Monthly Archives: October 2007

Gen. Casey on a Crisis in Generalship (Text)

General Casey was asked a question on a Failure in Generalship by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling. Here is his response.

Briefly, I don’t believe that there is a crisis in generalship, and I don’t believe we need Congressional support to help us sort our way through it. Now as I have gone around the army in the first four or five months here I have talked to leaders at all levels. I asked them the question. I got to the level where I talked to a bunch of majors, and I asked them what they thought about the Yingling article. They all kinda go, “we were going to ask you about that.” I said “I asked first.” You get a mixed bag. Some folks think there is a problem. and I will tell you I believe we don’t do as good a job as we need to training our senior leaders to operate at the national level. We do a wonderful job training tactical leaders. and we do a pretty good job training operational level leaders at the corp and division level. but we don’t do a good enough job at that level. That came out loud and clear to me in my transition. and that’s kind of one of the things that Lieutenant Colonel Yingling gets at in his article. From that perspective we recognize that. I’ve already revamped our General Officer training program to start moving us in that direction. i think it’s healthy to talk about it and I’ve directed all of the War College and the Command and General Staff College and all our advanced courses to talk about it. Sit down with the young folks, who have much more experience than we did, at the early times in their career. Find out what they think. and don’t sweep it under the table. Let’s get it out there and talk about it. We are putting out a new doctrinal manual, it will be the first manual since September 11, about how we gonna fight. It’s entitled Full Spectrum Operations. I sat down with about 30 majors out of Leavenworth and I asked them to read it and we talked about it. The insights were striking. so we’ve got a lot to learn from the young folks. They’re very invested in what we’re doing here. We need to continue to seek them out and have a dialogue.

Watch it if you want to hear all the ums, ands, errs I left out.

h/t: SWJ Blog.

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Ralph Peters: 12 Myths of 21st Century War

The SWJ Editors list the bullet points from Peters’ original article over at SWJ Blog (Discussion).

Myth No. 1: War doesn’t change anything.
Myth No. 2: Victory is impossible today.
Myth No. 3: Insurgencies can never be defeated.
Myth No. 4: There’s no military solution; only negotiations can solve our problems.
Myth No. 5: When we fight back, we only provoke our enemies.
Myth No. 6: Killing terrorists only turns them into martyrs.
Myth No. 7: If we fight as fiercely as our enemies, we’re no better than them.
Myth No. 8: The United States is more hated today than ever before.
Myth No. 9: Our invasion of Iraq created our terrorist problems.
Myth No. 10: If we just leave, the Iraqis will patch up their differences on their own.
Myth No. 11: It’s all Israel’s fault. Or the popular Washington corollary: “The Saudis are our friends.”
Myth No. 12: The Middle East’s problems are all America’s fault.

I wouldn’t call these myths since they don’t serve as the foundation of any meaningful belief system, but rather cliched anti-war slogans from the fevered brains of International ANSWER and Code Pink.

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Media Cheerleaders for Despair

In a 4GW like the Counterjihad the world is fighting against Al Qaeda and the other Caliphate gangs, the media are the the means of attack. We cannot afford to have a media with no regard for the obligations of good citizenship. They will amplify the enemy’s message and muffle our own. And yet that is what we have. How did it get this bad?

There are no more Ernie Pyles telling the stories of American grunts from the perspective of the foxhole. Though Geraldo Rivera and other television news stars embedded with American troops in the charge to Baghdad in 2003, reporting positively on the initial blitzkrieg that seized the land with remarkably little bloodshed for a war of conquest, that changed quickly.

During the early days of the occupation the free media attempted to balance the narratives of the conflict “fairly” between the occupier and the occupied. The width of the arrows is intended to represent the amount of copy the media devote to narratives, denoted by color. Compare this to the balance on display in unfree media from Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, and Turkey.

In the initial, quiet months the free media had been influenced by its “peers” in the unfree media of neighboring countries, and had come to believe much of the anti-American propaganda and conspiracy theorizing (about a rash of gang-rapes by American soldiers, random slaughters, white phosphorus and depleted uranium rants, the Plame affair, etc.) that fills Arabic language newspapers of the region. The balance of stories that were allowed through the media filter changed. So too did the stories that were reported multiple times, therefore magnified by media attention.

For a while, the fight had been mostly uneventful except for the looting and all-around lawless behavior from the violent criminals who were loosed from Saddam’s jails as the US invaded. Then it changed. Prompted to some degree by US bungling in the occupation, it became more dangerous, more bitter. The Baathist, Sunni supremacist, Al Qaeda, and the Sadrist and Badrist insurgencies had taken form behind the scenes and were ready to strike.

