Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Presentation at the Fourth Rail

An earlier post remarked that the US was employing a "headhunting" strategy in contrast to the enemy plan of 'killing whoever you can'. This is graphically illustrated by Bill Roggio's Flash summary of operations along the Euphrates and in the Mosul area. It is an absolutely brilliant animated presentation that lets you see for yourself the many closely spaced ops that switch between the Syrian border on the Euphrates to the infiltration channel debouching on Mosul. There are pinpoint, but devastating operations against leadership targets and operations, like Tal-Afar, which are wider body blows to the infantry strength and logistical base of the insurgency. It resembles nothing more than the up and down, left and right flurries delivered by Sugar Ray Leonard in his heyday. 

If you watch the presentation, you'll see that the Marine operations against the Syrian border towns on the Euphrates are in the nature of exploitation and pursuit. They consist of a string of precision attacks against insurgent leadership targets taking out two or three dozen at a time, occasionally interspersed by precision strike and infantry attacks against towns in the middle of the Euphrates line. These are probably consequent to Marine infantry operations undertaken earlier in the year -- the earlier body punching. The Battle for the Border post noted that the US had set up logistical bases and river crossings that would enable them to pursue targets on both sides of the Euphrates. At that time, I wrote "the whole point of strangling the enemy lines of communication while building support bases is to set up the stage for pursuit. And they will be pursued."

From the other side -- the Tigris/Mosul river line -- the US Army is doing the same thing. The battles for Mosul and Tal-Afar, like the earlier Marine infantry operations along the Euphrates, are geared at displacing enemy combatants and disrupting their bases. With Iraqi troops coming on line to keep insurgents from regrouping in other towns, the enemy is now similarly ripe for pursuit. The raids against specific targets on the Tigris-Mosul line by the Army may be the beginning of exploitation operations there. Whether the Army and the Marines will succeed or the insurgents can survive this pounding will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The news coverage of Iraq frequently fails to convey the cumulative linkage of military events in that country. Operations are often reported in a disconnected fashion, as if some operations officer got up in the morning and asked 'what are we going to attack today?', and then troops rush out to do whatever just occurred to them. Worse,  definite types of military operations on both sides, whether car bombing, cordon and search, precision strike, etc. are often described according to some political theme -- 'standing up for freedom', 'deepening quagmire', 'the body bags mount', 'reduced to high altitude bombing' -- and the reader gets no sense of the logic behind the events. Both the US Armed Forces and the enemy are led by experienced professionals schooled in the operational art; and if we can be sure of nothing else, we can be certain that their acts have a specific military intent which often does not correspond to the themes articulated by some talking heads. Whether one is on the Left or the Right, it should be abundantly clear that we are watching the battle for the Syrian border and for the control of the Euphrates and Tigris river lines. No matter whose side you're on, you should know what game you are in.


Blogger trangbang68 said...

Its hard for the press to report accurately the operations tempo in Apache Country when most of them probably never leave the Green Zone.They weave stats into their preconceived story lines hoping to become the Peter Arnetts or David Halberstams of a new generation.
The real wars are reported by Ernie Pyle,Bernard Fall,Michael Herr,Michael Yon and all the guys who put their bodies on the line and cry and bleed with the grunts.

9/21/2005 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Marlin said...

Great post. Thanks for the Sugar Ray Leonard analogy. That helped me better internalize the effect of what is happening to the enemy.

9/21/2005 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Smythe said...

Suppose I can't add much to what trangbang68 has written. It is, however, a mystery to me that people do not demand to know or to understand the pattern coalition forces are pursuing.

Living in Portland, Oregon too many people of my acquaintance refuse to examine strategic or tactical plans. It is as if they would be tainted should they touch themselves with the knowledge.

A year ago I encouraged some I knew to read back issues of an American naval historical magazine. It had wonderful articles that detailed our imperial policies in the latter part of the nineteenth century. etc. Highly critical, forthright stuff - but people would refuse to touch them.

