The War Lord of Argghhh! was on a panel about milblogging which I just watched. Sure wish I could have found the transcript! I can read faster than those guys can talk. I’ll never get that 1:18:52 back, but there were some nuggets in there, like when and where the next MilBlog Conference will be. If you want to understand milblogging you ought to watch it.
Monthly Archives: January 2008
Chief Rusty in the news Down Under.
I’m going to miss you guys. My readership is so small, your absence will be noticed.
Muddy Boots IO will have to be done from the hooch, on your own time and your own dime.
IA fraticiding the hell out of PA and PO.
H/T: Haft of the Spear
UPDATE: Maybe it has already started. In From the Cold is blocked by the Air Force. Scroll down to CENTCOM Chick’s comment:
I work for the Air Force and do quite a bit of open source research – including on blogs. I can understand blocking eBay, or sites like You Tube for bandwidth issues. But many blogs are useful for work-related purposes, at least for my job.Also, their choices for blocked sites are at times ridiculous, and their reasoning is even worse. It irritates me to no end every time I see something blocked for ridiculous reasons like “general news” or “educational.” I think the worst was the search engine blocked for “personal” reasons. If it made more sense, I’d understand it more.
Sounds like IA fratricide to me.
Colonel Ed Kornish has a tough job. He took some time to tell some bloggers about it, including me, thus the departure from the usual themes on this blog. COL Kornish commands Regional Police Advisory Command – South in Kandahar.* He has 230 American guys and gals, soldiers, sailors and airmen, 70 Brits and 100 Canadians in 4 Provincial and 15 District Police Mentor Teams all over southern Afghanistan trying to train 10,000 Afghan National Policemen. We really don’t have National Policemen in America, and they really don’t have local yokels, county mounties and Smoky the Bear in Afghanistan. I gather that municipal, district and provincial law enforcement organizations outside of the ANP are discouraged.
“. . . there is one police force, which is Afghan National Police. There’s not like a city police force or a county police force — all of the district police are part of the Afghan National Police.”
This was my first Blogger’s Roundtable and COL Kornish lost his satellite and fell off the line before I could get a word in edge-wise, but I did email him the questions I would have asked, and he graciously emailed me back and answered them.
COL Kornish’s Region is the Wild West of the East. Pashtun tribal and clan chiefs with their lashkars, warlord jefes with their pickup trucks full of banditos, local security contractors with their pickup trucks full of “security officers,” and then there are the opium cartels and their bully boys, all going about their business while the Brits, Dutch, Canadians, Romanians and Americans hunt the Taliban, who are not readily distinguishable from the previously described gentlemen.
I asked him about the ethnic make up of the ANP in RC South. He said they don’t keep those kind of records, but most of the ANP in RC South were Pashtuns. The Pashtuns have their own laws, so Tajiks in gherkin green ANP uniforms trying to enforce the writ of Kabul have their work cut out for them. The traditional Pashtun Code and the people still trying to live by it are under great stress from the outside world, from wars, narcoterrorism, and violent graduates of Deobandi madrassas. RPAC-S could really use a Human Terrain Team to sort all this combat anthropology out, but kandaks before cops. The Brits are trying “to increase their support for community defence initiatives, where local volunteers are recruited to defend homes and families modelled on traditional Afghan ‘arbakai’,” , but echelons above RPAC-S disagree with that. I asked COL Kornish if his British PMT’s were mentoring arbakai. He doesn’t know.
The Canadians have a flap going on about not turning over their prisoners to the locals lest they get tortured, so I asked COL Kornish if any of the PMT’s are mentoring Afghan correctional officers. They’re not.
