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« Confronting Iran may doom Iraq goals | Main | Tom on Hugh's show »
12:57AM

The SysAdmin has been in Iraq for a long time, now comes the belated attempt at Development in a Box

Lotta people sending me emails about Bush's speech last night: Do I see the SysAdmin emerging in Iraq finally?

To me, events in Iraq have been molding the SysAdmin function/force for several years in Iraq (with some of those effects felt primarily back here), to include things like the splitting of the command there a while back (one to fight, one to train), the new counter-insurgency doctrine back here, DoD directive 3000 (demanding commands plan equally for postwar, etc.

What I saw in the president's speech last night was more the realization that jobs are the ultimate exit strategy, thus the first enunciation of something very close to what Steve DeAngelis and I have been advocating for a while with Development in a Box (right down to the infrastructure czar).

To that end, Steve and I are co-posting a joint blog entry later this morning on the subject.

As I've said many times before, these changes don't come about because they're cool or visionary. They come about because the failures demand them.

Reader Comments (6)

anxiously awaiting your further impulses!
January 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercaine rose
i have "cut and pasted" from two different blogs where the writer addresses the reality of the economic aspect of the "new" strategy

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2007/01/read_the_tni_ar.html#comments

This is out of Kaplan at Slate quoting GWB.

And let's look at those benchmarks. Bush said that the Iraqi government has promised "to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November." It "will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis." It will "spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure."

OK, lets focus on the third one first.

Iraq is currently producing 2 million barrels a day (henceforth mmbd). Lets assume they are netting $35 after production and distribution costs.

Thats $70m a day.

$10bn thus represents about half of total Iraqi oil revenue.

Note, we havent paid a dime towards the Iraqi civil service, pensions or the Army. This would be kinda important in security.

I'm also guessing fixing the oil infrastructure (and believe me, it needs it) is counted under the $10bn. If it's an additional cost, then things stretch even worse, especially if you want that 2 mmbd to go to 2.2 or even 3.

OK, so we will assume that Iraq's 26 million people split the rest, as per the second point. Lets see, half of 2mmbd at net 35, thats $70m a day, split between 26 million people minus 10% for admin ... thats about call it 2, maybe 3 bucks a day each - but thats still a decent chunk of the $1800 per capita GDP CIA's world factbook says they were probably at in 2005.

But I cant see how you can fight a civil war against an insurgency, and spend $10bn on infrastructure and have unallocated oil revenue to split among the population. 2mmbd between 26m people and a war just isnt enough.

Ian Whitchurch

Posted by: Ian Whitchurch | 11 January 2007 at 06:28 AM



http://www.slate.com/id/2157391/nav/tap1/

Bush said that the Iraqi government has promised "to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November." It "will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis." It will "spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure." It will "hold provincial elections later this year," to empower local leaders, especially Sunni leaders. And, in a further effort to co-opt Sunni insurgency, it "will reform de-Baathification laws and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution."

When did all these promises get made? Where did Maliki suddenly get the political power, or even the political audacity, to make them? One obstacle to reconstruction has been pervasive corruption within the Iraqi ministries; how does he hope to clean that up? The call for provincial elections has been ignored for months. The Shiite-led government promised to amend the constitution—with special attention to altering the language on oil revenue sharing and de-Baathification—back when the constitution was ratified; it has refused to bring up the issues ever since
January 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjamzo
When I heard the president say the following sentence:

"We also need to examine ways to mobilize talented American civilians to deploy overseas – where they can help build democratic institutions in communities and nations recovering from war and tyranny."

I immediately thought SysAdmin force. Note that he doesn't restrict the purpose of such a group of civilians to Iraq. Clearly, the Administration is far from implementing the specific "SysAdmin" force that Tom has outlined in TPNM and BPFA, but it sounds like it's as close as we've seen the Administration get.

Does putting that sentence in such a high-visibility place (Presidential address) give any hope that it's become a priority (as Tom said, out of necessity) for the short term?
January 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
I'll add comment from the Blackfive weblog, where mil types are arguing the effects of last nights speach. One, below, points at the practical need to restructure def dept spending aiming it where it really counts... kinda like Tom says...

Comment below written by: EsoterikI have a hard time thinking of a better option for sealing the appropriate borders then the 130H Spectre and 130U Spooky. There should also be one in consistent nighttime orbit over “Deadwood” (Sadr City) until such time as all the various flavored Tangos have been dealt with.I have no idea what current inventory is for these assets, but we sorely need more of them (IMHO). At less them $80 Million per, a bargain for such a complex and useful weapons system whose loiter capability is rivaled only by UAVs, they are a far more effective use of our defense funds (in terms of GWOT) then say the F-22 Raptor at $120 Million “Fly Away” cost ($339 Million if “Sunk” cost is taken into account).

Anyway, it would seem that Gun ships, Global Hawks and Predators in conjunction with rapid response boots on the ground on the appropriate borders should be the order of the day. Insulate Iraq form outside influence and pressure and give it a chance to stand.
January 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRobert
Anybody want to join a pool as to how long it will take for there to be a scandal with the headline reading, "$1 Billion Allocated For Iraqi Reconstruction Missing". We are still dealing with an environment in which corruption and incompetence are rampant. This will make the Katrina reconstruction look like a model of efficiency.
January 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterstuart abrams
jamzo - Try rerunning your numbers with more realistic Iraqi production costs of $2 per barrel instead of $35. Those extra $33 a barrel really make a difference.
January 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTM Lutas

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