Petraeus: Another “Go-To-Guy” For Bush (Pt 1)

Petraeus: Another “Go-To-Guy” for Bush (Part 1)
by James Craven

Please read the new, Updated, Official, “U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Handbook” written by Lt. Generals David H. Petraeus U.S. Army and James F. Amos USMC(Skyhorse Publishing, 2007). You will see why, apparently, Petreus was really selected and given his present assignment by Bush. You will also see that his “Report” on the status/effectiveness of the “surge” in Iraq and where to go from here, expected soon this month, was really already written a long time ago.

The whole Bush Family, in addition to being known for being control freaks and obsessed with their image in history, is also known to be big on short-term loyalty to friends and timeless vengeance against enemies. They do not like having anyone around them even capable of coming up with–let alone expressing–an opinion contrary to theirs. After all, if your position, wealth and power is a Calvinist-based and “Predestined” manifestation of God’s Will, then how could “God’s servant”–or his views on anything–be wrong? And how could any contrary opinions be right?

It appears they got another “Go-To-Guy” in Petraeus.

The very opening of the “Counterinsurgency (COIN) Handbook” (HB), which it says is updated and official doctrine for both the U.S. Army and USMC is quite revealing about the military, DOD and the HB authors themselves.

“This field manual/Marine Corps warfighting publication establishes doctrine (fundamental principles) for military operations in a counterinsurgency (COIN) environment. It is based on lessons learned from previous counterinsurgencies and contemporary operations. It is also based on existing interim doctrine and doctrine recently developed.” p.xiii

And further:

“Counterinsurgency operations generally have been neglected in broader military doctrine and national security policies since the end of the Vietnam War over 30 years ago. This manual is designed to reverse that trend. It is also designed to merge traditional approaches to COIN with the realities of a new international arena shaped by technological advances, globalization and the spread of extremist ideologies–some of them claiming the authority of a religious faith. p. xiii

This is amazing. U.S. COIN doctrine has not been updated for some 30 years, since the end of the Vietnam War (What about COIN doctrines of U.S. allies?), yet U.S. Forces have been sent, in the past, and are being sent as we speak, into new present insurgencies as COIN forces, not only without sufficient military forces, weapons and supporting institutions (according to this Handbook), but also without current COIN Doctrine. They are in the present, as they were in the past, “experimental subjects” to provide the lessons for a new COIN doctrine that was not developed for their benefit over a period of 30 years during which time the U.S. has been involved, and is involved in many COIN operations in many places.

What is really amazing about this Handbook, and this really reveals the authors as “Go-To Guys” and Bush Administration apologists, is that it takes some of the basic classic COIN errors and long-known COIN “lessons” ignored by the U.S. Administrations in past and present insurgencies against the U.S. and its puppet regimes, caused partly by a lot of U.S. Imperial hubris, and lays them out not as gross and costly–in blood and treasure–errors, incompetence and even crimes, but as inevitable aspects of any insurgency:

“One common feature of insurgencies is that the government that is being targeted generally takes awhile to recognize that an insurgency is occurring. Insurgents take advantage of that time to build strength and gather support. Thus, counterinsurgents often have to ‘come from behind’ when fighting an insurgency. Another common feature is that forces conducting COIN operations usually begin poorly. Western militaries too often neglect the study of insurgency. They falsely believe that armies trained to win large conventional wars are automatically prepared to win small, unconventional ones. In fact, some capabilities required for conventional success–for example, the ability to execute operational maneuver and employ massive firepower–may be of limited utility or even counterproductive in COIN operations. Nonetheless, conventional forces beginning COIN operations often try to use these capabilities to defeat insurgents; they almost always fail.” p. xv

This is priceless; especially with the somber, authoritative, self-assured and bureaucratese-riddled tone (that know-it-all zealots love so much) in which it is written. So all the Bush Admin. screw-ups, incompetence and even crimes, along with previous costly–and long-well-known–lessons not having been learned and applied, are to be seen as simply inevitable or highly likely aspects of initial stages of all insurgencies. They are not to be seen as mistakes, incompetence and even crimes. Specifically, the launching and executing a pre-emptive, illegal, aggressive war (what 11 Nazis were hanged for at Nuremberg)all without:

a) sound pretexts, objective intelligence, multilateral support and truth rather than lies;

b) sufficient awareness of the nature, scope, depth, players and orders of battle of players in the conflict into which U.S. forces were being inserted;

c) proper force structures, equipment, doctrines, serious planning for sustained COIN operations, measures of progress and “success” and an exit strategy;

d) Domestic understanding of the reasons for and popular support/funding of likely necessary force structures, deployments, sacrifices, costs etc;

e) Commanders with serious COIN experience and integrity and capable of telling Bush what he needs to hear not what he wants to hear; and capable of resigning over principle and protecting their troops and the rule of Law;

f)authority and support in international law, institutions and multilateral political and military support;

g) Add your own here…

Check this out:

