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':
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
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
"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
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."
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
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
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
"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
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
Dan at tdaxp
Tom and Sean at Thomas P. M.
The Gang at Threats Watch (Special Thanks
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
The North County Times