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Thread: This is what victory looks like

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    Council Member ali_ababa's Avatar
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    Default This is what victory looks like

    A LITTLE after 2am, in the small town of ad-Dawr, south of Tikrit, Captain Ahmed of the Iraqi army is leading his troops on one of their regular arrest raids.

    Half a dozen men from one particular house are dragged out, hands bound with plastic flexi-cuffs, and lined up. But the man they'd come for isn't there.
    "Listen, donkey-f..ker,", says Ahmed, addressing the head of the household, "I know your eldest son is with the terrorists because he keeps sniping at my men."

    Pointing his Kalashnikov at the abject row of detainees, he continues: "And if you don't bring him down to the JSC (joint staff college), I'll be back here tomorrow night and I'll shoot every last one of you."
    ....
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...-15084,00.html

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question A question

    During the last 20 years or so what would that same situation have looked like in comparison?

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    I am dazed and confused over this one; the title lead-in to the post and the article itself. Maybe somebody smart like Rob Thornton or Ken White or RTK can help me understand it.

    Is this how they are teaching to define victory at the Coin Academy in Taji nowadays??

    gian

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile
    I am dazed and confused over this one; the title lead-in to the post and the article itself. Maybe somebody smart like Rob Thornton or Ken White or RTK can help me understand it.

    Is this how they are teaching to define victory at the Coin Academy in Taji nowadays??

    gian
    It has nothing to do with the COIN Academy and everything to do with wry Aussie humor and the intended spin of the author. The last paragraph of the article locks it in:
    .....For the first time in a long time, the coalition can credibly claim that things are moving in the right direction. The Sunni vigilantes, the divided police force and Rambo-style Iraqi army officers, along with the kidnapping, the crime and the tribal fighting: this is what victory looks like in Iraq. Next year, the Americans will declare it so and some will start to go home.

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    Still confused;

    Is it Aussie humor or neo-con speak from a Murdoch paper?

    gian

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Aussie humor from a reporter

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    Still confused;

    Is it Aussie humor or neo-con speak from a Murdoch paper?

    gian
    who has no great love for the US, regardless of his employer, I suspect. I hit several of their papers every day; get some pretty scathing comments every now and then.

    Good news is they'll still buy you a beer while telling you your wool import restrictions are bonkers...

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Ad Dawr is a rats nest of hardcore former Ba'athists and could hardly be considered typical of Iraq or even Salah ad Din province. Because of it's location it has never gotten the attention it deserved.

    SFC W

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    I think if that is what it will look like, it will be a victory, sort of like Mexico in the 20's and 30's. It wouldn't look like Malaysia, but you take what you can get.

    Capt. Ahmed reminds me of the way the Mexican Army was portrayed in the book "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", which was a very good book by the way.

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Smile Exactly

    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Ad Dawr is a rats nest of hardcore former Ba'athists and could hardly be considered typical of Iraq or even Salah ad Din province. Because of it's location it has never gotten the attention it deserved.

    SFC W
    So in this case how would this same case have looked just a few years back when they were still in charge.

    Would there have been a knock on the door, or simply a door knocked down

    Would there have been zipties or no more family ties

    Would the opportunity to turn him in without someone else dying to leave a message as well.

    Or considering what the sectarian mix was should it be in a different area might there have even been a chance to turn in the perpatrator or would something much larger scale

    Just on the face of it if I look at it in comparison to that rather than what I might think would be acceptable here; then it doesn't seem to be evidence of anything but change in a better direction than might have been.

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    My point was simply that I can cherry pick incidents like this and say that we are failing over there but this is not typical of how things are run in Salah ad Din province.

    SFC W

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    I am dazed and confused over this one; the title lead-in to the post and the article itself. Maybe somebody smart like Rob Thornton or Ken White or RTK can help me understand it.

