Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS
CNN TV
EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS


CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Strikes Back: Retired Maj. Gen. Harrison Speculates on Military Strategy

Aired October 10, 2001 - 06:22   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we're going to get some extra perspective on some of the things that Bob was just reporting here. To give us some of that objective this morning is retired Major General George Harrison who is joining us here in our Atlanta studios. There you are. He's joining us at our Atlanta studios here. We're going to talk a lot about these air raids, but I want to ask you about with the report we just heard Bob...

MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE HARRISON, (RET.), U.S. AIR FORCE: Yes.

HARRIS: ... talking about here the question of ground troops and how they're going to be used. That's, of course, the next phase in all of this. Based upon what you heard him say and we know the Pentagon is being very, very vague about what's going to happen.

HARRISON: Of course.

HARRIS: We're hoping that you could be at least a bit more speculative, if you will, about what may actually be happening. What do you think is going to happen and when do you think it will happen?

HARRISON: Well of course this is all speculation based on my experience and I think that's what most of the folks who are talking are doing is speculating based on experience because we certainly don't know any operational details. However, I believe it's important to recognize that we're talking primarily about special forces, we're talking about not conventional waves of infantry moving forward. We're talking about very specific objects, very specific things that they're going to do and that can range throughout all the things the special forces do, striking specific small targets, seeking out individuals, finding particular pieces of infrastructure like communications and in large measure, gathering intelligence on what's going on.

HARRIS: All right, now let's talk about what we do know has been going on, these air raids. You're saying that these air raids have been -- these attacks have been basically a tool and not an end?

HARRISON: Well, the first goal, of course, of any air campaign is to establish and maintain air superiority and air supremacy. That's so that you can have the freedom to operate in the skies with a variety of different airplanes. So we've achieved air supremacy, according to the chairman and the secretary, and that's certainly the thing that enables us to move in lower performance aircraft, lets us move in lower flying reconnaissance aircraft and lets us move around with some impunity with air vehicles, helicopters, rotary wing, fixed wing, slower fixed wing.

HARRIS: Is that what's going to be happening next, the next wave is going to be helicopters?

HARRISON: Well it certainly could be, but that -- the air superiority, air supremacy achievement lets us do that if that's the right thing to do.

HARRIS: Now the reports that we got this morning from our guys who have been in the region and watching these planes as they've been flying overhead is that these planes are returning with their bombs on board, meaning that they're not -- they're not finding targets to actually destroy. I would assume that would mean that most of the targets have already been hit, correct?

HARRISON: Well, I think that means that they're very prudently -- prudently, isn't that a good word?

HARRIS: That's a good one.

HARRISON: They're very appropriately deciding what's right, what's the right thing to do, what we can do and what we can achieve and they're not wasting ordnance to begin with. And second of all, they're not taking the chance of doing unnecessary damage to this very troubled country of Afghanistan.

HARRIS: All right, with that in mind then, how do you read then where we are in this particular first phase? I mean how close we may be to the end and the transition to the next phase? We talking days, weeks, what?

HARRISON: Well how close we are to the end is really speculative because the end is going to be a very unclear, undefined sort of thing. The end is stopping the terrorism around the world. So when we reach the end, we're going to notice that there is nothing happening and that may take us a while to pick up.

HARRIS: Now we know that we've been talking off and on about the political risk of the U.S. actually coordinating very closely its -- these air campaigns and perhaps any ground campaign that might take place later on with these opposition forces that are on the ground.

HARRISON: Yes.

HARRIS: Do you see any military risk in doing so?

HARRISON: Well there's military difficulty. We first of all have the language difficulty. Naturally we have communications difficulties. And we have to remember that this is a -- this is a very diverse force, the Northern Alliance, that we're dealing with so communicating with the various elements of that force is really going to be tough. It's going to be a military challenge so things like traditional close air support, which is usually a finely coordinated operation, that's going to be really tough.

HARRIS: Now based upon the history of any I guess perhaps training that may have been done over there, I know we've had troops training in Uzbekistan for some time.

HARRISON: Yes.

HARRIS: What -- are you concerned about the change in weather that's coming up? And is it -- I know we talked about this before in the past about Kosovo because the weather in that region did prove to be a big problem later on.

HARRISON: Certainly.

HARRIS: What do you think is going to happen with that in this region?

HARRISON: Well, it's going to emphasize a lot of the different sensors, the different kinds of things that we have that allow us to operate in bad weather. And quite honestly, bad weather really slows you down. It's tough to move around. You have to -- well certainly you have to use a variety of systems to let you see. You can't operate if you can't see and this is really tough terrain -- mountain terrain with a lot of variation in it, and running into a mountain is just as big a threat as air defense missiles.

HARRIS: But would it slow the air defense or would -- not air defense but the air attacks, would it slow down the U.S. coalition more than it would slow down the terrorist targets they're going after?

HARRISON: Oh no, I don't think it'll slow us down more than it will slow them down.

HARRIS: OK.

HARRISON: I think the weather gives us an advantage because we're equipped to operate in it.

HARRIS: Major General George Harrison, we appreciate the insight as always. Good to see you.

HARRISON: Thank you.

HARRIS: Thank you very much for coming back in.

HARRISON: Sure.

HARRIS: We'll talk with you sometime down the road.

HARRISON: You bet.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we're going to get some extra perspective on some of the things that Bob was just reporting here. To give us some of that objective this morning is retired Major General George Harrison who is joining us here in our Atlanta studios. There you are. He's joining us at our Atlanta studios here. We're going to talk a lot about these air raids, but I want to ask you about with the report we just heard>


 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top