It strikes me as a bizarre puritanism, like not wanting to know the messy details of how babies are made. Not only is a free and thriving society a difficult achievment, but it is a messy one.

God bless our current efforts. If we succeed the world will know a far more peacefull existence.

9/21/2005 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Jesse Clark said...

Smythe, I'm from Portland and I know just what you're talking about. As a student at Portland State University, I am constantly astounded at the complete ignorance of my classmates and teachers in regards to basic military doctrine and technology. People have no knowledge of local, tactical geography or the strengths and weaknesses of CURRENT military hardware. People hear about an airstrike and picture a carpet-bombing or a MOAB. It's as if they think we're still stuck with our Vietnam-era weaponry and troop composition. And you're exactly right when you say that people refuse to touch the subject. I've tried to show several people some easy-to-read documentation on the basic principles of cavitation in a bunker-buster bomb or the deployment capabilities of the 82nd Airborne, and they always look at me like they'd rather die than read anything other than Noam Chomsky. It is hard for me to find any glimmer of hope for our country when this kind of attitude prevails.

9/21/2005 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Blogger Emergency Advice
The Good Dr. was Paranoid!
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
The Blogger.Com Conspiracy
[paranoia] Why is everything on my account suddenly in Spanish? When I want to create posts, I am sent to a page that says "creacion de entradas". It askes me either "guardar como borrador" or "oublicar entrada". When I go to the help page, I discover that everything is in Spanish, too!

What is going on? Am I losing my mind? Is this an evil plot by Rove to make me believe I am living in Madrid? Am I hallucinating?

And Blogger Help is ignoring me. Probably because I asked my question in English.... [/paranoia]

Somebody help me!!!
Hi Doc
try this link:
Their help says it's based on your browsers settings, so if it becomes a recurrent problem, check that.
Sheila | Email | Homepage | 09.21.05 - 9:10 pm | #

Hey, it worked! Suddenly everything's in english again! Thanks.
Dr. Sanity | Email | Homepage | 09.21.05 - 9:24 pm | #

9/21/2005 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

The hurricanes have wiped our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan off the tube and paper...

We are winning and nobody knows it...

However, that is not all bad. There are elements of war that we do not want reported via journalists - who get degrees in Political Science, Communications, or some other soft field of study.

I think Wretchard is hearing the Fat Lady warming up...

It will be very nice to win this conflict with the media watching something else entirely - like what is happening/has happened in Afghanistan.

9/21/2005 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Good stuff. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Btw, the President of Iraq appeals to the US to keep US troops in his country. He say's his soldiers are motivated but need more help at this juncture.

"Every terrorist attack on Iraqi forces leads to a surge in military recruitment--the opposite of the appeasers' myth that resisting terrorism causes more terrorism." -Mr. Talabani, president of Iraq.

Here is an appeal from the President of Iraqi to keep US troops in his country.


A transformation of the Iraqi state and Iraqi society is impossible without a sustained commitment of soldiers from the United States and other democracies... Foreign forces are needed to train and equip the new Iraqi armed forces and to give Iraq its own counterterrorism capability. Only the United States and its closest allies are able to provide such assistance...

Thank you for liberating my country

9/21/2005 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Jim Dunnigan was perceptive when he said that outside the military and isolated history nuts, there is at least one group that is retaining military science - wargamers. Check out a Combat Mission or TOAW board and you'll find the dialogue you're looking for. A lot of amateurs, but even the amateurs have a better grasp of how things work than most of the media and college intelligentsia.

9/21/2005 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger sunguh5307 said...

Hey! There are some good Poli-Sci's out there!

Smythe is right about the puritanism, though. An excellent way to explain it- like 'maybe if I just ignore those bad warmaking people they'll just go away'. Wait a second, isn't that a political platform? Look at that- you just saw a Polisci at work. Watch out!

9/21/2005 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger WillBlythe said...

Are we not conducting any action on the border with Iran? Are they not shuffling in any forces through there?

What's the story?

