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Thread: COIN comes home to assist policing

  1. #21
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    Default More Agree than Disagree, I'm Afraid

    Very much agreed that "there are a lot of myths about that time and effort" - time being roughly 1960-1970, and effort being Civil Rights issues and Vietnam as well. I also will babble forth before reaching my bottom line - which also agrees with "Lot of shrewd, party enhancing domestic politics though, that's for sure."

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    1. Integration and Armed Services

    I am in violent agreement with this:

    from Ken
    First, as a result of WW II and Korea and Truman's desegregation of the Armed Forces plus a lot of returning black veterans and a lot of white guys who became aware that black was not bad, the south was in process of changing. Barriers were falling all over the place.
    Or, as my dad said, "I don't care if the guy in my foxhole is purple with pink polka dots - so long as he shoots straight."

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    2. Goldwater

    As I was a Goldwater Preacher from 1958-1964 (when we got clobbered), you are preaching to the already converted. I was taken by Goldwater's view of the 9th and 10th Amendments; his view on Indochina (in particular) and on the Cold War (in general - "Why Not Victory ?").

    In any event, he set out his views on States' Rights and Civil Rights in chaps. 3 & 4 of The Conscience of a Conservative, available here - my 1961 copy cost 50¢ !

    A good discussion of that book & Goldwater is here.

    As you correctly point out, Goldwater was firm on the 15th Amendment (Voting Rights) and the 14th Amendment as interpreted by the 1866 Civil Rights Act. Where he drew the line was on education and public accomodations - his view of constitutional history (interpreting the 14th in light of the 9th and 10th) precluded a Federal "cram down" in those areas (see pp.34-37). On the merits of integration, Goldwater was firmly on the side of its objectives (including integration in the military) - see p.38 for his classic statement.

    So, Goldwater did precede Nixon in opening the door to Southern conservatives.

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    3. Breach of Covenant - Democrats become Republicans

    from Ken
    Secondly, the 'antis' were vocal but really rather few in number and the so-called Nixon southern strategy while real was successful not because of blacks becoming strong Democratic supporters or because the Democratic party had passed the CRA but because Nixon, whom no less an authority than Noam Chomsky calls the last liberal American President signed more legislation that helped the south than did his democratic predecessors. Most of the later stuff -- school and busing issues were more a result of mishandling and bad court decisions as anything else. Not to say there weren't bitter dead enders; there were -- but poor handling exacerbated things significantly.
    Some disagreement here. Let me be clear - I'm not saying that Southern Democrats went into the Republican Party because Blacks were coming into the Demoratic Party. Rather, the loss of Southern Democrats started in 1948 with the Dixiecrat "revolt", which was a consequence of the Hubert Humphrey "revolt" at the 1948 convention - and continued through the 50's and 60's. The crux of it was a perceived "breach of the covenant", which had governed the relations between the two wings of that party for roughly 75 years.

    Agreed that Nixon's overall program was not race-baiting. While Goldwater appealed to Southern conservatives, Nixon broadened that appeal to Southern populists (and to Midwestern and Western populists as well).

    Now, as to "the 'antis' were vocal but really rather few in number", that is true about the violent "antis" (for which, God be thanked); but the non-violent "antis" (e.g., George Wallace and Ross Barnett) were very vocal indeed - especially in the earlier years. Wallace, of course, later shifted gears - and appealed more to populism than anything else (he did very well in certain sections of Michigan).

    We can also agree about "bad court decisions", which have marked the course of Civil Rights from Reconstruction on. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, the SCOTUS pendulum swung too far in one direction - e.g., as pointed out by John Harlan I in his dissents (Plessy v Ferguson being his classic). In the 1950's and 1960's, it swung too far in the other direction - e.g., as pointed out by John Harlan II (grandson of I) in his dissents.

    Not for nothing that those two folks of Kentucky lineage were named after John Marshall.

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    4. Detroit Riots - 1967

    Detroit, Newark, LA, etc. - were among the 1967 "urban disorders" in the North. I'll stick with the Detroit riots where I have some knowledge and experience.

    The Michigan Citizen ("America's Most Progressive Community Newspaper") calls it the Detroit Rebellion in its multi-part series celebrating its 40th birthday, which starts here.

    My reasons for citing this left of center reference are, firstly, it represents (even today) a flavor of the views held by that "insurgency"; and, secondly, it is based in part on the 86 page Michigan Law Review study of the riots and their aftermath - see part IV of the series, which is here:

    .... Prof. Kamisar, now a nationally recognized authority on constitutional law and criminal procedure and the Clarence Darrow Distinguished University Professor of Law Emeritus at the UM Law School, recalled how he encouraged students, including two members of the Michigan Law Review, to make an on-the-ground investigation.

    While learning theory in class was important, he told them, the best way to learn the law would be for them to “go to Detroit.” In doing so, he added, they would also be recording a significant historical event.

    In the immediate wake of the rebellion, the students interviewed defendants in regular jails, makeshift detention centers and courtrooms, as well as defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges. Their 86-page study, “The Administration of Justice in the Wake of the Detroit Civil Disorder of July 1967,” was published in the Michigan Law Review, vol. 66, no. 7 (1968), pp. 1544-1630.