I asked him about the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan and how they interacted with his operation. EUPOL really doesn’t affect him at his level, they interact with CSTC-A. DynCorp is doing good things, though:
However, we do work side-by-side every day with international civilian police assigned to our area. First, DynCorp under International Narcotics Law Enforcement under US Department of State provides contract civilian law enforcement officers in our area that serve as advisors for police training and mentors for the police. The advisors help train and mentor at the regional and provincial level. They do some training but primarily advise certified Afghan police trainers who are the primary instructors. They mentor as part of my regional and provincial teams such that we have combined civilian and military mentor teams at the regional and provincial level. We jointly mentor the Afghan police on 5 primary systems: personnel, finance, logistics, operations, and training. In addition to the DynCorp civilian
police officers who are primarily from the US, we work with the UK in Helmand Province and they have a number of civilian police officers from the UK. In Kandahar, we work at the regional, provincial, and to a lesser extent, district level with Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
We have an RCMP Superintendent as a permanent member of our ARSIC staff and an RCMP element embedded with our US military Police Mentor Team (PMT) and DynCorp civilian police mentors in Kandahar Province.
Dyncorp is one of those eeeevil mercenary corporations, don’t ya know. I was at one time employed by DynCorp, but not on CIVPOL. I remember when the Canadians rolled into KAF in 2005. They had one lone Mountie with them back then, in their Provincial Reconstruction Team. He was pretty easy to spot in the Main DFAC wearing his gray patrol uniform like he was ready to roust drunks in Yellowknife.
COL Kornish speaks highly of his ANP leaders:
In RC South, our Regional Police Chief, BG Wahdat, and all of our
Provincial Police Chiefs have been assigned after rank reform by the Ministry of Interior. These officers are intelligent, competent leaders that are dedicated to making the Afghan National Police a trusted and professional force. Rank reform is ongoing at the district level and below at checkpoints and police substations. Leadership at these lower levels varies in quality but is improving as reform progresses.
Two of his 15 district PMT’s are mentoring the Afghan Border Police in RC South. Mentoring the Border Police is one of RPAC-S’s critical missions. Nobody is mentoring the Border Police on the Iranian border with Nimruz province, he tells me. Nimruz doesn’t have a Provincial Reconstruction Team or much of any NATO/ISAF/Coalition presence.
COL Kornish and his people have an incredibly complex task, dealing with diverse ethnic and national ways of doing things in a tough environment. Embedding with the Police is a much hairier gig than embedding with the ANA. Their posse has a lot less firepower. I hope some of these mentors write books. They would rival the adventure stories of Rudyard Kipling.
Foreign Internal Defense used to be a Special Forces mission, and before we had Special Forces American soldiers and Marines recruited and led Philippine Constabulary, Haitian Gendarmerie, and Nicarauguan Guardia Nacional. We even worked with Imperial Iranian Gendarmerie during WWII. The Brits set up the Frontier Corps who have been losing forts to the Taliban lately. But the ANP is different. I don’t think we have a template to model it on. We are trying to set up an organization to extend the writ of Kabul throughout the land, and that has never been done before.
* RPAC-S is part of Afghanistan Regional Security Integration Command – South, which is part of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VI, which falls under Combined Security Transitional Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A). And he’s in Regional Command South, so a
British Canadian general can jerk his chain, too.
“Allah has commanded us in various Koranic verses to wage war against the unbelievers… Electronic jihad utilizes methods and means which inflict great material damage on the enemy and [which also] lower his morale and his spirits via the Internet. The methods of [hacking] have been revealed [to us] by expert [hackers] on the Internet and networks… many of whom engage in purposeless and meaningless sabotage. These lethal methods will be harnessed [for use] against our enemies, so as to inflict the greatest [possible] financial damage [upon them] – which can amount to millions – and [in order] to damage [their] morale, so that [they] will be afraid of the Muslims wherever they go and even when they are surfing the Web.” 
Does anybody in the West repair damaged morale?
