DT: So what do you see as the big issues ahead as the U.S. fights the Iraq insurgency?
JH: Operationally, there are two issues. We must eliminate all sanctuaries, and we must permanently sever the lines-of-communication and supply from Syria through Ar-Ramadi to Baghdad -- darn near done. We did not do this in Vietnam.
Second, we must effectively eliminate all enemy insurgents that will prevent or interfere with the Iraqi Govt establishing a strong presence in Fallujah that provides security for the residents while separating them permanently from the insurgents -- critical, and we are successfully creating those conditions.
Tactically, we haven't used firepower to flatten Fallujah as we applied in Hue, Vietnam to destroy the VC [Viet Cong] battalions during Tet in 1968. We have used distributed, networked systems (drones and long-range surveillance, and eyeballs to ID where the enemy is followed by precision FA [field artillery] and tanks, LAVs [light armored vehicles], BFVs [Bradley Fighting Vehicles] and sniper and rifle fires to kill them.
We should move along a city block by moving inside buildings and through walls more. However, more residents might have become injured. We must still find the two leaders of the Fallujah Muj[hadeen] -- an Imam and a Sheikh -- regardless of where they have fled in Iraq or Iran, and assist them in their rapid transition to Paradise.
We [also] missed on the operational secrecy and surprise, but we will continue to tactically surprise. [FM-I counsels U.S. commanders to "emphasize secrecy and surprise" during their attacks. -- ed.]
Yes, we must still root out the counter-state infrastructure in Fallujah using population resource control. That is a 6-12 month period.
Otherwise, I appreciate our military leaders' application of the principles and common sense. They are smart enough to have teams following the soldiers to provide food and blankets, medical care, and basic services as well as turning power and water on in areas we have secured.
We won't convince everybody overnight we mean them well, but we can provide a stark contrast -- deeds, not words. Fortunately, people will always demonstrate their intentions for us. What we must demonstrate very quickly is the Iraqi Government is legitimate, and we are not the same though our goals and objectives are complementary. Then perhaps, the Iraqi people can show us whether they have the capacity for freedom, or not.
After all, freedom is never free.
DefenseTech interview with man responsible for compiling US counterinsurgency manual