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Ricks, who has covered military affairs for the Wall Street Journal and, most recently, the Washington Post, recounts the military’s failure to anticipate and, then, its failure to recognize the very fact of an insurgency itself. Throughout these early days of blood and chaos, Ricks portrays Marine Corps commanders, Petraeus, and McMaster as the very few military leaders who understood the challenge and the necessity of utilizing sound counterinsurgency tactics to secure the population and win them over to the new dispensation.
Ricks casts Odierno and the 4th Infantry Division, which he commanded at that time, as the villains of the piece notwithstanding their successful capture of Saddam Hussein. He cites many authorities, both named and anonymous, who argue that the 4th ID’s strong-arm tactics, including mass arrests, intimidation of civilians, and the like, alienated the local population and thereby intensified the insurgency.p>”The American offensive was undone by a combination of overwhelmed soldiers and indiscriminate generals — especially the 4th ID’s Odierno, who sent too many detainees south, and his immediate superior, [Lt. Gen. Ricardo] Sanchez, who should have seen this and stopped it,” argues Ricks. br> /p>
Discuss something else — NEVER religion, politics or women — with Moslems. Avoid offering opinions on internal politics.br> Whether or not Ricks’s account is accurate, General Odierno, now in sync with General Petraeus, appears to have achieved tactical success in overcoming a multi-faceted counterinsurgency in Iraq at least for now. I say “multi-faceted” because this week, in an address to the Heritage Foundation in Washington, he characterized the American effort in Mesopotamia as being “counterinsurgency plus” given the unusual political, social and sectarian complexity that confronts Coalition forces.
In his speech Odierno described the “change in mindset” that began, even before the implementation of the surge, and allowed the military to “break the cycle of violence” and focus on “protecting the population,” which he views as the “key principle.” He noted how the additional troops have allowed for multiple operations and continual disruption of the insurgents. He described the Awakening or “Sons of Iraq” movement as “an unqualified success” that results in a ten-fold increase in market activity in any given locale where it as been implemented.p>Clearly, he views the establishment of Joint Security Stations and outposts in Baghdad and elsewhere as critical in giving the local population a sense of security and generating trust of the American forces. br> /p>
Above all, use common sense on all occasions. And remember that every American soldier is an unofficial ambassador of good will/br> Nevertheless, the General believes that the “window of opportunity” for political progress will not remain open forever. He is hopeful that recent efforts on de-Baathification and amnesty will aid reconciliation. He believes that, over time, Americans will be doing less fighting and more economic development and job creation (worrying more about the “environment” than the “enemy”).
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?