Thursday, March 15, 2007

Donkey Hote

"He was spurred on by the conviction that the world needed his immediate presence"
~ ~ ~
"Facts are the enemy of truth"

--Don Quixote, Cervantes
(illustration by Picasso, 1955)

There are several concepts that should never leave a combat soldier's mind. This entry is a deconstruction of the photo in my previous entry, Donkeys:

  1. The three soldiers are bunched up, and one grenade, RPG or burst of fire would basically neutralize a fire team.
  2. Their weapons are not at the ready.
  3. If wounded, they would be difficult to extract.
  4. I would like to believe that somewhere there is a base of fire element providing cover. Even with such, this donkey cart pushing violates the concept of danger area.
  5. In a place like Afghanistan or Iraq, stupid moves like being friendly and pushing a cart could cause a lifetime of suffering and grief if this lapse were exploited by hostiles.
  6. Vigilance in combat must be 100%.

Pushing donkey carts is not an infantry mission. Dealing with asses falls withing the purview of the Executive branch, in this administration.


Blogger Claymore said...

"Vigilance in combat must be 100%."

Bullshit, vigilance in counterinsurgency kills civilians and drives the populace against you.

Friday, March 16, 2007 at 3:53:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Claymore said...

"this donkey cart pushing violates the concept of danger area."

This is not hooah school; this is an urban environment with less fluid threats. The picture does not illustrate the entire situation either.

{{shaking head}}

Friday, March 16, 2007 at 4:09:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Military rules apply in all environments.

Of course, the picture doesn't illustrate the entire situation. I'm shaking my head also. The situation is too absurd to be illustrated by a single picture.

Friday, March 16, 2007 at 5:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Claymore II,

You broke the nice rule by saying the "b.s." word on my blog; I do not appreciate your introduction of armor standards to a civilized blog. You get two demerits for this infraction.

Haven't you figured out yet the populace is against us, totally?
Nobody loves us, neither Sunni nor Shia.

Friday, March 16, 2007 at 6:06:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Claymore said...

Do police officers scroll the road in NY in broad daylight or secure the far side and cross one at a time? This is not hooah school!

If I were a guerrilla, I would leverage your vigilance against you. I would never allow a legitimate target, denying a release of retaliation and deomoralizing your men. I would force your soldiers to take a standoffish relation with the people, inciting overreacting, racism, and exploiting their actions for propaganda.

Rule #1 in guerrilla warfare- Repression is rapture.

Sunday, March 18, 2007 at 5:27:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Jim is not here right now, but I believe our adversaries are denying us targets as we speak. They are simply leaving Baghdad, or hunkering down. Isn't that one of the hallmarks of guerrilla fighting--you don't fight on your opponent's time schedule or terrain.

A patrolling police officer, even in a hostile urban environment, is a far piece from a soldier in a foreign land.

Monday, March 19, 2007 at 9:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


This is from a letter by a Marine CO in Haditha that disagrees with your take on vigilence:

"Self-discipline, tireless vigilance, prudent judgment and the patience of a hunter are the most valued skills, and Marines have learned to trust the hairs on the back of their neck more than anything else." [http://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 1:49:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Claymore said...

Is that why their new Special Operations Detachmentgets sent home for overreacting to a single IED?

In counterinsurgency, tactical victories do not mean squat; earning the trust and support of the people is everything. Vigilent warriors should not allow an insurgent attack to derail their focus.

"a victory is not the destruction in a given area of the insurgent's forces and his political organization, [but] ... is that plus the permanent isolation of the insurgent from the population, isolation not enforced upon the population, but maintained by and with the population."
-David Galula

Monday, March 26, 2007 at 11:21:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


It's actually a joke to put those Marines under the SOF umbrella. Just b/c we say they're SOF doesn't make it so. You miss the point by calling it an overreaction. It was a murderous, criminal activity. This is an exception that can't prove the rule for either of our arguments.

It's an aberration in which our military should never have partaken.

If there is any isolation going on in Iraq, it is the U.S. military which is isolated. Just b/c we've built platoon-sized Ft. Apaches throughout Baghdad doesn't mean we're living with the people.

When was the last time an American soldier ever had an interplay w/ an Iraqi w/o a weapon between them?

It's a joke to say we're going to isolate the resistance forces from the populous; they are the populace.

This is coming from Ranger to Claymore: my personal belief is you must destroy their combat power, and this is the most effective way to isolate them from the population. But, I cannot espouse this approach in Iraq, as I do not accept the legitimacy of this war, as it does not address the security of America.

Monday, March 26, 2007 at 3:46:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Claymore said...

correction: bad link

I am from the "other" school of counterinsurgency; you defeat terror with moral leverage, eroding the guerrillas ability to mingle and survive- his center of gravity is the support from the people.

