Friday, November 24, 2006

"V" is not for Vendetta

Well it's nice to see a professional pundit come to the same conclusions that have been monotonously emphasized in the past Belmont Club posts. Michael Young at the UK Times puts the case succinctly and correctly:


In recent weeks the idea that the United States and the UK should “engage” Syria, but also Iran, to stabilise Iraq has been all the rage. On Tuesday, in an east Beirut suburb, Lebanon’s industry minister, Pierre Gemayel, showed what the cost of engagement might be. The scion of a prominent Christian political family was assassinated in broad daylight. This was the latest in a series of killings and bomb attacks that the UN investigator looking into the murder of the late Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, has determined are linked. ...

If political “realism” is about interests, then realists must prove that a country that has ignored successive UN resolutions demanding Syrian non-interference in Lebanon could somehow be a force for stability in Iraq, to which it has funnelled hundreds of foreign fighters. Engaging Mr Assad over Iraq will mean the gradual return of Syrian hegemony over Lebanon, since neither the US nor the UK will be in a position to deny Syria in Lebanon while asking favours in Iraq.

Recently some of the advocates of engagement with Syria and Iran, who proposed a regional conference to negotiate a withdrawal via a 'comprehensive settlement' have also advocated radically increasing troop numbers in Iraq in a "last ditch attempt to stabilize it". This is truly laudable, and it is very probable that increasing troop numbers may have a significant military benefit. However, without a firm bipartisan determination to impose the American will -- provided that can be articulated by both parties -- any gains from reinforcement will be temporary and fleeting.

For those gains to last, any access of strength -- or any other measure in Iraq -- must be implemented as part of an overall strategy to make Syria and Iran leave Iraq alone; and impress that failure to do so will result in their abject defeat. It is up to the professionals to decide how that defeat should be administered. Whether by a combination of military, diplomatic or economic means does not matter. Troop strength can be increased; it can be decreased; it can be shifted out of theater or moved around as desired. Blockades and sanctions may be imposed. Diplomatic demarches employed; conferences convened. Even a "responsible redeployment" is not out of the question. These are all tactics which men who are professionally employed to judge such matters can use as they see fit. But the strategic aim must be fixed. Iraq must no longer be assailed in the thinly veiled manner of the past by either Syria or Iran.

In the closing year of the Vietnam conflict, President Richard Nixon unleashed the US Airforce for the first time upon North Vietnam in Operations Linebacker 1 and 2. Accounts of the Linebacker 2 tell of POWs in the Hanoi Hilton listening to the B-52s crunch up the Hanoi docks, like Godzilla come to end the world. They told of brutal guards cowering on the floor as the POWs laughed manically behind bars; the guards asking in panic each time the floor shook "what was that?" And the answer was: "it is hand of God coming to take us home". Stirring stuff. Yet ultimately futile. The POWS did come home, but Linebacker changed nothing strategically because it was a brilliant military operation aimed at easing a retreat rather than achieving victory. Iraq does not need another Linebacker 2. What it needs is a bipartisan consensus to identify what American war aims are in this theater. Too long has the task been put off. But once the result is known it should be the only outcome permissible and the only choice for Syria and Iran.

47 Comments:

Blogger Doug said...

VDH suggests Israel come up with a target list for Syria, 50 targets, such as powerplants, etc, 1 for each time the Hezbos fire a missile in the future.
Recommends that over another war in Lebanon:
Go to the source of the problem!
---
Says Syrians help Sunnis kill Shias in Iraq, as Iran helps Shias kill Sunnis.
Again, go to the sources of the problem.
...but where there is not a political will there is not a way, and GWB lacked the will even when the politics weren't so dire.
---
VDH also mentioned Gates recommended not talking to Yeltsin, sticking with Gorby back in the day.
Another Tenent-Level Medal of Freedom Award winning performance.
VDH says he is one of the few not yet to bail on the WH, but if they join the Gates/Baker way, he'll have to join the crowd.

11/24/2006 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

For a well-reasoned exploration of what may be gained by "engagement", read:
"Engaging" Iran and Syria: What it could achieve and how, according to Itamar Rabinovich at Haaretz.

However a close reading of Rabinovich shows that for all its sophistication, the core goal of engagement is to find a way to get out of Iraq. To undo a mistake. In order to do this, Syria will be "split" off from Iran; Iran will be given assurances of non-agression, rather like that Castro had, etc. None of these ideas is objectionable, ipso facto, but in my opinion at least, it suffers from being in the service of retreat. For example, it hard to understand the innocuous-sounding phrase "Shi'ite Iran is seen as a key both to calming the Iraqi Shi'ites and to imposing a sustainable order," as anything more than a giving Iran power over Iraq in much the same way as Syria was given leave to calm and order parts of Lebanon. I'm not saying it will happen that way, but that is certainly a clear and present danger. For that reason, it is desirable to look at the desired outcome first and let that dominate the process rather than the other way round. Otherwise we wind up with the world's most sophisticated surrender.

