The United States Armed Forces have gone through three inter-war periods in the 20th century that have seen large scale problems in the force and force structure. The first of these was the movement from the Spanish-American war to WWI, which saw the consolidation of gains made territorially so that those captured areas could be freed and that forces opposing this would be neutralized. The actual war itself was a small-scale affair, generally over by 1902 when Cuba was finally declared independent. The actual war only saw 379 dead due to combat, but 5,000 dead due to illness in this period both in Cuba and the Philippine portion of the war. The actual removal of insurgents in the Philippines would last until 1913 and the US only able to get the paperwork in motion to actual give independence to the new Philippine government in 1916.
It is instructive to note that this phase of the work lasted LONGER than the actual war, which was declared OVER in 1901. In the Philippine theater over 3,000 US and 2,000 Filipino Constabulary and a minimum of 16,000 in the Army (with upper estimates at 20,000) died in some of the most brutal and nasty fighting ever seen by the US Armed Forces. Do note that the US force structure was 126,000 men in uniform that served in that theater of operations. The combat deaths by the US are a fraction of the total deaths as over 2,000 men died due to tropical diseases, and an estimate 1,000 to 1,500 dead due to combat. The CIVILIAN death toll has a minimum bounds of 250,000 and an upper estimate of 1,000,000 dead due to this war. And the ones dragging the rebellion on for over a decade were the Islamic Moro population of the Philippines. They had meant to wear down the US and force the US to leave. It did not WORK over that decade and more.
Also note that in 1916 to 1917 the US would need to send a punitive expedition against Mexico against Pancho Villa. The expedition did not meet its given goals, but did, indeed, let Mexico know that their presence in such cross-border raids was unappreciated. The emphasis of the Army had shifted from the Philippines to the US-Mexico border region and the Army was also trying to put together an Air Force in this period, which was one of transitional fighting due to climate and terrain, although counter-insurgency typical operations were the point of these operations. Under 7,000 troops were sent to do a job that the War Department estimated needed 200,000 troops to do properly. The US was getting by 'on the cheap' while transforming its forces as they went. President Wilson finally called up 110,000 men in 1917 to help bring things to a close, but that would take a bit to do. Actually finding out what this means is something that the US Army Center of Military History has been slowly compiling, but the documents of this first transitional era from Counter-Insurgency to Continental European war are covered using the recollections, documents and other information to give an over-view of the complete genesis of the US Army from Revolution to the modern era, starting with this American Military History, Vol. I. The Period ending in 1902 is covered in Chapter 15. Chapter 16 covers the transition to the more Europeanized fighting force which serves as the current foundation of the US Armed Forces.
Two key elements beyond the leadership qualities of the individuals involved are pointed out.
First is the establishment of the Army War College in 1903 that would serve as the Senior Service School. This school was to expand into specialized areas of Signals, Artillery and Musketry so as to give better understanding as to how to better conduct military operations and provide infrastructure to the 'lessons learned' of War. A key foundation was the creation of the Quartermaster's Corps that would regularize and reform the pay structure of the Armed Forces. Finally the Army Medical Corps would give a regularized instruction and methodology to treating wartime wounds and allow the advancement of medical science in support of wartime operations. This all comes out of the concept of creating a Senior Service School that would reinforce the necessary elements of the US Armed Forces and was not fully made until 1915 in the key areas cited above.
The second area was the creation of a General Staff and modernizing the entire military system for procurement and distribution of weapons. New standards were put in-place for identifying military needs and then institutionalizing the requisition of those from Congress. Already the military had broken down into an Active Force, National Guard and Reserve Guard structure, but that was haphazard and would be more strictly reformed and brought under guidelines for training and deployment. With this general planning, staffing, force requirements and necessary long-term plans could be accomplished. Backed by institutionalizing knowledge in the War Colleges, this would transform the US Armed Forces just in time to be further changed by the First World War. The National Defense Act of 1916 to move from a 175,000 man to 300,000 man Army and a four-fold increase of Guard and Reserve to 400,000 or LARGER would have failed without these necessary underpinnings in place.
A prime example of how the US Armed Forces expands was seen in the Reserve Officer Training Corps which was instituted and trained over 89,000 men to be officers for World War I. As seen in Vol. II of this work, this new system was highly successful and allowed the US Armed Forces to field over 2,000,000 men between 1917 and 1918. This war forced a final General Staff change on procurement to end the 150 different organizations competing for scarce goods and to get regularized via one standardizes system of procurement. Much of the foundation of how to properly run the US Armed Forces was established in World War I and the years leading up to it.
