The Rebuilding of Iraq During a Raging Insurgency

Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror. His new book is High Noon For America. He is the host of Frontpage’s television show, The Glazov Gang, and he can be reached at jamieglazov11@gmail.com. Visit his site at JamieGlazov.com.


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Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Kerry Kachejian, one of the nation’s most qualified soldiers and engineers, having served in and supported reconstruction operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan as well as relief operations during Hurricane Katrina. He is the author of the new book, SUVs SUCK in Combat: Chaos & Valor–The Rebuilding of Iraq During a Raging Insurgency and was recently presented the Literacy Hero Award.  Visit his site at kerrykachejian.com.

FP: Kerry Kachejian, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Tell us what inspired you to write this book.

Kachejian: Thanks Jamie.

I had no intention of writing a book when I returned from Iraq. However, I spoke at several conferences and numerous colleagues heard my stories, and they strongly encouraged me – in fact demanded – that I “write a book.”

I wrote the book for several reasons:

[1] To educate the American public. To let them know that there were many good things happening in Iraq other than sound bites about daily car bombings.

[2] To capture a piece of American history that was in the making.

[3] To make sure the hard lessons we learned were recorded and captured so they are not repeated by future generations.

I wrote this book as a private citizen. So all opinions in it are mine and not those of the Department of Defense or the US Government.

FP: Share with us your military experience in general and your experience in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular.

Kachejian: I served on active duty as an Engineer Office for six years following graduation from West Point. I have been in the Army Reserve for the past 23 years. I’ve been trained in combat engineering skills (demolitions, mine warfare, counter IED, bridge building, fortifications, roads, airfields, etc) and the construction of major facilities (Professional Engineer). I hold two Masters degrees in Systems Engineering (Virginian Tech) and in National Resource Strategy (National Defense University). I have several tactical qualifications (Airborne, Ranger).  So I have been trained on the tactical, operational and strategic levels of warfare.

In 2004, my Army Reserve team was sent on an unbelievable mission – to rebuild Iraq while the U.S. military was fighting a raging insurgency.  The progress of this mission was so important it had to be reported daily to the Secretary of Defense and often the President.

No military unit had ever existed to perform this mission.  So the Army had to create a special new unit – called the Gulf Region Division (GRD). We had to organize it, staff it, equip it, deploy it and go straight into combat and begin to rebuild thousands of projects. This special new unit was called the Gulf Region Division (GRD).  I served as the Operations Officer for GRD.

90% of the members of this new unit were civilians – all volunteers.  They began the largest, most complex and most dangerous post-war reconstruction project ever undertaken by our nation.

Rebuilding Iraq was a team effort that involved multiple government agencies, ministries and contractors. The size and complexity of the mission was only exceeded by its ambiguity and danger, particularly in the early days of the Iraqi insurgency.

The entire mission started as 2300 projects but the list constantly evolved.  It eventually grew to over 5000.  Over $18B of US funds were appropriated and billions more of Iraqi oil dollars were also committed. After two years, the unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) by General Casey. Among the projects highlighted in the award justification were:

* 730 schools

*  280 police stations

*  300 water and sewer projects

*  105 village road projects

*  230 border forts

*  90 railroad stations

*  40 public buildings

*  85 fire faculties

*  15 power generation facilities

*  1,400 electrical transmission towers

*  8,600 kilometers of power cable

*  Adding 2,000 megawatts to the Iraqi national power grid

*  25 hospitals

*  155 public health care clinics

*  Employing an average of 155,000 workers (military-aged men)

Many people put themselves in harm’s way trying to rebuild Iraq, and America should be proud of what they achieved.

Now war is inherently dangerous, and we were not immune from the violence. There were hundreds of attacks and scores of casualties that were part of the daily struggle to rebuild Iraq. I can only remember a few days when our unit was NOT attacked in some form – IED, rockets, sniping, drive-by shooting, or the Iraqi workers kidnapped or threaten. Near the end of my tour in 2004, our reconstruction operations had 45 personnel killed in action (KIA) and 82 wounded in action (WIA).  Most of these were contractors supporting the mission.

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  • tarleton

    Driving every day in Iraq was like living in a “Mad Max​” movie.  We learned many lessons, and over time, the equipment an tactics that we used improved.
    ===============================================
    This sounds like typical american contractors in Iraq…the Brits were always wary of the cowboyish , hollywood , trigger happy antics of the Yanks while maintaining the ''softly , softly ''professional aproach learned through experience gained from many previous conflicts around the world ……..the yanks were Mad Max'' shoot em up '' types …they've been watching way too much TV

    • cdnbn

      Tarletan,
      We would all be interested to hear how YOU would drive under the conditions.

      No doubt, politely and within the speed limit.
      In which case, you would be dead now,
      and unable to pontificate from your armchair.
      Which just might be more useful.

      “War is hell,” have you heard?
      How hellish is your living room?

      Daniel.

