10 oif myths

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Agenda Purpose Why Iraq is Vital to National Security Key Facts & Current Situation The Top Ten Myths of the War in Iraq Ten Reasons to be Optimistic Way Ahead Questions & Discussion Note: Views expressed are mine alone and are not to be misconstrued as official Army/DoD positions


Purpose Present unvarnished viewpoint of soldier serving in Iraq in Baghdad for previous 8 months Provide insights on Operation Iraqi Freedom that may run counter to how many presently view the war Promote understanding of what many believe is “the defining political-military event of this generation” Engage in candid discussion with students, faculty and other attendees regarding OIF Stimulate critical thinking about the War in Iraq in a learning environment


SAUDI ARABIA SYRIA IRAN Al Qa’im Fallujah Ramadi Ar Rutbah Dahuk Tall Afar Irbil Kirkuk Tikrit Samarra Karbala An Najaf As Samawah An Nasiriyah Al Kut Al Amarah Al Basrah BAGHDAD Mosul Baqubah Hillah JORDAN TURKEY Iraq situated on sectarian fault lines… Regional balance and world security at stake Why Iraq is so vital to regional stability Iraqi Ethnic/ Sectarian Groups

Key Facts & Current Situation: 

Key Facts & Current Situation Four years of War in Iraq (Mar 03 – Present) 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 Evidence of strong foreign support – Iran, Syria, other Arab suicide bombers Fighting 100K armed fighters (SCIRI, JAM, AQI, 1920’s Bde, etc.), a resilient and adaptive enemy able to regenerate (Ratio of Civ’s to Fighters = 290:1) 3M 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 Focus of most media reporting 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)

Myth #1: War in Iraq is “All about Oil”: 

Myth #1: War in Iraq is “All about Oil” 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

Myth #2: US is Fighting Alone: 

Myth #2: US is Fighting Alone 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

Myth #3: Iraq engulfed in full-scale Civil War: 

Myth #3: Iraq engulfed in full-scale Civil War 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 thru civilian bloodshed and brutal acts of terror

Myth #4: Iraqi’s Better Off Under Saddam (1 of 2): 

Myth #4: Iraqi’s Better Off Under Saddam (1 of 2) Since ’03 and the fall of Saddam: Democratically elected representative government Free Speech and Free Press (TV, Radio, Internet, Papers) Rule of Law Complex bringing justice to Sunni, Shia and Kurd extremists Free-Market Economy vs. State Owned Industries Health Services: 25% increase in immunizations; measles reduced 90% Sewer, Water, Trash: 20 projects ($10M) Providing water for 5.4M Iraqis Electricity: 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)

Myth #4: Iraqi’s Better Off Under Saddam (2 of 2): 

Myth #4: Iraqi’s Better Off Under Saddam (2 of 2) A portion of the 3704 completed projects include: 35 post office projects 4 training academy projects 93 fire stations projects 155 border fort projects (278 Nationwide) 13 border points of entry projects 36 courthouse projects 32 hospital renovation projects 51 Primary Healthcare Center projects 981 schools (325K students) projects 97 railway station renovation projects 20 aviation projects 6 port projects 190 village road projects 342 police station projects 136 public building projects Majority of Iraqis have a higher quality of life than under Saddam – and enjoy freedoms repressed under his rule 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.

Myth #5: Iraqi Government Ineffective : 

Myth #5: Iraqi Government Ineffective 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 Iraq’s new democracy: natural growth pains but increasingly functional and credible; services, budgeting, legislative and diplomatic capability improving

Myth #6: Economic Development Nonexistent: 

Myth #6: Economic Development Nonexistent 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

Myth #7: Contractors Cost Gov’t Too Much: 

Myth #7: Contractors Cost Gov’t Too Much 129K contractors: 21K US + 43K Third Country Nationals + 65K Iraqi (47K KBR) Contractor casualties (KBR): 101 KIA, 586 WIA General Trend: Services up, Costs down (experience, efficiencies, economies of scale) KBR augments at least 50% of sustainment mission--invaluable service for down-sized military; provide continuity (many here 3-4 yrs); organic support would require 3X 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 OF 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 KBR Award Fee Trend

Myth #8: Troops Aren’t Properly Equipped (1 of 2): 

Myth #8: Troops Aren’t Properly Equipped (1 of 2) Coalition Forces are superbly outfitted Body Armor for all deployed troops (stops small arms and shrapnel) & chemical protection Over 25K Armored Vehicles in Theater; no troops off base w/out one Hummer – now on 6th major iteration of improved protection Route Clearance Equipment Cougar, Buffalo, MRAP, Frag Kit #6 Steady stream of technology insertions and new developments Tactical advantage thru Own-The-Night technology High Quality-of-Life in operating bases Iraq Security Forces (Army + Police) are well equipped as well ISF forces equipment improving constantly -- $7.3B in 2007 Vehicles & key weapons: 3500 x UAH’s, 500 x Cougar & BTR-80 light wheeled armor vehs, 900+ mortars Aircraft: 80+ helicopters, 3 x C-130 multi-purpose aircraft

Myth #8: Troops Aren’t Properly Equipped (2 of 2): 

Myth #8: Troops Aren’t Properly Equipped (2 of 2) 1200 cargo trucks delivering supplies daily (800 from Kuwait, 200 from Jordan, 200 from Turkey) 400,000 meals served at DFAC a day. Feed Alexandria, VA 1.3M gallons of fuel consumed daily – enough fuel to fill the tanks of 87K typical mid-sized cars (over 50,000 vehicles in theater) Produce 2 million bottles of drinking water daily. Produce 9M 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 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

Myth #9: Morale is Low: 

Myth #9: 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 realize 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 Morale is high and not adversely impacted by war debate; 180k coalition soldiers getting a tough job done in Iraq; all Services serving honorably and courageously

Myth #10 -- The Biggest Myth: We Have Lost: 

Myth #10 -- The Biggest Myth: We Have Lost 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 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

Summary: Ten Reasons to be Optimistic: 

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

Way Ahead: 

Engaged in a tough fight with brutal, adaptive extremists Apply appropriate coalition political, military, diplomatic, economic and informational power to: Protect population, reduce sectarian violence and allow nation to establish consensus among Shia, Sunni, Kurd Ensure regional stability and a secure Iraq, at peace w/ neighbors Empower Iraqi democracy and commitment to law-based gov’t Contain Islamic extremists to Middle East Enable passing security responsibility to Govt of Iraq Way Ahead This is the defining international event of our time… We can win this struggle. We MUST win this struggle.

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