Strategic Redeployment in Iraq moderated by Major General J. Michael Myatt and featuring Lawrence Korb.
Dr. Korb discusses the war in Iraq and presents his plan called Strategic Redeployment, which argues for a change of course in U.S. policy toward Iraq. The plan calls for the redeployment of 80,000 forces from Iraq in 2006, with the remainder being redeployed out of Iraq in 2007.
Dr. Lawrence J. Korb
Lawrence J. Korb is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a Senior Adviser to the Center for Defense Information. Prior to joining the Center, he was a Senior Fellow and Director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. From July 1998 to October 2002, he was Council Vice President, Director of Studies, and holder of the Maurice Greenberg Chair. Prior to joining the Council, Mr. Korb served as Director of the Center for Public Policy Education and Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, Dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, and Vice President of Corporate Operations at the Raytheon Company.
Mr. Korb served as Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower, Reserve Affairs, Installations and Logistics) from 1981 through 1985. In that position, he administered about 70 percent of the Defense budget. For his service in that position, he was awarded the Department of Defenseâ€™s medal for Distinguished Public Service. Mr. Korb served on active duty for four years as Naval Flight Officer, and retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of Captain.
Mr. Korbâ€™s 20 books and more than 100 articles on national security issues include "The Joint Chiefs of Staff: The First Twenty-five Years," "The Fall and Rise of the Pentagon," "American National Security: Policy and Process, Future Visions for U.S. Defense Policy," "Reshaping Americaâ€™s Military," and "A New National Security Strategy in an Age of Terrorists, Tyrants, and Weapons of Mass Destruction." His articles have appeared in such journals as Foreign Affairs, Public Administration Review, New York Times Sunday Magazine, Naval Institute Proceedings, and International Security.
Tonight's program features Dr. Lawrence J. Korb. Dr. Korb is a Senior Fellow at the Centerfor American Progress and the Senior Advisor to the Center for Defense Information. Prior tojoining the center, he was a Senior Fellow and Director of National Security Studies at theCouncil of Foreign Relations. From July 1998 to October 2002 he was Council Vice President,Director of Studies and holder of the Maurice Greenberg Chair. Prior to joining the Council,Mr. Korb served as Director of the Center for Public Policy Education and as Senior Fellow inthe Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, he was Dean of the GraduateSchool of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, and Vice President ofCorporate Operations at the Raytheon Company. Mr. Korb served as Assistant Secretary ofDefense from 1981 through 1985. In that position, he administered about 70 percent of theDefense budget. For his service in that position, he was awarded the Department of Defense'smedal for Distinguished Public Service. Mr. Korb served on active duty for four years as aNaval Flight Officer, and retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of Captain. He alsoserved as a professor at the Naval War College when I was a student there and he was myprofessor, so I feel, I take credit for his successes or he takes credit for mine. Mr. Korb's 20books and more than 100 articles on national security issues include The Joint Chiefs of Staff:The First Twenty-five Years, The Fall and Rise of the Pentagon, American National Security:Policy and Process, Future Visions for U.S. Defense Policy, Reshaping America's Military, andA New National Security Strategy in an Age of Terrorists, Tyrants, and Weapons of MassDestruction. His articles have appeared in such journals as Foreign Affairs, PublicAdministration Review, New York Times Sunday Magazine, Naval Institute Proceedings, andInternational Security. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Lawrence Korb.Thank you very much Mike. It is a great pleasure to be back here with you. Some of the nicestdays of my life are meant speaking at the Navy War College. I was there from 1975 to '80. Wehad people like General (unidentified), General Mundy who was then Col. Mundy, went on tobecome (unidentified) to the Marine Corp. We also had another interesting person by the nameof Oliver North, went through at that time. In talking about the subject tonight about what to doabout Iraq, I'm reminded of a story that I once heard from (unidentified), a person I think thatthis administration would, should pay more attention to. But he tells a story about this veryreligious man about how before he went to meet his Maker wanted to see the Grand Canyon.So he went out there, got a donkey to take him down to the bottom of the canyon. On the waydown the donkey lost his footing and the poor man began to fall head over heals toward theabyss. Fortunately he reached out and grabbed the branch and as you might expect he began topray. And pretty soon a voice came down from on high and it said, "Son do you have faith?"and he said, "Oh yes, I have faith". The voice came down again and said, "let go of the branch."He thought for a second and he said, "Is there anyone else up there I could talk to?" And that Ithink is a situation where we are in Iraq. We can argue about why we're there, how we did it,but the fact is we're there and we really don't have any good options. And as I began to thinkabout this with my colleagues at the center trying to come up with something no matter whatcourse you recommend somebody is going to say, but it could turn out this way or that way.But I think the concept we came up with called strategic redemployment, gives us the bestchance of protecting our security. And after all, I think that that is the key thing. Whenever youtake a look at any situation, you have to ask yourself, if I continue to do this, or I change, what'sgoing to be the overall impact on our security? Not just, for example, on Iraq. And I think itsalso clear that we cannot continue the current course, or stay the course, nor can we withdrawalprecipitously. Now in deciding what policy to pursue in Iraq, I think you have to keep in mind anumber of general principles. Which we did as we went through this exercise. First of all, whenyou use military power, it must increase your security. If your expending military power and itsweakening your security, you need to take another