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Iraq Part 2: An Interview With Matthew Hoh

In todays video, I conducted another interview with Matthew Hoh, about the Iraq war and his time there. Along with his unique perspective of personally being there, he also backs up that experience with great knowledge of the subject area. The interview is packed with great information about the US War in Iraq and beyond. We this time discussed Shock and Awe, the destruction of the country, the battle of Fallujah, government corruption and the US role in shaping Iraqi Policy.

Please feel free to comment if I have missed any links in the show notes.

Twitter @truthovercomfo2 -

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Bio - Matthew has been a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy since 2010. In 2009, Matthew resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan with the State Department over the American escalation of the war. Prior to his assignment in Afghanistan, Matthew took part in the American occupation of Iraq; first in 2004-5 in Salah ad Din Province with a State Department reconstruction and governance team and then in 2006-7 in Anbar Province as a Marine Corps company commander. When not deployed, Matthew worked on Afghanistan and Iraq war policy and operations issues at the Pentagon and State Department from 2002-8. - Center for International Policy | Matthew Hoh

Matthew Hoh - Twitter

Show Notes

"The key objective of Rapid Dominance is to impose this overwhelming level of Shock and Awe against an adversary on an immediate or sufficiently timely basis to paralyze its will to carry on. In crude terms, Rapid Dominance would seize control of the environment and paralyze or so overload an adversary’s perceptions and understanding of events so that the enemy would be incapable of resistance at tactical and strategic levels. An adversary would be rendered totally impotent and vulnerable to our actions. To the degree that nonlethal weaponry is useful, it would be incorporated into the ability to Shock and Awe and achieve Rapid Dominance" Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade, Shock And Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance (National Defense University, 1996 Page xxvi, xxviii

"Pentagon officials declined two written requests for a review of the 28 electrical targets and explanations of their specific military relevance.

"People say, 'You didn't recognize that it was going to have an effect on water or sewage,' " said the planning officer. "Well, what were we trying to do with {United Nations-approved economic} sanctions -- help out the Iraqi people? No. What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of the sanctions."

Col. John A. Warden III, deputy director of strategy, doctrine and plans for the Air Force, agreed that one purpose of destroying Iraq's electrical grid was that "you have imposed a long-term problem on the leadership that it has to deal with sometime."

"Saddam Hussein cannot restore his own electricity," he said. "He needs help. If there are political objectives that the U.N. coalition has, it can say, 'Saddam, when you agree to do these things, we will allow people to come in and fix your electricity.' It gives us long-term leverage."

Said another Air Force planner: "Big picture, we wanted to let people know, 'Get rid of this guy and we'll be more than happy to assist in rebuilding. We're not going to tolerate Saddam Hussein or his regime. Fix that, and we'll fix your electricity.' " ALLIED AIR WAR STRUCK BROADLY IN IRAQ The Washington Post June 23, 1991

"I and the members of my mission were fully conversant with media reports regarding the situation in Iraq and, of course, with the recent WHO/UNICEF report on water, sanitary and health conditions in the Greater Baghdad area. It should, however, be said at once that nothing that we had seen or read had quite prepared us for the particular form of devastation which has now befallen the country. Recent conflict has wrought near-apocalyptic results upon the economic infrastructure of what had been, until January 1991, a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society. Now, most means of modern life support have been destroyed or rendered tenuous. Iraq has, for some time to come, been relegated to a pre-industrial age, but with all the disabilities of post-industrial dependency on an intensive use of energy and technology." United Nations, “Report to the Secretary-General on Humanitarian Needs in Kuwait and Iraq in the Immediate Post-crisis Environment by a Mission to the Area Led by Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, Under-Secretary-General for Administration and Management, Dated 20 March 1991,” $/22366 para 8

“I went to plenty of meetings where guys would come through and tell us how well it was all going,” said Ali Khedery, a special aide to all US ambassadors who served in Iraq from 2003-11, and to three US military commanders. But eventually even top American officers came to believe they had “actually become radicalising elements. They were counterproductive in many ways. They were being used to plan and organise, to appoint leaders and launch operations…

We had so much time to sit and plan,” he continued. “It was the perfect environment. We all agreed to get together when we got out. The way to reconnect was easy. We wrote each other’s details on the elastic of our boxer shorts. When we got out, we called. Everyone who was important to me was written on white elastic. I had their phone numbers, their villages. By 2009, many of us were back doing what we did before we were caught. But this time we were doing it better" Guardian , ‘ISIS: The Inside Story’, 11 December 2014

"People are supporting the government, in 2008 we conducted a survey in Helmand, it showed that 79% of the instability had local factors, like drug mafia, warlords, criminals, corruption and others. 21% of it was due external factors, which could be divided into sub factors. Majority of people are observers, they watch that who is doing what? Waiting for the government and Taliban that who is going to do what. All this majority could be your partner if they know that their life is secure. They know how to gauge their safety in the locality. They know power of the government, when they have the perception that the government cannot secure itself so how can the government provide security to me. For example when 50 Taliban can destabilize a whole district, so what will the people think? I spoke to about 200 community elders a while ago for one of my papers that was published in Foreign Policy. I asked them what is the number of police in your districts and number of Taliban, and population. I asked that why is it possible that a large number of about 500 security forces cannot defeat about 20 or 30 Taliban. The community elders replied that the security people are not there to defend people and fight Taliban, they are there to make money. They are selling their fuel, send soldiers or police to go home and the salaries are received by their chief or sell weapons. I asked the elders that ok the government is not protecting you, but you are about 30 thousand people in the district if you don’t like Taliban then you must fight against them. Their response was that we don’t want this corrupt government to come and we don’t want Taliban either, so we are waiting to see who is going win." Shahmahmood Miakhel, Lessons Learned interview, 2/7/2017Governor of Nangarhar province; former country director for Afghanistan at U.S. Institute of Peace. Former adviser to Afghan Interior Ministry and U.N. mission in Afghanistan Page 6

"The reduction in the import of medicines, owing to a lack of financial resources, as well as a lack of minimum health care facilities, insecticides, pharmaceutical and other related equipment and appliances, have crippled the health care services, which in pre-war years were of a high quality. Assessment reports rightly remarked that the quality of health care in Iraq, due to the six-week 1991 war and the subsequent sanctions imposed on the country, has been literally put back by at least 50 years. Diseases such as malaria, typhoid and cholera, which were once almost under control, have rebounded since 1991 at epidemic levels, with the health sector as a helpless witness." WHO The health conditions of the population in iraq since the gulf crisis march 1996



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