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Bob's World
06-13-2010, 04:39 AM
I debated starting this thread under "History" or "Futurists." I could still go either way, as the future of effective COIN lies in understanding the historic impact of James Madison and his work.

The United States was indeed, born of insurgency. The founding fathers, as insurgents all, then set about their new role as counterinsurgents, to shape a new form of government that was least likely to slip into despotism; while also ensuring that the populace was always well empowered to help keep the government on the straight and narrow as well.

James Madison is known as the "Father of the Constitution" and also as the "Father of the Bill of Rights." The US Constitution set a frame work for a government effective enough to run a major nation, but not so effective as to slide into despotism. To ensure that even more, Madison fought for the greatest COIN tool of all time, the US Bill of Rights. This document was designed specifically with COIN in mind.

Madison was also a Federalist with Hamilton, while at the same time a great friend and collaborator with Jefferson. He was able to see what needed to be done, and work with those who could help achieve it.

So, set your COIN manual aside; put your Kilcullen and Nagl back on the shelf. Reach for some really brilliant work on COIN, the works of James Madison. Once you can grasp why Madison's work is brilliant COIN, then you are ready to shape a context for other, more tactical works.

So, this thread is to discuss the work of James Madison, and why it marks him as the greatest COIN leader of all time.

slapout9
06-13-2010, 05:19 AM
Glenn Beck is gonna love you.:D sorta. Beck Loves Madison but hates FDR....thinks he was some kind of communist,Nazi,dictator worst president we have ever had. While Madison could walk on water.

Bob's World
06-13-2010, 06:19 AM
Beck is an entertaining whack-job.

I will say this for FDR, I think the Grand Strategy that he had shaped for Amercia coming out of WWII provides a great framework for a Grand Strategy for America today:

1. The "4 Freedoms"
Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want

2. The end of Colonialism

3. The promotion of Self Determination

4. The "Four Policemen" to work together to secure peace globally (US, UK, Russia, and China)

Bob's World
06-13-2010, 05:30 PM
A single paragraph from Wikipedia.

Much of the stability that has enabled America to endure is rooted in this body of work. Not by some fortunate accident, but through experience, study, debate, and war certain key concepts emerged to address the flaws of governance that are the causation of Insurgency; and when those fail, to ensure that the populace itself was empowered to prevent those failures of governance from growing too large.

"James Madison[2] (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American politician and political philosopher who served as the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817) and is considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

The "Father of the Constitution," he was the principal author of the document. In 1788, he wrote over a third of the Federalist Papers, still the most influential commentary on the Constitution. The first president to have served in the United States Congress, he was a leader in the 1st United States Congress, drafting many basic laws, and was responsible for the first ten amendments to the Constitution (said to be based on the Virginia Declaration of Rights) and thus is also known as the "Father of the Bill of Rights".[3] As a political theorist, Madison's most distinctive belief was that the new republic needed checks and balances to protect individual rights from the tyranny of the majority.[4][5][6][7]"

MikeF
06-13-2010, 06:08 PM
Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want

From my understanding of the debates during the Constitutional Congress, the most contested word was happiness. Initially, in the first draft, it was life, liberty, and the pursuit of property. During that time, property equaled wealth. After much deliberation, they changed it to happiness.

This debate seems to be the perpetual morale struggle that our nation works through in every generation. Hard work and success over greed. Happiness versus glutony. It ebbs and flow over time.

John T. Fishel
06-13-2010, 06:35 PM
but the pursuit of happiness only appears in the Declaration of Independence.

Cheers

JohnT

MikeF
06-13-2010, 07:02 PM
but the pursuit of happiness only appears in the Declaration of Independence.

Good catch John. That's what I get for thinking too much on a Sunday :D.

Bob's World
06-13-2010, 07:34 PM
John and Mike,

Actually, you both are right. Most of the rights and grievances identified in the Declaration of Independence can be directly cross-walked over to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

In this one can see how those perceptions that drove insurgency in 1776 were addressed by the new documents of those same men now acting in the role of "Counterinsurgents" as they formed a new government.

As to those specific rights not enumerated in the Bill of Rights, that is why the "sweep-up" clauses of 9 and 10 were added.

I believe the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness from the Declaration is covered by the 9th Amendment:

Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

John Grenier
06-14-2010, 12:03 AM
JM was hardly an insurgent looking to mix up the old order. He wrote the Bill of Rights because of the radicals' (in places like PA and NC, two very large "states to be" with powerful Anti-Federalist lobbies) reaction to the conservative bent the Constitution took. The only way that PA and NC agreed to ratify was if changes (the BoR) we made to the extend the revolutionary gains of the Rev to more people. The BoR was a compromise to bring more "radical" elements into the US polity. If you really want to read some good history on this, I suggest Bernard Bailyn, Gordan Wood, Jackson Turner Main, and Cecilia Kenyon. Drew McCoy's work on how Madison's political philosophy changed over the years is excellent. Madison was a man of the established and elite political order.

John Grenier
06-14-2010, 12:14 AM
You understand, right, that "happiness" was 18th-century code word for "property," most fully in the form as in slaves? John Locke, when he was writing the "constitution" for the creation of South Carolina (from the start a colony designed to be a slave-based plantation complex) defined Life, Liberty, and Property as the keys to republican virtue -- without property, a man could not be "competent," that is "disinterested" and willing to serve the greater good than himself. It is really too bad that we have taken such complex and nuanced ideas and "dumbed them down" into parodies of their original meanings. It is ironic that those (those clowns Limbaugh and Beck and Palin, for example) who call for us to follow the Founders' "original intent" don't understand the original meaning of the philosophy they want us to emulate. Capitalism, for example, was a radical idea that did not shape the Founders' understanding of what they called "political economy." The Founders lived and worked under the ideas of mercantilism and the Physiocrats. To suggest that they would embrace laissez-faire economics is ahistoric.

Dayuhan
06-14-2010, 12:34 AM
Certainly the American structure and system have done wonderful things for America, and would provide an ideal framework for managing any hypothetical insurgency in the US. The extent to which it can assist in managing anyone else's insurgency is debatable.

There's a lot that emerging democracies can learn from the US structure, particularly from the manner in which it anticipates and manages the need to protect minority rights from a potential tyranny of the majority, always a danger in a democratic structure. That does not, of course, mean that the US system is necessarily adaptable to any other culture.

Political systems evolve, and when we see a political system that works for a country we're generally not looking at something that was created, we're looking at something that emerged over time. Because the evolution is often messy and often involves conflict (as it did in the US and most other working democracies), there's always a temptation to step in and try to short-cut the messy bits by showing them how it should be done. That's a temptation well worth resisting. Americans in particular often see structures and institutions as the defining factors of a working government, but the developing world is littered with governments that look ideal on paper but are poorly adapted to the society they're trying to govern, and in many cases simply don't work. What we think is right doesn't always translate. Compare Oman, a reasonably prosperous, well-managed, emerging nation ruled by a medieval monarchy, to Yemen, a basket case with (on paper) an admirable western-style republic structure.

Obviously there's no hard-and-fast rule on what works, but it should be obvious by now that what doesn't work is a bunch of well-meaning outsiders trying to come in and install a government.

Bob's World
06-14-2010, 02:12 AM
I agree that Madison's intent may well not have matched up with his ultimate effects, but it is effects that matter.

Yes his thinking and positions evolved, yes he recognized that the landed would need protection from the unlanded that a pure democracy was not likely to provide. The end result is a form of government, and a codified set of constraints on governmental powers, and preservation of state and individual powers that in its own, clumsy, ineffective way, works to prevent the type of Poor Governance that gives rise to insurgency.

As lesson for Afghanistan is that just as the Articles of Confederation were adequate to get the US through the war with England, but would have doomed the emerging nation; Afghanistan too should strongly consider what an evolved Constitution would look like for them that is more appropriate for the nation that is emerging there.

John Grenier
06-14-2010, 02:36 AM
Well, his effects were counter-revolutionary, so to say he was a great insurgent thinker is seriously ahistorical. If he was in fact an insurgent like you claim, he then in fact became like most insurgents in history: a failure.;)

John Grenier
06-14-2010, 02:44 AM
The United States did not (in 1783-1787/89) have the same ethno-linguistic divisions that AFG has today. To expect the different AFG tribes and clans to come together and put aside their self interests to form a larger union is just fantasy, IMHO. We cannot impose our model of historical development on them -- it just will not work. To get AFG to agree to something as limited in unifying power as an Arts of Confed would be a miracle. The clans have no interest in the concept of "divided sovereignty" that made the Arts of Confed and the constitution work for Americans. Don't forget, also, that we had to have a civil war to decide whose version of the Constitution would dominate American political, social, economic, and cultural life. This all goes back to your original point about JM, and exactly why he was not an insurgent; everything he did (Constitution, Bill of Rights, VA/KY Resolutions) was to support and uphold the established political order that kept him and his peeps in control.

Bob's World
06-14-2010, 03:20 AM
Well, his effects were counter-revolutionary, so to say he was a great insurgent thinker is seriously ahistorical. If he was in fact an insurgent like you claim, he then in fact became like most insurgents in history: a failure.;)

So, the only failure here are your skills of reading comprehension. :)

All governments are counterinsurgents every day. The best COIN is done by governments in times of peace. It is only failed governments and their inextremis efforts to preserve themself that we typically think of as COIN. A limited perspective in my view.

No, I stand by my claim. Madison is the greatest counterinsurgent, as the main force in developing a family of governance structures uniquely born of insurgency, and therefore designed to prevent the same. ( But, for the record, all of the founding fathers were insurgents first, and they prevailed against the most powerful nation in the world. That's a win in any book)

Bob's World
06-14-2010, 03:23 AM
The United States did not (in 1783-1787/89) have the same ethno-linguistic divisions that AFG has today. To expect the different AFG tribes and clans to come together and put aside their self interests to form a larger union is just fantasy, IMHO. We cannot impose our model of historical development on them -- it just will not work. To get AFG to agree to something as limited in unifying power as an Arts of Confed would be a miracle. The clans have no interest in the concept of "divided sovereignty" that made the Arts of Confed and the constitution work for Americans. Don't forget, also, that we had to have a civil war to decide whose version of the Constitution would dominate American political, social, economic, and cultural life. This all goes back to your original point about JM, and exactly why he was not an insurgent; everything he did (Constitution, Bill of Rights, VA/KY Resolutions) was to support and uphold the established political order that kept him and his peeps in control.

Not selling either the Art of Confed, or the US Constitution to AFG; merely noting that just as we dumped a bad form as we entered peace, AFG too could take advantage of a period of transition to dump their equally flawed constitution for one more apt to produce durable stability.

MikeF
06-14-2010, 11:44 AM
No, I stand by my claim. Madison is the greatest counterinsurgent, as the main force in developing a family of governance structures uniquely born of insurgency, and therefore designed to prevent the same. ( But, for the record, all of the founding fathers were insurgents first, and they prevailed against the most powerful nation in the world. That's a win in any book)

I agree with this approach. It may be helpful to define some of the threats that the Founding Fathers faced and label them as insurgencies, subversion, or existential threats. Additionally, we can examine how effective each COIN approach was along with the secondary and tertiary effects. Wow, this is starting to sound like a great dissertation topic.

Plus, we have to keep in mind the level of violence that was acceptable during that time. In 1804, the secretary of state and vice president resolved their differences with a duel. I'd imagine that would be a huge pay per view event these days :D.

Internal threats

1. Tories. After the Revolutionary War, the Americans had to conduct conflict resolution with the British Loyalist. In the South, many of the Loyalists were wealthy landowners who did not want to upset the status quo. Some were reintegrated into the new United States, some lost their estates, and some fled back to England or the British Isles.

2. Disenfranchised Veterans. After the war, many of the veterans returned home to poverty and frustration. Daniel Shay and Henry Gale's led one of the most famous revolts. These actions combined with others encouraged the need for a stronger central government.

3. Native Americans. After a series of failed/ignored treaties and agreements, Andrew Jackson enacted the "final solution" for the the Native Americans forcing them west out of the colonies. The Army enforced this move known as the Trail of Tears.

4. African Americans. This issue took well into the 20th century to resolve.

External Threats

1. Working with neighbors. The US had to figure out how to contain the British, French, and Spainards surrounding the US borders. Thomas Jefferson bought out the French with the Louisiana Purchase, Britain reattacked in 1812, and Andrew Jackson attacked and claimed Florida in 1821.

2. Piracy. Initially, the founders did not see a need for a standing army; however, the need of the navy was strong to protect commerce and borders. One of the initial tasks of the navy was protecting US ships from piracy.

Mike

tequila
06-14-2010, 02:00 PM
No, I stand by my claim. Madison is the greatest counterinsurgent, as the main force in developing a family of governance structures uniquely born of insurgency, and therefore designed to prevent the same.

We Americans do tend to have a rather odd concept of our Constitution as a sort of magical document where Madison and the Founding Fathers somehow glimpsed a template of Good Government in the ether and then brought it back to America for enshrinement in perpetuity. A whole legal ethos in the U.S. - originalism - appears to be based on this concept.

As John Grenier points out, the Constitution is a document of its time, built out of the political compromises necessary to pull many very different interests and entities together. These compromises failed in the long term - the result was a massive civil war that nearly resulted in the breakup of the country. A long period of civil unrest followed that saw many state-level insurgencies where the losers of the civil war managed to reassert political control at the local level through a campaign of bloody violence abetted by corrupted/infiltrated security forces and sectarian militias. Peace was largely restored because these insurgencies achieved victory at that level.

So while the Constitution was not exactly a failure, I would hardly call it an unmitigated success.

Bob's World
06-14-2010, 04:44 PM
We Americans do tend to have a rather odd concept of our Constitution as a sort of magical document where Madison and the Founding Fathers somehow glimpsed a template of Good Government in the ether and then brought it back to America for enshrinement in perpetuity. A whole legal ethos in the U.S. - originalism - appears to be based on this concept.

As John Grenier points out, the Constitution is a document of its time, built out of the political compromises necessary to pull many very different interests and entities together. These compromises failed in the long term - the result was a massive civil war that nearly resulted in the breakup of the country. A long period of civil unrest followed that saw many state-level insurgencies where the losers of the civil war managed to reassert political control at the local level through a campaign of bloody violence abetted by corrupted/infiltrated security forces and sectarian militias. Peace was largely restored because these insurgencies achieved victory at that level.

So while the Constitution was not exactly a failure, I would hardly call it an unmitigated success.

So yes, the US was forged from insurgency, and tempered in civil war. We are the oldest enduring republic. It is the unique blend of compormises and protections that make our documents strong. Other countries and populaces have unique issues that divide and concern them. I would never argue that everyone must be like us; only that what we did worked, and that their is value in understanding WHY it worked and to capture those same components in their documents as well.

The Afghan constitution was not designed to preserve rights, it was designed to prevent warlords. As such it created a national ponzi scheme of leadership and patronage that robs the government of local legitimacy and robs the locals of their wealth, while literally Billions of dollars are sent to banks in Dubai by Afghan officials. Maybe it was the right constitition for its time, but now it is arguably the root of the current insurgency.

slapout9
06-14-2010, 05:26 PM
As such it created a national ponzi scheme of leadership and patronage that robs the government of local legitimacy and robs the locals of their wealth, while literally Billions of dollars are sent to banks in Dubai by Afghan officials.

Got confused there for a minute, thought you were talking about America and not Afghanistan.;)

Dayuhan
06-14-2010, 09:58 PM
The Afghan constitution was not designed to preserve rights, it was designed to prevent warlords. As such it created a national ponzi scheme of leadership and patronage that robs the government of local legitimacy and robs the locals of their wealth, while literally Billions of dollars are sent to banks in Dubai by Afghan officials. Maybe it was the right constitition for its time, but now it is arguably the root of the current insurgency.

Was the system of patronage and privilege created by the constitution, or did it exist prior to the constitution? I suspect that documents reflect the pre-exisiting values and norms of a society as much as they shape those values and norms. There is no system that cannot be corrupted.

Rex Brynen
06-15-2010, 04:06 PM
I'm not at all convinced that the Afghan constitution is at the root of the current insurgency.

