Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Oil Spots and Maneuver

Bing West in Slate describes USMC patrols in Fallujah, a place where roles have been reversed. "Ten months ago, Fallujah exported suicide bombers on a weekly basis. Now, the terrorists try to sneak suicide bombers into the city." That doesn't mean there's no danger left. A relatively small number of enemy still remain -- "scattered cells" according to West -- but they no longer have the sting they once packed. They will start almost no firefights with American troops. They'll still try to plant IEDs in the dark of night, but half of all IEDs are spotted before they are detonated.

One reason for this American ascendancy lies in their growing experience. Marine battalion commander Lt. Col. Joseph L'Etoile in Fallujah is on his third tour of Iraq and half of his men are on their second tour. Although the troops may not know much about Iraq despite being there, "the battalion's re-enlistment goals for 2005 had already been exceeded", possibly because they have not had to the opportunity to read newspapers informing them how things are going from bad to worse.

To catch insurgents laying IEDs by night L'Etoile ordered 96-hour patrols all along the highway. 

(For four straight days 24x4=96) dozens of Marines scoured the palm groves, checking farms and back roads, thinking like guerrillas about hide sites and escape routes. At night, the Marines moved to their own hide sites, sent out night patrols, got up in the morning and moved on, usually startling farmers accustomed to seeing Americans only on the roads.

Spotting one group of insurgents emplacing an 800-lb IED on the highway, a 26 man Marine patrol surrounded them then closed in. Taken by surprise the digger and his armed guard fled right into a blocking force and died in a lopsided exchange.

The Slate article goes on to describe the key aspects of keeping a town secure and expanding the zone of security -- what some have called the "oil spot" strategy. It consists in identifying all the residents with identification cards and keeping a close watch on any new faces who may enter town, a process denounced in virtually all Leftist literature as establishing "strategic hamlets". 

L'Etoile next visited a registration center where military-aged males lined up to be issued the ID cards required in the city. Through these separate pieces -- patrols, check points, identification cards -- L'Etoile was putting into effect the essentials of counterinsurgency in an urban setting: First, establish a zone cleared by heavy force (this occurred in November), then cordon off the zone, patrol constantly, do not permit civilians to possess weapons, identify the residents, and arrest the remaining insurgents.

West notes the relationship between "oil spots" and wider operations designed to destroy major enemy bases and concentrations. He uses the word "cleared by heavy force" because "oil spots" can exist only in an environment free of major enemy units. The 96-hour patrols involving small units would have been impossible with large enemy formations on the loose. To have dispatched 26-man patrols in April 2004, with thousands of insurgents in Fallujah, would be tantamount to sending them to their death. After the place had been "cleared" of major enemy units the small patrols became possible.

In places where the enemy is still present in strength and small patrols unable to sneak up on them, other methods must be used. Bill Roggio describes precision strikes in Qaim, on the Syrian border, which eliminated the new al Qaeda Emir in the area just days after similar attacks had killed the old one.

The Coalition continues to conduct targeted strikes on al Qaeda in the Qaim region along the Syrian border. A safe house in the town of Al 'Ushsh, which is about two miles from Qaim, was destroyed. Abu Nasir, who according to CENTCOM was believed to be "a senior al Qaeda in Iraq foreign fighter facilitator and the alleged new al Qaeda in Iraq Emir of Karabilah" was among an estimated twenty terrorists killed in the attack. Abu Nasir's tenure as al Qaeda Emir of the Qaim region was short-lived. He follows in the footsteps of Abu Ali, who was confirmed killed during a targeted airstrike in Haditha on September 18. Command in the Qaim region, like that in the Mosul region, is becoming a difficult job to retain.

Analysts who talk about the 'unstoppable IED' should consider the problems posed to the enemy by the American precision strike, which is in its way the rival "weapon from hell". If a modified cell phone represents a detonator to a triggerman lying in wait for an American target, a regular cell phone in the hands of an Iraqi working for American intelligence is a means to rain down certain destruction on any safehouse, hideout or enemy installation. The defense against IEDs, while difficult, is a known quantity: route surveillance, snipers scanning the roads, the "96 hour" patrols of Lt. Col. Joseph L'Etoile, electronic countermeasures, vehicle armor, etc. But difficult as these are, the defense against precision strikes is far harder because it requires preventing any unvetted person from viewing your movements. Abu Nasir, the late Emir of the Qaim region, may have had twenty or more bodyguards or companions with him; but they simply perished with him because his security measures failed to prevent some person, perhaps a man in the employ of America, perhaps someone with a grudge against him, perhaps even a rival in his own organization from making a cell phone call which brought down a guided weapon on his head. (It's a little more complex than that because verification is required before the strike, and positioning coordinates established, but the principle holds). The insurgents too must maintain their oilspot, by patrols, checkpoints and identity controls -- not to prevent a man with a truckful of explosive from entering their haunts -- but to keep the man with the cellphone or miniaturized American radio in his pocket from reporting on them. Defending against an IED means interdicting a physical object of several tens of pounds; defending against a precision strike means embargoing information. It's hard to defend against a precision strike.

But the worst of it is the wastage to cadres. Those who write that body counts are a meaningless metric to apply against the insurgency ignore the fact that formations which sustain heavy casualties lose their organizational memory while those who suffer lightly retain them. Lt. Col. Joseph L'Etoile is on his third and half of his men are on their second tours of Iraq . For Abu Nasir and many of his foreign fighters, the memory of what to avoid next time has been lost on this, their last tour of Iraq.

102 Comments:

Blogger wretchard said...

I'd like to ask all commenters to observe basic rules of civility. The threads have been getting a little wild and wooley lately.

9/27/2005 02:33:00 AM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

Your post actually describes the two separate approaches we are adopting in Iraq. We have fused traditional "oil spot" or "ink blot" counterinsurgency strategy with the "search and destroy" tactics that allegedly failed in the first years in Vietnam (if, for example, you believe Max Boot's book on small wars and others). Lt. Col. L'Etoile is spreading his oil spot, but the air strikes al Qaeda that you describe were perfected by Israel and are the thinking man's "search and destroy" operation of 1966. Some critics of the current conduct of the war (see Kenneth Pollack's Senate testimony here) believe that success against Iraq's insurgency requires use of the oil spot tactic exclusively, at least given American force levels. The problem with the Pollack's well-articulated argument is that it leaves no opportunity to pick off al Qaeda's force structure.

The way I look at this, then, the "oil spot" strategy is critical for securing Iraq and ultimately defeating the insurgency. But we have an additional objective, which is the specific humiliation and destruction of that portion of the insurgency that identifies itself as al Qaeda in Iraq. So yes, we must secure all the Fallujahs and that requires oil spots that spread, but we also have to humiliate the enemy that specifically declared war on us almost a decade ago. In that regard, traditional counterinsurgency tactics are not nearly as useful as the "search and destroy" operations that destroyed Abu Nasir.

9/27/2005 03:42:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

One would hope the body counts might represent a deterrent to recruiting also, but maybe not yet?

If our guys could stop socializing, watching DVDs, writing home and the like, and start paying more attention to the NEWS, maybe they could overcome that deficiency of not knowing much about Iraq despite being there, thus allowing them to make better informed choices regarding their careers.
We can hope, or at least some of "us" who support the Troops but not the cause can hope for such an outcome.

9/27/2005 03:43:00 AM  
Blogger StoutFellow said...

Those who write that body counts are a meaningless metric to apply against the insurgency ignore the fact that formations which sustain heavy casualties lose their organizational memory while those who suffer lightly retain them.

Those same writers assiduously include a body count of American forces as the tag line for every article that they write from their Baghdad hotel room. I recall someone in the MSM stating early on in OIF that they were not going to serve as a cheerleading squad for the American military. Those of us who support OIF/GWOT will happily settle for some real journalism like the Slate article or Michael Yon's pieces. In each case, no cheerleading is needed. Simple reporting reveals admirable qualities of the US fighting forces - our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and children.

As for institutional memory, the problem is only getting worse for the insurgency.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A man believed to be al Qaeda's No. 2 operative in Iraq has been killed, a U.S. Defense Department official confirmed to CNN.

Abu Azzam was a "significant" figure in the al Qaeda network in Iraq, the official said.


Next thing you know they will have to resort to killing teachers and terrorizing school children.

9/27/2005 03:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

StoutFellow said...
"Those who write that body counts are a meaningless metric to apply against the insurgency
[are]
Those same writers that assiduously include a body count of American forces as the tag line for every article that they write from their Baghdad hotel room.
"
---
That is to preserve the symmetry in reportage overseas and on the domestic front, where the same reporters who damned Bush for not visiting the Katrina area often enough are the same reporters that now criticize Bush for visiting New Orleans/Houston too often.

9/27/2005 04:11:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

Nice article Wretchard. Too often we let the MSM set the framework and are forced to go defensive. Several well written articles and news specials could turn the gloomy public opinion tide.

