Leadership: Being Nice To The Enemy

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January 29, 2008: U.S. troops in Iraq have quickly come to realize that the Provisional Security Forces (PSFs, or local Sunni Arab militia) are the main reason for violence against U.S. troops dropping 50-90 percent in Iraq (depending on the area). The main PSF tactic was to establish many roadblocks, but within their own neighborhoods. Since these guys knew everyone who lived in the area, they could quickly spot someone who had no business there. They would also spot anyone who appeared to be on their way to plant a roadside bomb, and either tell the guy to forget about it, or tell the Americans, who would take care of it. Any locals who were on their way to set up an ambush (AK-47 and RPG fire is a common experience for convoys, but causes fewer casualties than the bombs), would also be warned off.

The U.S. troops responded by being friendly with the PSFs. This often took the form of gifts, like barbed wire, obstacles and other useful items for the roadblocks, to food, soft drinks and cigarettes for the PSFs themselves. Any gadgets the troops had, they would share with the PSFs, who appreciated getting all these goodies. Army and marine medics would treat the PSFs, and their families. Despite the fact that many of the PSF guys had previously took part in attacks on coalition and Iraqi troops, the Sunni Arabs were eager to have some peace, and the economic growth they see in the rest of the country. So the goodies the U.S. troops give out have even more meaning, as sort of a down payment on the future.

 


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