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Thread: Keys to a Successful Surge

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Keys to a Successful Surge

    Keys to a Successful Surge - Max Boot, LA Times.

    While politicians debate whether more U.S. troops should be sent to Iraq, just as important is how those troops will be utilized. In the Boer War, a "surge" of soldiers helped. In the Vietnam War, it didn't. The difference is that the British had a sounder strategy. I

    n formulating the right strategy, there is no better guide than a slim 1964 volume, "Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice." Its author was a French officer named David Galula, who saw service not only in World War II but in postwar China, Greece, Hong Kong and Algeria. If there is a Clausewitz of counterinsurgency, Galula is it.

    Although much has changed in recent decades, most of his admonitions still apply, which is why so many are echoed in the new Army-Marine counterinsurgency field manual. U.S. forces have gotten better at this demanding type of warfare in Iraq, but even now they're still falling short, often through no fault of their own, in carrying out many of Galula's key precepts...
    Much more at the link...

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    Council Member bismark17's Avatar
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    Default Re:

    Thanks for posting this! This is a great post with something to say about even our own "justice" system. Max Boot is becoming a must read in this arena.

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    Concur this is an excellent piece....The less than relevant VN reference could have been left out of the argument, especially since it is not exactly accurate:--A troop surge in Viet Nam didn't help? Really?--Then who decimated those VC main force units and PAVN divisions 1968-69, thereby giving pacification even a modest chance? Problem was, of course, this sine qua non merely "helped."

    Boot's point about an ally reluctant to lock up the bad guys sadly rings a bell from the old CORDS days, when, as advisers with limited leverage, we never did manage to get our counterparts' wholehearted commitment to Phoenix, the program to neutralize the VC infrastructure...

    Cheers,
    Mike.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default Agree

    Agree with Bizmark and Mike it's just like clearing an area and not being able to hold it. It dosen't do anything in the long run and if you lock people up one day and let them out the next it will not do anything in the long run.

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    ....another look at the "surge". I missed this one when it first came out a couple of weeks ago. This is a pdf copy of Andrew Krepinevich's presentation to the Senate staff on 28 Feb 07:

    The "New" COIN Doctrine and the Baghdad Surge: Formual for Success?

    I'll just pluck out his conclusions:
    ...
    • FM 3-24 provides a classic method of coping effectively with insurgency—the Roman Model is ruled out, yet it’s not clear the “classic” model prescribed here can work for the US, either

    • The history of US COIN in Iraq is characterized by a number of significant failures to follow the doctrine prescribed in FM 3-24

    • Particularly worrisome is the sluggish pace of adaptation—in some critical aspects, the war is still being conducted on a “business-as-usual” approach

    • The Surge—originally proposed in 2005—might have worked in 2004; barring exceptional leadership and more than a little luck, it’s is perhaps the last, best hope to turn things around, but it is far more of a long shot than it need have been

    • The Surge confronts two critical—and perhaps insurmountable—barriers to success: Uncertain support from the Iraqi government and its security forces; and demands on the Home Front for quick results in a war that is protracted in nature

    • We have not worked through the consequences of “Plan C” (Withdrawal); nor have we developed a way for dealing with these kinds of conflicts in the future...

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    Default Da Surge

    Andy made a presentation at a recent conference I attended and, as usual, was very persuasive.

    When commentators, in any forum but particularly in the media and in politics, talk about "the surge" they do disservice to the COIN operation now being executed in Iraq. It's not about the numbers, it's about winning the COIN fight over time. By focusing on the numbers, detractors develop a target that can be exploited in public opinion. That allows them to duck the bigger COIN issues that they will never grasp. Unfortunately, as Andy points out, there are major issues over which we have limited control, the biggest being the the competency and commitment of the central government in Baghdad.

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    Default Agree...

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Eagle View Post
    Andy made a presentation at a recent conference I attended and, as usual, was very persuasive.

