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Thread: Roadside Bombs & IEDs (catch all)

  1. #81
    Council Member Danny's Avatar
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    Default Don't Mischaracterize

    Ken, the sound bite you cited is just that in the way you cited it. It needs context to understand it. It's context is the question whether we are committed to supplying the resources to do the job right. Without context, it is a mischaracterization and mere (to use your words) "sound bite."

    I am certain that your position isn't that "regardless of whether we are nationally committed to the mission let's leave our forces deployed." This would be an irrational position to take.

    I am supposing that you are arguing simply for garnering the national commitment for doing it right. That said, it isn't clear how you would intend to do this since you don't say.

    Finally, my somewhat rambling prose is related to the subject in that IEDs must be seen in the larger context of the commitments we have across the globe. With a different strategy from the beginning, listening to the Israelis who had already dealt with IEDs, and force projection, the IED problem would not have been what it is today and has been for four years.

    Point? I am blaming the magnitude of the problem on senior leadership.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    I am not as clear as to the author's ultimate intent in writing the piece...First, the piece is no longer what the author submitted. As LTC Gentile noted, the editors of the SF Chronicle chose to evoke editorial privilege and gut his 1200 word article. (I have my suspicions about their reasons, and they have nothing to do with an interest by the Chronicle's editors in saving ink and newsprint.)
    Simply put my intent for writing the piece was to state my observation that IEDs in Iraq are like artillery in World War I: conditions of those two battlefields that tactical or technological innovations could not completely do away with save a political agreement to end the fighting.

    Next I take full responsibility for what i said in that piece. The editor of the paper sent me a revised version with parts taken out and she allowed me to review it make any other changes i wanted as long as i could keep it close to the word limit she had given me. The portions that were taken out to save space did in no way compromise the thrust of the piece. There was no left leaning "moveon.org" motive behind the paper's editor to shorten the piece but only to do just that, shorten it.

    Finally, i do believe Iraq is in Civil War and it is more than just an insurgency. I believe it is important to make this point so that we can see the war for what it actually is and devise policy and operational approaches to suit it.

  3. #83
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Schmedlap's post is a good one because

    it allows us to consider how IEDs (and other like conditions) effect all 3 levels of war. It also allows us to consider that the enemy must also overcome chaos and friction, often suffering directly and indirectly from actions occurring elsewhere as well as creating conditions which afford us opportunities provided we can recognize their significance and capitalize on them. This is not to say that this was a coordinated effort where task and purpose nested nicely with operational objectives and strategic ends - few planned things ever work out so well because the future is unpredictable and the attraction of linearizing things after they happen is strong; however the effort to make the linkages and take full advantage of them should not be understated - it is the art of recognizing potential, arranging resources and exploiting possibilities. It provides a model that military CDRs and planners along with policy makers and their advisers should consider when contemplating complex problems.

    There is another way to stop IEDs - used successfully in OIF III: make the cost of emplacing them prohibitively high. I'll err on the side of OPSEC and omit the city and nitty-gritty details, but the basic gist of it is that we flooded the city with small teams whose sole purpose in life was to observe, report, and kill anyone emplacing an IED.
    Overwatches/Ambushes along with patrolling and a QRF built on an understanding of the enemy through good reporting, debriefs and small unit AARs are good tactics - the enemy is more vulnerable here and for him to have an effect he must come to where he will find his enemy. This hits the enemy at the tactical level, but can also disrupt his operational goals - an example would be his attempting to increase OPTEMPO in an outlying city in order to get us to shift forces out of the capital or to try and operationally fix forces required in the capital.

    The going rate for digging in an IED went from $25 to over $500 because the imminent threat of death resulting from IED emplacement become so apparent to the populace.
    Depending on the flexibility of funding ascribed to a group or cell - raising the price of IED emplacement or the activity which supports it (dropping of supplies, recon, digging a hole, etc.) drains operational funds which might go to other activities such as material procurement, paying of government officials and informants, recruiting new members, training, movement, housing and food, etc. If this is a small group it may force them into criminal activity or some other activity which de-legitmizes them, slows their OPTEMPO, causes cell friction, or causes them to get sloppy and killed for example. If it is a part of a larger group it may drain funds from elsewhere disrupting those operations, force communications which allow us to understand and target them, and sew discord which exacerbates existing problems. Combined with other Lines of Effort which offer choices to those who supported IED networks - could be becoming an informant, could be a new line of work - the cost/value equation takes on a new perspective. For the politically committed this may be something to be waited out, but their network requires a certain amount of environmental facilitation - as that dries up, its harder for them to operate.

    Now, this is not a strategy to defeat our enemies, but it was an approach that stopped IEDs and enabled us to get the IA and IP into the city with their unarmored vehicles with a greatly diminished threat of them incurring mass casualties.
    Enabling the Host Nation security forces to operate in an environment where the enemy has been deprived of a tactic and weapon which afforded him an advantage has multiple benefits - it increases the amount of forces available to secure the populace and deny the enemy physical and moral freedom of movement, maximizes the natural advantages obtained by being a security force that is representative of the culture it operates in, and its often the first physical representation of the government which can lead to establishing legitimacy. Once the HN SecFor has established itself, US/CF assets/resources/units can be redistributed or redeployed -This is an exponential increase - and is a solid linkage to the operational and strategic levels of war through tactical operations.

    The necessary condition was not for the US forces and Anbar tribes to stop fighting one another. The necessary condition was to convince the Anbar tribes to drive al-Qaeda in Iraq out of the province.
    This is changing the nature of the political objectives/conversation by some of the belligerents through recognition of shift in conditions. In the captured letter between AQ leadership and AQIZ leadership great concern was expressed about the wanton carnage and tactics employed by AQIZ against Iraqis - it was recognized by AQ as jeopardizing the political objectives they were after - in fact the letter recommended that AQ expend more effort in its political operations then its military ones. There have been documented horrors as well as violations of familial and tribal honors which may have occurred partly as a result of impatience, frustration and stresses as AQIZ's vision of the battlefield failed to be realized - partly through tactical and operation successes by US, CF and ISF - which were partly enabled through freedom of movement - which means mitigating the effects of IEDs along MSRs and ASRs. This probably had some effect on how the Anbar Sheiks viewed the evolution of their political objectives from one where they were more aligned with the interests of AQIZ, to one where they were more aligned with us (and the HN).

    All of these things combined create and compound operational problems for insurgents that flow in both directions, gain momentum at various points and can create new opportunities for us and the HN to be exploited.

    Danger - this is not to say that the lines are clearly drawn - I don't think we can do that given the infinite variables that may have been introduced - but I do believe them related enough to use for considering the complex social conditions that occur in war and which IEDs represent.

    Even though events unfolded as they did, there was no guarantee that they would -its more like we assembled the various pieces with some common frame of reference (and we're not done yet) - so policies which might create the conditions cannot guarantee the desired outcome - just because we'd like to imagine it as a linear series of events between the start point and the end point - doesn't make it that way (its more akin to guessing how the cards will land and which cards are under the others in 52 pick up then lining up dominoes). What we can do I think to maximize our chances of coming relatively close to the desired strategic outcome is attune ourselves to changes and opportunities and have the resources available to make the most of them while remaining flexible and adaptive at the tactical and operational levels.

    We are not done in Iraq, not done in Afghanistan and the odds are that in some places they are designing and/or cranking out and caching Insurgent capabilities such IEDs that are far better then the ones we've seen so far, and training cadre and training documents that allow them to mix types of warfare and transition from different types of operations and retain the initiative. These UW capabilities will probably not be used solely for Internal defense but as in the past, used to foment insurgency, terrify and destabilize, possibly combined and coordinated with conventional GPF to achieve broader regional political objectives.

