After spending a year in Iraq as a military intelligence officer, Maj. Andrew Harvey could shed light on a dark situation: the political infrastructure of Iraq.
He stressed in his lecture "Observations from Iraq: Implications for the Future," given at the Dole Institute of Politics on Wednesday night, that Iraq's local political scene is complex and fractured and must be understood by policy makers and the general public to even begin solving the country's problems. He also suggested that a long-term commitment is necessary if U.S. efforts are going to pay off.
Harvey is a graduate student in political science at Kansas University and a former political-military intelligence officer for the Civil Affairs Staff Section of Multinational Corps of Iraq at Camp Victory Baghdad.
When Harvey says 'a long time,' he's implying several decades. He described what he called his 'law of Moses' theory, basically 40 years for older people and ideologies to die off in order for the younger people to start fresh.
He said Americans tend to have attention deficit disorder in terms of history.
"We fail to recognize the historical importance of the country we're dealing with," he said.
Part of the historical understanding is learning about Iraq's neighbors.
"The neighbors are not going to leave, but the U.S. is eventually going to go away," he said.
His lecture was based on pre-deployment research he began in June 2005 and on his experience in Iraq from January to December 2006.