One of the obvious shortcomings of the blue-ribbon panel, Iraq Study Group, is the reliance on politicians and the absence of military command officers who've actually led troops on the fields of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In reaction to this politically-motivated study group, General Peter Pace, USMC, the Chairmain of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assembled his own panel of commanding officers from all branches of the US Armed Forces. The goal is to not only to achieve victory in Iraq, but to define the elusive term "winning."
The team involved in this military review panel includes Col. H. R. McMaster, an Army officer whose 2005 operation in Tal Afar has been cited as a textbook case in how to wage counterinsurgency in Iraq, as well as Col. Peter Mansoor, commander of the United States Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., who commanded an Army brigade that fought the Mahdi Army militia in 2004 at Karbala.
Also on the panel is Col. Thomas Greenwood, the director of the Marine Command and Staff College who oversaw efforts to train Iraqi security forces in Anbar. In all, more than a dozen military officers are on the team, which is overseen by Capt. Michael Rogers of the Navy, a special assistant to Pace.
The review, which includes the participation of Gen. George Casey Jr., the top commander in Iraq, and General John Abizaid, the head of the United States Central Command, is slated to be completed in early December
The war on terror is not going to end as World War II did -- with an instrument of surrender signed on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
Gen. Peter Pace said winning in this war on terrorism will be determined by conditions, not a signature on a piece of paper.
“Winning is having security in the countries we're trying to help that allows for those governments to function and for their people to function,” he said.
He used Washington, DC, as an example. “Washington, DC, has crime, but it has a police force that is able to keep that crime below a level at which the normal citizens can go about their daily jobs and the government can function,” he said.
“That's what you're looking for in the war on terrorism, whether it be Iraq, Afghanistan or anyplace else,” said the decorated Marine.
There is going to be terrorism for the foreseeable future, Pace said during a recent press conference. But the United States and its allies must band together “to provide enough security, enough good governance, and enough economy to allow the citizens and the governments to function and not have terrorism interrupt that.”
Gen. Pace said military leaders constantly review the status of U.S. and Iraqi forces. He said that Multinational Force Iraq Commander Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr.’s assessment that the coalition will turn over most of the security burden in Iraq to Iraqi security forces in 12 to 18 months is about right.
The Iraqi move to embrace benchmarks in the way forward in the country will be helpful also, Pace said and added that good discussions are taking place about what benchmarks are needed for progress in security, governance and the economy.
Pace does not want the Iraqi government to set a particular date for these benchmarks. “If you say the 13th of a particular month is a date certain, that puts you into a very, very tight window, and it actually gives your enemies the opportunity to focus all their energies on making it so it's not the 13th, it's the 14th or the 17th or whatever it is,” he said.
“So having a very precise date, I think, is not useful, either from the standpoint of forcing yourself to do something too soon or from giving your enemies too much information.”
Pace favors a window for an accomplishment. A window “where you commit to your citizens that you will either have attained these goals or you'll explain why you haven't attained them, I think is a very good thing to do,” he said.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.