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I'd like the American Political Timetable to somehow match the Iraqi Political Timetable, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards. My preference is to follow the American Political Timetable that will extricate America from Iraq sooner than the Iraqi politicians might like.If it works out that my nephew doesn't have to go over for a 3rd time, all the better.
How much time does the US Military have?Why are we even asking this question?How much time did we give the US Military in Germany and Japan, post WWII? Oops, we're still there.How much time did we give the US Military in Korea, post the K'an Conflict? Oops, we're still there.We should be prepared to maintain a military presence in the Middle East for 10's of generations, or for however long it takes to kill every Jihadist over there.Let's pull out the day Sharia is outlawed across the entire Middle East.
Wars start when you will but never end when you please. Well last time I checked, I don't think any war was successfully prosecuted that had a specific timetable for victory.The issue here is whether those in Washington advocate withdrawal 1)because they simply think it's unwinnable or 2) because its politically expedient for them. I have more respect for those who think it's just a lost cause and we should simply cut our losses as opposed to the contemptible idea that we could win this thing but withdrawal would signify a loss and justify thier anti-war stand from day one.Rather than rely on Congress to dictate how the war is to be run, I'd prefer to defer to Petraus and the boots on the ground to make the call. After all, they're the ones who have it on the line, not Nancy, Harry, Murtha et al.
I have more respect for those who think it's just a lost cause and we should simply cut our losses as opposed to the contemptible idea that we could win this thing but withdrawal would signify a loss and justify thier anti-war stand from day one.I don't think I've heard anyone to date say: "Yeah, I think we can win, but I'd really rather not." That's not a view that anyone is articulating. The only way you get there is by imputing bad faith to people who advocate a pull-out.I think the war was a terrible idea and I've always thought so. I'm not at all sure it's winnable, and I'm leaning towards thinking it's really not. It gets hard to trust the nutty Pollyanna types around here, who have been saying for years now that the news from Iraq is so great and the occupation's been an incredible success, when they say NOW that this NEW strategy is REALLY working. The boy who cried sheep, and all that. But the truth is we broke the goddamn thing, and so we bought it. If someone's going to have to pay in blood and treasure, it should be us.
a'barge - The difference is that of being a (mostly) welcomed ally in a country where you take no casualties, make friends with and date the locals, even in somewhat xenophobic Japan, and they help pay for US military being there. Or, being in a country that is a war zone - where we pay out 120 billion a year, take daily death and maimings, and even in more "peaceful areas" - most socialization is barred, dating prohibited by both sidesIn Korea, the Philippines, and Japan, late 80s-early 90s - the only trouble my men got in tended to be the minor trouble they caused themselves.Similarly, being over at NATO stations tended to pretty pleasant duty with lots of positive interaction with the locals. No one is talking about pulling US "occupiers" out of Bosnia because like Asia, elsewhere in Europe...and we could add African and Latin American posts...our troops are accepted, and not hunted.Talk of pulling out of Iraq is the apple to the orange of other long-term military postings overseas. An entirely different sort of situation.
How can we rely on the opinions of this New York Times reporter, John Burns? Obviously he's just a tool of Bush! He gave an interview to Hugh Hewitt, what additional proof do we need that he can't be trusted? If you do need additional proof, just look at the kind words he had for that other Bush tool, General Petraeus. This is definite proof of Burn's insincerity! Everyone knows Petraeus has no honor or honesty in his soul and neither does Burns!(For those of you who missed it, I'm mimicking the "arguments" made as to why we cannot trust General Petraeus. He, too, granted Hewitt an interview.)
Robert - But the truth is we broke the goddamn thing, and so we bought it. If someone's going to have to pay in blood and treasure, it should be us.That appears to be a widespread misimpression of unwritten "Pottery Barn rules" that if you go to war and kill people and break things, you have an obligation to "fix it all back up again, nice".We have elected to do so now and then, but no obligation to do so exists under international law.We did in Europe, didn't in Japan, for the most part. Didn't do real "reconstruction" of the South of Northern taxpayers paying to rebuild homes and bridges and other stuff we destroyed. Didn't reimburse the Spanish for Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines or all the ships we sunk..Indeed, a good argument can be made that we would have been better off just invading Iraq, look for the WMD, find and kill on the spot 100 or so Ba'athists including Saddam & sons for the sake of making a good example of them, then withdrawing and letting the "noble Iraqis" hash out their next gov't on their own. Better off by about 500 billion dollars and 23,000 less casualties.Keep in mind that if we have to do future wars against other radical Islamists - or elesewhere - there is no "Pottery Barn" obligation.