11/24/2006 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

VDH also mentioned Baker being involved in using the Taliban v the Russians, and while the realpolitic conventional wisdom has been business as usual, rather obvious in retrospect given where we are today that better methods should have been found.
He says the lesson is we can't continue with the realpolitic compromises.
But of course we CAN.
...at our peril.

11/24/2006 04:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Gen. Michel Aoun, a Christian former army chief who fled Lebanon in 1990 after armed clashes with Syrian troops and returned to Beirut last year, now stands with Hezbollah and other pro-Syrian groups. Mr. Jumblatt, who used to attend military parades in Moscow and was close to pro-Soviet Syria, has joined Syria's foes and blames Russian diplomats at the U.N. for initially stalling the Hariri tribunal.

"I don't hide my past," Mr. Jumblatt said in an interview in his ancestral mountain compound southeast of Beirut. "Yes, I've changed. I was pro-Syrian. OK. But I said, 'Enough is enough.'" Lebanon's politics, he says, "are a long, complicated story."

Mr. Jumblatt says he reminisced about the "good old times" with Mr. Rumsfeld when they met late last month at the Pentagon. When Mr. Rumsfeld visited Beirut in the early 1980s as an envoy for President Reagan, Mr. Jumblatt's forces shelled the airport. He was fighting at the time with a Christian militia run by Amin Gemayel, father of the cabinet minister murdered this week.

Mr. Rumsfeld, says Mr. Jumblatt, recalled the incident: "He told me: 'You were firing at me' . . . I told him: 'I'm sorry. At that time I was a warlord. Now I'm a democrat.'" Mr. Jumblatt says there was nothing personal, noting, "Our artillery was not very accurate." The Pentagon confirmed the meeting but declined to say what was discussed.

The former warlord says he now shares Washington's view that Iraq and the rest of the Middle East needed shaking up with a dose of democracy. "There was no way but for the Middle East to change," he says. But he faults Washington for ignoring the rise of Islamist groups as the only popular alternative to the region's dictatorial rulers. The U.S., he says, has to accept this and start dealing with Hamas and other groups inspired by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood,
which the U.S. calls terrorists."
http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/

11/24/2006 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Henry Kissinger, writing in the IHT, makes the argument that Iran has no reason to negotiate away its nuclear program because it sees itself as being on a roll. Dr. K puts it more elegantly than that of course, but that's the gist. He then goes on to slyly suggest, though you have to be sharp to spot it, that we create a "regional structure" that will set the Sunni nations in opposition to the Shi'a to keep Iran from getting too uppity.

One can only imagine Dr. K's eyes twinkling at the prospect; his quick mind grasping that maybe events in Iraq and Lebanon, which have scared the s..t out of the Gulf States, can be harnessed to set one schism in the Muslim world against the other. Professionally you have to admire Dr. K. But of course the subtext is that both Iran and Lebanon become chips in his larger, geopolitical game. Nations don't have friends, only interests. That may be the last words that many Lebanese or Iraqis may hear.

I won't judge the morality of it, only observe that this is not necessarily the optimal solution. But it's a classic: setting up a future crisis to avoid a present. I'd like to suggest there's a game even larger than the one he wants to play. Because the game he plays is a very old one but for all its age has only the goal of not falling down. And in an age when subnational forces have been empowered as never before, that approach may not only fail to break the fall, it may root us helplessly to the killing ground.

11/24/2006 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Peace in our Time
---
A lot of LGF readers thought this sign was either a prank by a lone clear thinker, or a Photoshopped fake. It IS hard to believe that the “anti-war” movement’s disconnect from history and reality is so profound they
don’t even see the hideous irony of using the infamous words of Neville Chamberlain this way.
Well, believe it.
----
As is well known, during their tenure in office both Nixon and Kissinger were obsessed with matters of secrecy. And it turns out that they were wise.
Without nosy reporters on the ground, the two benefited from those government regulations that have kept the important records of their international activities concealed for all these years.

For extra insurance, Kissinger
carefully stashed his official papers in the Library of Congress, with instructions that they not be opened until five years after his death
.
Peace in K's Time Here

11/24/2006 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Welcome to the Peace Center of Nevada County.
The Peace Center of Nevada County honors the essential power of people in community.
Together we commit to effect change in a global culture of violence, greed, and injustice. Through open inquiry, education, and nonviolent direct action, we nurture peace, equality and dignity in ourselves, our community and our Earth.
How To Reach Us:
Address: Peace Center of Nevada County
102B Argall Way
Nevada City, CA 95959
---
I helped build a Brewery in Nevada City:
Just part of my commitment to effect change in a global culture of violence, greed, and injustice.

11/24/2006 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

For the Record, no one at this site has been more accurate at prognosticating about events on Iraq, than the much maligned Desert Rat. Clever exposition after clever exposition by more clever writers and better spellers have failed to grasp events and consequences better than DR.

The debacle continues under the steady unwavering hand, maintaining the course, of the tiller man.

Steer forth.

