tv Today in Washington CSPAN March 10, 2010 7:30am-9:00am EST
period to defeat soviet expansionism, and does he not recall that it was governments of all colors -- >> order. we got the question. prime minister? >> mr. speaker, i think it's important, i mean, i think it's important in this house that people recognize whether there is agreement and where there is not. and there is agreement on our membership of nato. there was agreement on what we had to do to end the cold war. there's been agree but that we need to finance our defense forces more, and there has been agreement that we need to take action in iraq and afghanistan. and i got to say for the conservatism to reduce big issues to medical, shows just how juvenile their behavior in this house is. >> norm becker. smack it is unfair on real passengers for carbon reduction,
the cost of motoring has decreased by 14% while the cost of real first have gone up in real terms by 13%. given the large reason for this is the government's policy of forcing of inflation every single year. can he now get a house in the country give an assurance, if the government is reluctant to in this rbi plus one policy and then their train as go to? >> mr. speaker, the railways are carrying more passengers and more frank than ever since the second world war. and will be announcing plans to mark to expand our railways and to make sure we have the most modern railways for the future. and i believe the passengers welcome the fact that not only have we better trained services but trains arrive on time. i think it's important to recognize the huge investment that this government has made in the railways of this country. >> is my right honorable friend aware of integers campaign of them undermining of public service and the bbc in particular?
as the goes to a general election, will reaffirm that this government supports public service broadcasting and the bbc? >> mr. speaker, what worries me more is the conservative campaign to undermine the bbc and british telecom. and the conservatives have made an announcement that put at risk the future of digitalization and broadband in this country. we're determined that everyone in this country has access to broadband and access to the best services. the conservative policy would make sure that 100% did not have full access. >> order. point of order. >> you've been watching prime ministers questions which airs live each week on c-span2 while parliament is in session. next week prime minister's questions begins an hour later. 8 a.m. eastern time. as britain switches to daylight savings time. you can today's session began on
greece celebrates its 181st year of independence this month. yesterday the white house hosted a ceremony in honor of greek independence day, timed to coincide with a visit by greek prime minister george papandreou. the prime minister, president obama, and the greek orthodox church is archbishop of america's deliver remarks at this half hour event. >> mr. president, your eminence, distinguished friends, my first
trip to washington and mike pence as prime minister coincides with the celebration in the white house of the anniversary of the independence of greece. so let me first of all thank president obama for inviting me here today in order to participate in this come emerge of ceremony. together, we celebrate the proud heritage of greek americans. together, we recognize the long-standing friendship between greece and the united states. and together, we reaffirm our common values and principles, our shared desire for freedom, democracy, peace, stability, human rights and the rule of law around the world. mr. president, although democracy was born in my country, we have no nor do we decide to any patent on a. the concept of democracy has become part of worldwide heritage, part of a commonwealth for all of humanity.
we can and we do however feel great pride when democracy forces. in your country and your personal journey has inspired, given life to the concept of democracy in today's world. your country has also been inspired by our common democratic heritage. as thomas jefferson, james madison and all the other founding fathers of this great nation successfully set up a social and legal system of which you and your fellow citizens can be proud of. in the same unfaltering way the first greeks who aspire to freedom and liberty at the outbreak of the war of independence in 1821 have and their turn sought and found a noble patter in the struggle of the american people for their independence. allow me to pay tribute to those americans who traveled across the waters to greece to fight as fellow means for our fight for freedom. mr. president, i would like to commend in the solemn moment his
eminence, archbishop demetrios, for his commitment to the mission desoto them and is very important work as a spiritual leader of the greek americans. he has successfully the greek american community to contribute to the prosperity of this great nation. during hoosiers of ministration, the primate of the orthodox church in america has succeeded in nurturing the christian faith to the greek american community by preaching the words of love and justice. the greek american community is a further and lasting link between our two countries. we are proud, and i am part of this community, we are proud of their accomplishment in academia, in business, and culture and politics. they contribute much to the u.s., and are always a source of innovation and strength as they bring their ideas and aspirations to greece when they visit our country. and they know very well that no greece today may be facing
problems, he remains a most hospitable country, an agent concept which holds true to all of increased today. and our people would certainly welcome you, michelle, and your daughters to our beautiful country whenever you find it possible. in these difficult times, i would like to thank president barack obama for his support and confidence. i can assure you, mr. president, as i can assure the greek american community, we are doing what it takes with determination and credibility to steer our economy on a new path, a viable path for the future. revamping our public administration, health and education system, our tax system, cutting down bureaucracy, opening up for investment, particularly in areas such as economy and tourism. but also furthering our goal for peace and stability in the balkans, and promoting solutions to conflicts that have festered
for long such as in cyprus and in greek turkish relations. we also appreciate your will to work with us in the european union, to tackle issues such as the rules and regulations in this globalizing economy. making sure that it is a more just world, and more just economy, and more humane world. and that, mr. president, let me quote, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. said by martin luther king in his famous letter from birmingham jail. greece will continue to stand with the united states and our common quest for justice against all forms of tyranny and oppression in order to keep our world a place what it is worth living. thank you very much, and i now have the honor to invite his eminence, the archbishop. archbishop, it is right nice to be here with you. [applause]
>> mr. president, once again, as greek american orthodox community, we have the great honor and privilege to be your guest of the white house on the occasion of the annual celebration of the greek independence day. we are deeply grateful for your kindness, and for your commitment to pursue what's in his letter to the philippians describes as what ever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is jobs, whatever is. , whatever is lovely and whatever is gracious. it is exactly in the spirit of these words of saint paul that we experienced the celebration
at the white house today. we are also happy to have with those, and honor to have with is the prime minister of greece, mr. george papandreou. and his wife. mr. prime minister, i am very honored by your very, very kind words. this is the first time ever, mr. president, that the prime minister of greece is present in the center of greek independence day at the white house. and the fact that the first lady, mrs. michelle obama, is here also for the first time for a first lady, certainly enhances the joy of the day. [applause]
>> the greek revolution and the war for independence would started on march 25, 1821, was, by all sound criteria, a predictably lost cause. the reasons for such are well-known. for centuries and the occupation by the mighty and relentless ottoman empire i'm barely recognize revolutionaries far outnumbered by huge and well organized armed forces, limited weapons and ammunition's, and a hostile reaction by some strong european countries. yet, against all odds, and predictions, the heroic revolutionary of 182 1821 achiee the impossible. they were victorious. they defeated the mighty empire, and establish after four centuries, a foreign occupation,
