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Over at BlackFive, I posted a model for understanding COIN Theory.
This came out of a discussion with a fellow at PACOM who was trying to explain all the various systems analysis/emergent theory/organic models that various genuises have come up with over the last few years. I think it captures what each of these has to say, but puts it into a single metaphor that you can visualize. That's what he needed, and it's probably useful for the rest of us also.
TODAY, THE HOUSE Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chaired by Henry Waxman (D-CA) conducted a hearing into "misleading military statements" that followed the death of Pat Tillman and the ordeal of Jessica Lynch. I cannot speak of the Pat Tillman incident, but I can speak to the story of Jessica Lynch.
I spent more than two years of my life studying the battle of An Nasiriyah. I read thousands of pages of government reports and personally interviewed nearly one-hundred of the participants of the battle, including four survivors of the 507th Maintenance Company's ambush, several Marines who came upon the scene of the ambush, a young Marine who worked in the regimental intelligence shop and was responsible for the safekeeping of Jessica's personal effects, and several of the soldiers, sailors, and Marines who were actually involved in her rescue. The results of my research were published last year in Marines in the Garden of Eden.
Following her rescue, unsubstantiated reports abounded, the media made a variety of assertions: Jessica Lynch was a pretty teenage girl who had been subjected to the ravages of an unjust war. She had been sent into battle with inadequate equipment and protection. After taking a wrong turn, Iraqis feigning surrender had ambushed her unit. Yet, she bravely fought off the enemy until she could resist no longer. Because of the incompetence of the leadership in Washington, D.C., she had been taken prisoner by evil Iraqis who did unspeakable things to her.
This was the type of story that had "legs." Every news producer in America salivated when they read the first copy. They knew that their ratings would skyrocket when the story of this fragile American girl was told. This was the type of story that would go down in history.
There was only one problem--most of the story wasn't true.
“On Iraq, the American people want a new direction, and we are providing it,” said Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washingtonvia Wapo - Nov 2005
MURTHA: Well, the Marines in Okinawa -- remember in Somaliavia Reuters- today
Hundreds of people have died in the week of artillery duels and gun battles between allied Somali-Ethiopian forces and rebels frustrating the government's bid to restore central rule in the Horn of Africa country for the first time in 16 years.
Senator Murray - Somehow I doubt the American people want to create another Somalia...of course there is someone who would like another SomaliaParagraph #274 9/11 Commission Report
In August 1996, Bin Ladin had issued his own self-styled fatwa calling on Muslims to drive American soldiers out of Saudi Arabia...... It praised the 1983 suicide bombing in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. Marines, the 1992 bombing in Aden, and especially the 1993 firefight in Somalia after which the United States “left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you
...at Op For.
And damned if it doesn't seem like my first post from my first trip to Iraq is still valid today. (Back then, the talking points were that we had lost, and that there was no way we could hold elections in Iraq.)
Off the war topic: Meet Kelly Bruno.
From The Hill:
President of Iraqi relief organization calls on Dems to rethink withdrawalsNo word on whether Reid has sent an email.
The president of the Iraqi Red Crescent, the only relief organization operating in Iraq, is calling on the Democratic-led Congress to rethink its troop withdrawal strategy and recognize that Iraq suffers from a worsening humanitarian crisis.
In Washington for a series of advocacy meetings in Congress, Said Hakki, the president of the Iraqi Red Crescent, expressed concern that by setting a withdrawal timetable, the U.S. would abandon Iraq at the height of a humanitarian crisis.
“It is important that Congress identifies that there is a humanitarian crisis in Iraq,” Hakki said in an interview with The Hill. “If they agree there’s a crisis, let’s not have America be a problem but the solution.”
The Iraqi Red Crescent Society or Organization, as it is often referred to, is an auxiliary arm of the Iraqi government and is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Insisting that he is not a politician, Hakki — a U.S. citizen who spends most of his time in Iraq’s red zones — is pushing for a time-out in what he calls the “partisan squabble” over the U.S. troop withdrawal timetable.
