Independent panel: Disband the Iraqi police and start over; Update: Dems to demand plan for withdrawal — without timetable?

posted at 7:41 pm on September 5, 2007 by Allahpundit

If Brit Hume’s looking for any tough last-minute questions for the GOP, he can do worse than this. Bush de-Baathified the Iraqi army in 2003 by disbanding it and ended up with an insurgency; now he’s being told to de-Sadrify the police the same way. What to do now with the 26,000 Iraqi cops, not all of whom are militiamen, who’ll be none too pleased to have their paychecks cut off if the panel’s recommendation is implemented?

The 20-member panel of mostly retired senior military and police officers concludes that Iraq’s military, in particular its Army, shows the most promise of becoming a viable, independent security force with time. But the group predicts an adequate logistics system to support these ground forces is at least another two years away.

The report also offers a scathing assessment of Baghdad’s Ministry of Interior and recommends scrapping Iraq’s national police force, which it describes as dysfunctional and infiltrated by militias…

It describes these units as fragile, ill-equipped and infiltrated by militia forces. And they are led by the Ministry of Interior, which is “a ministry in name only” that is “widely regarded as being dysfunctional and sectarian, and suffers from ineffective leadership.”

Accordingly, the study recommends disbanding the national police and starting over.

“Its ability to be effective is crippled by significant challenges, including public distrust, sectarianism (both real and perceived), and a lack of clarity about its identity — specifically whether it is a military or a police force,” the report states.

WaPo’s story on the report contains an extra ominous detail that the AP’s doesn’t, that “Maliki is perceived as bypassing the Ministry of Defense and the chain of command to create ‘a second, and politically motivated’ command structure in the army.” CNN corroborated that four months ago with a bombshell about Iraq’s “Office of the Commander in Chief,” which is ostensibly an advisory group on military matters but in fact operates over the head of the Defense and Interior Ministries by replacing security officials who act too forthrightly against Shiite groups. Needless to say, that’s a much bigger problem than rebuilding the force, especially when they’re trying to integrate Sunni tribesmen and insurgents into it as a reward for helping purge Anbar of Al Qaeda.

The Pentagon’s already issued a statement rejecting the idea and promising to work harder on “re-vetting.”

Update: The Dems take the incremental approach by floating the idea of demanding a plan for withdrawal without any actual requirement for Bush to implement that plan. That’ll be next. Doubtless the Pentagon does have some plan in greater or lesser detail; the question is, will Bush concede this step knowing what’ll follow?

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Why don’t we do this every year or two?

Christoph on September 5, 2007 at 7:43 PM

Seems the choice is purging 26,000 cops or one Maliki.

laelaps on September 5, 2007 at 7:48 PM

I think they will have to dis-band the national police, sooner is better than later. Re-vetting will not help.

Zorro on September 5, 2007 at 8:18 PM

Panels, committees, advisory boards, investigative groups, polls and such should be disregarded at all costs!!!

jeanie on September 5, 2007 at 8:18 PM

Let’s see, about 1/3rd of the country is now in the hands of the IP and they want to disband them while reducing troops. How do you do that?

bnelson44 on September 5, 2007 at 8:32 PM

Old wine, new glass. The do-over has been underway for a year.

Captain America on September 5, 2007 at 8:34 PM

“Timothy M. Carney went to Baghdad in April 2003 to run Iraq’s Ministry of Industry and Minerals. Unlike many of his compatriots in the Green Zone, the rangy, retired American ambassador wasn’t fazed by chaos. He’d been in Saigon during the Tet Offensive, Phnom Penh as it was falling to the Khmer Rouge and Mogadishu in the throes of Somalia’s civil war. Once he received his Halliburton-issued Chevrolet Suburban, he disregarded security edicts and drove around Baghdad without a military escort. His mission, as he put it, ‘was to listen to the Iraqis and work with them.’

