Monday, December 18, 2006

No words

ABC News highlights  the two seemingly diametrically opposed lessons were drawn from US counterinsurgency experience in Anbar, in Iraq. The document despairs of winning the insurgent's "heart and mind" -- asserting that insurgents cannot be coerced -- claiming they can only killed or captured. But if one target was the physical destruction of the enemy's body the other target was the enemy ideology in and of itself.


Roadside and other bomb attacks "are not aimed at killing U.S. soldiers," ... Instead [it] ... asserts the insurgents conduct the attacks for propaganda. "They want those pictures to show up on TVs in America, and they use it to recruit on the Internet"

One security analyst I heard speak claimed that practically every insurgent operation in Iraq had a video camera unit attached, but until recently practically all Jihadi video was in Arabic. "Arabic is the language of the [Sunni Salafist] Jihad, and Jihadi videos were not even widely distributed in places like Indonesia or even Pakistan because they were in Arabic." But that has changed, he said, and now the videos were making their appearance in English, sometimes in American Internet forums, and that for the first time Jihadi propaganda was being produced in German. The connection with Germany was momentarily incomprehensible until the history of the 9/11 attackers came to mind. Et in arcadia ego sum. The overarching purpose of those videos was to demonstrate American mortality and the vulnerability of the West. To spread the word that it is fun and easy to hunt Americans. The American officer who had authored the counterinsurgency lessons learned in Anbar, Capt. Travis Patriquin, himself died in combat, but not before warning that the ideas which eventually killed him were leaping over borders into the wider world.

The virulence of this meme  is suggested by the circumstance that, in order to charge it, an unending supply of snuff films was required. And the importance of the media, as a sphere of combat was illustrated by Patriquin's claim that the kinetic impact of insurgent operations themselves was itself subordinate to collecting the video of the operations. Lastly, the lethality of this meme is highlighted by the fact that those infected by it 'cannot be coerced -- only killed or captured". A movie producer, confronted by the essentials of this narrative might only be able to depict it in terms of an incurable plague whose progress can only be stopped by quarantine and extinguishment. It would need a science fiction-horror movie script to adequately describe the actual reality of virtual Jihad. The grist needed to feed this dark spirit comes from everywhere. Gaza, Chechnya, Palestine all provide their share of footage.

But coldly regarded the virtual Jihad poses a formidable challenge because it uses the very sinews of an open society as a vector to spread, in particular the media and the Internet. And while physical Jihadis can be effectively met by traditional arms -- including counterinsurgency -- the West is still casting about for a method to meet the dark spirit of the virtual Jihad with a puissant spirit of its own. Five hundred years ago, a simpler world accused to living in the diurnal cycles would have no trouble accepting the notion of a natural truggle between a Demon and some Angel with a Flaming Sword. But in a modern world that can neither conceive of Demons nor invoke the aid of Angels, what notation is left to describe that aspect of warfare which Captain Patriquin posthumously warned us against? In mathematical history, the solution to a problem often awaited the advent of a notation.  The machinery to be able to process a problem. The success of military science against the physical Jihad is owed partially to the existence of vocabulary about how to think about kinetic warfare. But for fighting the virtual Jihad we have no words. No name for the threat it represents, not even a name for our enemies.

116 Comments:

Blogger Wu Wei said...

The title of the article is "How To Beat Insurgents", and it discusses the new US Army Counterinsurgency manual, which was officially approved this month. (In the past I pointed a link to the draft version of this.)

Here's the link to the Army Manual:
Link

This is the section about the importance of winning the hearts and minds of the population (not of the insurgents):

Once the unit settles into the AO, its next task is to build trusted networks. This is the true meaning of the phrase “hearts and minds,” which comprises two separate components. “Hearts” means persuading people that their best interests are served by COIN success. “Minds” means convincing them that the force can protect them and that resisting it is pointless. Note that neither concerns whether people like Soldiers and Marines. Calculated self-interest, not emotion, is what counts. Over time, successful trusted networks grow like roots into the populace. They displace enemy networks, which forces enemies into the open, letting military forces seize the initiative and destroy the insurgents...

This is the true main effort; everything else is secondary. Actions that help build trusted networks support the COIN effort. Actions that undermine trust or disrupt these networks—even those that provide a short-term military advantage—help the enemy.

12/18/2006 03:42:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

We can also beat insurgents at their own game: video records of their humiliating defeats!

Most of Iraq is already busy waging peace, so we're doing SOMETHING right, now more, faster and sustained, please!

12/18/2006 03:49:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

W said...

But for fighting the virtual Jihad we have no words.

Oh yes we do, W, and you provide them. We just need to socialise them.

But I agree that the enemy has identified the battlefield way earlier than US. The battle is one of ideas, concepts. In our society, this is a space captured by the left, which is why our winning actions are obscured. But then we vacated the space.

Speaking of the left, Wu Wei. Yes you!

I can only conclude that your extract was written by a Social Science undergraduate, full of love for humanity, even the one that wants to kill her. Have we learned nothing? Tell me, WW, of what section of German or Japanese society did we seek to win the hearts and minds?

WW, they have to win my heart and mind. Get the relativities right.

ADE

12/18/2006 04:15:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/18/2006 04:31:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> I can only conclude that your extract was written by a Social Science undergraduate, full of love for humanity, even the one that wants to kill her.

That quote was from the US Army Counterinsurgency Manual. According to the manual and the ABC news article wretchard linked to, it was written by Lt. Col. John Nagl;
Lieutenant General David H. Petraeus, Commander, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center; and Lieutenant General James F. Amos, U.S. Marine Corps, Deputy Commandant, Combat Development and Integration.

12/18/2006 04:37:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

No name for the threat it represents, not even a name for our enemies.

William Lind's 4GW, where the physical level is trumped by the moral. In this case, the propaganda surrounding an attacks is more important that the attack itself.

Not a new technique either, Hezbollah was doing the video camera at every single action routine in the 90's.

12/18/2006 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

WW

Humble apologies, WW. Lieutenant General David H. Petraeus I have followed, and hold in high regard.

Just to get the relativities right, I am beholden to him for his actions on my, and my progeny's, behalf. There is no deeper.

Nevertheless, nevertheless, at the idealogical level, any view that puts winning the enemies' heart and mind as a higher principle than victory, I object to.

ADE

12/18/2006 04:56:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Perhaps it helps to ponder what exactly the "insurgents" have won, using these wonderful new tactics? Have they territory, riches, power? Over poor Shi'ite peasants? They only survive, and that barely. Finding innovative ways to kill and die does not sound like much of a life to me.

12/18/2006 05:14:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Life, robert, in the service of allah is not much of a life, either.
Better to die in Jihad and gain instant access to Paradise, guarenteed.

Islam, a state of having nothing, but a desire to share

12/18/2006 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"They only survive, and that barely."

They hide...they forever hide...like the cockroaches they are.

12/18/2006 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

The question is not whether insurgents can be coerced. Of course they can be, notwithstanding claims to the contrary. The question is whether liberal Western democracies have reached the point where they are willing to take the steps necessary to coerce the insurgents. Clearly, they have not. Query whether the stakes in Iraq are great enough that they should. Think a long time before you answer.

12/18/2006 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Tigerhawk,

I apologize for the fuzzy quality of this post. Besides being tired when I wrote it, it was at a coffee break in a discussion on information warfare at which discussants presented an unending litany of unanswered Jihadi propaganda efforts. And the main theme was that the West didn't have a mode of war to match it.

One participant related how the Jihadis had information cells along on everyone of their operations. Contrast this with the difficulty at getting enough embeds and the way many regular reports have been trapped in hotel rooms and forced to rely on stringers.

The frustration factor is so high than the blogs, ahem, are looked upon as some sort of White Knight to save the day. Yet I, more than anyone else, know how fragile a reed that can be. The enemy is spreading their meme on a wide front and the blogs had help counteract them, but they can't do it alone.

The idea that enemy cells go out to attack to get footage really struck me as authentic indicator of the strategic priorities. The main enemy mode of combat is information warfare. Kinetic warfare runs a poor second. But look at us. We're geniuses at kinetic warfare but I leave you to judge how good we are at information war.

12/18/2006 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger hyperborealis said...

In her essay on the Nazi propagandist Reifenstahl, Sontag noted that the Nuremberg rallies were staged for the sake of Riefenstahl's documentary. Likewise, she argued that in some sense Hitler staged the world war for the sake of the films from the front which apparently he would watch obsessively. Wretchard, you are making Lee Harris' point about Islamic fascism being a fantasy ideology: it is only in the movies, the terrorists' little videos, that their lives can seem glorious and their beliefs seem real.

As you intimate, the fault here lies in our own desolation of spirit, our inability to "conceive of Demons nor [to] invoke the aid of Angels." For if nothing is all there is, then all there is is force. And the biggest force there is in this empty world is the little explosion next to me, not the death of the world, but my selfish little death, written (but not in large) in the cop show, the video game, and the jihadi snuff film. We and the jihadis very much speak the same language, the language of individual despair in a world without G-d.

Wretchard, I wish you would address these spiritual issues directly and at length.

12/18/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I am now listening to a lawyer describe how lawsuits have so gummed up the Palestinian suicide bomber reward program and made banks fearful of handling Iranian money that they've been forced to move their money out of Europe. This is the sort of private information warfare, broadly defined, that we need to wage across the board.

While it is important to put 5.56 mm round where it needs to be put, there is a need to engage the virtual Jihad not only in the media, but also in civil institutions, like schools and banks. It is an important support to rule 5.56mm, which is good, but not enough.

12/18/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karridine said, "We can also beat insurgents at their own game: video records of their humiliating defeats!"

Yeah, but who's gonna air it, other than the F word network?

12/18/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> but I leave you to judge how good we are at information war.