Certainly, aspects of it—especially regarding the centralization of power—aren't helpful, but the failing is more one of leadership (at a variety of levels) than the legal structure of power.

Ken White
06-15-2010, 04:10 PM
a not unique but very strongly embraced culture of independence and non-cooperation due to the geography...

Entropy
06-15-2010, 04:14 PM
I'm not at all convinced that the Afghan constitution is at the root of the current insurgency.

Certainly, aspects of it—especially regarding the centralization of power—aren't helpful, but the failing is more one of leadership (at a variety of levels) than the legal structure of power.

I agree but still say it's a pretty big factor. As I've said many times now, Afghanistan isn't merely an insurgency - it's still in a civil war. And the Taliban aren't merely insurgents - they are the former power looking to regain what they once had.

Still, the over-centralization of Afghan governance causes all sorts of problems and prevents solutions and accommodations that could be made at the local level from occurring.

Rex Brynen
06-15-2010, 04:31 PM
I agree but still say it's a pretty big factor. As I've said many times now, Afghanistan isn't merely an insurgency - it's still in a civil war. And the Taliban aren't merely insurgents - they are the former power looking to regain what they once had.

I certainly agree that it is a civil war--as was Iraq for a time too.

However, the Afghan constitution per se has lots of wiggle room if the national leadership wanted to use Chapter 8 (http://www.afghan-web.com/politics/current_constitution.html#chaptereight) (especially Articles 2-3) creatively to devolve power and coopt local elements. That it doesn't do so is a function of both leadership choice and the (preexisting) social-political distribution of power.

Moreover, it is entirely possible for centralized administrations with centralizing constitutions to effectively coopt into the periphery in a decentralizing way--Morocco would be a case in point. The problem with Afghan patron-client structures may not be that they exist, but that they exist in such an inefficient, corrupt, and predatory manner.

As I've argued elsewhere (http://paxsims.wordpress.com/2009/10/03/595/), I don't think the development/peacebuilding/stabilization/COIN crowd has a good handle on this:

...conceptually, the peacebuilding and reconstruction community has largely failed to deal with this, and that as a consequence there is a current and potentially growing disconnect in both theory and practice. How is it that patronage politics can be limited, contained, channeled, or attenuated in ways that create maximum benefits in terms of stability and legitimization, and the least damage in terms of corruption, inefficiency, inequality, and delegitimization? How is it that we encourage countries emerging from conflict to look more like Jordan and less like Yemen—both places where neopatrimonialism has played a key role in domestic politics, but with strikingly different developmental and institutional outcomes?

Entropy
06-15-2010, 05:49 PM
Yes! My sense is that the powerbrokers view the government (almost wholly funded by the US) not as an instrument of governance, but as a vehicle to further their own factional interest. If that is the case, then it's no surprise that those parts of the constitution which favor devolved power remain anemic, while those that provide centralized control of largely foreign resources prosper. The constitution abets this process though by specifically favoring centralization.

Bob's World
06-15-2010, 06:10 PM
Bad governmental frameworks promote the type of bad behavior that leads to perceptions of Poor Governance; Good governmental frameworks promote the type of behavior that leads to perceptions of Good Governance.

Madison was the driving force in ensuring that the US framework was designed to promote Good Governance perceptions. THAT is great COIN. Military efforts to deal with insurgency merely dealing with the mess after government has failed in a primary function of serving its populace in a manner that promotes perceptions of Legitimacy, Justice, Respect and Hope.

The key is not to mimic the US constitution, but rather to understand why it works and to mold appropriate constructs to produce similar effects when developing constitutions elsewhere. Every culture is unique, and different things will contribute to these universal perceptions accordingly.

Rex Brynen
06-15-2010, 06:31 PM
Madison was the driving force in ensuring that the US framework was designed to promote Good Governance perceptions. THAT is great COIN.

Am I missing something, or didn't you folks subsequently have a horribly bloody civil war over governance issues? And wasn't Madison--at least until after the War of 1812--a proponent of states' rights and a weak central government?

We, on the other hand, managed to avoid having a civil war, and yet didn't have a constitutionally-entrenched Charter of Rights (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Charter_of_Rights_and_Freedoms) until 1982.

kotkinjs1
06-15-2010, 07:43 PM
To quote BW: "....it created a national ponzi scheme of leadership and patronage that robs the government of local legitimacy and robs the locals of their wealth..."

Allow me to do some paraphrasing and intellectual thievery here (been thinking a few days about Mac McCallister's Agora post to which I'm starting to agree with more and more). Patronage is always eschewed as detrimental to good governance. Sure, JM wouldn't have approved, but that was the new nation of America under a completely different set of historical and cultural circumstances. How about if Kabul co-opts or install loyal (and effective) local patronage networks? Even during the Monarchy, hasn't the patronage network been one of Afghanistan's only effective governing tool primarily because of the limited direct reach of Kabul or 'illegitimacy' of the central government? Why do we keep thinking a central gov't under a republican/quasi-democratic Constitution will win hearts and minds and provide legitimacy? Because its all we know and that's the way its going to be come hell or high water apparently.

Rather than try and twist Karzai's arm to install NATO-approved Governors with a 'clean' record, why not allow him to install people who *he* knows can get the job done after we do the clearing and holding. By Karzai co-opting and controlling the already in-place patronage nets with a loyal governor or sub-district governor and extend that network to Kabul, we don't have to worry about forcing an alien government into the inner workings of the Afghan culture. The insurgency is flamed when we remove a traditional and effective patronage network and have someone installed with no popular means of economic support or 'MOUs' for his area. Development and rule of law/governance will come but it will have an Afghan face to it and the population will be more readily inclined to see legitimacy in a patronage network as long as it provides them with the bare minimums of security and economic development (or at least economic stability). A 'legitimate' and effective patronage network can erode the shadow governments simply by co-opting (strong-arming) the trade, production, kickbacks, taxing, etc away from illicit sources....after, of course, we provide initial clear & hold top-cover.

I realize this is getting off topic but patronage networks aren't inherently a bad thing, especially when they're effective and they are able to maintain order. It's also been effective in Afghanistan for an extremely long time. Did they ensure the democratic and civil rights of 100% of the population? No. Was there corruption, graft, and political backwardness? Yes. Will it look like an American or NATO solution? No. Did they provide at least a modicum of security and economic stability and maintain the status quo in a very volatile region of the world at very volatile times in recent history? Yes.

I'm not saying historical reversion is ever a good thing (that's what the Talibs want; atavism, right?) but understanding what works and more importantly, what they know works for them, is more critical than a forced adoption of democracy with a vanilla solution nationwide. My $.02.

Bob's World
06-15-2010, 09:35 PM
The problem in Afghanistan is not that they historically employ patronage systems throughout their governance and economy; the problem is that the current Constitution sets it so that EVERYBODY in Afghanistan is either INCLUDED in governance and opportunity; or EXCLUDED from governance and opportunity depending on their connection to ONE MAN.

This is what created the Ponzi effect. Before patronage gathered and distributed goodness at all levels; most staying at that local level, but some going up to higher. Leaders largely were selected locally and drew their legitimacy from the populaces they served.

Under the current Constitution, not only does every government official owe his position (sometimes with a degree or two of separation) to Karzai; so too does every major economic enterprise; so too does every major land owner.

If Karzai is removed, then not only does every single pol lose there job; but every single person in Afghanistan with a good job or good land is likely to lose that as well. It is an all or nothing system. There is no way such a system cannot be corrupt and there is no way such a system can produce legitimate governance.

They problem is not patronage, the problem is a framework that accentuates and elevates the negative aspects of patronage. By understanding that the lack of legitimacy of the central governance is far more contributive to instability and insurgency than the presence of warlords; one can design a system that produces and protects the things that are important.

Karzai would argue the the current constitute;ion does I suspect; but that is valuing maintaining his own power over establishing stability in his country. We should not enable this situation; but we are. We enable it with our presence and with our money. We do this because we don't understand insurgency, not because we don't understand Afghanistan.

Once we get past COIN tactics and step back to take form a clearer perspective on insurgency itself, I think new, and more effective COAs begin to emerge.

The constitution is not the problem, but it codifies and enables behavior that contribute significantly to the problem. Plus its far cheaper to re-write a constitution than it is to manage the effects of Insurgency that are fueled by the current version.

Bob's World
06-15-2010, 09:40 PM
Am I missing something, or didn't you folks subsequently have a horribly bloody civil war over governance issues? And wasn't Madison--at least until after the War of 1812--a proponent of states' rights and a weak central government?

We, on the other hand, managed to avoid having a civil war, and yet didn't have a constitutionally-entrenched Charter of Rights (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Charter_of_Rights_and_Freedoms) until 1982.

First, Civil War is not insurgency; and that debate could have gone many ways, it happens that it went violent.

The idea that states had no right to pull out of the Union was established by Andrew Jackson; but I am sure that at the time of the Civil War reasonable minds could differ as to that rights existence. Lincoln held firm to enforcing Jackson's position. It was bloody indeed. I think it proves the strength of the documents rather than reveals their weakness.

Rex Brynen
06-16-2010, 02:16 AM
First, Civil War is not insurgency

I'm not sure I agree.

Ken White
06-16-2010, 02:45 AM
but Bob doesn't care... ;)

Steve the Planner
06-16-2010, 03:15 AM
Ambassador Crocker was recently asked to comment on the current state of Iraq's political situation.

He explained that, unfortunately, Iraq's political culture has always been a "Victor Gets the Spoils" system from way before Saddam's day. His hope is that they will, one day,rise above it to some level of attention to service. Inherent in that, of course, is this pregnant issue of Iraq's oil wealth---where wealth comes from the ground, and not from the people, taxation without representation has no meaning or purpose.

At last, some actual and valid parallel between Iraq and Afghanistan.

I've been active in local, county and state politics in the US for a decade or few, and just don't get this allusion to patronage-based systems. All systems of governance are patronage-based with the only question being who is the patron---a broader or narrower definition of "public."

The US, in Madison's day, was still a former British Colony with substantial inherent unity---with a brutal civil war still occurring regardless.

Look at Kyrgystan where Uzbek progroms are underway. Is the there any doubt that substantial underlying hostilities could easily emerge? How does this related to Madison's US?

I had the good fortune of working with a guy who believed that "Money is a Weapon," and wisely took that as a threat, and not an opportunity. As the US dollars gush like an Oil Spill out to Dubai, there is no way our major contribution have, or could help, without substantial changes and solutions that are not in place.

It sure was rattling to watch Gen. Petreaus's head hit the table, but images and imagery count for a lot. My concerns were quite different for him (personal health concern) that most others' will be.

The trick that Old Hickory consistently demonstrated was the if you cross him, he will always get you, and he is, ultimately, the biggest tribe leader.

On Monday Night, Chris Mathews explained that he knew Afghanistan was unwinnable solely because Gen.Petreaus would never come out publicly and stand-up for it and really sell it. What does he think today?

Reality, from Madison to Jackson to Obama, is that US actions are driven by domestic politics, and not by genuine Afghan realities. So, where's the US headed now????

Dayuhan
06-16-2010, 04:31 AM
Civil War is not insurgency

I'm not sure I agree.

Nor do I

Nor do I... but once again, and not for the first time, discussion founders for want of a consensus definition of what "insurgency" actually is. Given the amount of discussion devoted to it, you'd think we'd have sorted that out by now.

Personally, I'd say the most basic definition of insurgency would involve intra-state armed conflict between an acknowledged government and an organized populace or substantial portion thereof. I'm sure that could be picked apart, but it's a start.

By that standard the US Civil War qualify as insurgency. I'm mot at all sure the Afghan conflict would. The question, really, is how Afghans define the conflict. If they see it as the Taliban fighting the Karzai administration, with the US supporting the Karzai administration, then yes, it's insurgency and the ability of the Karzai Government to provide adequate governance is a key factor. if the Afghans perceive the core conflict to be the Taliban vs the US, then we no longer have an intra-state conflict,and the ability of the Karzai administration to govern becomes a matter of secondary importance.

What is the conflict about, at base? Are the Taliban fighting the Karzai administration because they think it governs badly, or are they fighting the US because they don't want foreigners in their country and they won't accept a government installed by foreigners no matter how it governs?

Brought down to lowest terms, is this fight about the Karzai Government, or is it about our presence?

Bob's World
06-16-2010, 04:44 PM
I care deeply what each of you think, and I consider your responses carefully. Afterall, typically they are positions that I have held myself at one point in time. I just have come to where I have found them lacking in substance and have moved on to what I see as firmer ground. If you want me to move back to shakey ground you have to lead me there, not just order me return.

Webster

Civil War: a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country.

Insurgency: : a condition of revolt against a government that is less than an organized revolution and that is not recognized as belligerency.

revolution:
: a fundamental change in political organization; especially : the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed

Belligerency: : the state of being at war or in conflict; specifically : the status of a legally recognized belligerent state or nation


OK, not sure if that is helpful. Frankly I have admit that I am typically a bit baffled when pundits have thrown on the table with no real explanation as to what they mean that the conflict is Iraq/Afghanistan "is no longer an insurgency, its a civil war."

Ok, I'll bite. WTF? What do you base this assessment on (asking no one in particular), and how does the making of this assessment help you resolve the problem? I mean, if you can clearly define that situation A. is an insurgency, and therefore is cured with process A.; and that situation B. is a civil war, and is therefore cured with process B.; fine. That is helpful.

But if you are simply overwhelmed and confused by what is happening and figure that this is harder than insurgency, so it must be civil war; that doesn't help. It also makes little sense in general. These are not steps on a single scale, they are very different things. Granted, historically the these terms are used in an intermixed, inartful manner, so there is little to rely on by simply going to the historically accepted terms applied to various conflicts.

For example, the "American Revolution" was in my mind much more accurately a Separatist Insurgency. An illegal shadow government was formed with the purpose of leading a violent movement to break a piece of Great Britain off to form a new nation.

The American Civil War is very different in that the legal governments of each Confederate state voted for secession. Only after that was done was a new government formed to head the new country that was formed.

I'm not sure why some argue that there was civil war in Iraq; and I definitely do not see civil war in Afghanistan. Every populace has many unique and distinct segments. Insurgency is not caused by these segments, it is caused by the failure of the single government to provide good governance. It is only natural that many of these groups would define this differently and have distinct goals, ideology, leadership, etc in their approach to Poor Governance. This is why one must understand each dissatisfied segment of the populace's concerns as one works to fix the government. To merely play whack a mole with each group that dares to stand up and complain is arrogant insanity.

Bob's World
06-16-2010, 04:58 PM
Brought down to lowest terms, is this fight about the Karzai Government, or is it about our presence?

My assessment is that the senior leadership of the various insurgent movements are what I would term "revolutionary" movements. They are primarily rooted in there perceptions of the illegitimacy of the Karzai government, and inherent disrespect associated with being excluded based on tribal, regional, etc affiliations. This is what I see as the head of the snake that must be addressed to end the violence and begin on the path to stability. This is the target of Reconciliation. This is perhaps 10% of the insurgency, but it is the essential 10%.

The rank and file fighters are waging what I see as a resistance movement. They fight primarily because we are there. (Also for a sense of the reasons driving the leaderships revolution; and because they get paid to do what is good, honorable Afghan work). This is 90 % of the insurgency that population centric tactics go at, but is not the critical part of the insurgency, and so long as the head is in place there will always be a tail. This is the part of the insurgency that the military is typically set against. The government does not want to change itself in ways required to deal with the head, so they set their military against the tail. This is why most insurgencies are long, drawnout affairs. Sometimes the tail is in fact "defeated", but with a healthy head it always grows back. This is also what "reintegration" is aimed at. The irony of the surge is that the more we surge, the more we incentivize the resistance movement.

Logic dictates that smart COIN be aimed at the head of the snake, and the best way to do this is to talk, make reasonable concessions, deal strongly with the unreasonable, but to make room in government for those who are willing to participate. This is where the Afghan Constitution is such a problem. It excludes huge segments of society from participation simply because one man deems it so. This is a recipe for insurgency.

Enable reconciliation and REDUCE (not surge) our presence for best effects.

