An Oversight Hearing on the Planning and Conduct of the War in Iraq: When Will Iraqi Security Forces Be Able to "Stand Up," So American Troops Can Begin to "Stand Down"?

Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing
Thursday, October 12, 2006
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Everett M. Dirksen United States Courthouse, Room 2525
219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois


Hearing Transcript

For a full transcript of the hearing click here.


Click here for a recording of the hearing. (mp3 format)


Radio Actuality #1: (.mp3, right-click to download)

Nate Fick: "I'm here today as neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but as a citizen and a veteran. My message is urgency. Urgency because 776 Americans were wounded, and 72 were killed, in Iraq in September, following record high Iraqi casualties earlier this summer. Urgency because the consequences of losing in Iraq are staggering, and our finite window of opportunity to make progress is slamming shut. Urgency because the American people have not been engaged in this war, and we cannot succeed if the burden is borne by our military alone. The most shocking part of serving in Iraq is coming home and realizing that most of the nation hardly knew we were gone."




"The defining phrases in Iraq today are our strategy of "Clear, Hold, Build," and the plan to "stand down as the Iraqis stand up." Both are fundamentally sound. The problem is that we're not implementing them, and never have."

Radio Actuality #2: (.mp3, right-click to download)

Gerald Burke: "By almost all accounts, military, civilian, the media and even our Coalition partners, [the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)] was a disaster . CPA was never able to get ahead of the curve of events. CPA's mistakes have been well documented from the broad de-Ba'athification process to the disbanding of the Iraqi Army."

Radio Actuality #3: (.mp3, right-click to download)

Phillip Carter: "Senior military leaders, as Senator Durbin said, called 2006 the "year of the police." But when the time came to allocate resources to this fight, the police were second best, at best. In Diyala, we continually stretched our resources to get the job done. I had two military police platoons to cover a province of thousands of square kilometers, covering fifty police stations. What this meant in practical terms was that we could visit each police station two to three times a month, but we could never quite partner with them and develop the close advisory relationship, the kind of relationship that would enable us to move forward in a meaningful way."

Radio Actuality #4:(.mp3, right-click to download)

SENATOR REID: Capt Fick, even though you had one tour of duty, people in your unit have had several tours of duty. I think you just said that some of them were headed back for their fifth tour, is that right?


FICK: That's right


REID: Have they explained to you how things changed in each tour?


FICK: Absolutely. The clearest and most unfortunate indicator is just the casualties they've taken. The unit has taken greater casualties on every subsequent tour. They've also found it harder and harder to work with the Iraqi people.

Radio Actuality #5:(.mp3, right-click to download)

Gerald Burke: "Their militias have been infiltrated into the government service as sort of a jobs program in some measures. There's 60 percent unemployment in the country and 20 percent underemployment where we have doctors coming to work for us as interpreters, doctors and lawyers and dentists, university professors. So it's more than just a simple given ultimatum. We have to put a plan together, whether it's a Marshall plan or not. We have to actually put some comprehensive thought into what we're going to do over there."

Radio Actuality #6: (.mp3, right-click to download)

SENATOR DORGAN: What's your assessment of all this? I mean, will we and can we expect with the current Iraqi government and the current situation I just described, will we see the development of an Iraqi security in any short or intermediate term that is effective?


PHILIP CARTER: Senator I will start, I am familiar with this academy. We have pushed a couple of hundred recruits to it every month. The plan all along has been to close the Jordan Academy and to reduce the training of police forces to the three left in Iraq , that is Baghdad , Mosul , and As Suliminiyah. Unfortunately I think your comments bring to light a real problem. That is those academies can neither handle the throughput nor produce the quality necessary to train Iraqi police. I would contrast that with what a civilian police officer here in the United States receives: at least six months of academy training followed by a one year probationary period. We are giving these Iraqi police ten weeks and then putting them on the street and not getting them very much in the way of in-service or professional development after that.


The problem you highlight is more significant; that is, we are moving forward with are transition plan. We are moving very, very aggressively toward transition in all aspects of Iraqi life. But, the Iraqi government is not moving at the same pace. So there is going to be a disconnect, a lag, if you will, where we transition back, we fall back. And the Iraqi government is not ready to take over the reins of its system. This is a very clear point, where their police academy is not mature enough to produce Iraqi police. Yet, we are closing the Jordan Academy down. Because it was planned to close and the money was scheduled to close off at the end of the year. And I think that's a point, where perhaps, Senator, with more aggressive appropriations we might say, hey look, this a successful operation and we need to reinforce success and not move ahead so quickly with our transition plan.

Opening Statements

Senator Byron L. Dorgan
Chairman, Democratic Policy Committee

Senate Harry Reid
Democratic Leader

Senator Dick Durbin
Assistant Democratic Leader

Senator Tom Harkin


Nathaniel Fick
Former Infantry Officer, United States Marine Corps

Gerald F. Burke
Former National Security Adviser, Iraqi Ministry of the Interior

Stephen Pierson
Former Non-Commissioned Military Police Officer, U.S. Army

Phillip Carter
Former Military Police and Civil Affairs Officer, U.S. Army

Additional Materials

Witness Biographies

Highlights from Testimony at Today's Hearing





Democratic Policy Committee
419 Hart Senate Office Building Wash. D.C. 20510 (202-224-3232)