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Thread: Anybody see the Frontline Episode "Kill/Capture" last night?

  1. #1
    Military Enthusiast Senior Contributor
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    Anybody see the Frontline Episode "Kill/Capture" last night?

    Normally I would appreciate the Frontline's in-depth reporting and efforts to bring a fuller and sharper picture of what's happening on the ground. However after watching it last night, I could not help but feel that the episode was slanted towards bias against the military. It only focused on the negatives, not the positive. So as a result, it was not a well balanced story but a propaganda video that could be utilized by the Taliban the same way the North Vietnam took advantage of the swinging opinion of the American people after the Tet Offensive.

    You can see this episode here: Kill/Capture - Video | FRONTLINE | PBS

    What do the guys on this forum think?

  2. #2
    Ex-Wabber Defense Professional
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    I watched it.

    Frontline is about the only PBS show that I think is pretty even-handed.

    Notice the rest of the media doesn't touch that story. We've discussed it here before, some people seem to be intent on denying that's our policy these days.

    12,000 killed/captured in the last year, but the number of detainees in US custody isn't going up?

    It reminds me of some of the stuff the CIA was doing in Latin America back in the 70's.

    What is the Secretive U.S. "Kill/Capture" Campaign? | Kill/Capture | FRONTLINE | PBS
    "We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." -President Barack Obama 11/25/2008

  3. #3
    Decisive Terrain Military Professional
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    I didn't see it. In my experience I've come to regard anti-military bias on the part of the media a foregone conclusion. We have seen so many instances of it, some quite intentionally deceitful, that IMV they are guilty until proven innocent.

    One of the driving forces of journalistic ambition seems to be self-promotion via "getting the dirt" on somebody or something of significant stature to create publicity, and the military--or any big government bureaucracy for that matter--is an easy target.

    As far as UBL is concerned, anything the media says with regard to highly classified operations is speculation.

  4. #4

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    I didn't see a huge bias. There was plenty of commentary by Petraeus, Nagl and others suggesting the efficacy of the work. I didn't watch it all but obviously the raid in Khost conducted by the 101st contingent didn't go well. Neither was it a successful targeting nor did it avoid pissing off both locals and the ANA contingent who evidently felt guilty by association.

    Striking and missing seems to come with the territory. Target areas aren't well-mapped and we lack really nuanced understanding of the neighborhoods in which we operate. In this case we hit the wrong house, searched it anyway (shattering door windows in the process) and uncovered a few weapons (likely personal protection). The detainee probably shouldn't have been held and was released within a few hours anyway.

    Worse, assuming some previous neutral stance it's probably shifted the detainee away from supporting us. He'll be no friend of America. That's O.K. assuming he remains a friend of the Afghan government and not, instead, the taliban. Thus it's understandable why the GoA wishes to maintain some distance from the U.S. in these kill/capture raids.

    Petraeus suggested there's a real learning curve associated with these ops. No doubt. Still, each op is unique and previous lessons-learned may not have suitable (or any) applicability. In the end, they are just another tool in the box of resources from which we select-effective at times and less so in others. Necessary but hardly a perfect panacea.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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