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Thread: So I Started Reading the Feith Book...

  1. #21
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    The critical node in this simplistic example is the handler. Eliminate him and the entire intel network he had running is done; capture him and there is significant potential of not only rolling up his net, but of attacking higher in the network.
    Higher up the network? So this, by implication is a hierarchical system, and thus an organisation, not a network.

    I feel I may have started an entirely useless discussion! Apologies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Higher up the network? So this, by implication is a hierarchical system, and thus an organisation, not a network.

    I feel I may have started an entirely useless discussion! Apologies.
    No system consists purely of equals working together in pursuit of their goals. If you restrict yourself to that mode of thinking about networks, you are operating with blinders. I certainly feel you are mistaken in attempting to slap a divider between the terms organization and network.

    A clandestine network is a form of organization, and although it's structure may reflect classic hierarchies in certain respects, it would be a mistake to categorize it as such. Even traditionally tightly structured Maoist organizations (such as the PKK and Sendero Luminoso), although they do have clear hierarchies at the upper-to-mid levels, their cellular structures devolve in a manner similar in character to the subject under discussion at the operational and tactical levels. In any case, no matter what organization or grouping is the target, there are always leaders, although the context and nature of the leadership roles often differs significantly from one group to the other.

    A network in the context of which I am referring to is not a purely hierachical system (much less so even that the Maoist examples provided above), but may consist of several connected hierarchies, as well as autonomous entities, within a loosely structured system that functions well enough to provide strategic direction to one degree or another. Where tactical and operational direction, planning and guidance orginate varies with both leadership personalities and organizational structure.

    Compartmented, decentralized cellular threat organizations are not plain ol' hierarchies. If only that were so, it would be that much easier to deal with them.

    The conversation is not useless, but perhaps better suited to a different area/thread.

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    Default PKK are Moaist?

    I had assumed (from the flag: Hammer & Sickle) they had Marxist-Leninist roots but these days were a broader church - although still socialist - welcoming anyone who was willing to fight for a Kurdish nation state.

  4. #24
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Check out this link to power points discussing "Leaderless Jihad"... If you look about two thirds of the way in there is a network graph that shows linkages between groups and individuals.

    http://www.newamerica.net/files/Micr...%20Sageman.pdf


    Jedburgh, I looked but can't find the thread we discussed networks in previously. Seems it was pages long.
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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Selil and Jedburgh's points about critical nodes notwithstanding, you can attack either the critical node or a critical circuit (nodes and connections) in a loosely coupled network. Even more importantly, you can induce "noise" (think of rumour in a social network) or feedback (think truly viscious rumours) through a network circuit that can damage or destroy it. In a tightly coupled network, you can do the same thing by accelerating a circuit vector. For example, you can take an orthodox belief in a social circuit and then put it on steroids - "everyone must believe X or they will be killed", etc. A biological analogy would be poisoning someone with overdoses of vitamin B.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Selil and Jedburgh's points about critical nodes notwithstanding, you can attack either the critical node or a critical circuit (nodes and connections) in a loosely coupled network. Even more importantly, you can induce "noise" (think of rumour in a social network) or feedback (think truly viscious rumours) through a network circuit that can damage or destroy it. In a tightly coupled network, you can do the same thing by accelerating a circuit vector. For example, you can take an orthodox belief in a social circuit and then put it on steroids - "everyone must believe X or they will be killed", etc. A biological analogy would be poisoning someone with overdoses of vitamin B.
    At this point, I think I should clearly state that all my maundering on about networks is relative only to clan threat networks of human beings. Ranging from HOIS agent nets, to terrorist organizations across a broad spectrum of types, as well as the underground support structures for overt insurgencies.

    Destruction is the goal we strive for with such networks, and damn difficult to reach, unless you catch'em early and eliminate the movement at the fetal stage. The methods that Marc refers to are difficult to plan and implement effectively against an organization with any roots at all. On the rare occasions when such tactics have been effective (i.e. Kenya, the Philippines) it has been in a relatively narrow sense, and only resulted in the type of temp disruption that I mentioned in an earlier post. When that temp disruption is exploited in a structured manner to dig deeper into the threat structure, and the opportunity is seized for aggressive follow-up, then it can lead to network destruction, but not as a stand-alone approach.