    Best, Rob
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 11-10-2007 at 11:55 PM.

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    what message in this oped was so important to convey that it was worth the highly likely risk that the article will have unintended or incorrect interpretations trumpeted by the likes of moveon.org and other fringe groups?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    Finally, i do believe Iraq is in Civil War and it is more than just an insurgency. I believe it is important to make this point so that we can see the war for what it actually is and devise policy and operational approaches to suit it.
    Another thing I've learned is that when the truth about Iraq is distorted, no matter what the reason, it is the trigger puller who suffers the most.

  5. #85
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Clarity helps avoid mischaracterization...

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny View Post
    Ken, the sound bite you cited is just that in the way you cited it. It needs context to understand it. It's context is the question whether we are committed to supplying the resources to do the job right. Without context, it is a mischaracterization and mere (to use your words) "sound bite."
    That may be the question but I don't think you posed it in your first comment on this thread. Thus, lacking that context, you reaped. I'd also submit that whether we are committed to supplying the resources to do the job right is possibly not a good question. Within reason, all the services have for several years gotten pretty much what they asked for. Thus if the resources are not right, the requests from the field weren't right. Perhaps a better question is 'are we as a nation adequately committed to doing this job.' I suspect the answer to that question is very much perspective dependent and I suggest there is no correct answer.

    I am certain that your position isn't that "regardless of whether we are nationally committed to the mission let's leave our forces deployed." This would be an irrational position to take.
    I believe the current Administration and the bulk of those who might form the next administration are in fact committed to the mission; thus the nation is both de facto and de jure committed to the mission. I realize there are those in the adminsitration, in Congress, in the Armed Forces and across the nation who wish to not be committed to the mission but my guess is they will not have their wish granted because that would be inimical to the national interest and most people realize that. The politics of the issue are more appropriate elsewhere. This is a practices and methods, not a political board.

    I am supposing that you are arguing simply for garnering the national commitment for doing it right. That said, it isn't clear how you would intend to do this since you don't say.
    That would be the second incorrect supposition on your part. No 'national commitment' is required, merely the government's intention to continue the mission. I'll note that having been around since the very early '30s, I have yet to see a war in which we have been engaged that had a true 'national commitment.' WW II came very close but even it required a degree of State single-mindedness and coercion that has not existed since and is unlikely to lacking a war of national survival. Each subsequent war has had decidedly less -- and increasingly less -- 'national commitment.' That has generally been political and not necessarily practical.

    Finally, my somewhat rambling prose is related to the subject in that IEDs must be seen in the larger context of the commitments we have across the globe. With a different strategy from the beginning, listening to the Israelis who had already dealt with IEDs, and force projection, the IED problem would not have been what it is today and has been for four years.
    Being vaguely aware of those global commitments I believe I can see the broader context, certainly glimmers of it...

    You say with a different strategy the IED problem would not be what it is. That means we would not be in Iraq as that is the only relevant strategic decision. Obviously true.

    If you perhaps meant a different thrust operationally, that's possible. if you meant with different tactics, it is also possible. Note the latter two levels only provide a possibility of a lesser problem.

    I believe that listening to the Israelis early on (late '03 and '04) at the behest of the then DepSecDef was done at some length. Doesn't seem to have helped much. You do know, I suppose, that the 'V' hull technology is South African, that we had been aware of it for years before the Israelis found out Hezbollah was just as smart as they were?

    I'll also note that the US Army has dealt with IEDs for many years; from the Schu mines and off-route Panzerfausts of WW II and Korea through 105 and 155 shells and 500 and even 1,000 pound bombs buried in Viet Nam all cunningly emplaced and detonated by various means. They even did a few EFPs, a technique that also dates from WW II. We know how to deal with many things -- we just let egos get in the way and refuse to use our experience and apply lessons we learned with difficulty and unnecessary casualties. It's the American way.

    Point? I am blaming the magnitude of the problem on senior leadership.
    Magnitude of what problem? IEDs? If so, by magnitude do you mean the size, capability or quantity?

  6. #86
    Council Member nichols's Avatar
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    Part 1

    This is a classic look at my right hand while I hit you with my left. This war isn't about a civil war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon or any other country. It is a clash between two different cultures. IEDs have been the method of employment for centuries. Historically we have tried isolationism multiple times, every time we have paid dearly for our Fortress America, Monroe Doctrine attitude. Let's do a quick look at what we have been dealing with from 1970 until 9/11:

    S/A, this info is from the Jewish Virtual Library, politically driven but facts are facts.

    February 23, 1970, Halhoul, West Bank. PLO fires on a busload of pilgrims killing one and wounding two Americans.

    March 28-29, 1970, Beirut, Lebanon. The PFLP fired seven rockets at the U.S. Embassy.

    September 14, 1970, The PFLP hijacked a TWA flight from Zurich, four Americans were injured.

    May 30, 1972, Ben Gurion Airport, Israel. Three members of the Japanese Red Army, acting on the PFLP's bbehalf, carried out a machine-gun and grenade attack at Israel's main airport, killing 26 and wounding 78 people. Many of the casualties were American citizens, mostly from Puerto Rico.

    September 5, 1972, Munich, Germany. During the Olympic Games in Munich, Black September, a front for Fatah, took hostage 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. Nine athletes were killed including weightlifter David Berger, an American-Israeli from Cleveland, Ohio.

    March 2, 1973, Khartoum, Sudan. Cleo A. Noel, Jr., U.S. ambassador to Sudan, and George C. Moore, also a U.S. diplomat, were held hostage and then killed by terrorists at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. It seems likely that Fatah was responsible for the attack.

    September 8, 1974, Athens, Greece. TWA Flight 841, flying from Tel Aviv to New York, made a scheduled stop in Athens. Shortly after takeoff, it crashed into the Ionian Sea and all 88 passengers were killed.

    June 29, 1975, Beirut, Lebanon. The PFLP kidnapped the U.S. military attaché to Lebanon, Ernest Morgan, and demanded food, clothing and building materials for indigent residents living near Beirut harbor. The American diplomat was released after an anonymous benefactor provided food to the neighborhood.

    November 14, 1975, Jerusalem, Israel. Lola Nunberg, 53, of New York, was injured during a bombing attack in downtown Jerusalem. Fatah claimed responsibility for the bombing, which killed six people and wounded 38.

    November 21, 1975, Ramat Hamagshimim, Israel. Michael Nadler, an American-Israeli from Miami Beach, Florida, was killed when axe-wielding terrorists from the Democrat Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a PLO faction, attacked students in the Golan Heights.

    August 11, 1976, Istanbul, Turkey. The PFLP launched an attack on the terminal of Israel's major airline, El Al, at the Istanbul airport. Four civilians, including Harold Rosenthal of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were killed and 20 injured.

    January 1, 1977, Beirut, Lebanon. Frances E. Meloy, U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, and Robert O.Waring, the U.S. economic counselor, were kidnapped by PFLP members as they crossed a militia checkpoint separating the Christian from the Muslim parts of Beirut. They were later shot to death.

    March 11, 1978, Tel Aviv, Israel. Gail Rubin, niece of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff, was among 38 people shot to death by PLO terrorists on an Israeli beach.

    June 2, 1978, Jerusalem, Israel. Richard Fishman, a medical student from Maryland, was among six killed in a PLO bus bombing in Jerusalem. Chava Sprecher, another American citizen from Seattle, Washington, was injured.

    May 4, 1979, Tiberias, Israel. Haim Mark and his wife, Haya, of New Haven, Connecticut were injured in a PLO bombing attack in northern Israel.

    November 4, 1979, Teheran, Iran. After President Carter agreed to admit the Shah of Iran into the U.S., Iranian radicals seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 66 American diplomats hostage. Thirteen hostages were soon freed, but the remaining 53 were held until their release on January 20, 1981.

