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24 August 2006


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W. Patrick Lang


I have been asked to write something off-line about military lessons learned from the Lebanon War.

Anyone who wishes to send me material as comment is asked to do so.

I probably won't publish much of it on the site. pl


Dear Col. Lang,
I am of the opinion that Hoekstra is not that far removed from Curt "Able Danger" Weldon -land. Thank you as always, sir.


Few news items are as depressing as your post today. I feel like Private Upham when his platoon was about to execute the captured German soldier: "What is happening to us?"


Interesting view from the "other side of the hill"


tomas del sol

Is there something strange about supporting a position without facts to back up that support? We are talking about another conflict that will further cripple our military and the economy.
It must be that intuitive, gut level knowledge, the kind of knowledge only given to those elected, that has led us to the Olympian heights of success with our foreign policy.



If the intelligence community analysis had stuck with their pre-Bush pre-neo-cooked estimates on Iraq, in hindsight, how wrong were they?

What are the current intelligence estimates on Iran (assuming these are also pre-neo-cooked)?




Pat Lang >"...What new discoveries about Iran will be the product of such pressure?"

I think we ALREADY KNOW what they will be & what sort of action they will support

Round 2 is upon us

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." - H. L. Mencken



When you write that the principal author was Bolton's assistant at State - do you mean Fred Fleitz? And if you do - Wow!

Might as well have had John Bolton write the report himself, with footnotes by Dick Cheney and Bibi Netanyahu....


"What new discoveries about Iran will be the product of such pressure?"

Good question. Where's Curveball these days? Maybe he'll know.

Has Negroponte gotten the Medal of Freedom yet? Perhaps they should speed up that process to get things flowing faster.

Frank Durkee

What difference in Lebanon would US "Bunker Busters' have made? Re; military lessons from the Lebanon War.


Ever since the Fred Fleitz neo-con intelligence report came out trying to frame the case against Iran with the usual bogus claims and to pressure our professional intelligence analysts to come up with the "goods" on Iran, I having been wondering why now and in this public manner. What was the calculation that Cheney made?

In the Iraq scenario Cheney pressured CIA analysts privately to "fix the intel" and he wove fabrications generated by Doug Feith into the media narrative running an effective information ops on Americans. Now that his modus operandi is out in the open despite the stonewall from Roberts and his Senate colleagues, I am perplexed why they think they will be able to bamboozle the American public again in such an obvious manner. Corporate media shills like Judy Miller are exposed. Cheney himself is discredited and below Nixon Watergate approval level in the polls. Fleitz may yet get implicated in the outing of Valerie Plame. Bush is not coasting on a wave of credibility. But Gingrich, Lieberman, et al are providing the media backdrop of the WWIII guns. Although there are some sane voices yet speaking out like Hagel.

Is the American public that inattentive that they can be snowed twice in exactly the same manner or have the neo-cons lost their touch with subterfuge or is their unfolding domestic information operations another "winner" with tragic consequences for us and the people in the ME??


PL, I am not sure about Santorum winning - his negatives in the polls are pretty high for an incumbent. I'll be shocked if he does. Of course, Casey is not much of a contrast.


Newt Gingrich's 1996 GOPAC memo "Language : A Key Mechanism of Control" listing powerful positive words to use for the GOP: "courage,freedom,liberty,protect, pro-flag and family vs negative words for opponents: cheat,destroy, radical, anti- flag or family,liberal,traitors" has morphed now into "information operations" which foster a distorted prism of thought that many do not recognise. Any further comments that would help the uninitiated to recoginse the "propaganda" would be appreciated.
Thank you.

cynic librarian

I am still wondering why the mainstream media has refused to find and interview the authors at the US Army War College International Strategic Studies (ISS) group who issued a recommendation that seems to envision a nuclear-capable Iran. Their report, GETTING READY FOR A NUCLEAR-READY IRAN, suggests ways to channel this capability in responsible ways that benefit Iran and the mideast region itself, and would calm some of the US' fears.