The man you love to hate has crept out from under his rock:
In an address to an information warfare conference, Rumsfeld said the United States is “sitting on the sidelines” in a global battle of ideas. “We’re barely competing,” and for that reason we are losing, he said.Islamic radicals are winning despite the fact that they blow up mosques, kill women and children and publicly behead their foes, Rumsfeld said.The United States needs a “21st-century agency for global communications” to use modern methods to spread the United States’ message about the importance of democracy and freedom, much as the U.S. Information Agency spread that message during the Cold War, he said.
The USIA was folded into the State Department in 1999 and the United States “lost a valued tool to help tell the story of a nation that was carved from the wilderness and conceived in freedom,” Rumsfeld told an audience of military members and defense contractors.
A 21st-century version of the USIA is needed to harness new communications techniques — from blogs to online social-networking sites to talk radio — to counter a constant torrent of propaganda from radical organizations, particularly in the Middle East, he said.
Bless his heart. I wish we could do that. I really do. The painful truth is that we cannot replicate an updated USIA because we do not have buy-in from the “Loyal Opposition.” Probably in 12 months the new “Loyal Opposition” could be snookered into creating yet another arm of the spastic Federal octopus in which to stash old Clinton holdovers and new Clinton sycophants, but our new Overlords won’t really need such an organization. They have CNN, AP, Reuters, NYT, LAT, BBC, Al Jazeera.
Hmmm. I just don’t know who to believe. American Marines are so, so, bloodthirsty, the brutes, and besides, they are loyal to that horrible man, Bush, so it is my duty as a peace-loving opponent of warmongers and a multiculturalist to believe Haji Liwani Qumandan over Staff Sergeant Mohamed Sheik, USMC.
This is a brutal truth that cannot be spoken by those who must build rapport with them. They must maintain the polite fiction that the “eye witness testimony” of such people is worthy of consideration.
Shame cultures have an entirely different understanding of truth than Guilt cultures.
There can be no compromise with their concept of “honor”, for any compromise brings “shame”. Thus, in order to maintain honor, lying and any other kind of deceit is completely acceptable–even encouraged. Multiply this times ten when dealing with the malignant narcissistic leader of the culture or nation.
This reality is hard to grasp for the western mind which places a higher value on truth and honesty. Thus, western diplomats seem incredibly naiive and laughable to both Asian and Arab minds because they believe in the sanctity of agreement, treaties, and the like. The idea that deliberate deceit or lying as a political strategy is considered acceptable–even honorable –in some places of the world doesn’t seem to occur to them.
GI Korea’s ROK Drop has a good post on it.
I lived about 40 miles north of Pueblo’s home port at the time. My Dad was TDY to Korea. He was supposed to be gone 5 days. It was 55 days later when we saw him again.
We don’t do payback like we ought to.
‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers‘
We live in an era of increasing individual legal responsibility at national and international levels. Today, war crimes charges can arise in Belgian or German courts, not to mention the International Criminal Court.98
Although jurisdictional hurdles may make prosecutions of U.S. forces unlikely, that will not stop investigations or even indictments if these institutions interpret some IO as violating the law of war.99 Moreover, the“CNN factor” makes allegations of war crimes a matter of public discourse, rapidly dispersed through media outlets and information networks worldwide. In this environment, it is not surprising that military commanders may shy away from IO, especially if they do not know which conduct will lead to war crimes allegations. Looking at Kosovo again, the United States apparently refrained from planned CNA against Serbian computer networks for purposes of disrupting military operations and basic civil services in part due to concerns that some such CNA would be a war crime.100
It used to be the victors who had war crimes trials to hang the most effective losers. But that was back in the days when we fought conventional wars against peer state actors. I wonder if we will ever win a war again.
Am I questioning the possibility of victory because I’m a realist, or because I have been mind-fucked by somebody’s highly successful and totally uncountered IO?
Those great Americans at the Associated Press want you to think
Now Warner Todd Huston would like you to know that
And so Dr. Evil plants his Dezinformatsiya in complicit media and it becomes counterknowledge that will be swallowed whole by millions of stupid people whose reeducation is a Herculean task well beyond my patience.