Ken White
06-16-2010, 07:18 PM
I care deeply what each of you think, and I consider your responses carefully.Uh, forgive me but a number of folks here have, over the last couple of years offered considered and consistent responses to your thesis. As nearly as I can determine, you haven't cared other than superficially what any of them had to say. Afterall, typically they are positions that I have held myself at one point in time. I just have come to where I have found them lacking in substance and have moved on to what I see as firmer ground.How very nice of you to condescend to admission that at one point you too were ignorant... :wry:If you want me to move back to shakey ground you have to lead me there, not just order me return.No one has attempted to order you to do anything. Several have acknowledged the logic of your focus and some of your prescriptions while disagreeing with other prescriptions and your one size fits all approach. You offer counter argument which is predictably poor governance and / or lessons the American Revolution and picking on poor old George III. :wry:

Consider the possibility that some of us also progressed from accepting the common wisdom to omniscience -- then realized that the world and humans are not really that simple and that common wisdom exists for valid reasons. Many of us also realize that common wisdom is merely a broad guide and is not definitive...Webster

Civil War: a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country.

Insurgency: : a condition of revolt against a government that is less than an organized revolution and that is not recognized as belligerency.Is the implication here that a Civil War and an Insurgency are mutually exclusive?OK, not sure if that is helpful.Nor am I...

Webster:
Belligerency: 1 : the state of being at war or in conflict; specifically : the status of a legally recognized belligerent state or nation.

What does that definition add to the clarity?

I submit it adds nothing. You Lawyers can get wrapped up in word games but no one else much cares. Most Lawyers know that there are varying definitions and vernacular uses of words but tend to strongly adhere to the definition that best serves them in presenting their case...

Specifically, groups of people who do not object to the governance of a State but who simply wish to seize power for themselves, crooks and / or various other non-state actors can precipitate an insurgency, engage in belligerent conduct (if not a de jure 'belligerency') or participate in a civil war -- or they can do both at the same time.

Over-define your 'rules' and you will inhibit your ability to respond to the actual problem. You continually carp that the US is still in the strait jacket of 'Cold War responses' yet propose replacing that strait jacket with your own design. ;)Insurgency is not caused by these segments, it is caused by the failure of the single government to provide good governance. It is only natural that many of these groups would define this differently and have distinct goals, ideology, leadership, etc in their approach to Poor Governance. This is why one must understand each dissatisfied segment of the populace's concerns as one works to fix the government.Using that rationale, the Taliban were the government, they must not have provided good governance because the Northern Alliance objected, we helped the NA overthrow the Talibs and now they want their power, such as it was, back. Apparently Karzai is seen as unable to provide good governance, the Talibs are seen as unable to provide good governance, the US / NATO / ISAF are unlikely to be seen as capable of providing good governance -- thus there is no solution to the problem as you define it. Yet, I suspect a solution of sorts that satisfies no one will appear.

'Good Governance' as you use it appears to be a code for 'making everyone happy' (I know you have explained that's not the case but you keep getting back, indirectly, to that premise as you do in your last couple of sentences quoted below...). Not going to happen. Thus we all suffer from bad governance. The issue is, per Ed McMahon, "How bad is it?"This is why one must understand each dissatisfied segment of the populace's concerns as one works to fix the government. To merely play whack a mole with each group that dares to stand up and complain is arrogant insanity.Uh, yes, we can agree on that last. If we had good governance and made everyone happy, they wouldn't do that... :rolleyes:

Like I said, the key is "How bad is it?" and as many have pointed out to you for some time, recognition of many subtle variations in the cause of insurgencies is necessary. There's never a one size fits all where humans are concerned...

Bob's World
06-16-2010, 11:12 PM
Uh, forgive me but a number of folks here have, over the last couple of years offered considered and consistent responses to your thesis. As nearly as I can determine, you haven't cared other than superficially what any of them had to say.How very nice of you to condescend to admission that at one point you too were ignorant... :wry:No one has attempted to order you to do anything. Several have acknowledged the logic of your focus and some of your prescriptions while disagreeing with other prescriptions and your one size fits all approach. You offer counter argument which is predictably poor governance and / or lessons the American Revolution and picking on poor old George III. :wry:

Consider the possibility that some of us also progressed from accepting the common wisdom to omniscience -- then realized that the world and humans are not really that simple and that common wisdom exists for valid reasons. Many of us also realize that common wisdom is merely a broad guide and is not definitive...Is the implication here that a Civil War and an Insurgency are mutually exclusive?Nor am I...

Webster:
Belligerency: 1 : the state of being at war or in conflict; specifically : the status of a legally recognized belligerent state or nation.

What does that definition add to the clarity?

I submit it adds nothing. You Lawyers can get wrapped up in word games but no one else much cares. Most Lawyers know that there are varying definitions and vernacular uses of words but tend to strongly adhere to the definition that best serves them in presenting their case...

Specifically, groups of people who do not object to the governance of a State but who simply wish to seize power for themselves, crooks and / or various other non-state actors can precipitate an insurgency, engage in belligerent conduct (if not a de jure 'belligerency') or participate in a civil war -- or they can do both at the same time.

Over-define your 'rules' and you will inhibit your ability to respond to the actual problem. You continually carp that the US is still in the strait jacket of 'Cold War responses' yet propose replacing that strait jacket with your own design. ;)Using that rationale, the Taliban were the government, they must not have provided good governance because the Northern Alliance objected, we helped the NA overthrow the Talibs and now they want their power, such as it was, back. Apparently Karzai is seen as unable to provide good governance, the Talibs are seen as unable to provide good governance, the US / NATO / ISAF are unlikely to be seen as capable of providing good governance -- thus there is no solution to the problem as you define it. Yet, I suspect a solution of sorts that satisfies no one will appear.

'Good Governance' as you use it appears to be a code for 'making everyone happy' (I know you have explained that's not the case but you keep getting back, indirectly, to that premise as you do in your last couple of sentences quoted below...). Not going to happen. Thus we all suffer from bad governance. The issue is, per Ed McMahon, "How bad is it?"Uh, yes, we can agree on that last. If we had good governance and made everyone happy, they wouldn't do that... :rolleyes:

Like I said, the key is "How bad is it?" and as many have pointed out to you for some time, recognition of many subtle variations in the cause of insurgencies is necessary. There's never a one size fits all where humans are concerned...

The Tea Party crowd isn't happy under Obama; and the Liberals weren't happy under Bush. Our current "COIN" approach of focusing on development to buy off the populace appears to be rooted in trying to make people happy to win.

No, creating a perception of legitimacy has little indeed to do with making people happy, it is just gaining their acceptance that you deserve to be there. The Tea Party in large part accepts that Obama deserves to be there. Similarly creating perceptions of Justice under the law for all groups as little to do with making people happy; nor is treating all groups with respect or providing them with a structure that gives them the same hope that the liberals and Tea Parters use to sustain themselves between elections.

No, good governance has nothing to do with trying to make everyone happy. It has to do with creating governance that represents everybody equally, is from a source they recognize, and is within their power to change within the law.

The US Constitution and Bill of Rights provides such a construct. The current Afghan Constitution does not. I see it as a deal breaker flaw that we are ignoring in favor of doing just such efforts to try to "make people happy" instead. I am actually quite against trying to make everyone happy.

Rex Brynen
06-16-2010, 11:30 PM
I would also add, to Ken's comment above, that there's no clear link between "bad governance" in general and insurgency.

The Middle East is full of regimes that, by most external measures, are characterized by bad governance: social conditions that lag behind GNP/capita, repressive non-participatory regimes, bloated and ineffective public sectors. However, those regimes have been, on average, the most stable in the developing world over the past 40 years.

Oh, there are exceptions, of course--notably Iraq (but only after the US overthrew the regime--Saddam was doing fine maintaining his hold on power against domestic threats) as well as Algeria in the 1990s (ironically, due to a failed effort to provide better governance through economic reform and democratization--and there the "regime" survived in the end). Yemen has its problems too (with almost no governance at all), but Saleh shows no sign of being under fundamental threat.

I think we need a rather nuanced view of the possible relationship between governance and insurgency/stability. In Afghanistan, ironically, part of the challenge is that a large share of the population likely sees national "governance" itself as a threat.

Social scientists have long observed that material conditions are a poor predictor of rebellion. All sorts of other factors-- "relative" deprivation, mobilized social cleavages, shifts in societal resources, the presence of lootable resources (and many other things beside)--can also play a role.

So too does fear, apathy, and/or resignation ("the regime can't be changed, so I'll watch football").

Bob's World
06-16-2010, 11:58 PM
Iron hands are very stable. These "stable" regimes keep the grass mowed very short indeed. These regimes are also the targets of AQ's UW campaign; and a tremendous source of foreign fighters.

Historically this model has worked; and our relationships with these governments has profited the leaders of these countries, corporations, and served our national interests. My position is that in the current information environment this model is crumbling, as these governments are no longer able to control information to their populaces, and similarly non-state actors such as AQ are growing in powers that are largely immune to the powers of states, and individuals are empowered as well.

It's time to evolve and stay in front of these trends. Currently AQ is the champion of the oppressed populaces and the US and West in general is largely the champion of the oppressive regimes. I think we can do better than that.

Rex Brynen
06-17-2010, 12:34 AM
My position is that in the current information environment this model is crumbling, as these governments are no longer able to control information to their populaces, and similarly non-state actors such as AQ are growing in powers that are largely immune to the powers of states, and individuals are empowered as well.

These regimes were, for the most part, never able to maintain an information monopoly--they've always been acutely vulnerable to transnational ideological appeals, in part because most of the population shares a common (Arabic) language. In the 1950s and 1960s this took the form of radio (think of Nasser's highly subversive Sawt al-Arab radio broadcasts), as well as a whole host of transnational political organizations (the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ba'th, the Arab Nationalist Movement, etc). These movements, moreover, were far more successful at seizing power (Syria, Iraq, South Yemen, and very nearly in Jordan and Lebanon too) than AQ has been. AQ may be able to conduct mass terror attacks, but as a regime threat it has been (outside Iraq) small potatoes.

Today, as you note, the media environment is even freer due to direct broadcast satellite TV (since the late 1990s). Yet most regimes appear more secure than they did before 1970, and the pace of political reform has stalled in all but a few. Indeed, the apparent lack of any substantial "al-Jazeera" effect on the pressure for democratization in the region has become an increasing issue of interest for scholars of the media and politics in the region.

Bob's World
06-17-2010, 12:50 AM
Oppressive tactics work for keeping the symptoms of insurgency in check at the same time that they are contributing to the underlying growth of support and causation for insurgency itself. At some point, when the balance tips, it is apt to erupt, as the Balkans did.

I see a glimmer of hope in situations like Qaddafi's son who is pressing his dad to shift from suppressing symptoms toward actually listening to and addressing valid popular grievances. I suspect there are many within the lower tiers of Saudi leadership that similarly would embrace such changes of approach.

For the US we need to understand that what we call "terrorism" is insurgency at home. We make the danger for ourselves greater by helping these states to suppress these insurgent movements in the name of CT. Less is more. We should stop all CT support until these governments seriously open talks with their own populaces about grievances and reasonable reforms. To continue with the CT approach is to enable bad behavior in a manner that increases the likelihood of this same violence being directed against us.

Ken White
06-17-2010, 12:56 AM
Our current "COIN" approach of focusing on development to buy off the populace appears to be rooted in trying to make people happy to win...

The US Constitution and Bill of Rights provides such a construct. The current Afghan Constitution does not. I see it as a deal breaker flaw that we are ignoring in favor of doing just such efforts to try to "make people happy" instead. I am actually quite against trying to make everyone happy.Really neat attempt at a backflip there...:wry:

Actually, the US Constitution and Bill of Rights purports to provide such a construct. In practice, all are not equal under the law and you should know that better than most. Congress and most Presidents diligently ignore that Constitution. What our governmental system does is sort of work for us -- I doubt it would work well in Europe and am positive it will not work at all in the ME or South Asia -- and it provides governance that allows those liberals and Tea Partiers to mumble and ask "How bad is it?"

The answer is not that bad -- yet. The US is filled with a lot of unhappy people and more are unhappy now than they were in my youth because then, most people realized they were responsible for their own happiness. That changed as the education and political system inadvertently created two classes of people and people began to expect the government to provide for their happiness. Not going to happen but the political class is ignoring that. for now. They will not be able to do so for too much longer. Thus I'm unsure your bright shining beacon is all you continue to say it is.

Our current deeply flawed political system attempts to buy votes with 'entitlements' to keep those liberals, Tea Party animals and other aggregations happy but our current COIN efforts -- flawed and futile as they are -- do not attempt to make everyone happy, they are an attempt to buy quiescence while other things do damage and we get ready to CSMO. Disingenuous to suggest we're trying to make people happy. We do not care much if they're happy; we do care if they're complaisant. :rolleyes:

The Afghan Constitution does not contain those things because they're an Islamic state and they do not believe in unfettered democracy. You could put them in a new Constitution and nothing would change. I thought all you SF types were 'posed to be culturally attuned...

It's a shell game, Bob. Virtually all governments play it. We're better than most but we're still deeply flawed -- and our government is still trying to make everyone happy. So we can play semantic games all day but in the end, you're trying to make everyone happy no matter you couch it as "just gaining their acceptance that you deserve to be there." Happy enough they won't rebel. :wry:

Won't work -- has not worked -- in the sense that it will stop insurgencies. That attempts to do what you state will stop some insurgencies from forming is a certainty, that it will stop all is highly unlikely. There are a lot of people out there with agendas that do not concern quality of governance...

As a really wise old Colonel once told me, "Don't get trapped by target fixation, you're likely to miss something else that's important."

P.S.

You might want to stop using the American Revolution in your examples. those Colonists, from the Sons of Liberty to the Regulators did some really flaky stuff and resisted every effort by Grenville to reach a compromise. The regulators did indeed object to poor governance but that government was comprised of the local political elite. ;)

George III and Pitt even had statues in their honor erected in several Colonies after they repealed the Stamp Act. George wasn't really the problem, North and Germaine were...

Steve the Planner
06-17-2010, 01:24 AM
At the risk of challenging minor nuances of Ken's statements, I for one, appreciate the clarity of Bob's uses of actual words with definable and stated meanings---if only just as a fixed panel to shoot at.

The problem with the words, as everybody seems to drive to is that they are nothing more than conceptual constructs, seldom the real and complete definition of any actual thing or event.

My Commager-based history of the US Civil War is quite a bit more driven by the nuances of geomorphology (Fast rivers in the North with small farm holdings) vs. large flat plains and slow rivers in the south, all underscoring the urban/industrial vs. slave/plantation cultural and economic differentiation). Repudiation of debt to those scurillous London money lenders was a really big deal to the Virginia Planters in the Revolution. Nothing is just about one thing, but aggregations of common interests under a clear banner. Henry Ford loved the totalitarian aspects of Nazism, but because it ste well with an industrial hegemonist's mindset and goals.

Bob's challenge of a "civil war" in Iraq is really a good point. All these folks at the national level are really just jockeying for who gets the seat, not any big revolutionary concept. The King is dead, long live the (my) King.

It gets way complicated in Afghanistan when we start mixing up concepts of central government, which nobody but crooks ever stood for. The old "King" was consultative to regions, tribes and leaders, not federal or federalist.

In the well-described history, there is abundant reason for lots of folks to oppose lots of things (as they do) including opposing things they support as best of very bad options (Taliban vs. having my village blown up for playing with the Americans).

How did COIN transmute into Clear-Hold-Nag, as increasingly seems to be the definition evolved over the past two months. We nag our local clients to start to confront the Taliban, but with no paramount duty to arm or secure them (boom, boom). When key allied local leaders are threatened, we can't secure or protect them. Where is this going? Isn't it still a war, where some folks are in armed resistance to both us and Karzai?

Are we nagging these people to place themselves and their families at substantial risks over our silly ideas? Wasn't the last definition of COIN to "protect the population?" Doesn't that imply a duty and obligation to safeguard and protect those we nag?

slapout9
06-17-2010, 01:30 AM
How did COIN transmute into Clear-Hold-Nag,

Now that is a candidate for the SWC Quote of the Week!

