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Thread: Plan B? Letís Give Plan A Some Time First

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Plan B? Letís Give Plan A Some Time First

    6 May NY Times commentary - Plan B? Letís Give Plan A Some Time First by Frederick Kagan.

    One of the most common criticisms of the current ďsurgeĒ in Iraq is that its proponents have not developed a Plan B in case it fails. The skeptics liken this lack of a backup strategy to the Bush administrationís failure to plan for various contingencies after the initial invasion in 2003; they see a continuity of errors between previous strategies in Iraq and the new one.

    In fact, the debate shows only how little the critics of the war understand about military operations. As one of the initial proponents of the surge, I argue that there is no Plan B because there cannot be one. The idea that there can be a single alternative strategy, developed now, just at the beginning of the surge, is antithetical to the dynamic nature of war. At this early stage, there are only possible general responses to various contingencies, which will become more focused as operations move forward.

    The strategy now under way in Iraq ó we are providing an increased number of American forces, working closely with Iraqi troops, to establish and maintain security in Baghdad as a precondition for political, economic and social progress ó will change the situation in Iraq significantly, whether or not it succeeds in its aims.

    In fact, it has already done so, and for the better: the rebel Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr has apparently fled to Iran; American and Iraqi forces have killed or captured more than 700 key leaders and allies of his Mahdi Army, causing the movement to fragment; sectarian killings in Baghdad in April were about one-third of the level in December.

    There have been gains outside the capital as well...

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    Council Member Dr Jack's Avatar
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    Default Plan B

    From the Sunday talk shows:

    http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-t...l?hpid=topnews


    May 6: GOP could seek "Plan B" on Iraq in Sept.

    The leader of House Republicans said today that his members would begin to seek another strategy in Iraq in September, should President Bush's troop "surge" strategy clearly not be working by then. But he pledged that his caucus would stand firm against any Democratic timetable or benchmarks that mandate the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

    "We don't even have all of the 30,000 additional troops in Iraq yet. And so we're supporting the president. ... By the time we get to September, October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn't,what's Plan B," Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) said on "Fox News Sunday."

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    Default Don't confuse the "Surge" with the Strategy

    19 January SWJ post by Dave Kilcullen - Don't confuse the "Surge" with the Strategy.

    Much discussion of the new Iraq strategy centers on the ďsurgeĒ 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 ďsurgeĒ misses what is actually new in the strategy Ė its population-centric approach...

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    In fact, the debate shows only how little the critics of the war understand about military operations. As one of the initial proponents of the surge, I argue that there is no Plan B because there cannot be one. The idea that there can be a single alternative strategy, developed now, just at the beginning of the surge, is antithetical to the dynamic nature of war. At this early stage, there are only possible general responses to various contingencies, which will become more focused as operations move forward.
    Excuse me? So I suppose one can never plan alternative options because your original plan will so irredeemably change the situation? Has Mr. Kagan ever planned anything in his entire life?

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Has Mr. Kagan ever planned anything in his entire life?
    that would be, assumetric planning. You know, the kind that makes an ass of u and me...

    Tom

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    Default Plan B For Iraq: Winning Dirty

    11 May Real Clear Politics / Roll Call commentary - Plan B For Iraq: Winning Dirty by Mort Kondracke.

    Without prejudging whether President Bush's "surge" policy will work, the administration and its critics ought to be seriously thinking about a Plan B, the "80 percent solution" - also known as "winning dirty." Right now, the administration is committed to building a unified, reconciled, multisectarian Iraq - "winning clean." Most Democrats say that's what they want, too. But it may not be possible.

    The 80 percent alternative involves accepting rule by Shiites and Kurds, allowing them to violently suppress Sunni resistance and making sure that Shiites friendly to the United States emerge victorious.

    No one has publicly advocated this Plan B, and I know of only one Member of Congress who backs it - and he wants to stay anonymous. But he argues persuasively that it's the best alternative available if Bush's surge fails. Winning will be dirty because it will allow the Shiite-dominated Iraqi military and some Shiite militias to decimate the Sunni insurgency. There likely will be ethnic cleansing, atrocities against civilians and massive refugee flows...

