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"The US Army Learns From Its Mistakes In Iraq"  
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21486 posts, RR: 53
Posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 2703 times:

I would have expected a development such as this eventually, but it's definitely a good and encouraging sign that the days of "We don't do 'nation building'!" are beginning to retreat into the past even as we speak. I only hope that these concepts will succeed in taking root in the US forces as well.

I highly recommend this article from SPIEGEL online:

Civilized Warriors: The US Army Learns from its Mistakes in Iraq - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Quote:
Weapons alone aren't enough to win a war -- you also need to dig wells and build schools. Lessons from the war in Iraq have caused nothing short of a cultural revolution in the United States Army. In Fort Leavenworth, leading officers are training troops for the wars of the future.

[...]

Directly related to this article and at least equally recommended:

SPIEGEL Interview with US General David Petraeus: "We Have to Raise our Sights Beyond the Range of an M-16" - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Quote:
Petraeus, a former commander in Iraq who is now responsible for training United States Army troops, discusses the lessons of Baghdad, the reasons a war can't be won using weapons alone and why America's future warriors need a post-graduate education.



Quote:
[...] Petraeus: We used to say, that if you can do the "big stuff," the big combined arms, high-end, high intensity major combat operations and have a disciplined force, then you can do the so-called "little stuff," too. That turned out to be wrong. [...]

Petraeus in action in Iraq (2003/4):

Iraq: A Thousand and One Fronts - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineQueso From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 2699 times:

Quoting Klaus (Thread starter):
but it's definitely a good and encouraging sign that the days of "We don't do 'nation building'!" are beginning to retreat into the past even as we speak.

Yeah.....just like those days 60 years ago when the U.S. rebuilt Germany after World War 2?


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21486 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 2695 times:

Quoting Queso (Reply 1):
Yeah.....just like those days 60 years ago when the U.S. rebuilt Germany after World War 2?

You're really quick. It had taken me a fair bit longer to actually read through those articles...!  mischievous 


User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 2677 times:

While I'm glad to see people like Petraeus speaking out, I'm sure he is doing so more as a signal to the White House and Capitol Hill than to those in the uniformed ranks.

The army isn't learning this for the first time. They've always known it, but thanks to incredibly shortsighted civilian leadership on both sides of the political aisle, the training and capability for what do to after you've ceased major combat operations was severely hobbled.

After the end of the cold war, when Bush I and Clinton rushed to cash in on-the "peace dividend," the civil affairs brigades and battalions were the first to experience severe cutbacks.

And it wasn't the Army's military leadership that had no plans in place for what to do in Iraq post combat operations. That blame lies squarely in the lap of the Army's - and DOD's - civilian leadership.

The need for postgraduate education isn't new. When I was commissioned back in the 1970's it was drummed into us that if we didn't get at least one post graduate degree, we could kiss any chance at promotion goodbye. Same for the senior enlisted ranks. It is not uncommon at all to find E-7 though E-9's with bachelor's degrees.


User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 2668 times:

Good stuff Klaus.

Thanks for posting this.

Note to self: Self, mark Calendar, you just thanks Klaus for posting  faint 

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 3):
The army isn't learning this for the first time. They've always known it, but thanks to incredibly shortsighted civilian leadership on both sides of the political aisle, the training and capability for what do to after you've ceased major combat operations was severely hobbled.

Exactly.

Furthermore, the civilian leadership has finally listened to the guys in uniform and has made note that the Army and the Marine Corps is too frackin' small! Thanks Bush 1 and Clinton for that superb demonstration of shortsighted political  redflag  .

Hey, I wonder if Old Rummy will send an apology to Gen(R) Eric Shinseki. Remember this boys and girls, "You cannot fight a Twelve Division War with a Ten Division Army": Gen Eric Shinseki, his final words in his retirement speech.

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 3):
the civil affairs brigades and battalions were the first to experience severe cutbacks.

Then followed a lot of Combat Support Units, trucks Battalions (Heavy and Light), Maintenance Battalions (Heavy and Light), Aviation units, geeez, I could on and on and on. This was fought quite heavily in the Senior NCO ranks. And we lost . . . . saluted and moved out. SMA* Kidd virtually retired over this nonsense.

Now the damned civilians and the politicians in uniform are sllllooowwwwlllyy removing their heads from rectal defilade and coming to the realization that they were wrong - more importantly, that the guys on the ground were right. Thank you very much.

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 3):
It is not uncommon at all to find E-7 though E-9's with bachelor's degrees.

And a decent number with Masters Degrees. In the early 1980s, there was a huge push to get mid-grade and senior NCOs a college education. In fact it weight quite heavily on your promotion potential and was in fact a significantly reportable item on one's NCO Evaluation Report.

Here's my basic question, which I will answer for you too. Why did it take so damn long? Simple really. Because senior military leaders - read that FLAG and GENERAL officers turned into politicians more concerned about keeping their job than doing their job. Does that make sense? Rather than stand up for and do what was/is right, they took the idea of saluting and moving forward with an order way too literally. Bush 1 and Clinton wallowed in the post-Cold-War limelight while they let the US military self destruct. Bush 2 rolls in, hired Rummy, and really catapults the US military into the stone age.

It's damn near too late to rescue without spending $billions of dollars, and it's going to take 4-6 years to do it.

Does America have the gut? Do the Democrats have the gut? The Republicans don't, as has been sorely demonstrated over the last two administrations. Guess we'll see won't we.



*SMA = Sergeant Major of the Army, in this case Richard A. Kidd

Once again Klaus, thanks for posting this info.


User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 2655 times:

Quoting Klaus (Thread starter):

I've been saying this shit on A.Net for over a year, now.  Yeah sure

It's so barny-simple. But what does a dumb CW2 know?

-UH60


User currently offlineQueso From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 2630 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 2):
You're really quick. It had taken me a fair bit longer to actually read through those articles...!

I wasn't commenting on the articles, I was commenting on your observation as a gentle reminder of the history of our two great nations working together.


User currently offlineDoona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3771 posts, RR: 13
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 2620 times:

Quoting Queso (Reply 1):
Yeah.....just like those days 60 years ago when the U.S. rebuilt Germany after World War 2?

Well, since then, the nation-building practice has been overlooked or rushed. And not just by the US, but by all nations involved. Up until recently the policy has been a wilsonian one, where quick liberalization of political, economic and social structures has been paramount, followed by withdrawal of foreign involvement. The quick-fix method, if you will. And sure, it worked in a few places, but failed in the majority.

However, recent years has brought a different method of peace-building to the arena, one which limits liberalization until proper institutions have been built (or rebuilt), so the country is able to sustain a democracy. The ISAF operation in Afghanistan is a good example where the US has participated in such efforts, and though it will still take alot of time to fix the problems, I think everyone can agree that just ousting the taliban government, scheduelling free elections and bugging out would have left the country in alot worse shape. Liberia is another great example, even if there are still problems, they're well on their way to a peaceful existance.

The situation in Iraq is way more complicated, and I believe that there are too many 'spoilers' around for any fundamental peace-building efforts to work properly. It does take time however, and the US and it's allies are heading in the right direction, even if it is a very slow process. I was against the invasion, but I do believe that (with the right measures) the US can assist the Iraqis in building a peaceful, democratic nation.

Cheers
Mats

[Edited 2006-12-21 14:34:36]


Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21486 posts, RR: 53
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 2615 times:

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 3):
After the end of the cold war, when Bush I and Clinton rushed to cash in on-the "peace dividend," the civil affairs brigades and battalions were the first to experience severe cutbacks.

Unfortunate, indeed; But I would guess that the more directly combat-related units had a stronger position in the internal fight for the dwindling resources. In the absence of a directly evident precedent demonstrating their necessity (such as Iraq now), they were probably deemed expendable... Sad

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 3):
And it wasn't the Army's military leadership that had no plans in place for what to do in Iraq post combat operations. That blame lies squarely in the lap of the Army's - and DOD's - civilian leadership.

I does look that way, but it also looks as if there had been enablers on the military side as well (top ranks again).

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 4):
Good stuff Klaus.
Thanks for posting this.
Note to self: Self, mark Calendar, you just thanks Klaus for posting  faint 

Well, thank you!  innocent 

But it's not that exceptional that we've been basically on the same side of major issues, is it?

Happy holidays!  bigthumbsup 

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 4):
Furthermore, the civilian leadership has finally listened to the guys in uniform and has made note that the Army and the Marine Corps is too frackin' small!

...or the political screwup they're supposed to mop up is too big!  mischievous 

I think addressing this end of the equation was even more pressing than the other...!

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 4):
Hey, I wonder if Old Rummy will send an apology to Gen(R) Eric Shinseki. Remember this boys and girls, "You cannot fight a Twelve Division War with a Ten Division Army": Gen Eric Shinseki, his final words in his retirement speech.

Not a bloody chance in hell!  yuck 
Shinseki will probably haunt Rumsfeld for the rest of his days. From past experience I have difficulties imagining such an apology - but maybe after a decade or two, when Rumsfeld doesn't feel in the defensive quite as much...

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 4):
Here's my basic question, which I will answer for you too. Why did it take so damn long? Simple really. Because senior military leaders - read that FLAG and GENERAL officers turned into politicians more concerned about keeping their job than doing their job. Does that make sense? Rather than stand up for and do what was/is right, they took the idea of saluting and moving forward with an order way too literally.

