17 December 2009

Two very different views of the same operation

DefenseTech and Danger Room face off on two different perspectives of the same video from Fox News about helicopter-based vehicles checkpoints.

First, the more positive cheerleader spin from DefenseTech

One of them shows an interesting new tactic they're using to nab bad guys infiltrating from Pakistan and moving insurgents around in the wide open spaces and unmarked roads of Afghanistan's south. Watching the video, it looks as if the SF is executing what I'd like to call "snap helicopter vehicle check points" (they call them helicopter-vehicle interdictions)...like a scene from Blackhawk Down the operators scope out a suspicious vehicle from high up and swoop in on them with a flock of Blackhawks, running from the crew compartments with weapons drawn.

Talk about a psych job! You're just meandering along with your six madrassa buddies hanging for dear life onto the back of your Honda motor bike for your Jihad University graduation party and with the sun at their back, a bunch of bearded spacemen come swooping down to rain on your parade. Seems like an expensive way to nab a few blocks of C4 and some wayward suicide bomber-wannabes from NoVa, but maybe it's all a game of perception.

Then the "what the heck?!" version from Danger Room.

This segment shows Green Berets swooping in with helicopters to stop a “suspicious vehicle” in Zabul Province. Palkot gives us the play-by-play: “When a suspicious vehicle is spotted, a Blackhawk helicopter hovers in front and blocks it! The second lands behind and out comes a team of heavily armed Green Berets and Afghans!”
I mean, it’s possible these guys do great work, and Fox caught ‘em on a bad day. And it’s possible that there was more to the targeting, but the SF guys wanted to keep it quiet. But if a Toyota Hiace is considered suspicious merely because it’s full of Afghans, then we are in big trouble. This helicopter assault - which involves a total of five aircraft - finds “no fewer than two dozen folks filling this van, plus an assortment of items, but no bad guys or bad stuff.”
No problem, on to the next “takedown”: Another “suspicious vehicle, with those inside sporting black turbans, similar to what the Taliban wear.” And then they stop and frisk some guys on motorcycles, because militants are sometimes known to use them to get away from the roadside bombs they just planted.

By: Brant

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