Iraq: July 13, 2003


The American media is reporting that the Pentagon, State Department and CIA are arguing over who failed to come up with a perfect plan for dealing with post-war Iraq. The Pentagon took the lead in post-war planning, which made sense as the Special Forces have studied these situations for over half a century and have thousands of Civil Affairs troops trained and ready to deal with it. The history of Iraq and it's current situation (before the war) was no secret, and was being regularly reported in the media. But the media has an insatiable appetite for disaster, thus the current situation in Iraq is viewed darkly in order to remain a competitive story. Nothing new or unique in that, but the unwillingness to look at the situation overall gives a false and misleading picture of what is happening in Iraq. Every day, there is overall progress in reviving the economy and restoring order. While the attacks on American troops, something that happens almost exclusively in Sunni Arab areas that were very loyal to the Baath Party and Saddam, are always reported, other important aspects of the occupation are not. Many of these Saddam loyalists are being caught and interrogated. Naturally, the American forces are not eager to share what they are finding out from these interrogations, lest Baath discover how much the Americans know. But every week, more key Baath leaders are caught. It's important not to ignore the story that is not sensational, for it is often the more important one.

One story that is being missed is the long standing friction between army generals and their Special Operations troops (Special Forces, Psychological Warfare and Civil Affairs.) The senior brass never quite got the message that Special Operations is more about ideas and persuasion than bombs and bullets. This goes back to Vietnam, and the this unseen battle has continued in Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Few people in uniform want to talk about this, as such open discussions tend to terminate careers.


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