    May 2, 1980, Hebron, West Bank. Eli Haze'ev, an American-Israeli from Alexandria, Virginia, was killed in a PLO attack on Jewish worshippers walking home from a synagogue in Hebron.

    July 19, 1982, Beirut, Lebanon. Hizballah members kidnapped David Dodge, acting president of the American University in Beirut. After a year in captivity, Dodge was released. Rifat Assad, head of Syrian Intelligence, helped in the negotiation with the terrorists.

    August 19, 1982, Paris, France. Two American citizens, Anne Van Zanten and Grace Cutler, were killed when the PLO bombed a Jewish restaurant in Paris.

    March 16, 1983, Beirut, Lebanon. Five American Marines were wounded in a hand grenade attack while on patrol north of Beirut International Airport. The Islamic Jihad and Al-Amal, a Shi'ite militia, claimed responsibility for the attack.

    April 18, 1983, Beirut, Lebanon. A truck-bomb detonated by a remote control exploded in front of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 employees, including the CIA's Middle East director, and wounding 120. Hizballah, with financial backing from Iran, was responsible for the attack.

    July 1, 1983, Hebron, Israel. Aharon Gross, 19, an American-Israeli from New York, was stabbed to death by PLO terrorists in the Hebron marketplace.

    September 29, 1983, Beirut, Lebanon. Two American marines were kidnapped by Amal members. They were released after intervention by a Lebanese army officer.

    October 23, 1983, Beirut, Lebanon. A truck loaded with a bomb crashed into the lobby of the U.S. Marines headquarters in Beirut, killing 241 soldiers and wounding 81. The attack was carried out by Hizballah with the help of Syrian intelligence and financed by Iran.

    December 19, 1983, Jerusalem, Israel. Serena Sussman, a 60-year-old tourist from Anderson, South Carolina, died from injuries from the PLO bombing of a bus in Jerusalem 13 days earlier.

    January 18, 1984, Beirut, Lebanon. Malcolm Kerr, a Lebanese born American who was president of the American University of Beirut, was killed by two gunmen outside his office. Hizballah said the assassination was part of the organization's plan to "drive all Americans out from Lebanon."

    March 7, 1984, Beirut, Lebanon. Hizballah members kidnapped Jeremy Levin, Beirut bureau chief of Cable News Network (CNN). Levin managed to escape and reach Syrian army barracks. He was later transferred to American hands.

    March 8, 1984, Beirut, Lebanon. Three Hizballah members kidnapped Reverend Benjamin T. Weir, while he was walking with his wife in Beirut's Manara neighborhood. Weir was released after 16 months of captivity with Syrian and Iranian assistance.

    March 16, 1984, Beirut, Lebanon. Hizballah kidnapped William Buckley, a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Buckley was supposed to be exchanged for prisoners. However when the transaction failed to take place, he was reportedly transported to Iran. Although his body was never found, the U.S. administration declared the American diplomat dead.

    April 12, 1984, Torrejon, Spain. Hizballah bombed a restaurant near an U.S. Air Force base in Torrejon, Spain, wounding 83 people.

    September 20, 1984, Beirut, Lebanon. A suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy in East Beirut killed 23 people and injured 21. The American and British ambassadors were slightly injured in the attack, attributed to the Iranian backed Hizballah group.

    September 20, 1984, Aukar, Lebanon. Islamic Jihad detonate a van full of explosives 30 feet in front of the U.S. Embassy annex severely damaging the building, killing two U.S. servicemen and seven Lebanese employees, as well as 5 to 15 non-employees. Twenty Americans were injured, including U.S. Ambassador Reginald Bartholomew and visiting British Ambassador David Miers. An estimated 40 to 50 Lebanese were hurt. The attack came in response to the U.S. veto September 6 of a U.N. Security Council resolution.

    December 4, 1984, Tehran, Iran. Hizballah terrorists hijacked a Kuwait Airlines plane en route from Dubai, United Emirates, to Karachi, Pakistan. They demanded the release from Kuwaiti jails of members of Da'Wa, a group of Shiite extremists serving sentences for attacks on French and American targets on Kuwaiti territory. The terrorists forced the pilot to fly to Tehran where the terrorists murdered two passengers--American Agency for International Development employees, Charles Hegna and William Stanford. Although an Iranian special unit ended the incident by storming the plane and arresting the terrorists, the Iranian government might also have been involved in the hijacking.

    June 14, 1985, Between Athens and Rome. Two Hizballah members hijacked a TWA flight en route to Rome from Athens and forced the pilot to fly to Beirut. The terrorists, believed to belong to Hizballah, asked for the release of members of the group Kuwait 17 and 700 Shi'ite prisoners held in Israeli and South Lebanese prisons. The eight crewmembers and 145 passengers were held for 17 days during which one of the hostages, Robert Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver, was murdered. After being flown twice to Algiers, the aircraft returned to Beirut and the hostages were released. Later on, four Hizballah members were secretly indicted. One of them, the Hizballah senior officer Imad Mughniyah, was indicted in absentia.
    Last edited by nichols; 11-12-2007 at 04:26 AM.

  7. #87
    Council Member nichols's Avatar
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    Part 2


    October 7, 1985, Between Alexandria, Egypt and Haifa, Israel. A four-member PFLP squad took over the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, as it was sailing from Alexandria, Egypt, to Israel. The squad murdered a disabled U.S. citizen, Leon Klinghoffer, by throwing him in the ocean. The rest of the passengers were held hostage for two days and later released after the terrorists turned themselves in to Egyptian authorities in return for safe passage. But U.S. Navy fighters intercepted the Egyptian aircraft flying the terrorists to Tunis and forced it to land at the NATO airbase in Italy, where the terrorists were arrested. Two of the terrorists were tried in Italy and sentenced to prison. The Italian authorities however let the two others escape on diplomatic passports. Abu Abbas, who masterminded the hijacking, was later convicted to life imprisonment in absentia.

    December 27, 1985, Rome, Italy. Four terrorists from Abu Nidal's organization attacked El Al offices at the Leonardo di Vinci Airport in Rome. Thirteen people, including five Americans, were killed and 74 wounded, among them two Americans. The terrorists had come from Damascus and were supported by the Syrian regime.

    March 30, 1986, Athens, Greece. A bomb exploded on a TWA flight from Rome as it approached Athens airport. The attack killed four U.S. citizens who were sucked through a hole made by the blast, although the plane safely landed. The bombing was attributed to the Fatah Special Operations Group's intelligence and security apparatus, headed by Abdullah Abd al-Hamid Labib, alias Colonel Hawari.

    April 5, 1986, West Berlin, Germany. An explosion at the "La Belle" nightclub in Berlin, frequented by American soldiers, killed three--2 U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman-and wounded 191 including 41 U.S. soldiers. Given evidence of Libyan involvement, the U.S. Air Force made a retaliatory attack against Libyan targets on April 17. Libya refused to hand over to Germany five suspects believed to be there. Others, however, were tried including Yassir Shraidi and Musbah Eter, arrested in Rome in August 1997 and extradited; and also Ali Chanaa, his wife, Verena Chanaa, and her sister, Andrea Haeusler. Shraidi, accused of masterminding the attack, was sentenced to 14 years in jail. The Libyan diplomat Musbah Eter and Ali Chanaa were both sentenced to 12 years in jail. Verena Chanaa was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Andrea Haeusler was acquitted.

