View Poll Results: Evaluate Kilcullen's work on counterinsurgency

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  • Brilliant, useful

    26 45.61%
  • Interesting, perhaps useful

    26 45.61%
  • Of little utility, not practical

    1 1.75%
  • Delusional

    4 7.02%
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Thread: The David Kilcullen Collection (merged thread)

  1. #61
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    Default Pursuant to Bill's on Quid pro Quo

    Bill, I've not been to Iraq. My COIN experience is VN-specific--in the Middle East I was just another embassy bureaucrat...So--at the expense of sounding facile, I'll touch on what was done in VN, where local participation in self defence was the quid pro quo:

    Pacification was a package designed to tie the villagers to the government...A community that was reclaimed from the communists for the GVN got its "pacification projects" all right, schools, wells, access roads, etc....But the emphasis was on people-participatory activities that had a security component (As John Vann, who more than any other individual made CORDS work, was fond of saying, "Security may be 10% of the problem, or it may be 90%. But it's always the FIRST 10%, or the first 90%."). So in the newly pacified village, teenagers too young to be drafted and the elderly were immediately organized into the village-based People's Self Defense Force under the village chief. This was a political concept designed to tie the people to the government through this "act of commitment" rather than to provide real defense from enemy attack. (I found that organizing villagers to participate in GVN DEVELOPMENT activities did NOT constitute a similar "act of commitment" on the part of the villagers, mainly because both VC and villagers saw such activities as harmless to the VC.) At the same time, of course, draft age males were inducted into the RF/PF (territorial forces). Did this entail a risk of the ranks being infiltrated by VC?--definitely--and this did happen. However, the key to making this work was supervision/leadership. The RF officers were ARVN officers--vetted outsiders presumably loyal to the GVN. And paramilitary RD Cadre, the same guys who organized the villagers for community development projects, were outsiders tasked with keeping an eye on the village authorities to minimize accommodation with the enemy. (These guys weren't too good--good concept on paper, but falls apart if you've not got top notch people.) Village autonomy was a much vaunted concept in CORDS, but in my experience, having good CENTRAL government officers right there on the ground to provide both leadership and close supervision was a sine qua non to successful "pacification" and to avoiding wholesale local "deal-making" with the enemy. (Excessive local autonomy in a country ripped apart by centrifugal forces only exacerbates the problem--this was one case where the Vietnamese saw it correctly even though the US did not.). And how much better when we could afford to have a small US contingent embedded with the local forces living right there in the hamlet--I mean the USMC CAP effort in I-Corps! In French Algeria, of course, the locally organized village self-defense contingents had French officers.

    Now another way of looking at the quid pro quo issue is found in a component of the Malaya model, where the inhabitants of the New Villages lived under seriously constrained movement. There, an uptick in villager-provided, actionable intel led to loosening of those constraints. For example, curfew hours would be shortened. More drastically, food was doled out by the authorities: village recalcitrance led to an immediate decrease in each family's food ration; local cooperation (e.g., good intel, decrease in terrorist incidents) led to an immediate increase in the food ration. Is the Iraqi economy still socialized to the degree that food is government provided? If so, this may be one angle (though I'd shudder at the thought of our politically correct press fastening upon such "collective punishment").

    To all y'all, A Happy New Year.
    M.
    Last edited by Mike in Hilo; 01-01-2007 at 03:27 AM.

  2. #62
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    Default concessions matter

    Marc, I like your IO approach, and I don't see why our PC crowd would preempt us using it, as a matter of fact the PC crowd would probably embrace it. Responding to your why questions:

    If we don't require an insurgent to turn someone in, then it is too easy to go back and forth between the two sides. We don't want a guy accepting amnesty to get a couple of hot meals and a cot to sleep on, then go back and fight for whomever. If we do, we simply establish a revolving door where they wear a coalition uniform one day, and black pajamas the next. BTW both sides of the revolving door are now infiltrated. However, the oath you suggested taken in a semi-public location in front of a respected local leader does seem more realistic. It is possible for highly educated professionals such as yourself to influence knuckle draggers like me, and it should happen more often. I know there are hundreds of soldiers out there who would be eager to send you questions in order to get your ideas. I am very supportive of forming centers of excellence that DoD members can access from the field, even if the field on this particular day happens to be my home office (lol).

    On to the harder issue, why would I want to tie a civil military project such as digging a well to behavior concessions from the local village, neighborhood, etc.? First, we don't have to tie all actions to concessions, because there is merit for doing good (don't forget the international and home audiences); however, I am assuming we want to defeat an insurgency, and that definitely requires the host nation government to effectively assert control over its population, and these projects are a tool for achieving that goal. In a COIN scenario I look at building a well as a tool to persuade the population to separate themselves from the insurgents, but if we don't spell that out and mandate certain actions in return, well we simply dug a well, so now the insurgents have a ready source of clean drinking water.

