October 10, 2014

Iraq - Another Exercise In Futility

There is a reason why strong despots are (were?) the rule in the Middle East; they kept a lid on the Islamic nut cases that wanted to impose Sharia law on everyone. History will decide if the stupidest thing we've done in the last 100 years was to depose Saddam Hussein.

And now that they're killing each other in droves again, do we want to go back? Invest more lives, more treasure in the Muslim trailer park? We invested over 4,000 lives and $25 billion in rebuilding the Iraqi security forces so they could take care of themselves. For what?

The American Conservative has a compelling article on why the Iraqi security forces- some 900,000 men - has folded before an ISIS invasion of no more than 50,000. Entire battalions (63 so far) have melted away before the fundamentalist onslaught. Tens of billions of dollars of military equipment were abandoned and are now being used by terrorists.

The reasons? Culture and corruption.

Culture - it's how they have been socialized for centuries. Iraqis are not Americans and will never be. They are not Christians nor have they been exposed to Christian values. They do not think like we do and they do not act like we do. It is insanity to train them like we do.
...loyalty was the biggest factor in the Iraqi failures. After their own families, the soldiers and leaders were loyal to their tribes and then their religion, he said. “Iraq as a nation falls at the bottom of the list. Combine this with lack of cohesion, unity, loyalty, and camaraderie among themselves, and you have an organization that will disintegrate under pressure,”
Corruption - Bakeesh is a way of life in the Middle East and under Islamic law, rape isn't such a bad thing either.
Leaders looked out for themselves first by making side deals involving food, water, and even electricity if they were sitting on top of a generator. I got the first two battalion commanders I worked with fired for corruption that involved taking money out of soldier’s salaries and the rape of local Sunni women by the Shia soldiers. I understand what we consider corrupt in our culture was not in theirs, and I was learning to live with it. But I told them if it starts directly involving the welfare of their men, then I would come after them.
There's more than enough blame to go around. Our generals certainly may have had a hand in it also as they apparently were more concerned about greasing their own careers rather than reporting the facts.
“Claims by Petraeus, Dempsey, and other U.S. generals of Iraqi effectiveness were always exaggerated or false,” said (Ret.) Col. Doug Macgregor, an author and Army consultant who served in the first Gulf War. “The generals were simply cultivating their Bush administration sponsors in pursuit of further promotion.”
And we're inviting the same kind of failure in Afghanistan.

1 comment:

Kid said...

Any "conventional warfare" we execute over there amounts to nothing more than sending our Sons and Daughters into an infested home, stomping on 10% of the cockroaches then leaving after x number of years and too many good lives and limbs wasted.

Nuke the Entire place or leave it alone.