] On June 30, 2004, Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack, Jr.
] addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy
] Forum. General Swannack commanded the 82nd Airborne
] Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom, conducting
] combat and stability-and-security operations. The
] following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
. . .
] The primary mission of the 82nd Airborne was to capture or kill
] those trying to kill U.S. soldiers. In order to achieve that
] goal, the division had to gain the support and assistance of
] local populations. In August 2003, the division received an
] average of twenty tips per week regarding insurgent activity. By
] March 2004, this figure had increased to 300 per week.
] Encouraging Iraqis to support the U.S. military is the key to
] achieving stability, and these figures show that U.S. forces have
] made significant headway. As little as one percent of the
] population is actually interested in attacking coalition forces.
] Most of the remaining 99 percent of Iraqis are on the fence; they
] are potential supporters of either the coalition or the
] insurgency. For the most part, it seems that they have supported
] the coalition because they want a better future for Iraq.
] That 1 percent, however, has sought to intimidate the majority.
] Hence, in order to gain the trust of the Iraqi people, the 82nd
] Airborne went after the insurgents with surgical precision. It
] also created a public works program that stimulated the economy
] and employed Iraqis -- principally young, military-eligible males
] who were potential insurgents -- so that they could provide for
] their families through legitimate rather than nefarious means.
An interesting report from the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.