant bombings in order to capture Afghan cities.
That Larry King interview was interesting because
none of the networks chose to broadcast that breaking news, or maybe they
consider the CBS anchorman on the scene in Afghanistan to be a "conspiracy
Are Admirals Afraid to Fight?
I read the "Streetfighter" article linked in your editorial; seems to be the PT boat for the
future. Small ship, small crew, capable of taking out enemy high-value
assets (HVAs) before the US Navy's HVAs can be threatened/attacked by enemy HVAs.
Seems to be the problem the Navy has had for a long while: don't get close
to a brawl.
The Streetfighter is a PT boat; the Rocket Cruiser [an idea of mine for a cheap,
armored fire support ship to support forced landings] or Monitor Battery Craft
[another idea on a potential small fire support craft carried on an LHD/LHA
(large naval landing ships that carry Marine Expeditionary Units, like those
sent to Afghanistan) for landing support] is designed to support the landing
force. Wars aren't won until you stand on the territory. If an enemy
invests in cheap, numerous systems and decoys up the wazoo, all the OMFTS
[Operational Maneuver From The Sea, a Navy proposal to keep the ships over the
horizon while sending the Marines ashore in helicopters and new fast track
amphibious craft] nonsense comes home to roost for the Marines. And the
Navy will have to risk its woefully under-armed HVAs in close, or be forced to
leave the area. That leaves the USAF and Airborne forces as the only
potential saviors, but without local mobility and firepower, they get cut off
and destroyed because the Navy won't risk HVAs in a forced landing. Then
the T-shirt that points out the Marines are the Men's Department of the Navy
will become cruelly true.
I have been saying the Achilles heel of the US military is casualties for a
decade. The Navy will plead poverty as to why it can't do the landing force
mission, conveniently forgetting the money squandered on nonsense like
converting Ohio SSBNs to Tomahawk missile ships and V-22 crash and
burn aircraft. They can't/won't be able to move ships to the Pacific,
because the Panama Canal will be under the control of Beijing allies in Panama,
and the ambush in the Suez will block that passage also. [COSCO (China
Overseas Shipping Company) has the leases on the bases at Balboa and Colon since
1999. They have containers all over the place; suppose some have weapons
to prevent the Canal from being used by US ships in a crisis?]
War is dangerous; casualties will occur. Good leaders know this, and plan
to make sure the mission is accomplished with as few casualties as possible, but
the mission WILL BE accomplished. If simple measures can reduce
casualties, use them. PT boat crews knew they were in danger, but they
followed their leaders.
The Navy leadership needs to get to the crypt at Annapolis more often and stand
in the presence of the remains of the man who made the Navy. "I
have not yet begun to fight" seems to have become "I don't want to
risk the paint job on my precious ship." "Give me a good ship
and a stout crew, because I intend to sail in harm's way" gets reduced to
"We need more expensive standoff weapons because our ships are TOO
expensive to think about going near nasty people."
Better ship a full boxcar of Viagra to the Navy Department; one box isn't going
to be anywhere near enough.
Larry A. Altersitz
My favorite part of that article was when a Navy officer expressed concern that
recruiting and retention would be harmed if sailors thought they might be killed
My September article
about 21st Century battleships mentioned a 1996 article by LtCmdr Rick Denny
where he proposes using 5-inch and 16-inch guns for missile defense. It has now
been added to G2mil at: http://www.g2mil.com/A-BETTER-NAVY-ABM.pdf
Dies in a Perfect War
Here is an article which supports your suspicion
that US combat deaths are covered up: Afghanistan:
US Casualties Spiral.
Great Anti-Armor Weapon
We're in agreement here. The LOSAT
is a stupid idea. You know what I think would be the
perfect weapon for light tanks? The 30mm GAU-8A Avenger
cannon. Plenty of 'em sitting around in scrapped A-10's, they're still in
production, they have excellent range, and they are equally well suited for
anti-aircraft, anti-armor, anti-personnel and fortifications. A light tank
could carry about 2,000 rds- enough to kill 40 tanks! Modify an up-armored
M113A3 to mount a remote turret, target it with a 2nd Gen FLIR and you'd
have one hell of a potent C-130 transportable tracked, armored,
The "Assault Boot" is an excellent idea, for the most part. The only part
I don't like is the steel shell.
