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How Does Kaplan's Theory Impact or Predict My Future Military Service?

Essay by   •  August 23, 2012  •  Case Study  •  1,310 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,685 Views

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Robert Kaplan painted a fairly accurate picture of the future for Iraq and the military presence required for its success. His essay points to the fragile successes we've experienced in Iraq and the need for consistency in our relationships with the local tribal leaders, as well as our rebuilding efforts. Kaplan shows that the successes in Iraq will not last unless we are able to stabilize, not only the government, but the outlying villages and towns as well, giving them self-sufficiency. Continued success in Iraq requires a long term approach built on mutual trust with consistent messages and reliable support for the rebuilding effort. The recent troop surge in Iraq has shown preliminary successes in reducing violence and re-establishing relationships in Baghdad and the surrounding areas. These successes validate the points Kaplan made about trust and consistency, showing us what we need to do to be successful and what efforts are required for continued success. What this means for me is that I will, most likely, see several more deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan before I retire. The military underestimated the impact of the insurgency in Iraq and even created an opportunity for them to thrive when we disbanded the Iraqi military and government structure almost immediately when we reached Baghdad. This created a huge void in the government structure and took away any chance the Iraqi people had to stabilize the country in the wake of the military invasion. This void created opportunities for the insurgency to gain a foothold in the area around the towns and cities, creating panic among the citizens of Iraq and frustrating the efforts of the military to rebuild Iraq. We have experienced some successes in our efforts to quell the insurgency and regain control of the towns and villages in Iraq. In cases where the military has had success in stabilizing an area and reducing insurgent attacks, the military leaders in those areas have established a relationship with the local leaders. The relationships have not been quick or easy but have been established and nurtured over a period of time, allowing the military to demonstrate trust and a commitment to the rebuilding of the stabilized areas. The successes have been earned by the tireless efforts of company and battalion commanders who were persistent in their efforts to establish trust and consistent in their abilities to provide materials for the rebuilding of an infrastructure in those areas. He identifies numerous examples of infrastructure improvements in stabilized areas; satellite dishes, radio towers, paved roads, etc. He addresses a case in point where we were able to bring in gravel to rebuild a road in one of the stabilized areas but lacked the funds to have the road paved, knowing full well that gravel roads were prime targets for IEDs because they were almost impossible to detect. Cases like this show how fragile our successes are. Continued successes have come from areas where the transfer of authority (TOA) between units rotating out and the units replacing them have established continuity of message and support to the areas they are supporting and protecting. These successes show that a long term approach is needed when mapping the road for success in Iraq. In cases where the stabilization has fallen apart after it was established can be linked to a loss of trust in the military, allowing the insurgency to reestablish its presence and an increase in violence. Kaplan attributes this loss of trust to a lack of consistency when units rotate in and out of Iraq. The local leaders lose trust in the military when the new unit rotating into an area doesn't build on the successes of the previous unit and work toward maintaining the



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