Former Army Secretary Thomas E. White has weighed into the debate over how to run post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.
He is out with a new book "Reconstructing Eden," which offers what the retired Army general says is a "comprehensive plan for the postwar political and economic development of Iraq."
"Unbelievably, American lives are being lost daily and the U.S. is spending over $4 billion per month in Iraq without a cohesive, integrated plan to build a stable, self-sufficient country within an identified timeframe," Gen. White said in a note to this column that accompanied the book.
"We did not conduct the war this way, and we should not continue rebuilding the country in a haphazard manner. The result will be a financial disaster, more lives lost, chaos in Iraq and squandered American goodwill."
Among Gen. White's proposals:
•U.S. forces will end security operations by June 30, 2005, turning over those chores to a coalition-trained police force and military. The total cost of reconstruction at that point would be $150 billion. Military operations in the theater will cost the United States $58 billion, from January to the end of the current fiscal year Sept. 30.
•The United States should communicate more with the international community on producing a comprehensive plan for reconstructing Iraq and transforming it into a democratic, capitalist country.
•To improve what administrator L. Paul Bremer acknowledges is a security problem, the coalition should issue photo ID cards to all Iraqis during the transition to a new constitution. Another measure is strict gun control, allowing citizens to only keep registered small arms.
•Iraq's new constitution should call for an American-style democracy, with an executive branch headed by an elected president, balanced by legislative and judicial branches. The country would be divided into 18 provinces, each ruled by a governor.
"Reconstructing Eden" was published by the Houston-based CountryWatch, which conducts research on the world's 192 countries for businesses and other organizations. Co-authors are Robert C. Kelly, John M. Cape, and Denise Youngblood Coleman.
Commenting on the current insurgency in Iraq is Robert Andrews, a former Green Beret and Vietnam War veteran who until recently served as a special-operations policy-maker in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
He tells us it was Napoleon's older brother, Joseph, who, while installed as king of Spain, faced local insurgents in a struggle that produced the term "guerrilla warfare."
"Joseph wrote his brother to say that 'One can do everything with bayonets except sit on them,' " Mr. Andrews said.
"The more I see — from a distance — about Iraq, I'm convinced that more bayonets [and] conventional troops isn't the answer," Mr. Andrews said.
"Indeed, adding conventional troops could result in more targets for an increasingly restive Iraqi population."
Mr. Andrews says one solution would be to use special-operations commandos and intelligence assets to work within the Iraqi population to conduct counterterror operations.
At the same time, the United States could reduce conventional force levels.
"The conventional forces we do keep in the country would be stationed away from the population and organized into highly mobile, instant-response strike units," he said.
Washington Times - INside the Ring - 29 August 2003