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May 16, 2006

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deteodoru

In truth, Iraq is as painful to note as was the break-up of Yugoslavia. There is a certain reversion to tribalism that anthropologists should study, for it evades modernity. Yet, it is not a one way process.

A million Iraqis and Iranians died fighting eachother for their "evil" regimes. Killing is not there what it is in the New Jersey lawned suburbs. And crime is heavily into the mix. But SCIRI is paying the price for being Iran-born and bred, hence loyal. We should not undermine the capacity of Iraqis to re-discipline their country to a level of security where they all can have hope. And another Saddam need not be the answer. Fact is that so long as we are there the Shi'ia-Sunni divide exists because we feed it by being used as force by all sides. Our failure in reconstruction leaves INVASION as our only success-- even in occupation we failed. Perhaps now we should sequester our forces in preparation for withdrawl. That we might manage successfully. Only then can we offer reconstruction aid so long as negotiated and agreed to standards of aid are met.

By the time we turned South Vietnam over to the South Vietnamese we had devastated it, making it a "cakewalk" for Northern forces. If we don't want to do that with Iraq, so that it becomes a regional Sunni-vs-Shi'ia battleground, we better prove to them that we are not the female in an Islamic marriage and can go home.

deteodoru

In truth, Iraq is as painful to note as was the break-up of Yugoslavia. There is a certain reversion to tribalism that anthropologists should study, for it evades modernity. Yet, it is not a one way process.

A million Iraqis and Iranians died fighting eachother for their "evil" regimes. Killing is not there what it is in the New Jersey lawned suburbs. And crime is heavily into the mix. But SCIRI is paying the price for being Iran-born and bred, hence loyal. We should not undermine the capacity of Iraqis to re-discipline their country to a level of security where they all can have hope. And another Saddam need not be the answer. Fact is that so long as we are there the Shi'ia-Sunni divide exists because we feed it by being used as force by all sides. Our failure in reconstruction leaves INVASION as our only success-- even in occupation we failed. Perhaps now we should sequester our forces in preparation for withdrawl. That we might manage successfully. Only then can we offer reconstruction aid so long as negotiated and agreed to standards of aid are met.

By the time we turned South Vietnam over to the South Vietnamese we had devastated it, making it a "cakewalk" for Northern forces. If we don't want to do that with Iraq, so that it becomes a regional Sunni-vs-Shi'ia battleground, we better prove to them that we are not the female in an Islamic marriage and can go home.

deteodoru

From the day of his inauguration, I strongly
supported
President Bush's leapfrog of West Europe to rebuild
NATO around East Europe and then link it to the
preexisting Western NATO. I also strongly supported
his surround China strategy as you bring it into the
world market. My first questioning of Bush
Administration policies came after 9/11 when, to my
despair, it decided to kill the alQaeda snake by
stomping on its middle, allowing the head to bite us
again. It was not able to bite us again because its
leaders would not allow its operatives to do anything
less than had its 9/11 shahids-- something they were
not able to do. So alQaeda did strike instead our
European allies several times.

Late in 2001 I thought that with numerous powers out
to outmaneuver America-- particularly China-- we
should have kept in mind what constitutes deterrence,
a concept that kept us safe through the first half of
the nuclear age. What that is can be appreciated by
looking at Medieval Japan. Then, the samurai kept
others in line, not with the sword, but through the
aura of their standing. This was derived from a
triplet of dignity, authority and power. Should a
samurai have cause to draw his sword on a commoner, he
would have to commit Hari-kari because he had
disgraced himself by losing his dignity and authority,
having to resort to his power.

At the end of the Cold War America was exhausted. This
exhaustion began with the end of the Vietnam War.
America no longer wanted to invest in its power. But
it also no longer wanted to invest in its intelligence
services. Seeing the CIA as an operational agency
rather than an eye on the rest of the world, many
sought to disband it after the demise of the USSR. It
was not realized that, despite the CIA myth
popularized by mass media culture, America's dignity
and authority were augmented by its ability to know
and understand what's going in all over the world,
despite bungled CIA operations (ops) in a number of
places. Our Vietnam failure was blamed on poor CIA
intelligence (Intel) rather than Presidential
strategy. Assuming the CIA ops to be the beginning of
American entanglements in wars abroad, many urged
disbanding the Agency.

While America saw little to be gained from Intel,
alQaeda did not. When its operatives saw that, despite
our resolution to make the pilot's cabin impenetrable
because of many skyjackings in the 1970s, we didn't
they planned and executed 9/11. When the Jihadists
forced us out of our isolationism, we focused on our
military, sending troops on special ops Intel blind

To my dismay, I saw President Bush responding to 9/11
"from the gut," instead of recognizing that it could
only happen because of our irresponsible unwillingness
to accept the cost of protecting our airliners.
Instead of then focusing on our Intel services to
better understand the enemy, he responded with hubris
and bravado, making a childish Cowboys-and-Indians
game out of getting binLaden "dead or alive." We thus
sent in our forces Intel blind. Thus exhibiting our
power, we sacrifices our dignity and authority, losing
our allies and needlessly bogging ourselves down in
the one secular Middle Eastern nation that in no way
participated in the Jihad, Iraq. Seeking to become
known as the "war president" with an eye to
re-election, Mr. Bush exposed the upper limit of our
military capacity for all others to see. This samurai
not only depleted his dignity and authority in his
show of force but also exposed the upper limits of
that force. I consider it nothing short of criminal
negligence to allow our weakness, both in Intel and
ops, to be so exposed sending in our troops Intel
blind.

