Security and WHAM: Getting the Order Right

BY Herschel Smith
10 years, 3 months ago

Earth moving equipment constructing sand berms around Haditha in order to prevent the influx of foreign fighters into the city.

On January 13th I wrote a short article entitled Sand Berms Around Haditha, linking to a story published by AFP.  Except for one particularly clever reader, this story got almost no attention.  Perhaps it should have.  With all of the noise and fury of the Baghdad security plan, the small things can get buried, but sometimes it is the small things that can teach us the big lessons if we’re not to hurried to pay attention.

This little story fascinated me from the beginning.  Consider what is occurring here.  Heavy equipment – enough of it to construct an earthen berm around a city – has been moved half way around the world into a desert in Western Iraq.  This equipment needs trained operators, and each piece has hundreds of grease fittings that require attention every day.  The engine and hydraulics need continual maintenance, and this maintenance itself requires a trained staff to pull it off.  The fuel and repacement parts must be available, and the security must be provided for those trained staff to effect equipment repair and maintenance.  Why would the United States Marines even consider something like this?

In Concerning the Failure of Counterinsurgency in Iraq, I pointed out that:

The battlefield, both for military actions and so-called “nonkinetic


Comments

  1. On February 16, 2007 at 10:10 am, Smith said:

    Another good one Herschel. You are absolutely correct when you say that we’re doing it right. I have an easy solution to end this quicker…

    Here goes… Every terrorist we arrest gets tortured. Severely. Beat them to within an inch of their life, then drop them off at the scene of a recent attack on civilians with a sign saying: “I am a terrorist, and the good guys are now winning”
    I’ll bet after the first week normal people will be thinking twice about helping the bad guys.

    Before I hear it, Yes. I realize that it will never happen. It’s not Politically Correct. I know, I know. It’s my fantasy. You know though, it’s funny how Politics rears it’s nasty head in everything… even war. It’s really, really sad. It’s War, people. Besides, I’m a huge believer in “eye for an eye”. What better way to punish torturers than by… Torturing them?

  2. On February 16, 2007 at 3:38 pm, Denis Murphy said:

    Thanks for following up on the original Haditha report. I remember thinking that it was an important story, which I promptly forgot. It reinforces my strong belief that “all” U.S. forces should get out there to Anbar right now and take care of business. IMO Baghdad can wait.

    One question I still have is: what’s the ratio between homegrown Sunnis and foreign fighters in the Anbar insurgency? — Denis

  3. On February 18, 2007 at 6:26 pm, walrus said:

    Dear Herschel, with the greatest respect, while your article is very good and you understand the relationship between security and WHAM operations, you seem to have a “Syria Fixation” at the moment.

    The State Department has stated that “between four and ten percent” of insurgents are foriegners with the bulk coming from Saudi Arabia.

    I refer you to this paper on the subject which also contains references for the State Department and other quotations.

    http://www.aeaweb.org/annual_mtg_papers/2007/0105_1430_1601.pdf

    I think we have enough trouble dealing with Iraq without going to war with Syria and Iran as well.

    [Editorial Comment by HPS: walrus, see my comment in response to yours under the article The Surge and Coming Operations In Iraq.  With regards to my “Syria fixation,” see my more recent article The Covert War with Iran.]

  4. On February 18, 2007 at 6:46 pm, Dominique R. Poirier said:

    I am also looking for an answer to Denis’ question too. I’ll add one more question: is there, somewhere on the web, an exhaustive chronology and list of locations (with accurate coordinates) about past incidents in the Anbar region?
    Or, for wants of such information, does anyone know something about the location and distribution of those incidents? I mean, do they seem random-like distributed on the whole Anbar region from the western borders to Baghdad, or do they usually occur in some particular areas? Are there hot points? Things like that; you see.
    Am I wrong if I conjecture that such kind of information is likely to be publicly available since the media use to report about those incidents?

  5. On February 18, 2007 at 7:05 pm, Dominique R. Poirier said:

    Walrus,
    It looks like we both sent our comments nearly at the same time, so much so that I found yours only after I have sent mine. Personal thanks for the address of this report which sounds interesting and provides me with first useful answers.

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You are currently reading "Security and WHAM: Getting the Order Right", entry #464 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Iraq,Jihadists,Small Wars,Syria,Terrorism and was published February 16th, 2007 by Herschel Smith.

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