At home with Noo and my dogs on a dark, thundery day by the lake.


4 Months, 5 days – Still sober.

 

The debate is afoot – ‘American special ops’ and related matters…

I seemed to have stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest with my adverse comments on the American Special Ops in yesterday’s blog, from two of my long term, much valued American readers.

As promised, I will publish their comments, and my replies below:

Rebel

May 05, 2011

One thing for sure Mobi, the Europe of today” is ” because of the humble Americans/Russians special operations of yesteryear.

I think the world in general is full of blowhards that need to re-live their past conquest through various means of embellishment. One only think of the recent royal nuptials as a prime example of the holier than thou mentality alive and well with the chip on the shoulder Brits as well.

Like I fondly like to remind my French, Italian and British friends, if it wasn’t for the Americans you’d be speaking German and making some pretty damn good cars instead of the P.O.S. you all produced.

Your feet are stained <—-The extent of my German:)

My response:

Hmm… I seemed to have touched a bit of a raw nerve here

So you’re still living on the glories of a war that was fought over 70 years ago, are you? We Brits might as well thank the Romans for giving us straight roads and the Normans for giving us the Doomsday book.☺

Look Rebel, no-one knows better than I how much Europe has to be grateful for the Americans for what they did for Europe in two world wars. In fact, for much of my life I have been extremely pro-American and have always stood up for them and defended them in the face of extreme hostility from almost every side in the past decade or so. Even today, I am still pro American and I do get upset when they are unfairly criticised from all quarters. In general terms I believe ‘their heart is in the right place’, but increasingly, they just seem to get it all wrong and fail to grasp what their role should be in the 21st century as so-called ‘leaders of the free world’.

The point I was making was not that they didn’t do a good job in taking out Bin Laden, and not that they aren’t probably the finest fighting force in the world, but the fact that they keep having to tell their own people of this, as if by doing so, they can erase the memories of all the military disasters of recent history. Excessive hubris in a nation’s psyche is not a pretty thing to see – brings to mind the nation to whom you referred who makes pretty good vehicles!!

But quite what the ridiculous nonsense of the Royal Nuptials has to do with this debate, is frankly beyond me. It is no different and no better than the nonsense that goes on in Hollywood every day of the week, and furthermore it could be argued that the Yanks were more excited about the wedding than the Brits were! What the Hell was that all about?


big skippy

May 04, 2011

Can anyone tell me about some successful specials ops that have been carried out by the Americans in the past 50 years? If they can, I will be happy to publish them.

There are quite a few actually. Operation Just Cause, Operation Acid Gambit, Operation Nifty Package, the SEALs various operations in connection with Operation Desert Storm, the Rescue of Captain Phillips from Somali pirates two years ago, Operation Celestial Balance, . . .

I agree with most of what you write though. The West (and the U.S. in particular) should never have involved itself in Iraq and should have limited its involvement in Afghanistan to eliminating the Taliban from government following 911. That region is not our back yard, and I get tired of hearing how it is necessary to get involved “to protect our interests”.

On a very much related point, the same goes for Israel and the Palestinians. Someone please tell me what benefit that is unique to the U.S. in supporting Israel at the tune of $3 billion per year (and an even greater amount to Egypt as a bribe to keep peace with Israel)? Unfortunately, these discussions are taboo in the U.S. and you never hear support for Israel questioned (if you do, you are of course an anti-semite).

I’m with you Mobi. As an American, I’m all for following the British example when they quietly extricated themselves as colonial masters of Pakistan, India and Israel and let them all figure it out themselves. Same goes for Libya now. My god, we are helping insurgents who were cheering in the streets after 911. Where’s the common sense?

My reply:

I have commented on your successful special ops list in today’s blog.

With regards to Israel, yet again, I regret I have to find fault with my American cousins. I think you will find that increasingly the USA is the only country who gives total, unquestioning support to Israel. Most of Europe, including the UK, are increasingly anti-Israeli in their sentiments as they simply no longer accept Israel’s belligerent and uncompromising stand on so many of the Middle East’s most difficult issues.

Remember, my father was a Russian Jewish refugee whose family fled the progroms in Czarist Russia, so for most of my life I have had strong sympathies for the Israeli cause; but during the past decade, my views have changed and I cannot see any sense or justification in much of what the Israeli leadership has done. Their policies seem to be dictated by extremists who are every bit as bad as the Jihad militants.

And let’s never forget that we probably wouldn’t have any anti-western, militant Muslim movements today if wasn’t for Israel. That doesn’t mean we should desert them, but much greater pressure should be put upon them to work towards a compromise settlement with their Palestinian neighbours, who they treat absolutely abominably.

Whenever the Israeli/Arab conflict come up on British radio, you will hear Jew after Jew call in and say that they do not support what is going on in Israel. It is very illuminating.

With regard to big skippy’s list of successful ops carried out by the Americans, I will deal with some of them in more detail below:-

1989 – Operation Just Cause – the invasion of Panama and the capture of the leader, general and dictator, Manuel Noriega.

