An ominous news report occurred today. A roadside bomb killed a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. This may represent an evolution of tactics by the Taliban in Afghanistan, by mimicking the tactics used by the Iraqi Resistance (Freedom Fighters). The Taliban have fought the U.S. in the past with rifles and mortars, and have taken heavy losses at times, usually because of U.S. air strikes and massed firepower. If the Taliban shift tactics to less frontal and more asymmetric warfare, such as by using remote-operated bombs on U.S. patrol routes, you can expect to see increased U.S. losses.
It appears that the gung-ho U.S. military thinks too much on how much damage they can inflict, how many tons of munitions can be delivered on target, and too little thought is given to its own vulnerabilities. Little respect seems to be given to the foe; it is as if the American military’ hubris is unchecked after "victories" against the warrior elite of countries such as Grenada.
The Afghans have been waging war for many years, and they are not dummies. Just like the North Vietnamese, who had to learn to respond to U.S. tactics and weapons systems, the Afghans have had to proceed through their own learning curve. The U.S. always has had certain advantages, such as firepower and airborne assault capability. The Afghans have familiarity with their own landscape, support from tribal populations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and ability to exercise patience and endurance while gradually growing increasingly effective in combat. The Russians were not defeated in a day, and the Americans are more formidable than the Russians. But the Afghans are beginning to take more initiative and improvise tactics that may test the ability of the American public and the American military to sustain the inevitable losses and expenses.
Afghanistan is not Grenada. It is more like North Vietnam. It is an increasingly dangerous place for the American military. Body bags will be flowing both in and out of Afghanistan in the future, and the American public had better get used to it.