    “The Constitution and its guarantees,” it concluded, “are applicable to all citizens at all times. Panic, disorganization, and lack of preparation should never excuse granting a defendant less than his full measure of constitutional rights.” ...
    I still believe that - although my "full measure of constitutional rights" were and are admittedly somewhat more limited than many (including Yale Kamisar) would grant.

    Truth in lending - Yale Kamisar was one of my Crim Procedure & Con Law profs - and yours truly was one of the law review editors involved in the project.

    Bottom line - the 1967 Detroit "situation" certainly looked like some form of insurgency to me.

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    5. Galula's "Cold War" - insurgency and war.

    from Ken
    Long way of getting to the point -- I don't agree that the era and the civil rights imbroglio were a COIN effort in any sense.
    Can't get dogmatic against what you say - Calling the Detroit riots "War" or a "Rebellion" doesn't float my boat either; but they (and other incidents of domestic violence in the 60's) were far from "Peace" - as I thought of it then and now.

    If Bob's World wants to wax on about what "phase 0" should be called - and how to define it more precisely - more power to him.

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    PS: Since I was conceived about the time meatballs were flying over Oahu, I can't claim Baby Boomer status - instead I belong to your generation as one of the tail-end runts of the litter.

    BTW: was thinking about putting red hair on the Unicorn, but that seemed excessive.

  2. #22
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Good points all and I learned something, hoever, I suspect we're

    roaming rather far afield. My fault for getting overly politically oriented in simply disagreeing with O'l Bob's World.

    Not sure you should have held back on the Unicorn though, I have a soft spot for Redheads (first wife... ).

    On topic, from you:
    Can't get dogmatic against what you say - Calling the Detroit riots "War" or a "Rebellion" doesn't float my boat either; but they (and other incidents of domestic violence in the 60's) were far from "Peace" - as I thought of it then and now.

    If Bob's World wants to wax on about what "phase 0" should be called - and how to define it more precisely - more power to him.
    I can sure agree with both those points...

  3. #23
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    I only offer the "phase 0" construct as tool to help address what I see as some of the major problems that tend to crop up in COIN operations:

    1. The reluctance of Civil leadership to take over all charge of a comprehensive program of engagement due to seeing insurgency as a combat operation that the military needs to resolve so that they can get back to work conducting civil governance; and

    2. The tendency of threat-focused military COIN forces to become too counterinsurgent and not prioritze addressing the root causes of the problem over that glaring symptom of it.

    3. The reactive nature of COIN in both name and deed. How do we get more proactive and nip these situations prior to their going kinetic on us.

    If you can't get past seeing insurgency as only being that period of time when an actual insurgent has emerged and become operational, then it isn't going to help you much.

    I think of the old saying "If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make any noise"?

    Similarly, if all of the conditions of poor governance and disenfranchised populaces exist, complete with an external party conducting UW to stir up an insurgency, but no group has made that final metamorphasis from disident to insurgent, do you have a COIN mission that needs addressed?

    I think you do. Similarly that is why I think all of the talk about "defeating extremist ideology," or becoming too focused on killing senior leadership of insurgent cells, or even the massive operation that Israel is waging currently to attack the symptoms of the insurgency while enflaming the causes; are understandable, but also very short-sighted.

    How do we expand our vision? How do we become better at both prevention and resolution? I think this Phase 0 concept will help some to do that. Others may not find it helpful. I can live with that.

  4. #24
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I think you're right -- but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    I only offer the "phase 0" construct as tool to help address what I see as some of the major problems that tend to crop up in COIN operations:

    1. The reluctance of Civil leadership to take over all charge of a comprehensive program of engagement due to seeing insurgency as a combat operation that the military needs to resolve so that they can get back to work conducting civil governance...
    my fear is that few politicians will make the necessary decisions due to fear of political risk. Some will not see the problem because politicians as a class tend to dissimulate about everything and thus believe everyone else is doing the same thing -- they routinely suspect that religious leaders, like the politicians, do not themselves believe what they are saying. Iran in 1979 and Iraq in 2003 are good examples of this folly.

    Some Politicians will see the problem and hope it goes away, some will be too timid to act, a very few may take some action which may or may not make sense and thus it behooves the Armed Forces to be prepared for most anything...
    The tendency of threat-focused military COIN forces to become too counterinsurgent and not prioritze addressing the root causes of the problem over that glaring symptom of it.
    Too many examples in history of the accuracy of this -- and we're one of the worst offenders.
    3. The reactive nature of COIN in both name and deed. How do we get more proactive and nip these situations prior to their going kinetic on us.
    Crux of the problem, isn't it? How do we fire up the politicians to do their job so the Troops don't have to do theirs?
    Similarly, if all of the conditions of poor governance and disenfranchised populaces exist, complete with an external party conducting UW to stir up an insurgency, but no group has made that final metamorphasis from disident to insurgent, do you have a COIN mission that needs addressed?
    Maybe, maybe not. What you do have is three questions; Is this issue important (not vital, just important) to US interests? Does the US need to get involved and if so at what level or to what degree? Is force required and if so to what level and for how long and is the US prepared to do that?
    How do we expand our vision? How do we become better at both prevention and resolution?
    That's the big question. I don't have an answer other than that I believe very strongly that the One Third and the Two Year Rules are accurate enough for planning purposes; that we will never do COIN well because we are not prepared to train adequately or to risk our troops out in the wilds wandering about purposefully but with no armor, no hot meals, no easily provided support and subsisting on a ball of rice a day for weeks at a time. Our prospective COIN opponents will do that; we will not -- they will win due to that fact unless we spend years at it and just wear them down. That, IMO, is not a smart way to fight. In fact, I think it's terribly stupid. I know it is unduly expensive in every sense of the words.
    I think this Phase 0 concept will help some to do that. Others may not find it helpful. I can live with that.
    I agree with your Phase 0, just not that it existed in the US as you postulated. I also agree with you that when it is occurring, we should make an assessment and act rather than waiting for Phase 1 to begin. Where you and I might differ is on what that action should be...

