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Old 04-20-2006   #41
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Default Editorial, Commentary & Blog Roundup

It's Solitaire for Rummy - New York Daily News Editorial

The Generals War - Wall Street Journal Editorial

Growing Calls for Rumsfeld's Dismissal - Financial Times Editorial

The War Against Rumsfeld - Chicago Tribune Editorial

Retired Summer Soldiers - Washington Times Commentary

Generals Put Us On Slippery Slope - Seattle Post-Intelligencer Commentary

Why Are They Speaking Up Now? - Washington Post Commentary

Wrong Debate Over Rumsfeld - Washington Times Commentary

Court of Inquiry - Real Clear Politics Commentary

David vs. Goliath in Washington - New York Post Commentary

A General Disgrace - Los Angeles Times Commentary

A Case for Accountability - Washington Post Commentary

Seven days in April - Washington Times Commentary

Listen to the Brass - Washington Post Commentary

Political Hothouse Perennial - Washington Times Commentary

Roots of the Uprising - Washington Post Commentary

Public Criticism of Rumsfeld Says it All - Boston Globe Commentary

Why America's Generals Out For Revenge - London Times Commentary

Rumsfeld's Job Security - New York Post Commentary

Generally Speaking... With Hindsight - Washington Times Commentary

The Good Fight, Done Badly - New York Times Commentary

Behind the Military Revolt - Washington Post Commentary

A General Misunderstanding - New York Times Commentary

An Officer Responds To David Ignatius - Real Clear Politics Commentary

Rumsfeld Staying Put - Real Clear Politics Commentary

Dead-End Debates - National Review Commentary

Why Didn't Generals Resign? - Chicago Sun-Times Commentary

Reconcilable Differences - National Review Blog

The Troubles of Donald Rumsfeld - Belmont Club Blog

The Incoherence of the Former Generals - Prairie Pundit Blog

Jack Kelly on the Rumsfeld Flap - Irish Pennants Blog

Donald Rumsfeld and the Media, A Bitter Love - Gateway Pundit Blog

Ignatius Makes A Case About Rumsfeld - Captain's Quarters Blog

Judge Rumsfeld by His Successes And Failures - Gateway Pundit Blog

Rumsfeld and the Generals - ZenPundit Blog

Dear Generals: Please Stop, Immediately - The Adventures of Chester Blog

The Rumsfeld Detractors - Washington Times Commentary

Why Bush Should Keep Rumsfeld - Real Clear Politics Commentary

The Generals are Revolting - Real Clear Politics Commentary

Rumsfeld Must Resign - Baltimore Sun Commentary

Railing at Rummy - New York Post Commentary

Sour Grapes and Cheap Shots - Washington Times Commentary

The Generals' Dangerous Whispers - Washington Post Commentary

A 4-star Defense of the Republic - Los Angeles Times Commentary

The Anger At Rumsfeld - Real Clear Politics Blog

Former President Ford Defends Rumsfeld - Washington Post

Generals’ Complaint Arrives Too Late - Boston Herald Editorial

They Put Our Side in Danger - Miami Herald Commentary

It's About Time We Focus on the Enemy - Chicago Tribune Commentary

All-Star Shame - Washington Times Commentary

Honor in Discretion - Wall Street Journal Commentary

What Generals Have to Say Matters a Lot - Miami Herald Commentary

Batiste: Why Rumsfeld Must Leave - Houston Chronicle Commentary

Good Thing Civilians Direct Generals - Houston Chronicle Commentary

Generals' Revolt Still a Hot Topic - Irish Pennants Blog

Footprints in Iraq - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Commentary

Generals May Need to Stage Retreat - Philadelphia Inquirer Commentary

Rumsfeld's Pentagon - Washington Times Commentary

Rage at Don - Wall Street Journal Commentary

Behind the Revolt - Washington Post Commentary

A Dereliction of Duty - National Review Commentary

Last edited by SWJED; 04-28-2006 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 04-23-2006   #42
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Default Young Officers Join the Debate Over Rumsfeld

23 April New York Times - Young Officers Join the Debate Over Rumsfeld.

Quote:
The revolt by retired generals who publicly criticized Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has opened an extraordinary debate among younger officers, in military academies, in the armed services' staff colleges and even in command posts and mess halls in Iraq.

