A guide to our Middle East Wars – change you cannot see
We elected Obama as President on a platform of “change” from the policies of Bush Jr. After all, we spent thousands of our soldiers lives and one or two trillion dollars in Iraq — with little to show for it in terms of our national goals.
We now have a policy statement from each President. From Bush Jr about his Middle East War (dated November 2005); from Obama about his Middle East War (brand new). Let’s compare them. One by an old white Harvard grad. One by a young black Harvard grad. Can you tell match the President with his statement? Are their policies different, or do we have new people at the top, but the policies and deeds remain the same? The election was an echo, not a choice.
- When will we see conservatives — who warned about the leftist extremist Obama — admit that they were wrong?
- Gian P. Gentile gives a good rebuttal to both these statements in “Let’s Build an Army to Win All Wars“, Joint Force Quarterly, 1st Quarter 2009.
- At the end are links for more information on this topic.
- I have substituted XXX or XXXX for the “Iraq”, “Pakistan”, “Afghanistan”, and “Afghanistan and Pakistan”. Also NATO has been substituted for “UN” and “Coalition.”
Excerpt from Statement #1
Achieving our core goal is vital to U.S. national security. It requires, first of all, realistic and achievable objectives. These include:
- Disrupting terrorist networks in XXX to degrade any ability they have to plan and launch international terrorist attacks.
- Promoting a more capable, accountable, and effective government in XXX that serves the XXX people and can eventually function, especially regarding internal security, with limited international support.
- Developing increasingly self-reliant XXX security forces that can lead the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism fight with reduced U.S. assistance.
- Assisting efforts to enhance civilian control and stable constitutional government in XXX and a vibrant economy that provides opportunity for the people of XXX.
- Involving the international community to actively assist in addressing these objectives for XXX, with an important leadership role for NATO.
Summary of recommendations for XXX
The following steps must be done in concert to produce the desired end state: the removal of al-Qaeda’s sanctuary, effective democratic government control in XXX, and a self-reliant XXX that will enable a withdrawal of combat forces while sustaining our commitment to political and economic development.
(1) Executing and resourcing an integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency strategy in XXX.
Our military forces in XXX, including those recently approved by the President, should be utilized for two priority missions:
- securing XXX against a return of al Qaeda and its allies, to provide a space for the XXX government to establish effective government control and
- providing the XXX security forces with the mentoring needed to expand rapidly, take the lead in effective counterinsurgency operations, and allow us and our partners to wind down our combat operations
Our counter-insurgency strategy must integrate population security with building effective local governance and economic development. We will establish the security needed to provide space and time for stabilization and reconstruction activities. To prevent future attacks on the U.S. and its allies – including the local populace – the development of a strategic communications strategy to counter the terror information campaign is urgent. …
(2) Resourcing and prioritizing civilian assistance in XXX
By increasing civilian capacity we will strengthen the relationship between the XXX people and their government. A dramatic increase in XXX civilian expertise is needed to facilitate the development of systems and institutions particularly at the provincial and local levels, provide basic infrastructure, and create economic alternatives to the insurgency at all levels of XXX society, particularly in agriculture. …
(3) Expanding the XXX National Security Forces: Army and Police
To be capable of assuming the security mission from U.S. forces in XXX, the XXX National Security Forces must substantially increase its size and capability. Initially this will require a more rapid build-up of the XXX Army and police up to YYY,000 and YYY,000 over the next two years, with additional enlargements as circumstances and resources warrant. …
(4) Engaging the XXX government and bolstering its legitimacy
International support for the election will be necessary for a successful outcome. We should do everything necessary to ensure the security and legitimacy of voter registration, elections, and vote counting. The international military presence should help the XXX security forces provide security before, during and after the election. International monitoring will also be required to ensure legitimacy and oversee XXX’s polling sites. …
(5) Encouraging XXX government efforts to integrate reconcilable insurgents
While XXX’s hard core that have aligned themselves with al Qaeda are not reconcilable and we cannot make a deal that includes them, the war in XXX cannot be won without convincing non-ideologically committed insurgents to lay down their arms, reject al Qaeda, and accept the XXX Constitution. …
(6) Including provincial and local governments in our capacity building efforts
We need to work with the XXX government to refocus civilian assistance and capacity-building programs on building up competent provincial and local governments where they can more directly serve the people and connect them to their government.
(7) Mobilizing greater international political support of our objectives in XXX
We need to do more to build a shared understanding of what is at stake in XXX, while engaging other actors and offering them the opportunity to advance our mutual interests by cooperating with us.
(8) Bolstering XXX-XXX cooperation
We need to institutionalize stronger mechanisms for bilateral and trilateral cooperation. During the process of this review, inter-agency teams from XXX came to Washington, DC for trilateral meetings. This new forum should continue and serve as the basis for enhanced bilateral and trilateral cooperation.
(9) Engaging and focusing Islamabad on the common threat
Successfully shutting down the XXX safe haven for extremists will also require consistent and intensive strategic engagement with XXX leadership in both the civilian and military spheres. The engagement must be conducted in a way that respects, and indeed enhances, democratic civilian authority.
(10) Assisting XXX’s capability to fight extremists
It is vital to strengthen our efforts to both develop and operationally enable XXX security forces so they are capable of succeeding in sustained counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations. In part this will include increased U.S. military assistance for helicopters to provide air mobility, night vision equipment, and training and equipment specifically for XXX Special Operation Forces and their Frontier Corps.