As a direct consequence of the globalisation of information flows, all kinds of irrational belief or political fanaticism circulate freely in the public domain. Traits of the open society, such as freedom of speech, can then be used against themselves and against other liberties.
Taken together, these symptoms enhance the political frivolity of large parts of the developed world’s populations, leaving people intellectually, culturally and politically vulnerable. The loss of the value of citizenship and the increase in irrationality together create the space in which public opinion is shaped emotionally, making sound strategy and policy harder to accomplish. It also creates the space for demagoguery to thrive.
The loss of the rational, in other words, is a loss of a particularly valuable part of intellectual and moral certainty, and it can lead people to seek certainty elsewhere, in anything from common cults to extreme cases of fanaticism. Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World Renewing Transatlantic Partnership Chapter 1 — Trends and Challenges, Global Trends, Loss of the Rational
The Government has a requirement for a range of web site products and services to support the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). The contractor shall:
Develop, operate and maintain a minimum of six websites, in the directed languages and conceptual approaches approved by the Government;
Develop, operate and maintain websites tailored to influence foreign audiences per Government-approved Concepts of Operations (CONOPs), conceptual approaches and previously approved prototypes;
Provide full-service cultural knowledge, political, editorial, media, and information technology capabilities;
Identify, develop, obtain and maintain a network of native/indigenous content contributors with backgrounds in politics, academics, security, culture, entertainment, and other aspects of the GWOT, which appeal to identified foreign target audiences. This network of contributors must provide regular scheduled content and respond as required to emerging opportunities; Develop obtain and maintain content for use on the websites;Develop a plan that measures both performance and effectiveness to determine the market penetration, traffic to, and success of, each website;Conduct continuous security monitoring of the websites;Comply with all Department of Defense Information Assurance requirements, including response to event timeliness;Continuously recommend and conduct, with Government approval, mass marketing efforts to establish brand name recognition, market presence, and capitalize on opportunities to promote the websites and to significantly increase penetration to the intended audience; and,Establish, operate and maintain a password protected virtual collaboration system, or similar capability, that allows for 24 hours per day, seven days per week content sharing, review, modification, approval, and potential synchronization.
All contractor personnel shall hold a U.S. SECRET security clearance and be able to obtain a U.S.TOP SECRET clearance. Contractor will require access to both classified and unclassified government computer systems facilities. Contractor will be authorized to courier classified information up to the SECRET level in performance of official duties upon approval of and designation by the Government.
I hope one of the directed languages is English. [It is. The project will build a minimum of two and no more than twelve websites focused on Modern Standard Arabic, French, English (British dialect and spelling), Portuguese, Spanish, Armenian, Azeri, Chinese, Farsi, Georgian, Hindi, Punjabi, Russian, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, Bahasa (Indonesian and Malay),]
Wonder who will get this contract? Probably a consortium of the usual suspects under a new name.
Think of the trolls these overt .mil Perception Management blogs are going to attract in their comments. Hmmmm. Think of the data mined from the trolls.
UPDATE 20090917: General Dynamics Information Technology won it 4 SEP 09.
The fact is, to discuss blasphemy laws in Afghanistan and Iraq (Kurdistan, even) is to discuss Islam — specifically, its laws and doctrines. And we, as a politically correct people, don’t know how to do that. Instead, we act as though they don’t exist.
. . . we seem to have arrived at a strange junction where neither jihadist apologists nor surge enthusiasts want to hear the facts about Islamic law. You might say it’s become the new blasphemy.
We want Muslim proxies to replace our trigger pullers. We want Muslim informants to rat out their murderous brothers. We don’t want to be too kinetic, because that loses us valuable
tools allies, but if we aren’t kinetic enough nobody over there respects us and nobody in the rear can pump up support for a half-vast, politically correct, over-lawyered war. The Regular .gov strategic communicators don’t want to say that, and I don’t blame them. The “truth” has to be massaged, made palatable, less painful.