And beyond the ROTC the other critical factor for the success of the modern era Armed Forces is the Non-Commissioned Officer Corps, with a short history given here by the Army Command and General Staff College. The NCO sits atop the enlisted structure of the Armed Forces and is the place where actual Unit Knowledge of individuals and capabilities resides. These are the individuals who ensure that regular Commissioned Officers can understand the actual needs of the enlisted forces and that the command structure from the Commissioned Officers is properly implemented for the enlisted soldiers. These soldiers are the 'glue' that allows the Armed Forces to stretch its capability by entrusting these individuals with the actual responsibility to make sure that things get DONE. When these individuals are lost during inter-war years, as after WWI and de-mobilization, it is hoped that the best and brightest will stay on to move upwards in rank and further their knowledge and experience so as to allow the Armed Forces to retain and spread it. New mobilization requires a strong NCO tradition and this has served the US in WWII and in rebuilding after the Viet Nam war transition and 'hollowing out' of the military.
As the US fields a totally voluntary force, it is this part of the enlisted ranks that makes the US Armed Forces as strong as they are by adjusting military orders to the actual individuals involved in carrying them out and deciding which individuals are best suited to which missions. These are also the 'alarm sensors' of the Armed Forces that will give a first indication of training and morale problems and of supply problems. Without this cadre there would be NO modern Armed Forces as they would have to be *invented*. The actual amount of responsibility handed to the lower ranks of the Commissioned Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer Corps is immense.
In his review of Why Arabs Lose Wars, Norvell B. de Atkine examines this issue and finds it to be the single most over-riding factor of US military success: the People of the United States entrust more power to the lower Commissioned Officer and upper Non-Commissioned Officer ranks than any other Nation on the planet. The night and day aspects of this are brought into light by the much older and authoritarian style of Middle Eastern Armed Forces and those of the West, in general, and the US in particular [bolding and highlighting throughout is mine]:
Along these lines, Kenneth Pollock concludes his exhaustive study of Arab military effectiveness by noting that “certain patterns of behavior fostered by the dominant Arab culture were the most important factors contributing to the limited military effectiveness of Arab armies and air forces from 1945 to 1991.” These attributes included over-centralization, discouraging initiative, lack of flexibility, manipulation of information, and the discouragement of leadership at the junior officer level. The barrage of criticism leveled at Samuel Huntington’s notion of a “clash of civilizations” in no way lessens the vital point he made — that however much the grouping of peoples by religion and culture rather than political or economic divisions offends academics who propound a world defined by class, race, and gender, it is a reality, one not diminished by modern communications.Culturally the West is more willing to hand actual responsibility over to the Military and entrust it to 'do the right thing' as it is NOT seen as an authoritarian arm of the Government. And that 'discouragement of leadership at the junior officer level' will be shown time and again to be that which will determine the course of Armies, Campaigns and Wars. To examine this de Atkine then will do the following:
Mindful of walking through a minefield of past errors and present cultural sensibilities, I offer some assessments of the role of culture in the military training of Arabic-speaking officers. I confine myself principally to training for two reasons:Thus he moves into an area in which the 'subjective' can be examined objectively. By setting up a means to examine military effectiveness de Atkine now has a way to see what these factors do in the resultant Armed Forces involved. Key to this is examination is PEACETIME training or that training which is not done in an active war theater. Without having some basis of non-pressured training and understanding of how the Armed Forces operate, soldiers cannot then implement their training on the battlefield.
• First, I observed much training but only one combat campaign (the Jordanian Army against the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1970).
• Secondly, armies fight as they train. Troops are conditioned by peacetime habits, policies, and procedures; they do not undergo a sudden metamorphosis that transforms civilians in uniform into warriors. General George Patton was fond of relating the story about Julius Caesar, who “in the winter time. . . so trained his legions in all that became soldiers and so habituated them to the proper performance of their duties, that when in the spring he committed them to battle against the Gauls, it was not necessary to give them orders, for they knew what to do and how to do it.”
Societies with top-down structures of politics and enforcement of same will also inculcate this into their Armed Forces. An example is given when the US Army was to train Egyptian forces on the use of new equipment:
On one occasion, an American mobile training team working with armor in Egypt at long last received the operators’ manuals that had laboriously been translated into Arabic. The American trainers took the newly minted manuals straight to the tank park and distributed them to the tank crews. Right behind them, the company commander, a graduate of the armor school at Fort Knox and specialized courses at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds ordnance school, promptly collected the manuals from those crews. Questioned why he did this, the commander said that there was no point in giving them to the drivers because enlisted men could not read. In point of fact, he did not want enlisted men to have an independent source of knowledge. Being the only person who could explain the fire control instrumentation or bore sight artillery weapons brought prestige and attention.Here is something that is also encountered in many bureaucratic organizations on the Civilian side. Individuals will not share information nor methodology and, instead, horde it so that their valuable information will ONLY come from them. The intent is to make others dependent upon single individuals as key point sources of information reference. When one individual is able to do this they gain power and recognition, but at the loss of overall unit strength: be it a military unit or business unit, the overall organization suffers as a result.
