Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 06, 2008

Stability Operations "At Home And Abroad"?

Today the U.S. army released a new version (14 MB PDF) of its Field Manual for Stability Operations.

The announcement in yesterday's WaPo opened:

The Army on Monday will unveil an unprecedented doctrine that declares nation-building missions will probably become more important than conventional warfare and defines "fragile states" that breed crime, terrorism and religious and ethnic strife as the greatest threat to U.S. national security.

I am not aware of any country that has no crime, no terrorism and no religious or ethnic strife of one kind or another. So who will define what states are "fragile"?

The first sentence of the introduction to the field manual may give an answer:

Today, the Nation remains engaged in an era of persistent conflict against enemies intent on limiting American access and influence throughout the world.

Is every entity that is "intent on limiting American access and influence throughout the world" now an enemy?

The doctrine of military "stability operations" seems to be driven by two urges:

  • to justify "intervention" in form of "stability operations" under the pretext of ill-defined "instability" whenever and wherever one likes
  • the U.S. military's organizational drive to encroach on foreign policy issues that should be the task of the State Department and to militarize all foreign aid

Yesterday's WaPo piece included this somewhat ambiguous graph that had me wonder:

"This is the document that bridges from conflict to peace," said Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, commander of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where the manual was drafted over the past 10 months. The U.S. military "will never secure the peace until we can conduct stability operations in a collaborative manner" with civilian government and private entities at home and abroad, he said.

At home and abroad - hmm ...

Posted by b on October 6, 2008 at 12:53 UTC | Permalink


stability operations? is that what we now call war?

The new manual aims to orchestrate and plan for a range of military tasks to stabilize ungoverned nations: protecting the people; aiding reconstruction; providing aid and public services; building institutions and security forces; and, in severe cases, forming transitional U.S. military-led governments.

transitional? the last paragraph:

Still, bureaucratic unrest surrounded the writing of the Army stability manual, Leonard said, pointing to disputes over questions such as whether to the document should enshrine "democracy" as a goal of stability operations, a move that was ultimately rejected. "It was constant debate and argument," he said.

what a joke.

Posted by: annie | Oct 6 2008 13:32 utc | 1

It would be great if this is a joke...but they are actually doing it from WWII to a present day , all the time .It's only that they bothered to camouflage it in ideological "colors" (as battle to defeat communism) and it was swallowed easily by the people. Now it is a naked force...'We'll do what ever we want where ever we want, for what ever reason we want"...When Empires become that arrogant they fall. Remember the horse senator in Rome? Maybe I'll even see this Empire fall in my life time...things go much faster now. And it started crumbling…

Posted by: vbo | Oct 6 2008 13:57 utc | 2

VBO, Agree...but it's been going on long before WWII. Actually, WWII worked out beautifully for the Imperialists. The Germans and Japanese bomb the entire planet to smithereens, and we walk in and pick up the pieces, unscathed, relatively speaking. There is a glaring difference now, though. We no longer have an unlimited domestic supply of oil to fuel our military-industrial endeavors. We have increasingly become reliant on imports, and it is this, in the final analysis, that will bring the hegemony to an end. Will it end in a protracted whimper, or a Great Ball of Fire, is anyone's guess.

Posted by: Monroe Doctrine | Oct 6 2008 14:24 utc | 3

In the end, the United State of Arrogance will unfold as a bloated spider, or tick, if you will, sucking, along with some minor parasites, the last resources of this poor earth.

And, has been pointed out earlier here, if there are unacceptable levels of protest, not to mention unrest, we will learn that War Zones can be declared anywhere,even in the Homeland, but, of course, only in the name of National Security, and to protect the Sanctity of the Constitution.

In the end, we will all have purple fingers...

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Oct 6 2008 14:28 utc | 4

back in feb i posted a couple related links on the shift to stability operations & nation building in thread here and here

Posted by: b real | Oct 6 2008 14:35 utc | 5

We are watching the dissolution of the American Empire on our TeeVee screens even this morning. Weaker by the hour, weaker by the day.

The Paulson Bailout was instantly recognized by the markets as charity for his buddies in the gaming business both at home and abroad. The markets tanked on the announcement of its approval, and are tanking again this morning. There is no money moving, except from the Treasury into the event horizons of black holes in the books of our most prestigious financial institutions.

The only outcome of the current Paulson Bailout (and the next one, and the next one) will be:

* saving his speculator pals from gambling losses incurred,

* paying back Chinese and Japanese banks defrauded by his speculator pals, so that they don't stop buying Treasuries, and

* severely weakening the dollar as the world's reserve currency.

The net result will be stagflation domestically, very much higher polarization of money and assets domestically, huge increases in national debt, and eventually a collapse of the dollar as the world's reserve currency. That means devaluation of the dollar, Gentle Reader, and effective repudiation of America's debt to foreign and domestic parties alike.

When the dollar is no longer a refuge, it goes from being the so-called gold standard to being a very, very poor cousin indeed. It is one thing to be worth very little. It is quite another to be beyond worthless, to hold only historical value, like Confederate States script.