9/21/2005 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Honestly, I wish that colleges/universities [outside of the military prep/defense academies] actually offered courses in that sort of area. Unfortunately, the closest thing most schools offer are ROTC courses, if they even have ROTC. I'd bet there'd be plenty of males interested.

9/21/2005 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger heather said...

I want to thank Wretchard for carrying on this blog.. his clear explication of military events in Iraq are a great thing to have today. In fact, it is unique (Michael Yon is interesting on the micro level, but for clear intelligent overview, Belmont is the place to go)

Since I have no TV now (aside from CSPan), and get my news via the Internet, well, I am optimistic and calm re Iraq and its prospects.

And then, every now and then I run across a headline (in some MSM) describing the Middle East situation as anarchy and civil war... and throw away lines by some (democratic) politician that Iraq is a dead loss..

and I thank Wretchard again. I still remember that map of Fallujah that he posted, with a description of that battle.. it was so informative! I forward his posts to a few other people, by the way.

9/21/2005 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Wow! According to the flash we're kicking ass left, right, and center. Literally. Well, everything west of Baghdad anyways. As Will says, what's going on on the Iranian border?

9/21/2005 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iraqi Car Thieves in Jubail Shootout:

Four Iraqi men, who clandestinely entered Saudi Arabia to steal cars, have been arrested after a gunfight with security forces in the industrial city of Jubail, a spokesman of the Ministry of Interior said here yesterday.

The Kingdom shares an 830-km-long porous border with Iraq.

Of late, the Kingdom has intensified patrols along its border with neighboring countries. On an average 50,000 people, including criminals, are arrested every month while trying to cross into Saudi Arabia by land or water. The border guards also foiled attempts to smuggle huge quantities of weapons, ammunition and narcotics into the country.§ion=0&article=69305&d=31&m=8&y=2005&pix=kingdom.jpg&category=Kingdom

9/21/2005 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jesse Clark said...

Cutler, I had the same frustration as you. I was looking for some military history or battlefield strategy classes in college and the only thing close was ROTC, which I have no problem with, but I'd rather enlist. This is only making the systemic misunderstanding of military science that much worse, as it hardly gets taught in history classes. As for Willblythe's post concerning lack of military action near Iran, that's a great point which I'd like to hear more about. I will conjecture that part of the difference is the geography. (Lotsa lotsa mountains!)

9/21/2005 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Jihadist Forum Member Advocates Targeting Saudi Arabian Pipelines as a “Conclusive Weapon” against America:

The message indicates eight points as to why an operation targeting Saudi Arabian oil pipelines has much significance, including greatly increasing oil prices, placing a strain on the Saudi-American relationship, and spreading low morale amongst American soldiers in Iraq and “when the American public feels that the Iraqi War had brought these economic crises, then they will demand prompt withdrawal from Iraq.” The author believes there is low risk involved in these attacks, and due to the length of the oil pipelines, they are hard to protect. Further, he provides detailed maps which depict the lay of the pipelines, before he states: “Start it. Start it, al-Qaeda men.”

9/21/2005 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The upcoming ratification of the Iraqi constitution represents an event that both the US and the enemy are going to scrimmage around. The insurgency's goal must be to keep their bailiwicks in line through a combination of appeals to sectarian unity and intimidation. The Shi'ites and Kurds positions are foregone and it is the Sunni triangle (for want of a better term) that is the "battleground state" or swing area.

As long as the insurgents can keep the Sunni tribes and population away from the political process they remain viable. If the US can convince the Sunni populace that their only chance is to join the process and that the insurgency has no future then Zarqawi's cause is lost. Both sides know this so the next few months will be critical.

Zarqawi's attempts to provoke a civil war should be understood in this context. He is not so foolish as to think he can subjugate the Shi'ites and Kurds. That's already beyond his power. His probable intent is to make it impossible for the Sunnis to reach out to the Shi'ites and Kurds; to prevent any form of participation by making the Sunnis so unwelcome as to make it impossible. The more the insurgents can portray Tal-Afar and other Iraqi government operations as sectarian, the better for Zarqawi.