a free independent state, the new greek state. this truly amazing achievement became a reality, first, thanks to the soul of the fighters, dominated by faith and by god and by faith in the destiny to live free and independent. secondly, thanks to the heart of the fighters, their heart and and dated by unusual courage and astonishing fearlessness, even in the face of devastating suffering and death. and thirdly, thanks to the minds of the heroes of 1821, a brilliant mind, which made out of ordinary people extraordinary military tacticians and strategists, able to outwit
experience ottoman military commanders. souls filled with unwavering faith, hearts filled with enormous courage. and minds shining with brilliance made the impossible possible. in the epoch of the great war for independence in 1821. today, we pay homage to those heroic fighters of 1821, assisted by philotimo and american fighters. for freedom, democracy and independence. having the great honor of being their descendents, had the distinct privilege to live in this country where freedom and independence constitute absolute values, we feel the need to intensify it what we can do in
order to assist the efforts for establishing freedom, democracy and justice for all, even to the ends of the earth. mr. president, we are gratefully aware of, and we are with you in, your persistence and commitment to promote globally absolute values, especially in the sensitive areas of the far, the middle and the near east asia. we thankfully noted that in the first year of a presidency, you have repeatedly shown your specific advocacy of the same values in the case of our economical, strongly defending its god-given right to reduce freedom. [applause]
>> we rely on your continued and dynamic support until, with the help of god, the expected good results are obtained. we also repeat our plea, express to you and last year celebration for your needed innovation in the still pending issues of the unification of cyprus and that the appropriate name for the former yugoslav republic of macedonia. our plea for these issues is accompanied by our warm prayers, for the leaders of our people, and the people of greece, the land which gave democracy and universal values to the world.
i missing a page. >> let me help you out with that. it's hard when you're caring -- [laughter] >> that's part of the celebration. mr. president, on this occasion a celebration of the greek independence day at the white house, we declare that we count on your strong support. we also firmly assure you that you can count on our support in your noble efforts for promoting freedom, justice, and peace throughout the suffering areas of our planet. and you can definitely count on our warm prayers for you personally, and your beloved family, and for this blessed land of america, the champion of
democracy. thank you once again, mr. president. [applause] >> thank you. thank you, everybody. thank you. thank you. thank you so much. well comma good evening comma everybody, and welcome to the white house. i can imagine a better way to celebrate the independence of greece than with the prime minister of greece. [laughter] >> so prime minister papandreou comma to your lovely wife, mrs. papandreou, we are honored by your presence here today. and we are pleased that you were able to bring your extraordinary delegation from athens. now, like his father and his grandfather before him, the prime minister is leading greece through challenging times. but as i told him during our meeting in the oval office toda
comma whether in good times or in bad times, the people of greece will always have a friend and a partner in the united states of america. [applause] >> thank you comma your eminence, for your very kind introduction, and for the wisdom and compassion that has always defined your ministry. archbishop demetrios marks his second decade guiding the greek orthodox church and community in america comma four decades as a bishop, and recently comma his 82nd birthday. and he is looking really good. [applause] >> i need to find out what he seeing. [laughter] >> last year comma his eminence tried to compare me with alexander the great.
i thought this would get me more respect from michelle and the girls. [laughter] >> it did not. [laughter] >> they reminded me instead that greek literature is full of very strong women. [laughter] >> i want to acknowledge the fact we are joined by leaders who have strengthened the bonds between us comma including our ambassador kakouris, and from cyprus, and ambassador kakouris. please stand up. [applause] >> we have some outstanding numbers of congress who are here, and we've got at least one potential member of congress. alexi, stand up. [applause] from the state of illinois. we have god, in fact, in
addition to alexi, we have got a lot of greek american friends here who have been great friends and supporters of mine comma including folks here from chicago. i think we've got just about all of greektown here. and we also have some of the outstanding greek americans who are serving in my administration. now comma greek independence day is not for another few weeks but i will be on a trip to asia so i appreciate you coming early. not that greeks have ever neede an excuse to celebrate. let's face it. [laughter] >> but on that day we will remember how 189 years ago another bishop stood up in a monastery in the mountains. raised the greek flag and declared independence and began the struggle to restore democracy to its birthplace. but on that day we will not only celebrate a singular moment in
time. we will be reminded of the spirit that has defined greece and its people for all time. there's a concept that captures it. and it doesn't translate easily. it doesn't really have an equivalent in english. but it is a virtue that all of you know well it does is the very essence of being greek and you will forgive me if my pronunciation is just so-so. philotimo. [applause] >> right? philotimo. literally it translates as love of honor. i love that concept. love of honor. but, of course, it means much more than that. it is a sense of love to family and to community and to country. the notion that what we are here on this earth to do is to be all in this together. we all have obligations to each other and to work together.
and so it was that the democratic example of a small group of city states more than 2000 years ago could inspire the founding generation of this country. that led one early american to imagine that the days of greece may be revived in the woods of america. it is the sense of nobility and morality written in the pages of those timeless greek texts which have instructed students -- and tormented them -- down the ages in every corner of the world. indeed, when i was living in indonesia as a child when my mother would wake me up early in the morning to teach me comma among the books you would pull off the shelf were the legends of greek mythology. philotimo it is a sense of right and wrong and a duty to do what's right. and so 189 years ago americans of greek origin crossed the oceans and fought for greek independence. greek americans in terms served and fought to preserve our union and through two world wars and a
long cold war america stood with our greek allies and friends. and since the prime minister is here let me acknowledge greece's efforts to extend the security and stability in our time toward a just and final settlement in cyprus comma fully integrating the balkans into europe, and the prime ministers personal work to improve relations with turkey. we thank you for your leadership. [applause] >> and let me commend greece, our place know to ally for standing up for the opportunity of people around the world, from balkans to afghanistan would greek service there's a helping to you people have know too much war the chance to live in peace and security. this solidarity continues today. whether it is the close counterterrorism efforts between our governments or the deep partnerships between our people. indeed, as the prime minister
and i discussed this afternoon, greece's participation in the visa waiver program will strengthen security in both our countries, and whether it is to do business or visit family and friends, it will now be easier for our greek friends to visit the united states. [applause] >> and philotimo is a sense of dignity and respect, as well. it is the determination that has driven generations of greek americans, like those here tonight, to struggle and sacrifice for the same things that all americans want. to pursue our dreams, to realize our god-given potential, and to give our children an even better life. that is the simple hope that caused a bishop to raise that flag on a mountaintop so many years ago. that is the profound sense of friendship that will guide our work in the years ahead. because what one patriot of greek independence wrote to john
[inaudible conversations] >> treasure secretary timothy geithner testifies on capitol hill this afternoon about his departments annual budget. now discussion on counterinsurgency operations in iraq. former reporters talk about the effectiveness of u.s. military operations. this forum was part of a conference hosted by johns hopkins university's school of advanced international studies. this is in our and a half.
