Process of Demolition: Eradicating Terrorism from Within
The events of the last few weeks have been puzzling to me. At first I thought that the Marines had developed a situation where they could finally get the dead-enders to stand up and fight. The problem is that in Fallujah, Najaf, and other places where they could have destroyed the insurgent forces in place, they have clearly chosen to hold and negotiate. This has been puzzling to me because this is not a traditional endgame scenario for an insurgency. On the other hand, I really am an amateur and I really am halfway around the world from what is going on.
The people on the scene running the war are some of the best military professionals the world has ever known, and they have some of the best support from the administration that a military has ever known. While a lot of people wish that we had a leader with the articulation of Churchill, no sane person would want a leader with his insane fixation on irrelevant geography. George W. Bush has not cost the US a tithe of the losses that Churchill cost the UK in either Gallipoli
So we have some of the best military minds in history with a clear, if difficult, mission, with an administration that protects them from idiotic agendas and pointless mission inflation. Why can't I figure out what is going on? I got a clue today of one reason why the militants in Fallujah and Najaf are not being destroyed. The mission is to destroy the militants in Islam, not just the dead-enders in two towns. This time, the intention of the United States is to win the war, not just the battles.
Part of the value of this strategy may be showing successful in Fallujah today
when the city leaders realized that if 5,000 militants are holding a city hostage, the other 200,000 armed residents can make the militants go away. Putting a wedge between the local leadership and the militants is a better result than just killing the militants. The goal here is to deny the city to militants forever, not just destroy the militants currently in place.
Another value of this strategy may be in the turning of captured militants and the insertion of operatives. While the US national security apparatus has not been tremendously skilled in HUMINT (Human Intelligence a.k.a. spies), we aren't the only dogs in the fight. If forced to disarm, abandon locations, and flee, the insurgents will become very vulnerable to penetration. I do not worry about compromising operatives working on our behalf by saying this, mostly because any security purge the backers of the insurgents perform will cause more harm than good. Once they start a significant effort to secure themselves, they will stop spending time hurting us. If the bad guys start listening to what I am saying, they will stop sleeping nights.
Everything I am writing is based on speculation; I have no source on the strategic counsels of our military. My faith in our military leadership is not infinite, but it is strongly justified. I suspect that there are some very good reasons for the deliberate pace of the destruction of the uprising. I think that they are not trying to defeat the insurgents; I think that our military is working to demolish them.