I am guessing the US senses a real war-weariness in the Sunnis and may feel they will cut a deal were they not so afraid of getting a really short haircut from Zarqawi. By headhunting the enemy leadership and publicly demonstrating the impotence of the insurgents within their own bailiwicks, the US may hope to loosen this grip.

It should be a very intense coming couple of weeks.

9/21/2005 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Terror Pipeline:

"We expect the worst from those who went to Iraq," Interior Minister Prince Naif said in uncharacteristically frank remarks published in July. "They will be worse [than those who have already launched attacks], and we will be ready for them."

Whether or not that is true will largely determine Al-Qaeda's future in Saudi Arabia. In the meantime, the issue of the kingdom's largely unprotected vast oil pipeline network should remain a cause of immense concern.

9/21/2005 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

When I was relating LTC Erik Kurilla's story to my son (21 yrs) I had some questions about storming the door.
His mom was surprised how much he knew and asked where he learned it. I said games, but he then filled in the details that when he was 16 he became part of a multiplayer team, (he was running a server) and the other 5 guys were all active duty, so he learned quite a lot, real quickly! 5 years later he goes drinking w/air force majors he works with at the Supercomputing center.

9/21/2005 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Battle for Mosul: Progress Report .

“Bad timing," explained LTC Erik Kurilla, lying in his hospital bed at the Madigan Army Hospital in Fort Lewis, Washington, recovering from gunshot wounds suffered in combat in Mosul on 19 Aug, 2005. Titanium replaces part of his shattered femur, while the wounds in his other leg and arm are healing quickly. Kurilla, whose warrior stature on the battlefield is fast becoming legendary, is expected to make a full recovery with no limitations. He will return to his command of 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment (better known as "Deuce Four") when they return from Iraq in late September. "I wanted to be there with my soldiers until the end, keeping our boot on the enemy's neck and pushing his back up against a wall, right until the very last minute," Kurilla said.

Kurilla worries that a premature military withdrawal from places like Mosul could give the enemy a chance to regroup. "Without a strong Coalition military presence in the near term, all our gains would be eroded," Kurilla predicted, "Worse, we'd be consigning our Iraqi allies, who have become increasingly effective fighting side by side with us, to a brutal civil war against an enemy that is savagely intent on clinging to a power they should never have possessed."

9/21/2005 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Within months, increasingly desperate to maintain control over the population, terrorists began launching attacks straight through groups of children, leaving many horribly burned. Their savagery further alienated civilians who were beginning to see the benefits of change. When top insurgent leaders were killed and captured, largely based on tips from Iraqi citizens, enemy attacks fell precipitously.

9/21/2005 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

From some nutjob:

Outside View: The small, daily Abu Ghraibs:

An American withdrawal from Iraq and an Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied territories to the 1967 lines would do more to fight terrorism than any military action ever could.

But there is one other thing we can do, too: We could attempt to imagine what it feels like to be on the other side of the Iraq equation -- living under military occupation and on the receiving end of American military violence -- and how we would react were we on that other side.

9/21/2005 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Some really nice photos and commentary on this page I had not seen before .

9/21/2005 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Ultimately, the Sunnis have to give up and find a reason to join the political process.

Smashing Zarqawi is a stalking horse in which the mainstream Sunnis must come to see a reflection of their future when the Coalition can focus solely on them - not because they are Sunni - but because they are not good for Iraq.

Each operation from here on out has to reinforce this psychology.

The recent release of most Sunni detainees would seem to validate this conjecture.

9/21/2005 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Detainee Affairs Matthew Waxman Reaffirms the Pentagon's Vow on Not Abusing Detainees:

He attacked the “rumors and false information” circulating on the conditions inside Guantanamo adding that anyone who read chapter 18 of the "Encyclopedia of Jihad", discovered in the Manchester home of the wanted al Qaeda operative al Liby would soon realize that terrorists are following its recommendations word for word.

