Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Double or Nothing

Chester links to two articles both of which suggest that the Bush administration is going to modestly increase the number of available men in Iraq in an attempt to do something, that "something" being somewhat vague. The first citation is from the Guardian which makes the argument very similar to an earlier piece in the Weekly Standard: that more troops will bring more success. The Weekly Standard makes the essential argument:


Consider these data: Between November 2004 and February 2005, according to the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index, the number of coalition soldiers in Iraq rose by 18,000. In that time, the number of Iraqi civilians killed fell by two-thirds, and the number of American troops wounded fell by three-fourths. The soldiers were soon pulled out; by the summer of 2005, American and Iraqi casualties rose again. Later that year, the same thing happened again. Between September and November of 2005, another 23,000 soldiers were deployed in Iraq; once again, both Iraqi and American casualties fell. In the early months of 2006, the number of soldiers fell again, and casualties spiraled up. The picture is clear: More soldiers mean less violence, hence fewer casualties. The larger the manpower investment in the war, the smaller the war's cost, to Iraqis and Americans alike. Iraq is not an unwinnable war: Rather, as the data just cited show, it is a war we have chosen not to win. And the difference between success and failure is not 300,000 more soldiers, as some would have it. One-tenth that number would make a large difference, and has done so in the past. One-sixth would likely prove decisive.

Chester notes that only abut 20,000 additional men will be deployed, according to the Guardian, and raises the basic question of what they are expected to achieve in "the last big push" of which they are a part.

Perhaps the most worrisome part of the plan, at least in the Guardian's portrayal, is it's time-based essence. "One last big push" implies an end, or, in other words, a timetable. Otherwise, one last push before what?

The Guardian infers that the "what" is the US presidential election. "The "last push" strategy is also intended to give Mr Bush and the Republicans "political time and space" to recover from their election drubbing and prepare for the 2008 presidential campaign, the official said."

Without a doubt, part of the "what" is in fact driven by domestic politics. But perhaps the other part is baldly enriching uranium next door ...

But as anyone knows, reinforcing an attack is futile if the enemy can also reinforce the defense. And if the US is only able to add only one two or three extra brigades to the fight, everything critically depends on whether Iran can't match and then up the ante. In fact, if a timer is ticking on the deployment then sustainable deployment becomes irrelevant and it arguably makes more sense to employ "all hands on deck". A limited attack unable to reach the center of the enemy power is always bound to bring only limited relief. It makes more sense to go for the enemy jugular within a narrow band of time. Go for the knockout if you've given up on the decision.

It is possible that the constraint is the other way around. It is strategy which is constricting the means. If only limited objectives are on the table then only a limited reinforcement would be considered. A Big Push intended to win the fight or intimidate Iran would probably look a lot different from the force increase that is being described.

However the other factor which has not been explicitly considered is that a new war in Lebanon is widely expected. The Lebanon theater actually represents a second front against Iran because it must support its client, Hezbollah against the considerable pressure of the IDF. While a war is in progress in southern Lebanon Iran will actually be fighting on two fronts. Hence an increase of 20,000 men plus an outbreak in Lebanon may actually strain the Iranians. Moreover it introduces volatility into the strategic situation. If America is strategically liberated from being confined to limited objectives vis a vis Iran, then there is no reason that only 20 K can be added to the fight. The bottom line is that the modest increase described by the Guardian is unlikely to make a difference of itself. But any changes in the overall situation in the coming months could alter the picture entirely. We shall see.

94 Comments:

Blogger Lord Acton said...

As I commented on the previous post...the final cards are being dealt, the chips will be bet and then the winning hand will take it. I'd say the chattering class (even here at BC) hasn't been counting the cards very well. We'll see.

God bless. (Come to think of it HE definitely isn't being counted in by many!)

11/15/2006 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Promethea said...

We should go now for the jugular. Why wait? As Lord Acton said, the final cards are being dealt...and then the winning hand will take it. Surely WE have that winning hand.

Amadjinahad has been talking "Death to America, Nuke Israel" enough already. I believe him. He's a monster. Let's take him and his mullah friends out.

There has been way too much surrender talk on Belmont Club lately. I find that kind of talk extremely disgusting. Buck up, people.

11/16/2006 12:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lord acton I'd say the chattering class (even here at BC) hasn't been counting the cards very well.

[Thinks to self, "Hey, I'm in the chattering class! I made it! Screw my high school debate performance. I'm in!"]

Wretchard's suggestion of a two-front war caught my eye. Forcing Iran to defend its gains in Lebanon and Iraq simultaneously -- I hadn't thought about the coalition forcing it that way, but yeah, willfully opening simultaneous fronts in both south-central Iraq and also in southern Lebanon... Hmmm... Yes, Iran would be very hard-pressed to handle both fronts, especially with the extra 20,000 US troops in the mix. Hypothetically. (Wretchard, is there, um, some intel you'd like to share with us on that two-front notion?)

Or, thinking of multi-front warfare generally... What if the coalition chose to lop off -- surprise -- the Syrian regime first, rather than mess with Lebanon? A Syrian Surprise would vex the mullahs in several ways:

1. They'd be pressured to honor (if that's the word) honor their defense treaty with Syria, even though they lack a ground route to Syria, and therefore lack effective means of coming to Syria's aid.

2. They'd lose their Syrian resupply lines to Hezbollah, exposing Hezbolla fighters to IDF siege tactics, if Israel chose to jump in.

3. Iraqi Sunni troublemakers would lose their Syrian resupply lines also. This would weaken their fighting strength, and free coalition troops for other work, i.e., burning out Sadr and Co. down south.

In this scenario, Iran would be facing a three-front war, and would be physically cut off from two of the three fronts. In this scenario, my guess is that Iran would choose to abandon Syria and Lebanon no matter the loss of face, and double-down its own strategic bet on southern Iraq. So it would be another Iran-Iraq war -- except this time, Iranian forces would be charging into the teeth of the up-armored coalition.

A coalition with tactical nukes, I note -- kept nearby just in case Iran should try to flood the zone with a wave of martyrs, as they did '80-'88.

I don't think the mullahs have enough Martyr-Select(tm) plastic keys of paradise to win that war.

11/16/2006 01:05:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Turn the security of Baghdad and elsewhere to the Iraqis and other MN Forces, mass the American forces along the Iranian-Iraqi border, build-up supplies, bring in the heavy mech units, bring in additional carrier battle groups, artillery and AF squadrons into the region. The code name for this operation should be Sherman. Give the Iranians, and the Democrats, something to worry about. Let the Iranians know that any and all border crossings will be taken as a hostile act and will be dealt with lethal force.

11/16/2006 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

There are really only two questions:

1. Are they really willing to die to the extent that they indicate?

2. Are we really willing to kill them?

Actually, there's only one question.

11/16/2006 01:36:00 AM  
Blogger Smitten Eagle said...

Why must Iran continue to support Hizbollah? I think Hizbollah is much more independent than that--it is not just a mere proxy, like, say for instance, SCIRI or the Badr Brigades, or even al-Sadr's folks. Hizbollah semi-independent, and has the political wherewithal to continue to fight and win without Iranian support (granted, cool weapons would be less rare, but Hizbollah already has a huge supply-some 5 months worth of rockets). And with Islamic Courts Union warriors supporting Hizbollah (as reported at DefenseTech), and the potential support they can draw from Syria, and the support they can draw from Hamas (who has the same goals), I don't think Iran is a huge part of the equation.

Therefore I doubt whether Iran would be fighting on 2 fronts (1 Israeli, 1 Iraqi).

11/16/2006 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

If GWB was worried about elections, why let US deaths in Iraq spike a month before the elections?

I think the aim is to help the Iraqi government to secure Baghdad, which the bad guys cannot let happen -- so they will have to come out and fight.

Iraq is at the point where the Sunni's are feeling exposed and will need our protection. The Iraqi Shia who are in the lap of Iran want us to leave so they can sieze power (with Iran's help--if you call the injection of tens of thousands of Revolutionairy Gaurds help). My guess is most Iraqi Shia don't want to be controlled by Iran. So the next phase would be to bring Iranian proxies into line before the US leaves.

One way Iraq is not like Vietnam: The Iraq government has lots of oil. It won't have to humor American oil companies -- thanks to the Dems -- so it can offer concessions to the French and Russians and Chinese, who will let them do unto the Sunni's (and the agents of Iran) whatever they need to do (and blame the gruesome images on America, of course).

They can also buy their own arms, and not rely on the fickleness of the Democratic party.

Faced with the threat from Iran, Arab Shia and Sunni's may need a new "steady state" relationship where the Shia get more respect -- and both parties may want the US to hang around a little longer to provide some balance.

11/16/2006 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

In the latest Senate circus, Sen. McCain pressed Gen. Abizaid to support an increase in troops, just as the Weekly Standard proposed. Abizaid declined. Why? Rummy's on the way out, so why keep the straitjacket on? Abizaid carefully argued against a decrease in troops as well. No matter your opinion on this war, the present incoherence from the Pentagon is disheartening.

11/16/2006 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, here it is

"THE PLAN"

Four-point strategy

· Increase US troop levels by up to 20,000 to secure Baghdad and allow redeployments elsewhere in Iraq

· Focus on regional cooperation with international conference and/or direct diplomatic involvement of countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

· Revive reconciliation process between Sunni, Shia and others

· Increased resources from Congress to fund training and equipment of Iraqi security forces


Out of the Wilderness with this?
Inside a 4 to 6 month window?

Unbelievable.

11/16/2006 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

promethea said:

Amadjinahad has been talking "Death to America, Nuke Israel" enough already. I believe him. He's a monster. Let's take him and his mullah friends out.

President Ineedanewjob has absolutely no power to back up his rhetoric, he's a useful mouthpiece to keep America and Israel off balance. You've heard of Baghdad Bob? Well this is Tehran Tom. The real power is in the hands of Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and if this man is not on the top of your threat summary, then Ineedanewjob is fulfilling his role perfectly.

11/16/2006 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Recon said: No matter your opinion on this war, the present incoherence from the Pentagon is disheartening.

Party liners in the Pentagon are reflecting the disarray in the Party.

11/16/2006 06:48:00 AM  
Blogger Gudovac April 1941 said...

Wretched - could you please post your POV/analysis of the 'battle of baghdad' ?

In the past you did a really steller job with maps, etc on other battles.

Your article on the Fallujah battle was simply first rate.


Gudovac

11/16/2006 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger Brother D-Day said...

20K more troops in theatre.

Use them like an Einsatzgruppen in Baghdad to cleanse the militias. Sorry, it sucks and I hate the parallel, but that's where we're at. Eradicate the Iranian proxies in Iraq with total, extreme prejudice.

Seal the Syrian and Iranian borders in Iraq and flood the Afghanistan-Iran border with troops and harass.

Step up naval presence in the Gulf and knock out Iranian boats should they move 10ft from their moorings.

If Olmert can take on Hez with balls and brains this time, we might be able to make an impression on the Iranians.

The message: We are just lightly applying pressure right now. When we squeeze and start to choke you, it will feel a lot different.

11/16/2006 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

thankfully the tone and tenor of the comments is dramatically different today. For that I am very grateful.

There are many things we can do and we'll do some of them. I'm not ready to write off my civilization to a rag tag bunch of madmen just yet.

11/16/2006 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Lord Acton,

There are a number of BCers who’ve advocated or at least anticipated a two-front war against Iran. The risks are enormous, but the question is whether a nuclearized and dominant Iran in upcoming years wouldn’t pose far worse economic and geopolitical havoc and genocidal destruction. We know for sure that Iran's bid to nuclearize has prodded other Muslim countries to begin their own programs- as countervailing deterrent or whatever. None of these countries is so stable that radical interests couldn’t put nuke materiel or eventual bombs to tragic use. In the meanwhile, oil producers are vulnerable to Persian intimidation.

Years past it would have been politically impossible for the US to engage in simultaneous military action with the Israelis (and we may still disavow coordination, no matter whatever may come.) But at this juncture when Bush has a limited opportunity to tamp down Iranian/Syrian interference in Iraq, to robustly “address” the Mullahs’ nuke aspirations, and just as Hezbollah and Hamas are ginning up for major battle against Israel, anti-Americanism and antipathy toward Israel and sympathy for Palestinians/ Arabs is riding at an all-time high; we might as well bring down the enemy and beat back his worst capability for our strategic ends and regional security. World disapproval has been so overplayed that it’s rather meaningless. A show of winning strength on our part would actually begin to erode the contemptuous pile-on and reinforce our fraying cred.

If we don’t try to knock out or seriously degrade the Iranian nuke program after Bush has made pronouncement after pronouncement that Iran will not have nuke weapons, then there must be prepositioned terror cells here that are forcing this administration to back down. And we’ll eventually lose big, down the road.

Pakistan is a bigger worry than Iran. Oh joy.

It’s anybody’s guess whether the US will shortly act aggressively along with Israel. The UK has been signaling of late that negotiations with Iran to partner with us is how we’re going to address Iraqi and Lebanese volatility. This is what Melanie Phillips had this to say about this approach (my links aren't working recently- melaniephillips.com/diary):

“It’s not support from ‘moderate Muslim countries’ that’s needed to deal with Iraq; it’s rather the strategic vision that Iraq is merely one theatre in a global war, and that it can never be pacified unless and until Iran and /Syria are dealt with. Asking Iran and Syria to come and help run Iraq is not merely asking the foxes to administer the hen-coop; it is advertising the terrible weakness of America and the west. With the advance rumours of the Iraq Study Group’s thinking and Blair’s evidence to it, the Islamists’ driving belief that the west is decadent and has no stomach for the fight that is necessary to defend itself is now being proved correct.

“In his speech to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet on Monday night, Mr Blair said partnership was possible if Iran helped the Middle East peace process, stopped supporting terrorism in Lebanon or Iraq and abided by its international obligations. This is like saying in 1939 that partnership with Germany would be possible if only Hitler stopped persecuting the Jews, renounced his goal of world domination and helped resolve the problem of Czechoslovakia.”

Wretchard’s right in that we'll know over the next several weeks or months whether we’re going to realistically accept a troubled situation because we can’t afford not to, or realize that we can’t afford to accept it, no matter the cost today. Bless the decision-makers.

11/16/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

smitten:
Where do you suppose Hizbollah gets the rockets?
Just curious, 'cause if they don't get them from Iran, then i guess what you're saying is that Russia & China are selling them direct - no?

I think you're on the right track, in that these nefarious groups aren't under direct command & control of state sponsors, but they are sponsored nontheless & directly by the mullahs. They sure as hell aren't manufacturing those rockets themselves.

wretchard:
Two fronts - yes - but why not three? If Coalition troops step up operations in Iraq & actually become more offense minded; coupled with another breakout in the Levant prosecuted by the Israelis, why not become likeminded in Afghanistan and press the Iranians on that border as well?

It might make Amhadinijad loose his composure.

11/16/2006 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

I've tried to resist the comparsons to Vietnam but history does seem relentless in its desire to repeat.

The dominos will fall our presitge will forever be damaged, the scare mongers are in full throated scream. More troops, more fronts, more more more. When shall we start the draft?

Just look at this two front talk, heck, why not 3? As if Iran is moving its little chess pieces into Lebanon and we must counter. Hizbollah are not pieces of Iran to be moved about, they are indigenous to Lebanon. Similarily in Iraq it isn't a bunch of Iranians running around causing trouble but rather large groups of people (at least on the Shia side of the spectrum) who have some long affinity with Iranians.

Do so many of you really think that just more troops, more US force will somehow make people in the ME see the light? That somehow it is in our power to force enlightened thought and civility in behavior? Seems the kool aid drinking hasn't stopped as of yet.

11/16/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

It has nothing to do with making blighted Muslims see any lights, for God's sake. It does have much to do with ending the Persian bomb program and removing the threat of Hezboallah.

11/16/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Chris, and Iraq is involved in this equation how?

11/16/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris,

I was about to say the same thing. Americans are pursuing security.

You miss the points of previous comments, Ash. It seems we cannot "enlighten" their intent and thus dissuade those who threaten us. Thus, we must deal with their capabilities.

Angry cave men never hurt a superpower, never endangered economics in global proportions. I think that's the idea becoming salient at the EB and BC.