  5. #25
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    Default Pre-hab instead of re-hab

    I read Bob's World post with interest, and while I agree it is better to nip the problem in the butt before it goes kinetic, there are two questions/comments that I have.

    First, I think elements in the USG and the UN attempt to do this. We frequently see that conditions are ripe for someone to stir up an insurgency and we "try" to convince the HN to address their problems, make whatever reforms are necessary, etc.

    The military has role with security force assistance, which will hopefully better prepare that HN's security forces to professionally handle, or ideally contribute to pre-empting the problem. I need to think about this one, but I bet I think of some cases that are not classified.

    Second, the HN must be convinced that there is a problem to solve, and this frequently is the long pole in the tent. We can't do it for them, and they refuse to reform, as Clausewitz said, war and warfare are an extension of politics. I still think an insurgency in many ways is an armed election process. Whatever side can most effectively mobilize the populace towards their ends will 'probably" win.

    We should continue to identify the signs of an emergent problem and encourage others to take appropriate steps to prevent it, but I think it isn't realistic to weight our (the military's) efforts here, since most countries won't ask for help until it is too late.

    Good post, definitely food for thought.

    What do you think we can or should do better in the area of prevention?

    Do we have the forces available to do it?

  6. #26
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    Default Been pondering this one ...

    from Ken
    ... I suspect we're roaming rather far afield. My fault for getting overly politically oriented in simply disagreeing with O'l Bob's World.
    and I'm leaning toward saying that "getting overly politically oriented" is not a sin in analysing either Phase 0 (as BW defines it) or Phase 1 (in the classical Mao model), since political action is what those phases are all about - with perhaps an occasional riot or assassination to add some spice.

    BTW: such political analysis is also necessary to establish that a Phase 0 situation does not exist (Ken's position re: 1960's US).

    Bill Moore points out a serious issue - the GHN's refusal to recognize the political problem, or to accept solutions to resolve it.

    cf., Government of South Vietnam in many areas - since GSV was not in a Phase 0 or 1 situation vs. PAVN-VC (except possibly in 1955-1956), it is not an exact on point example - I realize that.

    Anyway, what is the best national strategic policy for the US in that case ? Pull the plug and use resources elsewhere ? Pour men and $ into an effort that is probably doomed from the gitgo ? Do what is feasible to buy time ?

    I guess I need some more cases of Phase 0 - successes or failures - to grasp the parameters we face.
    Last edited by jmm99; 01-02-2009 at 03:20 AM.

  7. #27
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default That's true.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    ..."getting overly politically oriented" is not a sin in analysing either Phase 0 (as BW defines it) or Phase 1 (in the classical Mao model), since political action is what those phases are all about - with perhaps an occasional riot or assassination to add some spice.
    but I sometimes ramble...
    Anyway, what is the best national strategic policy for the US in that case ? Pull the plug and use resources elsewhere ? Pour men and $ into an effort that is probably doomed from the gitgo ? Do what is feasible to buy time ?
    Questions I asked above: "What you do have is three questions; Is this issue important (not vital, just important) to US interests? Does the US need to get involved and if so at what level or to what degree? Is force required and if so to what level and for how long and is the US prepared to do that?" Once those are answered, then some idea of how to proceed MAY be available.
    I guess I need some more cases of Phase 0 - successes or failures - to grasp the parameters we face.
    I'll leave that up to Bob's World but will note that Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq do not fit the Phase 0 / 1 parameter or, very importantly I think, the questions I listed to be asked for prospective FID support. Other questions applied and that can happen again in different ways. not only do Generals tend to want to fight the last war; the Politicians are generally clueless about war and what to do and thus make bad decisions. No Army or Generals can predict what the Pols will do...

    The question in Viet Nam was "Do we honor our agreement and if so to what extent?" There were other considerations. The economy was down, a small war would boost it a bit -- domestic politics will always intrude. Campaign rhetoric had to be followed to an extent. Then Lyndon blew it...

    The question in Afghanistan was "Oh, s**t, we ran 'em off -- what do we do now?" (we still have not answered that question).

