SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Small Wars Participants & Stakeholders > Social Sciences, Moral, and Religious

Social Sciences, Moral, and Religious Applying the soft sciences and higher laws.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-11-2008   #41
Gian P Gentile
Council Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: West Point New York
Posts: 268
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
...All in all, using Chaplains as negotiators has far more potential adverse impacts than beneficial ones.
Ken:

agree with you on this posting and also with Norfolk. I dont want to sound elitist here but with experience on our side it does appear that in this thread the ones who are most stridently against the use of chaplains in operational, military matters (yes, having them engage to establish relationships with imams in a Coin fight is an operational task) are those of us who have had acutal experience in these matters. As a squadron commander in west-baghdad in 2006 i had a chaplain on my special staff. I had no business for him whatsoever with meeting local religious leaders to establish relationships. He did of course go out on patrols and on ops so that he could be with soldiers and understand what they did outside of the wire, but other than that his duty was the Squadron and its spiritual and moral well being. No small task in a combat environment.

gian
Gian P Gentile is offline  
Old 02-11-2008   #42
marct
Council Member
 
marct's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 3,682
Default

Hi Guys,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
First, in the ME Christian clergymen are bogeymen to a good many. That is not to say they cannot ever be used to facilitate dialog, it just means one has to be extremely careful and that is particularly true in any Muslim nation and even more so in the ME where a more rigid version of Islam exists.
That is a good point, Ken, although it might be more apropos to say it as foreign Christian clergy since there are Christian congregations and clergy in every ME country already. However, let me just note that I was talking about "chaplains" in general, not Christian clergy. Doesn't the US Chaplains Corps have any imams who get deployed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Second, the Chaplain has his principal duty to his faith; then to his flock. Is it right to take him away from those responsibilities to put him in the minor diplomat role? I suggest the answer is rarely.
Hmmm, I'd phrase it somewhat differently, a chaplain's first duty is to his/her deity, but that's me being pedantic . First off, I would never suggest that a chaplain be put into that position, but I would suggest that if their duty to their deity leads them to do so and the situation is not "shoot on sight", they be allowed to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Thirdly, that 'flock' may look at THEIR Chaplain treating with potential bad guys in an unfavorable light and that may affect his ability to deal with said flock (and let me assure you, that has occurred in less volatile regions over less important things than we're discussing here). The question arises are you perhaps compromising your Chaplains ability to do his primary job -- to the detriment of your unit?
That's a very good point. Just out of interest, would the situation be the same if it was an imam rather than a Christian chaplain? Do you think that in such a case the unit would be concerned over his potential ties and he wouldn't be able to function properly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Lastly, you are involving a religious entity in a military matter -- and make no mistake, if the Army or Marines are there, it is a military matter. Some of the organized religions have difficulties with that and you may put your Chaplain in a bad position.
True, but somewhat of a red herring. If they are a chaplain and assigned to a unit, they should have already dealt with this issue. Again, please note that I am not suggesting that they be put in a position where they could be ordered to do anything operational, only that in certain situations they be allowed to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Hate to state the obvious but I think the philosophy is starting to obscure reality.
Always does - which is why it's a really good idea to test out philosophy in reality .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
That doesn't even address the fact that all Chaplains are not equal. I can recall a couple who would do well, many more who might and a couple; one a hard core Jesuit who'd argue with a Lamp post and another who was so conciliatory and afraid of offending that he'd be dangerous.
Oh, quite true - I've know a number of priests who could best be used as fertilizer seeing as that was their main product, others who were complete and utter raving lunatics, and still others who were absolutely amazing at establishing common ground between different religious traditions. As a note, I do have a bit of experience in that area having spent a year and a half on the Ottawa Inter-Faith Council a while back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Consider also that Chaplains are protected under the Geneva Conventions (plural). use them for non-pastoral duties and you run the risk of that protection being discounted.
I have to wonder if that's not also a red herring since a number of the operational groups don't subscribe to the Geneva Conventions. I do agree that requiring them to go operational would quite possibly abnegate their protection, but I don't really know if that signifies much. Would you consider Mqtada al Sadr to be covered?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
I dont want to sound elitist here but with experience on our side it does appear that in this thread the ones who are most stridently against the use of chaplains in operational, military matters (yes, having them engage to establish relationships with imams in a Coin fight is an operational task) are those of us who have had acutal experience in these matters.
Sure, and that's why it's a great idea to have you shoo holes in our ideas, Gian . Goes back to Socrates....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
As a squadron commander in west-baghdad in 2006 i had a chaplain on my special staff. I had no business for him whatsoever with meeting local religious leaders to establish relationships. He did of course go out on patrols and on ops so that he could be with soldiers and understand what they did outside of the wire, but other than that his duty was the Squadron and its spiritual and moral well being. No small task in a combat environment.
And you don't consider this to be going "operational"? It does strike me that he would be seen to have gone out on these patrols and ops and, in being seen to do so, would have been interpreted as being operational.