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    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    Is the “surge” really plan A. Four years on we finally get a plan? That maybe part of the problem right there.

    If we had started this thing with a well thought out plan, with multiple contingency plans for when thing didn’t go according to the plan (as always happens in war) then, just maybe, we wouldn’t be where we are today. I agree it is a bit early to judge the surge (though I have little faith in it) but to not be considering contingency options seems like the same kind of foolishness that got us here in the first place.

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    Default Creating A Sustainable Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    19 January SWJ post by Dave Kilcullen - Don't confuse the "Surge" with the Strategy.
    The new Iraq strategy centers on the “surge” to increase forces in-theater by 21,500 troops and some would argue that the “surge” misses what is actually new in the strategy – its population-centric approach. Unfortunately, I contend that the Surge continues to focus on an enemy- centric approach (searching out and destroying the enemy) but that strategy never works-- as such it will show little hope of success. History has shown insurgencies cannot be defeated by force alone because they inherently have local ties, promote a local distrust of outsider motives, and carry a level of popular support that is nearly impossible to completely win over.

    A government and population-centric approach is necessary to establish peace. In July, I have been asked to present a strategy to "Create a Sustainable Iraq" to an international conference at the University of Massachusetts. In my strategy, is a plan to Create a Cause to Live For that is greater than the Insurgents' preceived Cause to Die For. This paper provides key steps necessary to establish peace and create a sustainable Iraq. It is based on the belief that human behavior is motivated by self-interest; that democracy cannot take root unless the basic human needs are provided; and that nations from around the world will openly participate to stop the violence and social decline. Working through the government of Iraq, the plan offers a strategy to increase employment, revitalize the economy, reduce the insurgency, and to provide regional stability.

    The intent is to energize the working economy in Iraq and in doing so restore peace to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which freedom and democracy can take hold. This plan is based on the simple and workable concept — put people to work rebuilding their own neighborhoods, cities and country; provide them an opportunity to support their families; rally them toward a vision for a better future and you will divert energy away from self-destructive behaviors. In essence, the plan provides the people of Iraq with “A Cause to Live For”.

    It is clear that we need only look to history for examples of how government work programs and reconstruction encampments mitigated social decline. After WWII, Germany hired millions of men to rebuild their nation on loans from other countries. In United States history, when economic engines had stalled during the great depression, President Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Worker Progress Administration (WPA). The philosophy is to put the unemployed back to work in jobs that would serve the public good and improve the skills and the self-esteem of workers. Simply stated, we must borrow these chapters in history to create the conditions for peace in Iraq.

    The plan is based on meeting basic needs for food, water, shelter, security, and income: jobs first and quality of life second, followed by self-confidence, esteem, freedom, and justice on the path to democracy. Aristotle said, “Poverty is the father of Crime, Revolution and Corruption” and it is clear that the cities in Iraq are no stranger to poverty. “The most striking thing in Iraq is the extreme poverty. I’ve been to the Philippines and saw poverty. But at least they could eat. Here there is sewage and trash on the ground. Shepherds take their sheep to eat from the trash.”

    It must be financed, implemented and managed by Iraqis for Iraqis. The new government in Iraq must take the leading role and they must articulate and deliver an Iraqi Initiative for peace, economic recovery and hope. Government legitimacy comes with the first payday paid to the Iraqi workers--population-centric--winning the hearts and minds while organizing society toward a unifying, tangible vision based on government action and not rhetoric. Within this plan are powerful principles of government leadership, economic self-help, ethnic and regional cooperation, technical training, education and jobs which are all fundamental to rebuilding Iraq today.

    The result of this plan will be a revitalization of Iraqi agriculture, utilities, energy infrastructure, roads, governance, communities and industrial capability. In the end, thousands of development projects will take place to help create jobs, stimulate economic growth...rebuild infrastructure…promote trade...restore peace and create a sustainable Iraq.