    • Howard

      I’ve been driving trucks outside the wire as a contractor in Iraq from May of ’05 until the present, primarily in Al Anbar province but also in Baghdad and near Kirkuk. I believe this gives me some expertise in the matter of convoys. Perhaps a little more than a man who spent those years comfortably seated in his parlor, listening to the reports of journalists who were equally well situated in their hotels in the Green Zone.

      From ’05 to late ’07 it was not unusual to drive whatever vehicle you were operating at the highest speed conditions and equipment permitted. Nobody was trying to emulate a Hollywood western. Everyone was trying to accomplish their work and stay alive.

      Speed was certainly your friend. When attacked, your best odds were to clear the ambush kill zone as quickly as possible and move out of the enemies range. When you are moving through a area intel tells you is “hot” with insurgents, your best odds are to move through quickly and hope the enemies rush to respond results in the innaccurate use of their weapons. Driving slowly made you a easier target. That could result in not only you being killed or injured, but the people behind you being harmed because your vehicle is blocking the road, preventing their escape of the ambush. You also put the armed escorts at risk because they are the ones who must attempt to rescue you.

      Yes, quite often these maneuvers did resemble something out of a “Mad Max” movie. But it was the only “professional” thing to do. Because your job is to deliver material to the troops or reconstruction contractors, not engage in a fixed battle or have a nice cup of tea and chat about things with people who are quite determined to kill you if they can.

      A number of the people I drove with in those years were UK expats, some English and more Scots. The Scots culture seemed to give them the better temperament and understanding of the task at hand. The task being drive like hell and push that BMW into the ditch if you have the chance, because they really are trying to kill you and your companions.

      The services of well mannered gentlemen’s sons were not required.

    • http://www.kerry.kachejian.com Kerry Kachejian

      The initial Security contractor for rebuilding Iraq was a UK company – Erinys.
      It was later followed with another UK company – Aegis.
      The teams were a mix of UK, US, and South Africans.

      One of the problems was that SUVs were readily recognized as Westerners and were targeted regardless of who was driving.

      We lost several Brits, and they performed with distinction.

  • tarleton

    What ever happened to the great American Western ?…..it's currently playing in Iraq…it's john Wayne and the Seventh Cavalry all over again …..I wonder who's playing the Indians ?

  • Chezwick_mac

    With all due respect to Mr Kachejian (and he seems like a remarkably courageous individual), one can't help but wonder if the costs to America for remaking Iraq – 1) a trillion dollars in taxpayer money, 2) the deaths of over 4000 of our best and brightest souls, 3) tens of thousands of others wounded, 4) Obama's capture of the White House, etc – were worth it. Certainly Saddam and his sons were sadists and megalomaniacs…and the world is a better place without them. But Iraq teeters on ethnic/sectarian implosion and the very real prospects of falling into Iran's orbit.

    IF Iraq remains quasi-democratic and an ally of the West over the long-term, one might say that yes, the costs WERE worth it. But that is one helluva a big IF.

    • Jim_C

      Well, Chezwick, had you voiced such a reasonable opinion on this site 9-10 years ago, they'd have a name for you: "traitor."

      Think about it.

      • Chezwick_mac

        On the contrary Jim, there was a strong component among conservatives who were opposed to the Iraq War (unfortunately, I was not one of them; hindsight is always 20/20). But their opposition mostly preceded our involvement. Once we were in, they were – unlike liberals – reluctant to try and undercut the war effort (I wonder, do you have the least bit of disdain for Harry "the war is lost" Reid?).

        I've found Jim that the right is a much bigger tent than the left, that there is much more philosophical diversity on our side of the isle than on yours. For example, while there are certainly pro-choice conservatives, you'd be hard-pressed to find a pro-life liberal, since such a stand would automatically result in excommunication from the liberal fold.

        An anecdote comes to mind on that particular issue…

        One of my closest friends is a fiscal and national-security conservative who is quite liberal on social issues. Because of his contributions to certain conservative causes, he ended up on the mailing list of a conservative Christian group. They sent him a questionnaire with extremely loaded questions. For example, instead of asking, "do you believe in abortion?", the question was phrased: "Do you believe in the murder of unborn children?"

        My friend matter-of-factly checked the "yes" box. Needless to say, he never heard from the group again.

        • Jim_C

          These conservatives were not a very vocal group; to the extent that any did speak up, they were ridiculed as "paleos" or whatnot.

          I ask you to think about it because we have paid a terrible, terrible price–and for what?

          I hate the abortion issue. It has completely distorted our politics. And I don't wish to discuss it (you know how that goes) but I hate abortion, itself; I think it should be safe, legal and far more RARE.

          • Chezwick_mac

            JIM: "I ask you to think about it because we have paid a terrible, terrible price–and for what?"

            RESPONSE: Well, one salutary benefit has been the freedoms and legal autonomy enjoyed by the Iraqi Kurds. Another would be just the removal from power of a torturer, a mass murderer, and a serial invader of his neighbors.