Just to see how this also hits the US Government, the following from Govexec.com from the look at how the 9/11 panel's ideas are being seen looking at information sharing:
Just about everyone says that had the CIA and FBI been better at information-sharing, they might have discovered the 9/11 plotters. Yet the commission gave the government D's for its efforts to improve the information-sharing regime.The article looks at why this is so, mostly due to problems of sources and methods, and revealing individuals by the actual information itself. And while a centralized office for coordinating such is there, it, of necessity, is *also* looked upon with suspicion of not having appropriate safeguards in-place to ensure that information is used wisely. This is known as a 'fear based value' and is seen in the business world, also (From valuescenter.com ):
"Designating individuals to be in charge of information-sharing is not enough," the commission wrote. "They need resources, active presidential backing, policies, and procedures in place that compel sharing, and systems of performance evaluation that appraise personnel on how they carry out information-sharing."
That's a polite way of saying that intelligence personnel aren't being punished for not sharing. Intelligence agencies' Cold War penchant for secrecy, which leads to information-hoarding, still persists, say many intelligence veterans.
"The real cultural ethos of intelligence ... was that you had to compartmentalize your secrets so the Russians wouldn't get them," says Ronald Marks, a 16-year CIA veteran and a former liaison to the Senate.
It is also possible for organisations to operate from negative or potentially limiting values. Examples of these values include bureaucracy, manipulation, empire building, and information hoarding. Another way to describe potentially limiting values is to use the term fear-based values. Fear-based values are so called because the behaviors associated with these values are either based in fear or create fear, usually both. Most organisations, depending on the health of the culture, will operate from a mix of positive and potentially limiting values.Yes, this is also known as 'scapegoating' so as to blame someone else or the system for a problem that is caused by an individual. These are properly associated, as seen by de Atkine, with the Middle Eastern Arab culture, which drives their military decisions *upwards* to individuals who have power and prestige. Thus the system of response becomes brittle as personal initiative is diminished. The entire methodology of training individuals is reflective of this culture as is discussed:
For example, internal competition, a fear-based value, is rooted in fears concerning self-esteem. In this circumstance, people compete rather than collaborate because they are more focused on self-interest than the common good. People who practice internal competition see life as a zero-sum game with winners and losers. They must win at all costs. Empire building and information hoarding are motivated by similar self-interest needs. Hierarchy is rooted in fears concerning status and trust. Bureaucracy is rooted in fears concerning order and control.
In hierarchical structures, the underlying fear is “people cannot be trusted” and therefore they must be supervised very closely. The more loyal and trusted one is within the organization, the more status one gets in the hierarchy. Another example of fear-based behavior is those who seek self-esteem through status and want to look good in the eyes of their superiors. They will be concerned about their image. They will blame others when things go wrong, and they will manipulate the system to finish up on top.
Training tends to be unimaginative, cut and dried, and not challenging. Because the Arab educational system is predicated on rote memorization, officers have a phenomenal ability to commit vast amounts of knowledge to memory. The learning system tends to consist of on-high lectures, with students taking voluminous notes and being examined on what they were told. (It also has interesting implications for a foreign instructor, whose credibility, for example, is diminished if he must resort to a book.) The emphasis on memorization has a price, and that is in diminished ability to reason or engage in analysis based upon general principles. Thinking outside the box is not encouraged; doing so in public can damage a career. Instructors are not challenged and neither, in the end, are students.And instructors have to ensure that Officers are always seen as 'in the know' and not belittled because they cannot answer a question. This makes for a 'brittle' military structure and it has a propensity to break under battlefield conditions when units are out of contact with their Chain of Command. This is something that in the US is a normal state of affairs and the soldiers are *trusted* to 'do the right thing'. Consider this from those doing Forward Observer (FO) duty during Korea (source: Military History Online):
For the men assigned to Forward Observer duty, this meant being literally on the front lines, close enough to see and observe enemy actions, for the purpose of giving fire support when ever and where ever needed. These men regularly became the focus of unwanted attention by the enemy, sometimes even being caught right in the middle of a raging firefight. Artillery battalion Observation Posts (OP's) were almost daily shelled by enemy artillery and mortar fire, and at times took small arms fire. Sometimes a simple entry in a unit's daily morning reports, such as a statement like 'OP #2 received rounds' was a very polite way of saying that that position was being targeted and fired on. The communists realized that knocking out these OP's meant eliminating some of the allies' ability to fire at them. Also, the need to have the FO team either right with the infantry or in close proximity to them endangered their lives even more. The fact that so many FO's have called fire onto their own positions brings to light a startling realization of what Winston Churchill said 'Uncommon valor was a common virtue'. These men KNEW what they were doing. They had a choice: be killed or captured, or fight it out and possibly lose their life and the lives of their FO team also. This was not a decision made lightly. There are numerous documented cases where the FO called artillery fire onto his own position because they were being overrun. What FO does not readily know or understand what they are asking their firing battery to do? And at the same time, what FDC and firing battery does not understand what they are hearing on the radio or field phone? A man that they more than likely knew, yelling to them to shoot high explosives at them, knowing that this might be the last time their voice is ever heard on this earth? The 'cause and effect' rule is in full swing, and they, the FO and his team, know it. Fire a 37 or 100 pound shell filled with high explosive at a specific coordinate and destroy (kill) whatever is at that coordinate.Here when overrun the men involved could either give up and accept capture OR call down artillery shells upon themselves to try and get the overrunning force. That is a decision which most in the West would say, at that time, is a 'calculated risk'. You can not actually train a man to calmly call for his own death and those of his comrades, that is something that must come from a deeper understanding of what the conflict *is* and why they are in harms way.