more than half a century ago marshal of the royal air force search on flusser warned that if there is one attitude more dangerous and to assume that a future war will be just like a last one, it's to imagine that it will be so utterly different that we can afford to ignore all the lessons of the last one. today we have three expert panels whose members will explore specifically how the lessons of vietnam have been transferred, ignored or adopted to contemporary conflicts in iraq and afghanistan. lessons learned convalescence lost, let's see. first palin counterinsurgency in iraq is chaired by dr. patrick turned one of the center for a new american security.
cronin thank you very much. it's a great privilege to be here and i want to thank johns hopkins and texas tech vietnam center for the excellent work in putting together a two-day conference on such important issues. first when i was at oxford university many, many years ago, whether to get him was a counterinsurgency was a subject of debate. forget about the lessons. but now we are reducing it to a counterinsurgency and putting it together with iraq and afghanistan and discussing these lessons. and also mindful of winston churchill who said the further back you can look, the farther forward you can need. well, our panel looks at only seven years, so maybe we can only see forward a few years, but i think with our distinguished acres we may be able to read and learn lessons beyond that. the word lessons is also a very broad and nebulous term and maybe the important of looking
for a lesson, lost, found, misplaced whatever assistance searching for them in the dialogue that infused, thinking about it. but obviously based on acquisition that helps to a fax in a rendering of judgment. the importance to make sure you didn't take the facts, the narrative, the chronology and render judgments that may be helpful in this case may be for operations, but also i hope at the strategic level. and it is that the strategic level that i often do most of my thinking of trying to figure out whether we're on the right track were not great for the cover when the question was asked this past weekend on the future of our afghan policy was if the iraq and afghanistan wars aren't, the second most expensive war in american history in terms of cost, not casualties, and the first is the second world war, you can
imagine how the united states came out of world war ii time for a position of great global power and wealth and prosperity. however he going to come out of iraq and afghanistan? unfortunately, i think nobody here would say we're going to come out in the same position. but maybe there was no choice. i only throw it out as a provocation has returned for three panelists. we're going to go in the opposite order of your program. and let me introduce each of the speakers and an alternative than that to kick it off. linda robinson is a distinguished writer and was a distinguished senior reporter for u.s. news & world report for many years. she's been a fellow in off in residence three wonderful universities, harvard, stanford, and my trip to merrill at johns hopkins university. she's offered some outstanding books from masters of chaos to
secret history of the special forces to more recently tell me how this ends general david petraeus and the search for a way out of iraq. and maybe part part 2 on the work issue draws her comments this morning. she's also most importantly and stoutly a swarthmore graduate. they worked so hard it's very conscious of her undergraduate institutions as my daughter applied and i think it all probably started at swarthmore. thomas ricks is a yale man. he was an outstanding reporter for "the wall street journal" and "washington post." he he's earned to pulitzers, not one, but too. he. he has an award-winning blog was today for sort of like a bullet there. and he is of course the senior fellow at the center for new american security. he's the author of two outstanding books on iraq. as you've all know i'm sure a fiasco, which covered 2003 until
2005 and more recently began but what about that the next couple of years after that 2006 until 2008. he's also the author of a very recent cna s. report on iraq arguing that 2010 this year is going to be a pivotal year in the iraq war. and then last but by no means least and are trained brings two different dimensions to this discussion this morning. here's a middle east scholar having really studied worked, lived, fought, including at the american university of beirut. that was the fighting perhaps. and also kings college london. he is a soldier, led army rangers in iraq and afghanistan among many other things. he's also a great writer and thinker. he's written a great book, this man's army. he read some of the most provocative blogs of flow on the internet and most importantly is a great colleague also at the center for a new american
security. so almost having a staff meeting chair that were leading linda robinson joined. and that, what lessons to draw from iraq? >> thank you very much, patrick. i'm delighted to be part of this conversation today. and i am certainly going to draw on the boat can't tell me how this sense. i've also just finished writing a chapter for a book that is looking at less than learned from both iraq and the guinness fan and pakistan. i am by no means an expert on vietnam, so i will rely in part on our dialogue to try to extract and tie and some of these legs. i did start this chapter however save the united states is going to its most sustained and intensive experience of war since it departed vietnam 35 years ago. so i have been living through these years, i think, very conscious of the fact that this is a new vietnam generation and
away. the people who were out there fighting are going through and in some ways many of the same things that service people did in vietnam. i think we also is a country are going to spend many years arguing over this war and grappling with it here and i think, and i certainly have been involved with the debates with people over time to the narrative right and people who haven't spent a lot of time on the ground over there i think it involved in some polemics that depart from what we believe i think are some of the empirical factual things that must he kept in mind. i'm going to spend a good bit of time talking about the critical period of 2007, 2008. but i'd like to set the stage with a kind of back drop of the first years of the war and then i'm going to conclude by offering you some of my broader conclusions and what i'm calling
the practice of strategic counterinsurgency, the things that i think we have learned in iraq that are applicable to the current main war effort and what i believe will be future engagements. my view is that many of us covering iraq focused overly on military operations and did not send enough time understanding the country called iraq. and i think that god may be true in general. that needs to be a critique of those who prosecuted the war. i think that we who cover the war in depth need to also scrutinize what we did and didn't do well. as i then began writing the book, i felt very heavily into iraqi politics, spent a lot of time with iraqis. i still went out and spent time with troops at every ash blonde from squad after the four-star and three-star commands. i think it very important to try
to understand the main dynamics of this war from a political perspective that it informs what did and didn't happen in the military sense. the five errors that i believe really shaped, set the groundwork for what was the deepening and almost lost war by the time we got to 2007 began with of course the same decision to disband the back party and the saddam hussein military and security forces. we don't know whether there would've been an insurgency without that step, but i think that all but guaranteed that one would occur, particularly in combination with these other four errors. the decision to go ahead with the january 2005 elections, even once it was clear that the sunnis were going to boycott the election, it can set up a
political dynamic that no military operation could overcome. and then of course, that assembly that was a lack that went ahead to write a constitution where the shiite islamist ideas were at the forefront and that created a further sense, despite an attempt at the last minute to negotiate a deal whereby the constitution would be revised within or month that the new parliament taking it feet. that never occurred. that has never occurred and that is still essential part of the political endgame that i'll give some time to as well. the fourth error was in my view there was a persistent tendency through 03, 07 for the military commanders and analysts to ignore the growing threat from the shiite islamist extremists i heard we were very focused on the sunni extremist threat.
