September 26, 2005

Talk to the Terrorists?

Hatched by Sachi

We Americans do not negotiate with terrorists. No, we should kill them not to talk to them, shouldn't we?

Well, not exactly. I found this interesting article in Space through Good News Central.

Lt. Col. Bradley Becker who leads 2nd battalion of the 8th Field Artillery Regiment explains. Just before he came to Quayyarah in northwestern Iraq, eleven months ago, Iraqi police and the Army were in a sorry state. He did not think his seven platoons could possibly cover the whole area.

"Anyone who comes to a counter-insurgency thinking it's about killing terrorists is missing the boat," said Becker. "It's really about winning the people. You can kill all the terrorists but then you've pissed people off and created 100 more,"

Since his platoons cannot be everywhere at the same time, he needed to effectively attack certain hot spots, and kill a small number of very key people. This required intelligence. They needed cooperation from the local residents.

I have always thought that, in order for terrorists to freely conduct their activity, they must have local Sunni help, whether through empathy or intimidation. But these people themselves are not necessarily terrorists. If the American military or Iraqi police could show them we are on their side and we can protect them, then some of these people can tell us where the terrorists are. And that is exactly what is happening in Iraq.

Connecting with local leadership is the only way a counter-insurgency campaign can work -- even if the leaders are part of the insurgency.

Time and again, U.S. officers say after a show of real force -- the kind of effectiveness that makes the shieks and imams and villagers think they might be safe if they throw their hat in with the Americans -- tips start to dribble in.

"Then they say 'the real guy you should be going after is X' and we follow another target," Gibler said. "The cycle is never ending. When you kill a bad guy he is going to be backfilled. But as you target these guys eventually they can't rebuild, and then you have real, no kidding security."

We don’t know who the terrorists are. But the people who live there do. It is essential that the security force gains the trust of the local Sunni shiekhs and imams, even if that means talking to marginal terrorist supporters. I am glad our commanders are doing just that.

Hatched by Sachi on this day, September 26, 2005, at the time of 12:12 AM

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The following hissed in response by: HelenW

Lt. Col. Becker sounds like a military genius. He should pass his idea up the chain of command. If this concept catches on, we could do stuff like provide schools and books, clean power, and electricity.

I bet your average Iraqi would really appreciate our help with improving the infrastructure of their communities. Why oh why didn't someone think of this sooner?!? I blame Bush.

The above hissed in response by: HelenW [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 26, 2005 10:20 AM

The following hissed in response by: paul

HelenW, try He's stopped blogging this week because of new commitments, but has 35 weeks of "Good News from Iraq" which has appeared in such places as the Wall Street Journal. It turns out we "provide schools and books, clean power, and electricity" to the Iraqis on a large scale. The reporters holed up at the hotel bars in the Green Zone never see or report it. They stick to reading Centcom reports and rehashing them for a template of "if it bleeds it leads."

The above hissed in response by: paul [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 26, 2005 6:07 PM

The following hissed in response by: HelenW

And they say sarcasm doesn't work on the Internet. *rolls eyes*

The above hissed in response by: HelenW [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 27, 2005 3:26 PM

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