Monday, March 26, 2007

some thoughts on terrorist air attack

(people reading this in "blog archive" after being redirected there after clicking in kottu, please read the note at bottom.)

main implications of the pussy air attack are political rather than military

1/ threat
since military probably now know what the ltte really have (which may not be what the tigers are claiming in their post attack propaganda), the threat posed by such light aircraft can be neutralized to a large extent, through counter measures and greater vigilance. anyone expecting aerial dogfights will be disappointed. given that both sides have limited number of aircraft, facilities available to air force to track aircraft are inadequate, and the airspace that has to be covered is extensive, it would be next to impossible to intercept terrorist aircraft in the sky. they have to be destroyed at their base or at their intended target.

as pointed out by the comments in previous post there should certainly be an investigation into the military shortcomings.

2/ strategy
no material change is required in the overall military strategy in that such light air craft cannot do much damage in a strictly military sense. as i said above the main effect of this attack are political rather than military.

however government should realize that too much propaganda will backfire. instead it should be more open about the time frame it will take to defeat the ltte (several years at least) and the very real possibility of continuing terrorist attacks well in to the future, even after ltte's defeat.

that ltte have to be defeated through a pragmatic military strategy that take account of the resources of the country is not in doubt. no is there any doubt that any sustainable political solution can only be made with democratically mandated tamil representatives in consultation with other democratic representatives representing other communities, not with terrorists.

so far the government has very competently executed the present strategy aimed at progressive weakening and long term defeat of ltte. it should continue to pursue that strategy. it should however guard against raising unrealistic expectations of quick end to military conflict.

3/ military options and human shields
the argument that some people used (i personally did not buy it) that government should limit its operations to protecting civilians immediately at risk can now be disregarded. this if followed would have limited any retaliation to the attack range of ltte artillery. thankfully it was not followed even before this. anyway this attack coupled with tigers' past actions (not to mention the proximity of the airport to today's attack) indicates that all the citizens of the country are now at risk (if any idiot wanted such indications).

contrary to false claims of peaceniks, government did in fact forgo some of its military options (esp. the use of multi barrel rocket launchers) in some recent operations because of the threat they may pose to civilians held as human shields. unfortunately this attack means that options available to military when degrading terrorist infrastructure have to be reevaluated now, taking into account the interests of civilians now under threat in all areas of the country, as well as those held as human shields by terrorists. military should be free to take more risks when conducting anti terror raids inside tiger controlled areas (by air force, deep penetration units etc). to not to engage in such a revaluation would mean that government is neglecting its duty to voters.

4/ jvp/jhu/... and ngos

jvp/jhu /etc. who have been crying all along that aircraft were being smuggled in by ngo peaceniks and other ltte sympathizers during ceasefire and under the cover of tsunami aid, gained in credibility by being proved right. hopefully in the future government will act more proactively and energetically when such revelations are made, instead of being afraid of alienating international community, some members of which may have unwittingly donated money to such ngo outfits

5/ india and global war against terror

ltte probably scored an own goal with regard to india. for those who do not know, india (and others) has long expressed concern with regard to ltte's air capability. it is ranil wickremasinghe's unp government that denied the existence of such an air capability when the matter was initially raised by india. when gosl eventually accepted the existence of terrorist air craft, india reportedly provided some radar equipment to sri lanka.

after today, such inter governmental cooperation will only increase from india and from others fighting terror around the world. this is especially true given that other terrorists have a history of copying ltte terror tactics (sometimes with active ltte help).

6/ limitations
probably more stringent limitations will have to be imposed on goods transported to ltte areas. this is unfortunate but probably necessary.

7/ unp and its postion
unp will not be able to make any political mileage out of this due to the hole it has dug itself. due to its leader's actions and associations with peacenik position, its criticism of government will have to take the form - "ltte is attacking, military is losing the war, give us power to appease ltte and bring 'peace' ". only cocooned colombo peaceniks will see any validity in that argument.

more potent criticism in the form - "ltte is attacking, government is incompetent and should do more, give us power to defeat ltte more competently in order to bring lasting peace" is not available to them, esp. the last part.. that argument they have ceded to jvp/jhu/ etc.

since majority of sri lankan do not accept other political positions of jvp/jhu/etc, public has no choice but to go with the government. that is a pity because a democratic country requires an opposition that speaks for people not colombo 7 peaceniks. sooner unp change its policy (and leader) the better.

