by SWJ Editors
Reconstruction in South Baghdad
by Captain Steve McGregor, Small Wars Journal
Humanitarian aid is increasingly becoming more important to US military operations—not only because the military works more closely with aid agencies than ever before but because the military now implements great amounts of aid. According to a recent study by the Washington Post in August of this year, the US military has spent over 2.8 billion dollars on aid projects through the Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP) .
As military commanders deal with how to properly implement aid the aid community is struggling to redefine itself. Many strategists and writers believe aid needs reform. David Rieff, when speaking before the Carnegie Council in support of his book "A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis," argues that in Sudan aid organizations were "logisticians to the war effort of the belligerents, that in effect what Operation Lifeline Sudan was doing, whilst doing a great deal of good by saving lives, the humanitarians were in effect allowing the war to continue." In another article, anthropologist Alex de Waal charges the aid community with over-estimating damage, creating false need, and unnecessarily complex programs.
On the other hand, humanitarian aid implemented by the US military in Iraq is reinforcing stability and quickening the peace. One area of Iraq this is particularly noticeable is Yusufiya, where Task Force 3-187 was able to completely transfer their area of responsibility back to Iraqi control.