there were some elements, including and i was with the special forces at the beginning of the war and i was over in the order and we saw people pouring in from iran and they were tracking closely on the solder and the first assassination that occurred there. and the elements were there from the beginning and i totally reject this notion that it only exploded with the samarra mosque bombing. it was absolutely in place from the first day and all you have to do is read ali allowing spoke with an advisor and a key figure in the transition government and he speaks for the shia islam is contingent when he says of course we were going to try to seize all the power we could, you know, it was a winner take all situation. his book made it clear. the there was no awareness of this i believe on the part of the military commanders and i think insufficient.
i think there was a divided policy crowd that didn't adequately grapple with this. thou cause i did appreciate it but didn't have enough allies. assist error was really the treating of the sunni population as the enemy. and this involved indiscriminate targeting and a lot of tactical blunders. everett pleaded clearing operations kick in the same door of the family that had nothing to do with the insurgency and of course as beyond the general crystal now called going on 30 take out one person taken the whole family is now insurgency. so i think we really blundered repeatedly over those years. i was there every year of the war and have extended snapshots from my time on the ground there. so now i'll move ahead to 2007 when it is famed as the multinational force commander. the very most important thing he did was set up the joint
strategic assessment team called jay sat in the acronym lingo. it was headed by h. r. mcmaster and the critically ended diplomat. it was very multi-disciplinary and multinational so the key point is they reached out from the get go to find smart people across all the disciplines. it was not a military exercise. and this was modeled on what to try aside time to write the cornmeal three -- 24 in the marine participated as well. and i was involved in a workshop to critique the first draft of 324 and petraeus conducted a like a seminar. he invited a bunch of people, every coin expert, you bunch of academics, of course military officers, about six or seven journalists and just had that it. in the jsat performed in a similar way. no holds barred extremely
profound critique an examination of the war and what had been done to date to include critiquing of what the u.s. approach had been. and so the conclusions reached and there were many conclusions but the central thing was the diagnosis of the war. and yes it had components of terrorism and insurgency and so forth for what they've concluded at this point to become merely a communal struggle i.e. civil war. the shia and sunni dynamic had come to the fore and had to be dealt with in their primary prescription was that therefore an accommodation had to be reached, political accommodation. and they use that word rather than reconciliation but the point was you have to find a political way out ultimately and that military tools and forces have to be used to try to produce this outcome. this jsat report was not adopted lock stock and barrel but used to fashion the joint campaign which was again a joint -- a
combined exercise between the multinational force command and the u.s. mission, the country team, ambassador crocker was very critical throughout this effort and was treated as an equal partner. and he brought the real country expertise and the regional expertise to the table and invaluable having individuals in the right places does matter as i'm sure the scrutiny of the vietnam war has made clear as well. the joint campaign plan had a number of features, but what i'd like to do is dive right down into what i need -- this is my only part that's going to be operational tactical. but what i think mattered in terms of getting to the dynamic changing the momentum and trying to get a dynamic that favored accommodation rather than civil war and the disintegration of iraq, they adopted what i would call a blend of population
centric and enemy centric counterinsurgency. and i know that after 324 heavily relies on the population centric type of approaches but there was definitely an enemy centered approach in the key there with getting much better intelligence center and provided much more precise targeting. and i'll say a bit more about that. but i'm just going to run through what i think were the essential tactics, techniques and procedures that were applied. and it's critical to note they were applied more or less simultaneously. and as you all know, your experts here. the massing is time and critical. one has been the same battalion commanders who feel that they were doing all the right names prior to 2007, but it didn't matter if it was happening for one tour in one area over the main zone of conflict because it
would unravel the minute they laughed and it had nothing to hook up to. and this is like my topline conclusions are really about to teach a counterinsurgency. guess we have the type of grape but that mattered not at all if you don't get the big picture right. that means first diagnosis and on the application of the correct type takes over wide enough area. and in this case, baghdad was the main effort amounts why focus focused my reporting on it in the book because i just had a certain amount of time that i could spend and write this book while outstrip wording. so the critical thing is, of course we know the same search. increase in troops, 30,000, fine. if you do also had 100,000 iraqis been added. it wasn't the numbers so much as the change and how they were deployed and the dispersion of the troops was critical. and not just as a bumper sticker to do it.