            I'm not suggesting it was worth it, I'm merely pointing out that it wasn't a completely pointless exercise and that some compelling arguments can still be advanced to justify the invasion. Like you, I feel the price was too high…and if Iraq falls into Iran's orbit, then the entire enterprise was counter-productive.

            Being a loyal American, I'm still hoping for the best.

          • Indioviejo

            Jim, I always maintained that we should only send punitive expeditions. Kick ass and need not take names,. I voted for Bush twice because there was no better choice, but nation building is stupid. I agree with you that we have paid a terrible price for nothing.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Certainly Saddam and his sons were sadists and megalomaniacs…and the world is a better place without them.

      I had no problems whatsoever with taking out Saddam and his sons since he had made a mockery of American prestige repeatedly during Clinton's administration and because of that it was clear he had to go. Nonetheless, the last thing we should have ever done was occupy Afghanistan or Iraq subsequently to pursue two totally counterproductive and extremely fantasy-based nation-building missions based on political correct myths and assumptions about Islam and Muslims.

      Furthermore, with respect to the first Gulf War to oust Saddam from Kuwait, we fought on the wrong side in that war. In fact, we never should have ever ousted Saddam from Kuwait. Instead, we should have encouraged and even offered assistance for Saddam to also invade, oust, and occupy Saudi Arabia, since the Saudis were back then and still are today the biggest proliferators of the global jihad in the world.

      Hence, if the first Bush administration hadn't been as completely incompetent and inept as the second Bush administration, the global jihad could have been eliminated back then or severely wounded without the USA having to fire a single shot, and the 9/11 jihad attacks never would have occurred.

      Not to let Clinton off the hook, his wars in Bosnia and Kosovo were nothing but “Wag the Dog” because we definitely fought on the wrong side in those wars. In fact, the USA should be paying war reparations to Serbia today for that tragedy. The truth nonetheless will remain hidden until long after the Clinton’s have been dead and buried.

      Indeed, since the end of the Reagan administration, I don't think that there has been a more disgraceful and self-destructive period in American history ever. Not that before the Reagan administration the Carter administration wasn't totally disgraceful in its own right as well.

      • Chezwick_mac

        Disagree completely with your analysis of the first Gulf War.

        Just because the Saudis are bad doesn't make Saddam good. Helping such a man secure the oil wealth of Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia would have concentrated unprecedented resources into the hands of a single, twisted individual. It would have made Saddam – within a couple of years of these conquests, a towering figure. And just because he was a nominal secularist doesn't mean he wouldn't have used religion to broaden his power base (as he did after the first Gulf war). In fact, it's almost a certainty that Saddam would have cloaked himself in religion to legitimize throughout Darul Islam his occupation of the two "holy" cities.

        I generally agree with most of what you write, but you went off the rails here. You don't help your enemy unite his resources so that he can effectively utilize them…you keep him divided. Helping Saddam conquer the Arabian peninsula would have been pure folly.

        • ObamaYoMoma

          Just because the Saudis are bad doesn't make Saddam good.

          Where or whenever did I insinuate Saddam was good? It's not about whether Saddam was good or not, it is about pursuing America's best interests, and eliminating the global jihad is in America's interests.

          Helping such a man secure the oil wealth of Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia would have concentrated unprecedented resources into the hands of a single, twisted individual.

          You are giving far too much credence to Saddam's prowess and capabilities. For the most part he was incompetent and his regime was extremely totalitarian and thus inept. Hence, concentrating unprecedented resources in Saddam's hands wouldn't have amounted to much of a threat for anyone and it was still nevertheless a far better option than allowing the Saudis to continue to proliferate the global jihad.

          It would have made Saddam – within a couple of years of these conquests, a towering figure.

          Yeah right…he may have been a megalomaniac, but he was an incredibly incompetent megalomaniac, plus he was a totalitarian on top of that. Not to mention that it would have taken all of his attention just to hold on to power with a country so large, as the Sunnis would have been constantly trying to oust him.. Hence, there is no way he could ever compete with us much less represent much of a threat, and if he did choose to threaten us, we could simply have easily and quickly ousted him. Big fricking deal.

          And just because he was a nominal secularist doesn't mean he wouldn't have used religion to broaden his power base (as he did after the first Gulf war). In fact, it's almost a certainty that Saddam would have cloaked himself in religion to legitimize throughout Darul Islam his occupation of the two "holy" cities.

          Go fly a kite!

          I generally agree with most of what you write, but you went off the rails here. You don't help your enemy unite his resources so that he can effectively utilize them…you keep him divided. Helping Saddam conquer the Arabian peninsula would have been pure folly.

          Apparently, you took all the American propaganda used to vilify and demonize Saddam in the first Gulf War and in the 2003 war to oust him to heart. Saddam did what he did to hold onto power, and in that respect he is no different from any of the other thug regimes that maintain power via force in that part of the world today. Hence, stop inflating him and blowing him way out of proportion. And he wasn't our enemy until we made him our enemy after he invaded Kuwait.

