Postmodern classic?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More on the 'Surge' and 'COIN'

My 'dashboard'- the tabs on Mozilla- is getting full, so it must be time to post.

COIN- The field of Counterinsurgency (COIN) is becoming well-debated. New experts and notables are emerging. Ralph Peters writes a quick column on the Joint Army-USMC COIN Field Manual that is being distributed at the moment, with it's updates based on the experience of the last few years. An important omission noted by Peters is the role of the media in Information Operations, a topic expertly covered by the Belmont Club's Richard Fernandez, from Australia. Another notable Australian coming to the fore is counter-terrorism expert David Kilcullen, whose articles have graced the numerous forums and publishings to which I subscribe, covering this very topic. An impressive fellow.

Surge- The debate in Washington over the 'Surge' is getting heated. People need to wake up and realize there is no substitute for patience and resolve; no 'silver bullet' for the Iraq problem (or even X-51 kinetic cruise missile). Reuel Marc Gerecht in the NYT notes very clearly the underlying problems of aggressive operations in the Shia community. We do want to take out Sadr, but the timing has to be right. Jed Babbin, former SecDef and a reliable voice of military advocacy, articulates the major problems of the 'Surge'. As readers know, I'm quite lukewarm over this whole 'Surge' thing- but doing something is better than nothing. I wouldn't go so far as to call it the 'latest bad idea for Iraq' as Fred Kaplan does in a recent piece for Slate, but it's clearly a reactionary plan rather than a long-term solution. It's a good thing the Service Chiefs are standing up for this, because a mindless surge without a comprehensive review of existing policy would be counterproductive, especially due to the temporary nature of it's execution. Once again, I'll recommend the 'Westhawk solution'.

Politics at large- The illegal immigration debate continues, here is a classic economic argument showing the effects of cheap labor on the domestic economy, even if the rhetoric is a little heated. It's one of the important considerations when looking at the overall effects of people coming into the US. On politics there is an interesting dynamic between Pelosi and Hillary these days, in light of the developing positioning for the 2008 elections. Another demonstration that the 24-hour election cycle is with us to stay. Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe notes that we hold Iran's rhetoric to a different standard than the UN does to say... Bikindi of Rwanda. Mary Eberstadt writes a long article, not an easy read but very interesting, on the role of scapegoats and victims in the American consciousness that affect the news cycle and our political perceptions. From my perspective, it's just another example of how the role of the American underdog has been undermined by the idea and centrality of the victim that plays such a central role in social debate these days.

Humor- Yesterday I linked to David Zucker as his return to the political debate is graced with his version of the Iraq Study group. Youtube has had some great ones, stumbled across these MadTV excerpts- their version of English-speaking Al Jazeera is great ('Death to America'), and they have another funny one of Iraqi protesters worth seeing. But whatever you do, in preparation for the Holiday season, the Onion has a guide for 'Responsible Holiday Drinking'.

Happy Holidays to all- have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


  • it's = contraction of 'it is'

    its = possessive case

    Otherwise thoughtful commentary on a vital problem.

    By Anonymous the old gringo, at 8:33 PM  

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