Tuesday, December 12, 2006
New Yorker writer discusses the 'global insurgency'

This is an extended version of Anderson's interview with the New Yorker's George Packer.
Posted By Kelly Buzby, CNN Producer: 8:43 PM ET
Will the war on terror ever end? The war/wars in the Middle East seem continuous. I think the government will start to focus more on diplomacy and counterinsurgency. I agree with most people that it is some what a little to late for Iraq but there is still more fish in the sea to defeat. I did not know that experts are being embedded with the U.S. troops this seems good because it will give the troops a better idea of how to react around the civilians and foreign environment. What was the name of the book I didn't quite catch the title? Well, as the Bible says "there is a time for war and a time for peace", so sometime we will have peace...
God Bless,
Posted By Anonymous Joanna Parker, Millsboro: DE : 9:13 PM ET
OK, this idea of separating the various threats - I'll call it "mirco-wars" - totally makes sense. Intercepting the jihads from reaching the kids, breaking that crucial link as early as possible so that the kids see other possibilities, also makes sense. But Mr. Kilcullen's (sp?) suggestion that this is a cold war doesn't make sense. We got bombed big time on 9-11. We can't turn it back and be in a cold war now. This is past cold war. The part I disagree on with Mr. Kilcullen is the military part. I don't think the people that want to hurt us can be psyched out. Bin Laden predicted this, that we'd be paper tigers. We have to have the stomach to continue to use force and action.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 9:43 PM ET

Tell Anderson awesome and very interesting interview with Packer tonight. Funny, the men and women in the field have been asking for help with the psychology of the people for 5 years. These military commanders and soliders have been more than patient. Hopefully, they will get some help thanks to the New Yorker and the show.

All the best and keep up the great work!
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 11:20 PM ET
Hello Kelly~
I love the concept of creating other structures and alternatives for the young muslims who are at risk for being recruited to Jihadism through social networks. Packer compared this to the same technique used to keep youth from joining gangs. Isn't this "extracurricular" approach always the proven way of guiding youth into a positive and constructive life? It makes more sense than war. We definitely need more effort and dvelopment in this area. What a novel idea that could potentially bring hope for a peaceful future. I like it! No, I love it! Thanks!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 11:26 PM ET
George Packer did a superb analyzing the nature of the war on terror. To win in war, one must first understand the nature of the war, and Packer has a pretty good idea about the nature of this long war. Thank you
Posted By Anonymous Steve McLaughlin, CDR USN (ret) Wenatchee, WA : 11:29 PM ET
I am an Army officer serving in Iraq. While I will leave the discussion of if what we are doing in Iraq to others to debate, I would like to comment on the potential of embedding anthropologists and other cultural experts with U.S. troops in the field. I believe this is a great idea and reflects the type of creative and enlightened thinking we must use if we are to be successful in this conflict. We Americans, protected by two great oceans, tend to be ignorant about other cultures. This puts Soldiers at a disadvantage when all of a sudden we must work or fight people with norms, customs and motivators different than our own. The embedding of cultural experts with U.S. troops might help us better understand and thus better deal effectively with friends and enemies alike. It is obvious to me and many others that the War on Terror will last a long time. If we are to live up to the standard set by our grandfathers the last time evil threatened the world, we will have to use all the talent and ingenuity that our great nation can muster. While I have the floor, allow me to say thank you to the American people for your support of the troops. Republican or Democrat, for or against the war in Iraq, the American people have been unwavering in their support of the troops. For all who serve, thank you.
Posted By Anonymous LTC Ted Wadsworth, Baghdad, Iraq : 11:57 PM ET

I viewed your expanded interview with George Packer. Perhaps an initial social understanding of the complexity's between sectarian leaders,insurgents, shiite's and sunni's coupled with a military stonghold that included a greater number of US troops, the US would have had more control of the borders and the region that is now infiltrated by sectarian violence, perhaps we would have had a more consistent and clearer impact that would have given the US a greater leverage of negotiations that are so desperately needed now. Sounds like could have , should have, would have, the Iraq study group would not have been needed. (on a seperate note, you made an impressive contribution to 60 minutes, seems like your in with the in crowd of journalism , Congratulations!

Maritza Munoz San Jose, Ca.
Posted By Anonymous Maritza Munoz San Jose, Ca : 12:18 AM ET
The Jihadists do not understand anything... Not even themselves. What they do understand is that they believe that they will have their virgins when they die a martyr's death. They will not rest until all of the world's population is converted to their "true" faith. We as a civilized nation cannot and should not coddle them. I totally agree with xtina. We must be able to stomach the continued use of force and action. Personnaly, as long as my scope is accurate and I am comfortable in reaching a jihadist at 10 to 300 meters, then let them decide which way they want to approach the peace table... teeth bared or hat in hand!
Posted By Anonymous Mike Mraz, Lansing, MI : 3:52 AM ET
Providing additional content that doesn't 'fit' into the news segment is a fantastic use of the blog. I've often wondered what parts of an interview didn't make it to air. Hope to see more of this.
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 9:56 AM ET
I agree with Anderson when he said �Unless you know who your enemy is, it�s hard to win the war. We have been blind in Iraq.� From the beginning of the Iraq invasion, it was my belief that this would be a different kind of war because of the cultural conventions of the Middle East and how they differ from both our concepts of western civilization and eastern Europe. I think we still need to look at the �war on terror� and the winning of the Cold War like apples and oranges.

This is a new type of war and needs a new type of solution other the brute force. George Pack�s article in the New Yorker and the Australian anthropologist brought up the new term of �global counter-insurgency.� Okay, let�s call it was it is � psychological and sociological warfare. The Taliban are experts with this technique. It is also how the president of Iran caters to the Palestinians and Hezbollah by providing aid and every day supplies to families and �social networks�. The pact is easily made.

Historically, it is like during WWII when the �underground or resistance� movement existed to counter-act Nazi domination. Residents supported and hid these groups because they were their neighbors, kinsmen and countrymen. Unfortunately, we are seen as in the role of the Nazis.

I would like to hear more about this new concept on AC360.

I may check out Lawrence Wright�s book.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 10:13 AM ET
I agree with the 'behaviorist' appoarch to understanding the 'enemy'. I would hope they would enlist some 'gang bangers' from our own subcultures. Going forward I hang with the folks who say 'you can only change yourself' which includes changing the underlying causes. I would start with getting out of the 'mess' in our own country from the 'Crusaders' to the fear mongers and get real about what supporting our troops means. 9-11 was devastating, but our reaction to it has been more than crippling. Now, we have Iran playing the Israeli card to keep the hate alive. I hear the extremists on all sides stoking the violence.

I just read Kristof's editorial praising Bush, Brownback and Mahoney for standing against 'slavery' using a Cambodia example. In the mean time, we have in the news the kidnapping of a newborn that is assumed done to pay for 'trafficking' in our own country.

The point of all of this is that we need to realize that positive change comes from positive action and it has to be a from a nation that is willing to sacrifice to stay strong. The reality is that we are going to have to pay and make sacrifices to keep a strong military. We can never be totally safe, but laws and enforcement are necessary. Ethics are important as they should cross religious lines and go to acceptable rules of conduct. We have threats both inside and outside that we have to deal with. We need new approaches to old problems. We seem to be reaping decades of poor judgement and policy. Despite globalization, we have to realize that the world is not 'Mr. Rogers Neighborhood', alliances are fragile and we need to look to ensuring that the USA is self-sustaining from energy to industry. Looking to the folks who got us here to solve the problems is not the answer which probably explains the fixation on the 08 elections and the appeal of Obama.

Hey, greetings to those who are standing guard and are in harms way. Thanks.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista,ar : 12:04 PM ET
You say we have to have "the stomach" to win the "war on terror". I've been to Iraq. I had "the stomach" to watch 3 of the finest men I have ever known bleed to death in front of me. I had "the stomach" to follow orders and wage an illegal war on terror. I also had "the stomach" to console my driver's wife and children upon my return stateside during her multiple suicide attempts following her notification he had been killed by a sniper. None of us blame the sniper. It is our own fault we are being slaughtered over there. If somebody came into my country, ruined my life and was committing atrocities in the name of war, I would make sure the perpetrators suffered far worse than a quick end at the hands of a sniper. I love this country but we are descending futher and further into fascism. It didnt used to be like this and I am sick of it. I thank God that those that would continue to allow the slaughter of our finest countryman to continue for oil and lies are in the vast minority. Perhaps one day, xtina, you can go to Iraq and see just how much you can stomach. Let me know how you feel afterwards..
Posted By Anonymous nathan, junction city ks : 12:26 PM ET
It is amazing to me that nobody thought of this before. Anderson described the plight of America�s understanding of the �war on terror� as �painting with a broad brush� the different groups with different ideas. I would say that�s putting it mildly. We�or should I say, our commander in chief�have made the category �terrorist,� slapped on labels like �evil,� and dehumanized the situation insurgents by classifying them under one heading. Yes, installing anthropological support with the counter insurgency is a great idea. It makes perfect sense: in order to make an impression on a person, one must be able to relate to that person�s situation, communicate effectively, and exhibit some willingness to compromise. Making an effort to understand the insurgents will help to convince them that we are taking their conflict seriously and trying to reach serious solutions. The disadvantage we have been at due to our lack of understanding of the culture has gone on long enough. In this age of technology, and America being the richest country in the world, you would assume that research, of all things, we would be able to manage. The �enemy� cannot be beaten by sheer military force. We know that just by looking at the course the war has taken thus far, but we should have known it all along: knowledge is power. How can we expect to compete in a foreign nation with an enemy that we not only do not understand, but that we attempt to categorize in order to make the conflict simpler and easier to explain to ourselves. This kind of oversimplification�Fox News must be at least partially to blame�plagues our culture. Instead, Packer suggests that we try to convince the populations that their interests would be better served to be under an American-style democracy. Great idea, but perhaps in order to do such we should spend a little money on schools or social programs to replace jihadism. As it stands, our tactics of military spending over intelligence, our politicians� simplistic rhetoric and our short sighted strategizing are not motivating insurgents to sign up for �our side.�
�War on terror� was one of Bush�s favorite phrases. I wonder how he�s getting along without it.
Posted By Anonymous Kate Banko, Missoula, MT : 2:38 PM ET
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