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Bush Holdover Gates pushes military to embrace 'irregular warfare' for more Iraq-style regime change

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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:40 PM
Original message
Bush Holdover Gates pushes military to embrace 'irregular warfare' for more Iraq-style regime change
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 12:47 PM by bigtree

Irregular warfare -Definition:

* A violent struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over the relevant population(s).

* Irregular warfare favors indirect and asymmetric approaches, though it may employ the full range of military and other capacities, in order to erode an adversarys power, influence, and will.

DEFENSE Secretary Robert Gates has called for the military to develop an enduring capacity to fight "irregular" wars, and to rethink its reliance on ever more costly high-tech weapons.

Writing in Foreign Affairs quarterly, Gates said the United States needs "a military whose ability to kick down the door is matched by its ability to clean up the mess and even rebuild the house afterward."

"What is dubbed the war on terror is, in grim reality, a prolonged, worldwide irregular campaign -- a struggle between the forces of violent extremism and those of moderation," he wrote.

Published just days after president-elect Barack Obama asked Gates to stay on at the Pentagon, his article coincided with a new Defense Department directive that puts the fight against terrorism and guerrilla warfare on the same footing as conventional warfare for the first time.

from the WaPo:

-The directive...requires the Pentagon to step up its
capabilities across the board to fight
unconventionally, such as by working with foreign
surrogates to gain access to hostile countries, pursue
terrorist groups, shore up fragile states or overthrow

Think of where our forces have been sent and have
been engaged over the last 40-plus years: Vietnam,
Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia,
Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa and
more, Gates said in a recent speech at the National
Defense University. In fact, the first Gulf War
stands alone in over two generations of constant
military engagement as a more or less traditional
conventional conflict.

from Westhawk:

The directive represents a crushing defeat for those who wished to keep irregular warfare doctrine and execution segregated inside a discrete box within the Department. Under this directive, everyone in the Department has a significant part to play. Thus Gian Gentiles nightmare has come true.

Why is this so? The directive makes several crucial declarations and commands:

1) Irregular warfare is now as strategically important as traditional warfare.

2) Irregular warfare is now considered to be both a steady state as well as a surge activity. This means that from a U.S. policy perspective, there are no longer alternating states of peace and war. There will only be a constant hum of irregular warfare in its various forms and conducted at varying levels of intensity. This will include traditional Phase 2 and 3 conflict, which will be followed by Phase 4 stability operations more irregular warfare.

3) The directive is replete with requirements for the Department to conduct irregular warfare by, with, and through indigenous forces and allies. All corners of the Department are required to acquire capabilities to utilize this technique. Interpreted broadly, the entire U.S. military has now become John Nagls Advisor Corps.

4) The directive assigns U.S. Joint Forces Command, and not Special Operations Command, the lead role in developing the Departments doctrine, concepts, and capabilities for irregular warfare. USJFCOM will design and evaluate the irregular warfare training and preparation of all U.S. general purpose combat forces. And USJFCOM will supervise the coordination of general purpose and special operations irregular warfare activity. Those who thought or hoped that irregular warfare would be an activity just for Special Forces must now have their hopes dashed.

The directive does not state what tactics, techniques, and procedures general purpose forces must now master in order to achieve effectiveness at irregular warfare. That will be up to USJFCOM to establish, and it is a standard that will no doubt constantly change. Equally important, and certainly of great distress to Gian Gentile and his followers, the directive gives no indication of how much risk it is willing to take with respect to soon-to-be-crowded-out traditional warfare capabilities.

Last month at Small Wars Journal, I advocated embracing a discrete Advisor Corps focused on irregular warfare as a means of allowing the majority of Americas general purpose forces to focus on future traditional warfare threats. I expressed a fear of a slippery slope, down which all of Americas combat power would be enlisted in the irregular warfare mission. Such an outcome would result in unacceptable risks from surprise conventional threats.

With this new directive, the U.S. may now leap to the bottom of the slippery slope in a single bound. Those inside the Defense Department who are concerned about the wasting-away of Americas conventional combat skills may now have to themselves become irregular warriors, resisting the new irregular warfare directive.

For those who would like to read DoD Directive 3000.07 (Irregular Warfare) in full, Small Wars Journal has posted it here:


IW can include a variety of steady-state and surge DoD activities and operations: counterterrorism; unconventional warfare; foreign internal defense; counterinsurgency; and stability operations that, in the context of IW, involve establishing or re-establishing order in a fragile state.

(1) Identify and prevent or defeat irregular threats from state and non-state actors across operational areas and environments.

(2) Extend U.S. reach into denied areas and uncertain environments by operating with and through indigenous foreign forces.

(3) Train, advise, and assist foreign security forces and partners at the ministerial, service, and tactical levels to ensure security in their sovereign territory or to contribute forces to operations elsewhere.

(4) Through direct or indirect means, and on a large scale when required, support a foreign government or population threatened by irregular adversaries.