          • Chezwick_mac

            YOMAMA: "…and eliminating the global jihad is in America's interests."

            RESPONSE: And somehow, by allowing Saddam to capture all the oil reserves of the Arabian peninsula, we would have eliminated the global jihad? Some bizarre leap of faith.

            YOMAMA: "…concentrating unprecedented resources in Saddam's hands wouldn't have amounted to much of a threat for anyone…"

            RESPONSE: I'm sure people said similar things about Hitler.

            YOMAMA: "…and it was still nevertheless a far better option than allowing the Saudis to continue to proliferate the global jihad."

            RESPONSE: 1) again, the assumption here is that Saddam wouldn't have pursued the global jihad for his own purposes and 2) the belief that uniting the oil trillions of the Arabian peninsula under a megalomaniac was better than keeping them divided among a constellation of states is hard to fathom

            YOMAMA: "…he was an incredibly incompetent megalomaniac, plus he was a totalitarian on top of that."

            RESPONSE: 1) Not so incompetent that he didn't capture and then hold power for 24 years, ousted only by an outside super-power

            YOMAMA: "Not to mention that it would have taken all of his attention just to hold on to power with a country so large, as the Sunnis would have been constantly trying to oust him."

            RESPONSE: Wrong. Saddam WAS a Sunni. That was his support base in Iraq. He wouldn't have had problems with the Sunni minority he would conquer, particularly if – as I suggested – he cloaked himself in religion and attacked the House of Saud as heretics.

            YOMAMA: "Go fly a kite'"

            RESPONSE: Well, there's a cogent, intelligent comeback. Apparently, you have difficulty digesting critical analysis of your postulations.

            Helping what we both agree is a megalomaniac prone to invading his neighbors to achieve unprecedented levels of wealth and hence power is hardly a rational policy for a democratic country.

          • Chezwick_mac

            Should read…

            "He wouldn't have had problems with his Sunni SUBJECTS he would conquer…"

          • SAM000

            You see what you want to see,
            I'm from that part of the world, and I have seen what you have heard about,
            My education, my fight for democracy and my life and my views reject a dictator like Saddam, but, I pose always a question, CAN ANYBODY play democracy in a prison like SING SING? among the mafia thugs?

            In Iraq, the criminal bands and pre-historic fanatics payed and influenced by the external powers were framed and controlled by the dictatorship of SADDAM.
            the laws of Saddam were very strict, the trahison of the governmental headquarters was sentenced to death.

            the FANATICISM and Islamism were sentenced to death.
            Polygamy was sentenced to death.
            Pedophilia and child abuse was sentenced to death.
            buying and selling human beings and slavery was sentenced to death.
            The Arab sheiks have at least 60 kids imprisoned in the safe houses for their personal abuse, this was abolished in IRAQ, but, this kind of slavery is largely practiced in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

            Saddam Smashed the smallest sign of Islamic fanaticism, by removing Saddam, USA removed the cover of the Pandora box.

            The only reasonable option of removing Saddam was to replace him with a US ARMY GENERAL like GENERAL MARSHAL for at least 30 years.

            You have removed Saddam and freed all the Criminals, and you had let the most dangerous to get the power in IRAQ, and you talk about the people who deserve the democracy or not!?
            And you talk about the Nation Building?

            Why you never talk about the stoning and burning alive the poor girls in IRAQ, this kind of barbaric and satanic rituals were never imaginable under Saddam.
            Beheading, stitching the removed head with the body of a dog and offering it to the family of the victims are another kind of practiced rituals in IRAQ of after Saddam.

            Extracting the eyes, drilling the bones and many other extremes exaction are the daily practice in the Iraqi prisons.

            Raping the thousands of the child girls in the prisons of IRAQ with the knowledge of US EMBASSY in Iraq well known, US embassy answers that USA can not interfere in the internal Iraqi life! THIS IS AMERICAN NATION BUILDING! as you say.

            Saddam was dictator, but the kid abuser was executed immediately.

            among 1,5 millions of Iraqi Christians, 2/3ered were displaced, or escaped, after being killed, kidnapped, raped, bombed frequently, US ARMY told them that USA can not interfere in the internal affair of the Iraqi government!
            Saddam was a Dictator, but touching the Christians was never, never imaginable.

            So, the people in Iraq do not understand your USA and European doctrine of democracy, can you explain it to me, please? what do you mean by nation building in IRAQ?

          • Chezwick_mac

            This argument is NOT about the wisdom of regime-change in Iraq. You perhaps overlooked my earlier comments; I'm more sympathetic to your viewpoint than you realize.

            This argument is about whether or not it would have been wise to support Saddam's conquest of the Arabian peninsula. He adroitly used religion to rally support for his regime after the first Gulf War, allowing Udeh to behead prostitutes in Baghdad in order to placate religious leaders. It certainly follows that he would do so even more if he had become the "caretaker of the holy cities".

            Perhaps you feel he would have captured Arabia and declared a secular regime, allowing infidels into Mecca? Hardly. He would have set himself up as the new standard-bearer of the faith (regardless of his personal beliefs)…using religion to legitimize his conquest.

