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by Robert Haddick | Wed, 06/23/2010 - 3:49pm | 13 comments
President Obama's dismissal of Gen. Stanley McChrystal was not a surprise. The transfer of Gen. David Petraeus to Afghanistan is a surprise. Petraeus already has a critical full-time job as commander of Central Command; Obama did not mention whether there is to be a new Centcom chief.

Obama's choice of Petraeus is thus surprising but understandable. Petraeus has not had a command in Afghanistan but is known to Hamid Karzai and other Afghan leaders. Back in Washington, Petraeus should get a quick confirmation by the Senate and likely without a major Senate review of Afghan policy, something the White House staff is eager to avoid.

Assuming that Petraeus retains his very full-time job at Centcom, the de facto replacement for McChrystal is actually Lt Gen David Rodriguez, the corps commander in Afghanistan. As long as Petraeus remains at Centcom, he will have to tend to the many relationships the Centcom boss has with foreign leaders, which extend from Egypt to Pakistan. Since foreign leaders want to deal with the top man, he cannot delegate this critical diplomacy to a deputy. In addition, he is responsible for supervision of the Iraq endgame, deterrence and contingency planning for Iran, and supervising the region's air and naval strategies. All more than a full-time job.

So what can we expect Petraeus to do about Afghanistan? He will have to sort through McChrystal's staff, no doubt replacing several of its members. He will have to re-establish troubled relationships with the White House staff, the embassy, the State Department, USAID, and other agencies. And he will have to reassure Karzai and other Afghan leaders and other members of the coalition. After an initial burst of attention, we should expect Petraeus to hand much of this work over to Rodriguez, assuming of course that Petraeus retains his Centcom position.

Obama chose Petraeus because of Petraeus's great prestige and his polished temperament. Unfortunately for Petraeus, the Afghan mission is just as intractable today as it was yesterday. The Taliban, the biggest winners from this episode, will hardly care about today's change and have no reason to change their successful tactics. General Petraeus will soon face his toughest challenge.

by SWJ Editors | Wed, 06/23/2010 - 8:34am | 0 comments
Update:

The Associated Press is reporting that President Obama has decided to relieve General McChrystal. He is to be replaced by General David Petraeus, currently the Commander of U.S. Central Command.

WTOP Radio announced that President Obama will make a statement regarding General McChrystal at 1330 (EST) today. WTOP Radio will be broadcasting the statement live and the statement can be listened to via the Internet at the link.

The Associated Press reports Afghanistan war commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal privately discussed his blistering interview with President Barack Obama Wednesday, but his fate remained unknown as a formal White House war session got under way as planned.

McChrystal was seen leaving the West Wing and climbing into a van after his nearly half-hour showdown with the president. McChrystal had met earlier in the morning at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen...

The general was not seen returning to the White House for the Afghanistan strategy session, as he has been expected...

Update:

Military Blogs Ask: Should He Stay or Go? - New York Times

Should McChrystal be Fired? Pundits Weigh In - CBS News

The Replacements: 5 McChrystal Successors - The Daily Beast

Commanders-in-Waiting Line Up to Await McChrystal's Fate - FOX News

Via AP:

President Barack Obama meets Wednesday with his top commander in Afghanistan, whose job is on the line after he made disparaging remarks about administration officials in a published interview.

The head-to-head meeting between Obama and Gen. Stanley McChrystal is expected to take place before the president's regular monthly war meeting with his entire national security team.

Via the White House Office of the Press Secretary:

In the morning, the President will meet with his national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Situation Room. This meeting is closed press. Expected attendees include:

Vice President Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense

Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff

General James Jones, National Security Advisor

Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor

John Brennan, Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor

Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

David Gompert, Acting Director of National Intelligence

Leon Panetta, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID

James Steinberg, Deputy Secretary of State

Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

General James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Doug Lute, Coordinator for Afghanistan and Pakistan

John Tien, Senior Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan

General David Petraeus, U.S. Central Command

General Stanley McChrystal, Commander, International Security Assistance Force and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan (via videoconference)

Ambassador Anne Patterson, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan (via videoconference)

by SWJ Editors | Wed, 06/23/2010 - 7:04am | 89 comments
The "Story"

The Runaway General - Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone

How 'Rolling Stone' Got Into McChrystal's Inner Circle - Newsweek

What Happened in Paris... - Foreign Policy

Update 4:

McChrystal's Fate in Limbo as Obama Cites Poor Judgment - New York Times

President Obama's top commander in Afghanistan flew to Washington on Tuesday to find out whether he would be fired for remarks he and members of his staff made that were contemptuous of senior administration officials, laying bare the disarray and enmity in a foreign-policy team that is struggling with the war. In an article in Rolling Stone magazine, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and his aides spoke critically of nearly every member of the president's national security team, saying President Obama appeared "uncomfortable and intimidated" during his first White House meeting with the general, and dismissing Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as "Bite Me." The firestorm was fueled by increasing doubts - even in the military - that Afghanistan can be won and by crumbling public support for the nine-year war as American casualties rise. The criticism of General McChrystal's statements was swift, and the general had apologized and prepared a letter of resignation, though President Obama had not made up his mind whether to accept it when they meet on Wednesday morning.

-- New York Times

General Stanley McChrystal Tenders his Resignation - Daily Telegraph

A senior Capitol Hill source tells me that General Stanley McChrystal had tendered his resignation to President Barack Obama and that the White House is actively discussing a replacement who could be quickly confirmed by the Senate. The source said that among the names being touted as possible successors are General James Mattis, the outgoing head of the U.S. Joint Forces Command and due to retire after being passed over as U.S. Marine Corps commander, and Lieutenant General William Caldwell, commander of Nato's Training Mission in Afghanistan.

-- Daily Telegraph

"General McChrystal has a right to his personal political views. They are his, and his alone. When they disagree with the orders and policy he is instructed to carry out, his choices are clear. Instead, he chose to let those personal views, and disdain for those elected and appointed officials who disagreed with him, shape the tenor of his discourse with his seniors, and most inexcusably, his juniors. He has failed at the very basics of leadership that Captain Miller explains so frankly to his young soldier."

