Sunday, November 11, 2007

Catching Up

"From Abu Ghraib to Georgetown: I'm Back Home, But Still in Iraq's Grasp," William Quinn, Wash Post, Nov. 11 (h/t, SWJ).

"Democracy's Root: Diversity," Tom Friedman, NY Times, Nov. 11.

"Lessons from 'Ghanzi Province'," Sarah Holewinski (exec. dir., Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict), Wash Post, Nov. 10.

"Pakistan Strife Threatens Anti-Insurgent Plan," Ann Scott Tyson, Wash Post, Nov. 9 (h/t, SWJ).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Intel-Dump on foreign service officers' "direct assignment" to Iraq: "suck it up folks." Phil Carter hits the nail on the head:

Our nation has been asking an awful lot of its men and women in uniform for several years now, and it's time for the rest of the government to step up. This illustrates the civil-military divide within the federal government itself! Rarely have we seen clearer evidence in support of the statement that "America is not at war; only America's military is at war."

This story raises important issues about our diplomatic corps and its ability to support a global counterinsurgency. In many ways, I think the diplomatic corps is struggling to become more expeditionary, more forward-leaning, and more able to work in crappy places like Iraq. The Army Reserve and Army National Guard are similarly rewriting their "social contract" right now, for better or worse, and it's painful. Reservists used to join with the expectation that they would train one weekend a month, two weeks a year, and deploy only for "the big one" or maybe for a local disaster. Now, Guard and Reserve have been forcibly mutated from a strategic reserve to an operational reserve, meaning they will deploy every 3-5 years by design. Over time, in theory, it will produce a more expeditionary force as people vote with their feet, and people join with the new expectations. But for now, it's producing a lot of pain, both at the stratospheric planner level and at the tactical level.

George Packer on the State Department's "indifference" toward streamlining the visa application process for Iraqis who have helped coalition forces.

At the SWJ blog, LTC Nagl responds to Dr. David Price's Counterpunch piece, which criticizes the "pilfered scholarship" of FM 3-24 and the anthropologists who helped write it.

Lastly, the BBC profiles David Kilcullen (h/t: SWJ).