“Let’s not talk about differences, but about what we can agree upon,” Hakki said. If Congress agrees that there is a humanitarian crisis, he asked, “is it justified to set a timetable and leave all those people in a dire position, worse than they were [before 2003]?”
Well said, Chap. And a good point from Legion in the comments, too.
Stories of real heroism have been lost in the hype of the Lynch story and the Cindy Sheehan story. (We should note that in Pvt Lynch's case this is through no fault or action of her own.)
Casey Sheehan's story here.
Here's a name most people haven't heard either:
Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester fought her way through an enemy ambush south of Baghdad, killing three insurgents with her M-4 rifle to save fellow soldiers' lives -- and yesterday became the first woman since World War II to win the Silver Star medal for valor in combat.
The 23-year-old retail store manager from Bowling Green, Ky., won the award for skillfully leading her team of military police soldiers in a counterattack after about 50 insurgents ambushed a supply convoy they were guarding near Salman Pak on March 20.
Anyone who believes the Democrats have a workable plan for Iraq should probably read the fine print on their surrender bill:
Negotiators Agree on War-Funding PackageWhich is what the troops there today are doing.
House-Senate Bill, Which Sets Timetable for Troop Withdrawal, Likely to Face Veto
House and Senate negotiators reached agreement yesterday on war-funding legislation that would begin bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq as early as July, setting a goal of ending U.S. combat operations by no later than March.
After combat forces are withdrawn, some troops could remain to protect U.S. facilities and diplomats, pursue terrorist organizations and train and equip Iraqi security forces.
No details as to how few troops would be left to perform this mission - or how the lucky bastards would be chosen.
(But I'll bet Harry Reid knows a bunch from Nevada he'd like to offer...)
As Harry Reid declares the effort "lost", soldier's in his home state are preparing for Iraq :
Las Vegas reserves disagree with ReidMore below the fold - or read the whole thing. Near the end you'll find that "Reid was unavailable late Friday to respond to the soldiers' views." However, an assistant did send them an email expressing the Senator's gratitude for their service, understanding of their sacrifice and the effect on their families, and a statement that the effort has failed and "will not lead to success in Iraq."
"We're not losing this war."
That's how a Las Vegas Army Reserve sergeant and Iraq war veteran who is heading out again for Operation Iraqi Freedom reacted Friday to Nevada Sen. Harry Reid's assessment that the war in Iraq is "lost."
"I don't believe the war is lost," Sgt. George Turkovich, 24, said as he stood with other soldiers near a shipping container that had been packed for their deployment to Kuwait.
The soldiers leave today for a six-week training stint at Camp Atterbury, Ind., before heading overseas to run a camp in support of the war effort. It is uncertain if their yearlong tour will take them to Iraq.
"Unfortunately, politics has taken a huge role in this war affecting our rules of engagement," said Turkovich, a 2001 Palo Verde High School graduate. "This is a guerrilla war that we're fighting, and they're going to tie our hands.
"So it does make it a lot harder for us to fight the enemy, but we're not losing this war," he said.
For the most part, the 50-plus soldiers from a detachment of the Army Reserve's 314th Combat Service Support Battalion expressed similar views about Reid's war-is-lost comments this week. They respectfully disagreed with the Democrat.
All volunteers, they were upbeat and excited about the deployment. Some said they were nervous and were trying not to dwell on leaving their families for a year.
Spc. Marvin Castillo, 31, said he hoped to be back next year in time for his son's second birthday in June.
"It's very hard," he said. "The best thing to do is not think about it."
Pfc. Joshua Nance, 18, said he feels Las Vegas supports the troops going to Iraq. "As far as everybody I've ever run into, yes, they support us. Absolutely."
While the soldiers discussed their views on the war at the Army Reserve facility on East Sahara Avenue, Reid, the senate majority leader, delivered a speech on the Senate floor, responding to criticism from Bush.
"The partisans who launched attacks on my comments are the same ones who continue to support a failed strategy that hurts our troops," Reid said.
Once again - Scott Ott satire becomes reality.
If you're an active duty troop, now might be a good time to sign the Appeal for Courage.
Michelle Malkin has been collecting responses from the troops.
And I'll be there soon enough myself. Will keep you posted.
