February 5th, 2010
06:49 AM ET

Why is the military publicizing its upcoming operations in Afghanistan?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - When it comes to launching a major military operation, most would assume that preparations are done secretly so as not to tip off the enemy.

So how do the U.S., coalition military and Afghan government prepare for a major clearing operation to eliminate the Taliban from an insurgent stronghold? Talk about it publicly ahead of time.

For months now, one of the worst kept secrets in Afghanistan's central Helmand region has been the forthcoming operation to take back control of the poppy-covered and Taliban-held Marjah district in the restive central Helmand
province region.

The area is home to some of the most serious fighting between the coalition and Taliban in the country, and also is some of the most fertile land in the country.

Helmand province is in southern central Afghanistan and is patrolled mainly by forces from the United Kingdom and U.S. Marines, and it has been on the coalition's radar for a long time as Taliban dug in and funded their
operations with money from poppy production.

Central Helmand is also home to the majority of the world supply of heroin, about 60 percent, according to U.S. government officials. The relationship of convenience between narco-traffickers and the Taliban brings in about $400 million to the Taliban from the poppy sales, "more than enough for them to conduct the kind of operations they do," according to a senior U.S. military official.

The U.S. military has been briefing reporters for months on basics, mainly that the Marjah region is the target of this operation. However,  officials have been leaving out details of how and when the operation will go down.

The British military even put out a press release with the name of the effort, Operation Moshtarak, which means "together" in Afghanistan's Persian-language dialect of Dari, saying the military is in the "shape" phase of the operation.

There have also been discussions with local governmental leaders about the operation, and those leaders have in turn spread the word around the local population.

So why, if the enemy is concentrated in one area, would the top commander in Afghanistan authorize the publicity of a major operation to go in, clear the area of Taliban and try to convince poppy growers to switch to wheat? It is a curious plan, but a plan that both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen agree with and signed off on.

The answer, it seems, is based on human nature. If you are told the military is going to conduct a major operation in your region and you are one of the bad guys, common sense says you pack up and leave.

But in this case, part of the message has been sent to the local population to let them know the Afghan government will support them if they change from growing poppy to growing wheat of other non-narco crops. That paves the way, the military hopes, for less combat and leaves Afghan and coalition forces with a local population, in theory, willing to work with them.

There are problems with this kind of plan, though. The Taliban have plenty of time to plant roadside bombs and leave other deadly surprises behind for the Afghan and coalition troops.

The military understands this and expects this, and is prepared for casualties - but the benefits outweigh the negatives, according to military officials.

If the local population understands ahead of time that the government and local security forces will deliver jobs and security, then the fight will not be that bad.

The Marjah model is something McChrystal is counting on working; if it does, it will be applied to numerous other problem areas around the country, according to U.S. military officials.

Proof that this could work is counter-intuitively based on the failure of U.K. troops in the same area last year. There was no support form the local government or Afghan forces and the local governances did not end up supporting
the local populations and remained influenced by the Taliban.

U.S. commanders are hopeful, and believe this formula of broadcasting the plans that will be more effective.

The question remains - if this does not work, where does that leave the U.S. and the Afghan government in the eyes of the local population who already are weary of their intentions?

soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. Addison Burgess

    Overall, the war coverage in Afghanistan has been much better than I thought it would be. Reporters have been very restrained and respected in publicizing military intell....reports are not endangered the military. The public has the right to know what going on with their sons and daughters.
    Burgess,

    February 19, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Larry K

    It not only saves lives of civilians but it also get the Enemy to get out before they are killed!!!n We are losing less Military by fighting the war this way...

    February 17, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. deepwater

    Here's the deal: In fighting a guerrilla war, it's sort of hard to find the little buggers to kill them. Unlike set piece battles where the enemy with the biggest suprise wins. With large army's you usually know where they are, and finding them not the problem. However, when fighting dish dash wearing tribesmen is a whole different story. Finding them is a problem. You gotta go root them out of their hiding spots. Often finding their booby traps along the way. It's much easier fighting these guerrilla types when they're grouped together, which they are rarely inclined to do. So you have to sort of encourage them to group together, and make them mad at the same time. Mad guerrillas are less cautious guerrillas. And one trick that the US Army learned in Iraq is to announce that you're gonna come take away their toys loadly, and often. This has a tendency to bow their backs, and make them want to come out to play, and in bigger groups then they normally play in. This makes them easier to kill, and killing them is the only mission directive.

