Must reading. "Baghdad Ablaze–How To Extinguish The Fires In Iraq"

In my previous post I mentioned attending the First Annual Western Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that was held in Newport Beach, CA on Friday/Saturday Oct 12th and 13th.

FOX Military Analysts Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney and Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, two of the invited guest speakers on the panel entitled “Peace Through Strength,” are also co-authors of a brand new paperback book entitled “Baghdad Ablaze–How to Extinguish The Fires In Iraq.” Along with Raymond Tanter, former White House senior staff Member, National Security Council (currently serving as president of the “Iran Policy Committee”) and Bruce McColm, president of the Institute for Democratic Strategies, assisted in drafting this comprehensive book that should be required reading for every politician in Washington and every member of our State department. I should add the Washington Press Corps to that list.

While network and cable anchors cover daily activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, you will rarely, or ever, hear about MEK, the “Mujahedeen-E Khalq,” the principal Iranian opposition group based in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. The authors tell us that “because of their good relations with Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites, they can help with the national reconciliation process acting as the link between the United States and Iraqi moderates.” Why haven’t we been told of this major organization?

The media surely is aware of every incident in which a member of the American military is killed or injured by IED’s. These “improvised explosive devices” are being supplied to the insurgents by Iran. The Iranian MEK Group is on the U.S. list of “Foreign Terrorist Organizations.” They are ready, willing and able to be a positive force to ending this conflict. If we were to drop their name from the terrorist list it would send a message to Iran that we will leverage every strategic opportunity to have a favorable closure in this fight. While there are valid reasons for groups to be added to our watch list, under the current circumstances, we would be remiss not to revisit MEK as suggested by the writers.

In this 218 page book the writers share strategy and tactics not generally found in media reports. i.e. As we negotiate possible concessions with Tehran, let’s consider the following. “Prior concessions since 2003 are partly responsible for making Iran a subversive player in Iraq, contrary to U.S, expectations. In Jan 2003, Iran promised that if the MEK were bombed in Iraq, Tehran would not intervene after the fall of Saddam, and would not send members of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Badr Corps back into Iraq. According to general Richard Myers, the U.S. ‘bombed the heck’ out of MEK,” in March and April 2003. On the same evening Baghdad fell (9 April 2003) Tehran sent SCIRI and Badr Corps members across the border in thousands and took control of much of the south and central part of Iraq near the border, contrary to it’s promise to Washington.

On 10 May 2003, under pressure from Tehran, the U.S. military disarmed the MEK in Iraq, hoping that doing so would satisfy Iran’s demands and declare the likelihood of additional Iranian moves to destabilize Iraq, such as sending more SCIRI and BADR Corps members.”All of this is news to me.

This comprehensive book contains a Six Point plan to stabilize Iraq. It is divided into three major segments.

1) Occupation, Iraqi politics, and Iraq’s economy.
2) Insurgency, sectarian violence, and external actors
3) Counter insurgency, interest based politics, and re-alignment.

On page 103 General David Petraeus is quoted to say “there is ‘no military solution’ to Iraq’s grave problems. Lasting success can come only after reconciling differences with some of those who have felt that the new Iraq did not have a place for them.”

In his analysis of the book former Secretary of State, General Alexander Haig, Jr., said that “Baghdad Ablaze artfully confirms the complexity of the conflict in Iraq. It also pinpoints illegal Iranian intervention in the conflict through the use of unconventional forces and proxy organizations, which merge to feed instability in Iraq and Iraqi sectarian dependence upon Tehran.”

Folks. This is not time for “amateur hour” in our State Department, Congress and the White House. As we are within four months of each major party selecting their standard bearer, voters need to put every candidates’ feet to the fire for their plan in addressing this conflict. Last week I took an on-line quiz regarding my opinion on the war in Iraq in which we had six choices:

1) Decentralize Iraq by dividing it into regions of separate governments,
2) Draw down the U.S. troops and decentralize Iraq by dividing it into regions of separate governments,
3) Immediate and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops,
4) There should be a timetable for the removal of U.S. troops,
5) We are going to be in Iraq for a long time, as a support force for the Iraqi government and forces,
6) U.S. forces need to stay in Iraq for as long as it takes for Iraqi forces to take over.

Let me suggest reading another of their books entitled “End Game: The Blueprint For Victory In The War On Terror” as well as “Baghdad Ablaze” before making your selection. We are way past generalizations.

Let me close by telling you something about the two Generals who co-authored this book. They did not just fall off the back of a turnip truck.

Tom McInerney served for 35 years as a pilot, commander, and Joint Force Commander in the USAF. He “retired from military service as Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force and as Director of the Defense Performance Review (DPR) reporting to the Secretary of Defense.”

After 32 years in the U.S. Army Paul Vallely retired in 1991 as Deputy Commanding General, US Army. “He was one of the first nominees for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations under President Reagan.”

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