    The plan provides an opportunity for the Iraqi people to volunteer for a one-year commitment, with compensation, to be enrolled and to live on employment camps within their tribal area. An incentive of two months wages will be paid to individuals, upon enrollment on the camp. Living on the camp is a key counterinsurgency strategy to take enrollees out of their usual surroundings, and negative distractions, provide income producing jobs, develop trust in government, offer on-camp academic and skills training, and push cash into the local economy via the "velocity of money." The camps will be expanded or contracted in size depending on the reconstruction work in the local area. Camps clusters will be established on an "Ink" Blot basis. Each camp will serve a highly localized area, in other words, workers will perform work near their own communities, usually within 10 km of the camp. Enrollees will perform many different jobs, from the most basic to skilled duties, and tasks; and at the same time will receive pay, training and education. On-camp education and training will be used to prepare men for future jobs. This group of Iraq citizens will enter this government employment program on a purely voluntary basis and they will rebuild local communities in Iraq brick by brick, and block by block. The world will see the Broken Window Theory at work.

    The camps will provide Iraqi men billeting, food and water, work uniforms, training, and localized reconstruction projects while providing the communities hope. It is a core goal of the program to assist these young men, so that by the end of their commitment, they are prepared and have found private sector employment.

    The military role "surge" and Iraq security forces will continue to be security, stability and overwatch for the communities, the camps and the workers. U.S. and Iraqi military and security forces must continue to focus on establishing a safe and secure environment under the rule of law, stability and area security for the Iraqi people. They must continue to attack and destroy insurgents and they must provide a stable security platform for democracy to take hold. Furthermore, it must be clear that insurgents, political parties, or other groups whose aim is to perpetuate human misery in order to profit politically or otherwise will encounter violent and decisive actions from coalition military forces.

    Iraq will pay for the program with foreign exchange credits of oil nondeliverable today but sold as oil futures in the ground to all participating countries. The creation of jobs is a government to the people program implemented and financed by Iraqis for Iraqis. It cannot be over emphasized that the program cannot be American run or contractor run or private sector managed, or it will not work. This plan is about building trust, confidence and legitmacy in the new government of Iraq.
    Last edited by GPaulus; 05-12-2007 at 07:34 AM.

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    Default Surge vs. Strategy

    I contend that the "surge" is but one tool (tactic) in a new population-centric strategy. Unfortunately, the new strategy was introduced late in the game and after several years of either living in denial that an insurgency even existed and, once acknowledged, adopting the enemy-centric approach to COIN. Also in the minus column is the time factor Ė our domestic political situation is pointing to a September ďblow-upĒ that may seal the fate of the surge tactic. Still, in order for a population-centric approach to COIN to succeed there has to be at least a semblance of security for the population and other non-military actors. Using the old maxim that COIN is 80% political and 20% military Ė the surge is part of the 20% that is intended to enable the 80% to begin in earnest.

    Initiatives such as the one you posit Ė and there are many good and well-meaning proposals out there Ė do not even have a fighting chance until there is some degree of normalcy and security in Iraq. Moreover, successful execution of any COIN strategy will take years, not months. The surge is but the pointy-end beginning and should not be scrapped simply because it is misinterpreted as a long-term strategy.

    Moreover, any strategy that is dependant on the Iraqi government for success has a long and difficult road ahead. The national government seems to be ďbrokeĒ and this may force us into a bottom-up approach to transforming Iraq into a stable and responsible state. I have always been a proponent of a bottom-up approach but that is not how our elements of national power seem to like to do business. The early tactics of the surge will most likely serve as the first step in that bottom-up approach. Please see Bing Westís latest SWJ trip report and blog articles at Westhawk and The Belmont Club for more on this.

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    Default Running Out of Time in Iraq

    15 May Washington Post commentary - Running Out of Time in Iraq by David Ignatius.

    ... With a September deadline looming for U.S. commanders to report on the progress of the surge of U.S. troops into Baghdad, the core issue remains the need for a political reconciliation between the country's warring sects. The difficulty of achieving that goal was on display here last weekend during a visit by Adm. William Fallon, who, as head of U.S. Central Command, has overall responsibility for the war.

