Iraq Perceptions Not Wrong Just Out of Date

From Dipnote:

John Matel serves as Team Leader of the Al Asad Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team in Iraq.
Public perceptions of Iraq are not wrong; they are just out of date. Media coverage of Iraq has dropped in almost perfect correlation with progress made toward peace and stability. As a result, the picture persists from pre-surge 2006 but it is not 2006 anymore. It is post-surge in Anbar Province where a significantly more secure Iraq exists rebuilding, learning, governing, producing and starting to make huge strides along the road to prosperity.

Yes, and?  What are you going to do about it?  What can you do about perception overcoming fact?  Probably go on DoD’s Blogger Roundtable because, besides Dipnote, there really aren’t any channels for you to use to get your word out…

6 Replies to “Iraq Perceptions Not Wrong Just Out of Date”

  1. To my understanding of what they do, that is what embedded reconstruction teams are. A back door funding channel for militarized civilian construction contractors… the ‘blow it up and pave it over so we can say it’s much better now’ crowd.

    Actually, no. PRTs are the “good guys” doing it right. Based on your “screed” (your word not mine), this is the type of group you want. This isn’t CPA-style reconstruction.

  2. You’re reading the wrong thing out of the PRT definition. In the USIP article, the vets are correct and they lament that fact. There’s a good reason for this, however: State has yet to fully step up to the plate. the S/CRS office, discussed in the post I linked before, is an attempt to move in this direction. There is a move away from military models. Look again at what SecDef Gates has been saying. THe military doesn’t want to do this but is stepping into this role because no one else is.

  3. “What can you do about perception overcoming fact?”First, facts must be proven, or else they are just so many insinuations, incantations, from State and the DoD.
    Dipnote said: “John Matel serves as Team Leader of the Al Asad Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team in Iraq…”
    Is this person, John Matel, a civilian USAID construction spokesman?
    To my understanding of what they do, that is what embedded reconstruction teams are. A back door funding channel for militarized civilian construction contractors… the ‘blow it up and pave it over so we can say it’s much better now’ crowd.
    Even the hypocritical, so-called “anti-war” congress-critters like my own Sam Farr support these subversions of direct war funding by the treasury, all the while pleading disingenuously that they don’t vote for war funding.
    For giggles, let’s compare Haiti, where they have been operating since the US instigated, CIA executed coup, and Iraq.
    Haiti is on it’s way to becoming a U.S client state via this process of ‘civilian reconstruction’ and I’m SURE that’s what is *intended* in Iraq as well.
    But in Iraq’s case, there are literally BILLIONS of muslims throughout the Middle East who now hate us for destabilizing their region of the world, and there are only 8 million or so Haitians who feel the same.
    [The skyrocketing sales of Zoloft, Prozac, and it’s kindred psych-meds throughout the Middle East region, previously almost never heard of, *is* a fact, and defacto proof of destablization of the region. Donald Rumsfeld, on the boards of directors of a number of pharmaceutical companies, now… and during his infamous handshake with Saddam Hussein, is laughing all the way to his Bahamanian bank.]
    In Iraq, militarized construction contractors build Blast Walls (…about 99% of all construction projects according to an Iraqi contractor interviewed within the last 6 month)

    Yassir Jaddu, whose private company is now working on contracts handed out by the US authorities in Iraq, said many contractors had been forced to switch from civil to military contracts because of the precarious security situation.
    The bulk of funds allocated to reconstruction, he added, was going towards providing security measures such as blast walls.
    “If we measure the money spent on building blast walls you will find that it is more than that spent on fuel, electricity and other services.
    “One of our small contracts was to build a wall around a police station in Baghdad. We needed 2,500 concrete pieces. Just imagine how costly that was,” he said.
    “Now banks, the courts and even the markets are surrounded by walls, not to speak of military camps and police stations. About 99 percent of Iraq’s budget is going towards building walls.” Source: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5j8vWY04okkidmU5wCcO-x3_LrGDQ

    …and ‘American ghetto project housing’ unfit for the climate and culture et al.
    Not only are there ethical problems apparent here because blast walls and unfit housing in no way help Iraqis or their government develop or maintain civil society in a manner they are accustomed to, but certainly make BIG BUCKS for well-connected Iraqis…
    There is the issue of ‘scalability’ as well.
    Jamaican Rastafarians aren’t likely to come to the aid of their Haitian neighbors, but the muslims in countries surrounding Iraq ARE… Because that’s what muslims traditionally do… as required by their religion.
    The people the Pentagon, and that defenselink military blogger’s outlet not-so-correctly call “AQ in Iraq” could be easily re-designated “Muslim Mutual Aid Responders”, but it doesn’t look good, or play well to the US public.
    In summation:
    The word ‘fact’ should be as I just presented it… in quotes.
    Ethics, a problem because every single rationale for the invasion of Iraq was a bald-faced lie from the git-go. Which means ethically, the U.S. is fighting it’s way out of an ‘ethical hole in the ground’
    Scalability… Difficult to measure, until someday, someone does something truly stupid (like a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Iran or raping the wrong mullah’s wife), raising the possibility that the WHOLE muslim world will descend on U.S. troops wherever they are nearby, and there will be no defense against that ‘sh*t-hammer’ except letting the Tridents fly against all pre-ordained targets in the Middle East, and kissing the global community as we know it, and our place in it, goodbye.
    Pardon the perceptual screed,
    Leigh

  4. I went to wikipedia for a quick (but perhaps not definitive) definition:

    A Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) is a special military unit that provides security and helps with reconstruction in unstable nations. PRTs first began in Afghanistan in late 2001 or early 2002 followed by Iraq in 2003. Each PRT consists of a small operating base from which a group of sixty to a thousand or more civilians and military specialists work to deliver aid and perform reconstruction projects as well as provide security for others who are involved in aid and reconstruction activities.There are currently 25 PRTs in Afghanistan and 25 PRTs in Iraq. Within the PRTs in Afghanistan, there are typically three to five civilians; the remainder is made up of military forces.

    This sounds like a military-industrial op, with civil concerns secondary, to me.
    But that might be just my ‘perception’, or as you suggested, the CPA model… or not.
    This from USIP:

    The U.S. Experience with Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan: Lessons Identified
    Important lessons for current and future U.S. peace and stability operations can be found in the experiences of Americans who served in Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan. PRTs are small, joint civilian-military organizations whose mission is to promote governance, security, and reconstruction throughout the country.
    .
    .
    PRT veterans also argue that PRTs are primarily military organizations; thus, better suited for performing security-related tasks. PRTs should concentrate on supporting Afghan security sector reform and providing a security presence in contested areas.

    If these veteran’s advice is heeded, it looks as if there is a move towards the military model I suggested.

  5. This piece? Max Boot suggests a Department of Peace?(!?!, an unrepentant neocon is suggesting a Department of Peace?).
    I can just visualize a flaming cage match between Boot and Dennis Kucinich for the use of the name “Department of Peace”

  6. Sometimes you need to look at the message and not the messenger. But no, not that post. I thought I linked this post in an earlier comment, but I was thinking of another conversation.

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