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Will Fort Leavenworth's new counterinsurgency manual make a difference in Iraq?


Here are today's headlines about Kansas military matters:Fort Leavenworth[(Washington Post commentary) Lessons for One Last Try:][1] Lt. Gen. David Petraeus supervised the development of the manual when he ran the Army's training center at Fort Leavenworth, before he had any idea he would be heading back to Baghdad as the top commander. In that sense, the document reflects a senior officer's best judgment about what will work and what won't -- independent of the details of the current "to surge or not to surge" debate. The manual was published by the Army last month and can be downloaded at http://www.leavenworth.army.mil. Two themes stood out for me as I read the document. The first is that success in counterinsurgency requires a political strategy as much as a military one. The second is that broad political support back home -- which buys time on the battlefield -- is the crucial strategic asset in fighting such wars.Fort Riley[(KMBC) Afghan Soldiers Train At Fort Riley:][2] In the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States rushed troops to Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime and chase Osama bin Laden. Five years later, Americans are still hunting bin Laden and the Taliban is reasserting itself in what some have called the "forgotten war." But for one month, 70 Afghanistan soldiers are training in America's heartland at Fort Riley, learning from U.S. soldiers who will soon be dispatched to Afghanistan to train soldiers and police. Much like their counterparts in Iraq, also trained at Fort Riley, the training teams are viewed as central to bringing U.S. soldiers home. "There's a big difference between the guerrilla tactics and the organizational tactics that they are using here," said Maj. Adam Khan, an Afghan National Army officer overseeing Tuesday's training.[(AP) Some GIs question troop hike:][3] Some U.S. soldiers aren't convinced that President Bush's plan to send as many as 20,000 more troops to Iraq will make a difference. ... Lt. Col. Chris Beckert of Madison, Conn., helps train U.S. soldiers at Fort Riley, Kan., and served in Iraq during the initial invasion and the fall of Saddam Hussein. He agreed that there had to be a reason for boosting troop levels and a clearly defined mission. "I needed more intelligence, not more soldiers," Beckert said.Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks[(AP) GI linked to massacre was termed homicidal:][4] On March 12, 2006, Iraqi police reported a break-in at the home of a family in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles from Baghdad. The intruders shot and killed the father, mother and two young daughters. The older girl, 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, was raped and her body set afire. If the charges are true, the attack would be among the most horrific instances of criminal behavior by American troops in the nearly four-year-old war. Spc. James P. Barker, 24, of Fresno, Calif., pleaded guilty in November as part of an agreement to testify against the others. In a confession before a military judge, Barker, who is being held at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, described the rape, Green's role and his own mental state when Green approached him with the idea of the attack. Lt. Col. Richard Anderson, the military judge hearing that case, asked Barker why he agreed to participate. "I hated Iraqis, your honor," Barker replied. "They can smile at you then shoot you in your face without even thinking about it." [1]: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/09/AR2007010901333.html [2]: http://www.thekansascitychannel.com/news/10709131/detail.html [3]: http://www.thnt.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070110/NEWS/701100348/1001 [4]: http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/16425467.htm


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