June 7th, 2005at 11:38am Posted by Eli

Why does Barry Posen hate America?

Insurgencies and counterinsurgencies are, above all, intelligence wars – for both sides. Insurgents are invariably at a disadvantage in terms of troops and firepower. They survive only if they have superior information, which they derive from broad popular support. This support – whether voluntary or coerced – allows them to hit, run and hide; to kill and survive to kill again. Their effort collapses when their opponents possess superior information.


The insurgents have very good information. Many reports suggest that they have operatives within the Iraqi security organizations and bureaucracies…. Assassinations of Iraqi government officials, including senior security officials, and ambushes of security forces reveal a formidable intelligence apparatus. Car bombs seem to be regularly directed at American convoys; the insurgents must know their routes and their schedules.


In terms of collecting intelligence about the insurgents, things are no better. Since the Iraqi election, American officials have treated the news media to stories about how much more information Iraqis are providing. This may be true, but it is not nearly enough. In late March, just before the recent flurry of bombings in and around Baghdad, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told reporters that his “metrics” and “indicators” were improving. It is clear then, that the recent bombing campaign, which has killed more than 700 people, was a surprise.


Those who wish to “stay the course” in Iraq need a plausible strategy of victory in the intelligence campaign. The usual methods either have not worked or are unlikely to work. Unless the American and Iraqi government forces can deprive the terrorists of their local supporters and the intelligence they provide, they are in for a long, indecisive struggle.

I’ve got a fever! And the only prescription… is more torture!

(No, I don’t think Posen is advocating that – but it’ll be spun that way.)

Entry Filed under: Iraq,Torture,War

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