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Old 11-17-2006   #1
Fabius Maximus
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Default Situation Report on the Expedition to Iraq

An article posted on Defense and the National Interest (DNI):
http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/fabius_iraq_sitrep_11-2006.htm

Describes my low expectations about the Iraq Study Group's recommendations, and in general to negotiations with Iran.

Also lists 52 references to "the next six months are crucial" (more or less) by our leaders in the media, politicos, and generals.

Your comments and thoughts, gentlemen and ladies?
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Old 11-17-2006   #2
Bill Moore
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Default Interesting, but give us 6 more months

Interesting post, one that deserves some thought. You definitely hit on something regarding the well done (though apparently ignored) psychological response to tragic news. Another six months, the same plan (perhaps hyperized), and of course anticipate the same result. One definition of insanity is a person who repeats the same behavior and expects a different outcome, and I guess that apply to a group also. However, I think we're failing to discuss two key issues.

First, the President and Congress keep turning to the military to come up with a solution, and pretend to listen to our general officers, while the solution must be political. The military facilitates the political solution. What is the political solution that we're trying to enable?

Second, the talk of pulling out (I'm a minority in this group, I think we should, and I explained my position elsewhere on the site) is not going to force Iraq to solve its problems, because Iraq only exists in our memories. We destroyed its sovereignty and we're the only ones that maintain it. However, it will force Iraq's neighbors to come to grips with what having a basket case for neighbor means, and drive some regional responses, hopefully solutions.
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Old 11-17-2006   #3
Fabius Maximus
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Default What Iraq?

All excellent points. Today there is no Iraq.

We've destroyed Iraq's sovereignty, but more important is the destuction of its polity. The national structure exists first in the minds of its people, and the forces unleashed since our invasion -- not by us, but as a result of our actions -- appear to have destroyed that social fabric.

Perhaps it can be rebuilt, but I doubt that some infidel foreigners can do so.
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Old 11-17-2006   #4
Tom Odom
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Default Realities and results

Quote:
Second, the talk of pulling out (I'm a minority in this group, I think we should, and I explained my position elsewhere on the site) is not going to force Iraq to solve its problems, because Iraq only exists in our memories. We destroyed its sovereignty and we're the only ones that maintain it. However, it will force Iraq's neighbors to come to grips with what having a basket case for neighbor means, and drive some regional responses, hopefully solutions.
I think you have more company than you realize, Bill. The key element is of course defining pull out. I had the opportunity two days ago when a senior instructor from DLI stopped in. An Iraqi Christian who knows my instructors from 1982 (an Iraqi Christian married to an Iraqi Sunni), he was looking at langauage related training and we chatted for 2 hours or so. I asked about ethnic divisions inside Iraq and he described them as fault lines. I took the opportunity to demomstrate how this worked to my office mates by asking him to decribe his reaction to the fact that my instructors had married across these fault lines. He said, "we have ex-communicated her (the Christian). We have nothing to do with her." Keep in mind now that this guy and my instructors have been out of Iraq for decades and are quite westernized. My office companions later admitted they were surprised by this reaction.

I think too many wishful thinkers have been surprised by the reactions inside Iraq based on what I call assumetric planning. We have to move beyond that; the ultimate fate of "Iraq" will be decided by whether the inhabitants decide to retain an "Iraqi" identity. we may be able to frame that decision, but military force alone will not suffice and in many ways at this stage may be gasoline on a fire. The most interesting thing I have seen this week were peeps coiming out of Iran, via approved "open" channels, that Iran's foreign policy establishment is very concerned we might pack it up and leave. That is the sort of leverage we need to use in politically framing what happens next.

Best
Tom
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Old 11-17-2006   #5
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From a Law Enforcement perspective and I have said this before the Strategy framework of Ends,Ways,and Means does not seem to work so well in a COIN environment.

I think It is better to use Motive,Means and Opportunity. Motives are far more powerfull than and End state. Motives can and will be eternal until you deal with them and to deal with them involves the other side. We want two groups that have hated each other for centuries to all of the sudden decide to play well with others in the sandbox. I don't think that will happen.