"So, the Commander in Chief has little choice but to accept General McChrystal's resignation, should that late story be confirmed. If the President were not to do so, he risks the skewing of the civilian-military relationship that is a cornerstone of our personal and collective liberties, much as Truman would have done in failing to discipline General MacArthur in Korea six decades ago. The situation with General McChrystal leaves President Obama with another, very dicey problem. Who will be putting hands in the air to command in a theater where the strategy and policy have been so publicly discredited by a senior General Officer? And whomever is chosen, what will be the effect of a new commander dropping onto the scene just before a key offensive that may determine the long-term success of the US effort in Afghanistan?"

-- USNI Blog

McChrystal Denies Offering to Resign - MSNBC

President to Decide McChrystal's Future After Critical Comments - VOA

Obama Holds off Making Decision on McChrystal - Washington Post

Obama Calls McChrystal on Carpet over Interview - Washington Times

Gen. McChrystal's Job Hangs in the Balance - Los Angeles Times

Obama to Confront General McChrystal - Reuters

General Faces Unease Among His Own Troops, Too - New York Times

Afghan Leaders Voice Strong Support for McChrystal - Associated Press

Can Obama Afford a Dismissal? - Washington Post

Fire McChrystal? A New Test for Obama - USA Today

McChrystal Woven into Obama's Afghanistan Strategy - Los Angeles Times

In Afghanistan a New Breed of Commander Stepped In - New York Times

A Hard-driving, Unyielding Commander - Los Angeles Times

Spec Ops Officers Shocked by McChrystal Comments - Army Times

McChrystal Comments Mirror 'Attitudes About Best Approach' - VOA

The President and His General - New York Times

Gen. McChrystal's Fate - Washington Post

Judging McChrystal's War - New York Times

The Other Truman Doctrine - New York Times

An Increasingly Politicized Military - Los Angeles Times

What Would Lincoln Do? - New York Times

Should the 'Runaway General' Be Fired? - New York Times multiple opinion piece with Kori Schake, Hoover Institution; Julian E. Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs; James Morin, Truman National Security Project; Robert Haddick, Small Wars Journal; and Nathaniel Fick, Center for a New American Security.

Military Blogs Ask: Should He Stay or Go? - New York Times

Gates Has a Long, Loooong Record of Firing Generals - Danger Room

General Stanley McChrystal - USNI Blog

The Seduction of Powerful Men - USNI Blog

The Replacements: 5 McChrystal Successors - The Daily Beast

Should McChrystal be Fired? Pundits Weigh In - CBS News

Kerry on McChrystal Flap: Stop the 'Feeding Frenzy' - State Politics

MacArthur Territory - Bernard Finel

Michael Yon's Criticism of McChrystal Deemed Prophetic - Michael Yon

McChrystal will Get a Red Card - Robert Haddick, Small Wars Journal

The Rolling Stone Article: Why Should I Care? - Schmedlap

Rolling Stone - Andrew Exum, Abu Muqaqwama

General McChrystal on the Rocks - Bill Roggio, Long War Journal

Too Rolling Stoned - Mudville Gazette

Stan the Man - Blackfive

McChrystal Aides Shocked, 'Heartbroken' After Mag Profile - Danger Room

The No-No Line - Blackfive

Journalist Surprised By Reaction To His Profile Of Gen. Stanley McChrystal - NPR

Stanley, Homework! - Kings of War

How Not to Handle the Press... - Wings Over Iraq

"Insular backgrounds, whether in special operations or conventional forces, encourage tone-deafness. Applause lines in the testosterone driven subculture of combat units are not likely to play well on CNN. Senior commanders have to move easily between these two worlds, delivering a consistent message to very different audiences."

"When I encourage young officers to go to grad school, I tell them to stay away from military people. Have lunch with the lesbian anarchists, attend the environmentalists' weekly emergency teach-ins, and try to see the world through different eyes. That skill will come in handy later on in life."

"It's a bit premature to pass judgment on General McCrystal's situation. However, it's important to distinguish between our long-term interests and goals and those currently entrusted to carry out those goals. While we have long term interests in stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, everybody in uniform is replaceable."

-- Paul Yingling via e-mail

"Having escalated the import of injudicious offhand remarks, Obama may feel obliged to relieve the general. His replacement then would be either the respected Corps Commander in Afghanistan, LtGen David Rodriquez, or the Joint Forces Commander, General James Mattis, who is a legend among the troops. LtGen John Allen, deputy to General Petraeus, also has a fine track record. While these are qualified replacements and it does look grim for McChrystal, he should not be relieved. Our enemies would gloat about such headlines, while Afghan President Karzai, who has leapt to McChrystal's defense, would feel rebuffed. After all, Obama has chosen to ignore Karzai's erratic remarks. Although I believe the current counterinsurgency strategy is too ambitious for our budget and too restrictive for our troops in the long term, McChrystal is confident he can stop the momentum of Afghan insurgents in the short term. That is the first order of business in this war. Our field commander should be judged on what happens in the field. We only have one commander at a time; Obama chose McChrystal, so let him do his best."

-- Bing West via e-mail

Update 3:

"I read with concern the profile piece on Gen. Stanley McChrystal in the upcoming edition of 'Rolling Stone' magazine. I believe that Gen. McChrystal made a significant mistake and exercised poor judgment in this case. We are fighting a war against al Qaeda and its extremist allies, who directly threaten the United States, Afghanistan, and our friends and allies around the world. Going forward, we must pursue this mission with a unity of purpose. Our troops and coalition partners are making extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our security, and our singular focus must be on supporting them and succeeding in Afghanistan without such distractions. Gen. McChrystal has apologized to me and is similarly reaching out to others named in this article to apologize to them as well. I have recalled Gen. McChrystal to Washington to discuss this in person."

-- SECDEF Robert Gates

Even some of McChrystal's staunchest backers in Afghanistan said the derisive comments the general and his staff made about the Obama administration to a Rolling Stone reporter leave him open to dismissal.

"I say this as someone who admired and respects Stan McChrystal enormously. The country doesn't know how much good he's done. But this is a firing offense," said Eliot A. Cohen, who served as a counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the latter days of the Bush administration.