9/27/2005 04:35:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

The terrorists have killed so many civilians who have large, extended families that more and more people are willing to report their presence and activities - a simple matter of retribution. I have alwasy suscribed to the flypaper theory. There is no telling the number of jihadi field commanders, the equivalent of our senior NCOs and junior officers, that have been killed in Iraq. These dead men leave often leave families with no means of support. It must be demoralizing to have Uncle Mohammed go off to fight Americans and never return - no body comes home, no insurance check, no word or inkling of how he died, no funeral, no letters to cherish, no future income. They glorify his martyr status with empty bellies which fiery rhetoric cannot fill, and the Americans remain.

9/27/2005 04:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

StoutFellow, yeah, right: Gunmen Kill Five Shiite Teachers in Iraq

9/27/2005 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Abu Nasir, the late Emir of the Qaim region, may have had twenty or more bodyguards or companions with him; but they simply perished with him because his security measures failed to prevent some person, perhaps a man in the employ of America, perhaps someone with a grudge against him, perhaps even a rival in his own organization from making a cell phone call which brought down a guided weapon on his head.

Consider the implications not only for all such present and future Emirs, but their followers and would-be protectors as well. What person will want to stand by (literally or figuratively) the individual who at any moment, without warning, may disappear through the gates of Hell and take anyone in their proximity with them? Suicide bombers is one thing, but suicide bodyguards/companions/accomplices is another. The physical and psychological forces arrayed against them is such as to suggest a steadily dwindling supply of them all.

9/27/2005 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

A safe house in the town of Al 'Ushsh, which is about two miles from Qaim, was destroyed.

When is a safe house not a safe house?

9/27/2005 05:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sometime between that cell call and when it's too late.

9/27/2005 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger gmat said...

Hey, wait, isn't Slate owned by an arch-villain of the "MSM"? Better watch it. There could be a subliminal leftist post-hypnotic suggestion fiendishly embedded in West's piece.

(...must...kill...Krauthammer...)

Right, well, speaking of good reporting from Iraq, I always like this non-journalist guy Walsh, especially the linked piece where he foretells the Sunni Apocalypse coming in the Spring.

9/27/2005 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

sirius_sir,

Crazy isn't it? The Emir would probably have been safer with one bodyguard, because physical protection is useless against guided weapons; only information denial could have shielded him. The score of bodyguards made him that much easier to spot. But then having one bodyguard makes him easier to snatch and vulnerable to the random gangs native to lawless places. There are tradeoffs.

So you adapt, as Hamas leaders have adapted, by wearing disguises on your way to the meet, which becomes less and less a commander's conference than furtive contact between agent and handler. Or you hook up in a moving vehicle but that doesn't always work because the Hellfire can hit mobile targets and the JDAM is being adapted to do the same.

9/27/2005 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

If another barometer of the state of affairs in Iraq is needed, one need only have looked toward D.C. this past weekend.
Certain People like to use Vietnam analogies, but one we should consider was the violent reaction of the Anti-War Left to our most effective military actions in Vietnam. The more devastating to the enemy, the more violent was the reaction in this country.
The same thing is happening today. Effective operations and undeniable progress in Iraq clearly spurs the Left to action over here. In teh case of Vietnam, we eventually found out that we were not poking one animal and seeing another react; we were poking the same animal.
It sure looks like the same phenomenoa today.

9/27/2005 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

Great post Wretchard with a great final sentence...

9/27/2005 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Doug,
That would make a great Verizon commercial. "Can you hear me now?"

9/27/2005 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

gmat link above:
"In the next two years, in my opinion, the U.S. will have established the kind of presence in Iraq and Afghanistan that will enable us to wage the long-term war on Islamic terrorism that George Bush had in mind when, right after 9/11, he warned about the need for the American people to be prepared to fight a very long war.

During the Cold War the U.S. ringed the Soviet Union with bases in countries all over the Northern Hemisphere. That encirclement drove the Soviet leadership to fits of apoplexy and, occasionally, to very foolish foreign ventures.

During this war we won't be on the fringes of Islam. We will be in Iraq. We will be right in the heart of Islam. Right in the midst of the enemy who would kill us all. And, when the realization of that sinks in, the American people will finally know why we went to war in Iraq."
---
ex-Helo,
Hopefully they have better service than Verizon.
Just Kidding, I'm satisfied.

9/27/2005 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It would be funny, if it weren't so sad.

"... usually startling farmers accustomed to seeing Americans only on the roads ..."

That is now the American way.
Road Hunting.
Have seen that during deer season. "Hunters" driving up and down the road, hoping the deer jump out in front of the truck. Always makes me laugh.
The "country" being to "rough" to walk, for most city/ suburb dwellers. Not to tough for the deer, though.
To bad it took 2.5 years to learn how to really hunt, in Iraq.

A 26 man patrol foot patrol is a lot safer, even in Indian Country than driving, in convoy, without being allowed to enforce a Security Zone around that convoy.
That is one reason why the car bombs and IED are were so effective. Routes of transit are well known, the intersections & kill zones well defined.
Finally we are beginning to utilize the natives, getting out of the vehicles and off the roads.
Better late than never.

9/27/2005 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

gmat,
thxs for the Walsh link, an interesting read.

9/27/2005 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger CJB said...

Everybody is talking about the inkspot strategy as if there is a classic formula & it is the only one possible against an insurgency. This report shows that there are variations possible to the basic strategy. One variation, mentioned a few months ago (& I can't remember where) was successfully used in Peru against the Shining Path guerrillas & in Algeria in the '90's against the Islamist terrorists.

The basic idea is that it is impossible to suppress all insurgent activity in all places at the same time, & not a good idea to try anyway. It will only push them underground where they will lay quiet until some future opportunity to strike. Instead, hit them hard in key areas (inkspots) but allow certain free zones where you don't opperate at all. Under pressure the insurgents will naturally gravitate to these areas. Watch them as they travel & set up, but before they get too established in their safe area, hit them again, causing them to move again. This cycle is repeated over & over, reducing the size of the safe areas, until the insurgents are exhausted of men & material. The point it to use the insurgents' limited resources for travel against them. Meanwhile, go after the middle level commanders since they are the link between senior leaders & the foot soldiers, thus exploiting their weakness in command & control. This also destroys their institutional memory.

One can see examples of this strategy at work everyday in reports from the front. The insurgents are hit in Fallujah, the migrate to Mosul, they're hit in Mosul so they migrate to Tal Afar, where they get hit again. Emirs (middle commanders) are killed & new ones appointed who get killed in short order. They gripe about poor leadership. The foot soldiers get younger & less experienced. Insurgent attacks get less complex as the experienced fighters are killed off & the command & control is weakened. The tempo of the operations against them increases, the inkspots spread, & the insurgency begins to die. I believe we can see this pattern at work in Iraq these past several months.

9/27/2005 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

What is the cloak of invisibility that's protecting Zaqawari himself? Either he's not in Iraq any more, but is over the line in Syria, or he's found some way around not being seen and pinpointed by civilian Iraqi's. He was supposed to have been wounded several months ago, so in addition to being obvious because of the flow of people to and from him, he's also probably got limited mobility and/or some kind of medical attention being directed to him.

In other words, he's had exactly the same set of conditions to deal with as bin Laden, yet we can't seem to find either one of them.

9/27/2005 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

the "oil spot" approach sounds like what my pal bibi has said for years... drain the swamp...

9/27/2005 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Nahncee,

I don't presume to know the answer to your question, but you may recall that there was a great deal of discussion in British intelligence during the later part of World War 2 over whether or not it was advisable to asassinate Hitler, even if the chance presented itself. The case against killing Hitler rested on the fact that he was, by that time, a known loser. They had his measure. As long as Hitler remained in charge of the OKW, Germany would continue on its way to defeat. Change him and anything could happen.

I don't mean to say that this consideration is actually protecting Zarqawi, but I've observed elsewhere that his policies have made it impossible to create a Sunni-Shi'ite united front against America; and were it possible to eliminate him this minute -- would you?

9/27/2005 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Wretchard
damn right you eliminate him.
the arrogance of power, that we could strike, but choose to leave the enemy in place, to "use" them leads to defeat here at home.

pc^killer made that same argument about Osama. Does not hold water better for you and Z than it does for pc & Osama.
The Able Danger boys could not track Mohammed Atta on a day to day basis, the FBI could not survail each of his contacts. The CIA did not pass data on other of Atta's team members, coming to US from the Phillipines.
No great loss though, we could have rolled up his network anytime we wanted.
Any time before 11 September 2001, that is.

9/27/2005 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger gmat said...

Pondering the endgame in Iraq prompted me to check in with the guy who, I'm convinced, is the next George Kennan, and cazart! There he is talking about guess what? The endgame in Iraq.

But more than that (since he is, after all, a futurist), how important it is that at least part of the conversation be reserved for "What IS the future that is worth creating?"

Barnett's vision of actually shrinking "the Gap" (the dysfunctional, dangerous fraction of the world) through increased connectivity, rather than simply containing it (a la Kaplan, "Classic Imperialism," WSJ, 23 Sept, p. A16), is something I hope I live to see.