    September 5, 1986, Karachi, Pakistan. Abu Nidal members hijacked a Pan Am flight leaving Karachi, Pakistan bound for Frankfurt, Germany and New York with 379 passengers, including 89 Americans. The terrorists forced the plane to land in Larnaca, Cyprus, where they demanded the release of two Palestinians and a Briton jailed for the murder of three Israelis there in 1985. The terrorists killed 22 of the passengers, including two American citizens and wounded many others. They were caught and indicted by a Washington grand jury in 1991.

    September 9, 1986, Beirut, Lebanon. Continuing its anti-American attacks, Hizballah kidnapped Frank Reed, director of the American University in Beirut, whom they accused of being "a CIA agent." He was released 44 months later. September 12, 1986, Beirut, Lebanon. Hizballah kidnapped Joseph Cicippio, the acting comptroller at the American University in Beirut. Cicippio was released five years later on December 1991.

    October 15, 1986, Jerusalem, Israel. Gali Klein, an American citizen, was killed in a grenade attack by Fatah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

    October 21, 1986, Beirut, Lebanon. Hizballah kidnapped Edward A. Tracy, an American citizen in Beirut. He was released five years later, on August 1991.

    February 17, 1988, Ras-Al-Ein Tyre, Lebanon. Col. William Higgins, the American chief of the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization, was abducted by Hizballah while driving from Tyre to Nakura. The hostages demanded the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon and the release of all Palestinian and Lebanese held prisoners in Israel. The U.S. government refused to answer the request. Hizballah later claimed they killed Higgins.

    December 21, 1988, Lockerbie, Scotland. Pan Am Flight 103 departing from Frankfurt to New York was blown up in midair, killing all 259 passengers and another 11 people on the ground in Scotland. Two Libyan agents were found responsible for planting a sophisticated suitcase bomb onboard the plane. On 14 November 1991, arrest warrants were issued for Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima and Abdel Baset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi. After Libya refused to extradite the suspects to stand trial, the United Nations leveled sanctions against the country in April 1992, including the freezing of Libyan assets abroad. In 1999, Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi agreed to hand over the two suspects, but only if their trial was held in a neutral country and presided over by a Scottish judge. With the help of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah, Al-Megrahi and Fahima were finally extradited and tried in Camp Zeist in the Netherlands. Megrahi was found guilty and jailed for life, while Fahima was acquitted due to a "lack of evidence" of his involvement. After the extradition, UN sanctions against Libya were automatically lifted.
    Last edited by nichols; 11-12-2007 at 04:20 AM.

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    Council Member nichols's Avatar
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    Part 3

    January 27, 1989, Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey. Three simultaneous bombings were carried out against U.S. business targets--the Turkish American Businessmen Association and the Economic Development Foundation in Istanbul, and the Metal Employees Union in Ankara. The Dev Sol (Revolutionary Left) was held responsible for the attacks.

    March 6, 1989, Cairo, Egypt. Two explosive devices were safely removed from the grounds of the American and British Cultural centers in Cairo. Three organizations were believed to be responsible for the attack: The January 15 organization, which had sent a letter bomb to the Israeli ambassador to London in January; the Egyptian Revolutionary Organization that from out 1984-1986 carried out attacks against U.S. and Israeli targets; and the Nasserite Organization, which had attacked British and American targets in 1988.

    June 12, 1989, Bosphorus Straits, Turkey. A bomb exploded aboard an unoccupied boat used by U.S. consular staff. The explosion caused extensive damage but no casualties. An organization previously unknown, the Warriors of the June 16th Movement, claimed responsibility for the attack.

    October 11, 1989, Izmir, Turkey. An explosive charge went off outside a U.S. military PX. Dev Sol was held responsible for the attack.

    February 7, 1991, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Dev Sol members shot and killed a U.S. civilian contractor as he was getting into his car at the Incirlik Air Base in Adana, Turkey.

    February 28, 1991, Izmir, Turkey. Two Dev Sol gunmen shot and wounded a U.S. Air Force officer as he entered his residence in Izmir.

    March 28, 1991, Jubial, Saudi Arabia. Three U.S. marines were shot at and injured by an unknown terrorist while driving near Camp Three, Jubial. No organization claimed responsibility for the attack.

    October 28, 1991, Ankara, Turkey. Victor Marwick, an American soldier serving at the Turkish-American base, Tuslog, was killed and his wife wounded in a car bomb attack. The Turkish Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

    October 28, 1991, Istanbul, Turkey. Two car bombings killed a U.S. Air Force sergeant and severely wounded an Egyptian diplomat in Istanbul. Turkish Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

    November 8, 1991, Beirut, Lebanon. A 100-kg car bomb destroyed the administration building of the American University in Beirut, killing one person and wounding at least a dozen.

    October 12, 1992, Umm Qasr, Iraq. A U.S. soldier serving with the United Nations was stabbed and wounded near the port of Umm Qasr. No organization claimed responsibility for the attack.

    January 25, 1993, Virginia, United States. A Pakistani gunman opened fire on Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employees standing outside of the building. Two agents, Frank Darling and Bennett Lansing, were killed and three others wounded. The assailant was never caught and reportedly fled to Pakistan.

    February 26, 1993, Cairo, Egypt. A bomb exploded inside a café in downtown Cairo killing three. Among the 18 wounded were two U.S. citizens. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.

    February 26, 1993, New York, United States. A massive van bomb exploded in an underground parking garage below the World Trade Center in New York City, killing six and wounding 1,042. Four Islamist activists were responsible for the attack. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the operation's alleged mastermind, escaped but was later arrested in Pakistan and extradited to the United States. Abd al-Hakim Murad, another suspected conspirator, was arrested by local authorities in the Philippines and handed over to the United States. The two, along with two other terrorists, were tried in the U.S. and sentenced to 240 years.
    Last edited by nichols; 11-12-2007 at 04:19 AM.

  9. #89
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    Part 4

    April 14, 1993, Kuwait. The Iraqi intelligence service attempted to assassinate former U.S. President George Bush during a visit to Kuwait. In retaliation, the U.S. launched a cruise missile attack two months later on the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

    July 5, 1993, Southeast Turkey. In eight separate incidents, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) kidnapped a total of 19 Western tourists traveling in southeastern Turkey. The hostages, including U.S. citizen Colin Patrick Starger, were released unharmed after spending several weeks in captivity.

    December 1, 1993, north of Jerusalem, West Bank. Yitzhak Weinstock, 19, whose family came from Los Angeles, CA, was killed in a drive-by shooting. Hamas took responsibility for the attack

    Sometime in 1994: near Atzmona, Gaza. U.S. citizen Mrs. Sheila Deutsch of Brooklyn, NY injured in a shooting attack.

    October 9, 1994. Nachshon Wachsman, 19, whose family came from New York, was kidnapped and then murdered by Hamas.

    October 9, 1994: Jerusalem, Israel. Shooting attack on cafe-goers in Jerusalem. U.S. citizens Scot Doberstein and Eric Goldberg were injured.

    March 8, 1995, Karachi, Pakistan. Two unidentified gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles opened fire on a U.S. Consulate van in Karachi, killing two U.S. diplomats, Jacqueline Keys Van Landingham and Gary C. Durell, and wounding a third, Mark McCloy.

    April 9, 1995, Kfar Darom and Netzarim, Gaza Strip. Two suicide attacks were carried out within a few hours of each other in Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. In the first attack a suicide bomber crashed an explosive-rigged van into an Israeli bus in Netzarim, killing eight including U.S. citizen Alisa Flatow, 20, of West Orange, NJ. More than 30 others were injured. In the second attack, a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb in the midst of a convoy of cars in Kfar Darom, injuring 12. The Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Shaqaqi Faction claimed responsibility for the attacks. U.S. citizens Chava Levine and Seth Klein were injured.

    June 15, 1995: Jerusalem, Israel. U.S. citizen Howard Tavens of Cleveland, OH was injured in a stabbing attack.