The Encyclopedia advises, "If you are caught in the fight against the Crusaders, do not provide any information on your associates. Do not inform interrogators of your real name and always claim, if on trial, that you have been tortured and interrogated under duress.” Known as the Manchester document in US circles and the Encyclopedia of Jihad amongst Islamic militants, the encyclopedia is constituted of 18 separate chapters and was found by British anti-terrorist police at the residence of Abu Anas al Liby, suspected of involvement in the bombing of US embassies in East Africa in the summer of 1998.

9/21/2005 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

sunguh5307 said...
Hey! There are some good Poli-Sci's out there!

unless you have a good grounding in the bible, poly sci will leave you rudderless.

9/21/2005 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

red river said,
"The recent release of most Sunni detainees would seem to validate this conjecture."
Could somebody please elaborate/explain this so maybe Dumbo here can understand?

9/21/2005 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iran Under Pressure to Fight al Qaeda:

Zarqawi's refocusing of operations in Iraq against Shia civilians, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan (October), may antagonize Iran so much that it decides to support, at least covertly, American efforts against al Qaeda in Iraq. This would, in turn, give the U.S. (and the Shia) a major victory over the Sunni-led al Qaeda Jihad. At the moment, Iran is caught between a rock and a hard place. While Iran backs Islamic radicals, it also portrays itself as the defender of Shia Moslems. When the Taliban and al Qaeda were running Afghanistan, Iran was quite hostile to the atrocious treatment given to Afghan Shia. But once the Taliban were out of power, some Iranian Islamic hardliners were willing to help al Qaeda members get away from Afghans and Americans pursuing them.

Iraqi Shia leaders are already quietly pressuring Iran for some help against Zarqawi's murderous al Qaeda terrorists. If Iran doesn't do something, these complaints could turn public, which would be very embarrassing for Iranian Islamic conservatives.

9/21/2005 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

That Iran article is great. Iran helps AQ flee Afghanistan and how does AQ say thank you? By killing Shia en masse, of course. Doesn't get much better than that.

9/22/2005 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

That's quite a resource, Sam:
. They Are All Drugged.
Those returning from Iraq and others arrested for taking part in the insurgency have repeatedly expressed their surprise at finding former members of the Baath Party with fully grown beards, once far removed from religion, leading a group of gullible young men and using them to further their own aims in Iraq . Others also use these youngsters and facilitate their movement hoping to reap the fruits of the violence they will engage in. The day will come when Iraqis will discover the facts for themselves!
. The Dangers of Iranian Meddling in Iraq.
The Dangers of Iranian Meddling in Iraq
Ahmed Al-Rabei
Friends returning from southern Iraq tell with bitterness of flagrant Iranian meddling as Tehran's funds and intelligence officers continue to pour into the country in coordination with a number of allied Iraqi groups. Strange testimony depicts a picture where the Islamic Republic's influence is so pervasive its agents have taken to appointing employees, monitoring political opponents and financing parties in the region.
Sectarian powers have proved they are incapable of dealing with reality, concentrating instead on advancing their own interests to the detriment of Iraq. Despite not being a viable entity, an Iranian mini state in the south would represent an unmitigated disaster. Iraq will have to pay a heavy price to ensure this design fails, in addition to all the lives lost so far.
Syrian Bottleneck .
I am truly shocked by the stark contrast between the creative resourceful nation known for "tricking and trade" and flexibility throughout the ages, and the obvious state of stiffness in the behavior of the current ruling political elite.

It seems clear that Syria is isolated from all neighboring Arab countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. However, it also seems that Syria's isolation from Lebanon is not only on an official level. There is national animosity towards Syria in Lebanon, as it is more widely being perceived as an enemy. Recent reports suggest that there are some in Lebanon who prefer Israel to Syria.
However Syria seems unfavorable to Jordan, and there is a heightened state of animosity between Syria and Israel, in addition to the fact that Israel is occupying part of Syria. Syria's relations with other Arab countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia are also uncertain.

