Monday, October 30, 2006

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.

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