it had a purpose. the dispersion of the troops into the joint security stations in the combat outposts all over this main area and again there were a few before, but there were sufficient numbers, 68 in may in baghdad, 77 and all the greater baghdad area at the peak. and so they gave you an ability to really start transforming the neighborhood. there are also a number of population control measures and the thought of people on the soft and squishy point that i would like to talk about. putting up the walls both in the neighborhood that had become bomb factories but also the target areas, the main market areas that were creating the huge casualties. more checkpoints, x-rays on the bridges, curfews, vehicle bails, falluja was shut down. so you really have a lot of aggressive measures taken to contain the insurgents, separate them from the population targets
and as i mentioned the counterterrorism became more effective because it was enabled fundamentally by better intelligence and a faster intel off loop. just to name some of the things of course we had a massive increase in the unmanned area in the use of that. with the developer to the fusion centers to enable this rapid targeting. your technical things like the biometric systems of the kind of like polaroid cameras and they would go in and take extruders, get fingerprints and retinal scans of the suspected insurgent population. basically all the military males in a given suspect area would be registered. so for the first time in the entire war you had a shareable computerized database and that enabled you to stop it in the wrong places repeatedly. and to get the right ones. while such human to bring teams and some effort not developed to understand the shift team can turn on turn and it was never totally cleansed you and me there was a lot of false
reporting about what happened to baghdad. and critically read the outreach to the insurgents and their base. in the famous sons of iraq affair. and it is all over and mark and i was primarily tribal engagement. it's important to understand in greater baghdad this is a cosmopolitan city and wasn't just tribes. it was all kinds of social groups and really neighborhood-based. i witnessed it in many of these areas and one of the key people in dora, one of the worst neighborhoods in the south was a cardiologist and this is from the jabari tribe was much more important his socioeconomic standing and his full stature in that area and his decision to become one of the people who would stick their necks out and say hey we've got to accept this outstretched hand by the individual battalion and company commanders. and i really reject this notion that there was somehow a spontaneous decision by the sunni insurgency, the nationalist insurgency as opposed to the fringe of hiding
iraq elements. they did not spontaneously -- they would've had no one to come in from the code to were it not for those dispersed soldiers. and that was the primary reason for them to be out there. in addition of course has the people came and you got unparalleled human intelligence. you couldn't get it any other way. so you started having a very rapid change in the dynamic, really even before the famous number of seven testimony of petraeus and crocker. i finally broke with my magazine because they would accept the things had changed and i was a book i'm here telling you guys and i was serious because there was such a polemic atmosphere here in town that nobody wanted to believe that this war that we all thought was lost would actually be turned around. so this is all really what happened. now we are not -- that was not the endgame. the endgame is now. and i wrote about it in chapter 15 and i stand by everything that was in there.
the mission of this administration is or was to complete the endgame and we're living it right now. you know the elections are happening and this is a critical moment. the iraqi parliamentary elections. it was unfortunate that malik you didn't form a wider amount than he did. it's very unfortunate the purging of the many candidates. the end game has a critical number of moments. the sons of iraq included 100,000 people. okay, so that was larger than any estimate that was ever done of the sunni nationalist insurgency. and so it represents the book of the insurgency in their base, and thought of population, you know, the auxiliary and underground of the insurgent was included and not. so it's critical that they be incorporated into both the security services and the political and economic lives of the structure. the constitution has to be revised. they have to come to agreement about the federal nature of
power in iraq. and in fact, more iraqis, to me we need to understand, iraq is that essentially state system for a long time and a more centralized model than it currently has in the constitution. it also is more secular than many people realize. yes there is an islamic horse into the population but they've got to fundamentally come around to a political structure. can they do it? well, they did do a very importantly in the provincial power salt which was the conventional and regional powers and i thought struck a fine and workable balance with the help of crocker cover with the help of people in the embassy in that key second-tier level of iraqi politicians who are much for pragmatic than a lot of these political leaders who are devices and sectarian influences. in my view and i'm very disappointed the administration did not accept my recommendation to appoint an envoy and instead
they appointed an ambassador with never been in the region before. i know prince hill is an accomplished diplomat and i don't mean to make any personal attack on his professional reputation, but simply the critical endgame. it's now. and i've covered insurgencies all over latin america. the endgame is political and you've got to get a political system that all iraqis live under. you have to incorporate former insurgents and you have to do the regional diplomacy peace in iraq has always been a counterweight to iran and that's the formula for stability in the region. you cannot get that unless you have internal stability in iraq. and i think what we, too many people in the number of people flippantly say the war is over, the shia have one and the shia access is inevitable. that's not true. the iraqis don't want to be the 51st state of iran. we have to be partners. it's not that we do it for them but we have to be partners in
brokering some of the internal deals and some of the regional deals and the iraqis would very much like us to help continue professionalizing their forces and continue to serve politically as a counterweight to iran, which is next door and will always be playing the influence game in iraq. it's just inevitable. so i'm very concerned that we're in danger of having won the battle and we're going to lose the war. and i'll just say a quick couple of things and maybe we can come back to this end the discussion. as i said to you, the political analysis is key. i think that is the key lesson for strategic counterinsurgency and every country is different. there's no template and i'm very upset when i hear people including very distinguished people around town saying something like, strategic counterinsurgency, orthodox counterinsurgency doctrine as if they're some template we put on every board. every war is different, every
country is different and what we must do is do that analysis verse. and i pushed back in a number of things, population centric approach does not require a heavy u.s. footprint. in fact, your preferred by most use host nation forces neared and in afghanistan and my view that doesn't mean building a big centralized army and police there. you've got to go local and you've got to use some informal structures. i know there's a big debate about that but if you get a big heavy foot or then there and a lot of these countries are going to go wrong. there's also the clear hold and build. to me that formula widely adopted to note that process that's pessimistic, but physical and that is sequential and away that point practice really really is. so i think we need to stop and think about the words and the formula that we are using. and i think right now i've got a couple of other lessons i will throw out, but i think it over
from my time and i'm sorry for going on at great length. thank you. >> linda, thank you. [applause] >> tom ricks. it's on. >> is the don? first lesson, check the mic. >> can you all hear me? i have two minds about the conference at all. i'm not sure that vietnam speaks that much to iraq or afghanistan. but i was thinking about this on the metro last night because i've been reading this book right andrew rowe called waging war in waziristan. it's terrific especially in this lessons learned areas and i think actually probably has a lot more to speak to iraq and afghanistan than the vietnam experience. since we're here, i will go on.
