Stick that in your pipe…

For some time, a  number of commentators, myself included, have been promoting peer engagement as a key factor in resolving insurgencies. By peer engagement, we mean like with like, which could be based on cultural grounds like the Pacific Island Countries (PIC) that contributed forces to the monitoring forces in Bougainville; regional grounds like ASEAN or the Organisation of African States that provides the greater proportion of peace support forces in Africa; religious grounds; or combinations thereof. This interesting article The Jihad against the Jihadis – How Moderate Muslim Leaders Waged War on Extremists-and Won arrived last night from one of my email distribution list sources. While I would argue that the war has yet to be truly won, it may be that the first paras are landing at Pegasus Bridge. The article is a very good example of both a comprehensive approach expanding well beyond the formal instruments of national power and also illustrates how Kilcullen’s Rejection phase can a. be overcome and b. backfire on the bad guys. It has an interesting insight into the law of unintended consequences perhaps being applied to Pakistan’s fence-sitting approach to the War on Terror…

Israel starts training its diplomats at an early age.

Peter @ The Strategist carries a great line on Israel’s latest attempt at biting the hand that protects it. It’s been 28 years since Israel’s adventures in the Bekaa Valley where it proved once and for all that it is no longer the helpless David surrounded by bullying Goliaths and that it can hold its own on its own, thank you very much….

Thomas Friedman, the newspaper columnist, wrote that instead of “fuming and making up” when wrong-footed by the announcement of new settlements, Mr Biden should have “snapped his notebook shut, gotten right back on Air Force Two, flown home and left a note telling Israel: ‘You have lost contact with reality’.”

I couldn’t agree more. Both the US and Israel should have revised their relationship in 1982 – like the 1978 Camp David Accords weren’t a big enough hint. Israel has now become the bull in the local china shop that offers no more to regional stability than Hamas, Hizbollah, Syria or Iran – yes, that’s right, Israel, you’re now just another member of the dumb nutjob thug club (DNTC for short).

George Friedman @ STRATFOR also writes on the broader US-Israel relationship as does Chirol @ Coming Anarchy. It is well past time for Israel to spend some time in the international ‘time out’ zone to consider the error of its ways. Next time round, the Stars and Stripes might be riding alongside moderates like Jordan and Egypt…

In Other News

Peter has released the next part of the Doomsday Device He Is The Man Who Everyone Fears And, no, it doesn’t feature Rodney Hide nor Winston Peters….

On Facebook Michael Yon comments on the diminishing number of engaged journos in the AFG theatre…

Have been permitting online publications to publish these dispatches freely for a link-back. (Budgets are being cut and they cannot afford to cover Afghanistan.) Of the majors, only FOX is keen enough to make the move. Just had lunch with a couple ABC folks about a week ago — their staff is being slashed on order of 20-30%. Good reporters, tiny budget. CNN and the rest are not serious players here. Coverage of Afghanistan is perfunctory. At the going rate, there will be just me, the New York Times, a few others, and some passers-through…

After eight years, is this war no longer news money-worthy for the big networks? And/or is this part of the information oops plan for the 2011 draw down so that when it occurs, no one will really notice the last helicopter leaving the roof of the embassy, nor the first of the Afghan boat people…?

Michael Yon has just released a new Dispatch, covering the coolest of aircraft, the now venerable Warthog

Open for Business (c) Michael Yon 2010

And way down the bottom, the US DoD has had a bit of a reorg and created a 4 star Cyber Command to “…unify and administer the U.S. Department of Defense’s vast computer networks to better defend against cyberattacks…” Jointness in Information Systems and Services should be a bit of a given but I can’t see this being an easy row to hoe. In addition to the two concerns raised in the article, I’d add a third…

How will someone balance the dual roles of CyberCom commander and NSA director?

Will the Defense Department have a source of future 4-star generals qualified to take on this challenge?

How on God’s green Earth are you going to get all those geeks to work and play well together?

2 thoughts on “Stick that in your pipe…

  1. Afghanistan’s problem isn’t that the war is 8 years old (when did Afghanistan ever get appropriate coverage?) but that Iraq eclipsed it early on and now everyone has war fatigue. Without piling on Yon, even he chose to go to Iraq rather than Afghanistan.

    Iraq was the preferred war because you could get lots of ‘hooah’ moments…tanks blowing stuff up…air strikes, etc. Afghanistan had little of that in the initial years. It had a lot of complicated problems people didn’t want to make the effort to learn about.

    Besides, while the supply of information (in terms of reporters) may be drying up I don’t get the impression there’s much in the way of demand for information from the public. I suspect that was specifically engineered for domestic political reasons (‘Yeah, don’t worry about the war. Just keep shopping!) and now we reap what we sow.

    During Christmas of 2003, my fellow soldiers and I were able to watch a ‘Year in Review’ show by our Armed Forces Network. In the half hour program there was 25 minutes of Iraq and a throw away line at the end about soldiers serving all around the world including Afghanistan, Kosovo, etc.

    Unfortunately, this ain’t a new problem.

    Great shots of the A-10…


    • It’s that ‘specific engineering’ that I’m interested in as a different angle on info ops – which you are not meant to conduct against your own people, of course…yeah right…

      As part of building an IO capability even half as good as the takfiri one, I think we need to be focussing some significant training resources on how to manage/use/exploit the media…and not treating Public Affairs like a bit of an afterthought…


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