14 January 2008

Marine Infantry Officer talks about Counter-Insurgency

There is an excellent commentary article that got stuffed in the back pages of the Wall Street Journal today entitled "The Lessons of Iraq". It concisely summarizes what has worked and what hasn't worked in Iraq. Erik Swabb, former Marine officer, talks about what has worked:

...the Marines took a patient approach to win the support of the population and eject the extremists hiding among them. They partnered with Iraqi police, established a pervasive security presence throughout the city, and worked with local leaders to improve basic services, governance and the economy.

Obviously, the concept of enmpowering the Iraqis to develop their own solutions instead of the westernized-CPA-democratization envisoned by the neo-cons has been successful. My first experience with the Marines was getting screamed at and dropped to the deck by drill instructors, so it's difficult in my mind to envision Marines courting the sheikhs of Anbar province to have their people reconstruct instead of plant IEDs. However, the Marines have certainly done an excellent job as evidenced by the recent announcement that Anbar province, once a hotbed of sunni-insurgency, will be turned over to the Iraqis for security responsibility in the coming months. So kudos all around to them and their tough work. My only beef with the WSJ commentary is that it is a little TOO heavy on counter-insurgency for the military as a whole. I still think that a well-funded Navy and Air Force is key to deterring nations with dubious intentions (e.g. Iran, Syria, China) to catching the US with our pants around our ankles.

Marine doin' the safety dance with the locals in Anbar province
X-post at Vetvoice here


Katana said...

that was an incredibly insightful article... why are those aways shoved in the back of the newspapers?

LT Nixon said...

Because America has lost interest in the two ongoing wars in my opinion. Thanks for stopping in Katana!