Junior and midlevel officers are discussing whether the war plans for Iraq reflected unvarnished military advice, whether the retired generals should have spoken out, whether active-duty generals will feel free to state their views in private sessions with the civilian leaders and, most divisive of all, whether Mr. Rumsfeld should resign.

To protect their careers, the officers were granted anonymity so they could speak frankly about the debates they have had and have heard. The stances that emerged are anything but uniform, although all seem colored by deep concern over the quality of civil-military relations, and the way ahead in Iraq.

The discussions often flare with anger, particularly among many midlevel officers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and face the prospect of additional tours of duty.

"This is about the moral bankruptcy of general officers who lived through the Vietnam era yet refused to advise our civilian leadership properly," said one Army major in the Special Forces who has served two combat tours. "I can only hope that my generation does better someday."

An Army major who is an intelligence specialist said: "The history I will take away from this is that the current crop of generals failed to stand up and say, 'We cannot do this mission.' They confused the cultural can-do attitude with their responsibilities as leaders to delay the start of the war until we had an adequate force. I think the backlash against the general officers will be seen in the resignation of officers" who might otherwise have stayed in uniform.

One Army colonel enrolled in a Defense Department university said an informal poll among his classmates indicated that about 25 percent believed that Mr. Rumsfeld should resign, and 75 percent believed that he should remain. But of the second group, two-thirds thought he should acknowledge errors that were made and "show that he is not the intolerant and inflexible person some paint him to be," the colonel said...
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Old 04-25-2006   #43
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Default CORDS / Phoenix: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Vietnam for the Future

March - April issue of Military Review - CORDS / Phoenix: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Vietnam for the Future by Mr. Dale Andrade and Lieutenant Colonel James Willbanks.

Quote:
As the United States ends its third year of war in Iraq, the military continues to search for ways to deal with an insurgency that shows no sign of waning. the specter of Vietnam looms large, and the media has been filled with comparisons between the current situation and the “quagmire” of the Vietnam War. Differences between the two conflicts are legion, but observers can learn lessons from the Vietnam experience—if they are judicious in their search. For better or worse, Vietnam is the most prominent historical example of American counterinsurgency (COIN) - and the longest - so it would be a mistake to reject it because of its admittedly complex and controversial nature. An examination of the paci*fication effort in Vietnam and the evolution of the Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS) program provides useful insights into the imperatives of a viable COIN program...
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Old 04-25-2006   #44
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Default Revisiting CORDS: The Need for Unity of Effort to Secure Victory

March - April Military Review - Revisiting CORDS: The Need for Unity of Effort to Secure Victory by Major Ross Coffey, US Army.

Quote:
According to the National Strategy, weekly strat*egy sessions at the highest levels of the U.S. Government ensure that Iraq remains a top priority. At the operational level, the “team in Baghdad—led by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and General George Casey—works to implement policy on the ground and lay the foundation for long-term success.” Each of the eight pillars have corresponding interagency working groups to coordinate policy, review and assess progress, develop new proposals, and oversee the implementation of existing policies. The multitracked approach (political, security, and economic) to counterinsurgency in Iraq has historical parallels with the Civil operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS) program of the Vietnam War era. established in 1967, CORDS partnered civilian and military entities engaged in pacification of Vietnamese rural areas. The program enhanced rural security and local political and economic development and helped defeat the Viet Cong (VC) insurgency. Significantly, CORDS unified the efforts of the pacification entities by establishing unity of command throughout the combined civil-military organization. Lack of unity of effort is perhaps the most signifi*cant impediment to operational-level interagency action today. The victorious conditions the National Strategy describes might be unachievable if the interagency entities present in Iraq do not achieve unity of effort. To help achieve unity of effort, Multi-Force–Iraq (MNF-I) and the nation should consider adopting a CORDS-like approach to ensure integrated action and victory...
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Old 04-26-2006   #45
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Default Rumsfeld Continues to Come Under Fire

24 April Financial Times - Rumsfeld Continues to Come Under Fire.

Quote:
Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary, on Monday came under more fire after another retired general joined the growing list of retired brass gunning for his resignation.