1. You ever worn steel-tipped jumpboots in cold weather?
That tip gets frozen, and it's numb toe city.
2. Steel is very heavy
3. Steel is not very effective as ballistic protection
Take the same idea, but use 3 layers of Kevlar. Significantly
more protection, less weight, and your toes won't freeze. Then you could wear 'em all the
time! They'd cost more though. In the 'early' days of composite
materials (Kevlar is a
woven composite), flat panels were pretty much necessary. Nowadays however, it can be woven in a
variety of shapes. Also, soft kevlar could be used in
any areas that were unsuitable for the hard panels. I
really do like your idea though, i would definitely
welcome such boots. I think I can safely speak for all
grunts when I say landmines (the enemy's at least) are no
friend of ours.
Ed. I wasn't sure how "workable" hard kevlar is, so I
stayed with steel. So far we have a Marine and a Soldier sent home from
Afghanistan without a foot from stepping on small mines.
Boots Have Been Proven
I like the "Assault Boot" idea and checked around the Internet.
They are already made by a company called Wellco, and have already been
successfully tested by the Army at Aberdeen. Check
this link: Wellco
Blast Protective Footwear.
Ed. Great find! So
the question is why aren't these boots worn by every Soldier and Marine in Afghanistan
right now? One Soldier e-mailed that their claim of successful tests may
be overrated, but thought he may be thinking of older tests with steel plates.
Two others noted the Israelis tested the idea several years ago and rejected
it. The design I proposed in my article was for the entire foot to be
protected to keep it from becoming detached.
Transforming the Army
Colonel McGregor article was interesting, to say the least. He points
out the problems associated with transforming the Army into what is needed both
now and in the future, rather than having new platforms that do the same thing
as before. On the C2 level, it almost sounds like Gordon Dickson's "Dorsai"
concept is what we should strive to achieve.
As I watch some of the news on the Afghan situation, I am reminded that for all
the firepower unleashed, the cry is still for troops on the ground. Even
if we talk about 4th Generation asymmetrical warfare by an enemy, as Emery
Nelson pointed out, the reality is that the victor controls the ground, not
merely denies it to the other side. Ferhenbach's "Lessons"
chapter in "This Kind Of War" gets to be more prescient and perceptive
So the Army needs to have the organization and equipment to be the decisive
effect in any future situation, but is dependent on the other Services for
mobility assets to get the decisive force to the battleground. Organization
can run the gamut from status quo thru Heinlein as the ultimate individual
weapon, with a stop at Pournelle for a light infanrty force and Laumer for the
"BOLO". Most people with some military experience have drawn up
a TO&E of a "perfect" force at one time or another. Equipment
should be simple, robust, LIGHT, dependable and easy to move.
I don't want to go further, because I'm getting very close to Platitude
But the focus seems to be on combat forces. What about sustainment forces,
or those used in "nation-building" like the National Guard
roadbuilders in Panama? Or MEDCAP operations? What about economic
assistance/guidance? Police functions? Can we, as a Service, get
outside the bureaucratic inertia that prevents ideas and equipment from being
adopted in a timely fashion?
As an example, if/when the Army gets seriously involved in Columbia to combat
drug trafficking and/or prevent FARC/ELN from taking over, our soldiers may be
seriously out-communicated by the bad guys, since they will have cell phones and
computers down to a low level. Is the Army working on a plan to equip our
soldiers with machines that will allow them to feed into and from the seamless
web of the Intelligence fusion? If PFC Snuffy grabs a bad guy, will his
helmet camera take the picture that can be compared against the data base of
known leaders, so that the big Blue Light goes on somewhere and this individual
is whisked to an Intel center ASAP? Or will the bad guy get slowly
processed back, with the possibility that his compadres will attempt to
rescue/kill him before he can be used against them, because they learned of his
status via a cell phone?
Mobility seems to be the key. One is reminded of the Bedford Forrest
dictum each time things happen overseas. I really like Carlton's C-747 concept
for a multi-year buy to get mobility for the Army. Mike Sparks' and the
Lighter Than Air craft for moving masses of men and equipment to back up forward
based forces is something else that should be examined carefully. If the
US can't get the necessary forces to a critical site in a timely fashion, is the
NCA prepared to go the hard route to dig someone out, with the attendant
And, as an aside, where does the Army fit into Homeland Defense? Sounds
sort of silly, but we don't seem to be in the business of DEFENDING this country
by keeping the borders unbreached. And if we are the decisive strategic
effort and hold the ground, why aren't we involved in holding our borders?
