Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pentagon-commissioned Rand report on Iraqi occupation

A Pentagon-commissioned study from the Rand Corporation on U.S. military occupation in the Middle East, titled "War by Other Means: Building Complete and Balanced Capabilities for Counterinsurgency," argues that the U.S. military efforts are "at best inadequate, at worst counter-productive, and, on the whole, infeasible":

The United States should instead focus its priorities on improving "civil governance" and building "local security forces," according to the report, referring to those steps as "capabilities that have been lacking in Iraq and Afghanistan."

"Violent extremism in the Muslim world is the gravest national security threat the United States faces," said David C. Gompert, the report's lead author and a senior fellow at Rand. "Because this threat is likely to persist and could grow, it is important to understand the United States is currently not capable of adequately addressing the challenge."

The report argues for some of the things that have been done as part of the "surge," such as training and equipping local security forces, but maintains that this needs to be done by professional police trainers, not by the military. Building local governments, an efficient and fair justice system, and accessible mass education are also recommendations. A bullet list of recommendations:

  • American military forces can't keep up with training local militaries to match the growth of Muslim insurgent groups and that must improve. Police should be trained by professional police trainers.
  • American military prowess should focus "on border and coastal surveillance, technical intelligence collection, air mobility, large-scale logistics, and special operations against high-value targets."
  • A new information-sharing architecture should be created. This "Integrated Counterinsurgency Operating Network" would promote "universal cell phone use, 'wikis' and video monitoring." [They could call it InfraGard Iraq.]
  • "Pro-America" themes should be dropped "in favor of strengthening local government" and emphasizing the failure of jihadists to meet people's needs.
  • U.S. allies and international organizations, such as NATO, the European Union, and the United Nations could help the United States in areas such as "building education, health and justice systems, and training police and" military forces that perform civilian police duties.
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