Retired Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper, a three-star general who retired in 1997, told Fox News that Mr Rumsfeld was not capable of leading the Pentagon effort in Iraq. He is the eighth former general to call for Mr Rumsfeld to step down.

“When I look at where we are in this war to date, and imagine where we could have been if the right number of troops had been put in at the right time and had been employed correctly, then I think we need new leadership,” said Lt Gen Van Riper. “If I was the president, I would have relieved him three years ago.”...
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Old 04-29-2006   #46
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Default No More Vietnams

8 May issue of the Weekly Standard - No More Vietnams by David Gelernter.

Quote:
... The Vietnam analogy has been part of the Iraq war story since the fighting started (in fact, since before it started). The Bush administration often deals with its critics by ignoring them. This time it can't. Too much rides on the president looking these critics in the eye and telling them: Damned right this is Vietnam all over again. Only this time we will not get scared and walk out in the middle. This time we will stand fast, and repair a piece of the American psyche that has been damaged and hurting ever since we ran from Vietnam in disgrace way back in April 1975.

Of course any citizen is welcome to criticize the conduct of any war--tactfully, without giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Maybe we are doing things all wrong in Iraq. But those who launch the Vietnam analogy at the administration are lobbing heavy artillery for a different reason. They are predicting (with obnoxious schadenfreude) that Iraq will turn out like Vietnam in the end: We will proclaim ourselves beaten, give up, and go home. The sooner we understand this, the sooner we will do the intelligent and humane thing and surrender...

Not many nations get a second chance to show the world and themselves that they are serious after all, that their friends can trust them and their enemies ought to fear them. There is no way we can atone for the blood and death we inflicted (indirectly) on South Vietnam by abandoning it to Communist tyranny. That failure can never be put right. But we can make clear that "No More Vietnams" is a Republican slogan. It means that we will never again go back on our word and betray our friends, our soldiers, and ourselves....

Most wars bog down in hard fighting at some point or other. When that happens, America must be able to trust itself not to run away. George Washington and his men did not run away after General Howe took Philadelphia for the British in September 1777, and Washington's counterattack on Germantown failed in October, and the brand new American army had to settle into miserable, freezing winter quarters at Valley Forge. Every American schoolchild used to know what Valley Forge meant: Stand firm and fight, no matter how terrible things are. The Union army did not run away in the fall of 1862, although Lee and Jackson had won a huge Confederate victory at Second Bull Run, and Lee had crossed the Potomac into Maryland and was threatening Washington, Baltimore, and (again) Philadelphia, and was expected to capture all of Maryland and a crucial railroad bridge in Pennsylvania--which would just about cut the Union in two. But Lincoln and the Union did not give up.The Confederates didn't run away either. Their cause was wrong, but they stood up heroically and fought till they were crushed to bits.

Nor did the American army run away 80 years later in the spring of 1942, although the Pacific fleet had been smashed at Pearl Harbor, Manila had been evacuated, Bataan had surrendered after a desperate, starving defense--and then Corregidor had surrendered too. But MacArthur promised that Americans would return to liberate the Philippines, and that's just what happened...

Those that think that "no more Vietnams" means that cowardice is the better part of wisdom don't know their Vietnam history either. There are many important lies in circulation about Vietnam, like counterfeit $50 bills that keep resurfacing. Those who held these views during the war itself weren't liars; in most cases they were telling the truth as they understood it. But decades later, it requires an act of will to keep one's ignorance pristine...
Much more, follow the link above and read on...
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Old 04-30-2006   #47
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Default Vietnam Lessons for Iraq

30 April Washington Times commentary - Lessons for Iraq by Robert Turner.

Quote:
Today marks the 31st anniversary of that shameful day Col. Bui Tin led a column of North Vietnamese tanks into Saigon to complete the military conquest of South Vietnam. It didn't have to happen, and many contemporary critics of our involvement in Iraq are drawing the wrong "lessons" from that experience.

One of the most common myths is that President Johnson took America to war without congressional or popular support. Actually, Johnson sent combat units to Vietnam pursuant to a 1964 statute approved by a margin of more than 99? percent of Congress (which, on its own initiative, more than tripled his appropriations request) -- and Johnson's Gallup Poll approval rating shot up from 55 percent to 85 percent.