    The top Shiite and Sunni leaders each insisted that the other side is to blame for the violence that torments the country. Each demanded that the other side make the first concessions. Each voiced support for the surge of American troops while at the same time complaining that his own neighborhoods aren't much safer...

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    Default Surging Ahead in Iraq

    15 May Wall Street Journal commentary - Surging Ahead in Iraq by Max Boot.

    There is a serious and widening disconnect between the timetables that commanders are using to guide their actions in Iraq and those being demanded by politicians in Washington. Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the senior U.S. commanders in Iraq, are quite properly planning for the troop "surge" to extend well into next year. That's why the Pentagon has alerted 10 combat brigades with some 40,000 soldiers to get ready to deploy in August. They will be needed to replace troops rotating home.

    Back home, however, politicians are demanding results in the next few months--or else. And not just Democrats. House Minority Leader John Boehner has said that if they don't see progress by the fall, even House Republicans will start demanding a Plan B for Iraq, which would presumably involve pulling troops out, not sending more. That message was reinforced by the group of 11 House Republicans who visited the White House last week...

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    Default Petraeus and PC-policy-making

    18 May Washington Times commentary - Petraeus and PC-policy-making by Dinah West.

    "This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we ó not our enemies ó occupy the moral high ground."

    óGen. David Petraeus, May 10

    Oh, they must, must they?

    With his single sentence, Gen. David Petraeus reveals what's wrong with our Iraq policy. Success depends not on our own actions, but on a politically correct expectation of how Iraqis will react to those actions. It seems that victory depends on something over which we have no control ó the point of view and behavior of people in Iraq.

    Consider the "surge." Even if our troops achieve the goal of "securing the population" by securing Baghdad, success still rides on subsequent Iraqi behavior: whether murderously competing Iraqi sects decide to come together and sing "Kumbayah" ó what you might call a big "whether."

    Somehow, I'm practically alone among conservatives in believing this to be a dangerously ill-conceived policy (Surrender-crats aren't worth discussing here), and I think I know why. The Iraq policy itself is an outgrowth of another dangerously ill-conceived policy of our leaders to avoid any rational assessment of the Islamic culture that informs the point of view and behavior of people across the Fertile Crescent in the first place...

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    There's a quote running in the back of my mind after reading this "article":
    ďIt is as useless to argue with those who have abandoned the use of reason as it is to administer medicine to the dead.Ē
    Thomas Paine, Common Sense.
    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/

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Marc

    the commentator would again be one of those pigs with a wristwatch...

    Tom

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    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    While completely ignorant on the subject of counter-insurgency, and pretty much everything else, Diana West almost stumbled upon a gem in that steaming pile: what if they just donít want us or what we are selling? Now Ms West doesnít come right out and say that or have any idea of what to do about that (except some idiotic notion of being less PC) but we maybe there. Frankly I think it probably has less to do with being ďinfidelsĒ and more to do with good old fashion you donít belong here, but it doesnít matter why. The fact of the matter is they may just not want us there . . . and then what?

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stu-6 View Post
    While completely ignorant on the subject of counter-insurgency, and pretty much everything else, Diana West almost stumbled upon a gem in that steaming pile: what if they just donít want us or what we are selling? Now Ms West doesnít come right out and say that or have any idea of what to do about that (except some idiotic notion of being less PC) but we maybe there. Frankly I think it probably has less to do with being ďinfidelsĒ and more to do with good old fashion you donít belong here, but it doesnít matter why. The fact of the matter is they may just not want us there . . . and then what?
    Slap,

    That in a nutshell is why we did not do this in 1991.

    Best
    Tom

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Slap,

    That in a nutshell is why we did not do this in 1991.

    Best
    Tom
    OK Tom I give up. I haven"t even posted on this thread.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    OK Tom I give up. I haven"t even posted on this thread.
    Slap,


    Mea Culpa, Mate.

    I should have said "Stu"

    Tom:

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Hi Tom, that Mea Culpa guy gets around a lot.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Yep me and Culpa like to hang out together, don't you know?

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