The troubles came.

Then the New York Times put a different Abu Ghraib photo on the front page every day for over a month. The free media gave up and where Iraq was concerned became an English language equivalent of the Gulf state media.

This is where we are now. The counterinsurgent is almost completely unable to get its message into its home-country media. The insurgent gets its message out easily. Because of the influence of supposed peers, even peers who have no freedom to choose stories as they fit, the quislings in the free media have taken the lead of the unfree media and debased their own product until it is indistinguishable from work produced by media who are under the thumb of despots and prevented by terror from speaking or writing freely.

Trackposted to Nuke’s, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, third world county, Right Truth, The World According to Carl, The Pink Flamingo, The Amboy Times, Dumb Ox Daily News, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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Conflict Map of the Counterjihad

The map is based on the Islamic Insurgency Conflict MapUnited States’ struggle against Jihadist terrorists in Iraq and to a somewhat lesser degree in Afghanistan. It could well apply to other Counterjihad struggles, for example Israel against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Pakistan against Al Qaeda in the Pashtun tribal belt, Turkey against the Marxist PKK, and the Philippines against the Abu Sayyaf guerrillas.

The two fields on the ends of the map are the counterinsurgent democracy on the bottom and the country in the throes of insurgency on the top. The gray represents the neutral populace in both.

The two pentagrams in the middle are the military counterinsurgency and the insurgency. They are killing each other. The counterinsurgency is much more successful at actually killing its enemy than vice versa, as reflected in the width of the arrow. The counterinsurgency also manages to kill some of the semi-legitimate insurgent leaders. But this is not where it stops.

The insurgency not only kills the personnel of the counterinsurgency, but also kills neutral leaders and civilians of its putative own side in order to supply photogenic violence for its media productions. The media productions are the tools the insurgency uses to tell its narrative. The insurgency’s narrative is represented by dark green arrows, and comes from the insurgency itself, from semi-legitimate leaders, and from covert supporters within the populace. For the purpose of this map, the narrative is directed at the democratic populace (for the political effects). However, in reality the narrative is primarily directed at all Muslims in an attempt to radicalize and mobilize them.

Finally, and now we come to the core of the processes this map is intended to represent, we come to the interactions between the Elected Government, the Opposition, the Pro-War and Anti-War Minorities, the Military, and the Populace. The center of this storm is the conflict between the Elected Government and the Opposition which desires to embarrass the Elected Government and throw it out of power, and is willing to go to great lengths to do so. For more on this section of the map, see Democracies at 4GWar.

Trackposted to Nuke’s, Perri Nelson’s Website, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, third world county, Right Truth, Pirate’s Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Big Dog’s Weblog, The Amboy Times, Dumb Ox Daily News, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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4GW Jihad and the role of the World Media

4GW Jihad as it is currently practiced is characterized most often by recording photogenic megaviolence, then propagating the recordings to media channels that primarily serve the Muslim populace, for recruiting, radicalization and morale-building purposes, and secondarily the non-Muslim populace to propagandize against its own government and military. This is not ideal for the Jihadists, as they would prefer killing infidels to fooling them or demoralizing them, but it will do until they can advance to more sophisticated and impersonal methods of killing than beheading a kuffir with a dull knife. But it is good enough for their long-term plans.

F. G. Hoffman described it well in his talk at the Boyd 2007 Conference.

Today’s 24/7 news cycles and graphic imagery produce even faster and higher response cycles from audiences around the globe and offer powerful new “weapons” to those who can master them.

Today, many small groups have mastered “armed theater” and promoted “propaganda of the deed” to arouse support and foment discord on a global scale. There is a plethora of outlets now in the Middle East and an exponentially growing number of websites and bloggers promoting a radical vision. These outlets constantly bombarded audiences with pictures, videos, DVDs, and sermons. Ironically, in Iraq and in the Long War we are facing a fundamentalist movement that is exploiting very modern and Western technologies to reestablish an anti-Western social and political system. The 4GW school, in its initial offering, identified the potential for this phenomena and the associated religious and cultural factors that might inspire it.

