Gulf War Analysis and Proposal....

Given recent events and the problem in Iraq of foreign insurgents bent on disrupting the nascent government or even Arab unity [ kidnap and killing of egyptian Ambassador, etc. ], Dubya's claim that terrorism won't deter the US and allies from ' completing the democratization ' of Iraq..I found this to be an informative and insightful piece worthy of a read and possible discussion..
apologies, it is lengthy, but it says a lot..

open for debate...over to you...
Amazing , they seem to have cottoned on to 'hearts and minds .
Only took them about 40 years
Seem to recall reading a report /article very similar to the 'David & Goliath story' about Borneo or Indo-China.
Also ,like the article says,'no-one likes a bully, and that is what many people see when US marines/troops kick doors in, in places like Fallujah and Tikrit.
Seems very strange to me that British forces try to patrol in soft hats and soft-skin vehicles and yet our American counterparts seem to patrol in M1'S and Cobra gunships, and i'd venture that the British forces encounter far less open hostility than our American 'allies'.
Soft Hat patrols also something Canadian troops used as an ' ice breaker' in Afghanistan to meet with locals..risk is higher of insurgents but ' hearts and minds' factor can't be discounted.. always wondered about US' presence' [ see post/thread of marine on assback elsewhere ]..

Can see where little Iraqi kids and families could be intimidated by their image as , fully loaded USMC personel look like something out of Robocop or Star Wars Stormtrooper with [ supposedly 100 pounds of kit - grenades, smoke, ammo, not to mention choco bars and nylons ] ri8ding on top of tanksd or massive humvees above the reg folks in the streets and forced to the gutters/doorways as these beasts navigate the tight sidestreets or avoid stopping all together is a bid to minimize RPG attacks..

No chance to meet and greet when stomping through the courtyards and living ' getting to know you/win you over ' effort, thus no intel on what's around the next corner in the way of buried ED's..etc..

got to wonder about the learning curve...
The Marines deployed in 2004 taking over an Army area by advocating the concept stated in the article. The Army reaction was that you are going to loose alot of people if you do that. Their civic action approach lasted about 30 days then they followed the Army model. The Marines have had more casualties in Iraq than the Army just as they did in Vietnam. I like the Marines but their tactics and that of the Army are different. In Vietnam the Army used artillery and airpower before sending in the troops. The Marines moved to contact and then brought in fire support once engaged.
The unspoken assumptions underlying the US position are:

The locals want democracy US style;
The locals want Iraq to remain as it currently is;
We can stop foreign jihadis coming in.

I'm not convinced any of these are valid. Firstly, the locals seem to gravitate towards a far more theocratic style of government at a local level when left to their own devices - just look at the importance and influence of local clerics and at the numbers of same in the current government.

Then we have the moves by all the major players towards greater local autonomy - perhaps they see this as moving towards an eventual split once the US has left and they can get on with it. I can't see the Kurds remaining part of Iraq in ten years time for instance - just look at the behaviour of the Kurdish populations in Syria and Turkey.

And then we have the current US stance on who's next - this has made it in the interests of Iran and Syria to let as many jihadis across the border as possible to tie up US troops so they can't nip next door. And the US seems unable to grip the Saudi nettle.
tomahawk6 said:
The Marines deployed in 2004 taking over an Army area by advocating the concept stated in the article. The Army reaction was that you are going to loose alot of people if you do that. Their civic action approach lasted about 30 days then they followed the Army model. The Marines have had more casualties in Iraq than the Army just as they did in Vietnam. I like the Marines but their tactics and that of the Army are different. In Vietnam the Army used artillery and airpower before sending in the troops. The Marines moved to contact and then brought in fire support once engaged.
I don't think that 30 days is enough time to build up trust in the population, especially if there were violent encounters before. But trust is important for the whole thing to work.

Quote from the article:
"Marines will not be able to go about unarmed in most Fourth Generation situations. But they can become part of a neighborhood. To do so, they must live in that neighborhood, get to know the people who inhabit it and become known by them in turn. They will usually do so in small groups, squads or even fire teams. To be effective, they must reside in the same neighborhood or village for some time. Results in Fourth Generation war usually come slowly."

I remember seeing a program on BBC from a journalist who went to iraq, and rode along with a US convoy patrol.
The convoy road into an Iraqi town, where it waited for several hours pointing all it's weapons at the crowd of Iraqi's on the other side of the motorway, while a buldozer trashed the motorway looking for IED's, then they mounted back up, and rode off.

I couldn't help but think they where messing it up.

The Film also showed that the US personal like toying with the joruno's... They carried on sending him to a "more heavily armoured vehicle", to be safer (Yes he spent some time hopping from one Humve to another..).
Slightly off subject, but, does anyone remember the recruiting ad from about 8 or 10 years ago?
African water hole and a very fat local armed with an AK and his band of men, up rocks a Brit patrol and the first thing the brit cmdr does is take off his sunglasses.
Cos the locals need to see the human face and not a mirrored reflection.

British forces have learnt this lesson over long and hard years ,mainly in NI, but after seeing how we do things on OP Telic , i get the feeling we are losing this idea of how to 'police ' our areas of responsibility.
Certainly not all the locals love us, but they don't have to, they just need to see we are there for their benefit and that we'll be gone as quickly as possible.
After re-reading the lead article and some discussion ,wouldn't a more realistic concept be to use a police force once war-fighting/coin has finished, with the armed back-up a radio yell away, rather than full-on military hardware patrolling and asking for the insurgents to engage at every opportunity?
The first critics of the American ' liberation' blitzkrieg into Iraq warned of just that..
American policy to eliminate all 'Baathists' from evey stage of government in a cleansing purge [ shades of Nazis in 1946 ] left a vacuum in local control, policing, etc.. with the shut down of power and water went ' hearts and minds' no controls and the dark underbelly of society [ and there always is one ] rose up to take advantage looting, pillaging, revenge, etc, etc. and the US didn't step in with its troops to stop it and didn't have a follow-up ' police force ' to fill the void..

chaos and destruction and the local law abiding folks wondering what the f**k - at least under Saddam they had, if heavy-handed , civil obedience..
Once lost the US couldn't put it back..and didn't appear to deal with it [ still haven't for the most part ] and are just now re-establishing local police, military civil service - but without experienced or vetted Baathists they got to start from scratch and those downtrodden and oppressed now want a piece of the action and are getting pissed that the system of patronage, friendship and other connections isn't working - or is for some, but not all, and the government either is ineffectual, sliding back into corruption or a toady of american interests..

badlly thought out at the start and going to take a long time to rectify...

Recall that Patton got thumped and sidelined because he objected to same tactics whewn he was appointed Pro Consul of Bavaria post WWII and employed former Nazis in civil government..Ike took him to task for not ' purging ' ...deja vu all over again.. [ insert quote from Santayana here ]

Its always the little things.. butterfly effect?.. soldier takes off sunglasses and smiles at farmer at an oasis and the troops are met with flowers instead of RPG's in Bagdhad.. or is that too Hollywood an ending??
My belief is that much of the problem lies in the lack of knowledge on the part of the Americans as to how the Arab mind and society works. Things we do annoy them and we do not know it. The US Eden of democracy is not highly valued or understood. Patriachal rule is OK to Iraqui. We need to accept that we have achieved as much regime change as we are likely to get (removed Saddam) and let them get on with their lives as they want them. Obviously, there will be some who - for own selfish reasons - will tell us we are wonderful and promise to help. They need to be F.O'd.
A very interesting article. Perhaps the nabobs of the Raj understood the principles in a different context.

I think the US have a more fundamental problem that relearning imperial doctrine. The first principle of war has not been folloewd - selection and maintenance of aim.

America does not know why or what it is fighting in Iraq.

Are they there to prevent another 9/11? This idea has been widely discredited, particularly as Afghanistan flares up once more.

Are they there to disarm a WMD capability? Ha ha!

Were they sent to remove a dictator? Job done, why are they still there?

Were they sent to implement democracy? Most of the populace does not wish them there, so why are they ignoring this wish?

Were they sent to remove a dictator and secure vague geopolitical and commercial goals under the pretence of WMD removal and the implementation of democracy? Hmm, might be onto something here.

The hearts and minds that need to be won first are those of the US military. It is called leadership, a quality that the US civilian command chain does not possess.
This is all common sense stuff, seen in in after action reviews for almost every conflict in the last two hundred years. So I guess it will be ignored.

Got involved in some of the planning for Telic deployment, great says I we've got four months lets get some language training started now. The response from virtually every quarter was "waste of time, in the unlikely event that you need to talk to a local, the interpreter will do it." Cue lots of training to respond to the effects to a lack of the ability to understand what is going on.


Book Reviewer

great post, very good article for those who could be bothered to read it......confirms my prejudice that USMC (Uncle Sam's Misguided Children ) tend to approach things in a different way to US Army..........good on 'em. Sack the 'Peace through superior firepower ' juvenilia and fight with your brains. Oh, and drop the stupid wrap-around Snoop Dogg shades.

There's a lot of Brit 'I told you so' about Iraq.....if British forces were operating throughout the country I'm not sure things would be much better than they are. With a standing Army of just over 100,000 people it ain't ever gonna happen anyway.

I especially liked this bit:

“How did you train for this?” General Forrest asked.

“Well, sir, as one example, when I took my battalion through the ‘local village’ training stateside before we deployed, I reversed roles. I had my guys play the villagers, and I had troops who didn’t speak their language sweep through on a typical cordon‑and‑search mission. I made sure the troops treated my villagers like we too often treat locals ‑ screaming at them in a language they did not understand, throwing them around, detaining them in painful positions, and so forth. The result was just what I wanted – a lot of fights. My guys got so angry they started throwing punches. Then in the debrief I asked them, ‘If we don’t want the locals to fight us, how should we treat them?’ The fact that they had been on the receiving end helped them see themselves in a whole new light.”

“I think I might want to do that with my other units,” General Forrest said. “Please continue.”
I'm guessing that in a US infantry Battalion there are probably enough Spanish speakers to make this very realistic...maybe we could get an Aggressor Squadron of Welsh speakers from RRW and RWF together .....alternatively sub-contract the Foreign Legion....that'd be worth a few punch ups in Lydd ;-)

Le Chevre

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