Early signs of military success related to the surge are starting to spread, though less well known is that while attacks are down and enemy dead are up, our reinforced commitment to success in Iraq has brought about a boon in tactical, actionable intelligence. General Petraeus is noted in the New York Post as saying that military units are suffering from “information overload.”
Lest one think that this is the-man-who-wrote-the-plan spreading sunshine because his career depends on the plan succeeding, a colleague in Iraq – much farther down the chain of command and less inclined to either hyperbole or PC-speech – confirms:
“Once we set up shop we end up with more intel than we know what to do with. Not uncorroborated data but the five-Ws and then some. What we can't do is act on it all.”
Intelligence in counterinsurgency, and indeed all conflicts we will deal with in the future, is paramount. What point on the earth can't we blow up? The trick is identifying the point. This intelligence success would not be possible without the support of the local population, which suggests that "the surge" is working at a very granular level: exactly what is needed to break an insurgency.