    This is an overly simplistic explanation, but I think the jest of it is clear.


    Mike, great thoughts, and I appreciate the relevant history. I want to read the RAND paper all the way through before I comment.

    I wish all a Happy New Years!

    Bill

  3. #63
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default Buy in

    Hi Bill,

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Marc, I like your IO approach, and I don't see why our PC crowd would preempt us using it, as a matter of fact the PC crowd would probably embrace it.
    Maybe I am getting jaded from my environment, but they might claim that it is a cynical manipulation of religion. Regardless, I'd love to see the same PC crowd out on the sharp end <evil grin>.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Responding to your why questions: If we don't require an insurgent to turn someone in, then it is too easy to go back and forth between the two sides.... However, the oath you suggested taken in a semi-public location in front of a respected local leader does seem more realistic.
    I do agree that having a revolving door is pretty useless <wry grin>. I don't know if the oath idea would work, although I think it may be worth trying. What I am trying to find, and any and all suggestions are welcome!, is a way to get kin groups to accept a person shifting from active opposition to a neutral position with their honour intact. That's step one.

    Step two, is to place the burden for any potential loss of honour on to the insurgents, hence suggestions about placing Quranic verses on wells and schools. Step three, although it should have been there at the start <sigh>, is the idea of a theatre wide IO campaign spelled out in the simplest possible terms that are acceptable to the specific local populations and the international community.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    It is possible for highly educated professionals such as yourself to influence knuckle draggers like me, and it should happen more often. I know there are hundreds of soldiers out there who would be eager to send you questions in order to get your ideas. I am very supportive of forming centers of excellence that DoD members can access from the field, even if the field on this particular day happens to be my home office (lol).
    LOL. Well, they could always post here . Hey, speaking as a long-haired, ivory tower inhabiting refugee from the '60's (that's 1660's ), I really appreciate being influenced by "knuckle draggers like" you .

    On a slightly more serious note, that is already happening a bit. I think the idea of a centre of excellence would be a good idea and I would be happy to be involved in one. If you can get one started, let me know .

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    On to the harder issue, why would I want to tie a civil military project such as digging a well to behavior concessions from the local village, neighborhood, etc.? First, we don't have to tie all actions to concessions, because there is merit for doing good (don't forget the international and home audiences); however, I am assuming we want to defeat an insurgency, and that definitely requires the host nation government to effectively assert control over its population, and these projects are a tool for achieving that goal. In a COIN scenario I look at building a well as a tool to persuade the population to separate themselves from the insurgents, but if we don't spell that out and mandate certain actions in return, well we simply dug a well, so now the insurgents have a ready source of clean drinking water.

    This is an overly simplistic explanation, but I think the jest of it is clear.
    Yup. Honestly, I do understand the reasoning behind it. I think I am just being a touch contrary because I think it's important to bring out our assumptions. There has been some discussion (can't remember he thread) about how this worked in Malaysia, and Mike has certainly brought out the VN examples. The problem I see is that we are operating in a different battlespace; one that is much more media controlled.

    If Vietnam was the first war we could see in our homes at dinner, Iraq and Afghanistan are the first wars that both we and our opponents can interact with vicariously. That has been one of the Islamists most important weapons - they can mobilize an international hinterland not just for psyops (e.g. the anti-War movement against Vietnam), but for overt financial, material, intelligence and political support.

    This is one of the reasons why I like Kicullen's work so much - he is thinking in terms of "glocalization" ("think globally, act locally). I think that this is the biggest flaw in most of our (i.e. Western nations) thinking about this "war". In terms of a "long war" scenario, we are actually fighting an ideological or symbolic war: the Islamists, spearheaded by the Muslim Brotherhood realize this and the Western nations don't.

    So, back to buy in <grin>. Why I agree that "in a COIN scenario I look at building a well as a tool to persuade the population to separate themselves from the insurgents", we also have to ask "what are we asking that they attach themselves to"? If the "government" is viewed as "enemies" by the locals and we separate them from a larger insurgency (e.g. AQ), we will just end up with either local militias or a quasi "criminal" organization (which is certainly what Rob has been seeing in Mosul). These local groupings, in tern will, inevitably form alliances with other local groupings in an effort to maximize their power and survivability. How are we going to convince them that their best bet for maximizing survivablity is with the "government"? It's this type of question that I was trying to answer with the idea of a theatre wide IO campaign.

    Marc
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    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
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    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
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  4. #64
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    Marc, you're spot on regarding the symbolic level of this conflict. That's why the oaths you were talking about are so important. We have to embrace that aspect of the conflict (something that as near as I can tell has been missed by some of the high-speed 4GW arguments) and find ways to get it to work for us.

    Mike's points regarding COIN in VN are also very relevant to the discussion. In VN we faced a situation where the legacy of central government was (at best) mixed and tainted. Things from that standpoint had always been looser in the South than they were in the North, and we didn't recognized that (if we ever did at a policy level) until it was too late. Iraq, IMO, is somewhat different, but you're still dealing with a region that has reasons to doubt a central government. That makes things interesting, to say the least!

    I like the idea of an Imam-developed oath for ralliers to take, and suspect it could be expanded to others in positions of local leadership as well. The problem here is the same one we faced in SVN: insurgents would then target oath-takers and kill them. Provided you have reasonable local security, and can develop more, it's a great idea.

    Bill, as far as quid pro quo for wells and such, I think what we may see is a sort of "horse trading" level of operations. Something like "if we don't get hit with IEDs in X area for Y days, you'll get your well." Simplistic as well, I know, and possibly not the best example, but I strongly suspect that this is what it will come to if we go that route. One thing VN showed is that if you do civic projects and then walk away, the insurgents end up benefiting from them (or at least positioning themselves to take credit for them, which is the same thing in this sort of warfare).

    On the Frontier, the Army (during the brief periods when they had control of the reservation system) used to threaten to withhold rations and (more importantly) weapons and ammunition from tribes if there was a problem with raiding from the reservation. This could be reasonably successful, even given the weak central leadership structure of the tribes. This may be the sort of thing (or a modified version of same) that we end up going back to.

  5. #65
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default 4GW and symbolic warfare

    Hi Steve,

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    Marc, you're spot on regarding the symbolic level of this conflict. That's why the oaths you were talking about are so important. We have to embrace that aspect of the conflict (something that as near as I can tell has been missed by some of the high-speed 4GW arguments) and find ways to get it to work for us.
    It's a corollary of 4GW that is implicit in the shift to the Information Age <shrug>. In a lot of ways, it really stems from the question of "how do I [read any individual] get meaning in the current economic system?" We don't get it from working on farms or in factories any more, and they produce far more in the way of tangible goods than can ever be used, so we have to look for "meaning" in other directions, and fundamentalist style religions are one of the ways people have gone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    Mike's points regarding COIN in VN are also very relevant to the discussion. ... Iraq, IMO, is somewhat different, but you're still dealing with a region that has reasons to doubt a central government. That makes things interesting, to say the least!
    Too true! That's why the politics is so crucial as is a theatre wide IO effort that accurately reflects the political decisions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    I like the idea of an Imam-developed oath for ralliers to take, and suspect it could be expanded to others in positions of local leadership as well. The problem here is the same one we faced in SVN: insurgents would then target oath-takers and kill them. Provided you have reasonable local security, and can develop more, it's a great idea.
    Yup, it all comes down to that. Still and all, some of them will end up dying as the ISF and IA people are dying. If they can die with their honour intact and their lineages honour intact that is better than the alternative. Besides that, if they are killed by insurgents, then the insurgents may end up starting a blood feud by their dishonourable actions.

    I think the trick with the oaths would be to allow anyone who takes it the right to oppose government actions as long as that opposition does not take a kinetic form. In the West, we would call this Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association - so, let's construct that as a value that we respect, even if "they" say things "we" don't like.

    Marc
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  6. #66
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    Default Not just Iraq

    Marc,

    I don't think we should use Iraq as "the" example, because the conflict there is far beyond a simple, or even complex insurgency. By the DoD definition I guess it falls under the category of lawlessness, so we're doing COIN, but the country is in such disaray that traditional COIN approaches are too little, too late. My biggest concern isn't Iraq, but rather that we draw the wrong lessons from Iraq when we get involved in COIN missions in the future. I'm concerned we'll hear, oh we can't do that, we tried it in Iraq and it didn't work. The fact is we tried it after we lost the high moral ground, so of course it didn't work. Our national leadership didn't understand the nature of the war they getting in, and now we're trying to play catch up, and the reality is a lot of these tactics won't work once you're past the credibility tipping point.