    When commentators, in any forum but particularly in the media and in politics, talk about "the surge" they do disservice to the COIN operation now being executed in Iraq. It's not about the numbers, it's about winning the COIN fight over time. By focusing on the numbers, detractors develop a target that can be exploited in public opinion. That allows them to duck the bigger COIN issues that they will never grasp. Unfortunately, as Andy points out, there are major issues over which we have limited control, the biggest being the the competency and commitment of the central government in Baghdad.
    I think Dave Kilcullen does a great job laying this issue out in our first ever blog posting - Don't Confuse the "Surge" with the Strategy:

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

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    Absolutely. I know that Dave, Andy K. and most of the rest of us "get it". My concern is that the "surge" is being played to the public as something without underlying justification and therefore a viable target for attack either by trying to restrict numbers or the dollars required to support them.

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    Even the liberal-leaning LA Times has concerns as expressed in an editorial this morning - Do We Really Need a Gen. Pelosi?.

    Though they focus on the surge - the LA Times - in their own way - seem to be coming to an understanding that the surge is not the strategy and if you overwhelmingly confirmed Gen. Petraeus then it makes sense to give him the time and tools to do his job - and more importantly - not micro-manage the war from inside the beltway.

    ...But if Congress accepts Bush's argument that there is still hope, however faint, that the U.S. military can be effective in quelling the sectarian violence, that U.S. economic aid can yet bring about an improvement in Iraqi lives that won't be bombed away and that American diplomatic power can be harnessed to pressure Shiites and Sunnis to make peace — if Congress accepts this, then lawmakers have a duty to let the president try this "surge and leverage" strategy.

    By interfering with the discretion of the commander in chief and military leaders in order to fulfill domestic political needs, Congress undermines whatever prospects remain of a successful outcome. It's absurd for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to try to micromanage the conflict, and the evolution of Iraqi society, with arbitrary timetables and benchmarks.

    Congress should not hinder Bush's ability to seek the best possible endgame to this very bad war. The president needs the leeway to threaten, or negotiate with, Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds, Syrians and Iranians and Turks. Congress can find many ways to express its view that U.S. involvement, certainly at this level, must not go on indefinitely, but it must not limit the president's ability to maneuver at this critical juncture...
    Congress is getting trapped by their foolish mantra that they support the troops but not the war - their current course could well get more troops killed or wounded and sabotage any chance of reversing the state of affairs in Iraq.

    Otherwise - just stop the funding now and get the troops out. VP Cheney made reference to this today - called it a "slow bleed".

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    Default - 1 Good Shot of PR Anyway

    I was quite surprised to hear on NPR yesterday a report on the PM's visit to Ramadi and how he was met by some sheiks. The drift of the report was quite positive and I was pleased to hear NPR saying something favorable. The report said the Sheiks seemed relaxed and smiled on occasion and presented the PM with petitions for more services and security. General P. was there with the PM too and some of what he said was broadcast. In one take, he was discussing the situation with a Ramadi citizen and in essence told the man that "with his help" things would get better. As a civilian who pays alot of taxes, I can live with an 'armed peace corps' concept of reconstruction and stabalization. It makes sense as long as the *$%^(#* politicians stay the he** out of it and let the military do their thing. I still advocate a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) model as part of the solution, where unemployed young men are put to work cleaning up rubble doing heavy manual labor for good pay. If they can provide for their families and be tired from doing heavy work at the end of the day, they will be less inclined to set off IEDs. I fail to see why some company commander somewhere can't be given some cash and be told to put some Iraqis to work simply to see how things pan out. Officers and NCOs supervise work details all the time but I realize big ideas and implimenting them are two different things.

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    Default Implementing Ideas

    I couldn't get the picture pasted but the the story line says it all:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,258551,00.html

    " A Soldier haggles with kids, while buying a braclet. Tired of hearing them beg, one day we asked what they could do for us. One boy said he could make braclets, so we got them the supplies. We are trying to teach the next generation to understand that work brings in money, more so than expecting a handout or begging. Call it a little American entrepreneurialism if you will. "

    I call it putting Iraqis to work. That picture should be of some Lt or Cpt handing out a day's fair wages to some Iraqi men lined up, dusty and tired looking after doing some hard labor clearing rubble for eventual reconstruction.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    CNN International had a some awesome footage, yesterday morning, of "King David" walking around, speaking with Iraqis in English and in Arabic, interacting, and without a helmet or sunglasses.

    That was some of the best, and most "mission-friendly" footage I've seen since some of the medic missions treating Iraqis from the beginning of the war.

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