View Poll Results: Is war in Iraq....

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  • Central to GWOT (like Berlin/Moscow in Cold War)

    11 68.75%
  • Distraction from GWOT (like Vietnam in Cold War)

    5 31.25%
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Thread: Iraq education and training (merged thread)

  1. #41
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default JFCOM Iraqi Perspectives report

    The JFCOM Iraqi Perspectives Report--cited often in Cobra II by Gordon and Trainor--is avaliable for download at http://www.jfcom.mil/newslink/storya...006/ipp_pg.htm.

    Looks to be an interesting read judging by the intro.

    best
    Tom

  2. #42
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Former NIO Pillar Article on Intel and Iraq

    To all,

    Completing the trilogy of Cobra II, the Iraqi Perspectives Project, here is the link to Paul R. Pillar's article in Foreign Policy March/April 2006, "Intelligence, Policy, and the War on Iraq." Pillar was the NIO for NESA (Near East and South Asia); as such he chaired the inter-agency process which developed NIEs in Iraq. You can see the article at: http://www.foreignaffairs.org/200603...r-in-iraq.html.

    Pillar makes the argument for maintaining the divide between Intelligence analysis and policy, using the Iraq War to prove his case. As a former intel officer--and one involved in writing NIEs for Desert Shield and Storm--I agree that is the ideal. From the perspective of an intel operator, I would say that is almost impossible to do in the world of instaneous information. What you report on--and Pillar makes this point--is in essence political in its implications. And how that reporting is recieved is ABSOLUTELY political according to the agenda of the recieving agency.

    In any case, this article is well worth the read, especially in tandem with Cobra II and the IPP.

    Best

    Tom Odom

  3. #43
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default A Path to Success in Iraq

    11 April Los Angeles Times commentary - A Path To Success In Iraq by Zalmay Khalilzad and George W. Casey Jr.

    ... Supporting political transformations in distant regions has never been easy or inexpensive. But when free nations have persevered, these efforts have paid dividends that justified the investment. After World War II, the U.S. and its allies helped Germany and Japan become engines of postwar economic prosperity and vital democratic allies in the Cold War. The rebuilding of South Korea enabled that country to emerge as an Asian leader.

    As we look at Iraq today, it is in the middle of a difficult transition. During the last year, Iraqis elected a transitional government, drafted and ratified a sound constitution and held successful elections for their new national assembly. About 75% of Iraq's registered voters cast ballots in December, and the new assembly will represent all of the country's major communities.

    In the last 12 months, Iraqi security forces have grown from 127,000 members to more than 250,000. Fifty Iraqi army battalions, 13 brigades and two divisions have security responsibility for thousands of square miles of territory, and another 12 battalions and three brigades are poised to assume their own security responsibility soon. By the end of summer, the goal is 75% of Iraqi army battalions and brigades will be leading counterinsurgency operations, with coalition forces playing only training and supporting roles.

    When faced with the harsh test of sectarian violence following the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra in February, Iraqi leaders and Iraqi security forces held together. The Iraqi government called for unity and calm and implemented security measures to prevent sectarian violence. Though not all Iraqi security forces reacted with the needed firmness and evenhandedness, the vast majority took the initiative early on in moving to full alert and securing key areas.

    Despite progress, Iraq is recovering from more than three decades of neglect. We confront serious challenges that are evolving, and we must be able to adapt our means to pursue our goals.

    First, the principal threat to stability is shifting from an insurgency grounded in rejection of the new political order to sectarian violence grounded in mutual fears and recriminations...

    Second, the coalition and Iraq's increasingly effective security forces are working hard to protect the Iraqi people...

    Third, Iraq's leaders must develop security institutions that not only are effective but also trusted by all groups...

    Fourth, the U.S. and the new Iraqi government will work together to create a regional environment supportive of stability in Iraq...

