Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Interesting NYT article via Yahoo!News: Marines Plan to Use Velvet Glove More Than Iron Fist in Iraq

An interview with Lt. General James T. Conway, the commanding general of the 1st MEF who will be going back into Iraq in March to take over some areas from Army command. The Times reporter strives greatly to make it clear that the Marines will be using different tactics than the Army has used, and tries hard to paint the Army's doctine as unsuccessful or wrong. Conway doesn't bite on that bait, but does point out that the Marines will be using their own playbook. The article mentions--
[...] The Marines insist their success also reflected their energetic efforts to work with the local population, an effort guided by their "Small Wars" manual, which derives from their 20th-century interventions in Central America. [...]
which makes it sound as though the manual is something relatively new.

The Small Wars Manual has been around since 1940 (big file, by the way), and ranks right up there with works by Clausewitz and von Steuben as staples of historic American military doctrine. The Corps even has a Small Wars Center for Excellence, and the history of the making and adoption of the doctrine can be found here.

The other Marine Corps doctrine which has been instrumental in making the SWM doctrines succeed is, Every Marine a Rifleman.
[...] Marine commanders have stressed the need to be sensitive to local traditions. Marines here have been told to remove their sunglasses and look Iraqis in the eye when they speak with them. A select group of marines also been selected for intensive Arabic language training. The marines will use Iraqi, not American names, to delineate the zones assigned to specific Marine units and will try to align them with Iraqi administrative districts. To limit the disruption to the local populations, the Marines also plan to set up their bases outside of Iraqi cities.

But the marines at Camp Pendleton are also prepared to fight.

"We carry an embedded offensive capability in every convoy," said Maj. Gen. James N. Mattis, the commander of the First Marine Division. "To us you don't drive on through, you stop, you hunt them down and you nail them." [...]

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