Another necessity is to go more aggressively after foreign fighters. They comprise a relatively small percentage of the overall insurgency, but they account for a very high percentage of the most grotesque attacks–80 to 90 percent of all suicide bombings, according to General Petraeus’s briefing with Pentagon reporters on April 26. These jihadists are of many nationalities, but most infiltrate from Syria. The Bush administration has repeatedly vowed that Syria would suffer unspecified consequences if it did not cut off this terrorist pipeline, but so far this has been an empty threat. The administration has refused to authorize Special Operations forces to hit terrorist safe houses and “rat lines” on the Syrian side of the border, even though international law recognizes the right of “hot pursuit” and holds states liable for letting their territory be used to stage attacks on neighbors. It’s high time to unleash our covert operators–Delta Force, the SEALs, and other units in the Joint Special Operations Command–to take the fight to the enemy. They can stage low‐profile raids with great precision, and Syrian president Bashar Assad would have scant ability to retaliate.
Do they ever learn? These people sound like broken records.
Title reference here, among other places.
Update: I’m afraid I’ve not been checking the Commentary magazine blog often enough, where Boot has offered up this gem. In the course of critiquing Edward Luttwak’s article in on counterinsurgency, Boot observes that nowhere does
Luttwak mention the many counterinsurgencies that have been waged successfully along the lines advocated by the new field manual. The list is a long one, including the British prosecution of the first Boer war and the U.S. success in the Philippine uprising, among others.
I can’t imagine Conrad Crane and Gen. Petraeus would point to those two examples as the shining image of what can happen if FM 3–24 is followed. The reference to the First Boer War has to be a typo—proponents of American imperialism generally refer to the Second Boer War as a model for our current efforts; the British at least won the second of the Boer wars, though they resorted to innovative tactics like concentration camps and a “scorched Earth” policy.
Boot’s written approvingly before of American atrocities in the Philippines, but it’s remarkable that he’s now tried to rope in Crane’s and Petraeus’ voices as having endorsed the barbarism of the “U.S. success in the Philippine uprising.” Wow.