Steve the Planner
06-17-2010, 01:38 AM
Slap:

Formally, it is COunter-Intuitive Nagging = COIN .04

Steve

Steve the Planner
06-17-2010, 01:42 AM
PS:

COIN .03 was Clear-Hold-Bribe which went out of favor once discovered that "Money as a Weapon" is a sword blade without safe handle. (Delicately handled or dangerous)

Dayuhan
06-17-2010, 01:50 AM
Logic dictates that smart COIN be aimed at the head of the snake, and the best way to do this is to talk, make reasonable concessions, deal strongly with the unreasonable, but to make room in government for those who are willing to participate.

But who is supposed to talk, make reasonable concessions, deal strongly, make room? Us, or the Karzai Government? If the insurgent leadership's primary beef is with the Karzai Government, isn't that who they need to talk to? And if we're doing the talking, who's governing Afghanistan?

I'm not at all sure the insurgent leadership has any interest in talking, to us or the Karzai Government. That kind of negotiation needs to be conducted from a position of strength, and neither we nor the Karzai Government are in such a position.

I'm also not convinced that "logic dictates that smart COIN be aimed at the head of the snake". In some cases it may be so, in some cases it may not be so. If the followers see that their grievances are being addressed and have some reasonable prospect of resolution, they may cease to follow, and a head without a body is no threat. I think the allegation that "as the head is in place there will always be a tail" is not necessarily true. As long as the followers are angry and disaffected they will always find new leaders, but if the populace is not angry and disaffected the would-be leaders have nothing to work with. If we address the concerns of the follower the leader can be rendered irrelevant, and in cases where the leader's desires are fundamentally incompatible with our interests - and where the leaders have no interest in negotiating with us - this may be a more practical step.

This is where the Afghan Constitution is such a problem. It excludes huge segments of society from participation simply because one man deems it so. This is a recipe for insurgency.


Doubtless true, and certainly the Afghan constitution is deeply flawed. It is by no means certain that a different document will have better results: societies shape structures more than structures shape societies. In any event the search for a structure that suits Afghanistan is something that has to be managed by Afghans.

Bob's World
06-17-2010, 02:04 AM
D. It definitely must be not only Karzai-led, but the US must stay out of the picture as far as possible. As I was reading the Kabul newpaper as I flew out on leave, it was full of articles discussing the Peace Jirga. There was some very positive articles. Karzai's efforts are the key to success, and the key for the US is to resist any and all urges to shape or control the same. If this works, then our efforts with the remainder of the insurgency have a hope of taking hold as well, allowing a drawdown to begin next year as planned.

Dayuhan
06-17-2010, 03:30 AM
D. It definitely must be not only Karzai-led, but the US must stay out of the picture as far as possible. As I was reading the Kabul newpaper as I flew out on leave, it was full of articles discussing the Peace Jirga. There was some very positive articles. Karzai's efforts are the key to success, and the key for the US is to resist any and all urges to shape or control the same. If this works, then our efforts with the remainder of the insurgency have a hope of taking hold as well, allowing a drawdown to begin next year as planned.

Do you think the Taliban have any interest in any outcome short of their return to power? Certainly they have an incentive to put on a show of negotiation if that produces a US drawdown... but would that be a serious effort to reach an accommodation or a strategic move aimed at eventually muscling Karzai out of the picture? What chance does the Karzai regime have of surviving without a continued US presence?

Bob's World
06-17-2010, 04:19 AM
Personally, I think the Taliban see greater opportunity in working with Karzai than in working with Pakistan. Time will tell.

By taking the Karzai deal they have a chance to work toward a solution that is a just them (who knows, the world has changed, they will need to reform as well to a stance more acceptable for their populace as a whole, after all, we are in the mix now and enaged in this); where as to continue the fight is to always be beholding to Pakistan.

So yeah, I think they might take the deal.

Dayuhan
06-17-2010, 04:40 AM
who knows, the world has changed, they will need to reform as well to a stance more acceptable for their populace as a whole, after all, we are in the mix now and enaged in this

I'm not sure that our presence in the mix is much of an incentive for the Taliban to reform, especially if they see us backing out of the mix.

Time will indeed tell. Not that any of us can predict what the Taliban or any portion thereof might do, but I suspect that the Taliban might take the deal and then change the deal down the line, or just not take the deal. If they believe that they hold the upper hand, why should they deal?

Entropy
06-17-2010, 05:10 AM
Col. Jones, I have two main problems with your thesis:

To begin - a question: How do you reconcile the irreconcilable? How do you address, through governance, populations with mutually exclusive and irreconcilable desires? This is an issue I've brought up several times that you haven't yet addressed.

The Balkans is a case that illustrates the this point well. I would submit that keeping Yugoslavia together without oppressive force was not possible. Only the gun worked and you're right in the sense that the gun will usually only work for a relatively short period of time. I submit that there was no "good governance" that could have accommodated everyone and kept Yugoslavia whole. Tito opening a dialog with his people to improve governance would only have hastened collapse. Yugoslavia isn't an isolated case - there are certainly other "nations" that are only kept whole through the threat of force. That is a problem that I don't believe "good governance" can solve unless good governance includes dissolving governance altogether and restructuring political boundaries.

Your call for oppressive governments to hold talks on grievances with the populace might work in some cases, but would fail in states where internal irreconcilable differences exist.

Secondly, the most important aspect of governance is the ability to actually govern. The ability to govern requires the power to implement and enforce governance, whatever it is, and prevent competitors from implementing theirs. Without that power there can be no governance, much less "good" governance. "OK" governance backed by credible power to actually govern is going to beat "good" governance backed by weak power.

While I agree there is a lot of bad governance out of Kabul (strongly abetted by the constitution), the government, more fundamentally, lacks the capability to govern at all. The Kabul government couldn't become an oppressive regime even if it wanted to. It's complete dependency on the the US and other foreign powers is only the most glaring sign of its weakness. Weakness = bad governance, even when a government is trying to do good.

More on a deal with the Taliban tomorrow....

Bob's World
06-17-2010, 12:38 PM
Col. Jones, I have two main problems with your thesis:

To begin - a question: How do you reconcile the irreconcilable? How do you address, through governance, populations with mutually exclusive and irreconcilable desires? This is an issue I've brought up several times that you haven't yet addressed.

The Balkans is a case that illustrates the this point well. I would submit that keeping Yugoslavia together without oppressive force was not possible. Only the gun worked and you're right in the sense that the gun will usually only work for a relatively short period of time. I submit that there was no "good governance" that could have accommodated everyone and kept Yugoslavia whole. Tito opening a dialog with his people to improve governance would only have hastened collapse. Yugoslavia isn't an isolated case - there are certainly other "nations" that are only kept whole through the threat of force. That is a problem that I don't believe "good governance" can solve unless good governance includes dissolving governance altogether and restructuring political boundaries.

Your call for oppressive governments to hold talks on grievances with the populace might work in some cases, but would fail in states where internal irreconcilable differences exist.

Secondly, the most important aspect of governance is the ability to actually govern. The ability to govern requires the power to implement and enforce governance, whatever it is, and prevent competitors from implementing theirs. Without that power there can be no governance, much less "good" governance. "OK" governance backed by credible power to actually govern is going to beat "good" governance backed by weak power.

While I agree there is a lot of bad governance out of Kabul (strongly abetted by the constitution), the government, more fundamentally, lacks the capability to govern at all. The Kabul government couldn't become an oppressive regime even if it wanted to. It's complete dependency on the the US and other foreign powers is only the most glaring sign of its weakness. Weakness = bad governance, even when a government is trying to do good.

More on a deal with the Taliban tomorrow....

Bottom line is that one can't make sustaining any particular status quo a non-negotiable going in position.

The Balkans naturally broke into to sustainable parts based on the critical criteria of religion that shaped the "teams" when the violence there first erupted. Perhaps someday those states may come back together for reasons of security or economics as issues evolve and change. To have attempted to force a unified solution may have been impossible 10 years ago.

Forcing a unified solution in Iraq probably complicated things there, and is probably complicating things in Afghanistan as well. We get too wrapped around the axle on how we define a sovereign, functioning state and try to create conditions that meet a model that in truth, (controlled borders) we can't even meet ourselves.

Even in the US we had to begin with articles of Confederation for creation, and then evolve to a Constitution for growth and survival, and even that was severely tested in Civil War. It was all self-imposed, so we worked through it. Imagine if France would have forced a model on us as the price for their assistance against England? Anything forced by an stronger outside power would have lacked legitimacy and also damaged the legitimacy of our own leaders and we probably would not have made it.

So I would be cautious as to how we define "irreconcilable"; as we may just mean someone who refuses to share our vision for their country.

As to capacity for governance, that will come with time. Good Governance is not about effective governance. Like parenting, a young couple that starts off with Good Parenting will make mistakes, learn, and grow into effective parenting. We are too quick to over-value effectiveness of governance. Plenty of populaces around the world do very well and are very satisfied with ineffective governance. Our own model designed by the COIN-master Madison is designed to be ineffective on purpose to facilitate "Goodness."

Entropy
06-17-2010, 06:05 PM
So I would be cautious as to how we define "irreconcilable"; as we may just mean someone who refuses to share our vision for their country.

I am not limiting things to us vs them or the government vs the governed or even competing visions. In fact, I'm specifically talking about irreconcilable differences between populations themselves. Yugoslavia, again, is a useful example. It wasn't, in my view, a governance problem, but one in which various populations were so at odds with each other that they were willing to resort to murder and ethnically cleansing. They weren't merely revolting against an established government.

Now it's likely the instruments of government may be dominated or controlled by one of those factions, but one shouldn't, in my view, perceive that as a governance problem since the root cause is the conflict between the populations.

Which brings me to:

OK, not sure if that is helpful. Frankly I have admit that I am typically a bit baffled when pundits have thrown on the table with no real explanation as to what they mean that the conflict is Iraq/Afghanistan "is no longer an insurgency, its a civil war."

Ok, I'll bite. WTF? What do you base this assessment on (asking no one in particular), and how does the making of this assessment help you resolve the problem? I mean, if you can clearly define that situation A. is an insurgency, and therefore is cured with process A.; and that situation B. is a civil war, and is therefore cured with process B.; fine. That is helpful.

To begin, I've never said that Afghanistan "is no longer" an insurgency. My position is that it's been in a civil war all along. The conflict in Afghanistan before the US invasion wasn't between an established government and "insurgents." There was no established government and so the conflict was a clearly a civil war. We may like to believe our invasion settled that conflict, but I don't think that's the case. Someone has to explain to me how a foreign power's intervention and taking sides in a civil war magically transforms the conflict into an insurgency. Similarly, our intervention supporting the separatists in Kosovo did not settle the conflict and we should expect violence to return there at some point in the future.

So, our Afghan invasion did not deal with the underlying causes of the civil war. We established what we believe to be a legitimate government and then labeled any opposition to that government "insurgents" and defined the conflict as "insurgency." Our strategy flows from that mindset - that this is, first and foremost, an insurgency and therefore counterinsurgency is the proper remedy. That we hold this view does not make it reality and blinds us from other strategies that might better serve our interests.

For an illustration, look at our experience in the Korengal and Nuristan. These are areas and peoples that have never been under any kind of significant central control. Yet because they didn't recognize the authority of our client in Kabul, we called them "insurgents" and sent men with guns to convince them that they should cede their sovereignty to our client. We were shocked and dismayed when they continually and violently rejected our proposals which confirmed our mindset that they were insurgents and therefore were an enemy who must be forced or enticed into compliance and loyalty to Kabul's authority. Take off the "insurgency" blinders, examine some history, and the alternative explanation becomes clear - these people are independent, self-governing entities that violently oppose any attempts by outsiders to control or diminish that independence.

As I was reading the Kabul newpaper as I flew out on leave, it was full of articles discussing the Peace Jirga. There was some very positive articles. Karzai's efforts are the key to success, and the key for the US is to resist any and all urges to shape or control the same. If this works, then our efforts with the remainder of the insurgency have a hope of taking hold as well, allowing a drawdown to begin next year as planned.

I'm surprised to hear you say this. A newspaper in Kabul represents a very narrow slice of Afghanistan. Do not place too much importance on what Afghan's elites believe. Don't assume what they say is really what they believe either. I'm also not sure how we can resist urges to shape and control when the purpose of all the extra forces we've put into theater is ostensibly to shape and control events.

Bob's World
06-17-2010, 06:36 PM
"There was no established government and so the conflict was a clearly a civil war. "

I'm not sure how accurate your assessment is, or how universal this definition of Civil War vice Insurgency is.

What makes a government "established"? A vote? Foreign recognition?

Afghanistan is unique in that there always tends to be about half of society excluded from full participation in governance and opportunity at any given time; thus making this what I assess as the easiest country in the world to conduct UW in. There is alway a ready, orgainized team in the wings waiting for ANYONE to come along and help them turn the tables one more time.

The dynamics at work though, are those of insurgency rather than warfare, so I find the insurgency construct to be far more helpful than adopting a civil war construct. If the Northern alliance vs the Taliban was Civil War (and a miltary victory forced the change, so there is some merit to that assessment) it quickly morphed into an insurgency led by the Taliban vs the Karzai government that continues today.

Its complicated. That's why Karzai's reconciliation efforts are so key, in that he has to bring the excluded half in from the cold to turn the corner on stability.

Pete
06-17-2010, 06:48 PM
Far be it from me to cast doubt on the genius and statesmanship of James Madison, but the U.S. Bill of Rights owes its inspiration to an earlier document, the English Bill of Rights of 1689. By enumerating the rights of Englishmen it paved the way for William of Orange's ascent to the English throne. Indeed, like the American Bill of Rights it forbids excessive bails and cruel and unusual punishment. A different light is cast on the meaning of the Second Amendment when compared to the equivalent clause in the English Bill of Rights: "That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law ... " The text of the English Bill of Rights can be read by clicking here (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/england.asp).

Entropy
06-17-2010, 10:41 PM
If factions fighting for control of a country after the collapse of the previous government is not a civil war, then I don't know what is.

Additionally, the Taliban predates the insurgency. The Taliban didn't rise up against Karzai's government because of injustice or because Pashtuns and their affiliates are being repressed or because the interests of their people could not be represented in goverment. Their agenda (and that of HiG and Haqqani) isn't explicitly tied to poor governance - they have other goals.

Sure Afghanistan is complicated, and I don't mean to imply there's no insurgency at all there, but if you limit yourself to an insurgency mindset, then you're missing a lot of the picture. For example:

Afghanistan is unique in that there always tends to be about half of society excluded from full participation in governance and opportunity at any given time; thus making this what I assess as the easiest country in the world to conduct UW in. There is alway a ready, orgainized team in the wings waiting for ANYONE to come along and help them turn the tables one more time.

Half the population excluded from governance? Most Afghans have always had governance at the local level. Exclusion from national-level governance is just as likely to be by choice as not and that's also an effect of Afghanistan's factionalism, internal division and lack of national consensus. Consider again the example of the Korengalis, Nuristanis and many others. They have governance. The don't need or want anything from Kabul or anyone else unless it's on their terms and in their interest. Others want something from a central government, but only under conditions anathema to someone else. In short, in a complex, multicultural society with a history of violence, asking for centralized governance is probably asking for too much.

The insurgency mindset pushes us to see things in terms of national-level governance, hence we get the "government in a box" for Marjeh, the long and failed efforts in Kunar and Nuristan to sell governance to those didn't want it, and what looks to be a similar strategy for the upcoming operation in Kandahar. Always the assumption is that solutions and governance must be provided and Kabul/Karzai must be seen to be the providers. I understand your theory is much more nuanced, but the effect of an insurgency mindset on actual Afghanistan strategy is clear.

Finally, it's good to see that some people are beginning to question long-held assumptions (see here (http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2010/06/afghanistan-graveyard-assumptions.html)and here (http://csis.org/publication/realism-afghanistan-rethinking-uncertain-case-war)with h/t to Bernard Finel (http://www.bernardfinel.com/?p=1331)).

Dayuhan
06-17-2010, 11:58 PM
What makes a government "established"? A vote? Foreign recognition?

That's the key question, isn't it?

We've recently shown a tendency to assume that any government we install is "the government" and anyone opposing it is "an insurgent". Those definitions are debatable.