9/27/2005 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

rat - "..but choose to leave the enemy in place, to "use" them leads to defeat here at home."
translation: war-fighting strategy must be circumscribed by any feckless defeatism on the home-front.
not so sure about that. i'd say the white house/pentagon have been willing to take a fair amount of heat 'in the polls' in order to do the right thing: win.

9/27/2005 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

"Why no Zarqawi or OBL"

Almost all organizations function on Middle Management, if the chairman of GM doesn't show up for work, cars keep getting made.

In terms of replacability, the Top of the Heap, and Bottom of the Heap are the easiest to replace.

The biggest challenge in building the Iraqi Army isn't fresh recuits, it is building an NCO and Junior Officer Cadre.

Capturing Zarqawi and OBL are important in a political sense. However, the short run political gain of having "Captured" the other sides leader is quickly forgotten when the other side keeps on fighting.(Everything would be better if Saddam was captured...oops)

Decimate the middle management, then capture the top guy.

9/27/2005 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Wretchard: I presume that you saw this past weekend's TV presentation on The History Channel (or maybe it was Discovery) on a British plan to kill Hitler. It covered the options considered and described the final plan devised: use of a sniper in a German uniform.
The experts of the time and those of today agree that the war would have ended much sooner, perhaps right after Hitler was killed in Jan 1944 and certainly not later than the end of that year.
I thought not the eternal question of whether Hitler was an asset to Germany or one to the Allies but rather, what ending the war in such a way would have had on the peace. While it is true that a 1944 end to the war in Europe would have saved the lives of many, and perhaps even kept the Soviets out of much of Eastern Europe, the way the war did end brought home to ardent Nazis and ordinary Germans alike that they had been well and truly beaten. They could do little else than look on the Allies with respect if not outright admiration.
The line attributed to Ghengis Kahn (and Conan) comes to mind, that of the satisfaction of seeing your enemies crushed and hearing the wails of their women. Perhaps we don't need that kind of victory to be satisfied, but maybe THEY do.

9/27/2005 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There is NO ONE in either Iraq or Pakistan or Afghanistan who can step into the "PR Legend" that Osama has built.
The same holds true for Z in Western MSM.

If it is by command decision that we leave Osama and Z on the 'street' those that made it a guilty of criminal negligence, if those KNOWN Terrorist Commanders are involved in the death or destruction of any target anywhere in the World.

If it is true that we have them in our sights, and let them live, to track Osama's or Z's couriers. Well, if it became public knowledge, the political firestorm would ensue would ensure the loss of US Public support for the Administrations continued "War".

The Democrats would get their shot, for sure. They wouldn't be percieved as possibly doing worse, for US.

9/27/2005 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger huskermet said...

In my mind, the truly beautiful aspect of all this is that along with the destruction of organizational experience, the security gap posed by information sharing (amongst the enemy) is finally being exploited.

When the average terror cell leader tries to coordinate an effort with his counterpart down the road, he exposes himself to a greater risk of precision death.

So as an act of self preservation he keeps mum and each individual cell becomes a stovepipe operation.

The effect is that organizational learning is not only curtailed on the macro-org, but on the micro level as well.

Couple that with the Arab social tendency to horde information at the top and the enemy will eventually be re-inventing the wheel every time out.

9/27/2005 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I could not imagine doug arguing the "Pro" 9-11 Commissioner Jamie Gorlick position.
Her "Wall" would be nothing, compared to knowingly allowing Osama to run free in the mountains of Central Asia.

9/27/2005 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

It depends on where Zarqawi is.

If he is in Syria, then do we go after him?

There is no fast and hard rule on taking him or any other leader out. If letting someone run takes you to others, then let them run.

One can see in each operation the intent behind it. Dropping a JDAM says volumes as does a shootout in Baghdad about the Coalition intent and estimation of someone's worth.

A bomb is dropped on fighters, a leader is taken alive if possible.

Wretchard in som many words makes the point that every person with a cell phone becomes a sensor in the shooter matrix. General Franks talked about how every soldier was linked to the shooter matrix. So - this analogy has been extended out to all people.

9/27/2005 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As a further example of red river statement, it was local input, by cell phone, that allowed Pablo Escobar to be taken down.

If Z is in Syria, he is no longer a Combatant. That is offical US Policy. There are no Combatants in Syria. We are not engaged in a Regional War.

In the GWoT, I'd assume Z is "Wanted". It seems the GWoT has already evolved into a Police/ Criminal investigation. Just like the War on Drugs.

So our efforts in Iraq and the "Global War" really ARE just a big Police effort, captured prisoners are released by revolving door Judges, Gangs are left to rule their "turf" and we persue selective prosecutions.

It's to bad the War on Drugs is a failure, with dope still sold on the corner and used in US High Schools. Oh well.

9/27/2005 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Barnett actually updates the Cold War theory of containment; the Soviet Union did not fall necessarily out of its own contradictions, but declined out of them. It fell when the pretense to equality with the West was shown up as a lie and piecemeal reforms proved nearly impossible.

There is something to be said of America as a post-modern 'empire' due to this soft-power invasiveness; America's influence is extraterritorial and extralegal and pervasive. So coincident with defining the limits of violence (containment and, by analogue, 'ink blot') there are pressures that do not have to be supportive of the US, just so long as they annhilate our totalitarian enemies.

Communists or Islamofascists.

9/27/2005 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Also, with Red River, say we do have a bead on Zarkman and UBL. If these gentlemen are in charge of terror networks, they'd be the key to dismantling them.

It's like having the key ciphers to Japanese codes during WWII...why let on that you know when you can roll up operation after operation after operation? Of course, it only takes one journalist to kill tens of thousands when they reveal that we know what we know and how, but decisive operations on the periphery may be better than a fait accompli at the core.

9/27/2005 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

I'm glad the Marines haven't heard this news: “That final battle of the war in Iraq was lost in New Orleans when Bush showed up three days after Katrina.”

9/27/2005 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is interesting that our Armed Forces are being devolved into a Police Force. Both in US and Iraq.

With Mr Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, saying, as he did on 20 September, that "...“I don’t think there is a big need for military activity in Afghanistan
anymore," ... "

When he says
"..."The use of air power is something that may not be very
effective now because we have moved forward. And similarly, going into the Afghan homes -- searching Afghan homes without the authorization of the Afghan
government -- is something that should stop now. No coalition forces should go into Afghan homes without the authorization of the Afghan government. The Afghan
government is now capable of doing that. The Afghan society is now better organized [and] can handle things like that better than it could a year or two years ago. That’s what I mean by a change of strategy.” ..."

“Go fight somewhere else”

Even Afghanistan.

9/27/2005 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan now agrees with Ms. Pelosi's statement from last June.
"... "I assume that the war in Afghanistan is over, or is the contention that you have that it continues?" she said to a reporter.
A few moments later, she said: "This isn't about the duration of the war. The war in Afghanistan is over."

The President of Afghanistan and the Minority Leader of the US House of Representitives agree.
The War in Afghanistan is over.
Soon the War in Iraq will be over as well.

The GWoT will be homeless.

9/27/2005 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

desert rat, forgive me, but it seems you have no capacity to appreciate the need for Karzai to make public statement necessitated by the maneuvering of forces below him.

You consume and eat this stuff whole, when it is basic political posturing on his part. I think you are wrong to do so. Assuming we have a very definite bead on UBL and Zarqawi, bully for us! And to assert criminality in holding off on killing them seems irresponsible to me. Exploit, exploit, exploit.

In fact, I'm in part convinced that the incessant Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party carping about "why no UBL capture" is all part of a strategy to force us to show our hand.

I like what President Bush has consistently maintained: we will deal with these fools at a time and place of our choosing.

You damn skippy!

9/27/2005 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

rat - i don't mean to pick a fight but doesn't your 7.59 post portray two basic pillars of clinton/kerry thinking: (1) micro-managing the military command, and (2) running a war by electoral poll? Your subsequent posts also seem to portray another: the tendency to declare yourself right based on highly attenuated 'evidence'.

9/27/2005 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

skippy?

I believe that the US is ill govermed by a strategy of "winks & nods".
I believe what Presidents say.
Ours & Theirs.
Do you take Iran's President at his word?
I do. They will be building their Nuke Program.
Do you take Mugambe at his word?
I do, they will continue to "disposses" his opponents.
Do you believe President Jalal Talabani of Iraq when he says we are engaged in an Iraqi Civil War?
I do.
Do you believe Bush & Blair?
or are they liars, too?

9/27/2005 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

ex-dem
The GWoT was declared, by President Bush, as being against those using Terror as a weapon and those "States" that sponsor Terror..
The list of those combatants is almost endless.
The primary Nation Sates, Syria and Iran are unmolested.
No War there.
The "Headliners" of the opposition are militarily unmolested.
I believe Porter Goss.
If we did not know Osama's location then to pursue other targets is acceptable, to me.
If we DO know where Osama is, and we leave him to continue his plots and plans, that is unacceptable, to me.
The opportunities for US incompetence is to great.
Somalia, USS Cole and 9-11 and Tora Bora are proof enough of that.

