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Sergei

Covering up a mass killing

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... it turns out that the PMG persuaded the sides to disarm after a bloody civil war that both sides were tired of fighting. ...

Yep, that's about it, although they weren't *so* tired that the commanders didn't still want to to 'win'.

It sounds like a unique situtation, but I'm not so sure that it really is.

... I'll change what I said to this, "No hearts and minds campaign conducted by an invader (as opposed to an invited mediator at the end of a civil war) has ever gone the way you argue it ought to." Better?

Malaya? Granted, the British weren't the invaders, but they were very definately foreigners.

Anyway, if you continue to narrow down a definition, of course you can make it correct in all cases that fit the definition ;) The question then becomes whether that narrow definition has any general value :)

No two situations are the same in all their details, but on the other hand all armed conflicts are similar in their fundamentals. The US appears very prone to NIH syndrome, rather than actively looking for what has worked elsewhere, why, and how it might be applied. Your dismissal of Bouganville is an example of this, as is your "no hearts and minds ..." assertion above, which could be paraphrased as "I've never heard of it being done, therefore it can't be done."

If you're arguing that at some point there should have been a transition from occupation to police action, I can understand that.

This :) It should ideally have occurred sometime in mid 2003.

But if those being policed are using military weaponry, the police will need a lot of military support, won't they? Maybe attack helicopters are overkill, but if the police bring a knife to a gunfight they won't ever be able to pacify those who believe they are resisting an outside invader.

Yes, of course, I'm all for the military supportting the civil powers, and the military has toys that the civil powers don't - and shouldn't - have. But the point is the military are supporting the police, not the other way around. Who's in command is important.

I agree with you that insurgents are civilians. I do not think of them as two groups. Now can you agree that if insurgents are civilians, in civilian dress and driving civilian vehicles, then trying to distinguish insurgents from non-insurgents can be difficult - much more difficult than those finding fault from the comfort of their living rooms make it out to be? I'm arguing against those that claim the soldiers in incidents like this should have had no difficulty in distinguishing the combatants from the noncombatants, and in knowing whether a given nondescript minivan was a personnel carrier or not.

That's fair enough, but the conclusion that leads ME - and some others in this thread - is that you (not you personally, the wider 'you') then need to be very very sure that the people you're shooting actually need to be shot. IMO the initial engagement in this video - the group standing around - therefore probably doesn't qualify, while the second engagement - the van - definately doesn't.

Regards

Jon

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... doesn't that mean we are defining them as "criminals" ...?

Yes, of course. I've been calling them criminals since - at least - mid-2003.

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Anyway, if you continue to narrow down a definition, of course you can make it correct in all cases that fit the definition ;) The question then becomes whether that narrow definition has any general value :)

So you maintain that the differences I note are not relevant to this discussion; and if I claim that there's a substantial difference - say, in the minds of the populace - between the U.S. uninvited entry into Iraq and the PMG's invitation into Bougainville, I'm just being picky? You're being disingenuous. That does not become you.

No two situations are the same in all their details, but on the other hand all armed conflicts are similar in their fundamentals.

A glib generality. If that were so, then the U.S. does not err in applying the lessons of WWII to Iraq - using mech infantry to root out resistance in urban areas - since all conflicts are fundamentally similar. The one-size-fits all approach is the only right way to go, if all conflicts are fundamentally similar.

The U.S. is using the lessons it learned in the past, on the mistaken belief that all conflicts are similar. That's one reason why there's little effort to look for what has worked elsewhere.

This :) It should ideally have occurred sometime in mid 2003.

Would the guerillas have been more willing to disarm, and less inclined to fight the invaders, if this had been done? You're making the same fundamental mistake the U.S. decisionmakers did: that the U.S. would be welcomed into Iraq by the majority of the population, that the U.S. would easily win over hearts and minds, and that resistance would be sporadic. In fact, you're erring even farther in that direction than the U.S. did, in assuming that the guerillas really could have been disarmed by the police.

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You're making the same fundamental mistake the U.S. decisionmakers did: that the U.S. would be welcomed into Iraq by the majority of the population, that the U.S. would easily win over hearts and minds, and that resistance would be sporadic.

At the time, and still, I had the distinct impression that the Bush administration was expecting a replay of the liberation of France, with ecstatic crowds tossing flowers and kisses as the armored columns rolled through their streets. If that is the case, they were astonishingly, inexcusably naïve.

Michael

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Would the guerillas have been more willing to disarm, and less inclined to fight the invaders, if this had been done?

I don't know, although I doubt it. But that isn't important.

You need to present an attractive option: rule of law, or no rule of law. But the US didn't present that option, instead they presented something akin to "do what we say or we'll kill you and you family, and even if you do do what we say we'll probably kill you and your family anyway. By the way, the rules don't apply to us - we'll do whatever we feel like." And, incidentally, that is still pretty much the option being presented - do you really wonder why most Iraqis aren't being terribly welcoming ?

You're making the same fundamental mistake the U.S. decisionmakers did: that the U.S. would be welcomed into Iraq by the majority of the population, that the U.S. would easily win over hearts and minds, and that resistance would be sporadic. In fact, you're erring even farther in that direction than the U.S. did, in assuming that the guerillas really could have been disarmed by the police.

No. I'm not.

I don't care HOW the civilians are disarmed, I don't even care IF the civilians are disarmed. I just want them to stop shooting each other in industrial quantities. If they resist, then certainly reply robustly, but from a law-enforcement perspective, not a military-engaging-the-enemy perspective. Which does not mean limiting yourself to mailing out summonses, or having a bobby on the street corner whistling a happy tune while twirling a baton :rolleyes:

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That's the impression I got from the Bush administration.They thought they were going to be the greatest liberators to walk the face of the earth and everyone would applaud at their glorious feat.

