Small Wars Journal

In the News and Thanks

A quick look at several recent news articles that mention or quote members of

the Small Wars Journal and Council community of interest and a boatload of thanks

to fellow bloggers, reporters and columnists who have helped us along in our quest

to facilitate and support the exchange of information among practitioners, thought

leaders, and students of Small Wars, in order to advance knowledge and capabilities

in the field.

Small Wars Journal and Council members 'in the news':

Filipino Terrorist

Informants Awarded $10M from U.S. -- FOXNews by Oliver North.

What has been altered is the approach being taken here by both the Philippine

and U.S. governments. Decisions in Washington and Manila — to wage this fight

not simply as a military campaign against terrorists, but primarily as a battle

for the hearts and minds of the people — are paying big dividends. As one Philippine

officer put it: "Today we are making a difference in the lives of the people.

It has taken time, but now they know they can trust us. That's why they cooperate

with us against the terrorists."

When I asked Maj. Gen. Ruben Rafael, the commander of Joint Task Force Comet,

and the senior military officer in this remote part of the Philippine archipelago

— for the secret to this success, he replied, "Patience, persistence and perseverance.

Last Christmas none of my soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines took leave because

we needed to keep the pressure on the terrorists. It was hard on the troops,

but it proved to the people we were here to protect them and that we are here

to stay."

U.S. Army Col. David Maxwell, who commands Joint Special

Operations Task Force Philippines, fully supports that sentiment — for the Filipinos.

But of the Americans under his command, he says, "We're here on a temporary

basis to help them put us out of work." Then, the veteran Special Forces officer

quickly adds, "But none of us want to leave before the job is done."


and 'The Single Narrative' -- Syndicated Column by Austin Bay.

"Since counterinsurgency is a competition to mobilize popular support, it

pays to know how people are mobilized."

That candid declaration of common sense appeared last year in IOSPHERE, the

publication of the Joint Information Operations Center, in an article written

by Dr. David Kilcullen.

Kilcullen's article expanded on the sources of motivation. "In most societies,"

he wrote, "there are opinion makers: local leaders ... religious figures, media

personalities ... who set trends and influence public perceptions. This influence

-- including the pernicious influence of the insurgents -- often takes the form

of a 'single narrative.' This is a simple, unifying, easily expressed story

or explanation that organizes people's experience and provides a framework for

understanding events.

"Iraqi insurgents have one, as do al-Qaida and the Taliban. To undercut their

influence, you must exploit an alternative narrative: or better yet, tap into

an existing narrative that excludes the insurgents."


the Surge -- Commentary Magazine's Contentions by Max Boot.

What comes after the troop surge? Even though it isn't complete yet, it makes

sense to think about this issue now. The best proposal I've seen so far comes

from Bing West and Owen West—a father-and-son

pair of Marines and national security analysts with vast experience in Iraq.

They propose maintaining

about 80,000 troops for a decade or so, with 20,000 of them working as advisers

to the Iraqi security forces, 25,000 in a combat role, and another 35,000 providing

logistics. The only problem is how to get from here to there—how to send home

half of the American troops without causing a complete collapse of the Iraqi

government and its security forces. That's where the surge comes in: the plan

to downsize only works if the current surge manages to restore a semblance of

order in Baghdad and its environs.

It's Patriotic to Criticize -- Syndicated Column by Fred Kaplan.

Yet in the scheme of things, Gen. Mixon was merely filing a complaint. Two

weeks earlier, a lower-ranking officer, Lt. Col. Paul Yingling

-- deputy commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment -- issued a jeremiad.

In a blistering article in the May issue of Armed Forces Journal,

Col. Yingling likened the debacle in Iraq to the disaster in Vietnam and blamed

them both on "a crisis in an entire institution, America's general officer corps."

Tomorrow's generals are chosen by today's generals, and Col. Yingling charges

most of this generation's generals with lacking "professional character," "moral

courage," and "creative intelligence."

Col. Yingling's essay is the most stunning -- and maybe the most fiercely

intelligent and patriotic -- public statement I have ever read from an active-duty


At 41, a veteran of both Iraq wars and a graduate of the School for Advanced

Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, the Army's elite postgraduate strategy

center, Col. Yingling is widely thought to be one of the brightest, most dedicated

up-and-coming officers.

Col. Yingling's argument is tightly reasoned. Policymakers go to war to accomplish

political objectives. Generals must provide the policymakers with an estimate

of the war's likely success.

Multiple Enemies Complicate Iraq -- Stars and Stripes by Drew Brown.

Frank Hoffman, an analyst with the Center for Emerging Threats

and Opportunities, an internal Marine Corps think tank in Quantico, Va., said

there are least 20 major armed groups in Iraq.

In an essay to be published this summer in the Army War College's "Parameters,"

Hoffman argues that the dizzying array of actors, fueled by competing strains

of religious inspiration, linked by the Internet and operating mostly in large

urban areas, make Iraq difficult to comprehend.

"I think this is a unique conflict that we are having trouble with conceptualizing,"

said Hoffman, who is also a retired Marine officer and senior fellow at Philadelphia's

Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Sunni insurgents, however, including former Saddam loyalists and al-Qaida

in Iraq, an extremist group that emerged after the 2003 invasion, "are the biggies"

as far as threats to U.S. forces.

Former regime supporters want to regain power, U.S. officials believe. But

al-Qaida in Iraq's goal is "to foment a crisis between Shia and Sunni, not take

over, and they want as much chaos, disruption as possible," Hoffman said.

Terror Gangs -- Investor's Business Daily editorial.