If, after 3 years we have lost focus on our real enemies, it should be noted.

Terrorist trainees from Jordon, KSA and Syria, killed in Tel Afar are not the dangers to my future grandchildren that should be primary on a realistic target list.

9/27/2005 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

off topic...

Hamas releases Zarqawi-style CD Rom of kidnapped Israeli Sasson Nuriel before his murder.

http://debka.com/

Very interesting that Hamas is doing this at the same time trying to look legit in the eyes of the world in "elections" coming up in January.....

Once again i think this will show hamas's and the palestinian national movement to be nothing more than murderers not nation building...

sorry for the off topic, this man named Sasson Nuriel was murdered by hamas... he deserves some attention since the MSM only keeps saying how hamas is so wonderful...

9/27/2005 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Doug Santo said...

I agree with the post.

I have to say however, that posts on this blog relating to Iraq seem to run hot or cold depending on recent media reports. A good media report and posts here are upbeat. A bad media report and posts here are doom and gloom.

I believe an analysis of the Iraq situation must be based on the irreducible facts on the ground; to the extent those facts are available. The analysis must consider U.S./Coalition means, tactics, and results versus the the same for the enemy. There is a time factor. That is, victory or defeat will not come in the next few weeks. The application of American strength is having a significant effect on the enemy. Over the next two years, I believe it will be decisive. All fundamental indicators I can see indicate the terrorist insurgency will be defeated. This is not to say that Iraq will be free from terrorist attacks, but that is not a reasonable measure to evaluate success.

Allowing ones’ view of the struggle to roller coaster up and down with media reports is folly. Focus on the fundamentals and long term trends.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

9/27/2005 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

from the WaPo's David Ignatius
"...The commanders' thinking is conveyed by a set of "Principles for a Long War" for combating the main enemy, al Qaeda and affiliated movements. Among the precepts they discussed here: "use the indirect approach" by working with Iraqi and other partner forces; "avoid the dependency syndrome" by making the Iraqis take responsibility for their own security and governance; and "remove the perception of occupation" by reducing the size and visibility of American forces. ..."
" ... Gen. George W. Casey Jr., who commands U.S. troops in Iraq. "The sooner we can shift [to Iraqi security forces] the better." Casey explains: "A smaller U.S. footprint, that is allowed to decline gradually as Iraqi forces get stronger, actually helps us." ..."

WaPo

Which is just what President Bush has said.

A counter insurgency IS A police effort. Iraq's, more so than others. Our Poicy is not to raze Insurgent areas. Tikrit, Mosul and even Fallujah are all still functional cities. No masses of Refugees, no displaced persons, no resettlements.
Suspects are spotted, detained and released to fight again.
Read Mr Yon.

9/27/2005 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Student's Dad makes a good point:

Capturing Zarqawi and OBL are important in a political sense. However, the short run political gain of having "Captured" the other sides leader is quickly forgotten when the other side keeps on fighting.(Everything would be better if Saddam was captured...oops)

Too many people in the media and Congress fixate on the idea that there is this one "Mr. Evil", the arch mastermind, that if only they are captured or whacked - all the problems we attribute to them go away in one easy solution. Which is bunk and always has been when we confront a strong state or ideology.

It has been from the Punic Wars which survived innumerable heroes falling, enemies falling, and "regime changes".

The oft-cited reducio ad Hitlerum argument that if only we had killed Hitler earlier in WWII, Germany would have been stopped in it's tracks, is untrue. Because Germany had an ideology that had to be defeated first. Killing Hitler in 1939 or 43 when Germany was winning or holding it's own would have just led to his martyrdom and some perhaps more competent National Socialist carrying the torch. In 1944, perhaps the timing of taking out Hitler could have shortened the War, but we were not privy to inner Nazi politics and can confidently say we only know this well in hindsight. A case was made even then that killing or assassinating Hitler might stiffen resistance. And on the flip side of the only piece of history most Americans understand, WWII, and not so well - the decision to preserve the life of the Emperor from bombers paid off in the end.

Getting Binnie would be satisfying as long as he is not immediately surrounded by 20 Jewish lawyers from the ACLU and 10 sweet-talking Southern Lawyers committed to making his trial a 5-year long indictment of America the Evil. Just whack the guy. But be assured that someone will quickly rise to take his place.

Even decimating "middle management" is at best a tactical military response that temporarily ensures the hordes of jihadi mosquitos rising from the swamps of radical Islamist ideology are less well led and thus less effective. Until new management arises.

You only have a continuous war with no victory, only ebb and flow of slaughter....with our current approach to the "GWOT".

Victory can come, but requires different tools other than "special ops heroes and their JDAMs" as the only method utilized.

1. The Roman approach used on Carthage, the Persians, and in lesser campaigns like dealing with revolting Jewish zealots in some backwater province.

2. The WWII approach. Indiscriminantly kill enough of the enemy, soldiers and civilians alike, to make them sick of the ideology they fought for.

3. Use of all tools - economic, enhanced numbers of cultural, intelligence, and linguistic experts, strategic communications, diplomacy and forcing religious tolerance be two-way......along with the present preferred small military force usage.

4. Invade 50-60 separate nations and have us blow hundreds of billions in each Islamic nation fighting insurgency and nation building.

I prefer option 3. As we learned from Communism, if we fight the symptoms (end the Commie revolution in Hungary, Germany, USSR, Malaysia, Greece, Argentina, Tanzania, Gaboon, Indonesia....) we have a 70 year war. Because before the ideology of Communism itself was discredited, we played military and diplomatic "whack-a-mole" for decades and tried containment strategies that don't work with a religion..

9/27/2005 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew K said...

"Too many people in the media and Congress fixate on the idea that there is this one "Mr. Evil", "

Hey he didn't got o four years of evil medical school to be called "Mr."!

Sorry everyone.

9/27/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew K said...

On a more serious note Cedarford, two questions:

1.Where are the hordes of Jihadis I keep hearing about? If the Arab world is so outraged over the invasion of Iraq they sure seem to not be making much of it. Seriously is what we are seeing worldwide the best "they" can do?

Second, what makes you think that the leaders that have been killed so far are replaceable? Unless they are as good at communicating and institutionalizing lessons learned as we are then every dead leader is a much greater loss to them than a similar leader's loss would be to us. Individuals matter.

9/27/2005 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Rem870 said...

Cedarford said, Getting Binnie would be satisfying as long as he is not immediately surrounded by 20 Jewish lawyers from the ACLU and 10 sweet-talking Southern Lawyers committed to making his trial a 5-year long indictment of America the Evil.

So, now you are going after Southerners, too? You might want to rethink that position.

9/27/2005 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

andrew k
The Mohammedan Mahdi Hordes are those foreign fighters in Iraq, a few thousand at best.
They are the in the KSA, Iran and Pakistan. In the Sudan members of the Mohammedan Horde have been killing African Christians, for years, enough for US to declare it Genocide.
The 300,000 armed men reported to be in Warzistan do, I think, constitute part of the Horde. They have been more than a match, so far, for the Pakistani National Army. They also have repulsed some US efforts to infiltrate their area.
In Malaysia and the Philipines they control large swaths of countryside. In Thailand there seems to be almost constant bloodshed, by members of the Horde.
Look to Chechnya, Georgia and Uzbeckistan and you'll also find portions of the Mohammedan Horde.

Some of the Mohammedan Horde is unarmed, today, much like the invaders that cross the US's southern frontier, averaging 6,000 infiltraters per night.

Iraq is but a minor Front in a Major War.

9/27/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

Bill,

For several days now the blog has been "over-framed". The Left side Blog ads are overlapping the text. That means EVERYWHERE there is a left-side ad frame, the text CANNOT be read. It is covered up! Please reduce that left side frame to a much smaller width. Thank you!

9/27/2005 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hitler's death would have been a major blow to Nazism since they never could achieve beyond a 30% draw in actual elections - even once in the Reichstag as a major party. Hitler's death prior to 1941 would've removed the impetus for major strategic moves that might have resulted in wholly different decisions since he in fact did exercise his primary position over the Wehrmacht.

In any case much of the real reason for his victory was the cowardice - oh excuse me the war-aversion - of the Europeans. Look at Austria, Czechoslovakia - even Poland resulted in nothing until France itself was actually attacked.

More Rome, less talking. The nation-building is going fine. These are Arabs, of whom no recognizably political sense can be perceived. They're stuck in the 13th century mentality, itself an aggrandized tribal mentality, thus their general defference to autocrats who beat them into submission. There is simply no way around this complete crap our guys are wading through now. Kill the leaders, kill the henchmen, treat everyone else like the normal people they are. Repeat. Clearly the Iraqis en masse were content to follow our lead and sufficientlyl convinced we would allow them to go about their peaceful civic pursuits unmolested.