The painful truth is that neither the Ummah nor a significant segment of the population of America is worth the life of a single Mississippi paratrooper.
The painful truth is that there is no legal way to cull the American oxygen thieves, so our defenders defend the unworthy along with the rest of us, and there is no WMD that can rid us of 1.2 billion enemies, enemy sympathizers, enemy apologists, and enemy enablers without fouling our own nest, so we can’t kill near as many as need killing. The best we can do is kill the worst and reconcile the rest.
The painful truth is that Muslim activists in America want to provoke attacks on Muslims in America. They want video of burning mosques on al Jazeera. They want enraged American vigilantes to violate their First Amendment rights. They want the benefits of victimhood. They want to show the world that Americans aren’t the people we’re supposed to be.
The painful truth is that our leaders continue to shovel the Religion of Peace bullshit because neither they nor the American people have the balls to round them up and deport them or intern them like was done to the Nisei.
The painful truth is that there is no accountability. Not for incompetents. Not for traitors. Justice will not be done. Get over it.
The painful truth is that every day the enemy fails to penetrate our defenses and reenact 9/11 or worse is another day We The People grow more complacent, more dismissive of the threat, less willing to tolerate the few sacrifices that have been asked of us, more susceptible to conspiracy theories. Complacency kills. They haven’t killed enough Americans to get the survivors to pull their heads out of their asses.
There are more painful truths, but I’m pissed off enough already. That’s the problem with the “truth.” People say they value truth, but they don’t like pain, and resent the bearer of unwelcome truths.
The “truth” does not always serve us well. Winston Churchill said, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a body guard of lies.” Lies, euphemisms, omissions, positive spin; maybe that’s our version of Infidel taqqiya.
MI5 says the internet is an important factor in exposing people to radical views.
But it adds: “More often radicalisation seems to arise from local contacts and from peers.
“Exposure to a forceful and inspiring figure, already committed to extremism, can be important here.
“This person may be associated with a particular place (eg. a mosque) or can be a national or international figure, seen on video or heard on tapes.
”Inspiration from a distance is important and there is evidence that the rise of the internet, with its ability to connect people, to pass ideas between them, and then pass those ideas on to others has had a significant impact on the accessibility and flow of radical ideas.”
H/T: Chief Reynolds
Reading more about British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s speech to the International Centre for Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence comparing cyber jihadis to pedophiles might just strike a nerve among the porn-addicted, sister-raping, basement-dwelling wannabes, but I have my doubts about the Brits. Too PC to carry it off. But maybe they’ll surprise me.
“It is a weakness of terrorists as a tactic that the way we respond determines the impact they will have. Whether terrorists succeed is ultimately up to us, not up to them,” she said.
“An effective response to terrorism is never dependent solely on the state and solely on law enforcement,” she added. “It depends on us. On the active commitment of individuals and communities and to certain rights and responsibilities.”
Sounds good, so far.
Maybe they should look down between the couch cushions.