    The question in Iraq was "How do we let the ME know we're not going to put up with anymore attacks on US interests worldwide?" Not Afghanistan, it's not in the ME and the attack there was retribution for an attack on the US land mass. Home and international interests are different things. The answer was to go into the geographic center of the ME against a despised regime that everyone wanted gone, plop in a new government and leave. Then it was decided that the new government we thought -- well, not we; that Wolfotwits thought -- would work was not going to get off the ground. Rightly or wrongly, the decision was then made to stay.

    Thus in those three cases, Bob's World parameters from this thread do not apply. My questions to be asked do not apply. the path to war is not predictable or orderly...

    What does apply to the questions I posed in all three cases is that I think the last should have been but was not asked. Also applicable to his comments on this thread is the fact that in all three cases a number of missteps were made, many due to lack of COIN knowledge. {{ADDED for clarity: particularly with respect to the culture, ethos and people of all three nations. }}

    Of course, many more mistakes were due to poor operational decisions irrespective of COIN knowledge and many were due to personnel policies. Note those are not civilian leadership responsibilities. And yes, you read that right, personnel policies contributed to major errors in all three wars.

    So did easily avoidable training shortfalls...
    Last edited by Ken White; 01-02-2009 at 04:08 AM. Reason: Addendum

  8. #28
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Bill Moore raised a couple of great points that I'll follow up on: The role of the HN government, and what our role would be in these phase 0 operations

    I came to the conclusion that "insurgency happens when government fails" as a bumper sticker a couple years ago. It met a lot of resistance, as everyone prefers to blame the bad things that happen in life on someone else if possible. Certainly few politicians are stepping up in times of crisis and saying "People, here is what is happening, and here is what we didn't do very well that set the conditions for this crisis, here is who is exploiting those conditions to manifest that crisis, and here is my plan to address both my own failures that led us to this sad place, and to deal with those who act outside the law to exploit the situation." I certainly never heard anything like that coming out of DC the past 7+ years.

    I believe in many ways good COIN is like good rehab. Nothing good happens until the one with the problem recognizes and admits it and commits to addressing it. A 12-step program for COIN if you will. "Hello, my name is the Government of the Philippines, and I have a problem." Now we can sit down and talk about the full spectrum action required to move forward. Prior to that, you ignore the big problem, and can only help that government swat at the symptoms that are manifesting in the populace, or throw charitable aid at the miss-served populace in lieu of the government services they are not receiving. Both are band-aids, and are the core of our foreign policy engagement.

    As to what we can do, well, first is to not simply support whoever is in power without conditions. Not a dollar of engagement or aid should be committed until we set some populace-based conditions. We feel free to put valued based conditions on things, (I'd drop those in lieu of principle based conditions, but that is another post altogether), I'd get off that high horse and instead look at conditions aimed at ensuring the people of country X have the type of fundamental conditions that they need to live on their own terms and values. Carrots and sticks.

    Next, the GCCs would need to go to the Ambassador and say "We're here to write a campaign plan of engagement for this country, and it will be in total support of your plan. We realize that we are supporting, and we will do no more or no less than you approve, and will coordinate and synchronize the efforts of our component forces to ensure that all military engagement is effectively applied to the ends you desire." (Those who've worked in a GCC or TSOC know how rarely this really happens, those who have not are probably thinking 'don't we do that already'?)

    Our overall national strategy for foreign policy has gone from "Containment" for the Cold War, to "intervention" during the Clinton era, to "Preemption" under Bush; but if I was going to bundle all of those under one common banner it would be "Control." Once we are willing to give up on trying to control the global environment, and transition to a more desireable leadership trait of having "Influence" throughout the global environment, I think we can move forward as well. "Hello, I am the United States of America, and I have a problem..."
    Last edited by Bob's World; 01-02-2009 at 11:59 AM.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    We should continue to identify the signs of an emergent problem and encourage others to take appropriate steps to prevent it, but I think it isn't realistic to weight our (the military's) efforts here, since most countries won't ask for help until it is too late.

    Good post, definitely food for thought.

    What do you think we can or should do better in the area of prevention?

    Do we have the forces available to do it?
    Two points:
    (1) The final question above indicates the wrong mindset. I not so humbly submit that prevention (action during BW's Phase 0) is not a military option; it does not require "forces." One's military may be used for things like civil works projects (the kind of stuff the Corps of Engineers does for example) but not for doing warfighting or policing type activities.
    (2) Prevention outside of one's own sovereitgn land is not possible. Trying to stop an insurgency elsewhere is an example of the "leading a horse to water" problem. As noted by others in this thread, the host nation has to see that the nascent problem exists and desire to do something about it. The only thing outsiders can really do is to keep identifying that, as Marcellus said in Hamlet (Act I, Sc 4), "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

    An aside:
    I just started reading The Wars of German Unification (Modern Wars), by Dennis Showalter, published in 2004. In the first chapter, he discusses the period around 1848, describing, among other things, the work done by the armies of Prussia, Austria and the various Germanic principalities in counter-insurgency (he actually uses that term). He notes how poorly they did at it and how blind the various Germanic states were to the causes of the insurrections. He also briefly discusses the debate in Prussian military circles about the value for officers of an academic preparation/study in the art of war .