Another widely accepted misconception is that the war could not have been won. To be sure, there was a learning curve associated with guerrilla tactics, and the arrogant incompetence of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara -- who ignored the consistent warnings from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA that his strategy of "gradualism" could not win and was actually encouraging the enemy -- cost a lot of lives.

But, as Yale Professor John Lewis Gaddis observed last year in Foreign Affairs, historians now acknowledge we were winning the war by the early 1970s. Even more remarkably, this is admitted by Col. Bui Tin and other former North Vietnamese and Viet Cong officials. Their only hope, in the final years, was that Jane Fonda and the American "peace" movement would persuade Congress to pull the plug, which it did in May 1973. In a very real sense, a misguided Congress snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Indochina...

But now that our troops and national credibility have once again been committed, we get a replay of the Vietnam mantra: The president "lied" to trick us into going to war, our soldiers are committing "war crimes," and we must stop this immoral, illegal war now. Virtually no one truly objects to the fact that the National Security Agency is monitoring communications between al Qaeda operatives abroad and people inside this country, but many become frightened when critics tell us this means the president believes he can monitor any American's private phone calls at will. Despite conclusions to the contrary by the unanimous Senate Intelligence Committee, the Silberman-Robb Commission, the Butler Commission in Great Britain, and even The Washington Post (Joseph Wilson "was the one guilty of twisting the truth"), critics still argue we knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction and that was the only justification for the war. (As the war began, I wrote a 15,000-word legal defense that barely mentioned the WMD issue).

I don't know whether we should have gone into Iraq. But that is not the issue we face. We made that decision, by an overwhelming consensus, and the issue is whether we will once again abandon those we have pledged to help. Will America let Saddam's henchmen -- reinforced by Abu Musab Zarqawi and other al Qaeda elements -- drive us out of the Middle East? That's a very different question, and in answering it we ought to keep in mind some of the real "lessons" of the Vietnam tragedy.
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Old 06-12-2006   #48
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Default My Lai

For those of you with an interest, I turned up this old Congressional Research Service report on My Lai: Issues Underlying the My Lai Trials - June 18, 1971

The report also takes a look back at the Sand Creek Massacre during the Indian Wars and two cases from the Philippines - a US incident when fighting the Moros, and the Japanese during WWII.
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Old 06-12-2006   #49
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Default Thanks!

Thanks for posting this. I had a chance some years ago to pick up a copy of the original Peers report regarding My Lai, and have been kicking myself ever since for not doing so. Unlike the Congressional report, there was a great deal of background material with the original report. Another interesting take on these issues can be found in Self Destruction written by an Army officer using the pen name Cincinnatus.

Instead of Sand Creek, perhaps they should have used the Marias River in 1870. I know this is quibbling after small bits, but Chivington had made it clear from the start that he was going to attack ANY Indians he came across, for a number of reasons (at least one of which centered around his own political ambitions). The Marias, on the other hand, comes closer to the My Lai scenario (IMO, anyhow). Still...an interesting piece.
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Old 06-13-2006   #50
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Default The rest of the story

Interesting, but it left out that a short time later Pres. Nixon ordered him removed from the stockade and placed under house arrest. Some time in late 1974 he was paroled by the Sec. of the Army. He later married the daughter of a jewelry store owner in Columbus,Ga. And I believe he is still there.
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Old 06-13-2006   #51
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Default Lt. Calley

If you are referring to Lt. Calley, he was selling jewelry in Columbus, Ga while I was at jump school in July of 1989. One of my classmates bought a ring from him.
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Old 06-13-2006   #52
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Default

Yep, that is who I was talking about. Guess he is still there. website www.law.umkc.edu has information about the trial encluding the Peers report.
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Old 07-07-2006   #53
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Default Lessons from Vietnam in How to 'Flip' an Enemy

7 July Christian Science Monitor commentary - Lessons from Vietnam in How to 'Flip' an Enemy by Patrick Lange.

Quote:
Long ago and across the world in Vietnam, I had the job of persuading enemy soldiers to leave their government to join "our side" in the long struggle there against revolutionary socialism. Some of my experiences could be replicated in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, although the recent news makes me wonder if it's still possible to bring people over to our side...