Reading Empire of the Sands right now by the way - absolutely fascinating. Amazingly few books, by the way, deal with the Arab "world" itself. Why is that?

9/27/2005 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

Opps! Addressed that post to the wrong person. Sorry!

However, the blog ads are covering Text and it is NOT my computer. I have read this blog for months and those ads became framed incorrectly just recently.

9/27/2005 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We all know that individuals can have NO effect on War. The outcomes, of course, are preordained. Either allah's will or US omnipotence decides all.

From the tales of Hector and Achilles, individuals have always made a difference.

In David McCullough's 1776 he makes the case that if Washington had been lost in the New York Campaign, which almost occurred, the US Revolution would have been lost with him.

To argue the Brits were better off watching Washington and tracking his couriers than they would have been with him dead, is nuts.

When "Stonewall" was shot, the Confederates were not unaffected.

After Kasserine Pass, Patton's taking command of USII Corps was vital to the US Army's future Victories.

The second string is usually just that, for a reason.

9/27/2005 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Westhawk said...

It is inconceivable that any order would go out down the U.S. chain of command to spare the life of bin Laden or Zarqawi. U.S. troops would be outraged and confused by such an order and it would quickly leak to the gleeful MSM, resulting in a huge embarrassment to Mr. Bush. Such a scenario is just not logical.

If bin Laden and Zarqawi are incompetent leaders, they are unlikely, unlike Hitler, to have much command and control over their forces, due to extreme communications problems. So there is no such utility to keeping them alive. On the other hand, there is great utility for the U.S. side in killing them - the war on terror is now much about symbolism and media impact. The klling of the Big Three - bin Laden, Zawahiri, or Zarqawi - would be demoralizing to the jihadist cause. The GWOT will fade away when Islamic teenage boys come to the conclusion that jihadism is pointless and futile. Killing the Big Three will help achieve that goal.

9/27/2005 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

damn right

9/27/2005 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

O/T
Heh. Notice the last line.

9/27/2005 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

uh oh, I believe that was a shot my way, rat. Well, lock and load.

Generalship is indeed the province of the individual genius. On the other hand, you need an Army to have a General, so if no such army does exist, but rather this ubiquitious cellular 'open-sourced' warfare thing, the Continental or Union Armies may not be the best comparisons.

It is unclear whether UBL actually directs anything at all and a very good case can be made that he is isolated; in the absence of proof, it should be noted that having his lines of communication compromised though not him, is better than having having nothing at all and may or may not be worse than having him stone-cold dead.

We should note that killing him may make him a 'martyr;' the humiliation of him flaunting our 'impotence' in capturing him outweighs that, in my book. We should also note that bringing him to justice in a court of law could imperil us (the reactionary element to free him, the asinity of trial lawyers to do as well); it would still be better to humiliate him than otherwise.

So; dead/captured UBL > compromised but living UBL > nothing at all. But there is utility in reading a gentlemen's mail, after all, and I hope you are not resting your case on contradicting that.

9/27/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

On the topic of "the Big Three".... I am NOT CONVINCED that Zarqawi is still alive. The same goes for bin laden. The "Egyptian doctor" yes, but not the other two.

9/27/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Westhawk said...

On the matter of body counts, we don't think they are that useful a metric in counterinsurgency operations. The MSM thinks body count reporting by CENTCOM is a sign of U.S. desperation, but think they are a perfectly great metric when measuring insurgent strength. Logical? We think not. We had something to say about this in our post

Educating Ms. Knickmeyer,

a critique of a bad WaPo story.

As for "oil spot" versus "search and destroy", we think that U.S. strategy is necessarily eclectic. The Marine Corps commandant recently said that the enemy can adjust his tactics within ten days. U.S. tactics must also be fluid and changing. But the main pillars of U.S. tactics are to 1) train the (mainly Shi'ite and Kurdish) Iraqis, and 2) immediately strike high-value targets they stumble across.

The most useful metric in both the Iraq and Afghan wars is calls by locals to the tip lines - and CENTCOM claims that the phones are ringing off their hooks.

Westhawk

9/27/2005 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew K said...

Rat,

"Iraq is but a minor Front in a Major War."

Why minor?

I understand the rest of your post, and agree that there are hordes, my question is if there are such vast hordes why are so realtively few fighting in Iraq?

9/27/2005 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Rem870 - I was presuming the Southern trial lawyers would rush to Binnies defense not from the "Hate America" ideology of the ACLU attorneys, but simply for the opportunity to sell their souls once again to make piles of money in the finest tradition of Southern trial lawyers. It, after all, was a Southern trial lawyer that said he would defend Satan himself if Satan could pay his fees.

Andrew K writes:

On a more serious note Cedarford, two questions:

1.Where are the hordes of Jihadis I keep hearing about?

In 82-87 separate violent Islamist organizations scattered from the Philippines to Uruguay to Morocco. In over 100 different countries. Ever since the Muslim Brotherhood arose in the 20's, they have been killing. But you and other Americans don't know or care about their slaughters of non-Americans. Perhaps you notice the occasional slaughter of other Westerners, but Hindis in Kashmir, moderate Muslims in Algeria, Shia Hazari slaughtered in Afghanistan...not on your radar screen. Al Qaeda is just one small piece of a larger structure of intolerant radical Islam.

2. Second, what makes you think that the leaders that have been killed so far are replaceable? Unless they are as good at communicating and institutionalizing lessons learned as we are then every dead leader is a much greater loss to them than a similar leader's loss would be to us. Individuals matter.

Some individuals matter, but less so than popular histories or simplistic poly sci books that fixate on "that one great man!!" claim. DeGaulle at least deserves credit in dismissing his "great leader who does it all" praisers with his simple observation that the graveyards are full of indispensible men, yet France and civilization move forward.

DeGaulle was exactly right.

Because DeGaulle knew that all French civilization was recorded, codified, in books every citizen could obtain - it's structure developed and just waiting for the requisite number of people from an ample, large bin of potential leaders and managers and operatives and generals to step into. America is the same way. And Al Qaeda and groups like the Muslim Brotherhood have also sought to institutionalize violent jihad and codify it's skills and lessons into training manuals that can be burned on a stack of DVDs and sent around the world with a stroke of a key or in a UPS package to Islamists. Dedicated Islamists who seek to add to the knowledge base of everything from recruitment to bomb-making to US Marine ambush tactics from American military manuals they buy from Soldier of Fortune magazine or from bookshops near American bases --to complete instructions of how to effectively administer a town or region in holy warrior hands. You think they are primitives in caves unable to write or communicate. This is clearly not so. Their communications are global and their writings geared to disseminate resilency in staffing their organizations with personnel that can replace others lost to time or the enemy.

You cannot defeat an ideology followed by millions and supported in some way or another by hundreds of millions by imagining you can end the ideology by "taking out" a few thousand "Indispensable men". Your error in thinking so is compound. First, there are no indispensible men in a cause with strong institutional memory. Second error is thinking an ideology can be defeated by removing a cadre. There are two ways to defeat a dangerous ideology: (1)Mass slaughter, and even mass slaughter is not enough if the ideology is strong enough to survive unbelievable butchery, as the Communists found out trying to kill off Christianity and Western freedom. (2)Demonstrate that ideology is inferior to alternatives.

Thinking that the problem can be easily solved by eliminating a few thousand "evildoers" who "hate our freedoms" - in their caves, where they have neglected to train their replacement "evildoers" is post-9/11 simplistic thinking that should have died a few years back.

Fortunately, most Muslims do not want to live is some retrograde 7th Century Salafist hell. And fortunately, most Muslims are not convinced the answer lies in Jihad against a much stronger non-Muslim world ready to drop the hammer on them if Muslims continue to press violence too far. It is one thing to justify liberation against Zionist occupiers and colonists - and another thing to be the people responsible for 9/11s, Beslans, and blowing up crowds of moderate Muslims with car bombs.

So far, the biggest damage to the ideology of radical Islam is not been by US supersoldiers with hightech military wonder toys doing desultory attrition of "evildoers" , but the violent excesses of terrorists that are growingly being seen as un-Islamic.

9/27/2005 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

verc
Osama is a PR pillar of the Mohammedan Movement.

Yes, the types of Wars and Armies are different now, than in the past.
Without massed Armies, but great masses, the Mohammedan threat is amplified by their apparent victories, both large and small. Against Eygpt, the Soviet Union, US, Russia, Spain, England. The "Leaders" that engineered these Mohammedan wins...Osama & Zawahiri.
aQ's biggest marketing tool is US impotence in spite of it's omnipotent position.
Osama's greatest worth to the Mohammedan cause is as a Living Legend.
They have a history full of losing martyrs, he'd just be another name on that list.

I think we have them in our sights and are waiting, taking them at a time that will "Cover" our "public impotentcy" upon announcing withdrawal from Iraq.
A strategic plan, for the Spring, perhaps.

9/27/2005 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Desert Rat,
I think it is pretty obvious that bin Laden and Zarkawi are not where they can be easily reached by us, because clearly we would have gotten them by now, for domestic political purposes if for no other reason.

