24 April 2007

That 20% of victory smells like defeat to Sen. Reid

So lets say that you are Sen. Reid and needing to grasp at straws. In this Dana Bash interview, Sen. Reid tells us that he will not believe Gen. Petraeus when he tells him how things are going on in Iraq! Yes, he is such a lovely man, that Sen. Reid, probably set to do is great 'Karnak' bit, with putting an envelope to his head and foretelling doom and gloom. The Senator also boldly declares that Gen. Petraeus has said that the military is only '20%' of the solution in Iraq. Yes, indeedy, you do say that... but what is interesting is that it was Gen. Abizaid that said that. From Jim Hoagland, WaPo on 14 JAN 2007, who I got via the simple search of: petraeus "20 percent". And here is where it crops up:

The appointment of Petraeus is another indication of Bush's willingness to go on the offensive and his dissatisfaction with the cautious, bureaucratic approach taken to the Iraqi campaign by Gen. John Abizaid, who is departing as head of Central Command. Abizaid's repeated protestations to Bush and his national security team that military means could provide only 20 percent of what was needed to make Iraq secure wore thin in White House meetings, officials who were there have told me.
Now, I am looking around for the *real* Gen. Petraeus quote on that. Which comes from America Abroad Media, with an interview with the General on 17 SEPT 2006:
I: I wanted to get to the idea that counterinsurgency is 20-percent military, 80-percent political and sort of how that plays out.

R: Well that’s a--a common feature of counter-insurgency literature and--and Doctrine and has--has been for years. But it--well it’s--it’s from David Galula’s classic book, which in fact is read by all of the students at the Command and General Staff College, where I might add we had gone from having about five-percent of the curriculum of the average Command and General Staff College student covering counter-insurgency to over 40-percent and even higher depending on the electives. But Galula’s book--a number of others all certainly and you can certainly debate whether the percentage is 20/80 or 30/70 or who knows what but--but clearly there has to be a primacy of the political aspects. At the end of the day that’s what this is about--it is about helping another nation in this case forge a sense of political community, of unity, of moving forward together and then improving in the economic realm, improving in the realm of basic services, improving in terms of--of security, of justice, and all of the other aspects that any society aspires to enjoy.
Now, considering that Gen. Petreaus re-wrote the book on Counter-Insurgency, this is obviously interesting. So that 20-30% is first and foremost standard COIN training from classical literature on the subject, and, secondly, the other aspects are in the Nation being helped by the COIN work. The rest of that work is helping that Nation: stand up a viable and healthy political system, help the communities of that Nation coalesce into a National whole, improving the economic capability of that Nation so it can meet basic needs and provide good jobs, and ensuring that security is provided for safety and yet does not trample on justice.

Perhaps Sen. Reid was thinking of something else?

Suddenly that 20% is an *integrated* 20% which cannot be removed without the other 80% falling down. They are NOT separate pieces but an interlocking whole to make things work in tandem.

And then from Gen. Petraeus some insight as to what is necessary to facilitate that work:
I: In very clear terms – for listeners who at this point may see it as being very amorphous – who are the insurgents? Who are we fighting in Iraq and--and Afghanistan as well?

R: Well I’ll--I’ll leave Afghanistan to those who have served there and although I’ve visited there I would again defer to those who have been on the ground for extended periods. But certainly in Iraq the challenges right now are on the one hand the insurgents with whom we’ve been grappling and with whom the Iraqi Security Forces have been grappling since certainly mid-2003 but now also sectarian militias that have very much become active particularly in the wake again of the Gold Dome Mosque bombing on Samara when the third holiest shrine in Shia Islam was--was devastated by an explosion by--by insurgents we believe. And it was a time when as a result Shia militia in particular became much, much more active than they had been before and that has complicated things enormously. The insurgents certainly are a mix of some that are just literally religious extremists who will never reconcile with the kind of government that--that and society that Iraqis are--are striving to forge. There are certainly some former Saddam(ists), former regime members who again also will never have a place in--in the new Iraq. And there are--no there’s also a--a violent criminal element that has taken--taken advantage of the absence of the rule of law in certain parts of the country. Those are the kinds of challenges again that our Soldiers are--are contending with and that the Iraqi Security Forces and the Iraqi government as a whole are having to come to grips with and certainly Prime Minister Maliki’s initiative to reconcile with those Sunni Arabs in particular who felt that they did not have a place in the new Iraq is a very significant step forward and then the--the government will certainly have to come to grips with the militias who have caused such bloodshed, again particularly in the last six months or so.
It appears that in Iraq getting the *political* part of the mix along with the *security* part is necessary. In point of fact if you abandon the latter you do not get the former. Without fighting the Ba'athists, sectarian militias, and general plain thugs and killers-for-hire sorts, you don't GET the political part as there is no feeling of safety to take action, politically. And then the good General is asked if there is anything that people should know about what is going on:
I: Great; I feel like we’ve hit upon a lot of things. Is there anything in particular that you feel like people should know about? That often is overlooked?