Syria has limited dialogue with its fellow Arab Nations, and it seems that all that remains for Syria is its relations with countries like Iran and Turkey. Non-Arab neighboring countries are the only outlet for the pinnacle of pan Arab nationalism. Now Syria reflects a fortress, as it isolates its own regime from other Arab nations and from the rest of the world.

9/22/2005 01:29:00 AM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

This is an interesting post. I should add that it reveals the weakness in the Vietnam analogy.

Many smart people, including now Kenneth Pollack (who did more to make the case for taking out Saddam than any Western academic), argue that the United States should pursue an "ink-blot" strategy, in which we forsake "search and destroy" operations in favor of creating very secure safe areas in which the Iraqi economy can flourish. From that base of strength and security you slowly expand the ink-blot until the enemy's territory shrinks to nothing.

The implication is that we are in Iraq repeating the often-expressed mistake of Vietnam, in which we (allegedly) forgot "small war" tactics developed by the Marines over more than 100 years in favor of ultimately futile search and destroy operations against the VC and the army of North Vietnam.

The problem with this argument (which is becoming quite popular in liberal hawk circles thanks to Pollack and others) is that we do not seem to be using the sort of generic "search and destroy" tactics that failed during the first few years in Vietnam. Rather, we are using Israel's strategy of going after the leadership structure, which is really quite different. This is possible for us because we have an advantage in intelligence that we did not have in Vietnam, so we are able to locate the leadership and destroy it.

It seems to me, therefore, that those who favor a "spreading ink-blot" approach are arguing against a straw-man: we aren't really using the tactics that they accuse us of using.

Separately, I note that the incident in Basra this week (in which the British attacked an Iraqi police station to free a couple of captured agents, at least according to one rendition of events) illustrates that there are problems with the ink-blot approach as well. Basra, after all, is supposed to be one of the secured areas.

9/22/2005 04:48:00 AM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

Wretchard, I agree with your comment on Zarqawi's desire to keep Sunnis out of the political process. As interesting was his lame attempt to split the Shia this week by exempting Moqtada al Sadr from his "declaration of war" on "all" Shiites. Al Sadr responded by calling for a fatwa against Zarqawi. Zarqawi's standing in Iraq is so low that evem al Sadr, whose anti-American credentials are unimpeachable, can afford no accusation that he sympathizes with Zarqawi. I have a bit more on this subject here.

9/22/2005 04:58:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

Can't really add much to the discussion other than the lack of the 'big picture' that the MSM reporting has. It would be useful if the the Military could have a weekly 1/2 hour info-mercial describing their current successes and upcoming issues. It would certainly dispel some of the American gloom created by the major news organizations.

9/22/2005 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Bette Midler calls Iraq a disaster, on the order of Katrina and...Fox News. You realize that for a large segment of our population, the war, like Geraldo and New Orleans, is just something that you don't want to watch. Iraq is Reality TV, base and unpleasant, a watercooler subject instead of a watershed event.

Detail is a waste when the subject matter is so collapsible. Sophisticated analysis means being clever and damaging to Bush. Raw data is useful only when it bolsters your opinions.

War as a throw-away line, delivered with ennui for maximum applause: welcome to the Democratic Party.

But don't worry, it doesn't really exist. It's on TV.

Who voted for Bush anyway?

9/22/2005 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

About 62 Million of us. Most are still strong supporters. That is in spite of the cooked polls and blatant and constant propaganda of the Terrorist's greatest cheerleaders, the Lame and dying media!

9/22/2005 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

What we are seeing successfully practiced by Coalition forces in Iraq, could be called the Ink Spatter tactic, with dozens of effective, targeted efforts taking out known leaders and cadre and followers; whereabouts supplied by disenchanted and disillusioned Iraqis, both Shi'ite and Sunni.

The mini-spatters keep appearing at critical points across the map, and the terrorists continue to lose fighters, materiel, support, cover and morale.