I don't think that your comment that leadership matters, with the Gen. Washington reference, applies to the above two individuals, particularly bin Laden, though. The nature of al Queda and these terrorist cells is that they generally don't take direct orders/op plans from those at the very top.

9/27/2005 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

andrew k

While Saddam assisted, trained and perhaps funded the Mohammedan agents, he was not in the forefront of their movement.

As we invaded the country, it became OUR main front in the War on Terror. I do not believe it is or was ever theirs.

The Mohammedan aQ objective in Iraq is to tie US down, show our impotence. Osama thought the battle would be in Afghanistan, he was wrong. Iraq became the US tar baby, instead.

The fact that so few internationalists have flocked to Zarqawi's "aQ Iraq" banner is indicitive that Iraq is not really a major front, in the Mohammedan Plan, or that their overall strength is terribly over rated.

9/27/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew K said...

Cedarford,
That sure was a long reply, thanks for taking the time. You've read far too much into the questions though, and in doing so haven't answered them, as poorly posedas they were. Let me try again.

Why no hordes in Iraq?

Being an effective leader, especially a combat leader, is not something that can be learned from a book or cd. The most effective leaders learn from being mentored by effective leaders, similarly the best followers are most effective under good leadership. Eliminating effective leadership, I think, is a key to overcoming any rival organization tactically or strategically. I say A key because it isn't the only key but don't you agree it is vital?

9/27/2005 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Leadership forms can change with changing times and cultures.

Osama's "Leadership" is not tactical, it is philosophical, while at the same time personal.
A cult of personality has grown up around the guy. The Doctor, Zawahiri has always been the "Brains" IMO.

Perhaps the Washington anology is not perfect, but aQ was born from Osama's Jihadist Roledex.

9/27/2005 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew K said...

Rat,

Interesting, thanks. I have heard much speculation that it was OBL's intent all along to entice the US into a war on their turf. I guess I over estimated the value they place on Iraq.

Thanks

9/27/2005 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

andrew k,
no "Sorry everyone" necessary.
I too was so optimistic even after having read the first parts of C4's post, that things had changed.
Then bam! Slam binnie, throw a few inflammatory cocktails here and there and draw previously focused posters to the eternal, damnable flame.
Rick Ballard:
Come deliver the sermon on the Charginghawk Pledge!
Now!

9/27/2005 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Leaddog2: what you say about the left side overlapping the text is true on my computer at work - but not on the one at home, where everything is Okay.
I have no idea why.

9/27/2005 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew K said...

I think we maybe talking about different levels of leadership here. The leadership they have lost in Iraq for example is the leadership that makes the operation on the ground work. Colonels, majors, CSMs etc. In order for the insurgency to continue building bobms, recruiting new troops and opressing dissent amongst the locals those leadership positions need filling. But replacing those particular types of leaders takes time and mentorship and experience which cannot be learned from a book. The US has training centers and systems to do that, does the enemy?

9/27/2005 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

doug,
In NYC subways system they must have checked out, what, 100,000 bags by now?
Still not 1 bomb.
Or have they given up the search, now that the cameras have left?

What was that FDR used to say about Fear?
Something about fear being all there was to fear, wasn't it?

9/27/2005 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Folks: There is a big 'ol difference between killing a leader as part of our overall operation aimed at defeating the enemy and making taking out the enemy leadership the major thrust of our operations. We launched the P-38's that killed Yammamoto from Guadacanal but we did not take that island for that express purpose. We did not capture the Marianas for the purpose of basing B-29's so they could kill Hirohito and Tojo. We did not invade Normandy so that we could strafe Rommel in his staff car. We did not win air superiority over Germany so that we could chase Hitler and other high-ranking Nazis around with our P-51's. Kerry and his like would have us do that; focus our efforts toward killing and capturing Osama so that we could quickly declare victory and go home. It is simply another way to state the "Terrorism is a law enforcement problem" approach.

9/27/2005 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Doug Santo,
You have said that before, and it is certainly true.
That is what I think is most exceptional about GWB:
LBJ based his decisions on Walter Cronkite.
GWB is the anti-LBJ.
---
When discussing OBL, doesn't the Golden Chain still figure in this?

9/27/2005 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat,
"Or have they given up the search, now that the cameras have left?"
---
Katrina and Houston are great examples of Media Hysteria inflaming public hysteria and public policy.
As Limbaugh mentioned, very few CAT 5s remain CAT 5s all the way home.
If in the future all decisions are made per Houston, the economy will suffer (repeatedly) and more people will die than if we went back to historical response to Hurricanes.
...at least for areas 45 MILES away from the coast.
Don't think I'll take on the rest of your post right now! ;-)

9/27/2005 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

andrew
they did, in Afghanistan.
They may, now, in Pakistan
Some have claimed there were such training centers in Iraq. Perhaps Tel Afar was one such "Center", Fallujah was.

There are varied levels of training, in all Forces. In the "Major" wars, a little Basic Training and off to the Front a young troop went. In the pre 9-11 environment "training" could go on for years and years, without ever a shot fired against a real foe.

In the mid 80's "training" was often just physical conditioning, the average US teen being a bit of a couch potato, then. The average troop could be "in the dark" about training or doctrine for a couple of years.

Most of the foreigners in Iraq have been described as Ordinance, walking suicide bombers. That may be another reason for them not flocking to aQ's banner

9/27/2005 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Does Gen. Myers read Belmont, or is it the other way around?

"They're going to have to go to the bench and find somebody that is probably less knowledgeable and less qualified," Myers said. "It's like fighting the al-Qaida network. It will have some impact, but over time they will replace people."

Myers said Abu Azzam played a key role not only in running al-Qaida in Baghdad but also in handling its finances.

"There are others, foreign fighters, marching to the guns on a regular basis," who can be promoted to leadership roles, Myers added, although in many cases they are less experienced at planning and executing attacks.


I like you guys, but it's probably the other way around.

Here's some uplift from The Rumster:
"As the coalition moves forward with its strategy," he said, "it's worth mentioning that the enemy has a strategy as well. They have brains. (They seek) to make their pattern of defeats look like progress, to hold on long enough and to inflict enough damage, often to innocent men, women and children, Iraqis, in the hope that the coalition decides that the cause isn't worth the price and that the U.S. and coalition will abandon the millions who have put their faith in democracy and risked their lives for freedom.

"I believe that the coalition will prove the enemy wrong and that we'll persevere with patience."


We have 2.33 years left under our current leadership, I think we have a good shot at success in Iraq.

On the question of leaving Osama alive if we have him in our sights? No way, Jose, that was the Clinton approach, that led to 9/11. Osama is no Hirohito.

9/27/2005 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

rwe
But that is the point, really. In Iraq, the War on Terror HAS already taken a Law Enforcement approach. Read Mr Yon's story of LTC Kurilla, again. Catch and release, revolving door justice, these are not "Military" terms that I learned in the Army.

There are no Hammer & Anvil platoon or Company maneuvers.
No, we have LTC's leading squads, in SWAT type raids, against targets of opportunity on the streets of Mosul.
Just like Starsky and Hutch and the LAPD.

We sent unarmored convoys out, with Rules of Engagement that preclude active defence, to draw IED and sniper fire.

Where we find a massed Insurgent Force we eventually may bring over whelming Force and destroy it. re: Fallujah or Tel Afar. But not Sumarra or Rhimadi, yet. (sp on both towns)

In the past, we would not secure an area for the long term. Clear and move on was US policy. Now with Iraqis as a follow-on force we will do better, holding the cleared area against reinfiltration by armed insurgents.

The Insurgents are just that Insurgents, fighting a National Iraqi Government they see as illegitimate, installed by infidals to the benefit of non Iraqi interests. Both US and Iranian

The number of aQ in Iraq is low enough to be inconsquential to the Insurgency, but not the MSM.

9/27/2005 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Catch and release, revolving door justice"
---
rr, I think, made a post earlier refering to that as part of some coherent strategy.
I didn't get it.
Still don't.
Help, please?

9/27/2005 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

or, he was refering to the release, perhaps for the first time, of Sunni Prisoners, which we just did again.
What is the "strategy" behind that?

9/27/2005 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Pacification by Selective Appeasement.
That is what is being attempted.

All in an attempt to "buy" those Sunni Ratification votes.

18 days & a wake up.

9/27/2005 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If we were at War with a mass movement, the Mohammedan Religion, or something like that, Osama and the two Zs could be considered inconsequential, just symptoms of a greater problem.

The President has stated numerous times in many locations, that this is not the case. The Use of Force authorizations for both Iraq and Afghanistan a do not discuss Mohammed or his religious devotees.
No they mention specific and defined challenges.

aQ is Osama and Osama is aQ. aQ is an outgrowth of Osama's ego, will, spirit, cash and connections.
For US aQ is not Mohammedanism, it was not yesterday or today. Without Congressional action it will not be tomorrow, for US.

Osama and the Dr. are more important to aQ than Washington EVER was to the Revolution, and I agree with David McCullough's view concerning Washington.