    The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.
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    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

  10. #30
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I still go back to square one...

    Of recent FID / Support to HN actions, the only efforts of note I can recall are Greece, the Philippines, El Salvador (Guatemala doesn't count for several reasons) and the Philippines again. All those were small efforts in comparison with our three larger combat theaters of Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq which had FID aspects but which were all entered upon for reasons far from Mao's or other people war phases or of 'assisting the HN with its problems...'

    So my question is; why all the FID emphasis and discussion for large bodies of troops when that has not historically been a commitment, rather our commitment to FID has been on the small scale SF model -- as it should be...

  11. #31
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Ken,

    You lost me, so I can't answer your question until I'm back on track. The insurgency waged in S. Vietnam was classic, by the book, Maoist 3-phase insurgency. The phase 0 part would have been in that period from when Ho and his buddies helped us defeat the Japanese to when we screwed him by letting the French have "their" colony back. After that they worked through the phases to defeat the French, to persuade us to leave, and then to defeat the South's government to reunite the country.

    When I say phase 0, I am talking about the steady state dynamic between every populace and their government. Canada is way low in Phase 0. The US a little higher, Mexico quite a bit higher. France and other European countries are moving up the ladder in phase 0 as their demographics continue to become more muslim and young on one side, and older, less numerous traditional european on the other.

    When using the phase 0 model, one can track the state of these governed-government relationships and take steps early to keep things from ever getting out of hand. One of our primary concerns now is that so much of our SOF is committed to the CENTCOM AOR that we do not have adequate resources to commit to important places around the world that are edging their way up toward phase 1. And yes, SOF is the force of choice for that type of engagement, but all of the other conventional engagement that goes on day in and day out around the world should be prioritized and focused toward phase 0 maintenance as well. Much of it is very haphazard. We can do better.

  12. #32
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Yes. the insurgerncy in Viet Nam was that, however

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    You lost me, so I can't answer your question until I'm back on track. The insurgency waged in S. Vietnam was classic, by the book, Maoist 3-phase insurgency. The phase 0 part would have been in that period from when Ho and his buddies helped us defeat the Japanese to when we screwed him by letting the French have "their" colony back. After that they worked through the phases to defeat the French, to persuade us to leave, and then to defeat the South's government to reunite the country.
    you left something out between "...the French," and "to persuade us to leave." Specifically, that Eisenhower, at the urging of Ridgeway refused to heavily support the French in Viet Nam, that the US was not a party to and did not support the Geneva Accords. However, the US was a signatory to the SEATO Treaty which pledged mutual support and South Viet Nam, not a signatory to the Treaty proper, was added in a Protocol. The Treaty called for mutual support to handle foreign aggression ONLY and intra country insurgency was specifically rejected by both the US and Australia -- thus we had no occasion to support South Viet Nam in Phase 0 through Phase 2.

    The Phase 1 effort in South Viet Nam didn't start until 1960. Then the brothers Kennedy decided to boost the economy and get all idealistic and offered to 'help' and used the SEATO treaty -- wrongly -- as a fulcrum. We forced our way into a scrap that was not in US interests for domestic political and 'looking tough' reasons. I'm aware of the Domino theory and all the allied garbage but the bottom line is a bunch of us got sent to a war that was not in US interests and then the Army proceeded to screw it up for too long so that by the time we got our act together, the Politicians had given up on it. I think there are several cautionaries in all that...

    My point was that my questions weren't asked (or properly answered -- always a potentiality) and that we elected NOT to get involved in Phases 0 and 1 -- and then elected to get heavily involved in Phase 2.5 when the PAVN / NVA got sent south to help out the then losing VC in 1964. We saw a problem and decided to help -- but it was not a problem with which we needed to help and even then we did it poorly. We were there as a result of a treaty and domestic politics, not solving a problem that was of concern to us.
    When I say phase 0, I am talking about the steady state dynamic between every populace and their government. Canada is way low in Phase 0. The US a little higher, Mexico quite a bit higher...
    I understand and do not disagree with that. My caution is directed at what one should do to, by, for or in Phase 0...
    When using the phase 0 model, one can track the state of these governed-government relationships and take steps early to keep things from ever getting out of hand...
    Understood -- just that my experience with 'models' is that they seldom reflect reality.
    One of our primary concerns now is that so much of our SOF is committed to the CENTCOM AOR that we do not have adequate resources to commit to important places around the world that are edging their way up toward phase 1. And yes, SOF is the force of choice for that type of engagement, but all of the other conventional engagement that goes on day in and day out around the world should be prioritized and focused toward phase 0 maintenance as well. Much of it is very haphazard. We can do better.
    Far be it from me to suggest that CentCom is an extremely ineffectual, overstaffed headquarters that does not have a sterling track record or that certain USSOCOM decisions on employment of SF may have been ill advised.

    Seems sort of amusing to me that the stepchildren, long ignored and on the back burner, now have to be employed not as they should be but to back up the hot shots who were and are not available in adequate numbers for their missions. I have noted the modification of missions within all elements of the command with a lot of clucking and "I told you" -- acknowledging that I did not tell anyone except a few friends and acquaintances. I doubt Jim Lindsay or Carl Stiner would've listened to me.