Until you deal with the motive aspect or realize that maybe you can't deal with it, all you can do is referee the family feud.
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Old 11-19-2006   #6
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I think ends, ways, and means work great. Slpaout, I think your model iss right on for examining what means we apply and how. I think we as a government understand what end we are looking for, but nobody can come to an agreement on what end to utilize and what ways support it. I think your descirption of motives and such is a great tool for doing this analysis and making the choice.
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Old 11-19-2006   #7
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COIN is, as many have pointed out, something of a law enforcement situation overlaid with a military situation. Where people tend to get confused is when they want to view it as one or the other, or try to mix metaphors within the two. Nothing gets me more riled up (ok...there are a few things that do) than hearing some reporter talking about military troops making "arrests" when they grab terrorists.
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Old 11-19-2006   #8
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I would never contend that COIN is a law-enforcement situation. I would argue that it is a political situation. In the later stages of COIN, I would contend that law enforcement becomes important as insurgents are moved more into a political realm instead of a militayr realm. I would state COIN is an issue of good governnace for a population with a secure environemnt. That secure environemnt probably provided by military force, but later transitioned into a law-enforcement capability. I think one problem that people, especially Americans, have is this idea that COIN/Counter-terrorism is a law enforcement problem and not a military problem. The issue that Americans have to come to grips with is that it is a little bit of both, and that you have to take the good with the bad that this brings.
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Old 11-19-2006   #9
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Jimbo and Steve,

1-I guess I Have a problem with the word end. To me the motive of the opposing force is the end, it is what you should never lose sight of. If you don't address the fundamental motive of the war, even if you achieve your objectives you may end up having to go back again. Besides I do most of my learning from this site when somebody shows me another perspective. I seldom have any answers just a lot of questions.

2-It bothers me to when they arrest a terrorist. Wouldn't that be the capture of a prisoner of war instead?

3-I think COIN is primarily a military operation because the situation is usually so bad that LE cannot handle it.

4-I do think many LE TTP's are applicable to COIN ops and the Military should look at more of them. I also think the Constabulary LE model is best for that type of situation after the Military has settled things done with the most violent forces. Then after a long rest period maybe you can shift to a more conventional LE department. But again that is highly dependent on the situation, you may have to garrison a military force there for many years.
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Old 11-19-2006   #10
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Default Clarification

One reason I mentioned COIN as a sort of LE problem is that many of the techniques draw directly back into the LE community. It is a military problem in terms of the tool used (the military as opposed to police), but many of the techniques needed to bring a situation to a successful conclusion may end up coming from LE and not the military. At the end of the day both LE and military solutions are political problems, so you have unity there.
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Old 11-19-2006   #11
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Slapout, your 4th point is a better wording of what I tried to convey in my previous post as far as transitioning from ilitary security operations to police provided security. As far as arresting a terrorist versus capturiing a POW. 1) you want to de-legitimize the insurgent/terrorist. POW status gives them more legitimacy than being a terrorist. 2)These guys are usually subject to the laws of the nation they are in. So in Iraq, they are held pending trial in an Iraqi court (it does happen, sometimes).
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Old 11-20-2006   #12
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Jimbo and Steve, so what is the answer to Iraq? Dave fired himself as a 5 star general so that position is open. As my friend Bubba would say "what kinda figurein ya'll been doin to get out from up under this sit u ashun"
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Old 11-20-2006   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
Jimbo and Steve,

1-I guess I Have a problem with the word end. To me the motive of the opposing force is the end, it is what you should never lose sight of. If you don't address the fundamental motive of the war, even if you achieve your objectives you may end up having to go back again. Besides I do most of my learning from this site when somebody shows me another perspective. I seldom have any answers just a lot of questions.

2-It bothers me to when they arrest a terrorist. Wouldn't that be the capture of a prisoner of war instead?

3-I think COIN is primarily a military operation because the situation is usually so bad that LE cannot handle it.

4-I do think many LE TTP's are applicable to COIN ops and the Military should look at more of them. I also think the Constabulary LE model is best for that type of situation after the Military has settled things done with the most violent forces. Then after a long rest period maybe you can shift to a more conventional LE department. But again that is highly dependent on the situation, you may have to garrison a military force there for many years.
Interesting points. I would argue, however, that the COIN fights of Malaysia and Rhodesia-Zimbabwe demonstrate that COIN is a balanced blend of military and law enforcement. Special Branch worked closely with conventional and SOF forces to deal with intelligence, criminal activity, etc.

Take for example Al Anbar province. We knew that the tribe centered on A Rutbah (near the Syrian/Jordan borders) was tied to the main tribe centered on Ramadi-Fallujah. In fact, an influx of displaced families flooded Rutbah during the first round of Ramadi-Fallujah fighting in March and April of 2004. We also knew that hijackings of commercial goods, graft, and outright theft resulted in funds for insurgents in other areas. The IP did whatever they did, often with little interface at the tactical level, so we often ran operations without the full breadth of available intelligence.

LE TTPs are totally applicable to COIN ops, and I think that is why many Marine Reserve infantry units have managed to hold things down, considering there battlespace and limited manpower/resources. Many Reservists are LE, and it was always interesting to debrief a foot-patrol and get the educated opinion from these guys. "You can tell that the guy who lives in this house is lying about the insurgents," was a common refrain from the platoon sergeants and squad leaders who worked America's streets as gang task force members and undercover agents fighting narcotics.