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HowHasItComeToThis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:46 PM
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Hubert Flottz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:49 PM
Response to Original message
2. SOS...
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 12:50 PM by Hubert Flottz
Can you say PNAC?
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. This 'counterinsurgency' push is the result of a 'young' Pentagon cabal
from Washington Independent:

The Colonels and The Matrix
First in a Series: The Rise of the Counterinsurgents

In the spring of 2007, as the first wave of new combat brigades arrived in Baghdad to execute President George W. Bushs troop surge, an Army lieutenant colonel named Paul Yingling booted up his computer at Ft. Hood, Tex. He received an email accusing him of moral cowardice. It was from Yinglings friend, a fellow Iraq veteran and Army lieutenant colonel named Gian Gentile.

Gentile was concerned about a highly influential article that Yingling had written for the magazine Armed Forces Journal titled A Failure In Generalship. The piece was incendiary. Yingling, barely 40 and an Iraq veteran twice over, had issued a jaccuse to the entire general officer corps for failing, over the previous 15 years, to anticipate low-intensity conflicts with insurgents and prepare U.S. troops accordingly. He further contended that the generals failed to deliver their best military advice to the Bush administration about the true costs of the war in Iraq, preferring not to challenge the White Houses optimistic fantasies. Failing to visualize future battlefields represents a lapse in professional competence, Yingling had written, but seeing those fields clearly and saying nothing is an even more serious lapse in professional character. The people he criticized have the power to end his career.

Gentile considers the counterinsurgents sense of beseigement to be ludicrous. To him, the military is undergoing a titanic shift in favor of counterinsurgency with little debate over the implications. I worry about a hyper-emphasis on COIN and irregular warfare, he said in a phone interview, with less mechanization, less protection and more infantry on the ground walking and talking with the people. Its a potential recipe for disaster if our enemies fight the way Hezbollah did against the Israelis in the summer of 06.

He continued, Petraeus sat on the promotion board. Do we really think H.R. wont have a star on his shoulder? Theyre the ones in control. I dont see how they can think otherwise. Theyre almost like the minority party that finally becomes the majority party and cant get over the fact theyre the majority!

Gentile even has a term for the counterinsurgents view of their place in the Army: he calls it The Matrix, after the mind-controlling Baudrillardian machine that alters the perception of reality in the eponymous Wachowski Brothers films.

There was a time when he would have swallowed the blue pill. Gentile served two tours in Iraq, first in Tikrit in 2003 under Odierno and then in western Baghdad in 2006, commanding an armored cavalry squadron. Despite what he calls a counterinsurgents master narrative, whereby counterinsurgency arrives in Iraq first in Tal Afar with McMaster and then in Baghdad with Petraeus, Gentile said that units including his own applied COIN practices throughout the war. Clearly, there are examples of units not getting it, he said. But I believe that at the tactical level infantry scouts, platoons, companies and battalions performed by the book even before FM 3-24. Yet, Gentile observed, conditions in Iraq got worse, not better.

That realization turned Gentile from a COIN practitioner to a COIN skeptic. Essentially, he swallowed the red pill to escape the Matrix during the triumphalism surrounding the troop surge in 2007. Counterinsurgency, he now believes, has a role in a modern military, but an excessive focus on it serves as an alibi to avoid recognizing that the U.S. military is not omnipotent. I think Andrew Bacevich, at the policy-strategy level, has basically nailed it, Gentile said, referring to the retired Army colonel who contends that Iraq is an irredeemable strategic mistake. He points out the limits of what American military power can accomplish.

read more:
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Hubert Flottz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. "the generals failed to deliver their best military advice"
The senior officers had already witnessed Rummy firing anybody that rubbed him the wrong way and so they "Got With The Program." If I'd put in 30 or 35 years of my life in the military already, I may have done the same thing.

Sometimes the younger officers do have the most realistic view of the way things should work. People like Dwight Eisenhower, Heinz Guderian and Adolph Galland come to mind.

The question is, what has Gates done to reverse any damage that Rummy, Cheney or Bush have done? Our military is in sad shape.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
3. aka: Continuation of US Imperialsm even though we are fucking broke.
and they will need how many billions more a year to continue this insanity? PE Obama, PLEASE Get rid of these policies and this asshat and start SAVING US $$$, Jobs and LIVES. Not to mention the millions of innocents killed in these insane policies.

I can wish anyway. :cry:
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. if wishes were fishes
. . . at least we're lobbying a friendly administration, if you accept that Obama stands apart from all of this.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:20 PM
Response to Original message
7. The US has been engaged in "Irregular Warfare" for over 50 years.... South America. Most notably in Colombia in the last 20 years.
The School of the Americas was a center for training in "Irregular War".

So, how has that worked out for us?

Keeping Gates is a horrible misjudgment.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:27 PM
Response to Original message
8. Translation: kill anyone who won't submit to US domination
Kill poor people who fight being stripped of their lands and their resources.
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