As longer time readers know, this blog – like my writing – cycles back and fourth between events of the Cold War and more contemporary matters, in particular the current state of America’s involvement in both shadow warfare and more overt combat against the radical jihadi movement.  That sort of scope gets very challenging.  Right now my editor and I are working on the last six chapters of Surprise Attack, which moves us through the attacks of 2001, the challenges of international diplomatic involvement and Benghazi, right up to the reemergence of a new confrontation with a resurgent nationalist movement and the return of the nuclear card to Geo-politics.

While that’s all well and good,  I continue to be appalled at the tremendous lack of knowledge exists in Washington DC in regard to the evolving jihadi war – the fact that nobody has coined a good name for it (its certainly not as simple as a  war on terror and) only illustrates the dramatic lack of national strategy to deal with it. It’s particularly galling to see the degree of ignorance expressed in the political positions of virtually all the declared 2016 Presidential candidates, or those with enough nerve to actually express their beliefs.  About the best that can be said is that the dysfunction in DC has prevented us from making the sort of abysmal strategic mistake we made in invading Iraq.  OK, if by now you haven’t figure out this is an “opinion piece” I suppose that made it pretty clear.

While I’m still satisfied with the treatment we gave to the emergence of the jihadi war in Shadow Warfare, and with our treatment of what worked and didn’t during the early days of Afghanistan and the later days in Iraq, I’ve been searching for some source that I feel really understands the intelligence and true tactical issues of what went on there and how it evolved into the current combat across the Middle East.  I have not really been satisfied with the mainstream journalists, some of whom push their own political world view on the subject and some who have a good strategic sense but insufficient field background.  The good news is that I finally found somebody who I think has the sort of pragmatic insights needed to drive a national strategy – but who has no chance of ever making it in DC – he talks too straight.  So in that regard, let me introduce you to him with the following article….and I encourage you to read the threads and commentary that follows it where he responds to questions.  This guy is the real deal IMHO.  But way to real for Washington I’m afraid.







About Larry Hancock

Larry Hancock is a leading historian-researcher in the JFK assassination. Co-author with Connie Kritzberg of November Patriots and author of the 2003 research analysis publication titled also Someone Would Have Talked. In addition, Hancock has published several document collections addressing the 112th Army Intelligence Group, John Martino, and Richard Case Nagell. In 2000, Hancock received the prestigious Mary Ferrell New Frontier Award for the contribution of new evidence in the Kennedy assassination case. In 2001, he was also awarded the Mary Ferrell Legacy Award for his contributions of documents released under the JFK Act.

2 responses »

  1. Jim says:

    Interesting material, Larry. It’s common, unfortunately, that you have to dig out the best sources. They are interviewed in both print and on TV, but how often and how many people see them? I’ll read some of this guy’s stuff; I’ve read material by George Friedman and STRATFOR. There are others out there that give a realistic assessment based on the reality of the history involved, and not some morality play that is driven by political agenda. I’ve supported our involvement in Iraq since its inception, but I’ve come to believe that the involvement was of the wrong type ultimately. Had Clinton dealt with Iraq in a different manner, such might not have been the case. What Nance seems to suggest is a form of counterinsurgency warfare that was practiced successfully in a couple of places in Iraq. Removing the recruitment pool from ISIS/ISIL is what will cause them to wither away. You’ll never bomb them out of existence.

    • Well said Jim, generally I think that Friedman and STRATFOR have one of the best takes on Geo-politics I’ve found and I heartily recommend it as regular reading. In terms of the jihadi issue, I think Mr. Nance
      has an extremely insightful view – one clearly based in intelligence collection on the ground. In Shadow Warfare, we talked about how accurate the assessments from the first CIA guys on the ground in Afghanistan were and how
      they were routinely ignored in Washington. I’m afraid the fundamental issue is that the field guys with the best view simply have their input either ignored or filtered out by higher level agenda’s not
      to mention politics and power maneuvers among the agency chiefs and NSC members. I wish that I had a strong opinion of what we should have done in Iraq, or for that matter Iran. Generally speaking my view is
      that we simply should not meddle, and never, never do nation building. Our involvement hardly ever makes things better.

      I think a policy of enlightened self interest and win/win works far better – and the only world power following that approach, especially with a truly integrated strategy is China. We can do things with military assistance, with enforcement of embargoes (blocking the Iranian convoy to Yeman is a good example), with sanctions and with consensus building. Most importantly, as Nash points out, we can supply, train and support the anti-Isis folks and let them look after their own self interests. Occasionally an intense air campaign is a good thing, Kobani is an example as is Ramadi. The Kurds do really well with our support. The only military thing that makes sense to me is to pick the anti-jihadi factions and support them and then let them settle their own politics. I just sincerely wish that the policy makers and the candidates would talk to the guys with on the ground experience in the field – like Nash.

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