The dollar is pretty effectively hollowed out right now, just like the proverbial American Dream. This mess that Paulson is working out, he's working it out for the wiseguys.

Not you. You got no gel around here. G'wan. Fuggedaboudit.

Posted by: Antifa | Oct 6 2008 15:01 utc | 6

all while the fascists are trying to rally the rabble to lynch obama

Posted by: b real | Oct 6 2008 15:05 utc | 7

but it's been going on long before WWII

The new manual cites as an example the 'stability operations' in the late 18th hundred against Indians beyond the 13 states. ...

Posted by: b | Oct 6 2008 15:10 utc | 8

b real, I believe you have it ass backwards.

GE outlets seems to be flushing the game toward Obama - just as they did for Dubya.

Murdoch is only going thru the motions in order not to lose his audience.

Posted by: rjj | Oct 6 2008 15:21 utc | 9

Back in the day, "stability operations' were known as pacifying the wogs.

The phrase "limiting American influence and access" goes to the heart of the problem. As long as the US govt thinks it can sit in anybody's back yard and extract whatever it likes, stability operations will be required. US attitude is the precursor to the long war, the very long war.

I wonder where the companion volume, called 'instability operations' is shelved. Oh, I forgot, it's at the CIA and is classified, to be used whenever stable countries like Iran and Venezuela dare to limit US influence and access.

Posted by: JohnH | Oct 6 2008 15:39 utc | 10

all while the fascists are trying to rally the rabble to lynch obama

last night i was scrolling stations and stopped at what i thought was one of mc's commercials about how obama is a terrorist. the dark coloring, the deep scary voice w/accompanied music of doom.

then i realized it was a fox special. lol! 'they were partners on a panel'

doom doom doom

'he had dinner with a palestinian who said gaza was a 'sore''

doom doom doom

'then he used the word 'sore' himself in describing the region!

doom doom doom

he gets his ideas from radical palestinians!

doom doom doom

they even read something he said at the dinner about how much obama enjoyed dinners at their home in the past (more doom and gloom, can you imagine the horror of consorting w/palestinian sympathizers!!!!)

i switched stations. all the msm rage now is palin saying obama hangs around w/terrorist friends. seriously, i think they are just creating the narrative by which they will explain how americans switched to mcCain, when they steal the election.

what is the point of creating a new meme for americans abroad creating stability if they have a wild card for a prez. now palin, that's stability.

Posted by: annie | Oct 6 2008 17:02 utc | 11

This bit by Tariq Ali might bring a moment's cheer to some here: the US is moving its UK embassy from Grosvenor Square in the very center of London (where it squats in a hideously brutal, neo-Mussolini-esque concrete monstrosity festooned in tank traps etc) to somewhere in South London. Apparently there's a question of £4 million (about $7 million) in unpaid 'rates,' ie property taxes...

[link corrected - b.]

Posted by: Tantalus | Oct 6 2008 17:18 utc | 12

Is every entity that is "intent on limiting American access and influence throughout the world" now an enemy?
Do they plan to bomb Wall Street and ship Bernanke, Paulson and all the bosses of Lehman, Merryll Lynch and Wachowia to Gitmo?

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Oct 6 2008 17:41 utc | 13

The finance/biz/internationalist/a-politicals have always favored Obama, as a ‘fresh face’, presented as a ‘new broom’ - to keep the game spinning along and gather ‘international agreement, support’ (Kerry made a big deal of that but got nowhere), a sort of last gasp.

Hope and change - little children singing Obama can do it or whatever the slogans are. The media (big conglomerates, GE owns CNBC for ex, more or less, though how all that works out I don’t know...) also actually favor Obama.

They could have killed him off easily but did not. The media is hesitating, and doesn’t quite know on which foot to dance, and are doing the ‘balanced’ thing - which is interesting in itself. Basically the judgment of a good chunk of the PTB actually involved in making a pile of money and stiffing workers, and many others all over the world, now consider the Bush years to have been extremely hazardous - unpredictable, imprudent, too much shock and awe and not enough soft glove.

The present meltdown of the financial system (for which Bush is not responsible except thru stupidity, inaction, to make it very brief) has everyone spooked. The PTBs analysis of causes is faulty, but they like to imagine a better future within the same system. Some fix-it duct-tape can be applied, and that passes through Change and having a popular leader, national renewal, etc.>Kiddies sing for Obama from Youtube

Just one pov. One could temper it with many others.

Posted by: Tangerine | Oct 6 2008 18:08 utc | 14

@CluelessJoe - Do they plan to bomb Wall Street and ship Bernanke, Paulson and all the bosses of Lehman, Merryll Lynch and Wachowia to Gitmo?

The Field manual covers Wall Street in 1-10 :

Sources of instability that push parties toward open conflict, known as drivers of conflict, include religious fanaticism, global competition for resources, climate change, residual territorial claims, ideology, ethnic tension, elitism, greed, and the desire for power.

Those sources need tp be removed ...

