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Thread: Iraq-Bound Marine Leaders Cram on Civics and Economics

  1. #1
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    Default Iraq-Bound Marine Leaders Cram on Civics and Economics

    13 Feb. New York Times - Iraq-Bound Marine Leaders Cram on Civics and Economics.

    Maj. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer is busy these days poring over classified intelligence reports on the insurgency in Iraq's restive Anbar Province.

    But as General Zilmer, a 53-year-old veteran of the Persian Gulf war in 1991, prepares to take command this month of 30,000 marines and soldiers in what may be the most dangerous region in Iraq, he is also focusing on some less obvious projects.

    Those include collecting information on the 10 largest employers in the province, the vast desert area west of Baghdad, trying to figure out how to ensure that local police officers and health workers there are being paid and thinking about the region's business challenges like an entrepreneur.

    As new Marine commanders prepare to head to Iraq for a yearlong tour and gird for new battles there with insurgents, they say they must also put greater emphasis on helping the new Iraqi government provide essential city services, create jobs and promote local governmental control.

    "Our focus of operations has been along security lines in the past, and they'll remain imperative," said General Zilmer, who as a young officer in the 1980's served in the Marine peacekeeping mission in Beirut. "That said, we think there are other things that also require attention to be successful, including economics and governance. These are all happening at once."

    That philosophy fits neatly under the strategy of Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli of the Army, the new overall commander of daily operations in Iraq, who says the military must not shortchange reconstruction and democratization efforts even while it battles insurgents...

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    Feb 2006

    Default A Cultural RMA?

    I have some ideas in this area myself, but I don't want to overstep here, so I'll canvas the community first.

    It seems to me that development is the primary weapon to beat insurgency. Even successful military operations (i.e., Fallujah) that are decoupled from comprehensive economic and political development and humanitarian work seems to lose focus and ultimately don't work.

    It's good that commanders are now "cramming" on civics and economics, but shouldn't we start talking about altering military education at the service academies and OCSes to take fuller account of advances in peacekeeping and international development. And shouldn't we start including it in the education all all ranks?

    In other words, do we need a "Cultural Revolution in Military Affairs" (perhaps using some of the money we're currently spending on the Joint Strike Fighter or the Crusader-clone)? If so, how would we go about making one?

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    Default Marines Trained To React Quickly And Ethically

    6 July Los Angeles Times - Marines Trained To React Quickly And Ethically by Tony Perry.

    As squads of Marines venture into the narrow, rutted streets of Wadi al Sahara, roadside bombs explode, women begin screaming in Arabic and snipers fire from windows.

    Amid language problems and gunshots, the Marines have to make instant decisions on returning fire and whether to storm a house and, if so, with how much firepower.

    But the Marines are not in Iraq, and the snipers are role players firing blanks. The Marines are in the desert of Southern California participating in "Mojave Viper," an intense 30-day training session in fighting an insurgency in which it can be difficult to distinguish militant from civilian.

    "In a counterinsurgency, it's crucial that Marines have the tools to make ethical decisions on using force," said Lt. Col. Andy Kennedy, one of the officers in charge of the training.

    Amid military investigations into the killings of Iraqis in the towns of Haditha and Hamandiya, questions about the Marines' adherence to the international laws of warfare and their own rules of engagement have gained new attention.

    Although Marines here will not comment on the investigations, they say young Marines are being trained to realize that their actions in Iraq can have enormous consequences for the U.S. mission and will probably be scrutinized worldwide.

    "We're taking 19-year-olds and teaching them to make split-second decisions about the use of force that are going to be analyzed on the 6 o'clock news," said Col. Ron Baczkowski, head of one of the training programs.

    At their sprawling base here, the Marines have constructed Wadi al Sahara, or Valley in the Desert, consisting of 475 structures, including a mosque and a souk, or marketplace. Made from shipping containers, and spread over 360 acres, the faux village cost more than $23 million.

    Many of the lessons of Mojave Viper are tailored to the evolving situation in Iraq, including the need for greater restraint in the use of deadly force compared with the assault on Baghdad in 2003 or the house-to-house fighting in Ramadi and Fallouja in 2004.

    Role players, paid $150 to $275 a day, act the part of Iraqis, some friendly to the U.S., some hostile, some armed, some plaintive, some duplicitous. The woman sitting peacefully could be acting as a spotter for an insurgent sniper...

    Different scenarios test the Marines' ability to adapt. Stress is a good thing in training, because in Iraq it can save the lives of Marines and civilians, Marine leaders say...


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