What is our Message?
We talk about I/O, PsyOps, cultural awareness, etc. but what is our message? In Iraq and Afghanistan, there is no specific guidance as to why we are in Iraq. What EXACTLY are our squad leaders supposed to tell locals?
1. We are here to liberate you - what does the USG define as liberty? A situation in which everything is legal except for those actions that impinge upon another's life, liberty or property is the basis for English Common Law vis a vis the philosophy of John Stuart Mill but it assumes an individual based society. Iraq and Afghanistan are family based societies. How do we bridge this gap?
2. We want rights!! Rights are limitations the nation places upon the state - not priviledges the states gives to the people. Iraqis want more priviledges. Until they internalize that it is the nation that is soverign, not the state, they can not have any rights.
3. Equality. What kind? There is equality of outcome which is the basis of communism - small c. Equality of opportunity works in America and is a very protestant idea but is it acceptable to Muslims or Arabs?
4. Capitalism. This incredible system is based on the self serving individual. As long as the aforementioned actor wants to maximize his utility, he will move himself to a position in which he has a sustainable, comparative advantage and be able to amass as much wealth as possible. Collectively, the actions of self serving people benefit all as long as wealth maximization is the collective goal. Again, how can this work in a family based society?
5. Democracy. The buzz word. The magic cause. Government is the organization in society with a monopoly on force. Representative democracy is but a means for the nation to select those who decide on how force in wielded in a society. A person's sole act of power in a democracy is in voting. The only difference between a democracy and a monarchy is a vote. After that, one is still subject to the will of the government. Why is that so good? Why would this work in other places?
6. The problem is Arabs and Pashtuns do not know how they can be Arabs, Muslims and embrace all of the above. WHAT IS OUR GUIDANCE ON HOW TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?????
Until higher puts out a pub that explains where in the Koran we on the ground can look to bridge these questions, it is not possible to do IO, PsyOps or control the population - the goal of COIN. Therefore, until we actually have an idea, something to sell, we are incapable of winning.
Remember, if you are out looking for bad guys, you are losing. The goal is to control the population and the population needs a message. They need an idealology and Al Qadea has one and is pushing it hard.
Last point - the way in which we answer these questions changes neighborhood by neighborhood because each Imam and Sheik see the world a little bit differently. Until we have an intelligence picture that frames our message, we are not going to be able to tailor or actions effectively.