Sunday, May 13, 2007

What the media isn't telling you about Iraq

I have freely stolen this from a briefing by BG Steve Anderson, Multi-National Force - Iraq, Dep Chief of Staff Resources & Sustainment, given at James Madison University, 27 Apr 07 all data is open source and unclassified.

The smartassery, of course, is all mine.

After Four years of War in Iraq (Mar 03 – Present)

What you see and hear on the news:

War costs estimated at $9B/month

Iraqi civ casualties (most from Car Bombs) = 3K/month

Iraqi mil casualties = 26K (last 24 months)

Total OIF US casualties = 27K; 3400 US KIA

And what I have NEVER heard on a news broadcast (not to be confused with news-talk shows)….

There is overwhelming evidence of strong foreign support – Iran, Syria, other Arab suicide bombers

Fighting 100K armed fighters (SCIRI, JAM, AQI, 1920’s Brigade, etc.), a resilient and adaptive enemy able to regenerate (Ratio of Civilians to Fighters = 290:1)

3 Million Iraqi’s are displaced or have fled to Jordan and Syria

US Daily KIA Rates: WWI = 199, WWII = 301; Korea = 32; Vietnam = 20; OIF = 2

Coalition forces executing new strategy w/ 28K additional troops that peaks in June 07; living with population in order to secure it

Next 6-8 months critical; security situation must improve so that Gov’t of Iraq can develop POLITICAL solution (vs. military)

Here’s what the nutjobs will say:

“It’s all about the oil.”

And the facts:

Oil industry vital to regional & world stability -- and Iraqi prosperity

OIF not an effort to keep gas prices low; War in Iraq is all about freedom, democracy, self-determination and regional security in Middle East

OIF is combating religious extremists trying to terrorize the Iraqi populace and dictate political outcome thru terror and intimidation

Coalition efforts focused on providing security to a good and noble people/culture that has been subjected to 30 years of brutal repression

Leaving now would result in a huge human/Iraqi catastrophe:

· Brookings Institute: Pullout would result in 750K civilians casualties (e.g., Rwanda: 800,000 Tutsis slaughtered by Hutus in ’94)

· Impact of failed state -- AQI safe haven in the heart of Middle East

· Is “escalating violence” a reason to leave?

· Encourage similar efforts elsewhere in world?

War in Iraq is essentially a fight against religious extremists – an enemy dedicated to denying the people of Iraq freedom, democracy, and basic rights of self-determination

“The US is fighting Alone, the Iraqis should fight, not run.”

And the facts:

26 nations contributing soldiers (approx 12K)

Largest contributors: UK, Australia, Poland, Korea, Georgia (Jun 07)

Non-US KIA (13 nations): 186

40+ nations contributing contract labor (approx 80K)

United Nations Security Council Resolutions in support of OIF: 5

US Interagency: US State Dept, USAID, DIA, CIA, etc.

Increasingly capable Iraqi Security Forces:

    • Iraq casualties: 8123 KIA, over 18K WIA in last two years alone
    • Iraqi’s now have 329K security personnel (31 x IA Bdes, 9 x NP Bdes)
    • 9 of 10 Iraqi Divisions are now LEADING combat ops in their areas
    • Iraqi’s established Baghdad Operational Command (BOC) and assumed command & control of Baghdad and Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon
    • Iraqi training base now producing 24K soldiers/year and 26K police/year
    • Ramadi Recruits: Nov 06 = 4, Dec 06 = 40; Mar 07 = 1500 in 3 days

OIF is a robust COALITION of many nations, all committed to helping Iraqis build their security forces to counter violence and empower them to take control and secure their nation.