Go, Terrorists! Go as far away as you can, dressed as WOMEN, and hide your loosing faces in shame!

9/22/2005 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

carradine, I like it... Eventually, enough tiny dots of ink look like a solid color. Faster, I think, than via spreading ink/oil. I wonder if the analogy will hold up; I hope so!

I've thought for a while now that there's some kind of projection going on among journalists; they look at ground truth, don't understand why it's happening, do their best to come up with a justification based on their own ideas of strategy and tactics (at which they're untrained), and present that as factual material. Note that I give them the benefit of the doubt: I assume they're just ignorant and not willfully undermining Coalition and Iraqi efforts. But it is amazing that the "no plan" meme has caught on to the extent that there's a presumption in some circles that there's still no plan.

It never seems to occur to the journalists in question that the old WWII "Loose Lips Sink Ships" poster might still apply to them - that with a bunch of people totally committed to "The Public's Right To Know(TM)" prepared to publish every detail of every operation they hear about, regardless of its stage of completion, maybe the military chooses to keep its cards close to the vest.

So is it only in the military academies and "post-grad" military schools like the War College that people can learn strategy in an institutional setting? Good gravy. Back to the old "teacher on one end of a log, student on the other" model of university. I want to sit across from Wretchard...

9/22/2005 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

The willful blindness of the american public is easily explained. When the left said in the 60', "...ain't gonna study war no more." they meant just that.

When I was just a kid, my grandpa and a leather worker friend made me a set of cross draw holsters for my cap pistols. My son's elementary school refused to let him bring just the holsters to 2nd grade "show and tell". They will not let Civil War re-enactors present and none of my friends sons were allowed toy guns. They know that the topic of military science and technology is fascinating so down the Memory Hole it goes.

9/22/2005 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger paul said...

The demise of terrorism in Iraq, and hopefully in the Islamic world will come because of our tenacity - dispelling the myth of Mogadishu, but also because of a dwindling pool of extremists willing to die for a futile cause. I think, hope, we are seeing this now.

Despite the efforts of the MSM to convince us otherwise, there just is not an unlimited supply of psychotic 18-40 Muslim men. Squalor and unemployment in Yemen or Saudia Arabia may be unpleasant, but it beats a desert grave in Tal Afar.

I am reminded of the line from a Clash song, Death or Glory:

"Every cheap hood strikes a bargain with the world

Ends up making payments on a sofa or a girl"

9/22/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"When I was relating LTC Erik Kurilla's story to my son (21 yrs) I had some questions about storming the door.
His mom was surprised how much he knew and asked where he learned it. I said games, but he then filled in the details that when he was 16 he became part of a multiplayer team, (he was running a server) and the other 5 guys were all active duty, so he learned quite a lot, real quickly! 5 years later he goes drinking w/air force majors he works with at the Supercomputing center."

Very interesting, there's a number of tactical games like that, my favorite's Rainbow 6. World War II Online used to be stocked with military veterans from around the world [they mostly played Axis, for some reason].

When I was much younger I wound up working with a guy who turned out to be a 24th Mech. Desert Storm vet [Bradley man] who'd been in the thick of it. Didn't teach me much about tactics, but a lot about honor and loyalty.

Another area it can improve is geography. I'm scheduled to take a test on obscure Russian rivers/cities tomorrow and I'm pretty much already prepared from reenacting history over the ground.

9/22/2005 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I would have taken
"Obscure Russian Rivers and Cities 101,"
...but it was not offered.

9/23/2005 01:42:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

There is hope, at least if you can attend the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. I am teaching a 200-level military history survey course, "Modern Military History, 1494-Present" over two semesters (the first semester ends with the Napoleonic Wars). In addition to the usual grand strategy and international politics, the course also covers the role of tactics, technology, culture, economics and finance in the evolution of military institutions over time. I agree though, it is a bit like tilting at windmills when I talk with other faculty (blank stares, etc.), but the class is full (85+ kids) and they are enthusiastic. All is not lost...

9/23/2005 06:32:00 AM  

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