While I don't think the idea is to turn the Islamists into cave men is going to be the sole objective; but it will replace the fallen hope that we could turn Islamists into citizens.

So in a sense, you are correct Ash. We cannot force enlightenment. Maybe they will see light from bloodshed.

Light from blood - is there a latin phrase that goes like that?

11/16/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ash,

If you wanted to fight proliferating technologies, with the understanding that your options become limited to MAD deterrence strategies once those technologies result in a deployed WMD, how would you differentiate Iraq from Iran, from NK, from South Africa etc?

How would an improved NPT regime differentiate Iraqi proliferation technology from NK?

Iraq is part of the same struggle as that against the Persian bomb. By what criteria do you differentiate the two?

11/16/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Maybe what the additional men will do isn't "vague", maybe it's "classified".

Iranian newspapers are reporting an assasination attempt on Iranian madman-in-chief, Ahmadinijad:
Gunmen ambushed the motorcade of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, leaving his driver and one of his bodyguards dead, however the hard-line leader escaped injury because he was not in the car at the time.

"At 6:50 pm on Thursday, the lead car in the presidential motorcade confronted armed bandits and trouble-makers on the Zabol-Saravan highway," the semi-official Jomhouri Islami reported today. "In the ensuing armed clash, the driver of the vehicle, who was an indigenous member of the security services, and one of the president's bodyguards died, while another bodyguard was wounded."

Tehran often uses "bandits" and "trouble-makers" to identify its political opponents.
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=47956

11/16/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

ash:

You see our soldiers in Iraq as just another group of killers - same with the IDF. The folly of the liberal west is to miss the big picture.

Our soldiers were sent there to fulfill a mission - to press for democratic change in the ME by deposing the most dangerous dictator in the neighborhood thereby precipitating change in the region from a sanctuary for murderers to, hopefully, a place where honest people can live.

The only existing democracy in the region is and has been under the same duress that our forces currently face. It is the crucible of the current ideological war - between barbarism and civility.

To miss this distinction between the players is either ignorance or dishonesty.

11/16/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

enscout you are close with this:

To miss this distinction between the players is either ignorance or dishonesty.

Would you object to adding the words "or both" to the end of that sentence?

11/16/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

A long time ago (well, a year or two), I asked Wretchard his opinion as to why troop levels were so low in Iraq and why this wasn't a bad mistake. He ignored my question (but answered another one).

I don't think our prestige will be forever harmed, but definitely harmed for quite a while, which means that Bush's poorly thoughout and horribly executed plan has definitely harmed American interests. More importantly, we will have seriously screwed up Iraq, with serious consequences for a long time to come.

There is nothing we can do there now (and doubtful ever was with any realistic number of troops and the mentality we bring to these conflicts) so the sooner we are out, the better. Staying only means more lives and money wasted.

11/16/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger ricpic said...

The only Plan that could ever work would be a Genghis Khan, scorched earth, line 'em up against the wall Plan. Shitting his pants, the Muslim (be he Sunni or Shiite), respects you and submits (deep down his favorite posture). Anything short of that leaves him contemptuous.
The chance of such a plan being implemented? Puhleez!

11/16/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

ron said:

A long time ago (well, a year or two), I asked Wretchard his opinion as to why troop levels were so low in Iraq and why this wasn't a bad mistake. He ignored my question (but answered another one).

Three possibilities:

1. Less Is More Theory: Rumsfeld's firm belief, reinforced by events in the Afghanistan War, that air power and net-centric warfare greatly multiplies the effectiveness of relatively few boots on the ground, while large ponderous forces actually make operations sluggish.

2. Tinfoil Hat Theory: The small footprint of US forces ensures that the security situation will continue to call for overpriced, no-bid security contracts.

3. The government is run by morons.

11/16/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ash,

Because, as Michael Ledeen puts it in his latest article, Iraq is part of the larger conflict.
Our strategists are constantly asked, how can we win the war in Iraq? But it is the wrong question, and therefore has no correct answer...Instead of trapping themselves in an imaginary quagmire, the commissioners can help us face the real war. What’s going on in Iraq is not “the war,” which is raging over the entire world. The real question — the life and death question — is: How can we win the war in the Middle East, which now extends from Afghanistan to Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, and Somalia?

11/16/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

enscout, you are dodging the issue by asserting some sort of moral superiority on our part. By claiming the moral high ground how does that help us reach our ill-defined goal in Iraq and the middle east in general? We have a democracy (well elections anyway) in Iraq already but we are not liking the result so you claim more troops attack Syria, attack Iran, attack Hibullah...it just doesn't follow.

You also claim there is only one other democracy in the Middle East. I presume you meant Israel. How do you view the Palistinians, they voted and seem to accept the results of the vote?

Enscout you wrote:

"Our soldiers were sent there to fulfill a mission - to press for democratic change in the ME by deposing the most dangerous dictator in the neighborhood thereby precipitating change in the region from a sanctuary for murderers to, hopefully, a place where honest people can live."

The dictator is deposed, they voted yet the murderers are multiplying exponentially and honesty seems to have no place. How is increasing the number of boots on the ground going to change anything?

11/16/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

skipsailing:
I was trying to be honest without being too judgemental, but you are probably right.

terisita:
The government is actually run by some pretty smart folks. Problem is; they have amongst them, others who may disagree from time to time. A great plan poorly executed makes everyone look like a fool.

I'm not sure the plan for Iraq might not have been the best we could muster given the circumstances. It certainly has revealed some things about the average Iraqi that many were unwilling to accept before the war. US casualties continue but they may have been worse, with different demographics (civilian deaths vs military), under another plan.

Most obvious is the cluelessness of theose who continuously wring their hands over the horrors of Muz-on-Muz killing.

11/16/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

ricpic: When I wrote about the mentality we bring to the war, I meant what you said. They way to win their hearts is to kill lots of them. As for catholicwoman: all three are correct, sadly. What has the world come to? It seems each karmic revolution brings us closer to some crippled s-f dystopia.

11/16/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

and bastiat, it is becoming painfully obvious that the battle in Iraq is not helping US win the greater war. It has proven to be a counterproductive operation in that greater battle. Look at recent developments in Lebanon and compare to a few short years ago for just one example of the 'larger battle'.

11/16/2006 12:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ash,

What's the "greater war" to you?

11/16/2006 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

WC's no. 1 point is correct. Rumsfeld's firm belief that hi-tech and fewer sandy boots will will win a war and make the peace in countries we intend to occupy and rehabilitate has been shot down. The lawyers', maybe States', conviction that extra careful humanitarian ROE for our forces won't make a detrimental difference in outcome has been torpedoed.

We learn the hard way, it seems. But the above doesn't discredit the reasons for the Iraq intervention nor the need for our still being there until Iran is knocked down a few pegs.

11/16/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Whatever the Democrats decide to do with Iraq, one thing is clear. They will not be staying the course. You can feel the change. The White House is going to wait for the Baker Commission and look for the Democratic reaction to that report. There will have to be a meeting of the minds between the moderate Democrats and the Republicans. The far Left in the Democratic Party are not going to support anything but a withdrawal. The Democrats cannot afford to be seen in a full scale retreat. That leaves only one practical alternative and that is a phased withdrawal of a significant number of US troops.

The withdrawal will be either based on a time line or some other mile post. The recent taking of one hundred and fifty hostages in Baghdad by what appeared to be police puts the entire program of the "US standing down as the Iraqis stand up" in serious question. The US is not capable of selecting and training reliable police under the existing situation.


Some have suggested that Iraq be sectioned off into three countries. That may be so, but that is their call and silly to suggest the US could enforce that. That is something that The US should stay away from as that will be a public relations nightmare and a horror show.

11/16/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

ppab, a good question and the whole topic has been plagued by differing notions of victory, ect. I would say the underlying 'war' is the battle against Islamic extremism, the extremism that was brought to the forefront of thought on 911.

2164th, there does appear to be another option and that is the option of more troops, loads more, just like Vietnam. Seems to be McCains goal.

11/16/2006 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

ash:

The prez keeps talking about victory in Iraq, which I don't understand. Victory for US is maintaining national security.
I agree that the mission appears ill defined. Until it is, sending more troops can't be seen as good, bad or indifferent. You deploy sufficient troop levels to ensure mission success.

I don't advocate sending in more troops due to conditions in Iraq. That sounds to me like more of the same - police action & domestic security for Iraqis, which should not be our role. US troops in an advisory role for new Iraqi security forces only.

If the Iraqis are bent on killing, I say let them kill - as long as they do it over there. Let's keep the murderers contained.

11/16/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

enscout, you and I agree on much then.

11/16/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

My read on the force size question is this: Rumsfeld wanted this to be Iraq for the Iraqis ASAP.

He was convinced that a huge force in Iraq would ultimately prevent any growth on the part of the Iraqis.

I agree.

The underlying assumption among many of the comments I'm reading these days is that somehow all is lost and we have fewer and fewer options.

While recognize that mary poppins probably went down with the planes on 9/11 I simply don't agree that, in the words of Ron There is nothing we can do there now ...

Its no cake walk and times are tough but we were never promised a rose garden. As I recall we were reliably advised that this would be a long tough struggle. a generation, maybe more. My sense is that many people understood these warning intellectually but didn't accept them emotionally.

Now we are in a time that is trying men's souls and the response I'm seeing is just disheartening. Have we really lost our hearts? Is our moral fibre so enervated that a bunch of madmen killing each other in a place thousands of miles away has us convinced we're losers?

Its just pitiful. Embarrassing and pitiful. I guess OBL was right, we really are the weak horse.

11/16/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

More troops to do what? Keep an eye on the police we already trained?

11/16/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

If the United States is contemplating a broader conflict, and I don’t think it is, we need to ask ourselves if we are willing to throw in with the Israelis should they decide to preemptively attack Iran. Considering that we have had trepidation to support them in regional conflicts in the past, and our argument has been, ostensibly, that we are helping them to bolster their selves defensively in the event of an attack by their neighbors, the US is not going to get involved directly with any Israeli conflict.

We need to forge a new understanding with the Iraqi’s and we cannot very well expect them to reel in the Shiite militias if they are supported by the Shiia people and we are not in a credible position to maintain the peace and keep the warring factions off of each others throats. It is clear, and has been for a long time, that the US doesn’t have the forces in place to keep the civil war from broadening let alone to quell the bloodshed.

Attacking neither Syria nor Iran will be tolerated by the US public and the Democrat controlled congress without a casus belli and the Iranians have been shrewd enough not to provoke the US with more than rhetoric and covert support of operations in Southern Iraq and Southern Lebanon. This kind of support can be covered with the shroud of ‘plausible deniability’ and our so-called allies would argue that the US offers similar support to the Israelis and others.

The New Deal, to have teeth, must be garnered with a credible threat, and it is the threat of sustained, overwhelming violence that the US has been reticent to demonstrate in the past. We have become predictable and static. The best thing that has happened to our bargaining status is that our leadership has faltered and become unpredictable to the Iraqi’s. It is time to make a deal before they decide to make a deal with the devil they know.

What we have here is a war between capitalists who are in competition with each other to maintain status quo verses Islamists who are in competition with each other to destroy the same.

11/16/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Remember the FUBAR video from The Guardian?

11/16/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

2164th said...

"More troops to do what? Keep an eye on the police we already trained?"

Not that I agree more troops are a good idea but I think the rationale is:

it is accepted that we had too few troops in the early 'post-war' phase,

and, like in wretchards post the 'faux statistics' indicate that more troops equals less violence

and similar to the 'ink spot' strategy if we blanket the place with sufficient force we'll get all the bad guys and all will be good.

Most seem to think (pre-Baker commission) that we have three options:

more troops
status quo
cut and run

pick one....

11/16/2006 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Will Rayford said...

The jugular passes through the capital of Iran. It is high time we crushed our big problem (and without warning).

11/16/2006 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

2164th said:

The recent taking of one hundred and fifty hostages in Baghdad by what appeared to be police puts the entire program of the "US standing down as the Iraqis stand up" in serious question. The US is not capable of selecting and training reliable police under the existing situation.

The only role the Army should have is breaking the enemy's stuff and taking his land away from him. In that mission, our forces are unequaled in world history. But no Army should be tasked with law enforcement and nation-building for as long as we have asked ours to do it, unless we raise up a whole division of MPs and recruit Americans specifically for that mission. And even then, the American people may be reluctant to fund it at these levels.

11/16/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seal the Iraqui borders with US forces, let the Iraquis have their "civil" war, then all the old scores will be settled and the imported terrorists will wither on the vine.

11/16/2006 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Some of the respondents approach the discussion as if the Iraqis hadn't had a breakdown of ethos for the last thirty five years. Imagine someone able to walk in your door and take your father or sister away to never be seen again. How fast do you think that you could relearn civilization? Time is what it will take, maybe troops but definitely time which is the one component that the protesters begrudge. Instantaneous gratification is the operational concept.

11/16/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

mike h:
You are spot-on.
The history of the ME, though, has been a "Groundhog Day" type experience where that scene keeps replaying itself over and over through the millenia.

This concept of forgiveness, it seems, is a tough one to master.

11/16/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

and who's nickle should fund the time clock?

11/16/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Hurt by election losses back home, President Bush tried to exert his authority on the world stage Thursday by warning a nuclear-armed North Korea against peddling its weapons and vowing the United States would not retreat into isolationism.

The president then headed for Vietnam and Hanoi, the wartime capital of the once-divided country, in a visit that promised to stir inevitable comparisons between the unpopular war raging in Iraq and the divisive war fought and lost in Vietnam more than three decades ago.


Nuclear Transfers

11/16/2006 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger R2K said...

: )

11/16/2006 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

On CSPAN last night (filmed Wednesday?) Abizaid said Anbar is definitely not under control. Foxnews says 2,000 US troops being moved there to supplement the 30,000 already there. I say solve Anbar with overwhelming force; we never get specific reports out there anyway - probably too far for journalists to want to stray, and who could blame them. But al-Sadr must be included. Anbar first; while Anbar, Sadr. That would complicate Iran's operations in Iraq while the second front opens. Good point there Wretch - but I wonder if they're going to move troops to just outside Iraq? Otherwise I wonder how they'd guage the timing correctly (unless they have good intelligence on when hostilities will begin again in Lebanon - maybe the Israelis will start it this time? and perhaps Siniora will be more supportive?).

11/16/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

I hate to be the one to point out the obvious, so I hope that somebody else did it 50+ posts ago.

There is no corelation between troop levels and violence. (This is almost as bad as equating education quality and spending, but that is totally off subject).

There are different kinds of troops and different kinds of missions. Not every soldier carries a weapon. Not every mission involves killing everything in sight (marine-speak for securing the area).

Since the Marines are the sole ground-attack force in the region, only their numbers count.

11/16/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an extensive post about the guardian article and research I've done to predict what the Iraq Study Group Report will say. The post is at Tomy's Shoppe

11/16/2006 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

annoymouse

Considering that we have had trepidation to support them in regional conflicts in the past, and our argument has been, ostensibly, that we are helping them to bolster their selves defensively in the event of an attack by their neighbors, the US is not going to get involved directly with any Israeli conflict.

Considering how fast the logistics boys acted to drop Israel as a source for replacement rifle rounds, lest one of our soldiers unknowingly shoot one of the mu'min (believers) with a filthy Zionist Imperialist Pig-Monkey bullet, I'd say that throwing in with the Israelis in actual combat is right out.

11/16/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

War to become second only to WWII in expense:

The Pentagon is considering $127 billion to $160 billion in requests from the armed services for the 2007 fiscal year, which began last month, several lawmakers and congressional staff members said. That's on top of $70 billion already approved for 2007.

Since 2001, Congress has approved $502 billion for the war on terror, roughly two-thirds for Iraq. The latest request, due to reach the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress next spring, would make the war on terror more expensive than the Vietnam War.


The only question is, will these incoming anti-war Dems vote the same way they mouthed off in the campaign?

11/16/2006 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

skipsailing said...

Its no cake walk and times are tough but we were never promised a rose garden. As I recall we were reliably advised that this would be a long tough struggle.

Now Skippy I realize that you were only 12 years old in 2002, but such comments aren't going to fly in a room full of adults. Why? Because adults have memories. Here let me demonstrate:

They can remember promises that the Iraq war would be easy, they remember:

Vice President Dick Cheney, on NBC's "Meet the Press" March 16:

"The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but that they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."

Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, in a PBS interview July 11, 2002:

"Saddam is much weaker than we think he is. He's weaker militarily. We know he's got about a third of what he had in 1991."

"But it's a house of cards. He rules by fear because he knows there is no underlying support. Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder. "

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN March 23:

"The course of this war is clear. The outcome is clear. The regime of Saddam Hussein is gone. It's over. It will not be there in a relatively reasonably predictable period of time."

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a breakfast meeting March 4, 2003:

"What you'd like to do is have it be a short, short conflict. The best way to do that is have such a shock on the system, the Iraqi regime would have to assume early on the end is inevitable."

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars March 11:


"The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator. They know that America will not come as a conqueror. Our plan -- as President Bush has said -- is to 'remain as long as necessary and not a day more.'"

Adults might even remember Wolfowitz taking a bite out of Shinseki for the Generals "wildly inaccurate" statements of the troop level required to win.

Adults might remember that fatboy Lindsay from the Budget Office who warned that the Iraq War would cost over $200 billion and who was promptly fired for telling the truth.

Adults might remember William Kristol writing in his book The War Over Iraq that it would only take 75,000 troops after the war to police Iraq at a costs of $16billion and that "After Saddam Hussein has been defeated and Iraq occupied, installing a decent democratic govenrment in Iraq should be a manageable task for the United States." (pg. 98)

But don't take it from me, Skippy. Here's Jonah Goldberg from the National Review who, like you supported the War. His essay is entitled "Iraq Was a Worthy Mistake":

If we had known then what we know now, we would never have gone to war with Iraq in 2003. . . But, of the many arguments in favor of toppling Saddam in 2001-2002 one of the most important — in my mind and, I believe, in the mind of many others — was that toppling the Iraq domino and standing-up a stable, democratically inclined government was supposed to be comparatively easy.

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YWZkMTI2MDMwOWQzOTExYWM5YTdjNjE0YTVhODIxMzA=

Any of this ringing a bell, Skippy? The memory hole isn't quite ready to swallow all you want to flush down, so a word of advice: feed it in more slowly. Otherwise all that crap will back up on you.

11/16/2006 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger DaMav said...

At the center of the problem in Iraq is the buyin to Powell's "Pottery Barn" analogy, and the concept that the invader of a country becomes responsible for the well being and happiness of those invaded.

Where did this quaint notion come from? Certainly not history. The winner of a war was entitled to the spoils, which explicitly did not carry with it any obligations. The vanquished could hope they would not be sold as slaves. As wars became more "enlightened", the losers were assessed reparations instead. Look at World War I and how that ended. The high minded European victors did not offer to dig into their national treasure to get the German coal industry back on its feet.

WW2 was of course different, with the US rebuilding the vanquished nations. But when we did that did we in some way incur an expectation that for all time any nation America defeated would live happily ever after or else we would consider the outcome of our victory to be a moral defeat?

We don't owe the Iraqis a damn thing. They opposed us, invaded our ally Kuwait, threatened and subsidized terror against our ally Israel, and sought to undermine and threaten the United States of America. Saddam Hussein repeatedly lied to us about rearming, the central point the ceasefire was predicated on. That was more than sufficient justification to lay waste to them.

Where we made our mistake was in assigning ourselves responsibility for their happiness and well being. If that doesn't work out, then it won't be water, but fire next time.

11/16/2006 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

"Despite such issues, the addition of more American forces would simply impede Iraqis from taking responsibility for their own future, Abizaid said."
cnn.com

That makes sense to me. The Iraqis will never be as skillful and well equipped as our troops, but after three and half years they are more than capable of dying for their country instead of our troops doing it. If they claim they haven't learned how to use their weapons in three years, will they know how two or three years from now?

The reality is that the Iraqis are already fighting, but choosing to fight a civil war against each other instead of coming to peace and throwing the foreign terrorists out.

For example Iraqi prime minister Maliki said the recent mass kidnapping was not terrorism, but was a turf war between two rival militias. One of them sponsors him, which may be why Maliki was able to get some hostages released quickly.

The sunnis have been fighting a civil war / insurgency since day 1. Now the Maliki government is appearing more and more to be just the Shiite equivalent, not a true Iraqi army. The Kurds have always kept to themselves.

IMO we should narrow the scope of the Iraq war back to what we originally all agreed to in the authorization of force resolution passed by Congress: remove the threat posed to us by Iraq, and fulfil the UN resolutions. It also was a given that, according the law of war, we would help stabilize Iraq, including providing elections.

The Bush Administration has unfortunately allowed this to drift to the point where every problem in Iraq as seen as being the fault of the US, and we are responsible for propping up the Maliki government. This is dangerous because the world sees us as being weak. The expanded scope also causes more casualties, ties us troops which could be better used to fight real jidhadists elsewhere, and puts us in danger of losing the war.

Perhaps we could sign 20 year leasing agreements for bases in Iraq, agree to provide protection against external invasion, but tell Iraq that we will only be involved in their internal affairs to the extent it helps the USA.

11/17/2006 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Mikeh - Some of the respondents approach the discussion as if the Iraqis hadn't had a breakdown of ethos for the last thirty five years.

Try 800 years. They have been a paranoid declining culture lacking achievements or ethos ever since the Mongols put their boot on Iraqi necks, and lived under a succession of conquerers.

WC - in the event of an attack by their neighbors, the US is not going to get involved directly with any Israeli conflict.

Considering how fast the logistics boys acted to drop Israel as a source for replacement rifle rounds, lest one of our soldiers unknowingly shoot one of the mu'min (believers) with a filthy Zionist Imperialist Pig-Monkey bullet, I'd say that throwing in with the Israelis in actual combat is right out.


My point exactly in the other thread, sorta lost on the "US and Israel Together Forever" crowd. The US must avoid direct involvement with Israel to avoid further loss of our credibility globally where we are seen as dumb pawns of the Zionists.

Coversely, America pays a heavy diplomatic price when Israel once again lies and betrays us and media and diplomats of other nations ask us whats up with all the Made in USA cluster bombs found in Lebanese villages or the pellets, ball bearings, and casing shrapnel of them pulled out of wounded or discovered in the morgues. Bombs we Gave to Israel on condition that they would not use them in heavy civilian population area.

And why exactly did the USA taxpayers pay for Israel to build factories that helped reduce USA factory ammo capacity? If the tens of millions in free grants had gone to Indiana, California, Ohio instead of Tel Aviv - we would have 3 additional modernized factories still in operation making .223 rounds instead of buying them from Israel or making embarassed inquiries of Chinese and Russian commercial ammo makers possibly doing what US industry and Rumsfeld's reluctance to expand "old outmoded military -like gov't ammo plants" - failed to do.
*************

WC - War to become second only to WWII in expense:

The Pentagon is considering $127 billion to $160
on top of 502 billion already spent.[Which doesn't count the 100 billion in interest we will pay the Chinese since Bush insists on borrowing the money rather than ask the wealthy to sacrifice anything.]

In truth, Iraq is now only behind WWII and the Civil War in adjusted 2006 dollars.

And Waxman and the Democrats are going to have a field day finally starting oversight of the WOT expenses. From what I hear from people there, the waste is spectacular and the corporate cronies of the Bushies and connected DC insiders and lobbyists are getting windfall war profits.

Little effort is being made to cut spending or try and spend on what is important. Paint inmported at 200 a can so soldiers can paint enemy schoolhouses, refrigerated trucks guarded by 230,000 a year private security guards so soldiers can have iceberg lettuce at a cost to government of 30 bucks a head that they are used to, rather than Turkish-style lettuce. Rather than ask Hollywood to donate movies and entertainment gratis as in WWII, we are paying top dollar.

This of course, is happening while Rumsfeld guts the AF and Navy. Our Naval fleet is shrinking to the point where China will have more subs than us in 10 years and more capacity to dodge old US subs or overwhelm their declining numbers and get in position to attack carrier battle groups or show they can by unexpectedly surfacing in the middle of our formations. The AF is down over a thousand fighters, tankers since Bush took office. The Stealth Fighter wings will be gone from inventory when it comes down to a choice between giving the troops iceberg lettuce or stopping tax cuts for the wealthy.

