Septics finally getting it?

#1
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.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/551cokdv.asp
 
#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.

http://www.sftt.us/HTML/article07072005a.html

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.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#3
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
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.

msr
 
#5
OldSnowy said:
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.
Kenya and Malaya - good. NI - OK, Cyprus and Aden - nope!
 
#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
jasevx said:
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.
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?
 
#14
ABrighter2006 said:
Does Karl von Clausewitz need a rethink?
Don't confuse war with colonial policing. :D
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
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.
 
#16
Can someone clarify this 4GW stuff for me?

As I understand it we are talking about the ability of people to fight back against the state in a decentralized manner, and the fact that we've now reached the level where someone on foot can easily carry around something that can take out armour, coupled with the ability of such people to make use of the media etc to spread their views.

Most of the rest of the accompanying thought seemed like bullshit designed to describe normal insurgencies... a lot of academics trying to justify their existence by labelling everything 4GW.

Thoughts ?
 
#18
I think it was Churchill that said

"The American's can be relied upon to do the right thing but only after they have exhausted every other avenue"
 
#19
Fallschirmmongsturm said:
Most of the rest of the accompanying thought seemed like bullshit designed to describe normal insurgencies... a lot of academics trying to justify their existence by labelling everything 4GW.

Thoughts ?
Is along the same lines as the buzz phrase, "revolution in military affairs." A phrase self-created to justify the empoyment of legions of military analysts and to convince budget holders to continue shelving out for infinitely more expensive technology.

Where did it get us? We now have technologies (ISTAR) that can sniff out and engage an enemy at such a distance that we can sit back in safety. That's the way to do war!

Oooops. I nearly forgot. The war we've chosen to fight means living with the enemy - at least, that's the 'new' strategy, isn't it?
 
#20
MSR and Whitecity, thank you ! :D
 

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