In Vietnam, enemy prisoners of war were treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and were given the POW designation. Many people have seen photographs of American or South Vietnamese soldiers with prisoners from the other side, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army. Although there were undoubtedly instances in which individual Americans abused prisoners, I would defy anyone to provide photographic evidence of such abuse in a facility for the detention of enemy prisoners of war in Vietnam.

The enemies captured in Vietnam were held by US or South Vietnamese military police (MPs), interrogated by US Army or South Vietnamese military intelligence, and then sent to prisoner-of-war camps that were run by the South Vietnamese Army under the tutelage of American MP advisers.

Some exceptions applied...

Part of my job that year was proselytizing in these camps, trolling for those who might want to change sides. I visited a number of these camps in 1972 and did not see anything very objectionable about them. When the war finally ended, these imprisoned soldiers were returned to their own side.

But as in any war, soldiers who are not so firmly anchored to one side can be persuaded to "come over." Often these men are among the most intelligent and experienced, who have come to see war itself as a cynical game played by the powerful at the soldiers' expense.

Hundreds of prisoners decided to change sides during the Vietnam War and join with US or South Vietnamese forces. One of the most useful projects that the "turncoats" served in were the "Kit Carson Scouts." These former enemy soldiers wore our uniforms, bore arms as part of our combat forces, and accompanied our own soldiers in the field. Their knowledge of the enemy's methods and habits proved invaluable. After demonstrating their loyalty to the American forces during the war, many of them came to live in the US...
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Old 07-23-2006   #54
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Default In Iraq, Military Forgot the Lessons of Vietnam

23 July Washington Post - In Iraq, Military Forgot the Lessons of Vietnam by Tom Ricks (author of Fiasco).

Quote:
...there is also strong evidence, based on a review of thousands of military documents and hundreds of interviews with military personnel, that the U.S. approach to pacifying Iraq in the months after the collapse of Hussein helped spur the insurgency and made it bigger and stronger than it might have been.

The very setup of the U.S. presence in Iraq undercut the mission. The chain of command was hazy, with no one individual in charge of the overall American effort in Iraq, a structure that led to frequent clashes between military and civilian officials.

On May 16, 2003, L. Paul Bremer III, the chief of the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S.-run occupation agency, had issued his first order, "De-Baathification of Iraq Society." The CIA station chief in Baghdad had argued vehemently against the radical move, contending that, "By nightfall, you'll have driven 30,000 to 50,000 Baathists underground. And in six months, you'll really regret this."

He was proved correct, as Bremer's order, along with a second that dissolved the Iraqi military and national police, created a new class of disenfranchised, threatened leaders.

Exacerbating the effect of this decision were the U.S. Army's interactions with the civilian population. Based on its experience in Bosnia and Kosovo, the Army thought it could prevail through "presence" -- that is, soldiers demonstrating to Iraqis that they are in the area, mainly by patrolling...

The U.S. military jargon for this was "boots on the ground," or, more officially, the presence mission. There was no formal doctrinal basis for this in the Army manuals and training that prepare the military for its operations, but the notion crept into the vocabularies of senior officers...

The flaw in this approach, Lt. Col. Christopher Holshek, a civil affairs officer, later noted, was that after Iraqi public opinion began to turn against the Americans and see them as occupiers, "then the presence of troops . . . becomes counterproductive."...

Few U.S. soldiers seemed to understand the centrality of Iraqi pride and the humiliation Iraqi men felt to be overseen by this Western army. Foot patrols in Baghdad were greeted during this time with solemn waves from old men and cheers from children, but with baleful stares from many young Iraqi men.

Complicating the U.S. effort was the difficulty top officials had in recognizing what was going on in Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld at first was dismissive of the looting that followed the U.S. arrival, and then for months refused to recognize that an insurgency was breaking out there. A reporter pressed him one day that summer: Aren't you facing a guerrilla war?

"I guess the reason I don't use the phrase 'guerrilla war' is because there isn't one," Rumsfeld responded...

U.S. tactics became more aggressive. This was natural, even reasonable, coming in response to the increased attacks on U.S. forces and a series of suicide bombing attacks. But it also appears to have undercut the U.S. government's long-term strategy.

