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Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Centers of gravity — Do they still matter?

Posted by picard578 on February 24, 2015

Slightly East of New

Decisively defeating al-Qa‘ida will involve neutralizing its CoG, but this will require the use of diplomatic and informational initiatives more than military action.  LTC Antulio J. Echevarria II, USA (ret.)1/

This most perceptive statement, written before our invasion of Iraq, raises the issue of whether the center of gravity concept offers anything for the types of conflicts we find ourselves engaged in today.

At least twice in the last week or so, I’ve seen “centers of gravity” in articles about US defense policy:

View original post 1,209 more words

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Fighting in Iraq and its lessons

Posted by picard578 on October 4, 2014

Despite Iraqi Army having the most modern US equipment as well as large numerical advantage, it has performed badly against Islamist fighters of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, also called ISIL). Before going into how and why, a little history is needed.

ISIS has first appeared on scene after the US invasion of Iraqi in 2003. It was taking actions to broaden the scope of Sunni-Shiite civil war in Iraq by targeting Shiites, and it has been trying to take over Shiite territory for far longer. Since US troops withdrew in 2011, ISIS has focused its attack on government targets. Read the rest of this entry »

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Report finds harsh CIA interrogations ineffective

Posted by picard578 on December 15, 2012

Report finds harsh CIA interrogations ineffective

In what should not be surprising news, report has found CIA’s harsher interrogation techniques worryingly ineffective. To elaborate, I am talking about torture here, whose use was banned in USA in 2008. Basically, four years CIA has been not only conducting severe human rights violations, but also severe violations of US law.

Report points out obvious: torture is not effective in gaining reliable intelligence, and is counterproductive in the long run.

Why it is not reliable? Reason is that person being tortured will have one of three basic responses, all of which can be detrimental to torturer: first, person may become defiant and not tell anything; second, person may lie so as to get at least some measure of revenge; third, person may break.

While person that has been broken by torture may tell the truth, it is still more likely they will simply lie in order to make torture stop, if even for a moment.

It is even more detrimental in long term: during Iraq occupations, soldiers have often observed that, if they caught and tortured someone not harboring any ill will towards the occupational forces, that quickly changed. Abu Ghraib prison has become seed-plot for resistance fighters, while tactics used by US and Iraqi troops in hunting potentional Taliban fighters have increased number of Taliban even more.

In fact, when torture has been used on people who have previously cooperated, in effort to either get more information or confirm information already given, it has failed. It also has a long history of failure, hailling from Middle Ages at the very least.

If person can be made to talk with normal methods, they will; if it doesn’t work, torture won’t work either. 90% of intelligence comes from spying, collaborators and similar sources, and even in case of remaining 10%, Colonel Stuart Herrington said that 9 out of 10 people can be persuaded to talk without the stress methods at all.

In fact, FBI documents from US naval base of Guantanamo Bay show that a prisoner who has been tortured by military intelligence has started cooperating with FBI, but would be uncooperative whenever military personnel were nearby.

Use of torture can be seen as a sign of institutional and moral decay of the side using it, and it in itself accelerates that decay by helping to turn country into the police state.

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Yugoslavia bombing: “Merciful Angel” turns child killer (with commentary)

Posted by picard578 on October 31, 2012

On March 24, 1999 the NATO launched a 78-day bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, dubbed “Merciful Angel”, which killed 2,000 civilians and wounded 7,000. As much as 30 percent of all victims were children. The bombings left many Albanian children with their sculls crashed and faces disfigured by ghastly wounds and terrible pain. Why aren’t they depicted on the monument to Bill Clinton in the Kosovo capital of Pristina, one of the Western leaders who initiated the deadly attack on Yugoslavia? The “Merciful Angel” turned out to be a child killer. The photographs in this photo gallery are from the book titled “NATO Crimes in Yugoslavia. Documentary Evidence. Volume 2.” Belgrade, 2000. Caution! The Photo gallery contains scenes of violence. It is not recommended for children, pregnant women and mentally unstable people


Photos are in the link above. Article serves as a cautionary tale against overreliance on strategic bombing, which yields few results but causes great suffering to people subject to it: after 78 days of bombing, Serbia has accepted better NATO terms than ones it has offered to NATO before beginning of bombing campaign – by all counts, NATO has suffered a defeat. Meanwhile, war in Croatia has only ended after HV (Croatian Army) has dealt a series of serious defeats to Serbian ground forces in Operation Storm. During the operation, only targets attacked were ones of military nature; “excessive shelling” of Knin has caused only one civilian casualty, a woman that was killed by a piece of debris. NATO bombing of Yugoslavia killed 1 400 civilians. So much about “precision weapons”.

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