Friday, April 27, 2007

Criticisms of Iraq

First, in the Armed Forces Journel, a criticism about the generals who have run the Iraq war by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling. Snippet:

Having spent a decade preparing to fight the wrong war, America's generals then miscalculated both the means and ways necessary to succeed in Iraq. The most fundamental military miscalculation in Iraq has been the failure to commit sufficient forces to provide security to Iraq's population. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) estimated in its 1998 war plan that 380,000 troops would be necessary for an invasion of Iraq. Using operations in Bosnia and Kosovo as a model for predicting troop requirements, one Army study estimated a need for 470,000 troops. Alone among America's generals, Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki publicly stated that "several hundred thousand soldiers" would be necessary to stabilize post-Saddam Iraq. Prior to the war, President Bush promised to give field commanders everything necessary for victory. Privately, many senior general officers both active and retired expressed serious misgivings about the insufficiency of forces for Iraq. These leaders would later express their concerns in tell-all books such as "Fiasco" and "Cobra II." However, when the U.S. went to war in Iraq with less than half the strength required to win, these leaders did not make their objections public.

Given the lack of troop strength, not even the most brilliant general could have devised the ways necessary to stabilize post-Saddam Iraq. However, inept planning for postwar Iraq took the crisis caused by a lack of troops and quickly transformed it into a debacle. In 1997, the U.S. Central Command exercise "Desert Crossing" demonstrated that many postwar stabilization tasks would fall to the military. The other branches of the U.S. government lacked sufficient capability to do such work on the scale required in Iraq. Despite these results, CENTCOM accepted the assumption that the State Department would administer postwar Iraq. The military never explained to the president the magnitude of the challenges inherent in stabilizing postwar Iraq.

After failing to visualize the conditions of combat in Iraq, America's generals failed to adapt to the demands of counterinsurgency. Counterinsurgency theory prescribes providing continuous security to the population. However, for most of the war American forces in Iraq have been concentrated on large forward-operating bases, isolated from the Iraqi people and focused on capturing or killing insurgents. Counterinsurgency theory requires strengthening the capability of host-nation institutions to provide security and other essential services to the population. America's generals treated efforts to create transition teams to develop local security forces and provincial reconstruction teams to improve essential services as afterthoughts, never providing the quantity or quality of personnel necessary for success.

A word about troop forces. Yesterday I was reading a completely unrelated article about how Japan maintained their "comfort women" (prostitutes, often women coerced or forced to engage in prostitution) long after U.S. forces arrived. Until General Macarthur put a stop to it, Japan not only utilized the prostitution rings it originally set up for it's own troops, but expanded it to accommodate the 350,000 American troops after the country surrendered. That's something I was unaware of and it is atrocious. But what I also wondered was how come we had 350,000 troops in Japan when we wouldn't commit that many to invading and occupying Iraq? Yea, I know that the weaponry is better now and all, but given the results we've seen it's clear to me that Shinseki was right all along.

Second criticism comes from Richard Clarke and it regards Bush's statements and policies regarding Iraq. Snippet:

How is this odd terrorist puppy dog behavior supposed to work? The President must believe that terrorists are playing by some odd rules of chivalry. Would this be the "only one slaughter ground at a time" rule of terrorism?

Of course, nothing about our being "over there" in any way prevents terrorists from coming here. Quite the opposite, the evidence is overwhelming that our presence provides motivation for people throughout the Arab world to become anti-American terrorists.

Some 100,000 Iraqis, probably more, have been killed since our invasion. They have parents, children, cousins and fellow tribal clan members who have pledged revenge no matter how long it takes. For many, that revenge is focused on America.

At the same time, investing time, energy and resources in Iraq takes our eye off two far more urgent tasks at hand: one, guarding the homeland against terrorism much better than the pork-dispensing Department of Homeland Security currently does the job; and two, systematically dismantling Al Qaeda all over the world, from Canada to Asia to Africa. On both these fronts, the Bush administration's focus is sorely lacking.

Yet in the fantasyland of illogic in which the President dwells, shaped by slogans devised by spin doctors, America can "win" in Iraq. Then, we are to believe, the terrorists will be so demoralized that they will recant their beliefs and cease their terrorist ways.

In the real world, by choosing unnecessarily to go into Iraq, Bush not only diverted efforts from delivering a death blow to Al Qaeda, he gave that movement both a second chance and the best recruiting tool possible.


Anonymous said...


Korean Newspaper Ads for “Comfort Women,” 1944

GIs Frequented Japan's 'Comfort Women'

B.D. said...

Interesting links. The last one is the one I was referencing in my statement above. I was acknowledging the fact that U.S. troops visited the brothels in Japan. The Japanese government aided in setting up the brothels. From the article:

The orders from the Ministry of the Interior came on Aug. 18, 1945, one day before a Japanese delegation flew to the Philippines to negotiate the terms of their country's surrender and occupation.

The Ibaraki police immediately set to work. The only suitable facility was a dormitory for single police officers, which they quickly converted into a brothel. Bedding from the navy was brought in, along with 20 comfort women. The brothel opened for business Sept. 20...

Police officials and Tokyo businessmen established a network of brothels under the auspices of the Recreation and Amusement Association, which operated with government funds. On Aug. 28, 1945, an advance wave of occupation troops arrived in Atsugi, just south of Tokyo. By nightfall, the troops found the RAA's first brothel.

And, despite the 2 previous links above the last one, in the NY Times article it is noted:

Kaburagi said the sudden demand forced brothel operators to advertise for women who were not licensed prostitutes.

Natsue Takita, a 19-year-old Komachien worker whose relatives had been killed in the war, responded to an ad seeking an office worker. She was told the only positions available were for comfort women and was persuaded to accept the offer.

According to Kaburagi's memoirs, published in Japanese after the occupation ended in 1952, Takita jumped in front of a train a few days after the brothel started operations.

''The worst victims ... were the women who, with no previous experience, answered the ads calling for `Women of the New Japan,''' he wrote.

So, some women were certainly coerced into this business. Whether that be because they needed the money or the government felt it was a good way to deal with American GIs, they were coerced, or, if you prefer, persuaded. No matter how you add it up, that's a bad thing and it was done with government financial backing.

My problem with your contention is that Abe seemingly denies any coercion. To sparse the words, as the gentleman in the video does, by stating that it was not systemic, but in the next breath acknowledging that government payments went to the owners of the brothels is specious. True, it's not as simplistic as the U.S. media makes it out to be, but it's also true that the Japanese government is not as innocent as it's current Prime Minister seems to protest.

Now, do I think that the Japanese government and it's people should be held accountable still for those crimes? No. And furthermore, I don't think that criticism of such crimes is valid coming from a country that really still hasn't properly dealt with slavery and it's aftermath, segregation. But, I wasn't trying to address either of those issues in my post above.