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Northrop-Gruman: Another contractor failing Iraq

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posted on Jan, 22 2004 @ 09:51 AM
Forget Halliburton. The vice president's former company may keep getting the headlines for its hefty contracts in Iraq and Pentagon overcharging, but it's not the private company that's so badly botched the training of the new Iraqi Army that the Jordanian Army has been hastily brought in to finish the job.

That firm is Vinnell Corp. of Alexandria, Va., owned by politically connected Northrop-Grumman. Its errors in training a new Iraqi Army have undermined the creation of one of the most important institutions in a post-Saddam Iraq—a national army, senior American intelligence and military analysts say.

The big risk is the failure to rapidly reconstitute a competent new Iraqi Army may create a scenario akin to Afghanistan, where the countryside is dominated by rival militias and the reach of the central government—and its nascent military—is marginal at best. Add to that election year politics in the United States, where there will be pressure to withdraw some American forces, and the outlook on the ground in Iraq is increasingly volatile.

With Congress approving $87 billion for the occupation, could Vinnell's $48 million contract really be that critical? The answer is yes, according to former senior CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency officers and think tank experts on military contracting. Experts all say Vinnell's assignment far outweighed its monetary value.

"This whole thing is just nuts," said a retired Defense Intelligence Agency officer long based in the region. "All you had to do was take a Special Forces battalion based at Ft. Bragg and train the Iraqi Army. They do it one unit a time...Instead, we have created a potential for civil war."

Without A Plan

The Vinnell story began with the occupation's administrators, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), disbanding the Iraqi Army. Even though the U.S. military had waged a 12-year propaganda campaign following the Persian Gulf War encouraging Iraqi soldiers to not fight against any American military action—and inferring they would be rewarded for doing so—the CPA decided to create a new Iraqi Army from scratch. Many trained Iraqi soldiers felt let down, if not betrayed, and did not join the new military force.

"We broke our side of the bargain, because we dismantled them and didn't have a plan," said Peter Singer, a Brooking Institution expert on private military contractors. This past summer, Vinnell won a one-year contract to train 9 battalions of 1000 men each for the new Iraqi army. For decades, Army Green Berets have handled that work. But under Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, these and other special forces troops have been given new roles, more akin to military shock troops. Generals stationed in Iraq have told reporters that special forces troops in the region were already stretched too thin to train the new Iraqi army.

What emerged was typical of the Iraq occupation: a planning vacuum. While Pentagon and CPA officials were scurrying for solutions, defense contractors sensed a bonanza and went to the military with proposals to solve the occupation's problems. Daniel Winter, president of Northrop-Grumman's Mission Systems segment told Defense Week in November that the money the Bush administration will spend on retraining the Iraqi Army was a "wild card" and all—but boasted that they went to the Pentagon with a proposal and contract in hand.

"We sort of have to tell you we anticipated there would be needs of this nature, so we had been looking at it," he said. Add to that Northrop-Grumman's $8.5 million in federal campaign contributions from 1990-2002, and you can see how the politically connected company could gain access to military officers with contract-making powers.

The next step? Factional military power massing up to create a civil war in Iraq, once an artificial withdraw of troops occurs. No real government will be in place with no real army to back it up.

Another Bush war Supporter argument bites the dust:

If it was to make a "Democratic Iraq" and stabalize the region that we went to war ( one of many lies ), how does the sabotage of building an effective standing army ( by corporate croynism over our career military professionals ), a key to the transitional government's authority ( though with no elections, that too is highly suspect ), support that stated claim? Particularly since we will rush out of there for political expediency with the army & government half-done-baking?

REALITY CHECK: The Bush administration has yet again mouthed the words of the noble & pious and gone contrary in action for their own agenda.

posted on Jan, 23 2004 @ 07:43 AM
CIA officers warn of Iraq civil war, contradicting Bush's optimism

WASHINGTON - CIA officers in Iraq are warning that the country may be on a path to civil war, current and former U.S. officials said Wednesday, starkly contradicting the upbeat assessment that President Bush gave in his State of the Union address.

The CIA officers' bleak assessment was delivered verbally to Washington this week, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the classified information involved.

The warning echoed growing fears that Iraq's Shiite majority, which has until now grudgingly accepted the U.S. occupation, could turn to violence if its demands for direct elections are spurned.

Meanwhile, Iraq's Kurdish minority is pressing its demand for autonomy and shares of oil revenue.

"Both the Shiites and the Kurds think that now's their time," said one intelligence officer. "They think that if they don't get what they want now, they'll probably never get it. Both of them feel they've been betrayed by the United States before."

These dire scenarios were discussed at meetings this week by Bush, his top national security aides and the chief U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, said a senior administration official, who requested anonymity.

Another senior official said the concerns over a possible civil war weren't confined to the CIA but are "broadly held within the government," including by regional experts at the State Department and National Security Council.

[Edited on 23-1-2004 by Bout Time]

posted on Jan, 23 2004 @ 07:50 AM
When the US does finally pull out (of government anyway), all hell will break loose, as the puppet government will be quickly ousted...

Meanwhile, we'll be selling arms, and commandos' services to the hardline side we WANT to win, for under the table deals...and stability will quickly be back, but the Iraqis will be left without much of a voice.

Hard as it is to believe in the West though...most don't want a voice... They come from a culture which depends on strong, totalitarian rule and monarchy.


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