World War IV Daily

1.23.2006

1.23.2006

"Cans of Whup-Ass" >>> Take a minute and read through some of this stuff; it's astounding. Theoretically a single F-16 could destroy 160 targets; a single B-1 could destroy 1,200! Whenever you hear somebody start to talk about the size and the might of the Chinese Army, tell them about these little guys.

The Double-Edged Sword of Decapitation >>> With the attempt to kill al-Zawahiri in Pakistan and bin Laden's new video last week, decapitation strikes are getting some new attention. This article brings up a very important point, which audiences of the film Munich will find quite familiar--that killing terrorists sometimes only creates more terrorists. But as the above article quotes, "that doesn't mean you don't do it." So what is the right way--if there is one--to successfully decapitate a terrorist group? The answer--as I see it--lies in how the decapitation is carried out. Most importantly, you cannot kill any innocent people. Doing so will eclipse the death of the terrorist leader and become a rallying cry for future attacks. Israel's practice of firing rockets at the cars of Hamas leaders as they drive through crowded city streets is an example of this kind of recklessness. Blowing up a house in Pakistan with a Predator drone isn't smart either. (I've expressed mixed reviews of that strike, so I apologize if I've confused anybody. If you think carefully about what I've written, you should see where I'm coming from.) Sure, the Pakistanis have our hands tied, and maybe the 13 other people killed in the attack weren't really 'civilians', but the truth really doesn't matter. Perception--as always--wins the day. Without question, these terrorist leaders need to be killed/captured, but it has to be done right or more leaders will rise to fill the void. (Insert Hydra analogy here.)
The problem is that, as precise as many of these strikes are, they are still not precise enough. Missiles, rockets, bombs, etc., are all quite messy. The alternative? Good old-fashioned bullets. Whether fired from mile-and-a-half or an inch-and-a-half they are extremely precise and relatively clean--at least compared to high explosives. Greater risks are involved--the shooter needs to escape, it's harder to get a good shot at the bad guy--but the collateral damage (read: public outcry) is drastically reduced. Israel, in particular, will be hard pressed to adopt this strategy. They love the spectacular attacks and the emotional impact they carry. But these things only bring more enemies out of hiding. A successful decapitation strike needs to focus on eliminating the target itself rather than broadcasting some kind of message. If counterterrorist organizations can kill terrorist leaders silently, they can disrupt their network while minimizing the chances for increased public support. The moral of the story is this: When you kill, do it as quickly and as quietly as possible.

Iraqi Insurgents vs. al-Qaeda: Ramadi Edition >>> This is a vastly underreported story, and in a place like Ramadi--probably the last serious bastion of insurgent/al-Qaeda forces--it's a big deal. However the potential for innocent people to get caught in the crossfire is huge. Furthermore, whether or not they are killed by insurgents or terrorists won't matter--any civilian deaths are the responsibility of the US-led Coalition. After all, it was they who invaded Iraq in the first place. As I mentioned above, perception--not truth--is what matters. As great as this kind of red-on-red warfare looks for us on paper, we need to stop it ASAP. Enough innocent people have died in Iraq.

Iraqi Army Officers Graduate >>> Excellent news, and way overdue. But it is still unclear whether the Iraqi Army can develop a strong NCO corps--the true backbone of an effective military. However, given the amount of 'hands-on training' (read: combat) that ISF forces are undertaking, such experience should be accrued rapidly. As I've stated a number of times before, every battle the Iraqi military fights makes them stronger and more experienced. Several years from now, don't be surprised when they're one of the strongest and most capable militaries in the world, certainly in the Middle East.

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