10 reasons revealed for failure in Col. (Ret) Spain’s book: Breaking Iraq

In his book, Breaking Iraq – The Ten Mistakes That Broke Iraq, Colonel (Ret) Ted Spain writes it like it is. The book’s release on March 19 coincides with the 10th anniversary of the war in Iraq.

Col. (Ret.) Ted Spain

Col. (Ret.) Ted Spain

The top 10 reasons America ‘broke Iraq’ are expanded in the book substantially, including the personal involvement of its co-author. 

This listing by Colonel (Ret) Ted Spain for Military Success Network readers as a strong summary of its content.

Advance reviewer comment: “Breaking Iraq is essential material for everyone. If you haven’t read it, you must. And if you’ve read it already…read it again.” Colonel Jack Jacobs (Ret), Medal of Honor Recipient, and author of “If Not Now, When?”

The book’s foreword is written by Tom Ricks.

Transitions come and impact, people, campaigns, entire countries and the their future outcomes…Below, an excerpt from the interview with MilSuccessNet and Colonel Spain and his summary.. in his own words…..

I was the Commander of the 18th Military Police Brigade and in the book I reveal my personal involvement in the pre-war planning, the invasion, and the first year of the occupation.

This is a very short narrative of the 10 mistakes:

1.  Secretary Rumsfeld’s deployment plans did not include an adequate number of military police to control the routes during the ground war, nor sufficient military police to help control the streets after the ground war.  This contributed to the Jessica Lynch fiasco and the chaos on the streets of Baghdad.

2.  Law and Order was not given sufficient attention in the pre-war planning.  This failed to provide a police system to provide security to the Iraqi citizenry and to instill a sense of trust in our Army.

3.  The categories of the thousands of detainees were never clear, causing confusion as to the proper legal treatment.  Were they enemy, terrorist, or criminal?  What’s the difference?

4.  The process of collecting intelligence from the detainees was flawed from the pre-war planning sessions, during the ground war, and during the subsequent occupation.  This set the stage for abuse, including the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal.

5.  Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, the warden of Abu Ghraib Prison, was the wrong leader at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Her appointment resulted in scandal and loss of trust in American forces by Iraqi citizenry.

6.  Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, Commander of all military forces in Iraq during the occupation was over his head, and continued fighting the ground war, long after it was over.

7.  The Coalition Provisional Authority, under the leadership of L. Paul Bremer, dismantled the Iraqi Army, and the highest level of the Ba’ath Party.  We lost some of the most experienced personnel that were so vital in putting Iraq back together again.

8.  Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik was more focused on padding his resume, and getting camera time, than helping stand up a viable Iraqi Police Services.

9.  Because standing up an Iraqi Police Service was focused on quantity, not quality, we never completely knew who we could trust.

10. President Bush’s coalition of the willing was only a coalition in name.  Even those that were willing, were not able.  Only a couple of countries contributed to gaining stability in Iraq.

Ted Spain and Terry Turchie have collaborated on this examination of the Iraq War. The larger picture they draw for readers is based on Spain s experience as 18th Military Police Brigade commander.

It authentically illuminates the failed leadership and the strategic military importance of being effective cops as well as fighting soldiers. 

Lessons Learned?

Tune in to this interview clip from the Marc Bernier Show and scroll down to #39 Ted Spain for an unvarnished and high value interview on leadership, Iraq war and peace and the role of men and women in the military (and more).

The Authors of Breaking Iraq

Colonel (Retired) Ted Spain is a native of Wendell, North Carolina and entered the Army as a Private First Class. He is an inductee into both the US Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame and the US Army Military Police Regimental Hall of Fame. Before joining the Army he was a police officer in Greenville, North Carolina.

In the Army he served in key leadership positions, culminating as Commander of the 18th Military Police Brigade during the ground war and first year of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is currently the Director of the Tactical Force Operations Division, at the Department of Energy and resides in Aiken, South Carolina.

Terry D. Turchie is a former Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI. His leadership was the driving force behind the capture of the two most elusive and solitary domestic terrorists in U.S. history.In 1999, he was called to Washington, D.C. as Deputy Assistant Director in the new Counterterrorism Division of the FBI. Between 1999 and 2001, he testified before Congress and traveled extensively overseas with former FBI Director Louis Freeh to facilitate joint investigations of international terrorism in the Middle East, Asia and the former Soviet Union.

He is a recipient of the FBI Director s Award as well as the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service.


  1. […] the weeks prior to the launch of Breaking Iraq, MilSuccessNet entered into conversations with its co-author, Ted Spain, Retired Colonel,  US […]

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