    Iraq was complex to begin with (although that seemed to be a conveniently disreguarded fact during planning). Some of the larger issues is the ethnic make up, the uncooperative neighbors (that's putting it politely), the multiple insurgencies, multiple criminal gangs, ineffective economy, massive unemployment, civil war, transnationals, limitless munitions, all topped off with a cherry on top known to us as the Iraqi government, but I doubt many in Iraq see it that way. We walked in to this with our eyes wide open, there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

    Quite simply, war doesn't have to be the way in the future. Iraq could have looked much different if we engaged our brains first before committing our military. I think there is a timing or phasing issue with COIN TTP that we haven't discussed much, but if we started this war focused on the Iraqi people from day one, and fought to maintain the moral high ground instead of just taking ground, we may have been able to pull this one off.

    I think our COIN doctrine has merit, and would work if applied correctly from day one in numerous countries inflected with insurgencies. I think we have to pull the population away from the insurgency to the government, and if you can't do that you can't win.

  7. #67
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Bill,

    I've got to agree with most of what you have said. In many ways, Iraq isn't the real issue or a good test of current doctrines. You are quite right that the por initial planning has led to a SNAFU situation <sigh>. Right now, in a lot of ways, I would almost prefer to concentrate on Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa as places where we can still win and win well.

    Marc
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    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
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  8. #68
    Council Member zenpundit's Avatar
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    Dr. Marc wrote:

    "It's a corollary of 4GW that is implicit in the shift to the Information Age <shrug>. In a lot of ways, it really stems from the question of "how do I [read any individual] get meaning in the current economic system?" We don't get it from working on farms or in factories any more, and they produce far more in the way of tangible goods than can ever be used, so we have to look for "meaning" in other directions, and fundamentalist style religions are one of the ways people have gone."
    Issues of psychological identity and the political legitimacy of entities competing for allegience. The ability to provide for material needs figures in ( say -Hezbollah among rural Lebanese Shiites) but it is only part of the package for cultivating primary loyalties. The slow speed of the modern state is becoming a significant disadvantage ( ex. Katrina) vis-a-vis highly motivated, nimble, non-state rivals.

  9. #69
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    Default Waging Peace in the Philippine

    http://www.smithsonianmagazine.com/i...nes.php?page=1

    Today, a crucial but little-known battle in the expanding war on terror is under way on Jolo Island. Designed to "wage peace," as Linder says, it's an innovative, decidedly nonviolent approach by which U.S. military personnel—working with aid agencies, private groups and Philippine armed forces—are trying to curtail terrorist recruitment by building roads and providing other services in impoverished rural communities. The effort, known to experts as "the Philippines model," draws on a "victory" on the Philippine island of Basilan, where U.S. forces in 2002 ended the dominance of Abu Sayyaf without firing so much as a single shot. "It's not about how many people we shoot in the face," Linder said. "It's about how many people we get off the battlefield."

    On Jolo, U.S. military engineers have dug wells and constructed roads that allow rural farmers for the first time to transport their produce to markets. This past June, the Mercy, a U.S. Navy hospital ship, visited Jolo and other islands to provide medical and dental care to 25,000 people, many of whom had never seen a doctor. American military medical and veterinary teams have held mobile clinics, where Special Forces, speaking native Tausug and Tagalog, gathered information from local residents as they consulted on agriculture and engineering projects. American soldiers are even distributing a comic book designed for ethnic Tausug teenage boys thought to be at risk of being recruited by Abu Sayyaf. The story, Barbangsa: Blood of the Honorable, tells of a fictional young sailor named Ameer who defeats pimply-faced terrorists threatening his Philippine homeland.
    We can do it when we maintain the moral high ground with the right people, the right strategy, and patience. There isn't a whole of sexy stuff taking place here, but the focus is on the people, and it is working ever so slowly.

  10. #70
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    I think our COIN doctrine has merit, and would work if applied correctly from day one in numerous countries inflected with insurgencies. I think we have to pull the population away from the insurgency to the government, and if you can't do that you can't win.
    I like this point Bill, but I'm afraid we cannot pull the population away from the insurgency for a simple reason, and that is the fact that we do not control the ground.

    We need an infusion of boots on the ground, to put more eyes on the population (i.e. owning every street corner). The top generals are likely right, and any upsurge in troop levels is irrelevant if we cannot keep our mind on the mission after we have defined their purpose.

    Everytime I see an Iraqi on the street interviewed on the MSM, their central concern is security, security, security. To many average Iraqis, we must seem terribly impotent because the IEDs and SVBIEDs continue to kill and maim. I can't blame any Iraqi for not hearing us out on our IO message, because the most powerful message are the bodies turning up in morgues and IP recruiting center explosions.

    I too think we are past the point of using civil affairs projects as carrots. We are in the middle of a terrible Catch-22 right now. If force levels don't increase, we cannot afford to bolster Baghdad at the expense of outlying areas, because the bad guys will simply leak out to lesser secured areas and continue their program of death. We need to start smothering that place like a blanket.