it's also intriguing to me that david petraeus was very aware of it. remember he wrote his dissertation on vietnam. we were talking and i've been reading some french history on the algerian war and i mentioned the general, not by name, said there's one general and he listed off the top of his head about eight of the french generals of the 1950's who had fought in both vietnam and algeria appears he was quite conscious of the background, especially the french background and the counterinsurgency. i want to talk about and highlight two areas. the first is what petraeus did you know what say this in the context of my belief that the surge failed in the sense that it did not achieve a strategic call. it improves security. there a lot of iraqis live today
because of the surge. there was a real achievement. i think the surge failed because the purpose of the surge was to improve security to create a breeding space which included a breakthrough would occur. that is still not occurred. it may occur this year, it may not. but all the basic questions that led to the violence to life before the surge are just hanging fire up their. the oil revenue was the relationship between major groups was the disposition of the city appeared kook. all of those have led to balance in the past, all complete to violence again. the only thing changing in the security equation that i see is that the force that intervened to stop the civil war of 06, the americans will not be available if these questions lead to widespread violence again. what did petraeus do? i agree that the increase in troops was almost a sideshow in
terms of the importance of events. i think the single most important thing was the change in american attitude in the surge. he sought a new modesty and american goals, quietly downsized. remember the united states went into iraq with the fantasy that we could go into one of the worlds oldest cultures, change at the point of a gun and leave in six months. the original u.s. plan was to be done with 30,000 troops in september 03. petraeus for really the quietly abandoned that fantasy of the book, what were trying to do here is get out of here with our shirts on our backs and leave behind a country that hopefully a stable with lots of democratic, but don't expect much more than not. i remember joking at the time that they should drop the name of kim victory for their headquarters and change it to camp accommodation. like many of my proposals, it was not accepted.
the humility also was significant. i was recently at a central command conference of american officers, some american officials and some iraqis, which specifically try to parse out what happened in and bar province in 2007. and the americans were talking and i think quite logically about well first we went out and we established these among the population and then we ensured the police would be of local knowledge and then we went back to the tribes. and several hours into this a former iraqi general said timeout fellas, i'll tell you what changed from my perspective in 0607. you guys finally started listening. the first couple years of the war, general american would walk in and say okay mohammed or whatever your name is, this is the way it's going to be. a couple years later said we have to respect the iraqis said they came in and listened and
said okay this is the way it's going to be. finally, in 06, 07, americans would walk in and say, what do you think we should be doing here? what are you trying to do? what do you think are sustainable approaches and how can we help you? specifically says it was quite striking to him that then colonel sean mcfarland at the end of each conversation would say okay, here are the three things that take away from this conversation that i need to do. suddenly, the knowledge that decisions were flowing in a different direction. something that was ignored as a command issue and i think academics are ashley blinder this is petraeus didn't just get the three right to shut it down the throat of the military establishment. and i think this is probably his great achievement of the commander. the theory was pretty much commercial off-the-shelf colonial or insurgency theory. and there were a lot of people in iraq who understood this well
before petraeus and zero dear no did was make sure that every echelon was finally fighting the same war. and this had been a major problem in iraq for several years. i remember in 03, 04, 05 david moved from the divisions and there was a different war, different rules of engagement. they dealt with iraq is differently. specifically how close could you be to accomplish before they shot at you. and they do find that it would occasionally weather for me but the signs are always in english, not real helpful to the illiterate iraqi farmer trying to get his tomatoes to market on time. what i think petraeus do in odierno do is get several echelon found were talking the time commanders with a petraeus came out and spend half a day with me driving around in my humvee and talking to me. he also had david kilcullen as is political commissar to co-opt there and make sure not only were the commanders talking a
good game but they're executing nicotine because there were some executors who talked a good point game but operated in an i think also what petraeus house was a matter of timing. and this might actually be an analogy to the vietnam war, judah crave them and from sarah that by the time petraeus in odierno took over they had a very season fours underneath them. a lot of people had tried it diehard way, the conventional way and so on and were willing to listen and had enough knowledge to understand when something made more sense. i think it was also significant that petraeus in odierno where the first command team that committed those divisions on the ground in iraq. i think this made a huge difference in their understanding of the war and their credibility was aboard in the commanders and their ability to understand what battalion and brigade in regimental commanders
were saying to them in a way that never made sense to sanchez or to casey. i remember at the time one of petraeus his advisers saying to me and said who do you listen to when you're really out and he said i look for the comp a commander on a second or third tour. and i say what are you feeling out here? how does this please feel to you from your previous tour? he said with those guys started singing to me in may and june of 07, things are changing. he said that's when i really started thinking hey, this thing may be improving the security here. the second thing that happened and is still happening is something that andrew and i have talked about quite a lot in our cobalt over at cna s. or writer instructions for the bomb administration. this is the question of host government and i think it is a huge screaming hole in our counterinsurgency theory on which we cannot borrow from the french and british.
the french and british were essentially fighting colonial counterinsurgency campaigns to retain a presence of some form in these areas. we are trying to establish governments that can stand on their own and let us go home. and i think there is a fundamental difference there. and it leads to the question again, how does this send fax it may be the victor in both iraq and afghanistan is where the host government feel strong enough to take us out. tracks pointing them to the american people. finally on this report i did last week for cnas which also ran in "the new york times" by called for keeping 50,000 troops in iraq for several years to come, not because of any great benefits but because the possibility that a force that size might be able to deter a slide back into civil war that easily could become a regional war in that force would buy you time and time is essential i think in growing political iraq
and allowing new political leaders to emerge. in retrospect, what we should have done is not begin with national elections, but begin with local neighborhood elections and may be a cheerleader towns and cities, a year later provinces. in growing new generation of political leaders. instead what we tried to do is quickly hold elections and basically throw a class and bitter distressful exiles and sectarian leaders into leadership positions. so i think that's something we need to think about a lot is how we deal with the host government in the future. i don't like the idea of keeping a lot of troops in iraq. i think it's the least bad option though and i also think just because you invade a country stupidly doesn't mean you should be the stupidly. as i wrote about him was
thinking about -- i written to henry kissinger at jail about a year ago and as we were talking about the end of the vietnam war and i said which do you think is more difficult as a strategic abu? vietnam or iraq? he said no doubt in my mind, iraq. an alternate over to exum. >> all right. first off, it's a real honor to be here on this podium with two journalists who have written quite per start diddley on the iraq war. i feel kind of out of place. i spent a grand total of four months of their life in iraq. mainly trying to lose a war which i'll talk a bit leader. project has given you this wide right to comment on what i've heard and also to reorient the conversation may be pointing towards the next panel when we think about afghanistan pierced the meat of my presentation is going to be thinking about the changes that took ways in the u.s. government and the u.s.