At a recent UCLA forum on terrorism, Los Angeles officials said the city's

estimated 40,000 gang members are an attractive target for terrorists like al-Qaida.

"There are many, many more people who consider themselves jihadists now," said

L.A. Police Deputy Chief Mark Leap. "And criminal enterprises are being used

to support terrorist activities."

L.A. County Sheriff's Lt. John Sullivan said officials are

worried al-Qaida could tap into smuggling networks that move migrants and contraband

across Mexico's porous border and into the U.S.

Chief among them is the notorious MS-13 gang, which has infiltrated L.A.

and other U.S. cities from Central America.

"MS-13 has a lot of characteristics that could facilitate terrorist activities,"

Sullivan said, noting that al-Qaida has stated its intent to smuggle black-market

nuclear devices into the U.S. and kill at least 4 million Americans.

Checking In On The 'Surge' -- The National Journal's The Gate by Irene


The Christian Science Monitor


this morning that one of those commanders, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, acknowledged

the struggles beefed-up U.S. forces are encountering as they pursue a more aggressive

strategy, causing a natural spike in casualties. May was the year's

deadliest month for U.S. forces in Iraq, and third-worst month for U.S.

casualties since the start of the war.

"Right now if you asked me, I would tell you I'd probably need a little bit

more time to do a true assessment," Odierno

said yesterday in reference to the September deadline. In the Christian

Science Monitor report, counterinsurgency expert Col. T.X. Hammes

concurred, saying: "People shouldn't be looking for an answer by September."

U.S. Military

Changes Needed -- The News Tribune by Michael Gilbert.

In recent years there haven't been any upsets when military forces clash

on conventional terms; the big power wins. Think Operation Desert Storm and

the Falklands.

But time after time -- in Vietnam, in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,

in Somalia, in Lebanon -- seemingly outgunned guerrillas fighting unconventionally

have prevailed against superpowers.

And they think they're winning again in Iraq and Afghanistan, author and

military strategist T.X. Hammes said Wednesday in Tacoma.

The United States' military and national security strategy relies too much

on high technology and concepts like "network-centric warfare." That makes us

vulnerable to insurgencies that fight on low-tech terms and might have a greater

long-term political will to win, said the author of "The

Sling and The Stone: On War in the 21st Century."

Hammes and a series of other national military and intelligence strategists

spoke Wednesday at the Pacific Northwest National Security Forum at the Sheraton

Tacoma Hotel.


Media, Technology Change Battlefield -- Marine Corps Times by Kimberly


About 150 people from the services, U.S. Joint Forces Command and U.S. Strategic

Command, along with military and civilian organizations representing 21 countries,

met in Potomac, Md., May 19-24 for Joint Urban Warrior 07. The war-game seminar

was co-sponsored by the Marine Corps and Joint Forces Command.

The brainstorming sessions focused on how best to create a unified message

from the battlefield that works in tandem with ongoing information and public

relations campaigns.

"The concern they had was there were a lot of nontraditional actors — people

or information — that they couldn't quite control but were affecting how they

conducted operations," said Dave Dilegge, Joint Urban Warrior

project officer at Quantico, Va. "That's the purpose of this, to really get

a handle on this."

While based on fictitious scenarios, the war game is rooted in reality, participants


"Modern technology, where you have satellite channels covering every conceivable

subject — you have the media on the scene at major battles, you have the media

in all military activities in a way that they never have been before," said

David Passage, former ambassador to Botswana. "Strategic compression, more or

less, obliges those from the military or from the diplomatic world to be more

agile, to be more nimble, to be more responsive in the more compressed time

frame than they've ever been before."

The days are gone when military and diplomatic leaders could take time to

mull over how best to respond to tactical events on the ground, Passage said.


A special thanks to old and new friends -- bloggers all -- who have helped us along

in our quest to facilitate and support the exchange of information among practitioners,

thought leaders, and students of Small Wars, in order to advance knowledge and capabilities

in the field.

And yes...  We are getting around to updating our blog roll --


In alphabetical order:

Abu Muqawama at Abu Muqawama

The Gang at Argghhh!

Carl at Because We're Here

Boy, No One Else; Just Us

Wretchard at The Belmont Club

The Gang at BlackFive

Herschel Smith at The Captain's Journal

Charles Sheehan-Miles at Charles Sheehan-Miles

Max Boot at Contentions

John and Allen at Cox and Forkum

Noah Shachtman at Wired's Danger


The Gang at A Fistful of Euros

Jules Crittenden at Forward Movement

Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail

Sonny at FX-Based

The Gang at The Glittering Eye

John Robb at Global


Michael Tanji at

Haft of the Spear

Vimothy at House of War

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit

Phillip Carter at Intel Dump

Kent's Imperative at Kent's Imperative

Michelle Malkin at Michelle Malkin

The Gang at MilBlogs / Mudville


MountainRunner at MountainRunner

David Danelo at On Point

The Gang at OPFOR

Phil and Luke at Pacific Empire

Duke at Pennypack Post

Merv Benson at PrairiePundit

The Gang at Red State

ShrinkWrapped at ShrinkWrapped

Michael Tanji, at The Washington Examiner's

The Spot Report

Dan at tdaxp

Tom and Sean at Thomas P. M.


The Gang at Threats Watch (Special Thanks

to Marvin!)

WestHawk at WestHawk

Michael Goldfarb at


Mark at ZenPundit


And last, but not least, several thanks to a few 'mainstream' friends...

Tom Ricks at

The Washington Post

Stan Correy at


Broadcasting Corporation

The North County Times