Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 15:37:46 EST
From: Ray Close</a>
This was sent to me by a former Agency colleague, who received it from a
friend in the Pentagon. As if we did not have enough to be depressed
about this Christmas! I hate to do this to you good people, but I'm
afraid this is reality. I think the only hope we can have is that
perhaps we will get a chance in 2008 to set this country back on its
feet --- PERHAPS!
Note that the message came from a person in the Pentagon, of all
places! Good luck, Mr. Gates! And enjoy your rest, Mr. Rumsfeld.
Thanks for all you've done for us and for the Iraqis. As Dick Cheney
has reassured all of us --- you have been "the greatest secretary of
defense in the history of our country."
Happy New Year.
Received several interesting emails in recent weeks...........thought I
would share some of the more thoughtful ones.
*IRAQ IMPRESSIONS FROM A SOLDIER ON THE GROUND:*
A lot of you have asked for my current assessment, this is it. I'm not an
expert and I admit that I often miss the "big picture". My Brigadier, a
Brit, often reminds me of that, as does one of the local State Department
weinies, an oxygen thief of the highest magnitude. I remind the Brigadier
that the "troubles" in Ireland were only going to take a year to solve,
weren't they? I'm not a "big picture" guy, I'm a "sight picture" guy, so my
apologies to you deep thinkers. Me I prefer the "Bull" Halsey form of
mission statement. When he was asked by the press in 1944 what his mission
was, he replied, "Kill Japs, kill Japs and kill more Japs.". If only we had
that kind of clarity today.
As the Counter-Terrorism Advisor to the National Command Center, I see and
hear it all from the Iraqi side. I help them with targeting, planning and
execution, which, by the way, since the Ministry of Interior is vastly Shia
in all levels of leadership, involves only Sunni targets (go figure). The
Ministry of Defense, which is vastly Sunni, targets who? Anyone want to
venture a guess? Of course, Shia targets. So is there a reasonable thinker
out there who believes that when we leave, which will now be sooner than
later, this will automatically stop and these two organizations will
suddenly join hands, work together and go after the "terrorists"? My terp
and I overheard a conversation yesterday where the Iraqi Generals that work
in my building and who had just been watching Al Jazeera and receiving the
"truth" of the Armstrong/Baker Report were saying, happily, that we, the US,
would be leaving soon and they could now solve their "problem" the "Iraqi"
way. With these Shia Generals, who are Al Sadr worshippers, anybody want to
take a guess as to what their "problem" is, or what the "Iraqi" way entails?
Anyway, here's the assessment.
This place; big picture - hopeless. Wrong plan, wrong place. 2003-2004 was
done so wrong that we can't recover. The Iraqi leadership doesn't really
want us here, they just want our money and equipment and they want us to get
out of their way so they can accomplish their own personal agendas.
Everything is about positioning themselves for when we leave. And they know
we're leaving, every invader/occupier always has and this current one isn't
shy about stating it in the press. Corruption is an art form here and we
just keep playing into it.
In our collective arrogance, and our administration is pretty arrogant about
projecting our democracy throughout the world, we thought that we'd be able
to hand these folks the big "binder" on democracy, they'd thank us and
immediately transition to it. Don't worry about 6K years of culture and
history, surely they're smart enough to see that the 250+ year history of
success in the U.S. trumps theirs. Surely the majority Shias, who had been
repressed and murdered for 40 years by the minority Sunni Baathists, were
enough to overlook that short period of history. After all, everybody was
killing everybody for the previous 5600 years, what's a mere 40 years?
I guess we thought that the 5600 years of history had grown out of them
during the Saddam era when he was killing people just out of suspicion or
the sake of killing. His two sons, evil murderous barbarians that they
lived near here where I am and the stories from the locals abound with
horror. However, I digress.
The Bremer plan sealed our fate, particularly when we decided that anybody
who had held a position of leadership in the "former regime" was tainted
therefore, ineligible for anything other than unemployment. We also assumed
that just because the majority of the populace had been suppressed, didn't
mean they didn't have potential governmental skills. Wrong. They were
sufficiently skilled enough to become government street sweepers. The one
thing they were ready for was black markets, stealing, corruption and
militias. They all belonged to militias. Mahdi, Muhammed, Badr, Peshmerga,
everyone belonged. If they didn't belong they died. Security in
neighborhoods was accomplished my militias, not by police. Police were
nonexistent during Saddam's time.
The successful model for here is the Marshall plan, essentially Germany
WWII. By the way, that's what the Iraqi wanted. Every
invader/conqueror/occupier in the Iraq's history provided for the people.
