Skip to comments.It Was Right To Dissolve the Iraqi Army
Posted on 09/17/2007 8:53:55 PM PDT by neverdem
We broke America's terrible habit of ruling by proxy through military regimes.
Take a moment to imagine what would have been written in the liberal press had the old military class been preserved and utilized to "stabilize" Iraq. I can write the headlines for you: "Baathist War Criminal Gets Second Career as American Employee"; "Once-Wanted Man, Brigadier Kamal Now Shares Jokes With 82nd Airborne"; "Kurds and Shiites Say: What Regime Change?"; "From Basra to Kirkuk, America Brings Saddamism Without Saddam." And, if you like, I can add the names of the reporters who would have written the stories.
This is not just another way of saying that there were few good options in Iraq's future, because anybody with any sense knows that already. Nor is it a defense of the very abrupt and peremptory way in which Paul Bremer dismissed the officer corps almost overnight. However, I think it stands to the credit of the United States that it did not insult the population by grabbing and using the existing reins of repression, just as it stands to our credit that we adopted de-Baathification, or, in other words, the policy of demolishing the rule of a corrupt and fascistic party. People say that the poor management of this issue led to an insurgency from quarters that would have hated a change of regime from whichever source it had come. Better that than a revolt against us from the people who detested the whole Saddamist system to begin withthe majority, lest we forget...
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
Hitchens is right about what the papers would write, but that doesn’t matter because they will pull that whatever direction the policy takes.
This is a very good point. To this day I still see articles or programs where someone reminds us that after WWII the United States let former Nazis return to positions of power, or that we had them assist us in other matters.
Speaking of Bremer and the early powerbrokers in-country, I am always fascinated with this Sep ‘04 article in Harpers.....it seems to have played out for at least 2+ years since its publication as expected by the writer (regardless her liberal bent, as I see it), changing only recently, and only to the extent that it has....
Baghdad year zero:
Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia
By Naomi Klein
Thanks for the link.
Right after the success of military operations in Iraq, General Petraeus' 101st Airborne had control of the city of Mosul. According to Agresto, "he ran it in radically different ways than the rest of Iraq was run" and Mosul was "calm" in contrast to other parts of Iraq.
Then, after control of Mosul was passed on to others, it "began to rival the worst sections of Baghdad for attacks on Coalition forces and violence against Iraqis."
One of the ways in which Petraeus ran Mosul differently from the way things were done in the rest of Iraq, according to Agresto, was not to get rid of existing public officials wholesale, despite their being members of the former ruling Baath Party.
Somebody has to run the basic institutions that make civilized life possible and you can't just get rid of those who know how to run those institutions before you have someone qualified to replace them. Apparently General Petraeus was pragmatic enough to understand that.
a good example of “33 years of going around minefields instead of through them”, as he said to one reporter who asked a loaded question at the Press Club affair.
General Petraeus is a true Leader.
Chris they do pay you by the word!
Eye opening article.
Hitchens is even more stupid than usual in this article.
Not too different from what happened after Napoleon was exiled to Elba and the powers that be kept on some of Napoleons henchmen around resulting in a second clash. Fortunately Napoleon was defeated again at Waterloo but that was nearly a disaster.
If we would have captured Saddam and his cronies, compelled some sort of official surrender; then keeping some of the Iraqi army to maintain security might have been wise.
A faulty belief in reconciliation is largely responsible for the disintegration of security in Mosul. Rather than confront Baathists and Islamists, General David Petraeus empowered them. Discussing his strategy at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on April 7, 2004, Petraeus explained, "The coalition must reconcile with a number of the thousands of former Ba'ath officials ... giving them a direct stake in the success of the new Iraq." Good in theory, but the result was Potemkin calm.
Petraeus assigned former Baathist General Mahmud Muhammad al-Maris, for example, to lead Iraqi Border Police units guarding the Syrian border. Al-Maris handpicked allies and poked holes in an already porous border. Petraeus allowed another former Baathist, General Muhammad Kha'iri Barhawi, to be Mosul's police chief. Not only did such a choice demoralize Iraqis who suffered under the former regime, but it undercut security.
On July 26, 2004, Brigadier General Andrew MacKay, head of the Coalition Police Assistance Training Team, told Pentagon officials. "We are seeing an increasing confidence within the Iraqi Police Service as they realize they are more than a match for the terrorists - even more so when they are led by officers of Major General Barhawi's ability." Unfortunately, the confidence was misinterpreted. After the November 2004 uprising in Mosul, Coalition officials learned that Barhawi had organized insurgent cells and enabled Islamists and former Baathists to briefly seize the city. Barhawi is now in prison. And both Iraqis and Americans are dead because of misplaced confidence and baseless theories.