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SWJED
07-18-2006, 08:39 AM
18 July Washington Post commentary - The Price Of Success In Iraq (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/17/AR2006071701151.html) by Anthony Cordesman.


The United States and the government of Iraq should have a common goal: To restore Iraq to full sovereignty and withdraw American forces as soon as the insurgency is defeated or contained and Iraqi forces are able to take over the security mission -- and as soon as the United States is reasonably confident that Iraq has reached some degree of political stability.

But there is a price that U.S. forces will have to pay to have any chance of serious success. It is this: If an amnesty that brings insurgents into the Iraqi political process is possible, the United States cannot indulge in political posturing over whether some of the insurgents who join the government are people who attacked and wounded or killed Americans.

Violent terrorists and extremists will be excluded from such Iraqi proposals in any case. But there are a significant number of Sunnis and other insurgents who saw the United States as an invader, an "occupier" and a "crusader," and who saw their struggle as a war.

This will mean amnesty for some who struck American as well as Iraqi targets. There are as many as 20 such Sunni movements, and ultimately some Shiite elements may be involved. If Iraq is to have peace and reach a stable series of political compromises, these insurgents need to be brought into the political process. They need to be treated as combatants and not as criminals or terrorists.

This not only is the best way to minimize future U.S. casualties, it is also the best way to give meaning to the sacrifices of American soldiers. The goal and purpose of their service is a free Iraq, not punishing the enemy...

jcustis
07-20-2006, 02:11 AM
I heard a State Dept spokesman say today that he didn't see how a ceasefire with a terrorist organization (Hezbollah) was possible. If State is making statements like that, I can only imagine how much they'd wring their hands when coming to grips with dialogue between us and the variety of groups and individuals employing violence in Iraq.

Is Cordesman the strongest voice for amnesty and demobilization of armed insurgent groups? Is he the only voice and the sharpest critic, thus making it difficult for the administration to take his views seriously?

Tom Odom
07-20-2006, 01:21 PM
Cordesman is hardly the sole advocate of amnesty and similar programs. Depending on who in State was talking, you were probably getting the party line, not the reasoned thinking of State professionals.

A Dr. Sepp from the Naval Postrgraduate School had a good article in Mil Review May-June 2005 on "Best Practices in Counterinsurgency". Amnesty was on the list.

Meanwhile our COIN doctrine calls for amnesty as part of Phase III COIN operations.

As for Hizballah and its current status, all things are possible. Remember Begin was Irgun. Yitzhak Shamir was Stern Gang (Lehi). Very little difference in thinking between Lehi and Hizballah.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern_Gang

Best

Tom

SWJED
07-23-2006, 10:25 AM
23 July Miami Herald commentary - Price of Success in Iraqi War Will be Painful (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/opinion/15094202.htm) by Anthony Cordesman. Rerun of the earlier Washington Post piece...


... there is a price that U.S. forces will have to pay to have any chance of serious success.

First: If an amnesty that brings insurgents into the Iraqi political process is possible, the United States cannot indulge in political posturing over whether some of the insurgents who join the government are people who attacked and wounded or killed Americans.

Violent terrorists and extremists will be excluded from such Iraqi proposals in any case. But there are a significant number of Sunnis and other insurgents who saw the United States as an invader, an ''occupier'' and a ''crusader,'' and who saw their struggle as a war.

This will mean amnesty for some who struck American as well as Iraqi targets. There are as many as 20 such Sunni movements, and ultimately some Shiite elements may be involved. If Iraq is to have peace and reach a stable series of political compromises, these insurgents need to be brought into the political process. They need to be treated as combatants and not as criminals or terrorists.

This not only is the best way to minimize future U.S. casualties, it is also the best way to give meaning to the sacrifices of American soldiers. The goal and purpose of their service is a free Iraq, not punishing the enemy.

Second: It must be shown, by the Iraqi government, that it will separately investigate any charge against U.S. personnel in Iraq. The new government cannot claim to be free or sovereign while ignoring American abuses to date. We have made real mistakes, and a handful of soldiers have committed real crimes. The Iraqi people must see that their government will not ignore this or defer to us because of its dependence upon us.

At the same time, we need to understand that honest investigations of this kind will save American lives. Iraq is filled with false charges and conspiracy theories. Exaggerating or falsifying U.S. incidents and crimes is a key propaganda weapon for our enemies. Iraqi investigations that refute such charges, explain the necessities of battle and show that U.S. and Iraqi forces are cooperating will defuse such charges and the anger and vengeance that follow. It will also give credibility to our efforts to end the involvement of the Iraqi police and security forces in abuses, death squads and other actions that move the country toward civil war and that aid the insurgency.

Third: There must be a steady increase in Iraqi decision-making and command authority, and Iraqi control over the actions of U.S. forces. The rate at which this occurs should be left to the U.S. ambassador in Iraq and the U.S. military. If it comes too fast, it will endanger victory. If it comes too slowly, it will endanger Iraqi political unity and credibility.

Part of this transition will have to be some better mechanism for jointly reviewing operations and any further charges against American forces. Iraq is far too volatile to allow Iraqi authorities to arrest and try American personnel. They would inevitably become human sacrifices to those Iraqi political interests that want to rush American forces out or serve their own factional interests.

Joint review boards or fact-finding groups, however, are very feasible. So is the idea of a special Iraqi tribunal or prosecutor that would raise charges for consideration by U.S. courts-martial. This would give the Iraqi government the ability to exert the proper kind of pressure to prosecute and ensure that complaints and charges get full and immediate U.S. attention.

Fourth: It must be clear that the United States will not seek military bases in Iraq and will help Iraq move toward possession of a counterinsurgency force capable of defending the country against foreign threats. Far too many Iraqis see our present bases as the prelude to permanent occupation, and many in the Iraqi military question whether we really will give Iraq the ability to defend itself.

If the United States makes it clear that it has no intention to stay any longer than Iraq wants and needs U.S. forces, this will be a further major demonstration of our integrity and credibility, and it will undermine the insurgency while potentially bringing some factions back into the peaceful political process...