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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Stress and the Next Two Years in Iraq

Sorry for recent lack of blogging -- crazy busy at work and I'm finally doing some serious research again. This time, its in the applicability of animal stress response to collective groups of animals. Stress response in everything from cephalopods to humans is well understood, and pretty well described in layman's terms in the works of Selye, Sapolsky, Hobfoll, and others. But do groups of animals (packs, units, scieties, etc) experience stress by an analogous process?

What we lack is scientific evidence that the responses to stress animals experience applies to societies of animals, particularly those of humans. Intuition and anecdotal evidence suggest that it does, but hard evidence of this is very new and incomplete. If it's true, it has profound implications for how we take down and build up complex systems like armies and societies (can you say Iraq? I knew you could...) SLA Marshall's Men Against Fire and John Warden's work provide some justification, but I seem to be barking up the wrong tree scientifically.

In any event, the President is getting a lot of advice concerning his next moves in Iraq. The Baker Commission seems poised to produce a somewhat more moderate timetable for defeat than the Democratic Party in Congress does and has even hired a PR firm to help sell thier ideas, but the result will be the same: "honorable" defeat, a la Vietnam. The left wants another Vietnam-like ending to, a) demonstrate its power; b) to prove to old heads that the current koskid crowd is as committed to leftist ideals as their parents, the Baby Boomers, were; c) to weaken the efficacy of the military as an instrument of national power; d) to enhance the efficacy of internationalist bodies like the UN; and e) stick it to Shrubbychimpler the antiChrist. Plus it gives them another chance to spit on our soldiers, which they are ecstatically love to do.

Among the right and even among moderate Democrats of my acquaitance, a consensus seems to be growing that we are not doing enough, not that we're doing too much and need to pull out. This may signify the beginning of the Jacksonian "America gets pissed off and kills everything in sight" phenomenon that I spoke of in previous posts. Good. Better that it happen here, in a more controlled environment, than in the War the Is to Come. If we can get the President to listen to the people, we may have a chance of preventing that larger, much uglier, war. If we withdraw from Iraq, everyone in the world (except perhaps the political and chattering classes in the US) will know its a defeat and will know that we don't have the will as a nation to stop radical islam in its quest for lebensraum and religious "purification" of the globe.

Besides the timetable for defeat, the Baker report offers nothing new and basically recapitulates what we're alreay doing over there. "Give the Iraqi army and security services more responsibility for patrolling and securing parts of Iraq." What the hell do they think we're doing now?

I agree with those who have sutdied successful counterinsurgencies (the Brits have the most experience, but we have a decent record in the Philippines and Japan). You don't win by just killing insurgents (although you must do a bit of that too). Rather, you place troublesome portions of the population in internment (caoncentration, but not extermination) camps, fortify friendly villages against insurgent attack, and directly involve not just the indigenous army, but local villagers in helping provide their own security. The people are the center of gravity and you can't catch and kill all the enemy in situations like this. Rather, you must go after the center of gravity directly and punish the recalcitrant (internment camps have a way of greatly reducing active insurgency too) and reward those who "play ball" with us. Then you use your army to provide security from external threats (like sealing the border with Syria and bombing Iranian nculear facilities to demonstrate zero tolerance and hopefully frighten them away from some of the active subversion they've been guilty of.

As a last resort, divide Iraq into three separate nations, guarantee their sovereignty and border integrity, and permanently occupy the center sunni section to use as a "base of fire" against other nations in the Middle East. Intern troublesome parts of the of sunni population and level those parts that refuse internment (civilians and all). Demonstrate our committment in absolute, unequivocal terms. Many civilians died during the battle for Fallujah. Many more might have died if we had done what we should have: made a loud announcement that Fallujah had 48 hours to evacuate, after which it would have been completly flattened. Soldiers and marines should have held out at the berm (they built around the city) and shot everyone who tried to escape -- women and children included. Many "innocents" would have been killed, but the entire world would have rocked back on its collective heels and said, "f&*k, they mean business! I guess we shouldn't piss off the US too badly." Then and only then should we have instituted concerted counterinsurgency programs (what the Russians failed to do after flattening Grozhny). This should have been a single act, with the implication that worse would follow. Fear is a much more effective instrument of coercion than constant (and adaptable) pressure.

International "law" you say? War crimes, you say? F*^k international law. Only Euroweenies, fern-loving Bluestaters, and a couple of panty-wetters on the Supreme Court care about international law. Our enemies do not and will never extend its provisions to us; why should we extend it to them?

The 75,000 or so soldiers, marines, and airmen this program would require should be added back into the mkitary through new recruitment, perhaps of as many as 100,000 (rather than, for example, cutting the Air Force by 40,000 in order to "recapitalize" with the damned F-22). Those who advocate a draft are leftist extremists who realize perfectly well that, a) the modern military would have no use for 2-3 year amateur soldiers and, b) a draftee military would make it much more difficult to fight and to get into fights (due to inevitable civilian-attitude griping and Congressman-calling). This is one of the aims of the Charlie Rangels in Congress, who want nothing short of crippling our military's ability to perform anything but CONUS home defense.

So...that's where I stand. I have a pile of Christian carnivals to post, but am not in the mood right now, as perhaps you can tell.


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