Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Culture and counterinsurgency: one general who gets it

The Los Angeles Times:
"We have to understand that the way we treat Iraqis has a direct effect on the number of insurgents that we are fighting," Chiarelli said in the interview with The Times after the seminar with about three dozen soldiers and Marines at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad. "For every one that I kill, I create almost 10 more."

Outsiders typically are not invited to the training sessions, but the three-star general said he was intent on changing the tenor of relations between coalition forces and the Iraqi people, "taking to a new level" his call for preserving the lives, and honor, of innocent civilians.

Chiarelli, however, assured the classroom full of camouflage-clad troops that he was not changing the rules of engagement and did not want them to back down from insurgents. "You must maintain an offensive mind-set. Don't pull any punches," he told the group about to be deployed to several forts along Iraq's border, where it would assist in training the Iraqi border patrol.


Blogger mikevotes said...

Generations of military training have focused solely on creating soldiers as weapons, and a key component of that is to remove from them any sense that "the enemy" is in any way human.

It's necessary, but at the same time, that training is superb and you figure that elements of it still reside with generals long after they've been removed from that role.

I guess it's a question of whether you view soldiering as a traditional military view, or whether you view it more subtly in a greater problem solving role.

It's a massive expansion beyond training to view the terrain of battle to include the minds of all parties involved.


6:46 PM  
Blogger zen said...

This also eludes to realities that became strikingly apparent in the mass looting after Baghdad fell, the still lagging infrastructure, and of course the sluggish political process (of course many more)...that this conflict was prepared for in narrow terms. That soldiers are trained for combat, and not for nation-building.
And even the "plan" (and yes I use that term loosely) relied on expats like Chalibi to solve problems that were well outside of their scope.

All the flag waving and "Support our Troops" magnets in the world will not justify this awesome miscalculation that has burdened our military and forced them to attempt to deal with the negligence of the political hawks.

9:08 AM  

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