In Iraq we faced an armed competition to fill the vacuum left by the removal of Saddam. To us that was insurgency, because we had already proclaimed one of the competing factions as "the government". To those who had never acknowledged that faction as the government, this wouldn't have made much sense.

A definition of what makes a government a government will likely be complex, but for starters I'd say it needs to be acknowledged as a government by its populace, and it has to govern. The situation in Somalia, for example, can't be reasonably called an insurgency because there is no government.

In Afghanistan, I'm not convinced that the paradigm we hold up - Taliban vs GIROA, US "doing FID" in support of GIROA's COIN - accurately reflects either popular perception or the reality on the ground. Possibly I'm wrong; I hope so.

Bob's World
06-18-2010, 01:18 AM
Far be it from me to cast doubt on the genius and statesmanship of James Madison, but the U.S. Bill of Rights owes its inspiration to an earlier document, the English Bill of Rights of 1689. By enumerating the rights of Englishmen it paved the way for William of Orange's ascent to the English throne. Indeed, like the American Bill of Rights it forbids excessive bails and cruel and unusual punishment. A different light is cast on the meaning of the Second Amendment when compared to the equivalent clause in the English Bill of Rights: "That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law ... " The text of the English Bill of Rights can be read by clicking here (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/england.asp).

The problem England fell into was that they saw colonials as being less than true Englishmen. This fed poor perceptions of Legitimacy, Respect, Justice and Hope.

Much of what America's founders pulled together was drawn from those who had gone before. Few good ideas are truely new.

Bob's World
06-18-2010, 01:22 AM
That's the key question, isn't it?

We've recently shown a tendency to assume that any government we install is "the government" and anyone opposing it is "an insurgent". Those definitions are debatable.

In Iraq we faced an armed competition to fill the vacuum left by the removal of Saddam. To us that was insurgency, because we had already proclaimed one of the competing factions as "the government". To those who had never acknowledged that faction as the government, this wouldn't have made much sense.

A definition of what makes a government a government will likely be complex, but for starters I'd say it needs to be acknowledged as a government by its populace, and it has to govern. The situation in Somalia, for example, can't be reasonably called an insurgency because there is no government.

In Afghanistan, I'm not convinced that the paradigm we hold up - Taliban vs GIROA, US "doing FID" in support of GIROA's COIN - accurately reflects either popular perception or the reality on the ground. Possibly I'm wrong; I hope so.

The governance delivered to Marjah was a disaster on many levels. From the constitutional requirement that it be selected in Kabul by Karzai, to the fact that it was delivered in USMC helos, guarded by USMC troops.

Dayuhan
06-18-2010, 02:45 AM
The governance delivered to Marjah was a disaster on many levels. From the constitutional requirement that it be selected in Kabul by Karzai, to the fact that it was delivered in USMC helos, guarded by USMC troops.

A unique case, or just the most obvious of many?

Steve the Planner
06-18-2010, 04:57 AM
Far be it for me to contest genuine home rule, but my opinion was and remains that the only viable means for substantial and rapid transformation consistent with the stated US mission objectives and timetable (a very strange predicate for any authentic democracy) was to establish a PROVISIONAL government in places like Marjah.

Occupy, hold, make safe, manage----then, after all the refugees return due to security, set about transfer of authority to local governance. A provisional government is not a provincial government but an interim authority.

Sure there would be flack and some resistance, but not as much as a precarious "assistance" approach, and the real jockeying could turn to the transition, and less so to the effective, but probably not wise or efficient, interim provisional government. Risky, but less so than all other options.

There just was, and is not, any other approach to rapid transformation at the local level consistent with US mission, objective that has any possibility of success (as defined).

Great theories of democracy aside, the more traditional Roman occupation and transition to local participation under empirical control is more appropriate to mission. The rest is just pipedreaming.

Bob's World
06-18-2010, 01:42 PM
Far be it for me to contest genuine home rule, but my opinion was and remains that the only viable means for substantial and rapid transformation consistent with the stated US mission objectives and timetable (a very strange predicate for any authentic democracy) was to establish a PROVISIONAL government in places like Marjah.

Occupy, hold, make safe, manage----then, after all the refugees return due to security, set about transfer of authority to local governance. A provisional government is not a provincial government but an interim authority.

Sure there would be flack and some resistance, but not as much as a precarious "assistance" approach, and the real jockeying could turn to the transition, and less so to the effective, but probably not wise or efficient, interim provisional government. Risky, but less so than all other options.

There just was, and is not, any other approach to rapid transformation at the local level consistent with US mission, objective that has any possibility of success (as defined).

Great theories of democracy aside, the more traditional Roman occupation and transition to local participation under empirical control is more appropriate to mission. The rest is just pipedreaming.

This is the problem with seeing our own operations as "COIN" when we intervene in the insurgency of another: Its just way too easy to say when the going gets tough- "Get out of my way, let me do it."

If one believes COIN is all about defeating the insurgent (of today) and providing an effective, though wholly illegitimate, government to the populace, then drive on. My contention is that such methods are far less durable today than in the past due to the tools of the information age; and that even in the past they produced only temporal effects as they never address the root causes of insurgency.

Better a slow, sloppy, ineffective Afghan solution than a quick, efficient, effective American one. Period. Unless we intend to colonize Afghanistan and raise the US flag, that is. I hope that is not our intent.

MikeF
06-18-2010, 02:05 PM
This is the problem with seeing our own operations as "COIN" when we intervene in the insurgency of another: Its just way too easy to say when the going gets tough- "Get out of my way, let me do it."

Better a slow, sloppy, ineffective Afghan solution than a quick, efficient, effective American one. Period. Unless we intend to colonize Afghanistan and raise the US flag, that is. I hope that is not our intent.

While you are absolutely correct on this thinking, I believe that over the next year in A'stan we're going to see a lot of "get out of the way and let me do it" do the the increased pressure for results. Hopefully, as the dust is settled, we'll turn it back over to SF.

Bob's World
06-18-2010, 02:32 PM
While you are absolutely correct on this thinking, I believe that over the next year in A'stan we're going to see a lot of "get out of the way and let me do it" do the the increased pressure for results. Hopefully, as the dust is settled, we'll turn it back over to SF.

There are two aspects to the insurgency in Afghanistan: I'll call them "The Top" and "The Base".

Military tactics of Pop-Centric COIN go after the base. You cannot win, IMO, by focusing on the base. The Base is largely a resistance movement, so the more we surge, the more we fuel the base. The base is the target of reintegration; but reintegration cannot happen in an enduring fashion until reconciliation has occurred. The base fights because:
A. We are in their homeland
B. They are Pashtun
C. They earn an honorable wage to fight us
D. The leadership that makes up "The Top" encourages and funds such action.


The Top is largely a revolutionary Insurgency. This is the senior leadership, such as makes up the Qetta Shura. They are driven primarily by the causal factors I have included in the Jones Insurgency Model. They reject the claims of Legitimacy of the Karzai Government; They are excluded from participation in governance or economic opportunity; and they have no trusted, legal means available to them to effect such change. The are also strongly encouraged and enabled, perhaps even directed, by the Government of Pakistan; or at least key elements of The Top are.

The Top is where victory lies. This is the target of Reconciliation. It can be addressed not through Pop-Centric tactics aimed at the insurgent, but through thoughtful, Madison-like reform of the Afghan government. Overt outside support for the Karzai Government fuels The Top; which in turn keeps the base alive.

To resolve the Top cannot be done through man-hunting alone (though certainly there is a place for such activities). It requires addressing the failures of governance that drive them. Actions that could mitigate the Top:

A. True reconciliation Jirgas that are open to all and offer real and reasonable opportunity to include those who are currently excluded from governance and opportunity a chance to come in from the cold.

B. Cutting the strings from Karzai to the West; allowing him to either stand on his own and prove he is not a puppet, or collapse under his own weight as puppet would do. Then for the West to be willing to recognize and work with whatever might come of this.

C. Schedule and announce a constitutional convention to take place following the reconciliation Jirga; specifically so that the new team can address the flaws and make the changes that will most likely help prevent the failures of the current model.

The reason we go after the base rather than the top is that going after the base allows all blame to be placed on the challenger; while going after the top requires an assumption of responsibility on the part of government for Afghanistan; and the risk of an uncontrolled outcome for the West.

I have no problem with Pop-Centric tactics. Just make them a supporting effort, understand their role, and develop a companion main effort to address the Top. Its not only more likely to work, it is way less expensive, its quicker, and it will save thousands of lives on all sides.

Dayuhan
06-19-2010, 02:29 AM
This is the problem with seeing our own operations as "COIN" when we intervene in the insurgency of another

I know I do the broken record thing on this point, but it's important: we didn't intervene in the insurgency of another. We intervened to remove and replace a government we didn't like, and in the process created both a government and an insurgency. We did this in pursuit of our own perceived national interest - presumably a vital interest, I'd hate to think of us going to war for less - not to improve Afghan governance.

It's dishonest of us to treat this purely as someone else's problem. The situation as it stands is our creation and to some degree we own it. We also have interests at stake.


B. Cutting the strings from Karzai to the West; allowing him to either stand on his own and prove he is not a puppet, or collapse under his own weight as puppet would do. Then for the West to be willing to recognize and work with whatever might come of this.


Again, I'm not sure how we can cut the strings and dump Karzai without surrendering the interests that brought us into Afghanistan in the first place. Realistically, also, we may be willing to work with whatever might come out of this, but there's no assurance at all that what comes out of this (likely a Taliban-controlled government) will be willing to work with us.

If we withdraw and leave Karzai to be toppled by the Taliban, the perception worldwide will be that the Taliban drove us out and we were defeated. We may not see that perception as accurate, but the perception will still be there, along with all the potential side effects that go with it. This is the core of the tar baby dilemma - leave and lose quickly, stay and be drained. This is also the reason I personally did not want us to stay on and try to create a government: it's a task neither we nor anyone else can accomplish (truly legitimate, effective government for Afghanistan will be a generational enterprise), and once committed to that task it's difficult to drop it and even more difficult to hold onto it.

Ken White
06-19-2010, 03:35 AM
We intervened to remove and replace a government we didn't like, and in the process created both a government and an insurgency...The situation as it stands is our creation and to some degree we own it. We also have interests at stake...but there's no assurance at all that what comes out of this (likely a Taliban-controlled government) will be willing to work with us... We may not see that perception as accurate, but the perception will still be there, along with all the potential side effects that go with it.He and Jeremy have paid little attention. You said it far better than I have; hopefully they'll listen to you... :wry:

kdog101
06-19-2010, 05:39 AM
I know I do the broken record thing on this point, but it's important: we didn't intervene in the insurgency of another. We intervened to remove and replace a government we didn't like, and in the process created both a government and an insurgency.

Didn't we intervene in the insurgency of the Northern Alliance and other tribes against the Taliban?

What is wrong with the approach where we support Karazi; support other groups opposed to Taliban, but leave it up to them. Let them do what needs to be done to rid the Taliban. Let them form governments if they decide to do so. Does anyone realistically think the Taliban could come back to full power?

By supporting more than just Karazi we open up our options for allies to work with in the region. We allow balance of power. We give our Afghan allies the freedom to shape their future.

Good governance is protecting the free will of the individual. I believe James Madison understood this better than most.

Rex Brynen
06-19-2010, 06:17 AM
What is wrong with the approach where we support Karazi; support other groups opposed to Taliban, but leave it up to them. Let them do what needs to be done to rid the Taliban. Let them form governments if they decide to do so. Does anyone realistically think the Taliban could come back to full power?

By supporting more than just Karazi we open up our options for allies to work with in the region. We allow balance of power. We give our Afghan allies the freedom to shape their future.

I think this is where we might be headed. However, we should be clear on what the costs of an anyone-but-the-Taliban policy of arming local proxies could be: protracted, bitter Afghan civil war with no winner that could once again kill many, many thousands and displace millions.

Bob's World
06-19-2010, 12:33 PM
He and Jeremy have paid little attention. You said it far better than I have; hopefully they'll listen to you... :wry:

The mission, today, is an intervention in the insurgency of another. If you want to debate what the mission was 5 year ago, or 8 years ago, fine; but I am arguing what the mission should be 5 days from now. How do we move forward.

We came in conducting UW, we hung around conducting CT; and now we are trying to figure out how to get out conducting COIN. My point being that we will be more effective in what we are doing when we see it as FID.

As to arguments based in "we can't look like the Taliban won", etc. Pure chest beating silliness. It isn't our war. I say again, it isn't our war. It is up to Karzai to either prevail or lose, and arrogance for us to see it otherwise.

Reason we came was primarily two-fold: Get revenge against the 9/11 attackers and to make the US safer. Most Americans would argue that the block is largely checked in terms of gaining revenge, at least from large-scale military operations. Time to take the revenge mission into a relentless pursuit in the shadows. As to making America safer, I contend that interventions that prop up illegitimate leaders put us more at risk, not the other way around. This is where we need to change our thinking.

We lost in Vietnam because we propped up 3 successive illegitimate governments and never understood the nature of the conflict; what was essential, and what was superficial. We are making very similar mistakes in Afghanistan. Ike predicted that if the 1956 election was held that Ho would have won 80% of the popular vote in Vietnam; so instead, to avoid a "loss" to the forces of Communism we threw our lot in with this series of illegitimate leaders. Did we learn nothing? No, but we didn't learn the really important lessons.

William F. Owen
06-19-2010, 01:51 PM
We lost in Vietnam because we propped up 3 successive illegitimate governments and never understood the nature of the conflict; what was essential, and what was superficial. We are making very similar mistakes in Afghanistan. Ike predicted that if the 1956 election was held that Ho would have won 80% of the popular vote in Vietnam; so instead, to avoid a "loss" to the forces of Communism we threw our lot in with this series of illegitimate leaders. Did we learn nothing? No, but we didn't learn the really important lessons.
Bob. Run for office. Become elected. These are all policy issues. Nothing to with the setting forth of policy.

Bob's World
06-19-2010, 02:52 PM
Bob. Run for office. Become elected. These are all policy issues. Nothing to with the setting forth of policy.

We can debate which hammer to use, how to use the hammer best, etc. But at the end of the day the challenges we face in places like Afghanistan are not about hammer (military) selection or application.

They are about problems with the engineers and the architects. The Policy makers, politicians and diplomats.

Now, quite often the place the problems are actually identified and solutions derived are at the level where the guys are swinging hammers. Should those men remain mute simply because their job is wield hammers? I don't think so. Not in America, anyway.

Our country was built on the principle of the rights and duties of any man to step forward with a better idea, or more energy, or a clearer vision and to lead based on those facts alone, and not be constrained by birth or position.

You can't understand what is going on in the world today if you don't understand the nature of insurgency. Most of today's "COINdinistas" skipped the study of insurgency and went straight to gathering, studying and applying techniques of COIN, so they are lacking in understanding. When one gets to the politician/policy level there is even less understanding of insurgency (additionally blinded by the fact that since failures of politicians and policy types are the CAUSE of insurgency, they have a tremendous conflict of self-interest that blinds them even more).

I'm not running for office, but I am well within my rights and duty, as a student of insurgency and a practitioner of COIN/FID, to point out my professional opinion regarding how to redraw, re-engineer the plan so as to allow the hammer swingers to succeed.

It also is within the US system of mission orders and commander's intent. We know what the desired end state is; we have a duty to report back following mission analysis with our professional assessment as to HOW to best achieve those effects. That does not preclude coming back and reporting that no amount of military engagement can make the current policy approach work, particularly if you come back with suggested changes to policy that would enable such actions.

We don't celebrate Pickett's Charge in America the same way the Charge of the Light Brigade is celebrated in Europe. We respect the valor of those men, but we curse the vain, tragic stupidity of the order that sent them up that slope. So, like a Longstreet, I have a duty to point out what I see as more viable options; and similarly a duty to salute and move out if those suggestions are overruled by a higher authority.

To remain silent is the worst kind of insubordination and moral cowardice.