  4. #44
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    Default RAND Review - Iraq and Beyond

    The current issue of RAND Review: Iraq and Beyond

    ...includes:

    Recognizing Shortfalls in Performance, Identifying Options for Improvement
    Among the issues sparked by the Iraq War are three distinctly practical ones: sustaining U.S. Army forces in combat, promoting reenlistments across the services, and rebuilding Iraqi security forces and institutions. At times, these efforts have been hampered by shortfalls in U.S. performance. As outlined in this series on “Iraq and Beyond,” the lessons learned can help to reduce the risks and costs in future contingencies...
    Sustaining Army Forces
    By virtually every account, the major combat operations of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) that toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime in the spring of 2003 were remarkably successful in terms of achieving the military objectives. Yet there is a general belief within the U.S. Army and the broader defense community, supported by our analysis, that this success was achieved despite numerous logistics problems...
    Promoting Reenlistments
    The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed unprecedented strains on the all-volunteer U.S. military force, requiring an application of power that is more intensive and more prolonged than at any time since the era of the draft during the Vietnam War. Moreover, the one-third cut in active-duty personnel since the end of the Cold War, from 2.1 million to 1.4 million, has necessitated longer and repeated deployments, especially for the army and the Marine Corps.

    These deployments have posed extraordinary challenges for service members and their families. Personnel are sometimes deployed for 12 months in nontraditional, hostile conditions, with only six months at home before their next deployment. The strains have been borne by nondeployed personnel as well. Like deployed personnel, nondeployed personnel frequently work long days to support the heightened pace of military operations. Both deployed and nondeployed personnel report rising levels of stress as the result of the increasing frequency of working long days.

    Of particular concern to defense policymakers, the added stress from working long days has lowered the intentions of personnel to reenlist...
    Rebuilding Iraqi Security
    From May 2003 to June 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq sought to reconstruct Iraqi security forces and to develop Iraqi security institutions. We examined these attempts in the defense, interior, and justice sectors. We assessed the CPA’s successes and failures so that we could draw lessons from the experience, insofar as currently possible...

  5. #45
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Thanks again...

    ... added to the SWJ library's Iraq Page.

  6. #46
    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    Default The ones who started Iraq also lost it

    The ones who started Iraq also lost it

    Published on: 06/05/06

    The pithiest analysis I've seen of our occupation of Iraq — its epitaph, really — comes from the Web site of John Robb, a former Air Force intelligence officer now working as a security and anti-terror consultant.

    "The problem," Robb writes at globalguerrillas.typepad.com, "has become bigger than our will to fix it."

    That about sums it up. In fact, as public disenchantment grows —and revelations of apparent U.S. atrocities aren't going to help — and as the Iraqi government proves itself incapable of ruling, the gap between the size of our problem and our will to fix it will grow larger still, just as it did in Vietnam.

    And just as with Vietnam, those who pushed hardest for this war will blame its failure on their usual set of villains — a traitorous media, critical politicians, etc. — who supposedly undercut the national will we needed to fight and win it.

    And it will all be nonsense. . .
    http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/o...es/060506.html

  7. #47
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    Default What to Do in Iraq - Foreign Affairs Roundtable

    What to Do in Iraq - Foreign Affairs Roundtable with a hat tip to the Belmont Club blog - Vietnam as a Mental Quagmire.

    There's an excellent account of a roundtable discussion at Foreign Affairs entitled What To Do In Iraq? A Roundtable featuring Larry Diamond, James Dobbins, Chaim Kaufmann, Leslie H. Gelb, and Stephen Biddle. Most of the reaction appears to be based on a Stephen Biddle article Seeing Baghdad, Thinking Saigon in which he argues that the proper analogue to Iraq is not Vietnam or postwar Germany but the former Yugoslavia. Much of the debate over Iraq has been subconsciously formed around the assumption that Iraq = Vietnam. Not so, Biddle says...

    ... Biddle argues that Iraq is fundamentally different, a fact that policymakers and commentators, with their Vietnam baggage, are ill-equipped to see. The conflict in Iraq is not about nationalist aspirations, it revolves around group identities. And the key to Iraq is to provide an environment that will ensure "group survival"...

    The roundtable discussion appears convinced of Biddle's central thesis -- that Iraq is not Vietnam. But they remain divided on his central prescription...
    Read both links...

  8. #48
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default WARNING: Unnecessarily long winded comments

    I read both articles, and selectively cut out points made by the participants and Biddle. I think the momentum behind the round table is headed in the right direction, but haven't drunk the kool-aid just yet.


    For more than two years now, Washington has had the opportunity to open negotiations, with the help of international mediators, with these elements of the insurgency and then draw Iraqi government leaders into those talks. The result could have been -- and might still be -- an agreement by key elements of the resistance to wind down the insurgency: Sunni political and religious leaders could send clear messages to their constituencies to suspend the war of resistance and pursue their political interests through the emerging game of peaceful politics and governance instead.
    Faulty logic point. Although this may be an emerging game, we are dealing with a people (and yes, I generalize) who have no frame of reference for peaceful politics.