            Redrawing the boundaries of the region would have been a huge mistake, fusing the oil trillions of Iraq and Arabia and creating a Muslim super-state that could conceivably have united the Arab/Muslim world and certainly would have created unprecedented levels of wealth at the disposal of a megalomaniac with unlimited ambitions.

          • SAM000

            Your arguments are conditional but logical, I can not oppose your reasoning with something strict, the best I can say is, maybe you are right, maybe you are wrong, who can say with certitude that you are wrong or write?

            But, what is certain and you the Americans missed it is that " Islamism and Islamic power is the most dangerous threat to the world peace and security", how do you want to deal or negotiate with a power that is convinced that you are the infidels and you should be exterminated and they are charged by GOD to clean the earth from the infidels?
            Ahmadinejad and his leader never hidden their satanic views. you had the experiences of US EMBASSY Hostages, Lebanon US BUNKERS BOMBING, Khobar Tower Bombing, USS COLE attack, US EMBASSY of Nairouby bombing, Koweit US EMBASSY BOMBING ( AL-Maliki the current Iraqi PM participated in that bombing).
            You knew the views of the Mullahs of Iran towards Iraq (Reaching Jerusalem by Crossing Iraq).
            You knew the testimonial of Khomeini,
            Saddam was a closed gate.
            You removed that gate.
            You could put Saddam in his place, you could force him to comply with the International laws and you did it, but, what US interest guided you to remove him?

            Does US interest crosses by China, Russia, and Islamic Republic of the SATANS?
            This is what I do not understand, you the Americans, you are not understandable.
            I have worked with the Americans, I have worked even with your military staffs, I have worked and I'm in touch with your imminent scientists, Maybe you are the best nation in the world, with the worst government.

            Why is there so huge GAP between you the people and your rulers?
            YOU ARE IN DEMOCRACY and you elect freely your government, why your free elected rulers and our criminal Mullahs are side by side?

            This is the formula that I never resolved.

          • Chezwick_mac

            SAMOOO: "maybe you are right, maybe you are wrong, who can say with certitude that you are wrong or write?"

            RESPONSE: I agree.

            SAMOOO: "what is certain and you the Americans missed it is that " Islamism and Islamic power is the most dangerous threat to the world peace and security" "

            RESPONSE: Again…agree completely.

            SAMOOO: "Why is there so huge GAP between you the people and your rulers?"

            RESPONSE: The rulers mostly subscribe to the delusions of the cultural elite. Thus, "Islam is peace" is uttered first in the universities by liberal academics, then in the newsrooms by liberal journalists and editors, and finally, by the politicians eager to pacify those same journalists, editors and academics.

            As for the people themselves, some of them, particularly those on the East and West coasts, subscribe to the nonsense being promulgated in the universities. Those in the vast middle are much more inclined to healthy skepticism.

          • Indioviejo

            Samoo you make sense. In my opinion, our people in general are oblivious to Islam, the threat of Islam or any other threat. The people elected Obama, a Marxist, for several bad reasons one being infatuation with a black star. But our leaders as far back as I can discern, are corrupt and sell out to oil interest real easy. America is an afterthought.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            RESPONSE: And somehow, by allowing Saddam to capture all the oil reserves of the Arabian peninsula, we would have eliminated the global jihad? Some bizarre leap of faith.

            Saddam never hesitated to resort to terrorism whenever it was in his interests to do so, but he nevertheless wasn't a jihadist. In other words, because jihad and terrorism are two entirely different thing altogether that are nevertheless always conflated together as being the same thing by the masses, Saddam wasn't motivated by the same ideological Islamic currents to make Islam supreme throughout the world the same way the Saudis are.

            Hence, the oil reserves being in the possession of Saddam as opposed to the oil rich Saudis was exponentially far better for us as for as our interests were concerned, as the Saudis unlike Saddam will never ever stop perpetually pursuing the global jihad against unbeliever unless and until the West mobilizes to seize their oilfields and their enormous oil wealth. Otherwise, they will simply continue using those resources forever to wage jihad perpetually against the West.

            Moreover, had GHWB decided to side with Saddam as opposed to the Saudis and the Kuwaitis instead, you never would have heard all the hate propaganda that was unleashed against Saddam. Instead, it would have been the Saudis and the Kuwaitis who you would hate today.

            RESPONSE: I'm sure people said similar things about Hitler.

            Now you are entering the theater of the absurd and making me laugh at the same time. Like I said, it is very obvious that you took all the hate propaganda unleashed by the US against Saddam to heart, but nevertheless Saddam was a tin horn dictator and his closet was no dirtier or cleaner than the closets of the Saudis or the Kuwaitis. He certainly didn't seek to conquer the world the same way Hitler did, plus if he had tried with that backwards assed military and with those cannon fodder troops he had that hated his guts worse than his enemies, he would have been defeated even before he ever got started.

