Wednesday, January 19, 2005

LTC Tim Ryan, Commander, Task Force 2-12 Cavalry,

First Cavalry Division in Iraq says, "Media's coverage has distorted world's view of Iraqi reality."
Thanks go to Mitch Berg for his "summary," comments and link to this article.

LTC Ryan describes the nature of the press' deficiencies and provides a reading list to correct them:
So what are the credentials of these self proclaimed "experts"? The fact is that most of those on whom we rely for complete and factual accounts have little or no experience or education in counter-insurgency operations or in nation-building to support their assessments. How would they really know if things are going well or not? War is an ugly thing with many unexpected twists and turns. Who among them is qualified to say if this one is worse than any other at this point? What would they have said in early 1942 about our chances of winning World War II? Was it a lost cause too? How much have these "experts" studied warfare and counter-insurgencies in particular? Have they ever read Roger Trinquier's treatise Modern Warfare: A French View on Counter-insurgency (1956)? He is one of the few French military guys who got it right. The Algerian insurgency of the 1950s and the Iraq insurgency have many similarities. What about Napoleon's campaigns in Sardinia in 1805-07? Again, there are a lot of similarities to this campaign. Have they studied that and contrasted the strategies? Or, have they even read Mao Zedung's theories on insurgencies, or Nygen Giap's, or maybe Che' Gueverra's? Have they seen any of Sun Tzu's work lately? Who are these guys? It's time to start studying, folks. If a journalist doesn't recognize the names on this list, he or she probably isn't qualified to assess the state of this or any other campaign's progress.

I couldn't find a link for Napoleon's Sardinia campaigns - in fact, it looks like there wasn't one on the island of Sardinia anyway, though the Kingdom of Sardinia extended onto mainland Italy. The online resources I could find just glossed over Nap's annexation of those territories.

The Happy Carpenter has more on this.