4GW RECOMMENDED READING

For those of a pessimistic bent – I don’t agree with everything these authors have to say in their respective critiques of U.S. military and foreign policies – the Germanomania that sometimes prevails at DNI is most odd considering that the Germans lost both world wars through strategic and tactical blundering – but they raise points that are worth careful consideration:

Lessons Learned from the American Expedition to Iraq” by ” Fabius Maximus ” at DNI

I’m not privy to the identity of the writer who posts under this nom de guerre but he has an excellent command of history. I tend to agree with his assessment that our grasp of the Salafi-Jihadi -Qutbist-Takfiri network is remarkably poor considering that we are four years into a global unconventional war. That however, comes from having a drastic shortage of military and intelligence personnel with the requisite language skills and deep in-country experience and not moving heaven and earth to train more. Fundamentals should be our first priorities.

From “Kingdaddy” at Arms and Influence – The Counterinsurgency Series:

Counterinsurgency is Hard, Part IV

Counterinsurgeny is Hard, Part III

Counterinsurgency is Hard, Part II

Counterinsurgency is Hard, Part I.”

Whether I agree or disagree with their conclusions, it is always a pleasure for me to see a person with some expertise take pains to share their knowledge at this level of depth. There is much to like here as ” Kingdaddy” understands the importance of leverage, legitimacy and systems in waging unconventional warfare as a moral and political conflict as well as a military one.

That’s it.

3 comments on this post.
  1. phil:

    Good find on the “Counterinsurgency is Hard” posts. I read the first part and will definitely be reading the others.

    “That however, comes from having a drastic shortage of military and intelligence personnel with the requisite language skills and deep in-country experience and not moving heaven and earth to train more.”

    This shortage of people with the right language skills is certainly a serious problem. But why does this problem exist? After all we have many area studies programs, international relations programs, and language programs at universities all over the country. Shouldn’t we be able to draw on several decades worth of graduates from these programs? In addition this country has been generous enough to allow large numbers of people from Arabic-speaking countries to immigrate here and become citizens. So why does this shortage exist? During WW2 we needed German, Italian and Japanese speakers and we were able to draw on existing resources. Japanese-Americans were volunteering out of prison camps to serve their country. And yet why is it that we are having trouble recruiting from area studies programs? Why would that be? I have my own speculations, but I think I’ll just pretend that it’s a vast mysterious riddle.

  2. mark:

    Hi phil

    Good questions.

    Partly a failure to aggressively entice really talented people to come back. We just haven’t made the effort. I personally know of three guys who have skills that are badly needed – one of whom tried to go back in and was rebuffed for he wanted to do and was not given any carrots to consider something he didn’t care to do.

    Secondly we need to reevaluate our tight restrictions on using native speakers and Arabic and Farsi-speaking sephardic Jews. Vetting them makes sense, stiff-arming all such applicants does not.

    Thirdly, and again careful vetting is required, we have the itinerant, self-taught linguists like Collounsbury – businessmen, scholars, students who are heavily travelled in critical regions. They have valuable knowlege that seems to be regarded as some kind of potential contamination by the USG.

    We are fighting this war with Cold war security rules that fit like putting combat boots on one’s mother – which does a disservice to both mom and the boots.

  3. Anonymous:

    Whoever “Fabius Maximus” is, his forecasts of the Iraq War have proved remarkably accurate. More so than many “big name” agencies, such as Stratfor.

    For example, in late 2003 he discussed the Darwinian nature of insurgencies. Our military effectiveness forced rapid evolution of the insurgents. Only the best survived, and only by developing new tactics — such as use of IEDs.

    This was written when most analysts were forecasting rapid defeat of this rag-tag group of dead-enders and bandits.

    Also note the links at the end, going to other articles.