    Barbwire Bob would have due to a brief moment of shared history long ago but though he was the father of SOCOM, he never got to command it...
    Last edited by Ken White; 01-02-2009 at 06:49 PM.

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    Default FID in Early Stage Vietnam

    This is addressed to anyone who can help me - that is, a better Google searcher than I.

    The focus is on Ken's point about decisions to be made about FID in Phase 0 and Phase 1 "insurgencies" - and the questions that should be asked before jumping in to "help" the HN. The timeframe is 1954-1955.

    I find the following JCS memoes (just after the Geneva Accord), which are summarized here.

    CHRONOLOGY

    21 Jul 54 Geneva Cease-fire Accord
    Ended fighting between Viet Minh and French; divided Vietnam at 17th parallel; limited U.S. military personnel in RVN to current level (342).

    22 Sep 54 Memo, JCS for SecDef, Retention and Development of Forces in Indochina
    U.S. resources could better be used to support countries other than RVN.

    19 Oct 54 Memo, JCS for SecDef, Development and Training of Indigenous Forces in Indochina
    Opposed U.S. training RVN army. Risk not worth the gamble.

    17 Nov 54 Memo, JCS for SecDef, Indochina
    Development of effective forces and prevention of communist takeover cannot be prevented without Vietnamese effort that is probably not forthcoming.

    21 Jan 55 Memo, JCS for SecDef, Reconsideration of U.S. Military Program in Southeast Asia
    Outlines alternative U.S. courses of action in RVN: present program, advice with leverage, U.S. forces, or withdrawal.
    What I'm looking for are (1) online versions of the complete memoes; and (2) online background docs that might explain the rationale for the JCS viewpoint. A plausible inference is that the right questions were being asked and answered by some soldier(s) and/or Marine(s) in 1954-1955.

    Along the same vein, I find this NCS memo summarized here.

    An unsigned, undated memorandum posed eight key questions to be answered by the NSC during the spring of 1954. Comment on the following four questions, in relation to the time at which they were raised, is unnecessary:

    --Just how important is Southeast Asia to the security interests of the U.S.? Is the analysis in NSC 5405 still valid? Is the area important enough to fight for?

    --How important is Indochina in the defense of Southeast Asia? Is the "domino theory" valid? Is Indochina important enough to fight for? If not, what are the strategic consequences of the loss of all or part of Indochina?

    --If the U.S. intervenes in Indochina, can we count on the support of the natives? Can we fight as allies of the French and avoid the stigma of colonialism?

    --Is there a strategic concept for the conduct of a war in Indochina which offers promise of early success. . . ?
    What I am looking for are the same as above (1) online version of the complete memo; and (2) online background docs that might explain the author's rationale for the questions (finding those seems a long shot since the memo is both unsigned and undated).

    Those same questions were being asked by many (including me) throughout the period 1954-1975; and, truth in lending, although I was asking myself the same questions throughout that period, the answers changed because the factual situations kept changing throughout that period (no surprise there).

    Also have some thoughts on posts by wm and BW, but I'll do those separately.

  14. #34
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Ken,

    Your knowledge of the history of US efforts in Nam far exceeds mine, but to be clear on the phases, when I talk 0-3 I am talking phases of insurgency, not the effort to deal with the insurgency. Mao's three phases with a zero phase added to the front end.

    As you well know we were just as spun up in the late 50s and early 60s over Communist ideology as we are today over islamic ideology. 30 years from now it might be Scientology ideology. The only ideology I really concern myself with is US ideology, and as I have stated previously, I believe the bedrocks of that are our Declaration of Independence, the Bill of rights, and the rest of the constitution in that order. When we start worrying about the other guys ideology we start making bad decisions. When we abandon our own ideology, we make horrible decisions. We did both in Nam, and a dozen other places.

    So, I don't want to get off track by focusing too much on what we actually did, the lessons learned being sought here are in terms of the over all environment at the time (populace, governance, outside parties, etc) how could we have approached the problem differently for better effect.

    Clearly the people of Vietnam did not want French Governance re-imposed on them. Understand that at the time we were justifiably concerned about any expansion of Communism, but in retrospect that all seems a little silly. I suspect in a decade or two we will look back on countries that have adopted what we call 'extreme' aspects of Islam in their governance and look back on that as silly as well. Self Determination is core US ideology, and good phase 0 operations are about allowing populaces the right to self determine. Any place we have denied a populace that right in the name of US national interests it has created a problem, or at least a time-delayed problem that festers for years potentially before it manifests itself.

    Getting off track, but it all relates back to my core tenants of staying true to our values as a nation, not forcing them on others, and being more proactive in phase 0 periods to be a champion of the principle of self determination for people everywhere.

  15. #35
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    Default I'm on the Lunatic Fringe ...

    on this one.

    from wm
    Two points:

    (1) The final question above ["Do we have the forces available to do it?"] indicates the wrong mindset. I not so humbly submit that prevention (action during BW's Phase 0) is not a military option; it does not require "forces." One's military may be used for things like civil works projects (the kind of stuff the Corps of Engineers does for example) but not for doing warfighting or policing type activities.