I don't like the Grand Inquisitors the Dems love to deploy whenever they are in power as a rule - but be prepared for Waxman to uncover stupifying, mind-boggling waste that rewarded Republican cronies.
************

OT - Time for a new National Anthem.

Nobody except Whitney Houston in her pre-drug phase has any right to sing the unsingable. No one, even Whitney should HAVE to sing the awful Anthem. (It's not just unsingable, it is a rip-off of a British drinking song, 100% pure militaristic, commemorates a non-battle in which 4 Americans were killed, no Brit was even touched, and the Fort played no part in the decision of the Brits to move on. British landing party scouts discovery of a well-equipped local Army and the Harbor channel being blocked by sunken ships and a chain meant the Fort falling was moot. It was bombarded with light seige naval fire just for the heck of it. The actual plan was to use Royal Marines to take the Fort - the naval fire was meant to harass or hopefully to see if the American's were ill-trained and would bolt in fear. The naval firepower)

Even the song's central image of "rocket's red glare and bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that Our Flag was still there"is a lie or artistic license. Probably both when you consider Key was both a lawyer who knew "gave proof" is a legal euphemism only - and an aspiring, besotted poet.

The Forts defenders had hauled the flag down for the night but left a small storm pennant up. The British Fleet themselves saw no flag or pennant - they were having difficulty seeing the Fort itself in the storm and determining if their shelling was landing on the Fort.

We've lived with that ode to war and attendent Flag veneration as symbolic of America since 1930.

75 years too long.

Time for a replacement Anthem. "America the Beautiful, This Land Is Your Land" are mentioned. "God Bless America" out for obvious reasons. "My Country Tis of THee" is like the Star Spangled Banner - a ripoff - but more than that, a cheeky ripoff of the UK and Commonwealth Anthem "God Save the King (Queen)". [Yeah, that song has "God" in it, but it was before lawyers had the ACLU and activist judges holding power over the Masses.] Maybe a new tune contest for a whole new replacement song open to all..run by Simon Cowell with Ollie North watching what he does so he doesn't pull a sneaky British trick on us. It can even be bloody and jingoistic like the Red Anthem or La Marseillaise - just as long as a crowd, not just a few gifted Idols.. can carry it..

Something's gotta be done. Americans don't like to sit down and eat uneatable crap, we don't like to watch unwatchable crap proffered by the mass media. Why should we all be forced to rise by peer pressure and to mumble or be silent for unsingable crap foisted on us??

(Leave it for the military where it had it's cultural home for generations before 1930 and where Sousa re-composed it into it's current music sheet for the military brass bands designed to play it. The military kept it instrumental and rarely had people try to sing to accompany it in the 19th and early 20th century)

11/17/2006 01:22:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

General Abizaid made it clear that there is really only one option, not two. He already increases and decreases the troops as appropriate. They are already planning operations against Al Sadr / the Mahdi Army, and parts of Iraq which are acting up. So the "McCain Option" is really a false choice: we are already fighting to win.

11/17/2006 01:25:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Damav "We don't owe the Iraqis a damn thing."

Actually we do. We owe them the proceeds from the trade that we want to do with them. That trade is the stability of their country for when we have to conduct operations against the rowdy neighbor next door who is pleading with us to listen to them while they formulate their future. Take a trip over to MEMRI lane and see what they've been saying for a number of years. If we can hook up with a medium sized lion over there we'll stand a better chance when they blow the whistle.

And make no mistake, he's rousing the rabble.

11/17/2006 01:48:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

my my reocon, you certainly are upset, aren't you? And over what? A disagreement on a comment board? is that really worth all the energy you're pouring out?

For example, how hard did you work on finding an insulting name for me? I'll bet you thought long and hard before you came up with Skippy, eh? Sorry it was so taxing for you and has so little effect on me.

Listen, you can write all the words you like, you can hurl all the insults you like (the insults are actually amusing frankly) and you won't change my mind.

I just won't surrender. Certainly not because of anything you've written.

Again buddy, if you feel the need to surrender then by all means drop whatever you have that passes for a weapon and expose your neck to the barbarians.

that's your choice. I chose otherwise and I'm staying with it.

I'm sure that there's a surrender monkies anonymous group you could join in your home town. Why not look them up?

I wonder at this point about your emotional stability. I mean one needs to be concerned about the mental status of a guy who is upset with his government because it won't create the conditions for mass slaughter he demands.

Once again, I am glad I live in a concealed carry state. Apparently there are murderous rogues among us.

Oh and have a nice day

Warmest regards,

Skippy

11/17/2006 03:50:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

President Bush on troop levels - Nov. 17

The American people "want to know if we have a plan for success. I assured John that any reposition of troops -- if that's what we do -- will be done with John and his government. But I assured him, we're not leaving until this job is done, until Iraq can sustain and defend itself."

He brushed off suggestions that the United States might beef up its forces in Iraq and said, "I'm going to listen to our commanders. Ours is a conditions-based strategy."

11/17/2006 04:32:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

"We'll succeed unless we quit," Bush said shortly after arriving in this one-time war capital.

----------

Here I think is one of the causes of the concern with the war. Whether or not one agrees or disagrees with George Bush, he seems to be among the worst presidents in history at communicating.

I see this as just being a lack of discipline. He could prepare remarks, sound bites, etc. in advance with the help of his advisors.

11/17/2006 04:37:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

On Wednesday, Gen. John P. Abizaid, who leads the U.S. Central Command, testified on Capitol Hill that he believes sending in a large contingent of infantry troops would be a mistake, in part because it could dissuade Iraqi troops from taking the lead in security operations. Abizaid said he plans over coming months to introduce a more robust training effort -- involving additional U.S. trainers and advisers to help boost the numbers and capabilities of Iraqi forces -- so Iraq can defend its homeland and thus transition toward a U.S. exit.

"It's easy for the Iraqis to rely upon us to do this work," Abizaid said. "I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future."

11/17/2006 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

Skippy,

Rectalcon cited Cheney, Perle, Rumsfeld et al and claimed that their statements were false. However everything they said was true. We won the war in 2003. Then the Democrats and MSM pundits incited every jackass in the ME to insurrection in Iraq and here we are today losing the peace.

We couldv'e won the peace if we had unity of will then and we still could now. But the surrender monkeys need to snatch defeat from victory.

Insallah

11/17/2006 05:01:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Thank you Wu wei . Bush's comments in Viet Nam were idiotic? Why? Because he is_____________(fill in the blank)

11/17/2006 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

lugh lampfhota said...
We won the war in 2003. Then the Democrats and MSM pundits incited every jackass in the ME to insurrection in Iraq and here we are today losing the peace.

We couldv'e won the peace if we had unity of will then and we still could now. But the surrender monkeys need to snatch defeat from victory.


Lugh, in '05 the Iraqi elections turned power over to Shiite Islamist parties: SCIRI/Dawa/Sadr/Fadhila. These parties are pro-Hezbollah, pro-Iran, anti-Israel and dedicated to imposing Sharia on Iraq. Tell me, how is that a "victory" for us or our interests?

How would "unity of will" prevented this from happening . . . unless of course, democracy was a mistake. I distrust the liberal bias of the MSM too, but tell me how they're responsible for allowing Shiite Islamofascists to win the elections in Iraq? Are the "MSM pundits" responsible for the electoral victories of Hamas and Hezbollah too?

11/17/2006 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

2164th said...

Thank you Wu wei . Bush's comments in Viet Nam were idiotic? Why? Because he is_____________(fill in the blank)

It doesn't feel good when you have the scales fall away from your eyes, does it? For me it was Katrina when Bush sat there like a deer in the headlights with his thumb up his ass. America's mayor (Guiliani) would have been down there helping to fill sandbags.

11/17/2006 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

An important factor in effective communication is active listening. Active listening requires a restatement of what was said in an effort to insure proper comprehension.

So, Reocon, let me be sure I'm getting this right. You listed a series of quotes that after your considered retrospection you find ill advised at best and wrong at worst.

Therefore, we should quit, right?

Then you quote Jonah Goldberg as further proof of your thesis.

Here's the message I recieved, reocon. With a name like Goldberg there's a strong chance the man is a, gasp, Jew!

further since he writes for National Review it is quite possible that he's a, stay with me here, a conservative.

