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[] Bill Arkin zu Rumsfelds Erbe, dem verlorenen Informationskrieg und der Military Transformation

Eine sehr schöne Analyse und ein guter Blick aufs "Big Picture" anlässlich des Rücktritts von Donald Rumsfeld. Den Hinweis verdanken wir Georg Schöfbänker.

"We have an entire new discipline of strategic communications in the
administration, information operations in the military and global
outreach in the rest of the government and yet there isn't a soul,
including Donald Rumsfeld, who thinks that we are winning the
information war."


By William M. Arkin |  November 13, 2006

*The Gates Agenda and the Public Demand*

Donald Rumsfeld hasn't left the building and Bob Gates doesn't have his
new business cards -- yet already everyone is maneuvering to assert what
went wrong in the old regime and what needs to be done in the new.

Rumsfeld succeeded in transforming the armed forces; he failed.

The Defense Department has uniquely adjusted to the post-September 11,
2001 world; after with Iraq, the United States lost its way in the war
against terrorism.

There is a military solution to Iraq; there isn't.

The evidence offered to support the arguments on both sides is weak.

The biggest lesson we should learn about the Rumsfeld era is that we
need more humility to accomplish anything at all.

We deceive ourselves into thinking a solution crafted inside the Beltway
will work in some foreign culture.

The Rumsfeld impulse to control everything and circle the wagons,
moreover, not only sought victory in bureaucratic triumph, but also
betrayed the view that only the inner circle could see the threats and
only they could prevail if they were insulated from public opinion and
rules and laws.

By now it should be clear that the Rumsfeld-Cheney approach failed to
produce either a successful or sustainable war.

But that does not mean that the opposite approach get better results.

So as Bob Gates prepares to take the reigns, and government begins to
develop a new strategy for Iraq, we should be honest about what works
and what does not.

We have more information than ever in our digitized networked military,
but it isn't winning the war in Iraq and a network-centric design hasn't
changed the calculus demanding boots on the ground.

Soldiers are networked and equipped with the military equivalent of cell
phones, Blackberrys and 24/7 cable, able to see the terrain as never
before and see over the horizon in unique new ways, and yet they can not
control the streets around them.

We have precision-strike capabilities galore and have made every
platform into a potential shooter, but the ability to attack
successfully target after target has not produced the "effects" the
theorists claimed would occur, not in Afghanistan, not in Iraq and not
in Lebanon.

We have fulfilled the short-attention span of our society and brought
speed to the military, a Rumsfeld favorite, and yet have not learned
that speed also kills. In the rapid toppling of the Taliban or Saddam
Hussein, military planning could not (and did not) keep up with the
changes on the battlefield or plan for the middle war, let alone the
peace. The future of superb generalship is not fast and light but a more
cleverly modulated campaign that lets political developments unfold.

We have reduced the number in uniform to a bare minimum, so committed
are we to 21st-century transformation, so afraid are we of our socialist
obligation to soldiers and veterans alike, so entranced are we with
high-tech solutions. The product of our love affair with doing more with
less has been debilitating and corrupt outsourcing where more than one
in five doing the fighting, even in lethal Iraq, are contractors and
civilians. Of course, the contract force is not doing any fighting; they
are doing a job, merely punctuating our slide towards our own protectors
and volunteers transforming into a professional yet mercenary force.

The ultimate lesson of the Rumsfeld doctrine is that technology and
firepower can not substitute for people. And yet the dominant
pro-military and muscle-bound Democrat impulse -- to imagine that more
troops, more people and overwhelming force, can still salvage an Iraqi
effort -- is also wrong. Throwing resources at Iraq ignores that the
country is beyond the tipping point and outside of our ability to
influence how it will go (other than to get out and get out of the way).

Under Rumsfeld, but not only under Rumsfeld, our military has
unfortunately become an information happy, over equipped, high-tech bumbler.

The generals, and not Rumsfeld and most of his civilian court, have
been right about what to do in the air and on the battlefield. And yet,
it is not enough just to win tactically, and it has certainly been shown
that it is foolish to win the first battle without having an equal plan
for the second and the third.

The American military ultimately shares an equal blame for what happened
after "major combat operations" ended in May 2003, but it is the job of
the civilians to make the "interagency" work, to synchronize the
military and non-military efforts.

This brings us to the non-military and the "soft" elements of power
that are supposed to accompany our military efforts to fight and win,
not just in Iraq but in the overall war against terrorism. We are
miserable at that task.

We have an entire new discipline of strategic communications in the
administration, information operations in the military and global
outreach in the rest of the government and yet there isn't a soul,
including Donald Rumsfeld, who thinks that we are winning the
information war.

We are fighting wars about religion, society and culture, yet the very
forces we have to deploy, our military, does not have a clue about the
culture or the religion or the aspirations of the society we are

Everyone's solution now will be to accompany the drawdown and
withdrawal of U.S. forces with an accelerated and expanded effort to
train and advise Iraqi police and military units. This will be a
soothing ointment but ultimately a failed enterprise: Sure, there are
thousands upon thousands of young men seeking a job and even wishing for
a new country to protect and police, but they will ultimately be
defeated by their own sectarian, tribal and communal lives and obligations.

Beware also the shift from conventional military to the CIA and the
"special" operators that will certainly happen as the war in Iraq winds
down and as the national security establishment retools for round two
of the war against terrorism. How is it that we continue to see these
pretenders as the savior and the alternative when even in sectors where
they are primarily responsible, such as in the hunt for Osama bin Laden
along the Pakistan-Afghanistan divide, they have so miserably failed?

Oh, no, my Washington friends say, the victories are many and
significant. Yet we are cowed by official secrecy and stiff-armed by our
bloated secret services and so cannot hope to figure out what is the
truth, whether we have succeeded or failed and why, and how we might do
better in the future.

Donald Rumsfeld may have arrived at the Pentagon in 2001 with an
ambitious plan to transform the military, but like most plans, it
didn't survive the first shot.

Let's get one thing clear about Robert Gates as secretary of defense:
_He is not going to change anything, reverse any program, abandon any
plan or stake out any new territory._ With barely two years to work,
giving how long it will take to get settled in and the dead zone that
will come as the 2008 election looms, his mission is singular: It is
Iraq, stupid.

Gates has a mission to work with Congress to craft an exit strategy for
Iraq. Along the way, he must restore civil-military relations, improve
the Defense Department's relations with the rest of the government, and
reach out to the American public to build support for the new Iraq plan.

But with regard to our military and how it has evolved in the past six
years, don't expect much form the new secretary of defense. In a way,
that is good: Perhaps the Rumsfeld hangover will give us the opportunity
to understand that the public's dissatisfaction with all things
Washington extends to the exalted institution as well. Only then can we
begin to make changes.

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