As to the greater Mohammedan movement, ex-helo may well be right, but then we have no quarrel with Mohammedanism, a Religion of Peace.

9/27/2005 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

Doug,

Why should anyone be denied the pleasure of watching the Black Knight's head lying upon the path threatening to bite all passersby? Nothing that he has predicted or projected has come to pass, or ever will come to pass.

The hand wringers and defeatists just aren't having much fun these days. I see no reason not to just watch them babble on. It's not as if it were possible to make bigger fools of them than they make of themselves.

It is unfortunate but very understandable that David Charginghawk no longer comments here. Very understandable.

9/27/2005 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Bill Roggio has a post up called The Chopping Block where he has a chart of what happened to one cell together with the photos of their former, now captured or deceased leaders. The cell vanished in under a week from targeted raids and other hits.

The photos of the enemy leaders were probably taken from drivers licenses or some such, and shows them in happier days. Seeing their faces pasted on the chart, like so many bugs in a high-school insect specimen collection is a reminder of the terrible deadliness with which the campaign is being pursued.

Maybe it's just me, but I find it extremely saddening to read MSM reports suggesting that the all-powerful insurgents are out there laughing and taunting their hapless American foes as if it were a game, because it somehow cheapens and trivializes the reality. There are brave men on both sides; there is tremendous endurance and stoicism on both sides and one can recognize that without taking the part of the enemy. The day of victory is the only day worth celebrating in war; and it is strange that some individuals may seek to postpone it unnecessarily believing they are serving the cause of peace.

9/27/2005 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew K said...

Thanks Rat,

That's what I understood to be the situation WRT AQ training systems, facilites and so forth. I wonder how much exists as a formal(ish) recruitment, training and replacement system vs. a duotang and a globe.

I guess I should qualify my questions a bit. I'm an Army reservist, Canadian if that matters. Our training and promotion system is very (very) strictly structured. I won't get in to it beyond saying that you have to be qualified, on paper, to be promoted to any given rank, for better or worse. Obviously this isn't the case with AQ, but I wonder how and why those who lead are selected, if they are selected, and by who. Who decides where they go and when? If there is any sort of organisation then surely removing some of the key people will cause the organisation problems and discredit them?

9/27/2005 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

W: The day of victory is the only day worth celebrating in war; and it is strange that some individuals may seek to postpone it unnecessarily believing they are serving the cause of peace.

Hear hear.

Today's "Anti-War Movement" is an insult to the memory of the what was going on during the Vietnam war in the later 60's and early 70's. Back then, it became apparent that we were not fighting to win, and casualty rates that ran to hundreds per day sometimes, and averaged 1,500 per month in '68-'69.

It had become clear that Vietnam was not going to be Berlin, we were not going to hold the line. Under LBJ we fought the whole war as if we were "sending messages" to our enemies.

Its true that Vietnam was tragically proven non-strategic, but millions died upon our retreat. And while the rest of Asia has seen decades of fabulous new prosperity, Vietnam remains a sad backwater.

If retreat was that costly in Southeast Asia, what would be the cost of retreat in Iraq? Iraq is a truly strategic World Game position, unlike Vietnam.

Vietnam War protestors had a valid point, that's the difference between them and today's self-loathing depression mongers.

--------

Civility? Seeing their faces pasted on the chart, like so many bugs in a high-school insect specimen collection

9/27/2005 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Fox News announces Iran will cut Trade ties to it's Nuclear critics.

Nothing like a little political preemption.
Even if referred to the UN by the IAEA, nothing will come of it.
China or Russia will Veto any meaningful Resolution.

9/27/2005 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

When you say "Iran will do this, or Iran will do that" you are wrong. A country does not act. Only people act.

When you are unhappy with a country, focus on the specific people who are causing the problem, not the country. The country remains although the people are certain to change. Help the people to go away.

9/27/2005 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Zarqawi loses top aide but Iraq may get no respite:

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has lost his deputy but the elusive leader of al Qaeda in Iraq has defied past crackdowns and claims that he was close to capture, keeping up a bloody jihad against the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

The most feared leader of the Sunni Arab insurgency, with a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head, Zarqawi has inspired an apparently endless supply of militants from across the Arab world to blow themselves up in suicide missions in Iraq.

http://in.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2005-09-27T215643Z_01_NOOTR_RTRJONC_0_India-217515-1.xml&archived=False

9/27/2005 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Available at csis.org:

New Patterns in the Iraqi Insurgency:
The War for a Civil War in Iraq
Anthony H. Cordesman
Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy
acordesman@aol.com
Working Draft,
Revised: September 27, 2005

[...]

An Asymmetric War within an Asymmetric War
There are strong indications that there is an asymmetric war going on within an asymmetric war. The primary goal
of virtually all insurgents has shifted from efforts to attack the Coalition and drive it out of parts or all of Iraq, to
attacking the Iraqi government and its forces and causing the current political process to fail. What makes the most
extreme Sunni Insurgents, who are largely “neo-Salafi” different, is that many see a civil war as an end in itself, and
as part of a much broader struggle for an Islam dominated by their narrow view of Sunni Puritanism.
In general, native Iraqi Sunni “nationalists” want some mix of a return to a government closer to a Ba'athist regime,
a secular regime which Sunnis dominate or where they have a "fair share" of power, or an Iraq in which Iraqi Sunnis
-- not Shi'ites -- power and the religious lead. Anger, revenge, economic need, opposition to the US invasion and
any government that grows out of it or sheer lack of hope in the current system are all motives as well.
Sunni “neo-Salafi” insurgents – particularly those led by people like Zarqawi – have different goals. They believe
they are fighting a region-wide war in Iraq for a form of Sunni extremism that not only will eliminate any presence
by Christians and Jews, but also create a Sunni puritan state in which other sects of Islam are forced to convert to
their interpretation or are destroyed.
Sunni Islamist extremist insurgents in Iraq are far more willing to use extreme methods of violence like suicide
bombs and use them against Shi'ite and Kurdish targets. They are equally willing to use them against Iraqi officials
and Iraqis in the military, security, and police services, and Iraqis of all religious and ethnic background that do not
support them in their interpretation of jihad. Moreover, they act on the principle ordinary Iraqi citizens can be
sacrificed as expendable in a war fought in God’s cause: These Sunni Islamic extremists are fighting a war that
extends throughout the world, not simply in Iraq, and their goals affect all Arab states and all of Islam.
This ideological rationale has an important implication -- particularly for the insurgent movements with large
numbers of foreign Islamists. Such insurgents do not have to “win” in Iraq, at least in any conventional sense of the
term. An outcome that leaves Iraq in a state of prolonged civil war, and forces a spreading conflict in Islam between
Sunnis and other sects, and neo-Salafists and other Sunnis, would be seen a prelude to a broader eschatological
conflict they believe is inevitable and that God will ensure they win. They are not fighting a limited war -- at least in
terms of their ultimate ends and means. Compromise is at best a temporary action forced upon them for the purposes
of expediency.
From the viewpoint of negotiation and deterrence, it seems almost certain that many cadres and leaders of such
groups and cells cannot be persuaded; only defeated. Furthermore, they not only will remain alienated and violent --
almost regardless of what the government and other Sunnis do -- they will remain active diehards until they are
rooted out, move on to new countries or areas if force to disperse, and join other extreme Sunni Islamist movements
if the ones they currently support are defeated.

[...]

9/27/2005 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Only 3 Doug posts out of 89! Thank you, Doug for turning over a new leaf and not doing 70 out of 150 and avoiding hawking Viagra! I applaud, as temporary as this may be, for not Spamming the threads!

9/27/2005 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Also found in the new CSIS report:

[...]

The Number of Foreign Fighters
In the spring of 2004, US officials estimated that there might be a core strength of fewer than
1,000 foreign fighters in Iraq or as many as 2,000. As of June 2005, they made up less than 600
of some 14,000 detainees. Coalition experts also estimated that they then made up less than 5%
of insurgent casualties and detainees to date.15
Experts now guesstimate the number of full time active foreign volunteers at 1,000-3,000.
Virtually all agree, however, that like the Bolsheviks before them, they are a minority that can
only dominate the insurgency through conspiracy and force. However, some MNSTC-I and Iraqi
experts feel so many volunteers are coming in across the Syrian border and other borders that the
total is rapidly increasing.16
There is broad agreement that such foreign volunteers are one of the most dangerous aspects of
in the insurgency since they have been involved in those attacks that have done most to provoke
a civil war between Iraq's Arab Sunnis and its Arab Shi'ites, Kurds, and other minorities.
Many lower level Islamist/extremist volunteers are not trained or skilled fighters. They come
from a wide range of countries, often with little or no training, and the overwhelming majority
has only a limited history of affiliation with any organized Islamist or extremist group.17 The
movements they join, however, do have a large percentage of Iraqi and foreign fighters who are
considerably better organized, well armed, and capable of effective ambushes and attacks. These
more experienced jihadists have shown they can fight hard, and are sometimes willing to stand
and die in ways that force MNF-I and Iraqi troops into intense firefights and clashes.
In June 2005, US Lt-Gen John Vines, commanding general of coalition forces in Iraq, identified
the foreign fighters as the most violent group in Iraq’s ongoing insurgency. According to Vines,
insurgent activity among Iraqis was being driven by money, not ideology, and foreign jihadists
were using their financial resources to get Iraqis to attack other Iraqis.18
Their Role in Suicide Bombings and the Effort to Provoke a Civil War
It takes little training to commit some of the most divisive and brutal attacks; in fact, all it takes
is a willingness to seek martyrdom. Coalition and Iraqi government sources lack credibility when
they make sweeping statements about the unwillingness of Iraqis to conduct suicide attacks or
seek martyrdom without any back up or supporting analysis of recent attacks. Most of the suicide
bombers in Iraq do, however, seem to have been foreign jihadists. One US defense official
estimated that as of July 2005, Iraqis had directly carried out less than 10% of more than 500
suicide bombings.19 Islamist extremist web sites have also become filled with the claimed
biographies of foreign “martyrs.”20 Some such claims are suspect, but they do seem to have
carried out most of the suicide car and pedestrian bombings since 2003.