(11) Increasing and broadening assistance in XXX
Increasing economic assistance to XXX – to include direct budget support, development assistance, infrastructure investment, and technical advice on making sound economic policy adjustments – and strengthening trade relations will maximize support for our policy aims; it should also help to provide longer-term economic stability. … Assistance should also support XXX efforts to ‘hold and build’ in western XXX as a part of its counterinsurgency efforts.
(11) Exploring other areas of economic cooperation with XXX
We need to enhance bilateral and regional trade possibilities, in part through implementing Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (which were recently re-introduced in Congress) and encouraging foreign investment in key sectors, such as energy. In addition, assisting Islamabad with developing a concrete strategy for utilizing donor aid would increase Islamabad’s chances for garnering additional support from the international community. …
(12) Asking for assistance from allies for XXX
Our efforts are a struggle against forces that pose a direct threat to the entire international community. While reaching out to allies and partners for their political support, we should also ask them to provide the necessary resources to accomplish our shared objectives. They have the same interest in denying terrorists and extremists sanctuaries in XXX that we do. …
Excerpt from Statement #2
(1) Victory in XXXX is a Vital U.S. Interest
- XXXX is the central front in the global war on terror. Failure in XXXX will embolden terrorists and expand their reach; success in XXXX will deal them a decisive and crippling blow.
- The fate of the greater Middle East – which will have a profound and lasting impact on American security – hangs in the balance.
(2) Consequences of Failure in XXXX
- XXXX would become a safe haven from which terrorists could plan attacks against America, American interests abroad, and our allies.
- Middle East reformers would never again fully trust American assurances of support for democracy and human rights in the region – a historic opportunity lost.
- The resultant tribal and sectarian chaos would have major consequences for American security and interests in the region.
(3) The Enemy Is Diffuse and Sophisticated
- The enemy is a combination of XXX, XXX, and terrorists affiliated with or inspired by Al Qaida. Distinct but integrated strategies are required to defeat each element.
- Each element shares a common short-term objective – to intimidate, terrorize, and tear down – but has separate and incompatible long-term goals.
- Exploiting these differences within the enemy is a key element of our strategy.
(4) Our Strategy for Victory is Clear
- We will help the XXXX people build a new XXXX with a constitutional, representative government that respects civil rights and has security forces sufficient to maintain domestic order and keep XXXX from becoming a safe haven for terrorists. To achieve this end, we are pursuing an integrated strategy along three broad tracks, which together incorporate the efforts of the XXXX government, NATO, cooperative countries in the region, the international community, and the United Nations.
(5) The Political Track involves working to forge a broadly supported national compact for democratic governance by helping the XXXX government:
- Isolate enemy elements from those who can be won over to the political process by countering false propaganda and demonstrating to all XXXX that they have a stake in a democratic XXXX;
- Engage those outside the political process and invite in those willing to turn away from violence through ever-expanding avenues of participation; and
- Build stable, pluralistic, and effective national institutions that can protect the interests of all XXXXs, and facilitate XXXX’s full integration into the international community.
(6) The Security Track involves carrying out a campaign to defeat the terrorists and neutralize the insurgency, developing XXXX security forces, and helping the XXXX government:
- Clear areas of enemy control by remaining on the offensive, killing and capturing enemy fighters and denying them safe-haven;
- Hold areas freed from enemy influence by ensuring that they remain under the control of the XXXX government with an adequate security force presence; and
- Build XXXX Security Forces and the capacity of local institutions to deliver services, advance the rule of law, and nurture civil society.
(7) The Economic Track involves setting the foundation for a sound and self-sustaining economy by helping the XXXX government:
- Restore XXXX’s infrastructure to meet increasing demand and the needs of a growing economy;
- Reform XXXX’s economy, which in the past has been shaped by war, dictatorship, and sanctions, so that it can be self-sustaining in the future; and
- Build the capacity of XXXX institutions to maintain infrastructure, rejoin the international economic community, and improve the general welfare of all XXXXs.
(8) This Strategy is Integrated and its Elements are Mutually Reinforcing
Progress in each of the political, security, and economic tracks reinforces progress in the other tracks. For instance, as the political process has moved forward, terrorists have become more isolated, leading to more intelligence on security threats from XXXX citizens, which has led to better security in previously violent areas, a more stable infrastructure, the prospect of economic progress, and expanding political participation.
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For more information from the FM site
To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar. Of esp interest these days:
- About Iraq & Sub-continent Wars – my articles
- About Iraq & Sub-continent Wars – studies & reports
- About the Iraq War – Goals and Benchmarks
Some posts about the war in Iraq:
- The Iraq insurgency has ended, which opens a path to peace, 13 March 2007
- Beyond Insurgency: An End to Our War in Iraq, 27 September 2007
- Iraq, after the war, 20 May 2008
- Slowly the new Iraq becomes visible, 18 July 2008
Some posts about the war in Afghanistan:
- How long will all American Presidents be War Presidents?, 21 March 2008
- Why are we are fighting in Afghanistan?, 9 April 2008 — A debate with Joshua Foust.
- Brilliant, insightful articles about the Afghanistan War, 8 June 2008
- The good news about COIN in Afghanistan is really bad news, 20 August 2008
Some posts about the war in Pakistan:
- Is Pakistan’s Musharraf like the Shah of Iran? (if so, bad news for us), 8 November 2007
- NPR tells us more about America’s newest war, in Pakistan, 14 September 2008
- To good a story to die: eliminate legitimate grievances to eliminate terrorism, 9 December 2008