Iraq engulfed in full-scale Civil War”

And the facts:

  • War primarily a fight between religious extremists (Foreign fighters + suicide bombers + Al Qaeda) and coalition forces
  • Baghdad + Al Anbar Province = still unacceptably high violence; other provinces relatively safe and secure
  • Majority of Muslims do not want to rule the world; most are peace-loving, hard-working people that to wish to live and work in safety and peace
  • Car bombs, road-side bombs and sniper attacks cause most casualties
  • Religious extremists not unique to Iraq
    • Jim Jones, David Koresh, Eric Rudolph, Abortion Clinic bombers, etc.
  • Security improving with over 35 neighborhood police stations in Baghdad – markets, banks, restaurants, soccer games, amusement park

Violence levels are unacceptable and must be brought down; it is not a war waged between large factions of the general populace, but a fight involving religiously-motivated fringe extremists who promote their cause through civilian bloodshed and brutal acts of terror.

“Iraqis were Better Off Under Saddam”

Since ’03 and the fall of Saddam:

There is now a Democratically elected representative government

There is now Free Speech and Free Press (TV, Radio, Internet, Papers)

There is now a Rule of Law Complex bringing justice to Sunni, Shia and Kurd extremists

There is now a Free-Market Economy vs. State Owned Industries

Health Services: 25% increase in immunizations; measles reduced 90%

Sewer, Water, Trash: 20 projects ($10M)

Providing clean drinking/bathing water for 5.4M Iraqis


Before Mar 03, most of Iraq had 4-8 hrs (outside Baghdad); Baghdad had 16-24

Now equally distributed, most country has 8-10 hrs

75% of Iraqis now get TWICE the power they did before war

Demand for electricity since Mar 03 increased 70%

Energy Fusion Center being stood up (Joint Coalition/Iraqi)

US Army Corps of Engineers working to combat 25 years of infrastructure neglect

US Army Corps of Engineers have completed 3704 construction projects

Cost: $5.0B

Infrastructure = 80%

Community-based projects = 20%

4794 Planned Projects: $9.3B

Efforts ongoing to train Iraqi engineers, contractors, surveyors, etc.

How much of this have you heard about? When was the last time any of these made a front page in ANY major paper or was covered, with footage and a story, by a reporter willing to go outside the Green Zone?

The vast Majority of Iraqis have a higher quality of life than under Saddam – and all Iraqis enjoy freedoms repressed under his rule.

The Moonbats Bark: “Iraqi Government is an Ineffective Puppet of the Bush Regime!”

It is a New government – only one year old; Dec 05 Iraqi voters approved new permanent constitution; working Constitutional Review and next round of provincial elections

Iraq convened a regional conf of 13 nations (12 Mar 07) – neighbors, US, UN, Islamic Conf, Arab League; agreements on security, imports, refugees

Key legislative accomplishments:

Prime Minister’s Emergency Powers Renewal, Provincial Powers Law

Council of Ministers Passed Hydrocarbon Law (equitable distribution of oil revenues) Feb 07; awaiting approval by Council of Reps

Constitutional Referendum, Detainee Legislation

Passed 2007 Budget ($41B) -- Budget Execution improvement

Established Nat’l Ops Center, Energy Fusion Ctr, Rule of Law Complex

4 of 18 provinces under Provincial Governor control for security

(Now ask the Moonbats what legislation the evil party has passed that remotely compares to that, in the time they have been in control of both houses—in a country without a war being waged.)

But the asshattery continues with: Economic Development Nonexistent—we are the only country funding this war, and will be stuck doing so indefinitely.”

  • IMF projects 9% growth in economy for 2007; inflation cut in half to 34%
  • Saudi Arabia forgives 80% of $15B of Iraqi debt
  • USAID helping to develop and reopen many closed banks; many banks now turning profits; Japanese providing loan guarantees
  • Reducing corruption by stabilizing oil prices
  • Oil exports revenues = $33.4B; oil provides great opportunity to jumpstart economy
  • Most private and public mgmt processes: manual systems from ’40’s
  • DoD’s Brinkley Group working agriculture, contracting, financial and industrial revitalization w/ key CEO’s (IBM, ITT, Caterpillar, UA, etc.)
  • “Art of the Possible” = Irbil; high employment & flourishing economy
  • Developing transportation infrastructure to support economic growth

Many positive signs that Iraqi economic recovery starting to get legs; improving security will stimulate additional investment interest.

