Saturday, December 09, 2006

More Outside-the-Box Thinkers Needed On Iraq

Fire of Liberty

I was browsing through the New York Sun and came across this Op/Ed by Nibras Kazimi that lays out some interesting ideas in how the Iraqis can effectively tamper down the insurgency. Here's a sample:
Here are a couple more ideas where improvements can be made:

(1) Punish the insurgents more severely. Presently, there are few punitive measures taken against insurgents and their families. The authorities could impose financial penalties to offset the damage that insurgents inflict on other Iraqis. Once an insurgent is killed or arrested and then charged, authorities could, for example, freeze his assets and sell them at auction. The proceeds could go to a terror victims' fund or to the state treasury to compensate for the losses sustained by public property and services. Furthermore, family members, including women, should be treated as accomplices if they fail to report blatant criminal activity such as the use of homes as bomb-making factories or as detention cells holding abductees. Such arrests of women could be undertaken by the Iraqi police to avoid the stigma that "foreigners are touching up our women." Iraqi law already stipulates that accomplices should be held responsible. The financial and familial price for choosing to be an insurgent must get steeper. The existing consequences are too mild even by Western standards.

(2) Install GPS devices on police and government vehicles. Death squads almost invariably use police cars or government vehicles in carrying out false arrests and abductions. There is a unit selling in America for $600 that pinpoints stolen cars. Why can't we put this device inside every single police and government car? The next time Sunni residents report that policemen have abducted their young men, data can be pulled up to show what police cars were operating in that neighborhood and at that time. If these devices are tampered with or disabled, then this would also become apparent when the data goes off the network. Cars may also have fake police markings, but these can be distinguished from real police cars at checkpoints: If a police car doesn't have a GPS device, then it's a fraud.

There are tens of good ideas out there for winning this war that have not been implemented and have not been debated beyond wonky military journals. It's not the number of American or Iraqi boots on the ground that matters in winning this war but rather the number of microchips used to map out and combat the insurgency. Running patrols and shooting straight is only part of what is necessary in such a modern war. Americans and Iraqis must adapt their strategies to fit the battle before they can win the battle. This hasn't been done in earnest yet, and we need to ask "why?" rather than scream "flee, flee, the sky is falling" in panic.
Now while I doubt that the Iraqi government will fully implement these suggestions but they sure as heck beat the "group think" compromises that some members of Congress, select academics and the ISG have offered up. Maybe the Pentagon should recruit more "outside of the box" thinkers like Nibras Kazimi.

No comments: