Jewish World Review May 21, 2003 / 19 Iyar, 5763

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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In danger of losing the peace?


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | BAGHDAD Now that the war in Iraq has been won, some worry the United States might be in danger of losing the peace. There is rising discontent among Iraqis with the lack of civic order in many parts of the country, and with the apparent sluggishness of the restoration of basic public services.

Military organizations optimized for warfighting are poorly configured for the type of peacekeeping operations on which the ultimate success of the U.S. mission in Iraq now depend.

The First Armored Division, which is taking over responsibility for security in Baghdad from the 3rd Infantry Divison, is the most potent ground combat force its size in the world. But many of its soldiers are essentially irrelevant to the task at hand. The First AD has lots of Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, but few of the up-armored Humvees that are the most useful vehicles for peacekeeping.

Iraq is still a dangerous place. Almost daily, there are reports of sniping incidents or small-scale terrorist attacks. But the military threat is essentially zero, and is likely to remain so as long as Americans are in Iraq in strength. The remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime have gone to ground, hoping to hide out until the Americans leave.

The tasks facing the Army in Iraq are essentially intelligence and police work, and the burden of performing falls upon too few shoulders.

By far the most important task is identifying and arresting Baath Party leaders. Only when these have been removed from their midst will ordinary Iraqis be released from the grip of fear, and only then can we be reasonably certain a neo-Baathist regime will not seize power once Americans have left Iraq.

The key people performing the identification task are agents of the Army's Counter Intelligence service. But in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment's huge area of operations in western Iraq, there are only three CI teams of two agents each.

The key people for making arrests, and for training the local police, are the military police. But under the 3rd ACR's command, there are only two military police companies, one that is part of the regiment, and a reserve unit.

The busiest people in Iraq are the Arabic linguists from military intelligence units. There are far too few of them to go around. Tiger Squadron, responsible for peacekeeping missions along the Syrian border, has only two. The ranks of the linguists steadily are being augmented by hiring Iraqis who speak English as interpreters. But some tasks, such as helping counterintelligence agents interrogate prisoners, are so sensitive that only American linguists should perform them, and it is to the military intelligence linguists that commanders turn to vet the Iraqi linguists.

The next busiest people, after the military police, are the members of the psychological operations teams. It is chiefly upon them that the burden of conducting information operations - providing the Iraqis with information about what U.S. forces are doing and what they would like for Iraqis to do - falls. There aren't many soldiers in the psyops teams, and they mostly are reservists. In Tiger Squadron's area of operations along the Syrian border, there is only a three-man team, headed by a sergeant.

Most soldiers contribute to "security and stabilization" operations by conducting "presence" patrols, by setting up checkpoints, and by conducting "snatch and grab" operations. Some soldiers complain they haven't been trained for these missions.

But American soldiers are adaptable, and most perform these tasks well. Just before I left Apache Troop of the Tiger Squadron, 3rd ACR, it - along with a platoon of MPs from the 94th Military Police company, a reserve unit from Londonderry, N.H. - pulled off three flawless "snatch and grab" missions, the most delicate task in security and stabilization operations.

A large expansion of military police units would ease the burden. The logical place for them is in the Army National Guard. But much of the National Guard consists of ground combat units, such as Pennsylvania's 28th Infantry Division, for which there is little likelihood of need. The Army should consider converting some of these to military police units. MPs also likely would be of more use to governors in dealing with natural disasters than mechanized infantry.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

