Friday, August 03, 2007

All the News That's Fit to Print

Former Spook follows an air campaign aimed at spoiling an enemy attacked scheduled to coincide with "a pivotal report due in mid-September to the U.S. Congress on political and military progress in Iraq". The AP reports:

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, who leads the 3rd Infantry Division, also said he and other commanders feared insurgents would try to stage a massive attack ahead of a pivotal report due in mid-September to the U.S. Congress on political and military progress in Iraq...

"There's three pots of bad guys in my battle space. One's the Sunni extremists, one's the Shia extremists and the other is marked and increasing Iranian influence," he said. "They're all anti-Iraq, they're all against the government of Iraq, they're all against the Iraqi people."

The U.S. military has consistently accused Iran of fueling the violence in Iraq by arming Shiite militias and providing sophisticated armor-piercing roadside bombs known as explosively formed projectiles, or EFPs, which have killed hundreds of American troops.

Lynch and other military officials also have said that Shiite-dominated Iran is providing support to some Sunni insurgents fighting American forces in Iraq, while cautioning that it was unclear whether the Iranians were supplying the weapons directly or whether the Sunnis were buying them on the black market.



Former Spook adds:

While you won't find it in the AP dispatch, there are several inferences that can be drawn from General Lynch's comments. First, because the U.S. doesn't use air power indiscriminately, announcement of the air campaign suggests that we're getting good intelligence on terrorist activity in the region. It's a safe bet that surveillance drones have been following insurgents as they move into outlying areas, so when the Apaches of the 3rd Aviation Brigade head out, they know where to look for targets, and what to watch for.

Secondly, the air campaign won't be an "Army only" show. Fixed wing assets from Balad will also be involved, giving commanders more flexibility--and persistence--in hammering the terrorists from the air. And, the effort will go on around the clock, thanks to the impressive night/all-weather capabilities of the AH-64s and various Air Force assets.

And finally, if the effort announced by General Lynch sounds vaguely familiar, it should. Earlier this year, U.S. commanders in Afghanistan unleashed air power on the Taliban, with impressive results. Attack helos and other platforms caught a number of terrorist formations as they marshaled or moved toward intended targets, killing large numbers of the enemy. The "air campaign" in Afghanistan is one reason that the Taliban's anticipated "spring offensive" never really materialized, and the terrorists shifted to other tactics, including suicide bombings and kidnappings.

Kinetic operations are now routinely shadowed by their political and information war counterparts. Death and mayhem are now props to achieve a political and media effect. Although men may shoot and kill each other in Iraq, in reality the effects both of the planned insurgent attack and the current spoiling operations are aimed squarely at Washington DC. One of the long-term legacies of the Vietnam War was to guarantee that all future campaigns resembled the Tet in that the center of gravity would be the American capital and the Western press. Radical politics, far from ending the Vietnam War, brought it home and made sure it would never leave.

And so today insurgents are planning to kill as many American soldiers and Iraqi civilians as possible -- not for any military value in the classic sense of destroying combat power -- but simply to grab headlines in connection with the media cycle surrounding the mid-September report to the U.S. Congress on political and military progress in Iraq. And now the US military is launching a spoiling attack to keep those headlines from splashing across the global news screens. Patton would not have understood a war in which people lived and died to put a few lines of black ink on a page.

Maybe we should replace the old antiwar slogan "what if somebody gave a war and nobody came?" with "what if somebody scheduled a made-for-media massacre and nobody covered it?" I can dream, can't I?

Update

Little Green Footballs has video of the Daily Kos military panel cutting off the audio of a military questioner who challenges their point of view. The incident happens at the 41st minute onward. The questioner was wearing a uniform, and that sparked some dark words from the podium. I'm no lawyer, and will not get into what constitutes wearing a uniform to a political activity. But it seems to me that the Iraq War does resemble Vietnam except with the cast of characters scrambled. I think it is fair to say that the current culture wars are at least in part about overturning the "consensus" of the 1960s; about reversing the "lessons of Vietnam" or "rolling back reproductive rights", etc, etc as they are about anything. Today's resemblance to the Vietnam Era consists in that it is also a period of revolutionary change. The assumptions of the sixties are being challenged, and their challengers are not necessarily better, as the ideas of the Me Generation were not inevitably superior to those of the Greatest Generation. We are perhaps, in a Temporal Cold War, to use the Star Trek phrase. Jay Gatsby once exclaimed, "Can't repeat the past? Why of course you can!". We are always in a battle between tides.

At a recent dinner someone remarked to me that the British parliamentary system adapted more smoothly to paradigm changes because there was only one branch of government that mattered: Parliament, while the American system was inflexible, requiring confrontation, impeachment and a balance of powers. I remember answering that American government was inflexible by design, in order to prevent it from deciding anything fundamental unless American society had itself resolved the question through a process -- and here I weighed my words carefully -- "of revolution". Every now and again American society undergoes these traumatic revolutions. The Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, maybe today, to settle issues that won't stay compromised.