    The United States, however, did invade Iraq with the intention of making that state a model for the Middle East, promising that success in Iraq would be followed by efforts to transform the political systems of Iraq's neighbors. This was not a vision any of those regimes was likely to embrace. Nor have they...

    ...Much as one may regret and deplore such activity, neighbors can be neither safely ignored nor effectively barred from exercising their considerable influence. It has always proved wise, therefore, to find ways to engage them constructively.

    ...The central objective of U.S. diplomacy, therefore, should shift from the transformation of Iraq to its stabilization, with an emphasis on power sharing, sovereignty, and regional cooperation, all concepts that Iraq's neighbors can reasonably be asked to endorse.
    What is Turkey’s say in this, with a relatively autonomous Kurdish enclave on its border? It already forced our hand with the 4th ID matter. Do we risk, by pushing Turkey into accommodation now, sowing the seeds of future regional conflict in a different area? Also, we cannot resolve our impasse over Tehran’s nuclear aspirations, so approaching Tehran towards regionalization of the Iraq problem may be a protracted matter we simply do not have the time to resolve, following this formula.

    And the situation will get worse, because communal atrocities have hardened sectarian affiliations. Before 2003, virtually all Iraqi Arabs identified themselves as Arabs, in opposition to Kurds and others.
    It may be better to generalize that all Iraqi groups identified themselves as “Iraqis”. Sectarian affiliations may have already hardened years ago, but they were merely suppressed by the central power of Saddam’s regime.


    There is a third way: for the United States to stop its futile resistance to the inevitable sectarian tides now rolling over Iraq and help the Iraqis channel these forces into a viable political settlement -- uniting Iraq by decentralizing it. This deal would be driven into place by bringing the Sunnis in with an offer presenting them with prospects far better than any of their present ones and by promising U.S. troop withdrawals and redeployments before 2009, all backed up with regional diplomacy.
    A question remains, by what yardstick can we measure victory in Iraq? A second admonition I’d offer is that we would be advised to avoid approaching the problem as a social and demographic experiment, because we cannot afford to lose. To that end, we may have to cater to what each group (Sunni, Kurd, Shiite) wants, and follow through. The fine line here is that the administration would have to give up any arguments that our current operations are aimed in part at preventing Iraq from becoming a future Al Qaeda training ground.

    Helping decentralize Iraq is also more honorable and realistic than either hanging in there or getting out. This policy has five elements. The first is to establish, consistent with the current constitution, three strong regions with a limited but effective central government in a federally united Iraq. Doing so would build the post-Saddam Hussein Iraq around Kurdish, Sunni Arab, and Shiite Arab regions, each largely responsible for its own legislation and administration. Each region's government could pass laws superseding those passed by the central government, as stated in the present constitution, except in areas of the central government's exclusive jurisdiction. The central government would have the deciding responsibility for foreign affairs, border defense, oil and gas production and revenues, and other countrywide matters, as agreed to by the regions. Its writ would be limited and restricted to areas of clear common interests, which would allow Baghdad to meet its responsibilities effectively. The oil provision, in particular, would strengthen the central government beyond its present powers. The underlying principle behind this policy would be to hold Iraq together by allowing each group to satisfy its real ethnic and religious aspirations…Big cities with highly mixed sectarian populations, such as Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Mosul, pose a huge problem now and would continue to do so under a federal solution -- or any other solution...The factor that will most determine the fate of these cities, however, will be whether the sectarian groups find the overall political settlement fair and viable. And as painful as it may be, the United States will have to assist those Iraqis who wish to relocate to safer terrain, temporarily or permanently. It is essential to realize that this proposal will not cause ethnic cleansing or the country's breakup. These terrible things are already happening. Regionalism may be the only option left to stop them.
    I can’t articulate why, but this course of action holds the most promise in my mind. The highway connecting Baghdad and Jordan/Syria becomes an issue though, primarily because of the amount of commerce that travels it every day. Much of the long haul transport is currently secured by coalition escorts. If it were to fall under the control of a Sunni dominated Al Anbar, without coalition access, it may pose unseen problems for the central government.

    If it were to remove such constraints and provide the security forces with liberal quantities of modern tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, body armor, night-vision equipment, armed helicopters, and fixed-wing ground-attack aircraft, the capacity of the Kurds and the Shiites to commit mass violence against the Sunnis would increase dramatically -- and very visibly. Threatening such a change could provide an important incentive for the Sunnis to compromise.
    I can’t buy this as being remotely possible. In this very complex of complex wars, “threats” that would normally induce a rational response among states (who’ve been at the negotiating game for a while) are only going to galvanize the communal and nationalistic violence. The response of the Sunnis need not be rational nor practical, so long as (in their mind) they retain their honor as they go down fighting. Let’s not forget the notion of tribal honor, and how it is interwoven into everything Iraqi.

    Conversely, a U.S. threat to cease backing the Shiites, coupled with a program to arm the Sunnis overtly or in a semi-clandestine way, would substantially reduce the Shiites' military prospects. Iran might provide more aid to the Shiites to compensate them for some of their loss, but the United States' military potential so far outstrips that of Iran that rational Shiites could hardly welcome the prospect of being abandoned by Washington and having to confront U.S.-armed Sunnis...An official U.S. threat of military realignment would be hard for the Shiites to ignore. On the other side, some Sunnis already view the United States as a potential protector against Shiite violence, as the fighting in Tal Afar last spring suggests. Effective leverage need not take the form of clumsy ultimatums, which risk forcing the United States into corners, or the kind of blunt expositions that analysts like me put forward in the interest of clarity. Diplomats enjoy a rich palette of subtler signals with which they can indicate incremental movement in one direction without irrevocably committing to a maximum use of force.
    Biddle’s looking at this through the wrong lens, applying Western thought to the problem. “Rational Shiites” is a relative term. Rational in what way; realist actor theory, or brinksmanship? We have to stop applying Judeo-Christian thinking in this scenario. Our track record of progress on the streets of Iraq does not portray any greater military potential over Iran, at least not from the viewpoint of the average man on the street. Perhaps we should start polling that guy to see what he thinks. As for the rich palette of subtler signals, I’m the pessimist and say, “show me the paint.”

    In summary, I think the FA roundtable did a good job of bringing together analysts who hold a range of COAs dear. Is anyone taking these analysts seriously? What is happening in the back corridors of the Pentagon, State, and other cabinet offices? They still don’t hold practical application in my world of block and tackle tactics, but I enjoyed reading the different points of view.

    I like the statement posed by Strickland on another thread: If we are truly against the idea of amnesty, then we are truly not trying to "end" the insurgency, but rather we are seeking to "win" the counterinsurgency. I apply it as a question on other forums, to counter the “kill ‘em all and let god sort ‘em out” crowd who propose only kinetic solutions to our growing problem. Are we going to continue to apply kinetic solutions?

  9. #49
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Iraq: Send in the Advisers

    11 July New York Times commentary - Send in the Advisers by Andrew Krepinevich.

    The United States has more than 130,000 troops in Iraq, 14 combat brigades in all. But as sectarian violence rages in Baghdad, it is increasingly clear that success or failure in this war does not rest solely, or even primarily, on the efforts of American combat troops. Rather, it lies in the hands of some 4,000 soldiers — the American officers and sergeants embedded as combat advisers in the new Iraqi security forces.

    These advisers are the steel rods around which the newly poured concrete of the Iraq military will harden. They will determine whether President Bush can keep his pledge to “stand up” Iraqi forces so that American forces in Iraq can “stand down.” And it is the Iraqi military that will in turn play the crucial role in girding Iraq against the chaos that now threatens to engulf it.

    Given the importance of the advisory effort, one might expect it to be a top priority for the Bush administration. But there are worrisome signs that this is not the case.

    Despite their critical part in this war, the advisers are thinly spread. Every Iraqi battalion, made up of some 500 troops, is assigned roughly a dozen advisers, although the true requirement is closer to 30. Sadly, the Army’s best officers avoid serving as advisers if at all possible. The reason is simple: the Army is far more likely to promote officers who have served with American units than those who are familiar with a foreign military.

    Because of the resulting shortfall, some Army units have been given the task of augmenting the advisory teams. Yet often these units simply send their “problem children” — their most marginal officers and sergeants — to support the advisers. This places an additional burden on the advisers, who must not only coach the Iraqis but also deal with their less-than-capable American colleagues.

    Some American brigade commanders further compound the problem by imposing extensive reporting requirements on the advisory teams. While the Army has scores of “PowerPoint rangers” (the title given to officers who prepare briefings and reports), the Iraqis have none. And so the advisers often spend hours doing paperwork when they could have been working with their Iraqi counterparts instead.

