« "The Old Guns Are ...." | Main | Key Rove Aide May Testify »

10 November 2005


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


~~~However, the high command should know better. They have either 1) deluded themselves into a similar opinion of the insurgency that are evidenced by their troops, 2) know the truth but cannot believe it (or talk about it), or 3) are completely ignorant (or fed untruths by our local allies like Kurds) of the reality they inhabit. Many future history books will try to figure this piece out.~~~

Maybe because the high command themselves are isolated and have limited experiance fighting afghanistan/Soviet style guerilla war?

eg. If a high commander see a town taken over by 'elusive foreigners', they decide to attack the town, then afterward the town is 'silenced' for months, then in their mind the strategy works. Operationally speaking, the town is subdued. (fallujah, Qaim, several border towns, border towns in Syria etc.)

Fallujah is certainly silenced. But somebody fail to analyze what becomes of the Fallujah population.

To the central command, the entire idea is area control. To Al qaeda it's public perception and resentment.

my observation how the insurgency operate:

1. come into town,
2. start weakening government aparatus, create resentment in population, then attract attention of occupation troop. (essentially political campaign against central gov. and occupation force)
3. occupation troop will then come in. Sooner or later mistakes, mis understanding and heavy handedness happens.
4. population sympathy is lost.
5. Troops panic and smash the city.
6. the city dies, causing internal displacement.
7. this then spread to other town. (more resentments and enlarging the size of guerilla)

ad infinitum.

It all started with Fallujah. Now all Syrian border towns are in such condition.

I think what makes the commanders think they are winning is the pace. They are winning the battle and achieve tranquility for months. That create a sense of 'achieving goal'. At the same time, they fail to see crumbling civilian central governments and ever more towns sentiments turning against them. The guerilla time table is 'seasonal' spanning 3-6months per cycle.

Essentially, commanders are thinking in 1-2 rounds knock out punch in a game.

The guerillas are thinking at tournaments levels. They keep tossing middling players at each game. knowing our force is not designed to occupy a large state for decades. (no force is capable to do that, soviet/afghanistan experiances tell them so)

So essentially, yes we are winning by knocking out those little towns. But at the expense of ever larger public resentment, deteriorating civil order and weakening central government control.

Those are the things Al Qaeda wants.

The only solution is to have legitimate government in the eyes of Iraqis, whereby countering the growing legitimay of insurgency.

The commanders fail the political game. (can't blame them, they are trained to go to war, not understanding subtleties of speeched at the mosques)

citizen k

Even "jordan" says that there are not enough troops to win. Since there are no more troops, he means we have lost.

And the reference to permanent US military bases is the taboo issue of this war. If it were made clear that the "planners" intend on a permanent US garrison in Iraq, the debate would have been very different. As of now, only the looney left has made this point, everyone else tries to pretend it's a PR issue.


On Falluja this guy does some reporting:


He is pro troop, stresses over and over again their discipline, lack of atrocities and victories, but overall he is pessimistic.

Jerome Gaskins

It amazes me how much like Viet Nam this opera has become. The attitude of the grunts is exactly the same, only the name of the enemy has changed.

I pray that we will not see another Tet offensive break the will of our military. It won't be the will of the grunt that matters. The fact that the commanders have lost another war because they did not heed the lessons of their previous loss will be what's talked about.

Will it matter that it was a mendacious war?

Or will being bested by guerillas time and time again be the millstone around our necks?

W. Patrick Lang


Soldiers are always the same if they come from the same population and are led in much the same way.

I don't know if you were in VN but the Tet Offensive did not have much psychological effect on the troops. What killed their morale was the loss of civilian morale in the states. pl


It does bother me that after 40 years we still face jamming issues with the M-16.

I'm not sure that there is any one thing that "the troops" believe. Lots of variety, here's a sampling.



Also some troop blogs pretty far down on the left:



I just read some of my links.

The city of San Antonio is refusing to let veterans of *all wars* continue their march through Texas to show how far the nearest VA hospital is from a huge cluster of veterans.

The mayors email is listed in this post:


Serving Patriot


Thanks for the elevation. I did not expect such an honor.

For Curious - Thanks also for your comment re: high commanders and the current insurgency operations. I appreciate your feedback! And you very well may be right regarding the capacity of our senior leadership to understand what really is going on around them. Given the amount of professional military education these senior officers should have received in thier career, it is still astounding the general obtuseness many display in thier counter-insurgency fight.

Your description of the the insurgent operational campaign plan is very concise and simple...and the more I think about it, the more obvious it is. Why can't the senior military leadership understand it? Maybe it is becuase they are so ill equipped. (Perhaps, unlike my brush with PME, they did not have to read "The Bear went over the Mountain"?)

And you are absolutely correct when you say "those are the things Al Qaeda wants."


J Thomas

The comment that the insurgents are very careless with their computers, that we find lots of computers that give us important intel bothers me a lot.

Any chance that they're disinforming us that way? A few less-than-$1000 laptops or whatever, full of the names of people that killing or detaining will backfire on us....

I wonder how good we are at interpreting those things. Do we have enough capable arabic-speaking guys to study that data with all the attention it deserves?

W. Patrick Lang

J Thomas

In re Arabic speakers, I take that as a joke.

I found the reference to Google Earth as a reconnaissance and planning tool to be worrisome. pl

J Thomas

Colonel Long, obviously I don't know what's going on and my imagination fills in the gaps.

I imagine a US raid capturing a computer. And some extremely-overworked US translator (not a hired arab translator) looks at it and finds a list of safe houses and sends the list on to the guys who raid safe houses. They raid the first house on the list and find a family living there and a couple of young men who might not be part of the family and they do a quick field interrogation, and later it turns out it was the Deputy Prime Minister's nephews and he's extremely and publicly upset.

Where somebody who was very fluent and who had plenty of sleep and sufficient time might have sensed it was a fake.

I can't be too concerned about Google Earth for military purposes. It's a composite of pictures up to 3 years old. A minority of the buildings in iraq on Google maps won't be there any longer.

W. Patrick Lang

J Thomas

Actually, my name is Lang.

The issue about Google Earth has nothing to do with buildings in Iraq and everything to do with terrain analysis as a part of operational planning.

There are virtually no US Military translators who can deal with hand written notes or other documents in Arabic. If there are any, they are Arab born. As a result we are VERY dependent on "hired" Arab translators working for contracter companies like CACI and Titan. Your scenario therefore has no basis in reality. pl

J Thomas

Colonel Lang (sorry about that, I've made that mistake twice now and I think it's in the fingers more than the mind, I'll try to proofread better),

I see nothing particularly ominous in the iraqis having good maps of their own terrain.

And if we aren't even doing our own study of the captured computer files, that's even worse. How likely is it we pay translators with local knowledge to evaluate the results rather than just translate? That drives up the chance we're getting spoofed.

W. Patrick Lang

J Thomas

Ever planned a ground attack? Terrain intelligence is a pre-requisite for sound planning. pl


sacre merde! another serendipitous computer! was it even encrypted?


The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

January 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
Blog powered by Typepad