military that was caused by a bracket where that leads us going forward. as i look at my wardrobe this morning if i do i need to put on a tight? who are you kidding? tom ricks hasn't worn a tie since 1973. last night i think there's a lesson here that just because it hasn't happened before doesn't mean it's not going to happen. i said that i served in iraq for just a few months, which is, you know, there are folks in the audience who spent years on the ground there. and again, i was really trying to lose the war. all the indiscriminate targeting we were doing in the fall and winter of 2003, 2004, yeah you can blame me. ironically though, one of the things that we haven't really seen come out in any of the narratives about the iraq war thus far and really in a coherent manner this is partly due to classification issues is at the beginning of the iraq war, those of us in a special
operation units and task forces i think misdiagnosed the iraq war. without we confused while with a nascent insurgency for a counterterror problem. we essentially approached the problems like we would, i don't know, the red army faction in germany and kicked down a lot of doors and took out a lot of windows trying to get these in the deck of cards trying to get those guys on a certain list. now when a counterterror type task force or direct action special operations task wars are linked in a wider counterinsurgency campaign, it can have a devastating effect on the enemy's ability to operate. and i think that's one of the things taught in 2007 and 2008. one thing i'd like to see drawn out in a narrative someday is to the degree to which a lot of brigade commanders were battle space owners in greater baghdad or in 2007, and talking guys like jeff bannister and mike kershaw. what units had they been in prior to that? in addition to guys who are the
special operations task forces have been in conventional units in iraq before that as well. so there was a more symbiotic relationships and the relationships i think that had been forged in special operations units before mattered in 2007 and 2008. no relationship is more important not between stan mcchrystal and general petraeus which became pythons. iraq did have a pretty great impact on my life though because i gave up dreams of going to law school and decided that i just invaded my country without knowing anything about the people, region, history, language. so i ended up spending most of the past six years in the arabic speaking middle east. i want to talk real quick -- first of all, let me comment on some things that were said. in addition to the bad guys integration of special operations forces and conventional operations i think it's important and again hasn't been a narrative so much for
classification issues. the other thing is that linda and tom have written two really good narrative of the surge, but they were initial narratives. and now i think we're going to start seeing other -- i mean, i think they both say this but their other stores to be told from the platoon leadership perspective, there are still leaves to be told from the iraqi people's perspective and worst darting to see that come out and i think that will better gauge the effects of the surgeon what really took base in baghdad. once we see those narratives come to the fore. dad amos has a new book on the fact that the surge in military operations had on iraqi refugees in the iraqi refugee crisis. it's a fantastic book so i would recommend it. and there's a new memoir by matt gallagher about fighting his platoon leader in nearly 2008, 2009. it's again fantastic. i'm going to agree with tom and
something big a little later, but i want to disagree. but ink and i told tom this, i think he's too wed to the narrative that the surge failed. i don't think that the goal of a counterinsurgency campaign ways by a third party on behalf of the host nation government is to lead to some political breakthrough or create time and space for political breakthrough, but to create time and space for a political process. and i think we've actually done not in iraq. the other thing you said yourself that general petraeus walked back the skill of our ambitions in iraq and said were trying to get out of here with the shirts on our back. we initiated the sofa agreement. i think that is a testament to some of the good work done by the ms as well as via our folks on the ground in iraq aired i think they deserve credit for that. i'm not sure i'd be so about the surge failed. ama be too early to make that judgment and i think that
political process is taking place and has been taking place that we can take some credit for, but the u.s. military and diplomats can take credit for it. but the goal of my remarks is to kind of talk about what we've learned in iraq, while we haven't learned, how we've learned and where this leaves us going forward. over the past 25 years there's been a lot of social science literature looking at what drives innovation within military organizations. and this literature has certainly picked up pace in the 1990's and i think can apply to what's taken place within the u.s. military in iraq and afghanistan. they're kind of two different models for what explains when the nation. he got rational explanations and cultural explanations. just to get to rationalist model real quick. and one model, an external threat can lead to civilian intervention plus mavericks working within military
organization to create new motivation pipelines and this is a very posing the sith. you've also got bottom-up innovation where creation by field unit can lead to a news area victory within services, creates new pipelines, leads to innovations. and if top-down, bottom-up forms of innovation and the rationalist explanations are i think you've seen a lot of that in iraq. two other things in the cultural models about the verge can change on purpose and external shocks can make innovation more probable. i think that certainly in iraq we've seen strong military leaders like general petraeus really create cultural changes within the u.s. military. as whether or not iraq has been a big enough external shock to cement these changes in place with a bureaucracy in margin with the u.s. military is a
question very much in the air. certainly vietnam, which is the conflict that i didn't play again, was not enough external shock to create significant and enduring change within the u.s. military and how it does its business here it is far as iraq, you know, it takes place at four different levels, political, strategic, operational and tactically. i think iraq is created change the way we fight counterinsurgency in the way we fight, the way the u.s. military does its business tactically. operational as well. we can point to fm3-24 as an example of that. strategically and politically and also culturally, i'm not so sure. as tom mentioned, one of the real holes in fm3-24 is that it doesn't the fact that were not great britain, not france, not fighting our counterinsurgency campaigns on our home turf. and the french perspective, that's exactly what algerians, maybe not an algerian perspective. the same thing, northern
ireland, not from the irish catholic perspective but from london's perspective is their home turf. on the other hand, i think the french and the british had problems with the french settlers and irish protestant and i wish protestant leaders are very similar to the problems we have as we deal oppose nation governments. so there may be some lessons to be learned but overall there is kind of i think fm3-24 represents operational genius and naïveté. steve biddle pointed this out that our interest lineup with the interest of the host nation government and because there's that assumption we haven't really seriously thought about what happens when those don't align. this is something steve mets are in a recent essay has been thinking quite a bit about, but i think that's the real problem is they look at just not iraq, afghanistan, but in a third-party intervention whether
talking about peacekeeping operations is another thing. how exactly do leverage over the host nation government is a problem but i don't think we've thought very hard about. we are really -- we are suffering for in afghanistan certainly in iraq to a lesser degree. culturally, you know, i was in -- as i spent time in afghanistan over the past summer, i think because lessons i've learned in iraq and that were beaten into my head, you know, as i got to know the arabic speaking middle east, i think coulter really matters and i'm very hesitant to make some sort of proclamation about afghans are pashtuns art. so one of the things i focused on is our operational culture, our culture. i mean as you study other