Saw this over at Lightfighter:
My name is Corporal G. I graduated from the University of Virginia, and armed with a history degree took a job in Florida negotiating commercial property insurance claims stemming from Hurricane Charlie. I found success but little pleasure in it and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in May 2005. I am currently assigned to TOW Platoon, 2nd Tank Battalion, whom I deployed with from April 6 – October 30, 2006 as a Humvee Driver, Dismount, and Turret Gunner. I deployed again with TOW Platoon April 20 – November 2, 2007 as a Vehicle Commander, Assistant Section Leader, and eventually Section Leader. My platoon provided MSR Security along a well known highway in AO Raleigh, in Anbar Province Iraq. Our platoon was divided into four sections of four Humvees (and later MRAPs), each composed of 14-19 Marines plus corpsman. Between the two deployments I have been on over three hundred combat patrols, and the issues I discuss below stem largely from these experiences. I am scheduled to finish my enlistment with a third tour in the fall of 2008. [some information redacted for PERSEC reasons]
Young Cpl G. has a lot to say about a lot of things, but for the purposes of this blog I would like to share with you these thoughts of his:
Negative comments from politicians played over television have a dramatic effect on morale, especially on troops who are otherwise indifferent and disdainful of politics in general. I cannot tell you how many times I have overheard Marines and soldiers talking about various inconsiderate comments made from the likes of John Kerry, Murtha, Reid, and Pelosi about how we cannot win, how we should be brought home, etc. The Kerry comments really cemented his reputation with the troops and upset people more than anything else. It is unnerving to volunteer for service during wartime hoping to be deployed and having to listen to a politician explain how the troops need to come home, especially when we clearly have not finished what we started. There is a widespread perception amongst the Marines I know, even those uninterested in politics, that the Democratic Party does not want us to win in Iraq for whatever reason. This is true even amongst Democrats who still maintain the party viewpoint on almost every other issue but the war. Morale is always a tricky issue to deal with, and it is difficult to tell a Marine to buck up when he sees important people back home undercutting his primary reason for existing at the moment.
The news cycle in the mainstream media is about 4/6 months behind events on the ground. The evolution of the IED threat is a perfect example. I remember seeing an article in the Marine Corps Times about a new “speed bump” IED appearing in Iraq. This was about 6 months after we first encountered them. Likewise there was an article in the Washington Post/MSNBC about pressure plate IEDs several months ago that made it seem like this threat, which had been around for over a year, was somehow new. The same thing is true with the effects of the surge. The most accurate news reporting on the ground in Iraq is coming from bloggers and the alternative media. When I was in Iraq I would read Michael Yon and Michael Totten when possible for great stories on what was really happening elsewhere around the country.
I never discussed politics with the Marines, but we did talk about current events, and I did watch CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC with them. The perception I got was that one of the major American political parties is viewed by many Marines with pity, amusement, and bitterly sardonic sarcasm, while the other major American political party evokes profanity and eloquent non-verbal demonstrations of disgust.
There are politicans in America who are above ground wasting oxygen merely because it is illegal to kill them. Marines know this. There may be at least one republic that has not been overthrown by coup d’etat merely because of Article 88. Saying things that need to be said for those who would be punished for such politically incorrect utterances could be a mission for intrepid Civilian Irregular auxiliary surrogates beyond the reach of military justice. There are too many butt-ass naked emperors running around.
The Soviets not only armed and trained Palestinian terrorists but also used them to arm and train other professional terrorists by the thousands.
By 1973, Arafat was a Soviet puppet (and would remain such until the fall of the USSR). His adjutants, including Mahmoud Abbas, were being trained by the KGB in guerrilla warfare, espionage, and demolition; and his ideologues had gone to North Vietnam to learn the propaganda Tao of Ho Chi Minh.Arafat was particularly struck by Ho’s success in mobilizing left-wing sympathizers in Europe and the United States, where activists on American campuses, enthusiastically following the line of North Vietnamese operatives, had succeeded in reframing the Vietnam War from a Communist assault on the south to a struggle for national liberation. Ho’s chief strategist, General Giap, made it clear to Arafat and his lieutenants that in order to succeed, they too needed to redefine the terms of theirstruggle.Giap’s counsel was simple but profound: the PLO needed to work in a way that concealed its real goals, permitted strategic deception, and gave the appearance of moderation: “Stop talking about annihilating Israel and instead turn your terror war into a struggle for human rights. Then you will have the American people eating out of your hand.”
Cultural Marxists, Multi-Culturalists, Radical Environmentalists, Transnational Progressivists, Collectivists, Post-Modernists, all the ex-Communists and sympathizers and fellow-travelers, quacking like hungry ducks for the anti-Western corn in al Qaeda’s/Hezbollah’s/Hamas’/Fatah’s/Iran’s hand. They’re all in it together.