April 23, 2013

Chechen courage responsible for the strategically worst defeat American military suffered in this century?

From Reuters, December 15, 2001:
Al Qaeda Chechens fight to death in Tora Bora  
By Sebastian Alison and Jeremy Page

Saturday December 15, 7:39 PM  
TORA BORA/KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Chechen fighters loyal to Osama bin Laden fought to the death on Saturday in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan in battles with U.S. special forces and their Afghan tribal allies.  
But an Afghan commander returning from the front among the caves, tunnels and valleys near Tora Bora said that while the Chechens fought on, 50 other members of bin Laden's al Qaeda network had surrendered.  
The whereabouts of bin Laden himself, the man Washington accuses of masterminding the bloody September 11 suicide attacks on the United States, remained a mystery -- with U.S. officials saying he could still be with his cornered fighters.  
Said Mohammad Pahlawan, an Afghan tribal commander returning from the front line in the rugged White Mountains around Tora Bora, said that the ground battle there was continuing.  
"All those who surrendered had guns, but the Chechens don't want to surrender," he told Reuters, adding that 20 Chechens had been killed in the latest fighting.  

Maybe we know more about what actually happened a dozen years ago at Tora Bora, but this was the perception at the time: the Chechen warriors' suicidal self-sacrifice allowed bin Laden to escape. (In other words, bin Laden's catastrophic escape from Tora Bora is a story of BRAVERY of Chechens.)

If bin Laden had been captured at Tora Bora, perhaps there would have been no Iraq War?

This just points out that the U.S. government ought to have known a lot about the culture of Chechens before the Tsarnaevs were let into America the following year.

Why did we let these Chechens in?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

They're badder than Pushtuns. Just an interesting data point to have in mind.

Anonymous said...

"Why did we let these Chechens in?"

Same reason we funded Osama for awhile.

To humiliate Russia.

Anonymous said...

Pashtuns, if you are referring to Afghans, aren't seen as being very tough in that neighborhood. The Pakistanis are.

Anonymous said...

Steve:

Speaking of data points, there were a couple of aspects of the manhunt for Tsarnoff that struck me as possibly a little bit odd.

The first was the disclosure that the authorities had a clearer photo of the brothers but didn't release it because they feared, in so many words, that it could put the brothers at risk of vigilantism.

The second was the order to the police who had Dhjokhar surrounded in the boat to take him alive. You can hear on the video a commander telling the men "Do not return fire."

Perhaps this even explains how the brothers were able to evade/hold off the police for so long on Thursday night.

Has any explanation been given as to why they wanted him alive so badly? (One would think that the same rationale would have applied to the capture of Bin Laden.) Even if one grants a preference to take him alive, is it unusual to tell your men not to return fire? Wouldn't that put others at risk?

Would you be at all interested in looking into this?

Anonymous said...

Chechen courage may be a factor; but a much bigger factor is Bush's decision to allow the Kunduz airlift

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2002/01/28/020128fa_FACT

Risto

SGOTI said...

If we truly had bin Laden trapped, and he was bad guy #1 now that Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot weren't around, we should have put the entire damned 82nd Airborne and 173rd Airborne Brigade, plus whatever handy USMC units were available to augment all of the SOF guys, to block the passes. That's what they get paid to do, and that's why we still have airborne units in this day and age- to live light for a few weeks and hold an objective until it can be consolidated.

It was a lack of will, or something more troubling: they purposefully looked the other way while bin Laden and crew escaped.

Anonymous said...

CC tougher than the SS.

Anonymous said...

Has any explanation been given as to why they wanted him alive so badly?

Maybe to interrogate them so as to determine if there were any others involved or planning another assault.

Anonymous said...

If we truly had bin Laden trapped, and he was bad guy #1 now that Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot weren't around, we should have put the entire damned 82nd Airborne and 173rd Airborne Brigade, plus whatever handy USMC units were available to augment all of the SOF guys, to block the passes. That's what they get paid to do, and that's why we still have airborne units in this day and age- to live light for a few weeks and hold an objective until it can be consolidated.

It was a lack of will, or something more troubling: they purposefully looked the other way while bin Laden and crew escaped.

4/23/13, 6:20 PM


Tora Bora was in December 2001. Had we captured or taken Bin Laden out then, the air would have been let out of the balloon, and there wouldn't have been the support for invading Iraq, the real goal of the neocons.

As far back as 1998, the neocons were calling on the US to remove Saddam.

Then, just nine days after 9-11, the neocons gave more ink to taking out Iraq and Hezbollah then they did to Bin Laden. Remember, this was NINE days after September 11, 2001!

Bin Laden needed to remain on the run long enough to get us into Iraq.

Anonymous said...

If a foreign gay seeks refugee status in America, is he seeking assylum?

Since most of the world is 'homophobic' by western homomaniacal standards, just about any gay or anyone pretending to be gay might be able to seek assylum.

"Oh boo hoo, Yemen won't allow me to marry another guy."

hbd chick said...

"Why did we let these Chechens in?"

...or avars.

Anononymous said...

Are Chechens any more fight-to-the-deathy than the Japanese were?

Steve Sailer said...

"Are Chechens any more fight-to-the-deathy than the Japanese were?"

No, but raiding cultures seldom are as brave as farming cultures in the ultimate showdown. Remember in "Lawrence of Arabia" where the Brits want to draft Lawrence's Arab Bedouin camel raiders to be cannon fodder in the trenches? Lawrence says they'll just run away. So, Lawrence devises a hit and run strategy of ambushes that fits the nomads' strengths and avoids their shortage of long-term courage.

The Chechens should be judged not by the Germans or Japanese or the French in WWI but by the other raiding bandit cultures.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 5:57

Easy there armchair commando. Pashtuns are plenty nasty and tough, whether they were our militia allies or on the other side.

Pakis tough? Maybe over on India's border but I never saw it in Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...

The Chechens are most famous for psychopathic cruelty, not valor. Their treatment of schoolchildren, hospital patients, theatergoers, and now marathon spectators is far more salient than their willingness to die for their cause.

Anonymous said...

"The Chechens are most famous for psychopathic cruelty, not valor"

Same as Mongols, Vikings etc. When these kind of raiding cultures are still a threat to their neighbours they're hated and feared for the first part. After they're no longer a threat they're romanticized for the second part.