    July 4, 1995, Kashmir, India. In Kashmir, a previously unknown militant group, Al-Faran, with suspected links to a Kashmiri separatist group in Pakistan, took hostage six tourists, including two U.S. citizens. They demanded the release of Muslim militants held in Indian prisons. One of the U.S. citizens escaped on July 8, while on August 13 the decapitated body of the Norwegian hostage was found along with a note stating that the other hostages also would be killed if the group's demands were not met. The Indian Government refused. Both Indian and American authorities believe the rest of the hostages were most likely killed in 1996 by their jailers.

    August 1995, Istanbul, Turkey. A bombing of Istanbul's popular Taksim Square injured two U.S. citizens. This attack was part of a three-year-old attempt by the PKK to drive foreign tourists away from Turkey by striking at tourist sites.

    August 21, 1995, Jerusalem, Israel. A bus bombing in Jerusalem by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) killed four, including American Joan Davenny of New Haven, CT, and wounded more than 100. U.S. citizens injured: Chanoch Bleier, Judith Shulewitz, Bernard Batta.

    September 9, 1995. Ma'ale Michmash. American killed: Unborn child of Mrs. Mara Frey of Chicago. Mara Frey was injured.

    November 9, 1995, Algiers, Algeria. Islamic extremists set fire to a warehouse belonging to the U.S. Embassy, threatened the Algerian security guard because he was working for the United States, and demanded to know whether any U.S. citizens were present. The Armed Islamic Group (GIA) probably carried out the attacks. The group had threatened to strike other foreign targets and especially U.S. objectives in Algeria, and the attack's style was similar to past GIA operations against foreign facilities.

    November 13, 1995, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A car bomb exploded in the parking lot outside of the Riyadh headquarters of the Office of the Program Manager/Saudi Arabian National Guard, killing seven persons, five of them U.S. citizens, and wounding 42. The blast severely damaged the three-story building, which houses a U.S. military advisory group, and several neighboring office buildings. Three groups -- the Islamic Movement for Change, the Tigers of the Gulf, and the Combatant Partisans of God -- claimed responsibility for the attack.

    February 25, 1996, Jerusalem, Israel. A suicide bomber blew up a commuter bus in Jerusalem, killing 26, including three U.S. citizens, and injuring 80 others, among them three other U.S. citizens. Hamas claimed responsibility for the bombing. U. S. citizens killed: Sara Duker, of Teaneck, NJ, Matthew Eisenfeld of West Hartford, CT, Ira Weinstein of Bronx, NY. U.S. citizens injured: Beatrice Kramer, Steven Lapides, and Leah Stein Mousa.

    March 4, 1996, Tel Aviv, Israel. A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device outside the Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv's largest shopping mall, killing 20 persons and injuring 75 others, including two U.S. citizens. Both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombing. U.S. citizens injured included Julie K. Negrin of Seattle, WA.

    May 13, 1996, Beit-El, West Bank. Arab gunmen opened fire on a hitchhiking stand near Beit El, wounding three Israelis and killing David Boim, 17, an American-Israeli from New York. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, although either the Islamic Jihad or Hamas are suspected. U.S. citizens injured: Moshe Greenbaum, 17.

    June 9, 1996, outside Zekharya. Yaron Ungar, an American-Israeli, and his Israeli wife were killed in a drive-by shooting near their West Bank home. The PFLP is suspected.

    June 25, 1996, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. A fuel truck carrying a bomb exploded outside the U.S. military's Khobar Towers housing facility in Dhahran, killing 19 U.S. military personnel and wounding 515 persons, including 240 U.S. personnel. Several groups claimed responsibility for the attack. In June 2001, a U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, identified Saudi Hizballah as the party responsible for the attack. The court indicated that the members of the organization, banned from Saudi Arabia, "frequently met and were trained in Lebanon, Syria, or Iran" with Libyan help.

    August 17, 1996, Mapourdit, Sudan. Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) rebels kidnapped six missionaries in Mapourdit, including a U.S citizen. The SPLA released the hostages on August 28.

    November 1, 1996, Sudan. A breakaway group of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) kidnapped three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), including one U.S citizen. The rebels released the hostages on December 9 in exchange for ICRC supplies and a health survey of their camp.

    December 3, 1996, Paris, France. A bomb exploded aboard a Paris subway train, killing four and injuring 86 persons, including a U.S. citizen. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but Algerian extremists are suspected.

    January 2, 1997, Major cities worldwide, United States. A series of letter bombs with Alexandria, Egypt postmarks were discovered at Al-Hayat newspaper bureaus in Washington, DC, New York, London, and Riyadh. Three similar devices, also postmarked in Egypt, were found at a prison facility in Leavenworth, Kansas. Bomb disposal experts defused all the devices, but one detonated at the Al-Hayat newspaper office in London, injuring two security guards and causing minor damage.
    Last edited by nichols; 11-12-2007 at 04:19 AM.

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    Part 5

    February 23, 1997, New York, United States. A Palestinian gunman opened fire on tourists at an observation deck atop the Empire State building in New York, killing a Danish national and wounding visitors from the United States, Argentina, Switzerland and France before turning the gun on himself. A handwritten note carried by the gunman claimed this was a punishment attack against the "enemies of Palestine."

    July 30, 1997, Jerusalem, Israel. Two bombs detonated in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market, killing 15 persons, including a U.S. citizen and wounding 168 others, among them two U.S. citizens. The Izz-el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, claimed responsibility for the attack. U.S. citizens killed: Mrs. Leah Stern of Passaic, NJ. U.S. citizens injured: Dov Dalin.

    September 4, 1997: Jerusalem, Israel. Bombing on Ben-Yehuda Street, Jerusalem. U.S. citizens killed: Yael Botwin, 14, of Los Angeles and Jerusalem. U.S. citizens injured: Diana Campuzano of New York, Abraham Mendelson of Los Angeles, CA, Greg Salzman of New Jersey, Stuart E. Hersh of Kiryat Arba, Israel, Michael Alzer, Abraham Elias, David Keinan, Daniel Miller of Boca Raton, FL, Noam Rozenman of Jerusalem, Jenny (Yocheved) Rubin of Los Angeles, CA. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

    October 30, 1997, Sanaa, Yemen. Al-Sha'if tribesmen kidnapped a U.S. businessman near Sanaa. The tribesmen sought the release of two fellow tribesmen who were arrested on smuggling charges and several public works projects they claim the government promised them. The hostage was released on November 27.

    November 12, 1997, Karachi, Pakistan. Two unidentified gunmen shot to death four U.S. auditors from Union Texas Petroleum and their Pakistani driver as they drove away from the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi. Two groups claimed responsibility -- the Islamic Inqilabi Council, or Islamic Revolutionary Council and the Aimal Secret Committee, also known as the Aimal Khufia Action Committee.

    November 25, 1997, Aden, Yemen. Yemenite tribesmen kidnapped a U.S citizen, two Italians, and two unspecified Westerners near Aden to protest the eviction of a tribe member from his home. The kidnappers released the five hostages on November 27.

    February 6, 1998, Jerusalem, Israel. Stabbing in Jerusalem. U.S. Citizen Yosef Lepon, 17 injured.

    April 19, 1998, Maon, Israel. Dov Driben, a 28-year-old American-Israeli farmer was killed by terrorists near the West Bank town of Maon. One of his assailants, Issa Debavseh, a member of Fatah Tanzim, was killed on November 7, 2001, by the IDF after being on their wanted list for the murder.

    June 21, 1998, Beirut, Lebanon. Two hand-grenades were thrown at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. No casualties were reported.