"When you're facing a counterinsurgency war, if you get the strategy right, you can get the tactics wrong, and eventually you'll get the tactics right," said retired Army Col. Robert Killebrew, a veteran of Special Forces in the Vietnam War. "If you get the strategy wrong and the tactics right at the start, you can refine the tactics forever, but you still lose the war. That's basically what we did in Vietnam."

For the first 20 months or more of the American occupation in Iraq, it was what the U.S. military would do there, as well.

"What you are seeing here is an unconventional war fought conventionally," a Special Forces lieutenant colonel remarked gloomily one day in Baghdad as the violence intensified. The tactics that the regular troops used, he added, sometimes subverted American goals...

In improvising a response to the insurgency, the U.S. forces worked hard and had some successes. Yet they frequently were led poorly by commanders unprepared for their mission by an institution that took away from the Vietnam War only the lesson that it shouldn't get involved in messy counterinsurgencies. The advice of those who had studied the American experience there was ignored.

That summer, retired Marine Col. Gary Anderson, an expert in small wars, was sent to Baghdad by the Pentagon to advise on how to better put down the emerging insurgency. He met with Bremer in early July. "Mr. Ambassador, here are some programs that worked in Vietnam," Anderson said.

It was the wrong word to put in front of Bremer. "Vietnam?" Bremer exploded, according to Anderson. "Vietnam! I don't want to talk about Vietnam. This is not Vietnam. This is Iraq!"

This was one of the early indications that U.S. officials would obstinately refuse to learn from the past as they sought to run Iraq.

One of the essential texts on counterinsurgency was written in 1964 by David Galula, a French army lieutenant colonel who was born in Tunisia, witnessed guerrilla warfare on three continents and died in 1967.

When the United States went into Iraq, his book, "Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice," was almost unknown within the military, which is one reason it is possible to open Galula's text almost at random and find principles of counterinsurgency that the American effort failed to heed.

Galula warned specifically against the kind of large-scale conventional operations the United States repeatedly launched with brigades and battalions, even if they held out the allure of short-term gains in intelligence. He insisted that firepower must be viewed very differently than in regular war.

"A soldier fired upon in conventional war who does not fire back with every available weapon would be guilty of a dereliction of his duty," he wrote; "the reverse would be the case in counterinsurgency warfare, where the rule is to apply the minimum of fire."

The U.S. military took a different approach in Iraq. It wasn't indiscriminate in its use of firepower, but it tended to look upon it as good, especially during the big counteroffensive in the fall of 2003, and in the two battles in Fallujah the following year.

One reason for that different approach was the muddled strategy of U.S. commanders in Iraq. As civil affairs officers found to their dismay, Army leaders tended to see the Iraqi people as the playing field on which a contest was played against insurgents. In Galula's view, the people are the prize.

"The population . . . becomes the objective for the counterinsurgent as it was for his enemy," he wrote.

From that observation flows an entirely different way of dealing with civilians in the midst of a guerrilla war. "Since antagonizing the population will not help, it is imperative that hardships for it and rash actions on the part of the forces be kept to a minimum," Galula wrote.

Cumulatively, the American ignorance of long-held precepts of counterinsurgency warfare impeded the U.S. military during 2003 and part of 2004. Combined with a personnel policy that pulled out all the seasoned forces early in 2004 and replaced them with green troops, it isn't surprising that the U.S. effort often resembled that of Sisyphus, the king in Greek legend who was condemned to perpetually roll a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down as he neared the top.

Again and again, in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, U.S. forces launched major new operations to assert and reassert control in Fallujah, in Ramadi, in Samarra, in Mosul...

When Maj. Gregory Peterson studied a few months later at Fort Leavenworth's School of Advanced Military Studies, an elite course that trains military planners and strategists, he found the U.S. experience in Iraq in 2003-04 remarkably similar to the French war in Algeria in the 1950s. Both involved Western powers exercising sovereignty in Arab states, both powers were opposed by insurgencies contesting that sovereignty, and both wars were controversial back home.

Most significant for Peterson's analysis, he found both the French and U.S. militaries woefully unprepared for the task at hand. "Currently, the U.S. military does not have a viable counterinsurgency doctrine, understood by all soldiers, or taught at service schools," he concluded...