He left after two months, disgusted and disillusioned. The U.S. occupation administration in Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), placed ideology over pragmatism, he believed. His boss, viceroy L. Paul Bremer, refused to pay for repairs needed to reopen many looted state-owned factories, even though they had employed tens of thousands of Iraqis.

‘This is a big mistake,’ Carney thought in May 2003, when Bremer told senior CPA officials that he would soon issue an edict prohibiting many former members of Hussein’s Baath Party from holding government jobs. The one-and-a-half-page decree, which was drafted in the Pentagon office of then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith, banned anyone who had been in the party’s top four ranks; it also banned hundreds of thousands of rank-and-file members from holding senior management positions in government ministries. Bremer’s stated goal was to cleanse Iraq’s government of the former president’s cronies.

Carney and the other Americans tapped to run Iraq’s ministries knew that the senior managers in almost all government departments were Baathists. Hussein’s government had forced them to join the party, but that didn’t mean they all had blood on their hands or that they were all close associates of the former leader. And without them, it would be much more challenging to get the government running again.

With unemployment at more than 40 percent, Carney also knew that anyone kicked out of a government job wasn’t going to find work elsewhere. They would be unemployed and angry.

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 9:36 PM

The one-and-a-half-page decree, which was drafted in the Pentagon office of then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith, banned anyone who had been in the party’s top four ranks; it also banned hundreds of thousands of rank-and-file members from holding senior management positions in government ministries. Bremer’s stated goal was to cleanse Iraq’s government of the former president’s cronies.

In his autobiography, American Soldier, Tommy Franks said of Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith: “They could see I was serious. ‘I’ll worry about OSD, all of them – including Doug Feith, who’s getting a reputation around here as the dumbest @ucking guy on the planet.‘”

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 9:43 PM

here’s a good idea
if they are sadrified then lets take out sadr and therefore they lose their commander

Defector01 on September 5, 2007 at 11:38 PM

In the circumstances, better to tweak than break.

Sadr would be a good one to tweak, as per Defector01’s suggestion.

Strong men at the top can steer the group below them.

Don’t throw out the group, which might be reoriented, but scrub the malignant head.

profitsbeard on September 6, 2007 at 12:15 AM

Things have been going way too well in Iraq lately. Some folks are just looking for ways to make it worse again.

Buzzy on September 6, 2007 at 2:43 AM

Meanwhile, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) sent a letter to the White House to protest President Bush’s criticism of Congress while attending a conference in Australia. He said it violated the principle that “partisanship ends at the water’s edge.”

This is rich.

Emanuel is one of the MOST VICIOUSLY PARTISAN members of the House. When he worked for the Clintons, he threatened, blackmailed, and destroyed people’s reputation to make sure people do what Clinton wanted. He was a HIT MAN.

And yet, this SOB DARES to complain about partisanship and the water’s edge when he and his party of liars and traitors openly undermine the President around the world?


georgej on September 6, 2007 at 4:37 AM

Let’s disband Congress and start over!

Golfer_75093 on September 6, 2007 at 8:59 AM

Independent panel?

“The review is one of several studies that Congress commissioned in May, when it agreed to fund the war for several more months but demanded that the Bush administration and outside groups assess U.S. progress in the four-year war.”

So, do retired officers get to wear their uniforms when they testify for Congress too? ‘Cause playing a “military” card against Petraeus is what this is really about. And making this about the corrupt Iraqi police, of course, instead of the successful Iraqi army.

JM Hanes on September 6, 2007 at 1:21 PM


You might want to consider adding an update with the Bremer article just now cited by Instapundit. In the course of defending the decision to disband the (mostly evaporated) Iraqi army, Bremer states:

Moreover, we were right to build a new Iraqi Army. Despite all the difficulties encountered, Iraq’s new professional soldiers are the country’s most effective and trusted security force. By contrast, the Baathist-era police force, which we did recall to duty, has proven unreliable and is mistrusted by the very Iraqi people it is supposed to protect.

JM Hanes on September 6, 2007 at 1:42 PM