One of the favorite rallying cries of the ‘bats: “Contractors (Cheney’s haliburton profiteers) Cost Too Much.”

  • There are 129,000 contractors: 21000 US + 43000 Third Country Nationals + 65000 Iraqi (47000 KellogBrownRoot)
  • Contractor casualties (KBR): 101 KIA, 586 WIA
  • General Trend: Services up, Costs down (experience, efficiencies, economies of scale)
  • KBR augments at least 50% of the sustainment mission--invaluable service for down-sized military(Thanks, President Clinton!); provide continuity (many here 3-4 yrs); organic support would require 3 times the troops
  • KBR has received $19B since beginning of war (approx 5% total OIF costs)
  • KBR works on 1% fixed fee guarantee, 2% award fee possible (earned 88% of available award); max return on investment = 3%
  • 121 KBR employees have received the prestigious Defense of Freedom OIF medal

Contractors are providing tremendous support at reasonable cost to taxpayer; they are patriots equally committed to the cause of Iraqi freedom that share risks and suffer losses side-by-side with troops.

As the best-trained and equipped Army in the world, we STILL hear that “The Troops Aren’t Properly Equipped!”

Here’s the truth:

· Coalition Forces are superbly outfitted

o Body Armor for all deployed troops (stops small arms and shrapnel) & chemical protection

o Over 25,000 Armored Vehicles in Theater; no troops off base w/out one

o Hummer – now on 6th major iteration of improved protection

o Route Clearance Equipment Cougar, Buffalo, MRAP, Frag Kit #6

o Steady stream of technology insertions and new developments

o Tactical advantage thru Own-The-Night (Night Vision) technology

o High Quality-of-Life in operating bases

· Iraq Security Forces (Army + Police) are well equipped as well

o ISF forces equipment improving constantly -- $7.3B in 2007

o Vehicles & key weapons: 3500 x Up-Armored Humvees, 500 x Cougar & BTR-80 light wheeled armor vehicles, 900+ mortars

o Aircraft: 80+ helicopters, 3 x C-130 multi-purpose aircraft

In a typical day in Iraq:

· 1200 cargo trucks delivering supplies every day (800 from Kuwait, 200 from Jordan, 200 from Turkey)

· 400,000 meals served at Dining Facilities (Chow alls) a day. That could feed Alexandria, VA!

· 1.3 million gallons of fuel consumed daily – enough fuel to fill the tanks of 87000 typical mid-sized cars (over 50,000 vehicles in theater)

· Produce 2 million bottles of drinking water daily.

· Produce 9 million gallons of bulk water every day – enough to fill 450 residential swimming pools (approx 40 gals/person/day)

· 465 tons of ice per day – that’s 1.4 pounds of ice per soldier

· 2.8 million pieces of laundry daily – enough clothing to outfit every person in the city of San Francisco

· 400,000 lbs of mail each day in December. Dec = 50 lbs/person (375,000 pounds from soldiers’ angels, I would guess…)

Forces are well equipped and supported; an adaptive enemy continues to develop more sophisticated and lethal weaponry; DoD and industry responding to give troops best available protection. Commercial off the Shelf Technology (COTS) is used, and we are quickly transitioning to technology beyond the shelf—ideas are becoming reality and getting fielded in record time, often in only a few months. (Case in point: sniper detection antenna array, remote control HMMWV Turret.)