I had hoped that the Bush doctrine would have
established that there is no such thing as a stateless
Jihadist war of terror. The Jihadists would not have
been able to carry out their operations without the
active or passive support of a number of states. It
was incumbent on Mr. Bush to recognize that 9/11 was
our own fault, but then to declare that, should the US
again come under assault, our forces would totally
retaliate against those states that made it possible.
Now binLaden is still at large sending threatening
audiotapes and now we fear an alQaeda nuclear strike.

Thus began my opposition to Mr. Bush's re-election;
and, it intensified when he failed to exhibit the
Kennedyesque vision and courage to declare that
America would marshal all its technical expertise to
make itself independent on Middle East oil within a
decade.

Now, Mr. Bush sits helpless watching Iran develop
nuclear armaments. Because of our obvious exhaustion
in Iraq he cannot mount a credible threat that would
stop Iran. It has seen the upper limit of our "new"
military. Consequently, we are now where we started.
All President Bush can do is accept Iran's
nuclearization and warn that, should America undergo
nuclear attack, we know where it would come from and
we will respond with all our thermonuclear capacity.
Mr. Bush has bungled his way full circle. I can only
hope that this time he gets it right as we pull out of
Iraq and return to reliance on our deterrent capacity.

The lesson may be that, in showing the courage to
accept Iran's nuclearization as defensive, he regains
the dignity and authority America lost to date. The
implicit power with which he gets the Iranians to go
after alQaeda would quickly be self-evident. In the
meantime, the American people must realize that good
intelligence is a game of patience, not action. Every
Predator missile at best destroys the pathology we
seek to understand, making impossible for us to know
the next threat on the horizon.

The Bush Administration should also return its focus
on Eastern Europe, as Secretary of State Rice would
have it do. It belies America's weakened position to
allow Putin and the Russian remnant of the USSR to
tweak America's nose intimidating our East European
NATO allies and its South Asian neighbors.

Daniel E. Teodoru

Michael

Curious about your take on this story:

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/showthread.php?p=219417#post219417

If de-centralization and fragmentation are the future situations we face, is mirroring that approach a viable (if not ideal) course of action? Let’s set aside the fact that getting echelons-above to approve such an approach would be Sisyphus-ian in nature; could we give small unit commanders broad guidance, network them, give them autonomy, and turn them loose (“see you when the war is over Colonel.”) and expect broad and rapid success in such environments? Have we reached the point where the “big Army” approach to fighting has become the “special” case and the unit-du-jour is the Ranger Regiment or SF Bn? Implications for training, size, configuration of the future force, etc., etc. . . .

Andy

Michael

If it's not the case now, it soon will be. There was an excellent article yesterday on a USMC platoon in Afghanistan doing "distributed ops" in the mountians.

The platoon was broken down into as many as 9 different sub-units, depending on the mission, terrain, etc...

I've joked with colleagues in the past that Special Forces are going to need a new name...

Michael

The link above is a post of the USMC Times story (I am not a subscriber) you mention. Fascinating stuff.

The last time I can think of a "big Army" approach to anything being successful was when we tried to tell Saddam that his vacation in Kuwait was over (an armored column on the move is awfully impressive). Since then everything seems to be tailor-made for one of the Regiments or Groups. If this is the wave of the future, you'd think we'd be hearing about moves to create more Regiments or Groups. A great hue and cry over training and standards would ensue, but smarter training regimens would get you a bigger force with more potential for success in not much more time. Not that I track such issues religiously, but I’m not even hearing a whisper on the wind.

Of course, what General is going to sign up to a strategy that has him running a “fire and forget” force?

“Very” Special Forces? No, wait, that has a different connotation: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29257

b

The Times story essentially describes Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (Fernspäher).

Small teams behind the enemy line (if there is a line) who do reconnaissance, forward air control like trageting and sometimes combat.

The US doesn´t seem to have these anymore?

Andy

Michael

I think a lot of the problem lies within the continuing technological craze in the services. More specifically, the growth of command and control systems.

All the digital C2 equipment tends to focus the leaders inwards towards the radio or digital screen. You keep having to synchronize forces, or giving SITREPs up to higher command structures.

At the higher command structures, you need to be as decentralized as possible or the whole thing bogs down into crap. Remember the LBJ quote where he said a bombing raid couldn't be conducted in Vietnam without his approval...there's the answer right there.

It's all about establishing trust. And once these units prove themselves, the next step is to start hacking away at the massive staffs the American military employs. The US Army has the highest officer to enlisted ratio in the history of warfare.

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