            RESPONSE: 1) again, the assumption here is that Saddam wouldn't have pursued the global jihad for his own purposes and 2) the belief that uniting the oil trillions of the Arabian peninsula under a megalomaniac was better than keeping them divided among a constellation of states is hard to fathom

            Assumption one besides it being pure speculation and conjecture is utterly absurd as well, especially since Saddam was an atheist, and assumption two is absurd as well, as although Saddam was a megalomaniac, he was largely a backwards and very incompetent megalomaniac.

            Not to mention that he would have been mostly consumed by just trying to fend off the many thousands of jihadists that would have been flocking to the new Iraq to cast out the infidels. Indeed, even if he did claim to convert to Islam out of convenience, he still would have been seen an apostate ruler because he was an apostate.

            RESPONSE: 1) Not so incompetent that he didn't capture and then hold power for 24 years, ousted only by an outside super-power

            Wow you make it sound like Saddam conquered half the world with his state of the art 1950s military and his piss poor trained cannon fodder troops that hated Saddam worse than his enemies. Hell, he couldn't even defeat Iran right after the Iranian revolution when Iran was at its most vulnerable, yet you somehow elevate Saddam as being Hitler personified or worse.

            RESPONSE: Wrong. Saddam WAS a Sunni. That was his support base in Iraq. He wouldn't have had problems with the Sunni minority he would conquer, particularly if – as I suggested – he cloaked himself in religion and attacked the House of Saud as heretics.

            Not quite, Saddam was an atheist and he would have been seen as an apostate, even if he had pretended to convert for convenience. Maybe a few Sunnis from around Takrit near his hometown in Iraq would have remained loyal to Saddam, but the remainder of the Sunnis from the Islamic world would have seen him for what he really was, an apostate and they would have acted accordingly.

            –continued

          • ObamaYoMoma

            RESPONSE: Well, there's a cogent, intelligent comeback. Apparently, you have difficulty digesting critical analysis of your postulations.

            Actually, if your analysis had been critical and intelligent instead of a ridiculous and absurd joke, it would have garnered more than, “go fly a kite.”

            Helping what we both agree is a megalomaniac prone to invading his neighbors to achieve unprecedented levels of wealth and hence power is hardly a rational policy for a democratic country.

            Unlike you I don't swallow propaganda. Instead, I see the world the way it really is and Saddam may have been ruthless necessarily to those who opposed him, but he was no more or less ruthless than other Middle East dictators who maintain power only via force.

            He may have also been a megalomaniac to a certain extent, but the notion that he could become a major threat to the interests of the USA is utterly hilarious to say the least. Indeed, his military consisted of poorly trained conscripts that were for all intents and purposes cannon fodder that would more readily surrender than fight for a dictator they hated and despised and his vaunted state of the art Soviet military was circa 1950s. Meanwhile ,you are trying to elevate Saddam's megalomania into someone that was more formidable than the old Soviets. Damn…you really swallowed all that propaganda didn't you?

          • Chezwick_mac

            You feel that helping to create a Muslim super-state under Saddam that encompassed Iraq and the Arabian peninsula would have somehow ended Jihad and been good for the world. I beg to differ.

            As for your methods in the art of disputation:..

            1) On an ideological level, you can't seem to acknowledge any potentialities that don't conform to your preconceptions.

            2) On a personal level. you obviously can't brook criticism of your views with even the pretense of equanimity…hence, your resorting to attacks like "ridiculous", "absurd", "joke", "making me laugh", "utterly hilarious".

            You're not a serious interlocutor. I don't have time to suffer fools.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            You feel that helping to create a Muslim super-state under Saddam that encompassed Iraq and the Arabian peninsula would have somehow ended Jihad and been good for the world. I beg to differ.

            You can beg to differ all you want and you can senselessly elevate Saddam into a world superpower if you like, but nevertheless it would have been more in our interest to have encouraged Saddam to invade and seize the oilfields of Saudi Arabia as he was threatening to do than to have stopped him and then to have ousted him from Kuwait as we did, as Saddam was never near the threat that the Saudis with their global jihad were and still are.

            In addition, had we gone that route instead, all the propaganda unleashed against Saddam that was used to demonize him would have been unleashed against the Saudis and the Kuwaitis instead, and thus today instead of elevating Saddam into a world superpower and a far greater threat to mankind than he ever could have been like you are doing, which is utterly absurd, by the way, instead you would be elevating the Saudis and Kuwaitis into world superpowers and way out of proportion to what they really are.

            As for your methods in the art of disputation:..

            1) On an ideological level, you can't seem to acknowledge any potentialities that don't conform to your preconceptions.

            Yeah right I don't elevate Saddam into a world superpower unlike you because he was a tin horn dictator with an antiquated third rate military and a conscript army that not only was untrained, but also hated Saddam worse than Saddam's enemies. The notion that Saddam could have represented a real threat to us is utterly absurd. Not only that, but he would have been beholden to us.

