Chat with Maj. Andy Harvey about the future of the Iraqi Government

September 26, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

A Kansas University graduate student who served in Iraq will chat online before he talks tonight at the Dole Institute of Politics. Maj. Andrew Harvey, a former intelligence officer in Iraq, will take questions at 1 p.m. at ljworld.com. Questions can be submitted in advance. Harvey is studying political science at KU. He works in the Department of Joint and Multinational Operations at Fort Leavenworth and is scheduled to retire in February. He will speak in the Simons Media Room of the Dole Institute at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Moderator:

Hi. This is your Moderator Cody Howard. Our thanks to Maj. Andy Harvey for joining us for today's.

Maj. Andy Harvey:

Thanks for having me!

Moderator:

For starters, please tell us about the talk you have planned tonight at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Maj. Andy Harvey:

My talk is based on the work I did preparing to go to Iraq starting in June 05 and the work I did in Iraq from Jan to Dec 06. The focus of the talk is the Iraqi Govt. Many people say there is no military solution in Iraq; only a political one. They rarely if ever tell you what the political system in Iraq is like or how a solution could work given the dynamics of Iraqi politics, that is what I intend to cover tonight.

Moderator:

Please tell us more about your duties during your time in Iraq.

Maj. Andy Harvey:

I was assigned as part of the Civil Affairs (CA) staff section at Multinational Corps Iraq - the second tier HQ in Iraq. The CA folks work on a multitude of things not involving shooting things but focus on reconstruction, economics, health, education and governance. It is the aspect of governance as a pol-mil/intel officer that got me to look at the structure and function of the GOI.

Moderator:

Help me out...what's GOI?

Maj. Andy Harvey:

Sorry - that is Government of Iraq. we tend to speak and think in acroynms in the military I'll try to remember to speak plainly!

Moderator:

Ah. Thanks.

Joel:

Major Harvey: Thanks for your service. What's the most important thing happening in Iraq that you think the general public doesn't know?

Maj. Andy Harvey:

The most important thing is the political realities in Iraq vs the politics in the US or elsewhere. If war is a continuation of politics by other means - it is important to understand local politics. We are putting a great deal of time and effort looking at symptoms - executions, bombings etc what we need to look at is the local politics. Anbar WAS a lost province while I was there and nothing we did or could do was going to fix that. It took a political decision by local leaders to turn that situation around. The same goes for the Kurd region where they came to a political agreement and have a stable prosperous region in Iraq. It is all about the politics in Iraq, not our imagined view of what is happening.

Moderator:

What do you think the outlook is for the continued, long-term presence of U.S. forces in Iraq?

Maj. Andy Harvey:

I believe that if you look at military interventions historically there are two types. Short interventions like Hati where we go in and leave only to come back again and again because we do not take the time to understand the root problem and fix it. Other interventions over the long term like Germany tend to allow a change in generations that allows you to get at root problems in the culture - it is like what I call the law of Moses - you need to let the old people die off after forty years you can then enter the promised land - in this case a functioning sustainable consolidated democracy. Iraq currently does not have the civic society, economy etc.. to sustain and consolidate a democracy. So.. If our efforts are going to pay off then we need to look at a long term comitment. Not the most popular point of view but I believ it holds water empirically.

Moderator:

That wraps up our chat for today. Thanks for your time Maj. Harvey. Good luck with the presentation tonight at the Dole Institute.

Maj. Andy Harvey:

Thanks and I hope people come tonight!

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