"He achieves the second by remembering that the people will bear the brunt of the enemy's reprisal tactics and by inspiring them with aims of the movement. In this way they will be made tenacious and strong for in the long run it is the people who can stop the enemy: by backing the national movement....Cooperation of the people is vital to the guerrillas. Because it has to be stressed that support for the aims of the guerrillas must come from the population. Cut loose from the people, a guerrilla formation can neither develop nor survive."
-Handbook for Volunteers of the Irish Republican Army

"It is important to
emphasize that guerrilla warfare is a war of the masses, a war of the people. The
guerrilla band is an armed nucleus, the fighting vanguard of the people. It draws
its great force from the mass of the people themselves.....The guerrilla fighter needs full help from the people of the area. This is an
indispensable condition. This is clearly seen by considering the case of bandit gangs that operate in a region. They have all the characteristics of a guerrilla army, homogeneity, respect for the leader, valor, knowledge of the ground, and, often, even good understanding of the tactics to be employed. The only thing missing is
support of the people; and, inevitably, these gangs are captured and exterminated by the public force....he must count on the support of the people."

-Guerrilla Warfare, Che Guevara

"The role of the urban guerrilla, in order to win the support of the people, is to continue fighting, keeping
in mind the interest of the masses and heightening the disastrous situation in which the government must

-Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla, Carlos Marighella

"guerrilla warfare basically derives from the masses
and is supported by them, it can neither exist nor flourish if it separates
itself from their sympathies and co-operation"

-On Guerrilla Warfare, Mao Tse Tung

"The primary feature of
the guerrilla operations is that they depend upon the support of the
people and therefore the guerrillas depend upon the local conditions.
(on counterguerrilla operations)
Gaining hearts and minds of
the nation is the basic and the most important issue. It is
necessary to find conditions which could facilitate the action of
gaining people's support. Such an action will also deprive the
guerrillas from the support they had from the people."

-Iraq Guerrilla Warfare Manual, 1986

We have mastered the art of ass kicking. It gets you nowhere in this type of struggle.

Monday, March 26, 2007 at 8:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Claymore said...

more quote:
"Successful guerrilla operations involve the people. It is the quality of their resistance to the enemy and support for the guerrillas which in the end will be the decisive factor....In fact, a guerrilla force will be unable to operate in an area where the people are hostile to its aims. And it must be remembered always that it is the people who will bear the brunt of the enemy's retalitory measures."
-Handbook for Volunteers of the Irish Republican Army

Monday, March 26, 2007 at 9:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Thank you for the correct link, and for the quotations. You've obviously read your CI backgd. material.

Your first sentence, however, has an incorrect assumption; terrorism is not insurgency. It can be a tool w/in the insurgency. We must not conflate our terms, nor oversimplify.

Since you mention Che, Carlos and Mao, you must realize there is a distinction b/t insurgency and guerrilla warfare. These personnel--either the insurgents or the guerrillas--can be indig, or what we used to call "parachutists". Che and Carlos could be viewed as parachutists. Mao was operating in an indigenous environment. Iraq is an amalgam.

My contention is to kill the parachutists. Bear in mind that they had a host nation which had a semblence of legality and sovereignty, w/o a puppet government.

The parachutists are easier to separate from the population, and these are the people you are discussing separating from the population.

As for the indig, good luck. Ask the Brits about the IRA, or the Spanish about ETA.

Bear in mind of course that we are an invading foreign army fighting an elective war, and it's not hard to gain indigenous sympathy to fight such a force.

Monday, March 26, 2007 at 9:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Claymore said...

"Bear in mind of course that we are an invading foreign army fighting an elective war, and it's not hard to gain indigenous sympathy to fight such a force."

This is where you get it all wrong. The Iraqi insurgency is is simply a decentralized autonomi of tribalism and ethnoreligious conflict; there is no heirarchy in command. Albeit with a heavy hand, Saddam was to entity that kept the peace and order; by removing him we opened a can of worms. The Sunnis see us as invaders. The Shias see us as liberators that should go home; they want full power and retrobution for the brutality recieved under Sunni rule. We are the only thing standing in the way to keep this from happening; therefore, they attack us.

But why should I even bother telling you this anyway? Not only do you oppose the war, you want to see us lose.

Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 10:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Jim is not here, but I know will want to comment.

From my end, you are correct in that there is no centralized command in Iraq, but that is not necessary for a GW scenario. It is all the more remarkable that the resistance to our occupation is so intractable, and from every side (except the Kurds, who have their vested interests.)

Why do we care that the Shiites want retribution for their subjugation? Why have we invaded and toppled the Sunni's government? Don't you suppose you'd be mad if someone came over here and did the same thing?

You must get above it all, and see that the problem is not what is playing out on the street; the problem is, that we have wrought this insanity at all. To no good end. To no attack on terrorists who are targeting America at all.

The problem is, that we are there, and not here, focusing on actual threats to our national security.

Jim is a true patriot. He does not want to see America "lose" anything. Quite the contrary, he is very dismayed that America, through it's own actions, has lost so much already. And stands to gain nothing good from this meddling in another country's domestic strife.

Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 10:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

p.s.--since you've read the IRA handbook, you understand that guerrillas cannot be successful without the complicity of the population. What does that tell you about what's going on in Iraq?

Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 10:47:00 PM GMT-5  

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