Skip to comments.Ralph Peters: The Triumph of U.S. Intel
Posted on 12/15/2003 2:57:10 PM PST by quidnunc
In peacemaking operations, you need to have adequate forces to do the job. But no matter how many troops you send, you can't win if you lose the intelligence war.
Yesterday morning, the world awoke to hard evidence that we're winning on the silent front in Iraq. They saw a disheveled, captive Saddam undergoing a dental exam. It was an irrefutable image of success.
But the revealing story is how we're succeeding.
Back in April, as our troops stood in triumph amid the wreckage of Saddam's regime, our intelligence files on everything from mid-level Ba'athist officials to the condition of oil refineries were inadequate. An over-reliance on high-tech intelligence collection systems, coupled with a long neglect of deep analysis and human intelligence the spies and agent handlers had left us with abundant satellite maps of the terrain, but with only the vaguest maps to the labyrinth of Iraqi society.
In the best American tradition, our intel personnel on the ground rolled up their sleeves and began to fix the problem. Laboriously, they built detailed files on our enemies and dubious friends.
On Saturday night, their work paid off in the courtyard of a farmhouse near Tikrit, when our soldiers found a very special holiday present under the palm trees.
The commander of our forces in Iraq stated that "great analytical work led to [Saddam's] capture." Tip-offs likely helped, too. But whatever the details of nabbing the Grinch of Baghdad may be, our intelligence operations remain a success story.
Behind the headline attacks on our soldiers and Iraqi civilians, we've been killing 50 to 70 hardcore terrorists and renegades each week, while arresting hundreds. We've busted more and more key Ba'athist officials. Now Saddam's going to have to celebrate New Year's Eve without a single bottle of Dom Perignon.
How have we done it? The old-fashioned way. By data-mining the enemies of our enemies. By listening to all sides and testing their claims against each other. By exploiting captured files. By appealing to both selfish and selfless interests. By exploiting family and tribal connections. And by laying down hard cash.
Our greatest advantage has been the one the media ignore: Few Iraqis wanted the Ba'athists back. As they began to feel more confident of American resolve, they offered ever more tips about hide-outs and arms caches, sometimes for money, sometimes because they believed in freedom or just because they didn't want combat in their neighborhoods. In not a few cases, the undiminished arrogance and brutality of the thugs who remained at large made them their own worst enemies.
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
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