This was a Comment from "Serving Patriot." It is so striking that I have made it a posting in its own right. Pat Lang
"Someone said it upthread that this is a tactical view of the scene lacking in operational/strategic dimension. That is very true.
The commentary that the bulk of insurgency is made up of foreign fighters is disturbing. But, it is unrealistic. Perhaps it is a regional (Anbar) perspective. It is a valuable window into what our troops in the field are being told. It seems thier perception is that they can win even in an attrition battle (so long as the "hated" media doesn’t lose the home front war for them). These perceptions must be fed by higher ups in the C-o-C. The question I have is this a deliberate falsehood or one borne of ignorance of the environment?
"Jordan’s" opinion squares closely with a recent conversation I had with a field grade officer (recently returned) who is convinced we can WIN if only the "cuffs would come off" and we could get the "2,000 guys" we "know are at the heart of the insurgency." (Of course, this officer could not tell me how reliably (or even how) we know about thes 2000 leaders.) This same officer recognizes the mendacity of our entry into this war and is appalled by the incompetence displayed by NCA-level in failing to provide for proper post conflict planning. But, he still thinks we can win.
However, it just is not logical to me that the level of insurgency in Iraq is only supported by outside agents (foreigners) who are distinct from and (supposedly) hated by the Iraqi people themselves. If the Iraqis themselves are so heavily armed and angry, seems that they would take care of this foreigner problem on their own. I have no doubt that an Iraqi (of any ethnicity) knows when a foreign fighter (be it Egyptian, Saudi, Iranian, or Syrian) is in their midst. That these few fighters (even our own Coalition acknowledges less than a couple hundred killed/captured) are endowed with such capability is unrealistic. (Perhaps when our forces leave the locals will take care of the foreign element since the one target the two groups can agree on – Coalition troops – will be gone.)
Due to ignorance and deliberate misinformation, our folks believe they continue to fight the ever present "AQ" enemy in Iraq. Almost none of our troops speak Arabic, understand Iraqi history, or tribal culture. The average soldier could never tell the difference between a Syrian, Iranian, Egyptian or Iraqi – to them they are all "Jihadis" and deserving of a trip to an "AWR". Raised in a anti-Muslim, anti-Arab worldview shaped by 25 years of one-sided stories (Iran hostages, Beruit, GW I, Palestinians, terrorism, etc), they are easily swayed to the belief they are fighting "ragheads" not worthy of their respect. It is easy for them to believe that AQ is everywhere in Iraq and going at them in a climactic battle against the great satan.
Our troops need to have these perceptions to justify to themsleves their continued presence in a losing campaign and gives them the needed morale to go on.
However, the high command should know better. They have either 1) deluded themselves into a similar opinion of the insurgency that are evidenced by their troops, 2) know the truth but cannot believe it (or talk about it), or 3) are completely ignorant (or fed untruths by our local allies like Kurds) of the reality they inhabit. Many future history books will try to figure this piece out.
Thanks for the read – it was a good one – and disturbing. One one hand, I am heartened that our troops remain focussed on winning. But I worry when the loss comes and the truth is laid bare, how much damage (not just physical) will be done to our professional military. Those that serve deserve much much better than that."