Marc
__________________
Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Senior Research Fellow,
The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
Carleton University
http://marctyrrell.com/
marct is offline  
Old 02-11-2008   #43
120mm
Council Member
 
120mm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Wonderland
Posts: 1,284
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
I disagree and stereotypes exist for a reason. I am very aware of the difference between, teaching, doctrine, and dogma, as well a concepts such as discourse.

I did not say religion starts wars. I said, that wars are made worse by religion, in the same way war makes politics extreme. If you can show me a conflict that peacefully resolved, or ameliorated by religious extremists, I would certainly learn something.
The American Revolution was ended, at least in part, by religious "extremists" in England who objected to the war on the grounds of "natural law".

The Treaty of Westphalia was brought about, at least in part, by religious "extremists" who helped force the war-weakened principles into declaring peace, in order to cease the suffering of the civilians throughout Europe.

The Viet Nam war was ended, at least in part, by religious "extremists" who actually allied themselves with politically-motivated and diametrically oppositional anti-war movement.

On would hope you would learn something. My list was limited mainly because those are the three conflicts in which I actually "know" there was a religious "extremist" main force opposition.
120mm is offline  
Old 02-11-2008   #44
Tom Odom
Council Member
 
Tom Odom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: DeRidder LA
Posts: 3,949
Default

Quote:
Quote:
A Chaplain doesn't carry a weapon for a reason, the underlying premise is they are there to tend to and care for the souls of their charges.

and this is actually incorrect. Chaplains don't carry weapons because priests weren't allowed to carry weapons during the middle ages. It was a major sin to kill a priest and the act of doing so put people in a real quandary when the priest was trying to kill them. Originally, the prohibition was on Priests using edged weapons (which is when Gary G. got the idea for D&D), but that was latter extended to all weapons. The modern prohibition comes from that. It has absolutely nothing to so with priests being there "to tend to and care for the souls of their charges" and everything to do with ritual impurity after killing a priest.
Marc,

True enough in that time.

Today is a different matter. we don't wear red crosses on white tuinics either.

Chaplains today do not carry weapons and they cannot command as a matter of law. And sorry, it has every thing to do with why we have chaplains in the first place--taking care of the troops.

best

Tom
Tom Odom is offline  
Old 02-11-2008   #45
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default Hi Marc

Quote:
Originally Posted by marct View Post
...That is a good point, Ken, although it might be more apropos to say it as foreign Christian clergy since there are Christian congregations and clergy in every ME country already. However, let me just note that I was talking about "chaplains" in general, not Christian clergy. Doesn't the US Chaplains Corps have any imams who get deployed?
There are a few Muslim Chaplains, not enough -- not enough of any faith, actually, there's always a significant shortfall in numbers. In the ME, the present Christian clergy do not interface with their Islamic counterparts and have not since just after WW II. I'm comfortable saying Christian clergy without the foreign qualifier.
Quote:
Hmmm, I'd phrase it somewhat differently, a chaplain's first duty is to his/her deity, but that's me being pedantic. First off, I would never suggest that a chaplain be put into that position, but I would suggest that if their duty to their deity leads them to do so and the situation is not "shoot on sight", they be allowed to do it.
I'll avoid a religious argument here and just say we can differ on that point. Not least because I've known a couple who were quite willing to shoot on sight (and carried a weapon so they could do that...)
Quote:
That's a very good point. Just out of interest, would the situation be the same if it was an imam rather than a Christian chaplain? Do you think that in such a case the unit would be concerned over his potential ties and he wouldn't be able to function properly?
Heh. That's not a very good point. Given the relatively small number of Muslims in the Armed Forces of the US, the critical mass of disaffected parishioners almost certainly wouldn't exist. Good try, though...

I'd also suggest that would be a case where your 'foreign clergy' issue from above would apply; my guess is that such a Chaplain would be highly suspect in the eyes of most in the ME.
Quote:
True, but somewhat of a red herring. If they are a chaplain and assigned to a unit, they should have already dealt with this issue. Again, please note that I am not suggesting that they be put in a position where they could be ordered to do anything operational, only that in certain situations they be allowed to do so.
Not at all fishy; they have dealt with the issue of the Chaplain serving his faith and a flock -- you're asking them to further deal with operational matters, a different thing and outside the Chaplains purview.

We can continue to disagree over the advisability of such usage.
Quote:
Always does - which is why it's a really good idea to test out philosophy in reality.
Perhaps you can afford that in your world, having spent a number of years where that, fortunately or unfortunately, wasn't a good idea, I suggest that it's not always a good idea.
Quote:
I have to wonder if that's not also a red herring since a number of the operational groups don't subscribe to the Geneva Conventions. I do agree that requiring them to go operational would quite possibly abnegate their protection, but I don't really know if that signifies much. Would you consider Mqtada al Sadr to be covered?
Boy, you're into fish today and it's not even Friday. Obviously some of our current opponents have no interest in the GC. There will be other opponents who do adhere. Precedent is precedent.