Posted by: b | Oct 6 2008 18:19 utc | 15

global competition for resources

that about wraps it up.

Posted by: annie | Oct 6 2008 18:21 utc | 16

On a related theme, Glenn Greenwald was wondering last month why from Oct 1 2008 the U.S. Army is going to have active duty units assigned on a permanent basis to operations within the U.S.:

Several bloggers today have pointed to this obviously disturbing article from Army Times, which announces that "beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the [1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division] will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North" -- "the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities." The article details:

They'll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack. . . .

The 1st BCT's soldiers also will learn how to use "the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded," 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them...

For more than 100 years -- since the end of the Civil War -- deployment of the U.S. military inside the U.S. has been prohibited under The Posse Comitatus Act (the only exceptions being that the National Guard and Coast Guard are exempted, and use of the military on an emergency ad hoc basis is permitted, such as what happened after Hurricane Katrina). Though there have been some erosions of this prohibition over the last several decades (most perniciously to allow the use of the military to work with law enforcement agencies in the "War on Drugs"), the bright line ban on using the U.S. military as a standing law enforcement force inside the U.S. has been more or less honored -- until now. And as the Army Times notes, once this particular brigade completes its one-year assignment, "expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one."

[click on my homepage for link]

Posted by: Father Ted | Oct 6 2008 18:55 utc | 17

usually this kind of people, when they talk about 'others', they're talking about themselves...

Posted by: rudolf | Oct 6 2008 18:57 utc | 18

i see the draft for the marine corp's long war planning document is still available online

Future global threat environment will be characterized by the following drivers of instability:

  • Terrorism / Irregular Warfare
  • Ideological / Religious Extremism
  • Poorly / ungoverned spaces
  • Globalization
  • Economics / Poverty / Health Crisis
  • Rise of China / India
  • Natural Resource Competition (water, energy, etc.)
  • Science & Technology competition / advancements
  • Changing Demographics (“youth bulge”, aging populations, etc.)
  • Environmental Factors (climate change, natural disasters, etc.)
  • Crime
  • Posted by: b real | Oct 6 2008 19:19 utc | 19

    Hmmm, so a country produces cannabis/opium/coca, all of which pose a threat to our national health. Better pre-emptively invade those countries to shut down the supply, as we cannot seem to curb demand at home.

    Posted by: ralphieboy | Oct 6 2008 20:45 utc | 20

    better pray the media, if it is really pushing for Obama as you think, is right- McCain's "spending freeze" will have the same effect Hoover's freeze had, that is, to only worsen things. Obama has a few things on his side even for those who do not like him-

    -he's a democrat. Democrats fill public coffers, which the republicans duly empty when they breeze in on emotional hot buttons issues every once in a while. We can't afford the bloodletting right now, no matter how much you want to think we do. We need whatever capital we can get our hands on. No matter who gets elected, taxes will be raised. Obama has a slight more chance of doing it in a manner that does not decimate the social safety net and bankrupt the middle class. And as we all know, recite with me kids, no middle class, no cushion between us and the sharp rocks.

    We need to come up with regulations that lenders and borrows can agree on to keep money on the table. McCain gonna regulate? Hell no.

    -people believe and listen to Obama. We need a leader who can reassure people and keep them from making runs on the nation's banks. I like the idea of Obama's fireside chats a lot more than McCain, who can't unify his own wardrobe, let alone the country; whose words cannot even reassure the rank and file of his own party.

    No matter what your persuasion- a vote for McCain is suicide.

    Posted by: mike | Oct 6 2008 21:09 utc | 21

    @Father Ted, #17:

    While parts of the 2006 John Warner Defense Authorization Act stripped the teeth out of Posse Comitatus/Insurrection Act, these changes were repealed earlier this year by HR 4986. But in signing the 2008 bill, The Great Decider added a signing statement:

    Today, I have signed into law H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. The Act authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, for military construction, and for national security-related energy programs.

    Provisions of the Act, including sections 841, 846, 1079, and 1222, purport to impose requirements that could inhibit the President's ability to carry out his constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to protect national security, to supervise the executive branch, and to execute his authority as Commander in Chief. The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President.



    January 28, 2008.

    Posted by: Obelix | Oct 6 2008 22:25 utc | 22

    For all the danger this document truly represents, it does seem to have an element of fantasy. The US Military used to claim the 2 1/2 War Doctrine--the ability to fight two major wars plus a low-level skirmish simultaneously. Apparently that wasn't grandiose enough, now the goal is the ability to fight everybody everywhere.

    I am sure they will try.

    Posted by: Gaianne | Oct 7 2008 4:58 utc | 23

    "Today, the Nation remains engaged in an era of persistent conflict against enemies intent on limiting American access and influence throughout the world."
    Other than- 'as well they might…' one might ask who on earth is the Nation? The Nation? The magazine? The empire? The ego? The hubris? Since when do these fools think that adding capitalization adds gravitas?

    Posted by: xaxat | Oct 8 2008 1:26 utc | 24

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