    February 17, 2010 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tojo

    Help me understand.. The Taliban are financing their resistance through the sale of narcotics.
    The major consumers of these narcotics are the west. So we are actually paying for the bullets and explosives that are killing our soldiers. So isn't one of the obvious choke points in their supply chain the denial of their market ?

    February 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Juan

    I am sure most commanders have read Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" and not all might have been in agreement on this strategy, but you follow orders from the politicians, just like Nam.

    February 15, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Noah

    Loose lips sink ships! Thats what the the Navy says. We should keep our ops secret (between us and our allies) and not give the Tiliban and Al Qida a fair fighting chance if we want to WIN! How able we stick to some of the old strategies that has worked. We didnt tell the Nazis we were landing on Normandy Beach did we? I didnt think we did...

    February 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john burgess

    we tell them so the fools can get started blending in with all the familys and hide the grenade launchers I don't know why thet don't use sky writers to tell them

    February 15, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Dranetz

    It is the obvious objective, known to both sides. The build up is too big too hide.

    The Germans in 1945 knew the Russians were heading to Berlin.
    They couldn't stop them.

    The US taking of Okinawa, as were the other islands the pacific campaign, was no secret to the Japanese, it was in the logical path to Japan's main islands.
    This is not like an amphibious landing like Normandy, where the enemy can be tricked into believing it will take place at a different pin point location. This is a massed advance over a broad front.

    This is a final push for a death blow.

    February 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tanker

    In world war II US naval intelligence sent a message in the clear about Midway island ‘s lack of fresh water. This was used to determine if the Japanese intended to attack midway. When they saw radio traffic from the Japanese about the upcoming targets lack of fresh water they launched a surprise attack and won a major victory. I bring this up because we don’t know what the real reasons were for releasing this information.
    Let’s say you know of a high-level enemy commander is in a area. But this area is full of people. Going into the city will cause a great number of deaths. However if the commander thinks he will not be secure and you want to catch him running….what’s the best way?Or, you have the border and surrounding mountains covered with surveillance and you want to see where the enemy fade back into.
    Look I could go on and on with “what if’s” but I honestly think the military commanders are playing a different game than most of us believe. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt this time and see what happens.

    February 15, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. jnfrey

    Where the hell is Teddy Roosevelt? We're conducting a reality TV military campaign in Afganistan. Warn your enemies, wait a month, bravely go in, shoot straglers, declare victory, occupy, relax, then count your enemies as they return and blow your brains out while you're sleeping.

    February 15, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. Justin

    It make perfect sence you tell all the locals your coming to provide trust and a promise to test them a new skill and if they chose to stop growing poppy plants they can grow food for there own people and make money from there own people and there country is finally prosperuse and they can do it on there own cause when your poor you do things different when you have money right

    February 14, 2010 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    It is funny your talking about operation security or comsec and your talking openly on a internet site which has no legal basis in the usa for thrashing rights to talk. I firmly believe misinformation is alive and well for operations to attack the enemy as they are not carrying clubs and sitting around fires making paintings on walls for historians to find.

    If you really believe generals are telling the planet where we are moving to attack and giving a month long notice then count me in for a new revolution for we will never win that war.

    February 13, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. john

    "WAR IS OVER - IF YOU WANT IT"

    February 13, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. historian

    It is really unfortunate that yoy cannot continue your urge of killing in your own wild west. Foirget about winning hearts and minds. You wikk never manage it this way.

    February 13, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. fmendo

    It worked in Fallujah. We didn't tell them our exact routes, weapons employed, strengths or weaknesses, we told them we are coming and we said we aren't afraid to die.

    This press release will serve as a warning to those who continue to support the Taliban that like it or not Coalition Forces are coming and we have objectives so don't stand in our way.

    To the gentlemen saying he doesn't care about lives: That's no way to win a war in the middle east. We have to change our mindsets to adapt to our enemy. They put out propaganda messages saying we don't care about Muslims and when they see us killing innocent Muslims that makes them right. This war is not about religion it's about stopping the spread of hatred and terrorism. In order to achieve that goal we sometimes need to use a velvet glove.

    February 13, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  16. Subrata Datta

    I glanced thru all the blogs. Contributors are overwhelmingly men with a sprinkling of women – mothers & wives. Majority feel it was downright foolish to let the enemy know in advance ISAF's battleplans and critical of the media's role in reporting the war as it goes which tips off the enemy.

