Is there a Phoenix Program in Iraq killing all the terrorists?

Bob Woodward of the Washington Post is claiming a new secret “killing program” is being used in Iraq with great success. Based on highly classified intelligence gathering techniques, US forces have been identifying, locating and eliminating terrorist threats (i.e. killing them).

It does sound like Phoenix but one wonders what sort of intelligence gathering we are talking about (mind reading?). We already tap probably every phone in the country and have spies throughout, so something even more advanced may be in play?

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4 thoughts on “Is there a Phoenix Program in Iraq killing all the terrorists?”

  1. Still no luck on this one – I’m scouring the web without any luck. Whoever knows is keeping their mouth shut. Still, there is some information to be gleaned:
    1. There was a sudden & precipitous drop in violence, suggesting an actual innovation rather than simply redoubling efforts. Long-term movements like ethnic cleansing or troop surges are therefore not tenable explanations.
    2. The key details must be known only to a very small group with high clearance, or it wouldn’t be a secret. This would argue against large-scale programs such as systematic ethnic cleansing and/or genocide, increased bombings, or even a Phoenix-like program (see #1 as well).
    3. A large number of AQI leaders were apparently eliminated without widespread reports of increased civilian casualties, suggesting an intelligence operation of surgical precision.
    4. I am not aware of any reporting from NGOs suggesting new advanced weaponry being used in Iraq. Extreme psychological techniques have demonstrated little success and led to terrible public embarrassments for the Bush administration. Though this is the weakest point, I believe the techniques must therefore be a mix of high technology and simple implementation.
    Insurgencies are like cancer… you have a population – people or cells – where some individuals have been reprogrammed to act in a fashion destructive to the group. There is no way to identify these individuals a priori, so the approach to both cancer and insurgencies is generally a broad (and broadly destructive) sweep designed to kill of the rogue elements but lead enough of the body intact to survive (chemo, radiation or troop surge).
    Research into cancer has focused on mechanisms for tagging cancerous cells so they can be targeted for individual destruction by more nuanced drugs. Apply this model to an insurgency and you have the possibility of tagging leaders so they can be easily identified and removed from the population (i.e., captured or killed).
    I won’t speculate on the exact way you could do this, but like I said, I’d go with something combining hi- and lo-tech, like training dogs to mark insurgent households with urine containing a chemical marker detectable by filtered goggles.
    Of course, we could just be coordinating efforts with Iran. Woodward said we’d be “amazed”. I’d be pretty amazed at that kind of political double-dealing with the American people, though not as amazed as I would have been just eight years ago.
    Cheers,
    Scott

  2. Still no luck on this one – I’m scouring the web without any luck. Whoever knows is keeping their mouth shut. Still, there is some information to be gleaned:
    1. There was a sudden & precipitous drop in violence, suggesting an actual innovation rather than simply redoubling efforts. Long-term movements like ethnic cleansing or troop surges are therefore not tenable explanations.
    2. The key details must be known only to a very small group with high clearance, or it wouldn’t be a secret. This would argue against large-scale programs such as systematic ethnic cleansing and/or genocide, increased bombings, or even a Phoenix-like program (see #1 as well).
    3. A large number of AQI leaders were apparently eliminated without widespread reports of increased civilian casualties, suggesting an intelligence operation of surgical precision.
    4. I am not aware of any reporting from NGOs suggesting new advanced weaponry being used in Iraq. Extreme psychological techniques have demonstrated little success and led to terrible public embarrassments for the Bush administration. Though this is the weakest point, I believe the techniques must therefore be a mix of high technology and simple implementation.
    Insurgencies are like cancer… you have a population – people or cells – where some individuals have been reprogrammed to act in a fashion destructive to the group. There is no way to identify these individuals a priori, so the approach to both cancer and insurgencies is generally a broad (and broadly destructive) sweep designed to kill of the rogue elements but lead enough of the body intact to survive (chemo, radiation or troop surge).
    Research into cancer has focused on mechanisms for tagging cancerous cells so they can be targeted for individual destruction by more nuanced drugs. Apply this model to an insurgency and you have the possibility of tagging leaders so they can be easily identified and removed from the population (i.e., captured or killed).
    I won’t speculate on the exact way you could do this, but like I said, I’d go with something combining hi- and lo-tech, like training dogs to mark insurgent households with urine containing a chemical marker detectable by filtered goggles.
    Of course, we could just be coordinating efforts with Iran. Woodward said we’d be “amazed”. I’d be pretty amazed at that kind of political double-dealing with the American people, though not as amazed as I would have been just eight years ago.
    Cheers,
    Scott

