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23 April 2015

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Patrick Bahzad

What shit do you mean ?

Patrick Bahzad

pl,

Thx for the link to your 2009 piece on COIN ! Excellent summary of lessons to be learnt from this theory. I wasn't on SST on that time so it just made for a fascinating read, especially as it is in line with the current view we have now of the COIN operations we undertook back in 50s and 60s.
The crucial element one needs to understand is that the escalation inherent to any COIN operation always ends with total mobilization of the population controlled by the insurgents. And there you hit the glass ceiling ... Where you go from there ? Actually, nowhere militarily !
If anything COIN buys you time, if applied correctly and with sufficient safeguards. Time to create a balance of power more favorable to you and then negotiate a political settlement that is more favorable to your interests than anything you may achieve militarily.
In that sense, COIN is not an solution in itself, it can only work as a means to an end.

turcopolier

Patrick Bahzad

I can understand that for a local government the time bought for the emergence of a national ethos can be useful even if the time is measured in centuries. For a foreign interventionist power, centuries are no longer available. pl

VietnamVet

Colonel,

The current crop of elite knaves and charlatans is just as bad as the aristocracy of lore. There was period when to keep their heads they moderated their thievery under the threat of an uprising by the people and to draft young men into mass armies to protect and expand their estates. No more. As always, the elite think it can’t happen to them. Thus, their belief in the efficacy of drones, surveillance, media marketing, and the basic worthlessness of others.

turcopolier

VV

Worse than what the old upper class had become by WW2. pl

Patrick Bahzad

True,
And the time factor is an issue we haven't fully taken into consideration when projecting success/failure scenarios. The acceleration of time makes it difficult to plan for anything longer than a short kinetic campaign ... All the opposite of the prerequisites for a successful COIN campaign. One more element in the equation and discussion !

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt reflected an upper crust that was concerned for their country and society. The American Civil War and World War II in many ways reflected a society fighting wars based on meritocracy and with leaders who knew they could be defeated and who had served in earlier wars (Grant and Marshall/Eisenhower). Today, nobody has learned a damn thing after quarter century of a hot, cold, hot, warm, then hot again war in Iraq. All that matters is more money and power; not peace.

Fred

MRW,

Money doesn't matter when the Ivy League grads will not fulfill their obligations to our society.

elaine

I imagine COIN could have made some impact in Afghanistan prior
to the Taliban being hardened by ISIS. I see no alternative
to defeating ISIS other than to match force with force. Could COIN
be utilized in Iraq/Syria? How do see that tactic working on people
who allow the wholesale destruction of their own cultural heritage, i.e. Nineveh, Mosul, etc

confusedponderer

Re: "Seppuku"

The European (Prussian/Russian) way would have been to put a bullet in ones head (unasked). In Japan, managers who screwed up big time, iirc jumped off skyspcrapers to redeem themselves.

However dysfunctional and unhealthy these approaches are in many ways, at least they indicate the taking of personal responsibility for failings and failures. You don't see that often anymore in US policy, military or business.

If one takes the German business code, written a long time ago, and revised several times since, and reads how it describes the job of a Geschäftsführer or CEO, the thing that dominates the function still is fiduciary duty - to the creditors first and the owners second: First meet your obligations and then divvy up the loot.

It is in that context that bankruptcy was considered shameful - in that context it constituted a breach of trust. It was deemed shameful because the duty of a CEO entails folding early to prevent this from happening. That is why delaying bankruptcy in knowledge of insolvency carries criminal penalties - it harms the creditors and the owners and it is the duty of a CEO to see this coming and limit THEIR losses. It isn't only about shareholder value at all.

Whenever I told business students about that their eyes glazed over. It isn't part of their curriculum I presume. My impression always was that the only reason they took law courses was because they had to. When I visited one of these courses, in the introduction lecture one student asked the professor if he needed to be there, or if there was a script he could use it to learn for the exam.

But hey, since you can be born again any time nowadays, why bother? Witness the return of those who bankrupted US Iraq policy as advisors to presidential candidates and 'experts' on TV. Likewise, we haven't heard, read or seen the last of Petraeus.

turcopolier

Elaine

It doesn't appear to me that you have a clear concept of what COIN means. Can you describe it? pl

elaine

Am I in trouble? I think of COIN as combining both a military & civilian
force/approach to stop an insurgency. "Winning hearts & minds" may sound too
cute to be effective but without the support of the general population how can you get them to rise up against a totalitarian insurgency? If the general population does not rise up & support the military then it would seem
to me (as the case in Afghanistan) the Taliban & ISIS win.