“Insurgents have an additional advantage in shaping the information environment. Counterinsurgents seeking to preserve legitimacy must stick to the truth and make sure that words are backed up by deeds; insurgents on the other hand, can make exorbitant promises and point out government shortcomings, many caused or aggrivated by the insurgency. Ironically, as the insurgents achieve more success and begin to control larger portions of the populace, many of these asymmetries diminish. That may produce new vulnerabilities that adaptive counterinsurgents can exploit” p. 1-3

So any failures of the handpicked Government of Iraq (in elections in which some Islamicist political parties and candidates were not allowed to run) are caused only by the inevitable early successes of the insurgents that occur in all insurgencies and not by the incompetence and lack of support for the Iraqi Government and U.S. forces supporting it. And even if the insurgents widen and deepen their spheres of operations and achieve more successes, this is also good news as they increasingly expose their ugly sides to the masses and will ultimately lose support. Either way, “staying the course” will eventually–and inevitably–produce light at the end of the tunnel that is not even a bigger trainwreck coming.

Petraeus and Amos write in their Forward:

“They [commanders] must ensure that their Soldiers and Marines are ready to be greeted with either a handshake or a hand grenade while taking on missions only infrequently practiced until recently at our combat training centers. Soldiers and Marines are expected to be nation builders as well as warriors…” p. v

What happened to the “cakewalk”? What happend to the welcoming of the liberators with flowers like the “liberation of Paris”? Damn, if this manual had just been written before the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and if those who launched them had read and understood it, better yet if they had not conspired, planned, launched and executed an illegal war and with insufficient forces and equipment, how many innocents on all sides would be alive today?

Further, do they not teach some international law at the War Colleges? Soldiers can never become “nation builders” as it takes long historical periods to build a nation. A nation, is a group of people who share: a) common and historically-recognized territory; b) common culture and language; c) common polity and institutions of governance; d) common economic life; e) common national identity, mechanisms for determining membership of the nation, and desire to remain as a nation. The most military forces can ever become is instruments of regime change of a given nation which, by the way, is specifically prohibited in international law (no nation, acting outside of legally recognized international institutions and mandates has legal “standing” to conduct “regime change” in/of another nation–for obvious reasons).

End part One

Current ArticleThe Bad Judgment of Gen. David Petraeus

By Larry Johnson on Sep 1, 2007 in Current Affairs

Brent Budowsky

Gen. David Petraeus is a good man and a great soldier with a track record of almost complete failure in his previous tours of duty in Iraq.

Let this be said up front: While the president and Petraeus maneuver for him to testify on the anniversary of Sept. 11, the Speaker and majority leader should hold firm and say that this matter is not subject to discussion and the general will not testify on this date.

The fact that Petraeus would allow himself to be used in this attempt at shameful exploitation of the one day on our calendar that should be above exploitation, speaks for itself.

My views on the futility of the surge, which in fact is not a surge but a long-term escalation, have been stated before and will be stated again. The truth is, the majority of generals and admirals in the American military do not agree with the views advocated by Petraeus, Gen. Odierno, and Gen. Lynch, who most recently violated the military protocol for active duty commanders by criticizing and debating against Sen. John Warner’s call for some troop withdrawals by Christmas.

To lay the foundation for the historic debate that will begin as Labor Day ends, the point of this note is to highlight how wrong Petraeus has been in his previous tours of duty in Iraq.

Fact: After the initial phase of fighting, in the areas under his command, sectarian warfare ultimately escalated and his efforts for political agreements, while worthy, failed.

Fact: In his tour of duty commanding the training of the Iraqi military, his training results were a dismal failure, and all subsequent training programs have been to redo his failed efforts and undo the damage done during that tour of duty.

Fact: There have been major disappearances, losses and/or misplacement of large amounts of Iraqi weapons that were grossly mismanaged (at best) under his command. Almost certainly those weapons were ultimately sold on the Iraqi black market with some landing in the hands of criminals, insurgents and al Qaeda terrorists who used them to kill Americans and Iraqis.

Fact: The Army has recently expanded a major criminal investigation of the mismanagement, misuse and probable corruption that happened during the Petraeus watch, under the Petraeus command. Petraeus is undoubtedly 100 percent personally honest, but there are people close to him under investigation for weapons and resources under his command, which were stolen or lost, and he bears a substantial command responsibility for bad management and bad judgment.

Fact: Shortly before the 2004 presidential election Petraeus did something that active-duty commanders should not do. In late September he wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post obviously as a favor to the Bush campaign, in which he applauded what he called major progress by the Iraqi military, Iraqi police and Iraqi leadership.