    I am not an American and in my mid 60s. The war in Vietnam was lost because McNamara told General Westmoreland what to do and how to fight the war and attrocities on civillians like the Mai Lai massacre reported shot by shot by the media AND the corrupt S. Vietnamese regimes propped up by the US.

    There are similarities with Afghanistan – a weak inept, corrupt & crook of a President who represents a section of the people only, who cares a damn for Afghanistan and is only interested in staying in power.. A charismatic Afghan leader could have made all the difference. The Afghans are not one people but several ethnic groups. They are all members of tribal groups where tribal ties are thicker than blood.. Britain at the height of their superpower status in the 19th century could not subjugate them nor could Imperial Russia and later the Soviet Union. It was very foolish of the Reagan administration to have armed the Afghan's to the teeth to take on the Soviet Union. The superpower rivalry – the American's Viet Nam and the Soviet Union's Afghanistan created an environment in Afghanistan in which the sneaky Pakistan made plenty of hay and doing it on a larger scale today.

    The ISAF can clean up an area of the Taliban but after that it will have to be the Afghan army & police's job. Are they upto it. This will decide the ultimate outcome. of the war on terror. This war cannot be lost. The cost of loosing the war on terror would be too terrible to think of.

    The other way to win the war would be an all out war against Afghanistan , Waziristan and Pakistan with no hold barred and no quarters given. Is that possible in the 21st century ?
    Subrata Datta

    February 13, 2010 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  17. Texas214

    The probably announce they will do one thing and then do something else. Its a psychological tatic, it keeps the enemy thinking and possibly stretches the defense lines.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  18. daffy22

    The war in afghanistan is liken to the indian wars in the states for one exception the indians were a lot braver than the taliban they didn't hide behind their women and children and elderly to kill there enemy they meet them on the battlefields of there on choosing.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  19. David

    The reason why they are telegraphing the attack is because that is what we did in Falluja, Iraq, and it worked perfectly. Those reaching back to WW2 for military analogies are ignoring recent history. This is a counter-insurgency. The enemy cannot defeat us militarily as long as we bring sufficient force to bear, which we theoretically have in this case. The objective then is to reduce civilian casualties, take the objective, then hold it with sufficient force to allow the legal government a chance to establish itself.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  20. Sam

    I won't go into the politics of this at this time but i often wonder if the military and civlians controling this have ever thought of biotech. Obviously there has to be a disease associated with the poppy plant that is indigenous to that plant only and would decimate the crop. It would seem this would be the first front,

    February 13, 2010 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  21. daffy22

    You have to stop a think you have appromoxily 80,000 people who live in the marjah region and they all look alike how are you going to know who are the taliban bad guys and who are not you are trying to call the bad guys out and seperate them from the good ones.what choice do you have other than killing indiscriminality are packing up and leaveing out.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  22. Troy

    I hope everyone can see that regardless who is president, the USA handles this war on terror the same way. The PR machine that manages this war is lousy.

    You publisize an Attack when you want the enemy to vacate. You publicize your actions when you want to make an impression on whoever knows what you are publisizing. In this this advertising is a win win for the administration. It lets all the 24 HOUR NEWS watchers know that obama is fighting the taloban, and it also allows the taloban a chance to get out of the town so the injuries on the usa are minimal and they can declare victory quickly.

    my 8 year old daughter deduced the above, I wonder how many of middle america did the same thing.

    Dumbing down our news and PR is so pathetic....

    February 13, 2010 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  23. JRC

    There are numerous reasons why this is, has been, and always will be a bad idea. Certainly the Taliban will move somewhere else; and that means that if we intend to prosecute a war, we will have to follow: something we have been singularly ineffective at to this date. Think of it this way: during the Revolutionary War, every time the British would move somewhere, the Americans would retreat, only to return when the British moved on. Why did it work? Because the British lacked the numbers to counter the behavior. It is one way for a small force to negate the power of a larger force, and is EXACTLY what has been going on to date. Couple this with the stupid "fortress" mentality fire bases (wherein the only terrain you truly control is the ground your base is built upon), and the people you need to convince of your success aren't your adversaries, they're your own citizens. I want to remind everyone that the land we are taking back was land that we supposedly had already "pacified." That means we will be paying for the same ground at least twice. Now let's go back and revisit the surge (of what 30,000?) which was supposed to provide enough troops to "get the job done." How many of the personnel actually have "Combat Infantry" as their MOS? For every single combat infantryman, there's going to be another seven to nine support personnel. That means the whole surge put down at maximum 10,000 more infantrymen; probably much less (realistically, probably in the neighborhood of 6,000). The Taliban know this; the Afghan people know this. Our own generals know this. Oh, and there's one more thing to worry about: the longer this goes on, the more experience the Taliban will accumulate, and the more likely they will be able to obtain more sophisticated weaponry (since we can't close the borders). And all this because we have a bunch of "yes men" for generals, fools for political leaders, and a public which lacks any kind of political or moral will to use the force necessary to finish this conflict once and for all.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  24. daffy22

    its to let your enemy know you are coming hoping for a gun fight at the o.k.corral.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  25. Brett