William F. Owen
06-19-2010, 03:58 PM
Our country was built on the principle of the rights and duties of any man to step forward with a better idea, or more energy, or a clearer vision and to lead based on those facts alone, and not be constrained by birth or position.
In mine too.
You can't understand what is going on in the world today if you don't understand the nature of insurgency. Most of today's "COINdinistas" skipped the study of insurgency and went straight to gathering, studying and applying techniques of COIN, so they are lacking in understanding.
An "insurgency" (silly word) is an armed revolt against a government. What's complicated about that?
I'm not running for office, but I am well within my rights and duty, as a student of insurgency and a practitioner of COIN/FID, to point out my professional opinion regarding how to redraw, re-engineer the plan so as to allow the hammer swingers to succeed.
Bob, you have the right to disagree with the policy. You have a duty to express that disagreement, but at the end of the day the job of the military to make it happen.
For me, that means dealing the problems as they exist, not asking an easier question.
We don't celebrate Pickett's Charge in America the same way the Charge of the Light Brigade is celebrated in Europe.
OK, off topic but.....
The action by the Light Brigade was the product of poorly conveyed orders. Nothing more. Detailed study of the event does show why it should be celebrated. It was never intended for the Brigade to ride against the Russian Guns. - the opposite was intended. To prevent the Russians carrying off the British Guns from the redoubts that had been overrun earlier.
I submit that is entirely different from the gross stupidity that lead to Pickett's Charge, and the stunning failure of Pickett's commander to over rule him!

Entropy
06-19-2010, 04:27 PM
The mission, today, is an intervention in the insurgency of another. If you want to debate what the mission was 5 year ago, or 8 years ago, fine; but I am arguing what the mission should be 5 days from now. How do we move forward.

We came in conducting UW, we hung around conducting CT; and now we are trying to figure out how to get out conducting COIN. My point being that we will be more effective in what we are doing when we see it as FID.

And that's something I have to keep questioning. Certainly FID has it's place and looking at things solely from OUR perspective you're right, which is why we're doing COIN now. Our perspective, however, isn't shared by relevant portions of the population.

I think Andrew Exum went off the rails for a couple of years there, but he's starting to get it and this comment is particularly appropriate (http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2010/06/afghanistan-graveyard-assumptions.html):

"Afghanistan is a binary conflict between the government and the insurgents".* Certainly False. Take a close look at Helmand Province or read the chapter written by Tom Coughlin in this book. On the one hand, you have a binary conflict between insurgents and the government. On the other hand, you have inter-tribal rivalries layered on top of that conflict. And on someone else’s hand, you have the drug trade layered onto both. Try to imagine a battalion commander who speaks only English figuring all that out by June 2011. And if most counterinsurgency strategies are about extending the reach of the government, should we still do that if the government is known to be corrupt and predatory?

That's not an complete list of reasons for conflict in Afghanistan. If we insist on viewing actions through a COIN/FID lens then we are bound to repeat mistakes we've been making for eight years, like misinterpreting an inter-tribal conflict for an insurgent action. You keep saying this isn't our war, but it seems to me you keep defining it in our terms which limits our ability to see and pursue other options. We simply can't limit ourselves to an exclusive COIN/FID construct - Afghanistan is too complex for that.

Entropy
06-19-2010, 04:34 PM
Also, no one should be too worried about the Taliban taking over the country. They failed at that during the 1990's even with extensive Pakistani assistance and little opposition. Their rapid rout after the US invasion and their continued unpopularity demonstrates just how tenuous their hold on power was. There are a lot of nations that won't let a Taliban takeover happen again.

Ken White
06-19-2010, 05:57 PM
The mission, today, is an intervention in the insurgency of another. If you want to debate what the mission was 5 year ago, or 8 years ago, fine; but I am arguing what the mission should be 5 days from now. How do we move forward.No wish to debate either. I've contended that Afghanistan is on short final for a couple of years. It is. Nothing you or I write is going to change anything. The issue is what the future holds and your good ideas are going to get lost in a cloud of excessive idealism and unreality.My point being that we will be more effective in what we are doing when we see it as FID.I agree. So?As to arguments based in "we can't look like the Taliban won", etc. Pure chest beating silliness. It isn't our war. I say again, it isn't our war. It is up to Karzai to either prevail or lose, and arrogance for us to see it otherwise.That's where you're wrong. On two counts. First and foremost, this is primarily an information and ideological struggle, it is not not a war in the traditional sense; it isn't even traditional FID, not by a long shot. What is silliness to your western eyes is seen quite differently by a half a billion Muslims worldwide -- and by a larger number of non-Muslims who do not wish us well and routinely seize on any excuse the beat up on the 600 pound Gorilla. You ignore their opinion at some peril. You are volunteering to cede points to the opponent and his fans. I believe that to be a step or two beyond very unwise.

Secondly, Karzai is a creation of the US. You cannot -- certainly should not if you're at all ethical -- create a situation and then say you're tired of it. We created the problem and we have not yet solved it. That is the point that I've been trying to make to you for a couple of years and which Dayuhan stated well. To say the mission changed is incorrect. We are changing the mission to suit US domestic politics and while the policy makers have every legal right to do that, it is not smart and it does not change the fact that there would be no 'insurgency' or FID with our involvement had we not interfered in the first place. While I agree that such interference on our part is unwise and should cease in the future, that doesn't change the other fact -- we are there.

What you used to advocate, an abrupt departure from Afghanistan on the basis the intervention there was inimical to our strategic interests is what's likely to happen regardless and the results will almost certainly be another blow to US credibility to rank with that earlier war you cited....I contend that interventions that prop up illegitimate leaders put us more at risk, not the other way around. This is where we need to change our thinking.I totally agree. However, that laudable future goal doesn't solve the problems of 5 days from now.We lost in Vietnam... Did we learn nothing? No, but we didn't learn the really important lessons.True. One important lesson is that the lack of continuity in the US political process leads to strategic shortsightedness and that excessive emphasis on US domestic politics often clouds the judgment of senior policymakers, military and civilian. A second lesson is that if the policy makers start something they should not have, failure to adequately perform by the Armed Forces can severely complicate the issue. A third lesson is that in event of the second possibility, if as is likely the policy makers continue to show clouded judgment, everything will become even more complex and the potential for failure increases to a probability.

An old lesson to be learned anew is that all those potential problems are the norm.

Until those lessons are embedded or the Armed forces develop workarounds for the first and last and fix the second to the extent they are able, you're the one whistling past the old bone orchard. :wry:

Ken White
06-19-2010, 06:08 PM
Our perspective, however, isn't shared by relevant portions of the population...We simply can't limit ourselves to an exclusive COIN/FID construct - Afghanistan is too complex for that.We don' need no steenkin' complexity. We can Simplicate! :D

With apologies to Bob's World but that was too good to pass. Seriously, you're absolutely correct on both counts. It is interesting that the population centric folks in all their guises are often those most prone to not consider the fact that humans are infinitely variable and that 'rules' just will be broken by many of the pesky critters. :wry:

And that excessively forceful quests for simplicity can lead to the dismissal of important nuances...

Backwards Observer
06-19-2010, 06:43 PM
"...Do you have any idea why you got infantry instead of finance...even though you have a degree in accounting?"
"I requested infantry, sir."
The colonel waited for more of an explanation but, when he saw none coming, went on. "I had a feeling you did...As I was saying, you're going to see a lot of things done here you won't like. You're also going to see men get killed following orders you question. It's important, in fact it's your job, to see that there's as little of this as possible. You notice I say possible, because in most cases you won't be able to do a damn thing about it. This war's been going on a long time. There's about as much chance of you changing the way it's fought as there is of you winning it single-handed. Your job is to make decisions within the boundaries set by your superiors , and no more. Otherwise you'll be risking your own neck and maybe the lives of your men. This war is just like any other - things are done in certain ways, not because they're the best, but because they're judged best by those that make the decisions. Don't try and change things that can't be changed. You'll only end up doing more harm than good. Any questions so far?"

From Sand In The Wind by Robert Roth (1973)

Go figure.

Umar Al-Mokhtār
06-19-2010, 06:47 PM
We don't celebrate Pickett's Charge in America the same way the Charge of the Light Brigade is celebrated in Europe. We respect the valor of those men, but we curse the vain, tragic stupidity of the order that sent them up that slope.

but does "Europe" celebrate the Charge of the Light Brigade? A charge by British light cavalry against Russian troops and batteries during a small bit of an obscure war on a peninsula in the Black Sea? Isn't "The Charge" really only famous outside Britain due to its relation to literature?

We respect the valor of those men, but we curse the vain, tragic stupidity of the order that sent them up that slope.

Tennyson's poem respects the valor of the British, but also in its turn curses the vain, tragic stupidity of the order that sent them up that valley futilely "charging an army, while all the world wonder'd."

"Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die"

Dayuhan
06-20-2010, 01:54 AM
The mission, today, is an intervention in the insurgency of another.

If we see the Karzai government as a functionally independent entity that is not a product of our presence and is not entirely sustained by our presence, that's true. I'm not sure that's the prevailing perception in Afghanistan, and I'm not sure it's an accurate perception. Forget about what we want to see, what's the reality: is the Karzai government "theirs" or is it "ours"?

My point being that we will be more effective in what we are doing when we see it as FID.

If the Karzai government is basically capable of governing but just needs a bit of help, if the ANA is basically capable of confronting the insurgency and just needs a bit of help, if the ANP is basically capable of maintaining order but just needs a bit of help... then absolutely our role is purely FID. If we're in a place where it's either done by us or not done at all, then our role is something else altogether. Do any of those conditions actually prevail?

It is up to Karzai to either prevail or lose, and arrogance for us to see it otherwise.

If Karzai's loss is accompanied by a return to the status quo ante that led us to intervene in the first place, Karzai's not the only one who loses.

As to making America safer, I contend that interventions that prop up illegitimate leaders put us more at risk, not the other way around. This is where we need to change our thinking.

I agree, absolutely. The time to think about that, though, was before we went around installing governments, not after.

We lost in Vietnam because we propped up 3 successive illegitimate governments and never understood the nature of the conflict; what was essential, and what was superficial. We are making very similar mistakes in Afghanistan. Ike predicted that if the 1956 election was held that Ho would have won 80% of the popular vote in Vietnam; so instead, to avoid a "loss" to the forces of Communism we threw our lot in with this series of illegitimate leaders. Did we learn nothing? No, but we didn't learn the really important lessons.

I think we learned the wrong lesson, not just from Vietnam, but from the entire Cold War experience. We emerged from the Cold War with a belated acknowledgment that installing compliant dictators to rule other countries was a counterproductive policy. For some reason, many seem to think that we can get away with installing governments in other countries as long as the governments we install are "good", as in not dictators. What we seem to be learning the hard way is that installing governments for others is a pretty problematic issue no matter what sort of government we install.

From Entropy:

Also, no one should be too worried about the Taliban taking over the country. They failed at that during the 1990's even with extensive Pakistani assistance and little opposition. Their rapid rout after the US invasion and their continued unpopularity demonstrates just how tenuous their hold on power was. There are a lot of nations that won't let a Taliban takeover happen again.

I doubt that they could seize control of the entire country, but I suspect that they could control enough of it to recreate the conditions that produced our intervention in the first place. I don't think popularity will have much to do with it: when we leave, power will be seized by whoever can field the largest and most effectively organized armed force, popular or not. As for other nations... sure, many won't want a Taliban takeover, but who has the will and the capacity to prevent it? Arming and supporting anti-Taliban factions may deny the Taliban control over some parts of Afghanistan, but it won't stop them from seizing and consolidating control over many other parts.

Entropy
06-20-2010, 05:20 AM
I doubt that they could seize control of the entire country, but I suspect that they could control enough of it to recreate the conditions that produced our intervention in the first place. I don't think popularity will have much to do with it: when we leave, power will be seized by whoever can field the largest and most effectively organized armed force, popular or not. As for other nations... sure, many won't want a Taliban takeover, but who has the will and the capacity to prevent it? Arming and supporting anti-Taliban factions may deny the Taliban control over some parts of Afghanistan, but it won't stop them from seizing and consolidating control over many other parts.

A couple of factors to keep in mind: First, the AQ leadership has been a "guest" in the NWFP for longer now than they were guests of the Taliban in Afghanistan. It's not clear what they would gain by moving back into Afghanistan at this point. One of their greatest protections at the moment is Pakistani sovereignty - a move to Afghanistan would increase their vulnerability significantly for little practical gain.

Secondly, relations between the Taliban and AQ haven't been so good lately. Of course, that could change, but for now it seems like AQ is a secondary concern for the Taliban who are focused on regaining power in Afghanistan.

Third, yes, the Taliban could recapture some or even much of Afghanistan, thought that's not a certainty. That is still quite a bit different from a return to the status quo ante. Personally, I think the danger is really political, as Ken says.

Dayuhan
06-20-2010, 10:35 AM
It's likely that the AQ leadership would stay in the NWFP. They would also presumably cultivate relationships with friendly Taliban commanders in Afghanistan, increasing their mobility and giving them a wider range of movement options. I'd also assume that a full US withdrawal from Afghanistan would limit our options (in terms of drone strikes, raids, etc) to some extent.

Certainly the political ramifications are a concern; the narrative that AQ/Taliban forced the US out of Afghanistan would circulate widely and have some impact. I don't know that any of us can reliably predict what that impact would be. I don't know that any of us can speak with authority on relations between the Taliban (or any portion thereof) and AQ. I don't think any of us knows what AQ's next move would be after a US withdrawal. The initiative at that point would be with them, and it seems safe to assume that they would not simply retire.

Bob's World
06-20-2010, 03:01 PM
I think one major obstacle to clear thinking is the traditional definition of "Sanctuary" as being "ungoverned space."

I've always felt this was a superficial assessment; one that may often appear true on the surface, but does the sanctuary really come from the "space" or something else? At the end of the day, there isn't much "ungoverned" space out there (Antarctica comes to mind), and such spaces are also unpopulated, so not of much use to an insurgent.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan they do take advantage of what I would call "self-governed spaces," where official governance either does not extend, or is not appreciated or recognized when it does extend, but where the populace has traditional systems of governance that function very well without such official interference. These are also area where perceptions of "Poor Governance" prevail. So step one for me is to drop the focus on ungoverned space, and instead shift the focus to self-governed and/or poorly governed populaces.

So, step one frees us from an unhealthy focus on real estate, and a more addressable focus on the people who live there, and the state of how those populaces truly govern themselves, and how they feel about other governance that is imposed upon them (Just based on this approach one would quickly realize that the absolute worst move we could make is Pakistan is to force the government of Pakistan to extend itself up into the tribal areas that they have traditionally stayed out of.) Our misunderstanding of what makes "sanctuary" has driven us to drive the Pakistan government to take on a program that has greatly destabilized their country, while at the same time actually expanding the influence of insurgent and UW groups in that area.

Next is to drill into the current "nonstate" (AQ, etc) and "Quasi-state" (Hezbollah, Hamas, etc) organizations and ask, what is it that make these new information-age driven organizations so effective and frustrating for States to deal with??? For me, it comes down to this: "Legal Status" They find sanctuary in the fact that they are outside the law. They possess no real estate that they must defend, they simply borrow what dirt they need from some state, but then only for the time the need it. They possess no populace that they must govern or protect, again, they only borrow what aspect of whatever populace they might appeal to, and then only for what they need (some provide no more than moral support, some finance, some action officers to work network functions, some fighters, etc).

So, combining the two, I think that it is high time to retire the tired, overly simplistic (not the same as simple), and dangerously misleading term of "ungoverned space" and trade up to one of "a combination of poorly governed populaces, who are often also largely self-governed, combined with a legal status that combines to protect insurgent and terrorist organizations from the effective rule of law."

Bottom line is that it was not Sherwood Forest in of itself that protected Robin Hood and his Merry Men (clearly an insurgent organization against the illegitimate government of John of England). They needed a place to hide, sure. But the primary sanctuary came from the people and their outlaw status. Remove/deny the forest and their primary sanctuary still exists.

The same is true for AQ, if we somehow deny them the "Sherwood Forest" of the AF/PAK border region, their primary sanctuary not only still exists, but has arguably been enhanced globally by the West's very actions to deny the physical sanctuary of that region.

Steve the Planner
06-21-2010, 10:05 AM
What comes next?

Two visions keep smacking the insides of my skull.

