Finally Fighting To Win

General Bantz John Craddock-  Commander, U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) for NATO and the commanding officer of Allied Command Operations (ACO).Finally, after years of NATO forces waging a running war against the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere across the globe, the military commanders involved are finally ready to prosecute the war in an efficient and proven manner. NATO’s senior military commander, General Bantz John Craddock, has proposed that the alliance’s soldiers in Afghanistan shoot drug traffickers as enemy combatants.

NATO is finally fighting to win this war.

General Craddock understands that, in order to win the war against the Islamists and their jihadi terrorist cells, NATO has to do a lot more than just fight a long war of attrition against their forces.

BERLIN — NATO’s senior military commander has proposed that the alliance’s soldiers in Afghanistan shoot drug traffickers without waiting for proof of their involvement with the Taliban insurgency, according to a report in the online edition of Der Spiegel magazine.

The commander, Gen. John Craddock of the United States, floated the idea in a confidential letter on Jan. 5 to Gen. Egon Ramms, a German officer who heads the NATO command center responsible for Afghanistan, Spiegel Online reported Thursday.

General Craddock wrote that “it was no longer necessary to produce intelligence or other evidence that each particular drug trafficker or narcotics facility in Afghanistan meets the criteria of being a military objective,” the news magazine reported. A NATO official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the wording of the letter, and several NATO officials said publicly on Friday that no such orders had ever been given to NATO troops.

— Judy Dempsey
NY Times article, January 30, 2009

Yes! Finally! At least General Craddock knows that NATO has to destroy the infrastructure that the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the other terrorists use to fund and arm their organizations. A protracted engagement that attacks only the terrorists’ and insurgents’ – all too disposable – fighter will not win this war.

We didn’t win WW2 by just fighting troops in the field. We leveled the Nazis’ and Japan’s manufacturing capabilities. Allied bombing raids destroyed the factory districts – at a minimum – of dozens and dozens of Axis cities. That is to a large extent what gave the Allies their victory; we denied Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo the ability to effectively supply and arm their militaries.

The only functional difference between WW2 and the War on Terror, in this respect, is the nature of the enemies infrastructure. In WW2 the enemy were nations with heavy industry capabilities. In the War on Terror the enemy are bands of jihadis with little or no manufacturing capability but with access to large amounts of money from the international drug trade. In both cases, however, the enemy is dependent upon static resources and extended supply lines.

If NATO starts launching operations against the drug traffickers, we’ll break the Taliban and Al-Qaeda’s supply lines. If NATO starts – finally – destroying the opium poppy fields in Afghanistan and Pakistan, we’ll destroy what passes for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda’s manufacturing capabilities. It will be a lot harder for these terrorists and insurgents to wage war or launch terror attacks against the civilians of the Civilized World if they can’t afford ammunition for their Kalashnikovs, grenades for the RPG-7s, and sundry other munitions and explosives.

Of Course There’s Dissent

According to Spiegel Online, who illegally obtained classified NATO documents, the directive to attack the Taliban and Al-Qaeda’s opium and heroin infrastructure has caused open rift inside NATO.

A dispute has emerged among NATO High Command in Afghanistan regarding the conditions under which alliance troops can use deadly violence against those identified as insurgents. In a classified document, which SPIEGEL has obtained, NATO’s top commander, US General John Craddock, has issued a “guidance” providing NATO troops with the authority “to attack directly drug producers and facilities throughout Afghanistan.

According to the document, deadly force is to be used even in those cases where there is no proof that suspects are actively engaged in the armed resistance against the Afghanistan government or against Western troops. It is “no longer necessary to produce intelligence or other evidence that each particular drug trafficker or narcotics facility in Afghanistan meets the criteria of being a military objective,” Craddock writes.

The NATO commander has long been frustrated by the reluctance of some NATO member states — particularly Germany — to take aggressive action against those involved in the drug trade. Craddock rationalizes his directive by writing that the alliance “has decided that (drug traffickers and narcotics facilities) are inextricably linked to the Opposing Military Forces, and thus may be attacked.” In the document, Craddock writes that the directive is the result of an October 2008 meeting of NATO defense ministers in which it was agreed that NATO soldiers in Afghanistan may attack opium traffickers.

— Susanne Koelbl
Spiegel Online article, January 28, 2009

What amazes me is that these people admit that $100 million flows each year to the Taliban and its allies from the opium and heroin industry, but refuse to see that this makes those industries viable targets in the Civilized World’s War on Terrorism and the Islamists.

But then it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that there are some – even with NATO it’s sad to say – that don’t want the War on Terror to be won. Some Europeans are afraid of the “domestic consequences” that a pragmatic war against the Taliban and other Islamist might cause among their growing and increasingly “unruly” Muslim populations. Others – like Spiegel – probably see a protracted, but ineffectual war as a steady means of income. Finally, some hate President-emeritus George W. Bush so insanely virulently that no cost – not even the murder of innocent children in the Civilized World – is too high a price to pay to defeat anything that started on his watch.

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3 Responses to “Finally Fighting To Win”

  1. Russ Says:

    Finally, fighting to win. It is one of the few policies of the 1930s and 1940s worth resurrecting.

  2. Josh Brandt Says:

    Russ, Jonolan, I fully agree. The sooner everyone starts fighting seriously, the shorter this war will take.

    btw, I like how you used the full name of the AK-47

  3. jonolan Says:

    Thanks, Josh. It’s gratifying to see at least a few people understand the basic facts of conflict.

    As for using Kalashnikov instead of AK-47, that’s just something I’m used to doing. A lot of people outside the US refer to the weapon by its full name instead of its old military designation, and I’ve spent a fair amount of time among them.

    Sadly, in some of those places young or teen boys are called kalash’s because getting their 1st Kalashnikov is a coming of age thing…

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