Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ground Truth

We are repeatedly told that the Pentagon knows that the Global War on Terror will be fought and won by gathering, analyzing and using intelligence effectively. Predator drone strikes aside, it seems that institutional, the military rejects the intrinsic value of honest, detailed intelligence regarding the nature of the enemy.  Having lived through the Cold War in the 1970's and 1980's, I do not recall our government or our military being similarly obtuse about the Communists in the Kremlin.

Attorney General Holder's refusal to answer a question about the motives of the would be Times Square bomber was disheartening as it is symptomatic of either willful ignorance or gross incompetence. Perhaps one can forgive the posturing of an appointed official, but there is not excuse for our professional military sticking their heads in the sand. Four years ago Paul Sperry said, "U.S. intelligence officials tell me there are no baseline studies of the Muslim prophet Muhammad or his ideological or military doctrine found at either the CIA or Defense Intelligence Agency or even the war colleges."

We are given lip service about intelligence work, but there was no evidence of a comprehensive study of Jihad or militant Islamism in the military's new COIN manual. Language matters and truth matters.  Who are our soldiers fighting and being killed by in Afghanistan and Iraq? Are we to believe that the ideology and motives of the enemy do not come up in our discussions with Muslim allies?  I believe they could provide our intelligence services with a bit of ground truth about our common enemy.

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