Was disbanding the Iraqi Army a good idea?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by yanky_loggie, Sep 6, 2007.

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  1. Looks as if General Sir Jackson's autobiography has caused a stir in the US.

    Gen Jackson said the Pentagon's decision to disband the Iraqi army after Saddam's overthrow was "very short-sighted" and meant "all the planning carried out by the State Department" for the post-war period "went to waste". Telegraph 2 Sep

    Paul Bremer (Head of the CPA) has written this article in response saying that the UK effectively agreed to the policy and that Bush knew too, despite his recent claims that he too thought it was a bad idea. New York Times

    I could ask is this another case of Jackson doing one thing in office and then another as a civvy to promote his book, but as a lesson in nation building, is it a good idea to bin a nation's army: a trained source for security, discipline and equipment, and start again?

    Were we right to disband the Iraqi Army?
  2. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    Of course not.
    Compare the de-baathification to de-nazification - the US hired even known war criminals to keep the wheels turning.

    Whose who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them - but if you got it right last time, how dumb does that make them?
  3. So why don't our foreign policy makers listen to the experts and also conveniently forget history? If Blair and his cronies didn't listen to Jackson and agreed with Bremer, it looks as if Rumsfeld and co also overruled Bush if the recent reports in the NYT are to be believedNYT Envoys letters

    Or is Bush trying to secure the 'i'm innocent in all of this' line before he steps down?
  4. The only element of the Iraqi army worth keeping was the Republican guard, but keeping them would have been the equivent of using the SS in postwar Germany. If there was no choice but to disband them, then the Sunni insugency that after all is/was formed from a core of former Republican guard and Iraqi security services, was unavoidable. You could have kept the regular army and re-trained them for counter insurgency, but most of them were limited term conscripts, and may have not desired to join a profesional army.
  5. Can we really draw a parallel with de nazification? The Nazis were a political party as are / were the Baathists but the Baathista are also aligned to a religous group (sunni) and thi swhol edebacle is descending into a tribal civil war based on religous divides and allegiances (yes, I know Tariq Aziz was a Christian)
  6. I can't believe this question is even being asked. It was utter insanity.

    We pissed them all off, sacked them all, let them take their weapons away (although we could never have stopped them) and then buckled and gave them a stipend for doing nothing.
  7. ppk,

    I find your views interesting; likewise, I acknowledge what SO3paperclips says.

    I'd welcome hearing more debate on this.

    When I heard Gen.Jackson's comment last w/end (and he was by no means the first to say this), I asked myself, hang on 'the retention of the Iraqi army' is now being taken - with benefit of dear old hindsight of course - as a panacea for just about avoiding everything that later went on.

    But, would it really have unfolded so differently?

    Was a retention, whether wholly or in part, practical?

    There are many on here better qualified than I to comment.
  8. Yes. If you think getting off your face and trashing hotel rooms is a good idea. If you think driving Rolls Royces into swimming pools is a gloriously good idea then disbanding the Iraqi Army falls in that league.

    I remember reading about it in the Times at work. None of my colleagues had been in an armed force so it mattered little one way or other to them. I on the other hand kept walking up and down the work place yelling 'they've disbanded the Iraqi Army, are the yanks fcuking mad?'

    Seriously I couldn't believe what I had read. Why did they do that? In the defeated Iraqi Army the coalition had an invaluable asset!!! Why the fcuk disband it? Using it like an Arab speaking Iraq country knowing prosthesis to extend your reach was so obviously the way to go.

    Instead of which for all the good it did Bremmer might as well have driven a perfectly useable and expensive motor straight into a swimming pool.

    (Come to think about it, I wonder if the cnut can play base. We are short of band member who is off his head.)
  9. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    It was a mistake to disband the Iraqi Army! Although, it needed to be purged of Saddams henchmen, Relations, etc. (Perhaps at a given Officer level.)

    As some one pointed out, many of the same mistakes were made in Germany in WWII. As I recall Gen. Patton tried to point this out and did keep some Nazi Infrastructure in place, that was critical for civil operations, even though he was criticized for it.
  10. I think it was a massive mistake - security sector reform only works if you've still got a security sector!!!!

    Luckily at least they kept the civil service intact... DOH!!! No Ba'ath party punters allowed to carry on in local government either!!!

    Nevermind, the yanks will still blame any ultimate defeat on the UK 'early' withdrawal from Basra. (obviously nothing to do with the other provinces handed over already!!!)
  11. How we all laughed when all of a sudden several hundred pissed off, armed, recently sacked, Iraqi soldiers rock up at the Palace gates and demand paying.

    About as a good as an idea as letting Harold Shipman start a retirement home.
  12. As the 2nd World War wound down an old soldier friend of mine found himself in Indo China. As the British Army was simply holding the ring until the Frogs turned up to reclaim their Empire, the answer was simple, rearm the Japanese, and let them keep law and order.

    OK. This involved Imperialists of very different persuasions but the lesson was......use whatever assets you have.

    So my old friend found himself carrying out IS duties alongside erstwhile enemies. We forget the lessons of history at our peril.
  13. Hindsight is a wonderful thing !
  14. Depends how many of those ex-soldiers ended up as either Sunni insurgents or Shia militias. I'd guess about 90%.

    Keeping them all on and paying them, so they could support their families, would have kept one chunk of the insurgency from happening imo.
  15. Only for those who have eyes in their arrse instead of the head where they are supposed to be.