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Thread: Vietnam collection (lessons plus)

  1. #81
    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tc2642
    In regards to your quote above, I was wondering who would be mainly to blame for creating Al Quaeda in Iraq, since before the war they did not exist within that country?

    Says who?

    SFC W

  2. #82
    Council Member Tc2642's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509
    Says who?

    SFC W
    Well, They didn't, Saddam's political machine would not allow such elements which could undermine his own authority to be in his country. Please understand that I am not saying that there may have been 'elements' of the radical jihadist's operating within Iraq, but they were on a cause to nowhere, Saddam would have stamped them out as soon as he found them. My point is that the efficent, well funded and deadly organisation known as Al Qaeda in the Land of two rivers did not exist before the invasion. That it is mainly made up of foreign fighters seeking Jihaad against america. Think about it, it opened up a whole new place which they could blow up and shoot at Americans.

  3. #83
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tc2642
    Well, They didn't, Saddam's political machine would not allow such elements which could undermine his own authority to be in his country. Please understand that I am not saying that there may have been 'elements' of the radical jihadist's operating within Iraq, but they were on a cause to nowhere, Saddam would have stamped them out as soon as he found them.
    You mean like he did with the MEK? Oh, wait...he didn't.....
    Last edited by SWJED; 09-03-2006 at 02:38 AM.

  4. #84
    Council Member Tc2642's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTK
    You mean like he did with the MEK? Oh, wait...he didn't.....
    That may be, but I can find no evidence of Al quaeda operating in Iraq before 2003, if you have information to the contary then please send me some links.

  5. #85
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tc2642
    That may be, but I can find no evidence of Al quaeda operating in Iraq before 2003, if you have information to the contary then please send me some links.
    1.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HF13Ak02.html

    Look about halfway down the page. Masri entered Iraq in 2002 and began a cell. Al Qaeda in the Middle East is like Walmart in the mid-west.

    2.
    http://zfacts.com/p/653.html

    Zarqawi was fingered in early 2002 in NE Iraq and named a high payoff target.

    3.
    http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/...ntry=3732&only

    Blog from August 2002 talking about PUK's fighting with Ansar Al Islam, a group closely affiliated with AQIZ

    4.
    http://www.rense.com/general28/alaq.htm

    Even Tariq Aziz mentioned they were in Iraq in August of 2002, but that they were in NE Iraq near Sulamaniyah fighting the Kurds.
    Last edited by RTK; 09-04-2006 at 11:41 AM.

  6. #86
    Council Member Tc2642's Avatar
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    Default Interesting articles

    Thanks for the links, I have read through them, interesting but I will still state that they were not a major threat before 2003 and grew to be so, (implied by the fact they were setting up a cell in 2002), I am not sure what to make of the littlegreenfootballs article since it states its validity is in question and I am always wary of articles trying to link Saddam to 9/11, this to my mind is a fallacy, as for the last article I will admit that I did not know that they were fighting in the Kurdish controlled part of Iraq in 2002 but again I stand by my point that they were not the deadly organisation that they have transformed into after 2003.

    May I also add this from today's news links, scroll down to about halfway,

    http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/...1913-4688r.htm
    Last edited by Tc2642; 09-04-2006 at 05:03 PM.

  7. #87
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default A quick comment

    Quote Originally Posted by Tc2642 View Post
    ... but again I stand by my point that they were not the deadly organisation that they have transformed into after 2003.
    I think that there is a bit of a semantics problem here. Al Qaeda is not, primarily, a military force in the "classic" sense of the term. In many ways, it is closer to the SF model - primarily a training network (and a loosely-coupled network at that). As such, they have been a "deadly organization" since the 1980's.

    The fact that they were setting up cells in Iraq in 2002 shouldn't be surprising - anyone who watched CNN could pretty much figure out that the US was going to get involved in Iraq. As such, setting up cells is really just the first step in establishing a base for local operations including local recruitment. Furthermore, given the speed with which the Bush government rammed through the invasion, the lack of general international support, and the local socio-cultural conditions in Iraq, it was a tailor made opportunity for al Qaeda.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tc2642 View Post
    May I also add this from today's news links, scroll down to about halfway,

    http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/...1913-4688r.htm
    I just finished reading the article and I have to say that while the title is certainly correct - "Wrong 'ism', wrong history" - I suspect that the "corrected solution" offered in the article is totally wrong as well. For example,