That is the big problem. This time around the Bush Administration needs to work morning, noon, and night to win the information war. The enemy is not only the terrorists, but the liberal media, the MSM.

When Bush gives the speech with his new Iraq plan, he should have a campaign ready to rally support behind it just like he was running for office or trying to get Congress to approve a tax cut.

And it needs to go on and on. Every day along with his military briefing Bush should be told if we think we won yesterday's information battle on US TV, UK, and in Iraq.

If we don't control the airwaves, then Al Qaeda, the Democrats, and the MSM will.

12/18/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karridine said, "We can also beat insurgents at their own game: video records of their humiliating defeats!"

Yeah, but who's gonna air it, other than the F word network?

12/18/2006 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Youtube it to the World.

That is where the Mohammedans play, not on the US TV Networks.

But the big pipe INet infrastructure required for the INet video to be effective is limited in the World.
Satellite TV, technology we could dominate if desired. False flag a ME & EU network, which is where, MS T, the battle rages.

In the past we have discussed how the US Military is behind on the Information Officer curve. Where are 21st century John Fords? In this age of ez video, as compared to Wake Island.

Systematic failure within the Military to manage the battlespace.

12/18/2006 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Thrasymachus said...

This only works if the largest part of the intended audience are frightened and intimidated by such things. If they are enraged it will have the opposite effect, even if delayed.

Just because the passage in question was from an Army manual doesn't mean it wasn't written by a bleeding heart liberal. The Army is not a very martial organization. Much of the senior leadership is virtually pacifist.

12/18/2006 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

...there is a need to engage the virtual Jihad not only in the media, but....

Wretchard? The media? Like CNN, BBCommunists, New Duranty Times, Associated with terrorists Press, Al-Reuters?

We would all love to see the media - our media - supporting, and not white anting, civilization's efforts against jihad. But instead we get is Jihadi terror snuff videos, embeds with the Taliban, incessant wails of "islamophobia!", Jamil Hussein soundbites, and fauxtography.

Not even mentioning their media outlets.

Paul Weyrich recently suggested in a townhall.com column reanimating the House Unamerican Activies Committee to hunt for islamist sympathizers. That or something similar needs to be done, its obvious.

I can't imagine it happening this side of a WMD.

12/18/2006 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

It really is quite simple, just put forward compelling reasons in support of 'the war'. What has been advanced to date has not acheived this goal. In fact (reality rules in the end as opposed to how it is presented) this current Iraq adventure is a poorly conceived and executed exercies and no amount of 'media warfare' can cover that up.

12/18/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

“Hearts” means persuading people that their best interests are served by COIN success. “Minds” means convincing them that the force can protect them and that resisting it is pointless. Note that neither concerns whether people like Soldiers and Marines. Calculated self-interest, not emotion, is what counts.

This doesn't seem weak to me. The generals redefine "hearts and minds" in a tough way, which is basically the same as bin laden saying that people like the strong horse.

This has nothing to do with terrorists, who we kill, but applies to the rest of the population. We aren't trying to make them like us, just convince them that they'll be better off by taking our side.

12/18/2006 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Posted at the Elephant Bar.

trish said...
Where's Allen?

Trish,

Allen is has lost interest. Allen is no longer amused.

Every conservative, indeed, every patriotic blog should have front and center the story of a guy from Texas who, 23 years ago after disbarment in at least two states, was commissioned an Air Force JAG. This non-lawyer lawyer, faux-officer went on to become probably one of the most influential people in the Air Force; think of LtC. Oliver North, here. Among other things this liar, cheat, and fraud, became commandant at the Air Force JAG School in Montgomery, Alabama, i.e. he formulated the policy and curriculum used by all JAG commands throughout the world; think Iraq and Afghanistan, here. He negotiated with and distributed “large sums of money” to selected tribal leaders and other political entities in Iraq. (And when the US government admits to “large sums of money”, it must be assumed that they were LARGE sums of money.) In short, the liar, cheat, fraud, disbarred non-lawyer, faux Colonel chose and rewarded the Iraqi allies of the United States. Finally, this flag fraud served two tours within the White House, presumably advising the President, through the Air Force, on legitimate target acquisition and other material issues in TWAT.

For all those who obviously missed a REAL story, that of “Colonel” Michael D. Murphy is one. Oh, and it is one over which the President may exercise his sole prerogatives as CnC.

12/18/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

“Minds” means convincing them that the force can protect them and that resisting it is pointless.

That is why it is so important to impose a monopoly on violence. And in this regard, it is not just the so-called insurgents who need to be brought along in such a manner. There should be no question in any mind, whether Sunni or Shiite, as to who holds that monopoly, and therefore it is imperative that pretenders like al Sadr be dealt with ruthlessly and not allowed to pose as alternatives to the power of the State. His militia is a threat to both U.S. and Iraqi governmental interests. Nothing would be more instructive at this point than taking him down, and as many of his militia who want to go down with him.

12/18/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

ss
Except that Mr al-Sadr is part of the Iraqi Government, not in opposition to it. That was made evident by reports of Mr Maliki's discussion with Mr Bush.
The political plan for Iraq seems to be an attempt to further reconciliation. With the Iraqi beginning to take over a "surge secured" Iraq in June or July, completing the transfer of Authority and Responsibility by Nov 07. As Mr Maliki promised when he took office last March.

12/18/2006 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

dr, except that al Sadr IS acting in oppostion to the government as long as he maintains an extra-governmental army that threatens the primacy of the State to which he is supposedly pledged to support and defend.

He is engaged in sophistry, and anyone who is fooled by it is, well, a fool.

We should hold ourselves and Iraqi people in higher regard, even if Mr Malaki does not.

12/18/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I agree, ss, but it has been so since the graveyard fight, al-Sadr's position with regards US.

Today he is the figurehead of a large minority of the majority.
A segment of the body politic that is integral to a "Unity Government"

12/18/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> it is imperative that pretenders like al Sadr be dealt with ruthlessly and not allowed to pose as alternatives to the power of the State

I'm starting to believe this will be President Bush's next step. This is because the rumors are getting stronger and stronger that Bush will ask for every extra fighter he can get quickly, maybe as many as 50,000.

The think tanks are saying all these troops would be used to secure Baghdad and maybe Anbar. However, it doesn't seem that the US single-handedly taking and holding a region would by itself give peace. Bush himself recently said that it has to be a political solution.

So maybe it will be like the movie scene where the Godfather says "In a minute one of two things is going to be on that paper: your signature or your brains". As our troop strength builds Bush might tell the Iraqi groups, "It is time for you to come to the agreement about oil, federalism, etc, the agreement you've been talking about. We won't take sides and you can divide things however you want. However, you all need to agree to it, disarm, and stop fighting the government. Otherwise, if one group refuses to sign, then we and everyone who signed the treaty will attack that group until they do sign it".

12/18/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, another great master plan.

What I want to know is will the American public stomach ROE that enable attacking camera crews?

More importantly, who will argue at the bully pulpit for the propaganda boon?

How does America represent itself amidst such a hostile media environment, which will provide images more violent and gut-wrenching and de-contextualized than anything before?

Does America simply become the "Global badass" instead of the "global policeman" a kind of hegemonic Detective Sipowicz?

If we fear losing bonds of fellowship, its possible to have a net gain in such bonds if its obvious and irrefutable what were doing. Such things could underpin trust and then loyalty, each of which we suffer a critical deficit in.

But in order for that "obvious and irrefutable" information to be out there, we've gotta construct it and believe in it. We've gotta construct the idea that killing cameramen, their crews, their drivers and their production staff is little different than killing IED-men, their crews, their drivers and their staff. We have to believe that what were doing is right.

I think this belief ultimately has to be theologically rectified: can you stand before God in good conscience and say, they had to die and I helped kill them? If we believe in the cause to that extent, our fellowship will be strong, emboldened by a fervor unbeknownst to the "tranzi" clerics.

If we cannot have such theological rectitude, then we are best off converting to Islam. Its quite stark.

12/18/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More importantly, who will argue at the bully pulpit againstthe propaganda boon?

12/18/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing top-down media seems to have over bottom-up media is the "bully-pulpit" broadcast capability. Zeitgeists are great for something, but not radically changing course, so to speak.

We really cannot expect to win the "information war" by just writing about how disagreeable or silly the enemy is.

I'm thinking the infowar is in "trench warfare" mode, awaiting new ideas to break the deadlock

From Wikipedia on Trench Warfare:


-more mobile, flexible infantry tactics w/ shorter decision loops
-Tanks
-Bypassing the deadlock (maginot line)


We should consider the tank analogy: just outright destroy the sensors that gather information.

12/18/2006 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

WW,

We don't need any more troops to inflict the level of persuasion you describe.

12/18/2006 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really hope were investing in ways of altering BIOS settings on mobile electronics so we can fry their processors once they join the Al Jazeera crews in the battlespace.

Until then, it'll have to be lenses vs lead.

12/18/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm off the wall with advocating attacking camera crews, but when I try to think of ways of attacking the information produced by the crews, I feel like I'm in some sociological wonderland.

Is considering information as causal a continuation of tabula rasa models of the human mind?

I know the word "information" is all sexy etc but does it not conform well to modern ideas of cognition, what with their emphasis on the intrinsic and innate?

12/18/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger nonomous said...

There are a variety of 'media' inconsistencies between what 'is said' and 'how people respond'. Putting a pretty girl on the screen while a car insurance salesman provides voice-over text, is just media 101. Nothing is said about the girl, but the ad is all about the audience's instictive reaction to the girl.

Audience manipulation is extremely well understood among those 'making media', but exceptionally boring to those that consume it. I suspect this boredom can be likened to drug addiction. The addict 'knows' what is happening at a certain 'logical' level, but the emotional tide is far too 'real' and 'compelling' to stop.

