CAMPAIGN AGAINST TERROR
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What are your thoughts on Operation Enduring Freedom, the US-led war in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al Qaeda?   Was it a victory?

Dear FRONTLINE,

I watched your program. It was interesting but inaccurate as usual. You place emphasis on the Special Forces and their work as the key element of the collapse of the Taliban. Your ignore, or worse, you discount the months of work that I and my fellow aviators put into the conflict. We flew hundreds of sorties in B-52's and B-1's and dropped millions of pounds of bombs. Your reporting on the impact of the first two months of bombing is false. We destroyed most of the Taliban war fighting equipment and killed many of their best troops. This allowed the Northern Alliance to make the progress they did, once they got out of their holes.

You did not see the spectacular results of the cave busting done by the B-1's, nor did you see the huge destruction B-52's did to military infrastructure in October and early November. On just one cave strike alone we caused an earthquake that measured 3.0 on the Richter scale when the munitions stored in the cave blew up. The U.S. has video of this strike. On one B-52 strike alone 8,000 taliban frontline troops perished. No Army in the world can stand up to this kind of punishment. As we did in Desert Storm, we prepared the battlefield for an easy victory. The real story is with the bombers as it will be in the coming conflict.

"Ponch" B-52 Pilot, USAF

bossier city, la

FRONTLINE's editors respond:

Greg Barker, the producer of "Campaign Against Terror" responds:

It was certainly not my intention to discount the role played by the Air
Force and Navy aviators who flew bombing sorties in Afghanistan and, in all
honesty, I don't believe the film gives this impression to the general
viewer. In each of the specific battles discussed in the film - Mazar,
Kabul, Tarin Kowt and Tora Bora - the role of air power is central.
Regarding the fall of Kabul, the script says "weeks of bombing around Bagram
Air Base, just north of Kabul, had already decimated the Taliban's defense
of the city. The bombing gave the local Northern Alliance commander the
impetus to move towards the capital." Also, in the case of the battle at
Tarin Kowt, we did file requests with CENTCOM to interview the pilots who'd
flown those missions; those requests are still pending.

While I don't want to get into the ongoing debate as to whether airpower or
ground forces are more decisive in war, I would say that the senior military
officials we spoke with felt the Taliban government would not have fallen as
quickly as it did without the presence of US Special Operations forces on
the ground.

Greg Barker, Producer, "Campaign Against Terror"


Dear FRONTLINE,

The žWar on TerrorÓ program show that we are very unprepared for an attack in Iraq. We did have full air superiority over Afghanistan, and it showed that we did not all of the facts. If Troops cannot take over a country does not have any type conventional infrastructure, without assistance from žfreedom fightersÓ, how do we think we can take out Sadam Hussien and the army of Iraq.

We cannot kill terrorism. If we think that the world can exist in peace, than we are sorely mistaken. This would mean that we life in a Utopian society, which we donŪt. If someone does not like the ideas of another, and takes what they think is žjusticeÓ into their own hands, than we will never get rid of terrorism. Think about how the Untied States came into existence. DidnŪt we do acts of terror against the Crown of England in protest against what we didnŪt like.

I lost a Cousin in Tower Two. I hate what happened, but attacking Iraq would be a mistake. They possibly have some of those Chemical weapons, and if we would attack, I am sure that they would use them. I do not know against who, but the people in power in America better think of all possibilities before action is taken.

I want justice for the ones that died, and for their families÷ But think before we leap into another situation÷÷

dallas, tx


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