PDA

View Full Version : Tearing Iraq Apart



SWJED
06-01-2006, 08:03 AM
1 June New York Times commentary - Tearing Iraq Apart (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/01/opinion/01hammes.html) by TX Hammes (Col. USMC Ret.)


The White House is right to insist that our postwar goal is a unified Iraq, as opposed to one divided along ethno-religious lines. So why is the administration taking so many actions that make holding the country together virtually impossible?...

In January, President Bush diverted nearly half the money allocated to reconstruction in Iraq to other needs, including security...

Next, the administration deeply cut financing for democratization efforts, many of them undertaken by nongovernmental groups...

The latest administration budget also recommends cutting overall Army and Marine troop strength. If Mr. Bush and his advisers are really committed to sustained support for the "long war" in Iraq, how do they reconcile that with cutting the budgets for the most engaged forces?

President Bush and his aides have also repeatedly hinted at significant troop reductions in Iraq this year perhaps to as low as 100,000 from the current 130,000. This is despite the growing violence in Baghdad and the fact that our military leaders in Iraq have consistently said that we can withdraw troops safely only if conditions improve...

The administration has long stated that the so-called Provincial Reconstruction Teams groups of 100 or so political, economic, legal and civil-military relations specialists who help distribute aid and advise regional Iraqi officials, which have had success in Afghanistan are critical to our strategy in Iraq. Yet The Washington Post reported in mid-April that only 4 of the proposed 16 teams had even been inaugurated.

In addition, the Army staffs and units in Iraq, even those training Iraqi security forces, continue to be undermanned...

Last, the administration has repeatedly said efficient and law-abiding Iraqi security forces are central to our strategy, yet has failed to provide them with more than minimal equipment. Three years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, most Iraq troops are still using open-backed trucks and unarmored S.U.V.'s...