In Arab Armies, those NCO's that are required for unit cohesion often do very little and have become utterly dependent upon their command structure to *tell them* what to do:
The military price for this is very great. Without the cohesion supplied by NCOs, units tend to disintegrate in the stress of combat. This is primarily a function of the fact that the enlisted soldiers simply do not have trust in their officers. Once officers depart the training areas, training begins to fall apart as soldiers begin drifting off. An Egyptian officer once explained to me that the Egyptian army’s catastrophic defeat in 1967 resulted from of a lack of cohesion within units. The situation, he said, had only marginally improved in 1973. Iraqi prisoners in 1991 showed a remarkable fear of and enmity toward their officers.Seen not only in 1991, but in 2003 when entire sections of the Iraqi Army and Republican Guard evaporated when their soldiers *ran* once command and control authority had been removed with finality. Numerous instances seen on guncams, ground based imaging and by the presences of discarded uniforms on the road side attested to the fact that not only did these units break in moral and cohesion, but they disintegrated and threw off *anything* that might make them a target. There was no form of self-reliance taught either by the instructors OR by the culture these men came from.
Arab Armies, then, have an Elite structure of Officers and an underling structure of their servicemen. This is pounded home, day in and day out, by their very living conditions and treatment:
Most Arab armies treat enlisted soldiers like sub-humans. When the winds in Egypt one day carried biting sand particles from the desert during a demonstration for visiting U.S. dignitaries, I watched as a contingent of soldiers marched in and formed a single rank to shield the Americans; Egyptian soldiers, in other words, are used on occasion as nothing more than a windbreak. The idea of taking care of one’s men is found only among the most elite units in the Egyptian military. On a typical weekend, officers in units stationed outside Cairo will get in their cars and drive off to their homes, leaving the enlisted men to fend for themselves by trekking across the desert to a highway and flag down buses or trucks to get to the Cairo rail system. Garrison cantonments have no amenities for soldiers. The same situation, in various degrees, exists elsewhere in the Arabic-speaking countries — less so in Jordan, even more so in Iraq and Syria. The young draftees who make up the vast bulk of the Egyptian army hate military service for good reason and will do almost anything, including self-mutilation, to avoid it. In Syria the wealthy buy exemptions or, failing that, are assigned to noncombatant organizations. As a young Syrian told me, his musical skills came from his assignment to a Syrian army band where he learned to play an instrument. In general, the militaries of the Fertile Crescent enforce discipline by fear; in countries where a tribal system still is in force, such as Saudi Arabia, the innate egalitarianism of the society mitigates against fear as the prime mover, so a general lack of discipline pervades.The lives of the soldiers in the actual Army, then, are not even regarded as anything special, just a resource to be 'used up'. And when there is any opportunity for the men to avoid or dodge enlistment, they do so, and even when enlisted, if they have any *other* affiliation, that is seen as something to adhere to FIRST. These men are not there to represent their society, but to die as pawns in a chess game, often sent out in careless manner to die just to slow an enemy down. There is no value on the individual and so there is no cohesion as a fighting force once the Command structure is let down for even a short period of time.
This is so highly codified in action that it is seen as the *norm* for Arab Armies:
Methods of instruction and subject matter are dictated by higher authorities. Unit commanders have very little to say about these affairs. The politicized nature of the Arab militaries means that political factors weigh heavily and frequently override military considerations. Officers with initiative and a predilection for unilateral action pose a threat to the regime. This can be seen not just at the level of national strategy but in every aspect of military operations and training. If Arab militaries became less politicized and more professional in preparation for the 1973 war with Israel, once the fighting ended, old habits returned. Now, an increasingly bureaucratized military establishment weighs in as well. A veteran of the Pentagon turf wars will feel like a kindergartner when he encounters the rivalries that exist in the Arab military headquarters.Here political adherence gains stature if one is aligned properly, most often becoming an officer. While those that are not properly aligned become the cannon fodder for the Elites. Any attempt to actually show *capability* can get one ostracized, imprisoned or just killed as a potential threat to the regime in power. Even when brutal control is established, the moment that gets broken by an enemy, the older habits of self-preservation returned.