    Pardon my French but WHY THE F*#%K HAS THE BEST MILITARY IN THE WORLD BEEN IN SOME RINKY DINK 3RD WORLD COUNTY FOR 9 F*#%KING YEARS AND WE ARE JUST NOW GETTING TO ATTACKING A KNOWN TALIBAN STRONGHOLD!!!????
    I am at a loss for how confused, perplexed, puzzled and bewildered this makes me about our "military might".

    February 13, 2010 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  26. shane DEP

    they can give the operaton a super bowl commercial for all i care as long as we take out the taliban and the crops its all good

    February 13, 2010 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  27. Army Medic In Afgan

    To start I am deployed in the next provence over from the Helmand Area and think that this has to be one of the dumbest ideas that the military has done yet since my 7 months in this hell hole. Why on earth are you doing to let them have the time to plant more IED'S, when in the first place they are killing our guys without knowing our daily mission tempo. Its because the guys making these decision arent the ones that are trying to save there buddies lifes after they get blown up or shot. I'm sick of seeing my guys die or lose limbs ueo to the big mouths in CONGRESS. They could give two s**** about what happens to the soldiers, marines or airman that are over here living in piss poor conditions, As long as at the end of the day they get to go home to there families in there over priced homes from there over payed jobs.

    How about they come to this region and try to fight these guys after they have given them months of time to prepare the areas with more IED's. I glad to see that these so called politians can live with themselfs over the dumb ass decisions they are making. Because I have lost numerous hours of sleep due to watching my guys die.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  28. Pavlos Xorofas

    Well, sounds a lot like D-Day. The allies broadcast an invasion at Calais and what happens? The invasion is at Normandy.

    Look for the offensive some place else. Even under Zerobama, the military are not total nitwits.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  29. Matt

    So, why is it CNN is publishing the information? You guys pump out an article wondering whats going on with that, yet you publish the info..beats me. your'e the one causing the problem CNN.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  30. cherokeeqwerty

    I wonder if in 2012 that,,... 'if we are still fighting with the Taliban and we somehow have a major earth event that like the one on the movie 2012'. Earth plate tectonic displacement and polar shifting,,... where the middle eastern countries end up being the new WEST and we USA end up being the new Middle East and Afghanistan ends up being the new Midwest ,,....will we still be at war with each other or will we all be scratching our heads asking "Who the hell are we fighting again? " "Is it the West Or East, Middle East,,.. Middle West. Huh"!!!..., "Dang me and all of us for this stupid ungodly anomaly",,... "now we can't rightly tell who the hell were suppose to be fighting". We may as well all go on home now. Awe Shucks". "Well at least it was fun while it lasted"!!!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  31. eric

    its sad that we are unwilling to accept the fact that the war really can't be won. We are viewed as foreign invaders and that won't change in the eyes of the Afghan people.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Matt, Kabul

    Mike,
    Excellent article that captures the intent, as well as the risks, of the new type of effort going on over here. Doing this right will be difficult, but winning the trust and belief of the population is key to success.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  33. BillBob

    Why does it matter? Reporters will report once they get wind of it. Maybe the military were just trying to "get in front of the story." Or use the media to their advantage, God willing.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  34. tin22

    My husband, a U.S Marine, is there right now. All civilian communications with the base he is at have been shut down for this operation. I don't think I will get much sleep until I hear his voice agian. I pray for all the servicemembers and their families. This ain't easy, that's for sure..

    February 12, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Peter Chin

    Mr Drew,
    Ref No 11 5th Feb
    Unfortunately for the World at large, this "I dont care" (of hurts of other innocents) is a major cuase of events such as 9-11
    (and bytheway this war started not as US blaming the Talabans on 9-11, but that they refused to catch and surrender Osama to the them.)

    February 12, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Whine Lover

    Let’s hope that those weapons Reagan gave to the Taliban are getting too old to kill anyone.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  37. RCM

    Well, if we didn't publicize it one can easily skip over to Al Jazeerah where it's the front page story. Remember the inter-web?

