Bush backs away from all-out war

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Is there a ray of hope that the War Against Terrorism will not be so mismanaged as to trigger World War III?

Hyperlink: http://www.smh.com.au/news/0109/27/world/world1.html

Bush backs away from all-out war

By Gay Alcorn, Herald Correspondent in Washington, and agencies

Copyright, The Sydney Morning Herald, Fair Use for Educational and Research Purposes Only

The United States will try to root out terrorists and help the Afghan people overthrow the Taliban in a radical switch of strategy from a massive military campaign to destroy the regime. Despite US moves to surround Afghanistan with a force capable of invasion, the US Defence Secretary, Mr Donald Rumsfeld, said there would be no "D-Day".

Instead, the campaign would be a mixture of visible and invisible operations which would be long-term, dangerous and involve casualties. President George Bush, retreating from his warning last week that the Taliban would "share the fate" of terrorists if they did not hand over Osama bin Laden, said he was not interested in "nation building" - long-term troop deployments to help rebuild a shattered country. The best way to fight the "flat evil" of terrorism would be to "ask for the co-operation of citizens within Afghanistan who may be tired of having the Taliban in place or tired of having Osama bin Laden" in their country. The White House spokesman, Mr Ari Fleischer, said the policy was "not designed to replace one regime with another regime".

The shift towards an "Afghan solution" instead of a US-imposed regime appears to be in response to fears among Arab and Muslim nations, especially Pakistan, that toppling the Taliban would cause uprisings in their countries and push the region into long-term instability. US reports also said the Administration was worried about the impact of a humanitarian and political crisis if the Taliban fell.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Mr Abdul Sattar, cautioned Washington against military assistance to the Northern Alliance, a coalition of forces in Afghanistan which has stepped up attacks on the Taliban and which Russia has agreed to support. "We fear that any decision on the part of any foreign power to give assistance to one side or another in Afghanistan is a recipe for great suffering for the people of Afghanistan," he said. Pakistan has strong links with the Taliban and bitterly opposes the Northern Alliance because of its ties with its arch-enemy, India. Pakistan also fears a new tide of refugees from Afghanistan amid warnings by aid agencies of a humanitarian catastrophe.

The White House is sensitive to Pakistan's position, because its air space, intelligence and military facilities are essential for any incursion into Afghanistan against bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist network. Military planning appears centred on the elite US Special Forces. Commandos are in the region and may have begun operations if intelligence has been able to pinpoint the location of bin Laden, named by the Administration as mastermind of the attacks in the US.

Ground operations are likely to be backed by air strikes on Taliban military targets. The increasingly isolated regime continued to defy demands to hand over bin Laden and other suspected terrorists. The Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, delivered a message to the US people that the terrorist attacks were the result of their Government's policies. "Your Government is perpetrating all sorts of atrocities in Muslim countries."

Bin Laden's al-Qaeda warned that it would retaliate if the US attacked its group or Afghanistan. "Wherever there are Americans and Jews, they will be targeted," it said in a statement. In Kabul, thousands demonstrated at the abandoned US Embassy, torching vehicles and burning an effigy of Mr Bush. In Tehran, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iran would not help the US and its allies to attack Afghanistan.

-- Robert Riggs (rxr.999@worldnet.att.net), September 27, 2001


Comparing your post and mine: Looks like defense analysts have differing interpretations and opinions on how this "war" will be played out. This could mean two things: Either the administration does an excellent job at keeping its plans and strategies secret, or the various factions within the administration haven't agreed on a comprehensive approach just yet.

-- Swissrose (cellier3@mindspring.com), September 27, 2001.

Already looks like capitulation due to "political and humanitarian" reasons. The Taliban is like the hydra and Osama bin Laden is one of the heads. Chop off Osamas head and two more pop up to replace him. Do they really think that Osama is the last of his kind and wouldn't have named a successor?

-- Guy Daley (guydaley1@netzero.net), September 27, 2001.

Of course it's impossible to say but it seems like a realization that Arabian oil must flow...therefore tread lightly...

-- Will (righthere@home.now), September 27, 2001.

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