[...]

9/27/2005 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

So who, exactly, among the hydra-headed insurgency, is trying to "stop time"?

From Salam Pax:

Things have reached another record low, whole districts in Baghdad are under the insurgent’s control and the promises the Shia Coalition came to power with, the promise of security and stability are now as tattered as their posters that are still glued to the walls from the last elections. New posters of smiling political clerics are also up but these smiling faces look down at us like they are amused at the joke of a government they have created.

Districts like Ameriyah have become Jihadi Central. After they blew up all the clothes shops there they started blowing up grocery shops and now they have moved on to shops selling watches. Very symbolic isn’t it? Time stops HERE.

9/27/2005 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Whoah, al fin, but here you are mistaken:

A country does not act. Only people act.

To a point, you are correct; only individuals 'act.' On the other hand, as this entire post seems to affirm, there are such things as institutional memory so we can speak of American presidents, Iranian mullahs, Japanese soldiers, Chinese imperial courts, and Arab generals without having to spell out each and every individual.

Iran in particular is far more than just a single individual or group of individuals, it is the religious clerics, the military, the old guard Islamic fascists and on. You can't finger any one or five dozen people and cut them loose and expect to change Iran, it still retains institutional memory.

9/27/2005 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Sheehan Meets With McCain:

McCain said he might not have met with Sheehan had he known none of his constituents was in the group.

McCain described the conversation as "a rehash" of opinions already well known.

http://www.wpxi.com/news/5028580/detail.html

9/27/2005 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

trish,

One thing to remember about the suicide attackers. Many of them do not have a willingness to seek martyrdom. They are junkies doped up with free drugs (see Michael Yon), they are mentally deficient (the one Iraqi suicide bomber on the last election day was a kid with down’s syndrome), they are duped- for example, asked to drive a vehicle that is exploded remotely.

There was a story some months back about an instance of the last case I am trying to find. It occurred in Mosul, I think. A Saudi kid came to fight and was asked to drive afuel truck. When he passed by the target, the whole fuel tank was detonated remotely by his fellow jihadis following at a safe distance. But the Saudi kid was blown free and survived! The local Iraqi responders took him to the hospital. Later the word got out that there was a contract on him and the good guys figured out who he was. He then help finger a couple of jihadi leaders. What a great bunch of guys, our enemy.

I looked for this story on Google and could not find it. I wonder if anyone remembers it?

9/27/2005 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

My gut feeling is that leaving Z to kill more Iraqi's is a Bad Thing. It's simply not the "right thing" to do.

I know that Churchill allowed bombings to happen after the Engima code was broken, but I've always felt that that was a sin, too.

If we know where Z and OBL are, we should kill them. Now. Period. And then deal with the fallout.

I don't want to hear about roll-outs or roll-ups or strategy or alternate scenarios. Kill 'em, and stop their massacres, and then do your roll-up thing, if there's anything left to roll up.

Now.

9/27/2005 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

MEMRI has a lovely interview of the Saudi kid in question. I highly recommend it.

http://www.memritv.org/default.asp#

As you can hear, the kid killed 12 Iraqi's, but he had only the best of intentions to kill just his very own Americans, and he's deeply sorry about the Iraqi's. Somehow I think once Iraq gets up on its feet and can flex a little power again, they're not going to appreciate Saudi Arabia sending their idiot sons in to kill Iraqi civilians.

9/27/2005 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

nahncee -

As you can hear, the kid killed 12 Iraqi's, but he had only the best of intentions to kill just his very own Americans, and he's deeply sorry about the Iraqi's. Somehow I think once Iraq gets up on its feet and can flex a little power again, they're not going to appreciate Saudi Arabia sending their idiot sons in to kill Iraqi civilians.

In 1979, KSA made a catastrophic choice - one the US under Reagan and Bush and to a lesser extent Clinton tragically endorsed. After radicals seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, KSA decided to accomodate the radicals, pay them off. Better yet, encourage the whole lot to go to Afghanistan and become hardened guerillas fighting the Infidel. Reagan and Bush I loved the idea and supported the Mujahadeen with money, satellite intel on Soviet troop movements, advanced training in insurgency tactics, top communications equipment, and famously, MANPADs. America had Pakistan's ISI handle the Saudi and American money and logistics and set up cell structures for the Mujahadeen Heroes the Soviets would have great difficulty penetrating. Many of these "noble, heroic freedom fighters", who later formed Al Qaeda, were invited to the USA and feted at the White House and in Congress in the 80's.

After the Soviets fell, Bush I pronounced his New World Order and Afghanistan was left to the radicals. Clinton shrugged off the "freedom fighter training" camps of Reagan and Bush, who had changing their name at the camp entrance to "terror training camps". Life was good, terror was just an annoyance. Though Clinton was agressive on terror attacks and even ordered Binnies death, he treated it like we treat the Iraq insurgents, as a law enforcement problem for judges to deal with. Bush II came into office obsessed about transferring the large pending Government surplus to the wealthy in the form of tax cuts. He also had missile defense and stem cell research as his high priorities on top of tax cuts. The 9/11 Commission found "terror" wasn't even in his top 10 priorities before 9/11 rung Bush's bell.

The Saudis had their bell rung in 2002 when the quid pro quo was betrayed by Radical Islamists who started actions in KSA. Since then, the Saudis have rolled up more Al Qaeda in the Kingdom or adjoining countries dependent on KSA help than Bush's elite supersoldiers have elsewhere.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the Israeli meme was pushed on the American public. [Evildoers who hate freedom, sponsored by "our mutual ultimate enemy, the Saudis".]

The Saudis still have much work to do in their true area of responsibility for terror - promoting intolerant Wahabbi teachings in madrassahs and in new mosques the Saudis set up globally as missionary work to propogate the faith.

But opposition to Israeli Colonies does not mean the Saudis are America's enemy. They have been tremendous allies of the USA in the Cold War and in responsible economic policies governing the global petroleum market.

In terms of foreign fighters, which themselves are only 4% of the insurgents, the Saudis are only 12% of that limited number of foreign fighters. Algeria, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan provide more. And the Saudis found have largely been guillible young men with no past ties to terror riled up by the mosque preachers the Saudis are finally beginning to crack down on. And the Saudis are not known to be crossing the Saudi Border because unlike the Americans in Iraq who lack the priorities or the troops to guard the Iraq Border, the Saudis are stopping people on their side. The Saudis that do infiltrate are going to Syria, no visa needed, then crossing the Syrian Border America doesn't guard.

MEMRI is an Israeli outfit that rightly believes KSA is bad for Zionism. But always tries to push the line that KSA is against America and American interests - which is not true.

9/28/2005 03:03:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I really do marvel at the amazing skill shown by the US military in adapting to the situation they faced in Iraq. Given the number of troops they had, the nature of the enemy, they have achieved great successes, and momentum seems to be building.

9/28/2005 06:04:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

cedarford - to quote the Great Seinfeld, "yadda yadda yadda ..."

9/28/2005 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

nahncee,

When Porter Goss says "We know where he is," he does not mean that we have his location down to three square kilometers. But that's one - and only one - of the prohibitive reqirements for any action in Pakistan. No one is going to "flood" the mountains with hundreds or thousands of Americans in uniform, running all over hell and back among Pakistanis (tribals) who will kill them and Pakistanis (ISI and Army) who will betray the whole objective. Not gonna happen.

It's a different operating environment in Iraq because there we have, in theory anyway, freedom of action. Semi-permissive environment, at least. Your team can be much larger and have more support at hand. Who knows how many times we've come close or think we have. But the idea that Zarqawi (or OBL, for that matter) is being left free when we know where he is...is complete rubbish. Once you get a lock, you don't let go - you proceed with all speed to the target - because you know the opportunity may never again present itself.

9/28/2005 12:44:00 PM  

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