    February 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Mike

    Just nuke the whole country and Pakistan and bring every American soldier back home safe.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Viewer

    In this topic: People who believe they are knowledgeable in unconventional warfare by citing conventional warfare. This is a new kind of war America has not experienced until this last decade.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  40. clr

    As a Mom of a Marine Scout Sniper who is right now somewhere in the thick of this – I can only say God Speed to my son, his Marine Brotherhood, and their allies. I love you son, and I am here... watching, pacing, and praying you come home to us soon! How did you grow up so fast on me like this?

    PROUD MARINE MOM!

    February 12, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  41. djlockerthebrain

    The U.S. won't be happy until it has 100% control over the poppy production in Afghanistan. That's how true drug cartels operate.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Doug

    Because out fearful leader has to warn his brothers in fear they will come after him...

    February 12, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Chad

    I've been reading these comments and I am pretty surprised at how simple many of you think wartime strategy is.

    I don't know whether or not this is a good idea or not, but I can see several likely outcomes which are of benefit to our mission.

    1. The taliban digs in, the civilians leave: bombs, anyone?

    2. The taliban digs in, some of the civilians leave: urban fighting, civilian casualties are not as significant, due to the well broadcast warnings.

    3. The taliban digs in, the civilians support them: what civilians?

    4. The taliban flood the region: awesome.

    5: The taliban leave: great, we get a very strategic point with the use of bomb squads, which we haven't had before, with minimal casualties. Guys, this is the most fertile location in Afghanistan, it's worth a lot to everybody.

    5.a the taliban counterattack after leaving: we defend our strategic point, the civilians like that we've protected them.

    5.b the taliban don't counterattack: well, sweet?

    5.a/b.1. We have a strong foothold in the most fertile place in a desolate country. As we convince them, by force or wiles, to switch to foodstuffs, the entire country benefits. Internal trade driven communities may begin to flourish.

    This is war, many many things could go wrong, but those are I think 5 likely responses to our announcement, and each of them has an upside. The alternative? Go in with no good clue who is friend or foe, dig in for periodic fighting upsetting to the civilians, causing general ill will. Then we take some random point in time, call it victory, and begin trying to make a surly population grow less valuable crops at the point of a gun.

    Hooray for our generals.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Stephen Grumman

    Did Eisenhower broadcast the landings on D-Day? Did we announce the retaking of the Philippines from the Japanese? The answer is no. Did the Soviets announce the building of the Berlin wall or their invasion of Hungary when things went sour for them there? Again, no. In fact, a lot of successful invasions have been kept very quiet and plans to deceive the opposing side have been seeded around to destabilize their defensive efforts – the invasion of Sicily is a classic.
    Now, if there is a failure, our military is up the proverbial creek without a paddle – and God help them.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Tim

    America's problem is all of our good generals and planners on this thread, not in Afganistan.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Amber

    It's right up there with publishing the inner workings of the TSA when they come up with suspicious individuals. That document was very clear on what we do. Good grief people, have we totally lost our marbles? Why not just raise the white flags in defeat? We're letting the public and our enemies in on way too much sensitive material. Oh wait, Obama's in charge...

    February 12, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  47. jim atmadison

    "Hey, dude! They're shooting at you!"

    "What? Oh, thanks!"

    Yeah, I can see how that'd be a problem.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  48. ....

    after reading some of these comments some people here think they are military masterminds. so join up and go yourselves if you want to tell everybody how to do it right

    February 12, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  49. LaGuy

    After reading many of these posts, I notice that nobody mentioned the Taliban's posted intent of assimilating into the local population as a disguise which will make the fighting more difficult and probably door to door for our troops. I wish our troops luck and hope our published plans have much more substance than what we see.

    February 12, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Kris in AL

    I WOULD ASSUME THAT THEY HAVE HAD DRONES OVERHEAD FOR WEEKS WATCHING AND LISTENING.

    THEY PROBABLY FOLLOWED THE BAD GUYS WHEREVER THEY WENT. THEY PROBABLY HOPED TO PICK UP ON RADIO/PHONE/SAT COMM TRAFFIC.

    THEY PROBABLY HAVE BEEN WATCHING THE BAD GUYS PLANT THEIR IEDs AND OTHER PREPARATIONS FOR FIGHTING A DEFENSE.

