“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fighting Better, Faster Smarter and Cheaper

Lt. Col Gordon Cullulu had an article in yesterday's on fighting Better, Faster, Smarter and I would add, "Cheaper."

The Colonel argues that Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is better equipped to lead the War on Terror or whatever you want to call it. He cites the SOCOM mission statement:

SOCOM leads, plans, synchronizes, and, as directed, executes global operations against terrorist networks….[SOCOM] deploys combat-ready special operations forces….[that] are organized with a regional focus to take advantage of language and political skills. [Emphasis added]
He also refers to a Melanie Phillips article where she says that Bush has been ill-served by Generals Abazaid and Casey. This is an asseement that I agree with.

Cullulu notes:

Again, Phillips observes, “the fight in Washington…has not just been over whether more or fewer troops are needed in Iraq. It’s also been over a major difference in strategic perception.” It is that same strategic conundrum that Fred Gedrich and Paul Vallely question. “The United States has to transition from a conventional to an unconventional war footing,” the authors write. They further note that “in January 2003, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld designated the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) as the lead military organization to prosecute the global war on terror but unfortunately that has not materialized.” [Emphasis added.]
For whatever reason, SOCOM has not been given the lead yet, but despite the late support of the Gulf Cooperation Council, time for the US military in Iraq is quickly running out. The best we can hope for now is that the surge tamps down the violence long enough for us to make a graceful exit. After that, SOCOM can work with the Iraqis and everyone else.

This raises the question then of enlarging the size of the military. As we're winding down our adventure in Iraq and in view of all the lessons learned there and in Afghanistan, are we going to need all those additional troops we've heard so much about? I don't think so. One of the worst (or best, depending on your point of view) results of Iraq will be the reluctance of the American people to intervene in the world. The world will not have to fret about "evil America invading and murdering hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians." Afghanistan and Iraq will not be repeated any time soon unless lunatics like the Iranian mullahs or Hugo Chavez pull a "Bin Laden". No, our conventional military will not be going anywhere anytime soon. But, our Special Ops...that's a different matter. Unless the Dems take total control of Washington.


  1. I don't know who should lead the war on terror, but unconventional warfare clearly needs to be one of the tools. They need to be able to start out with a full fledged conventional war, like the initial invasion of Iraq, then gradually transition through all the stages of occupation, setting up the government, helping the government, ... through just have a few Special Ops people.

    I feel sorry for everyone that the commanders did not follow up a very successful invasion with a quick transition to anti-insurgent warfare plus all the political stuff. Even during the early days people speculated right on TV that Saddam's people were fading away to fight a guerrilla war. Yet Rumsfeld or someone didn't get it going.

  2. "SOCOM leads, plans, synchronizes, and, as directed, executes global operations against terrorist networks….[SOCOM] deploys combat-ready special operations forces….[that] are organized with a regional focus"

    Well timed topic.

    The ground force in Iraq, enlarged by 21,500 troops, will "have more advanced technology tools to work with," says a retired U.S. Army official with insight into the service's preparations. "There's certainly going to be more precision weapons available and ....more special operations teams that can provide precision targeting."

    "Will there be more airpower going to Iraq in the next days, weeks, months? Hell, yes," says a senior Air Force official. "There will be precision weapons applied wherever there's an enclave, a storage area or logistics activity--boom, boom, boom.

    Strategy Page-Jan. 16...
    The U.S. Air Force is installing Sniper XR targeting pods on some of its B-1B bombers. The latest generation of these pods contain FLIR (video quality night vision infrared radar) and TV cameras that enable pilots flying at 20,000 feet to clearly make out what is going on down there. The pods also contain laser designators for laser guided bombs, and laser range finders that enable pilots to get coordinates for JDAM (GPS guided) bombs. Safely outside the range of most anti-aircraft fire (five kilometers up, and up to fifty kilometers away), pilots can literally see the progress of ground fighting, and have even been acting as aerial observers for ground forces. These new capabilities also enable pilots to more easily find targets themselves, and hit them with highly accurate laser guided or JDAM bombs. While bombers still get target information from ground controllers for close (to friendly troops) air support, they can now go searching on their own, in areas where there are no friendly ground troops.