1989 – Operation Acid Gambit – the rescue of Kurt Muse, an American CIA operative living in Panama, from a notorious prison in Panama City.

1989 – Operation Nifty Package – A Navy SEAL-operated plan to apprehend or prevent the escape of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. The SEAL Team was tasked with destroying Noriega’s private jet on the ground at the Punta Paitilla Airport, during which four SEALs were killed while eight more were wounded, but an AT4 rocket destroyed Noriega’s plane, resulting in the mission’s strategic success.

2009 – Operation Celestial Balance – was the successful helicopter assault by United States Special Operations Forces to kill the al-Qaeda linked terrorist Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan and associated al Shahaab militants in southern Somalia.

As you can see, the first three operations listed above were in connection with the USA’s invasion of Panama and my comments on these so-called ‘successful operations’, concerns the number of casualties; for in any operation of this nature, there must be a limit to the number of casualties suffered to justify the achieved objectives.

Reports suggest that the U.S. lost 23 troops and 325 were wounded. The U.S. estimated the number of Panamanian military dead at 205. But civilian casualties were unacceptably high. The United Nations estimated 2,500 deaths and the Association of the Dead of Dec. 20 estimated 4,000 deaths. The Commission for the Defence of Human Rights in Central American estimated 2,500-3,000 deaths and Commission for the Defence of Human Rights in Panama estimated 3,500 deaths. Former Attorney-General Ramsey Clark claimed over 4,000 deaths.

The UN report also concluded “relief efforts were inadequate to meet the basic needs of thousands of civilians made homeless by the invasion”. The report estimated the number of displaced civilians to be over 15,000, whereas the U.S. military provided support for only 3,000 of these. Other estimates have suggested that between 2,000 and 5,000 civilians died, some arguing that this was a result of use of excessive force and novel weapons by the U.S military.

Human Rights Watch’s 1991 report on Panama in the post-invasion aftermath, stated that even with some uncertainties about the scale of civilian casualties, the figures are troublesome because Panama’s civilian deaths reveal that the ‘surgical operation’ by American forces inflicted a toll in civilian lives that was at least four-and-a-half times higher than military casualties in the enemy, and twelve or thirteen times higher than the casualties suffered by U.S. troops. By themselves these ratios suggest that the rule of proportionality and the duty to minimize harm to civilians, where doing so would not compromise a legitimate military objective, were not faithfully observed by the invading U.S. forces.


With regards to Operation Celestial Balance in 2009, my comments on this are:

On July 12, 1993, some 5 months before the disastrous ‘Black Hawk Down’ operation, a United States-led operation was launched on what was believed to be a safe house where General Mohamed Ali Farrah Aidid, a controversial Somali military leader was hiding in Mogadishu, Somalia. During the 17-minute combat operation, U.S. Cobra attack helicopters fired 16 TOW missiles and thousands of 20-millimeter cannon rounds into the compound, killing 60 people including women and children.

As it happened, General Aidid was nowhere in sight. The operation also led to the deaths of four western journalists who were killed by angry Somali mobs when they arrived to cover the incident. Many believe that this American attack was a turning point in unifying Somalis against U.S. efforts in Somalia, including former moderates and those opposed to the Habar Gidir.

So without this ill-conceived operation, there may have never been any al-Qaeda linked terrorists in Somalia in 2009 for the American forces to kill.

As I said in my reply to Rebel’s comment – believe it or not, I am NOT anti- American , but let’s face it, since World War two, with the possible exception of Operation Desert Storm, (in which they were by no means the only fighting force, all be it the largest), they haven’t exactly distinguished themselves in the fields of battle.

But what do I know ? I’m just a whore-mongering alkie with a pickled brain….

Buttttttttttttt

6 thoughts on “At home with Noo and my dogs on a dark, thundery day by the lake.”

  1. Yes, I do agree with you on the public celebrations. It was certainly over the top, undignified and not worthy of a country who claim to have to moral high ground where civilised behaviour is concerned.

    Every country have their yobs and rogue elements who behave badly in public places, but from what I could see, these celebrations were carried out by mainly young, educated, middle class, main stream Americans…. It does make you wonder.

    As for turning Bin laden into a martyr – well I disgaree with you here. He was already a virtual martyr – dead or alive – worshipped by millions of Muslim fanatics. I fail to see that killing him can hardly make things any worse than they already were. We shall see.

    Thanks for your good wishes….☺

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  2. I think a lot of people are of the opinion that the Nurenberg trials were held as a precedent and that precedent no longer applies if the US so desires to become the sole rule of law on the planet. This can hardly be called a Democracy then can it?.

    What I found sickening was the celebrations in the US that the bogey man was dead, I mean what form of cumulative and mass hysteria is that?. Very scary and a sign that the population are subject to such brainwashing. There were no such demonstrations of glee, nay, gloating, in Madrid or London over Bin Laden’s assasination which in itself shows a far greater social maturity and certainly a far greater knowledge of world affairs. All that the US have achieved here is to create a martyr which is exactly what keeps these movements going. And the pictures are too gory to be released?. Jeez!. Anyone watched CSI or NCIS recently?.