cultures, you become more attuned to your own norms, your own social rules, your own biases. nco pharaoh, and irish scholar would've quite good essay on american strategic culture for it to view a few years ago. in two of the things that he noticed an american strategic culture were what he called technological fetishism and a version two casualties. and i'm still not sure that we are over either of those. if you look at -- i mean, steve biddle said in a draft of a novel he's writing on a recent experience. and in afghanistan for example, i think that you can still see that aversion to casualties applied -- it's still there, still present, which is a as poa counterinsurgency campaign when you have to a lot of risk to know the population. you've got to be watching your beak and some convoys, you know,
moving on to bask in a standard as well. some troops to this well, some commanders to above, some day you may need to be on the street in your leather personnel carriers. other commanders don't understand this very well. in iraq, which you had in tom alluded to this than i thought this was very perceptive, he talked about the need to push petraeus leiby vision down the throats of the military. this is something i was talking and said tell me about odierno, what do you think? a great genius as he shows throat of general petraeus or the vision of general petraeus down the one stars. whether or not general mcchrystal is going to be a lot to do that in the coalition fight and able to do general rodriguez to the same purpose with u.s. troops i think it's very much up in the air. so if i could just eat this up again for afghanistan. and with respect to lessons learned. i think that there've been some
significant lessons that have been learned in iraq and that linda have time i've written quite well on paschal and operational lessons. the strategic and political lessons i don't think we've learned nearly as much as we needed to. i don't think that we've done a lot of hard searching.about how exactly you apply leverage when operating, you know, when in doubt to a counterinsurgency campaign is the third rd. and as far as her should she get culture of the u.s. military, i think it's very much remains to be seen whether or not the cultural changes that have taken place in d.c. and the junior officers in iraq and afghanistan are enduring or fleeting. and afghanistan and in a lot of ways is going to be a test case for whether or not that's the case. >> thank you very much. three excellent sets of remarks and we now have about 35 minutes for questions. i will look for hands, but let
me just ask the first question. all three of you highlighted the importance of iraq as building the capacity and making a transition specifically thinking about the iraqi security forces and linda mentioned from tea bath vacation to this question of what lesson do you draw from especially the u.s. attempts to try to build the new iraqi security forces. i know these are forces that some iraqi generals have talked it about with sectarian and a divide. but what lesson is important in your perspective and maybe we can begin in any direction. tom, you are nodding your head you maybe you want to begin in him again turned linda. >> sure, like a lot of things in iraq it's too early to tell. one thing that struck me as every single advisor ever talk to said that at some point in the middle of the night his
iraqi counterpart turned to him and said, as soon as you guys leave we go back to saddam ways. and this is another thing i think americans don't recognize is another reason i think 2010 will be really interesting as we see the emergence emergence of post iraq he security forces behaved and where their loyalties lie. we don't know. is that bad side to political tribes, region, not hear it i think you'll be all the above on a given day. these are the things were going to see us americans get out of the way and let iraqis be iraqis will find out just what that means. >> thank you, patrick. i didn't really address the iraqi security force trajectory and my remarks. and in broadest terms is that they are less problematic than the threat of political manipulation by the civilians. and the purging, the potential purging of their ranks. not to say there aren't
sectarian actors, but i think i am large and i would like to credit general dempsey, martin dempsey in his tour as demint sticky commander, the train and equip command over there because he really pushed through a major process of purging and especially of the national police which was heavily sec arianne. the re-gluing of that force. and there was also -- there was a critical intel contribution made in one of the programs called seven fail and they really relied on iraqi officers to provide insight into this influence, the political change of influence going up to the prime minister's office. and so, i think that it's a long-term effort, we spent a decade in salvador. we need to look at this as a long-term process of helping to mentor and train a professional force. and that's one of my topline lessons. i mean, i think the lessons of
the sport is we cannot anymore think of war as a short exercise. we must pay attention to what comes after end of building a viable security forces, nonpartisan professional security forces for the long haul is really a generational project and i think and i understand the political reasons why president obama says, we are getting out, the war is over. well, for the americans in a resume for the iraqis. but we must pay attention to the long-term security assistance program and the political things that still has to happen been in happen while a drawdown is occurring. >> yeah, i want to take this and kind of a different direction and think about building the ansi of -- i'm sorry, building security forces from the perspective of one of the things that tom and i were talking about, how you use leverage over host nation government. i think over the past 80 years we've actually made real gains tactically and mechanically and
thinking about how we build security forces. i think you've seen that u.s. troops have taken it more seriously. i think we've gotten better at it. i think it's something that quite frankly we're moving in the right direction as far as how to roll troops off the line, how do you build security forces from the ground up, how you partner with them long-term. i think we made good strides here. where i think we have a lot of room to grow and this is something that steve biddle takes credit for this. is thinking strategically about how we build security forces. because what we think about trying to use leverage over host nation government, the speed with which we build security forces, the equipment that we give security forces, or weaponry we give security forces, that's often a very concrete letter that we have over host nation governments. i actually think that the road to go as far as the american thinking about building security forces in both iraq and afghanistan has to do with the
strategic component and the way we use the degree to which we support and train security forces as leverage over the host nation governments. >> and or, just to tease about the people have a clearer idea of what's on your mind. you're talking for instance about a government that before political reconciliation has occurred is forced essentially because of u.s. leverage to adopt it more professional military. >> i was exiting about what happens after we leave. or maybe we leave iraq but we have logistical contracts with the iraqi military to last five, ten years after release. so even when we no longer have troops on the ground, we still are able to exert some concrete leverage over what that host nation government does and fails to do. and in the same -- i mean, we've done this with lebanon to a limited degree and i think we're thinking hard now. we're up against, and afghanistan were up against between a rock and a hard place.
i think we like to be able to use the training and equipping as leverage over the political leaders, but on the flipside is that we have a real need to get troops rolling off the assembly line and sent down into rc south and west into brc west. >> i would just like to chime in. i think andrew is right but this is nothing new. in latin american history of always commissioned military aid. the question is is congress going to pose the questions or can an assertion that which is often more palatable. i think this whole point is really about the civilian national security policymakers are where the little lessons learned how learned how to get occurred. i know this conference is focused primarily on the military, but i think we've got a real gap in the national security civilian cadre and they could have their own conference of learned a lot from on this front. >> looking at stephenville sounds like a follow-up conference. >> yes, ma'am. in the far
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