11/24/2006 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Michael Young implies that it is wrong to engage in work with or dialogue with any country that ignores UN Resolutions:

If political “realism” is about interests, then realists must prove that a country that has ignored successive UN resolutions demanding Syrian non-interference in Lebanon could somehow be a force for stability in Iraq.

Does that mean the Realists opponents must prove "America's Special Friend" is somehow a force for stability in the ME? With all it's ignored UN Resolutions?

We have of course had dialogue with our enemies and even traded with them throughout US history unless an active war was underway. What changed was when the US was once economically dominant and was the world master of most technologies...the idea emerged that we could "drive Castro to his knees" with an economic embrago and giving Mr. Poopy Head the slient treatment.

Then the "world's experts in terrorism" - Israel, headed of course by former terrorists and ethnic cleansers like Ben Gurion, Begin, Shamir...began their self-serving oratory about how their dear friends the Americans must never "reward" terrorism by talking to any of Israel's enemys or insurgent population in Occupied lands.

Time has changed.

The USA is no longer economically dominant. Most of our technology has been given away by America's Owner Class so they can replace US workers with cheaper foreign ones so they can maximize Owner profit. Any country or movement shunned by the US is free to go elsewhere for the trade, dialogue, economic alliance and technology needed.

45 years of Cuba, 27 years of Iran getting the economic embargo/silent treatment hasn't done much. Opening trade and dialogue up with China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Libya after 25 years -typically, of futility, on the other hand - has produced mutually beneficial results. As we should always look to "what is best for America"?, not what other nations or exiles demand we do to their foe, as our core principle.

11/24/2006 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Desert Rat, as I recollect, was initially a Bush supporter and pro-war with Iraq, 2164th --but fell away when Team Bush's massive errors began accumulating.

Others like you came along later, and now there is a much dwindled band of Bush or Israel loyalists left.

11/24/2006 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

I believe that within a few months President Bush will "engage" Iran by all out war. Syria will become somewhat irrelevant once the head is cut off the snake.

Bush will avoid complicated arguments about Islamists, military history, etc. by pointing out that Iran will soon have nukes and has promised to wipe out Israel. In fact those arguments will be made only in private to world leaders and our military since Bush will launch the air strikes which begin the war without going to Congress.

It really comes down to a single question: will President Bush allow Iran to have nukes?

11/24/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cedarford wrote:

Time has changed. The USA is no longer economically dominant.

Not true. The United States has a larger GDP than the next lower four countries combined (Japan, Germany, China, UK). The US alone uses approximately one quarter of the world's supply of energy, but has only about 5% of the world’s population.

11/24/2006 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

DR seems to still believe a massive increase in applied force would rectify the situation - taking out a city or two for example. Like his original notion that the war in Iraq was a good idea was wrong so is this proposed solution.

The sh*t has hit the fan. There will be no peace with honor but a withdrawal is certainly in the cards. The pooch is already screwed.

11/24/2006 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

C-4, I do not recall which of my posts would have put me in the Bush camp. I am a pragmatist about Israel and most other things. I rarely find myself recognizing how I would do things differently, If I were an Israeli. I do like to consider most things in terms of "what if.....then do this." You tend not to push alternative strategies. Those that I am aware of, I mostly agree with. We part widely on your perceptions and attributions to Jewish intentions and inlfluence. I suggest that you consider what you would do if you were an Israeli or a Jew. Maybe you are. Stranger things have happened. I have indulged in speculation that you are an alterego personality of another poster. Stalin after all was a former altar boy. I do not imply that you are Stalinesque. Whoever you are, you are mostly right and at times sadly very wrong. I pray for your redemption.

11/24/2006 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Is Kissinger's game really:

‘If I can't have it, you can't either...’

Very deep. Very immoral.

The game is on. Who will win!

Will the various barbarian factions employ just enough organization and force to allow the ‘SuperPower’ to self-route at best possible speed? Or will they be disorganized and – shall we say – over exuberant to the point that they force a very violent and total war?

Unlike Vietnam, there will be no state to consume and dominate the losing factions.

‘If I can't have it, you can't either...’

It’s Black Friday here in the United States. I hear Jesus Shoes (sandals) are on sale! Sell your SUV while the price is still high. Buy your burlap sacks and Jesus Shoes while the price is still low! Buy Low, Sell High! P.S. don’t buy one of those electric cars – electricity often derivates from Halal power sources.

11/24/2006 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Pascal Fervor said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/24/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

2164th notes: For the Record, no one at this site has been more accurate at prognosticating about events on Iraq, than the much maligned Desert Rat.

Yeh, I'll second that (though I don't remember a lot of maligning of DR). And ain't it a bitch?

Wretchard - No one is saying Iraq needs Linebacker III, we're saying Iran and Syria do. But that time is long past, we're collapsing into Carter-esque mush now.

Happy Thanksgiving youse all.

11/24/2006 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

There's a possibility that al-Sadr might bring the government of Iraq down by withdrawing his support from al-Maliki. That might end the "should we pull out?" debate because we might be thrown out, asked to leave.