    Keep it up Mobi – glad to see that you have finally got yourself unfankled and are moving right along.

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  3. With regards to Israel, my problem is with successive American governments (also my cousins!) and their slavish compliance with the powerful Jewish lobby, not with you, dear Skippy, as on this subject we seem to be agreed.

    As regards to the success or otherwise of American ops, I was merely trying to point out that even in success, many of these victories were in some way tainted. But I guess that is the nature of the beast.

    I will let your comments be the last word on this…. for now☺

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  4. You mention: “With regards to Israel, yet again, I regret I have to find fault with my American cousins. I think you will find that increasingly the USA is the only country who gives total, unquestioning support to Israel.”

    Yes, absolutely! This is entirely consistent with my point on US support of Israel, so I’m not sure what fault you’re referring to. We seem to be in agreement here. After the U.S. Liberty fiasco and Jonathan Pollard case, just to name two instances, it’s a shame that we in the US aren’t asking what value, if any, Israel provides us as a friend.

    As for the “success” of past special operations, and the casualty figures you supply, I think your numbers are with respect to the total effort to oust Noriega (i.e. all special ops and convential ops), not with respect to the particular special operations I mentioned that were carried out within the overall effort to oust Noriega. Looking at each particular operation, rather than the entire invasion effort, would these be considered “successes” under your calculus?

    This idea of “success” in a special operation begs the question of what exactly this term means. I think you provide a good start when you state “for in any operation of this nature, there must be a limit to the number of casualties suffered to justify the achieved objectives.” Nevertheless, this good start still begs the question of measuring the cost (loss of life) against the benefit (value of objective). Reasonable minds can disagree on this. Sticking with WWII (a recurring theme here for some reason), were the Russians “successful” against the Nazis? They achieved their objective of defending the Soviet Union, however, the cost in terms of human life was immense. Same with the D-Day invasion or the A-bomb drops on Japan. Yes, the objectives were met, but the costs were huge. Were these failures or successes?

    For Operation Celestial Balance, my understanding is that the objective was achieved and did not involve General Aidid. In fact, I think you might be referring to a different operation entirely (the following is from Wikipedia, which I know is not the most reliable of sources, however, other less concise references are consistent with this):

    “The Barawee raid, code named Operation Celestial Balance, was a helicopter assault by United States Special Operations Forces against the al-Qaeda linked terrorist Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan and associated al Shahaab militants near the town of Baraawe in southern Somalia.”

    I think you are referring to Operation Restore Hope, which occurred three years earlier and was part of a UN security council measure. I’m not sure about the casualty figures you mention, but apparently this is another special operation considered by some to be a “success” (again, from Wikipedia):

    “As UNITAF’s mandate was to protect the delivery of food and other humanitarian aid, the operation was regarded as a success. United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali determined that the presence of UNITAF troops had a “positive impact on the security situation in Somalia and on the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance.”

    On a completely unrelated point, congratulations on your continued sobriety, Mobi! I enjoy your blog.

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  5. Just answered you but it disappeared!!!

    Can’t be bothered doing it all again, but very briefly; regarding the Royal Wedding, (which you know I have already vehemently criticised), the world’s media camped out in London and IMHO were even more vomit-provoking in their coverage than the BBC. At least the BBC had a peak time, 30 minute segment, devoted to anti-monarchists who want to change Britain into a republic. (Fair and balanced – to quote a well known cable news network…)

    Also… if I understand you correctly on your criticism of Fox, I can assure you that their coverage has been every bit as patriotic as every other American channel…. it was my own twisted little mind that came up with the list of the American ops failures…

    We all love you Yanks on this blog… if we didn’t care, we ex-colonials wouldn’t take the trouble to criticise our errant children who have flown the nest…

    Peace indeed☺

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  6. You said…..

    “If I hear another American commentator spew more of this patriotic drivel from his lips, I swear I will puke up!”

    I said……..

    One only think of the recent royal nuptials as a prime example of the holier than thou mentality alive and well with the chip on the shoulder Brits as well.

    I found it humorous that you would comment on “patriotic drivel” Mobi after the example of the same nonsense provided to the world by the “royal nuptials”.

    As for the excited Yanks about the royal circus in todays post, what can I say. Europe did empty out it’s prisons of undesirables to populate our lands. I’m not sure how many generations it’ll take to breed out loyalist/elitist birthright mentalities in either of our countries. I do believe we’re ahead of the curve in that respect.

    As for your Hollywood comment, it not a budget line item to U.S. taxpayers.

    The only nerve you struck are the comments only about past failures, instead of the current and past success. A common tactic of FOX news pundits with a conservative political opinion agenda. You already know what I think about them ad nauseam.

    Bottom line I’m glad the S.O.B. swims with the fishes and salute the men/women who made it happen.

    I am now watching the President at ground zero, I did have the privilege to be part of the honor guard at some of the firefighter memorials after 911. I saw the pile with my own eyes and the bodies being removed as we stood in silence. My only regret on this subject is I didn’t put the bullet in Osama’s head!

    Peace……Rebel

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