06 October 2009

The problem with offshore balancing...

I was thinking about this while wandering about aimlessly today (yeah, nothing to do right now), but Robert Haddick beat me to it in today's SWJ. Basically, Haddick brings up the one big hole in the policy of offshore balancing--namely, the lack of human intelligence in the region.

Although Haddick is concerned with the Homeland Security aspects of decreased intelligence on al Qaeda operatives, my concerns are a little more mundane. As some really smart people have discussed earlier, (namely, Exum and Kilcullen) Predator drone strikes in Pakistan have certainly killed a great number of people, but they haven't exactly done much to eliminate al Qaeda's presence in the region. By relying on airstrikes from afar--such as Predator strikes, F-15 strikes, and Tomahawk strikes, we risk having incidents like the NATO airstrike in Kunduz (attributed by many to having only one observer on the ground), or 1998's Tomahawk missile strike on a pharmaceutical company in the Sudan (mistakenly thought to be an al Qaeda chemical weapons factory) due to the lack of human intelligence in the FATA areas.

More effective offshore balancing might look like the Somalia operation last month (allegedly pulled off by Navy SEALs in H-60 helicopters), although Afghanistan lies several hundred miles inland--far away from the range of most rotary-wing aircraft.

1 comment:

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 10/07/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.