No, I would not consider Mokey to be covered, he is not an Ayatollah (though he is studying on the fast track to attain that status), merely a self appointed Imam. Further, he's abrogated any religious protection he might have by being politically and militarily involved -- which is the point of not allowing Chaplains to do that...

Oh -- and:
Quote:
And you don't consider this to be going "operational"? It does strike me that he would be seen to have gone out on these patrols and ops and, in being seen to do so, would have been interpreted as being operational.
Observing troops doing their jobs and participating in negotiations are discernable as quite different activities by even the kids in the ME.
Ken White is offline  
Old 02-11-2008   #46
marct
Council Member
 
marct's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 3,682
Default

Hi Ken,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Quote:
Always does - which is why it's a really good idea to test out philosophy in reality.
Perhaps you can afford that in your world, having spent a number of years where that, fortunately or unfortunately, wasn't a good idea, I suggest that it's not always a good idea.
Hmmm, I think I should have worded that differently, say "to test out philosophy against reality" in the sense of checking it out with people who know the reality, rather than the implication of experiment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Boy, you're into fish today and it's not even Friday. Obviously some of our current opponents have no interest in the GC. There will be other opponents who do adhere. Precedent is precedent.

No, I would not consider Mokey to be covered, he is not an Ayatollah (though he is studying on the fast track to attain that status), merely a self appointed Imam. Further, he's abrogated any religious protection he might have by being politically and militarily involved -- which is the point of not allowing Chaplains to do that...
Well, the fish on Fridays isn't part of my religious baggage .

I find it interesting that you say he has already abrogated his religious protection by his actions. I have to wonder if that is a view held by many in the Muslim world. BTW, I'm not disagreeing with you per se, I just find that I don't ave any data on it. Also, as far as being self-appointed, that is a fairly common thing in many religions including numerous strands of Christianity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Oh -- and:Observing troops doing their jobs and participating in negotiations are discernable as quite different activities by even the kids in the ME.
Okay, you, Gian, Tom et al. would know better than I do on that score. Just out of interest, how are the chaplains perceived by most people in the ME?

Marc
__________________
Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Senior Research Fellow,
The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
Carleton University
http://marctyrrell.com/
marct is offline  
Old 02-11-2008   #47
Tom Odom
Council Member
 
Tom Odom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: DeRidder LA
Posts: 3,949
Default

Quote:
how are the chaplains perceived by most people in the ME?
As an independent operator, I never had a chaplain--I had guys like Stan.

But I can relate that American Iraqis--Christian and Muslim--at DLI were very suspicious of Army Chaplains at DLI, especially a LTC rabbi who insisted on coming over and discussing religion and regional politics. He was very much viewed as a spy.

Best

Tom
Tom Odom is offline  
Old 02-11-2008   #48
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default Hi Marc...

Quote:
Originally Posted by marct View Post
...
Well, the fish on Fridays isn't part of my religious baggage .
Nor mine; just seemed to be an inordinate amount...
Quote:
I find it interesting that you say he has already abrogated his religious protection by his actions. I have to wonder if that is a view held by many in the Muslim world.
I suspect the reverse is true, his embroilment in politics is expected of the Imams. East is east and west is west, etc.
Quote:
BTW, I'm not disagreeing with you per se, I just find that I don't ave any data on it. Also, as far as being self-appointed, that is a fairly common thing in many religions including numerous strands of Christianity.
I'm sure it is and I'm equally sure that some of those use that self-appointment for personal or political gain just as Moqtada has. Wasn't a major issue, just an aside, the point was that by assuming the religious mantle and then by indulging in political games, he will have in the eyes of many have lost some of his religious cover. Even in the ME where the attitudes are different.
Quote:
... Just out of interest, how are the chaplains perceived by most people in the ME?
Can't speak for today but when I was last there; with politeness and reserve for the most part. For the more religiously or fundamentally inclined -- with out right hostility. My suspicion is that has changed little if any.
Ken White is offline  
Old 02-28-2008   #49
MSG Proctor
Council Member
 
MSG Proctor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Ft. Bliss, TX
Posts: 99
Default From the Inside

ALCON:
I just returned from a site assistance visit to the MNF-I HQs. This issue is relevant. I will provide a few facts and then some analysis on the feasability of utilizing chaplains in counterinsurgency operations.

1. DoDD 1304.19 requires all military chaplains to serve as the principal advisor to the commander on the impact of religion on military operations. This requirement is developed in JP 1-05 and FM 1-05.

2. In order to provide that advisement, religious support teams (RSTs which include enlisted personnel) must participate in the MDMP in support of operational planning and execution.

3. In Stability Operations (and COIN specifically), the MDMP is usually modified to prosecute lines of operation which include non-lethal targeting. RSTs are required to serve as advisors on targeting boards and other work groups and cells dealing with religious subject matter.

