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Veteran’s Day: Required Reading

November 11, 2008

One of the most surprising discoveries about myself in the past several years is that I have found learning about the lives of our soldiers in action absolutely fascinating and inspiring, not just emotionally but on a philosophical and even spiritual level as well. What they have achieved in Iraq has been nothing short of amazing.

All you who serve have my utmost respect and admiration, now more than ever. The prayers of me and my family are with you daily.


What amazes me about our military is that we are able to come up with doctrines like this:

Sometimes, the More You Protect Your Force, the Less Secure You May Be
1-149. Ultimate success in COIN [Counter Insurgency- ed.] is gained by protecting the populace, not the COIN force. If military forces remain in their compounds, they lose touch with the people, appear to be running scared, and cede the initiative to the insurgents. Aggressive saturation patrolling, ambushes, and listening post operations must be conducted, risk shared with the populace, and contact maintained. . . . These practices ensure access to the intelligence needed to drive operations. Following them reinforces the connections with the populace that help establish real legitimacy.

From “Counterinsurgency/FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5”

Success in this war has come from the idea that we are there to protect others more than ourselves. It is a testament to the greatness of our country that we generate such large numbers of men and women willing to take on that challenge.


Here’s a few links that I never got around to highlighting in the past:

Michael Yon: The Final Option May 30, 2007 This is the incredible story of how a handful of American soldiers were able to arrest a corrupt Iraqi General without firing a shot.

Michael Yon: Ghosts of Anbar Part III of IV
. Terrific pictures that really capture some of the day-to-day feel of Iraq in 2007, as well as more quotes from General Petraeus’ Counter Insurgency Manual.

(Part I is here if you want to read it all)

Dave Kilcullen: New Paradigms for 21st Century Conflict (Small Wars Journal). Kilcullen’s ideas were fundamental in providing the philosophical basis for the counter insurgency strategy for the surge. This is a terrific summary of why these tactics worked, and why we will need to use them more and more in the 21st century. So many questions to be answered:

[T]he al-Qaida threat is all too real. But ambiguity arises because this conflict breaks existing paradigms—including notions of “warfare,” “diplomacy,” “intelligence,” and even “terrorism.” How, for example, do we wage war on non-state actors who hide in states with which we are at peace? How do we work with allies whose territory provides safe haven for non-state opponents? How do we defeat enemies who exploit the tools of globalization and open societies, without destroying the very things we seek to protect?

It may seem much to passé to bring up this stuff now, but the challenges he outlines are not going away anytime soon. The solutions he sketches out I think should appeal to the incoming administration; one can hope at least. Kilcullen advocates is no preset judgement on intervention vs. containment; a greatly enhanced role for the State Department and other non-military resources, especially information warfare. This seems something the Obama administration might easily grasp given their tactics in the campaign.

Whatever happens, there are so many brave men and women out there fighting for what’s right, making life or death decisions and representing our country one person at a time. They are to be praised.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2008 10:51 pm

    In America, we enjoy the freedom of giving half our income to the government through various forms of taxes. We have the freedom to participate in a Ponzi scheme known as Social Security. We have the freedom to vote for the president. Unlike the voters of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, who only had one choice for president, we have two choices! We have the freedom to choose between Republican-led big government programs and Democrat-led big government programs. We have the freedom to use government-controlled money, which loses value every year. We have the freedom to subsidize the poltically-connected agricultural, automotive, and banking industries. We have the freedom of sending children through the compusory government-run education system, and then pay for job training for those that get through 12 years of schooling and still don’t know how to do anything. We have the freedom to own guns, provided that said gun is approved by the government and we pass the government-mandated background check. If we get the appropriate permits and stand in then proper free-speech zone, we have the freedom to protest.

    Thanks to all the veterans that defended these freedoms and kept them from being taken away!

  2. November 12, 2008 4:26 pm

    Our soldiers are definitely to be praised.

    Thanks Count!

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