Monday, October 30, 2006

I just finished "The Shining Path" by Gustavo Gorriti...and am reading "The Spider and the Starfish" (on leaderless organizations) and had following thought:
A.Q may not be the "leaderless organization" A.Q 2.0 is supposed to be, but at most a Hybrid (mix of hierarchical and leaderless, or all channel). Think on this:
UBL hand picked the organizations' staff himself, and has great organizational skills and inclinations.
He was determined enuf about this enterprise to rub out Abdel Azzam, strictly over power and not a falling from the faith as far as we know. That is the will to power. How can he change his spots?
All the original big operations, and 911 were centrally planned and directed. The recent big jetliner attack on London airliners was directed from Pakistan, which still seems to be the hub of things.
The pressure on their hierarchy seems to have severely retarded their ability to close big operations like another attack on US.
If they are truly leaderless, non hierarchy organization why are such precautions taken about the leadership, not only UBL? Why react so violently, and personalize the reaction to getting close to people close to him ? Why is UBL being shadowed by bodyguard with orders to kill him to prevent capture?
Why did Zarqwari have to swear allegiance to UBL?
What got me thinking all this is studying Sendero and the central role of Guzman, and the precautions taken to protect him. Perhaps we, or the non-hierarchical enthusiasts among us saw an organization we wanted to see....flat, leaderless, etc. Maybe AQ isn't "Craigslist" of jihadi after all (I never bought stateless).
While I cannot offer a path to victory for the entire country, there is a way to make things better and to start to win it back. Six bullet points:
* The population is the objective for us and the terrorists. Orient on people not on terrain or political goals.
* The bulk of the population cannot be considered terrorists or collaborators, but hostages.
* The Iraqi's will fight to free themselves of the yoke of fear, but they cannot win the fight without a big friend present, and he must guard them and their families as they sleep, not drop by from time to time.
* Start focusing on communities local to our bases that are already friendly and moreover economically tied to us.
* We must begin to offer at least the people who have thrown in their lot with democracy a safe place to sleep at night. This mean US forces must be a constant (not necessarily static) presence in their communities.
* Start extending the security US force live in to these local communities from our bases..in other words don't hide in the Green Zone..spread it. Block by block, village by village. Spread the Green Zone, spread the FOB. A little at a time.
If the Iraqi's see safety, they will flock to it and prosper. We have spent three years reinforcing failure (a national makeover). It is time to change tactics.
I can tell you of friendly communities to this base, but they are being squeezed by militants backed by the Wahabbi (who are buying out their houses one by one, combined with the threat of violence it's very effective). Two of them have already fought off onslaughts. They won't hold out forever on their own, but will fight and win with minimal help.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

We have to get more out of our manpower in Iraq if we are going to win. All over this theater there are combat arms tied down with static security and convoy duty that can and often is performed by non-combat arms. I've seen Air Force maids go out on convoy escort. I've also seen way too many idle bodies around...at the pool, at the MWR (morale rec center), hanging around the PX with no mission. How can we even think about asking for more soldiers when we aren't using the bodies we have?

That's what this blant is about...let's get everyone fully employed, so we can start to win. You could free up a couple of brigades if you recognized that combat support tables of organization are designed for a mechanized Army on the move, and that many personnel will be under-utilized when the Army is static.

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