The snuff movies described here essentially play on the same set of instincts your average soap and deoderant advertiser plays upon. They are also the insticts that make popular past times like 'NFL football' and the soap operas compelling.

'Terrorism' is the most highly rated 'reality show' on TV. It won't go away, it sells far too much air-time. The old saw 'if it bleeds, it leads' is not going to change. It will always capture eyeballs, and advertiser revenue.

12/18/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Cruiser said...

Wretchard said: "I am now listening to a lawyer describe how lawsuits have so gummed up the Palestinian suicide bomber reward program"

It would be nice to see one or more of the US Airways passengers sue the six flying Imams for intentional infliction of emotional distress. It would stop "political correctness probes" by Muslims in their tracks. Also, imagine the kind of dirt that could be dug up on those imams and their organizations using the civil discovery process.

12/18/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

This new phenomenon, as described by Wretchard, has a fundamental weakness. Perhaps we have no words to adequately describe it, no concepts upon which to form a reasonable response. But that will not matter in the long term.

Western society is thoroughly adept at absorbing, and assimilating, shock and horror. We do so without even thinking about it consciously. Thirty years ago, we would have been horrified by evening television shows we now consider pedestrian.

The very thing that, as described above, provides the fuel (continuous creating of jihadi videos) will in turn eventually attenuate the effectiveness of this type of thing. The potential jihadis will have seen so much of this stuff, that it will likely cease having a meaningful impact on them.

That's my prediction, anyway. . .

12/18/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sirius sir said, "That is why it is so important to impose a monopoly on violence."

As long as we have Rules of Engagement, a seditious media, and a priority on own-force protection, and the enemy has none of these things, the enemy busts our monopoly on the use of violence.

12/18/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

As long as we have Rules of Engagement, a seditious media, and a priority on own-force protection, and the enemy has none of these things, the enemy busts our monopoly on the use of violence.

But aren't you the Teresita that said Iraq was an illegal preemptive war and that Bush and Rumsfeld were torturers?

12/18/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

seditious media

Aren't you the Woman Catholic who said we can't trust government KIA figures or really any gov't issued info 'cause it would be like Goebbels propaganda and that you prefer the librul media any ol' day?

Memories.

12/18/2006 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

This story broke a year ago, that Special Forces was running a media campaign. The MSM was all over this, saying it was terrible, and the White House partially backed down.

Now that both houses of Congress have lost and there is strong pressure to give up in Iraq, maybe the White House will stick to its guns, and even expand this program.

Run by psychological warfare experts at the U.S. Special Operations Command, the media campaign is being designed to counter terrorist ideology and sway foreign audiences to support American policies. The military wants to fight the information war against al-Qaeda through newspapers, websites, radio, television and "novelty items" such as T-shirts and bumper stickers.

The program will operate throughout the world, including in allied nations and in countries where the United States is not involved in armed conflict...

The military's communications work in Iraq has recently drawn controversy with disclosures that Lincoln Group and the U.S. military secretly paid journalists and news outlets to run pro-American stories.

White House officials have expressed concern about the practice, even when the stories are true.

National security adviser Stephen Hadley said President Bush was "very troubled" by activities in Iraq and would stop them if they hurt efforts to build independent news media in Iraq. The military started its own probe.

It's legal for the government to plant propaganda in other countries but not in the USA.


Link

12/18/2006 06:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Streisand said, "But aren't you the Teresita that said Iraq was an illegal preemptive war and that Bush and Rumsfeld were torturers?"

Regretably, in order to keep my promise to Miss Catherine never to reply to her again, I have to plonk everyone who posts with a similar fiction prose style.

12/18/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

New pentagon report out:

It said, for example, that the goal of training and equipping an Iraqi army of about 137,000 soldiers is 98 percent completed, although it also noted that far fewer troops are actually available for duty on any given day due to absenteeism, casualties, desertions and leaves of absence.

Lt. Gen. John Sattler, the plans and strategy chief for the Joint Chiefs, told reporters Monday that of the approximately 322,000 Iraqi troops and police now trained and equipped, only about 280,000 are available for duty.


Iraq will Haunt US

12/18/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Wow, yes, WC, it’s me, Catherine! So sharp at recognizing others and yet rarely yourself. You know, on those alt bi-opinion days. Alas, mine ain't a fiction style o' prose as you posit. Here’s the “Dust in the Wind” thread. Shall I sing a bit of that song for you?

Wretchard: Other reports indicate as many as 100 terrorists were killed in the fighting, which lasted for several days.

Woman Catholic: Are we doing enemy body counts for political hay again? So soon after 'Nam?

Wretchard: The Iraqi Army and U.S. forces killed nearly 50 insurgents and captured an additional 20 in a raid on a "large cache complex."

Woman Catholic: Yep.
---------

nylarthotep: Funny that. The MSM seems to have no issue with reporting, in gory detail, the number of US military and coalition deaths, but some think that counting the bodies of the enemy is wrong?]

Woman Catholic: No, what's wrong is when the government gets into the business of reporting on its own news. Many people call the Fourth Estate a Fifth Column, but the alternative is government propaganda. Let the market and the American people sort out who to trust, not Herr Goebbels.
---------

Cedarford defended government information ministries thus:

[But that is still far better than just abdicating and leaving the strategic communications to whatever the NYTimes, Soros-controlled NGOs, the Guardian, al-Reuters, the ACLU, and Tabloid TV wish to ignore or sensationalize.]

Woman Catholic: This demonstrates a lack of respect for the intelligence of the American people, that they are mushy little minds, and the problem is we ought not let the left wingers have a monopoly on manipulating them, lest they defund our adventure in the Middle East. Americans are smarter than that, and if they aren't paying much attention to Bush's splendid little war right now, it could be that the police action doesn't deserve it.
----------

Wu wei wrote concerning the information war: That's what the Bush administration and many of the "hawks" forgot. It gives the enemy and the US leftists a win by default in public discussion about the war on terror. If only one team steps onto the playing field, they are usually the ones who win.

Woman Catholic: So if we clamp down on the leftists and just allow government data about enemy casualties to get to the American people, that amounts to giving the leftists and the enemy a loss in public discussion about the war on terror. But the problem there is we've moved completely out of the realm of "discussion" altogether. There's a reason the first amendment is enshrined in the Constitution. The Founders considered the press to be yet one more check & balance on the government.
------------

(http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:14v2T4KHjV0J:fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2006/11/dust-in-wind.html+%22woman+catholic%22+goebbels&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=2&ie=UTF-8)

11/21/06

12/18/2006 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

"Seditious media?"

12/18/2006 06:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sam quoted, "It said, for example, that the goal of training and equipping an Iraqi army of about 137,000 soldiers is 98 percent completed, although it also noted that far fewer troops are actually available for duty on any given day due to absenteeism, casualties, desertions and leaves of absence."

Education is what you get from reading the fine print. Experience is what you get from not reading it. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs says that Iraqi forces have to be tailored to match the "flavor" of the local area where their mission is to take place. This is Pentagonese for saying he can't send Union forces into a Confederate area, a policy which effectively divides the Iraqi army into non-interoperable thirds. But Iraq is not having a Civil War, that's the important thing to take away from this.

12/18/2006 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

wretchard:

So, what's going to happen if (or when) snuff video is used with Islamists as the victims and their enemies as the executioners?

What's going to happen when the Islamist meme of genocide "hops over" to other cultures? Will it get to the point where the torture of Islamists will become a major spectator sport of this coming century just like the combat at the Forum during the Roman Empire or lynchings a century ago?

The problem historically with vicious behavior is that the side that starts it isn't necessarily the side that finishes it. Nazi Germany's "Total War" wasn't much fun for Germans when it was practiced against Germans.

12/18/2006 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Tom_Holsinger said...

We don't have to defeat Iraq's Sunni Arabs. We only have to keep them from organizing successful resistance to Shiite militias or to Shiite and Kurdish death squads, so the latter can ethnically cleanse Iraq of its Sunni Arabs.

Which is what is happening right now. All we have to do is keep doing what we're doing. Even at the current rate, it will only take about another 18 months.

12/18/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an old scenario by General ‘Black Jack’ Pershin:

http://www.soldierlife.com/2006/06/26/general-black-jack-pershing/

A video based on this could be "youtubed". If one can buy the 72 raisins deal. . .

12/18/2006 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

...the West is still casting about for a method to meet the dark spirit of the virtual Jihad with a puissant spirit of its own.

Speaking of YouTube, the dark spirit rapping here and throwing down the gauntlet to Muslim Jihadists seems pretty puissant to me. Run quick and look before CAIR protests and makes YouTube take down this demonstration of Western "spirit":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymLJz3N8ayI

12/18/2006 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger pauldanish said...

I'd like to suggest one small, specific tactic we might use.

Whenever a jihadi blows himself up, make it a point to publish and widely distribute "before" and "after" pictures of him. The "before" pictures are usually helpfully provided by the enemy -- sometimes in the form of propaganda leaflets honoring the recently detonated human bomb and sometimes in the form of martyr's last videos. The "after" pictures can be obtained by any investigating officer with a digital camera. A leaflet showing them side by side, maybe with a caption reading "What will Allah say if he sees you like this?" or "What will the virgins think when you meet them?" might serve to take some of the glamor out of martyrdom and jihad.

The important point is for every excitable boy contemplating martyrdom to be constantly reminded of the raw personal reality of what he is contemplating doing to himself.

The broader point is that a lot of militant Islam is based on delusion, and we should be relentlessly pursuing a strategy of disillusionment -- by shoving visual reality down their throats, by ridiculing their pretentions, and, above all, by refusing to honor their conceits.

