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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Everybody Loves Raymond

Well at least the Kagans at The Weekly Standard do...

Of particular interest is how GEN Odierno as MNC-I commander, though now a believer in counterinsurgency doctrine, is described as "The Patton of Counterinsurgency," who came to the conclusion that in order to implement Petraeus' counterinsurgency plan he needed to secure Baghdad. What was his conclusion? Securing Baghdad "required large-scale offensive combat operations outside the city." The Kagans also describe how Odierno used "traditional military concepts" like attacks on "lines-of-communication, support areas, and key terrain relevant to the counterinsurgency strategy" and went on a series of "brilliant offensives."

On another note, the Kagans criticize the American targeting process saying:

the killing of AQI leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi in June 2006 should have disrupted the al Qaeda network severely. But AQI rapidly regrouped after Zarqawi's death under a successor, Abu Ayyub al Masri. The American counterterrorism approach disrupted the network but did not eliminate it. AQI's ability to generate violence in Baghdad through its signature vehicle bombs actually increased in the months after Zarqawi's death, as did civilian casualties and Shia retaliatory attacks. The entire cycle of violence that attacks on the terrorist network were supposed to bring under control actually ramped up.
The problem with the targeting process isn't intelligence as the Kagans suggest, but it is who the U.S. goes after after receiving the actionable intelligence. The U.S. always goes after terrorist leaders because it plays well in the media by making us look like we are winning the war. However, the key is to go after the low level people within the organizations that link the different terrorist organizations together. By going after the lower level jihadists and eliminating the links between organizations, we can weaken the leaders and the organizations they lead. In sum, we should act as a picador during a bullfight, who weakens the bull for its eventual death at the hands of the matador. The U.S., as picador, will not get the glory of the matador because we will not deliver the fatal blow - the members of the terrorist organization who now view their leader, the bull, as weak, will.

See also:
First Recommendation for GEN Petraeus from "Afghanistan Is in Its Worst Shape Since 2001"

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