    Again, I'm referring only to the types of organizations I mentioned above, not to emerging, immature entities that can be easily (in a comparative sense) destroyed by the methods Marc stated. On the other, repressive governments have often used such methods with great success against dissident networks. The study of dissident networks in Eastern Europe during the Cold War period offers a lot of valuable lessons on clan comms and security measures evolved by the various groups to mitigate against this sort of threat to their underground existence.

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Ted,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    Destruction is the goal we strive for with such networks, and damn difficult to reach, unless you catch'em early and eliminate the movement at the fetal stage. The methods that Marc refers to are difficult to plan and implement effectively against an organization with any roots at all. On the rare occasions when such tactics have been effective (i.e. Kenya, the Philippines) it has been in a relatively narrow sense, and only resulted in the type of temp disruption that I mentioned in an earlier post. When that temp disruption is exploited in a structured manner to dig deeper into the threat structure, and the opportunity is seized for aggressive follow-up, then it can lead to network destruction, but not as a stand-alone approach.
    Too true on how difficult they are to implement! Temporary disruption, i.e. "noise operations" is usually about the best you can hope to achieve in any established network. The only case I am aware of where the "toxic noise" approach actually worked, it took several hundred years - no something that is "salable" to the general public at the moment .

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    Again, I'm referring only to the types of organizations I mentioned above, not to emerging, immature entities that can be easily (in a comparative sense) destroyed by the methods Marc stated. On the other, repressive governments have often used such methods with great success against dissident networks. The study of dissident networks in Eastern Europe during the Cold War period offers a lot of valuable lessons on clan comms and security measures evolved by the various groups to mitigate against this sort of threat to their underground existence.
    The Canadian government used on of the sneakiest forms of this type of attack on emerging radical networks that I have ever seen - they funded them. Sounds insane, but the RCMP managed to sidetrack over 100 potentially "revolutionary" groups by the simple expedient of early infiltration and financial support. The leadership structure was subtly manipulated - financially rewarded for pursuing rhetoric rather than action, and punished (financially) when direct action leading to social harm took place.
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  8. #28
    Council Member ipopescu's Avatar
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    Default More on Feith

    Some of it comes from the fact that he was one of the primary architects of the push to invade Iraq and is now attempting to blame everything that went wrong on other people. Basically, he is taking no responsibility for his actions at all. What is even worse, at least for me, is that he seems to have convinced himself that he is not to blame - either that or he is an excellent liar (which is possible...). At best, he is self-deluded and, as with many charismatic ideologues, invites others to share in that delusion.
    Dale Herspring brings up again this interesting episode, in a new book - Rumsfeld's Wars: The Arrogance of Power: p.123

    --On February 11, 2003, Under Secretary Feith appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss postwar Iraq. Predictably, he assured everyone that everything was under control. "I do want to assure the committee that when we talk about all of the key functions that are going to need to be performed in post-war Iraq, we have thought about them across the range from worst case to very good case."--

    Enough said.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eden View Post
    what exactly makes Mr. Feith the dastardly ignoramus he appears to be?
    Dear Eden,

    Doug Feith is an ideologue to the Nth degree, as such, to quote The Quiet American by Graham Greene: “He’ll always be innocent, you can’t blame the innocent, they are always guiltless. All you can do is control them or eliminate them. Insanity is a kind of innocence.”

    Best.

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ipopescu View Post
    Dale Herspring brings up again this interesting episode, in a new book - Rumsfeld's Wars: The Arrogance of Power: p.123

    --On February 11, 2003, Under Secretary Feith appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss postwar Iraq. Predictably, he assured everyone that everything was under control. "I do want to assure the committee that when we talk about all of the key functions that are going to need to be performed in post-war Iraq, we have thought about them across the range from worst case to very good case."--

    Enough said.
    I mention Feith on pages 82, 104, 109, 115, 116, 131, 132, 135, 192 of mine.

