Monday, January 29, 2007

Dual Command Structure For "Surge" Criticized

Lots of criticism circulated in Washington throughout the early occupation over the separate chains of command between Bremer's CPA and the traditional military hierarchy.

Nobody listened then, and the ad hoc fuck-up (the "surge") takes that mistake -- and goes one better:

As the Senate nears an unprecedented debate on President Bush's escalation of the Iraq war, almost all the public criticism has been aimed at the inadequate size of the new forces being sent to Baghdad (21,500 troops) and the extreme difficulty of reversing the course of the civil war. But last week, little noticed by the press and public, the Bush plan began to be attacked on a surprising new front -- by Iraq hawks, like Sen. John McCain, concerned that the split command structure for the operation violates basic military doctrine.

The Baghdad surge plan, announced by the president on Jan. 10, calls for the new U.S. soldiers to be embedded with Iraqi forces, who will take the lead. But while the U.S. troops would report to American officers, their Iraqi counterparts, in an apparent sop to national sovereignty, would report to Iraqi officers. The potentially disastrous result: two separate and independent command structures within the same military operation. ...

For military experts, who have long questioned the Bush strategy in Iraq, the dual command structure is just the latest in a long chain of avoidable errors. "It just shows you how flawed the whole scheme is," said retired Lt. Gen. William Odom, who was once the Army's senior intelligence officer, in an interview. Odom lamented that Iraq has been "just a bad nightmare" from the start. He said this White House continues to make mistakes that are "so painfully clear that sometimes I think I might be crazy."

Soldiers fighting side by side yet reporting to different commands is ill-advised in all military situations. But it is particularly risky in counterinsurgency operations, which require a sensitivity to political considerations. "Any kind of military operation -- but especially counterinsurgency -- only succeeds when there is a high degree of unity of command," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University, who advised the Iraq Study Group. "You want to have very clear, smooth and defined lines of control. If you have dual forms of command, you have, at the start, introduced an undesirable complication. You can only have one chef stirring the pot."


Blogger Candace said...

Oh that's just forking great. Split command. Brilliant.

1/29/2007 4:30 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home