4. In the ITO, commanders are often spending as much as 50% of their time conducting leader engagements.

5. According to the CIA, religious leaders, clerics and religious scholars have filled the void created by the collapse of the Baathist regime. Religious influence is at a zenith unprecedented in Iraq during the modern era. For example, when Muqtada al Sadr communicated the tactical freeze for JAM for 6 more months, the message was delivered not by press conference, but through the Friday mosque sermon channels.

6. AQI and other rogue elements engage religious clerics. Without engagement from CF, the religious opinions of mosque preachers usually default to theological/religious arguments stridently hostile to CF/GOI objectives.

7. Commanders and civil affairs officers frequently engage religious leaders but are usually not prepared nor suited to a cleric-to-cleric dialogue. These engagements may achieve the opposite effect, ie, clerics get the idea that CF are godless secularists bent on curbing the influence of Islam. Islam allows for no delineation between civil and religious life. Islam is a civilization, not merely a religion as understood in occidental thinking.

8. In OIF I, TF 1st AD conducted over 500 religious leader engagements (RLE) with Chaplains as the principle participants. From these highly successful RLEs, religious councils and regional councils were formed in support of CF objectives. In the fall of 2003, CF were ordered off the streets and out of the villiages in order to consolidate combat power in super FOBs, thus severing many key leader relationships dependent on proximity and accessibility. During the RIP/TOA to OIF II, many of these cleric relationships were discarded or dropped.

9. The 2004-2006 rotations were focused on killing insurgents and pushing immature ISF out in the lead. Leader engagement was not a high priority throughout the ITO.

10. In Anbar in 2006-2007, units from 1 MEF and 1st BCT, 1st AD employed counterinsurgency operational design in prosecution of efforts to defeat AQI. Part of their success was due to Sunni cleric support for the concept of tribal participation in the IP, ISF and GOI. From there sprang the concerned local citizens phenomena. This turn of events was promulagated by COIN imperatives such as protecting the population and engaging key leaders.

11. A chaplain with TF 1-36 IN conducted 99 RLEs in Anbar; this included engaging members of the regionally influential Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq. This became a tipping point in the Anbar Awakening.

12. Chaplains in TF 134 were instrumental in enlisting orthodox Imams to retrain/re-educate reconcilables inside the theatre detainment facilities for suitability for release back into the population. This COIN TTP resulted in a wholesale rejection of the AQI version of Islam.

13. Iraq's clerics are more open, amenable and willing to unify, reconcile and deal with each other than at any time since 2003. Engaging these clerics is extremely vital to the long-term prospects of success in Iraq. Without cleric buy-in, it is doubtful that the GOI can sustain its gains.

14. According to US Army doctrine, engagement of local leaders is a Civil-Military function. Chaplains hold a long-standing tradition of involvement in CA activities such as humanitarian assistance, cleric engagement, NGO liaison, etc...

Conclusion: There are no restrictions legally nor doctrinally that stand in the way of RSTs supporting their commander's COIN efforts. If clerics in Iraq feel that their religious concerns are being heard and incorporated into CF/ISF/governance decision cycles, there is much greater likelihood of success in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq.

MSG Proctor

Last edited by Jedburgh; 02-28-2008 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Added links.
MSG Proctor is offline  
Old 02-28-2008   #50
Cavguy
Council Member
 
Cavguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 1,127
Default

MSG Proctor,

Thanks for finally weighing in. So the audience has your background, post an intro here.

Council,

The reason for his delayed appearance was that he was at MNC-I to discuss the above issues. I'm sure you all will enjoy his passion on the subject.

MAJ S
__________________
"A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
Who is Cavguy?

Last edited by Cavguy; 02-28-2008 at 10:35 PM.
Cavguy is offline  
Old 02-28-2008   #51
marct
Council Member
 
marct's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 3,682
Talking

You mentioned "cleric to cleric dialogue" and I was wondering if you could expand on that a bit. Is the goal along the lines of "inter-faith" dialogue or is it more situationally targeted (or both or something else)?

Marc

ps. I have to head off in a couple of minutes for the evening so no time pressure .
__________________
Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Senior Research Fellow,
The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
Carleton University
http://marctyrrell.com/
marct is offline  
Old 02-29-2008   #52
MSG Proctor
Council Member
 
MSG Proctor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Ft. Bliss, TX
Posts: 99
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by marct View Post
You mentioned "cleric to cleric dialogue" and I was wondering if you could expand on that a bit. Is the goal along the lines of "inter-faith" dialogue or is it more situationally targeted (or both or something else)?

Marc

.
Marc:
There are several important themes at work with RLE. Hopefully without becoming tedious, I'll explore some of these themes (themes will be in italics).