            2) On a personal level. you obviously can't brook criticism of your views with even the pretense of equanimity…hence, your resorting to attacks like "ridiculous", "absurd", "joke", "making me laugh", "utterly hilarious".

            Only because your responses and assertions have been beyond absurd and ridiculous, which is why you get go fly a kite like responses, because they are so far off the wall ludicrous they are not worthy of a response. Respond with reasonableness and I respond in kind, but with absurdity, then you'll get absurdity.

            You're not a serious interlocutor. I don't have time to suffer fools.

            And you are? Read your own responses, you can't possibly believe half that garbage?

          • Chezwick_mac

            Friend, I'm really trying to help you. No need to get so defensive.

            To encapsulate your theory: "[Saddam is a secularist, the House of Saud is Wahhabist, ergo, it would've been better if Saddam had invaded Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Then, the Jihad would've ended]"

            Is it really so "absurd", "ridiculous", "hilarious" etc, for me to suggest that Saddam would have had good incentive to reinvent himself had he forcibly become "custodian of the holy cities"? Isn't it at all possible that he might have struck the same deal with the Arabian ulema that the House of Saud did?…that if he let them maintain their religious prerogatives, they'd support his regime? It's not a certainty, but wouldn't it be realistic to expect some sort of modus vivendi? Am I so out of line here? Think about it.

            Next, please re-read what you've written here…

            "He may have also been a megalomaniac to a certain extent, but the notion that he could become a major threat to the interests of the USA is utterly hilarious to say the least."

            You seem to oblivious to the economic power Saddam would have.

            Today, the Saudis have the production capacity to control the price of oil world wide. They have us by the balls. And they've been price doves all these years.

            Imagine Saddam, under your scenario, controlling not only Saudi production, but Iraqi, Kuwaiti and probably Qatari and UAE production (he would likely have gobbled them up too). He could have single-handedly brought the Western world to its knees through production policy alone. And you insist he'd be incapable of threatening our interests? Have you really thought this through?

            When you're advocating the forceful unification of such an oil-rich region by a power-hungry autocrat, you have to take into account the inevitable vicissitudes of circumstance, i.e., the impulses of an erratic leader, his need to placate a deeply religious constituency, the possibilities of his overthrow and a new regime coming to power, with defacto re-drawn borders.

            Is it really wise to advocate the creation of a regional super-state in the Persian Gulf? Isn't such a potential reality fraught not only with opportunities, but with pronounced dangers? Is it so laughable, such "garbage" for me to point this stuff out?

          • ObamaYoMoma

            Let's see….according to you Saddam will not only morph overnight into becoming a devout Muslim and a staunch jihadist that would adopt the global jihad as his own, like the Islamic world would arbitrarily forget about all the years that Saddam was an atheist, but at the same time he would also matriculate into a becoming a world superpower and an economic powerhouse. Indeed, Saddam with his third rate 1950s era military and his cannon fodder untrained troops who hated his guts more than his enemies would somehow become a world superpower. Yeah right….go fly a kite!

          • Chezwick_mac

            You keep harping on his military and ignore the implications of the enormous economic clout he'd have after swallowing the peninsula. You ignore his overtures to his own religious establishment after the Gulf War, and insist he would never do the same after becoming "custodian to the holy cities." And you ignore my attempt at comity and civility and reiterate your adolescent put-down.

            If you're young, friend, wisdom may eventually come to you. If you're not, good luck.

            At least I tried.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            Go fly a kite.

  • SAM000

    What we have noticed in Iraq is that, the US ARMY and technical staffs are the professionals, honest, very courageous,
    But,
    They are never followed and never covered by DC (State. Dept.).
    For Ex: While your constructors and soldiers were the targets of Al-Badre & Al-Daawa and Moqtada terrorists, Paul Bremer had charged those terrorist groups to clean Iraq from Saddam elements!
    Paul Bremer was the second governor of Iraq, he was commissioned by State Dept. , the first one was General Gardener who was commissioned by Pentagon.

    the big number of the US Soldiers killed in Iraq is due to State Dept. politics in IRAQ.
    Without State Dept. interference in Iraq, the number of US deaths could be less than one tenth of the actual number.

    All the US efforts is wasted in IRAQ by the US POLITICS.

    When you occupy a country, put a MILITARY FIELD OFFICER as governor, not a politician.
    this is the lesson that you the Americans never learned.

    I have the thousands of examples that proves the hard reality that all your forces efforts were out-phased by your DC politics.
    Your DC POLITICS in Iraq were side by side by the terrorists.

    • Indioviejo

      Samoo, we knew the lesson, but in our ignorance we forgot that General Douglas MaCarthur created the new Japan. GWB and company apparently knew nothing of this, and the "grunts" pay the price. Our leaders have made a mess of our foreign policy and the only candidates for the republican nomination who seem to understand this problem are Rep. Bachmann, and Sen.Santorum. In the mean time we all pay some, but some pay all.

      • SAM000

        Thank you; I learned something from you, (we all pay some, but some pay all.), it is so deeply true.