And what is highly telling is the amount of authority that the US *has* pushed down into the NCO ranks:
U.S. trainers often experience frustration obtaining a decision from a counterpart, not realizing that the Arab officer lacks the authority to make the decision — a frustration amplified by the Arab’s understandable reluctance to admit that he lacks that authority. This author has several times seen decisions that could have been made at the battalion level concerning such matters as class meeting times and locations referred for approval to the ministry of defense. All of which has led American trainers to develop a rule of thumb: a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army has as much authority as a colonel in an Arab army.The aversion to taking command or authority in Arab Armies is a huge weakness to them, which is why they tend to fail as structures. By representing a society that seeks adherence to politics or religion or tribe *first* the people have no commitment to the Nation. This is closer to the Confederal structure that the US had prior to 1787 and nearly caused the collapse of the Union into open rebellion and civil war. Mind you the US only had 13 states to contend with uniting, not tens of tribes and thousands of families and a few major ethnic divisions spread in and amongst all of those. But the Arab Armies are definitely *not* your typical Western Army by any standard. And the United States, itself, would take from 1787 until 1903 to actually get a War College put together and start to really help bring definition to an ongoing military capability that inculcates tradition, honor and accomplishment. Only 116 years for that.
Moving back to ethnic and other divisions, de Atkine further addresses the problems of the Arab Armies and 'combined arms' or lack of same, which has its own cultural, ethnic and political roots:
A lack of cooperation is most apparent in the failure of all Arab armies to succeed at combined arms operations. A regular Jordanian army infantry company, for example is man-for-man as good as a comparable Israeli company; at battalion level, however, the coordination required for combined arms operations, with artillery, air, and logistics support, is simply absent. Indeed, the higher the echelon, the greater the disparity. This results from infrequent combined arms training; when it does take place, it is intended to impress visitors (which it does — the dog-and-pony show is usually done with uncommon gusto and theatrical talent) rather than provide real training.Any attempt by an authoritarian or dictatorial regime to make a truly integrated fighting force is also asking for those soldiers to *integrate* at a National level. That would remove the ability to use other allegiances and play groups against each other within the Nation. Once a military is given the capability to fight as a coherent whole, the entire power structure is at peril because of it. By dividing it, by forcing it to rely upon multiple channels for supply and information and by forming inter-factional rivalries based on clan, religion and ethnicity and putting an Elite Officer Corps in place that is likewise divided, the resultant military organization is best described as: organized chaos likely to implode.
Three underlying factors further impede coordination necessary for combined operations.
• First, the well-known lack of trust among Arabs in anyone outside their own families adversely affects offensive operations. In a culture in which almost every sphere of human endeavor, including business and social relationships, is based on a family structure, this basic mistrust of others is particularly costly in the stress of battle. Offensive action, at base, consists of fire and maneuver. The maneuver element must be confident that supporting units or arms are providing covering fire. If there is a lack of trust in that support, getting troops moving forward against dug-in defenders is possible only by officers getting out front and leading, something that has not been a characteristic of Arab leadership. (Exceptions to this pattern are limited to elite units, which throughout the Arab world have the same duty — to protect the regime rather than the country.)
• Second, the complex mosaic system of peoples creates additional problems for training, as rulers in the Middle East make use of the sectarian and tribal loyalties to maintain power. The `Alawi minority controls Syria, east bankers control Jordan, Sunnis control Iraq, and Nejdis control Saudi Arabia. This has direct implications for the military, where sectarian considerations affect assignments and promotions. Some minorities (such the Circassians in Jordan or the Druze in Syria) tie their well-being to the ruling elite and perform critical protection roles; others (such as the Shi`a of Iraq) are excluded from the officer corps. In any case, the careful assignment of officers based on sectarian considerations works against assignments based on merit. The same lack of trust operates at the inter-state level, where Arab armies exhibit very little trust of each other, and with good reason. The blatant lie Gamal Abdel Nasser told King Husayn in June 1967 to get him into the war against Israel — that the Egyptian air force was over Tel Aviv (when the vast majority of planes had been destroyed) — was a classic example of deceit. Sadat’s disingenuous approach to the Syrians to entice them to enter the war in October 1973 was another (he told them that the Egyptians were planning total war, a deception that included using a second set of operational plans intended only for Syrian eyes). With this sort of history, it is no wonder that there is very little cross or joint training among Arab armies and very few command exercises. During the 1967 war, for example, not a single Jordanian liaison officer was stationed in Egypt, nor were the Jordanians forthcoming with the Egyptian command.
• Third, Middle Eastern rulers routinely rely on balance-of-power techniques to maintain their authority. They use competing organizations, duplicate agencies, and coercive structures dependent upon the ruler's whim. This makes building any form of personal power base difficult, if not impossible, and keeps the leadership apprehensive and off-balance, never secure in its careers or social position. The same applies within the military; a powerful chairman of the joint chiefs is inconceivable. Joint commands are paper constructs that have little actual function. Leaders look at joint commands, joint exercises, combined arms, and integrated staffs very cautiously for all Arab armies are double-edged swords. One edge points toward the external enemy and the other toward the capital. Land forces are at once a regime-maintenance force and threat to the same regime. This situation is most clearly seen in Saudi Arabia, where the land forces and aviation are under the minister of defense, Prince Sultan, while the National Guard is under Prince Abdullah, the deputy prime minister and crown prince. In Egypt, the Central Security Forces balance the army. In Iraq and Syria, the Republican Guard does the balancing.