Could it be bcause of the following recommendation that the report makes concerning Israel's nuclear stockpile? According to this report, the US should remedy this perecption of favoritism towards Israel by:

Encourage Israel to initiate a Middle East nuclear restraint effort that would help isolate Iran as a regional producer of fissile materials. [emphasis in original] Israel should announce that it will unilaterally mothball (but not yet dismantle) Dimona, and place the reactor’s mothballing under IAEA monitoring. At the same time, Israel should announce that it is prepared to dismantle Dimona and place the special nuclear material it has produced in “escrow” in Israel with a third trusted declared nuclear state, e.g., the United States. It should make clear, however, that Israel will only take this additional step when at least two of three Middle Eastern nations (i.e., Algeria, Egypt, or Iran) follow Israel’s lead by mothballing their own declared nuclear facilities that are capable of producing at least one bomb’s worth of plutonium or highly enriched uranium in 1 to 3 years. Israel should further announce that it will take the additional step of handing over control of its weapons usable fissile material to the IAEA when:
  • a. All states in the Middle East (i.e., the three mentioned above)dismantle their fissile producing facilities (large research and power reactors, hexafluoride, enrichment plants, and all reprocessing capabilities).
  • b. All nuclear weapons states (including Pakistan) formally agree not to redeploy nuclear weapons onto any Middle Eastern nation’s soil in time of peace. Such arms restraint by deed rather than negotiation should avoid the awkwardness of current Middle Eastern arms control proposals that would have Israel enter into nuclear arms talks with states that do not recognize it and have it admit that it has nuclear weapons―a declaration that would force Israel’s neighbors immediately to justify some security reaction including getting bombs of their own.
From an Iranian persepctive, it must seem to be the height of US hypocrisy to demand that it not have nclear weapons while the US turns a blind eye to Israel's own weapons.

The Army War College report's recommendations would not only go a long way in heading off nuclear confrontation in the Mideast but also provide goodwill with Iran that can stabilize the region.


I do not get why they now openly pressure the Intelligence Community.

Anything that will be produced on Iran from now on will be seen as pressed for propaganda.

It will be as believable as these older predictions:

“Late 1991: In congressional reports and CIA assessments, the United States estimates that there is a ‘high degree of certainty that the government of Iran has acquired all or virtually all of the components required for the construction of two to three nuclear weapons.’ A February 1992 report by the U.S. House of Representatives suggests that these two or three nuclear weapons will be operational between February and April 1992.”

“February 24, 1993: CIA director James Woolsey says that Iran is still 8 to 10 years away from being able to produce its own nuclear weapon, but with assistance from abroad it could become a nuclear power earlier.”

“January 1995: The director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, John Holum, testifies that Iran could have the bomb by 2003.”

“January 5, 1995: U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry says that Iran may be less than five years from building an atomic bomb, although ‘how soon…depends how they go about getting it.’”
/unquote/ - more at:


Dear Col. Lang,
I happen to be of the opinion that Hoekstra resides in a world that closely resembles Weldon - land. He just might have slightly better table manners...


Not intended as a comment on the article but as lessons learned:

Just going by publicly available soruces here are some lessons about tactics.

1: Western armies can no longer count on their infantry having qualitatively superior equiment to guerillas. Body armor, night vision, sophisticated comms have all become cheap enough and ubiquitous enough that guerillas can equip their troops with them.


2: Air power is only as effective as your intellegence on the ground.

The IAF was able to 'shut down' Lebanon quite effectively, but did not put a dent in Hezbollah's ability to fight back or launch rockets.

Unless you can tell your pilots where to hit and when, air power is limited to attacks on things that can be seen on satelite images or on recon flights.

Which brings me to point 3

3: Underground fortifications are effective against air power.

Hezbollah's tunnels and hardend bunkers allowed them to withstand israeli airstrikes, aritllery and armor, and continue to fight.


I'd also say that this proves you should never go to war unless the civilian leadership and population are prepared for it to go badly. Otherwise unexpected developments on the battlefield can lead to panic at home. And panicking civilian leaders (and generals worried about their jobs) don't seem to behave intellegenlty. Witness the calls in Israel for a push to the Litani, or an even more massive air campaign, or attacking Syria or Iran.

Spooky Pete

Couldn't agree more Pat. Not only in the CIA but Australian analysts were asked to fall into line with the WMDs in Iraq policy direction.

Even ex spooks without access could see this abortion of the intelligence process happening.

But for Isreal's will the world could probably live with a nuclear Iran. We're living with Pakistan and that country is potentially unstable as well.



As Justin Raimondo points out in his screed today, the two main reasons US intelligence is blind on Iran are:

a/. Neo-con ally Ahmed Chalabi informed the Iranian government that America was reading all its top secret traffic, and

b/. Valerie Plame, who headed the CIA's efforts to uncover Iran's nuclear programme was, with her entire outfit, outted by Libby and his other neo-con chums.



I think its fairly obvious that we are being set up to bomb Iran. We are demonizing them at present.

If you actually read the report (its on the web) you will find its "self referential". By that I mean look at the source of the conclusions.

