Saturday, August 14, 2004


I continue to keep up with events in Iraq on a daily basis, through a variety of means including the press, email, blogs, personal contacts, etc. I have also communicated directly with those involved in military operations - both in and out of Iraq - to better understand their perspective and knowledge of the situation. I post some of this on the Texans for Peace, End the War in Iraq website http://www.texansforpeace.org/endthewar .

The situation in that country continues to devolve because: 1. U.S. strategy is flawed, and 2. Military tacticians still don't understand the environment they are working in. The result is a failure of wisdom about what do in the near term as well as long.

The key to "winning" in Iraq is a strategy of strengthening the middle-class through economic development and restoration of middle-class institutions. Lack of jobs have created as much opposition as anything else but this also includes cultural, medical, and social development. Such development does not require an overarching military presence to be achieved, yet the Pentagon remains in charge of these areas. While the military has many well-trained and educated personnel, too few have successful experience with development or "nation building". Successful is the operational word. Is it wise to put the same personnel who failed in Haiti, Bosnia, and Afghanistan in charge of the reconstruction of Iraq?

Tactical operations are hindered by the lack (still!) of direct communication with Iraqis. Too few operational decisionmakers communicate directly with Iraqis. Hey Col. and Maj.s, dress in civvies and escape into the city on your own and you'll find your perspective completely changed. Notwithstanding that, help rather than hinder, those of us who are willing to do things under civilians auspices. Yes it's dangerous work, but necessary. There are Americans and other Westerners working throughout Iraq, even as this is written, outside of the "Green" zone and without help or hindrance by the "security forces". Wouldn't it be wiser to enlist those whom Iraqis regard as friends rather than those regarded as foreign military occupiers?

"Of all our possessions, wisdom alone is immortal." - Pythagoras


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