As far as I can tell, we have very limited LE interface with the Iraqi police structures, besides their academy time. I mean, there are no CIVPOL guys working the beats with the IPs, and perhaps that is one of the downfalls of the system. In the US, we take a LE recruit and run him through the academy, but ensure he is partnered with a more experienced officer for a period of time. There are no experienced IP officers, at least from the perspective of "beat cops" who have the brass you-know-whats to run criminal and insurgent elements to the ground. Most of the experienced police, as brave as they are, found themselves in senior leadership positions at the heads of the hydra.

I'm especially curious to see whether relations between the IPs and IA have improved. Even as we wrestled with the worthless ING, we realized that the IA forces we were developing totally hated the ING, and to a lesser extent, the IPs because of the graft and Ba'athist intrigue that was rife within the ranks. Perhaps it was simply because of the density of Shi'a in these new IA units, but we have to establish these connections and links between ISF elements, in order to succeed. Can anyone here with MiTT experience provide an update on where IA/IP coordination has progressed?

I'm also curious as to whether a withdrawal in forces would result in fewer attacks against the IPs and their recruiting centers and stations. Are they still being attacked because the insurgents see them as collaborators? If they do, what do the IP face upon our departure? Will there be a mass exodus of policemen and their families to the borders, or to the fring of the Kurdish north? Remember that there are a lot of IP who have been targeted for no other reason than that they were an IP. A Sunni policeman could face murder and ambush if he was actually trying to do his job.

Finally, and on a somewhat unrelated note, I'd really like to hear the thoughts of Iraqis who hold so much of the future in their hands. What do the generals, commissioners, chiefs, and assembly members think about our motives. Does the coalition put forward the right impression? The administration talks a lot about ensuring that we stay until Iraq is capable of governing itself, defending its borders, and protecting the populace. Do Iraqis perceive that we (I'm speaking of the US in this context) actually have the ability and the will to accomplish these lofty goals? Even at the recent round of hearings, senators from both sides of the aisle asked why the security situation has worsened. I wonder if Iraqis are asking the same thing. Do our actions (or lack thereof) contradict our words, and if they do, then what do we need to do to get back on track.

It appears that some players in government are trying to drive us towards a resolution without careful consideration of Iraq's sovereignty. Perhaps it is time for the various affected committees in Congress to give up the Christmas recess and travel to Jordan, Kuwait, or wherever and sit down with the members of the National Assembly and Malaki's administration to help forge a way ahead.
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Old 11-20-2006   #14
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Jcustis, I have a friend Pat Mahaney that spent 18 months with the IP Police commission in Iraq for the US State Dept. He is a retired Alabama State Trooper and Lawyer. I have been bugging him to join the council and join the discussion (he has some stories about the IP!!) but he is in private practice now and makes money hand over fist now as a DIU attorney so he doesn't have much time. But I will try him again and see if he will join. I am at work now but have some more comments about your posts on dealing the IP very shrewd observations on your part about police ops. Later.
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Old 11-20-2006   #15
Merv Benson
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Default The fight for justice

I have described counterinsurgency warfare as semi kinetic with a political component. It is not so much about law enforcement as it is about justice. One aspect of the war in Iraq is that some of the same actors who were committing atrocities before the war are still doing the same in the hopes of intimidating the population into accepting the same thugs as leaders of the government. The main difference now is that there is at least hope for justice when these atrocities are committed. That is something that did not exist under the old regime and would not exist if the enemy is successful. It is one reason why the trial of Saddam is so important in that search for justice no matter what Human Rights Watch thinks of the proceedings. What is more important is that the Iraqis perceive it as rendering justice on those who abused them in the past.

One of the problems I have with the description of counter insurgency operations is that it does not pay enough attention to demonstrating consequences for the enemy for their attacks on our forces and non combatants in Iraq. Too often it sounds like we are more concerned about over reaction than we are about demonstrating consequences to the enemy.
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Old 11-21-2006   #16
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Jcustis, I talked to my friend Pat about coming on SWC and talking about the IP. His first question was can they stand the truth? I will let him make the final comments but he does not hold them in high esteem to put it mildly. He said he would look over his notes and try and post something this weekend. As for the Iraq situation in general he wonders why we haven't left already. We shall see I guess.
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Old 11-21-2006   #17
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Thanks for the warning order slapout. My suspicions seem to be confirmed.
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Old 11-21-2006   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
Thanks for the warning order slapout. My suspicions seem to be confirmed.
Yeah...it sounds like it.
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Old 11-21-2006   #19
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Wish we could get an Iraqi cabinet minister on board as well. A first-person perspective is sorely needed.
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Old 11-21-2006   #20
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Agreed! It would be outstanding to get as many perspectives as possible so that something of a balance could be achieved. Especially with things like this, where each person is going to see something differently or have a different level of information (from IP-on-the-beat to trainer to wider picture). This is just too important to leave to a single lens.
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