Scenario(s) for Iraq's Future or Saddam II

So here’s what’s going to happen.

The Bushiviks will repent of their decision to disband the Iraqi Army. No foreign troops are going to be made available, outside of the odd Polish motor pool and Lithuanian pastry cooks. Iraq becomes the only possible source for troops to replace American troops. Using previous Iraqi soldiers addresses two problems at once: employing a potentially surly mass of unemployed soldiers and moving quickly to replace American troops. (Note: this scenario presumes some facts held to be entirely obvious, one being that Karl Rove would gladly nail his pecker to a tree if it meant that GeeDubya could have a victory parade for homecoming troops before The Day of Reckoning…).

These troops offer enormous advantages: they are already weapons-trained, adjusted to military structure and culture, instantly available and potentially grateful.

Troops require officers. Iraqi officers. Of course, the top echelons will be purged of Saddamites. That’s a given. But more junior officers, field officers, who’s only failing is a coerced membership in the B’aath Party, can be readily forgiven. And shall be. We also know that they represent a social class of the Saddamite regime: they are largely Sunni, largely interconnected by family, and predominately secular in outlook. That’s the good news and the bad news.

“Go ye forth” we will say, “and hunt down the jihadist evildoers and suiciders. Seize them, slay them, we don’t much give a shit, as long as you count them. Do this, and we shall gaze benignly upon you, and give you 295 a month, American.”

And they shall. They will ferret out the jihadists in their midst. They already think of the Al Queda type of Sh’ite maniac as an enemy. No problem. Let ‘er rip! Of course, we will end up taking their word for it, since we know jack shit about Iraq. I have every confidence they will succeed, people can be marvelously creative in situations like this, where opportunity abounds and the Americans are writing the checks.

In all likelihood, there will be some difficulties, some rough spots to make smooth. Expect a request for more and heavier weapons, and a beefed-up enlistment. After all, dat ol’ debbil Iran is just over the rise. Iraq will need self-defense, won’t it, George? Can’t have the ayatollahs overrunning this nascent democracy, can we, George? Gotta have a force sufficient to successfully resist Iran’s army. Unless you’d like to come back, George. Wanna come back, George? Sign here.

So now the American’s retire in honor, medals passed all around, victory declared. Declared again, certain churlish persons will note. The freshly minted Iraqi government is nestled securely in the protective bosom of the New! Improved! Iraqi Army. Naturally, that government will listen closely to the advice and guidance of the military, as unarmed men are prone to consider the opinions of soldiers.

The situation is volatile, one must expect uprisings, discontent. There may be emergencies, very likely indeed. Temporary suspensions of civil rule may be, reluctantly, imposed. For the duration of the emergency, you understand. Still a “democracy”, you understand. A complete success at “nation-building”, just having some birthing pains.

End result: a “Federal” Iraq consisting of discontented and disaffected Kurds and discontented and disaffected Shia held firmly in union by a Sunni-dominated military elite. A plebiscite affirming the utter loyalty of upwards of 95% of the populace may be expected shortly thereafter.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Your a glass-half-full kinda guy aintcha?

Well, uh, maybe I agree with the OP, maybe not. Did I miss something? Is there any particular news item that would lead us to assume the US is about to reconstitute the Iraqi Army in order to go after the current attackers? And if so, how would the organizers of this hypothetical army know they were not just enlisting the attackers themselves? Just askin’.

I don’t think that there’d much disagreement that a future, no-longer-occupied Iraq wouldn’t eventually have a military of some sort. Not sure what’s being argued here, though: is it that there is no outcome that would not result in the eventual rise of another Saddam, that the Bush administration must inevitably be held responsible for any eventual rise of another Iraqi dictator, or what?

The recent attacks seem done by former soldiers… so not sure the US will try to recylcle old soldiers. The US needs more Policemen and Iraqi policemen are cheaper.

Thou I do agree that any future Iraqi army will tend to meddle in civilian affairs.

Was the Iraqi army actually disbanded? My impression was that it simply evaporated during the initial fighting, when most of them took their assault rifle and went home. Wolfowitz and co. were hoping the army and the police would remain intact and gleefully sign up with the US immediately after the fighting. Wolfowitz concedes Iraq Errors

As for what they were smoking when they came up with those assumptions for the plan… man, I could use some of that.

Who else? Political considerations demand that GeeDubya get American troops out of Iraq. This must be accomplished, or be seen to be in progress, by next November. If the situation on the ground is not substantially improved by then, the political consequences are dire (for that group of people who most definitely deserve dire consequences, IMHO).