    Al Qaeda today is a global politico-religious, ideological and spiritual movement that has far more in common with global communism than the European fascism of the 1930s and '40s. What Mr. Bush calls the global war on terror is an ideological struggle, punctuated by acts of terrorism, a fundamental clash of civilizations between democratic freedom and totalitarian religious regimentation, that is likely to endure at least as long as the almost half-century Cold War.
    While there are some overt similarities between al Qeada and the Commintern of the 20's and 30's, these are mainly organizational rather than symbolic or historical. Organizationally, this is quite understandable given the dominance of Lenin, Mao, Trotsky and Gueverra in the literature. At the symbolic level, it would be better to look at the early time of expansion for Islam - say the first 20 years. I think this was made pretty evident over the past little while with the criticism of bin Laden's breach of the Islamic rules of war and the recent calls for conversion.

    On the historical level, control of Iraq is central to control of one of the major seats of the Caliphate. Again, symbolically, the model that is being used by al Qaeda is closer to that of a re-establishment of the Caliphate than it is to Commintern. The movement is of the general form of what A.E. 'Pete' Hallowell called a "Revitalization Movement" - hearkening back to a Golden Age that may, or may not, have ever existed. Regardless of its actual historical existence, it exists symbolically within Islamic culture and, co-incidentally, is a major flashpoint between Sunni's and Shias.

    The only similar example that I can think of where the American military has any experience with how to deal with the type of symbolic change necessary isn't the WWII European/German reconstruction but, rather, the occupation of Japan. I think we have all seen how effective the de-NAZIfication, oops, sorry, de-Baathification program was. Again, a tailor made recruitment opportunity for al Qeada based on Bremmers' complete misunderstanding of the situation.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  8. #88
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Prairie Pundit Review of Fiasco

    SWC member Merv Benson's review of Fiasco on Prairie Pundit.

    Thomas Ricks take on the Iraq war focuses on the post major combat operations phase of the war up to early 2006. Unlike many critics of the war, his judgment is not impaired by a desire to see the US lose in Iraq, nor does he try to push an agenda against the political leadership. While he attempts to focus on the military response to the enemies attempt to recover from the loss in the major combat operations phase of the war, he does not always hit the mark.

    He is very unfair to Tommy Franks and Rifle DeLong whose staff came up with the original war plane. He is much too generous to Tony Zinni whose plan was not used. Ricks is least plausible when describing the war plan as the worst plan in history. That is quite a statement for a plan that succeeded in toppling Saddam in record time.

    Unlike the authors of Cobra II Ricks does not speculate that the Fedayeen that were encountered on the way to Baghdad became the insurgency. No, Ricks is persuaded that the US created them. He seems enamored by those in the military who believe that being nice to the enemy will win friends. He uses anecdotal evidence drawn from the military equivalent of a police blotter to highlight cases of alleged abuse of Iraqis. Many of the anecdotes lack perspective. They are like the snapshot that captures a reaction without the context of what prompted the reaction. They also lack the perspective of how they fit in the overall context of the war...
    Much more at the link...

  9. #89
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Spin again

    He seems enamored by those in the military who believe that being nice to the enemy will win friends.
    really Merv

    this is counterspin that I would characterize as a 10 second sound bite analysis of an extremely complex issue. Do you adhere to the Attilla the Hun school of thought, kill 'em all and let God sort it out? I mean that sounds snappy and cool to some folks but unless you really get them all, you are not going to win. And even if you could, please tell me how to fit that into the 21st Century and the US role in the world. The center plank of COIN is winning the support of the population. I suggest you look seriously at history and doctrine on COIN.


    Tom

  10. #90
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default Hmmmmm

    Hmmmmm,

    Okay, I just read your review, Merv. Honestly, I'd love to sit down for a few beers and talk with you about it but, since that's not an option, I'll stay away from a long post and just make a few comments.

    In fact, he makes little to no mention of the enemy's substantial violations of the Geneva Conventions while at the same time devoting too much time to the yo-yos of Abu Ghraid.
    Al-Queda hasn't signed the Geneva Conventions, nor are they likely to. Why should they play by our rules?