"Iran likely has an offensive chemical weapons research and development capability.7"

"• Iran probably has an offensive biological weapons program.8"

The sources are:
"7 U.S. Department of State, Adherence and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament
Agreements, August 2005, pp. 55-56.

8 U.S. Department of State, Adherence and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament
Agreements, August 2005, pp. 20-21."

When you actually go and look at the specified sources, you find language like

"The Iranian BW program has been embedded within Iran’s extensive biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries so as to obscure its activities."

There is no evidence that it has a program, merely the assertion that because it has a biotech industry it could have a BW program. It sops short of saying they posess weapons, merely that they have a capability or a "program".

What will happen now is that the vague assertions of the State department have been amplified by the House Intelligence Committee, and in due course Foxnews and other right wing pundits will announce that Iran posesses CW and Bio weapons, deployable in 45 minutes against Israel, Iraq, Europe and the United States as facts.

As I said, we are being dragged into war.


Col. Lang

re."as Saddam Hussein apparently did concerning his WMD programs"

This is possibly reffering to a point that is often made to me by proponents of the Iraq war which is if Saddam had nothing to hide, why was he placing the limitations, impediments and obstructions on weapons inspector activity in Iraq.
The argument is of course flawed in many ways. First, to believe that the sum knowledge of the intelligence community was based on Saddams prevarcations is juvenile, especially since Hans Blix was reporting that he was coming to the firm conclusion that there were no WMD's (and hence the need to rush to invade before the final report was made to the security council).

Second, the belief that he had WMD's meant sanctions. And Sanctions were a god send to Saddam. He could spin the sanctions as proof that the west were against all Iraqis and bolster his support. Futhermore a population that is too hungry, too ill and too weak, is population easily managed.

Thirdly, we all know, especially from recent events, the importance of perception of power in the ME. A Saddam that allowed the inspectors to go where and when they pleased would have shown him to be emasculated and weak....A position that has terminal effect in the ME.

All of the above have absolutely no relevance to Iran. It gains nothing from pretending to be any further developed in its nuclear capabilities. Unless they were actually pretending to have developed the technology, built the warheads and the delivery system, pretending to further advanced would not be a deterent but a red rag to the bull of White House policy.

I was more intruiged by the line "backed the White House position that Tehran was developing a nuclear weapons program that posed a significant danger to the US, but it chided the intelligence community for not providing enough direct evidence to support that assertion."

What? We believe you even though you can't prove it?

Saddam would be proud.

Re. Comment on military lessons learned in Lebanon. My military knowledge is far too basic to contribute anything worthwile but I wish you luck and hope you can let us know where the article will be published


Comments regarding leadership at the top of the IC are right on! Suggest not just the very top are guilty but you need to go down a few echelons and examine the motives of those people - I am sure they all saw promotions in their future, and many of them, at least in your old organization got them.

The facts did not change...just the forced relooks and analysis until the result was what the policy makers wanted. As far as I am aware, the only news facts were those developed by DIA which in the end all turned out to be INC manipulations.


"What difference in Lebanon would US "Bunker Busters' have made? Re; military lessons from the Lebanon War."

Not much,assuming that they were not actually employed.The problem was finding the bunkers in first place.

"Western armies can no longer count on their infantry having qualitatively superior equiment to guerillas. Body armor, night vision, sophisticated comms have all become cheap enough and ubiquitous enough that guerillas can equip their troops with them."

A very questionable assesment.Hizballah has decent funding, the chechens had soviet depots.
But in general it is almost always a diet of RPG-7s with first generation rounds (which current western MBTs can shrug off at least for the most part), AKMs with standard bullets (which can be stopped by western body armor), old soviet mortars,ZPUs,Grad, recoilless and the occasional Strela.That is what is available to standard guerrilla group because that is what is cheap and abundant, albeit not too much effective.

W. Patrick Lang


The un-neoconned opinions of the IC relative to Iraq were heavily caveated as to what was not known.

The level of uncertainty felt at that time would have made it much more difficult to sell the war.

Tne neocons and their academic acolytes are still pushing the idea that the collective judgment of the IC is valueless and that the function of intelligence is to provide justification for policy decisions already reached on the basis of God knows what. pl


Estimating market price of modern weapons systems is a bit tricky.But AFAIK for a Milan missile, which has been mass produced by the hundreds of thousands, I hear price tags in excess of the ten thousands of dollars.A Reflecks (a russian tank gun barrell fired ATGM) was said to cost as much as a car to make.In the third world that's serious money.


Re:Your Lebanese Lessons Learned paper.

Saw this analysis at European Tribune. Best internet analysis I have seen, except here, and very good maps.

Might help some.


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