Larry A. Altersitz
Light Tanks Can Fire 120mm Guns
In your article in the December issue of G2mil you wrote:
"Light tanks cannot fire 120mm guns, and even 105mm guns pose
problems." I do not know what you understand as a "light tank" but do you know
our 120mm compact gun (CTG) which can fire standard tank ammunition from a light
vehicle - as a LAV-25? The 120 mm CTG has a L50 barrel. The velocities are between the L44 and the
L55 from Rheinmetall. The version for light vehicles like the CV90120 has a pepper box style
muzzle brake and a longer recoil length than the standard L44 (Leopard 2,
I think a 120mm gun would make a wheeled LAV far too top-heavy, which is already a
problem with the 105mm gun. I guess the Russians/Ukrainians were impressed
with my "Tank Roof" concept in the November issue; it was reposted on
armor website in Kiev.
Tactical Surprise in Afghanistan
Last month you wrote about the
Delta/Ranger raid: "The airfield selected for the raid was the only
one which had not been attacked by American aircraft. It seems the
Taliban determined that this was not an oversight, and prepared accordingly."
That's one I hadn't heard before and because it's
so obvious I wouldn't believe it, but after doing some checking,
sure enough! However the fact that Mullah Omar left three hours before the
raid after spending several weeks there tells me that they probably had some
pretty good info on the time of attack. Taken all together, even a CIA
"anal-ist" would say it's a "preponderance of evidence.
No operation goes as smoothly as the one
described here: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=25783
but it's still a good overall article. I'm convinced that there was an
airlift at Kunduz and that OBL/al Qaeda/Taliban did escape across the border by
using diversions like the White Mountains wild goose chase.
Ed. The US military
had announced the airfields it would use in Pakistan. I think there was
a Taliban local near each airfield with a cell phone, and if a large number of
helicopters arrived to refuel, he made a call. Remember that a Marine
CH-53E even took fire refueling at one Paki airfield.
Marines occupied this airfield in early December "Camp Rhino" which
can accommodate C-17s. This was an ideal choice since it has miles of
barren desert between the nearest village or road. No Afghan had any
business near the place, making it easy to defend. For reasons I fail to
understand, they decided to move the Marines to Kandahar Airport, next to a city
with busy roads running by the place. This is far, far less secure, especially
for aircraft. Now the base will attract refugees, Afghan tourists,
snipers, and truck bombers. They've even hired locals to work on base to
help out their economy, which is extra stupid from a security standpoint.
Doesn't anyone remember the 1983 Beirut bombing?
Army Secretary in Trouble
hoping that our new Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White would uncover the LAV
scam. This paragraph is an excerpt from White's official bio taken from a
DOD website, www.army.mil/leaders/Secarmy/bio.htm
Ed. Mr. White can claim one of two things:
"...Prior to his
appointment as Secretary of the Army, Secretary White served as Vice Chairman of
Enron Energy Services, the Enron Corporation subsidiary responsible for
providing energy outsource solutions to commercial and industrial customers
throughout the United States. Mr. White was responsible for the delivery
component of energy management services, which included commodity management;
purchasing, maintaining, and operating energy assets; developing and
implementing energy information services; capital management; and facilities
management. Secretary White also served as a member of Enron's Executive
Committee and was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Enron Operations
Corporation. He was also responsible for the Enron Engineering and Construction
Company, which managed an extensive construction portfolio with domestic and
international projects. ..."
His bio makes it clear that White was no
minor functionary at Enron, which collapsed last month after questionable
accounting was uncovered. He became SecArmy only on May 31, 2001. Enron
has been a major contributor to the Republican party and to the Bush (II)
campaign. It would be most interesting to know "what White knew
and when did he know it" about the Enron collapse, about stock transfers
upon leaving Enron, and what did Bush Admin'n officials know about the coming
Enron collapse when White was given the SecArmy position. I suspect he
will be afraid to rock any boats in the Pentagon since his is already flooded.
1. He was part of one of the largest
criminal scams in US history.
2. He was grossly incompetent and failed
to notice anything unusual at Enron, which makes him a poor choice to lead any
organization, much less the US Army.