They don’t. And maybe are. We don’t know who is attacking us. Latest news suggests the involvement of Saddam himself. Evidence is largely conjectural. (Myself, I suspect that the Bushiviks believe they are just about to capture/kill Saddam, hence are inflating his importance for propaganda reasons. For which I have no proof beyond dark suspicions…)

But even if all “Iraqi’s” are holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” and unanimous in thier glad cries of praise for America, we still can’t pull out until Iraq can plausibly defend herself against her neighbors. Not the Turks, of course, they’re good guys now.

Hence an army. A professional army. With soldiers. And more importantly, officers. Experienced officers.

You assume that the soldiers want Saddam II, and honestly don’t want freedom.

I don’t think there’s much evidence of that. The Iraqi army was motivated by fear, not love for Saddam. It was a bunch of draftees were were made to do horrible things or risk having themselves and their families killed.

When you move into the Republican Guard, the level of loyalty increases. But even there, Saddam had everyone spying on each other so that everyone would be afraid to even talk about dissent.

It’s not until you get to the Fedayeen that you find true loyalty to Saddam. This cadre was made up of people from Tikrit, family members, old family associates, etc. People that could be unquestionably trustworthy. Many of them did things so hideous that they can no longer give up and hope to live in society. At worst, they could be tried and shot, and at best they would be pariahs in their own country. So a lot of these hardcore types are the ones fighting right now, along with foreign elements, IMO.

But the army may be recruitable with safety. Especially if there is a constitution set up and the U.S. says it intends to enforce it if the people won’t.

Lots of mischief hidden in that last sentence, Sam. Is your scenario we stay until we see a constitution that we approve of, with the proviso that we reserve the right to re-invade if things go awry?

No. The Iraqi people decide their own Constitution.

The US enforces that Constitution if some dictator tries to ignore it.

Looks like things are starting to go that way. From the NYTimes (free registration required): U.S. Considering Recalling Units of Old Iraq Army

No, I was more thinking that the U.S. would commit to preventing a civil war or a military coup. In other words, to be the protectors of the legitimate government elected by the people.

I see. And the persons charged with determining the “legitimacy” of that government would be who, exactly? And in what way does this differ from a “right to re-invade if things go awry.”?

If GeeDubya can bring the troops home to victory parades he can pour praise over our heroes while standing close enough to have some slop over him as well. His re-election would be assured. Would the Bushiviks sacrifice Iraq by supporting the “necessity” and “stability” of a military dictatorship?

Bet me.

It’s simple. Iraqis elect their government. If that government scraps the Constitution which the Iraqis also voted on, or cancels elections or whatever, we go in and set it right.

That does not mean dictatorship, it means keeping dictatorship from happening.

So, if the people of Iraq vote, in free elections, for a party or leader whose election platform is to scrap the constitution and to return to militaristic rule, or to establish an Islamist state that will drive out the Kurds, then what?

The point is that elections take place within the constraints of a constitution. You can’t just wave it away, any more than a President in the U.S. can decide to cancel the constitution.

The government is going to have representatives from the Kurdish and Shia areas. Any constitution worth its salt will require a supermajority big enough that things that can curtail the rights of the people of those regions cannot be passed without their vote.

So the only way the constitution can be cancelled would be through a coup. The U.S. can guarantee against that. It can also guarantee against foreign aggression.

There are any number of circumstances that lead to a military-based governance in Iraq. But the most important single factor is the nature of Iraq itself, being an implausibly concocted “nation” comprised of mutually unconnected, if not actively hostile, ethnic and religious groupings. Iraq only existed as a national entity due to the iron rule of Saddam.

The Bushiviks have proclaimed thier allegiance to a “Federal” Iraq, the much vaunted “territorial integrity”. To say this is implausible is putting it mildly, and should be regarded with the same dour skepticism as its fantasies of an Iraq made up of small entrepreneurs and Starbucks franchisees, living in a calm and decourous parliamentary democracy.

The Bushiviks desperately, and I do mean desperately, need a troop withdrawal and a victory parade (well, several actually). Would they be willing to approve, or at least tolerate, a military regime that offers stability? That concurs, or at least does not actively protest, American policies in the Middle East? That guarantees that investment from prudent and careful nations will not turn to crap? The question answers itself.

It is not that there is a plausible scenario that leads to a military dictatorship, with the appropritate window dressings to soothe American sensibilities. It is that there are so few that don’t.

The notion that America, having withdrawn from Iraq, will then turn about and re-invade, to face an enemy armed by ourselves and motivated to resist, driven solely by a lofty idealism as regards true democracy… Well, What Would Kissinger Do?

Sam sez:

Not a chance. Oh, bluster will be presented, to be sure. Lofty proclamations shall go forth. But send back the American troops who have returned to much ballyhoo and lachrymose flag-waving? Back to put down a civil war? Back to sternly rebuke mischief on the part of Iran or Turkey? And, by so doing, admit the complete and utter failure of the neo-cons rosy scenario?

Not a chance.