This also shows the flaw in the "we could win if we were tougher" theory, like if we killed al-Sadr. He is the government, he is part of it. Al-Maliki is prime minister only because of al-Sadr's support. Al-Sadr at the moment is demanding that al-Maliki not meet with Bush next week, and he is also pushing for a time table for us to withdraw from Iraq.

The root cause of the problems in Iraq is not Iran, Syria, or the United States, it is the Iraqis themselves.

One of Sadr's top political aides in parliament told Reuters it would pull out of the U.S.-backed national unity government and from parliament if Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki went ahead with next week's meeting with Bush in Jordan.

"We have asked Maliki to cancel his meeting with Bush as there is no reason to meet the criminal who is behind terrorism in Iraq," Faleh Hasan Shanshal told Reuters. "We will suspend our membership in parliament and the cabinet if he goes ahead."
...
Maliki is under pressure from an increasingly anxious Washington to make good on promises to disband Sadr's and other Shi'ite militias, which U.S. officials say control parts of the police and army. But the prime minister is dependent on Sadr and his fellow Shi'ite Islamists to maintain his own position.

Sadr, whose Mehdi Army rose up twice in 2004 against U.S. forces, has long demanded their withdrawal and seemed to be seeking to capitalise on the carnage in his Baghdad stronghold to press his case.

11/24/2006 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

WC - GDP means little after you get past stock and land bubbles inflating GDP (at one time downtown Tokyo real estate and the GDP appreciation arising from it was worth more than the California real estate contribution). And GDP fails to factor in what chunk is foreign-owned and what new chunks are carved out each year.

Outside actual goods and services, the bulk GDP is is not real - it is speculative. Like building a 300 foot tall box building on reclaimed Tokyo harbor magically adding 300 million in value to Japan's GDP upon completion in 1986 - then equally magically being only worth 27 million bucks 15 years later.

Economic dominance means you compete your proffered goods and services against other nations and win, not go from a creditor to debtor nation with a 850 billion wealth transfer happening every year. That your products are the best, most sought after, and your firms draw wealth out of other nations, not the other way around.

Back when America was economically dominant, we could hurt people with embargos, and with them being denied our high tech products that couldn't be bought anywhere else.

Now any nation we refuse to trade with or refuse to talk to can simply go and talk to some other country and buy anything they need from them. All they forgoe these days is a chance to get the same billion dollar trade surpluses with America and ensuent ownership of a portion of America's wealth generation - that the rest of the world is exploiting.
********************
2164th - You may feel differently, but the neocon dream of the US undertaking a series of major wars against Iraq, Syria, Iran, then KSA to safeguard our Special Friend and their WMD monopoly is pretty much DOA. Desert Fox is right.
**************************
Wu Wei - Bush will avoid complicated arguments about Islamists, military history, etc. by pointing out that Iran will soon have nukes and has promised to wipe out Israel. In fact those arguments will be made only in private to world leaders and our military since Bush will launch the air strikes which begin the war without going to Congress.

I just don't see Bush having the international or domestic support he would need to start another major war for Israel's sake.

Not with the Gulf shutdown, 200 a barrel oil, mass US casualties, a spreading regional war, Iraqi Shiites joining in whacking US soldiers, and a possible need to restart the Draft to fix Bush's last major mistake in office.

Because it would be.

If he initiated a surprise attack without allies or Congressional assent, we are likely looking at his ass being impeached, and not even AIPAC could save him.

Like it or not, we must rely more on what the nations of the ME want than try imposing what we want with a 100% military strategy. They live there, we don't.

11/24/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

A couple of points.

Michael J Totten is doing an excellent job of providing updates on the Lebanese situation. I was heartened to learn that the anger in Lebanon is so great that Nasrallah cancelled his first "demonstration". A direct confrontation with angry mourners is apparently more than Nasrallah can handle at the moment. It would be nice to think that the mourners can sustain this momentum long enough to defang the hezzies, but I doubt that.

Unlike our gracious host, I will make a moral judgement concerning Henry the K's "statecraft". If what Wretchard wrote is an accurate summarization of the position, then I'm appalled.

the leering cyncism of the realpolitic crowd is disturbing. Roiling the waters for the sole purpose of "enhancing" American security seems wrong. Roiling those waters with the goal of a more open and honest society in the ME, however idealistic that sounds, strikes me as the far better option.

11/24/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, thanks all.
I supported Mr Bush, Mr Biden, Mr JFKerry, Ms Clinton and others who initially supported the invasion of Iraq.
I did and do support a move to republican government where possible in the ME.

I do not support the implementation of the Policies that have been formulated.

The lack of an exile Iraqi Force, crosstraining with the US Army prior to the Invasion, the lack of an Iraqization Program, 43 months ago. These a just part of the iceberg. "Catch & Release" was the straw that broke the camels back.