    Leaving that aside for a sec., their whole goal is political, not military victory. Anything that they can do to show that the coalition forces cannot provide security and a stable, livable environment helps them meet that goal. The more that they can show the "immoral" nature of the "occupation by crusading forces", the better they are able to sell their "story" to the Muslim world. And who is going to disagree with that story when disagreement means death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    really Merv

    this is counterspin that I would characterize as a 10 second sound bite analysis of an extremely complex issue. Do you adhere to the Attilla the Hun school of thought, kill 'em all and let God sort it out?
    Arghhhh!!!!! Tom, I expected better historical accuracy . That wasn't Attila, that was the Papal Nuncio at the siege of Carcassone.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  11. #91
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default There were so many Attilas and I could have been one

    Charlie Beckwith (founded Delta) reportedly had that on his desk name plate

    Another candidate would be King Richard the Lionheart

    I felt that way myself (honestly) so many times in Rwanda that I understand the appeal

    best

    Tom

  12. #92
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    I felt that way myself (honestly) so many times in Rwanda that I understand the appeal
    I can certainly understand that! <wry grin>. Sometimes, I feel that way with my students...

    I first came across that quote maybe 30 years ago when I was studying the Crusades in Europe - mainly the Albigensian Crusade - and it just stuck in my mind. Maybe I've spent too much time studying the histories of religions, but sometimes I'm tempted to just apply it to all of them

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  13. #93
    Council Member CaptCav_CoVan's Avatar
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    Default Lessons of Vietnam

    Back to "Lessons Learned" from Vietnam, I suggest reading (if you have not already done so) The Army in Vietnam by my good friend Andy Krepinevich, who carefully builds a case for the Army's obsession with the "Concept" of fighting another 3 GW on the plains of Europe, or Russia, or China. As we ignored, in Vietnam, the adage "organize and train to fight the enemy you face" rather than facing the enemy wishing he will fight the way you are organized and trained, we completely ignored the lessons of Vietnam and COIN doctrine from 1968 to 2003. Another worthwhile read is David Galula's 500 pages of notes from his tour in Algeria from 1956 to 1958 as a French Marine Captain fighting the Algerian insurgency. I think this is where McNamara got the idea for the fence across the DMZ.
    Last edited by CaptCav_CoVan; 10-12-2006 at 11:15 PM.

  14. #94
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    McNamara's fence idea came from the JASON Group, which may in turn have gotten it from the notes you mentioned. It was yet another example of a classic American desire to rely on technology even when it's not appropriate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCav_CoVan
    ...I think this is where McNamara got the idea for the fence across the DMZ.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair
    McNamara's fence idea came from the JASON Group, which may in turn have gotten it from the notes you mentioned. It was yet another example of a classic American desire to rely on technology even when it's not appropriate.
    The Story Behind the "McNamara Line"
    ...In 1966, Roger Fisher, a Harvard Law School professor interested in arms control, submitted a proposal to Assistant Secretary of Defense John McNaughton that would deal with infiltration down the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos and across the DMZ. Fisher's proposal was to block these routes "with a high tech barrier." Fisher's timing was perfect; McNaughton and McNamara were shopping around for a better way to reduce infiltration. In April, 1966, McNamara turned the proposal over to the Jason Division, a group formed in 1959 by the Institute for Defense Analyses and composed of about 45 of the nation's top academic scientists .

    Fisher's proposal was essentially a duplication of the technological concepts used to construct the Morice Line in Algeria. It would have depended on existing technology in the form of mines, pits, barbed wire and other physical devices. The task given to the Jasons, as modified by McNaughton and McNamara, was to develop a plan for the installation of a barrier laden with state-of-the art electronic devices. In June 1966, representatives from the US military, CIA, White House, and State Department met with the Jasons at a preparatory school for girls in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The Jasons spent most of the summer developing a report on their assigned task, delivering it in person to Secretary McNamara on August 30...
    Newsweek, 18 Sep '67: Barring the Way: McNamara's Line

  16. #96
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    Default McNarara's line

    Roger Fisher was a specialist in conflict resolution through negotiation. One of his concepts was to look at both sides BATNA--best alternative to a negotiated agreement. McNaughton was his guy in the DOD. They were in large part responsible for the Johnson administration's strategy in Vietnam, which boiled down to showing the communist that they could not win. That is one reason why the "barrier" concept appealed to them.