Iraq was never without a "foreign" power in control until after WWII. Iraq
has always been provided for by their occupiers. I can't even begin to
how many Iraqis have said that we need to fully play the role of the "big
dog". According to them, we should kill more often, we should break the
of the militias, we should force the people to accept our leadership. We
trying to do the exact opposite and it's a recipe for failure that has been
well cooked. We should have come in, taken power, established our own
government and stood an Iraqi counterpart next to us for
5 years (it was 10 in Europe post-WW-II). We should have taken command of
their armies and police forces, instead of trying to be the half-hearted and
unable advisors that we've been. We should have forced the Sate Department
to play ball with DOD, instead of allowing them to create an internally
subversive system behind the scenes (if you don't believe that State
Department types hate military types, you just have to attend a few meetings
here). We should have employed lots more Special Forces and SF type leaders
to destroy the militias, in the surgical manner that SF is capable of. We
should have, we should have, we should have...
Anyway, any place that can use Black and Decker drills with practiced skill
to torture people over nothing more than their branch of the religion, and
then finish them off with a shot in the back of the head, is a long ways
froom democracy. Any place where 15-20 people die whenever Iraq wins a
soccer game, due to the falling bullets from massive volumes of celebratory
gunfire, and yet they continue to do it anyway, has little hope. Anyplace
where the general populace cheers and dances in the streets when the news
shows a Palestinian suicide bomber killing innocent Jewish women and
children, has little hope. Anyplace where the police force acts as the
kidnapping and execution arm of the militias and no one, not even the Prime
Minister will do anything, anything, about it, has little hope.
We just need to figure out an exit strategy that will keep casualties to a
minimum and get out, quickly. Then in 5-10 years, we'll be back to try to
break the back of the extremist Muslim regime that has been committing
genocide on other Muslims and has enabled/empowered terrorism against Jews,
Christians and America. Maybe we'll get it right on the return trip.
*FROM A RETIRED CASE OFFICER on ISG Report:*
I don't know whether there is a classified version of this
report, but the two pages on intelligence are, imo, astounding in their
They focus only on cultural/linguistic preparation, and analytic
expertise developed over time, recommendations that affect every
intelligence problem the u.s. faces or has ever faced. They fail to
address the larger organizational and conceptional issues involving
espionage, counterespionage, and clandestine operations in a war theater
and teamwork between dod and cia elements.
The humint "portion" of the report, a sentence, is egregious in this
regard. What does the phrase "humint has improved from 10 to 30 %"
mean? "humint", given my background, has to start and end with
privileged and valuable secret intelligence acquired by human sources
working inside the insurgency and its various elements, supplemented by
the softer forms of humint, such as information from LE, detainee
interrogations, and liaison.
The report totally overlooks the absence of hard humint and fails to
even attempt to identify the causes for this lack secret intelligence.
*FROM A SOLDIER COMING HOME from IRAQ:*
This was the easiest deployment in some ways. This was the hardest in some
Safest tactically, best food, best place to run, great weather, best
living quarters, great email connectivity, a short straight-forward simple
mission. No weird quirks or nuances. Just be a doc. No higher HQ next
bugging us. Sensible competent commander. Unit is low key, professional,
Hard to stay motivated when you know you are losing.
Hard to stay motivated when you sense American influence has passed
high-tide in the Mideast and is waning.
Hard to stay motivated when you know the American public lacks the
gumption to fight to win.
Hard to stay sharp when no imminent danger.
Hard to stay sharp in a support unit.
No excitement, no newness, no new life experiences.
In conclusion, I observed a phenomena within myself. Over these four
combat deployments and 15 years, I have gone from respecting Arab culture
and Islam to despising them. From curiosity, respect, and interest to
contempt. Perhaps akin to the soldiers who came home from the bitter Asian
wars (Japan, Korea, and Vietnam) hating the "Japs" , the "Chinks", the
"Gooks", till the day they died, long after the conflict had passed.
Left to myself..........I would crush Syria, Iran, Pakistan; all our
enemies. Utterly destroy their infrastructure and governments. I feel no
impulse to re-order Iraq, no wish at all to negotiate, nor to rebuild
anything; just to kill our enemies.
But, typical of America in the last thirty years, we straddle the
mouthing moral platitudes......while our enemies wax stronger every
day and plot our demise.
Looking forward..........life looks really good.
Home, work, family, friends; all those things are awaiting me.
I did my job to the best of my ability.
In the court of my own conscience, I fulfilled my duty.
No regrets. No guilt. No pangs of "if only I had....".
I still like the guy I see in the mirror.
I might have lost that if I did not take this mission.
Another one in the bank. Hope it is the last. Time will tell.