The President’s new plan for winning in Iraq, released on January 10 came in three different pieces, the Wehnergram introducing LTG Petraeus and FM 3-24 Counter-Insurgency came first. Then the Iraq Fact Sheet that showed the influence of the Pentagon in mitigating the loss of control FM 3-24 would have on personnel management policies including Rotational Warfare ensuring the rotation of O-6 command positions, and an increase in the size of the Regular Army, thus ending the threat of a competent National Guard and Reserve force. The third was the President’s speech which, in my view was the most Presidential presentation he has made since taking office, but unaware that his plan has already been emasculated.
Without a CORDS, Petraeus will trip and get entangled in the ganglions of Beltway politics and turf wars in the Palais Pentagon. CORDS (Civil Operations and Rural Development) was the result of President Johnson’s demand that all the agencies in Vietnam get their act together. Just agreeing to meet and hash out differences didn’t work, and the mish mash they hatched serves as the basis for reasons for our defeat in Vietnam. CORDS got those disparate agencies under one roof and enabled the civilian agencies to obtain resources from the military they previously could only dream about.
CORDS was effective and in three years the Viet Cong/NVA were driven away from the populated parts of Vietnam.
Unity of Effort is a basic principle in love, war, business and politics. FM 3-24 lays down the ways that this can be achieved in a coalition environment. It doesn’t necessarily mean one super leader. The National Incident Management System (NIMS) creates a framework for multiple agencies including volunteers to have a unified effort. What has been happening in Iraq is a repeat of Desert One where interagency rivalry sabotaged the hostage rescue attempt in Iran. Coordination regardless of hat size made the difference between New Orleans ability to react to disaster and Houston’s.
LTG Petraeus must be given the kind of authority and mechanisms to create a NIMS and/or CORDS-like structure, or W will be impeached by Christmas.
And that’s the least of our worries.