    As for turning terrs, I don't think there can be any success unless we achieve significant religious cooperation. We need to "un-indoctrinate" these detained/captured knuckle-heads that the bloodshed goes against the Quran (are there references to that fact?). When you have guys willing to drive an explosive-laden car into the midst of a busy farmers market, I think that you've got to reverse that bad seed through religion.

    Are we attacking the root of the problem from the wrong angle?
    Last edited by jcustis; 01-02-2007 at 03:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis
    ...Everytime I see an Iraqi on the street interviewed on the MSM, their central concern is security, security, security. To many average Iraqis, we must seem terribly impotent because the IEDs and SVBIEDs continue to kill and maim. I can't blame any Iraqi for not hearing us out on our IO message, because the most powerful message are the bodies turning up in morgues and IP recruiting center explosions...
    That's been their central concern from the beginning. I interviewed dozens of Iraqis in throughout '03 and '04 - and they were all frustrated (to put it very mildly) at our abject failure to impose basic physical security in their nation's capital. At the time, they were dealing with a massive upsurge in rapes, murders, kidnappings, and plain ol' property crimes. Many, adhering to the usual Middle Eastern penchant for conspiracy theories, were struggling to figure out a reason why we were purposefully allowing it to go on. It ain't too hard to figure out the general trend in public opinion as the violence in Baghdad has not only continued, but significantly ratchets up in brutality.
    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis
    ...I too think we are past the point of using civil affairs projects as carrots. We are in the middle of a terrible Catch-22 right now. If force levels don't increase, we cannot afford to bolster Baghdad at the expense of outlying areas, because the bad guys will simply leak out to lesser secured areas and continue their program of death. We need to start smothering that place like a blanket.

    As for turning terrs, I don't think there can be any success unless we achieve significant religious cooperation. We need to "un-indoctrinate" these detained/captured knuckle-heads that the bloodshed goes against the Quran (are there references to that fact?). When you have guys willing to drive an explosive-laden car into the midst of a busy farmers market, I think that you've got to reverse that bad seed through religion.

    Are we attacking the root of the problem from the wrong angle?
    JC, this deserves a much lengthier and well-thought out response; it being late, I'm not going to try right now. I know we've gone around this one a few times on SWC, but I definitely want to talk more to this topic later...

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    Default and,

    I would add there also needs to be a government in place to pull the people towards.

    The RAND study Jedburgh posted stated that many insurgencies are due to the gap created by modernization, where a number of folks are left out of the new emerging economic models, so the objectives are to provide security for the people and to convince the people that the government is working in their interest.

    When you do a regime change, you create an entirely different set of problems. First, we stood up a government (yes it was elected, and yes it was a miracle that we could pull that off), but it a foreign form of government (democracy) in a land where there is little trust, and BTW it is still at war. Talk about a gap!

    As you stated we first have to provide security, an incredibly tough task in its own right. Then we have to sell this government, and after the recent fiasco with Saddam's hanging I wonder if that will be possible. If it isn't, then where do we take it from here? Another regime change? Stay the course?

  13. #73
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Then we have to sell this government, and after the recent fiasco with Saddam's hanging I wonder if that will be possible.
    Oh yes, talk about an IO nightmare. Think anyone got fired over the decision to step aside and allow the IZ govt. to "handle" the execution?

    I have to agree with FM's point about analyzing our weaknesses across the warfighting functions and political-military efforts, because I fear the bad guys are going to start attacking them with greater fervor.
    Last edited by jcustis; 01-02-2007 at 05:24 AM.

  14. #74
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    Default Definately a key problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I would add there also needs to be a government in place to pull the people towards.
    I think that this is a key problem that has to be kept in mind for any future operations. I would add in one other characteristic: the "government" must also be "worthy" of loyalty (i.e. be more likely to create a pull factor than a push factor). This doesn't mean that it has to be a "democracy", however that may be construed. France, Germany, the US, Canada and Sibgapore are all "democracies" and they all have quite different forms.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    The RAND study Jedburgh posted stated that many insurgencies are due to the gap created by modernization, where a number of folks are left out of the new emerging economic models, so the objectives are to provide security for the people and to convince the people that the government is working in their interest.
    I think that this has to be a consideration, but it also has to be kept in focus. Given current manufacturing capabilities, "modernization" is an interesting problem. I'm not convinced that the gap is based around emerging economic models so much as it is based around emerging models of individual livelihood; and no, they are not the same thing .

