Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Quick Advice On Counterinsurgency: Wisen Up, Read MountainRunner

The price for being occupied with other, mundane things is that one has no chance of keeping up with the virtual Joneses, in this case the incontournable MountainRunner who should be on the reading list of all advanced readers interested in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do go read this post "How Not To Win the Long War" and this post on "The Big Assumption: Numbers Do Not Equal Effect", from which I quote:
(...) When the President’s Coalition of the Willing was at its strongest, there were more than twice as many private security contractors operating in Iraq as the second largest member of the Coalition, leading some to suggest it was really a Coalition of the Billing.

So why don't we consider the additional tens of thousands contractors that could be brought back over to provide site, transport, and sector security? Because it makes for a messy world with of friction, oversight, integration, and accountability. We need to remember the latest incarnation of the Marine Corps' Countering Irregular Threats intentionally ignored the role of "guns with legs" because it was too complex.

(...) This blog has raised the negative impacts of Haditha (done by the military) reconstruction failures (done by contractors), all of which are completely ignored in practice. When CENTCOM looks at Thomas Friedman as their COIN expert, we're in trouble.

John Nagl, David Galula, Mao, Thucydides, and others should be required reading to appreciate the value of SWET. Instead of debating numbers, we should be discussing how the tactics have failed and prevent the Iraq government from fulfilling the mandate we've given it.

We can't win unless the population believes we will deliver a solution. Military forces and contractors, armed and not, must be under a strategic direction to start conducting real counter-insurgency operations and public diplomacy operations to rebuild trust with the populations. It may be too late, afterall we spent the last three plus years creating the environment that's over there now.


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