Watching the Kos video at Little Green Footballs reminded me how sharp the divisions were. No, that long ago conflict in Southeast Asia was never "Vietnamized". On the contrary it was Americanized. It became a domestic conflict and its themes resonate even today.

13 Comments:

Blogger Holy Roman Umpire said...

Hmm... Sounds like this is a reverse Tet offensive. Army use of its own aviation is always part of a larger operation. Gen. Petraeus seems to have gained the initiative and I believe that he will keep it until it is taken away from him by the only force capable of doing so: the US Congress.

8/03/2007 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Reliapundit said...

flypaper strategy is part & parcel of a planned air campaign.

if they enemy is dispersed then you can't bomb them.

so you need good intel, but also you need to have allowed them to go where they think they have safehaven.

i have long maintained that musharraf's waziristan policy is an example.

as powell said - about gulf war 1:

"First we are going to cut it off and then we're going to kill it."

substitute flypaper for the first part of that statement.

8/03/2007 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

This pattern closely follows the framework for "War Amongst the People" outlined in Rupert Smith's The Utility of Force.

Wretchard, very well stated. I quoted you a bit here.

8/03/2007 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Timothy,

I like your phrase, "the battlefield as a film set". There was a time when the Roman penchant for gladiatorial entertainment was offered as proof of their degeneracy. But can it compare to one in which heroism, tragedy, grief and agony are offered up as info-tainment? Trivialized into a soundbite? Stay tuned to 24 hour psychodrama theater, "where death is only a channel click away". The military-industrial complex is so yesterday. Today it might be better to speak of the military-media complex. Surely God will strike us down, if not for taking His name in vain, then at least for taking ours. Damned for our tin ear and bad taste, like an out-of-tune contestant in the Gong Show. Zzzt. Modern enlightened civilization. You're too disgusting. Out. Imagine if there were an conscious audience recursively watching us. If we were the entertainment. Ha.

8/03/2007 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

wretchard:

I can see it now. War as Pay Per View. A new version of mercenary for hire. He goes out on a war expedition and brings along a video camera to film the action. Then, people pay to watch the videos, thus paying for the war.

Hey wait a minute -- isn't that basically how Islamists are financing the war against us?

8/03/2007 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger jimbo said...

I have managed to obtain a copy of the following speech which is to be delivered during closed session at the Daily Kos convention.

(With apologies to Sir Winston Churchill.)


The Battle of the Interim Iraq Report is over. I expect that the Battle of the Petraeus Report is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of the Radical Left and our hope for political ascendancy. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Free People know that they will have to break us on this issue or lose the struggle. If we can stand up to them, all the world may be allowed to choose between the Radical Left and Islamo-Fascism. But if we fail, then the whole world, including all that we have known and cared for, will rise to new heights of bourgeois prosperity, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the ingenuity, hard work and fundamental decency of the American People.

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long weeks of struggle. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage politics with all our might; to wage politics against the Bush-Cheney tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is surrender, surrender at all costs, surrender to terror, surrender despite progress on the ground, surrender, however close to victory the road may be.
Even though large tracts of Baghdad and many old and famous terrorist havens have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Coalition or Iraqi Security Forces, we shall still insist on defeat. We shall go on to the end, we shall surrender in the Mainstream Media, we shall surrender in the Halls of Congress, we shall surrender in the Academy, we shall surrender with growing confidence and growing strength on the Blogs. We shall surrender despite defections from treacherous Moderates and wavering Liberals.
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the Radical Left and its Fantasy Ideology last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their lowest hour."

8/04/2007 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Wretchard,

Regarding the YearlyKOS confrontation:

The Sergeant in question should not have been at a political rally in uniform.

That said, Jon Soltz is a former Army Captain. I guess he can report the actions of the Sergeant to that Sergeant's commander - but, to me it looks all bluff. The penalty for wearing a uniform at a KOS event is probably similar to the penalty for wearing the uniform at a Dunkin' Donuts when that donut shop is not on your way to work or home. There are regulations and there are regulations. The Sergeant should not have spoken up while in uniform. The Sergeant should not have been at a political rally in uniform.

There is a concern - one that should be noted by all - of a Pretourina Guard. That is what General Clark (ret.) was talking about in the section after the confrontation.

The interesting factoid to me is that KOS shut off the microphone. It is in his organizations rights to do so - but...

8/04/2007 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger davod said...

reliapundit:

"First we are going to cut it off and then we're going to kill it."

As with a lot of Powell's comments sounds good but no prize. They did not kill it, they let it go to fight another day because the TV pictures did not look nice.

Boghie:

Please do not buy into the liberal spin.

The KOS function is not a political function. It is a convention of bloggers with information panels and invited speakers.