  3. Still no luck on this one – I’m scouring the web without any luck. Whoever knows is keeping their mouth shut. Still, there is some information to be gleaned:
    1. There was a sudden & precipitous drop in violence, suggesting an actual innovation rather than simply redoubling efforts. Long-term movements like ethnic cleansing or troop surges are therefore not tenable explanations.
    2. The key details must be known only to a very small group with high clearance, or it wouldn’t be a secret. This would argue against large-scale programs such as systematic ethnic cleansing and/or genocide, increased bombings, or even a Phoenix-like program (see #1 as well).
    3. A large number of AQI leaders were apparently eliminated without widespread reports of increased civilian casualties, suggesting an intelligence operation of surgical precision.
    4. I am not aware of any reporting from NGOs suggesting new advanced weaponry being used in Iraq. Extreme psychological techniques have demonstrated little success and led to terrible public embarrassments for the Bush administration. Though this is the weakest point, I believe the techniques must therefore be a mix of high technology and simple implementation.
    Insurgencies are like cancer… you have a population – people or cells – where some individuals have been reprogrammed to act in a fashion destructive to the group. There is no way to identify these individuals a priori, so the approach to both cancer and insurgencies is generally a broad (and broadly destructive) sweep designed to kill of the rogue elements but lead enough of the body intact to survive (chemo, radiation or troop surge).
    Research into cancer has focused on mechanisms for tagging cancerous cells so they can be targeted for individual destruction by more nuanced drugs. Apply this model to an insurgency and you have the possibility of tagging leaders so they can be easily identified and removed from the population (i.e., captured or killed).
    I won’t speculate on the exact way you could do this, but like I said, I’d go with something combining hi- and lo-tech, like training dogs to mark insurgent households with urine containing a chemical marker detectable by filtered goggles.
    Of course, we could just be coordinating efforts with Iran. Woodward said we’d be “amazed”. I’d be pretty amazed at that kind of political double-dealing with the American people, though not as amazed as I would have been just eight years ago.
    Cheers,
    Scott

  4. Still no luck on this one – I’m scouring the web without any luck. Whoever knows is keeping their mouth shut. Still, there is some information to be gleaned:
    1. There was a sudden & precipitous drop in violence, suggesting an actual innovation rather than simply redoubling efforts. Long-term movements like ethnic cleansing or troop surges are therefore not tenable explanations.
    2. The key details must be known only to a very small group with high clearance, or it wouldn’t be a secret. This would argue against large-scale programs such as systematic ethnic cleansing and/or genocide, increased bombings, or even a Phoenix-like program (see #1 as well).
    3. A large number of AQI leaders were apparently eliminated without widespread reports of increased civilian casualties, suggesting an intelligence operation of surgical precision.
    4. I am not aware of any reporting from NGOs suggesting new advanced weaponry being used in Iraq. Extreme psychological techniques have demonstrated little success and led to terrible public embarrassments for the Bush administration. Though this is the weakest point, I believe the techniques must therefore be a mix of high technology and simple implementation.
    Insurgencies are like cancer… you have a population – people or cells – where some individuals have been reprogrammed to act in a fashion destructive to the group. There is no way to identify these individuals a priori, so the approach to both cancer and insurgencies is generally a broad (and broadly destructive) sweep designed to kill of the rogue elements but lead enough of the body intact to survive (chemo, radiation or troop surge).
    Research into cancer has focused on mechanisms for tagging cancerous cells so they can be targeted for individual destruction by more nuanced drugs. Apply this model to an insurgency and you have the possibility of tagging leaders so they can be easily identified and removed from the population (i.e., captured or killed).
    I won’t speculate on the exact way you could do this, but like I said, I’d go with something combining hi- and lo-tech, like training dogs to mark insurgent households with urine containing a chemical marker detectable by filtered goggles.
    Of course, we could just be coordinating efforts with Iran. Woodward said we’d be “amazed”. I’d be pretty amazed at that kind of political double-dealing with the American people, though not as amazed as I would have been just eight years ago.
    Cheers,
    Scott

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