As for the Vid it seems like there were more unarmed men then armed men, and the US in some cases usually back off from a strike when that's the case(suppose to anyways).That's why some insurgents fight with civs around them, they know the Coalition will get all the negativity for shooting back.In other and different scenario vids you could see some Apache crew patiently waiting for the insurgents to move away from houses and civilians in order to engage and some never even pulled the trigger to engage,because of unarmed men are near, and i think that is best for this certain type of war.Detective work should be done on some lower levels to find out who was there and then possibly come back and quickly raid the suspects and apprehend or kill them.

Some people have a mentality when a civilian gets killed they put their arms up and shrug their shoulders saying "oh well that's war".This mentality is not progressive nor is it constructive in solving the war efforts.Such mentalities belong to the falling failing conquerors who want to hammer everything under rule,then wonder why they lose in the big picture.When a soldier under your command falls victim to an enemy weapon, you don't just shake your head and say "well hey that's war for ya, people live and die".I would say as the one in charge it is your duty to find out why your soldier fell victim and how do you change that so the situation does not repeat itself.Did the bullet go through the armor? if so where and how do we make it stronger so it doesn't happen again.Did the soldier fall victim to an IED? if so where and how do we prevent it from happening again and what must we make stronger and where must we be better.Did a soldier fall victim to an RPG in an ambush? if so where and how was it done and how could you conquer such a scenario so it does not happen again.Even if he fell victim to an automobile accident,No matter how a soldier falls, you should look to improve and revolutionize your methods and gear so it does not happen again,and not shrug your shoulders and say "hey s*** happens".With such a mentality you will fall victim to the same propaganda and chaos time and time again, until the war is over and the cause is lost.

All that applies to civilians as well without hesitation.It's a soldiers duty to protect civilians regardless of nationality or religion, that is a Soldiers priority along with preserving his own comrades who walk beside him.When he puts on that uniform, in my mind he is stepping up to the plate to possibly take a bullet and lose his life so a civilian does not have to, hes the soldier,the one who runs into the fray while everyone runs away from it.It would not make much sense to hurt the very people you are fighting to protect.

A lot of people talk negative about the West thinking people fight to rule.It's not for rule of the world as some would think, but rather the idea is to fight for a more stable environment, free of hard suffering,and sometimes to achieve this in our world, you need to be top dog, no bones about it,that's how it is.Some people in power can be fanatical about this, but that's the beauty of democracy.He won't be there forever.

Another thing I learned on this Earth is, Fools talk loudest, so therefor they are often the ones who are most heard.Sometimes I find myself trying to straighten out a fools words because they fell on so many ears,that people start to think everybody is a fool.

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A glib generality. If that were so, then the U.S. does not err in applying the lessons of WWII to Iraq - using mech infantry to root out resistance in urban areas - since all conflicts are fundamentally similar. The one-size-fits all approach is the only right way to go, if all conflicts are fundamentally similar.

:rolleyes:

You're talking about tactics. I'm not. Fundamentally, all wars are about some combination of power, land, wealth, and chicks. And since land and wealth are largely synonomous, it comes down to power, wealth and chicks.

Sending in the 4th Mech Div is one way of trying to increase your stock of those, but so is sending in a Roman phalanx. Or the SAS. Or the Peace Corps.

The U.S. is using the lessons it learned in the past, on the mistaken belief that all conflicts are similar. That's one reason why there's little effort to look for what has worked elsewhere.

I don't know whether what you say is true or not, but is does appear that way from the outside, certainly as far as the military are concerned.

ThreatSpectrum.jpg

Variations of that chart have been floating around for ages, so it'd be odd if the US military wasn't aware of it. Heck, as far as I can tell that IS a US military slide. And the slide argues that - at the tactical level - all wars are NOT the same. But I suspect that BigDuke is largely correct; low level conflict is not something the US military is very interested in, organisationally. There are pockets of excellence here and there, and some smart thinkers working on it, but it seems they're kinda stuck in an organisation that thinks there is no problem that can't be solved with a bigger, smarter hammer.

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Those of you who think we all are just trained to stick in a big knife and twist it are sadly mistaken. The U.S. Army spends huge amounts of time and effort training soldiers on how to handle civilians on the battlefield at all levels. We also did and do a whole lot of "Hearts and Minds" operations. I was a Military Policeman on my last tour, and at least half of our missions were directed at getting our Iraqi Police counterparts to come out into our AoR and help us to get to know the people who lived there. BTW it was often very hard to get the IPs out of their compound to do that. Someone pointed out up above that we should have used the Iraqi Police to assist us earlier on to attempt to help pacify the population or something to that effect. Does anyone remember who the Police worked for before we invaded??? Besides the fact that Iraqi Police were just instruments of Saddams repression, as Police officers go they were completely incompetent, brutal, and corrupt,and after the invasion many just dissappeared. We had to rebuild the police force almost completely from scratch.

Also keep in mind that most of those Iraqi civilians who opposed/hated us were very poor, uneducated and under the VERY strong influence of people like Muqtada Al-Sadr on the Shia side and Al Quaida-in-Iraq on the Sunni side, add in the fact that the insurgents acted far more like old school mobsters(using extortion and bribery to get recruits) and a 75% unemployment rate in those poor areas and you have a powder keg waiting to blow.

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