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    When you do a regime change, you create an entirely different set of problems. First, we stood up a government (yes it was elected, and yes it was a miracle that we could pull that off), but it a foreign form of government (democracy) in a land where there is little trust, and BTW it is still at war. Talk about a gap!
    Yup. And it is a very different case from most of the "classic" COIN situations. My question, and it can only be really answered after 10-20 years, is what type of government will it become?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    As you stated we first have to provide security, an incredibly tough task in its own right. Then we have to sell this government, and after the recent fiasco with Saddam's hanging I wonder if that will be possible. If it isn't, then where do we take it from here? Another regime change? Stay the course?
    That is the $64,000 question <wry grin>. As far as international politics is concerned, the US just doesn't have the political capital to do another regime change, at least openly. "Sell" the government? Getting harder to do as a result of the way the hanging was carried out. "Provide security"? I doubt it could be done unless there was another 100k people on the ground.

    I think that the most workable, not necessarily the "best" under any definition of that term, option would be to stabilize local areas and sell local governments and the broader ideology of "civilized discourse" vs. "civil war by despotic whim". Ultimately, the legitimacy of any Iraqi regime depends on the people of Iraq.

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

  15. #75
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    As far as international politics is concerned, the US just doesn't have the political capital to do another regime change, at least openly. "Sell" the government?
    We need to start scraping together our small change quick, because even if it's not instigated by us, I can imagine that we'll have to figure a way to sell it after the government has fallen. Better to have spin doctors working on that gloomy prospect right now, because it will happen (get back with me on Jan 1 2008) within the year.

    The same spin needs to be figured out on the Al-Sadr thing. Unless he is assasinated by Sunni or AQ elements, he will continue to be the pre-eminent Robin Hood guy around, drawing moderates closer to his sphere. And to any US policymaker who asserts that we need to remove Sadr from the equation, I say that they need to remove the crack pipe from their lips. Any unfortunate demise of Sadr = open and instant civil war. I think it's quite remarkable that we were focused on Ba'athists within government in early 2003, but didn't have a coherent plan to get Sistani to the fore. Then again, I haven't read Ricks' work yet, so if there is evidence to the contrary I'll get to it in a month or two.

    Perhaps if we were in the 19th Century, we'd be harvesting the opium crop out of Afghanistan and pushing it into the IZ market to give get the criminals/terrorists to simmer down.

    Has Kilcullen been prescriptive on handling the influence of religion, other than getting buy-in from the clerics? I'm curious on his thoughts of how the Sadr/Sistani issue was played.
    Last edited by jcustis; 01-02-2007 at 04:28 PM.

  16. #76
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    We need to start scraping together our small change quick, because even if it's not instigated by us, I can imagine that we'll have to figure a way to sell it after the government has fallen. Better to have spin doctors working on that gloomy prospect right now, because it will happen (get back with me on Jan 1 2008) within the year.
    Probably <sigh>. Best spin around would be aimed at the local - local security, local support, etc. - tied in with a strong message of Iraq needs to decide its own future. Maybe float the idea of plebiscites...

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    The same spin needs to be figured out on the Al-Sadr thing. Unless he is assasinated by Sunni or AQ elements, he will continue to be the pre-eminent Robin Hood guy around, drawing moderates closer to his sphere. And to any US policymaker who asserts that we need to remove Sadr from the equation, I say that they need to remove the crack pipe from their lips. Any unfortunate demise of Sadr = open and instant civil war.
    Too true! And, like Guevera, I have to wonder how long he would last/will last after Iraq falls apart and the Iranians move into the south.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
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  17. #77
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    tied in with a strong message of Iraq needs to decide its own future. Maybe float the idea of plebiscites...
    I think we've done all we can to advance this idea marct...the walls we are banging our head against is the fact the the various parties aren't buying what we are selling. For the Kurds, the future of Iraq remains semi-autonomous rule in the north. For the Shi'a, the future is an ascendency of power aligned with Sadr in Baghdad, and Sistani in the south, with a bit of help from Iran where necessary. For the Sunni of Al Anbar, they probably see their best future as an Anbar operating in a semi-autonomous realm as well.

    As I've said here before, the oil is great, but we can't discount the importance of the highway corridor to Jordan and Syria, nor the potential of hydro-electricity flowing from Haditha Dam. I do not think any man on the street can really envision a strong central government that governs through true democratic principles.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    I think we've done all we can to advance this idea marct...the walls we are banging our head against is the fact the the various parties aren't buying what we are selling. For the Kurds, the future of Iraq remains semi-autonomous rule in the north. For the Shi'a, the future is an ascendency of power aligned with Sadr in Baghdad, and Sistani in the south, with a bit of help from Iran where necessary. For the Sunni of Al Anbar, they probably see their best future as an Anbar operating in a semi-autonomous realm as well.
    I hate to say it, but I suspect you are right or, at least, I'd lay 3:2 in favour of it. If that happens, though, then it will probably become increasingly important to retain some type of a presence in the Kurdish north. I'd be interested in Jed's comments on that idea...