A jewish conservative can only be one thing, that's right, a dreaded neocon. If a full fledged, dyed in the wool neocon, one who was not doubt at the meetings when the PNAC was formulated, says negative things about Iraq, well then we have no choice but to surrender.

Am I getting this right?

11/17/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger dla said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/17/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

It is indeed meaningless dla. The only really relevant figure is the percentage of national product spent on the wars, relative to one another. That's the only way you can really gauge the fiscal impact.

And of course, the Iraq conflict has been, and will continue to be, a pitifully small portion of our national product.

11/17/2006 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger dla said...

Cedarford wrote: In truth, Iraq is now only behind WWII and the Civil War in adjusted 2006 dollars.

And while I won't dispute your assertion, because I'm too lazy to look it up, I will point out that it means absolutely nothing.

war economics

11/17/2006 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, no, it means "Everything" to those whom decide, in the US Republic.

The measure of success or failure.
Monies spent, results achieved.

The Enemies of Freedon and Liberty have been empowered in the new Federal Iraq.
Islamo-fascists have the levers of power in that country in their hands.

This is true at the local, regional and Federal levels, outside of Kurdistan. Even there the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party), an US listed terrorist organization operates freely, but are Marxist, not Mohammedan, in nature.

Perhaps there is a successful way forward for US in Iraq, but it would entail a complete change of strategy, on both Strategic and Tactical levels.

Which will not be happening, now that the Democrats hold the Congress, more than ever. The Presidents' freedom of action is more constrained now than before.

Remember before, when the US rejected the aggressive actions proposed here at the BC, both then and lately.

Reality does rear its' ugly head from time to time.
Performance does count, eventually.

11/17/2006 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

skipsailing said...

Listen, you can write all the words you like, you can hurl all the insults you like (the insults are actually amusing frankly) and you won't change my mind.

I just won't surrender. Certainly not because of anything you've written.


You already have surrendered, Skippy, and you don't even know it. In the last thread you willingly admitted that you support the present Shiite Islamofascist government that includes Mokatda al-Sadr -- a revolutionary thug who has killed over 100 Americans in two uprisings. How do you justify such a treasonous position even to yourself?

Do you say to yourself: "With just a little more love, massive amounts of social welfare and, of course, the loss of more American blood and limbs, I, Skippy the ever-hopeful-cabinboy, am convinced that these Shiite Islamists will learn to be moderate, sensible and cuddly. They will put down their arms and embrace American-style capitalism and democracy. After all, it's not like they're deeply allied with Iran, or supportive of Hezbollah. It's not like they want to impose Sharia on all of Iraq. No, there just misunderstood. Just like the Ayatollah Khomenei, Hamas and Hezbollah."

Skippy, can you even tell us what SCIRI, the largest party in Iraq, stands for? Can you tell us what the Islamic term "Dawa" actually means? That's your homework assignment, and I'll grade easy if you really try.

If a full fledged, dyed in the wool neocon, one who was not doubt at the meetings when the PNAC was formulated, says negative things about Iraq, well then we have no choice but to surrender.

Am I getting this right?


Skippy, you should really start reading more to learn about the world. The Neocons have already signed off of this project, admitting it was a mistake. I'm sorry to break it to you kid, but here you go:

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2006/12/neocons200612

It's not just that we should quit, kid, it's that we should have never gone in in the first place. That's the new (old) thinking from the realists (who have come back to run DoD) to the neocons themselves who planned this fiasco. Their liberal social engineering goals were ludicrous, and the Bush administration skimped on even basic planning. That left the Shiite Islamists in charge, and while your eager to grovel before them, some of us have pride and sense. Enjoy your dhimmitude and tell us what its like from beneath the burka.

11/17/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

I guess we won't see Skippy back here for awhile.

11/17/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

skipsailing said...
An important factor in effective communication is active listening. Active listening requires a restatement of what was said in an effort to insure proper comprehension.

Good point. Write this then a hundred times on the chalkboard:

"To Support Shiite Islamofascism is to support Shiite Islamofascism."

"Social welfare, big government and family counseling will not heal Iraq."

"The Maliki government is not worth one American life."

"If I embrace Mokatda al-Sadr, Reocon will think I'm a traitor and a wuss."

"Iraq was a mistake, even the neocons say so."

"Pull out. Let it bleed. Islamic self-immolation is the road to an American victory."

11/17/2006 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Catholic woman said…

“It doesn't feel good when you have the scales fall away from your eyes, does it? For me it was Katrina when Bush sat there like a deer in the headlights with his thumb up his ass.”

What do you do when the scales fall away from your eyes and there are Bunyan big logs in them? Criticize/ love bush all you want, and that’s what you’re all about, but he isn’t He. Your Bible and orificial cliches are always charming, though.

It’s becoming clearer, to some of us anyway, that unbeknownst to Bush the Iraq project was never meant to succeed by key people in our Government and in his own administration. Sure, the Democrat Party overtly and loyally opposed Bush and his wars, ill-serving our national interests. But certain Republicans behind the scenes like Plame-him Powell and Armitage and many more Democrats in the State Department, CIA, DoD and god knows what other partisan-diseased agencies worked against the President domestically and internationally, from the outset.

Bush needed to have had the scales fall from his eyes, a light shone on all the perfidy in government offices, and the counter-agendists’ digits removed from places they shouldn’t have been. He has been ill-served by advice from the wrong people and back-stabbed by “friends” and feds. We should fault Bush more for his blind loyalty to staff and for his alarming lack of personal-politics perception than for his ambitious plans to insert some safety and sanity into the Middle East post 9-11. If your entire team isn’t pulling to win in a difficult game, there is no way to win, no matter how brave our troops’ efforts. At some point early on Bush should have realized he only had half the public, a third of feds, one tenth of media, and one hundredth of Dems working to win the wars he committed to.

If Bush salvages what he can of his reputation over the next two years by working on a bi-partisan basis with anti-Iraq and pro-protectionist Dems, by “fixing” Iraq a bit for it to flare another day after we’re no longer in a position to influence, by engaging with Iran and Syria to enlist their “help” with the volatility of the region in exchange for concessions, by leaving the Iranian nuke program intact and allowing other (Muslim) countries to nuclearize, by working through the UN and IAEA to address-figleaf American/ world security concerns, by pulling back from US leadership-unilateralism and denying our exceptionalism, then we’ve all lost. It will be a downslide from now on, the only questions remaining: how much terrorism to come in the “homeland,” and what grade our schools will mandate Arabic and Mandarin instruction?

11/17/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

3 months is an extremely short time with regard to counterinsurgency, especially one as complex as Iraq.

The war can't be won by American troops in combat operations alone, but reconstruction, training, and humanitarian work. All of which are long-term missions.

The question of whether Iraq itself has the prerequisites to be rebuilt ("re"?), is of course another question.

11/17/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

all of which is made much more difficult when the people to be rescued mostly view you as a immoral corrupt imperial war profiting machine trying to suck as much black gold as possible.

11/17/2006 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

What can I say, you've done your part delegitimizing the effort.

11/17/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Naw, my influence is minimal on the Iraqi however the "go it alone" approach doesn't help the optics.

11/17/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Why hasn't Iran directly attacked Israel?

Answer: It doesn't want to get nuked.

If Iran gets nuclear weapons, why will it still NOT directly attack Israel, or the US?

Answer: It still doesn't want to get nuked.

Why won't WE attack Iran with our nukes before they get theirs?

Answer: You can't get oil out of a nuclear wasteland.

For the US, oil is the only reason we give a shit what happens in the Gulf. No oil is why we don't give a shit what happens in most other places. Wake up people.

11/17/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"Naw, my influence is minimal on the Iraqi however the "go it alone" approach doesn't help the optics."

"From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need."

Assertions of a lack of authority are the first grasp of guilty consciences.

"Go it alone" as you understand it, i.e. without France, Germany, Belgium, and assorted European government, was their choice, not ours.

11/17/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Nuclear wasteland, movie fans.
That is not historicly accurate, Those two cities in Japan are bustling as is Nevada.

The oil fields of Iran would not even be the targets of nuclear strikes, if one were to launch them.

11/17/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

oh jeeze, how does one maintain that level of incoherence for that long reocon?

It's been a lot of fun yanking your chain. You respond like pavlov's dogs at the sound of the bell.

