Friday, March 28, 2008

FM 3-24

FM 3-24 is the Army and Marines' counter-insurgency manual. It was written in part by one Sarah Sewall, who is now an adviser on the Obama campaign. In the Weekly Standard, Dean Barnett, not seeming to know this, blasts her along with Samantha Power as embodying "dovish idealism" in the course of his critique of the "Obama Doctrine." It's a lot of juvenile giggling over "climates of fear" (because serious people know that fear distracts us from the important task of killing people) and very little in the way of hard-nosed analysis.

In addition to pointing out some other bone-headed errors ("Her name is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, you dumb douche."), Spencer Ackerman helps elucidate why the "critique" is substantively flat out wrong.
What Barnett will never understand is that the real danger from al-Qaeda isn't just the people who've joined al-Qaeda. It's the much larger cohort of people who could join al-Qaeda, and the larger-still cohort of those who would not actively help the U.S. destroy al-Qaeda. Those latter two population clusters are where any anti-al-Qaeda strategy has to focus. And there, yeah, climates of fear -- in other words, the experience of people pinioned between the militia on the corner and the U.S.-backed regime that it fights. Those people come to hate the U.S. Lots of them. And it only takes a small number of them to decide to act on that hatred.

....look at who AQI is. According to this fascinating briefing that Bits Bacon gave last week, we're talking not just about fanatics. We're talking about the people brainwashed by al-Qaeda into coming to Iraq to blow themselves up -- brainwashed thanks to propaganda victories that the Weekly Standard's chosen policies, like the Iraq war and torture, have yielded. That's the swamp that Dean Barnett and his homies will not only fail to drain, but they'll expand, over and over and over again, no matter how decisively the last five years have shattered everything they believe in.

We'll never win a war like this if we keep rebuilding our enemy in the midst of destroying it. Barnett and his crew just aren't bright enough to grasp that, or how to avoid it. So we need a new leadership that can.

One of the best arguments for an Obama presidency is that he has been bringing together some of the brightest experts in the world, from all backgrounds, together in his campaign. I'm not saying that the best and brightest always have the right answer. But if there is one thing we've learned from this administration, it's that trusting questions of national security to politicized amateurs is a luxury we can no longer afford. More than any other candidate, Obama offers the chance to break free from that trap.

Via Balloon Juice


Anonymous said...

"More than any other candidate, Obama offers the chance to break free from that trap."

Um, because he's the Kwisatz Haderach?

Non sequitur, dude.

Off Colfax said...

Um, because he's the Kwisatz Haderach?

Talk about your non sequiturs...

Not to mention the snarky Dune reference, which we can all do without. (Even though I can really see Hillary with a mon jabbar in the side of our collective necks.)

The way it's going now, I just might decide to cast my vote for McCain regardless of who wins out.