The Iraq Mutiny?


Senior Member
Jun 25, 2004
USS Abraham Lincoln
He also brings up a good point about no one with war or military experience being on the Baker commission.


December 3, 2006 -- THE proposal to embed more American military trainers with Iraqi units makes sense, but creates a grave danger: the pros pect of a coordinated revolt among Shias in uniform who slaughter or take hostage thousands of our dispersed troops.

The best deterrent is the back-up presence of our own Army and Marine combat formations. As long as our cavalry can ride to the rescue, the prospect of a sectarian mutiny to "teach America a lesson" and humiliate us remains low.

Now early word has it that The Fabulous Baker Boys (straight from the political boneyard and known formally as the Iraq Study Group) will recommend withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq by 2008, while leaving behind our embedded trainers and vulnerable support units.

This is the sort of nonsense that sounds great to civilians with no military experience. To veterans, it's nuts.

THE problem here is the com position of the panel headed by former Secretary of State James Baker. Not only does it drag yesteryear's Washington insiders out of the crypt, its make-up reveals the disgraceful extent to which our governing "elite" despises those in uniform.

Why on earth wasn't a single retired military officer appointed to the the Iraq Study Group? We're at war, for Heaven's sake. Briefly interviewing a few generals is no substitute for a steadying military voice amid the committee's naifs.

Washington insiders pretend to respect our troops but continue to believe that those in uniform are second-raters and that any political hack can design better war plans than those who've dedicated their lives to military service. This is arrogance soaring through the clouds - and a disheartening replay of the shut-out-military-advice approach to warfare that got us into such a mess in Iraq.

The administration should've swallowed its pride and asked retired Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki to sit on the panel. Or Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who knows how to think and fight. Or just a lieutenant with a combat patch on his shoulder.

Instead, we got Vernon Jordan (presumably, the token lobbyist) and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Jordan may know K Street inside out, but he doesn't know a thing about the streets of Baghdad. O'Connor was a terrific Supreme, but she has no background in military matters, the Middle East or international affairs.

WHAT the Iraq Study Group does have is a staff with long ties to the Saudis. And Baker's own relationship with the Saudi royal family has been so accommodating that he often seemed more of a Saudi lobbyist than a U.S. official. He's got plenty of time for billionaire sheiks and princes, but none for American officers.

This is going to be Saudi Arabia's report (and Syria's, too - Baker never met a dictator he didn't like). Even Iran may get a nice slice of the pie. The study's underlying strategy will be to re-establish the sort of phony stability that gave us the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein - both horses backed by Baker.

The composition of the study group was just a set-up. Baker didn't want experts who could challenge his "experience." And the much-praised bipartisan nature of the panel is meaningless when every member is from the old, failed guard and the youngest member is in his late 60s. Think they're going to produce innovative thinking and fresh ideas?

So we're left with another panel of amateurs designing a military strategy - this one recommending the withdrawal of our combat troops, who constitute the only insurance plan we have in Iraq. Baker would then leave behind embedded trainers and vulnerable logistics bases.

Gee, thanks.

The model for what could re sult comes from the Eng lish-speaking world's history with Islam. In mid-19th-century India, as the British sahibs kidded themselves that their "loyal" subordinates adored them, Muslim (and Hindu) East India Company troops staged widespread, coordinated attacks that butchered "embedded" officers, government officials and their families.

"Mercy" wasn't in the mutineers vocabulary. The torture of captives was common. Sound like Iraq to anybody?

The Sepoy Mutiny was a close-run thing. Only the presence of British regiments saved the day. Wherever they had substantial numbers of regulars to call on, the Brits were able to hold off the masses of religious fanatics until additional forces arrived from elsewhere in the empire.

Unlike our politically correct leadership in Iraq, yesteryear's Brits responded to savagery with savagery. The result was six decades of internal peace in India.

Of course, not a few American officers would dismiss the possibility that "their" Iraqis could turn on them. That's exactly how the British officers felt.

Our trainers would put up a tough fight against any such revolt. But they could only fight as long as they had ammunition. Even the best Special Forces A-team we've got couldn't hold on indefinitely against a battalion led by fanatics.

LET'S not permit vanity-in toxicated Washington has- beens to dictate military policy. If we've learned nothing else from Iraq (and we should've learned plenty by now), it's that the details of military operations must be left to professionals: Tell the generals what you want them to do, Mr. President - then let them figure out the best way to do it.

Only a ship of fools could launch the recommendation that we address the problems of violence-ravaged Iraq by withdrawing our combat troops and leaving behind tens of thousands of hostages in uniform.

Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of "Never Quit The Fight."
He also brings up a good point about no one with war or military experience being on the Baker commission.

Agreed--the "Iraq study group" is packed with has beens who can't keep thier damn fingers out of the pie. Even asking for thier input was stupid. You may as well have the CFR just run the country.
In a similar vein, but with a suggestion:

December 01, 2006, 0:00 a.m.

Real Wrong
What in God’s name will a negotiation with Iran and Syria yield?

By Charles Krauthammer

Now that the “realists” have ridden into town gleefully consigning the Bush doctrine to the ash heap of history, everyone has discovered the notion of interests, as if it were some new idea thought up by James Baker and the Iraq Study Group.

What do people think we’ve been doing for the last five years? True, the president’s rhetoric has a tendency to go soaringly Wilsonian, e.g. the banishing tyranny stuff in his second inaugural address. But our policies of democratization in Iraq and Afghanistan and Lebanon have been deeply rooted in the most concrete of American interests.

If we really had been in the grip of “idealism,” we’d be deep in Chad and Burma and Darfur. We are not. We are instead trying to sustain fragile democracies in three strategically important countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon — that form the geographic parentheses around the principal threat to Western interests in the region, the Syria-Iran axis.

We are trying to bring democracy to Iraq in particular because a pro-Western government enjoying legitimacy and popular support would have been the most enduring means of securing our interests there. Deposing Saddam & Sons was essential because they posed a permanent strategic threat to the region and to U.S. interests. But their successor — the popularly elected Maliki government — has failed.

The cause of that failure is rooted in an Iraqi political culture that makes it as yet impossible for enough of the political leadership to act with a sense of national consciousness. We should nonetheless make a last effort to change the composition of the government and assemble a new one composed of those — Kurds, moderate Sunnis, secular Shiites, and some of the religious Shiites — who might be capable of reaching a grand political settlement.

Everyone now says that the key to stopping the fighting in Iraq is political — again, as if this were another great discovery. It’s been clear for at least a year that a military solution to the insurgency was out of our reach. The military price would have been prohibitive and the victory ephemeral without a political compromise. And that kind of compromise — vesting the Sunnis with proportionate political and financial (i.e. oil) power — is something the Shiites, at least those now comprising the Maliki government, seem incapable of doing.

The U.S. should be giving Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a clear ultimatum: If he does not come up with a political solution in two months or cede power to a new coalition that will, the U.S. will abandon the Green Zone, retire to its bases, move much of its personnel to Kurdistan where we are welcome and safe, and let the civil war take its course. Let the current Green Zone–protected Iraqi politicians who take their cue from Moqtada al-Sadr face the insurgency alone. That might concentrate their minds on either making a generous offer to the Sunnis or stepping aside for a new coalition that would.

The key to progress is political change within Iraq. The newest fashion, however, is to go “regional,” engaging Iran and Syria in order to have them pull our chestnuts out of the fire. This idea rests on the notion that both Iran and Syria have an interest in stability in Iraq.

Very hardheaded realist terms: interest, stability, regional powers. But stringing them together to suggest that Iran and Syria share our interests in stability is the height of fantasy.
In fact, Iran and Syria have an overriding interest in chaos in Iraq — which is precisely why they each have been abetting the insurgency and fanning civil war.

Perhaps in some long-term future they will want a stable Iraq as a tame client state of the Syria-Iran axis. For now, they want chaos. What in God’s name will a negotiation with them yield?

At best, they might give us a few months to withdraw. But why do we need their help to do that? We can do our withdrawing very well without them. And in return for non-help in a non-solution that is essentially a surrender, Syria would demand to be given a free hand once again in Lebanon — just as when the U.S. needed help in Iraq before the Gulf War, then–Secretary of State James Baker gave Lebanon over to Syria as a quid pro quo.

And Iran will demand a free hand with its nuclear-weapons project, which will turn it into the regional superpower dominating the Gulf Arabs and their oil.

If that would save Iraq for us, there might at least be an argument for such a swap. But just to cover an American retreat? This is sacrificing one interest without even securing another. It’s enough to give realism a bad name.
He also brings up a good point about no one with war or military experience being on the Baker commission.

Washington insiders pretend to respect our troops but continue to believe that those in uniform are second-raters and that any political hack can design better war plans than those who've dedicated their lives to military service. This is arrogance soaring through the clouds - and a disheartening replay of the shut-out-military-advice approach to warfare that got us into such a mess in Iraq.

Back to business as usual.

Forum List