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Thread: Benevolent Scorched Earth

  1. #1 Benevolent Scorched Earth 
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    Suppose there's a village in Afghanistan which we know is supplying a local terrorist group with food and supplies. They don't really want to participate in this, but they know Taliban agents will show up and kill their elders/leadership if they don't comply.

    Suppose we approach them and offer to relocate all of them to a safe internment camp where they'll have better food than they've ever had, safe warm housing, basic health care, and education for their children throughout the rest of the war. Afterward, we can assure them that their lands will be returned to them (by force if necessary to remove squatters). However, they must all go as a group (the whole village) or none of them can go.

    How likely do you think it is that they would turn us down?


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  3. #2  
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    Pretty much 100%, particularly in Afghanistan where they are fiercely independent and you are perceived as a Christian with a history of hollow promises. They don't want our food, our land, or especially our Western style education.

    Any such offers would need to be through others of the same tribe to have any chance of success.


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  4. #3  
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    I have to admit I find it is very hard to understand the mindsets of wacko cultures sometimes. I'm never sure how really strongly it all holds up. All the religious people I've ever met talk a big talk, but usually give up their ideals if offered a sufficiently strong incentive. (Not to say they wouldn't suicide bomb if they thought it would make people respect them, however.) I don't personally know any of Afghans, though... maybe they're different.

    As far as the bad promises, I think our mistake has been making promises everyone kind of knows we can't keep. An internment camp set up in a secure location, however, represents a logistical situation of a nature that the USA is totally incapable of failing to deliver on. (If there is anything we do well, it is economic production/logistics.) It's not unlike what we do for informants sometimes, where we set them up in the USA with legal papers. I'm just suggesting that we could do it to a whole village if the situation is right and it serves our needs (except the part about letting them into our country.)

    Healthcare just on a level with what Green Beret doctors are able to provide in local villages would be a major step up for a lot of these people. A lot of the time they find treatable conditions that are totally affecting someone's lifestyle, or maybe even killing them. Long term malnutrition turns up quite a lot too. It's hard to imagine that these people could have any love at all for their children and refuse.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I have to admit I find it is very hard to understand the mindsets of wacko cultures sometimes. .
    Perhaps you could clarify what is wacko about rejecting an offer that involves uprooting yourself from your ancestral lands, giving up your only means of support, relying upon the word of people you don't like who are known to have lied to you before. Such a rejection seems imminently sensible to me.
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  6. #5 Re: Benevolent Scorched Earth 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Suppose there's a village in Afghanistan which we know is supplying a local terrorist group with food and supplies. They don't really want to participate in this, but they know Taliban agents will show up and kill their elders/leadership if they don't comply.

    Suppose we approach them and offer to relocate all of them to a safe internment camp where they'll have better food than they've ever had, safe warm housing, basic health care, and education for their children throughout the rest of the war. Afterward, we can assure them that their lands will be returned to them (by force if necessary to remove squatters). However, they must all go as a group (the whole village) or none of them can go.

    How likely do you think it is that they would turn us down?
    If we had enough boots on the ground and corresponding logistical support, Platoon Houses in every village is a better option in IMHO.
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  7. #6 Re: Benevolent Scorched Earth 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Suppose there's a village in Afghanistan which we know is supplying a local terrorist group with food and supplies. They don't really want to participate in this, but they know Taliban agents will show up and kill their elders/leadership if they don't comply.

    Suppose we approach them and offer to relocate all of them to a safe internment camp where they'll have better food than they've ever had, safe warm housing, basic health care, and education for their children throughout the rest of the war. Afterward, we can assure them that their lands will be returned to them (by force if necessary to remove squatters). However, they must all go as a group (the whole village) or none of them can go.

    How likely do you think it is that they would turn us down?
    If we had enough boots on the ground and corresponding logistical support, Platoon Houses in every village is a better option in IMHO.
    lol. That's great. And.... I think I see what you're saying. Any village that would be worth the trouble of uprooting and moving to a camp in order to cut off supplies, would probably also be worth the trouble of just setting up a Platoon House.

    On the other hand.... if you move enough people to the same camp, then you can guard them all with just one platoon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I have to admit I find it is very hard to understand the mindsets of wacko cultures sometimes. .
    Perhaps you could clarify what is wacko about rejecting an offer that involves uprooting yourself from your ancestral lands, giving up your only means of support, relying upon the word of people you don't like who are known to have lied to you before. Such a rejection seems imminently sensible to me.
    Even if you have a child dying of a curable disease? I am often amazed at the value that dignity/pride holds for some people, but it's the kind of amazement where I just shake my head and ask myself why they don't just die already if they hate living so much.
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    Another to consider is if you move them, you than become responsible for feeding them and that works against your own objective to help the people become economically independent and successful--growing some of their own food, improving their infrastructure, establishing markets and other sources of jobs and income so young men aren't tempted to lay IEDs just to make a quick buck to feed their families, development of a representative government which the people might respect etc.

    Also it takes a lot more than Platoon to do something like that. You need forces to not only secure the camp, but to secure all the logistic support necessary for maintaining the camp including the food, medical, shelter, clean water, trash disposal, sewage disposal just to name a few. A single log convoy requires a lot of coordination, more security element, reaction ground and air weapons teams such as attack helo on standby. Doing it right adds up to lots more than a Platoon.
    --
    All that said there is merit in the technique for cutting off insurgency from the populations which support them. The British in a few cases did something similar in Mayaya and Sadam used the tactic to defeat the Kurds, albiet by force and full intention of removing control of hundreds of villages from their sphere in influence. (I've personally seen many that are still abondoned).
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Another to consider is if you move them, you than become responsible for feeding them and that works against your own objective to help the people become economically independent and successful--growing some of their own food, improving their infrastructure, establishing markets and other sources of jobs and income so young men aren't tempted to lay IEDs just to make a quick buck to feed their families, development of a representative government which the people might respect etc.
    As long as Taliban fighting groups are still collecting taxes from the villages, they're not independent anyway. Even though they're the ones producing all the wealth, the Taliban decides how much they get to keep, which is just as good as owning all the wealth outright. So, leaving them independent really means they're still dependent. The only group that benefits is the fighters. And, if the fighter groups never run out of wealth to distribute to those young men in exchange or laying IED's, then..... it's like the war on drugs in the USA, the demand is always going to be filled by someone.

    In the Taliban's case, it's even worse than the war on drugs actually, because the only wealth you can own and be assured you'll be allowed to keep ( with any actual guarantee of property rights, anyway) is what they give you. It's a very foreign situation from our American perspective, but that's how feudal systems work. America can give them wealth too, but we can't guarantee they get to keep it, so it's almost like we're offering them nothing at all.

    Also it takes a lot more than Platoon to do something like that. You need forces to not only secure the camp, but to secure all the logistic support necessary for maintaining the camp including the food, medical, shelter, clean water, trash disposal, sewage disposal just to name a few. A single log convoy requires a lot of coordination, more security element, reaction ground and air weapons teams such as attack helo on standby. Doing it right adds up to lots more than a Platoon.
    I guess that's one area where Afghanistan's land locked nature really hurts us, huh? Maybe the camp could located in another country? Maybe even US soil, so long as measures were in place to keep anyone from leaving the compound? Probably the initial transportation costs would be pretty high, though.
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  10. #9  
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    People don't like what they have being taken, being uprooted from their homes. It would be impossible to get an entire village to submit. Also, delivering the denizens to a concentration camp (not to be confused with death camps) would look very bad, and would fuel further distrust of Western powers.
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