In the eyes of Turkovich, who served as an infantryman with the 82nd Airborne Division for seven months each in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mission is nearing completion but is not over yet.All done!
"Our mission statement when we first went into Iraq was to get Saddam out of power and stand up a new government and a new army," Turkovich said.
"We've gone in there. Saddam is now out of power, and we've stood up a new army and we've stood up a new government," he said. "Now we're just kind of the crutch, nursing it along for right now, and hopefully they'll be able to get off those training wheels soon and they'll be able to stand for themselves."
The 314th's stateside commander, Lt. Col. Steven Cox, said the political controversy swirling around the war "does weigh upon us because the representatives are supposed to represent American sentiments."
"I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that the American people would leave their military dangling in the wind the way the good senator is doing," Cox said.
"Defeatism ... from our elected officials does not serve us well in the field," he said. "They embolden the enemy, and they actually leave them with the feeling that they can defeat us and win this.
Cox said he's "not sure the senator accurately echoes the people he represents. ... I believe his tactics are more of shock in trying to sway public opinion. He may have spoken out of turn."
The lieutenant colonel, who experienced firsthand the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, said the military "never sets timelines. If we establish a timeline, all the enemy has to do is make us miss that timeline, and they can claim victory regardless of the outcome from there.
Reid was unavailable late Friday to respond to the soldiers' views.
In an e-mail, Reid spokesman Jon Summers wrote that the senator "has the greatest respect for our troops and is grateful for their service."
"He understands the sacrifices they make and the effects felt by their families when they are called to serve overseas," Summers said.
"That is why he believes we owe it to them to give them all the resources they need and provide them with a strategy that is worthy of their sacrifices," he wrote. "Military generals, the American public, and a bipartisan majority of Congress all agree that to stay the course of the president's failed strategy fails our troops and will not lead to success in Iraq."
I'm seeing in some of the comments a little more bad intent assumed for the PVT Lynch story than perhaps is warranted. One of the primary reasons this story went down the way it did back in '03 was the heroism of SGT Donald Walters.
Initial reports are always wrong and always believed. In this case, as is apparently customary, information was leaked to the press--but the spectacular fighting and untimely death of SGT Walters (who was captured, fought as a wounded lion, and finally shot in the back) got the wrong attribution initially. At that point the "attractive blonde in trouble" alarm, which forces all networks to change their programming exclusively to the ABiT until the next one comes along, went off.
Please remember SGT Walters, a cook in a convoy who did what he should not have had to do.
In case you didn't know, the latest causalities from Iraq came through the wire.
Nine U.S. soldiers were killed and 20 wounded Monday in a suicide car bombing against a patrol base northeast of the capital in Diyala province, a volatile area that has been the site of fierce fighting, the military said.Did you notice what I noticed? Follow the link and look over the full article.
The attack came on a day when insurgents struck across Iraq, carrying out seven other bombings that killed at least 48 people.
Of the 20 wounded in the attack on Task Force Lightning in Diyala, 15 soldiers were treated and returned to duty while five others were evacuated to a medical facility for further care, the military said. An Iraqi civilian was also wounded.
Identities were not released pending notification of relatives.
Know this, the pictures that go with stories are carefully picked from a broad and deep selection - and approved by an editor. There are few mistakes. In case you missed it, in addition to unrelated pictures taken by stringers of a Iraqi mourner - there is only one picture of an American in the article - U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. This is a larger picture of the one they chose for him to represent the US side of the death of 9 soldiers.
Disgusting smarmy a55hats at the AP. In case they change it later, here is the screen cap. Why do they think no one will notice? Why do they think it is funny? I think I know why - and it makes me sick.
Cross posted at CDR Salamander.
Pfc. Jessica Lynch, rescued Tuesday from an Iraqi hospital, fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldiers after Iraqi forces ambushed the Army's 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition, U.S. officials said yesterday.A bit further down, a long-forgotten admission that those same "anonymous officials" cautioned the reporters:
Lynch, a 19-year-old supply clerk, continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and watched several other soldiers in her unit die around her in fighting March 23, one official said. The ambush took place after a 507th convoy, supporting the advancing 3rd Infantry Division, took a wrong turn near the southern city of Nasiriyah.
Several officials cautioned that the precise sequence of events is still being determined, and that further information will emerge as Lynch is debriefed. Reports thus far are based on battlefield intelligence, they said, which comes from monitored communications and from Iraqi sources in Nasiriyah whose reliability has yet to be assessed. Pentagon officials said they had heard "rumors" of Lynch's heroics but had no confirmation.Do we really need a congressional inquiry to figure this one out?
We wouldn't if the reporters hadtaken that caution seriously:
Hours after the Post account appeared, Col. David Rubenstein, commander of the Army hospital in Germany where Lynch was taken, was widely quoted as saying that medical evidence did "not suggest that any of her wounds were caused by either gunshots or stabbing." On April 4, a Post story from the Lynch home in West Virginia quoted her father, Greg Lynch Sr., as saying, "The doctor has not seen any of this. There's no entry [wounds] whatsoever."Damn those named sources! They ruin everything!
Here's the first "morph" - from June, 2003:
Initial news reports, including those in The Washington Post, which cited unnamed U.S. officials with access to intelligence reports, described Lynch emptying her M-16 into Iraqi soldiers. The intelligence reports from intercepts and Iraqi informants said that Lynch fought fiercely, was stabbed and shot multiple times, and that she killed several of her assailants.That includes this gem:
"She was fighting to the death," one of the officials was quoted as saying. "She did not want to be taken alive."
The Post's initial coverage attracted widespread criticism because many of the sources were unnamed and because the accounts were soon contradicted by other military officials.
It became the story of the war, boosting morale at home and among the troops.Because, you know, that whole march up to Baghdad thing was really killing morale. And it became "the morale-boosting story of the war" for the few hours before it was refuted by the military?
Months later, in an interview in conjunction with the release of her book, Lynch spoke with Diane Sawyer:
But she told Sawyer that she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that her gun had jammed during the chaos.And the myth was complete.
"I'm not about to take credit for something I didn't do," she said.
"I did not shoot - not a round, nothing. I went down praying to my knees - that's the last thing I remember."
Initial reports also suggested that Miss Lynch had been abused after she came round in the hospital. She says that again was untrue - there was no mistreatment, and one nurse used to sing to her.
She said she was grateful to the American special forces team which rescued her but, asked whether the Pentagon's subsequent portrayal of her rescue bothered her, she said: "Yes, it does. They used me as a way to symbolise all this stuff. It's wrong."
Fast forward to today's Washington Post:
"The truth, the truth, this is only a search for the truth," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference in San Francisco. "It's about holding this administration accountable for the message that it sends out. ... It's about reality."The supreme irony - prior to Nanvy Pelosi and the "House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform", the only politician I can recall "using" Jessica Lynch is West Virginia's own Robert Byrd back in May, 2003:
Lynch, a 21-year-old former Army supply clerk, became one of the most visible faces of the war when she was rescued from an Iraqi hospital after being captured by Iraqi forces April 1, 2003. Eleven U.S. soldiers were killed where her convoy was attacked, and six, including Lynch, were captured.
Her videotaped rescue by special forces branded Lynch a hero at a time the U.S. war effort seemed bogged down. It also stirred complaints of government media manipulation.
"We just fought a war that didn't need to be fought," he says, sitting on a white armchair in his Senate office.All done!
...Byrd denounced Bush for donning a military flight suit and flying on a fighter jet to the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to announce the war's end.
"We have a young lady over at Walter Reed from Palestine, West Virginia -- Jessica Lynch. I went over to see her some days ago. She has two broken legs." He raises his left arm. "This arm was almost immobile. Shoulder blade broken. Back broken. She was wearing a headband to cover a wound in her scalp."
He pauses dramatically. "The difference was so striking. There was a real hero -- wounded, traumatized, doesn't remember how it all happened. That's a real hero. And there are at least 145 real heroes, men and women who gave their lives. Contrast that with someone who flies in on a jet. It was a stunt flight. It's all political. It'll be used as a picture in the campaign for president."