That's why last year I suggested "seducing" the population by playing their ethnic music over loudspeakers & flying kites in mass to remind them of some
joy from their past, to give them some romance to build on. In the case of Afghanistan it just was done wrong. The military can't just build things, ie,
schools, hospitals, etc, the military has to employ the locals & build what they want so the population feels invested. For any type of COIN to be effective the military cannot prop up corrupt local leadership & when corruption becomes apparent action must be taken. I view COIN as a supplementary tactic to hard core kinetic push back not as an overall strategy.

turcopolier

Elaine

It appears that you think that COIN is being nice to the natives. Try reading this. http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2009/12/counterinsurgency-a-much-failed-strategy.html

pl

 Ishmael Zechariah

CP,

Thanks for bringing "shame" into the discussion. Shame used to go with honour, but obviously does so no longer. Down thread VietnamVet states that Petraeus was subjected to "some media shaming". Can Petraeus, Clintons, and other members of the current elite, proven liars who blatantly keep on lying in a very public manner, feel "shame" in the classical sense? I wonder what will happen to society when all such constructs are removed without being replaced.

Ishmael Zechariah

elaine

Colonel Sir, I fully acknowledge your experience & intellect
are far superior to mine so I don't wish to get into a big disagreement with you. One sentence from your link that perhaps gives a little hope for COIN: "The sad truth is that most people
do not want to be deprived of their ancestral ways & will fight to defend them." In the case of Afghanistan aren't kite flying
& ethnic music "ancestral ways"? Couldn't we have built on those simple joys in some manner? All the while trying to diminish other
ancestral ways i.e. child brides, dancing boys, honor killings, sectarian intolerance, more recently soccer, etc.

In hindsight perhaps we should have backed the USSR when they went into Afghanistan.

different clue

VietnamVet,

Wasn't FDR deeply hated by almost every other member of his own social class, the Upper Crust? Didn't they universally condemn Roosevelt as a "traitor to his class"?

turcopolier

Elaine
"In hindsight perhaps we should have backed the USSR when they went into Afghanistan" I see. Cultural transformation trumps everything for you. pl

turcopolier

Elaine

Brace yourself for the news that most people out in the 3rd World DO NOT WANT TO BE LIKE US or our European cousins. They like their own ways. They do not like ours and they think we are funny with all our baloney about democracy. They only like democracy when it benefits their sub-group. They find our prattle about corruption to be amusing and believe it to be hypocritical. Sometimes it is that. They think the way they treat women is their business, not ours and as I wrote a lot of them are willing to fight us over our idea that we can make them be like us. That is why the Pushtuns and various groups of Iraqis, etc fight us so hard. We have tried now since 9/11 to transform these people and a lot of Americans have died or been horribly hurt in the process. Where would you like to try next? The whole Kodak Moments approach to COIN has been tried by the US many times. The Green Berets are particularly good at this. I am one and a member of two Montagnard hillmen tribes in Vietnam and Laos. The Montagnard tribes in SE Asia accepted us as their allies against the Vietnamese because the Vietnamese on both sides simply wanted to get rid of the Montagnards because they were not Vietnamese and would never be. Are you in favor of unending war against those who do not accept to be like us? pl

William R. Cumming

The Cumming thesis: NO WAR IS WINNABLE! But 100 years down the road form a war's "end" analysis of costs and benefits in the realm of possibility but seldom done. Pick a war and will demonstrate my thesis [usually contradicts many histories IMO}!

turcopolier

WBS

"NO WAR IS WINNABLE!" Ask the Germans or Japanese if they were defeated in WW2. pl

Babak Makkinejad

The Mongols won against the Russian principalities, the Chinese Empire, the Kingdom of Korea, the Khwarizm Empire, the various principalities in what is today Iran and destroyed the Abbasid Khaliphate.

They helped themselves to the booties of war: gold, fabric, women, and slaves.

They and their progeny stayed on top in the conquered territories for 220 years or more.

Did you ever take a class in Asian History?

Babak Makkinejad

Their ancestral ways included having sex with young boys.

In regards to your last sentence; I think I read Wayne Wright stating that the last government in Afghanistan = that of Dr. Najib - was the best government that Afghans have ever had.

Yet everyone except Russia and possibly India wanted it gone - sort of like Qaddafi's government later.

Many years ago I suggested on this forum what it would take to rule a modern Muslim polity by an external non-Muslim power without restoring to such true and tested methods as annihilation of major cities:

The President and his family, the War Minister and his family, the Foreign Minister and his family and a few other such officials must convert to Islam and go live in that country for the duration of the war and sometime after.

turcopolier

Babak

"Their ancestral ways included having sex with young boys." Yes. Many folkways are deplorable but not worth fighting over. pl

Matthew

Col: I dont excuse Calley and Medina. I just mentioned that the jungle fighting--not the massacre--seemed particularly horrible with hidden snipers and booby traps everywhere.

turcopolier

Matthew

"... hidden snipers and booby traps everywhere." John Wayne movies and the BS of returned draftees seeking sympathy aside it really was not like that. We fought them. They fought us and the villagers and city people wanted to stay out of the way to the extent that either side would allow them to do so. Boredom was the major threat to most US soldiers in VN, that and cheap heroin made available by the VC apparat at bargain prices. Oh, yes, then there was VD from the masses of women who were looking to make a few dollars whenever they could. You had to be unlucky and caught in a billet bombing in the cities or in an actual combat unit and out in the field looking for the enemy to be at risk most of the time. pl

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