First, virtual assimilation of Eastern Border areas into a continuum of Pakistan's border areas, largely under Pak control. Like some wise fella said, Af-Pak is wrong, it is really Pak-Af. At some point and on some levels there becomes a clear demarcation between Pahstun associations with pak, and the other parts of Afghanistan. Fractured, Fractious, Fractal. Dangerous, unstable, but probably less so once that next level of stability is reached between the spheres of influence.

Second, Mad Max. The monster trend is the re-emergence of the inland Silk Road pathways---from Turkey east to China and vice versa. From China south to and through to India and Pakistan; from all to and through Iran.

As the chaotic and unstable overland rail, road and air links continue to emerge and strengthen, the Big Picture of Afghanistan as a separate and free-standing entity becomes increasingly less significant than the maintenance and protection of key nodes and links. The rest can either find its own way or, at the least, expect massive Mad Max and Blackwater style retaliation for serious interference with movements.

None of these concepts seem, in my mind, to connect to petty discussions about re-arranging the Karzai deck chairs, or pretending that Pakistan is not both a major part of the current problems, and the only path to relevant solutions---none of which look pretty or will result from any more democracy than we provided to the indigenous americans when the railroads punched through.

Looking at these things through personalities, and high-fallutin' contemporary western ideals seems a bit lame until, perhaps, 20-50 years from now once the links, nodes and high-value locations emerge, grow, and stabilize.

Afghanistan doesn't need western governmental investment to carve out the next stages. There is plenty of cash for the warlords and opium czars to put to use once both stability and opportunity emerges. But, again, it ain't gonna be any prettier than Blazing Saddles: As the Governor disdainfully points out, "all that stands between us and that valuable property is the rightful owners."

So, which of these American historical analogies do we embrace for Afghanistan? The glossy text book myths, or the realities in the less well-governed places?

Rex Brynen
06-21-2010, 03:33 PM
Next is to drill into the current "nonstate" (AQ, etc) and "Quasi-state" (Hezbollah, Hamas, etc) organizations and ask, what is it that make these new information-age driven organizations so effective and frustrating for States to deal with??? For me, it comes down to this: "Legal Status" They find sanctuary in the fact that they are outside the law. They possess no real estate that they must defend, they simply borrow what dirt they need from some state, but then only for the time the need it. They possess no populace that they must govern or protect, again, they only borrow what aspect of whatever populace they might appeal to, and then only for what they need (some provide no more than moral support, some finance, some action officers to work network functions, some fighters, etc).

While this may be true of AQ, it certainly isn't the case with Hamas and Hizbullah.

First, I'm not sure what is particularly "information age" about either orghanization--while they certainly use the modern media to advantage, both satellite TV and the internet could vanish tomorrow without much affecting their fundamentals or local support.

Second, both care deeply about territory, since their appeal is primarily one of territorial liberation rather than AQ's broader, messianic goal of global Islamist transformation. Hizbullah in particular derives its strength and legitimacy in particular from the widely-accepted narrative (within the Lebanese Shiite community) that it drove the IDF from Lebanese lands and deters future reoccupation. Neither relies heavily on sanctuaries outside their home turf. Both are intimately involved in governance: Hamas was democratically elected into government primarily on a platform of governance reform, and today runs Gaza. Hizbullah is a member of the Lebanese government, with cabinet responsibilities.

I accept that your model largely applies to AQ, and to the various AQ wannabes. It is misleading (and analytically dangerous) to place these very different groups into the same conceptual box, however.

Bob's World
06-21-2010, 03:51 PM
A couple years back the world watched Hezbollah fight a war with Israel. How is that? Why, if they are part of the government, was it not Lebanon that fought a war with Israel? The media and governments made this distinction, partly out of a desire to protect Lebanon, and partly to avoid recognizing and legitimizing Hezbollah. We granted them a sanctuary of status.

First, it is not outsiders, but rather the people of Lebanon that grant legitimacy to Hezbollah, and I think that vote is in. We only spite ourselves and empower them at the same time with our misunderstanding of "sanctuary." Israel could defeat Lebanon in short order because as a state it lacks this sanctuary.

Quasi-states are different than non-states as they are indeed tied to a particular populace and territory. We grant them sanctuary by not recognizing them as in fact being agents of their respective states.

As to AQ, I never blend the many nationalist insurgent movements that take on the AQ brand with AQ itself. AQ has a broad political agenda of freeing the Middle East from Western influence and taking down of the many governments there that have subjugated themselves to that same Western influence They conduct UW. The subgroups are unique, distinct, and independent, and conduct Insurgency. The information age allows a small club to conduct effective global UW; and also allows the separate insurgencies to more effectively draw support, moral and otherwise, from each other.

Bob's World
06-22-2010, 02:57 AM
Good constructs cannot be overrated. But indeed, every populace is unique.

In the American Colonies, coming out of England, it was essential to have a separation of church and state.

for Saudi dissidents it was equally important to have NO separation of church and state.

"separation between politics and religion, which defeats the very purpose of the establishment of the Islamic state." (From the JULY 1992 "Memorandum of Advice" submitted to the Gov't of Saudi Arabia by 109 Saudi religious scholars and intellectuals).

To each their own. 'Good Governance' is like good taste. To each (populace) their own.

Dayuhan
06-23-2010, 08:10 AM
AQ has a broad political agenda of freeing the Middle East from Western influence and taking down of the many governments there that have subjugated themselves to that same Western influence

What governments in the Middle East have "subjugated themselves to western influence"?

I think this misses an important point about AQ and similar organizations. Too many people assume that these organizations are purely reactive, that they exist solely as a "lashing back" at Western intrusion. I'm not sure that's entirely the case, and I think we need to consider the possibility that they are proactively pursuing their own agenda, that they are not trying to free the Middle East from anyone's influence, but rather that they are trying to impose their own influence.

for Saudi dissidents it was equally important to have NO separation of church and state.

"separation between politics and religion, which defeats the very purpose of the establishment of the Islamic state." (From the JULY 1992 "Memorandum of Advice" submitted to the Gov't of Saudi Arabia by 109 Saudi religious scholars and intellectuals).

To each their own. 'Good Governance' is like good taste. To each (populace) their own.

Are you assuming that these 109 religious scholars represent the interests and desires of the Saudi populace, rather than representing their own interests and desires?

Bob's World
07-30-2010, 04:02 PM
I may need to bump Madison and replace him with Charles Pinckney of South Carolina. While much of what Pinkney contributed has been downplayed due to his own tendency to exaggerate the same, it is also well to understand that much of what we know about the Constitutional Convention comes from notes compiled by Madison himself.

Both men played major roles in shaping history's finest Counterinsurgency tool; but to the writer of the history goes the lion's share of the credit.

Rex Brynen
07-30-2010, 04:24 PM
I still don't get how the US Constitution or Bill of Rights--interesting and remarkable documents, I'll agree--were effective counter-insurgent tools.

The UK spawned five major Europeanized colonial-settler regimes: Australia, Canada, NZ, and the US.

Australia has no constitutional Bill of Rights. Canada didn't get a Charter of Rights until 1982. NZ didn't get a Bill of Rights until 1990. Until 1982, the Canadian Constitution was, in effect, a piece of British legislation. The NZ Constitution remains a mish-mash of a variety of legal documents and unwritten constitutional traditions. Indeed, unwritten constitutional provisions and traditions remain important in all three Commonwealth countries.

Although Australia, Canada, and NZ have experienced minor sporadic disturbances of public order, none faced a civil war, or even a major insurgency that threatened the regime. (Quebec has come near to secession-by-referendum on two occasions, but peacefully.. and the Riel Rebellion and 1837-38 rebellions were insurgencies, but small ones)

The US experienced a devastating insurgency and civil war, in large part over constitutional issues.

On that evidence, how was the US constitutional system a particularly effective counter-insurgency tool? If anything--and again, for all its wonders and achievements in other regards--it seems to have been a strikingly inefficient one in comparative historical terms.

Bob's World
07-30-2010, 05:47 PM
Well, first, the US didn't have an insurgency, but the issue of Slavery did drive the issues of states rights vs Central government power to a head leading to a civil war. (I.e., Governments moved to legally withdraw from the Union and form a new Confederation - leading to state on state warfare, not insurgency).

One must remember that the US was 13 separate sovereigns under the articles of confederation, and it was the Constitution (bearing this one ticking timebomb of an avoided issue) that made it one country for the first time.

The closest the US has come to insurgency, for all of its diversity, is the Civil Rights movement; by a segment of the populace that was excluded by racisim from full inclusion in the Good Governance provided by the Constitution.

The question I guess is, what is insurgency and what truly causes it, and what truly prevents it??

The lessons in the US example is that the country was formed through insurgency, and then, that same group of insurgents when faced with the challenges of governing on their own (at which we very nearly failed), came together and created a system of governance that carefully balanced power and rights between elements of the central government, as well as between state and central; and between individual and government based on the lessons learned as suppressed subject of England; as insurgents against England, and as failing counterinsurgents themselves under the articles of Confederation, to form a system of govenance designed specifically not to be perfect, but rather to be durable.

A government untested is not necessarily a government better designed to prevent or withstand insurgent pressures. I suspect though, that when Canada, NZ and Aus looked to form their governments, they drew from the successful model of England, and from other successful models such as the US as well. There are many paths to success, but their are common elements as well.


So much on insurgency and COIN these days is cast in the context of the violence that is often associated with such conditions. It is good to look at movements that opt for non-voilent ways and means to achieve their ends; and also at systems of governance that have proven effective at preventing insurgency in the first place.

Rex Brynen
07-30-2010, 06:52 PM
Well, first, the US didn't have an insurgency, but the issue of Slavery did drive the issues of states rights vs Central government power to a head leading to a civil war. (I.e., Governments moved to legally withdraw from the Union and form a new Confederation - leading to state on state warfare, not insurgency).

This, of course, is a semantic issue that we've discussed a great deal in various SWC threads. I would define armed secession as a form of insurgency.

As to the legality of secession in the context of the American Civil War, I had thought that it had been subsequently been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Texas vs White (1869). However, I'll legal folks debate that.

Pete
07-31-2010, 03:57 AM
In this thread Bob has mixed up the Clausewitz stuff about politics and war and decided that the men who replaced the old Articles of Confederation that had not worked were "counterinsurgents" of some sort or another because they preserved us as a nation and thereby prevented us from fighting a civil war.

This thread is about politics, not the military, and I don't see how current military policy overseas enters into it when abstractions about the Constitution or how it came to be ratified are discussed. Bob I'm afraid is sending us far afield from the issues in the combat zone that are at hand.

Dayuhan
07-31-2010, 09:03 AM
Well, first, the US didn't have an insurgency, but the issue of Slavery did drive the issues of states rights vs Central government power to a head leading to a civil war. (I.e., Governments moved to legally withdraw from the Union and form a new Confederation - leading to state on state warfare, not insurgency).

I recall that tariff issues also had a fair bit to do with the problem... possibly as much to do with it as slavery, though "free the slaves" has a better ring to it than "make 'em buy American".

Would the wars with the Native Americans be classed as "insurgency", or as state-on-state warfare? Semantics, I suppose...

The closest the US has come to insurgency, for all of its diversity, is the Civil Rights movement; by a segment of the populace that was excluded by racisim from full inclusion in the Good Governance provided by the Constitution.

Does the Constitution provide good governance? With all due respect to the documents, I'd suggest that it is people who govern, not documents. Despite the Constitution, American governance has not been universally admirable: for much of our history our government has been as corrupt and as elite-centric as many of the governments we see threatened by insurgents today. Certainly wise principles help, but a great Constitution does not necessarily provide great governance, and I suspect that, say, Afghanistan, Chad, or Zimbabwe need a lot more than a better document to make their governance function.


The question I guess is, what is insurgency and what truly causes it, and what truly prevents it??

I'd say it is many things in many places, caused by many things in many places, and preventable (or not) by many things in many places. I doubt very much that it's possible to come up with a universally applicable cause or cure for insurgency, unless we constrict the definition of insurgency beyond any possible utility.

Bob's World
07-31-2010, 11:53 AM
Pete,

When the field one is in is barren, sometimes one must travel far afield to find what they seek. I seek a clearer understanding of the causes, and therein the cures, to insurgency.

Combat with insurgents is arguably the least important line of operation for resolving an insurgency. Admittedly it is the most in-your-face obvious part of insurgency, but it is just a side product of the greater "insurgency" itself. There are many threads on the SWJ devoted to discussing the pros and cons of various tactics and equipment used for these operations, right?

This thread is to take a look at the roots of the insurgency itself, to look at WHY insurgencies happen or don't happen. It is all about the dynamic between a populace and its governance; and my experience in studying the problem (and observing the nature of governance in general) is that government officials rarely take responsibility for the bad things that happen on their watch. They blame them on those who came before them, or if possible on some evil outside factor. Certainly in insurgency this is true.

Many who study COIN, rather than insurgency itself (which I find to be a bit like studying medicine without also studying Disease and anatomy) focus on the surface issues of insurgencies.

-- They see people living in conditions that lack the types of government services we have at home, and assume that these guys are insurgents and we are not because they don't have these things. Give them these things and the insurgency will stop. This is the mantra of the Development crowd.

-- Others see that they do not have democracy. We have democracy and don't have an insurgency, so give them democracy and they won't have one either. This is the mantra of the Governance crowd.

-- Some see that their security forces are not as well trained and equipped as ours are. We do not have insurgency, so if we build their security forces capacity they will not have insurgency either. This is the mantra of the security crowd.

-- Then there are those who see that in some of these places there is corruption in the government, or that women have different rights than those that currently exist in the US. We have worked through some overt aspects of corruption (but have plenty of what must be a more acceptable type?) and have empowered our women over the years and we don't have insurgency, so if we project our values onto others their will be no insurgency. This the mantra of the moralist crowd.

-- Some see the presence of those who wrap messages of political change in a conservative, and often corrupted, form of Islam to motivate the populace to stand up to both external and internal oppression. We don't have that in America and we don't have insurgency, so it must be this Islamist Ideology that is causing insurgency and terrorism. This is the mantra of the ideologues.

Now, there are elements of truth in all of these things, and all of these thing provide clues and insights into the nature of insurgency; but when you really look at them what you see is that none tell the full story. Some are merely symptoms of the insurgency, such as violence that demands more effective security forces, or ideology, of which some form must be employed in any successful insurgency, picked much more for its effectiveness on the target populace rather than its content itself.

Some are true, but largely unrelated. Rich countries and poor countries alike erupt in insurgency, so poor living conditions is not a cause unto itself.

Every form of government, at some time and some place, finds itself challenged by insurgency, so it is not the form of government, but rather some deeper aspect of governance that is common to all forms and all populaces that must be at work.

This led me down the path that produced the paper I wrote regarding my insurgency model. That four key factors appear to be at play in every insurgency that truly drive a populace to rise up to challenge its governance, not just once, but over and over again over the years of insurgency and peace until it is resolved. This resolution always ultimately resides in changes on the part of the government.

As I have said, and will continue to say: Populaces do not fail governments, it is governments that fail their populace. COIN therefore is not about "fixing" a broken populace, or even about defeating the militant arm of that populace, it is about understanding what, of all the things that are likely to be broken, must actually be addressed and in what way to actually produce results in reducing the the conditions that produce insurgency.

When you "pop the hood" on a country, what do you look at first, what do you ignore or defer, and how do you actually "repair" those critical failures??

It is my opinion that these four perceptions existing in any populace, regardless of any other conditions of security, development, government, ideology, etc, will produce the causal conditions that lead populaces to act out illegally (though often peacefully) to challenge their government: (All of these are as assessed through the perceptions of segment of a populace that is rising up to challenge its governance)

Legitimacy of Governance. Regardless of its form, does the governed populace, or even just the insurgent element of the populace recognize and accept the legitimacy of the governance over them?

Justice. Not the existence of "rule of law", but rather the perception that the law as it is applied to them is just.

Respect. is this segment of the populace treated differently (in a bad way) from the larger populace with in the country, or than populaces in other countries, as a matter of status.

Hope. Does this segment of the populace believe that it has any trusted, certain and legal means to affect change to address the other three issues in particular, but also change in general?


