Monday, September 15, 2008

Pakistan War?

El País (Spain) is reporting that Pakistan's armed forces forced US helicopters out of Pakistani air space by firing shots at them: Fuerzas paquistaníes frenan con disparos a helicópteros de EE UU 15.09.2008.

No casualties were reported. But this is the military version of scope creep. Part of what's happening is that the US has been making military strikes on Pakistani villages trying to carry out assassination by missile. This kind of thing tends to make people angry. The same kind of thing is happening in Afghanistan, and it's wrecking what's left of any chance for a positive outcome to the Afghanistan War.

There could certainly be circumstances, such as solid intelligence on a key Bin Laden operative, that could just justify such a strike into Pakistan without getting the permission of the Pakistani government. But it's one thing to send in a team of Special Forces with a targeted operation. Attempting assassination by missile as a regular practice is one more example of the self-defeating faith in air power that causes so much trouble for US military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It sounds appealing as a hypothetical. In practice, the results aren't so impressive.

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