Monday, February 5, 2007
The Surge Protectors
Today's Washington Post has an interesting article about the group of junior officers that makes up Gen. David Petraeus' war council. They've all got PhD's and Iraq tours under their belts, and a couple of them were field commanders responsible for some of the few universally acclaimed operations of the post-Mission Accomplished phase of the war.
What jumped out at me, however, was the presence of Australian army officer and degreed anthropologist, Lt. Col. David Kilcullen. Kilcullen, you might recall, got some attention last fall with the counter-insurgency field manual he wrote for the US Army entitled, "Twenty-eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-level Counterinsurgency." It's a highly readable, informative document that's worth a look.
These guys are all sharp, experienced, creative and educated, presumably the guys who should have been running the show from day one. So why are they willing to take a handoff now, when consensus has it that it's too little, too late? One of Kilcullen's major contributions to modern counterinsurgency doctrine is his appreciation of the role played by global communications. So:
- Look for a more skillful use of the media, including a campaign highlighting the dynamic changes sweeping Baghdad, leading to
- A second-phase escalation once the Baghdad Surge has borne some fruit.
Call it a hunch, but you don't send your all-stars in to run out the clock. This is just a warm-up for Surge Two.