    For Special Forces teams...the new pods are very useful, for the teams often operate deep in hostile territory, and they can use the bombers overhead to hit designated targets, but also ask the warplanes to look elsewhere in the vicinity, in areas the Special Forces troops cannot see, but where they suspect enemy troops are.

    The B-1B is delivering most of the smart bombs, because it can carry 24 smart bombs (or up to 144 of the streamlined, 250 pound SDB, or Small Diameter Bomb), and can stay in the air for eight hours, or more, over a combat zone. The troops, however, really like the fighter-bombers (F-16/15/18) carrying the targeting pods, because the pilots can find targets by themselves or, more importantly, work with the ground troops to do so.

    It seems that Iran should think carefully about placing large troop concentrations anywhere when SOCOM is around - did they not learn from the Serbs nd Taliban.

    A few other thoughts...

    Interesting training during Malabor
    '06 considering where they are now.

    Are there refueling assets moving into the region including Eastern Europe, Georgia, & Azerbaijan?

    What NATO naval assets are in the Mediterranean (guided missile cruisers)?

    Are there landbased anti-missile systems protecting Europe?

    The Shahab-3 has the range.

  3. rufus,

    Whose side are we on? One should never go off the meds and the bottle at once.

  4. Amnesia Destroys Imagination as Well as Memory

    "‘What we've shown is that people with amnesia really are stuck in the present…They can't recall the past, and now it seems that they can't even imagine the future or indeed richly imagine even fictitious experiences.’"

    "‘If you think about memories, they are always somewhere, because things happen somewhere…So spatial context is very important for our experiences.’"

  5. Laugh, if you dare - tortillas today, petroleum tomorrow.

    Calderon Caps Mexican Tortilla Prices to Help Poor

    What would Milton Friedman say?

  6. How about a cap on how many votes a Knesset Party can receive from Arab Muslim voters?

    Majadle gave Labor central committee members an ultimatum that if they did not allow Peretz to appoint him, he would not run for the position in a central committee vote. He said if that if his appointment were blocked, it would harm the party's image among Arabs, who are Labor's second-largest sector.

    "This is a holiday for the Labor central committee and all of Israel," Peretz said after the vote. "It will promote understanding and coexistence with Arab Israelis. This step will bring momentum to peace in the Middle East."

  7. > The president has said directly to members of Congress on a number of occasions: 'Take whatever shots you want at me,' he says, 'in terms of politics. You can criticize me all you want,

    The President still doesn't get it. This reminds me of the famous story where he said he will stay in Iraq even if his dog and wife are the only ones who support him.

    Winning elections is the most important part of the war on terror. Being a republic doesn't mean our politicians can ignore the voters, just that they have a little time between elections to lead the voters by convincing them the leader's way is correct.

    How long will it take the Republican Party to wake up? Will they wait until an all Democratic government joins us to the caliphate?

  8. There are also citizens to protect, but giving away NSA and the border don't strike me as the best way to do that.
    Maybe this is just a very long nightmare?
    The list is endless.

  9. Mat,
    At least this admin and Israel's are in synch regarding our march to dhimmitude.

  10. To paraphrase General Patton:

    No poor right-wing politician ever won the war on terror by losing an election for the good of his country...

    He won the war on terror by making the Democratic politician lose the election for the good of the country

  11. The key point is that it really isn't either / or. In most cases the President doesn't need to choose between elections and doing the right thing for the war on terror. He should be able to do both.

    Like the spying thing with FISA. The President argued he has commander-in-chief authority to bypass the 4th amendment and courts. Some experts said yes, some no, including the latest court case which said "no".

    But other than the first few months after 9/11, was there really a need for Bush to take such a political risk? He should have known it would leak out someday. There was already a special, secret wiretapping court which the Administration said was too slow. Now after five years and all that damage, Bush says that with new procedures the special Court can move fast enough.