R: Yeah; the Army’s response has been absolutely comprehensive and--and I think it’s very, very important to recognize that; this is not just the publication of--of a Manual; it’s not just changing the training at the National Training Center; it’s not just tweaking courses in the Command and General Staff College. It is across our Army. Our Chief of Staff charged those of us who are--are in this business in the institutional side of the Army to take an absolutely holistic approach and we have; so it’s all of our Doctrinal Manuals that are getting the--the re-look, the refinement--perhaps in some cases completely new Manuals. It’s all of our Commissioned, Non-Commissioned and Warrant Officer courses; it’s the training at each of our Combat Training Centers and even the Virtual Combat Training Center which uses simulations which used to be very, very exclusively kinetic. They were exclusively attrition models but now there’s even a non-kinetics effects model that has been developed and is being used on--on a larger basis. It is the capturing of observations, insights and lessons from what’s going on down range and providing those back and exploiting knowledge management tools to do that now as well, so that you can send them back with the touch of a send-key, so that you can share them in virtual communities and--and cyberspace and secure military networks. It’s revamping the organizational structures of our Army and it is adding certain Units that we need more of and then in some cases reducing numbers of others. So this is a very, very again comprehensive approach; it has been ongoing now for--for certainly for several years. We have a while to go but there has been very substantial progress that has been made in this effort.
Just some things that he sees as important to understand about how things are going. Which is a total overhaul of Doctrine, Training, feedback, organizations, networks, unit types and deployment, and turning that into a continual feedback environment. You know, not 'staying the course'? The thing that is harped on by so many critics. Guess things have not been staying the course for awhile now, but they just can't seem to pick up on that.

So what is it that Sen. Reid is thinking of? Surely not pure domestic politics? Because that has NO PLACE in outlook for the Foreign Affairs of the Nation. That was determined by the Supreme Court some time ago in the ruling on US v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp.! This lovely ruling was handed down on 21 DEC 1936 and puts down the Law of the Land when addressing who can and cannot do Foreign Policy for the United States:

(2) The powers of the Federal Government over foreign or external affairs differ in nature and origin from those over domestic or internal affairs. P. 315.

(3) The broad statement that the Federal Government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as are necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs. In that field, the primary purpose of the Constitution was to carve from the general mass of legislative powers then possessed by the States such portions as it was thought desirable to vest in the Federal Government, leaving those not included in the enumeration still in the States. Id.

(4) The States severally never possessed international powers. P. 316.

(5) As a result of the separation from Great Britain by the Colonies, acting as a unit, the powers of external sovereignty passed from the Crown not to the Colonies severally, but to the Colonies in their collective and corporate capacity as the United States of America. Id.

(6) The Constitution was ordained and established, among other things, to form "a more perfect Union." Prior to that event, the Union, declared by the Articles of Confederation to be "perpetual," was the sole possessor of external sovereignty, and in the Union it remained without change save insofar as the Constitution, in express terms, qualified its exercise. Though the States were several, their people, in respect of foreign affairs, were one. P. 317.

(7) The investment of the Federal Government with the powers of external sovereignty did not depend upon the affirmative grants of the Constitution. P. 318.

(8) In the international field, the sovereignty of the United States is complete. Id.

(9) In international relations, the President is the sole organ of the Federal Government. P. 319.

(10) In view of the delicacy of foreign relations and of the power peculiar to the President in this regard, Congressional legislation which is to be made effective in the international field must [p306] often accord to him a degree of discretion and freedom which would not be admissible were domestic affairs alone involved. P. 319.

(11) The marked difference between foreign and domestic affairs in this respect is recognized in the dealings of the houses of Congress with executive departments. P. 321.

Yes, quite some time ago... that the sole organ of the Federal Government for international relations is the President. Not Congress in any way, shape or form. Now perhaps Sen. Reid can actually take that copy of the Constitution out of his pocket and READ THE DAMNED THING. The legislative is a check and balance as part of government and NOT co-equal as it has separated duties and responsibilities that are checks and balances to the executive and judicial. Perhaps that has escaped him, and he has forgotten the job description in the poor thing that hasn't seen the light of day, save when the jacket goes to the cleaners. Assuming he takes it out, of course.

To help out a bit here is the job description for this area. The following is from Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution, in part:
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Now, perhaps Sen. Reid can actually start DOING HIS JOB?

And if you cannot find it in your heart of hearts to actually do your job, Sen. Reid, then it is time to resign. I suggest you do so quickly after insulting the General commanding the forces of the Union in Iraq to help their people stand up for themselves after being ground under the heel of a tyrant for decades.


Harrison said...

The insurgents certainly are a mix of some that are just literally religious extremists who will never reconcile with the kind of government that--that and society that Iraqis are--are striving to forge.

It is of great relief that Patraeus managed to outline that clearly for all to see: the problem of defining what is and what isn't possible, especially 'reconciliation' - a word that is being bandied about as if it were a panacea to all problems, akin to the 'why can't they all just get along' argument - which should be ruled out for a select few groups within the insurgency.

Shiite militias should not be regarded as relatively more amenable to reconciliation than Sunni insurgents - the opposite is probably widely assumed to be the case. But think about it: the more convinced they are that Maliki needs their cooperation in ensuring Iraqi security - or at least an implicit promise not to ravage it - the more they will push for concessions and thus exhibit increasing propensity for coercion and intimidation to get their way.

Heartened by Patraeus' choice in using "also" to link the symbiotic relationship between criminal activity and insurgent operations. Perhaps they are beginning to see what you have already expounded on in several articles before.

The anti-military establishment and its advocates absolutely have no patience, refusing to factor in time as a major consideration in revamping the military and its doctrines, procedures and protocol. What they love to do at their convenience is to look at the institutional level and bewail the inflexibility of the system - all because it ultimately serves their demagogic purposes and political expediencies.

I thought about the possibility of his jacket going to the cleaners, and him leaving the Constitution in it as well.

A Jacksonian said...

Harrison - Yes, that poor Constitution in Sen. Reid's jacket has probably been cleaned and scoured until its original type is gone.

Gen. Petraeus is doing something that one could look at as the Giuliani Police Dictum: spread out, take care of the small stuff and you will then get a handle on the bigger problems. In a mere 3 years the entire US Armed Forces have recapitulated almost two decades of the evolution of policing. From squad cars and drive-by policing of the '70s to neighborhood policing of the present, all of that comes from the 'good sense' of COIN work.

In my look at the mosaic of Iraq what comes across from the Sunni side is the readiness of killers to join *any one* that will let them kill. Starting out as Ba'athists they merged with al Qaeda and now the remnants that are Nationalist are realizing that they have made a grave and possibly fatal error in embracing al Qaeda.

The Shia 'militias' have to be seen as the willing accomplices of Iran, taking pay and equipment from Iran and following its orders... right up until the point that they have their own ideas about what to do.

Criminal organizations and corrupt individuals put in-place by the previous Ba'athist regime in the infrastructure, along with kidnap/ransom, smuggling, and plain old 'thug for hire' is empowering *all* insurgents and the money flow is causing splintering of all insurgent and militias as they look for alternative funding sources.

The steps to curb *those* can be helped by advisers from the MNF, but it is Iraqis that will be and have been trained in countering them that are vital. Corruption is the long-term nemesis of everything and is endemic across the Middle East, Israel excluded. New Iraqi Army and the Security Forces on the National side are going after *that* and reading, time and again, of Iraqi Army and Security Forces that are TRUSTED by locals, Sunni/Shia/Arab/Kurd/Turkomen/Assyrian.... that all points to a future for Iraq that is better than the rest of their neighbors. Local police may be the hardest thing to stand up and keep corruption out of it. Basra is a problem area and one of the worst spots that needs a thorough steel wool scrub brush taken to it. Getting a trustworthy Internal Affairs unit set up for police organizations is critical, and even then if they can keep it down to *just* levels seen in NOLA or Detroit they will be doing far better than anyone else in the region.

Sen. Reid needs to go: he is unable to comprehend his job and stick to his job description. He has noted that the US Senate is incapable of securing a couple of blocks of DC which really should show him how *able* the Senate is on something like Iraq. By the prism of his ideology Sen. Reid is now blind to his job, his Nation and the true problems besetting us. And that bodes very ill, indeed.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: glad to see you're becoming a tad upset with the whole thing. And yes, having visited and then worked briefly in DC, one can travel a mere 1.5 blocks east of the SCOTUS building and be in the deepest pits of trouble. Reid is the kind of defeatist who will not understand until he is personally affected by, oh, say, a homicide bomber adjacent his own armored limousine.


A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - I *worked* in one of those areas... and lovely experience it wasn't, to say the least. A couple of exits down from the Capitol building exit and you are in the roughest parts of DC. Right there in the Navy Yards... the only way Federal workers can be protected is by fenced off *everything* topped with barbed wire, security cameras and bright lights. Even the half-block from the Metro Station was none too pleasant, not to speak of where one had to park.

So Sen. Reid can go take a hike as DC should be a 'showcase' of the Federal Government, and yet has some of the worst and most endemic crime problems mere blocks from the seat of government. Tell you what, as soon as Congress gets DC cleaned up, I will believe they might be able to handle something a bit larger... which ought to take them about 30 years or so. And Sen. Reid pointed out that Congress was not up to even securing a few blocks... 30 years is being generous to them.

The Defeatocrats in both parties can stuff it, as far as I am concerned. They have failed the Nation and big time. Now they complain about the things they have failed at and seek to blame it on others. Unfortunately I can read the Constitution and see their job description.

I am *not* amused.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

BTW, really like the look of your blog!


A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - Thank you!

Blogger finally decided it could transition me and I prepared for that as best I could with my previous partial transition on the other two blogs.

I was getting to the point of thinking I was going to just hand-code a template, but the features I wanted showed up, so here we are. I am probably not going to go back over the 390 some posts and put tags on them. Metadata encoding is far too wearying to do by hand. There are a couple of programs that might be able to do that automagically, but that still requires review and edit time.

So they stay untagged.

A few other things to clean up side-bar wise, but this is good to go for a good long while.

In general Blogger gets a B- from me for their overall handling of transition and the limitations on what can and cannot be easily encoded in templates. Still examining moving to a different site/platform... if health and time hold up.