Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Phase IV & Iraq: Rummie Still Doesn't Get It

Apologies to regular readers for hiatus: new job brought new responsibilities and opportunities. To the heart of the matter: Rummie still doesn't get it. 'Still' as in in not learning from the stupid choice on Phase IV (post-major combat) Ops in Iraq, especially concerning footprint size.

Rumsfeld memo was interpreted by the NYTimes as being an expression of him not knowing he was leacing office: I disagree. The memo looks more like an attempt at legacy-making ("I said so, but...").

The present brouhaha over directions on Iraq (not that I belittle the challenges) notwithstanding, the memo is interesting because it reveals that in spite of his greenlighting of the DoD 3000 (more
here), Rumsfeld still does'nt (didn't) get the challenges of Stabilization and Reconstruction (S&R). This fact is most visible in the lead-in to the memo -- through the sin of omission:

The situation in Iraq has been evolving, and U.S. forces have adjusted,
over time, from major combat operations to counterterrorism, to
counterinsurgency, to dealing with death squads and sectarian violence. In my
view it is time for a major adjustment.

Unless counterinsurgency here is to be taken in the wider form advocated by many: as profoundly political operation type including heavy civilian side investment S&R is nowhere here. The trouble is, of course, that no one else then Pentagon is there or has field incentives to deal with the challenges. The interagency issue appears as the fundamental challenge in everything we try to do:
Aggressively beef up the Iraqi MOD and MOI, and other Iraqi ministries critical
to the success of the ISF — the Iraqi Ministries of Finance, Planning, Health,
Criminal Justice, Prisons, etc. — by reaching out to U.S. military retirees and
Reserve/National Guard volunteers (i.e.,
give up on trying to get other USG
Departments to do it.
) [emphasis added]
The Pentagon issued DoD Directive 3000.5 has effectively been undercut by the NSPD44 (which hands final responsibility for reconstruction to State i.e. the civilian side).

Coalition forces are mentioned briefly: as part of pedagogical drawing dawn in order to make ISF 'pull their socks up', and, implicitly, let them stay in terms of SOF and explicitly as key partners on training of ISF. Training emerges as the next big thing in Security: building effective and just institutions to take well care of their country. Oops, did that sound as Development? Indeed, it did.

The military tasks we undertake today and tomorrow will look more and more like development in their longterm goals -- and so their means. Rumsfeld didn't get that, and Gates probably wont either as he is a safe fallback guy. But I hope to be wrong.

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