The Arabic news channels, jihad bloggers, and other jihad-sympathizing media outlets are capable enough of spreading the jihadist message to the base of radicalized Muslims. However, the world media, Al Jazeera, CNN, BBC, NBC, CBS, and ABC, also serve their part. They are happy to run with jihadist-supplied footage as long as the chain of custody can’t be traced back from the journalist to the jihadist. The world media, by reproducing and distributing the jihadist message all over the world, serves to magnify the jihadist narrative and lengthen the narrative’s lifespan. By doing this they help the jihadists recruit, radicalize, build morale, and raise funds.

Every process in the shown feedback loop helps the Jihadists. Their violence has a direct morale effect on themselves, the US military, and the populace. Their goal is to tyrannize the populace, and violence helps attain that goal. By making media products they combine their most persuasive sermons with photogenic megaviolence, and preserve the greatest hits so they can be heard forever. The media amplifies their message and carries it many places they couldn’t have reached otherwise. The electorate, demoralized by the 4GW Jihad’s narrative might lose faith in the military and want to draw down forces early, or it might panic and pull them back immediately. Either is a victory for the Jihadists, and almost as good for them as sudden death among the counterjihad military.

The result of the process isn’t always as spectacular as two planes destroying the tallest buildings in the US. But as its perfectly achievable goal is to increase the percentage of Muslims who are radicalized and mobilized worldwide, it is even more dangerous. With around 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, every 1% of additional radicalized and mobilized Muslims add up to another 12 million who are ready to kill and be killed for Jihad. Certainly the US cannot so easily recruit 12 million soldiers. Osama Bin Laden has a higher approval rate in Pakistan than Pervez Musharraf, at about 55%. If it is possible for Pakistan, founded 60 years ago as a secular Muslim state, to support the figurehead of Jihadist Totalitarianism and the Global Caliphate movement, then can you be sure that other “moderate” Muslim states cannot be transformed likewise in the next 60 years?

F. G. Hoffman again:

What some of the critics of 4GW have overlooked is the critical importance of the cognitive and virtual dimension of today’s conflicts. I expect several speakers to discuss this today. Now as we all know, T. E. Lawrence and the French expert Galula underscored this same issue in their seminal works. But the speed, frequency, and graphic imagery that is possible today with modern media is simply beyond their comprehension. It may still be beyond most of us. Recent scholarship by Dr. Audrey Cronin has persuasively compared the ongoing cyber-mobilization of Muslims around the world to the French Revolution and the levée en masse. This has profound implications for human conflict in this century as Dr. Cronin has perceptively warns “Western nations will persist in ignoring the fundamental changes in popular mobilization at their peril.”

As long as the “if it bleeds it leads” World Media continues to serve an unquestioning role in spreading Jihadist propaganda worldwide and refusing under the tyranny of multiculturalism to spread or even permit discussion of opposing or alternative views, the Media will assist the Jihadists in the radicalization and mobilization of Muslims, and the creation of a world-wide Muslim majority of Jihadists. Happy day for Osama bin Laden, perhaps. Not so much for the rest of us.

Trackposted to , The World According to Carl, The Populist, The Pink Flamingo, The Amboy Times, The Bullwinkle Blog, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker, and Adeline and Hazel, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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Democracies at 4GWar

Counterinsurgency and Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) are two ways of saying the same thing. War compels an enemy to submit to your will. 4GW is a form of warfare. It is still a technique for compulsion. However, it does not focus directly on the enemy military force but directs a narrative (a storyline which may bear little similarity to the facts) at the enemy population in order to convince them to do something, for example to stop supporting their military. Gunplay, bombing, and other kinetic operations (including security operations, a free press, and free elections) are useful in a 4GW so far as they fit into and reinforce the chosen narrative.

4GW hasn’t been discussed much, but it has been the dominant practical method in major wars for fifty years. Vietnam was a 4GW. The US won the vast majority of kinetic battles convincingly. Even Tet was a disaster for the NVA. But the NVA won the war of the narrative. In the end, the US withdrew and refused to assist South Vietnam against the 1975 North Vietnamese invasion, with the result that 25-30% of Cambodia was murdered by Pol Pot and millions of “boat people” fled Vietnam to escape the reeducation camps and other horrors.

Colonel T. X. Hammes writes:

In January 2002, one ‘Ubed al-Qurashi quoted extensively from two Marine Corps Gazette articles about 4GW. He then stated, “The fourth generation of wars [has] already taken place and revealed the superiority of the theoretically weak side. In many instances, these wars have resulted in the defeat of ethnic states [duwal qawmiyah] at the hands of ethnic groups with no states.”

Essentially, one of Al-Qaeda’s leading strategists stated categorically that the group was using 4GW against the United States—and expected to win. Even this did not stimulate extensive discussion in the West, where the 9-11 attacks were seen as an anomaly, and the apparent rapid victories in Afghanistan and Iraq appeared to vindicate the Pentagon’s vision of hightechnology warfare. It was not until the Afghan and Iraqi insurgencies began growing and the continuing campaign against Al-Qaeda faltered that serious discussion of 4GW commenced in the United States.

In a 4GW war, both militaries direct their strategic narrative against the populace that supports their enemy military. Democracies that fight a 4GW have added vulnerabilities that can lead to defeat in a 4GW much like the US defeat in Vietnam and Israel’s defeat in the 2006 HizbAllah conflict in South Lebanon.

Major Erik Claessen writes:

According to Galula, “The basic tenet of the exercise of political power [is that] in any situation, whatever the cause, there will be an active minority for the cause, a neutral majority, and an active minority against the cause” (italics mine). It takes considerable political interaction to make the neutral majority choose sides. The majority of the counterinsurgent’s electorate is only marginally interested in politics. In a democracy, three types of actors can generate the political interactions necessary to make the neutral majority choose sides on an issue: the government, the opposition, and active minorities. All three must compete to gain media traction because the average constituent either cannot, or will not, handle more than a few political issues, and the media largely decides what those issues are.

I have simplified the situation somewhat in my diagram.

Claessen continues:

“Because rhetorical campaigns are such an integral part of mobilizing public and political support, there is a tendency to oversell the message. The constant temptation to manipulate and distort information frequently leads the public to develop unrealistic expectations about the nature or likely cost or efficacy of military intervention.”

This initial justification for the involvement in COIN becomes a de facto contract between the government and the electorate. The government must abide by this contract or pay a high political penalty. Because the most important terms of this contract are the expected duration, nature, and cost of the counterinsurgency, the insurgent can inflict a political penalty on the government by prolonging the conflict, changing the perception of its nature (e.g., from a “war of liberation” to a “war against imperialist oppression and cruelty”), and/or increasing its cost. None of these require the insurgent to attain military victory.

The second consequence of a government’s decision to undertake COIN is that the political opposition can exploit the conflict for electoral gain. In a democracy, the opposition represents the electorate’s alternative to the government.

As the diagram shows, the opposition will represent both the government and active minorities as too extreme, and itself as the only centrist and reasonable alternative: the compromise party. It is hard to argue with this logic. In addition, the more attention that is paid to the military conflict, the more likely the populace is to respond to emotional arguments and search for a compromise position.

As Claesson points out, this makes a widely disseminated pro-military narrative counterproductive in a democracy fighting a counterinsurgency or a 4GW. The discouraged electorate is the central problem in 4GW for democracies.

Claesson again:

A discouraged electorate can be devastating for the democratic counterinsurgent, akin to destruction of his armed forces. The counterinsurgent must have a strategy to prevent this from happening. However, the three steps that might preclude such discouragement are impossible to take. The counterinsurgent cannot start a war without justifying it to his electorate; he cannot include the opposition in the government and abandon the government’s political priorities for the entire duration of the war; and he cannot curtail the activities of the active minorities that oppose the counterinsurgency.

Yet, as Max Boot points out and Claesson repeats, there is one way to minimize the possibility of a discouraged electorate. Keep it quiet and make sure the conflict is not closely covered in the media. Some ways to keep it quiet are:

  • Use minimal numbers of regular military forces in country.
  • Focus on training mission that can be performed out of country.
  • Leverage indigenous counter-insurgents.
  • Use private military contractors (letters of marque?).
  • Minimal forces cannot protect the media or NGOs in country.

Both the Hammes and Claessen articles are well worth reading. Taken together they show both the dangers and a path out of our current troubles with the 4GW against Al Qaeda, quite possibly a path to victory.

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Hollywood Celebretards

I just started in PJ O’Rourke’s On the Wealth of Nations and there is an apropos quote from Adam Smith concerning overvalued celebs.
   

There are some very agreeable and beautiful talents of which the possession commands a certain sort of admiration; but of which the exercise for the sake of gain is considered … as a sort of public prostitution. … The exorbitant rewards of players, opera-singers, opera-dancers &c are founded upon .. the rarity and beauty of the talents, and the discredit of employing them.

Why exactly we treat these “public prostitutes” as royalty whose every word should be valued as much as precious jewels I do not know.

h/t: Woman Honor Thyself

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