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Making friends in Iraq

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Here are recent headlines about the military in Kansas:Fort Riley ¢ 1st Infantry Division[(Chicago Tribune) Army wrote the book on Iraq--65 years ago:][1] he University of Chicago Press has a hot book on its hands, with some solid advice for U.S. military in Iraq: Make friends with the Iraqis. Stay out of political and religious arguments. Try speaking in Arabic -- even if you're not good at it. "American success or failure in Iraq may well depend on whether the Iraqis ... like American soldiers or not," the book admonishes. The advice, which sounds like it could be lifted from a lesson book from the war on terror, was actually written 65 years ago during World War II and recently discovered by the U. of C. Press. It's called "Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq During World War II." ... The book includes an updated foreword from Lt. Col. John A. Nagl, who served in Iraq with the 1st Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division. He writes about wishing he read the book before going to Iraq's Al Anbar province in 2003. "Some of the guidance in this little book is eerie to anyone who has fought in Iraq recently," he wrote in the introduction. "It is almost impossible, when reading this guide, not to slap oneself on the forehead in despair that the Army knew so much of the Arabic culture and customs, and of the importance of that knowledge for achieving military success in Iraq, six decades ago -- and forgot almost all of those lessons in the intervening years." Nagl says it would have been helpful to know that there could be an uptick in violence during the holy month of Ramadan, which he experienced during his unit's deployment. If military leaders had read the 1943 guide, they also may have better recognized the power of the tribal leaders, known as sheiks, and especially the importance of allying with the Sunni leaders. "One of the recent successes we have had is bringing the Sunni tribes largely on board against Al Qaeda in Iraq," said Nagl, commander of the 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment in Ft. Riley, Kan. "We could have learned that earlier had we remembered our history more quickly."Fort Leavenworth[(US News & World Report) Adapting Military Education to the Lessons Learned in Iraq:][2] Just back from his duties as the top military spokesman in Iraq, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell is now the chief officer in charge of educating the U.S. Army's best and brightest at what is known as the Combined Armed Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. It is a high-profile job he takes over from Gen. David Petraeus, counterinsurgency guru and currently the commander of U.S. military forces in Iraq. This week, Caldwell has been in Washington, meeting with top military officials to decide on priorities for educating midcareer officers, the vast majority of them back from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Strikingly candid about the tolls that soldiering has taken in the past on his own family life, Caldwell says that he will be quick to weave some essential "lessons learned" from grueling deployments into the classroom curriculum, as well as into the student culture outside the study halls. In his time on the ground, Caldwell came to a few conclusions about ways the Army could better prepare its soldiers for the complex demands of their jobs, which today include ever more involvement in an often frustrating web of political dynamics. To that end, first on the list, Caldwell says, is an effort to get his military officers more comfortable working with "interagency" civilian colleagues from, for example, the Departments of State and Commerce and the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as creating officers who are not simply culturally aware, but culturally savvy. This means officers better able to deal with the complex relationships they will encounter in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, both in the military and within local politics and even tribes.[(U.S. Army Press Release) Leader Handbook Looks at First 100 Days in Combat:][3] A new handbook published by the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., gives leaders a glimpse into the first 100 days of combat. "CALL Leader's Handbook No. 07-27, The First 100 Days" looks at the first days of combat when leaders and Soldiers are adjusting to the tactical environment, the enemy and each other. "There's no doubt that the early period of the deployment, when people are gaining an understanding of the environment, is the most dangerous," said Col. Steven Mains, CALL director. The information for the handbook came from more than 1,700 Soldiers and company-level leaders with battlefield experience. Most felt leaders should display tactical competence, confidence, decisiveness and the will to fight in ways that does not put Soldiers at unnecessary risk.[(North County Times) Attorney: Family of Marine convicted in Iraq slaying lobby for leniency:][4] On Friday, the jury gave him 15 years for murdering an Iraqi man in a war zone. And on Monday, the family of Marine Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins was set to meet with the commander of the Marine forces in Iraq to plead for mercy, the sergeant's attorney said. Hutchins' civilian attorney, Rich Brannon, said Monday that he is joining in asking the commander, Lt. Gen. James Mattis, to consider reducing Hutchins' sentence. "His first chance at saving grace is the general," the Georgia-based Brannon said in a phone interview Monday. Brannon said Hutchins' family was set to meet with the general Monday afternoon. The Hutchins' family could not be reached for comment. Hutchins was the squad leader and the ringleader in a plot in which, according to testimony, the frustrated troops went after a suspected insurgent believed to be behind roadside bombings and attacks on U.S. troops. When they couldn't get to him, they grabbed and killed his neighbor. Hutchins, 23, will likely serve his prison time in the military penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.Kansas National Guard[(Salina Journal) Central location, accommodations, make Salina a training hub:][5] Riding to and from work, in uniform, aboard the Washington, D.C., subway to the Pentagon, Lt. Col. Tim Senecaut sometimes endured anti-military comments overhead from other commuters sharing the train car. When his next assignment took him to Salina, to lead the 235th Regiment and the Kansas Regional Training Institute of the Kansas National Guard, he met individuals here ready to shake his hand and thank him for his service. Soldiers at the training institute at the Airport Industrial Area come to Salina from nine states: Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, New Mexico and Iowa. It's not just the personnel of the Salina Airport Authority that make Salina such a good host, it's the whole community, Senecaut said. "The soldiers aren't spending all their time out here. They're going downtown, and to the movies and other places," he said. [1]: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-warbook_07aug07,1,1920398.story [2]: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/070803/3caldwell.htm [3]: http://www.army.mil/-news/2007/08/06/4304-leader-handbook-looks-at-first-100-days-in-combat/ [4]: http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/08/07/news/top_stories/1_03_408_6_07.txt [5]: http://www.saljournal.com/Story/Salina_becomes_training_hub_071907___for_A1_8_5

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