Friday, November 17, 2006

No, Iraq is not Vietnam.

Apparently it's more like the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Hear me out on this one. There were many many untruths and distortions spread around by the media during the aftermath of Katrina. But while no nation anywhere will be fully prepared for what was basically a nuclear event level disaster (sans radiation), the fact is our FEMA department was bogged down by bureaucratic restrictions to the point of being completely ineffective.

What does this have to do with Iraq? Well if you ask anyone who has ever been in the military they will tell you that one of the worst things about it is the bureaucratic nonsense they have to put up with. At this very moment my brother is waiting to find out what new job he will train for. Despite being one of the Air Forces best (literally award winning) network admins he is being reassigned and could end up being a cop or something equally mundane.

Now in Iraq our enemies cannot stand up to our military power. The actual battles were over long before anyone thought they would be. But now we face a different kind of fight, our military has to not only be soldiers but they have to be police, SWAT, Bomb Squad, detectives, ambassadors and friends. And it looks more and more like the military bureaucracy is getting in the way of that.

Check out this article by Eric Egland or "Major E" called Six Steps to Victory. In it he details six things to do that would go a long way towards getting peace in Iraq. These six things aren't speculation, all of them have been done to some degree and have been very effective. However the mountains of bureaucratic red tape make doing these things incredibly hard, if not completely against the rules.

Take number 3 for example:
3. Allow local commanders to buy what they need and nationalize the war effort by connecting the American public with the troops and their mission.

The troops need more support, from both the military and the American people, and the ground commanders must be empowered to lead our national effort to support them. The localized insurgency, coupled with an adaptive, resilient enemy means the troops on the ground best understand how to win. Our support should fulfill their stated needs, not what Congress, the Pentagon--or even the generals in Baghdad--think they ought to need.
We need to expand "commander discretionary funds" to give each battalion commander a large budget, on the order of $3 million, to spend as they see fit both before they deploy and while in country, with appropriate accountability. This would allow commanders to take action that will help the mission, but which bureaucratic practices currently prevent. For example, they could buy video cameras and phones to give to locals so that they can film and report insurgent activity; or hire military-aged males to clean roads and dig trenches that improve security while providing jobs to men who would otherwise be recruited as insurgents. It would also allow ground forces to reward a neighborhood chief with a few electric generators for his support of our mission, or to hand a $20 bill to a local who identifies a bomb that could have killed several soldiers.

Similar general staff policies sound effective, but fail in practice. For example, there is a "small rewards program" (SRP) in Iraq that allows cash incentives for supportive locals. The problem is that the units have not been trusted to handle the cash themselves, so a unit that wants to reward a helpful local has been required to give a coupon redeemable at the front gate of the nearest American base.
Note to military bureaucrat: paid informants require cash, not vouchers. They are giving you valuable intelligence at great risk to themselves, not playing bingo for Wal-Mart coupons.

My point is that both political parties (crazy hippie moonbats don't count) have stated that whatever the troops need to win will be provided to them. It's time to stop the finger pointing and hand wringing and start adapting and innovating.

Read that whole article, it is excellent. In fact email it to your senators, print it out and email it to the President and any Generals you know. I am going to permanently link it in my sidebar in case you want to come back for it in the future.

"Whatever it takes" is a very important phrase. And right now it takes a lot less red tape and a lot more flexibility by our wonderful military personnel.

Linked to Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation and Stop The ACLU. Thanks people!