12/18/2006 10:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

streisand,
I finished that url and got the page, but I am curious what words you use in your detective work wrt the multifaceted Ms T.
Not that I would stoop to such things myself, of course, or even contemplate it.
Just Curious

12/19/2006 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

OT, but bearing on the infowar.

THere is a tendancy of zealots of a particular group to invent their own cute, unique "in-shop" language.

My observation is that it is lovely to hear in the ears of fellow believers that give approving nods, but utterly useless when attempting to communicate past "fellow true believers".

The in-house language of the Left is well understood..reading them is a bizarre experience...actually hearing the drivel in speeches is a dozen times worse. Rethuglicans. "The Brain". Commander in Thief, Chimpy McHitlerburton, Jesus Taliban, etc. etc." The message is lost on those the Left seeks to influence and even within the ranks of the True Believers, you have a cadre of serious people that loath stupid fellow-followers that think such grade school epitaths and cants are actually witty.

The Right also has a problem with this, their own in-house stupid pet names.

Freedom fries. Hitlery Wrongham. CommunistNewsNetwork, BBCommunists, New Duranty Times, Associated with terrorists Press, Al-Reuters? Terri-murderers, death tax, "Class enviers" "Fidel-lovers."

To the average person, these "cute in-house pet names" sound stupid and actually block communication.

**************************
Wretchard has talked of the value of strategic communications before.

America has been very slow to recognize that it is currently a one-sided war because the Islamic enemy and the enemy sympathizers have the ability to penetrate our culture and win the political war while we are blocked from using private media to gain penetration into their territory so far even if Bush had the brains to push strategic communications
which we doesn't.

The cover for this is the secular Jews elevation of "freedom of the press" be it US, terrorist, Al-Jazeera and Hez organs, Anti-West Euromedia, Iranian media - into an unchallengable absolute given. An obstacle winning the war of strategic communications - in our current mindset. With the same people and their Leftist allies determined to bring down Western Civ with Islam's help - so a better world more to secular Jews preferences may be created in it's place - a post-modern, post-Christian world.

This has changed enormously from America's past. The Founders busied themselves burning down and destroying Loyalist presses as critical to winning the Revolutionary War. Lincoln banned possession of any Confederate newspaper and arrested seditious Northern editors. All telegraph lines from the South were cut to block propaganda. WWI again had disloyal editors locked up for sedition and disloyals deported. WWII had forces that ensured little if any Nazi or Jap propaganda made it far enough to sap the will of the citizenry of the allies. All media in America was under some degree of Gov't control or intimidation in WWII. Hollywood made pro-American movies because our government said so, and also because the attack on the Soviet Union had put them in the allied camp.
Oversight of the Executive in WWI, WWII, Korea, and the Cold War was done by an effective Congress - not by a small band of wealthy media owners and academics.

Of course for us to throttle enemy press or enemy sympathizers, we 1st have to believe we are in a real war...and Bush has singularly failed in this by saying this is a "sorta war" with no sacrifice needed...in fact, more tax cuts to the wealthy are needed, along with continued Open Borders and more outsourcing.

So more innocent blood has to be spilled so learning can occur.

Like with Carter, we are seeing how a really bad President can drag the country down.

12/19/2006 02:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Rat linked to this article for an with a plan to rescue us from the failures of occupation and reconciliation/peace/love among Iraq's sects.

12/19/2006 02:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"article with a plan"
---
The Aussies!
Peter W, commenting at Chester's on "The Great War:"
`The Great War'. It is written from the Australian perspective by an ex-journalist named Les Carlyon who also wrote the much acclaimed `Gallipoli'.

In a diversionary attack at Fromelle we lost over 5000 men in an hour or so from two brigades attacking across open ground with enfilading machine guns on both flanks.

At Pozieres the Australian 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions suffered the loss of more than 23,000 men in five weeks.

In total from a volunteer force of 331,000 who served in Europe and the Middle East WW1 cost Australia over 60,000 killed in action with more than 166,000 battle casualties of which an additional 62,000 died during or on their return to Australia as a result of their injuries.

Australia’s population at the time was 5 million.

12/19/2006 02:24:00 AM  
Blogger JB said...

"and Bush has singularly failed in this by saying this is a "sorta war" with no sacrifice needed...in fact, more tax cuts to the wealthy are needed, along with continued Open Borders and more outsourcing."

It seems to me that the populist/ socialist crowd will only support a war that ...surprise, promotes populist/socialist policies.

Is it true that the domestic commies allowed us to win WWII because we were on the same side as Stalin? The last 5 years of BDS certainly make a strong case for this.

12/19/2006 02:50:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

jb and C-4 joust with jb retorting:

"It seems to me that the populist/ socialist crowd will only support a war that ...surprise, promotes populist/socialist policies."

You do not have to be either a populist or socialist to be for or against a war. It seems obvious that one would support something that they support. The opposite is also true.

The accusing taunt of BDS assumes that Bush is "Arranged" in his thinking, intuition, planning and execution of the duties of his office, and the object of the taunt believes differently. That is an ambitious argument.

12/19/2006 03:14:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

pauldanish said...

we should be relentlessly pursuing a strategy of disillusionment -- by shoving visual reality down their throats, by ridiculing their pretentions, and, above all, by refusing to honor their conceits.

Paul, you put it so much more eloquently than I. I have been refusing to honour their conceits by using terms as clowns, brats, buffoons in many of my last comments. If I was Bush, I wouldn't send the White House tea lady (pace PCers) to talk to some of the clowns.

C4, I think you were spot on T.

However, some shorthand symbols are necessary. I liked Churchill's V for Victory. My artistic side is seeing Bikinis V Burkas. I'll work on it.

But all up, BCers, so glad to see the debate move to the information war. And it's so cheap; a few mill to prosecute the Flying Imams, and on the Western Front too.

ADE

12/19/2006 03:53:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Irish Jihadi Cells Exposed
On Monday evening, Dec 18, 2006, the Irish State-owned RTE 1 TV, on its flagship current affairs investigative program, "Prime Time", after the main 9-9.30 PM evening news, broadcast a 1-hour report on the Jihadi risk within Ireland.

They're on to it, boys. "Prime Time estalished five central and troubling issues.
Firstly, there is a Jihadi propaganda operation active in Ireland...


Don't worry, Father Murphy is on the case. Hey, he'll be better than GWB; he knows double syllabic words.

ADE

12/19/2006 04:24:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Link

According to this Washington Post story, the President wants more troops in Iraq, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff don't want to send them.

The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate...

But the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House review is not public.

The chiefs have taken a firm stand, the sources say, because they believe the strategy review will be the most important decision on Iraq to be made since the March 2003 invasion.

At regular interagency meetings and in briefing President Bush last week, the Pentagon has warned that any short-term mission may only set up the United States for bigger problems when it ends. The service chiefs have warned that a short-term mission could give an enormous edge to virtually all the armed factions in Iraq -- including al-Qaeda's foreign fighters, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias -- without giving an enduring boost to the U.S military mission or to the Iraqi army, the officials said...

A senior administration official said it is "too simplistic" to say the surge question has broken down into a fight between the White House and the Pentagon, but the official acknowledged that the military has questioned the option.

12/19/2006 05:06:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Syria wants to join our side?

Syria's president made a written offer to Israel to conduct peace talks and stop Hezbollah arms smuggling into Lebanon, the Al Arabiya newspaper said Tuesday.
Quoting diplomatic sources, the report said a German emissary delivered the letter from Syrian President Bashar Assad to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and made the offer, which had no preconditions or time limits.
The report also said Assad offered Syrian participation in an international tribunal to probe the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, on the condition high-ranking officials could not be summoned or sentenced, the Jerusalem Post reported.


Link

12/19/2006 05:18:00 AM  
Blogger R2K said...

: )

12/19/2006 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

oops

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office in Jerusalem denied reports that Syria's president had sent a letter seeking peace talks.

12/19/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

R2k has a very interesting video on his site. and if the babe is your girl friend, I understand why you are doing this: : )

12/19/2006 05:25:33 AM

12/19/2006 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Below is just a comment from another blog, American Spectator. I think it shows the kind of debate that will happen if the JCS try to block having more troops in Iraq. A nation divided against itself...

Today's Wash Post reports that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are arguing hard against increasing the number of troops in Iraq. Maybe they would have some credibility if they had already shown a clue how to secure the peace there. Here we are with the most powerful and technologically advanced military machine in history, yet we can't secure the peace against a bunch of two-bit (brutal, but still rather unsophisticated) sectarian thugs. It's pathetic. In this war, where has been our Patton, our Grant, our McArthur, or even our Schwarzkopf? And where has been the president who will, Lincoln-like, recognize when his military leaders have failed and fire them and fire the next ones and keep on looking until he finds the ones who, like Grant, will WIN? As Lincoln said of Grant: "I like this man: he fights."
...
These Joint Chiefs have proven jointly to be failures. If they won't commit to securing the peace in Iraq, they should resign or be fired.

12/19/2006 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Hmm a choice between the unanimous opinion of the JCS and the leadership acumen of the Bush Administration. hmmmmm

12/19/2006 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The question is whether the Joint Chiefs ever had a plan to win in Iraq, and if they have one now.

At this point the JCS seem to be in agreement with the Iraq Study Group.

12/19/2006 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, elections matter.
There is only one CiC, he does not work in the Pentagon.

I do not think a "surge" for upwards of six months will succeed, in the "Long Term", but could set the stage for a Summer announcement of Victory in November, complete with transfer of Responsibility and Authority.

Does the US stay in the country, on the megabases, "in support", or redeploy to Oceanside and Okinawa?

12/19/2006 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

re: reluctance of Joint Chiefs of Staff

SOMETIMES generals influence policy formulation.

ALWAYS generals influence policy implementation.

