Tuesday, September 04, 2007

100-to-1 Kill Ratio

Good or bad?

U.S. Special Operations Forces have had considerable practice by now chasing jihadists in Iraq and Afghanistan. The JSOC headquarters at Baghram is so full of high-tech listening and tracking equipment that it resembles "something out of 'Star Wars'," says a Pentagon official who has seen the place. In recent months, says John Arquilla, a Special Ops expert at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., the U.S. military has achieved a 100-to-1 kill ratio (100 dead guerrillas to every American). But by calling in airstrikes, the Americans also kill a lot of civilians, which breeds more jihadists. And according to Thomas Johnson, also at the Naval Postgraduate School, the military's continued fixation on body counts and kill ratios is irrelevant and even counterproductive. "When you kill a person it's a multiplication factor. It demands that all the male relatives join the fight."

A tough question: To kill, or not to kill for fear of continuing the cycle of violence.


entropyincreases said...

Kill people who need killing. :-(

If that produces more people who need killing, then that does not change the original question and add the newly "radicalized" people to the list of those who need to be killed. However, it is always a good idea to define who needs killing. Once defined, be as efficient as possible. Expand as needed to ensure victory. Use lenience to further strategic and tactical advantage.

I know of no other force than ours which pays more attention to minimizing non-combatant casualties. We have to carefully consider what constitutes a non-combatant, when killing a combatant turns a non-combatant into a combatant.

COIN strategies need to effect the equation of who needs killing, which takes us full circle. Define who needs killing and kill.

Anonymous said...

no other force can shoot you from miles away and level a city block either.

To continue to kill people because they resist us bombing their country is absurd...I do hope you get a taste of the medicine you are selling.