05/19/03: Dispatches from the Desert: The truth tellers
05/14/03: They won the battle, but lost the morale
05/12/03: Dispatches from the Desert: Cavalry scout's skills include coffee-making
05/08/03: Dispatches from the Desert: Ammo boxes in trucks get attention of soldiers
05/06/03: Syrian border diarist: Only trouble in Iraq seems to be news
04/28/03: Loser generals : They shot (off their mouths) and missed
04/25/03: A war we could lose
04/21/03: The "Collaborators' News Network"
04/14/03: Axis of Weasels is coming to its senses?
04/11/03: Peace will be a mess
04/08/03: It's a mad, mad (Arab) world
04/03/03: Ah, the life of a war correspondent this time around
04/02/03: The difference between hopes and expectations
03/31/03: Iraq is a steppingstone, not a final stop
03/24/03: European media and former 'human shields' are beginning to get it
03/20/03: Was getting the UN involved worth it?
03/18/03: South Koreans no longer behaving as if they were the French of Northeast Asia --- why?
03/11/03: Ultimatum's moment of truth
03/11/03: Thank you, Turkey, we needed that
03/07/03: The fight against Saddam isn't a distraction from the war on terror --- it's is the main event
03/04/03: Bioterror nightmare approaching --- how it could likely happen
02/27/03: Iranian student: Can America hurry up with Iraq already, so they can get on with attacking us?
02/25/03: Yahoos on both the Left and the Right are trying to prevent government from maximizing technology in protecting us
02/20/03: Anti-war group gets it right about great humanitarian tragedy in last Gulf War
02/18/03: Iraqis: Why are these people marching for tyranny?
02/07/03: French kiss(ed)-off
02/05/03: Does the FBI have the ability to protect us from terrorists already here?
02/03/03: The "Axis of Weasels"
01/29/03: A bit of the jitters
01/27/03: The world's mediocre intelligence agency
01/21/03: By reaffirming GOP opposition to racism, president demonstrates willingness to confront liars
01/16/03: Why the United States should withdraw all of its military forces from South Korea as rapidly as we reasonably can
01/14/03: Federal incompetence driven by political correctness, not trampling of civil liberties, is what we should fear
01/09/03: Bag this boondoggle: The V-22 Osprey would hurt our national defense
01/07/03: Another Korean war?
01/02/03: Ostriches
12/26/02: Learning from Canada's economic suicide
12/24/02: A moral dilemma: Support a vicious fascist dictator or the poor and downtrodden?
12/20/02: Time to tell the truth: The great movement of blacks to the Democratic Party took place for economic reasons, not because of civil rights
12/18/02: Nothing better illustrates Trent Lott's unfitness for the post of Senate Majority Leader than his desperate efforts to cling to it
12/16/02: Debunker mentality: It's hard work not seeing ties between Iraq and al-Qaida
12/12/02: GOP ideologues turning on Lott --- better sacrifice the leader than the party
12/06/02: Curing our democracy of afflictions
12/02/02: Conscription, like the horse cavalry, is an artifact of a bygone time
11/27/02: What Saddam faces
11/25/02: Why war with Iraq can be averted
11/19/02: A draft would harm the military
11/12/02: The 2002 elections and Nixon
11/07/02: Democratic overreaction to our recent "cosmically important" election
10/30/02: Show North Korea we're serious: Polish off Saddam
10/22/02: The squealing in the Pentagon is a proof of Rummy's effectiveness
10/16/02: The tactical challenge we face
10/10/02: Silence more despicable than seditious noise
10/08/02: Bu$h and the bu$ine$$ of war
10/01/02: Gore's calculated risk may well get him the Dems' nomination
09/25/02: Schroeder may find the fruits of victory sour
09/25/02: Making Saddam change his spots
09/19/02: Bush's resolve already has paid dividends
09/17/02: Courageous Iranians
09/13/02: If you never served in the military, you have no right to an opinion
09/10/02: Why the 'air marshals' will fail
09/05/02: Resurrecting the "Happy Darky"
08/31/02: Are Bush's inactions against Iraq calculated?
08/23/02: Dems can't take the minority vote for granted any longer
08/20/02: No proof of Saddam's wrongdoing? Yeah, right
08/15/02: Mineta's war on what?
08/13/02: When Gore said he wanted to be his 'own man,' what was he thinking!?
08/08/02: Picking a tree for Cheney's hanging
08/06/02: Fears about the Department of Homeland Security are misplaced
08/01/02: The greatest strategic deception since Eisenhower convinced Hitler the Allies were going to land at the Pas de Calais?
07/30/02: State Dept.'s anti-American actions
07/26/02: Journalists are making sure Americans can't differentiate between the stock market and the economy
07/23/02: Iran's is on the verge of a social and political explosion. So why is media ignoring it?
07/17/02: FBI isn't supposed to stand for Foolish, Blind and Incompetent
07/12/02: The ICC tramples on rights Americans take for granted
07/09/02: Was LA International Airport shooting, in fact, good news?
07/02/02: What the "intelligence community" can learn from Alexander the Great
06/28/02: Muslim link in Oklahoma City bombing revisited
06/25/02: A good environmental scare needs two ingredients - an impending catastrophe, and someone to blame for it
06/21/02: Stirring the security pot
06/18/02: Why the military is so messed up
06/14/02: Vast majority $68.7 billion proposed for weapons will be spent on systems of little use in the war on terror
06/12/02: Bush saw them and raised them, and he's holding the aces
06/10/02: Some heads need to roll
06/04/02: A new draft for the 'war on terror'?
05/31/02: So the FBI has finally caught up to our priorities?
05/29/02: Taking on common sense
05/23/02: Political terrorists
05/21/02: There is a great deal to fret about, but I've never been more optimistic
05/15/02: If there is a way for America to lose the war, Gen. Tommy Franks can find it
05/13/02: Impartial justice against Americans by the UN?
05/07/02: Want to win the 'war on terror'? Reinstate the draft
05/03/02: An expanded NATO is needed as a counterweight to the UN and the EU
04/29/02: Islamic 'smarts'
04/26/02: Did Bush play his Aces with Abdullah wisely?
04/23/02: Why peace in the Mideast is closer than ever
04/19/02: What the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank gained from the "peace accords"
04/17/02: Logical Muslim allies
04/10/02: How to guarantee an infinite Mideast war
04/08/02: Saddam's American friends
04/05/02: Arab winners and sinners
04/01/02: Why is the commander of U.S. Central Command not coming clean to the American people?
03/31/02: Dubya under attack by conservatives
03/26/02: Saddam watch coming to an end?
03/21/02: Get the Jews!
03/19/02: It's time pols and gov bureaucrats be held to the same standard of accountability we insist for corporate execs
03/15/02: Khaki Throat
03/12/02: Making foreign cheaters pay
03/08/02: Timidity and indecision by senior American commanders
03/04/02: Why 9-11? Ex-CIA officials come clean
02/25/02: Don't rule out a quick victory --- even if prez says otherwise
02/21/02: Saving our military from itself
02/19/02: Front Page fiction
02/15/02: Our European allies are like the fat kid who wants to play quarterback
02/13/02: Is the Army in danger of becoming "irrelevant"?
02/11/02: So, I "propagate hatred"
02/06/02: Bush whacking the media
02/04/02: Why serious folks disregard the European Union --- and why Bush must, too
01/30/02: Give economy pneumonia in order to protect it from a cold
01/28/02: Media is its own worst enemy
01/25/02: Journalists making road to peace a bumpy ride, or: A case study in stupidity
01/23/02: Toward a stronger defense at a lower cost
01/21/02: How Bush could be Generations X and Y's Kennedy ... and guarantee a GOP victory in the midterm elections

© 2002, Jack Kelly