12/19/2006 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Why the Iraq debacle?

allen said...
re: JAG

___"Colonel" Murphy is not just any lawyer; he is within the top 10 in the Air Force. Before being "fired" (not incarcerated, mind you) he commanded the big show, The Air Force Legal Operations Agency.

Given the career path of "Colonel" Murphy (sponsored by some as yet anonymous general officer), he would have received a star within two years, and the position of Top JAG within five.

___"Colonel" Murphy was given "large sums of money" with which to negotiate deals with Iraqi tribal leaders et al. Those Iraqi alliances are not working out very well. What responsibility, if any does "Colonel" Murphy play in the reality of Iraq, today?

“In between those tours [counsel to the White House] he was THE LEGAL adviser to the RECONSTRUCTION effort in IRAQ, and Air Force spokesman said.”

___"Colonel" Murphy headed up the sole Air Force JAG training academy. What influence, if any, had his tenure on the products of that school? What influence, if any, has his interpretation of military law had on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan?

___"Colonel" Murphy twice was assigned as counsel to the Air Force at the White House. What influence, if any, did he have on targeting policy and procedures in Afghanistan and Iraq? What influence, if any, had his findings of law on the policies formulated by the White House?

___"Colonel" Murphy's dark secret made him a natural target of foreign espionage agencies. What influence, if any, did such agencies have on the "Colonel"?

___What is the official Air Force response to the Murphy scandal:

“A person who does not have the proper credentials at any particular time may still be able to provide competent legal advice,” she said. “If a credentials issue arises there is no presumption that the legal advice provided by that person was incompetent. Actions taken as a result of that advice are not automatically void.”
---Air Force JAG spokesperson, Lt. Col. Lisa Turner
“Lt. Col. Lisa Turner, chief of the Policy and Projects Implementation Division for The Judge Advocate General of the Air Force.” CPPIDJAGAF.

___Given all the above, do you really have confidence in the ability of "law enforcement" to handle not only "Colonel" Murphy but all the other as yet undiscovered "Colonels" Murphy?

The blogosphere has brought to slaughter many sacred cows. It is my hope that eventually the blogosphere will catch on to how great a danger the existence of this man and his enablers pose to the United States. With sufficient pressure, a somnolent Congress might see fit to investigate how a 23 year scofflaw went undetected by all the very expensive, responsible agencies of the Federal government. Until that time, none of us should rest comfortably. But, since the criminal negligence of 9/11, I don't in any case.
MON DEC 18, 08:26:54 PM EST
LINK

12/19/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

wu wei, that was awesome.
from Knowing the Enemy.
“I saw extremely similar behavior and extremely similar problems in an Islamic insurgency in West Java and a Christian-separatist insurgency in East Timor,” he said. “After 9/11, when a lot of people were saying, ‘The problem is Islam,’ I was thinking, It’s something deeper than that. It’s about human social networks and the way that they operate.” In West Java, elements of the failed Darul Islam insurgency—a local separatist movement with mystical leanings—had resumed fighting as Jemaah Islamiya, whose outlook was Salafist and global. Kilcullen said, “What that told me about Jemaah Islamiya is that it’s not about theology.” He went on, “There are elements in human psychological and social makeup that drive what’s happening. The Islamic bit is secondary. This is human behavior in an Islamic setting. This is not ‘Islamic behavior.’ ” Paraphrasing the American political scientist Roger D. Petersen, he said, “People don’t get pushed into rebellion by their ideology. They get pulled in by their social networks.” He noted that all fifteen Saudi hijackers in the September 11th plot had trouble with their fathers. Although radical ideas prepare the way for disaffected young men to become violent jihadists, the reasons they convert, Kilcullen said, are more mundane and familiar: family, friends, associates.

Wretchard has written about social network theory before, in Dark Networks. We should use networks to fight networks.

12/19/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Desert Rat said, "I do not think a "surge" for upwards of six months will succeed, in the "Long Term", but could set the stage for a Summer announcement of Victory in November, complete with transfer of Responsibility and Authority."

Twenty thousand more men who must take incoming fire from mosques and not return it. Yeah, that will bring victory.

12/19/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

On another site, DR linked to a plan for Iraq published by Westhawk. Westhawk's plan has received unstinting praise. However, even if Westhawk's plan had come straight from the mouth of the deity, it would fail, given the current national leadership.

For instance, "[Colonel Murphy] was the legal adviser to the reconstruction effort in Iraq, an Air Force spokesman said.” So, what's the big deal? "Colonel" Murphy is a criminal, a fraud, a liar, a cheat, a man of such disrupt that he was disbarred in not one, but two states. This is the man put in charge of overseeing the distribution of tens of billions in reconstruction aid. Moreover, this paragon of virtue supervised the payoffs dispensed to guarantee the loyalty of tribal leaders et al.

So, my friends, when next you are searching for a cause to the woes of American foreign policy, think of "Colonel" Michael D. Murphy, a good ole boy from Texas. He is the poster boy for everything that is wrong with America's leadership.

12/19/2006 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No, Ms T, At every Election the Security Services were able to "lock down" the entire country.

Promised attacks did not materialize, because Security can be achieved. There are associated costs though.

Lock Baghdad down, just as on Election Day, then extend the lockdowns until cleared, by District or block.

Impose high levels of Election Style Security for six months. Newsweak reports the Iraqi economy is booming, the economy would cool, but so would the violence.

12/19/2006 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> At every Election the Security Services were able to "lock down" the entire country.

Isn't this just voluntary though, that all the combatants have a truce on Election Day? There was violence during the first election, some Iraqi police sacrificed their lives diverting suicide bombers from the crowd.

What happened for the second election was that the Iraqi Sunni resistance decided to participate in the election, and told Al Qaeda if they slaughtered people on election day, Al Qaeda would get slaughtered themselves.

The insurgents even discussed how attacking people on that day would make them look bad, so they wouldn't do it.

12/19/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That is why another 30,000 US troops would be needed, for a six month to transition surge.

If each majority within the minorities agreed, it would be a volunteer effort. Mr al-Hakim has signed the SCIRI on to the Plan, the Sunni VP dropped by the White House and Mr Maliki has Mr Bush's full support.

There are no car bombs if the streets are closed to cars. The level of "freedom" would drop, the level of Security would rise.
The real question is how to integrate the Iraq Army into "Clear, hold, build" rapidly.

12/19/2006 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> If each majority within the minorities agreed, it would be a volunteer effort.

That would be the key to everything. There could be real peace that way, if some of the players started agreeing.

I don't understand why Maliki came out "firing" when he took over, and I said it at the time. Don't know why he tried to clamp down on the militias before there was an agreement. It would have made a lot more sense to do like the Afghans, have a peace meeting with all players involved and everything on the table. In fact he could have built towards it by taking very small steps, like getting two or three groups to cease fire on each other for a week, or maybe extend the election day truce for a week instead of being a day.

Using force would make sense if there was an agreement which only one or two groups wouldn't sign, say al-Sadr and the Sunnis in Anbar. But right now there is no peace treaty on the table, and none of the groups have agreed to being part of the central government permanently.

The peace treaty is the key to everything, and it seems like there are only two options, and maybe neither would work. If some or most of the groups are willing to agree on the remaining issues like oil, then diplomatic and military pressure could be used to get the others to agree. This is "going heavy".

If no one is willing to agree with anything now, then our only hope would be "go long", that we'd need to go into something like a prevent defense where we reduce our casualties to the minimum while preventing anyone from taking over Iraq by force. Don't know how realistic it would be to just sit there waiting though.

12/19/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

A fellow calling himself "Captain" Ed, runs a show called Captain's Quarters. Today he led off with a thread allegedly examining special investigations etc. Finding myself with a subject I believe worthy of just such an investigation, I posted the following. Initially, the comment was accepted, but shortly thereafter deleted. I guess I hit too close to home for the good Cap'n. Apparently, the MSM is not alone in subjective censorship.

Now, it is the man's blog. Therefore, he can do as he pleases. However, for those innocent souls who believe the Cap'n is on the up and up, think again and tailor your comments to his satisfaction, or else.

Citation:

“re: impersonator and imposter, faux-Colonel Michael D. Murphy, USAF, JAG

I would like to see an investigation of how a man impersonating a commissioned officer of the United States for 23 years, while disbarred in at least two states, could rise to such prominence in military legal circles.

For instance, “In between those tours [counsel to the White House] he was the legal adviser to the reconstruction effort in Iraq, an Air Force spokesman said.”

!!! Allow me to repeat that: “In between those tours he was THE LEGAL adviser to the RECONSTRUCTION effort in Iraq, an Air Force spokesman said.”

In chronologic order:
1) legal counsel to the White House
2) legal adviser to Iraq reconstruction
3) legal counsel to the White House

And last, but certainly not least, “Colonel” Michael D. Murphy commanded the Air Force Legal Operations Agency.

And what is the official Air Force response to “Colonel” Murphy’s impostiture?
“A person who does not have the proper credentials at any particular time may still be able to provide competent legal advice,” she said. “If a credentials issue arises there is no presumption that the legal advice provided by that person was incompetent. Actions taken as a result of that advice are not automatically void.”
___Air Force JAG spokesperson, Lt. Col. Lisa Turner

The blogosphere has brought to slaughter many sacred cows. It is my hope that eventually the blogosphere will catch on to how great a danger the existence of this man and his enablers pose to the United States. With sufficient pressure, a somnolent Congress might see fit to investigate how a 23 year scofflaw went undetected by all the very expensive, responsible agencies of the Federal government. Until that time, none of us should rest comfortably.

Link

12/19/2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

the glittering eye is running an iraq colloquim.
i haven't read Westhawks plan, but no top-down plan will work, IMHO.