It is bad enough that the general, a smart guy who knew what he was doing, interfered in the 2004 presidential election, in effect advocating the position of the Republican candidate, the incumbent, on the number-one issue of the campaign, only weeks before the vote.

Beyond taking a political position in a way that an active-duty general should never do, which demonstrates political tendencies that in truth trouble many of the highest ranking military officers today, his forecast and analysis turned out to be almost completely, catastrophically wrong on every level.

We now learn the “Petraeus Report” was never the Petraeus Report; it was to be a report he drafted, to be rewritten and released with the language, forecasts and recommendations not of Petraeus, but the White House that has a long history of misrepresentation on matters regarding Iraq.

Even worse, we now learn that there will be no written report from Petraeus or the White House that was to have received his original paper. The whole exercise was a political sham, designed to buy time, and now that the time has been bought, the truth comes out: The Petraeus Report will not exist, anywhere, in written form.

As Petraeus prepared to issue what is called the Petraeus Report in September 2007, I am posting here the original Petraeus Report in The Washington Post that preceded the election in September 2004.

Members of Congress should read this and judge for themselves. In my humble opinion, what follows, written three years ago almost to the day, is a compendium of misjudgment and analysis and forecasts that a reasonable person might call delusional, and even the most charitable person would call disastrously wrong, with disastrous consequences for those who served during the three years after this op-ed was written.

Here is Petraeus, in his own words, three years ago. Judge for yourself:

Battling for Iraq

By David H. Petraeus
(From The Washington Post, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2004)

BAGHDAD — Helping organize, train and equip nearly a quarter-million of Iraq’s security forces is a daunting task. Doing so in the middle of a tough insurgency increases the challenge enormously, making the mission akin to repairing an aircraft while in flight — and while being shot at. Now, however, 18 months after entering Iraq, I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up.

The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top down. And Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously in the face of an enemy that has shown a willingness to do anything to disrupt the establishment of the new Iraq.

In recent months, I have observed thousands of Iraqis in training and then watched as they have conducted numerous operations. Although there have been reverses — not to mention horrific terrorist attacks — there has been progress in the effort to enable Iraqis to shoulder more of the load for their own security, something they are keen to do. The future undoubtedly will be full of difficulties, especially in places such as Fallujah. We must expect setbacks and recognize that not every soldier or policeman we help train will be equal to the challenges ahead.

Nonetheless, there are reasons for optimism.

Today approximately 164,000 Iraqi police and soldiers (of which about 100,000 are trained and equipped) and an additional 74,000 facility protection forces are performing a wide variety of security missions. Equipment is being delivered. Training is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being repaired. Command and control structures and institutions are being reestablished.

Most important, Iraqi security forces are in the fight — so much so that they are suffering substantial casualties as they take on more and more of the burdens to achieve security in their country. Since Jan. 1 more than 700 Iraqi security force members have been killed, and hundreds of Iraqis seeking to volunteer for the police and military have been killed as well.

Six battalions of the Iraqi regular army and the Iraqi Intervention Force are now conducting operations. Two of these battalions, along with the Iraqi commando battalion, the counterterrorist force, two Iraqi National Guard battalions and thousands of policemen recently contributed to successful operations in Najaf.

Their readiness to enter and clear the Imam Ali shrine was undoubtedly a key factor in enabling Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to persuade members of the Mahdi militia to lay down their arms and leave the shrine.

In another highly successful operation several days ago, the Iraqi counterterrorist force conducted early-morning raids in Najaf that resulted in the capture of several senior lieutenants and 40 other members of that militia, and the seizure of enough weapons to fill nearly four 7 1/2-ton dump trucks.

Within the next 60 days, six more regular army and six additional Intervention Force battalions will become operational. Nine more regular army battalions will complete training in January, in time to help with security missions during the Iraqi elections at the end of that month.

Iraqi National Guard battalions have also been active in recent months. Some 40 of the 45 existing battalions — generally all except those in the Fallujah-Ramadi area — are conducting operations on a daily basis, most alongside coalition forces, but many independently.

Progress has also been made in police training. In the past week alone, some 1,100 graduated from the basic policing course and five specialty courses. By early spring, nine academies in Iraq and one in Jordan will be graduating a total of 5,000 police each month from the eight-week course, which stresses patrolling and investigative skills, substantive and procedural legal knowledge, and proper use of force and weaponry, as well as pride in the profession and adherence to the police code of conduct.

Iraq’s borders are long, stretching more than 2,200 miles. Reducing the flow of extremists and their resources across the borders is critical to success in the counterinsurgency. As a result, with support from the Department of Homeland Security, specialized training for Iraq’s border enforcement elements began earlier this month in Jordan.

