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Sunday, June 29, 2008

David Petraeus . . . my man

The always excellent Small Wars Journal posted a Times Online article, General David H Petraeus: The general's knowledge (archived), by Charles M Sennott, profiling General Petraeus, military commander of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I already admired GEN Petraeus for the obvious reasons, but this quote from the article struck a chord:
“If we are going to fight future wars, they’re going to be very similar to Iraq,” he says, adding that this was why “we have to get it right in Iraq”.
I believe this deeply. With this quote alone, I feel as though GEN Petraeus represents me on the issue of Iraq better than any elected official. He gets it.

It seems obvious to me that our success or failure in Iraq will have far reaching implications. It will define and set the baseline. Operation Iraqi Freedom, as much as anything else, is a critical evolutionary learning curve for us in 4th Generation Warfare. Before OIF, even before 9/11, when I was a MI soldier, I realized we would have to confront our deeply entrenched phobias about guerilla war, moreso as it has evolved with globalization. I didn't invent the notion: over 40 years ago, President Kennedy announced that learning counterinsurgency was the American priority for the 20th Century. Unfortunately, we were hurt badly by the Vietnam War, which proved his point. Our defeat simultaneously provided a blueprint to the world for defeating us and made us phobic about engaging guerilla warfare. We are now struggling to catch up, evolutionarily speaking, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I'm reading John Robb's Brave New War at the moment and Robb has only further reinforced my view that our Iraq mission has long-term consequences. Add: Along the same theme of the need to be ready to compete with other forms of martial competition, see Science of Resistance by Paul Tompkins and Robert R. Leonhard.

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