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For consideration and review among peers, MilBloggers and readers may be interested in reading a Center for Threat Awareness report we have written and published at ThreatsWatch. It was clearly inspired by our dissatisfaction with the recommendations present within the Iraq Study Group Report. But we began crafting it only after our equal dissatisfaction in the lack of a comprehensive response with a comprehensive set of alternative recommendations guided by a desire to achieve victory rather than the ISG report's guiding principle of achieving 'success' through negotiation with Iraq's principle outside state instigators and without pressing al-Qaeda in Iraq to its own defeat. There was no shortage of criticism, many with an alternative or two, yet many also without recommendation beyond complaint. But there was seemingly no organized and broad alternative to the ISG's body of work when we began the process.
The introduction to the report can be found here: PrincipalAnalysis: Achieving Victory in Iraq
The Full Text Original Doc is here: Achieving Victory in Iraq
Rather than a withdrawal and handing over of the pursuit of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQAM) and the insurgency to the nascent Iraqi military, we call for a surge and a redefined mission of routing AQAM. Finding value in a regional initiative to support Iraq, we call for such but with the intent and open exclusion of Iran and Syria unless they reverse course, stop importing violence into Iraq and end their terrorist-supporting ways elsewhere. There is absolutely no value in smiling diplomats around a table fantasizing about how Iran and/or Syria are going to assist Iraq's security and stability until such time.
From early on, our first four recommendations (below) address this:
1. Building International Support The United States has the ability to bring a great deal of credibility and substantive incentives to nations not yet committed to Iraq's reconstruction and success. Along with Iraq, the United States should initiate an aggressive effort to find and nurture support from Iraq's neighbors - as well as key regional and international states and international organizations - with the resources available to influence the outcome in Iraq.
RECOMMENDATION 1: The United States and the Iraqi government should invite states to join the effort to resolve the crisis in Iraq as part of an International Select Iraq Support Initiative (ISISI). The initiative should under no circumstances be open to nations suspected or known to be overtly or covertly engaged in actions leading to instability in Iraq. Invitations should be contingent on the agreement of both the US and Iraq, as well as other states taking a leading role in the rebuilding of Iraq. Initial invitations should include: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Australia, and Poland – as well as unofficial representation from the UN, WTO, and the World Bank.
RECOMMENDATION 2: Each nation taking part in the International Select Iraq Support Initiative should be offered diplomatic, economic and/or defense support from the United States and other members. In return, each should offer their national resources to aid in debt relief, reconstruction, security force development, arming and training, and - most significantly - the development of organized professional public and judicial service capabilities necessary to a credible Iraqi government.
RECOMMENDATION 3: The United States should in every way encourage such nations to establish and commit to the defense of Iraq against external threats posed by the jihadiyun ideology, Iranian influence and instigation of sectarian violence and weapons proliferation, Syrian trafficking of weapons or persons participating in the insurgency and other foreign attempts to destabilize Iraq. This should include both incentives – economic and diplomatic – as well as disincentives for states not a party to the ISISI.
RECOMMENDATION 4: Under no circumstances should the ISISI - or any other group of nations expressly aligning to support Iraq - be open to all nations or to organizations not actively and substantially capable of fulfilling its obligations. The United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Arab League and other international bodies should be consulted and engaged where they can assist in resolving the individual interest of independent nations – such as Turkey's concerns relating to a strongly autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, or the greater issues relating to the jihadiyun threat to Islam and non-Muslim peoples.
This section goes on to detail precisely and directly what should be required of Iran and Syria. Also, among our 40 recommendations, you will find that, rather than recommend personal desires of seeing a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and manhandling it into a non-existent Iraq War context, we have chosen to redirect those efforts into a far more important and directly related endeavor in a section titled "Winning The War At Home."
It is not a quick read, nor do we promote it as perfect or bulletproof. We openly acknowledge and stay within the bounds and limitations of our own expertise, access and understanding. However, at the same time we do not feel unqualified to submit the input that we have assembled. We believe that good ideas are not limited to or requiring the traditionally accepted pedigree. To that end, we hope that - agree or disagree with specific conclusions or recommendations - this document can serve as an example of how the average American citizen can contribute constructively to our war efforts in this conflict.
For those MilBloggers and MilBlog readers inclined to consider the Achieving Victory in Iraq report, your review and feedback would be greatly appreciated.All done!
A senior official in the Somali government's new Ministry of the Interior told ABC News government forces had recovered "dozens of foreign passports," including several American passports, on the bodies of al Qaeda fighters killed in combat between forces affiliated with the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and Ethiopian forces in Somalia.
According to the same source, most of the foreign passports were Sudanese, Pakistani and Yemeni, but several American, British and Australian passports were also recovered.
Meanwhile, the cave-hopper is sounding off again.
"We have to get back to the FOB, I hear the News is up!"
Michael Ledeen, in the Corner, reminding us that persuading other countries isn't always binary "diplomats talking or soldiers invading".
Victor Hanson pushes back against some conventional wisdom. "Worn Out" means different things to different people...
'Hawk, I think your point is well taken...and more importantly, the timeline outlined in the links you put together is essential to understanding the "why" for our faltering in that part of the year. (I also learned something; I don't think I will ever look at SFTT the same way again, even though I didn't like it that much when Hack was alive.)
At the time of Abu Ghraib, press reports indicated President Bush's anger at being surprised by the press frenzy, even before the New York Times put the story on the front page for months on end. Recently Secretary Rumsfeld mentioned--at his last town hall meeting--that the worst day of his time as Secretary was when Abu Ghraib came out. I don't know what was going on at CENTCOM but I remember the monomania on the story (as indicated in your timeline) and that can't be good for focusing attention. This kind of turmoil rocks back a leadership team and makes it less effective--and thus the story's hyping, as an information fire, killed many people. (Although imagine the reaction of telling Mapes or Hersh of the blood on their hands!)
Bottom line: The leadership team needs to be hardened to this stuff. It needs to be able to fight through loud but small scale scandal. No scandals are best, yes, but be able to fight hurt in the information sphere or more will die.
The other thing that is worth mentioning is the small scale of the actual bad actions was irrelevant in terms of inflaming sentiment because there was one heck of a force multiplier with pictures and status as newsy entertainment. This is a good reminder of the statement that "any reason will do" to cause riots in Algeria, as one wag put it.
I'm definitely punching above my weight here, but that's my $.02...
-- -- --All done!
Check out the early comments at the link. There are some very, uhhh... interesting people getting their news from ABC.
We almost lost Fallujah because we pulled back. We had to have a Second Battle of Fallujah because our enemy almost got the benefit of our lack of will to be violent. About this time, we had Sadr in our posession and let him go. This weakness is damaging.I'm going into tangential discussion mode off that quote, Chap, because if I had a dollar for every time I've seen someone ask "Why didn't we get Sadr back when?" I would have a wallet too fat to sit on. You aren't asking that question - but you did remind me I've been meaning to respond.
There are several two word answers. The least arguable is "Abu Ghraib".
April 9, 2004, Iraq:
U.S. troops fanned out across Kut, southeast of Baghdad, after meeting little resistance in the city, witnesses said, in a major foray by the American military into the south, where U.S. allies have struggled to deal with the uprising by the al-Mahdi Army, led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.That same day,
...the Article 32 hearing (in which evidence is presented, witnesses are called, and the decision to pursue court martial is made) in the case against Sergeant Frederick was convened.That same day
I [Mary Mapes] got about a dozen photos on Friday, April 9. In Dana's tiny office in New York, we sat grimly and looked at picture after picture. Dan [Rather] came rushing in from across the street and the three of us looked huddled around the desk, flipping through the photographs silently. Jeff Fager and Patti Hassler came to Dana's office to see the pictures and had the same reaction we did. They just stared.Those photos came from Frederick's uncle Bill
"The Army had the opportunity for this not to come out, not to be on 60 Minutes," he said. "But the Army decided to prosecute those six G.I.'s because they thought me and my family were a bunch of poor, dirt people who could not do anything about it. But unfortunately, that was not the case."Later:
The prison abuse story also pushed Sadr's rebellion to the back pages. MajGen Dempsey had backed Sadr and his bruised militia into a corner in Najaf. Instead of arresting him, the Iraqi politicians agreed to let him go free. The reason they gave was that the Coalition could ill afford to make him a martyr at a time when the Arab press was showing the Abu Ghraib pictures as proof that Americans were the oppressors in Iraq. Sadr was allowed to leave Najaf and resume his plotting, with the warrant for his arrest abated.And oh by the way, the hasty decision to abandon the assault on Fallujah was made then, too. All done!
ABC News links, nothing official in my inbox but clearly someone's been talking:
Whole lotta Hussein stuff tonight, but as with most things, I always like to end my night with a game of "What about Watada?"
I love me some puff pieces. There's nothing quite so enjoyable as an article that doesn't even try to play it straight. Take this wonderful piece in WaPo about 1LT Ehren Watada's mother's trip to Capitol Hill on behalf of her shytebag son.
Carolyn Ho is a mother on a mission.
Good start, nice and neutral.
She was acting purely on instinct, wanting to do everything in a mother's power to protect her son. "I'm here to get what I can," said Ho, who is from Honolulu. Dark hair pulled back. Dark eyes that moisten when she speaks of her son. Soft voice. "I'm going to put it out there."
When someone makes to punch you and you flinch, that's acting on instinct on instinct. You don't travel 3000 miles across the country, flanked by "seasoned lobbyists," to engage in a concerted political effort.
On the Hill, Ho handed out information packets. She passed around photos of Watada, who is taller, fuller of face than his mother, but shares her smile.
Not only does he have them pearly whites that only the pure of soul and spirit possess, but Ehren Watada is also a certified sooper-genius:
Her son "based his decision on facts," she said. He studied the war in Iraq and decided it was illegal. He tried to resign and leave the service with dignity, but the Army wouldn't let him. He asked to be shipped to Afghanistan; his request was denied. He was offered a noncombat position in Iraq; he said no thanks.
Y'know, I've studied the facts and have decided that Carrot Top is the greatest actor of the past 30 years. We do get one obligatory paragraph on page 2 outlining the basics of the case against Watada:
Piek said, "He joined the Army and swore an oath, and that includes following the orders of the officers appointed over him. His unit was placed in a stop-loss category, which meant that everybody currently in that unit would deploy. You don't get to pick and choose, especially if you are a junior officer, which places you get to go to."
Pretty much covers it doesn't it? But wait, there's more!
To Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, the situation is more complicated. "The United States talks out of both sides of its mouth," he said. "We've prosecuted soldiers in other countries for following orders to commit war crimes. But God forbid you should use that refusal as a defense in this country."
I hate to break it to Seitz and other lefty donkeynuts, but the act of deployment is not a war crime.
Again and with feeling: The mere act of deploying, even in service of an "illegal" war, is not a war crime. The war might violate international law (it doesn't), but for the soldier, merely setting foot in country is not a war crime. What they order you to do while over there may constitute a war crime, ex: "put this baby on a spike!" (h/t Eddie Izzard), but other than that, just being there isn't a war crime. But Mama Watada nevertheless got kind of the cold shoulder:
...congressional staffers were polite and receptive. She came at an inopportune time, she was told several times. Congress had adjourned for the holidays and there was not much time before the court-martial.
Even Democrats are realizing that promoting mutiny within the armed forces might not be that wise a political move. And for those that want to taste their lunch again on the way up, there's this:
Though Watada's father did not serve in the military, several uncles were in World War II. One of his uncles was killed in Korea. Another relative was in Vietnam. "There is a history of service in our family," he said.
"Selective service," indeed.All done!
I really hate saying this: Don't say I didn't warn you.
By the way, this is not good:
Khalaf told the AP that an arrest warrant had been issued for the captain for having contacts with the media in violation of the ministry's regulations.Not good on free speech issues, and because it leads directly to this:
Hussein told the AP on Wednesday that he learned the arrest warrant would be issued when he returned to work on Thursday after the Eid al-Adha holiday. His phone was turned off Thursday and he could not be reached for further comment.
Hussein appears to have fallen afoul of a new Iraqi push, encouraged by some U.S. advisers, to more closely monitor the flow of information about the country's violence, and strictly enforce regulations that bar all but authorized spokesmen from talking to media.Let me be the first to send this message: FREE JAMIL.
Let me also assure you all the AP welcomed the Jamil Hussein focus - encouraged it, even. It masked the issue of false reports from Iraq. Were six people burned? Probably not. Were four Mosques burned? Demonstrably not. Did one of those Mosques contain 18 people who were killed in the fire (as the NY Times claimed)? No. Were 184 Mosques attacked last February? No again. Does any of this matter now? Nope. This huge victory (in a battle that shouldn't have been fought) in the information war has essentially given the AP a free pass to report anything without fear of question for months to come.
I'll also assure you this "humbling of bloggers" will be very well covered by the media in the weeks ahead. The AP set 'em up with their "he exists because we say so" responses, (in hindsight, this move was exceptionally well played, just before checkmate) and they'll just love knocking 'em dowm.
And most bloggers walked right into the punch.
Update: Nevermind, that's what they've all been saying all along, apparently. I prefer ArmyLawyer's response.
Now that the AP has located him, they might want to ask him why he can't effectively police the neighborhood he is assigned to without substantial US assistance. We've heard a lot of news from Jamil Hussein about how violent his neighborhood is, but we have heard nothing about what he intends to do PERSONALLY to stop the violence in his neighborhood.
Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.Our resident Academy graduate-cum-troll Jadegold queried:
Khalaf offered no explanation Thursday for why the ministry had initially denied Hussein's existence, other than to state that its first search of records failed to turn up his full name. He also declined to say how long the ministry had known of its error and why it had made no attempt in the past six weeks to correct the public record.
"Will we see apologies from the keyboard kommandoes?"If true, then yup. I was wrong. The man exists.
Hat Tip: ArmyWifeToddlerMom.