Again, I sincerely doubt you've had much experience with people simply disagreeing with you. That is surprising given how unutterable disagreeable you are.

give a few minutes to read your comments and find still another way to yank your chain.

Its like bear baiting. You roar and screech and stomp about with such unbridled enthusiasm at this point I'm simply amusing myself at your expense.

Thanks, Reocon for enliving a dismal couple of days.

All my best to you,

Skippy

My goodness.

11/17/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger LifeoftheMind said...

The Two Front, Three Front and Jugular theories of how to deal with Iran are interesting but two questions occur,

1) No one has mentioned the putative Gates - Baker impact on all this, which strikes me as the 600 lb gorilla in the room.

2) Has anyone considered the Choke Iran Off (at Hormuz) strategy in the latest Commentary?

11/17/2006 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Lord Acton said...

Vis choking off the straits...one of the cards I refer to above.

See Mahan, A.F. The Influence of Sea Power upon History

Islamic naval forces pretty meager last I checked.

11/17/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

skipsailing said...
oh jeeze, how does one maintain that level of incoherence for that long reocon?

Incoherence? Skippy, you're the one embracing the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), The Islamic Call (Dawa) and Sadr as a means of American "victory" in Iraq. Can you at least acknowledge that yes, this is just what you're doing? Can you face up to the reprecussions of your own position? Do you know a single damn thing about these parties you "support" or are you doing so just because the President doesn't have any better ideas?

Here's another tidbit for you Skippy, from the Neocon, Charles Krauthammer entitled "Why Iraq Is Crumbling":

In retrospect, I think we made several serious mistakes -- not shooting looters, not installing an Iraqi exile government right away, and not taking out Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army in its infancy in 2004 -- that greatly compromised the occupation. Nonetheless, the root problem lies with Iraqis and their political culture. . . Iraq's first truly democratic government turned out to be hopelessly feeble and fractured, little more than a collection of ministries handed over to various parties, militias and strongmen. . . Last month American soldiers captured a Mahdi Army death squad leader in Baghdad -- only to be forced to turn him loose on order of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Two weeks ago, we were ordered, again by Maliki, to take down the barricades we had established around Sadr City in search of another notorious death squad leader and a missing American soldier.

This is no way to conduct a war. The Maliki government is a failure. It is beholden to a coalition dominated by two Shiite religious parties, each armed and ambitious, at odds with each other and with the ultimate aim of a stable, modern, democratic regime. . .Is this America's fault? No. It is a result of Iraq's first democratic election. The United States was not going to replace Saddam Hussein with another tyrant. We were trying to plant democracy in the heart of the Middle East as the one conceivable antidote to extremism and terror -- and, in a country that is nearly two-thirds Shiite, that inevitably meant Shiite domination. It was never certain whether the long-oppressed Shiites would have enough sense of nation and sense of compromise to govern rather than rule. The answer is now clear: United in a dominating coalition, they do not.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/16/AR2006111601359.html

Now, I don't endorse all of Krauthammer's article -- his weak-tea solution of a "moderate" Shiite alliance is obviously silly; obviously in that he won't even name the parties for his fantasy list, but the above analysis I quoted is pretty honest. You'll notcie that it makes reference to political facts in Iraq, which you don't.

Skippy, you support the failed Islamofascist government of Maliki. Why, don't you have any pride in yourself? Why have you chosen to embrace the corrupt, Islamofascist enemy? You haven't answered this question but have steadfastly avoided it.

Skippy said . . .
Again, I sincerely doubt you've had much experience with people simply disagreeing with you. That is surprising given how unutterable disagreeable you are.

Oh, it's worse than that, Skippy me boy. My hair is gone, my feet stink and I don't always love Jesus the way I ought, but when I'm right, I'm fierce until convinced otherwise . . . and you ain't mustered an argument yet as to why I should grovel before Shiite Islamofascism. Let's start with the basics. Why do you embrace the Maliki gov't when even the Neocons think it a turd?

11/17/2006 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

lifeofthemind wrote:

2) Has anyone considered the Choke Iran Off (at Hormuz) strategy in the latest Commentary?

Choke Iran off from refined petroleum product? Look at a map. Port Chabahar sits out there on the North Arabian Sea and isn't vulnerable to a Hormuz strategery.

11/17/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

jim said:

For the US, oil is the only reason we give a shit what happens in the Gulf. No oil is why we don't give a shit what happens in most other places. Wake up people.

"The answer to any question starting, 'Why don't they-' is almost always, 'Money.'"
- Robert A. Heinlein, "Shooting Destination Moon"

2006 version:

The answer to any question starting 'Why doesn't the United States-' is almost always, 'No oil there.'

11/17/2006 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Desert Rat - Nuclear wasteland, movie fans.
That is not historicly accurate, Those two cities in Japan are bustling as is Nevada.

The oil fields of Iran would not even be the targets of nuclear strikes, if one were to launch them.


Quite true. Add public schools to media on the list of reasons why the American public is profoundly ignorant of nuclear power and radiation as well as the effects of nuclear weapons.

**********************
dla - Cedarford wrote: In truth, Iraq is now only behind WWII and the Civil War in adjusted 2006 dollars.

And while I won't dispute your assertion, because I'm too lazy to look it up, I will point out that it means absolutely nothing.


Wrong.

Many Bush apologists are trying to push the Guns & butter line. Except in WWII where we did great after those expenses because all our global competitors had destroyed economies, it took decades to recover from the fiscal damage of the Civil War and Vietnam. In the Iraq conflict, we are the only country being bled of large sums of money in discretionary gov't spending while our global competitors forge ahead and seek even greater trade imbalances and destruction of more US industry and US leadership in various fields.

Which brings up the next part of the Bush-lovers argument. That 200 billion a year Iraq expense(present expenses+deferred material replacement+paying interest to the Chinese+anticipated benefit payouts to the dead and maimed beneficiaries,) is not exactly a trivial part of a 12 trillion economy. With a 2.7 billion Fed budget mostly tied up in entitlement spending, 402 billion in debt interests payments to our Asian, Euro, and Saudi bankers - we have 800 billion in discretionary spending.

200 billion is 1/4 that.

And that means tremendous opportunity cost.

What if the 620 billion for Iraq had been invested here in America instead? What opportunity cost meant what was sacrificed and not done?

A. A 300 billion energy independence program?
B. 35 billion to reduce the 95,000 deaths from medical errors down to 20,000 as experts say 35 billion would do?
C. Investing 100 billion as Newt says to make all medical records and insurance claims electronic to get annual cost savings of 80 billion annually for Medicare?
D. Investing 30 billion in full Border security, plus a 30 billion upgrade to INS - police computer database networks and a 25 billion upgrade to Port Security?
E. 100 billion for targeted education improvements to make Americans as well-educated as Germans, Koreans, Japanese, and Swedes now are and hopefully regain some of our lost competiveness?

Apologists who say Iraq is a trivial expense at 1.2% of GNP never mention that it is loaned money that could accumulate to 1.3 trillion dollars that the taxpayers must be repay to China with interest once Bush leaves office.

Apologist neglect all the stuff Bushies claim was unaffordable - controlling Borders, developing a national energy plan, dramatic improvements to health care in fact represent foregone opportunity costs so we could bring the blessings of secular Democracy to the noble Iraqi people...who, to Bush's shock...in fact appear to be murderous and batshit crazy Arabs that wish us dead and want radical Sunni Arab and Radical Shiite Arab forces to kill the other side and set up a theocracy..

11/17/2006 08:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The answer to any question starting 'Why doesn't the United States-' is almost always, 'No oil there.' woman catholic

Yes, WC, we be a petrocorrupt America. We want crude, we is crude. We only underwrite the UN so that it will vote to let us wage war for oil.

We give massively to impoverished, AIDs racked Africa to benefit our roughnecks over there. We provide military and bucks for tsunami relief in southeast Asia to purchase off-shore drilling rights cheap.

We drop bombs over Bosnia to stop the killing of our oil execs who have vacation estates there. We intervene in Haiti in hopes its robust economy will buy American petroleum.

We only project power and award funding if there is an oil deal in it for us.

Do always remember to think and write the worst about the USA to be a clever critic.

11/17/2006 09:05:00 PM  

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