12/19/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Here comes the Iraqi surge to save Baghdad.

nytimes.com

The American general in charge of training Iraqi forces said today that a new deployment of Iraqi troops to Baghdad is planned, and that bonuses and better training may prevent a repeat of the refusal by some troops to be deployed to the capital last summer.

Lt. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said that the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is planning to send six additional battalions – about 1,800 troops -- to Baghdad over the next few months. American forces have been bearing the brunt of stepped-up efforts to reduce violence in the city since August.

The general said that he was hopeful that the new incentive programs could overcome the reluctance of many Iraqi troops to leave their home bases. “I think you’re going to see that they come when you train them to come, give them some incentive and give them some information,” General Dempsey said. “But we’ll see.”

12/19/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never read 'Rat's comments,
but I'm convinced he's wrong.

12/19/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wu wei quoted, "...bonuses and better training may prevent a repeat of the refusal by some troops to be deployed to the capital last summer."

Bonuses for actually following orders! What will they think of next?

12/19/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger El_Heffe said...

Regarding comments by Anointiata Delenda Est, Wu Wei, sirius_sir and others relating to the so-called "state monopoly on violence", I think a correction of terminology is in order.

No state has a "monopoly on violence" unless it can prevent ALL murders, ALL kidnappings, and ALL other violent activities with in its jurisdiction - this is virtually impossible. Instead what most (non-failed) states have is a "monopoly on LEGITIMATE violence" which they use to counter the illegitimate violence in the society.

The simple presence of non-state violence does not constitute a failure of the state. Rather it is the presence of non-state violence which is perceived as legitimate that indicates a failure of the state.

you see people don't object to violence which they perceive as legitimate. All countries have some "normal" level for kidnappings, killings, and other "violence". But when are these things seen as legitimate?

When you get right down to it what's the actual difference between a "kidnapping" and an "arrest" followed by "incarceration"? What's the difference between "extortion" and a "court ordered restitution"? What's the difference between a "murder" and an "execution"?

In all cases the answer is legitimacy.

If people don't object to sectarian death squads or suicide car bombers but instead see their activities as pursuing interests that the people share, then the state has lost its "monopoly on legitimate violence" by not meeting the needs of its people and allowing others (and their violence) to meet those needs instead.

This is part of what is meant by that quote from the Army Counter Insurgency Manual.

Once the unit settles into the AO, its next task is to build trusted networks. This is the true meaning of the phrase “hearts and minds,” which comprises two separate components. “Hearts” means persuading people that their best interests are served by COIN success. “Minds” means convincing them that the force can protect them and that resisting it is pointless. Note that neither concerns whether people like Soldiers and Marines. Calculated self-interest, not emotion, is what counts. Over time, successful trusted networks grow like roots into the populace. They displace enemy networks, which forces enemies into the open, letting military forces seize the initiative and destroy the insurgents...

This ["Hearts and Minds"] is the true main effort; everything else is secondary. Actions that help build trusted networks support the COIN effort. Actions that undermine trust or disrupt these networks—even those that provide a short-term military advantage—help the enemy.


It's all about delegitimising the competing violent actors, while simultaneously gaining legitimacy for your own violence. Actually putting a stop to the violence of the bad actors (by killing or capturing them) comes second, the top priority is to gain legitimacy. And that is measured in the perceptions of the local population.

The establishment of a state monopoly on LEGITIMATE violence in Iraq (a.k.a. Victory) will come from the local population... the civilian Iraqis... or not at all.

12/19/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well,
It ain't compassionate,
and it ain't Rocket Science,
but it's well said, El_!

12/19/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Link

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 19, 2006; 4:18 PM

President Bush said today that he plans to expand the size of the U.S. military to meet the challenges of a long-term global war against terrorists, a response to warnings that sustained deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the armed forces to near the breaking point...

I'm inclined to believe that we do need to increase our troops -- the Army, the Marines," Bush said in the Oval Office session. "And I talked about this to Secretary Gates and he is going to spend some time talking to the folks in the building, come back with a recommendation to me about how to proceed forward on this idea."
...

A substantial military expansion will take years and would not be meaningful in the near term in Iraq. But it would begin to address the growing alarm among commanders about the state of the armed forces. Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, warned Congress last week that the active-duty Army "will break" under the strain of today's war-zone rotations...

The incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee spoke out forcefully today for increasing the size of the Army and Marines, noting that their leaders describe the services as "stretched and strained." "We're going to have to pay attention to this," Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) told reporters. Saying the two services are "bleeding," he added, "I think we have to apply the tourniquet and strengthen the forces. I think that will be a major part of our work."
...

Bush said he has not yet made a decision about a new strategy for Iraq and would wait for Gates to make a trip to Iraq to assess the situation for himself. "I need to talk to him when he gets back," the president said...

Among the options under review by the White House is sending 15,000 to 30,000 more troops to Iraq for six to eight months...

Bush would not discuss such ideas in detail but said "all options are viable." He said he also wanted the American and Iraqi people to know that he would press the Iraqis to do more to secure their own country. "We expect the Iraqi people to continue making hard choices and doing hard work necessary to succeed," he said, "and our job is to help them do so."

12/19/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

On Sunday, Iraq's Sunni vice president called for more American soldiers in Baghdad to quell sectarian violence ...

"Who is going to replace the American troops?" asked [Iraqi Vice President] Tariq al-Hashemi, who met with Bush in Washington last week. "Iraqi troops, across the board, they are insufficient, incompetent, and many of them corrupted."


Link

12/19/2006 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

el, your comment is well taken.

Strictly speaking, a monopoly implies nothing more than an exclusive control over or privelege to traffic or carry on a service. In the context of the discussion, we are talking about something--the use of violence to maintain civil order--that with few exceptions (an imminent need by an individual for self-defense, being one) resides solely as the rightful province of the State. As such there can be no "legitimate" violence by parties such as the Mahdi Army working in opposition to or outside the auspices of the State. Not unless you are engaged in a revolution, and then legitimacey will only be conferred after the fact, assuming you've won.

So, even by the terms you set down, the State does (or should) enjoy a monopoly on violence, because any other source is extra-governmental and, therefore, illegitimate.

12/19/2006 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

In other violence Tuesday:

_ In southern Baghdad, two civilians were killed and seven wounded by mortar rounds, and a roadside bomb killed two civilians and wounded nine near an electricity plant, police said.

_ In the city's western Yarmouk district, a bomb narrowly missed a police patrol, wounding four civilians and setting several vehicles ablaze.

_ Three children were killed when mortar rounds hit their village near Baqouba, and seven civilians were wounded in a mortar attack nearby, police said.


Violence Tuesday

12/19/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

I know this could never happen because the soulful Mr. Putin is the perfect new Russian, a veritable Teddy bear. But, just for the sake of argument only, suppose the Russians are adults, having an interest in shaping the ME to their liking. I know. I know, no one behaves that way anymore, but bear with me.

In Iraq the Russians find an American Air Force JAG officer controlling the flow of billions of dollars in reconstruction funds. This would be “Colonel” Michael D. Murphy, of course. Curious, the Russians set about to learn what can be learned of Murphy. Always helpful, an Air Force website provides a nifty, glowing biography of “Colonel” Murphy. Therein, the Russians learn that Murphy graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1981 and was admitted to the Texas bar. Since much of the business of the Texas bar is the matter of public record, the Russians inquire into the status/history of “Colonel” Murphy; one never knows what one might catch fishing. To their delight, the Russians learn that “Colonel” Murphy is not a lawyer at all; in fact, Murphy has been disbarred in both Texas and Louisiana. Moreover, Mr. Murphy has been impersonating an officer for 23 years. Needless to say, a more deviously aggressive Russian government might suppose that a potential cornucopia of intelligence information had just fallen into their laps.

Was “Colonel” Michael D. Murphy compromised by the new model KGB? If so, as counsel to the White House on two occasions and as the lead legal adviser on the distribution of American largesse, what might a corrupt, highly placed American Colonel have given the Russians? Certainly, since this is all outlandish and could never happen in in the modern world, we need not even consider the possibility of the Chinese, French, Iranians, Saudis etc. etc. etc, or some combination of all the above, having gotten to Murphy.

It would make for a great spy novel, wouldn’t it?

12/19/2006 03:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but comments have been off for an Hour at EB.
For Me!

12/19/2006 06:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No words"
I'm gonna 'splode!

12/19/2006 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

doug,

I'm getting through OK. Then, again, I have the dark powers of the Elders working for me.

12/19/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Doug,

More pithy ruminations from Cap'n Ed's site:

"Carol Herman is my mother.

Posted by: Hugh Beaumont at December 19, 2006 09:02 PM"

Ed Morrissey is a political wunderkind.

You know, Ed Morrissey could have been correct in deleting my strictly political comment; it didn't really match the quality of his site.

Frankly, Doug, I think the man has no spine. Probably got a call from one of his "ace" military sources. How right have they been for ole Ed so far? Or the President for all that?

12/19/2006 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Doug,

Yeah, that is a first class political blog run by Ed Morrissey, if you want to bash the MSM. It's no place for a person who would like to see an investigation of Iraq policy referencing pseudo-Colonel Michael D. Murphy and his access to the President, the money, and American foreign policy.

Yeah, heavy are the stars on the epaulets that facilitated the advance of Mr. Murphy. I can see where ole Ed and his Air Force buds would want to keep that sequestered.

Sorry, Belmonters, I know you have more important foci for your valuable time than worrying about the security of the Untied States.

Oh, in the event that Ed comes this way, yes, I am calling you out.

12/19/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Doug,

Hold on to your hat, this is an excerpt from a comment made to ole Ed Morrissey that will rock your world. Talk about apropos.

“I'm telling you; pulling names out of a beanie, is not the purpose these cute little hats are put on the heads of kids. Better to just blow on the propeller.”

