View Full Version : Don't Confuse the "Surge" with the Strategy

01-19-2007, 05:27 PM
19 January SWJ Blog - Don't Confuse the "Surge" with the Strategy (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/01/dont-confuse-the-surge-with-th/) by Dave Kilcullen.

Much discussion of the new Iraq strategy centers on the “surge” to increase forces in-theater by 21,500 troops. I offer no comment on administration policy here. But as counterinsurgency professionals, it should be clear to us that focusing on the “surge” misses what is actually new in the strategy – its population-centric approach....

01-23-2007, 01:10 PM
There is an interesting article in today's New York Times about one of the first units to implement the new strategy.

It states the unit is familiar with the area they are starting to live in because they have spent some time patrolling the same neighborhood in vehicles and then returning to a remote base. Now they don't leave the "hood".

It seems a pretty important and fundemental change to me when our forces implement one of the very basic "counterinsurgency best practices"; namely, staying in the neighborhood overnight, every night.

I was very surprised to hear that we had not been doing that over the past summer and fall. I guess I just wasn't paying attention.

No wonder the level of violence did not go down. The bad guys just waited until we drove by and then slit another throat.

01-23-2007, 06:09 PM
Carl, a somewhat different topic, but the menu is the very same.
You are in a place where one would think that the locals' lack of education precludes the wise (US) from being had.

Way too ignorant...They indeed are watching and learning our every move. My ITI courses in West Point, VA showed me in two days just how easy it would be to figure me out and get me coming out the door from or to work.

Here in Estonia, we not only video tape all or our EOD response calls, but look at them over and over again. There's a common denominator and somebody is watching US and learning fast, as they are doing elsewhere. They have time.

Old habits are hard to break, unless they kill you first !

Regards, Stan

01-23-2007, 06:56 PM
Stan,why don't you catch some of them instead of just looking at the same videos?:D

01-23-2007, 07:50 PM
Hello Slapout !

Funny you should mention that, on trial for the last three days is a 62 year-old man accused of initiating the last 11 IEDs in the capital over a three year period.

DNA tests would catch him, or so they say. He's not yet guilty from a legal aspect.

Not that easy. We are an EOD civilian organization under the rescue services, the police don't do EOD, post blast, etc. and the military by law only clean up their own back yards (installations). Different society, rules, so on.

He was not in any of the videos. Some folks are content with remaining anonymous, no sense of individuality or recognizability. The old saying, that the criminal will always return to the scene is in this case correct. But, when will that happen ?

I'll keep you advised !

01-23-2007, 08:39 PM
It gets even better (rather worse).

Two significant events herein.

Two years ago, a young female bored with life decided to call into the 112 center (911) with a bomb threat to one of the largest shopping centers in the capital. 10 to 12 minutes later, she would call again with yet another bomb threat to another very large shopping mall around the corner. The next day, amused by her accomplishments, tried again. The 112 operator told the police that a young girl was calling from a phone booth at "this" corner, and a patrolman immediately was dispatch and apprehended the young girl. After all was said and done, she was too young (15) and returned to her parents with nothing else under law left to do. She's free to this day to try again, should boredom come callin'.

Now that you think were having troubles, let this one roll by you !
The justice system here has basically two large books to use for trials involving explosives.

An explosives register - meaning, what is legal (or without a permit) what is illegal to have in one's possession. It contains generic things like construction grade TNT, etc.

The Estonian handbook of Law (I have no idea what they call it anymore). Let's call it the UCMJ.

Now, enter Joe the Russian bomber, found with a F-1 hand grenade in his house during a routine police raid.

Joe is in the county courthouse accused but he has a sly lawyer who costs a bundle to keep around. Welcome to the former eastern republics. Money talks and Bravo Sierra walks.

The judge looks for an F-1 grenade in the register, it's not there (imagine that :eek: . The judge then looks in the UCMJ, also not there.

Joe is free. Profound ? That's because it is.

Better yet, the police ask the EOD elements to assist as they have found strange things in the apartment they recently raided. Everything's there, detonator, explosives, wiring, clock, small box, etc.

In the US, the FBI or ATF could conclude that all the elements were sufficient to construct an IED. Well, we can't do that yet. Remember the register ?

Slapout, looking at videos may seem stone-age, but we're dealing with a system that insists on REAL evidence, and feelings have little room.

Regards, Stan

01-23-2007, 08:53 PM
Stan, know I don't think it is stone age. It is an excellent idea. In fact i would say look at more. If there are any CCTV cameras in any store or shops close to the bomb site that is what I would want to look at, especially several days BEFORE the detonation. Not just people but cars, etc. He has to case the joint (recon his site) before he decides to place it. There are other things you may want to look at, but since you are a civilian org. you may not be able to.

01-23-2007, 09:41 PM
You're right !
The very same shopping center had an IED that went high order 4 years ago.
The evidence was at best foggy. How did "they" get passed all the CCTVs and place the cellphone IED ?
Later, we would collectively find two X employees (one was a security guard).

Trust me bud, we keep keep looking.

01-24-2007, 05:35 PM
What is really blowing in the wind? We see a proven General, Pretereus taking control in Iraq with 20K extra men coming in. The USS Stennis battle group is moving into the gulf area and over in Israel, Gady Ashkenazy is taking control. Gadi the grunt worked his way up in the Golani Brigade, commanded an armor unit, attended the SCC at Quantico and is an old Lebanon/hizbullah hand with a solid record. I wonder who the Admiral of the Stennis battle group is and what his history is.

01-25-2007, 01:53 PM

one thing i learned over here is that the local people are way way smart. my time here and the things i've read convince me that brains are distributed pretty evenly though the mass of humanity despite the appearance of the city and the country.

every house and compound has a guard, just like when you were here. i try to stick to a routine so all those guys know me at least by sight and because i wave at them when i go by. the routine is of course a disadvantage because movements are predictable; but in our environment, i think the disadvantage is outweighed by the likelyhood of those guys coming to the assistance of somebody they know if a problem ever developed. that and the natural willingness of the Congolese to spring instantly to your assistance as soon as you shout "Moyibi!"

hopefully all this will remain academic. street crime is beginning to get bad in the east but so far isn't bad here.