I see the US experience as a unique, rather than universal, window into this dynamic; that once understood helps to understand other insurgencies elsewhere in place and time. All of these factors were at play when the Declaration of Independence was published. They were also at play in Vietnam; in Algeria; in Iraq; in occupied France in WWII; in certain neighborhoods in Paris and London today; in Saudi Arabia; in Yemen; throughout the Philippines; and certainly in Afghanistan.

They were also coming back into play in post-revolutionary America. We had a guiding document and form of government designed not for effectiveness and goodness into the future, but rather designed to prevent the main feature of British Government that was seen as the source of evil: The strong central government far removed from the realities of the states it governed.

At the Constitutional Convention, and later with the Bill of Rights, about 60 smart men, all raised in oppression, all former insurgents, all representing the elites of their respective societies, came together and debated for months how to best address their fears and concerns in a way that gave the central government enough power to be effective, but without becoming also oppressive to either the then sovereign states; similarly how to divide power between the people and the government as well. This was a low trust environment. They did not trust central government, and they did not trust the common man. They all feared and warned against "Democracy" every bit as much as they did against Monarchy. The end result, granted with the built in flaw wrapped around the issue of slavery, was a system that for all of its flaws, addressed these concerns and allowed for self-correction over time in a manner that ensures that:

Americans may not like their government, but they recognize its legitimacy to rule over them.

Americans may not like the law, but as a whole believe that they can find justice under it.

Americans may not have everything they want, but as a whole do not believe that they are prevented from opportunity and earned success as a matter of status.

And perhaps most importantly, they know, with absolute certainty, that for all the flaws and frustrations, that any government that they find unendurable, that it will either expire a natural death, or they can act legally to remove it.

In places where insurgency exists, this is not the case. Each is unique in culture and specific issues that drive at these perceptions, but these are the things I think we need to go after first when we pop the hood. These are also the things that need to be maintained and monitored with the greatest diligence to avoid insurgency in the first place. If you could put idiot lights on the President's desk, I would attach them to censors that monitor these four perceptions across the the populace.

For what it's worth, we still have not fully resolved the causal perception issues around our African American populace. These things are always a work in progress, and a good system makes up for a whole lot of bad outcomes. We need to focus on understanding and addressing the flaws in the system, not in the men who run the system, or those who do not like how they are governed by it.

Pete
07-31-2010, 07:53 PM
Bob, you make good points. However, if this line of reasoning is taken to its logical conclusion it's a bit like saying that success in war will always elude us until the day comes that we develop a foreign policy that eradicates all the evils and injustices in the world. Before we reach that state of perfection on this planet there will be times when guys with grievances start things that will require armed force, police or military, to resolve. We're going far beyond the realm of military doctrine and entering into the field of existential philosophy.

Bob's World
07-31-2010, 08:53 PM
Bob, you make good points. However, if this line of reasoning is taken to its logical conclusion it's a bit like saying that success in war will always elude us until the day comes that we develop a foreign policy that eradicates all the evils and injustices in the world. Before we reach that state of perfection on this planet there will be times when guys with grievances start things that will require armed force, police or military, to resolve. We're going far beyond the realm of military doctrine and entering into the field of existential philosophy.

When we stop thinking of COIN as war, and thinking of every intervention as COIN we will begin to be able to step back and see more clearly what actions are most likely to support our national interests in a region.

Insurgency and COIN are very much family business, and family violence. It is between a populace and its governance, outsiders can and do get involved on both sides, but for them outside the national family it is a totally different dynamic best described by our military doctrine as UW and FID.

But back to "All in the Family." I think everyone instinctively understands that domestic violence is different than violence outside the family. If a stranger assaults you on the street, and you beat him to a pulp in response, you can both go on about your lives with little residual baggage. Once it is over it is over.

If, on the other hand, your son punches you and you beat him to a pulp, it is never over. Same action, same reaction, totally different results.

This same dynamic is at work in Insurgency. We would do well to appreciate and recognize that possibility. At least long enough to go "Hmm, how does that affect my operations as either the COIN force or the FID force if that is true?"

Also, just as all violence is not war, not all internal violence is insurgency. Insurgency is a unique, distinct dynamic of populaces being pushed into a corner to where in their minds they have no alternative way to address their concerns with the government other than acting out illegally.

This is very different than say the violence between organized crime and the state.

It is also very different than situations like the American Civil War. People need to understand that under the Articles of Confederation All sovereignty was vested in the state, and none in the central government. It was an alliance, a treaty, not unlike the EU today. The Constitution was enacted to divide that sovereignty between the States and the central government. When Southern states voted to withdraw from the Union they were in there mind simply rejecting the concept of shared sovereignty as they felt it was becoming too intrusive on rights they felt were within the sovereignty of the State. This was not insurgency by any stretch of the imagination. Members of the populace did not rise up to challenge the Federal government, Sovereign states voted and in their minds withdrew the portions of their sovereignty they had given to the state some 70 odd years earlier.

This isn't about definitions, it is about very different forms of causation that then in turn drive very different solutions.

We can talk about war, but that is for another thread. This thread is about insurgency, and how a government that is formed so as to mitigate the causal perceptions of insurgency (even if done so for other reasons, and as much by accident as by Divine design) will lead to a nation that is much more resilient to the pressures of UW, ideology, ineffectiveness, etc that can lead to insurgency in states less well equipped.

Currently the Constitution of Afghanistan is an absolute train wreck disaster as in regard to its effect on insurgency. It is like they designed it to create insurgency. I know they designed it to prevent warlords, but the effect is the same. Accidental stupidity will kill you just as dead as the intentional variety.

Dayuhan
08-01-2010, 03:38 AM
When we stop thinking of COIN as war, and thinking of every intervention as COIN we will begin to be able to step back and see more clearly what actions are most likely to support our national interests in a region.

Insurgency and COIN are very much family business, and family violence. It is between a populace and its governance, outsiders can and do get involved on both sides, but for them outside the national family it is a totally different dynamic best described by our military doctrine as UW and FID.

This is certainly true in what most of us would see as a "typical" insurgency. I'm not sure it's completely accurate in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are of course the only insurgencies we need to deal with at this point.

We are not an external player in these insurgencies. These insurgencies exist because we intervened, removed governments, and replaced them with governments of our choosing. We can't approach these problems as if we're intervening to support pre-existing governments that have gotten into trouble with their people, because that's not what we're doing. We're trying to support governments that are an extension of our presence until they have the capacity to govern on their own... if they ever do. We can't pretend to be a peripheral player in these cases, because we're not: we placed ourselves in the center of the picture, wisely or not, and that's where we remain.

Bob's World
08-01-2010, 11:07 AM
This the problem with intervention. But just because you have inserted yourself, unless your intent is to stay, you are still not part of the family.

So, the neighbor across the street is a complete ass, physically and emotionally abusing his spouse and kids, and generally disliked and mistrusted by everyone in the neighborhood. Lets call him Saddam. You and a few others (we'll call this group "the coalition") decide he needs to go, so you get a court order and the cops swoop in and drag the guy out. The kids are crying and the long suffering spouse is cursing and throwing things at the cops while she and Saddam yelling over the din expressions of their love for each other.

Now what? You don't want her or her kids, but you've just created chaos in the household. So you have a brilliant idea, you bring in some guy who used to know her 20 years ago and arrange a marriage over her objections to restore the family, or maybe you bring in her ex-husband who she had divorced 10 years ago and force her to remarry him. Problems solved, right? Of course not, we'd never foist these "solutions" on a family, but we will do them to an entire nation. Crazy. So you move in as well, "just until things settle down" you tell yourself and everyone else.

This is what we did in Iraq, and you are right, it is a mess and our solution is what created the current problem. But we still aren't part of the family. Still an outsider, and outsider dynamics still apply. Just because we set all of this in motion in no way changes the relationships of the parties.

So, no, we are not the "COIN" force in Iraq, the new government took on that role just as the new Dad/husband did in the example above. Obviously this guy has huge legitimacy issues that he may never overcome, he may just be transitional until she brings in the husband she really wants, but that needs to be her choice and not that of the neighbors, or you will never achieve the stability that comes with the legitimacy of acceptance. The neighborhood has certainly inherited responsibilities based on what they did, but they did not become part of the family. They have a distinct role as an involved outsider, but that is it.

Family dynamics and national dynamics are pretty damn similar. If a national situation is overwhelmingly complex and one can't decide what is best, just consider how what you are chewing on would play in a single family, and you'll have a pretty good idea on how it will play on an entire state.

Dayuhan
08-01-2010, 11:55 AM
Not a bad analogy, but deficient in one respect. We didn't go into Iraq or Afghanistan to protect the people of these countries, or their neighbors, from their governments. We went in to advance our own interests. In Iraq at least I'm not entirely sure what interests we were advancing, but they were said to be terribly important ones. Something about sending a message, I guess, although what message and to whom was never clear to me. Possibly I'm just dense.

In any event, though, these interests presumably still exist, and are still important. It's not just about settling a domestic dispute. If the end state produces the same conditions that led us to intervene in the first place, we haven't accomplished much, if anything.

Not so much an issue in Iraq, but certainly an issue in Afghanistan... and it would not be particularly honest of us to treat either as an effort to settle a domestic dispute.

Bob's World
08-01-2010, 12:06 PM
Not a bad analogy, but deficient in one respect. We didn't go into Iraq or Afghanistan to protect the people of these countries, or their neighbors, from their governments. We went in to advance our own interests. In Iraq at least I'm not entirely sure what interests we were advancing, but they were said to be terribly important ones. Something about sending a message, I guess, although what message and to whom was never clear to me. Possibly I'm just dense.

In any event, though, these interests presumably still exist, and are still important. It's not just about settling a domestic dispute. If the end state produces the same conditions that led us to intervene in the first place, we haven't accomplished much, if anything.

Not so much an issue in Iraq, but certainly an issue in Afghanistan... and it would not be particularly honest of us to treat either as an effort to settle a domestic dispute.

Are you implying that leader of neighborhood coalition in the example just used the abusive husband excuse as a ruse to get everyone on board, but in actuality just didn't like this guy, and being pissed off at a totally different guy in a different neighborhood altogether who he couldn't find, went after this other dirtbag instead because he was available? Even so, it still doesn't make him part of the family, and casts clouds on the intervention as a whole that makes restablishing a legitimate head of household even harder.

MikeF
08-01-2010, 12:31 PM
This is certainly true in what most of us would see as a "typical" insurgency. I'm not sure it's completely accurate in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are of course the only insurgencies we need to deal with at this point.

We are not an external player in these insurgencies. These insurgencies exist because we intervened, removed governments, and replaced them with governments of our choosing. We can't approach these problems as if we're intervening to support pre-existing governments that have gotten into trouble with their people, because that's not what we're doing. We're trying to support governments that are an extension of our presence until they have the capacity to govern on their own... if they ever do. We can't pretend to be a peripheral player in these cases, because we're not: we placed ourselves in the center of the picture, wisely or not, and that's where we remain. (emphasis mine)

Excellent point, and that brings the divide between the existing literature and our actual actions. Perhaps we should call Iraq and Afghanistan Post-pseudo Occupation Operations (POO) because it sure stinks :D.

MikeF
08-01-2010, 12:35 PM
So, the neighbor across the street is a complete ass, physically and emotionally abusing his spouse and kids, and generally disliked and mistrusted by everyone in the neighborhood. Lets call him Saddam. You and a few others (we'll call this group "the coalition") decide he needs to go, so you get a court order and the cops swoop in and drag the guy out. The kids are crying and the long suffering spouse is cursing and throwing things at the cops while she and Saddam yelling over the din expressions of their love for each other.

But you didn't realize at the time that the wife was emotionally abusive, spent every dollar in the house, and had her own mental problems. After your intervention, you realize that both the husband and wife were to blame, and you never should have gotten involved in a family dispute.

Bob's World
08-01-2010, 01:07 PM
But you didn't realize at the time that the wife was emotionally abusive, spent every dollar in the house, and had her own mental problems. After your intervention, you realize that both the husband and wife were to blame, and you never should have gotten involved in a family dispute.

Cops know this as well. I can't count the number of times during arraignments that I would sit there looking at a police record for a defendant with 6-15 charges of assault IV domestic violence, with each annotated with "victim refused to sign the complaint"; while some dirtbag in the box was blowing kisses and swapping "I love yous" with some gal sporting a black eye in the gallery.

Sad, no question about it, but do you really want to step into the middle of that mix as the new head of a household with her and her patchwork family of kids from multiple past failed relationships?

Dayuhan
08-01-2010, 01:38 PM
Cops know this as well. I can't count the number of times during arraignments that I would sit there looking at a police record for a defendant with 6-15 charges of assault IV domestic violence, with each annotated with "victim refused to sign the complaint"; while some dirtbag in the box was blowing kisses and swapping "I love yous" with some gal sporting a black eye in the gallery.

And why did the cops go there in the first place? Presumably someone complained and they were required to respond, it is their responsibility to enforce the law in this jurisdiction, their responsibility to intervene if it appears that somebody is in danger.

Why did we go to Iraq? Not because someone complained, not because we had some responsibility to enforce a law, not to protect someone that was in danger. We went in proactive pursuit of our own objectives, whatever they might have been. We weren't invited, our protection wasn't requested, we weren't enforcing any law... we went because we wanted to, or at least someone did.

Bit of a breakdown in the analogy at that level.

MikeF
08-01-2010, 01:53 PM
If the issue is the concern for the safety and welfare of the children and we have proper jurisdiction, then I would suggest something similar to the SEED (http://www.seedfoundation.com/) schools in DC. Basically, kids live at the school Mondays through Friday in order to be in a proper environment in which to learn and study. They go home on the weekends.

A comparable analogy could be the University exchange programs that the State Department runs; however, Sayid Qutb went to one in Colorado. That didn't work out so well :confused:.

slapout9
08-01-2010, 02:21 PM
Cops know this as well. I can't count the number of times during arraignments that I would sit there looking at a police record for a defendant with 6-15 charges of assault IV domestic violence, with each annotated with "victim refused to sign the complaint"; while some dirtbag in the box was blowing kisses and swapping "I love yous" with some gal sporting a black eye in the gallery.

Sad, no question about it, but do you really want to step into the middle of that mix as the new head of a household with her and her patchwork family of kids from multiple past failed relationships?

Yep, and just like DV cases if the victim(host nation) does not cooperate there isn't much you can do except keep putting the attacker(insurgent) in jail or he gets killed. There is much that can be learned from how police handle DV cases as it relates to COIN, in fact, in my biased opinion it is the only thing that is new to be learned , but the Military doesn't listen that well, sometimes...but not as much as they should.

MikeF
08-01-2010, 02:38 PM
Slap,

DV = Domestic Violence?

slapout9
08-01-2010, 03:16 PM
Slap,

DV = Domestic Violence?

10-4

10-4=police talk for yes:D

jmm99
08-01-2010, 08:41 PM
The cops can remove the guy from the house;the prosecutor can charge him; and the judge can sentence him if he pleads or is found guilty. All of which has everything to do with the guy; and nothing to do with the wife, kids, household or neighborhood, except to remove him from them.

What to do with the wife, kids, household or neighborhood is the job of the social workers. That is not the job of LEOs in particular; or of the criminal justice system in general. That is a point that Slap has made repeatedly - and wisely (IMO).

I'll forego discussion of armed social workers.

Regards

Mike

slapout9
08-01-2010, 09:55 PM
The cops can remove the guy from the house;the prosecutor can charge him; and the judge can sentence him if he pleads or is found guilty. All of which has everything to do with the guy; and nothing to do with the wife, kids, household or neighborhood, except to remove him from them.

What to do with the wife, kids, household or neighborhood is the job of the social workers. That is not the job of LEOs in particular; or of the criminal justice system in general. That is a point that Slap has made repeatedly - and wisely (IMO).

I'll forego discussion of armed social workers.

Regards

Mike

DV shelters (protect the population:)) often have an armed safe village security component:) so the social workers can do their jobs. The hot idea now is the "The Family Justice Center" (jee that sounds like the Taliban), which they would understand the concept completely.

Link below.
http://www.familyjusticecenter.com/