Iraq Defense Minister: At Least 10 More Years of Occupation

Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qadir has announced that the Iraqi government is far, far away from being able to handle its own security.

The Iraqi defense minister said Monday that his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq’s borders from external threat until at least 2018.

Those comments from the minister, Abdul Qadir, were among the most specific public projections of a timeline for the American commitment in Iraq by officials in either Washington or Baghdad. And they suggested a longer commitment than either government had previously indicated.

Pentagon officials expressed no surprise at Mr. Qadir’s projections, which were even less optimistic than those he made last year.

Remind me again how the Surge is working? Or for that matter, anything about our policy in Iraq, period? If the Washington Establishment politicians continue to buy into the idiotic “Pottery Barn” approach to Iraq, how does this mean anything but that we’re going to continue with something close to our current troop levels in Iraq for at least the next four years, if not another ten?

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Dave E. says:

    Nonsense. You are buying into some two-bit hackery by Thom Shanker. If you look at the transcript of Mr. Qadir’s press conference with Robert Gates from last week you’ll see that Mr. Qadir is actually optimistic that the Iraqi Security Forces will be able to handle most, if not all, of the direct security in Iraq by the end of this year. The 2009-2012 timeframe is for the ability to fully train, equip, and resupply the ISF on their own. Instead of a large combat role, Mr. Qadir envisions mostly a training and support role for the US by the end of the year.

    The 2018-2020 timeframe is a US presence to ensure that Iraq’s neighbors don’t get any friskier than they already are. It takes time to build all of the forces necessary to defend Iraq from foreign aggression, for example a real air force. It is not, as you put it, “10 more years of occupation”.

    I have no idea if Mr. Qadir’s optimism is correct or misplaced. Time will tell. I’m certain though, that Thom Shanker’s article is spin.

  2. Zara says:

    Perhaps Mr. Knapp has not noticed that our troops have been in South Korea for over 50 years, helping to protect them from “external threat”.

  3. rpkinmd says:

    The headline is very telling, shows the bias of the art ice.

  4. Boyd says:

    I’m glad you don’t claim to be objective, Alex, because you clearly start with a conclusion and then mold facts and circumstances to match it.

    And beyond South Korea, I’d mention that we’ve been occupying Germany and Japan even longer, by Alex’s apparent standards.

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    Whatever the diction used to describe our largescale military presence in Iraq, it’s been a foregone conclusion that we’d have troops stationed there for the foreseeable future once we invaded in 2003. It baffles me that people haven’t understood that.

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    And beyond South Korea, I’d mention that we’ve been occupying Germany and Japan even longer, by Alex’s apparent standards.

    Well, first off, I’m of the opinion that we shouldn’t station troops in these countries. That said, our troops in Korea, Germany, and Japan are not the de facto internal and external security forces for these countries, whereas U.S. forces will be that for what appears to be another decade.

    Mr. Qadir is actually optimistic that the Iraqi Security Forces will be able to handle most, if not all, of the direct security in Iraq by the end of this year.

    I recall the Allawi government saying the same thing in 2004. Didn’t actually happen.

  7. Boyd says:

    And how long were our troops the de facto internal and external security forces in Korea, Germany and Japan, Alex?

  8. Alex Knapp says:

    And how long were our troops the de facto internal and external security forces in Korea, Germany and Japan, Alex?

    For Germany, four years. For Japan, seven. Korea is probably more open to interpretation. But that’s an irrelevant point, because the question isn’t whether we are providing internal and external security at the moment, but whether we should.

  9. Dave Schuler says:

    I don’t know, Alex, but I’d say we’re still Germany, Japan, and Korea’s de facto external security force. We’re at least a significant part of it in each case. Germany’s military expenditure to GDP ratio is very low. When you add in the cost of the American force stationed in Germany it begins to look more like France’s or Britain’s.

  10. Boyd says:

    Ah, so now I understand your point. You feel we should leave Iraq and let them fend for themselves.

    I disagree.

  11. Alex Knapp says:

    Ah, so now I understand your point. You feel we should leave Iraq and let them fend for themselves.

    Yes. But I primarily think this because the available evidence seems to indicate that our troop presence is inimical to political progress in Iraq.

  12. Boyd says:

    The you see different evidence than I do, and I’m curious why you think our presence helped, or at least didn’t hurt, in the cases of South Korea, Japan and Germany, but is harmful in Iraq.

  13. Dave Schuler says:

    But I primarily think this because the available evidence seems to indicate that our troop presence is inimical to political progress in Iraq.

    Please present it. As I see it the reason we’re there is that things could get much, much worse in Iraq than they have been so far (right now the trend is in the right direction although that could change), the consequences of things getting as bad as they might in Iraq are too awful to allow, and nobody (including all first-tier Democratic and Republican presidential aspirants) has any better idea.

    I think the available evidence suggests that the Iraqis would be fighting amongst each other whether we were there or not. Our being there enables us to tamp down the level of carnage some.

  14. Bob says:

    The German internal security transitioned from Allied to German control over a decade. The Germans didn’t get to vote for almost a decade. Same with Japanese with Koreans taking a bit longer. We were the external security for these countries for two decades for Japan, and four to four-and-half decades for Germany & Korea (fall of wall & exhaustion of NK in 1990s).

    So if these projections prove true it would be a fast transition.

  15. anjin-san says:

    Comparisons with Germany & Japan have very limited validity. We were in those countries as a conquerer, thus we were able to simply dictate what we wanted in most instances.

    South Korea is also a case unto itself as we were there with significant international support.

    Vietnam is probably a better place to look for historical guidelines.
    We were somewhere we had no business, trying to dictate the outcome while dealing with a culture we did not understand. The result was a disaster for all parties involved.

  16. John425 says:

    I won’t quote chapter and verse about US troops being in Japan and Germany since WWII, but I will pile on the author of the post.

  17. JohnG says:

    I’ve found that significant international support is only signficant if you personally support the action.

    The major difference between Korea and Vietnam is in one case we stayed and in the other case we ran.