The Moonbats love this one too: Morale is Low”

The NEW Greatest Generation (18-30 years old): Tough, committed, adaptive and professional fighting force – representing you well

Disciplined and compassionate; don’t pull trigger indiscriminately, go overboard to protect citizens and respect Islamic culture

Sign of soldier morale = high retention rates

Re-up rate continues to far exceed objectives

Retention “simply astonishing” (GEN (Ret) McCaffrey)

Troops have seen the polls and believe most Americans evidently don’t support the war – but appreciate the strong support Americans continue to show to those fighting it

Amazing outpouring of mail, packages and messages from CONUS

Reaction to troops in uniform transiting airports returning from Iraq

Anti-war messages usually not projected against troops

The Biggest Myth: We Have Lost (echoed from the Berkley all the way to the Halls of our Own Congress, by that Asshat extraordinare, Harry Reid”

(Please, someone kick him in the nuts)

· New Operational Scheme getting more troops into Baghdad (US + Iraq = 87.5K): Operation “Fardh Al-Qanoon” (FAQ)

· First time, enough troops to Clear – Control – Retain – Build

· Ensuring security by increasing permanent presence in key Baghdad neighborhoods

· Establishing over 75 Neighborhood Police Stations (Iraqi Army + Iraqi Police + Coalition)

· Securing markets – life returning to city (parks, shops, restaurants, etc)

· National Tips Hotline – all-time high

· Iraqi gov't supporting significant military actions in Sadr City for first time

· Decline in ethno-sectarian incidents (26%) since FAQ initiation

· Iraqis have committed sizeable numbers to the fight (Police + Army) = 329K

· Tribal resistance to Al Qaeda in Iraq, especially in West; Sunni tribes supplying young men to IA for the first time; AQI, “A War Against All Iraqis”

· Extremist Shiite militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr in hiding and we are working with Shiite Mayor of Sadr City, his old stronghold

The Military cannot “win” this war – can only help set conditions for a POLITICAL solution; security is paramount and there are some early signs new strategy working -- expect assessments at end of summer.

(According Krauthammer, the preliminary results from the surge are visible. In Anbar province, one of the two fronts of the two surge, the results are the most promising. “…14 of the 18 tribal leaders in Anbar have turned against Al Qaeda. As a result, thousands of Sunni recruits are turning up at police stations where none could be seen before. For the first time, former insurgent strongholds such as Ramadi have a Sunni police force fighting essentially on our side.” )

So fight the loonies’ lies with these truths:

  1. We are fighting for a worthy cause: freedom & democracy
  2. US has many great teammates in this effort
  3. Level of violence unsatisfactory, but not a full scale civil war
  4. Iraqi quality of life and infrastructure improving
  5. Increasing effectiveness and ministerial capability of Iraq gov’t
  6. Private sector investment climate getting better
  7. Contractors continue to serve ably & provide tremendous service
  8. Forces are best equipped and best protected in history
  9. Troop morale, professionalism and competence high
  10. Brutal, high-profile acts of violence too frequent, but we are making steady progress towards enabling a political solution

What we have to look forward to:

  1. We are engaged in a tough fight with brutal, adaptive extremists
  2. Apply appropriate coalition political, military, diplomatic, economic and informational power to:
    1. Protect population, reduce sectarian violence and allow nation to establish consensus among Shia, Sunni, Kurd
    2. Ensure regional stability and a secure Iraq, at peace w/ neighbors
    3. Empower Iraqi democracy and commitment to law-based government
    4. Contain Islamic extremists to Middle East
    5. Enable passing security responsibility to government of Iraq

This is the defining international event of our time… We can win this struggle.

We MUST win this struggle.

“So far the military action in Iraq has produced a modest improvement in American and global economic conditions; an intensified dialogue within the Arab world about political reform; a withdrawal of American forces from Saudi Arabia; and an increasing nervousness on the part of the Syrian and Iranian governments as they contemplated the consequences of being surrounded by American clients or surrogates. The United States has emerged as a more powerful and purposeful actor within the international system than it had been on September 11, 2001."

From Surprise, Security, and the American Experience (Harvard Press) released in March 07 by John Lewis Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett professor of military and naval history at Yale University.

Many Props to BG Anderson, for fighting the good fight and keeping the truth alive.

Please see the Armorer for your cluebats.


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