Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yes, more recommended media!

OK, I have to admit, I had enough free time to read a book over the past few days.... at least it took me 4 days, anyway.

In case you had an overly optimistic assessment of the successful first year of the U.S. occupation in Iraq (all three of you out there), Rajiv Chandrasekaran eviscerates the CPA with a scathing analysis of those who "drank the Kool-aid" among them, not realizing how much damage their actions or inactions were causing in the first year of what is now a process that has been going on for more than four years. The book is "Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Baghdad's Green Zone".


The part that stuck out to me the most was how he points out over the first few chapters how highly qualified individuals in middle Eastern and Arabic culture, reconstruction and economic development, etc, were all pushed aside early in the process as the CPA sought to select folks of a certain political allegiance. What's your qualification? Right political party, and you're a fervent believer? Great, come on over- we've got a job that is a perfect fit!

And then the ultimate irony, one of the critics embittered by his experience in the CPA..."believed that the CPA had committed a catastrophic error....by filling many of those seats [on the Governing Council] with politicians and leaders who were more interested in doling out favors to their supporters than in doing what was best for their country." You don't say!? Do as we say, not as we do, maybe?

Four years later, we're still working the same problems- limited infrastructure and life support capabilities, high unemployment, tenuous security, and so on.

A recent draft (thus the typographical and grammatical errors) of a report by Anthony Cordesman of the CSIS,


lays out the current circumstances pretty directly, with even some fairly damning comments about the results of our efforts with the Iraqi National Police. I thought it to be a fair treatment of what is going on here from my limited (and unofficial, not representing the military) vantage point.

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