Tuesday, April 24, 2007

MountainRunner Breaches Petraeus' Wall

MountainRunner picks apart Gen. Petraeus' security wall in Baghdad:
Can the tactical mistakes get any worse? Building a wall around Baghdad's communities, starting with Al a'zamiyah, or Adhamiya? The prime contractor may as well have been Arbeit Macht Der-Frei Gmbh as the idea of partitioning any part of the city devastates any chance for peace, or "victory" if you prefer. This is another brick in a different kind of wall, the wall of moral legitimacy and strategic appreciation of the requirements to succeed. Neither political nor military doctrine or logic can justify this folly. (...)
At best, this is an attempt to recreate the strategic hamlet program from Vietnam, and even British fortresses in the Sudan and Afghanistan a century and a half ago. But this isn't the countryside and these are not autonomous units to be caged. To say there are "serious problems" with the gated communities, as Anthony Cordesman puts it, is an understatement. Cordesman notes partitioning in Ulster and the Balkans brought security but at a significant cost. Sadly, Ambassador Crocker defended the plan as a means "to try and identify where the fault lines are and where avenues of attack lie and set up the barriers literally to prevent those attacks." A tactical tool at best, al-Hayat quoted several Iraqi officials who defended the strategy, claiming that building such walls will "give security forces a bigger chance of executing their military missions."
Go read the whole thing here.

EDIT: Noah Schachtman caught up on this great post too - here, at Wired's blogs.

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