    June 21, 1998, Beirut, Lebanon. Three rocket-propelled grenades attached to a crude detonator exploded near the U.S. Embassy compound in Beirut, causing no casualties and little damage. August 7, 1998, Nairobi, Kenya. A car bomb exploded at the rear entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. The attack killed a total of 292, including 12 U.S. citizens, and injured over 5,000, among them six Americans. The perpetrators belonged to al-Qaida, Usama bin Ladin's network.

    August 7, 1998, Dar es Sala'am, Tanzania. A car bomb exploded outside the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Sala'am, killing 11 and injuring 86. Osama bin Laden's organization al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the attack. Two suspects were arrested.

    November 21, 1998, Teheran, Iran. Members of Fedayeen Islam, shouting anti-American slogans and wielding stones and iron rods, attacked a group of American tourists in Tehran. Some of the tourists suffered minor injuries from flying glass.

    December 28, 1998, Mawdiyah, Yemen. Sixteen tourists--12 Britons, two Americans and two Australians--were taken hostage in the largest kidnapping in Yemen's recent history. The tourists were seized in the Abyan province (some 175 miles south of Sanaa the capital). One Briton and a Yemeni guide escaped, while the rest were taken to city of Mawdiyah. Four hostages were killed when troops closed in and two were wounded, including an American woman. The kidnappers, members of the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan, an offshoot of Al-Jihad, had demanded the release from jail of their leader, Saleh Haidara al-Atwi.

    October 31, 1999, Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States. EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed off the U.S. coast killing all 217 people on board, including 100 Americans. Although it is not precisely clear what happened, evidence indicated that an Egyptian pilot crashed the plane for personal or political reasons.

    November 4, 1999, Athens, Greece. A group protesting President Clinton's visit to Greece hid a gas bomb at an American car dealership in Athens. Two cars were destroyed and several others damaged. Anti-State Action claimed responsibility for the attack, but the November 17 group was also suspected.

    November 12, 1999, Islamabad, Pakistan. Six rockets were fired at the U.S. Information Services cultural center and United Nations offices in Islamabad, injuring a Pakistani guard.

    September 29, 2000. near Jerusalem Israel. Attack on motorists. U.S. citizens injured: Avi Herman of Teaneck, NJ, Naomi Herman of Teaneck, NJ.

    September 29, 2000, Jerusalem, Israel. Attack on taxi passengers. U.S. citizens injured: Tuvia Grossman of Chicago, Todd Pollack of Norfolk, VA, Andrew Feibusch of New York.

    October 4, 2000, near Bethlehem, West Bank. U.S. citizens injured: An unidentified American tourist.

    October 5, 2000: near Jerusalem, Israel. Attack on a motorist. U.S. citizens injured: Rabbi Chaim Brovender of Brooklyn.

    October 8, 2000, Nablus, West Bank. The bullet-ridden body of Rabbi Hillel Lieberman, a U.S. citizen from Brooklyn living in the Jewish settlement of Elon Moreh, was found at the entrance to the West Bank town of Nablus. Lieberman had headed there after hearing that Palestinians had desecrated the religious site, Joseph's Tomb. No organization claimed responsibility for the murder.

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    Council Member nichols's Avatar
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    Part 6

    October 12, 2000, Aden Harbor, Yemen. A suicide squad rammed the warship the U.S.S. Cole with an explosives-laden boat killing 13 American sailors and injuring 33. The attack was likely by Osama bin Ladin's al-Qaida organization.

    October 30, 2000, Jerusalem, Israel. Gunmen killed Eish Kodesh Gilmor, a 25-year-old American-Israeli on duty as a security guard at the National Insurance Institute in Jerusalem. The "Martyrs of the Al-Aqsa Intifada," a group linked to Fatah, claimed responsibility for the attack. Gilmor's family filed a suit in the U.S. District Court in Washington against the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, Chairman Yasser Arafat and members of Force 17, as being responsible for the attack.

    December 31, 2000, Ofra, Israel. Rabbi Binyamin Kahane, 34, and his wife, Talia Hertzlich Kahane, both formerly of Brooklyn, NY were killed in a drive-by shooting. Their children, Yehudit Leah Kahane, Bitya Kahane, Tzivya Kahane, Rivka Kahane, and Shlomtsion Kahane, were injured in the attack.

    March 28, 2001, Neve Yamin. Bombing at bus stop. U.S. citizens injured: Netanel Herskovitz, 15, formerly of Hempstead, NY.

    May 9, 2001, Tekoa, West Bank. Kobi Mandell, 13, of Silver Spring, MD, an American-Israeli, was found stoned to death along with a friend in a cave near the Jewish settlement of Tekoa. Two organizations, the Islamic Jihad and Hizballah-Palestine, claimed responsibility for the attack.

    May 29, 2001, Gush Etzion, West Bank. The Fatah Tanzim claimed responsibility for a drive-by shooting of six in the West Bank that killed two American-Israeli citizens, Samuel Berg, and his mother, Sarah Blaustein. U.S. citizens injured: Norman Blaustein of Lawrence, NY.

    July 19, 2001, Hebron, West Bank. Shooting attack. U.S. citizens injured: An unidentified woman from Brooklyn, NY.

    August 9, 2001, Jerusalem, Israel. A suicide bombing at Sbarro's, a pizzeria situated in one of the busiest areas of downtown Jerusalem, killed 15 people and wounded more than 90. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. U.S. citizens killed: Judith L. Greenbaum, 31, of New Jersey and California, Malka Roth, 15, whose family was from New York. U.S. citizens injured: David Danzig, 21, of Wynnewood, PA, Matthew P. Gordon, 25, of New York, Joanne (Chana) Nachenberg, 31, Sara Shifra Nachenberg, 2.

    August 18, 2001, Jerusalem, Israel. Shooting at a bus. U.S. citizen injured: Andrew Feibusch of New York.

    August 27, 2001, near Roglit, Israel. Shooting attack. U.S. citizen injured: Ben Dansker.


    We are now actively taking the fight, no longer are we building ships, launching air strikes, or sending in the cruise missles. The AO is GWOT, the current battleground is Iraq. This is not about a civil war, it is about how we want the world to be for our children's children.
    Last edited by nichols; 11-12-2007 at 04:27 AM.

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    Default and the point is?

    Leaving aside the mistakes in the list, you've got some very different fights in there, over very different issues, ranging from hardcore Islamists, to secular Palestinian Marxists (led by a Christian, in the case of the PFLP), through to the forerunner to the present US-supported government of Iraq. All that seems to link them is a use of violence, especially terrorism, at some point in time.

    One could equally provide a list of all terrorist attacks conducted by Westerners, lumping together the far left (Red Army Faction, Red Brigades), radical nationalists (the IRA, ETA, FLNC), neofascists (the NAR, responsible for the 1980 Bologna massacre), radical environmentalists, and perhaps even the French government for good measure (anyone else remember the DGSE bombing of theRainbow Warrior?)

    It would be just about as meaningful.

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    Council Member nichols's Avatar
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    Rex,

    I completely agree with you, the list was a quick google, that's why I put the S/A in the first post. My intent was to show that this is a clash of cultures.

    The clash is terrorism plan and simple, if we subscribe and believe in the rule of law over extremism whichever form it manifests itself in then we have no choice to fight or expose our bellies.
    Last edited by nichols; 11-12-2007 at 06:03 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nichols View Post
    My intent was to show that this is a clash of cultures.
    I am not sure how the shopping list of violence you provided proves any such thing. It does suggest to me that someone's IO campaign is getting a free helping hand.

    I am increasingly tired of the essentially puerile 'arguments' made about 'clashs of culture / civilisation' etc that are patently no such thing.