Allowing Mr al-Sadr to grow a Hezbollah clone in the heart of Baghdad, while under US Occupation, that still boggles my mind.
Seems obvious that in both Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq post modern military docetrine has failed to gain the desired result.
Peace & Security

Stay & Win, or Come on Home

those are the real options
not big or long or both.

11/24/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

A little flavor about what we are up against. Interesting topic at Observanda

11/24/2006 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Desert Rat wrote:
"Stay & Win, or Come on Home"

Nice to hear you say that, Desert Rat. In other comments in the past, you have sometimes sounded as if you believed that it was too late to "Stay & win". Whether the West (not just the US) decides that they will go for victory is still an open question, I think. However, the media chant about the US people being ready to throw in the towel ignores Ned Lamont's cold dead political body mouldering in the corner.

11/24/2006 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger dla said...

Cedarford, displaying a need to get out more, wrote:
Back when America was economically dominant, we could hurt people with embargos, and with them being denied our high tech products that couldn't be bought anywhere else.


I'm not sure where you get your ideas about GDP, and economies, but it is clear that you have no qualms about typing.

As noted here, the US economy is far, far too large to ignore.

But I think much of your confusion is that you don't understand how globalization has weakened the old weapon of embargo. America is by far the dominant economy and clearly America could afford to fight in Iraq for 50 years.

11/24/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, Kinuachdrach, there could be a military finality to the conflict, but not with the current Doctrine.

We have dug oourselves into quite a hole, but it seems that we have at least stopped digging.

There are 2.5 million people living in Sadr City. That would take a lot of tent cities to relocate the population to.
While the slums are cleared and leveled, prior to reconstruction. Financed by the Sauds, employing the past and future inhabitants of Sadr City.

That could break the Mahdi Army.

11/24/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Snipers are no longer allowed by ROI to be effective now that we have lost 10 in 3 years:
Too RISKY!
The snipers are willing, but the powers that be say no:
Go out in groups of 20-30 for safety's sake!
...thus they are no longer snipers in a meaningful sense.
One more in a LONG, UNBROKEN STRING of redefining war in a way we cannot win, from catch and release to leaving Sadr in place.
'Rat left out Fallujah I only because there are too many to mention, I suppose.

'Rat was indeed right long before most of us, and some have shown regretable obstinancy in seeing the obvious as the admin has weaved an ever-widening web of ways to lose wars.
...but we were oh so superior, and we still are oh so compassionate and morally justified.
As if suicidal policies and putting our offspring at risk is a highly moral endeavor.

11/24/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dla wrote:

As noted here, the US economy is far, far too large to ignore.

I tried the "facts" approach already, dla, but cedarford dismisses them with a handwave by saying it's mostly either a speculative bubble or profits earned by foreign-owned corporations.

11/24/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Cruiser said...

I think DR was right first. However, in defense of those of us who have come around to positions closer to his recently, there is something to be said for looking for the best in someone, even though there are nagging (repeated) signs that the person is faulty. So it is with many of us and President Bush.

C-4 and Ash are cynics, I generally ignore their comments. DR (I think) agreed with the need to remove Saddam and (perhaps?) to try to reform Iraq - but he rightly (at least from the present perspective) disagreed with the administration about how it should be done. Perhaps DR is somewhat of a pessimist.

I think that pessimism (a trait I with which I constantly battle) generally is more predictive in the short run. But, for whatever reason, over the long run, for this country at least, optimism is more accurate predictor. I do not know why.

DR is the man of the hour, but with some bold moves by the administration all of that could shift and former mistakes could appear wiser in retrospect. At least we can hope.

11/24/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Hayek said...

C4-where did you get your degree in economics? Exports represent over 10% of our GDP. We import over twice as many jobs as we export.Globalization is a win-win situation. The downside is that some jobs become obsolete. When in our history has that not been the case? Look at agriculture. Do you think the millions that moved from the subsistence farm to the city are not better off? You suffer from one of the oldest human sins-envy.

11/24/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

Why is that US Arab General running the war still there? Why has he not been hanged?

11/24/2006 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> If he initiated a surprise attack without allies or Congressional assent, we are likely looking at his ass being impeached

It is impossible for President Bush to get the approval of Congress for a surprise attack. Going to Congress would mean losing the element of surprise, so Congressional approval of a surprise attack is a contradiction in terms.

Shortly after the attack begins, President Bush would likely announce that as a defensive maneuver he launched limited air strikes to remove Iran's nuclear capability. He would be depending on Iran's retaliation to provide a reason to begin a ground campaign, probably with a request for Congressional approval for action which is already under way.

11/24/2006 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

There is a lot of truths being spoken here and comments on how to fix this really nasty situation that Iraq has become.

But I just don't see our Military being able to do it or even have much of a hand in it anymore, other than training more Iraqis so they can kill each other more effectively.

A military is supposed to be just another tool of government.

Well, our government has been using our military to try and make up for a lack of Iraqi National pride and cooperation. Which is like using a hammer when you should be using a screwdriver.

Your going to really either damage the product or accomplish nothing in completing it.

