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June 1, 2007

Out Thought By The Enemy In Iraq

Ralph Peters has an informative read today at The NY Post, addressing our strategy verses that of our enemy in Iraq and beyond.

Peters is critical of Washington's continuous arguing about the diagnosis when we should have already operated on the cancer killing Iraq, and says that while we've failed to develop a clear strategy and carry it out, the terrorists have proved more adaptable than we've been: We restrict ourselves to supposedly humane theories of counterinsurgency warfare that have failed us for 60 years; our enemies simply do whatever works - like manipulate the media:

[...] The terrorists know where they want to go and they have a plan to get there. We don't. No one in Washington offers a detailed, persuasive answer to the Iraq question.

... We're stuck in a terrible marriage in Iraq - and if we leave, mom's going to kill the kids. So we crack open another bottle of sound bites to comfort ourselves.

The military brass also has to shoulder its share of the blame for fighting the kinder, gentler war its pedants want to fight, rather than fighting to win. Officers poisoned by too much time on civilian campuses behave like professors, defending the fanciful theories in their dissertations to the last Infantryman. (They unanimously insist that religion isn't a major factor in the Middle East, since Harvard taught them that faith is irrelevant.)

Lashed by lawyers, timid generals are better suited to fight for funding on Capitol Hill than to defeat our nation's enemies in the field. They're show-dogs that don't hunt. Despite all the shimmering technology we've bought, our military leaders remain trapped in 20th-century thinking - while the terrorists, for all their invocations of the past, are clear-eyed about what it takes to win in the 21st century.

[...] What's the postmodern equivalent of air power, the new revolutionary development? It's the proliferation of the 24/7 media in all its formats. And the terrorists realize it. They learned to trump air power and all the detritus of the last revolution by refusing to mass together and by submerging themselves in urban seas. Then they went one better by grasping the power of irresistible weapons that came free of charge: the media.

Yes, the media were able to influence a war's outcome back in the Vietnam days. But the Cronkite-era media were the equivalent of World War I biplanes. Today's media are a sky full of B-52s, cruise missiles and stealth fighters - with unlimited ordnance.

The terrorists know they can't beat our forces on the battlefield. Their purpose in engaging our troops is to generate a body count, graphic images and alarmist headlines. They've created a new paradigm of warfare that's cheap, effective and defiantly hard to defeat.

Meanwhile, our own military isn't even allowed to slip stories to the bribe-driven Arab press. And the global media credit every perfunctory claim by the terrorists that the target we just hit was another wedding party.

It may prove impossible to win by today's rules. We, too, need a new warfare paradigm. The bad news is that there isn't any sign of one.

Be sure and read it all ....

Posted by Richard at June 1, 2007 3:21 PM

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