    If these 'theories' were adequate summations of the problem one would expect them to provide an insight that could be operationalised. I can't recall one 'useful' operational concept to arise from this 'insight' since 9/11 - feel free to jump onboard and correct me if I have missed something.

    (Note: I am making distinction here between the need to 'appreciate' culture in the COIN sense and the idea of 'culture' as the root cause of terrorism).

    It is my opinion that much of the guff about 'clash of culture' is:

    1) in some circumstances addressing a religious prejudice (or ignorance) on 'our side' ;
    2) a cover for ignorance of the true nature of the source(s) of conflicts;and
    3) an artifice created by some 'experts' in order to fashion a lexicon that empowers them in some way.

    Cheers

    Mark

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Preserving Options & Flexibility

    In the five or six years after 9/11 it seemed correct to lump together together the current and potential conflicts on the horizon together into a single GWOT or a Long War - maybe it was needed to get our arms around it - maybe it was a way to consider how our perception of the world had changed - although arguably the conditions were there, they'd just not come to our shores in so violent a way.

    I'm not sure its a good way to look at the world anymore. By creating a conglomerate problem we potentially mask both the real causes and potential opportunities.

    I'm going to the long way around this explanation - but I think it relevant.

    Like IEDs, the ability and opportunity and perceived rational for those both inside the U.S. and outside the U.S. to inflict harm on us (physically, fiscally, morally and spiritually) has increased over the years - it is a condition. Its also I think a by-product of who we are. Others see us as diverse, pluralistic, secular, capitalistic, expansive, invasive, accepting, free, vulnerable, strong, weak, and a host of other adjectives that have both positive and negative connotations - we are an enigma to some because we are often the only ones there with aid and offering hope amidst great crises, but we are also faulted with ulterior motives and being the greatest of manipulators.

    Its interesting to me that we are attributed a degree of control of events that is beyond us (even among our own citizens we look for conspiracy and contrivances). If we as Americans have a difficult time reconciling how the most powerful state in history can exhibit so vast a duplicity without knowing it, imagine how that must appear from the outside - at the micro level one of the hardest things to explain to was why we could not whistle up a solution to this problem or that problem. With all the satellite media beaming in images of seemingly infinite wealth and opulence, images that rarely reflect the realities most average Americans face in day to day life your average non-American has a perception of us as elite and privileged and as such the reason we do not do something is because we choose not to. Amongst those with access to such images and influence, the more deprived and uneducated a person and their families are, the greater seems the animosity attributed to us.

    I am not saying that such attacks are justified, or that they are invited, are anything like that - however, I am saying that perception matters at both the local and international level, and that as Thucydides remarked - we go to war out of fear, honor and interest. This is a condition of a world that is shrinking due to IT/mass media and other aspects of accelerated globalization through technology, curiosity and growth requiring resources and markets. There are qualities to what Friedman, Barnett, Huntington and other recent authors have described in trying to articulate the problems and possibilities they see. I think they all have a piece of it in their main thesis, but these thinkers all came to different primary cause and effect relationships - why? I think depending on how you look at it (the natural bias we carry with us) the problem will appear differently. Because we are dealing with people with diverse problems, diverse motivations, living in diverse conditions, etc - there is no singular way to describe it. This is disconcerting to us as people (I believe this is a universal human characteristic not a cultural) because we seek answers that we can accept, we seek solutions - and that leads us to identifying problems - we do this because we want to move on and find more answers -etc.

    I do believe we are going to see more wars - I'm not sure I like the word "persistent" because it leads to the idea of a continuation of the same thing - a longer problem. I think its likely to be greater frequency brought on by unstable conditions where "more" peaceful political discourse has come to an impasse and one or more sides in a conversation where multiple speakers wish to have their say, perceive themselves as stifled and stagnant and as such must make choices that range from accepting their lot until new opportunities arise, or to take up arms and use violence to give an edge to their voice - there is a wide range of "in-betweens". Within the party of those who feel they have been silenced - there may be varying degrees of cooperation or contention as groups evolve and gravitate, break off, reform etc. Some may feel their grievances have been sufficiently addressed for the time being, others may simply see an opportunity to attach themselves to a more powerful group with like enough objectives to live with.

    Some of our current policy problems stem from exhibiting a natural tendency to see things as we'd like them to be - problems with solutions that offer long term stability - a fire and forget solution so we can move on, be left alone and get back to business - this is often derided as being "myopic", but I think its natural - although that does not make it right - we expect more from those in whom we invest so much power.

    This may be one of the reasons we seem to turn to the military decision so quickly - it seems on the surface to offer an unambiguous decision - however, our culture and values require us to fix things and make them better - its who we are - and I can't imagine wanting to be anything else - in the past when we have had to resort to military force we have been the most gracious of victors and the world has recognized us for it.

    The best we may be able to do is to look at each war we make or involve ourselves in differently. Even if on the surface they exhibit similar characteristics, the peoples who take part in the war(s) will see themselves differently - even we change - continuous war does something to populations - again Thucydides makes some worthy observations about how Athenians and the greater Greek world changed over the course of the Peloponnesian War - not just the general population of Athens- but also the way the political leadership changed, and the way in which smaller city-states within the Greek world were altered.

    We should refrain from distilling and generalization of the wars we must contemplate - each should be seen in its uniqueness. Each should be considered in political context of all the participants. While we must have grand strategy that husbands ends, ways and means toward a political purpose with balance and consistency - we must also preserve unforeseen opportunities, and the capability to take advantage of them, which might only come into being as a result of inter-action. I'm not sure we can do that if we lump everything together under a banner where we are predisposed to see what we expect, rather then what is.

    Best Regards, Rob
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 11-12-2007 at 01:54 PM.

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    Default Wading into the gator pond...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    I believe the current Administration and the bulk of those who might form the next administration are in fact committed to the mission; thus the nation is both de facto and de jure committed to the mission. I realize there are those in the adminsitration, in Congress, in the Armed Forces and across the nation who wish to not be committed to the mission but my guess is they will not have their wish granted because that would be inimical to the national interest and most people realize that. The politics of the issue are more appropriate elsewhere. This is a practices and methods, not a political board.
    Ken,

    Could you expand on this a little? I am confused to what you're trying to say here? Are you saying the current administration is committed to finding an end to the war by creating a national-level strategy that ensures our troops are given focus and direction, thus doing those things that will bring the conflict in Iraq to an eventual end? If so, could you cite some examples of this strategy and how that is playing out in Iraq? Could you cite some examples of where GEN Patreaus and LTG Odierno have clearly articulated the "road to victory"?

    Thanks, PT

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    Default Why IEDs are effective

    IEDs have been around a long time and I won't bore anyone with another google search, but simple state I recall studying a booby trap/IED manual that was dated in the 1950s and it wasn't the first edition. Most of know that our opponent will resort to asymmetric warfare when their conventional forces are ineffective. None of what we're experiencing should be a surprise, nor should it be the major issue we're making it out to be (serious yes, but significant no).

    You don't defeat IEDs, you defeat the enemy who is emplacing the IEDs. Yet we have a task force dedicated to defeating IEDs. I have mixed feelings about this, of course my humane side loves the added armor, jammers, and new vehicles being fielded, but my practical side wonders if our focus on force protection (which is what this is all about) has somehow made us more vulnerable to losing the support of the population, which in this conflict means losing. Some thoughts:

    1. The U.S. norm and expectation is low casualties today. One of the biggest casualty producers in this war is IEDs, so we developed a task force designed to protect us against IEDs. This is far from unethical, but the focus on force protection over winning the war is unethical (at least in my opinion). IEDs are the biggest casualty producer based on the way we fight (or don't fight), but if we actually conducted more dismounted patrols, saturated areas with combat troops in effort to control the population (this is being done now in parts of Iraq), I think we would see the casualty producers shift, where small arms fire would surpass IEDs. If that happens do we produce a new task force to counter AK47s? Again you defeat the IEDs by defeating/neutralizing the enemy, whether through a political settlement or controlling the population. As one contributer mentioned, if you saturate a trouble with IED hunter-killer teams you make a dent in the problem, and in addition to protecting the force you actually kill the enemy, instead of just moving from point A to point B in increasingly more effective uparmored vehicles. In other words we fight harder and smarter, not just hide behind our technology.