No Arab ruler will allow combined operations or training to become routine, for these create familiarity, soften rivalries, erase suspicions, and eliminate the fragmented, competing organizations that enable rulers to play off rivals against one another. Politicians actually create obstacles to maintain fragmentation. For example, obtaining aircraft from the air force for army airborne training, whether it is a joint exercise or a simple administrative request for support of training, must generally be coordinated by the heads of services at the ministry of defense; if a large number of aircraft are involved, this probably requires presidential approval. Military coups may have gone out of style for now, but the fear of them remains strong. Any large-scale exercise of land forces is always a matter of concern to the government and is closely observed, particularly if live ammunition is being used. In Saudi Arabia a complex system of clearances required from area military commanders and provincial governors, all of whom have differing command channels to secure road convoy permission, obtaining ammunition, and conducting exercises, means that in order for a coup to work it would require a massive amount of loyal conspirators. The system has proven to be coup-proof, and there is no reason to believe it will not work well into the future.
And that is exactly what happened to the Old Iraqi Army of Saddam Hussein. It imploded and vaporized while doing so thus ceasing to exist as *anything*. Jay Garner was wrong-headed in trying to get the Old Iraqi Army to do *anything* for two reasons: 1) it was so heavily divided and so poorly trained that it would have required more oversight than the actual MNF capability could have provided, and, most importantly, 2) it had ceased to exist. And is it any *wonder* with such multiple divisions, factions, control systems and reliance on higher command. When the higher command disappeared so did the cohesion of the Military as its NCO Corps was not *trusted* to do a single damned thing.
Starting up a New Iraqi Army that did not have these defects was paramount and would lead to the first cohesive force in Iraq: an Army aligned to a Nation. It would not be aligned to: religious factions, tribes, families, provinces, control structures and would even look to its *enlistees* for support. This is a revolution in affairs in the Arab Middle East which NO NATION THERE HAS TRIED. Every single Arab Nation, and even the Iranians are afraid of this. A non-aligned Arab Army that stresses competence and loyalty to the Nation, not to politics or any other minor dividing force.
Mohammed at Iraq The Model had a post on one of his cousins who had been in BOTH Armies and he tells us of what has been seen:
A relative of mine was forced as the millions of Iraqis to serve in Saddam’s army. He was poor and peaceful and couldn’t stand the humiliation and the torture that service meant. He lived in Baghdad and served in Basrah. He was paid about 10 thousand Iraqi Dinars a month, which equaled about 5 US $ at that time, while the ride from his place to his unit cost about 2 or 3 thousand Dinars. Above all he had to bribe the sergeants and the officers only to avoid the hell they could make his life there, as they could’ve made it a lot worse. Others more fortunate paid money to the officer in charge to stay at home and the officer would arrange it to look like they are serving. This may amount to 250-300 thousand Iraqi Dinars a month, and it was a very common practice at that time. And as tens of thousands of Iraqis, he decided to run away. He remained a fugitive for years, hiding from the eyes of the military police. He couldn’t see his family more than 2 or 3 times in the year. We helped him find a job and a place to hide where they couldn’t find him.I have removed the original highlighting from the ITM post. Note that the cost for a *ride* from the military post, under Saddam, was 40 to 60% of the MONTHLY pay of this individual. Further, bribes were necessary to ensure that one did not get 'punitive' duties. The officer in charge of this unit could have been netting 50 to 60 times the pay of any of the enlisted men by this corruption. Also note that tens of thousands ran from such duty, even at cost to themselves and their families.
