Intelligence Operations and Metrics in Iraq and Afghanistan
Sample interview quotes:
The intelligence on the military side was not tied in with the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency], and the CIA was not listened to. . . . I had my most depressing discussions with the intelligence people who could see what this was leading to, and could see what the population thought better than [then-director of reconstruction and humanitarian assistance in Iraq L. Paul] Bremer could. . . . Between Bremer and [then secretary of state Donald H.] Rumsfeld, it had to be all talked up, which is the American way. . . . The discussion with Bremer was always on the optimistic side, while on the intelligence side it was much less so. And I think the same was true to an extent of [GEN John Philip Abizaid]. You don't succeed within the U.S. system unless you [display a can-do attitude].
In the military, . . . complex, divergent thinkers, either . . . bite their tongue or they get out.. . . Very, very rarely they get to be generals.
[A combined joint special-operations Task Force] snatched two brothers who were sons of a sheikh [with whom we have very good relations.] They did coordinate it, but did so poorly. They said, Were coming by to pick up this guy named whatever and used a name that was so common the task force couldn't know who it was. . . . Hes still in jail, and I'm trying to deal with their father, and I haven't been able to find [the son]. . . . These guys go in and blow down doors . . . when all they need to do is knock and they'll let them in. . . . They killed the son in a Christian family. . . . They said [that the son] was reaching for a gun. Yeah, okay, he shouldn't have done that, but these guys blew down the door, blew through the wall, and came with all their toys.
(Afghanistan) infrastructure manning those responsible for planning infrastructure recovery was only 650 strong out of 16,000 people at [U.S. Central Command].
Dutch F-16s would go out and fly missions [in Afghanistan], and after the missions they would ask for the BDA [battle-damage assessments], which were classified Secret U.S. They could fly the mission and drop the ordnance, but they couldn't get the battle-damage assessment.
The military would look and say, Its stable, so lets go someplace else. Well, maybe its stable because of the footprint we have there. . . . There is a rush to determine a snapshot of the security situation in order to reduce the footprint. . . . Were seeing an increase in violence in [this city] because they continue to decrease the number of soldiers there. . . . [When we started pulling out] the Iraqis themselves said, We are not ready yet.
We also spent a lot of time, money, blood, and treasure on going after MVTs [medium- value targets] and HVTs . . . and I don't think it had a great deal of effect on the Taliban because they are not hierarchical. If we killed one guy, they just replaced him in about 10 minutes. . . . [In that regard,] they are not that different [from] us.
I think that not interfering would be interfering with our mission. We dealt with training the police and then sent them out to the community. If they werent paid, then they were extorting money at roadblocks. As the police are seen as coming out of our gates, eventu- ally the extortion is going to reflect on us. The average Afghan citizen is not able to discern that it is Kabul that is at fault. . . . The Taliban is capitalizing on this very fact, because it is a regression to the situation like it was back before 1994. Police extortion is one way the Taliban is winning over the population.