Thursday, October 19, 2006


An Intelligent Op Ed

Phillip Carter, who normally blogs with intelligence as good as it is voluminous at Intel Dump, scored an Op Ed in the Sunday New York Times. It’s a terrific must read, from a soldier just back from Baquba with the 101st Airborne Division.

Here’s how Carter starts his analysis:

THE military’s new counterinsurgency manual offers a great deal of wisdom for those who will wage the small wars of the future. Its prescriptions and paradoxes — like the maxim that the more force used, the less effective it is — make sense. However, having spent the last year advising a provincial police headquarters in Iraq, I know it’s far easier to write about such wars than to fight them.

The war I knew was infinitely more complex, contradictory and elusive than the one described in the network news broadcasts or envisioned in the new field manual. When I finally left Baquba, the violent capital of Iraq’s Diyala Province, I found myself questioning many aspects of our mission and our accomplishments, both in a personal search for meaning and a quest to gather lessons that might help those soldiers who will follow me.

Carter seeks to weigh those complexities and contradictions, and if this Op Ed is any indication, possesses a clarity of vision that qualifies him for the task he undertakes. He’s a voice to listen to, read the whole thing and watch his blog.

Here’s his prescription for what’s next:

We should strive in 2006 to build on our successes and to find a smarter way to shift the counterinsurgency effort to the Iraqis in order to secure an imperfect victory. For, as Lawrence wrote eight decades ago about helping the Arabs fight the Turks: “Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them.”

Wise words.

(Via Greyhawk at Milblogs)

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