Now I will continue on with the ITM post a bit further down in that post, but neaten up the parsing and such and leave the original words intact as it is a bit hard to read as posted:
Now is this a bit of a surprise to anyone who thinks that the Saddam-era Army was actually a 'capable' military outfit? By first putting standards into place, treating enlistees humanely and like individuals and requiring them to care about themselves, these soldiers now realize that they are a part of an Army. They can see that around them with others having to adhere to the exact same code of conduct that is equally enforced. Further, they feel as if they are being treated as near Royalty in this, just by giving them a good, personal, clean uniform that they THEN HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF. The uniform becomes the reflection of the man wearing it, and to give the best impression one has to take care of oneself. And this is a brand-new thing in IRAQ!When I saw my relative, and despite the nature of the occasion, I felt happy. Here’s a free man. I smiled as I said, “you must be very happy to be free again, and not fear the MP”.He said, "you can’t imagine! It’s like being born again. I’ve never felt so free before”.“But what are you doing for a living now? I hope you’ve found a job”. I asked.He smiled as he said, "I volunteered in the new army".“Really! I thought you’d never wear a uniform after that terrible experience”he replied "Oh no, this is entirely different".I said, “ I'm sure it is, but who convinced you to do so!? And when did that happen?”"A friend of mine who volunteered before I did told me some nice stuff that encouraged me to do the same, so I volunteered about a couple of months ago". He replied.“So tell me about it, are you happy with this job?” I asked."You can’t imagine! It’s nothing that we’ve learned or knew about the military life". He answered.“I expected it to be so, but can you tell me about it” I asked and I didn’t have to ask anymore, as my relative started talking excitedly without a stop.He said: "The most important thing is that this army has no retards or illiterate in it like the old one. Now education is an essential requirement when applying to serve in the new army and anyone who hasn’t finished high school at least has no place there. In fact most of the volunteers are college and technical institutes graduates. Everything is new, no more worn out dirty uniforms that only God knows how many people used before you, and they never minded about the size. This time they took our sizes and handed each one of us a new elegant uniform that’s worthy of an officer! It was a common scene, you know, that soldiers wander near their halls in their underwear after training hours. Some of them did that because they didn’t have much to wear when they wash their uniforms, but the majority did it out of custom. Now this is unacceptable, and everyone received a nice comfortable suit to wear after the training hours."
This is not a new thing to the world, as it is the distilling of centuries worth of tradition to actually build an Army that works together. That is how you do it: you start at the individual and demonstrate to him that he is EQUAL to everyone else and expected to care for his habits, his grooming and demonstrate self-respect so he can gain the respect of others. This is called 'unit cohesion'. Every war film that goes through basic training demonstrates this and puts it into this context: you have taken on a hard job with others that feel the same and now you will become something BETTER because of it. One may die by taking this career up, but it puts forth that the death of the individual is NOT in vain and that society APPRECIATES IT. And that society demonstrates it by giving a brand-new uniform for that person to OWN as their very own. It is their direct tie to those who made it and their Nation. Look at how de Atkines shows how Arab Armies work and how Mohammed characterized the Old Iraqi Army.
And we hear more from his cousin:
One of the officers said to us “you know what? One of the reasons you lose your wars is the boots you were wearing” He then handed each one of us a pair of those brand new boots that we could only dream of buying them in the old times, and said “Put these on and you’ll feel like you can fly” and it did feel almost like that!Yes, Army boots are UPLIFTING! It was an Officer handing Boots to Enlisted men. There is a great amount of psychological impact in that because it does not put the Officer up on a pedestal: it makes him a man who is willing to bring others wanting to defend the Nation to him. Further, he backs that up by saying that this basic pair of boots will lead you to Victory. When one puts on those boots they are more than just boots, they are the trust of the Nation through the Officer to the Enlisted Man to ensure the safety of the Nation.
Mohommed then relates to us his experience with the Old Iraqi Army:
I knew exactly what my relative meant, as I had to wear those boots at Sadam’s times when they forced us to do a month of military training during our summer vacation in college, and they warned us that anyone who refused to do so would be expelled from his college. Wearing those inflexible rigid boots in that heat was more like a torture. They were my worst memory of that camp and caused me multiple painful sores that needed weeks to heal.Notice that what a tyrant hands out to the troops is the worst boots he can find so as to further demean the troops and put them in their place. That is what a dictator *does* to his troops because he sees them as cannon fodder not worth really training or supporting so long as he can send them to die for HIMSELF. As an individual you are to *conform* to his wishes and your own feelings do not matter, nor does your health.
My relative’s face was glowing as he continued, "you can’t imagine how much valued we are and how much our religion and traditions are respected. When we pass by a mosque, the officer in charge shouts “no talk” until we pass the mosque by a considerable distance, and when one of the officers enters our hall, if he sees that one of us is praying he remains silent and order us to keep quite until our comrade finishes his prayer.Respect is shown to officers and the regulations of the Army, no matter how picayune they are as you are not there for yourself alone, but for the entire Nation. And Officers must respect the Exact Same regulations! There is no special exemption on those general orders and there is demonstrable adherence to them by the Officer Corps. The rules are *not* just for the Enlisted but for EVERYONE in the military.
Then we learn of the training, you know the thing derided in so many films? Well, guess what, that also serves a purpose:
Yes, the soldiers get treated with respect and the Army pays for the necessities of training them and does not use this as another opportunity to *shaft* the Enlisted soldiers. In point of fact the normal things that the West considers to BE normal are absolutely abnormal in the Arab Nations with regards to treating enlisted men. By providing them the basics of physical fitness, good uniform, regular and well made meals, and this luxury of bottled water during training, these men feel themselves uplifted and set apart from society. They are becoming the Defenders of it because the People are paying to have them treated like Royalty. This is something we utterly take for granted in the West, but is the foundation for a dedicated Citizens Army, and the effects are palpable:"For the first time in my life, I feel I’m somebody. I’m not a trash as Saddam and his gang tried to make me believe” as he finished his last words his voice went faint as if he was chocking. I felt his pain and tried to change the course of our talk,“how much do you get paid” I asked,“Oh, pretty much, more than enough, thank God”“and what about your meals” I added and he said with a smile,“Oh you won’t believe it. Everything that we couldn’t get in our own homes before and that we only saw when the officers in the old army made a feast to honor a guest! I mean we have everything; meat is essential in every meal, vegetables, fruits apples and bananas. It’s still unbelievable to many of us!” he went on,
“One of the most important things that the Americans concentrate on in our training is physical fitness. A month ago I could hardly jog for one kilometer before falling to the ground exhausted and out of breath, and now I can run 4-5 kilometers without being exhausted.”