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    I was sidetracked for a few days, but now I'm back on track. Tale after tale of how "mistakes were made," but NEVER by the President, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, or Feith himself. The most recent nausea inducing twist of scapegoating is on page 139 where Feith writes, "Our armed forces and civilian officials lacked the institutions, authorities, and resources needed for reconstruction work." He clearly intended that as a way of shifting blame to others for what transpired. I guess it never occurred to him that a strategy based on nonexistent capabilities is flawed (Strategy 101: a strategy must be suitable, acceptable, AND feasible). Oh well, "mistakes were made."
    Last edited by SteveMetz; 04-15-2008 at 12:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    I mention Feith on pages 82, 104, 109, 115, 116, 131, 132, 135, 192 of mine.
    I hope you use stupid nine times

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    I hope you use stupid nine times
    I guess I could just use the template I designed for OERs.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    I hope you use stupid nine times
    On second thought add idiot to match and then double it...

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    We're bordering on Limbaughism here--he is so obsessed with bashing the State Department at every opportunity that it's getting downright absurd. On p. 151 he writes, "...training and equipping foreign military forces was normally a job for State, not Defense." The implication here is that DoD had to make great exertions because of State's failure.

    Does he really not understand that while security assistance programs are administered by State, the State Department doesn't actually train or equip a military? Or does he actually know but figure that his readers won't?
    Last edited by SteveMetz; 04-15-2008 at 12:17 PM.

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    And he continues on p. 151: "...Congress had not foreseen that a mission of this kind (rebuilding the Afghan army)...might be the key to winding down our enormously expensive military effort in Afghanistan."

    See--that explains it: it was Congress' fault for not anticipating the need to rebuild the Afghan army. We can't blame OSD for not antcipating it since, as Feith explains earlier by quoting Rumsfeld, crap happens. But Congress, State, and the military should have been prescient enough to develop capabilities that the President and SECDEF told them not to in anticipation that the President and SECDEF would later change their minds.

  17. #37
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    And, again, p. 158, "...the bureaucracy was underequipped and poorly organized for strategically important stability and reconstruction operations."

    Why, then, did the administration develop a strategy which placed great stress on stability and reconstruction operations? It's like a basketball player who jumps into the air with the ball, then starts thinking about what he's going to do. Plus, by early 2002 when such capability was needed, the administration had had nearly a year and half to come up with some sort of comprehensive reorganization and legislation package to augment stabilization and reconstruction. But it had not. In fact, it had not done so by March 2003. All this after the orginal strategy assumption--things will kind of take care of themselves--proved wrong.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    And, again, p. 158, "...the bureaucracy was underequipped and poorly organized for strategically important stability and reconstruction operations."

    Why, then, did the administration develop a strategy which placed great stress on stability and reconstruction operations? It's like a basketball player who jumps into the air with the ball, then starts thinking about what he's going to do. Plus, by early 2002 when such capability was needed, the administration had had nearly a year and half to come up with some sort of comprehensive reorganization and legislation package to augment stabilization and reconstruction. But it had not. In fact, it had not done so by March 2003. All this after the orginal strategy assumption--things will kind of take care of themselves--proved wrong.
    Steve,

    As a moderator,l hopefully speaking for the other mods as well as Bill and Dave, I really hope that you plan to review this book, perhaps on the SWJ Blog or at least on a formal book review thread.

    Logical question from above: And why did the DoD place such limits on whom Garner could recruit for reconstruction planning even as they proclaimed that DoD had the lead in such plans?

    Tom

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Logical question from above: And why did the DoD place such limits on whom Garner could recruit for reconstruction planning even as they proclaimed that DoD had the lead in such plans?

    Tom
    Of course the story line from Tom Ricks and others is that someone in the White House--probably Cheney--did it. But I don't know if Feith provides another explanation. Haven't gotten that far yet and have to put the book down to write an MSM citation. Given the rancor between DoD and State, my guess would be that if Rumsfeld himself didn't orgininate the restrictions, he didn't oppose them.

    That said, even had Garner hired Tom Warrick and everyone else he wanted, the net effect would have been marginal. The problems were much too big for a few experts to solve by the time ORHA was created.

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    Council Member ipopescu's Avatar
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    Default Ideology

    Logical question from above: And why did the DoD place such limits on whom Garner could recruit for reconstruction planning even as they proclaimed that DoD had the lead in such plans?
    In the book I'm currently reading (referenced above), Herspring pins most of the blame on Feith for preventing the hiring of more experts and Arabists due to their alleged lack of dedication to the president's mission. They did not share the freedom agenda of the administration, and Feith did not want them involved. He is also said to personally insist on preventing OSD staff from joining inter-agency planning groups, for the same reason.
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