The Telegraph reports that
... Lieutenant General Jack Stultz, the head of the US Army Reserve, gave a stark warning that not enough use was being made of civilian affairs officers under his command.
They are charged with talking to ordinary Iraqis and co-ordinating infrastructure projects.
In a downbeat assessment of US-Iraqi military relations, Gen Stultz also warned that cultural differences between the US regular army and Iraqi soldiers had impaired efforts to train local forces to take control of security.
His assessment is widely shared by British commanders but it is a remarkably frank contribution from an American general at a time when President George W Bush's surge strategy to target insurgents with combat power is under scrutiny.
Gen Stultz, who served two years in Iraq before being promoted to command of the Reserve, did not criticise the surge strategy.
But he suggested that the increase in "kinetic warfare" should now be accompanied by more work for what he calls the Reserve's "warrior citizens": the doctors, lawyers, police, firemen, bankers and engineers under his command who help build roads and run clinics, schools, power plants and water treatment facilities.
He said: "There hasn't been a civil affairs surge. We have been providing a certain level of civil affairs capability. I'm not sure we're always capitalising on the civil affairs non-kinetic effect as best as we can. Before you go in and use the hard effect, there's the opportunity to go in with the civil affairs and talk to the local community." (via - June 24, 2007 show)
The value of civilian affairs officers comes as no surprise to anyone but people who listen to Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh, you may remember, characterizes those American soldiers and marines (Paul Hackett, for instance) as "staff pukes."