    If that is going to happen, however, we will probably be dealing with one of the 3 region variants with the variation in how much "local autonomy" resides in each region.

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

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    Default fyi, here is the final version of my paper about Kilcullen

    By the kind invitation from the SWC Moderators, here is the final version of my paper on Kilcullen:

    Why We Lose: Part four of a series about the US expedition to the Middle East
    January 4, 2007
    4,100 words

    URL:
    http://www.defense-and-society.org/f...06_part_IV.htm


    Comments are welcome and appreciated. First, here are a few important points about this paper.

    1. This paper looks at Kilcullen’s "28 articles" from the perspective of 4GW theory, mining his recommended tactics for insights as to what strategy might work best in such wars. That is, this article discusses 4GW strategy. As we all know, strategy should drive tactics.

    2. This paper does not consider or evaluate the utility of his advice to company commanders.

    3. This is just a sketch (only 4 thousand words), and cannot do justice to the breath and depth of Kilcullen’s large and subtle body of work (4 major papers on counterinsurgency, many on related topics).

    4. This article is in effect a chapter of a book. Like folks originally read Dickens (or Dick Tracy comics), this is a larger work published in serial form. Many logical and natural question when reading this are dealt with elsewhere, esp. in my analysis of Lind’s FMFM-1A and my “Militia” article (links to previous articles appear at the end).

    5. Two comments from Kilcullen’s works I believe apply to all of us writing about 4GW:

    From “Countering Global Insurgency”:

    This appendix IS NOT A BLUEPRINT FOR COUNTERINSURGENCY IN IRAQ. As described in the main paper, such a template does not exist, and in any case the situation is rapidly changing requiring constant innovation.

    From “3 Pillars of Counterinsurgency”:

    These thoughts are tentative; they need a large amount of work. The “three pillars” model is clearly incorrect — all models are, in that they are systematic oversimplifications of reality. But this, or something like it, might be a basis for further development.

    And time is of the essence: regardless of the outcome of current campaigns, our enemies will keep applying these methods until we show we can defeat them. Thus, this is one of the most important efforts that our generation of national security professionals is likely to attempt. Our friends and colleagues’ lives, the security of our nation and its allies, and our long-term prospect of victory in the War on Terrorism may, in part, depend on it.

    6. Last, here is an acknowledgement from the end of this paper:

    Also, my thanks to the participants of the Small Wars Council, whose criticisms were so helpful in refining this article. This site deserves attention by anyone seeking information or discussion about the small wars that dominate today’s military scene.

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    Default From the Horse's Mouth

    The following reply fm Dave Kilcullen to Fabius Maximus's courtesy e-mail (ref the "heads up" below) re FM's new article (see prior post this thread). Posted here per permission in text. We think the added analysis and context from Dave is valuable and hugely appropriate for this forum. See also this thread. And FM's original post links to the other works cited.

    -------------
    "Fabius",

    Thanks for the heads-up, I actually spotted your article and also the discussion at SWJ that preceded it. I'm flattered and honored that you guys expended so much energy discussing my stuff, and very much appreciated everyone's comments in the discussion, from which I learned a great deal. You'll notice I've cc'd Dave Dilegge and Bill Nagle over at SWJ on this response. (Bill, Dave -- please feel free to post this if you think it's appropriate but the decision is yours).

    "Fabius", I'd be very happy to engage with you in a more detailed discussion of my ideas, of which "28 articles" is actually not a particularly representative sample: I wrote it in response to specific requests from several deployed company commanders when I was in Iraq in January-March 2006, and as I write at the start of it (bottom of page 1 on the internet version) "there are no universal answers...what follows are observations from collective experience: the distilled essence of what those who went before you learned. They are expressed as commandments, for clarity, but are really more like folklore. Apply them judiciously and skeptically."

    In other words, in 28 articles I'm not expressing my latest "experimental" or strategic thinking, but rather trying to provide a quick compilation of ready-reference tactical ideas based on extant "classical" COIN thinking, and where possible drawn from proven experience from the field. I'm fundamentally a practitioner rather than a theorist, and my aim was mainly to meet an immediate need from colleagues in the field.

    I do have other thoughts on these issues; "Counterinsurgency Redux" and "Complex Warfighting", as well as the long (internet) version of "Countering Global Insurgency" are the things I have written that come closest to expressing those other thoughts.