1. Democracy portends to secularism, and hence, a loss of religious identity, culture and connection to the Transcendant Good. When a non-cleric engages an indigenous religious leader, he usually rehearses the IO themes developed in the joint campaign plan (JCP). These typically revolve around ideas of individual rights and liberties, concepts somewhat foreign to Islam which focuses on group identity and religious values. Any conscienteous Muslim cleric is bound by conscience to resist that which he deems threatening to his way of relating to God. With democracy comes a train of attendant social and moral scourges (abortion, promiscuity, divorce, homosexuality, pornography, economic exploitation, etc...) - at least that is a theme that many conservative Islamic leaders are able to convey with conviction. We ought to respect these legitimate concerns.

A cleric-to-cleric dialogue very naturally affirms many of the same concerns. A Chaplain can, by thoughtful engagement, draw out his peer across the table into a discussion of the importance of religion in establishing a just society. The chaplain can confirm the Imam's concerns about the spread of injustice and moral decay - he too, is concerned about those very same things. This level of dialogue is neither forced nor contrived - unless the chaplain is not practicing fidelity to his own religious tradition. Most chaplains are very concerned about the cultivation and prosperity of faith communities. This is a level of connection that few commanders can enter into through no fault of their own.

An amazing take away from the Anbar Awakening is that Sunni scholars regarded US Army chaplains as fellow religious scholars - not merely prayer leaders, but scholars - as all Army chaplains possess advanced degrees in theology. Moreover, Iraq's long established Christian minority earned HUGE credibility for chaplains as the reputation of Christians in Iraq is impeccable when it comes to fidelity and integrity.

Therefore, enormous potential exists for engaging Iraqi clerics on this other plane of the religious, the transcendant, the righteousness of religious action.

2. All the Americans want to discuss is business. The pious Muslim begins all activities in the Name of the All-Merciful and punctuates them with a submissive "In Sha Allah" (as God wills). Negotiations with Islamic clerics in Iraq that do not acknowledge God up front and with deep reverence end up convincing the Imam that all we care about is the Yankee bottom line/dollar.

3. Shrill rhetoric = call to arms for Jihad. This is ill-understood on a cultural as well as a religious level. Bluster can be an important embellishment of religious preaching among Arabs - and is rarely an explicit call to violence. It takes an in-depth appreciation for Islamic preaching to ascertain the real threat posed by what would appear to our ears as inflammatory rhetoric.

4. A Muslim cleric is a Muslim cleric. Basically they're all the same. This theme is a deadly error fraught with all manner of dangers. The Shiite cleric and the Sunni prayer leader/preacher indeed share the same religion, but among the sects the relationship between clerics and congregations is starkly different. It is beyond the scope of SWJ blog to fully develop this significant consideration, but careful religious analysis (such as that offered by religious support teams) ought to be applied to RLE before, during and after the engagement.

I could go on, but the basic idea is that a chaplain, as a fellow scholar/practitioner offers a more genuinely religious dialogue with a fellow man of God who is very sincerely and conscienteously concerned about the long term effects of the new GOI on his people and their faith. Moreover, a commander may inadvertantly expect an Imam to make concessions or compromises on issues that may be immutably established in Koranic teaching and tradition. Chaplains are far more likely to seek out, identify and respect those religious non-negotables and assist the commander in operationalizing this understanding.

RLE is NOT a panacea nor a silver bullet. It is a neccessary component of counterinsurgency operations in Iraq that is routinely bungled or worse, ignored.

MSG Proctor

Last edited by MSG Proctor; 02-29-2008 at 02:24 AM.
MSG Proctor is offline  
Old 02-29-2008   #53
marct
Council Member
 
marct's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 3,682
Default

Hi John,

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
1. Democracy portends to secularism, and hence, a loss of religious identity, culture and connection to the Transcendant Good....

A cleric-to-cleric dialogue very naturally affirms many of the same concerns. A Chaplain can, by thoughtful engagement, draw out his peer across the table into a discussion of the importance of religion in establishing a just society.... This is a level of connection that few commanders can enter into through no fault of their own.
Agreed, and I have a suspicion that that is a crucial problem facing many Muslims; the classic problem of modernity. You comments about the IO lines ring true as well, with all of the sideband connotations of the dangers of individuality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
An amazing take away from the Anbar Awakening is that Sunni scholars regarded US Army chaplains as fellow religious scholars - not merely prayer leaders, but scholars - as all Army chaplains possess advanced degrees in theology. Moreover, Iraq's long established Christian minority earned HUGE credibility for chaplains as the reputation of Christians in Iraq is impeccable when it comes to fidelity and integrity.
Now that is intriguing! It certainly ties back to many discussions I've had with friends here in Canada about the dangers to Christianity of being in a majority (way too long to get into here).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
Therefore, enormous potential exists for engaging Iraqi clerics on this other plane of the religious, the transcendant, the righteousness of religious action.
Just for information, are there any non JCI clerics in Iraq involved in this type of dialogue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
2. All the Americans want to discuss is business. The pious Muslim begins all activities in the Name of the All-Merciful and punctuates them with a submissive "In Sha Allah" (as God wills). Negotiations with Islamic clerics in Iraq that do not acknowledge God up front and with deep reverence end up convincing the Imam that all we care about is the Yankee bottom line/dollar.
A view that is also pushed by certain western academics and conspiracy theorists .