    (2) Prevention outside of one's own sovereign land is not possible. Trying to stop an insurgency elsewhere is an example of the "leading a horse to water" problem. As noted by others in this thread, the host nation has to see that the nascent problem exists and desire to do something about it. The only thing outsiders can really do is to keep identifying that, as Marcellus said in Hamlet (Act I, Sc 4), "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
    So, we are solidly based (IMO) on political action as the key to Phase 0 problems.

    To paraphrase Ross Perot, the devil is in the details. The first problem is the outside nation's sense of smell. If that sense is impaired (as badly as my own is in reality), it will smell nothing or get the wrong scent. The same thing applies to the HN. Given all the variations in cultures and politics, outsider and indigenous recognition of the existence of the problem, the nature of the problem and the solution(s) to the problem, are more likely than not to be on different pages.

    ----------------------
    While wm calls this an "aside", it opened up a window and provided some daylight in my swamp,

    An aside:
    I just started reading The Wars of German Unification (Modern Wars), by Dennis Showalter, published in 2004. In the first chapter, he discusses the period around 1848, describing, among other things, the work done by the armies of Prussia, Austria and the various Germanic principalities in counter-insurgency (he actually uses that term). He notes how poorly they did at it and how blind the various Germanic states were to the causes of the insurrections. He also briefly discusses the debate in Prussian military circles about the value for officers of an academic preparation/study in the art of war.
    because it gave me a jump start to my problem of "I guess I need some more cases of Phase 0 - successes or failures - to grasp the parameters we face."

    My thought is that we can take any rebellion, revolution, etc., and find a Phase 0 - which in those cases was obviously not handled well because an armed conflict of some kind resulted. We can then beat the horse to death finding the causes and the solutions - and all of that will be in hindsight and shaped by our present sense and mindset. From that, perhaps, we can glean some general principles and some future guidence - maybe.

    What we want to head off in a Phase 0 situation is a Detroit Riot: Something north of 600 buildings torched directly or indirectly (DFD had to withdraw from the scene in many blocks); besides local LE, some 400 MSP troopers deployed (insufficient and beyond their operational scope); some 9200 NG troops (who were then at "summer camp" in The Mitten, 200 miles away - their Detroit deployment a total cluster flop) and 2700 regulars (Airborne), whose quadrant was the only TAOR with any sanity. A "police action" ?

    Could reasonable steps have been taken before the "blind pig" raid to avoid what happened (other than the obvious - don't raid the bloody place). Maybe, but whoever wants to tackle that will have to have more time on his hands than I have.

    And, in searching any given revolution for its Phase 0, how far do we want to go back to find that Phase 0 ?

    I can make a case that Phase 0 before the French Revolution was broken some 180 years before heads were cut off - this incident from 1610 as an example - a map here.

    L’échauffourée légendaire du pont Monseigneur en 1610, au cours de laquelle François de Vigny fut mortellement blessé par ses paysans ...
    The bottom line is that François de Vigny was un plus grand SOB, who abused his peasants, called in the army (probably the gendarmerie) to quell them, and got whacked in the process - which then meant more troops had to be called in, who settled all armed conflict issues in the effective manner of those times. 179 years later, the situation existed on a larger scale and most troops refused to fire.

    So, how far do you want to go back to find causes and to develop hindsight solutions ?

  16. #36
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default A response and a thought

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    ...Mao's three phases with a zero phase added to the front end.
    Understood -- my point on Viet Nam was simply that was NOT an insurgency when we got involved and really only became one as we increased our involvement and that our increasing involvement had little to do with the perceived need for FID support. Much the same thing is true of Iraq.

    As JMM illustrates, the Armed forces, the entire national security structure under Eisenhower wanted nothing to do with it; only when the new and overly idealistic Kennedy crowd got in did that change. Overall point being that we did not get into that FID situation for any of the reasons most stated for our involvement nowadays. That and the fact that the Politicians who make commitments to go to war do not often listen to their Armed Forces with respect to the advisability of their intended effort...
    As you well know we were just as spun up in the late 50s and early 60s over Communist ideology as we are today over islamic ideology.
    No, not really -- what I do know is that some people in some administrations get wrapped around those dipwad axles. Kennedy got embarassed by Kruschev and then came back and said Viet Nam was a likely place to show we weren't going to be pushed around. He used the SEATO treaty as a lever and did something that didn't need to be done. The Politicians used Communism as a hammer to smack each other; most Americans of the day ignored that BS.