    The sensors that were to be used actually worked to the US advantage at the battle for the Khe Sanh combat base during the Tet offensive. However they were obviously not effective at cutting the Ho Chi Minh Trail because they ultimately relied on transitory power to effect an interdiction that required combat persisting force. One of the many weird rationales in the Vietnam war was the administrations position that it could use air power and small raiding forces in Laos to degrade the enemy's logistic train, but it would not permit a more effective use of force to stop the logistic train. The reason the sensor were effective in the Khe Sanh battle is that combat troops were in a position to stop the enemy's movement to contact in a combined arms effort.

  17. #97
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Phase III Sensors

    The McNamara line was heavily dependent on unattended ground sensors that I inherited in my 1st platoon (one of 2 and a half) in the Army in 1977. The Marines had the same systems. Phase III 'sids as we called them offered certain advantages if used correctly and a laundry list of disadvantages if misused.

    advantages:
    we could confirm targets in the sense of determining size, location, direction/speed of movement, and identity (using acoustic mikes and magnetic confirmers)

    disadvantages
    unless you dropped by air--and that required specially trained crews with large amounts of guts because the drop parameters required very trackable flight parameters--you had to emplace by hand. Much of the McNamara wall stuff was air dropped. In our case, hand emplacement worked if we anticipated kill zones correctly or we could plan on retrograde (active defense).

    regardless of emplacement technique, you still really needed eyes on target to determine whether you really had a target you wanted to shoot, with certain exceptions as in when an acoustic actually picked up voices or track noises. See Merv's comments on why sensors at Khe Sanh worked.

    monitoring remained more or less human; no automation at the time to give you an alert that your sensors string was active. mobile monitoring capability was a survival necessity; we were adapting sids that were designed to be monitored from fixed base locations or aerial platforms. as we were in an airborne division, even tent based ops hardly fit the bill. we actually took M151s and modified them so our teams could operate with BN scouts.

    Still the sids were more effective than ground surveillance radar and were certainly more survivable. GSR was really a form of suicide for an operator facing a Warsaw pact opponent; switching on was essentially asking for a dose of hot steel.

    best
    Tom

  18. #98
    Council Member CaptCav_CoVan's Avatar
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    Default This Site

    Man, I love this site! To be among knowledgable, intelligent, experienced warriors who have walked the walk makes me feel right at home. Thanks for all the sharing of knowledge and sources. I'd go into a hot LZ with you guys any time! Ooorrraaahhh!

  19. #99
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Pseudo-Histories of the Iraq War

    14 October Washington Times commentary - Pseudo-Histories of the Iraq War by Victor Davis Hanson.

    Three recent books about the "fiasco" in Iraq -- "Cobra II" by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor, "State of Denial" by Bob Woodward and just plain "Fiasco" by Tom Ricks -- have attracted a lot of attention, and sales. All three well-written exposes repeat the now well-known argument that our government's incompetence and arrogance have nearly ensured U.S. failure in birthing democracy in Iraq.

    It's worth noting, though, that many of the authors' critical portraits rely on private conversations and anonymous sources. The most damning informants in these books are never identified, and so can't be questioned.

    The authors, as journalists, are well aware that after the New York Times' problems with Jayson Blair and other high-profile media scandals, the public no longer necessarily accepts as gospel what reporters write. That perhaps explains their and others' apparent adaptation of scholarly methods. Often these days journalists mimic the footnoting of historians -- giving the impression their reporting is history documented by verifiable primary and secondary sources also available to the reader.

    Indeed, the verifiability of source material is what distinguishes history from hearsay -- and what distinguishes the genre from journalism or first-person recollections. Since the time of the historian Thucydides -- who not only recorded what speakers said, but, more controversially, made them voice what he thought they might or ought to have said -- historians have developed protocols to ensure credibility. Whether or not historians use footnotes or citations, they at least now agree to draw on information that can be checked by others, who will determine how skillfully, honestly or completely such sources were employed...

  20. #100
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm reading Ricks now, and find that I am in agreement with the pseudo-history critique. For me, perhaps the most interesting comparison is between Ricks and Naylor, who did a very good job of following historical procedures when writing his history of Operation Anaconda. Naylor worked with anonymous sources as well, but he at least gives them partial names and makes it clear in his endnotes that he retained the proper level of documentation. He also doesn't structure his entire narrative around unnamed sources, which I am finding is all too common with Ricks.

    Does this mean that Ricks is without value? No, but it does leave me questioning how he "spins" his sources much more than Naylor did. The more I have to do that, the less overall value I find in a source from a historical standpoint and the more it becomes a sort of IO exercise for me.

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