Having a plethora of such cogent, collegial commentary, it is easy to understand why “Easy” Ed wouldn’t want his site littered with simple minded questions of national security, addressing the likes of “Colonel” Michael D. Murphy.

You go, Ed! The force is with you, Dude.

12/19/2006 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

This wouldn't be the first time.

Captain Ed made some really bozo comments as well about border security that all kinds of nitwits have run with.

12/19/2006 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

My Guess about captain ed is that-- judging by the dumbo nature of his comments since McCain blogged for his site--he's been channeling the arizona senator of late.

12/19/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

charles,

Are you suggesting that the little grey cells are not up to par?

12/19/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Link

Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki has a new military plan for Baghdad.

Iraq's Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has created a two-pronged security plan for Baghdad in which U.S. forces would aggressively target Sunni Arab insurgents instead of Shiite militias. At the same time, Maliki would intensify his efforts to weaken Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and contain his Mahdi Army militia, Iraqi officials said Tuesday.

Under these conditions, Maliki would accept a surge in U.S. troops in Baghdad, according to two Maliki advisers with knowledge of the plan. Maliki plans to discuss his proposal with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and senior U.S. commanders during a meeting in Baghdad on Thursday, the officials said.

The plan calls for U.S. troops to combat Sunni Arab insurgents for four to eight weeks in outer Baghdad neighborhoods, which Maliki believes are the source of the sectarian violence afflicting the capital, his aides said. Iraqi forces would take over primary responsibility for patrolling inner Baghdad from U.S. forces.

During this period, Maliki would persuade Sadr to stop the Mahdi Army from fomenting violence, using a combination of carrots and sticks, including the threat of force, said the advisers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters. If the Mahdi Army does not stop its assaults, Maliki, with the help of U.S. troops, would crack down on Sadr.

"Then he has no choice but to attack them and arrest their leaders," said one adviser, who added that the plan's details were still being ironed out. "Sadr is not immune. We all hope it doesn't get to that point, but no one is above the law."
...
But the government's Shiite-dominated security forces under Maliki's control are widely perceived as ineffective, and are mistrusted by Sunnis. Under the plan, that mistrust could deepen: With U.S. troops focusing on Sunni Arab insurgents, Sadr and his forces could solidify their grip in Baghdad.

12/19/2006 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

we wei,

This is not a two headed snake; rather, the US faces two snakes. Kill al-Sadr's base and weaken the Iranians. Kill the Sunni insurgency and weaken the Saudis.

If I had to choose, I would kill the Sunni insurgency and weaken international Saudi Wahhabism. Since the Saudis can be counted upon to react negatively to this course, the US should also consider custody of the Saudi petroleum resource matrix.

12/20/2006 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

we wei,

What might, you suppose, happen to the world petroleum market were the stranglehold of Saudi Arabia and OPEC broken? Consequently, with ample supplies of petroleum available, to what degree might Iran be weakened? Given these, how much stronger would the US position be, and how much weakened the power of Russia and China?

12/20/2006 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

wu wei,

Please accept my sincere apology for the typos.

12/20/2006 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Link

The New York Times reports that the most important Shiite leader is supporting a plan to throw al-Sadr out of the government by forming a moderate Shiite/ Sunni/ Kurd alliance.

Iraq’s most venerated Shiite cleric has tentatively approved an American-backed coalition of Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish parties that aims to isolate extremists, particularly the powerful Shiite militia leader Moktada al-Sadr, Iraqi and Western officials say.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein the cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has been the spiritual custodian of Shiite political dominance in Iraq, corralling the fractious Shiite parties into an alliance to rule the country.

But Ayatollah Sistani has grown increasingly distressed as the Shiite-led government has proved incapable of taming the violence and improving public services, Shiite officials say. He now appears to be backing away from his demand that the Shiite bloc play the dominant political role and that it hold together at all costs, Iraqi and Western officials say.

As the effective arbiter of a Shiite role in the planned coalition, the ayatollah is considered critical to the Iraqi and American effort.

American officials have been told by intermediaries that Ayatollah Sistani “has blessed the idea of forming a moderate front,” according to a senior American official. “We wouldn’t have gotten this far without his support.”
...
“He is very sad,” Mr. Hamoudi said. “He feels he should do something to save Iraq and keep the unity of Iraq and preserve the blood of the people.”
...
Since winning 130 of the 275 seats in Parliament, the Shiite bloc has never coalesced as Ayatollah Sistani intended it to, and factional rivalries have deepened, particularly over the past several months. A law enabling provinces to form autonomous regions, approved in October, was supported by Mr. Hakim but bitterly opposed by Mr. Sadr and members of the Fadhila Party, a Shiite group close to Mr. Sadr.

The Shiite infighting has paralyzed the government. Since Mr. Sadr’s loyalists began boycotting the government last month, the Parliament has been unable to form a quorum, preventing the passage of laws.

The new coalition is aimed at circumventing that kind of conflict, its leaders say, which is probably why Ayatollah Sistani is willing to lend his support.

12/20/2006 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

wu wei,

Well, we must all hope the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani does not meet with an untimely, tragic end. In Iraq, one must hedge one's bets.

12/20/2006 12:49:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

New commanders in Iraq too. Looks like they are seriously trying to change things.

As they flew to Iraq, the Los Angeles Times reported that Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, has submitted plans to retire and will leave his post in March.

Abizaid was among those expected to meet with Gates and Pace in Baghdad. His four-year term as chief of the Central Command, or Centcom, was to have ended in July but a spokesman earlier had said he agreed to stay until "early 2007" at the request of former defense chief Donald H. Rumsfeld. The Times quoted one recently retired Army general as saying Abizaid wanted to retire earlier, but was blocked by Rumsfeld.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, has indicated in recent months that he also may not stay much beyond the end of this year.

12/20/2006 04:04:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

wu wei,

Yesterday, as the President was expressing his desire to upsurge, the Commandant of the Marine Corps was expressing publically his "concerns" about upsurging.

In Mr. Lincoln's administration, the Commandant would have been thanked for his service to the nation as his resignation was accepted. And, lest I forget, the Joint Chiefs, as a whole, were also expressing publically their concerns.

Sometimes generals influence policy formulation.
Always generals influence policy implementation.

A Grant cannot be made from a McClellan.

12/20/2006 04:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allen said, "This is not a two headed snake; rather, the US faces two snakes. Kill al-Sadr's base and weaken the Iranians. Kill the Sunni insurgency and weaken the Saudis."

Good thing our fight is with Implacable Islam and not Killer Kwanzaa. President Bush's Kwanzaa Message

12/20/2006 06:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allen said, "This is not a two headed snake; rather, the US faces two snakes. Kill al-Sadr's base and weaken the Iranians. Kill the Sunni insurgency and weaken the Saudis."

Good thing our fight is with Implacable Islam and not Killer Kwanzaa. President Bush's Kwanzaa Message

12/20/2006 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

The hearst and minds thingie comes from Chairman Mao. It is essential for guerrillas to win the hearts and minds of the population.
The Americans siezed this and decided that they could make a more humane counter-insurgancy strategy out of it. The theory has been proven wrong, both in Vietnam and Iraq.
You beat insurgents by cutting them off from outside support and wearing them down. Make it a war of attrition .
Until Iran is taken out of the picture, no change of tactics or 'new' ops plan will make a difference in Iraq.
I'm not sure why people think Iraq is going badly. Right now we have Shitte Muslims killing Sunni Muslims and vise versa.
What is bad about that? As long as Muslims are killing muslims, the west is winning.
For an anaology, Lets look to WW2. Churchill was quite pleased that Nazi's and Soviets were killing each other. Anyone suggesting that the killing was bad would have been sent down for a Psych Eval. And rightfully so. Muslims killling each other? Don't try to stop them, make sure they have all the ammo and HE they need.

"Grab them by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow"
-Gen. Curtis Le May

12/20/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger El_Heffe said...

Sorry John Samford,

Your missing it (or part of it any way). Sure go ahead and cut off the insurgency from outside support, but while you are at it go ahead and cut it off from internal support too why don'cha.

RE: Muslims killing Muslims = a good thing

You are totally off here. I don't want to see us get caught up in some ME realpolitik mess, playing regional power blocks off of each other trying to maintain some kind of mythical balance of power, until another 9/11 hits us in the head. I want to see a transformed middle east - that is what will truly increase the security of the US, that is what is in my personal "interest" as an American.

I don't believe that my interests as an American are served by making other peoples lives hell (I really wish there was some thing we could do about places like Darfur but we have our hands full right now, maybe later). I would rather see a prosperous and free middle east than a burning and bleeding one.

To each his own I guess...

PS. "Grab them by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow"
-Gen. Curtis Le May


Thats true enough I suppose, but only till you let go... then they will be pissed and uncooperative. I don't mind having a hand in things for an extended time provided there is a positive out come to be had, but we are going to have to let go eventually... what happens then?



sirius_sir,

Thanks for your response to my earlier comment.

The basis for legitimacy of all states is currently undergoing redefinition. Reestablishing the bases for the legitimacy of states is the key issue of our time. I'm afraid that your last comment is made from the perspective of the recently ended era of stable state legitimacy criteria, and fails to take in to account the current state of flux.

(besides even under the old system revolutions become legitimate at some tipping point before their complete success, not entirely after the fact)

I believe that no one outside Iraq can grant internal legitimacy to the Iraqi government. Only the people of Iraq can do that.

Furthermore, I believe that it would be a mistake for us to just assume that the people of Iraq have automatically granted legitimacy to the current government of Iraq.

here is my personal take on the legitimacy situation in Iraq. I'm nobody special, don't have access to any special sources of information. these are just my perceptions.