    February 12, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Keith

    Leave it to a liberal media to feel the need to broadcast everything. The Taliban is dug in there because of the media's last public announcement of the administration's policy of "not taking the fight into civilian populations...." Everytime the media speaks up the Taliban are listening, and reacting. For you people who think it's good strategy to announce we are coming most likely never served in the military. 24v24: newflash genius: we can monitor their movements and choking points WITHOUT TELLING THEM! Leave the advantage of suprise to OUR troops, you DON'T give it to the enemy! Conner: By your thinking we are going to go in and level the town! You are forgettting there are civilians in the town which THIS administration has already set rules of engagement to avoid civilian casualties at all cost! No massive equipment, no massive airstrikes. This will be a take it house-by-house campaign and it won't be pretty.... Eddie: airborne? d@mn you people watch way too many war movies......

    February 12, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  52. tihjai jahtii

    LONG LIVE THE MEDIA EMPIRE, CNN, FOX,NBC,ABC,CBS, AND ALL. THEY MUST BE VERY HAPPY, WITH jOHN WAYNE MCCRISTAL

    February 12, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Chris

    PATTON MUST BE ROLLING OVER IN HIS GRAVE..... NO ONE IS IN CHARGE AND NO ONE HAS A CLUE......

    February 12, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  54. icedawg

    I wonder why the Allied Forces didn't do this at D Day? What were they thinking? If the enemy moves out it seems that you will have to eventually encounter them somewhere else. They are not going to go away. To defeat them most of them must be killed.

    February 12, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  55. tihjai jahtii

    it is because Mccrystal, thinks that is is john wayne, and the afghan war is a picture. i is really, really stupid

    February 12, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Paul

    Wow, this post and most of the comments are based on a faulty premise, that it is possible to keep this secret from the Taliban. Aren't we doing this in conjunction with the Afghan army? The army periodically infiltrated with Taliban suicide bombers? I think the generals are working under the assumption that whatever the Afghan army knows the Taliban knows. Why not tell everybody else?

    February 12, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Braden

    He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. All warfare is based on deception. -Sun Tzu's the Art Of War. We are commiting one of the ultimate sins in offensive warfare and good soldiers are going to die because of it. Shame on our high command. My prayers go out to the troops involved in this offensive and may god be with them.

    February 12, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  58. nettie

    You know, this is part of the reason that all of our information is out there for all the world to see. This country doesn't understand the concept of surprise attack anymore. We publicize everything we do and we come up surprised when it doesn't work! We need to keep our media out of the battle stations and let this war be done with. We need to go over there do what we went to do in the first place. If we"re going to be in a war then we need to be able acually GO TO WAR. I don't want to be at war anymore than anyone else, but if we have to be over there then let those men and women do their jobs. All the publicity gets in the way of an effective war strategy. It allows our enemies to be one step ahead of us at all times. Why continually risk our troops because everyone and their mom think they have "a right to know"? Please, there are millions of things that we don't know about previous wars and we came out pretty good in most of those.......

    February 12, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  59. The Professor

    I have often asked the same thing. Why in the heck are our media 'broadcasting' our attack intentions? Anything to drive up ratings perhaps?

    Is there any way to win a war in the middle east? I wonder if the 'natives' think of us as the enemy or the friend, or both? The tribes in that area have been at war with one another for centurys. The Russians tried to win and couldn't. Now it appears to be our turn?

    I wish there were a simple answer. Maybe if we threw a Bar B Q, invited all the al Quida and Taliban then dropped the 'big one' on them, then ran like hell?

    February 12, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Instill fear

    Those people are fractious by nature. Give them a reason to fight another group and they will. The publicizing stirs up things among them. They will turn on the outsiders. If they don't shoot them they will point the fingers to where they are for us to shoot them.

    The fear of a large invasion by a superior force breaks their ranks.

    February 12, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  61. paul for canada

    this is the same as ww2, montgomery was told there was a safer place to invade, as the germans were well dug in and fortified , but montgomery said no we will meet them on the beaches, and gave instructions that if the rushing (storming) troops were injured or killed the infantry/military invasion must keep comeing, row after row, it was a slaughter that most of could have been avoided, but montgomery want to be invincible, what the afghans need is industry and jobs, wheat will be some income, they could cut out paper poppy,s to sell to the americans for flanders fields, life only once you can live it , and then what will be your end?

    February 12, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Edwin

    If I was a taliban, right now i would be having a water melon slush at least 1,000 miles from the attack and would get back as soon as cnn announces that the operation is over.

    February 12, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
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