    That's in contrast to W. who did something that needed to be done that his four predecessors from both parties allowed to fester and build into a problem. Unfortunately, his Army couldn't do it right.
    ...30 years from now it might be Scientology ideology. The only ideology I really concern myself with is US ideology, and as I have stated previously, I believe the bedrocks of that are our Declaration of Independence, the Bill of rights, and the rest of the constitution in that order. When we start worrying about the other guys ideology we start making bad decisions. When we abandon our own ideology, we make horrible decisions. We did both in Nam, and a dozen other places.
    I agree with that.
    So, I don't want to get off track by focusing too much on what we actually did, the lessons learned being sought here are in terms of the over all environment at the time (populace, governance, outside parties, etc) how could we have approached the problem differently for better effect.
    I'm not sure anyone's off track; as you note "We did both in Nam, and a dozen other places." Sort of behooves us to look honestly at why we intervened I think. I went to VN twice as Grunt and elsewhere in SEA as a SF troopie, no regrets about it all, I was a pro and it was a job -- that doesn't change the fact that it was stupid, poorly run and was really for domestic political reasons, not to save the Viet Namese or insure their right to self determination or anything else.
    Clearly the people of Vietnam did not want French Governance re-imposed on them. Understand that at the time we were justifiably concerned about any expansion of Communism, but in retrospect that all seems a little silly.
    That's not correct -- I disagree with 'justifiably;' it was a political scare tactic that our very ignorant media parroted because they knew no better. Our 'concern' was vastly overstated and hyped and most Americans realized that. Not the media, then as now all they wanted was pain and sorrow to make headline items.
    I suspect in a decade or two we will look back on countries that have adopted what we call 'extreme' aspects of Islam in their governance and look back on that as silly as well.
    Same thing, a political scare tactic -- that is not to say that Communism in the day (or today) did or does not have persons who are truly concerned with some justification that it is dangerous and the same applies to Islamic fundamentalism. There was / is cause for concern but it is /was vastly overblown by politicians for their own purposes. Most people have more sense than to pay attention to that blather.
    Getting off track, but it all relates back to my core tenants of staying true to our values as a nation, not forcing them on others, and being more proactive in phase 0 periods to be a champion of the principle of self determination for people everywhere.
    That's where we part company; been my observation that such 'proactivity' (another word that needs to be banned ) leads to bad mistakes because we are impatient and do not study all the tea leaves and nuances --and because we are clumsy -- we mean well but we screw up constantly. I also suggest that being a 'champion' for the principle of self determination is a good idea -- but some caution in how assertive we need to be in the process is in order.

    One of the big problems in the US Armed forces is that inclination to 'proactivity' -- do something even if it's wrong. That attitude insures that quite often, it will be wrong...

    My point is still that my questions MUST be asked and honestly answered before any implementation of your model is begun.

    That and the fact that in our last three reasonably large sized wars, the principle of FID, propping up a failing state and defeating an insurgency were not the issues that caused us to enter the nations involved.
    Last edited by Ken White; 01-02-2009 at 09:41 PM.

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    Default BW, you can't really mean this ....

    from BW
    The only ideology I really concern myself with is US ideology....
    but maybe you do.

    I can't see how you can understand an "insurgency" (whatever the phase) without understanding the ideologies involved and the political action that flows from those ideologies. E.g., Indochina. Ho's ideology (some SovCom, some ChiCom and some VietNat) and Giap's (slightly different from Ho's, but then Giap was a lawyer who became a general - that one for you, Ken). And moving south to - Diem's ideology (leaving an explanation of Personalism on the shelf for a bit); and the ideologies of the military governments that followed - or the lack of same, perhaps better.

    I don't think you are saying "don't bother with knowing our enemy", but maybe you are.

    If you are saying that we should be a hell of a lot more careful before we engage anywhere, and that our engagement when we engage should accord with our ideology (if we can agree on what that is), then you and I are on the same page as to that general principle of national strategic policy.

  18. #38
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    Default

    I think we essentially agree. The M in DIME needs to be applied wisely, and we are defaulting to it a little too easily these days; and GCCs oversee (ok, "track" or "are aware of" may be more accurate)thousands of engagement events annually throughout their AORs. Virtually all of these are taking place in "Phase 0" environments. I.e, these populaces are at peace.

    Getting State to be more proactive and to do a better job of ensuring that every military event either contributes directly to advancing our national position with that nation, or is clearly categorized and prioritized as not, but being done anyway for unique exceptions, but all geared not to ensuring the US supports a given government, but instead the "nation" itself. Governments come and go, and getting too tied to the temp help gets us in trouble.

  19. #39
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Went there, did that

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    ...a Detroit Riot: Something north of 600 buildings torched directly or indirectly ... and 2700 regulars (Airborne), whose quadrant was the only TAOR with any sanity. A "police action" ?
    Actually, there were two Airborne Brigades, one from each Division and they relieved the Police and the MiARNG (Federalized) all over the City. The night we arrived, I stopped a 46th Div troop firing his .50 caliber MG at a 'sniper' -- god knows where some of those over 300 bullets went; he heard one shot and fired three cans of ammo -- no one stopped him and his Company Commander was in the track from which he was firing...

    Detroit was a beautiful example of a fiasco that didn't need to happen. Corrupt Police and incompetent and poorly trained ArNG folks made a bad situation far worse than it needed to be.

    Point is that sometimes a Phase 0 or even a Phase 1 might settle themselves but overly precipitate and less than competent action will almost certainly make a bad situation worse (See Asia, South East [and hopefully not South])..

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    deleted by me...reposted in proper thread
    Reed
    Last edited by reed11b; 01-02-2009 at 10:29 PM. Reason: getting rid of those no-good needless double negatives
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    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

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