    Is this how they are teaching to define victory at the Coin Academy in Taji nowadays??

    gian
    My reading is that it made the same point I did in my Rethinking Insurgency monograph (albeit in a much better way). Our doctrine defines success as the national government in full control of its territory, i.e. no "ungoverned spaces" or areas controlled by other armed groups. I contend that's simply unrealistic in the modern world, and that the best we can hope for is a functioning peace among the various armed groups--the national government and whatever else there is.

    By identifying an unattainable goal, I believe our doctrine sets us up for failure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    My reading is that it made the same point I did in my Rethinking Insurgency monograph (albeit in a much better way). Our doctrine defines success as the national government in full control of its territory, i.e. no "ungoverned spaces" or areas controlled by other armed groups. I contend that's simply unrealistic in the modern world, and that the best we can hope for is a functioning peace among the various armed groups--the national government and whatever else there is.

    By identifying an unattainable goal, I believe our doctrine sets us up for failure.
    When you say "our doctrine" do you specifically American Coin Doctrine? If that is the case then the conditions on the ground as described by this article are a radical departure from our doctrine and the results it is supposed to produce; correct? Further, if these things are true then why do we need substantial number of troops on the ground to follow it through?

    gian

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    When you say "our doctrine" do you specifically American Coin Doctrine? If that is the case then the conditions on the ground as described by this article are a radical departure from our doctrine and the results it is supposed to produce; correct? Further, if these things are true then why do we need substantial number of troops on the ground to follow it through?

    gian

    Yep, I was thinking 3-24. One of the points I made during its development was that defining victory as creating miniature Americas where the government has a monopoly over the provision of security is unrealistic. The reply I got basically was "You're right but that's American strategy." Now I see that the interagency manual includes the same point.

    If you buy my notion that success is a tolerable level of conflict rather than the absence of it (which is unattainable), then, in fact, we may not need a substantial number of troops on the ground. The reason we feel compelled to have a substantial number of troops on the ground is because we cling to this infeasible idea that the ultimate objective is the absence of conflict and the government as the only provider of security.

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    This may prove to be extremely damaging to Steve's career but I'm surprised by how often his articles and comments reflect my thinking. If I learned the lingo and plugged his book more often, some people might even get confused.

    I haven't read the manual, but if I understand Kilcullen's theory the end result of a successful COIN effort is a political agreement between the locals that we have almost no influence over.
    Last edited by Rank amateur; 12-15-2007 at 04:54 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Sometimes it takes someone without deep experience to think creatively.

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rank amateur View Post
    This may prove to be extremely damaging to Steve's career but I'm surprised by how often his articles and comments reflect my thinking. If I learned the lingo and plugged his book more often, some people might even get confused.
    LOL! You'd also need to shave your head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    LOL! You'd also need to shave your head.
    Already done that, but I don't think I could duplicate the bad jokes.
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Sometimes it takes someone without deep experience to think creatively.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    ...If you buy my notion that success is a tolerable level of conflict rather than the absence of it (which is unattainable), then, in fact, we may not need a substantial number of troops on the ground. The reason we feel compelled to have a substantial number of troops on the ground is because we cling to this infeasible idea that the ultimate objective is the absence of conflict and the government as the only provider of security.
    I agree with this statement; it makes sense. But it clearly is not the path we are headed on Iraq. It seems to me that the lowered violence is not being used to make substantial reductions in force size but instead to prepare for a much longer haul with large numbers of american troops as part of it to establish control, or, in FM 3-24 speak--clear, hold, and build.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Our doctrine defines success as the national government in full control of its territory, i.e. no "ungoverned spaces" or areas controlled by other armed groups. I contend that's simply unrealistic in the modern world, and that the best we can hope for is a functioning peace among the various armed groups--the national government and whatever else there is.
    Steve: do you think a component of success would be to put the national gov. in a position to extend its span of control over the course of 10-20 years, or would that be a bit too ambitious?

    this was the type of thing i was thinking about when i mentioned Mexico.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Or will they be there

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    ...prepare for a much longer haul with large numbers of american troops as part of it to establish control, or, in FM 3-24 speak--clear, hold, and build.
    more to keep the whole neighborhood relatively quiet?

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