Directions on Iraq: Day 2

There are some excellent discussions going on in the posts from Day 1. John Burgess’s comment to James Hamilton’s post was particularly apt:

I think one of the first mistakes the Administration made after deposing Saddam was to not pay enough attention to getting the Iraqi infrastructure up and running.

Moving half the Army Corps of Engineers, the SeaBees, and an equal number of private contractors into a city like Basra, fixing every damn utility (even with an upgrade), then moving to the next city up the Tigris. Rinse and repeat until some better use for the engineers and construction people comes up (say like a hurricane hitting NOLA).

I don’t think it’s too late to do a program like this, though it’s certainly more dangerous with factions seeking actively to prevent any progress.But by setting up cities and villages that are worth protecting and in which the residents have vested interests–and jobs–I think things would have (and still could) get better, quicker.

Adjunct posts

An approach to achieving victory in Anbar province so simple a child could understand it. The developer of this presentation was Capt. Travis Patriquin. He was killed by an IED last Wednesday:

The creator of this PowerPoint presentation, “How to Win in Al Anbar,” was Capt. Travis Patriquin.

But Patriquin will not see victory in Iraq. He was killed by the same improvised explosive device that killed Maj. Megan McClung of the Marine Corps last Wednesday.

Patriquin had fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. A gifted officer, he spoke numerous languages, including Arabic.

Hat tip: ABC News

3 comments… add one
  • Of course reconstruction is a good idea. But it’s too late now. It’s hard to install a new turbine while someone’s driving truck bombs your way.

    The sequence of events should have been:

    1) Place boot firmly on neck.
    2) Fix what’s broke.
    3) Impose a new political order.
    4) Transfer responsibility to new political order.
    5) Remove boot slowly from neck.

    Leave out Step 1 and Step 2 becomes impossible and we have Iraq today. Belatedly performing Step 1 now would require a re-invasion. Re-invasion is not possible with available forces. Game over. Go home.

  • sooo…capt. patriquin and i are in agreement. what a sad loss. my heartfelt sympathies for his family.

    in the last post, someone complained about lack of expertise among the contributers.
    im a mathematician…so my strategies devolve from mathematics.
    i like hamiltons stategies, and John is right too.

    are we in agreement that top-down strategies have not worked? so prune them.

    i like the simulated annealing paradigm i talked about at deans. it could present a super structure to be infilled with local strategies like what started working in anbar.

    fixing iran for example wont fix iraq. there will always be border seepage until the whole ME is fixed. Iraq must become strong enough internally to repell negative influences.

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