First off this is a population that hasn't seen what I would call a legitimate government in over 30 years. Saddam was essentially a mafia don writ large. To he and his sons Iraq was a fief, a personal playground. They could do as they wished with whatever or whomever they wished, whenever they wished, period. The trappings of state were just one more tool to be used for personal gain, both internally and on the larger international stage. Saddam and his kind cared not at all for the bulk of the Iraqi people (except perhaps in an Arab nationalist sort of way, but certainly they were on no account prepared to share sovereignty with the people), and the people of Iraq at large knew this. The Iraqi's were essentially hostages to Saddam.

Saddam was the "big fish". His control of the country at large rested on a system of "middle sized fish", smaller scale regional and local power brokers, and other essentially a tribal structures. This lower level of tribal structures had a greater probability of taking the people's concerns to heart and acting on them. So people got used to looking to local leaders when they needed security (not security from Saddam, because he was supreme, but security from other local power brokers).

Because these local tribal structures were looking out for the local people as best they could, they therefore gained a kind of legitimacy in the "hearts and minds" of the people. When critical issues arise, outsiders are automatically to be distrusted. You look to your local power structure to serve your interest over the interest of the outsider regardless of the circumstances.

Now into this environment we are going to introduce some massive changes. Saddam is suddenly gone, but... nature abhors a vacuum. Suddenly all the smaller scale power brokers see their chance to get a bigger piece of the sovereignty pie. They don't want the Americans to stay in control (through a puppet) or even to have the Americans decide who is going to get how much of the sovereignty pie. But the Americans aren't looking to hand pick a new strongman anyway... the Americans want them to decide who is going to be in charge. The Americans convened meetings of the local leaders from all over Iraq to decide how to go forward, a process was formed that allowed a constitution to be written and elections to be held. Iraqis see that they can use ballots instead of bullets to get their bigger piece of the sovereignty pie.

Oh but wait... there are these former Saddam guys that will get a smaller piece, and they are bent about it (FRE - former regime elements). There are these foreign terrorist guys that hate the Americans jus' b'cuz' (al-qaeda). There are "medium fish" that think they can get a bigger piece with bullets AND ballots than with ballots alone (al-sadr). There are also folks who remember all the blood spilled under Saddam and feel like now would be a good time to settle the score. Keep in mind that some of these guys are linked with or even directly part of the local structures that the people have looked to as legitimate back in the days of Saddam.

So when these guys start to get violent the people are kind of in a bind. They are used to the local power structure being trumped by Saddam so they have learned to cope when bad things happen that the local structure cant prevent. But they can also see this chance for their group to get a bigger stake by participating in the violence (besides there is that whole thing about "the best defense is a good offense"). But then there are the Americans still trying to move ahead with the offer of a "ballots only" power structure. Where the idea at least is that nobody gets left out of the sovereignty equation (and nobody gets blown-up, gunned-down or beheaded either).

A people in this situation and so totally unacclimated to what we would think of as legitimate government need to be persuaded to choose the more civilized "ballots only" option. Not because they are little brown people who don't know whats best for their own good, but rather because they as a people have had to make decisions based on short term priorities for so long that they need to be reminded that other options are available which are viable for the long term. That not only is Saddam gone but that his whole system (the tribal favor system) is gone and a totally new system is being set up to replace it, a system of consensual government that serves all the people that are willing to co operate, and oppresses none of them.

It's in the "hearts and minds" of Iraqis on the street that this new system has to find a place if its going to get the support from the populace (i.e. legitimacy) that it will need if its going to beat out those with competing futures envisioned for Iraq.

Thanks for reading.

12/20/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger El_Heffe said...

I realize that the above comment doesn't really take on the Sunni/Shia issue very directly. But I still feel that most of what I wrote applies to both sides in a general sense (it also applies broadly to the Kurds, though they have a head start in the direction of consensual government due to the autonomy they developed under the no-fly zones)

12/20/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

sl Haffee, it looks like you want a perment solution. There aren't any. Nothing lasts forever and when you are done you can release his testicles. They it doesn't matter how resentfull he is.
War is about death and destruction. Trying to change the focus to winning hearts and minds, just means losing to those who understand what war is about.
Thrn they kill and destroy the losers (us) and the hearts and minds thinie get buried in the dust of history.
Lincoln said the best way to defeat your enemy is to make them your friend. He then turned around and killed more Americans then any other man in the short history of our nation. SO while the hearts and minds theory is yet to suceed, that doesn't mean it can't, some day. BUT not today. Fallujah should have been flattened, paved and turned into a prking lot with a Wal Mart at one corner. The Chinese have another saying; "Kill one man, intimmedate a thousand". That theory is time tested and well proven across the ages. Before abandoning what has been proven to work for what has yet to work, we need to think about it.
We need to pick a part of Iraq ( Sadar City would be a good place) and carpet bomb it. Then we use artillery to bounce the rubble. After that we send in the Marines to kill the survivors. That will end the 'insurgency'. It has ALWAYS worked in the past, no reason to think it won't work in the future.
More Rubble, less trouble.
Save your theories about hearts and minds for the next war, let's win this one. Quickly

"The downfall of civilized states tends to come not from the direct assaults of foes, but from internal decay combined with the consequences of exhaustion in war."
- Sir Basil H. Liddel-Hart

12/21/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> We need to pick a part of Iraq ( Sadar City would be a good place) and carpet bomb it. Then we use artillery to bounce the rubble. After that we send in the Marines to kill the survivors. That will end the 'insurgency'.

That's what Israel did a few months ago to Hezbollah. Now the Jerusalem Post reports that Hezbollah is back to full strength.

And in the past Israel occupied parts of Lebanon for over a decade and still didn't wipe Hezbollah out, just like we didn't wipe out the Viet Cong after all those years in Vietnam.

> Fallujah should have been flattened, paved and turned into a prking lot with a Wal Mart at one corner

It was. Almost all of the buildings were torn down and weeks spent making sure every single insurgent was out of there.

Force alone is not enough to kill off an insurgency. It never worked and never will.

I don't think the United States would give up if China invaded us and carpet bombed New York. We didn't give up when the British burned our capitol in 1812. So it isn't likely other countries will cave in that easily.

Just to make clear: I definitely do believe in killing someone who is truly an enemy. However, we need to be careful in choosing the time and place, like we used the Soviets as temporary allies to help defeat the Nazis in World War II. Before killing off Sadr's bunch, we first should decide (1) can we get some other Iraq group to do it? (2) before killing Sadr's militia, could they help us wipe out Al Qaeda and the Sunni Resistance?

In fact right now there are talks going on amongst the Shiites, all the way up to Sistani, that they need to control al-Sadr themselves, including possibly using force. They are squeezing him for a ceasefire of at least a month, which could be very useful to us.

12/21/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Samford wrote, "War is about death and destruction. Trying to change the focus to winning hearts and minds, just means losing to those who understand what war is about."

Agreed, but we haven't had a war since 1945. This is "Operation Iraqi Freedom". Freedom operations are not about death and destruction, they're about winning hearts and minds, yadda yadda yadda.

12/21/2006 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

I'm getting to this party kinda late, and sometimes don't quite despair as some do here...why take the low road when we can take the high road? why let an opponent get off with half answers in this intellectual debate; we must drill down: what exactly do they believe?


A main problem is the MSM has become homogenous in its outlook, so we cannot count on it's help to get any other message out there...

we're going to have to do it ourselves!

although not entirely new, the MSM has all but abandoned the most important tenet of reporting: impartiality.

the intellectual elites within the MSM have chosen to tacitly accept the religion of the radical islamists, because they agree with their politics...

the press chooses to dismiss as rhetoric the words of their leaders; simply used to gin up the base of their religious parties...perhaps similarly, the rallies of the thirties in germany were dismissed as nationalistic, without ever delving into the mindset behind "mein fuhrer"

like the islamic fundamentalist with which they've jumped in bed, the MSM has ethically decided that the ends justify the means...

as the MSM accepts them as they are, the islamic fundamentalists have accepted the help of these willing accomplices, despite the culture they condone...

...the hypocrisy of both must be exposed...

...the light of truth must shine in order for the muslim curtain to drop!

the MSM must come face to face with (to use their words) the hate speech which has up until now been swept under the rug...

the mainstream muslims (which Bush has managed to avoid alienating) must come to realize that the hypocritical railroading of their religion by these radicals for political purposes is not compatible with the modern, multicultural, and ever shrinking world in which we live.

was it Joe Buzz? that said we should use the latest phenom, U-tube, to get the air time we need; maybe he's onto something...

...why not have a daily segment of "Here's what they're saying:" which contains a thirty second clip showing their leaders spewing forth their vitriol; perhaps with daily translations of the most inflammatory stuff out there...instead of words posted on MEMRI, a face must be put on the ideology of our enemies...

...so that they can no longer hide...
...mainstream muslims must look within and recognize what the fundamentalists have done to their religion for political ends...
...the mainstream media must come to recognize as untenable their alliance with these islamic fundamentalists and their destructive, hate filled words and terrorist tactics...

12/22/2006 04:02:00 AM  
Blogger David said...


Van Furgomania.

Sam quoted, "It said, for example, that the goal of training and equipping an Iraqi army of about 137,000 soldiers is 98 percent completed, although it also noted that far fewer troops are actually available for duty on any given day due to absenteeism, casualties, desertions and leaves of absence."

Education is what you get from reading the fine print. Experience is what you get from not reading it. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs says that Iraqi forces have to be tailored to match the "flavor" of the local area where their mission is to take place. This is Pentagonese for saying he can't send Union forces into a Confederate area, a policy which effectively divides the Iraqi army into non-interoperable thirds. But Iraq is not having a Civil War, that's the important thing to take away from this.

3/31/2007 04:07:00 AM  

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