    But I am extremely cautious about claiming to have any particular answers here. I don't believe I do have the answer, and as I write in those other papers, although COIN theory is a better fit for current problems in the WOT than is CT theory, it's not a perfect fit. Indeed, I would argue that this set of conflicts we are in actually breaks all our existing paradigms so that we need a fundamental re-think. (BTW, I'm including 4GW in the subset of existing paradigms that need to be re-thought: I don't support the ad hominem criticisms that anti-4GW people mount, and I think there is much extremely valuable and insightful material in the 4GW corpus of writing, but I'm still yet to be convinced that 4GW as currently expressed, or indeed any other paradigm including COIN, contains all the answers we seek for the present round of conflicts.)

    But I don't claim to have the answer. I sometimes feel as if a new paradigm is on the tip of my tongue, and I have a strong feeling that the solution (if there is one) is about a strategic form of armed propaganda that goes well beyond our current concept of IO into a type of semi-kinetic "influence operations". But I'm still working through all of this, and others smarter and better equipped than I are also working through it. The search for a solution is way bigger and much more important than any one individual or ego.

    Also, as I just hinted, I often doubt that there is a single universal set of "answers" out there, except in the sense that we must always study each problem in its own terms and in the greatest level of detail we can muster in the time available, and then diagnose a tailored and situation-specific approach, consistent with sound principles, to deal with it. But that's simply to state the obvious -- as I say in pretty much everything I have written, I don't believe there is any single, fixed, templated or "silver bullet" solution here.

    I have to say, however, that as a practitioner I don't believe any of these discussions are ready for prime time. What the guys need in the field are workable frameworks and basic assumptions that help them in their day-to-day. So (especially in "28 articles") I have tried to help where I can without claiming COIN as the silver bullet solution to problems that are actually far more complex. I try to keep the speculative stuff for forums where it won't confuse guys whose average day is way more complicated and dangerous than mine.

    Do I believe that the admonitions I make in the paper can be carried out by the average company commander? Actually I have huge confidence in the adaptability and agility of the guys in the field and have been impressed, again and again, as I have served with them in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. But even if the advice is not strictly achievable, I still think it's worth giving since it helps turn the "ship of state" in the right direction.

    If you articulate a position ten steps to the left and the organization only takes two steps in that direction, that's a good result in my view-- if you articulate a position too close to the status quo, the result is no change at all. Some of the advice in "28 articles" is given knowing that it cannot be carried out to the letter, but in the hope that it will act as a memory-jogger to influence people's behavior in the field. That's the didactic purpose of all doctrine, in my view -- not as a descriptive depiction of how operations will actually be carried out, but as a tool to encourage and shape organizational adaptation.

    I would also make the comment that I don't believe "28 articles" is of as much use to insurgents as you think. I have had some field experience leading irregular non-state forces against a conventional army in a guerrilla fight, and my personal experience of doing this was that actually the nature of being an insurgent, and the nature of countering insurgency are so fundamentally different that knowledge of one set of techniques is little help in mastering the other. I learned and applied UW techniques on operations (my army calls it "Guerrilla Warfare" or GW rather than UW, which I personally find a better descriptor) before learning COIN in subsequent ops and during my PhD, and while some skills were applicable to both I found the two disciplines to be complementary in some ways but radically different in others. Most of my brethren with similar experience seem to have found the same.

    I do agree (and have written in a couple of places) that there's a fundamental difference between doing COIN in your own country and doing COIN in someone else's -- hence Northern Ireland, Malaya, and several other "classical" COIN examples have extremely limited utility in places like Iraq and Afghanistan (where the insurgency is only a limited part of the problem anyway).

    Finally (and you'll note I'm cc'ing my friends John Nagl and TX Hammes on this), I'd be very happy to meet in person to discuss this, or engage in a discussion online, on one condition -- you know who I am, my background, my views in detail; I don't even know your name. I don't "do" pseudonyms, I'm afraid.

    If you want to have a discussion in print, we need to either meet or exchange enough personal detail to establish legitimate bona fides. There is too much urgent practical work to be done for us to engage in empty disputation, so I'm not prepared to get into a theoretical discussion without some prospect of a positive practical result for the guys on the ground. My personal preference would be for a private, in-confidence, face to face discussion rather than a public debate -- which has the potential to de-stabilize some of the very people we are trying to help.

    Anyhow, no pressure -- think it over and let me know what you decide. And thanks for your contribution: there is nothing better than a spirited discussion with someone intelligent and well-informed who also violently disagrees with you; it's a rare and precious thing when you find someone like that and I appreciate the dialectic.

    best wishes

    Dave Kilcullen

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