look at it. Second, we cannot place oursecurity, our security, our vital security interest in the hands of other people, other nations. So,for example, when you say, we will stand down when they stand up, you're in effect givingsomeone a veto over your vital national security interests. Third, no matter what policy youpursue, you have to use all of the instruments of power. We put out, when we did nationalsecurity strategy, because the Bush Administration had not done one every year as they'resupposed to and finally put out there second one in almost six years. We called it integratedpower, because you have to not only focus just on military power, you have to also look at theother instruments of power, diplomatic power for example, nor can you do it by yourself. And Ithink the administration has recently learned with Iran that you cannot do it by yourself. Sowhatever course you choose, you have to integrate all the elements of power and integrate othernations. Now our strategic redeployment plan basically says that the United States needs to seta timetable for withdrawal and needs to make it clear that it will not maintain permanent bases inIraq. And that's the two key elements- you set a specific timetable and you make it very clearthat you do not want to maintain permanent military bases there. Now what time table? Wethink that by the end of 2007 roughly, a little more than 18 months from now the United Statesshould be completely out. It should begin withdrawing its troops at a rate of about 9,000 in amonth, by not replacing unit on a one for one basis as these brave young men and women finishtheir one year terms in the case of the army, seven months in the case of the marines. Now wecall it redeployment because, while we would leave Iraq, we would not leave the region. Youjust saw on the news we moved some of the forces we have in Kuwait into Iraq to deal withsome of the problems in the so-called Sunni, Sunni Triangle. We would leave a division, anarmy division, in Kuwait. For those of you that don't know, a division could be anywhere fromthirteen to fifteen thousand people and we would leave a marine expedition force and a carrierbattle group as the marines and navy would say, over the horizon in that area, because we dohave vital interests three. And if after we leave you should have external aggression, if Franceshould invade or Turkey should invade, not happy without the Kurds, we would be able to usethe forces in the region. Or if Iraq should generate into another Afghanistan and become ahaven for terrorists we would have forces in the region to deal with that. Now what would bethe benefits of such a policy. Well the first thing and most importantly is it would give the Iraqispolitical leaders the incentive to do what they need to do. They need to make the compromisesto create a viable state. Now whether in fact that state is a weak federal government, or semiweak federal government, that's up to them. But the fact of the matter is they need to make thecompromises that are necessary. I think its an absolute disgrace that it took them five months toform a government and even then its not complete. They have a constitution, they haveelections, but there's no incentive for them to do anything because they can basically rely on usas a crutch, so if we set a deadline, this will give them the incentive. And in the final analysis, nomatter how long we stay there, they have got to make the decisions that are necessary to decidewhat kind of a state that they will have. If in fact you do have a viable multi-ethnic state, weakcentral government in whatever form it takes, if you have a government that's supported by allthe three main sects and tribes, then your security forces will be motivated to do what they needto do, they will defend this state of Iraq. Now I read a lot about, well the security forces are notquite ready, to do, to do their job and there's 275,000 of them... We' re not asking the securityforces to take on the (unidentified) or the second coming of the Red Army, ok, we're askingthem to deal with somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 insurgents. And if you go backand take a look at our own services, we send young men and young women to three months ofbasic training, some of them, and then we send them to battle. And why do they do well?Because they're fighting for an ideal, they're fighting for their, for their country. So when I lookat this training and I say to myself its really not a question of more training, its motivation. Anduntil they're motivated to fight for this thing we call Iraq, they're never gonna be able to providefor their, for their own security. The third benefit, is once its clear we're out by a certain dateand we don't want any permanent bases, you're going to diffuse part of the insurgency, not thehole thing, but there are people there who are fighting simply because they don't want us there,ok, they are, they do not trust us. I went to Iraq in November of 2003, was a Department ofDefense sponsored trip and I was down in Hilliam, which is south of Baghdad in the Shiite areaand talking to a Shiite professor who supported our getting rid of Saddam Hussein and he said,"You know, you guys sound just like the British". I said, "What are you talking about?" Hesaid, "to use in the same words, came as liberators, not occupiers..." and he showed me someBritish general had said that back in 1920. And he said, you know why did you really come?There isn't any weapons of mass destruction, we didn't have ties to al-Qaeda, why did youcome? The people think you came for oil, the people think that you came to spoil, to corrupttheir civilization so once its clear you're going, you are going to diffuse part of the insurgency.Now I understand some people say that the insurgents will just buy their time. This is not likeVietnam where you're gonna have an outside army come in and do it. And if you diffuse part ofthe insurgency, you're also going to diffuse part of the support that the general population isgiving to the insurgency because they don't trust us anyway. The fourth thing is that if once webegin to cut down our presence there, this will allow us to use our military in areas that they'reneeded. Afghanistan is not going well. Now regardless of people's position on Iraq, there arevery few people in this country who do not think that we should have gone to Afghanistan. Thiswas something that we needed to do, we were justified in doing it, the world communitysupported it,NATO invoked article , its not going well, you need more troops