    The advisory effort is too important not to succeed...

  10. #50
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Granted the source may be biased, but this is sounding all too familiar.

  11. #51
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    For those with access CALL has an IIR just out on transition teams that is worth the read.

    best
    Tom

  12. #52
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default The Iraqi Marines

    Just posted on the Marine Corps Gazette web page... The Iraqi Marine Corps by Captain Giles Walger, US Marine Corps.

    The Iraqi Marines

    by Capt Giles D. Walger

    Assistance for a fledgling Marine organization.

    Starting as the Iraqi Coastal Defense Force (ICDF) during the initial phases of the reconstruction of Iraq, the Iraqi Marines have undergone several name changes. At one point the ICDF was split in two. Half became the Iraqi Navy while the other half became the Iraqi Naval Infantry Battalion. In May 2005 the Iraqi Navy Board and the Iraqi Ministry of Defense agreed to expand the Iraqi Naval Infantry Battalion and its mission. With those changes a decision to formally change the title to the Iraqi Marines was reached. The Marine Corps should foster a relationship with these new Marines and in doing so consider their mission, operational tasks, training, and the development of a future relationship with them.

    Background

    It is no secret that Iraq’s economy revolves around oil. Most of Iraq’s oil is distributed to the world via two offshore oil terminals in the Persian Gulf. The Al-Basrah oil terminal (ABOT) is the economic center of gravity for Iraq. It is directly responsible for 75 percent of Iraq’s economy. It is two-thirds of a mile long and located approximately 50 miles from the Iraqi Naval Base at Umm Qasr. When demand is high—and the pipelines from the north are secure—the second terminal, the Khawr Al-Amaya oil terminal (KAAOT), meets the demand. The KAAOT borders Iran and sits 5 nautical miles (nm) from ABOT.

    Iraq’s oil terminals are vital to its future. Together, ABOT and KAAOT are directly responsible for distributing 65 million barrels of oil to the world and contributing more than $12 billion annually to Iraq’s gross national product. There is a constant threat to the terminals from terrorist attack. The two terminals are targets representing the highest economic value for terrorists in Iraq. The two terminals were the first targets seized during the coalition invasion. The terminals have been targeted by al-Qaeda on three separate occasions since the invasion. They are of such critical value that U.S. forces (SEALs, fleet antiterrorism security team (FAST) company, and the U.S. Navy’s maritime security detachments) have been providing security on the terminals, while Coalition Task Force 58 (CTF–58) maintains a vigilant security posture in the sectors surrounding the terminals.

    The Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT) for the Iraqi Navy and Marines is based in Umm Qasr. Since 2003 the Australian Commandos, Dutch Marines, Royal Marines, and U.S. Marines have all provided individual augments to the CMATT. The CMATT for the Iraqi Navy and Marines has been focused on three objectives: (1) to man, train, and equip them; (2) to assist the Iraqis in developing a roadmap to meet the requirements for handover of oil terminal responsibility, sustaining a Navy and Marine force capable of defending Iraq’s coast and protecting Iraqi national interests out to 12nm; and (3) to advise them in meeting the coalition’s operational requirements. Due to the drawdown of the CMATT for the Iraqi Navy and Marines, no U.S. Marines remain on the team, and the Royal Marines will draw down to termination in early 2006...
    Remainder of article covers mission, operations, training, engagement and future...

  13. #53
    Council Member Xenophon's Avatar
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    I so want an Iraqi Marine t-shirt.

  14. #54
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Can be Arranged...

    Quote Originally Posted by Xenophon
    I so want an Iraqi Marine t-shirt.
    How much are you willing to spend?
    Last edited by SWJED; 07-16-2006 at 07:52 AM.

  15. #55
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    Default Building Iraqis' Trust a Difficult Mission

    30 July Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Building Iraqis' Trust a Difficult Mission by Moni Basu and Ron Martz.

    Soon after Doraville's police chief, Lt. Col. John King, arrived with his soldiers in Iraq's treacherous Triangle of Death last summer, they set about the civilian task of nation-building.

    Within months, the Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Brigade Combat Team began earning trust from the residents in Mahmudiyah, a small, rural town 45 minutes south of Baghdad that had become notorious for insurgent attacks and criminal activity.

    The citizen soldiers knew that the key to their success would be their ability to nurture relationships with the Iraqi people.