    2. Perhaps a continuation of point one, but when we invest so heavily in IED defense and make such an issue of it in the media, and we still continue to lose Soldiers to IEDs we create the impression that the enemy is defeating us. The IED attacks have very little to do with whether or not we're actually winning (I don't like this term, but it will suffice for now) or not, other than the fact that the entire world seems to be watching the conflict as though it is a cat and mouse game between the IED employers and our force protection measures, while the real issues are obscured.

    3. 24 hour news services make the trivial important as we all can see with local crime cases becoming sensational national news where each witness or friend of a witness getting interviewed excessively to fill the time, and this approach transfers to war coverage also, where a tactical weapon now has strategic impact. This results in calls to further mitigate casualties giving the enemy additional freedom of maneuver. Who are we dancing with the press or the enemy? The press isn't the enemy, but our response to the press hurts us.

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    Council Member nichols's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark O'Neill View Post
    I am increasingly tired of the essentially puerile 'arguments' made about 'clashs of culture / civilisation' etc that are patently no such thing.
    Mark,

    I'm not taking the religious line on my thoughts. This could be an example of reading the post and assuming that it's "the same old story."

    If as a society or culture we accept that IEDs or any other type of terrorist activities is acceptable, then there is no problem, it all becomes a tactical manuever against the opposing forces.

    If we as a society or culture do not accept this method of employment then it is a clear cut clash of cultures. As I posted, the cut and paste was from a source that even if it isn't politically driven, politics is seen behind it. Time is my most valuable asset right now, I didn't have much time to do a better presentation.

    IMO, this isn't about religion, by slamming it into that neat little box we put blinders on our ability to see the whole picture. This also isn't about baseball, hotdogs, and mom's apple pie.

    Do we accept Mad Max mentality for our future?

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Talking I can expand on anything, PT...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic Thinker View Post
    Ken,
    Could you expand on this a little? I am confused to what you're trying to say here?...
    Well, very little. (but I can state that little at great length ). It sort of says it all. I think perhaps you're trying to read things into the statement. Sorry for the confusion.

    ...Are you saying the current administration is committed to finding an end to the war by creating a national-level strategy that ensures our troops are given focus and direction, thus doing those things that will bring the conflict in Iraq to an eventual end?...
    No. Tackling those thoughts in reverse order; there is little we can do to bring the conflict in Iraq to an eventual end. Such end will be mostly up to the Iraqis and to a lesser extent up to us and in varying still lesser amounts (and in no particular order) to the Turks, the Syrians, the Saudis, the Iranians and various Islamist factions. All have a vote of varying clout. Giving the troops focus and direction in Iraq is not a strategic issue, it is an operational issue and thus the province of DoD and the Armed Forces.

    I believe this Administration has committed to a strategy wherein the "end" of war in Iraq is only one part of an extensive global strategy that envisions a lengthy worldwide effort to reduce the threat of international terrorism to an acceptable level; Iraq thus is only one of many ongoing efforts -- it is merely the most visible. I further believe this Administration has done that in such a way as to preclude successors from easily disabling or diverting that strategy and I also believe that this strategy in in the national interest. I could quibble about a lot of the techniques and the direction of some efforts but it doesn't have to be my way to work...

    If so, could you cite some examples of this strategy and how that is playing out in Iraq?...
    The strategy IMO (obviously I have no clue to the content of discussions or to the decisions, just my inferences from open sources) is what put us in Iraq and it broad based, flexible and, with respect to Iraq in particular, is aimed at accelerating to emergence of the ME into the world mainstream among other things. That strategy generally does not dictate operational or tactical methodology but relies on the government agencies (to include DoD, the Intel Community, Treasury and others) to develop and employ proper and effective methods to conduct rather broad based missions world wide (and that is important). That is, also IMO, as it should be.

    What is "playing out" in Iraq are the operational decisions of those agencies with respect to that particular operation as a part of that strategy. Properly, the Administration is not dictating operational parameters but is relying on the Agencies to do it right.

    I think thus far in Iraq we have seen three distinct phases that have changed the character of our efforts. The first phase lasted about 18 months and was characterized by excessive concern with force protection and a great lack of knowledge of what to do and how to do it. In essence, the operators did not do it right and thus, they did not aid the overall strategy but instead introduced an inadvertent wrinkle.

    The next 18 months or so consisted of a learning phase and a realization of the need (if not well executed efforts) to install a viable government and develop Iraqi internal defense capability. The most recent 18 months or so have seen a pretty good refinement of that and implementation of more effective tactic and techniques. Things there are going fairly well as nearly as I can determine. We'll see.

    ... Could you cite some examples of where GEN Patreaus and LTG Odierno have clearly articulated the "road to victory"?

    Thanks, PT
    No, I pay little to no attention to what the Generals (all of them, now and then, here and there) or politicians say. IMO, one can put little stock in the words of either and what they say is pretty predictable. I have, however, closely watched what they do. I do not think there is any such thing as a "road to victory" in Iraq and after our initial missteps in the spring of 2003, there never was...

    I have complained here that the use of words like "win," "lose," "defeat" and "victory" in relation to any counterinsurgency effort is a terrible idea. "Shock and awe" was one of the most stupid phrases ever applied anywhere in any war. Words are important and the wrong words can send a message of unachievable goals or results and can build false expectations in all the actors -- and observers -- involved.

    One cannot "win" a counterinsurgency war unless one kills all the insurgents and that obviously is not an option. The best one can do is achieve an acceptable outcome. That's the best anyone has achieved in the post WW II era (to include the Brits in Malaya and East Africa). My belief is that is probable in Iraq and fairly soon.

    Having said all that, recall my original comment you quoted, "I believe the current Administration and the bulk of those who might form the next administration are in fact committed to the mission; thus the nation is both de facto and de jure committed to the mission. I realize there are those in the administration, in Congress, in the Armed Forces and across the nation who wish to not be committed to the mission but my guess is they will not have their wish granted because that would be inimical to the national interest and most people realize that...."

    That simply meant that I think most people -- not all -- realize that precipitous withdrawal from Iraq would confirm what the opposition has long said in many of their tapes and videos they've released; confirmation of the fact that the US is the proverbial toothless tiger, has no staying power and is totally untrustworthy. It would also lend credence to their claim that we are assaulting Islam and have no altruistic motive and would almost certainly adversely impact other equally important elements of the strategy. In the very pragmatic ME, inability to perform leads to rejection in all aspects.

    Most Americans realize on a visceral level that such a message is not wise and not in our national interest. I think that is a correct sensing on the part of most Americans.

  20. #100
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    Thumbs up Excellent post, GS...

    Quote Originally Posted by Global Scout View Post
    ... None of what we're experiencing should be a surprise, nor should it be the major issue we're making it out to be (serious yes, but significant no).

    You don't defeat IEDs, you defeat the enemy who is emplacing the IEDs. Yet we have a task force dedicated to defeating IEDs. I have mixed feelings about this, of course my humane side loves the added armor, jammers, and new vehicles being fielded, but my practical side wonders if our focus on force protection (which is what this is all about) has somehow made us more vulnerable to losing the support of the population, which in this conflict means losing...
    Target! BZ on the whole comment. Everyone should read it and digest it.

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