General David Petraeus: Softly, Softly?

BY Herschel Smith
10 years, 2 months ago

It is important to understand just what the would-be savior of Operation Iraqi Freedom will do in Iraq. What is our way forward? In an important and provocative article on Petraeus, the Times Online gives us some insight into the man and his philosophy:

Having co-authored the US military’s counter-insurgency manual, General Petraeus believes that only by combining military strength and sensitive interaction with locals can an insurgency be defeated. He has been influenced by a study of the British in Malaya during the 1950s by John Nagl, a Pentagon official.

Colonel Nagl compared Malaya to America’s failure in Vietnam, where the US Army approached the conflict as a conventional war. The British defeated the insurgency in Malaya, he writes, because of a “civil-military strategy based on intelligence derived from a supportive local population

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Blogs of War » General David Petraeus Examined

[…] Will it work in the face of the brutality insurgents are willing (and eager) to dish out? Herschel Smith seems doubtful. Ultimately it will depend on the ratio of ass-kicking to sensitive interaction employed at the start with the understanding that the ratio can shift in favor of sensitivity as (if) we make progress. However, failure seems certain if we aren’t willing to kill those who refuse to play nicely before attempting to win the hearts and minds of average Iraqis. It’s time to throw sensitivity out the window for a while. More Blogs of War: 2006 Weblog Awards – Voting BeginsAhmadinejad Wants to Debate Bush at the UN General AssemblyVideo: Ramsey Clark Calls Execution “A Tragic Assault Upon Truth and Justice”David Duke Speaks at Iran’s Holocaust ConferenceDavid Letterman’s First Post-9/11 Broadcast                […]

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Hang Right Politics - Archives » THE NEW COMMANDER IN IRAQ.

[…] My friend Herschel smith over at Captainsquartes has a Great Post here about Gen. Petraeus. […]

michael ledeen
Guest

I wonder if we’re going to find out if the doctrine works in Iraq. My guess is that the Sadrists will be too smart to fight us in the streets of Baghdad. They’re already disarming, and leaving town for better hunting grounds.

I am still Johnny one-note: it’s a regional war, and so long as Iran and Syria are free to shoot at us when and where they choose, we can’t possibly provide decent security for Iraq.

SSG Rock
Guest

Patraeus is brilliant in my estimation and he is a great choice for this effort. I would guess that he alrady knows that Sadr is going to order his militia to put their arms down and lay low for awhile. The tactic is obvious to me anyway and I’m no campaign planner, the insurgents or anyone basically opposing the American lead effort to stand up the new Iraq Government is to out-wait us and then pick up the fight in earnest when they have the advantage.

I’ve seen Patraeus in action, I have faith in him. If it can be done, he is the man who can get it done.

barbara guillette
Guest

I believe the only way we will win this war and it can be won is if we level the country. Leave everything a pile of rubble.
That is the first rule of the formula for destruction.
1. destroy the infrastructure.
In this way all the muslims in iraq will have to immigrate,and their rules of religion state they must immigrate first to a muslim country,, hopefully to Iran and other muslims countries, putting stress on those countries infrastructure as well.Give everyone 24 hours to leave the country. Don’t pussyfoot around, do it.gardens farms cities, everything, but we dont’ have the inclination to do it so it won’t happen. Only then will we win.
Looking for the people’s good will is long gone.Killing our young men and women to protect the oil fields is not acceptable.
anyway that is my thought.
barbara guillette, dissident, scholar,democracy in america.

Member

I’ve long been the advocate of turning the damn place into a parking lot. If a people cannot rise up and prevent their own resources and land from being utilized as breeding grounds, training grounds and launching areas for attacks, then they forfeit their collective ownership of said resources and land.

I would not level the entire country. I would obliterate almost all of it, though. There are areas of sanity, peace and resolve in the country. I would obliterate everything else and provide the sane, kept areas with unbelievable amounts of security, support and protection. Provide these areas with influx/efflux control and once the rest of the country is empty and Iran, Syria and Jordan have sustained mass immigrations to their lands, move almost all of the troops to the border. Let the sane, rational people whom have already demonstrated ability and willingness to maintain peace and work hard for improvement run the country.

Herschel Smith
Guest
Of course, as you can tell from the article, I do not advocate the “turn it into a sea of glass approach” (recollecting what the physicists saw after the Trinity test). If for no other reason than pragmatic, to take this approach would surely lead to a million jihadists desirous of killing Americans. Better simply to leave than to take this approach. On the other hand, I have advocated more robust ROE. I have, in various articles, advocated preventing jihadists snipers from taking position in minarets, kinetic operations against Mosques when suspected insurgents are involved, and in general, pushing individual decision-making on issues and instances of ROE downward in the organization rather than the reflexive upward push (i.e., trust the NCOs). We simply don’t have ten years for a classic counterinsurgency, primarily because of the religious element (I firmly believe that the truest failure of our COIN efforts thus far have to do not with tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs). It has to do with the lack of understanding of what religion brings to the table in this epic struggle against radical Islam. But that is a discussion for another time. In a display of (a) the lack of robust… Read more »
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You are currently reading "General David Petraeus: Softly, Softly?", entry #449 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Iraq,Rules of Engagement,Small Wars and was published January 15th, 2007 by Herschel Smith.

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