Colonel Timothy R Reese

I just stumbled across this while looking for information on whether the Iraqis were going to approve or reject the SOFA.

It's got a lot of hard truths in it, like this:

"The ineffectiveness and corruption of GOI Ministries is the stuff of legend."

"Corruption among officers is widespread"

"Cronyism and nepotism are rampant in the assignment and promotion system"

Basically the Iraqis are hopeless. As is the norm for the region. I still expect that to change in the future, but not on this shift. Maybe a couple of generations exposed to freedom of speech and democracy will bring about more people like AYS and Sarmad, but that's the long term plan. The short term plan was just to kick-start a democracy.

The option still exists to come back to Iraq another day. But as far as widespread slaughter is concerned, there are much better places to go (like Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia). When you've run out of people to kill there, only then should you be thinking about thumping some Iraqis to give them something genuine to complain about. And that doesn't require ground forces either. Don't get me wrong. I'm not wanting or expecting to carpet bomb Iraq in a decade or two. Not even put on sanctions. It's just - that's some of the possibilities that exist if you want to start culturally changing the Iraqis.

And that's basically what Reese's complaints are - about Iraqi culture. It is silly to expect that to change overnight or at all. Why do you think we win wars in the first place? Some Israeli was asked to explain how to achieve such amazing victories. His reply - "fight Arabs".

I do indeed hope that we can be good friends and even NATO allies (which would require both Australia and Iraq to join NATO) in the future. But in the short term, the US really needs to be making itself scarce. After all this effort, we really really really really really don't want to start an accidental war with the Iraqi people. And we can't do that if the US forces aren't even there.

Because here's what's important:

"Yet despite all their grievous shortcomings noted above, ISF military capability is sufficient to handle the current level of threats from Sunni and Shiite violent groups."

And here's the danger:

"We now have an Iraqi government that has gained its balance and thinks it knows how to ride the bike in the race. And in fact they probably do know how to ride, at least well enough for the road they are on against their current competitors. Our hand on the back of the seat is holding them back and causing resentment. We need to let go before we both tumble to the ground."

ie so long as they're not trying to invade Iran or Israel, they are already good enough to do the job. So an accelerated drawdown is the way to go.

Either that or you need to go up to Maliki and hit him with this letter and ask him for some sort of answer. Obviously we don't want him to be toppled - we don't want another Saddam back. But we need to avoid war with the Iraqi people at all costs. If we want to have a war with them in the future, fine - make sure it's the future, and make sure there's no US forces in the country when the war starts.

Personally, I think it just needs time for all the lies that the Arabs have been taught about the West to be exposed on the internet. When you're actually swapping jokes etc with those same infidels via the internet, the alleged horns are most likely going to disappear. And even if they don't - that's a job for another day, and another generation. Our generation has set up the required infrastructure to properly assess these nutcases in an environment of freedom. It is also our generation's responsibility to clean up the rest of the world (ie not Iraq), but that is a job we appear to be shirking.

Meanwhile, I'm as fascinated as the next guy as to what results that "infrastructure" and "assessing" is achieving. E.g. it looks like Sadr's support is going down, and Allawi's up. Which is the exact direction that things need to go in for a bright future for both Iraq and the world. So I am very hopeful for the future, but at the same time, "accelerated drawdown" is the operative word. Keep some planes in the vicinity to be called upon in the event of a military coup, but that's about it.

P.S. BTW, there's not much point commenting anymore, because the comments have gone beyond the point of being exported, so they won't carry across to wherever I end up when the replacement commenting system's trial ends.

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