Our Military as it is being used and as it is currently trained can not fight people that won't fight us, except by blowing us up or sniping us.

Unless they are allowed a wide open ROE which of course will give us thousands of "innocent civilian" deaths.

dr said: "There are 2.5 million people living in Sadr City. That would take a lot of tent cities to relocate the population to.
While the slums are cleared and leveled, prior to reconstruction. Financed by the Sauds, employing the past and future inhabitants of Sadr City."


Yea, maybe not so many tents, because in order to get them to leave, we would have to kill thousands of them. They are not leaving and will keep the "innocents" there to sheild them while they kill whoever trys to move them.

"‘If I can't have it, you can't either...’"

There are alot of our Military that think that is an important point. They see us leaving and the whole country being subverted and used by Iran and Syria. Which would be a disaster for the ME and for the rest of us.

Maybe the best answer to all of this is just to eat crow and leave.

But, then when it is apparent that Iran West has become what we feared...

Go back and destroy with no intention to rebuild.

Before we went back, we would be looked at as losers, liers, weak and hated even more by some, laughed at by most.

After we went back and destroyed Iraq, Iran and Syria, we would be looked at as liers, dangerous and someone to be feared. Of course we would still be hated,

but, I don't think anyone would be laughing.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

11/24/2006 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The President has the legal authority to use military force against whom ever he decides deserves it.

It is laid out quite plainly in the Authorization for Use of Force, ratified and signed 14 Sept 2001.
"... To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.
...
IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons. ..."


All Mr Bush has to determine is that Iran, as a Nation State, aided or harbored aQ. Even I know that Mr Osama's son is, amongst oters, given both aid and safe harbour in Iran.

He can legally launch when ever he determines it appropriate to prevent further terrorist attacks.

It's already Law.

11/24/2006 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is a blank check that Mr Bush could cash in at any time he determines it required.

In Pakistan, Iran, Somolia, Darfur, Lebanon, Syria, anywhere he determines it necessary.

11/24/2006 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Desert Rat wrote: "Well, Kinuachdrach, there could be a military finality to the conflict, but not with the current Doctrine."

Good point. But there is no dishonor in changing tactics; equally there is no need to get disheartened.

Think about the Dunkirk debacle in WWII, where the German Army chased the retreating British Expeditionary Force off the European continent, abandoning much of its equipment.

1940. The French were being French, and settling down happily into collaboration with the Nazis. The US public & Congress were strongly isolationist, leaving Britain alone. Stalin was Hitler's ally. The British press was advising the public on how to respond to the inevitable German invasion & occupation.

1940. It would have been so easy for the Brits after Dunkirk to have sought peace with honor, and cut a deal with Hitler. But they did not. Maybe it was Churchill's force of personality. Maybe it was because the Brits realized that bringing the Army home had not ended the war, and it was likely that surrendering would not end their torments either.

People have survived much worse than trying to accomplish vague goals under the strictures of political correctness. Survived & triumphed. Out future is in our own hands -- and Democrats are just beginning to realize it.

11/24/2006 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Dan Senor

" ... al-Sadr has been embolden by our turning a blind eye ..."

Gee whiz. It was Mr Senor and his crew that decided that, or was that a decision handed down from the White House? I've never heard where the decision was made, to turn a blind eye to al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army, that "rag tag bunch of thugs".

11/24/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

We’re so vain

Many Americans see no link between the conflict in Iraq and America’s war with the militant Islamist movement. Osama bin Laden’s top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, would beg to differ. He has called Iraq one of the “two most important battlefields” of the world war now underway.

The other key battlefield is Afghanistan. Should the U.S. accept defeat in Iraq, how many suicide-bombings in Kabul will be required before America and its allies retreat from that far less strategically vital front as well?

And after that, we would have to expect Pakistan — an ally of militant Islamists until the Taliban was routed by American forces five years ago this week — to switch sides again. Pakistan already has nuclear weapons and during the 1990s it looked the other way while its top nuclear scientist shared nuclear technology with some of the world’s worst tyrants. What would prevent that from resuming?

Iran’s rulers, now egregiously violating treaty agreements by developing their own nukes, would be confirmed in their conviction that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Lenin of the militant Islamist Revolution, was correct when he said in 1979 that provoking the United States does not incur substantial risk because “America cannot do a damn thing.”

The perception of American weakness also is inspiring Syria, Iran’s junior partner, to test how far it can go. This week, Pierre Gemayel, a cabinet minister from a prominent Christian family and a critic of Hezbollah and Syria, was assassinated, hammering a long nail in the coffin of Lebanon’s fledgling democracy.

11/24/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Since the comments to this thread began with a quote from VDH, these comments seem fitting as well:

“But there are millions of us still out there who, Jacksonian in spirit, close ranks and will support our troops wherever they are. But we simply cannot ask Americans to die in Anbar province while talking to the Iranians and Syrians who are doing their best through surrogates in killing them.”

