Letters

Military Review, September/October 2005 | Go to article overview
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Letters


French Algeria and British Northern Ireland

Timothy Diirbin, MEDPROS Readiness Coordinator, ASM Research, Inc., Fort Carson, Colorado-I really liked Lieutenant Colonel James D. Campbell's article "French Algeria and British Northern Ireland: Legitimacy and the Rule of Law in Low-Intensity Conflict" (March-April 2005), but I see one problem: the handing over of suspects from military control to civilian control. It may have worked for the British in Ireland because the police and civilian leadership were and are willing to use law enforcement means which have the backing of a large majority of the population. The Irish people are a homogenous group. The Irish people were not formed into a country by an outside force like the Iraqi people were, although Northern Ireland is ruled by the British.

The British formed Iraq and grouped different tribal, ethnic, and religious groups under one flag. Iraq would be different if it was formed from within, similar to the way America was formed. Saddam Hussein held the country together artificially through military force in the same way the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia was held together. Once the force no longer restrained the people, they were free to splinter into their own groups, which they promptly did. Sometimes violent means were used, as in the case of the former Yugoslavian Balkan states, or peacefully, like happened in the former Soviet states because they were allowed to revert back to their own independent countries by the Russian leadership, except, of course, in Chechnya, and we can see what is happening there. What we are doing now is trying to uphold what the British put in place and Saddam maintained for as long he did.

Many in the Iraqi civilian ranks conduct business similar to the way Saddam did-with torture, brutality, and killings based on the tribal, regional, or ethnic background. Handing over suspects to civilians with unknown grudges against other groups may actually do more to fan the flames of civil war than just keeping them under our own custody. (The United States has lost a lot of credibility because of [the] Abu Graib [prison scandal and the] failure to hold almost no highranking [leaders], either military or civilian, responsible.)

Letting Iraq splinter along its ethnic and religious groups would probably make it easier for each group to govern themselves, although [doing so] would upset neighbors like Turkey, who hate Kurds, and Sunni Saudis, who hate Shi'ites. We are already beginning to see this fractionalization in the new constitution being written. Forcing [the groups] to work together may work while our military is there, but without that stabilizing force my guess is there is a high probability the different groups will resort to violence to achieve what they can't achieve through political means.

Marketing and Information Operations

Major Chad Storlie, U.S. Army Reserve, Marketing Director, Union Pacific Railroad, Adjunct Professor of Marketing, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska-From December 2002 through October 2003, in support of O1F, 1 served as a Ground Planner and the Current Plans Director for Combined Joint Special Operations Task ForceWest and Combined Joint Special Task Force-Arabian Peninsula.

I commend Captain Stoney Trent and Captain James L. Doty III in their attempt to relate aspects of marketing to Information Operations (IO) in their article, "Marketing: An Overlooked Aspect of Information Operations" (JulyAugust 2005). However, in marketing terminology, the fundamental failure of the U.S. Army's marketing campaign (Information Operations) in Iraq has been the failure to understand and meet the underlying needs of the target market-the Iraqi population. Trent and Doty's article misses the crucial importance of the military operation (in marketing terms, the product) itself in their comparison of marketing to Information Operations. A marketing campaign, just like an IO campaign, cannot be successful if the product it is promoting fails to meet the underlying need of the population.

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