there. And if youallow the resurgent Taliban to come back, then you're really going to set back Americansecurity interests. The next thing it will allow us to do is to bring the national guard home.Homeland defense is a critical mission. This is not a secondary mission or something that can behandled only by, you know, only by first responders, we need a national guard home here. Andas you saw what happened in Katrina last year, the best units in Louisiana and Mississippi werenot there. And when you're looking at things and they say, oh we had enough troops, one ofthe units I noticed they sent was the band, ok. Now this is not what you need to deal with acrisis. And heaven forbid we should have another man made attack on the United States. It willalso allow you to decrease the pressure on your active army and marines. These people arebeing stretched way beyond what is good for them ad good for the country. Let me give you acouple of figures. One out of every six people coming into the army today, is getting a waiverbecause basically mothers and ministers are telling young people that have a propensity to jointhe army, don't do it. And that, one out of six waivers in spite of the fact that you can get$40,000 bonuses, that you can be over forty and join the service. I told somebody, you knowthe infantry is like running backs in football, forty years old, pretty hard to be a running back.And so when you're raising the age, you're taking in more non-high school graduates, morepeople scoring below average on the test and you're still giving waivers with a long-term impacton our army that is going to be tough. Now our marines so far are holding up, but how long canyou continue to do that? Let me give you another startling statistic. 97% of the captains in thearmy last year made major, 97%. These are going to be the people in the critical position. Italked to an army personnel person and he said if you don't have a criminal record and you'recaptain, you're gonna make major. That's not what you need. But what's happening is thatpeople at the end of the first five year commitment are getting out so we need to relieve thatbecause we could need them in some place else. The next thing in us setting a time table is toregain control of the situation. What's happening in Iraq now is a less of an insurgency and morecivil war. Your commanders are saying that. What do you think would happen, for example, issomeone should assassinate the Ayatollah Sistani, there would be no one holding the Shiiasback. Even now its hard to hold them back, our young men and women would be caught in themiddle of a civil war. And again, with our policy to we'll stand when you stand up, no. If we seta timetable then we will begin to decrease the chances of them being caught. It will also help usdeal with the situation in Iran. Iran, in my view, was a much bigger threat than Iraq ever was.But as long as we're bogged down in Iran, in Iraq its going to be hard for us to deal with thesituation with Iran. I commend what has happened recent, I think its about time talking to, butthe fact of the matter is I think when the history was written, you'll see the Iranians have pushedthe envelope because they know that we're bogged down in Iraq and they know that even if wewanted to use military force, against them it would be difficult and raise havoc for our forces inIraq. And then finally, it will help in the war of ideas. This struggle against these violentextremists and you know, and I'm sure you heard this before, its not a war on terrorism,terrorism is a tactic, ok. It'd be like if in World War Two somebody said, Roosevelt said, Ideclare war on Blitzkrieg, ok. We have a group of violent extremists who don't like our policiesand are trying to convince people in the Arab and Muslim world that we do not have their bestinterest at heart. Once you're out of Iraq, its going to help you deal with that battle of ideas.Now that's the military component, its not enough. We need a diplomatic component. I thinkwhat we need to do, the United States needs to take the lead and convene a Dayton type ofconference like we did for the Balkans. I guess we brought them to Dayton because not muchelse going on and they sort of just locked them up there... in San Francisco they might still betalking, they'd be out there enjoying themselves, but convene a Dayton style conference with theIraqi leaders and you get them together, under the U.N., bring in other countries and tell 'emthey've got to make a decision. You know this year Congress set up a commission to take a alook at Iraq and Jim Baker, former Secretary of, I'll tell ya, get Baker to Genevea, get theparties together and put the pressure on them to do what we did at Dayton to stop the conflict,the civil war, which was what happened at Dayton. I mean they agreed to stop that and it's bewonderful if we had democracy and all that, but when you got conflict resolution, you got todeal with right now before you can, before you can do anything else. And then you also need toset up a regional security arrangement, a gulf security initiative. Get all of the countries in theregion and when its clear that we're leaving, they all, none of them would want to see Iraqbecome a haven for terrorists and you could establish on like a NATO type, or whatever themodel would be, but the countries there know that they have to work together. And then thefinal thing is we need to get our reconstruction program in shape, I mean this is a disgrace. Thereconstruction of Iraq, and again this is so important because if you're not doing that, the peopleare not going to be concerned about democracy and freedom and all that, they basically want tobe able to deal with the basic necessities of life, and there is no funding in this year's budget, nonew funding for reconstruction. I don't know why we ever did it the way that we did, we shouldhave had the Iraqis doing it, you know right from the beginning instead of bringing far companiesand mostly American companies, we should have the Iraqis, had the Iraqis doing it. They havewhat they call provincial construction teams, native people from all over various governmentagencies state, military id and all that, there are supposed to be ten there and there was onlyfour. That's what you need to be focusing on to get the situation back where you need it, sobasically, that's our plan. Strategic redeployment, timetable, out by the end of 2007, stay in theregion also work on your diplomatic and your reconstruction thing. Thank you very much forattention, I look forward to your questions.