We are finally getting around to doing the right things," Army Reserve Lt. Col. Joe Rice observed one day in Iraq early in 2006. "But is it too little, too late?"

One of the few commanders who was successful in Iraq in that first year of the occupation, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, made studying counterinsurgency a requirement at the Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, where mid-career officers are trained.

By the academic year that ended last month, 31 of 78 student monographs at the School of Advanced Military Studies next door, were devoted to counterinsurgency or stability operations, compared with only a couple two years earlier.

And Galula's handy little book, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice was a bestseller at the Leavenworth bookstore.
Much more at the link... Part II tomorrow...
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Old 07-23-2006   #55
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Default Fiasco Thread...

Here is the earlier thread on Tom Rick's new book Fiasco.

Rick's will be participating in an online Q/A Monday at 1300 (ET) (24 July) sponsored by the Washington Post - go here to submit questions.

Quote:
Washington Post staff writer Thomas E. Ricks will be online Monday, July 24, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss his new book and to answer your questions.

Thomas Ricks has covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post since 2000, reporting on activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq. He was part of a Wall Street Journal team that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2000 for a series of articles on how the U.S. military might change to meet the new demands of the 21st century. Ricks also was part of a Washington Post team that won the 2002 Pulitzer prize for reporting about the beginning of the U.S. counteroffensive against terrorism.

His book, FIASCO: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, will be published by Penguin Press in July 2006.
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Old 07-23-2006   #56
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Default "Newsbusters"...

...is already taking exception - sight unseen - Do You Have A Bad-News Bias If Your Iraq Book Is Titled 'Fiasco'?.

Some of the commentary implies Ricks only interviewed the same-old anti-Iraq war retired officers and that he was a "Baghdad Green Zone reporter" - both of these assumptions are untrue.
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Old 07-24-2006   #57
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Default Part II of the Washington Post Series...

'It Looked Weird and Felt Wrong' - Fighting the Insurgency One Unit's Aggressive Approach by Tom Ricks.

Today's installment focuses on the Army's 4th Infantry Division and is the second of two articles adapted from Fiasco.
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Old 07-24-2006   #58
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Default FYI and Discussion....

I participated in the online Q&A with Tom Ricks today. Here are the questions I submitted - only number 2 got picked-up for an online answer.

1. In the article adaptation of FIASCO you mentioned the Army’s Command and General Staff College and School of Advanced Warfare curriculum changes. Are you aware that the Marine Corps’ Command and Staff College also completely revamped their curriculum to address the very problems you outlined?

2. Where does the crux of the blame for the FIASCO lie? There were a lot of efforts to incorporate lessons learned and new “ways” of thinking into military concepts, doctrine, education and training prior to OIF. Why did these efforts fail to take?

3. Considering counterinsurgencies have historically taken many years to complete and most, if not all, have had their share of failures and lessons learned, is it possible that we are fully capable of seeing this through to a successful completion given time? How much time and will the American public support a long-term effort?

4. You mentioned Galula's book Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. I would also recommend a down and dirty piece that lays out COIN in a tactical and practical format - Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-level Counterinsurgency by David Kilcullen. Kilcullen is a retired Australian lieutenant colonel now working for the US State Department. Earlier you mentioned 10-15 years in Iraq. That is if we get it right. Do you see a trend that the “one- third that are trying but not really getting it and the one-third just want to kick a little butt” are being pushed aside or are we permanently handicapped by not being fully combat effective?

Also, counterinsurgencies require all elements of national power and in most cases the military element is secondary to success. How do you view the other (non-DoD) agencies efforts? Is the military doomed to taking on the whole spectrum of Small Wars by default?

Here is one Q&A I found interesting:

Quote:
Quantico, Va.: First, I'd like to complement you on the large body of balanced material you've produced over the years.

I vividly remember a conversation I had with my Battalion Commander in Camp Lejeune about three years before the war started. I was a Marine Platoon Commander and we were conducting a formal professional discussion with all of the battalion officers on Dien Bien Phu. The subject turned to training for low intensity conflict (which includes counter-insurgency) and our ability to prepare for it adequately. The consensus was that we didn't have the time to prepare for the range of missions we might encounter and that we should focus on traditional high intensity combat. The theory was that we could always scale back but not up.

