Thursday, July 12, 2007

More War, More Failure – GW Bush’s Iraq

Two active duty US Army Major Generals in the midst of combat in Iraq, publicly asked for more time to win the war. Two-star Generals Lynch and Mixion did their best politically to support their Commander and Chief GW Bush to continue the war. About the same time, a retired three-star General William Odum and retired four-star General Wesley Clark came out strongly for US troop withdrawals from Iraq. Just goes to tell you what retirement does for a clear conscience. Active duty Lynch and Mixion are pursuing more stars on their shoulders, and that may explain their fervor for war... For Odum and Clark, that quest is now over.

Pick any metric you wish: continuing high rate of US casualties; mounting piles of dead Iraqis; growing sectarian violence; increasing lethality of insurgent weapons; collapsing of US sponsored Maliki government, which fails to meet benchmarks; Iraq security forces who fail to hold territory; and, even the enormous amount of deadlined US military equipment; and you find failure. Lynch replied to charges that the US Army is broken by citing 500 reenlistments in Iraq on the 4th of July and the success of clearing actions; but admitted difficulties in holding territory. The issue of morale and reenlistments is dependent on how many soldiers eligible for reenlistment in fact reenlisted. The general did not tell us that. Holding territory is mandatory for success. If the insurgents return after US forces depart, all you have left for the combat effort are dead US forces, expended ammunition, destruction, and hot air. In this case it is a pointless operation and foolishly has been going on mindlessly for the course of the Iraqi war. These tactics were a failure in Vietnam as well as now in Iraq – it is as if the Army leadership learned nothing from the past.

As far as the Army being broken, you can judge for yourself. The Army now promotes nearly 100 percent 1st lieutenants to captain. The normal rate is little over 50 percent. Additionally, newly promoted captains who are willing to remain for three more years are enticed with a $20,000 bonus. By failing to weed out substandard lieutenants, and from my experience there are many, the Army has a built in, festering, rot that will infect the officer corps in the future. West Point graduates are bailing out of the Army at a rate not seen in the last thirty years. ROTC scholarships are unfilled.

There is an estimated shortage of 7,500 junior officers. Latest figures indicate the Army is short 3,000-3,500 noncommissioned officers. To keep enlistments up, ages have been raised from 35 to 42; high school drop outs, drug users and convicted criminals are now recruited. Overall educational standards have also been reduced. Noted the last time I was at Reagan International Airport, the presence of two female enlisted soldiers dressed in fatigues who had asses so broad, it would take a crane to lift them into the back of an open truck; forget about squeezing them into a humvee or troop carrier. For air transport, you would need a heavy lift cargo helicopter just to get them off the ground.

This depressing manpower picture for the US Army is being compounded by combat tours extended from 12 to 15 months with same troops deployed for multiple combat tours. Stress levels are high and beginning to affect combat effectiveness.

The measure to compensate for troop shortages and military skills in Iraq with contract civilian contract workers is a GW Bush twist on privatization of war. The number of private contractors in Iraq has been reported from 30,000 to 120,000; so like illegal immigrants, it is one those confounded mysteries that Bush administration is unable to talk straight on or penetrate, despite the fact it is responsible for the numbers. We were told that these contractors are involved in security, logistics, maintenance, repair and nation building infrastructure projects. This requires an expenditure of billions of dollars a week. Contracts mainly have been no-bid, time and materials which are really open ended and not easy to monitor for waste and abuse; there are already billions for which are unaccounted. The Democratic congressional oversight committees are now just lifting up the rocks, and some contractors have been prosecuted. The effect of this spending is that the Iraq war is big bucks: big business now earnestly protected by hired lobbyists. This explains some of the reasons the congress just does not have the heart to end the war: it loves that lobbyist money too, too much.

Perhaps the most egregious of out-sourced or privatization in Iraq is that of combat intelligence. The multi national British company Aegis Defense Services Ltd has been awarded a 293 million dollar cost plus contract for battlefield threat assessment and electronic tracking. The company is headed by Tim Spicer, a mercenary soldier of note – his employees are mainly ex military collected from many different countries. That his people can provide physical security and cut throats when required is not challenged, but whether a multinational, foreign owned organization can securely provide accurate, timely operational intelligence to US forces is another question. The security clearances of his sometimes unsavory crowd is another problem; all these guys work for bought loyalties, and easily sell out to the highest bidder. So forget about a realistic security regime in Spicer's operation. One thing SecDef Gates as a former CIA director should understand, is that NATO leaked sensitive information regularly. Spicer promises NATO like clearances. Insurgent and al Qaeda intelligence operatives are overjoyed by the prospect of such an easy target. Further, the real time communication and staff interfaces with US forces are tenuous – the opportunities for mischief and disinformation are seriously enhanced by this cynical effort to reduce US military participation in the war. It is plainly reckless to hand over intelligence operations to a foreign third party in combat, or any other time. The wrong way Neocon sect must still be in charge at the Pentagon to embrace such stupidity. That SecDef Gates, with his intelligence background, concurred in this set up is unbelievable...

Dice continue to roll in Iraq. SecDef Gates has cancelled his trip to Latin America this week to focus on Iraq. Despite a stiff upper lip by a beleaguered Bush administration, the edifice has cracked. Facing the fact that US troops are in the middle of a bloody civil war, Republican senators are now getting queazy over the conflict and seeking to embrace the Baker Hamilton Committee recommendations. These sleazy politicians love to play battle checkers with human life in their detached way. But this is only a very small move in the right direction – the US must get out completely from Iraqi land, because the Arabs and Shiites will not accept a dagger in their back and will carry on the fight with suicidal Jihadist fervor. Our troops sitting in fortified areas, as the French Foreign Legion in the old days, will be hammered, as their supply routes are slowly squeezed shut... Sure, we can remain in the area, if prepared to pay the price. But for what? Oil is over $70.00 per barrel, and jihadist ranks are swelling daily with our presence in their lands. Do not want hear that baloney about stopping terrorism over there, so it does not come here. Mr. Bush owns a broken Iraq. He has delighted the Israelis with their rah, rah neocons by putting US troops near the heart of Levant. He has paid a high price to do this. Question is how much more is he prepared to pay in blood and treasure to hold his position? Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET
*Photograph: Etching by Francisco de Goya


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As it has been said America is not fighting the Global War on Terrorism. The Army and the Marines and their families are the only ones feeling the pain and suffering of this war. No one else is! Bush has said that our survival depends on winning this war. Why don't we have draftees? Draftees would get rid of the fat do nothing women in the army. (Army chow does make their asses wide.) My wife calls them cheap entertainment. I have been against the war since before it started. My year of active duty in Iraq has shown me we are not going to win. But draftees would have given us some options that we currently do not have. Plus they would be cheaper. No elected member of the House our Senate would who wants to be reelected would ever bring up the subject of a draft.
Wars are generally very inflationary and this one will be no exception. Going on to Offutt AFB last night - all the civilian gate guards. Not to mention, the airport security legions hired. Who is going to pay for all of this? When are these newly hired government creeps with guns, going to be fired so they can go back to their barstools?
Life is very surreal in America now; but this is nothing on how it is going to be as time goes on.
The United States will no longer be in the "superpower" status. Our desruction did not take that long, probably because it came from within.

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Well writen, a sad, but I believe it is an accurate acessment.

Again I think your post should have a wider following. is a good site Or an OP Ed in a Newspaper?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post


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