Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Petraeus guys

This rather hopeful. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the new U.S. commander in Iraq, is assembling a small band of warrior-intellectuals ("rank is nothing: talent is everything") in an eleventh-hour effort to reverse the downward trend in the Iraq war. We all think we know that Petraeus is a smart guy (no PhD needed for that, of course) and this WaPo article makes something more public than ever: "Essentially, the Army is turning the war over to its dissidents, who have criticized the way the service has operated there the past three years, and is letting them try to wage the war their way." The key guy may well be the Australian Lt. Col David Kilcullen who likes to talk about the war as counterinsurgency rather than counterterrorism; and also likes to talk about maintaining the initiative. This paper by him may help. There is plenty on Kilcullen, et al, including this by George Packer and this from the Australian. Like I said, I’m hopeful. It may be time to smoke a Henry Clay because, as Kipling said, a Clay has a "calming effect."

Discussions - 2 Comments

I think they can pull it off. Only a fool would bet against the professionalism and resourcefulness of America’s men in uniform.

But will they be given a chance???????????? The Dems have a vested interest in defeat and despair. Just like they had in ’Nam. They rode ’Nam and Watergate to clear majorities. They intend to do likewise now. And with Bush in the White House, which of us is to say their plan is foolhardy?

Lt. General Petraeus has four major enemies, besides the muslim enemies. His own high command, the Media, the Democrats and the idiots in the White House. No American General since Lee faced Grant ever had the cards so stacked against him.

Let us all hope and pray that David Petraeus is more than equal to the challenges.

I need to read Kilcullen’s paper again, but we used to know this stuff. Max Boot’s The Savage Wars of Peace shows us that. What may be missing from this analysis are some of the operators behind it. Chris Harmon’s Terrorism Today and Sterling’s TheTerror Network as well as the official British army history of WWII that deals with this topic is very informative. Part of what Kilcullen points out is the use or misuse of information by the enemy. There are marvelous works on how the Nazis and Russians did exactly this in previous generations. Not much has changed. This bleeds into psych-ops. Daniel Lerner’s Psychological Warfare Against Nazi Germany, Hans Speier’s War Aims in Political Warfare as well as The Deception Game are great pieces to help understand how this works. It is too bad that over the years we have lost so much memory of the different facets of how an enemy can eat away at an opponent and how to combat it. Churchill contented that democracies seem to have a natural aversion to continually do what is needed to protect themselves. Interesting that social science is now part of this. There will surely be a reaction among social science types against use of their disciplines to help democracies fight. Indeed, a group of cultural anthropologists have already come out against any of their kin that use their research to facilitate this. Thanks to Peter for posting these article.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/9846