At least from the outside it seemed that the political neocon strategy of how to change the world and how to primarily rely on the military for it was initially met with some scepticism by the military itself; But after the resignation / firing of the more critical voices, at least it appeared that the top brass mostly adopted the political doctrine and the initial resistance mostly subsided.

There is no doubt that the supremacy of the civilian leadership in policy matters has to be preserved (and General Petraeus leaves no doubt about that either), but one could still have hoped for a bit more constructive criticism as far as the military operative side of things was concerned (as difficult as that necessarily is).

Anyway, this was the first time I've heard of this particular change in direction. So since it seemed highly pertinent to many discussions we've had before, I thought it might be interesting information for others as well.

We'll certainly have to see how this pans out in the longer run; I would hope that with Mr. Gates in charge the actual application of those new ideas might even help regaining ground in Iraq even this late into the campaign. Mr. Rumsfeld seemed more interested in pushing through his preceonceived notions than actually responding to the necessities of the situation. At least the initial impression from Mr. Gates looks favourable. For everybody's sake I hope this holds true and he can make a positive difference.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 5):
I've been saying this shit on A.Net for over a year, now.

Duly noted.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 5):
It's so barny-simple. But what does a dumb CW2 know?

Yup. It obviously takes higher political office or a bunch of stars to really screw up beyond all recognition without being held to account...!  yuck 

Quoting Queso (Reply 6):
I wasn't commenting on the articles, I was commenting on your observation as a gentle reminder of the history of our two great nations working together.

One would have hoped that some of the experiences of earlier generations hadn't become lost in time as they apparently have... The much-discussed speech Kofi Annan made recently addressed exactly that point. And even just being reminded of those earlier generations was perceived as an insult by some.

I think that is a mistake and needs to be corrected.


User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week ago) and read 2599 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 8):
Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 4):
Furthermore, the civilian leadership has finally listened to the guys in uniform and has made note that the Army and the Marine Corps is too frackin' small!

...or the political screwup they're supposed to mop up is too big!

Ever since the Berlin Wall came down, Congress and the White House have looked to the Pentagon's budget for savings. All well and good, but when you downsize the active force, and keep the pace of deployment level - and now increasing - a train wreck is in the making. While enlistments haven't suffered - yet - the material condition of the force is being sapped. Backlogs at maintenance depots stateside are growing, and yet our political leadership just keeps playing the violin.


User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week ago) and read 2589 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 8):
...or the political screwup they're supposed to mop up is too big!

And I'll buy that, as long as you don't for an instant think this "political screwup" started 6 years ago.

The military downsizing - to the point the US military is in dire straits - that began 16 years ago . . .

Quoting Klaus (Reply 8):
There is no doubt that the supremacy of the civilian leadership in policy matters has to be preserved (and General Petraeus leaves no doubt about that either), but one could still have hoped for a bit more constructive criticism as far as the military operative side of things was concerned (as difficult as that necessarily is).

And I absolutely believe that had there been a different person sitting in the big chair in the DoD, we'd be in a different position entirely today.

Former SecDef Cohen, under Pres Clinton, was never an uber-authoritarian. Nor was Cap Weinberger. Both men took the time to listen to field commanders. Neither simply fired them out of hand for disagreeing.

I can't speak to Carlucci, and I think Cheney did well (somewhere perhaps he was lobotomized after his stint as SecDef?). Perry accelerated the decimation of the military but continued to hear his field commanders.

Rummy - an absolute abyssmal failure.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 8):
Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 4):
Good stuff Klaus.
Thanks for posting this.
Note to self: Self, mark Calendar, you just thanks Klaus for posting

Well, thank you!

But it's not that exceptional that we've been basically on the same side of major issues, is it?

Yes, but our route of march is usually significantly different  biggrin 

Quoting Klaus (Reply 8):
Happy holidays!

And to you, Sir. Happy Holidays!


User currently offlineDougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 2552 times:

Quoting Klaus (Thread starter):
I would have expected a development such as this eventually, but it's definitely a good and encouraging sign that the days of "We don't do 'nation building'!" are beginning to retreat into the past even as we speak. I only hope that these concepts will succeed in taking root in the US forces as well

Interesting articles Klaus.

It may interest you to know that reconstruction has been going on all this time but it hasn't gotten a lot of press because some idiot walking into a crowd of people wearing Semtex underwear and blowing himself to bits is ever so much more .... salable and attention grabbing...I mean, who wants to hear about a bunch of farmers learning how to fix tractors when you have all those bodies?

A fair amount of the work that is being done in building and furnishing schools has been done on an ad hoc basis by folks in the Guard, who are sometimes pretty well connected to engineer such things because they're often civilians who are able to draw on community resources.

There is some good information here on this site.

http://www.export.gov/iraq/links/index.html

and to you sir,

froehlich weinachten, y'all.




 cheerful   cheerful   cheerful 


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