The sergeant was listening to a panel related to military matters. He wasn't on camera and was outed by the very person who, even if only to retain the appearance of being interested in a different point of view, should have been prepared to listen to what the guy said. I saw the video and I would be surprised if Stolz has any credibility left with his own military people.

8/05/2007 01:14:00 AM  
Blogger Beyond The Rim... said...

I find it disingenuous when Wesley Clark on one hand says we have to keep our military function separate from our political function while all the time it is his "military function" that he trades on for every bit of credibility he can muster.

I wonder what Jon Soltz thought of John Kerry wearing an army uniform, albeit disrespectfully, to liable the Vietnam soldier, of which I and my brother who died there were.

He is just a small-minded individual who showed his lack when having to deal with someone who disagreed with him (up till then it had been his show and he was in complete control) and because that person's uniform showed that his opinion at least carried some knowledge, lost what little mind he had and stormed off like a two-year old in a temper tantrum.

8/06/2007 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Wretchard - thanks very much for the compliment.

See also this quote from Michael Yon's latest dispatch:

"The goal was to get the food flowing, but the uber-goal was to show people the food was flowing."

8/07/2007 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Online Credit History said...

Online Credit Reports Internet Credit Reports Online Credit History Web Credit Report Internet Credit Report Credit History Online Credit Reports Online Online Credit Reports Internet Credit Reports Online Credit History Web Credit Report Internet Credit Report Credit History Online Credit Reports Online Online Credit Reports Internet Credit Reports Online Credit History Web Credit Report Internet Credit Report Credit History Online Credit Reports Online Online Credit Reports Internet Credit Reports Online Credit History Web Credit Report Internet Credit Report Credit History Online Credit Reports Online Online Credit Reports Internet Credit Reports Online Credit History Web Credit Report Internet Credit Report Credit History Online Credit Reports Online Online Credit Reports Internet Credit Reports Online Credit History Web Credit Report Internet Credit Report Credit History Online Credit Reports Online Online Credit Reports Internet Credit Reports Online Credit History Web Credit Report Internet Credit Report Credit History Online Credit Reports Online Online Credit Reports Internet Credit Reports Online Credit History Web Credit Report Internet Credit Report Credit History Online Credit Reports Online Online Credit Reports Internet Credit Reports Online Credit History Web Credit Report

9/28/2007 01:58:00 AM  
Blogger Anti Spywares said...

anti-spyware programmes antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares antispyware programmes antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners top anti-spywares top spywares best spywares antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares compare antispywares antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares free spyware scanners antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares free spyware scans antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares anti spyware programmes antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares top anti spywares top anti-spywares antispyware programmes antispyware programmes best antispywares best antispywares best spywares best spywares compare antispywares compare antispywares free antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scanners free spyware scans free spyware scans top anti-spywares top anti-spywares top spywares top spywares top spywares antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares anti spyware programmes free spyware scanners free spyware scans compare antispywares top anti-spywares best spywares top spywares free antispywares spyware softwares best antispywares anti spyware anti spyware programmes anti spyware programs anti spyware reviews anti spywares antispyware anti-spyware antispyware programmes anti-spyware programmes antispyware programs anti-spyware programs antispyware reviews anti-spyware reviews antispywares anti-spywares best anti spywares best antispywares best anti-spywares best spywares compare antispywares compare anti-spywares free anti spywares free antispywares free anti-spywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans spyware removal spyware removers spyware softwares top anti spywares top antispywares top anti-spywares top spywares xoftspy xoftspy se xoftspy-se

12/02/2007 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Anti Spywares said...

anti-spyware programmes antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares antispyware programmes antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners top anti-spywares top spywares best spywares antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares compare antispywares antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares free spyware scanners antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares free spyware scans antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares anti spyware programmes antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares top anti spywares top anti-spywares antispyware programmes antispyware programmes best antispywares best antispywares best spywares best spywares compare antispywares compare antispywares free antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scanners free spyware scans free spyware scans top anti-spywares top anti-spywares top spywares top spywares top spywares antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares anti spyware programmes free spyware scanners free spyware scans compare antispywares top anti-spywares best spywares top spywares free antispywares spyware softwares best antispywares anti spyware anti spyware programmes anti spyware programs anti spyware reviews anti spywares antispyware anti-spyware antispyware programmes anti-spyware programmes antispyware programs anti-spyware programs antispyware reviews anti-spyware reviews antispywares anti-spywares best anti spywares best antispywares best anti-spywares best spywares compare antispywares compare anti-spywares free anti spywares free antispywares free anti-spywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans spyware removal spyware removers spyware softwares top anti spywares top antispywares top anti-spywares top spywares xoftspy xoftspy se xoftspy-se

12/02/2007 06:44:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger