Septics finally getting it?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by msr, Apr 24, 2007.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

    More U.S. soldiers now live in the neighborhoods they patrol, in Joint Security Stations such as the one that I visited in Hurriya in western Baghdad. Here soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division sleep and work alongside men from the Iraqi army and National Police. They lack the normal comforts of life on a big base: Instead of getting to choose from multiple flavors of ice cream at a large DFAC (Dining Facility), they have to be content with one hot meal a day. The rest of the time they make do with field rations--MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). But what such outposts lack in amenities they make up for in effectiveness. As they have established their presence, soldiers have found the number of tips from residents appreciably increasing. This makes U.S. soldiers safer. They are no longer simply speeding down streets in their armored Humvees hoping not to hit an IED. They are now conducting targeted raids and foot patrols, the basis of any effective counterinsurgency.
  2. Finally some progress from the yanks. This sounds a lot like an 'out of the box' use of the 'Manual for 4th Generation War' that was produced by a USMC thinktank some years ago.

    Worth a read if you have the time - the similarities with the current US tactics are obvious. This document has done the rounds at a lot of strategic studies institutions; I myself used it for my undergraduate thesis as it was considered 'cutting edge' at the time.

    Edited for mllarr spelling.
  3. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    It's a bit rich - no, more like grossly hypocritical - for us to comment on the Yanks 'finally getting it' while at exactly the same time we are withdrawing from all locations in Bas and concentrating on a single base (Well, at least it's spread out over quite a large area, and that will make less likely that the IDF will hit anything!).

    Why do we hold oursleves up to being the great anti-insurgency experts? Still because of Malaya? Northern Ireland? Kenya? Cyprus? Aden?
    Of those few examples, I don't think we can say that we did that well in many of them.
  4. msr

    msr LE

    I didn't pass any comment on us being counter-insurgency experts, more that the US seem to be getting things right with their big surge.

    Perhaps the title was a little bit provocative.

  5. Kenya and Malaya - good. NI - OK, Cyprus and Aden - nope!
  6. spike7451

    spike7451 RIP

    Hearts & Minds,something we have been using for years,a concept alien to the average US Soldier.
  7. Does Karl von Clausewitz need a rethink?
  8. According to the article Lumber Jack linked to above, he most certainly does.

    It's very interesting stuff, long read but worth the time.
  9. We are pulling back to a single base cos Blairs gona pull us out, obvious. If we were there for the long term we'd be still on the streets.
  10. That would seem to indicate that there is a bigger Hearts and Minds op going on in this country, than with the Iraqi people.

    Who needs to be convinced that the military presence in Iraq is justified and of benefit to the Iraqi people - UK population or the people of Iraq?
  11. Depends if you mean from Blair's point of view, or from a world peace point of view.
  12. Both would be nice .Doubt you can convince either now .
  13. Not wrong.
  14. Don't confuse war with colonial policing. :D
  15. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    I believe that our practices in hostile grounds are some of the most effective in the world. Apart from the recent and somewhat disgusting practice of using Snatch Landrovers, we do get it right through years and years of practice. It's never going to be perfect, but the experience on N.I. and other places have set in place some superb patrolling drills. The septics still patrol in bunches (unless that's changed in light of Iraq) whilst we done it spread out for years.

    If you ask any of the US army brass serving in Iraq at the moment, I'm fairly sure that they are modifying their practices in the field based on their experiences, but mostly ours and our subsequent expertise.

    When it comes down to it, and you are trying to maintain at least some modicum of peace at ground level amongst a civilian population with insurgent elements, there is no way in hell you are ever going to do that from a big base outside of town or by driving through at speed. You can only get the intelligence you need and the rapid reaction you need by having people amongst them, in depth learning the ground and getting feedback.

    If I'm not mistaken, and if the US forces are indeed adopting this practice, it is due to the failures with the previous method, and undoubtedly modified in light of ours.

    Edited to add: This change of practice in having their bods 'amongst it' will only really have a positive effect if they adopt a more amenable mental attitude to the civilians around them rather than the usual US approach of ignorance and condescension. Back to hearts and minds again.