8/ mud slinging

government will probably try to implicate (using some rather fussy logic), those who have been criticizing recent mig air craft purchase with this attack. i personally think that the mig purchase was perfectly logical and necessary, and probably not any more corrupt than any other government purchase. those who were using it to attack government were merely playing politics without facts to back them up. however they should be allowed to play politics (so should the government btw). in other words, as long as all the mud is confined to words there is no harm.

i know i should flesh out these points in more detail, but no time.


for some unknown reason people clicking on the this post at kottu are redirected to a separate full copy of this post at "blog archive". if you are reading this there you can read the original posted at lanka libertarian blog at following location.

this error seems to have been fixed as of now (2230hrs 03/26/07) though other posts at kottu seems to be suffering from it. anyway i will keep this note on for some time just in case.


Anonymous said...

Interesting and thought provoking post.

Anonymous said...

microlight gliders can carry upto 250kg. Assuming a 70kg person that leaves a lot of "spare" weight for explosives. Also bear in mind that microlights do not yield a very high IR signature, thus neutralizing some of the rooftop AA installations we already have. Will the LTTE want to throw away their microlights on suicide missions just yet? I don't know.

I disagree about the miltary implications to some extent - with microlights, the LTTE have now demonstrated an equivalent to para capability if they can deploy sufficient numbers. This has implications for how the FDL and installations are patrolled and defended.

The main disadvantages of the microlight are speed and relative fragility. We may now see more snipers on rooftops in Colombo as a result.

I agree with most of the other points you raise in your post.

Anonymous said...

news reports say that it was a single prop light aircraft.

so the microlights were not used.

jay said...

I'm shocked in the sense that no one detected the presence of two aircrafts! This really tests the SLAF's vigilantism. I'm sure our guys were watching the crickets matches while these two went pass by. And why didn't our SLAF chase the crafts after the attack.. Where is the counter measures? and for god sake these planes are the bloody chipmonk types!! It should have taken them a long time to get into vanni! As you see the pilot's shaking hands with prabha, if our people handily tracked the aircrafts it would have led to prabha!!! Lot of questions and non getting answered!

Spooky said...

Don't be silly, Jay. The handshake shots with Prabha would've been taken before the mission.

Sam said...

We should organize some "Bodi Puja" and "Pirith" for protection of our president and “Buddha Sasanna”. Then blame NGOs and other organizations and launch an hate poster campaign against NGOs.. We should cover every newly painted walls with posters and asked NGO to go home.

Oh! Also, we should teach kids duck and hide under school desks. We can bring up some new laws with this new opportunity. Good time for Petrol price hike too.

By the time, we will get used to air attacks as every day events @ 8 o’clock news. Then everything will alright until LTTE get nukes or something like that next..

Anonymous said...

The main outcome of this event was to boost the morale of LTTE.

The LTTE cannot be defeated until the govt puts out an alternative solution to the Tamils. Since Mahinda came to power the popularity of LTTE has increased as Mahinda continues his anti-Tamil agenda. I guess that's the main reason LTTE wanted him in power in the first place. To think the LTTE will be destroyed without a solution to the Tamil people is nothing but utter foolishness.

rummyjohn said...

Interesting and quite well thought out post.

I also agree with the last comment regarding it being an LTTE morale booster. I've written more on it here:

Anonymous said...

If sittingnut thinks that the LTTE can be defeated then he is only a dumb ass. For the last two decades they could not do it so what makes you think that Card Board Dutugemunu can do it. This war will drag on for decades until we become a Somalia and have starving people.

At least if Ranil was in power then we would have seen an end to this conflict since Ranil was shrewd and by giving the LTTE what they wanted he had them cornered unlike the Rajapakse brothers who do not know how to run a country.

The JVP and JHU are bloody racists and when the LTTE is defeated they will probably call for an ethnic cleansing campaign to get rid of the troubles.

What surprises me is that there are fools who think that this war can be won. For these idiots the NGO's are good only when a natural disaster strikes and for the rest of the time they are called LTTE sympathisers.

People like sittingnut are nothing but fully fledged Wimalnuts/JNnUts and should stop yelling war from behind the keyboard and should join the armed forces and fight for his beliefs, if he has a backbone.

quote 1: said...

Horace (Odes iii 2.13):

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori:
mors et fugacem persequitur virum
nec parcit inbellis iuventae
poplitibus timidove tergo."

"How sweet and lovely it is to die for your country:
Death pursues even the man who flees
Nor spares the hamstrings or cowardly backs
Of battle-shy youths."

quote 2: said...

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Anonymous said...

srilanka now harvesting wat they seed against tamils in 1983.

Racism...the world could learn the meaing from rajabakshe...

no country in the world ever did a aerial srike on their own ppl but srilank...
Could anyone justify the sencholai attack of srilanka and the innocent childrens murder...which country ever did this kind???