January 23, 2007
I’m putting-up Newt’s second “Hard Path” first, and by itself, because the words are completely non-indulgent…they are, in my opinion, the truth-laid-bare:
“Alternatively we can insist on defeating the enemies of America and the enemies of the Iraqi people and can develop the strategies and the implementation mechanisms necessary to force victory despite the incompetence of the Iraqi government, the unreliability of Iraqi leaders, and the interference of Syria and Iran on behalf of our enemies”.
…And his first “Hard Path”:
“We can accept defeat and try to rebuild our position in the region while accommodating the painful possibility that these enemies of freedom in Iraq — evil men, vicious murderers, and sadistic inflictors of atrocities will have defeated both the millions of Iraqis who voted for legal self government and the American people and their government”.
Newt then continued his testimony and laid-out his 18 Steps to Victory:
First, my view of his 18 Steps: After the hierarchy of Command is established, Nos. 6, 7 and 8 are my picks for a starting place. No. 18…I think we’ll more likely die of global warming tomorrow than have Senator Harry Reid work with this President toward victory.
1. Place General Petraeus in charge of the Iraq campaign and establish that the Ambassador is operating in support of the military commander.
2. Since General Petraeus will now have responsibility for victory in Iraq all elements of achieving victory are within his purview and he should report daily to the White House on anything significant which is not working or is needed
3. Create a deputy chief of staff to the President and appoint a retired four star general or admiral to manage Iraq implementation for the Commander in Chief on a daily basis.
4. Establish that the second briefing (after the daily intelligence brief) the President will get every day is from his deputy chief of staff for Iraq implementation.
5. Establish a War Cabinet which will meet once a week to review metrics of implementation and resolve failures and enforce decisions. The President should chair the War Cabinet personally and his deputy chief of staff for Iraq implementation should prepare the agenda for the weekly review and meeting.
6. Establish three plans: one for achieving victory with the help of the Iraqi government, one for achieving victory with the passive acquiescence of the Iraqi government, one for achieving victory even if the current Iraqi government is unhappy. The third plan may involve very significant shifts in troops and resources away from Baghdad and a process of allowing the Iraqi central government to fend for itself if it refuses to cooperate.
7. Communicate clearly to Syria and Iran that the United States is determined to win in Iraq and that any further interference (such as the recent reports of sophisticated Iranian explosives being sent to Iraq to target Americans) will lead to direct and aggressive countermeasures.
8. Pour as many intelligence assets into the fight as needed to develop an overwhelming advantage in intelligence preparation of the battlefield.
9. Develop a commander’s capacity to spend money on local activities sufficient to enable every local American commander to have substantial leverage in dealing with local communities.
10. Establish a jobs corps or civil conservation corps of sufficient scale to bring unemployment for males under 30 below 10% (see the attached op-ed by Mayor Giuliani and myself on this topic).
11. Expand dramatically the integration of American purchasing power in buying from Iraqi firms pioneered by Assistant Secretary Paul Brinkley to maximize the rate of recovery of the Iraqi economy.
12. Expand the American Army and Marine Corps as much as needed to sustain the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan while also being prepared for other contingencies and maintaining a sustainable rhythm for the families and the force.
13. Demand a war budget for recapitalization of the military to continue modernization while defeating our enemies. The current national security budget is lower as a percentage of the economy than at any time from Pearl Harbor through the end of the Cold War. It is less than half the level Truman sustained before the Korean War.
14. The State Department is too small, too undercapitalized and too untrained for the demands of the 21st century. There should be a 50% increase in the State Department budget and a profound rethinking of the culture and systems of the State Department so it can be an operationally effective system.
15. The Agency for International Development is hopelessly unsuited to the new requirements of economic assistance and development and should be rethought from the ground up. The Marshall Plan and Point Four were as important as NATO in containing the Soviet Empire. We do not have that capability today.
16. The President should issue executive orders where possible to reform the implementation system so it works with the speed and effectiveness required by the 21st century.
17. Where legislation is needed the President should collaborate with Congress in honestly reviewing the systems that are failing and developing new metrics, new structures and new strategies.
18. Under our Constitution it is impossible to have this scale of rethinking and reform without deep support from the legislative branch. Without Republican Senator Arthur Vandenburg, Democratic President Harry Truman could never have developed the containment policies that saved freedom and ultimately defeated the Soviet Empire. The President should ask the bipartisan leaders of Congress to cooperate in establishing a joint Legislative-Executive working group on winning the war and should openly brief the legislative branch on the problems which are weakening the American system abroad. Only by educating and informing the Congress can we achieve the level of mutual understanding and mutual commitment that this long hard task will require.
To read the entire testimony from Newt’s website, visit The Cost of Defeat in Iraq and the Cost of Victory in Iraq – 18 Points
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