        Unbelievable, that the wise people like you are governed by the IDIOTS DEMOCRATICALLY!

      • SAM000

        BTW; I don't know Bachmann, but Senator Santorum is my American Favorite, unfortunately he is moved away from presidential elections.

        With Obama, you made an Islamic Breakthrough election for USA.
        Khomeini and his followers were chanting that Great SATAN (the name of USA by the Islamists) will be Conquered.
        Nobody could believe that the conquest of the Great SATAN will start by the head, it seems that Khomeini was right!

  • Salty

    Great, great article Jamie Glazov, as usual. I try to never miss your interviews.
    Where does America find these great people willing to put their lives on the line to help others in need?

  • ObamaYoMoma

    They began the largest, most complex and most dangerous post-war reconstruction project ever undertaken by our nation.

    I applaud his service, but why pray-tell was it so important for the USA to rebuild the country of our eternal enemy? Muslims are our eternal enemy as they will fight jihad in the cause of Allah perpetually as long as there are unbelievers somewhere in the world that haven't been forced to submit to Islam.

    Further, how is erasing our death and destruction going to deter our enemies? Indeed, why was it so important to transform our military from a fighting force used for self-defense to an altruistic force used for humanitarian missions? Whatever happened to peace though strength?

    Fantasy-based altruistic nation-building missions, especially for the benefit of our eternal enemies, the Muslims, not only couldn't be anymore counterproductive, but it isn't going to deter anyone, as it will embolden our enemies instead.

    Indeed, is we are going to become so mentally incompetent, then lets do as Ron Paul advocates and gut the military. At least we will cease wasting lives and trillions of dollars propping up our enemies!

    Rebuilding Iraq was a team effort that involved multiple government agencies, ministries and contractors.

    Rebuilding Iraq also couldn't have been more counterproductive or misguided!

    After two years, the unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) by General Casey.

    Isn't General Casey the same unhinged loon that said to the effect that diversity shouldn't be a casualty of the Fort Hood massacre? Indeed!

    And that's the problem, our entire military establishment has been hijacked and co-opted by the left and as a consequence instead of it being a merit based establishment like it was for most of its storied history, it is now a diversity based establishment obsessed with humanitarian altruism, blinded by political correctness, and focused on anything and everything other than defense and peace through strength.

    Many people put themselves in harm’s way trying to rebuild Iraq, and America should be proud of what they achieved.

    I applaud your service, but excuse me if I'm not proud that you helped to prop up our eternal enemies. Indeed, the Muslims in Iraq, which like all Muslims the world over are our eternal enemies, thanks to US altruism are much stronger than otherwise. Why would I applaud that?

    Are the Iraqi Muslims not violently oppressing and systematically persecuting all Christians and other non-Muslim unbelievers exactly like all Christians and all other non-Muslim unbelievers living in every Muslim majority country in the world today are also being violently oppressed and systematically persecuted?

    Near the end of my tour in 2004, our reconstruction operations had 45 personnel killed in action (KIA) and 82 wounded in action (WIA). Most of these were contractors supporting the mission.

    The mission was propping up our eternal enemies. It doesn't get anymore misguided or counterproductive than that! Nevertheless, I applaud your service and the service of your comrades in arms even though it couldn't have been any more misguided or counterproductive.

    Why did the mainstream media ignore it?

    Because the GWB administration was a Republican administration as opposed to a Dhimmicrat administration, and although it was a Republican administration, it was nonetheless by and large a very leftwing administration. Indeed, GWB doubled the size, scope, and power of the federal government like a Dhimmicrat on steroids and also like a loon and despite his campaign promises, pursued two extremely counterproductive nation-building missions that couldn’t have been more fantasy-based. Nevertheless, even though GWB's administration was for all intents and purposes a very leftwing administration, it was not, however, a Dhimmicrat administration. Hence, the so-called MSM ignored anything that seemed like progress while accentuating everything that was negative.

    Now although I disagreed with the fantasy-based nation-building missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, I nonetheless wholeheartedly disagreed with the sorry assed media coverage because it was endangering the lives of our troops.

  • http://diaryfromthedome.net Paul Harris

    Regardless of the comments, Kerry I thank you for all you did for the relief efforts during Katrina. We depended on you so very much.

    Paul Harris
    Author, "Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina"

  • goodtina1986

    good

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Reading all above had me write a number of paragraphs but I wasted my time.
    I have and observation, while wasting our treasure in lives and material to what,
    build, repair, make over Nations that will always return to their former selves
    while losing our Nation to Illegal immigration, street gangs, incompetents in
    political office, criminal minds runing out lives, moral decay exploding, leftist
    degeneracy and subversion flowing like a river of filth, destroyers of our youth
    in schools determined to indoctrinate and not educate, yada yada yada……….
    Think on it you are made ugly and scorned for saying "Merry Christmas" I
    think we need a nation rebuilding right here in America and who is so selfless
    as to want to do it or will sacrafice their treasure and life in the effort?
    William