General David Petreaus commanded the US 101st Airborne in the initial invasion of Iraq and through quick action stopped Mosul from going out of control. Since being given command of the Iraq theatre he has assembled a 'dream team' of fourth generation warfare scholars which includes Australia's Lt. Col. David Kilcullen
Kilcullen's Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-level Counterinsurgency [pdf]
recently did the rounds of the US military. Kilcullen served for 21 years in the Australian Army including a command in East Timor. He has a doctoral thesis on counter-insurgencies in Indonesia. More recently he has been loaned to the US State Department to give advice on asymmetric warfare.
The 28 Articles reminds me of the powerpoint by US Army Capt. Travis Patriquin, How to win the war in Anbar [pdf]
. Sadly his life was taken by an explosive device
. Which suggests there is consensus on the manner with which the insurgency operates on the ground, in the military command (with Petreaus's appointment), in the intellects driving military policy
and in the civil experts and specialists
The issue with Iraq has always been the political conduct of the war. Since it has been domestically focused in the US and Australia, many political decisions have adversely affected the military's capability to conduct a winning strategy.
An early example of this which Thomas E. Ricks described was the political announcement of WMDs, which was known to be false and chosen as a political sell, led to US commanders not blowing up arms cache's as they found them. Added to the lack of manpower which the Department of Defense used to invade Iraq this meant the US Commanders had no troops to guard the caches and couldn't blow them up for fear of biological or nuclear contamination. Consequently they were quickly looted - arming the insurgents and militia.
Another good example which wreaked civil havoc was de-Baathification, which many commanders such as Petreaus and the commanders of the 101st Airborne were opposed to. It was a political decision by the CPA, DoD and it seems possibly the White House was involved too. So political decision making from Washington DC has pretty much been bad the whole time.
It has become a talking point that the lack of moral support on the US domestic front is leading to the loss of the war of in Iraq. In reality, those most to blame for the current anarchy and disorder in Iraq are the US Executive - namely the White House and Department of Defence, as well as the early US military commanders in the Pentagon.
Kilcullen's fundamentals focus on the company level of command. This has been an area of Australian speciality, mainly due to the need to conduct jungle warfare in Australian north. The command structures in such an environment quickly flatten and require a great deal of independent thought to operate tactically within the strategy. Kilcullen defines the insurgency as:
If you have not studied counterinsurgency theory, here it is in a nutshell: this is a competition
with the insurgent for the right and the ability to win the hearts, minds and acquiescence of the
population. You are being sent in because the insurgents, at their strongest, can defeat anything weaker than you. But you have more combat power than you can or should use in most
situations. Injudicious use of firepower creates blood feuds, homeless people and societal
disruption that fuels and perpetuates the insurgency.
The most beneficial actions are often local politics, civic action, and beat-cop behaviors. For your side to win, the people do not have to
like you but they must respect you, accept that your actions benefit them, and trust your integrity and ability to deliver on promises, particularly regarding their security. In this battlefield popular perceptions and rumor are more influential than the facts and more powerful than a hundred tanks.
Whenever I read these types of things I cannot help thinking that a military is the wrong weapon in these types of situations. A counter-insurgency needs police, judges and good governance to dampen it. I think rather than sending in the 101st Airborne and the SASR we should be sending in the Los Angeles Police Department and the NSW Tactical Response Group.
Police are armed well enough to take down an insurgent or a terrorist. They also don't carry all the overhead, weaponry and equipment of a soldier. Nor do they have such isolationist bases or camps. Police live amongst the population and use technology which is widely available to all citizenry. They aren't an 'other' like the military are.
Kilcullen's points include:
- Know your turf
- Organize for intelligence
- Organize for inter-agency operations
- Travel light and harden your CSS
- Train the squad leaders and then trust them
- Rank is nothing, talent is everything
- Avoid knee jerk responses to first impressions
- Prepare for handover from day one
- Remember the global audience
- Engage the women, beware the children
- Local forces should mirror the enemy, not ourselves
- Practice armed civil affairs. From that section, "Counterinsurgency is armed social work; an attempt to redress basic social and political problems while being shot at. This makes civil affairs a central counterinsurgency activity, not an afterthought."
- Build your own solution – only attack the enemy when he gets in the way.
Kilcullen's analysis advocates a lightweight, decentralised, rapidly mobile, locally and political sensitive force which engages the overall strategy and only intercepts the enemy when it interferes with their capability of adhering to the strategy.
It is not a surprise that the Australian SAS Regiment was prized in Afghanistan and Iraq as Kilcullen's points cover the manner of special forces operation. The grunts, artillery, infantry, air force and navy though? They are for destroying nation-states and their military forces. Harder task for them to do that.
Fabius Maximus has an interesting discussion
of Kilcullen's work. He argues that fourth generation warfare must be split into two types for a strategy to be determined:
- Violence between two or more local groups, who can form from any combination of clans, governments, ethnicities, religions, gangs, and tribes.
- Violence between two or more sides, where at least one is led by foreigners - both comprising, as above, any imaginable combination of factions.
Fabius argues that these types of conflicts are only winnable when the locals do all the fighting, outside support, in money and information management are important, but ultimately the local police, military and politicians have to dampen the disorder. He uses the Malayan Emergency as an example. This leads fabius to conclude:
- Insurgencies are easiest to defeat at home
- Do not look to wars won by the locals for lessons how we can win when fighting in foreign lands
- That we avoid foreign wars, except when we only assist local forces
Fabius writes that Kilcullen has advanced fourth generation warfare theory but suspects that his points are more use for fighting a domestic insurgency than one in a foreign land.
With Petreaus leading the US Army in Iraq, and fourth generation warfare theorists providing the intellectual backing for the chosen strategy hopefully Iraq will be tamed such that it can make the transition from disorder to civil order. Sadly I don't think the US political management is up to it, and will probably hamper any US military efforts, no matter how hard the soldiers and commanders bend their backs to the task.
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.