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January 02, 2006

Defeating The Insurgency, One Belly-Slap At A Time

Outside the Beltway condenses a long article about the efforts of Major Jonathan Fox, the operations officer of the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment.

His battalion has been working hard over the past four months, Fox says, to discourage the Iraqis from hitting or beating detainees. "A big thing is to try and teach them to treat people with dignity and respect," he says. There are, unfortunately, consequences to changing the Iraqi way of doing business. "When we first got here, it was very common," he says of the beatings. "Now it is less and less. But the information is also less and less." Does that mean beating detainees works? "The Iraqi Army," Fox says, "will tell you absolutely it leads to actionable intel."

[...]Majeed [an Iraqi interrogator in the employ of the US] has a good relationship with the 1-17 battalion, he says, and particularly with Fox. "I can tell we think alike," Majeed says. "Major Fox is trying to understand how the locals think." But after working with Americans for the past 2 1/2 years, Majeed is beginning to understand how they operate--and to see what he regards as weaknesses when it comes to fighting insurgents. "The Americans have a line. They like to follow a straight line. They don't like to zigzag," Majeed says. "But sometimes there needs to be a special case. Sometimes," he says, "we need to go over the line."


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posted by Ace at 05:06 PM

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