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
3. Shrill rhetoric = call to arms for Jihad. This is ill-understood on a cultural as well as a religious level. Bluster can be an important embellishment of religious preaching among Arabs - and is rarely an explicit call to violence. It takes an in-depth appreciation for Islamic preaching to ascertain the real threat posed by what would appear to our ears as inflammatory rhetoric.
I have suspected that, but my study of religious rhetoric hasn't included Islamic preaching.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
4. A Muslim cleric is a Muslim cleric. Basically they're all the same. This theme is a deadly error fraught with all manner of dangers. The Shiite cleric and the Sunni prayer leader/preacher indeed share the same religion, but among the sects the relationship between clerics and congregations is starkly different. It is beyond the scope of SWJ blog to fully develop this significant consideration, but careful religious analysis (such as that offered by religious support teams) ought to be applied to RLE before, during and after the engagement.
Some form of a structural analysis would, I suspect, be quite useful here - on the blog rather than in the council. It is the type of information that would prove very useful and is not readily available. If such an analysis has been done, and it is open source (unclassified) it would be worthwhile linking to it. The best way to expand from the "Us-Them" dichotomy is to educate people, and I think that this is one of the key pieces that has been missing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
I could go on, but the basic idea is that a chaplain, as a fellow scholar/practitioner offers a more genuinely religious dialogue with a fellow man of God who is very sincerely and conscienteously concerned about the long term effects of the new GOI on his people and their faith. Moreover, a commander may inadvertantly expect an Imam to make concessions or compromises on issues that may be immutably established in Koranic teaching and tradition. Chaplains are far more likely to seek out, identify and respect those religious non-negotables and assist the commander in operationalizing this understanding.
Really good point. Also, if memory serves me, there are different schools of Islamic law some of which come to opposing solutions to any given problem. This would mean that a properly constructed argument could achieve a similar effect without breaching Islamic traditions.

Marc
__________________
Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Senior Research Fellow,
The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
Carleton University
http://marctyrrell.com/
marct is offline  
Old 02-29-2008   #54
Tom Odom
Council Member
 
Tom Odom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: DeRidder LA
Posts: 3,949
Default

MSG Proctor,

I have read youir pieces elsewhere and I will accept some of the ideas--the problem lies in execution and perception. Execution problems rest with preparation of the Chaplain's Corps to do what you propose. Perecption rests with the recieving audience. After nearly 2 decades as a Middle East and sub-Saharan FAO, I would say that your proposals, doctrinely rooted or not, offer greater risk than possible gain.

I would also say to the greater audience is that the debate inside the Chaplains arena over these concepts is far from over.

Tom
Tom Odom is offline  
Old 02-29-2008   #55
MSG Proctor
Council Member
 
MSG Proctor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Ft. Bliss, TX
Posts: 99
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by marct View Post
Just for information, are there any non JCI clerics in Iraq involved in this type of dialogue?

Marc
Marc, I'm not clear by what you mean with non JCI clerics ? Can you explain?

BTW, thanks for all your insightful comments. I appreciate that.
MSG Proctor is offline  
Old 02-29-2008   #56
marct
Council Member
 
marct's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 3,682
Default

Hi John,

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
Marc, I'm not clear by what you mean with non JCI clerics ? Can you explain?
Sorry, shorthand from my comp. rel. background JCI = Jewish, Christian, Islamic. Basically, non-JCI clerics means priests / religious leaders / etc. from any other religion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
BTW, thanks for all your insightful comments. I appreciate that.
No worries - this is an area near and dear to my heart as it were .

Marc
__________________
Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Senior Research Fellow,
The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
Carleton University
http://marctyrrell.com/
marct is offline  
Old 02-29-2008   #57
MSG Proctor
Council Member
 
MSG Proctor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Ft. Bliss, TX
Posts: 99
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
MSG Proctor,

I have read youir pieces elsewhere and I will accept some of the ideas--the problem lies in execution and perception. Execution problems rest with preparation of the Chaplain's Corps to do what you propose. Perecption rests with the recieving audience. After nearly 2 decades as a Middle East and sub-Saharan FAO, I would say that your proposals, doctrinely rooted or not, offer greater risk than possible gain.

I would also say to the greater audience is that the debate inside the Chaplains arena over these concepts is far from over.

Tom

Tom:
I will not contest either point. I will say on the issue of risk, we have tried NOT engaging the clerics with our own mustashar ad deeny (religious consultant), and the results are what they are. There is no monolith body of Iraqi clerics - they are as diverse and unique as our own religious landscape. Some clerics will admit to the benefit of RLE, others will not, or perhaps will milk the opportunity for advantage.