This is clearly a firing offense," said Peter Feaver, a former official in the Bush White House and strong backer of a fully resourced counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan.

But relieving McChrystal of his command on the eve of a major offensive in Kandahar, which White House and Pentagon officials have said is the most critical of the war, would be a major blow to the war effort, said military experts.

"My advice is to call him back to Washington, publicly chastise him and then make it clear that there is something greater at stake here," said Nathaniel Fick, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now chief executive of the Center for a New American Security.

-- Washington Post

"We'll have to wait for Wednesday to see if McChrystal keeps his command. My guess is he'll stay, because now the White House knows that a chastened McChrystal isn't going to say anything else outside of his lane to any reporter. McChrystal's apology, emailed to me and other reporters well before the Rolling Stone story dropped, suggests that he wasn't trying to walk away from his command in a blaze of arrogance. But it's on him to repair his relationship with his colleagues and his bosses."

"You know, all that said — Yesterday, Gates passed over Gen. James Mattis for Marine Corps commandant. If Obama wants to cashier McChrystal but not overhaul the entire strategy, Mattis is an option. Whether he'd do it is another thing, since he's the outgoing commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, so taking over ISAF will technically be a step down. But Mattis will otherwise retire from the Marines, so maybe he wouldn't see it that way."

-- Spencer Ackerman

"Obviously the war's not going well, nor is it apparently where General McChrystal himself thought it would be at this stage of things," says Andrew Bacevich, a professor of international relations at Boston University and a retired Army colonel. "But what stands out is the egregious lapse in professional conduct -- not only on the part of McChrystal, but on the part of his subordinates."

"What this reveals," he adds, "is a command climate where expressions of contempt for senior civilian officials are permissible."

'While "frustrations" in such a difficult and deteriorating environment may be "understandable," Mr. Bacevich says, the comments nevertheless represent "unprofessional behavior that is completely intolerable."

"If that is so, is it time to sack McChrystal? The Afghanistan commander, who has apologized for his comments and his own "poor judgment," has been summoned to the White House to explain himself to President Obama Wednesday."

"Yet while some Afghanistan analysts quickly concluded that Mr. Obama must fire McChrystal over his "insubordination," just as President Truman did to Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1951 over Korean war policy, Bacevich says now is not the time."

-- Christian Science Monitor

Update 2:

McChrystal Scandal May Complicate U.S.-Afghan Strategy - Washington Post

Defense Secretary's Statement on McChrystal - Wall Street Journal

U.S. General in Afghan War at Tisk of Losing Job - Associated Press

Gates: General McChrystal Made Big Mistake - Reuters

McChrystal's PR Man Resigns - MSNBC

NATO Confident in McChrystal Despite U.S. Article - Reuters

Factbox: Reaction to Gen. McChrystal Controversy - Reuters

-----

U.S. General McChrystal Recalled Amid Rolling Stone Gaffe - BBC News.

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has been summoned to Washington, US media report, in the wake of a magazine article that mocked senior Obama administration officials and diplomats. Gen Stanley McChrystal has apologised for the article in Rolling Stone. In the article, Gen McChrystal said he felt betrayed by U.S. ambassador to Kabul Karl Eikenberry. The general's aides mock Vice-President Joe Biden and say Gen McChrystal was "disappointed" in President Obama...

More at BBC News.

Also See (Update 1):

Gen. Stanley McChrystal Summoned to Washington - Washington Post

Top Afghan Commander Summoned to Washington - Associated Press

NATO Setbacks as U.S. Summons Commander - Agence France-Presse

McChrystal on Defensive for Remarks - Wall Street Journal

ISAF: Magazine Profile Captures Unguarded Moments - Los Angeles Times

Aides to U.S. General In Afghanistan Slam Obama - Reuters

McChrystal Apologizes for Insulting Obama Team - Washington Independent

Latest McChrystal Developments - CNN News

Rolling Stone Story a Sign of Frustration? - Christian Science Monitor

Gen. McChrystal Recalled to Washington - Foreign Policy

McChrystal Issues Mea Culpa - Foreign Policy

Don't Blame McChrystal, Blame Obama - Washington Post

The McChrystal I Know - Time

General McChrystal Clearly in Four-Star Trouble - CBS News

A Couple of Points about McChrystal - National Review

Should He Go? - National Review

Military Dissent Should Be Private - National Review

McChrystal's Media Woes - Contentions

Re: McChrystal's Media Woes - Contentions

Top Afghanistan General Questions Civilian Leaders - Politico

Firing McChrystal: Weighing the Risks - Abu Muqawama

McChrystal and the Afghan Drawdown - World Politics Review

What the Heck Was McChrystal Thinking? - The Atlantic

Rolling Stone McChrystal Article Understates Backbiting - Washington Post

McChrystal Finds Few Defenders Among Senators - Washington Post

Gen. McCrystal Must Go - Washington Post

Runaway General - ABC News

Fire Gen. Stanley McChrystal? Not Yet - New York Daily News

Obama and McChrystal Haven't Spoken - The Atlantic

'Everybody in Uniform is Replaceable' - Danger Room

Why Obama Won't Fire McChrystal - FOX News

Good-Bye McChrystal, Hello Mattis? - Foreign Policy

Advanced Petard Hoistmanship - Forward Movement

Is McChrystal Going to Fallon his Sword? - Zenpundit

What's Important About This? - Captain's Journal

Four Reasons Why Obama HAS to Fire Stan McChrystal - Democracy Arsenal

Afghan Follies: Obama versus McChrystal - Huffington Post

by Robert Haddick | Tue, 06/22/2010 - 11:38am | 34 comments
This morning I was going to write a brief post about a conference I recently attended on strategic surprise. A few thoughts on what is very likely the sudden end of Gen. Stanley McChrystal's career is a fitting substitute.

It is hard to believe that President Obama and his staff will be able to continue to work with McChrystal after the revelation of the Rolling Stone affair. President Obama will have to defend his commander-in-chief powers under Article II of the Constitution and that will almost certainly require McChrystal's swift retirement. To allow McChrystal to apologize and stay on would set a bad precedent, send the wrong signal regarding civil-military relations to the rest of the military, and would cause great uproar among Obama's civilian staff.

Who will replace McChrystal? For the sake of continuity in the midst of the critical Kandahar operation, the elevation of LTG David Rodriguez would seem logical. Regrettably, the contemptuous attitude toward Obama and the White House staff apparently extends throughout McChrystal's staff. As a McChrystal deputy, Rodriguez may be suspect. In any case, several staff officers will also have to go, with a broad investigation likely to follow. Thus someone from the outside may be necessary. Probably not Gen. James Mattis -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates apparently passed him over for Commandant of the Marine Corps so Gates could hardly support him for ISAF. My guess would be someone currently working on the Joint Staff or on Gates's personal staff, someone already well known to Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen (which, ironically, is how McChrystal and Rodriguez got to Afghanistan).

Finally, how did this fiasco with Rolling Stone magazine happen? Field commanders and their staff officers talk to the media in order to get their stories out. In the case of McChrystal and the Afghanistan campaign, the need to do so has lately been even more urgent than usual. McChrystal and his staff were seeking to "add time to the Washington clock." They hoped to get their message out to media audience segments that would soon be putting the most pressure on the Obama administration to terminate the campaign. The theory was that delivering their message -- through a channel like Rolling Stone -- would short-circuit, at least for a time, growing political pressure against the war. Unfortunately for McChrystal and certain members of his staff, the inflammatory bits of the article apparently show a commander and staff frustrated and exhausted by an intractable task -- the very opposite of the message they intended to send.

Obama, Gates, Mullen, and Gen. David Petraeus will get an opportunity to make a decisive shake-up. But counterinsurgency is all about inspiring confidence in the cause among the many actors inside the host nation, not to mention the soldiers and Marines who are ordered out on patrol every day. What remains of that confidence after the shake-up remains to be seen.

by SWJ Editors | Tue, 06/22/2010 - 8:18am | 0 comments
Defense Secretary Gates Announces Recommendations to the President on Senior Marine Corps Leadership Positions - Department of Defense news release.

"I am pleased to announce that I have recommended to the President that Gen. James F. Amos be nominated as the next commandant of the United States Marine Corps. Gen. Amos' combat experience includes command of a Marine aircraft wing and a Marine expeditionary force during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He went on to lead the Marines' Combat Development Command and serve as deputy commandant for combat development and integration. If nominated and confirmed, Gen. Amos will be the first aviator to attain this post.

"I am also recommending that Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford be promoted to replace Gen. Amos as assistant commandant. Lt. Gen. Dunford is currently the commander of I MEF and U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command, with responsibility for all Marines serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters.

"Gen. James Conway will complete his term as commandant this fall and retire from the Marine Corps after four decades of outstanding service. On behalf of the American people, I want to thank Gen. Conway for his faithful and selfless service that included tours as a battalion commander in Operation Desert Storm, a Marine expeditionary force commander in Iraq, and director of operations for the Joint Staff. We will properly recognize Gen. Conway's extraordinary service at an appropriate time.

"I came to these leadership decisions after a thorough process that considered several outstanding candidates. I am convinced that Gen. Amos and Lt. Gen. Dunford are the right team to lead the U.S. Marine Corps at this time, especially as it balances the capabilities needed to support current operations, its unique maritime heritage and its future role defending America."

-----

Gates Recommends Amos, Dunford Lead Marine Corps - North County Times

Gates Announces Choice for Marine Corps Chief - Associated Press

General James F. Amos - USMC Official Biography

General James F. Amos - Wikipedia

Lieutenant General Joseph F. Dunford - USMC Official Biography

Lieutenant General Joseph F. Dunford - Wikipedia

by SWJ Editors | Tue, 06/22/2010 - 6:33am | 3 comments

A Battle Against the Odds - Mark Moyar, Wall Street Journal book review.

On Sept. 11, 2006, exactly five years after 9/11, the Washington Post divulged a classified U.S. intelligence report under the headline, "Anbar Is Lost Politically, Marine Analyst Says." According to an anonymous American source, the report said that "we haven't been defeated militarily but we have been defeated politically—and that's where wars are won and lost."

It is true that the situation in Anbar Province, a hotbed of Sunni Muslim resistance in western Iraq, was dire at the time. Three years earlier the Americans had arrived intent on winning over the population through democratic governance and economic development. But most local civilians—out of support for Sunni insurgents or fear of them—had rejected U.S. requests to serve in the government or participate in development projects. American units ended up spending most of their time battling swarms of guerrillas.

In A Chance in Hell, Jim Michaels, a military reporter for USA Today, deftly explains how the so-called Anbar Awakening emerged from this seemingly hopeless set of circumstances, saving the troubled province and the rest of Sunni Iraq. Whereas many accounts of the Awakening have portrayed it as an American creation, Mr. Michaels shows that it was largely the handiwork of Iraqis, particularly a local leader named Abdul Sattar Abu Risha. Mr. Michaels details how Sattar, a sheik of a minor tribe, formed a robust tribal alliance against al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) before striking a deal with the Americans...

More at The Wall Street Journal.

by SWJ Editors | Mon, 06/21/2010 - 3:54pm | 3 comments
The Conversation: Are We Leaving Afghanistan Too Soon? - ABC News

Author David Kilcullen on Troop Withdrawal, the Influence of Wikileaks and Corruption in Afghanistan.

... in today's Conversation, David Kilcullen, a senior advisor to the U.S. military on counterinsurgency, war strategy and counterterrorism, tells ABC's Diane Sawyer that the president's goal might be too ambitous. According to Kilcullen, if the U.S. leaves before stabilizing the region, it will leave power in the hands of a corrupt and instable government. The Taliban was born in Afghanistan and has deep ties to the region -- Kilcullen argues that pulling the troops too soon would leave the government, and its people, once again vulnerable to the Taliban's control.

Kilcullen's latest book titled Counterinsurgency lays out his plan for a stable withdrawal from Afghanistan. A former lieutenant colonel in the Australian army, he has spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan and advised General David Petraeus and the U.S. State Department on counterinsurgency strategy...

More at ABC News.

by SWJ Editors | Mon, 06/21/2010 - 7:58am | 11 comments
U.S. Rethinks a Marine Corps Specialty: Storming Beaches - Tony Perry and Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times.

On a stretch of clean, white Southern California beach, thousands of young Marines this month charged forward from the sea, leaping from helicopters and landing craft, echoing the exercises conducted decades before when Marines trained for Iwo Jima and Inchon. It was the largest and most complex amphibious exercise since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It also could be one of the last...

But the Marines have not stormed a hostile beach since Inchon during the Korean War. And influential military thinkers - including, most notably, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates - have begun to question whether the Marines will ever do it again.

In a speech last month, Gates said rogue nations and nonstate movements such as Hezbollah now possessed sophisticated guided missiles that could destroy naval ships, forcing them to stay well away from shore and making any sort of beach landing by Marines extremely dangerous. Countries including China and Iran have guided missiles and other defenses to deter a beach landing, said Andrew Krepinevich, president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, who has written skeptically of traditional amphibious landings...

More at The Los Angeles Times.

by SWJ Editors | Sun, 06/20/2010 - 9:33pm | 19 comments
We Can Still Win the War: Things are Grim in Afghanistan, But Victory Remains in Sight - John Nagl, New York Daily News opinion.

Recent reports from Afghanistan paint a dark picture of the counterinsurgency efforts in the Taliban-infected south and east of the country. This spring's operation in Marja, initially proclaimed a military success, sputtered when the Afghan "government in a box" failed to show up. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, after a positive visit to Washington, has demonstrated erratic behavior, including forcing the resignation of two of his best ministers. And the critical offensive in Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city and the historical cradle of the Taliban, has been postponed by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of our efforts there. Some are suggesting that the "Afghan surge" announced by President Obama in December at West Point has failed even before all of the planned 30,000 reinforcements have arrived in the country.

Those skeptics may have forgotten that counterinsurgency is always slow and grinding - "like eating soup with a knife", in the words of T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia), a man who knew something of this most challenging kind of war. Defeating an insurgency requires the patience to implement the classic "clear-hold-build-transition" counterinsurgency strategy. Efforts to clear the enemy from an area require large numbers of well-trained and usually foreign troops; hard as it is, clearing is the easy part. Success requires local troops to hold the area so that the insurgents cannot return to disrupt the process of building a better life for the population in the cleared area, which can then be transitioned to local control. Setbacks are likely at each stage of the process, but there are no shortcuts; defeating insurgents is hard, slow work.

Gen. David Petraeus, a man with some personal experience in counterinsurgency and the architect of our strategy in Afghanistan, testified during the darkest hours of our counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq that "hard is not hopeless." Hard is not hopeless in Afghanistan, either. Success there - defined as an Afghanistan that does not provide a haven for terror or destabilize the region and is able to secure itself with minimal outside assistance - remains a vital national interest of the United States...

More at The New York Daily News.

by SWJ Editors | Sun, 06/20/2010 - 6:47am | 0 comments
Violence Up Sharply in Afghanistan - Rod Nordland, New York Times.

With an average of an assassination a day and a suicide bombing every second or third day, insurgents have greatly increased the level of violence in Afghanistan, and have become by far the biggest killers of civilians here, the United Nations said in a report released publicly on Saturday. The report also confirms statistics from the NATO coalition, which claimed a continuing decrease in civilian deaths caused by the United States military and its allies. At the same time it blames stepped-up military operations for an overall increase in the violence.

Especially alarming were increases in suicide bombings and assassinations of government officials in a three-month period ending June 16, and a near-doubling of roadside bombings for the first four months of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009. "The number of security incidents increased significantly, compared to previous years and contrary to seasonal trends," the report said, adding that most of this was a consequence of military operations in the southern part of the country, particularly Helmand and Kandahar Provinces, where increased NATO military operations have been under way since February...

More at the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Voice of America.

Report of the Secretary-General - United Nations

by SWJ Editors | Sat, 06/19/2010 - 10:49pm | 0 comments

GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD
by SWJ Editors | Sat, 06/19/2010 - 9:51pm | 0 comments
Nader Uskowi and Mark Pyruz's Uskowi on Iran. The site lives up to its byline - Factual reporting and editorials on the current situation in Iran...
by Dave Dilegge | Sat, 06/19/2010 - 10:59am | 15 comments
I intended to link to two articles in the current issue of Joint Force Quarterly this morning by John Nagl and Gian Gentile but JFQ's current issue site is hard-down. In the meantime, please see Tristan Abbey's post featuring Brian McAllister Linn's take on issues raised by the articles at Stanford Review's Bellum.

Update:

Time for the Deconstruction of Field Manual 3-24 - Colonel Gian P. Gentile

The principles of population-centric counterinsurgency (COIN) have become transcendent in the U.S. Army and other parts of the greater Defense Establishment. Concepts such as population security, nationbuilding, and living among the people to win their hearts and minds were first injected into the Army with the publication of the vaunted Field Manual (FM) 3--24, Counterinsurgency, in December 2006. Unfortunately, the Army was so busy fighting two wars that the new doctrine was written and implemented and came to dominate how the Army thinks about war without a serious professional and public debate over its efficacy, practicality, and utility...

Constructing the Legacy of Field Manual 3-24 - Dr. John A. Nagl

In late 2005, then--Lieutenant General David Petraeus was appointed to lead the Army's Combined Arms Command at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After two high-profile tours in Iraq, the posting to Fort Leavenworth was no one's idea of a promotion; the dominant local industry is prisons. But to his credit, General Petraeus recognized that this supposedly backwater assignment presented an opportunity to help revamp the Army's vision of and approach to the wars that it was struggling with in Iraq and Afghanistan. He called on his old West Point classmate, Dr. Conrad Crane, to take charge of a writing team that within just over a year produced Field Manual (FM) 3--24, Counterinsurgency, in conjunction with a U.S. Marine Corps team under the direction of Lieutenant General James Mattis...

Freeing the Army from the Counterinsurgency Straightjacket - Colonel Gian P. Gentile

In October 2006, while in command of a cavalry squadron in northwest Baghdad, I received an email with an attached document from my division commander, then--Major General James D. Thurman. General Thurman sent the email to all of the division's brigade and battalion commanders asking for input on the important document attached, which was a draft of Field Manual (FM) 3--24, Counterinsurgency. Over the next couple of weeks, I tried to read the draft manual closely and provide comments to the commanding general. Alas, though, like probably most of the other commanders, I was so busy carrying out a population-centric counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign on the ground in west Baghdad that I never found time to get to it. While anecdotal, my experience suggests a microcosm of the U.S. Army. The Army has been so busy since FM 3--24 came out 4 years ago that it has been unable to have a Service-wide dialogue on the manual...

Learning and Adapting to Win - Dr. John A. Nagl

Admiral Mullen highlights Clausewitz's dictum that war is not essentially "about death and destruction" but is fundamentally an instrument of policy designed to achieve political aims. It is this understanding of war that must drive how military strategy and doctrine are developed, and the metric against which they must be judged. The counterinsurgency field manual must therefore be evaluated against its record in assisting in the accomplishment of national objectives...

H/T to redactor, Robert Jordan Prescott and Dave Maxwell.

by SWJ Editors | Sat, 06/19/2010 - 7:02am | 3 comments
Anti-Taliban Tribal Militias Come with Baggage - Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times.

... The incident this year highlights the pitfalls of establishing militias in Afghanistan, a country marked by tribal rivalries, age-old feuds and warlords. In principle, the concept makes sense. Even as the United States sends tens of thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan, its forces cannot police every patch of a country about the size of Texas. The Afghan army and police remain a work in progress. Tribal militias represent a ready-made answer. In a society where firearms are prevalent, members are already well-armed. And they have an intimate knowledge of the lands they patrol.

But as anti-Taliban militias have surfaced here in Nangarhar province and several other areas of the country, they have been accompanied by a wide array of troubles, from armed robbery to an alleged gang-rape. Some experts and Afghan lawmakers believe a reliance on tribal militias to help combat an insurgency is the wrong approach, especially if governmental monitoring is scant or nonexistent...

More at The Los Angeles Times.

by SWJ Editors | Sat, 06/19/2010 - 5:18am | 0 comments
Pakistan, Afghanistan Begin Talks About Dealing with Insurgents - Karin Brulliard and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are talking about how to make peace with insurgents fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan, including one faction considered the coalition forces' most lethal foe, according to Pakistani and U.S. officials. The discussions reflect the beginnings of a thaw in relations between Kabul and Islamabad, which are increasingly focused on shaping the aftermath of what they fear could be a more abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops than is now anticipated. But one element of the effort - outreach by Pakistan to the militia headed by the young commander Sirajuddin Haqqani - faces opposition from U.S. officials, who consider the al-Qaeda-linked group too brutal to be tolerated.

At Pakistan's suggestion, Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the chief of Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency, made an unprecedented trip last month to Kabul to discuss with Afghan President Hamid Karzai a wide range of possible cooperation, including mediating with Pakistan-based insurgents...

More at The Washington Post.

by Dave Dilegge | Fri, 06/18/2010 - 8:23pm | 4 comments
Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

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Crazy! I mean like so many positive waves maybe we can't lose!

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There's no booze, there's no broads, there's no action!

That's another thing - don't fool around with the women. Their husbands carry guns. And don't forget, the penalty for looting is death.

Loot what? There's nothing here to loot!

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God almighty, you guys smell like you fell into a dung heap!

Kinda makes ya homesick, don't it?

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These engines are the fastest in any tanks in the European Theater of Operations, forwards or backwards. You see, man, we like to feel we can get out of trouble, quicker than we got into it.

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Coulda been in the States playing ping-pong; volleyball... Plenty of broads... Who the hell needs all this? Gonna get my knife & get the hell outta here. Eaaa, lousy equipment! Now I gotta lift up this CANNON; carry it all the way to the front line someplace. Damned thing is heavier that Kelsey's burgers!

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Sit down on this bench. I want you to have a drink.

Under the Geneva Convention...

This isn't Geneva...

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I'm going to Battalion to see if I can get some dirty movies...

by Robert Haddick | Fri, 06/18/2010 - 6:08pm | 1 comment
Here is the latest edition of my column at Foreign Policy:

Topics include:

1) Iran applies the Saddam method at the U.N.

2) How to avoid a space war.

Iran applies the Saddam method at the U.N.

On June 9 the U.N. Security Council approved Resolution 1929 which imposes further sanctions on Iran for its lack of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). U.S. officials hope that the resolution, combined with follow-on sanctions imposed by the European Union and others, will encourage Iran to fully cooperate with the inspections or return to negotiations. Failing that, the White House hopes that the new sanctions -- which target Iran's nuclear program, its ballistic missile effort, and its conventional military forces -- will disrupt and delay the country's nuclear and conventional military potential.

In remarks he made the same day, President Barack Obama agreed with the vast majority of analysts who hold out little hope that Iran's leadership will reverse course any time soon. That leaves the hope that sanctions will materially degrade Iran's nuclear and military programs. They might, but how will the international community know how much? From 1991 to 2003, Saddam Hussein's Iraq tormented U.S. policymakers with inspection-dodging and intelligence uncertainty. It looks like a new generation of U.S. officials is about to experience similar taunting from Iran.

Iranian leaders have no doubt closely studied how Iraq resisted the Security Council's attempts to rein in its military potential after the 1991 war. In the early years of the Clinton administration, Iraq was in technical compliance with the post-war inspection requirements, but this cooperation was grudging, increasingly belligerent, and was eventually terminated. Iran's cooperation with the IAEA is already incomplete and in the wake of Resolution 1929, Tehran has threatened to reduce it further. Through a combination of humanitarian appeals, back-channel deal-making, and bribery, Iraq was able to wear down and divide the international consensus that existed after the 1991 war. Iran has similarly found friends in Turkey and Brazil and is likely to find more in the developing world (some of whom might have their own nuclear ambitions) in the period ahead.

The goal of a sanctions strategy is to avoid either a regional arms race or the necessity of a military response. We will know that sanctions have worked if the Iranian government returns to negotiations, settles the nuclear issue, and opens itself fully to IAEA inspections, but very few observers expect such an outcome. What will remain are the sanctions, which in turn will lead to Iranian resistance, inspections-dodging, an intelligence black hole, and ominous strategic uncertainty. In the case of Iraq, these factors led to war in 2003. Needless to say, this is not an experience U.S. policymakers will be anxious to repeat. Iran's leaders are aware of this understandable hesitancy and thus have little reason to fear suffering Saddam's fate.

Click through to read more ...

by Bill Nagle | Fri, 06/18/2010 - 10:12am | 5 comments

We're expanding our team. Can you help?

We're looking to up the ante within this Small Wars Journal

endeavor of ours.  As we continue our struggle toward world domination, we find

ourselves in dire need of talented and capable conspirators.  We are moving

forward on our painfully overdue system upgrade, and trying to build out our

production and operations team so we can live well, work well, and play well

together to do more for the small wars community of interest.

It always makes Dave and me laugh (or cry) when we get

notes that refer to our "staff" or our "facility." Don't get us wrong -- we are

enriched by some fantastic advocates and supporters, a handful of volunteers

moderating the discussion board, all of our volunteer writers, and the active

participants in the online community.  But at the end of the day, in large part

due to our own failings, it is still just two guys doing most of the nug work

out of our virtual offices.  Not for much longer.  We are growing.

by SWJ Editors | Thu, 06/17/2010 - 10:44pm | 0 comments
A Nightmare's Prayer: A Marine Harrier Pilot's War in Afghanistan by Michael Franzak.

Publisher's Description:

The first Afghanistan memoir ever to be written by a Marine Harrier pilot, A Nightmare's Prayer portrays the realities of war in the twenty-first century, taking a unique and powerful perspective on combat in Afghanistan as told by a former enlisted man turned officer. Lt. Col. Michael "Zak" Franzak was an AV-8B Marine Corps Harrier pilot who served as executive officer of VMA-513, "The Flying Nightmares," while deployed in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003. The squadron was the first to base Harriers in Bagram in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. But what should have been a standard six-month deployment soon turned to a yearlong ordeal as the Iraq conflict intensified. And in what appeared to be a forgotten war half a world away from home, Franzak and his colleagues struggled to stay motivated and do their job providing air cover to soldiers patrolling the inhospitable terrain.

I wasn't in a foxhole. I was above it. I was safe and comfortable in my sheltered cocoon 20,000 feet over the Hindu Kush. But I prayed. I prayed when I heard the muted cries of men who at last understood their fate.

Franzak's personal narrative captures the day-by-day details of his deployment, from family good-byes on departure day to the squadron's return home. He explains the role the Harrier played over the Afghanistan battlefields and chronicles the life of an attack pilot—from the challenges of nighttime, weather, and the austere mountain environment to the frustrations of working under higher command whose micromanagement often exacerbated difficulties. In vivid and poignant passages, he delivers the full impact of enemy ambushes, the violence of combat, and the heartbreaking aftermath.

And as the Iraq War unfolded, Franzak became embroiled in another battle: one within himself. Plagued with doubts and wrestling with his ego and his belief in God, he discovered in himself a man he loathed. But the hardest test of his lifetime and career was still to come—one that would change him forever.

A stunning true account of service and sacrifice that takes the reader from the harrowing dangers of the cockpit to the secret, interior spiritual struggle facing a man trained for combat, A Nightmare's Prayer brings to life a Marine's public and personal trials set against "the fine talcum brown soot of Afghanistan that permeated everything—even one's soul."

A Nightmare's Prayer: A Marine Harrier Pilot's War in Afghanistan

by SWJ Editors | Thu, 06/17/2010 - 5:33am | 9 comments
Realism in Afghanistan: Rethinking an Uncertain Case for the War by Anthony Cordesman at CSIS.

There is nothing more tragic than watching beautiful theories being assaulted by gangs of ugly facts. It is time, however, to be far more realistic about the war in Afghanistan. It may well still be winnable, but it is not going to be won by denying the risks, the complexity, and the time that any real hope of victory will take. It is not going to be won by "spin" or artificial news stories, and it can easily be lost by exaggerating solvable short-term problems...

Andrew Exum responds at Abu Muqawama.

These past few weeks have brought a fresh torrent of bad news from Afghanistan: a governor in a key district assassinated, U.S. and allied operations in flux, Afghan leadership in question. Policy-makers in Washington and allied capitols are wondering if the U.S. and allied counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan can succeed. These are reasonable concerns. Tony Cordesman, one of the U.S. defense analysts who has advised the command in Afghanistan, wrote today that "There is nothing more tragic than watching beautiful theories being assaulted by gangs of ugly facts. It is time, however, to be far more realistic about the war in Afghanistan. It may well still be winnable, but it is not going to be won by denying the risks, the complexity, and the time that any real hope of victory will take. It is not going to be won by 'spin' or artificial news stories, and it can easily be lost by exaggerating solvable short-term problems"...

Michael Cohen responds to Cordesman and Exum at Democracy Arsenal.

As regular readers of DA are well aware I have been beating the drums on the incoherence of our Afghanistan policy for more than a year - well for the first time in a long while I have some company and from two individuals whose voices should wake people up. Both Tony Cordesman and Andrew Exum served on General McChrystal's strategic review team that last year recommended a pop-centric COIN strategy for Afghanistan. Both are now having second thoughts...

Max Boot responds to Exum at Contentions.

... I agree with him that the political will to prevail appears to be waning. But I think it's bizarre that he treats "political will" as a fixed, exogenous factor like the weather or the terrain. Hurricane Katrina did not make impossible the success of the surge in Iraq; so too the BP oil spill does not make impossible the success of the ongoing surge in Afghanistan. The question is whether President Obama will have the will to see this through as President Bush did in the face of much greater public opposition...

Spencer Ackerman responds to Exum at Attackerman.

Andrew Exum writes a very valuable post hinging off the Tony Cordesman piece that I cited earlier, and the point of both posts is to test the tensile strength of the assumptions behind the Obama administration's counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. As a meta-point, it amuses me when critics accuse counterinsurgents of dogmatism or closed-mindedness. Ex is —to subject himself to rather thorough self-criticism, as have many others in counterinsurgent circles - particularly around CNAS - who recognize that their course of action involves the escalation of a war. As far as I've concerned, from the perspective of intellectual honesty and intellectual rigor, they've acquitted themselves well. Personally, I would find arguments for de-escalation in Afghanistan more persuasive if they dealt similarly with an assessment of the risks they entail and why those risks ultimately better advance the national interest...

What say you?

by SWJ Editors | Thu, 06/17/2010 - 4:52am | 1 comment
State Department Creating Mini-army in Iraq - Associated Press via The Washington Times.

The State Department is quietly forming a small army to protect diplomatic personnel in Iraq after U.S. military forces leave the country at the end of 2011, taking its firepower with them. Department officials are asking the Pentagon to provide heavy military gear, including Black Hawk helicopters, and say they also will need substantial support from private contractors.

The shopping list demonstrates the department's reluctance to count on Iraq's army and police forces for security, despite the billions of dollars the U.S. invested to equip and train them. And it shows that President Obama is having a hard time keeping his pledge to reduce U.S. reliance on contractors, a practice that flourished under the Bush administration. In an early April request to the Pentagon, Patrick Kennedy, the State Department's undersecretary for management, is seeking 24 Black Hawks, 50 bomb-resistant vehicles, heavy cargo trucks, fuel trailers, and high-tech surveillance systems. Mr. Kennedy asks that the equipment, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, be transferred at "no cost" from military stocks...

More at The Washington Times.

by SWJ Editors | Thu, 06/17/2010 - 4:33am | 2 comments
Muslim States Seek U.N. Action on West's "Islamophobia" - Reuters via The New York Times.

Muslim states said Wednesday that what they call "islamophobia" is sweeping the West and its media and demanded that the United Nations take tougher action against it. Delegates from Islamic countries, including Pakistan and Egypt, told the United Nations Human Rights Council that treatment of Muslims in Western countries amounted to racism and discrimination and must be fought.

"People of Arab origin face new forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance and experience discrimination and marginalisation," an Egyptian delegate said, according to a U.N. summary. And Pakistan, speaking for the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said the council's special investigator into religious freedom should look into such racism "especially in Western societies." ...

Diplomats say the resolution, which also tells the investigator to make recommendations to the Human Rights Council on how its strictures might be implemented, is bound to pass given the majority the OIC and its allies have in the body. The countries of the majority group, which also include India and Brazil, ensure that its members and their friends outside the council - such as Sri Lanka and Iran - are shielded from any serious criticism of their rights record. The group ensures that council fire is largely aimed at Israel over its occupation of Palestinian territories and treatment of people living there as well as on the Israeli blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza...

More at The New York Times.

Bolded emphasis added by SWJ.

by SWJ Editors | Thu, 06/17/2010 - 4:19am | 0 comments
Los Angeles Times special online feature entitled Mexico Under Siege: The Drug War at Our Doorstep. And in this morning's Washington Times - Calderon Makes Appeal as Drug Violence Soars in Mexico by Michal Elseth.

In the face of an increasingly bloody and desperate battle with illegal-drug traffickers, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has launched a full-scale defense of his government's policies and called on his countrymen to step up their own efforts to defeat the powerful cartels.

In a lengthy essay and a nationally televised address this week, Mr. Calderon called for a full-scale assault on the cartels, denying that his administration's own tough policies had provoked the violence to unprecedented levels.

"This is a battle that is worth fighting because our future is at stake," he said in the 10-minute national address. "It's a battle that, with all Mexicans united, we will win." ...

More at The Washington Times.

And in The Christian Science Monitor - Mexico Drug War: Has Felipe Calderón Lost Control? By Sara Miller Llana.

... Since then death tolls have mounted -- with nearly 23,000 killed since he became president -- and the incessant headlines, including of the past week, appear to be causing a certain defense mechanism to rise in government quarters. On Monday, President Calderón published a two-page editorial in newspapers across the country defending his strategy, arguing that he had no choice and that Mexicans must remain stoic. But many Mexicans have lost faith.

"[Calderón] has lost the reins of the country, not partially but totally," writes journalist and columnist Lydia Cacho in a column that appeared 14 pages before the president's missive in the daily El Universal...

But Calderón is also hinting of a change in strategy. The president said he would hire a public relations firm to improve Mexico's image, according to the Associated Press. He also said he would clamp down on dollar cash transactions, in an apparent bid to stem money laundering. It remains to be seen what lies ahead, but there is no doubt that the president, and his flaks, face a tough road ahead -- even judging from the past two days alone...

More at The Christian Science Monitor.

by SWJ Editors | Wed, 06/16/2010 - 8:12pm | 1 comment
Top Officer Sees Military Caution as Backfiring - Jim Michaels, USA Today.

Commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan have been reluctant to launch more secret operations because of an excess of caution about violating military rules and international law, a top Army officer says. The tentative approach to "deception operations" has cost the U.S. military opportunities to weaken the enemy without firing a shot, said Army Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, commander of the Pentagon's task force to counter improvised explosive devices.

The anti-IED task force has advocated dismantling insurgent networks as an effective way to combat improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Earlier this year, Marines in Afghanistan's Helmand province read announcements over a loudspeaker to trick insurgents into thinking their specially modified roadside bombs couldn't be found by U.S. minesweepers.

As a result, the insurgents didn't bother hiding them well and Marines were able to easily find the bombs, said Marine Maj. Don Caporale, an information operations officer. "We started finding all kinds of mines with this (modification), which, of course, was a complete hoax," Caporale said. Still, Oates said in an interview, "there's a Gordian knot of law, regulation, procedure and risk aversion. We have got to do some due diligence on this problem." ...

More at USA Today.

by SWJ Editors | Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:06pm | 0 comments
Many thanks to Ilene Frank for maintaining MARAS: Gangs in Central America. A Bibliography.

50+ pages of resources for those interested in the topic.