I think that, collectively, the entire U.S. military probably made the same decision. Thus, when the war evolved into an insurgency we started at a huge deficit. The result was that you ended up with a situation where every commander may have a completeley different idea of how to fight the war in Iraq. Your story of Major General Odierno is just one example of a failure to understand the nature of the conflict. Stories of very senior commanders being upbraided by LtGen Petaues (then the commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command), for instance, have made the rounds among junior officers. My question is this - do you really think that the services are making their best effort to adapt to the nature of the war considering the significant mental challenges that need to be overcome? For instance, we don't reward officers for serving as embedded trainers with Iraqi units. Many senior officers haven't even internalized the tenets of Manuever Warfare, the central warfighting theory of the Marine Corps, do you really think we can get all services to internalize the principles of counter-insurgency?

Tom Ricks: Thanks. Would you take our friend in Corpus Christi aside for a quiet chat?

Seriously, I think you raise good points. Counterinsurgency is tough--especially because it runs so contrary to much the US military has taught over the last two decades. For example, classic counterinsurgency doctrine says to use the minimal amount of force necessary to doing the job, rather than use overwhelming force. And it also says to treat the people well, even prisoners.

One senior officer in Iraq told me earlier this year that about one-third of his subordinate officers "get it," one- third are trying but not reallly getting it, and one-third just want to kick a little butt. That means your force is probably less than half effective, and part of it is counterproductive.
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Old 07-25-2006   #59
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Default Fiasco Book Review

25 July Washington Times commentary - Freeing Iraq by Colonel Gary Anderson, USMC (ret.).

Colonel Anderson's take on Fiasco...

Quote:
Writing a critical analysis about a war in progress is always a risk. But in a long war, such as the one in Iraq, there is a market for such analysis. Tom Ricks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Washington Post has taken a shot at in "Fiasco," which is his take on Phase IV of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Phase III, the military defeat and removal of the Saddam Hussein regime, effectively ended on April 9, 2003. Phase IV, Stability and Security Operations in military parlance, goes on today. Mr. Ricks' look at the situation is a hard and unsparing one.

Although the book is primarily about Phase IV, Mr. Ricks briefly surveys the conflict's first three phases to include the road to war. The chapter that deals with the sometimes personal conflict between retired Marine Corps general Anthony Zinni and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is particularly illuminating...

Mr. Ricks believes the war to have been mismanaged at both the strategic and tactical level, and he identifies culprits. He clearly believes that the incompetence and arrogance of Douglas Feith, the former Pentagon policy czar, and Paul Bremer, the American proconsul for the first year of the war, were major causes of the flawed implementation of the occupation...

Mr. Ricks flatly accuses Gen. Tommy Franks of abrogating his command responsibilities following the fall of Baghdad by concentrating on his transition to retirement at a time when strong guidance was sorely needed...

At the operational level, Mr. Ricks does not let senior military leaders off the hook for ineptitude in conducting counterinsurgency operations. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the overall commander during the first year of the war, gets poor grades for micromanaging tactics without giving his subordinates clear commander's intent statements regarding the strategic and operational objectives.

Maj. Gen. (now Lt. Gen.) Ray Odierno comes under very harsh criticism for creating more insurgents than he killed through his division's iron-fisted handling of the civilian population. It was Maj. Gen. Odierno's troops who captured Saddam, and Mr. Ricks credits him for that. The author is also harsh with the military system as a whole, which refused to prepare for counter-insurgency in the wake of Vietnam, a war that the system chose to forget rather than to learn from.

The book does have heroes, however. Lt. Gens. Jim Mattis, Dave Patraeus and Marty Dempsey get high marks for mentally adapting to the insurgency. Because all three are still involved, he has some optimism that they can lead to better operations in the future.

Mr. Ricks sees the individual soldiers and marines as real heroes and generally writes off many tactical problems to lack of proper leadership from their seniors. He clearly believes that they have been more adaptive than the senior Pentagon leadership and many of their generals...
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Old 07-25-2006   #60
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Default NYT Review and EP Comment

New York Times - From Planning to Warfare to Occupation, How Iraq Went Wrong

Editor and Publisher - Tom Ricks of 'Wash Post' Explores Iraq 'Fiasco' in Book, Articles
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