Per the discussion within the Chaplain Corps, you are correct - the controversey is heated and often emotional. However, the current momentum is shifting in favor of at least attempting to execute our doctrinal mandate.

The capability (RLE) is historically effective early in phase IV operations, humanitarian assistance missions or Stability Ops/OOTWs - this is the first time it has been attempted in COIN.

Last edited by MSG Proctor; 02-29-2008 at 01:28 PM.
MSG Proctor is offline  
Old 02-29-2008   #58
MSG Proctor
Council Member
 
MSG Proctor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Ft. Bliss, TX
Posts: 99
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by marct View Post
Hi John,



Sorry, shorthand from my comp. rel. background JCI = Jewish, Christian, Islamic. Basically, non-JCI clerics means priests / religious leaders / etc. from any other religion.



No worries - this is an area near and dear to my heart as it were .

Marc
Oh yes - early on in OIF our primary contacts were with Christians and Shia clerics. Unfortunately this led to a perception that the Christians were 'collaborators' and exposed them to constant danger. This I regret deeply as I was personally on point for liaison to many Christian leaders in the Al Rashid district Baghdad. Today the Christian community in Baghdad is gradually returning to some semblance of normalcy (those few intrepid souls that remain) but any contact with CF is strictly clandestine.

It has taken a long, long time for me to acclimate to the various strains of Islam practiced in Iraq - I wish I knew in 2003 what I know now. What we did not calculate was the ascendance of the clerics in the vacuum created by the Baath Party melt down.

Still, thanks to Providence, we have a second window of opportunity to engage the clerics today - how narrow/wide that opportunity is, I do not know. It won't last forever. But its here now, and I pray the clerics feel that they have been heard, affirmed and included in the decision cycles of the new GOI.
MSG Proctor is offline  
Old 02-29-2008   #59
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default Have to disagree with MSG Proctor on several things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
...
2. In order to provide that advisement, religious support teams (RSTs which include enlisted personnel) must participate in the MDMP in support of operational planning and execution.
I believe the word 'may' should be substituted for 'must.' That's the Commander's call.
Quote:
3. In Stability Operations (and COIN specifically), the MDMP is usually modified to prosecute lines of operation which include non-lethal targeting. RSTs are required to serve as advisors on targeting boards and other work groups and cells dealing with religious subject matter.
That sort of contradicts this:

FM 1-05, Appendix A, says:

"UMTs are reminded that CMO support is a secondary responsibility and
that the personal delivery of religious support is always the UMTís imperative.


and:

A-2. Under Title X of the U.S. Code, Chaplains should not perform the following:
∑ Direct participation in negotiations or mediations as sole participant.
∑ Human intelligence (HUMINT) collection and/or target acquisition."


Admittedly, you say participate which is a lesser included offense than the FM's usage of 'sole' but I suggest your use of 'required' is a significant overreach. That again is the Commander's call.
Quote:
7. Commanders and civil affairs officers frequently engage religious leaders but are usually not prepared nor suited to a cleric-to-cleric dialogue. These engagements may achieve the opposite effect, ie, clerics get the idea that CF are godless secularists bent on curbing the influence of Islam. Islam allows for no delineation between civil and religious life. Islam is a civilization, not merely a religion as understood in occidental thinking.
I agree with all that but would point out that the Chaplain should absolutely not engage in such dialog with no command presence.
Quote:
11. A chaplain with TF 1-36 IN conducted 99 RLEs in Anbar; this included engaging members of the regionally influential Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq. This became a tipping point in the Anbar Awakening.
Good for him. The use of the Chaplain in such a role may be helpful, it's very much situation (and personality) dependent. Such use should not be ruled out but it must be very carefully done and will not always be an applicable use for many reasons. METT-TC always applies.
Quote:
Conclusion: There are no restrictions legally nor doctrinally that stand in the way of RSTs supporting their commander's COIN efforts...
That statement is at best arguable; the key is support in what way?
Quote:
... If clerics in Iraq feel that their religious concerns are being heard and incorporated into CF/ISF/governance decision cycles, there is much greater likelihood of success in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq.
Probably true and that can be achieved by using the Chaplain in the mode envisioned in DoD Instr 1304.19: "4.1. Are established to advise and assist commanders in the discharge of their responsibilities to provide for the free exercise of religion in the context of military service as guaranteed by the Constitution, to assist commanders in managing Religious Affairs (DoD Directive 5100.73 (reference (e)), and to serve as the principal advisors to commanders for all issues regarding the impact of religion on military operations." (Emphasis added / kw)