A frown crossed his face as he said “ I remember when they used to train us at the most hot hours of the day for hours without allowing us to rest for a while under a shade or drink any water, and when we get almost killed by thirst, we would be forced to drink from the dirty contaminated ditch water. Now we don’t even drink tap water! Each one of us gets more than enough an amount of that healthy bottled water everyday”
To some people this may mean little if anything, but my relative looked at it as something huge, and indeed, before the war, drinking bottled water was really a luxury that a very small percentage of Iraqis could afford. In my house we used to boil the tap water and cool it before drinking it, because we knew it was not safe and we couldn’t afford buying bottled water everyday.
“I feel I’m somebody now. I’m respected and get all what most people get. Do you believe that they threw one of the Iraqi officers out of the army because he used us to do him personal services, like carrying his bags, and when we complained about his behavior, they told him “ Do you see any of us, American officers use our soldiers? You can go home. You still have the mentality of the old regime and you can’t fit in this new army!” imagine that! They listen to our complains, we the soldiers, and bring us justice even if it involved the higher ranked officers. This had never happened in the old army.”Even enforcement of regulations and law even unto Officers. This is teaching by DOING. By demonstrating WHAT Honor means to these men and why it is important. You do not treat a Citizen Soldier like a servant or like cannon fodder, but respect him as an individual. In doing that you win loyalty and enforcement of the regulations as each man realizes that he *does* make a difference.
Then Mohommed gets to the pointy end of things:
Yes, you become a Free Man in this way and you Free Your Nation by your actions. This was written before their Nation even had a Constitution! It was in true and utter chaos then, when ZERO percent of the Nation was under Iraqi Army Control as opposed to over 75% today. In two years a miracle has happened and continues to go on each and every day as the first Arab Army that stands FOR its People stands up. This will not be the Pawn of a Dictator, its very diversity and respect for individuals assures that any dictator will have an ENEMY. And that will be the Army of the People of Iraq. Because it acts for them and is appreciated by them to protect them.“But what about the dangers you are going to face when you graduate? You’ll face it everyday, and you’ll probably have to fight Iraqis. Have you thought about that? And how do you feel about it!?” I felt some regret as I asked this question, but it was too important to ignore.My relative said, “Of course I thought about it!” He sighed as he continued, “Dangers were there since I was born; wars, MP chasing me for years, chaos…etc. These will not stop me from going on with my life, and I have a feeling that those thugs are the same people who oppressed me along with all the poor Iraqi soldiers. No, I’m not afraid of them and I’ll do my job. At least this time I know I’m doing the right thing and that my services will be appreciated”I looked at him admiringly as I said, “They are appreciated already! Congratulations, brother, for the new job and for being the free and new man you are”
Two years after starting to stand up a new military shorn of all the strings of the old regime, of doing its best to inculcate new traditions and RESPECT for the uniform, we now hear people complain that this New Iraqi Army is not doing enough! I have a question for those people and I actually DO expect an answer at some point beyond 'I don't know':
How long will it take this Army to get a capable NCO Corps the functional equivalent, given size and background differences, to that of the US Army?The reason I ask that, is that is the GOAL of this Army. To be shoulder to shoulder brothers and capable for their mission as the US Army is for its mission. They use the SAME standards and enforce the rules as best they can just as Ours does. Now for the really hard comparison.
In 1974 the process of 'hollowing out' the US Armed Forces started after the dishonorable leaving of an Ally to twist in the Communist Winds. The US went to an all-volunteer force and the NCO corps basically LEFT the US Army as it downsized. By 1979 the US Armed Forces could not pull off a small rescue operation in Iran without disaster striking. It was obviously hurting from the decisions of the previous 5 years. It took until 1991 to battle-test the US Armed Forces in Desert Storm and the new, all-volunteer Army worked extremely well.
Seventeen years after it had been 'hollowed out'.
Five years was TOO SHORT a time for that to correct and seventeen was obviously enough.
Just WHY do we expect BETTER of the New Iraqi Army which did not EXIST before 2003?
If you cannot come up with ANSWERS to these questions, then may I suggest you sit down and think upon them, because we, as a Nation, are expecting far more from Iraqis than we have EVER expected from OURSELVES.