    "They were telling us where the bad guys were, where the IEDs [improvised explosive devices, or makeshift bombs] were put in so that we could destroy them instead of hitting them," said Brig. Gen. Stewart Rodeheaver, commander of the 48th Brigade.

    But, after just five months on the job, the Army replaced the Georgians in Mahmudiyah and southwest Baghdad.

    Brigade officers found themselves handing over control to the 101st Airborne Division, the storied regular Army unit out of Fort Campbell, Ky., that has a well-respected history dating back to the beaches of Normandy.

    What happened after the 101st Airborne units moved in, however, has raised questions among military analysts about what type of combat unit is best suited for Iraq.

    The 48th Brigade's 1st Battalion of the 108th Armor Regiment, a unit that had roughly 800 soldiers, suffered six deaths in the Mahmudiyah area -- three of them from non-combat vehicle accidents. By comparison, the two 101st battalions of about 1,400 soldiers patrolling the same area have been hit hard, losing 35 soldiers in eight months...

    It would be impossible to pinpoint exactly why violence has escalated in Mahmudiyah since the 48th's departure. Both the U.S. military and the insurgents are known to commonly change tactics in Iraq's war of one-upmanship. And in recent months, spiraling sectarian violence has contributed to the chaos.

    But as the United States tries to shift more of the burden for Iraq's defense onto the Iraqi army and police, some have questioned whether reservists -- part-time soldiers who are generally older and bring more life experience to their military jobs -- are more appropriate than their regular military counterparts for a counterinsurgency mission.

    "I think by the nature of the beast, most National Guard forces are better in what actually needs to be done," said Piers Wood, a retired lieutenant colonel whose 28 years in the Army included duty in the Vietnam War...

    Military officials won't say why the 48th Brigade was replaced less than halfway into its deployment. But there was concern within the National Guard and Congress that citizen soldiers were bearing too much of the load in Iraq.

    At one point last year, U.S. troops in Iraq drew 40 percent of their numbers from the National Guard and Army Reserve. The Department of Defense estimates that now has dropped to 20 percent.

    Wood said the decreasing dependence on reservists is counterintuitive. They believe aggressive operations by combat-centric soldiers have escalated a primarily political battle that requires a vast amount of noncombat skills.

    "In a counterinsurgency, aggression just gets you deeper in trouble," Wood said. "You are going to create more enemies than you are able to kill."

    U.S. military officials are developing a new counterinsurgency manual, the first in more than 20 years, designed to aid troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    A draft copy of the manual was posted recently on the Web site of the Federation of American Scientists, an organization that researches issues of global security and nuclear arms control. It appears to make the case that Iraq and Afghanistan require more nation-building skills to support the local government than combat skills.

    Co-written by Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who commanded the 101st Airborne on the initial invasion of Iraq and later led the training of Iraqi security forces, the manual indicates the U.S. military has forgotten the counterinsurgency techniques it learned in Vietnam.

    In one section titled The More Force Used, the Less Effective It Is, the co-authors write, "The more force applied, the greater the chance of collateral damage and mistakes. It also increases the opportunity for insurgent propaganda to portray lethal military activities as brutal. The precise and discriminate use of force also strengthens the rule of law that needs to be established."...

  16. #56
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    Default Iraq: Change in Strategy?

    6 August New York Times - Baghdad’s Chaos Undercuts Tack Pursued by U.S. by Dexter Filkens.

    Over the past year, as American commanders pushed Iraqi forces to take over responsibility for this violent capital, Baghdad became a markedly more dangerous place.

    Now the Americans are being forced to call in more of their own troops to bring the city under control.

    The failure of the Iraqis to halt the slide into chaos in Baghdad undercuts the central premise of the American project here: that Iraqi forces can be trained and equipped to secure their own country, allowing the Americans to go home.

    A review of previously unreleased statistics on American and Iraqi patrols suggests that as Americans handed over responsibilities to the Iraqis, violence in Baghdad increased.

    In mid-June 2005, Americans conducted an average of 360 patrols a day, according to statistics released by the military. By the middle of February this year, the patrols ran about 92 a day — a drop of more than 70 percent. The first Iraqi brigade took over a small piece of Baghdad early last year. Now, Iraqi soldiers or police officers take the leading role in securing more than 70 percent of the city, including its most violent neighborhoods. They control all of Baghdad’s 6,000 checkpoints.