Regional academies in Iraq have begun training as well, and more will come online soon. In the months ahead, the 16,000-strong border force will expand to 24,000 and then 32,000. In addition, these forces will be provided with modern technology, including vehicle X-ray machines, explosive-detection devices and ground sensors.

Outfitting hundreds of thousands of new Iraqi security forces is difficult and complex, and many of the units are not yet fully equipped. But equipment has begun flowing. Since July 1, for example, more than 39,000 weapons and 22 million rounds of ammunition have been delivered to Iraqi forces, in addition to 42,000 sets of body armor, 4,400 vehicles, 16,000 radios and more than 235,000 uniforms.

Considerable progress is also being made in the reconstruction and refurbishing of infrastructure for Iraq’s security forces. Some $1 billion in construction to support this effort has been completed or is underway, and five Iraqi bases are already occupied by entire infantry brigades.

Numbers alone cannot convey the full story. The human dimension of this effort is crucial.

The enemies of Iraq recognize how much is at stake as Iraq reestablishes its security forces.

Insurgents and foreign fighters continue to mount barbaric attacks against police stations, recruiting centers and military installations, even though the vast majority of the population deplores such attacks. Yet despite the sensational attacks, there is no shortage of qualified recruits volunteering to join Iraqi security forces.

In the past couple of months, more than 7,500 Iraqi men have signed up for the army and are preparing to report for basic training to fill out the final nine battalions of the Iraqi regular army. Some 3,500 new police recruits just reported for training in various locations. And two days after the recent bombing on a street outside a police recruiting location in Baghdad, hundreds of Iraqis were once again lined up inside the force protection walls at another location — where they were greeted by interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

I meet with Iraqi security force leaders every day. Though some have given in to acts of intimidation, many are displaying courage and resilience in the face of repeated threats and attacks on them, their families and their comrades. I have seen their determination and their desire to assume the full burden of security tasks for Iraq.

There will be more tough times, frustration and disappointment along the way. It is likely that insurgent attacks will escalate as Iraq’s elections approach. Iraq’s security forces are, however, developing steadily and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months. With strong Iraqi leaders out front and with continued coalition — and now NATO — support, this trend will continue. It will not be easy, but few worthwhile things are.

The writer, an Army lieutenant general, commands the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq. He previously commanded the 101st Airborne Division, which was deployed in Iraq from March 2003 until February 2004.


About jimcraven10

About jimcraven10 1. Citizenship: Blackfoot, U.S. and Canadian; 2. Position: tenured Professor of Economics and Geography; Dept. Head, Economics; 3. Teaching, Consulting and Research experience: approx 40 + years all levels high school to post-doctoral U.S. Canada, Europe, China, India, Puerto Rico and parts of E. Asia; 4. Work past and present: U.S. Army 1963-66; Member: Veterans for Peace; former VVAW; Veterans for 9-11 Truth; Scholars for 9-11 Truth; Pilots for 9-11 Truth; World Association for Political Economy; Editorial Board International Critical Thought; 4.. U.S. Commercial-Instrument Pilot ; FAA Licensed Ground Instructor (Basic, Advanced, Instrument and Simulators); 5. Research Areas and Publications: International law (on genocide, rights of nations, war and war crimes); Imperialism (nature, history, logic, trajectories, mechanisms and effects); Economic Geography (time and space modeling in political economy; globalization--logic and effects; Political Economy and Geography of Imperialism); Indigenous versus non-Indigenous Law; Political Economy of Socialism and Socialist Construction; 6. Member, Editorial Board, "International Critical Thought" published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; International Advisory Board and Columnist 4th Media Group, (Beijing); 7. Other Websites publications at;;; 8.Biography available in: Marquis Who’s Who: in the World (16th-18th; 20th; 22nd -31st (2014) Editions); Who’s Who in America (51st-61st;63rd-68th(2014) Editions); Who’s Who in the West (24th- 27th Editions);Who’s Who in Science and Engineering (3rd to 6th, 8th, 11th (2011-2012) Editions); Who’s Who in Finance and Industry (29th to 37th Editions); Who’s Who in American Education (6th Edition). ------------------- There are times when you have to obey a call which is the highest of all, i.e. the voice of conscience even though such obedience may cost many a bitter tear, and even more, separation from friends, from family, from the state, to which you may belong, from all that you have held as dear as life itself. For this obedience is the law of our being. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
This entry was posted in The Sixth Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Petraeus: Another “Go-To-Guy” For Bush (Pt 1)

  1. Pingback: Schadenfreude Blog No. 1 : Petraeus and Broadwell “All In” | Welcome to the Blog of Jim Craven

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s