As well as heeding the guidance in JP 1-05; "(2) Advise Regarding Religion and Religious Support. The JFCH should develop and maintain proficiency regarding the religious issues in the operational area and be prepared to provide relevant information on those issues. Extreme care must be taken to ensure that the chaplainís status as a noncombatant is not compromised..(Emphasis added / kw)
Quote:
Per the discussion within the Chaplain Corps, you are correct - the controversey is heated and often emotional. However, the current momentum is shifting in favor of at least attempting to execute our doctrinal mandate.
I'm unsure that your "doctrinal mandate" encompasses the expanded role you seem to wish -- I have not been able to find it.
Quote:
The capability (RLE) is historically effective early in phase IV operations, humanitarian assistance missions or Stability Ops/OOTWs - this is the first time it has been attempted in COIN.
Depends on what you mean by attempted in COIN. It was done, though not on a theater wide or organized basis in Viet Nam. It was successful generally in a Catholic Chaplain to Catholic Priest in a predominately Catholic area, sometimes so with a Protestant Chaplain. Such efforts were less successful with the Cao Dai and much less successful with the Sangha or the more fanatical Bonzes. It was resoundingly rejected if there was the slightest hint of condescension or proselyting

Chaplains have a role to play -- but their use in an operational mode should be very carefully considered and should be aimed at tactical success, not role enhancement.
Ken White is offline  
Old 02-29-2008   #60
MSG Proctor
Council Member
 
MSG Proctor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Ft. Bliss, TX
Posts: 99
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
I believe the word 'may' should be substituted for 'must.' That's the Commander's call.That sort of contradicts this:

FM 1-05, Appendix A, says:

"UMTs are reminded that CMO support is a secondary responsibility and
that the personal delivery of religious support is always the UMT’s imperative.


and:

A-2. Under Title X of the U.S. Code, Chaplains should not perform the following:
∑ Direct participation in negotiations or mediations as sole participant.
∑ Human intelligence (HUMINT) collection and/or target acquisition."


Admittedly, you say participate which is a lesser included offense than the FM's usage of 'sole' but I suggest your use of 'required' is a significant overreach. That again is the Commander's call.I agree with all that but would point out that the Chaplain should absolutely not engage in such dialog with no command presence.Good for him. The use of the Chaplain in such a role may be helpful, it's very much situation (and personality) dependent. Such use should not be ruled out but it must be very carefully done and will not always be an applicable use for many reasons. METT-TC always applies.That statement is at best arguable; the key is support in what way?Probably true and that can be achieved by using the Chaplain in the mode envisioned in DoD Instr 1304.19: "4.1. Are established to advise and assist commanders in the discharge of their responsibilities to provide for the free exercise of religion in the context of military service as guaranteed by the Constitution, to assist commanders in managing Religious Affairs (DoD Directive 5100.73 (reference (e)), and to serve as the principal advisors to commanders for all issues regarding the impact of religion on military operations." (Emphasis added / kw)

As well as heeding the guidance in JP 1-05; "(2) Advise Regarding Religion and Religious Support. The JFCH should develop and maintain proficiency regarding the religious issues in the operational area and be prepared to provide relevant information on those issues. Extreme care must be taken to ensure that the chaplain’s status as a noncombatant is not compromised..(Emphasis added / kw)I'm unsure that your "doctrinal mandate" encompasses the expanded role you seem to wish -- I have not been able to find it.Depends on what you mean by attempted in COIN. It was done, though not on a theater wide or organized basis in Viet Nam. It was successful generally in a Catholic Chaplain to Catholic Priest in a predominately Catholic area, sometimes so with a Protestant Chaplain. Such efforts were less successful with the Cao Dai and much less successful with the Sangha or the more fanatical Bonzes. It was resoundingly rejected if there was the slightest hint of condescension or proselyting

Chaplains have a role to play -- but their use in an operational mode should be very carefully considered and should be aimed at tactical success, not role enhancement.
Sir:
US Code Title X is often referred to in attempting to define or limit chaplain activity in the Armed Forces. The FM you quoted ascribes properties to Title X that are not there - Title X simply states:

(a) Each chaplain shall, when practicable, hold appropriate religious services at least once on each Sunday for the command to which he is assigned, and shall perform appropriate religious burial services for members of the Army who die while in that command.
(b) Each commanding officer shall furnish facilities, including necessary transportation, to any chaplain assigned to his command, to assist the chaplain in performing his duties.

Not a word about negotiations, targeting or intelligence.

FWIW, my statements are adressing cababilities, not preroggatives; I assume our readers understand that final decision-making authority rests with commanders.

Advising the commander on indigenous religions in the operational area without actually meeting any religious leaders?

Engagement does equal negotiation. Please review my remarks; I am not advocating chaplains negotiate anything, although some of our senior leaders are highly capable of doing that as a member of a bi-lat team.

Please explain where I advocated role enhancement. The roles are already there. As a member of TF 1st Armored Division in Baghdad in 2003-2004, the chaplain teams were participants in over 500 RLEs - I was active in about 60 of those. I respect the arguments from theory, but I also contend from the position of experience that chaplain involvement in [this] counterinsurgency is practicable and even desirable when done circumspectly.

Last edited by MSG Proctor; 02-29-2008 at 06:58 PM.
MSG Proctor is offline  
Closed Thread

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 04:35 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation