The Administration Implementation Of The Cloward-Piven Strategy

Herschel Smith · 29 Jun 2014 · 39 Comments

The setup for this has been occurring for quite a while.  The collectivists on the right have helped the leftists gain strength, but the rate and fury of activity that has been consequential in destabilizing the United States has increased almost beyond comprehension. The long term evolution of America to a position where such a strategy might stand a greater chance of success began long ago with the move towards urbanization.  The flight from rural America was helped along with family…… [read more]

Reorganizations and Defections Within the Insurgency in Iraq

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 9 months ago

In Iraq: al Qaeda’s Quagmire, we noted that al Qaeda in Iraq had lost one of its few remaining allies in Iraq, Asaeb al-Iraq al-Jihadiya, or “the Iraqi Jihad Union,” due to pointless violence perpetrated on them by elements affiliated with al Qaeda in the Diyala province.  These jihadists are similar in nature to Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia in that violence doesn’t have to be directed or meaningful, per se.  It only has to intimidate.  Those who suffer in its wake are fodder for a power grab.  But it always has unintended consequences, and has never won the long term struggle for the soul of a population.

There are reorganizations within both the indigenous insurgency and foreign terrorists, partly to avoid the appearance of affiliation with al Qaeda, and partly because the typical response to a losing strategy is usually to reorganize.

Six main Iraqi insurgent groups announced the formation of a “political council” aimed at “liberating” Iraq from U.S. occupation in a video aired Thursday on Al-Jazeera television.

The council appeared to be a new attempt to assert the leadership of the groups, which have moved to distance themselves from another coalition of insurgent factions led by al-Qaida in Iraq.

In the video aired on Al-Jazeera, a man identified as the council’s spokesman — wearing traditional Iraqi garb, with his face blacked out — announced the council’s formation and a “political program to liberate Iraq.”

He said the program was based on two principles.

“First, the occupation is an oppression and aggression, rejected by Islamic Sharia law and tradition. Resistance of occupation is a right guaranteed by all religions and laws,” he said. “Second, the armed resistance … is the legitimate representative of Iraq. It is the one that bears responsibility for the leadership of the people to achieve its legitimate hope.”

The groups forming the council include the Islamic Army of Iraq, the Mujahideen Army, Ansar al-Sunna, the Fatiheen Army, the Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance (Jami) and the Islamic Movement of Hamas-Iraq.

The step could be a bid by the insurgents for a more cohesive political voice at a time of considerable rearrangement among Sunni insurgent groups and Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority.

Splinter factions of two insurgent groups, the 1920 Revolution Brigades and the Mujahideen Army, have cooperated with U.S. forces in fighting insurgents allied to al-Qaida in Iraq.

Earlier this year, other groups — the Islamic Army of Iraq, the main faction of the Mujahideen Army, a branch of Ansar al-Sunna and the Fatiheen Army — formed a coalition called the Jihad and Reform Front opposed to al-Qaida in Iraq, though they have continued attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces.

The context of this reorganization is complicated.  In Al Qaeda, Indigenous Sunnis and the Insurgency in Iraq, I argued that while foreign terrorists were a signficant force within Iraq, they didn’t constitute the majority of insurgents; rather indigenous Iraqis constituted the majority of the insurgency (albeit some of which was under the leadership of foreign elements).  I further argued that U.S. forces were waging a double war: (1) a war of counterterrorism against foreign elements (partly led by al Qaeda), and (2) a classical counterinsurgency.

Bill Ardolino was recently in Fallujah, and used the opportunity to interview a Fallujan translator for the U.S. forces.

INDC: When I speak to Fallujans, many say that it was all outsiders causing the insurgency, but a lot of it was certainly driven by locals. What portion of the insurgency was really local? Most of it?

Leo: Yes.

INDC: So why are people afraid to say, “Yeah, we used to fight the Americans??

Leo: No, not everyone. Many people you miss who will say, frankly, “Yes, we fought you.? But maybe he will say, “I didn’t [personally] fight you, but [the Fallujan people] fought you. [Resistance] is a normal thing, and a right for everyone.

INDC: Right. And so when al Qaeda came in, and by “al Qaeda? I really mean all of the outside jihadists, the Fallujans welcomed them to help fight the Americans?

Leo: Yes …

The war has been complex, with dozens of competing insurgent and terrorist groups, some acting as allies with each other, while still others wage war upon other groups in a power struggle.  Common to all groups, however, has been war on U.S. forces - that is, up until about a year ago.  The tribal “awakening” began in or around Ramadi, with tribal leaders one by one turning against the foreign terrorists due to violence perpetrated on the Anbari people, started by Shiekh Abdul Sattar Abu Reesha.

But even this “awakening” had a context.  Shiekh Sattar didn’t turn on al Qaeda and the other foreign elements until his own smuggling line was shut down by kinetic operations of U.S. troops.  This was all quickly followed up by other measures in other areas of Anbar.  The storied city of Haditha, suffering from a terrorist problem from being close to the Syrian border, was isolated from these foreign fighters with sand berms.  Intense force projection, a robust Iraqi police presence and kinetic operations by U.S. troops managed to turn Haditha around.

Ramadi and Haditha being too difficult for major operations, many insurgents and terrorists fled to Fallujah.  From this point, an important account is brought to us by Damien McElroy of the Telegraph that sheds even more light on the relationship between indigenous insurgents, foreign terrorists, and where the most recent hot spots in Anbar have been.

A unique tribal reconciliation process is allowing repentant former al-Qa’eda loyalists to return to homes and families free from the threat of arrest by coalition forces.

The voluntary scheme has gained the backing of American commanders but is being run by local chieftains to rehabilitate sons of the region who no longer follow the path of violence.

Al-Qaim, a district in the far west of Anbar province, has reported dramatic gains against al-Qa’eda cells in the area but now faces a dilemma over the return of ex-residents who had joined the ranks of radical Islamic fighters after the American invasion in 2003.

In the fight against al-Qa’eda which has raged since last year, hundreds of residents of the region were forced out by fighting but have since signalled a wish to go home.

Sheikh Kurdi Rafi al-Shurayji, who as factor for the paramount sheikh acts as a chief representative of the tribes in the area, revealed a formal system had been established to rehabilitate ex-residents that renounced al-Qa’eda.

“Many of our people want to come back to their families,” he said. “If they are young, they can’t get married or get a job outside their own people. The older ones who worked with al-Qa’eda want to get back to resume their lives.”

Sheikh Kurdi has forged a deal with the American coalition that gives US commanders a supervisory role in the rehabilitation process.

An applicant’s first point of contact is his own sheikh, who must agree to sponsor his plea and vouch that he will not resume insurgent activity.

“We conduct background checks on the individuals to ensure that they do not have Iraqi blood on their hands,” said Sheikh Kurdi. “If they are clean we ask them to reveal all they know about insurgent activity. In this way we have found weapons caches and even discovered unknown cells.”

Before American Marines regained control of the area, which lies on the Syrian border, al-Qaim was a popular ‘rat-run’ for foreign fighters travelling to Iraq for jihad. Since the inception of the rehabilitation programme almost 50 residents have applied and 40 individuals have been accepted.

One of the successful returnees was Eid Mehlif Alab, a school friend of Sheikh Kurdi who had operated safe houses and gathered intelligence for terrorist groups.

“When the Americans took control Fallujah was the only place to seek safety,” he said. “But it was tiring to be away from home, family and friends. When it became clear that al-Qa’eda were not in Iraq for holy war but terrorism, the option of returning back in peace was there.”

In Fallujah, Marines with 2nd Battalion, 6th Regiment, conducted intense kinetic operations in the second quarter of this year, and in Operation Alljah, implemented gated communities, biometrics, and high visibility force projection with the Iraqi Police (see also Bill Ardolino’s important article on Operation Alljah).  The city has turned around, the Iraqi Police are taking over city security, and a Marine hasn’t been killed in months.  With the last safe haven being taken away from the insurgents and terrorists, the indigenous fighters are returning home – at least, those who would make peace.  There is no point in fighting forces (U.S. Marines) who will not be beaten and who will not go away.  But Fallujans befriending U.S. Marines has brought peace to a once war-torn city.

The reorganization of groups discussed earlier is a mixed bag (with Ansar al-Sunna being foreign and the Islamic Front for Iraqi Resistance being indigenous), but is not a sign of strength.  Rather, like corporate America, when the strategy fails, the typical solution is to cut losses, reorganize and regroup.  This is what is happening in Iraq at the moment.  Al Qaeda is the big loser, and no one wants to be affiliated with this savage group, even among other foreign elements.  What is left of the die hard fighters (ex-Ba’athists, Afghan fighters with Ansar al-Sunna, other foreign jihadists) will slowly dissipate and diminish.

In the mean time, they will be able to pull off some spectacular suicide bombings using rogue foreign elements who wish to die due to religious motivation, but they will not be able to pull off any major joint military operations.  They are no longer a major force in the Anbar Province.  Transporting this model to the balance of Iraq will be the subject of future articles.

The Logic of General Sanchez

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 9 months ago

Lt. Gen. Sanchez, the erstwhile commander of forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom, has come out swinging at just about everyone concerning the campaign in Iraq.

Continuing changes to military strategy alone will not achieve victory, rather it will only “stave off defeat,? he said.

“The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure and the American people must hold them accountable.?

Even now, the U.S. government has yet to launch a concerted effort to come up with a strategy to win in Iraq, Sanchez said. Such a strategy should involve political reconciliation among Iraqis, building up the Iraqi security forces and getting Iraq’s regional partners.

Sanchez acknowledged that U.S. officials have adopted that idea, but added that they do not have the necessary nonmilitary resources to carry it out.

“And it is not synchronized, and there is no enforcement of the strategy,? he said.

Sanchez said he realized there were serious challenges to the U.S. military’s strategy in Iraq as soon as he became the top military commander in Iraq.

Asked why he did not speak out about his concerns, Sanchez said general officers take an oath to carry out the orders of the president while in uniform.

“The last thing that America wants, the last thing that you want, is for currently serving general officers to stand up against our political leadership,? he said.

However, general officers do have the option of stepping down if they disagree with the country’s leaders.

Sanchez said he felt he could not resign and go public with his reservations while he was in Iraq, because he feared that move could further jeopardize troops serving there.

“I think once you are retired, you have a responsibility to the nation, to your oath, to the country, to state your opinion,? he said.

Perhaps the General is conveniently ignoring the advances in Iraq of late, but rather than engage him on this level, let’s turn our attention to the logic of Sanchez.  As soon as he became top military commander, he says, he recognized that there were “serious challenges” to the strategy.  Regarding his having stayed quiet to stateside command or the civilian authorities about this, the “last thing” we want is for general officers to “stand up against” political leadership.

But if he felt so strongly about these issues, could he not have at least spoken with leadership about strategy?  Don’t officers write doctrine and develop strategy?  If not, then what do officers do in a war?  He sounds more like a private than a Lieutenant General.  But Sanchez knows that  he could have said more than he did concerning strategy, and even resigned his commission.  Why, then, did he not?

Because “he feared that move could further jeopardize troops serving there.”  But wait.  If he believed that such a move would jeopardize troops, what about a Lt. Gen. who cannot discuss doctrine or strategy and who even now has no original recommendations, believed the war to be a lost cause, and waited until he had retired to say to the remaining 160,000 troops in theater (and who are preparing to deploy) that they could die in vain for a lost cause?

Are his actions now placing the troops in any less jeopardy than bringing attention to what he believed to be a failed strategy? If he had taken the actions he said he was so reluctant to take, would the possibility not have existed in his calculus to effect a change for the better, thus ensuring the greatest possible likelihood of success in Iraq?

His own words appear to indict him for caring more about the success of his career and the exoneration of him from his own failures than about either the campaign or the men under his charge.  Sanchez, for whatever he was during his tenure, appears to have become a bitter curmudgeon rather than a statesman and warrior in the twilight of a career.

Totally aside from past or current strategy or chances of victory in Iraq, his words are a sad testimony about him rather than one about Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Also at the Small Wars Journal Blog: Custer Blames Grant.

Marines or State Department: Who Does Afghanistan?

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 9 months ago

Could the Marines be headed to Afghanistan?

The Marine Corps is pressing to remove its forces from Iraq and to send marines instead to Afghanistan, to take over the leading role in combat there, according to senior military and Pentagon officials.

The idea by the Marine Corps commandant would effectively leave the Iraq war in the hands of the Army while giving the Marines a prominent new role in Afghanistan, under overall NATO command.

The suggestion was raised in a session last week convened by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and regional war-fighting commanders. While still under review, its supporters, including some in the Army, argue that a realignment could allow the Army and Marines each to operate more efficiently in sustaining troop levels for two wars that have put a strain on their forces.

As described by officials who had been briefed on the closed-door discussion, the idea represents the first tangible new thinking to emerge since the White House last month endorsed a plan to begin gradual troop withdrawals from Iraq, but also signals that American forces likely will be in Iraq for years to come.

At the moment, there are no major Marine units among the 26,000 or so American forces in Afghanistan. In Iraq there are about 25,000 marines among the 160,000 American troops there.

Let’s switch gears for a moment to discuss a strategy currently being considered for the Afghanistan campaign (h/t Uncle J at Blackfive).

After the biggest opium harvest in Afghanistan’s history, American officials have renewed efforts to persuade the government here to begin spraying herbicide on opium poppies, and they have found some supporters within President Hamid Karzai’s administration, officials of both countries said.

Since early this year, Mr. Karzai has repeatedly declared his opposition to spraying the poppy fields, whether by crop-dusting airplanes or by eradication teams on the ground.

But Afghan officials said the Karzai administration is now re-evaluating that stance. Some proponents within the government are pushing a trial program of ground spraying that could begin before the harvest next spring.

The issue has created sharp divisions within the Afghan government, among its Western allies and even American officials of different agencies. The matter is fraught with political danger for Mr. Karzai, whose hold on power is weak.

And why would they willingly choose to do something like this?

Many spraying advocates, including officials at the White House and the State Department, view herbicides as critical to curbing Afghanistan’s poppy crop, officials said. That crop and the opium and heroin it produces have become a major source of revenue for the Taliban insurgency.

But officials said the skeptics — who include American military and intelligence officials and European diplomats in Afghanistan — fear that any spraying of American-made chemicals over Afghan farms would be a boon to Taliban propagandists. Some of those officials say that the political cost could be especially high if the herbicide destroys food crops that farmers often plant alongside their poppies.

“There has always been a need to balance the obvious greater effectiveness of spray against the potential for losing hearts and minds,? Thomas A. Schweich, the assistant secretary of state for international narcotics issues, said in an interview last week in Washington. “The question is whether that’s manageable. I think that it is.?

Well, there you have it.  State Department thinking at its finest, the same sort of thinking that forced the 3/2 Marines to release Moqtada al Sadr who at the time in 2004 had a body guard and now has the Jaish al Mahdi.  I had initially considered a public flogging for Mr. Schweich, but in order to be civil about this thing, let’s just let him go to a corner and do origami so that he doesn’t hurt anything else.

I cannot possibly rain enough derision and opprobrium down upon this idiotic idea to truly convey my disgust for it.  It is so jaw-droppingly stupid that it is difficult to imagine that it is real rather than a bad joke.  In lieu of trying to do that, I’ll leave a short post-it note for the State Department.  Do you want to see Karzai’s government toppled?  Do you want to see Afghanistan become a bloodbath for NATO forces there?  Do you want to see an enraged Afghan population?  Well then, just follow Mr. Schweich’s advice.

But it you want to let the adults wage the war, then you cannot see the Afghan farmers as the enemy.  In order to keep the poppy crops from becoming an influx of cash for the Taliban, you have to go after the Taliban.  Among the many useful things we have learned in Operation Iraqi Freedom, we know that David Galula’s ideas of small footprint and competition for good governance of the population are hopelessly archaic and outmoded.  The Taliban aren’t interested in governance.  They are only interested in religious radicalism, power and terrorization of the innocents.  The surest way to lose Afghanistan is to be worse terrorists than the Taliban.  The campaign must keep the Afghan people at least moderately pro-U.S.  It isn’t about governance, roads and utilities.  In time, that will all come to the people of Afghanistan.  It is about terror, and as long as we are not inflicting it on the people, the campaign may proceed by removing those who do.

Going after the enemy is what the Marines do: ” … close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, and repel the enemy’s assault by fire and close combat.”  It is just what the Taliban need.  Tooling for Afghanistan, however, will require new training.  Mohave Viper and MOUT may not be so important, but mountain and cold weather training in Colorado, Vermont and West Virginia will prove to be useful.  This is why the Marines need to know now – to retool the training.

At The Captain’s Journal we say “aye, Sir,” and fall in behind the Commandant of the Marine Corps.  We support this realignment, but let’s leave the State Department out of it.  Let the Marines go in and Afghanistan will be won.  Unleashing the State Department means trouble for everyone.

Marine Team Wins Wilderness Challenge

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 9 months ago

My boys and I are fairly athletic.  I have been told that I need to include more pictures – my content is too “linear,” so this should break it up.  Below are pictures of (1) me and (2) a certain Marine (older brother taking the picture) before boot, SOI, fleet and then deployment to Iraq, somewhere near Mt. Mitchell, N.C., looking at the magnificent vista.

dad.jpg

marine.jpg

 A few months later we were rafting the Ocoee with challenging whitewater.  I have also rappelled, and there isn’t much in the outdoors we don’t feel fairly comfortable doing.  I might do fairly well at the Wilderness Challenge.  Then again, perhaps not.  U.S. and NATO Armed Forces teams did the Wilderness Challenge as an expedition race.

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — The Marines are this year’s Wilderness Challenge champs.

A four-person team comprising leathernecks stationed all around the country ended the competition Saturday with a first-place showing in the two-day event’s final (and arguably most punishing) race: a 14-mile, largely uphill slog through West Virginia’s share of the Appalachian Mountains. They knocked it out in 2 hours and 26 minutes.

A team representing the Navy took second place overall, finishing less than two minutes behind the leaders’ total time. Last year’s champs, a Coast Guard crew, earned third place this year, more than 15 minutes off the Marines’ time.

Navy and Coast Guard teams also placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

The top Air Force team finished in seventh place; the best Army showing was good for 12th.

The Wilderness Challenge, now in its seventh year, is billed as a team outdoor adventure competition for all five branches of the armed forces.

Forty-six squads — including four representing NATO — participated. The top NATO team placed 14th.

The event is held each fall along the New and Gauley rivers in southern West Virginia, about an hour south of the state capital, Charleston. It consists of six races spanning nearly 54 miles overall: one on bikes, two on foot and three in the water.

Saturday’s competition began at 7:15 a.m., soon after sunrise, and ended with an awards presentation more than 12 hours later.

West Virginia claims some of the most beautiful mountains, forests and landscapes in the world.  This race should be a good one for some time into the future, until West Virginia destroys their beautiful state with mountaintop removal coal mining.  Then it might have to move to any one of a number of expedition race locations around the country.

Congratulations to the winners.  They set the standard, and I expect the same from the Marines in 2008.

Iraq: Al Qaeda’s Quagmire

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 9 months ago

After the turning of the tribes in Ramadi and the military defeat of the insurgents in Fallujah, coalition attention could be fully turned on al Qaeda with actionable intelligence.  The tempo of intelligence-driven operations is steady and effective.

  • On October 6, 2007,  Coalition forces killed two terrorists, captured one wanted individual and detained another six suspects during two coordinated operations near Samarra. The wanted individual is believed to be an associate of several Syrian-based network leaders that support the flow of foreign terrorists. As Coalition forces approached the target area, they observed one individual jump from the roof of a building, attempting to evade capture. The ground force engaged the fleeing terrorist, killing him. As the ground force entered the building, they discovered an armed terrorist and, responding in self-defense, killed the armed man. In addition to the wanted individual, Coalition forces detained five suspected terrorists on site. Also in Samarra, intelligence reports led Coalition forces to an area alleged to be a terrorist safe haven; one suspected terrorist was detained.  Coalition forces captured two wanted individuals and four suspected terrorists during coordinated operations in Kirkuk. During one operation, Coalition forces captured an al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leader believed to be involved in foreign terrorist facilitation in the al-Tamim province and detained four additional suspects. Nearby, the ground force captured the alleged leader of the al-Qaeda in Iraq media network in Kirkuk. The suspect is believed to have numerous ties to senior leaders operating in the province.
  • On October 6 & 7, 2007, operations against al Qaeda were conducted in the central and Northern parts of Iraq.  Coalition forces conducted an operation in Mosul targeting an associate of al-Qaeda in Iraq believed to be responsible for fuel distribution to the city’s terrorist network.  In Baghdad, Coalition forces captured a wanted individual reported to be involved in the planning and execution of numerous attacks against Iraqi civilians and security forces. The individual also has close ties to al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders operating a car-bombing network throughout Baghdad.  In an operation in Tikrit, Coalition forces targeted an associate of al-Qaeda in Iraq believed to be involved in kidnapping operations, weapons facilitation and the development of improvised explosive devices. The ground force detained five suspected terrorists on site without incident.  West of Samarra Saturday, Coalition forces conducted a precision operation targeting an associate of an al-Qaeda in Iraq leader involved in foreign terrorist facilitation in the Tigris River Valley. Time-sensitive intelligence led the ground force to a location where two suspected terrorists were detained.
  • On October 8, 2007, Iraqi Special Operations Forces conducted an early-morning raid to detain an al Qaeda in Iraq Amir for the Arab Jabour area who is suspected of being involved in small-arms fire, deeply buried and vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attacks, as well as extra-judicial killings.

Groups of so-called security volunteers or concerned citizens are developing throughout central, Western and Northern Iraq, having significant successes against terrorist operations.

  • Iraqi security volunteers uncovered a large weapons cache west of Hor Al Bosh, Iraq, Oct. 4.  While conducting door-to-door operations in neighborhoods near the village, the volunteers reported the find to Soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st “Ironhorse? Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, who perform operations in Hor Al Bosh.  After the Co. C Soldiers arrived on the scene, the Iraqi security volunteers turned the cache over to them.  The find yielded 5,000 rounds of various small arms ammunition; 53 mortar rounds; eight rockets; 20 heavy machine guns of various types to include PKC anti-aircraft guns; a mortar tube with base plate; one unknown rifle with silencer; a rocket-propelled grenade launcher with seven RPG rounds and various improvised explosive device-making materials among many other weapons.  “This is a major find that will keep weapons out of the hands of Al Qaeda extremists,? said Maj. Randall Baucom, a spokesperson for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
  • Iraqi Army Soldiers and Coalition Forces, acting on tips provided by local Muradiyah citizens, discovered a large weapons cache in the village cemetery and detained two men during Operation Rock Drill in Muradiyah, south of Baqouba Oct. 5.  The cache, discovered by the 4th Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 5th IA Division, consisted of six automatic weapons, four two-way radios, two rocket-propelled grenades, two anti-tank mines, two rifles, large quantities of ammunition and both electronic and print al-Qaeda propaganda.  In addition, two IEDs were discovered nearby the cemetery.

Most of the indigenous insurgency has turned on al Qaeda, but al Qaeda may have recently lost its last big ally in Iraq.  “In a rather stunning development, the Iraqi Islamic militant faction known as Asaeb al-Iraq al-Jihadiya (a.k.a. “the Iraqi Jihad Union”) has issued a new statement dated October 5 suddenly accusing Al-Qaida’s “Islamic State of Iraq” of deliberately killing its fighters in Diyala province and mutilating their bodies: “To make things worse, they dug up their bodies from the graves, further mutilated them, beheaded them, and showed them off from their vehicles while driving through the towns. [The ISI] even killed our men’s wives and children.”  Less than three months ago, the very same organization was openly working in operational partnership with Al-Qaida, and was even rumored to be considering merging its forces with Al-Qaida’s “Islamic State.”

Finally, al Qaeda in Iraq has lost a significant foreign fighter facilitator in Syria.  Unknown gunmen murdered Muhammad Gul Aghasi – one of the key “theologians” of al Qaeda – at a mosque in northern Syria last month. Candidates for the fiery preacher’s killing include rivals within his own radical group, agents of the Americans – and his Syrian hosts. Whatever the truth, this is bad news for the already ailing al Qaeda.  By 2006, Aghasi claimed that his group had dispatched more than 2,000 jihadists from half-a-dozen Arab countries to Iraq and also boasted of providing jihadists in Iraq with safe havens inside Syria where they could rest, get medical care (even dental work!), retrain and even get married before returning to the battlefield.  Amir Taheri continues:

These are not happy days for the worldwide al Qaeda brand. Having focused most of its energies on fighting in Iraq, the movement has all but disappeared from the scene in other parts of the global jihad, notably the Caucasus, southern Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Kashmir and the Arabian Peninsula …

Even before Aghasi was gunned down, the flow of jihadists going to Iraq via Syria had slowed down. According to Iraqi official estimates, the number of foreign jihadists entering between January and July was down by almost 50 percent compared to the same period in 2006. This is, perhaps, one reason why the al Qaeda cyberspace is now full of desperate calls for more jihadists for Iraq. Despite the setbacks it has suffered, al Qaeda still sees Iraq as a make-or-break moment for its dream of world conquest.

Operation Iraqi Freedom has graduated from a battle against a combination of indigenous insurgents and foreign terrorists (al Qaeda) to one against al Qaeda.  Al Qaeda has made Iraq its watershed moment, and they are losing badly.  This transition of Iraq into al Qaeda’s quagmire is remarkable and momentous in world history, and is going largely unreported by the main stream media who is searching for the next flash-bang to report.

**** UPDATE ****

See also prior article Al Qaeda’s Miscalculation and from the Telegraph  People Rise Against al-Qa’eda:

In a town tucked tight against the Syrian border, US Marines pass softly along a darkened street as the crack of contact rings out. Instead of a panicked rush for cover, the leader of the patrol turns to cheer.

The familiar sound was not from the barrel of gun but the baize of an upstairs pool hall.

A transformation has swept western Iraq that allows Marines to walk through areas that a year ago were judged lost to radical Islam control and hear nothing more aggressive than a late-night game of pool … Footpatrols are hailed with cries of Salaam (Peace) and Habibi (Friend) in streets that were in no-go zones for the coalition a year ago. A ten-man unit of US Marines passes nightly along Husaybah’s market street and zig-zags down alleys into residential areas. As they walk out, the sounds of a town reviving fill the air.

Iraq: Al Qaeda’s Quagmire

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 9 months ago

After the turning of the tribes in Ramadi and the military defeat of the insurgents in Fallujah, coalition attention could be fully turned on al Qaeda with actionable intelligence.  The tempo of intelligence-driven operations is steady and effective.

  • On October 6, 2007,  Coalition forces killed two terrorists, captured one wanted individual and detained another six suspects during two coordinated operations near Samarra. The wanted individual is believed to be an associate of several Syrian-based network leaders that support the flow of foreign terrorists. As Coalition forces approached the target area, they observed one individual jump from the roof of a building, attempting to evade capture. The ground force engaged the fleeing terrorist, killing him. As the ground force entered the building, they discovered an armed terrorist and, responding in self-defense, killed the armed man. In addition to the wanted individual, Coalition forces detained five suspected terrorists on site. Also in Samarra, intelligence reports led Coalition forces to an area alleged to be a terrorist safe haven; one suspected terrorist was detained.  Coalition forces captured two wanted individuals and four suspected terrorists during coordinated operations in Kirkuk. During one operation, Coalition forces captured an al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leader believed to be involved in foreign terrorist facilitation in the al-Tamim province and detained four additional suspects. Nearby, the ground force captured the alleged leader of the al-Qaeda in Iraq media network in Kirkuk. The suspect is believed to have numerous ties to senior leaders operating in the province.
  • On October 6 & 7, 2007, operations against al Qaeda were conducted in the central and Northern parts of Iraq.  Coalition forces conducted an operation in Mosul targeting an associate of al-Qaeda in Iraq believed to be responsible for fuel distribution to the city’s terrorist network.  In Baghdad, Coalition forces captured a wanted individual reported to be involved in the planning and execution of numerous attacks against Iraqi civilians and security forces. The individual also has close ties to al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders operating a car-bombing network throughout Baghdad.  In an operation in Tikrit, Coalition forces targeted an associate of al-Qaeda in Iraq believed to be involved in kidnapping operations, weapons facilitation and the development of improvised explosive devices. The ground force detained five suspected terrorists on site without incident.  West of Samarra Saturday, Coalition forces conducted a precision operation targeting an associate of an al-Qaeda in Iraq leader involved in foreign terrorist facilitation in the Tigris River Valley. Time-sensitive intelligence led the ground force to a location where two suspected terrorists were detained.
  • On October 8, 2007, Iraqi Special Operations Forces conducted an early-morning raid to detain an al Qaeda in Iraq Amir for the Arab Jabour area who is suspected of being involved in small-arms fire, deeply buried and vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attacks, as well as extra-judicial killings.

Groups of so-called security volunteers or concerned citizens are developing throughout central, Western and Northern Iraq, having significant successes against terrorist operations.

  • Iraqi security volunteers uncovered a large weapons cache west of Hor Al Bosh, Iraq, Oct. 4.  While conducting door-to-door operations in neighborhoods near the village, the volunteers reported the find to Soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st “Ironhorse? Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, who perform operations in Hor Al Bosh.  After the Co. C Soldiers arrived on the scene, the Iraqi security volunteers turned the cache over to them.  The find yielded 5,000 rounds of various small arms ammunition; 53 mortar rounds; eight rockets; 20 heavy machine guns of various types to include PKC anti-aircraft guns; a mortar tube with base plate; one unknown rifle with silencer; a rocket-propelled grenade launcher with seven RPG rounds and various improvised explosive device-making materials among many other weapons.  “This is a major find that will keep weapons out of the hands of Al Qaeda extremists,? said Maj. Randall Baucom, a spokesperson for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
  • Iraqi Army Soldiers and Coalition Forces, acting on tips provided by local Muradiyah citizens, discovered a large weapons cache in the village cemetery and detained two men during Operation Rock Drill in Muradiyah, south of Baqouba Oct. 5.  The cache, discovered by the 4th Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 5th IA Division, consisted of six automatic weapons, four two-way radios, two rocket-propelled grenades, two anti-tank mines, two rifles, large quantities of ammunition and both electronic and print al-Qaeda propaganda.  In addition, two IEDs were discovered nearby the cemetery.

Most of the indigenous insurgency has turned on al Qaeda, but al Qaeda may have recently lost its last big ally in Iraq.  “In a rather stunning development, the Iraqi Islamic militant faction known as Asaeb al-Iraq al-Jihadiya (a.k.a. “the Iraqi Jihad Union”) has issued a new statement dated October 5 suddenly accusing Al-Qaida’s “Islamic State of Iraq” of deliberately killing its fighters in Diyala province and mutilating their bodies: “To make things worse, they dug up their bodies from the graves, further mutilated them, beheaded them, and showed them off from their vehicles while driving through the towns. [The ISI] even killed our men’s wives and children.”  Less than three months ago, the very same organization was openly working in operational partnership with Al-Qaida, and was even rumored to be considering merging its forces with Al-Qaida’s “Islamic State.”

Finally, al Qaeda in Iraq has lost a significant foreign fighter facilitator in Syria.  Unknown gunmen murdered Muhammad Gul Aghasi – one of the key “theologians” of al Qaeda – at a mosque in northern Syria last month. Candidates for the fiery preacher’s killing include rivals within his own radical group, agents of the Americans – and his Syrian hosts. Whatever the truth, this is bad news for the already ailing al Qaeda.  By 2006, Aghasi claimed that his group had dispatched more than 2,000 jihadists from half-a-dozen Arab countries to Iraq and also boasted of providing jihadists in Iraq with safe havens inside Syria where they could rest, get medical care (even dental work!), retrain and even get married before returning to the battlefield.  Amir Taheri continues:

These are not happy days for the worldwide al Qaeda brand. Having focused most of its energies on fighting in Iraq, the movement has all but disappeared from the scene in other parts of the global jihad, notably the Caucasus, southern Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Kashmir and the Arabian Peninsula …

Even before Aghasi was gunned down, the flow of jihadists going to Iraq via Syria had slowed down. According to Iraqi official estimates, the number of foreign jihadists entering between January and July was down by almost 50 percent compared to the same period in 2006. This is, perhaps, one reason why the al Qaeda cyberspace is now full of desperate calls for more jihadists for Iraq. Despite the setbacks it has suffered, al Qaeda still sees Iraq as a make-or-break moment for its dream of world conquest.

Operation Iraqi Freedom has graduated from a battle against a combination of indigenous insurgents and foreign terrorists (al Qaeda) to one against al Qaeda.  Al Qaeda has made Iraq its watershed moment, and they are losing badly.  This transition of Iraq into al Qaeda’s quagmire is remarkable and momentous in world history, and is going largely unreported by the main stream media who is searching for the next flash-bang to report.

**** UPDATE ****

See also prior article Al Qaeda’s Miscalculation and from the Telegraph  People Rise Against al-Qa’eda:

In a town tucked tight against the Syrian border, US Marines pass softly along a darkened street as the crack of contact rings out. Instead of a panicked rush for cover, the leader of the patrol turns to cheer.

The familiar sound was not from the barrel of gun but the baize of an upstairs pool hall.

A transformation has swept western Iraq that allows Marines to walk through areas that a year ago were judged lost to radical Islam control and hear nothing more aggressive than a late-night game of pool … Footpatrols are hailed with cries of Salaam (Peace) and Habibi (Friend) in streets that were in no-go zones for the coalition a year ago. A ten-man unit of US Marines passes nightly along Husaybah’s market street and zig-zags down alleys into residential areas. As they walk out, the sounds of a town reviving fill the air.

What is a Warrior’s Life Worth?

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 9 months ago

The AP recently published an article on the subject of the cost of equipping U.S. soldiers and Marines (picked up later by Australia’s Herald Sun which printed a redacted version of the article).

As official Washington argues over the spiraling price of the war in Iraq, consider this: Outfitting a soldier for battle costs a hundred times more now than it did in World War II. It was $170 then, is about $17,500 now and could be an estimated $28,000 to $60,000 by the middle of the next decade.

“The ground soldier was perceived to be a relatively inexpensive instrument of war” in the past, said Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, head of the Army agency for developing and fielding soldier equipment.

Now, the Pentagon spends tens of billions of dollars annually to protect troops and make them more lethal on the battlefield.

In the 1940s, a GI went to war with little more than a uniform, weapon, helmet, bedroll and canteen. He carried some 35 pounds of gear that cost $170 in 2006 inflation-adjusted dollars, according to Army figures.

That rose to about $1,100 by the 1970s as the military added a flak vest, new weapons and other equipment during the Vietnam War.

Today, troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are outfitted with advanced armor and other protection, including high-tech vests, anti-ballistic eyewear, earplugs and fire-retardant gloves. Night-vision eyewear, thermal weapons sights and other gear makes them more deadly to the adversary.

In all, soldiers today are packing more than 80 items — weighing about 75 pounds — from socks to disposable handcuffs to a strap cutter for slashing open a seatbelt if they have to flee a burning vehicle.

Several items were added since 2002, when troops in Afghanistan complained that their equipment was outdated and not best suited to the new campaign.

I have not been able to recover the actual cost of an M1-Gerand which was predominantly in use in World War 2, but its predecessor Springfield had a cost of $42.50 in 1932.  Conservatively assuming no change in cost for the Gerand, this means that for approximately $130 the U.S. Army outfitted its troops with a backpack, helmet, shovel, ammunition belt, canteen, boots, socks, fatigues, cold weather gear, rain gear, overcoat, bayonet, etc. (the list above is gratuitously shortened).

This is a mistake, or at least, grossly exaggerated.  We prefer simply incorrect for whatever reason.  However, let’s stipulate the premise, i.e., that the costs associated with modern warfare have increased dramatically.  The corollary to this is that the lethality of modern warfare has increased nearly in proportion to its costs, as has the human costs of conducting that warfare decreased.  Equipment innovations (e.g., ceramic SAPI plates) and medical advances (among other things) have decreased both the battlefield dead and the ratio of dead to wounded.  As for battlefield weight, I have written extensively about the difficulty in movement added by 32 lbs of body armor (Body Armor Wars: The Way Forward), and also recommended that further technological advancements reduce that battlefield weight for the warrior (Body Armor Goes Political).  Ironically, the solution to heavy battlefield weight is the very thing that the author of the article seems to be arguing against – more spending and technological developments.

No Marine or Soldier wants to deploy to the theater with inferior body armor, as evidenced by Marines being adopted by veteran’s organizations to procure Spartan 2 body armor when it became apparent that the Modular Tacitical Vest would not become available in time for recent deployments.  Also, given the success of IEDs as a tactic of the enemy in Iraq, no Marine or Soldier wants to deploy in HMWVVs, even uparmored HMWVVs, in lieu of the MRAP, mine resistant ambush protected V-shape hull transport vehicle.

The Pentagon has argued for more funds to be transferred to the MRAP program (partly at the insistence of Secretary of Defense Gates), but even as this occurs, some Pentagon leadership wonders if the future of new weapons system is not being sold for better protection now.  It is also this thinking that caused the delay in the deployment of the program when it was learned that IEDs were so effective against U.S. forces.  More money spent now, so the thinking went, means less for the future.  Thus did Pentagon thinkers play the devil’s game, with the lives of American warriors hanging in the balance with roadside bombs and IEDs.

Rather than wonder about the morality of future weapons systems and the alleged high costs of outfitting Marines and Soldiers with body armor, ballistic goggles, night vision and tie wraps for detaining individuals, the author – as well as thinkers at the Pentagon – ought better to wonder about the morality of decision-making that sacrifices warrior’s lives for money that is easily raised and spent by the Department of Defense.  Where Congress is culpable, they ought to have the same watershed moral revelation.  When considering money for lives, the decision is simple, assuming that the decision-maker has a moral constitution to begin with.

As for the Marines who are soon to deploy?  The North County Times gives us their current perspective on equipment and preparedness.

When an estimated 11,000 Camp Pendleton troops head to Iraq soon, they’ll be taking a host of new equipment with them such as lighter helmets, better flak jackets and more heavily armored vehicles.

They’ll also be taking a wealth of experience from lessons learned during the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion and the multiple deployments in the nearly five years since.

That’s been evident at Camp Pendleton in recent weeks, where troops from private to major attend classes and train in the field as they prepare to replace the North Carolina-based II Marine Expeditionary Force in the Anbar province west of Baghdad.

The Pentagon announced in late July that three major Camp Pendleton units would be deployed beginning late this year and continuing into early 2008.

Class themes for the troops heading to the Middle East run the gamut, from how to spot roadside bombs to how to grasp parts of Iraqi culture and language.

In Counterinsurgency: Know Thine Enemy, I argued for just such language and culture training.  Continuing with the North County Times article:

The Camp Pendleton troops will be riding in some new hardware in Iraq, including the Osprey, which takes off and lands like a helicopter, but it flies faster and like an airplane, using tilt-rotor propellers.

The first group of Ospreys, which can ferry troops to hot spots much faster than helicopters, reached Iraq last week. With a history of deadly crashes that has marred its development, the Osprey’s performance will be closely watched with keen attention paid to maintenance issues and how the lightly armed aircraft is able to respond to any ground attacks.

More important for the “ground pounders” is the latest generation of heavily armored vehicles, including the new “Mine Resistant Ambush Protected” or MRAP. The Pentagon is rushing as many of the V-shaped hulled vehicles as it can into Iraq in an attempt to reduce deaths and injuries from roadside bombs to older generation Humvees.

New flak jackets, with more protective gear around the head, neck and back, have also been issued, and the helmets are much lighter than the Marines wore in their first deployments (Editorial note: the flak that he refers to is the Modular Tactical Vest versus the Interceptor Body Armor).

“There’s no question the gear we’re going with is better,” Hughes said.

So agreed Cpl. Samuel Lott, a motor pool specialist heading to Iraq for the second time. He led an overview of the vehicles that will carry Marines around Iraq, pointing out that most have much better protection against small-arms and rocket fire as well as roadside bombs.

“I’m anxious to go back,” Lott said. “Very few of the Marines in my shop have combat experience, so I’m glad I’m going to be with them.”

Thankfully, those who would play “the devil’s game” have not successfully thwarted the expenditure of monies to outfit the Pendleton Marines soon to deploy.

There is no moral dilemma.  Here at The Captain’s Journal, we are in favor of spending now and spending later to equip the American warriors.  Those who are not are playing the devil’s game.

What is a Warrior’s Life Worth?

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 9 months ago

The AP recently published an article on the subject of the cost of equipping U.S. soldiers and Marines (picked up later by Australia’s Herald Sun which printed a redacted version of the article).

As official Washington argues over the spiraling price of the war in Iraq, consider this: Outfitting a soldier for battle costs a hundred times more now than it did in World War II. It was $170 then, is about $17,500 now and could be an estimated $28,000 to $60,000 by the middle of the next decade.

“The ground soldier was perceived to be a relatively inexpensive instrument of war” in the past, said Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, head of the Army agency for developing and fielding soldier equipment.

Now, the Pentagon spends tens of billions of dollars annually to protect troops and make them more lethal on the battlefield.

In the 1940s, a GI went to war with little more than a uniform, weapon, helmet, bedroll and canteen. He carried some 35 pounds of gear that cost $170 in 2006 inflation-adjusted dollars, according to Army figures.

That rose to about $1,100 by the 1970s as the military added a flak vest, new weapons and other equipment during the Vietnam War.

Today, troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are outfitted with advanced armor and other protection, including high-tech vests, anti-ballistic eyewear, earplugs and fire-retardant gloves. Night-vision eyewear, thermal weapons sights and other gear makes them more deadly to the adversary.

In all, soldiers today are packing more than 80 items — weighing about 75 pounds — from socks to disposable handcuffs to a strap cutter for slashing open a seatbelt if they have to flee a burning vehicle.

Several items were added since 2002, when troops in Afghanistan complained that their equipment was outdated and not best suited to the new campaign.

I have not been able to recover the actual cost of an M1-Gerand which was predominantly in use in World War 2, but its predecessor Springfield had a cost of $42.50 in 1932.  Conservatively assuming no change in cost for the Gerand, this means that for approximately $130 the U.S. Army outfitted its troops with a backpack, helmet, shovel, ammunition belt, canteen, boots, socks, fatigues, cold weather gear, rain gear, overcoat, bayonet, etc. (the list above is gratuitously shortened).

This is a mistake, or at least, grossly exaggerated.  We prefer simply incorrect for whatever reason.  However, let’s stipulate the premise, i.e., that the costs associated with modern warfare have increased dramatically.  The corollary to this is that the lethality of modern warfare has increased nearly in proportion to its costs, as has the human costs of conducting that warfare decreased.  Equipment innovations (e.g., ceramic SAPI plates) and medical advances (among other things) have decreased both the battlefield dead and the ratio of dead to wounded.  As for battlefield weight, I have written extensively about the difficulty in movement added by 32 lbs of body armor (Body Armor Wars: The Way Forward), and also recommended that further technological advancements reduce that battlefield weight for the warrior (Body Armor Goes Political).  Ironically, the solution to heavy battlefield weight is the very thing that the author of the article seems to be arguing against – more spending and technological developments.

No Marine or Soldier wants to deploy to the theater with inferior body armor, as evidenced by Marines being adopted by veteran’s organizations to procure Spartan 2 body armor when it became apparent that the Modular Tacitical Vest would not become available in time for recent deployments.  Also, given the success of IEDs as a tactic of the enemy in Iraq, no Marine or Soldier wants to deploy in HMWVVs, even uparmored HMWVVs, in lieu of the MRAP, mine resistant ambush protected V-shape hull transport vehicle.

The Pentagon has argued for more funds to be transferred to the MRAP program (partly at the insistence of Secretary of Defense Gates), but even as this occurs, some Pentagon leadership wonders if the future of new weapons system is not being sold for better protection now.  It is also this thinking that caused the delay in the deployment of the program when it was learned that IEDs were so effective against U.S. forces.  More money spent now, so the thinking went, means less for the future.  Thus did Pentagon thinkers play the devil’s game, with the lives of American warriors hanging in the balance with roadside bombs and IEDs.

Rather than wonder about the morality of future weapons systems and the alleged high costs of outfitting Marines and Soldiers with body armor, ballistic goggles, night vision and tie wraps for detaining individuals, the author – as well as thinkers at the Pentagon – ought better to wonder about the morality of decision-making that sacrifices warrior’s lives for money that is easily raised and spent by the Department of Defense.  Where Congress is culpable, they ought to have the same watershed moral revelation.  When considering money for lives, the decision is simple, assuming that the decision-maker has a moral constitution to begin with.

As for the Marines who are soon to deploy?  The North County Times gives us their current perspective on equipment and preparedness.

When an estimated 11,000 Camp Pendleton troops head to Iraq soon, they’ll be taking a host of new equipment with them such as lighter helmets, better flak jackets and more heavily armored vehicles.

They’ll also be taking a wealth of experience from lessons learned during the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion and the multiple deployments in the nearly five years since.

That’s been evident at Camp Pendleton in recent weeks, where troops from private to major attend classes and train in the field as they prepare to replace the North Carolina-based II Marine Expeditionary Force in the Anbar province west of Baghdad.

The Pentagon announced in late July that three major Camp Pendleton units would be deployed beginning late this year and continuing into early 2008.

Class themes for the troops heading to the Middle East run the gamut, from how to spot roadside bombs to how to grasp parts of Iraqi culture and language.

In Counterinsurgency: Know Thine Enemy, I argued for just such language and culture training.  Continuing with the North County Times article:

The Camp Pendleton troops will be riding in some new hardware in Iraq, including the Osprey, which takes off and lands like a helicopter, but it flies faster and like an airplane, using tilt-rotor propellers.

The first group of Ospreys, which can ferry troops to hot spots much faster than helicopters, reached Iraq last week. With a history of deadly crashes that has marred its development, the Osprey’s performance will be closely watched with keen attention paid to maintenance issues and how the lightly armed aircraft is able to respond to any ground attacks.

More important for the “ground pounders” is the latest generation of heavily armored vehicles, including the new “Mine Resistant Ambush Protected” or MRAP. The Pentagon is rushing as many of the V-shaped hulled vehicles as it can into Iraq in an attempt to reduce deaths and injuries from roadside bombs to older generation Humvees.

New flak jackets, with more protective gear around the head, neck and back, have also been issued, and the helmets are much lighter than the Marines wore in their first deployments (Editorial note: the flak that he refers to is the Modular Tactical Vest versus the Interceptor Body Armor).

“There’s no question the gear we’re going with is better,” Hughes said.

So agreed Cpl. Samuel Lott, a motor pool specialist heading to Iraq for the second time. He led an overview of the vehicles that will carry Marines around Iraq, pointing out that most have much better protection against small-arms and rocket fire as well as roadside bombs.

“I’m anxious to go back,” Lott said. “Very few of the Marines in my shop have combat experience, so I’m glad I’m going to be with them.”

Thankfully, those who would play “the devil’s game” have not successfully thwarted the expenditure of monies to outfit the Pendleton Marines soon to deploy.

There is no moral dilemma.  Here at The Captain’s Journal, we are in favor of spending now and spending later to equip the American warriors.  Those who are not are playing the devil’s game.

Letters from Readers

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago

In response to Marine Artillery Does Oakland and my plan for an amphibious assault on San Francisco, Arthur Kimes writes:

Oh sure you can conquer it. But holding it against the insurgents? What counter-measures do you have against the obvious threat of Road Side Mimes? What happens when the Starbucks barrista slips DECAF in a Marines cappucino? (I should have 4 or 5 more funny lines but my brain isn’t working now. Too early…)

In response to Warriors and the Oakland Airport: The Final Story, Daniel Jimenez sends a link, to which I responded:

Bull. The airport authorities know that weapons being on board the plane is no reason to bar the plane from entry. The weapons have their bolt removed and have no ammunition. This is done before they ever leave the theater. The airport authorities know this. I have covered this in my most recent post (followup to the one backtracked to Michelle’s site). Further, not having been screened by TSA is quite irrelevant, and the airport authorities know it. Customs does a more thorough job with them.

This story is crap. Sorry.

To which Mr. Jimenez then responded as follows:

So, the contractor who said he personally drove the troops waiting to meet family to the terminal? Also a liar? The Staff Sgt. who talks about the great reception he received at the airport? Also a liar? And the commanding officer who told the airport officials they didn’t need any other attention? Also a liar? The airport spokeswoman? Also a liar? (I’m CERTAIN you think she’s a liar, because, after all, she’s the one covering for the nefarious America- and troop-hating directors of the Oakland Airport.)

Never let the facts get in the way of a good “The Bay Area hates the troops” story, I suppose.

To which I responded:

I don’t mean to be rude, but you need to learn to stay on point and not get sidetracked by irrelevant things.  I never said anything about contractors trucking people around and such as that.  I stuck to a single point in both of my posts: weapons being on board causing a security concern, and this being the reason for stopping the aircraft.

Again, bull.  Period.  They have more muzzle discipline that an air marshal who also has a weapon, and besides, unlike air marshals, they have no ammunition.  There was and is no security concern.  Do they honestly believe that anyone would be stupid enough to allow the Marines to board the aircraft in the theater WITH ammunition?  No, they do not honestly believe that.  And that’s the point.

To which Mr. Jimenez responded:

I’ll go ahead and sidestep your faux courtesy and be rude.

Hey. A**hole. Spare me the smarm. The point about the contractor driving the 3 troops to see their loved ones, and the part about the commanding officer saying they didn’t need anything else, means that the entire incident was completely overblown. If the commanding officer says, (sic) we don’t need to go to the terminal, that’s fine. Then that’s it. End of story. But people like you and Ledeen and Malkin can’t resist the urge to bash the bay, even when the facts get in your way (go look up Tight Films’ statement on the Marine commercial in SF, schmuck).

The point about the Staff Sgt.’s comment about the 2005 arrival was that your assumptions about the Bay Area are, of course, wrong.

Your entire argument about weapons seems to come down to one crucial assumption: That the people who run the Oakland Airport openly hate the troops and, in fact, took this opportunity to stick it to them the only way the could. You understand why that’s ludicrous, right? Have you ever been to the Bay Area? Oh, wait, you would never come to the “Socialist Republic of San Francisco” without that amphibious assault squad, right? Read this:

“I have never had so many people in my 17 years of service stop and thank me for my service,” said Maj. Sean Pascoli, the officer in charge of recruiting for the Marine Corps in the Bay Area. Pascoli says he has exceeded his quota for Marine recruits in the Bay Area this year.

…and tell me the Bay still hates the Marines.

Well, frankly I had not considered the actual size of the assault team.  Mr. Jimenez recommends a squad (this is three fire teams and a squad leader, usually a Sergeant).  I think a fire team of four Marines might be sufficient, but based on Mr. Kimes’ concerns, the post-assault occupation might take a larger force size.  Or maybe not.

But while the first letter from Mr. Kimes brought a smile to my face, this last one brought a tear to my eye.  He favorably compared me to Ledeen and Malkin.  I am undeserving of such a compliment.  I expect a dinner invitation from Michael and Michelle soon.  I am in the club – I am one of you now. Thank you, Mr. Jimenez.

Al Qaeda’s Miscalculation

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago

Michael Ledeen’s new book The Iranian Time Bomb contains some brief but stark words that, in a nutshell, wrap up the worldview of radical Shi’a Islam concerning nation-states and how this concept is not a part of their world view.  In the words of Khomeini:

“We do not worship Iran.  We worship Allah.  For patriotism is is another name for paganism.  I say let this land [Iran] burn.  I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world.?  Ledeen comments of its more recent history, “Without exception, their core beliefs are totally contrary to the notion they are a traditional nation-state.?

This is radical Shi’a Islam, not moderate Shi’a Islam, and not Sunni Islam.  However, the radical elements of both sects see the world through the same lens.  In both corporate America and jihadism, the solution to failure is reorganization.  There is yet another one underway, this time among the ex-Ba’athists and Saddam henchmen.

Nearly two dozen previously unknown Iraqi insurgent groups announced a new coalition to fight foreign occupation but it also set conditions for talks with the U.S. in a statement on a Web site affiliated with the country’s deposed Baath party.

The 22 groups said their leader is Izzat al-Douri, the highest ranking member of Saddam Hussein’s former ruling party still at large.

In the nearly half hour video message, an unidentified man, face blurred, was shown sitting behind a table with an Iraqi flag on his right side reading a statement announcing the formation of the new alliance called “The Jihad and Liberation.”

The new alliance laid down a series of conditions for talks with the U.S. It demanded an unconditional withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq, immediately or within a short timetable, the release of all detainees, return of the security forces to their status before the occupation and a halt to all operations against the people.

“If the enemy wants to withdraw and save face, they should sit down and speak directly with the resistance to discuss implementing these sacred principles. Otherwise, the only alternative is their collapse and flight,” the statement said.

Ayad Allawi, Iraq’s first post-Saddam prime minister, has recently said he held talks with members of the Baath party loyal to al-Douri, for which he was severely criticized by Iraq’s current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

The statement made no mention of al-Qaida in Iraq, but it contained slogans praising Arab nationalism and the Arab nation’s great past. Al-Qaida’s extremist ideology does not recognize nationalism, but calls for an Islamic state.

There have been reports of clashes in Iraq between the more nationalist and secular elements of the insurgency with groups following al-Qaida.

The coalition is led by a group linked to al-Douri, who in his later years ascribed to a moderate, mystic Sufi form of Islam.

An Islamic Web site linked to extremist groups such as al-Qaida also carried the announcement, but ridiculed al-Douri and the new group.

In a sign of the desperation of the indigenous insurgents – those who have not been killed – al Douri demands the U.S. departure from Iraq with the threat of collapse in the event of refusal to comply.  Al Douri is the last holdout, will never befriend the new Iraqi government, and has nothing to gain by attempting peace.  He is a hunted man, and his very existence is in jeopardy. His ilk are short timers in the short history of the new Iraq, regardless of what else happens.  But regarding the main point, his views are nationalistic and have nothing to do with an Islamic state or the expansion of Islam beyond the borders of Iraq.

This is the nexus of the tribal turn against al Qaeda and al Qaeda’s failure in Iraq (although the hard line Ba’athists couldn’t participate, being too far submerged into the violence perpetrated against the Shi’a).  Al Qaeda couldn’t have cared less about nationalistic pride, history of heritage, or tribal loyalties and the security of the population.  Their brutal and savage tactics attempting to keep the tribes in line are evidence of not just the difference in tactics, but of world view.  The tactics are just a pointer to something larger – the philosophy that undergirds al Qaeda.

Umar al Baghdadi (whom U.S. intelligence believes to be a nonexistent hoax, but whom Nibras Kazimi believes to exist), addressing the now “recalcitrant” insurgents who have come over to the coalition side, speaks for the Islamic State of Iraq when he says:

… Don’t sell your afterlife for a bunch of coins that will be of no use should you fall into the hands of the mujaheddin before you declare repentance, by Allah your fortifications and your armored vehicles will not protect you, neither will your numbers or the reputation of your tribes, because Allah is making us victorious over you, and you will know that this is so for certain when we cut off your head and extinguish your memory…

He is referring to payment for policing and intelligence, money that the Sunnis badly need to support their families, and monies that should be more forthcoming from the U.S.  If they accept it, he says, their heads will be cut off.  Al Baghdadi sees the end of Western civilization in his wildest dreams.

… Today, we are embarking on a new era, and a point of transformation for the region and the entire world, we are witnessing the end of that lie called Western civilization, and the rise of the Islamic giant, and this is exactly what Bush warned of in his latest speech in front of the veterans [Ed.: August 22, 2007]

Anbar became a three way war: the U.S. against al Qaeda and the indigenous insurgents, al Qaeda against the U.S. and the insurgents, and the insurgents against the U.S. and al Qaeda.  This three way war came into being due to irreconcilable differences in world view: al Qaeda saw a gigantic Islamic state expanding from Iraq throughout the Middle East, and so Iraq became the focal point of their efforts.  The indigenous Sunni story is more complex, with them wanting to return to power in Iraq, and slowly realizing that they wouldn’t, while also realizing that the U.S. would not be militarily defeated.

The lesson from this is not that the Iraqi people are not Islamic.  The lesson is that the Iraqi people didn’t see the requirement to jettison tribe and nation in order to be Islamic, any more than they saw the necessity to embrace world conflict to be the same.  This was al Qaeda’s monumental miscalculation, and Iraq is al Qaeda’s Vietnam.  Their twilight in Iraq has come, as has the Ba’athist holdouts from Saddam’s regime.


26th MEU (10)
Abu Muqawama (12)
ACOG (2)
ACOGs (1)
Afghan National Army (36)
Afghan National Police (17)
Afghanistan (675)
Afghanistan SOFA (4)
Agriculture in COIN (3)
AGW (1)
Air Force (28)
Air Power (9)
al Qaeda (83)
Ali al-Sistani (1)
America (6)
Ammunition (13)
Animals in War (4)
Ansar al Sunna (15)
Anthropology (3)
AR-15s (34)
Arghandab River Valley (1)
Arlington Cemetery (2)
Army (34)
Assassinations (2)
Assault Weapon Ban (24)
Australian Army (5)
Azerbaijan (4)
Backpacking (2)
Badr Organization (8)
Baitullah Mehsud (21)
Basra (17)
BATFE (44)
Battle of Bari Alai (2)
Battle of Wanat (15)
Battle Space Weight (3)
Bin Laden (7)
Blogroll (2)
Blogs (4)
Body Armor (16)
Books (2)
Border War (6)
Brady Campaign (1)
Britain (25)
British Army (35)
Camping (4)
Canada (1)
Castle Doctrine (1)
Caucasus (6)
CENTCOM (7)
Center For a New American Security (8)
Charity (3)
China (10)
Christmas (5)
CIA (12)
Civilian National Security Force (3)
Col. Gian Gentile (9)
Combat Outposts (3)
Combat Video (2)
Concerned Citizens (6)
Constabulary Actions (3)
Coolness Factor (2)
COP Keating (4)
Corruption in COIN (4)
Council on Foreign Relations (1)
Counterinsurgency (214)
DADT (2)
David Rohde (1)
Defense Contractors (2)
Department of Defense (113)
Department of Homeland Security (9)
Disaster Preparedness (2)
Distributed Operations (5)
Dogs (5)
Drone Campaign (3)
EFV (3)
Egypt (12)
Embassy Security (1)
Enemy Spotters (1)
Expeditionary Warfare (17)
F-22 (2)
F-35 (1)
Fallujah (17)
Far East (3)
Fathers and Sons (1)
Favorite (1)
Fazlullah (3)
FBI (1)
Featured (159)
Federal Firearms Laws (14)
Financing the Taliban (2)
Firearms (241)
Football (1)
Force Projection (35)
Force Protection (4)
Force Transformation (1)
Foreign Policy (27)
Fukushima Reactor Accident (6)
Ganjgal (1)
Garmsir (1)
general (14)
General Amos (1)
General James Mattis (1)
General McChrystal (38)
General McKiernan (6)
General Rodriguez (3)
General Suleimani (7)
Georgia (19)
GITMO (2)
Google (1)
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (1)
Gun Control (187)
Guns (500)
Guns In National Parks (2)
Haditha Roundup (10)
Haiti (2)
HAMAS (7)
Haqqani Network (9)
Hate Mail (7)
Hekmatyar (1)
Heroism (4)
Hezbollah (12)
High Capacity Magazines (11)
High Value Targets (9)
Homecoming (1)
Homeland Security (1)
Horses (1)
Humor (13)
ICOS (1)
IEDs (7)
Immigration (28)
India (10)
Infantry (3)
Information Warfare (2)
Infrastructure (2)
Intelligence (22)
Intelligence Bulletin (6)
Iran (169)
Iraq (377)
Iraq SOFA (23)
Islamic Facism (33)
Islamists (37)
Israel (17)
Jaish al Mahdi (21)
Jalalabad (1)
Japan (2)
Jihadists (70)
John Nagl (5)
Joint Intelligence Centers (1)
JRTN (1)
Kabul (1)
Kajaki Dam (1)
Kamdesh (8)
Kandahar (12)
Karachi (7)
Kashmir (2)
Khost Province (1)
Khyber (11)
Knife Blogging (2)
Korea (4)
Korengal Valley (3)
Kunar Province (20)
Kurdistan (3)
Language in COIN (5)
Language in Statecraft (1)
Language Interpreters (2)
Lashkar-e-Taiba (2)
Law Enforcement (2)
Lawfare (6)
Leadership (5)
Lebanon (6)
Leon Panetta (1)
Let Them Fight (2)
Libya (11)
Lines of Effort (3)
Littoral Combat (7)
Logistics (46)
Long Guns (1)
Lt. Col. Allen West (2)
Marine Corps (229)
Marines in Bakwa (1)
Marines in Helmand (67)
Marjah (4)
MEDEVAC (2)
Media (22)
Memorial Day (2)
Mexican Cartels (20)
Mexico (21)
Michael Yon (5)
Micromanaging the Military (7)
Middle East (1)
Military Blogging (26)
Military Contractors (3)
Military Equipment (24)
Militia (3)
Mitt Romney (3)
Monetary Policy (1)
Moqtada al Sadr (2)
Mosul (4)
Mountains (9)
MRAPs (1)
Mullah Baradar (1)
Mullah Fazlullah (1)
Mullah Omar (3)
Musa Qala (4)
Music (16)
Muslim Brotherhood (6)
Nation Building (2)
National Internet IDs (1)
National Rifle Association (13)
NATO (15)
Navy (19)
Navy Corpsman (1)
NCOs (3)
News (1)
NGOs (2)
Nicholas Schmidle (2)
Now Zad (19)
NSA (1)
NSA James L. Jones (6)
Nuclear (53)
Nuristan (8)
Obama Administration (204)
Offshore Balancing (1)
Operation Alljah (7)
Operation Khanjar (14)
Ossetia (7)
Pakistan (165)
Paktya Province (1)
Palestine (5)
Patriotism (6)
Patrolling (1)
Pech River Valley (11)
Personal (16)
Petraeus (14)
Pictures (1)
Piracy (13)
Police (99)
Police in COIN (3)
Policy (15)
Politics (132)
Poppy (2)
PPEs (1)
Prisons in Counterinsurgency (12)
Project Gunrunner (20)
PRTs (1)
Qatar (1)
Quadrennial Defense Review (2)
Quds Force (13)
Quetta Shura (1)
RAND (3)
Recommended Reading (14)
Refueling Tanker (1)
Religion (70)
Religion and Insurgency (19)
Reuters (1)
Rick Perry (4)
Roads (4)
Rolling Stone (1)
Ron Paul (1)
ROTC (1)
Rules of Engagement (73)
Rumsfeld (1)
Russia (27)
Sabbatical (1)
Sangin (1)
Saqlawiyah (1)
Satellite Patrols (2)
Saudi Arabia (4)
Scenes from Iraq (1)
Second Amendment (133)
Second Amendment Quick Hits (2)
Secretary Gates (9)
Sharia Law (3)
Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahiden (1)
SIIC (2)
Sirajuddin Haqqani (1)
Small Wars (72)
Snipers (9)
Sniveling Lackeys (2)
Soft Power (4)
Somalia (8)
Sons of Afghanistan (1)
Sons of Iraq (2)
Special Forces (22)
Squad Rushes (1)
State Department (17)
Statistics (1)
Sunni Insurgency (10)
Support to Infantry Ratio (1)
Survival (9)
SWAT Raids (46)
Syria (38)
Tactical Drills (1)
Tactical Gear (1)
Taliban (167)
Taliban Massing of Forces (4)
Tarmiyah (1)
TBI (1)
Technology (16)
Tehrik-i-Taliban (78)
Terrain in Combat (1)
Terrorism (86)
Thanksgiving (4)
The Anbar Narrative (23)
The Art of War (5)
The Fallen (1)
The Long War (20)
The Surge (3)
The Wounded (13)
Thomas Barnett (1)
Transnational Insurgencies (5)
Tribes (5)
TSA (10)
TSA Ineptitude (10)
TTPs (1)
U.S. Border Patrol (4)
U.S. Border Security (11)
U.S. Sovereignty (13)
UAVs (2)
UBL (4)
Ukraine (2)
Uncategorized (38)
Universal Background Check (2)
Unrestricted Warfare (4)
USS Iwo Jima (2)
USS San Antonio (1)
Uzbekistan (1)
V-22 Osprey (4)
Veterans (2)
Vietnam (1)
War & Warfare (210)
War & Warfare (40)
War Movies (2)
War Reporting (17)
Wardak Province (1)
Warriors (5)
Waziristan (1)
Weapons and Tactics (57)
West Point (1)
Winter Operations (1)
Women in Combat (11)
WTF? (1)
Yemen (1)

about · archives · contact · register

Copyright © 2006-2014 Captain's Journal. All rights reserved.