The Iraq War in Review

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Jabbadabbado, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I'm not sure stabilizing Iraq was ever an achievable objective even though I agree with you we took on that responsibility from the moment we invaded under the banner of regime change. It was a no-win situation from the outset. The failure of our domestic politics was just symptomatic in my view of having bought a problem with no workable solution.

    We went in with the understanding that the U.S. was already militarily overcommitted across the globe and that it could never become the total war and total nation building effort that the situation demanded.
  2. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    The biggest issue-and the cause of the terrorist rabble ever having leverage at all in Iraq-was the politically dictated disestablishment of the remains of the Iraqi Army; the Army was a source of national pride for alot of Iraqis, and when it was ordered that it wasn't going to exist anymore alot of Iraqis began to view us as occupiers instead of liberators. It gave AQI alot of leverage. Granted, they squandered that leverage by starting a sectarian war and slaying thousands of civilians to keep the two sides at each other's throats, but dissolving the Iraqi military and bureaucratic parts of the government was an incredibly bad decision. We didn't even do that to Germany after WW2-the Wehrmacht went away, but it was under conditions of surrender that Germany agreed to-the Iraqis did not have that luxury and it made all the difference in the world.
  3. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    That's where we disagree. The old Iraqi Army had to be disbanded, and nothing was wrong, from a policy standpoint, of "De-Baathification." The framework for disbanding the Iraqi Army had already been successfully tried with the Dayton Accords with the FRY forces in former Yugoslavia. Remember, you aren't mentioning 2 very important things:

    1)The goal wasn't just to disband the Iraqi Army. As I'm sure you know, the US undertook an extensive background process to reconstitute the Iraqi military, up to and including interviewing local and national figures to see which leaders would be competent and moral enough to represent the military to the people. The reality remains that you can't have a professional military if the local Colonel was a lapdog of the dictatorship and engaged in things like making critics of Saddam disappear, or on a less sinister scale, was part of the bloated, inefficient patronage system.

    2)At the time, back in 2003, 2004..The US was also listening to the input of the Iraqi rebels, oppposition leaders, whatever you want to call them, including who would become the interim President of Iraq. Their recommendations also guided the course of re-building the Iraqi Army. Now, one could debate how much the opposition leaders may or may not have represented the overall people, but as is what is the reality in post-Qudaffi Libya, they were the only ones available.

    As it turned out, the dynamic situation in Iraq made De-Baathification more difficult. But it had to be done, and Iraq is much better off in the long run for it. Or at least it offers a better chance for success. The breaking down and re-building/re-training of the Iraqi Army is one of the more successful programs to come out of the US's involvement.
  4. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I agree on the long-term part, at least for the Army. Cost us alot of local good will in the process, though, particularly considering that most of the people we wound up recruiting had been Iraqi Army to begin with; and it seems to be getting back to business as usual for the rest of the government these days.
  5. Sock2008 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 15, 2008
    star 3
    One of the goals of the occupation and re-colonization of Iraq was - according to the new saint of the chattering classes, Christopher Hitchens, no less - the full "demilitarization" of Iraq.

    Armed Iraq would always be a threat to US and Israel etc, so there could be no Iraqi Army, old or new. And as a happy "co-incidence", a demilitarized Iraq would then need the infinite presence of US troops to keep order...
  6. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
  7. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah, that's about as farthest from the truth as anything.

    As Boba can also attest to, one thing that the US Army excels at-it's probably unmatched in capability in the entire world- is retraining and professionalizing foreign armies. This sometimes brings consequences with it (for example in some Latin American countries) but it's something that that the US has perfected. It's hardly ever discussed, but when the US Army retrained the Iraqi military from the ground up, it obviously focused on combat tactics and training. But it also included how to resist bribes. It included professional grooming standards...and finance and paperwork training. A similar idea of the "total soldier training" is also being used in Afghanistan. I don't think it's something the public really thinks about, because all the news footage one sees is simply a bunch of Iraqi troops standing around shooting guns. Certainly, news coverage of Iraqi soldiers learning how to fill out daily log reports makes for boring ratings, but would probably give an overall picture. At any rate, the goal was never to demilitarize Iraq. It was just about the exact opposite.
  8. Sock2008 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 15, 2008
    star 3
    That's pure and simple jingoism with little to show for it as far as I'm concerned.

    I can't think of a single succesful example where the "new" army wouldn't have been based on a previous, long-established military force.
  9. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    jingoism?

    To quote Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means..."

    The point is that the US most certainly wanted a Iraq with its own professional and independent military. A cynic could certainly suggest that in realigning Iraq along tactics and training that are compatible with the West, the country would be more willing to remain so, and I would agree with this assessment. But the simple fact is that a stable, professional, less patronage based military is more able to marginalize the influence of extremism, no matter where it comes from.

    On a related note, there is already warnings being raise by the Defense Department and the State Department that the President may have pulled US troops out too soon. Not combat troops, but training and stabilization personnel may have been reduced too quickly. It was a political decision, but one which may have consequences within Iraq because the country may already be falling into a sort of coup and re-aligning with Shiite religious control.