More on the LTTE Attack
While thanking Upasiri de Silva for responding to my Blog (ID=7.55) I must begin by pointing out a serious misconception he entertains regarding my position and that of ACSLU on the military capability of the LTTE. He implies that we maintain that "the LTTE is superior to the GOSL Forces". If he studies ACSLU Blogs over the recent months he will notice that what we say is quite different. We maintain that in recent months the LTTE position has considerably deteriorated and that there is no reason why GOSL should not be able to eliminate it using conventional ground attacks against the LTTE heartland. The decline of the LTTE military capability is directly linked to the impact of the global 'War on Terror', and the emergence of fratricidal conflict amongst the Tamils. While GOSL has improved its its military capability it is still hamstrung by bad decision making at the political level. After Mavil Aru the military thrust should have been northwards not southwards. The ACSLU reasoning here is involved and fairly sophisticated and Upasiri may be excused for not understanding it.
Upasiri's excuses for the Anuradhapura debacle are unconvincing. If the airbase perimeter was attacked and the sentries were aware of this they should have been provided with communication equipment to let the HQ know that the perimeter was under attack even before they fired the first shot. Then a red alert should have sounded through the entire base and emergency procedures activated. This would have retarded further progress by the intruders. As it was once the LTTE got past the sentries they were able to destroy a considerable amount of air assets. The object of the mission was not to kill soldiers but to destroy air assets as these were more difficult to replace. In this the LTTE largely succeeded. The attack by the planes was probably to get international attention rather than inflict real damage.
Upasiri boasts that the LTTE cadres were all killed and the ground retaken. But they were on a suicide mission and did not expect to go back alive. Nor did they intend to hold on to any territory. Pabhakaran had posed with them before their mission and they would no doubt have had their last meal with the 'supremo'. So the fate of the black tigers was sealed whether GOSL soldiers acted sooner or later. Raman claims the base was effectively held by the LTTE for six hours before they were all killed. If this is true this does not say much for the defenders because there were only 21 tigers involved while the strength of the base would have been very much more. The fate of the Bell helicopter has still not been cleared. I hope that an honest investigation into this matter is conducted.
Upasiri gives irrelevant comparisons from World War II and the 1971 JVP insurgency. Military tactics have moved since then and there is no excuse for GOSL not to adopt current military tactics. CBK lost her eye because it was a suicide bomb in a crowded public meeting. It was similar the bomb explosion when Ms Bhutto returned to Pakistan. This has no comparison with a military attack on a crucial air base. It is time that people like Upasiri gave up making excuses for political and military blunders.
The Yala incident to which Upasiri alludes is significant only because the MahinaR regime celebrated the "Dawn in the East" claiming that the LTTE had been eliminated from the Eastern Province. The fact that this attack took place at the very south of the Eastern region shows that the LTTE have not been cleared from the East, and the celebration was premature as ACSLU had consistently said. Again we have a pathetic excuse from Upasiri. Perhaps the bally-hoo about the defeat of the LTTE may have been a contributory cause for the A'pura disaster as the soldiers may have relaxed under the belief that the LTTE had already been defeated.
Upasiri may make caustic remarks about arm-chair miitary experts but what it all needs is a little bit of common sense to figure that the political and military strategy of the MahinaR regime is wrong. In the first place the GOSL aim is to 'weaken' the LTTE to bring them ot the negotiating table. This is an exploded line of reasoning. There must be a clearly stated commitment to destroy them. Militarily buying very expensive planes like the Mig29 to counter the few light planes of the LTTE is wrong. The emphasis should not be on aerial bombing à la the US, but infantry attacks on the LTTE heartland from a number of peripheral points. GOSL should have the balance of advantage here given that the LTTE is now starved of manpower, equipment and funds.
From: Upasiri De Silva [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 11:45 AM
Subject: RE: The LTTE Attack on the Anurdahapura Airbase
This war between the GOSL Forces and the LTTE is not a one sided affair. The LTTE has proved that they are now well trained and capable of attacking any target anywhere within the country as well as in any foreign soil, as proved by assassinating the then Indian Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi.
The ACSUL is trying to prove that the Sri Lankan Air Force is not well trained and as such they lack any fighting sprit or the LTTE is superior to the GOSL Forces.
As a former Air Force Office I can recall the 1971 JVP uprising and how a partially trained set of young people try to overthrow the GOSL, and how we the Forces got cornered on many times to this fearless fighter of the JVP. Why? We tried to save the lives of those misguided young fighters. Even the well trained Service personnel's have movements of hesitations when it come to killing another human and the slightest hesitation may end the hunters life or get hunted.
During the Second World War, the attack on a certain well secured gun point of the German Army in the Mediterranean sea was penetrated by few Allied well trained service personnel's and annihilated the entire group with the help of few locals. When you compare this attack what is happening in Sri Lanka among many Sinhala and other spy's helping the LTTE this nothing to ponder.
What happened at Anurdahapura, according to, the newly appointed Overall Commander Major General Sanath Karunarathna is that the LTTE penetrated one weak point in the perimeter of the base, and killed the sentries at the point and got access to the ground. Once your concentration is at the ebb your life is in danger as well as others, the sentries are guarding. This was a movement like that.
It is true that they demolish or damaged some Aircrafts, but the quick action of the Air Force personnel's manage to kill the LTTE 21 of them and recapture the area they have taken over. Read Air Force Commander Commodore Roshan Gunatillake's explanation.
These lapses may happened at various occasions and that was why Mrs. CBK lost her eye with such a large security contingent and a gallant DIG also gave his life to save her.
These are not simple things, but as all these sentries are human and the LTTE was waiting for the prey and at 3.30 AM the slightest nod should have helped them to eliminate him. They may have used silencers to prevent sound, and by the time the others realized that the LTTE is in the camp, some of the Air Force people may have succumbed to death to save the motherland.
It is not necessary to be a PATRIOT to answer this BLOG as any person who has a trained mind can visualize that these mishaps may happened.
The incident at Yala, where the L/ Cpl (out of seven) managed to creep into the jungle with his wounds and summon up the Army HQ is a case to remember as we have courageous soldiers in our Forces but due to the heavy work load they may lapse in their duty.
Sitting in front of a computer in a very cozy chair we all can criticize the people who put their life at the point of a GUN. But only few will have the courage to face the death and do that supreme sacrifice for our motherland.
Fl/Lt Siybalapitiya when he was ordered to take his chopper to Anurdahapura was not sure the Bell can do the job; as such he gave his NECKESS to be given to his wife if he doesn't return.
Those who join the FORCES know the gravity of their assignments and I congratulate them for their bravery.
I am a PATRIOT even though I live in a foreign country.
Upasiri de Silva