    To me that seems like common sense, that in the after math of 9/11, the courts would have bent over backwards. If Bush had gone with the special procedures years ago, within a year after 9/11, there would have been no political damage even if the news leaked out. The President could have said "I did what I had to right after 9/11, but switched to using the courts as soon as I could." Probably even 3/4 of Democrats would have said he did the right thing.

    Instead Bush took a risk and a hit for no real reason, maybe just ego and Cheney's theories about executive power. As they say in tennis, an "unforced error". With that and a bunch of similar mistakes, we now have a Democrat majority congress that wants to bring all our troops home and stop any spying that might catch a terrorist.

  12. I really can't figure out what those 150,000 US troops are doing in Iraq, other than bleeding treasury while working on their tan lines. Iraq has 3 or 4 major cities, and only 1 or 2 still contested. Is there a secret understanding that Baghdad is to become a Shiia city in exchange for the oil contracts? What am I missing here?

  13. Don't worry about us, Doug. We know our merchandise.

  14. Clearly, not all Democrats agree. A lot of rank and file Democrats are pacifists who don't want to fight any wars. Some of them, even some Senators, have said every war in the past 30 years was a "quagmire" and "another Vietnam". I remember Ted Kennedy going on the Senate floor to scream that when the Afghanistan liberation seemed to slow down in the second week. I remember many Democrats fighting against and voting against the wars of a President of their own party, Clinton.

    The stated policy of the Democratic Party is "phased withdrawal" from Iraq, with no limit specified. What else should I think? Their plan to freeze the number of troops in Iraq is a way of killing soldiers, something that will create lethal chaos on the battle field, like limiting the number of bullets would.

  15. Limbaugh,
    "My Advice to the Administration:
    Act like you're in charge, go on offense -- or be destroyed...
    Maybe Pelosi's Doc does Character Transplants?
    "Depends on what the definition of

  16. Malkin, by way of Stein:

    W is Lucy.
    We are Charlie Brown.

  17. Are we now trying to start a 3 way war? There are 2 Kurdish brigades designated for Baghdad. That's 40,000 troops. Why?

  18. Iraqi infantry brigades range in size from 1,500 to 3,000, depending on mission, specialty, and reinforcement.
    Therefore, the two Kurdish brigades, including the 1st Infantry Brigade, 2nd Division of the Iraqi Army, slated for Baghdad, would put 3,000 - 6,000 troops on the streets.

  19. That is unless too many American troops are working on their "tan lines".

  20. You're right. I saw the 40,000 figure and the 2 Kurdish brigades mentioned, and was confused about the term. I equated the term with that of a US division, which is about 20,000 troops.

  21. Fade away jump shots, that is what many of the Marines at Camp Fallujah are working on, not tan lines.

  22. When the death notices were served on the families of the 112 dead from December’s non-combat, the families were consoled, no doubt, by the well tanned dismembered limbs of their loved ones.

  23. Those deaths don't count.
    Like US Citizens at the hands of illegals.
    Our understanding of Compassionate Conservativism continues to grow.

  24. Allen,

    You'll have to forgive my boorishness. You're right, again. It's not the soldiers fault that they are asked to perform escort services for Jihadi smugglers, by that taqiyya General, Abizaid.

  25. Mat,

    As I said earlier, "Fuck off."

  26. It's not true? Tell me it's not true, and you'll never see me here again.

  27. Mat,

    If you were a man, you would apologize to the American kids you just might have insulted, then, you could tell me to kiss your ass. But, since your recent behavior is that of a moron on a mission, that is not going to happen, is it?

  28. I said it was not their fault that they were put in that position. Do I feel bad for our fallen soldiers? I'm so beyond exhausted from feeling bad for our maimed and fallen soldiers that I'm beyond having any kind of feeling at all. But I'm not beyond seeing the truth that's in front of my eyes, Allen. And the corrupt policies and corrupt swine that allow it happen.

  29. Mat,

    Then, by all means, gut the swine.

  30. I have a better plan. I intend to feed them red apples until they all choke to death.