“So apparently we are in another Phony War circa October 1939 to May 1940, awaiting the provocation—another 9/11? A nuclear strike on Israel? A full-fledged brazen Syrian invasion of Lebanon? A terrorist killing of the Pope or mass murder in Paris or Berlin?— that sets us off.”

Link

H/T to Pamela at Atlas Shrugs.

11/24/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

There doens't appear to be a "military" solution in Iraq because it's not a military issue.

At this point its the bloodbath that could not be avoided. Having given this some thought I see a couple of issues here:

The Iraqi shia were going to get even. Settling scores and age old grievances are an important aspect of the ME culture.

The Sunni have it coming. First they spent thirty years raping and pillaging Iraq, then they triggered their own insurgency, they the got in bed with Al Q. What did they expect?

Once the infidel invader xenophobia ceased being effective, the action switched to Iraqis killing each other, or just killing anybody anywhere. Madness and rage. WEll armed madness and rage.

Iran's influence, such as it is probably cannot now stop the violence. It's taken on a life of its own and the depravity on display is an important part of our learning process.

People who can douse others with gasoline and immolate them need to be quarrantined. In my mind there is a strong connection between the violence in B-dad and the six imams getting bumped off the plane in Minneapolis. We're seeing a ghastly, mad culture convulsed with hatred and incapable of self control. And we wonder, aye, we wonder.

11/24/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Our Military as it is being used and as it is currently trained can not fight people that won't fight us, except by blowing us up or sniping us.

> Unless they are allowed a wide open ROE which of course will give us thousands of "innocent civilian" deaths.

That's partially because the hawks, pro-military people, won't support the use of standard counter-insurgency tactics by our regular army and marines. They tie the hands of our soliders by insisting they fight every war like world war II, and that they treat every citizen where we are fighting as if they were part of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan. These hawks say we can never make temporarily alliances with bad people, like we did in World War II with Stalin.

This strange attitude towards war leads to perceptions that the US is weak. This is partially because the hawks are trying to set the scope of the war improperly, treating every use of the regular army as if it were a war of survival against the nazis. The world sees us as weak because we are unable to fight in a grey world, but must pretend everything is black and white.

It also seems that these hawks lose patience with the war effort almost as fast as the peace protestors. The difference is that while the peaceniks say we should withdraw, the hawks say we should begin killing, killing anyone and everyone, not just the enemy. (Like the Cold War cry: kill 'em all and let God sort them out.) This is based on the false theory that once there are enough dead bodies, civilians and all, the world will become so terrified of us that our enemies will all meekly surrender, Iranian president Ahmadinejad will convert to being Jewish, and we will live happily ever after.

It seems that the way forward is to use Special Forces and the CIA for the bulk of our fighting. The regular army and marine units can be used in the beginning of the war, like to knock Saddam out of power, but then should be replaced by special forces as soon as possible. Unlike the regular military, our country is patient with Special Forces and allows them to use counter-insurgency tactics like dealing with double-crossing local forces, and making temporary alliances with scum like some of the Afghan war lords. When Special Forces are fighting the war, American does not blame itself for problems of the host country.

11/24/2006 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger RichatUF said...

Cedarford said...

GDP means little after you get past stock and land bubbles…

Except you live in a house (a roof of over your head might be valuable) and stock market valuations are not GDP the services to produce shareholder value is…

Outside actual goods and services, the bulk GDP is not real -it is speculative…
Really GPD by sector The sector you indicate, line 50 on the chart, is only 2.5T of a 12.5T economy…

Economic dominance means you compete your proffered goods and services against other nations and win, not go from a creditor to debtor nation
A corrective

… that your products are the best, most sought after, and your firms draw wealth out of other nations, not the other way around…

Das Kapital…anyway, the ‘trade deficit’ has a lot to do with oil and the oil market…1) the US imports oil and distillates 2) our major trading partners import oil and pay for it overwhelmingly with US dollars. This is why OPEC will threaten to convert to Euros but will never do it. The EU is dependant on export trade, their economies are structured in a way that would make trade deficits unsustainable (because of state corporatism and mercantilism), and more importantly, politically suicidal (a zero-sum theory of a nations economy, labor unions)

…back when America was economically dominant, we could hurt people with embargos, and with them being denied our high tech products that couldn't be bought anywhere else…

embargos create blackmarket networks (AQ Khan) Belmont did a great post about this a while back. And while we are at it, Cuba doesn’t produce much of anything that anyone wants (except cigars) some people wrote a book about that

…billion dollar trade surpluses with America and ensuent ownership of a portion of America's wealth generation - that the rest of the world is exploiting…

Trade is not a zero sum game…here are some numbers

…but the neocon dream of the US undertaking a series of major wars against Iraq, Syria, Iran, then KSA to safeguard our Special Friend and their WMD monopoly…

I take it you are not a fan of Mr.Ledeen, nor his book “The War Against the Terrormasters”. Ah yes “our special friend” and that evil cabal of je... er...neocons and how they manipulate and speculate-if they would just shut up and know what is good for them and take it

if he initiated a surprise attack without allies or Congressional assent, we are likely looking at his ass being impeached, and not even AIPAC could save him

because that is what the Saudi Lobby would want...breaking the Islamist hold on the ME will necessarily break the control that the ME states have over their firm state oil industry


Like it or not, we must rely more on what the nations of the ME want…

Let me dig out my copy of the protocols and divine what the ME wants. Or better yet, why don’t we just believe them when they say “Death to America” and start from that point in the negotiations for the surrender of Western Civilization

RichatUF

11/24/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

Wu Wei,

You're only partially right here. The best and most efficient way forward is to emulate the enemy's tactics. Arm and fund militias loyal to our political cause and give those militias a free hand in doing the dirty work that needs to be done. That would include allowing for political assassinations, mass executions of the enemy, siege tactics, etc.

11/24/2006 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

2164th said...
"I have indulged in speculation that you are an alterego personality of another poster." This is why Cedarfake won't accept your challange at the Elephant Bar, you would be able to identify and match his IP address. He rambles on like someone on "Nazi Crank". The BC wouldn't be the same without him though. His hatred of jews and love of the Wehrmacht, "A fast-trained force that arose from nothing, and it was the best military fielded in WWII" is revealing but you still can't discount his smarts. I am really starting to enjoy reading Deuce "skywalker" nobly bitch slapping him.

11/24/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

And there's absolutely no reason why this tactic can not be used in Iran, as a slow grinding process to deplete Iranian economic, military, and political reserves.

11/24/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

skipsailing wrote:

The Sunni have it coming. First they spent thirty years raping and pillaging Iraq, then they triggered their own insurgency, they the got in bed with Al Q. What did they expect?

They are terrorizing each other now, but it seems the Sunnis go for quantity of dead while the Shi'ites take fewer dead in retaliation, but make them wish they were never born. So it's a race as the Sunnis try to make bigger and bigger one-day kills, while the Shi'ites cook up worse and worse ways to mess a few people up. Meanwhile the generals want just a few more months and just one more division to turn this abattoir into Norman Rockwell.

11/24/2006 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger RCM said...

When “shock and awe” came to Iraq…just after the Taliban was decimated in Afghanistan, Syria and Iran were truly worried. But then something very strange happened. The U.S. went into Iraq and left their flanks wide open. The Persians and the Arabs looked at what was going on and held their collective breath, and thought, “Surely the Americans will plug our borders with Iraq. Only a fool would not.”

As time dripped slowly through the hour-glass, it became that the most obvious thing…keeping insurgents out of a country in potential turmoil…was not happening. The defense department said here at home, “The commanders don’t want any troops – otherwise we’d send them.”

Thus, the Syrians and the Iranians knew that we were going to leave a hole in the war large enough to drive a truck (or many trucks) to funnel men and IEDs through that would eventually kill many, many Americans.

Here is the amazing fact…apparently our leaders “thought” the Iranians and the Syrians would simply shudder in fear at our presence. Initially they did; later they did not. And even as it was clear to the most “casual observer,” they eventually did lose their initial fear and brought weapons and technology into the country to kill many, many American soldiers.

And what did the defense department in the world’s most powerful military do?

Nothing.

And what did the President do? He said that the Generals were running the war and they don’t want any more men. That means to me that the generals knew the enemy was streaming men and equipment from Iran and Syria and they chose not to stem that tide.

Why?

Methinks this situation now only points back to Rumsfeld. And then like Westmoreland, back to the Generals that imitated Chatty Kathy. Not that the president shouldn’t have been in charge…just like Lincoln who fired generals that were not performing, he should have waded in and created some “fear.” That he did not will weigh heavily on him in history and it will leave him a despised figure, ultimately, from the military, but too, from everyone.

I truly believe that all is not lost. I don’t believe in the Kobayashi Maru scenario. But true leadership and dynamic action is required. The cobwebs of naiveté (I cannot believe I am offering this to the President of the United States of America) must be removed and a viable and successful strategy must be employed. Perhaps that is why the input of James Baker is being sought, but that does me little calm as I would expect him to only be there as a pragmatic withdrawer willing to accept the awful rolls that will result.

The President and the Vice President decided to ignore their pledge to the troops that “help is on the way,” by ignoring the paucity of current end strength numbers required to actually pursue this conflict. As a result, we have some Army troops now on their third deployment in five years; not to mention the overwhelming use of the guard and reserves to do the regular Army’s job.

Something inevitably had to give. That the President and the JCS didn’t apparently have a clue how this would all turn out is…abjectly stupid.

And my friends in the Army - sensing this - are asking to be retired. But those requests are being turned down you see, because every last man is needed.

"Hell is truth seen too late; duty neglected in it's season."

---Tryon Edwards

11/25/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger RCM said...

It was not the abstinance of DR (although it did) that irritated me; it was the unwillingness of the government - all this time - to not see the obviousness of his (and my) criticism.

11/25/2006 06:03:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger