Musings on Iraq
Retired Colonel Ted Spain is the former commander of the 18th Military Police Brigade. In early 2003, he was deployed to Kuwait from Germany for the impending U.S. invasion of Iraq, and spent a year in the country. I first became aware of him through Tom Ricks’ book Fiasco. I’m currently re-reading it for the first time since it came out in 2006, and that prompted me to get in contact with Colonel Spain. During his time in Iraq, he went through not only the invasion, but the post-war chaos as well. Spain was deployed in Baghdad, which became the center of the looting, insurgency, and general lawlessness that beset the country. While Spain attempted to create a sense of law and order for Iraqis, he ran into a civilian and military leadership that suffered from constant personnel changes, lacked a unified plan, and was caught up in thinking about Iraq in terms of a war, which led them to neglect his work to rebuild the Iraqi police. Below is an interview with Colonel Spain about his experiences in Iraq from 2003-2004, and his general impression of how the U.S. did during that crucial first year.