    Even after the attack on the Askariya shrine in Samarra on Feb. 22 unleashed a wave of sectarian violence, the American patrols remained at a level lower than in the past. At the end of July, Americans were patrolling Baghdad 89 times a day — a quarter of their patrols in mid-June last year.

    Thirteen months ago, Baghdad had about 19 daily violent events, like killings. Today, the daily average is 25 — an increase of more than 30 percent. Many of these attacks cause more than one death; some cause many more, like the rampage by Shiite gunmen in western Baghdad last month that left as many as 40 people dead.

    On Thursday in Washington, senior American military commanders pointedly warned that Iraq was heading toward civil war.

    To stop the slide, the United States has decided to double the number of American troops in the city, to about 14,200 from about 7,200.

    American officials have declared Baghdad the country’s “center of gravity,” an arena that must be won if they are to succeed. The Americans and Iraqis say they are also preparing to bring in more Iraqi troops and spend at least $50 million for jobs and public services like electricity...

  17. #57
    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Well, since the NY Times is into statistics another way to look at this is that American forces have reduced their own casualty rate by reducing patrols in Baghdad by over 70% at the cost of 6 other "violent events, like killings" per day. An average of 25 "violent events, like killings" per day up from 19 one year prior also at the expense of the Iraqi security forces learning curve. I like how they bring in civil affairs as a brief note in the last paragraph.
    Last edited by Culpeper; 08-08-2006 at 04:29 AM.

  18. #58
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    Default Learning From Iraq

    25 August Christian Science Monitor commentary - Learning from Iraq: In a War, Think Big - at Least at First by Jeffrey Shaffer.

    ... Did the Bush administration blunder by not sending in a larger force at the start? Proponents of this idea say it would have created security and stability as Iraq transitioned to a new government. During a discussion of the issue some time ago, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld offered a different scenario by suggesting that more troops in Iraq would have risked alienating the population and creating more potential targets for the bad guys.

    There are plenty of facts on both sides to sustain fascinating theories and lively classroom debates. It's like arguing about whether the South would have won the Civil War if Stonewall Jackson had escaped death at Chancellorsville (the theory being that he would have been present at Gettysburg, turned the tide of battle in favor of the Confederates, and eventually the North would have given up the fight). But history is a done deal. Any discussion of alternative outcomes is just speculation, and the Middle East is a place where logical assumptions often turn out to be wrong.

    One assumption I do feel confident in expressing is that nobody in Congress or the White House will seriously push the idea of sending in reinforcements. That window of opportunity was probably open for the first two years of the occupation. In fact, during that period Paul Bremer and other officials have said they tried to make a case for additional troops and got turned down.

    Now the window is closed. After a certain point, Americans begin to ask themselves, and each other, "Why isn't this thing done yet? What's really happening over there?"

    This fact annoys military analysts, but it's a reality of modern war. The best time to escalate is early. Waiting until late in the day undercuts all previous assurances that everything is under control. President Lyndon Johnson understood this when he turned down Gen. William Westmoreland's request for 200,000 more troops in Vietnam after the Tet offensive in 1968.

    I'm sure someone close to President Bush suggested that a modest-size invasion force would be an easier case to make in the court of public opinion. Had I been present at that moment, I could have pointed out the public relations advantage of a massive force: If the campaign goes well, you can start pulling some troops out right away and keep public opinion on the positive side. Sending soldiers home is always good for homeland morale...

  19. #59
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default Boots on the ground,eyes on the target,mind on the mission

    This writer states that there on "facts" on both sides to support both a small force and a large force theory. This is nonsense. The only facts are that if you leave a physical opportunity (open space) or mental opportunity (brutality) the enemy will occupy it!!!
    I have read all three of the new COIN manuals and I did not see any comments about a sound calculation of force to space or force to population requirement. If we don't learn this we or going to do it again (or chicken out when we should go) but this time we will have some nicer high tech toys and some really cool sunglasses.
    In the end I think COIN should be changed from Counter Insurgency to Counter Infantry!!!
    Boots on the ground, Eyes on the population, Mind on the mission.

  20. #60
    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    If the situation in Iraq could have been prevented then the best time was obvious early on. The need for more troops was hardly unforeseeable General Shinseki had clearly articulated the need for a large occupation force. But we took short cuts, tried to find the easy way; in the end we did not truly occupy Iraq but rather just destroyed the existing order, creating a vacuum. What we are dealing with now is what filled the vacuum as we ponder what might have been.

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