Talk of pulling out of Iraq is the apple to the orange of other long-term military postings overseas. An entirely different sort of situation.You are right. The situation in Iraq v. Korea is an apples to oranges type of comparison. So, too, is comparing Iraq to the situation in Korea or Japan in the 80's and 90's -- some 30 or 50 years after the active military conflict ended! You're the one making that comparison. The original poster was pointing out that it typically takes decades before we feel it is time for our troops to return home. Sometimes, the troops are there to maintain the local peace -- pacify the nation as part of the process building a new government. Sometimes, the troops are there to maintain the peace with other nations in the region. In the case of Japan, keeping the local peace was the major reason for our being there for close to a decade after WWII. We've remained there to keep the Soviets (now Russia) and China in check.A better comparison with Iraq would be the Philippines. How long after the Spanish American War did it take us to establish peace? Well more than a decade. What we are trying to do in Iraq takes time and the Administration has always said so. The amount of progress made there is almost without historical precedent. It took our nation a long time to establish the Constitution after the Revolutionary War.
I don't think I've heard anyone to date say: "Yeah, I think we can win, but I'd really rather not." That's not a view that anyone is articulating. The only way you get there is by imputing bad faith to people who advocate a pull-out.Oh I don't know. I seem to recall a certain Columbia professor stating that he'd like to see 1000 Mogadishus when we went into Iraq. If you think people like him, Ward Churchill, Chomsky, the Sean Penn and Sarandon types don't want to see us humiliated you haven't been paying attention. I think the war was a terrible idea and I've always thought so. I'm not at all sure it's winnable, and I'm leaning towards thinking it's really not. You may be right and that's fine. I'm probably closer to agreement with you than you think but I would at least be willing to give Petraeus a chance.It gets hard to trust the nutty Pollyanna types around here, who have been saying for years now that the news from Iraq is so great and the occupation's been an incredible success,I don't recall anyone on this blog saying its been a huge success either so I would say you're applying some of that bad faith you accused me of doing.But the truth is we broke the goddamn thing, and so we bought it. If someone's going to have to pay in blood and treasure, it should be us.Actually I would argue that we gave the Iraqis an opportunity that they haven't had since 1921 to form a progressive representative democracy by removing one of the worst dictators since Pol Pot. But rather than take advantage of that, they chose to settle centuries old tribal conflicts and blow each other up. Considering the amount of money funnled in that country for reconstruction, the Iraqis broke it, not us.
Ah, there goes Mr. a'barge, being "ironical" again!Hoosier: "Rather than rely on Congress to dictate how the war is to be run, I'd prefer to defer to Petraus and the boots on the ground to make the call."Wow, that sounds as if it came right of Mr. Bush's mouth! Did you say this about all the other generals that have since washed their hands of this war? (Shinseki, Zinni) Or is there just that something special about Petraeus that earns your blind faith?
The reasons that we are still in Germany, Korea, and Japan, is so we can have our military bases there so we can project our hegemony. Which, I'm all for.
Wow, that sounds as if it came right of Mr. Bush's mouth! Did you say this about all the other generals that have since washed their hands of this war? (Shinseki, Zinni)Actually I thought all along Shinseki was right and 500,000 on the ground was needed. I also thought shock and awe should have been Dresden Part Deux, wacking Sadr as soon as he got uppity, disbanding the army was a bad move and not shooting looters only encouraged a lot of the lawlessness we see today. But then no one asked me. But then again, that was then and this is now and you go with the general you have. Or is there just that something special about Petraeus that earns your blind faith?Other than the fact that he wrote the Army's operational manual on counter-insurgency, no.
Interesting interview with John Burns whom I respect quite a bit.One of the things he does say in the interview, which is an unknown, is no one knows if we wait 3-4-5 years to pull out if the same potential outcome of civil war breaks out that would likely break out if were to leave now. So do we stay for another 3-5 years with the hope that the iraqi government gets their act together and risk losing many more american lives when the inevitable could be a civil war or do we leave now with civil war being likely. I think this is a difficult decision.Also, Burns mentions the military aspect is one component of this. Another is the ineptitude of the Iraqi government, who is now on vacation until September 4. Burns, said they have missed all of their benchmarks and more fractured now than they were 6 months ago. How much leeway to we give these guys? To we just keep hoping that they get their acts together while we are over there busting our butts? There needs to be some kind of threats to them in order for them to get off their asses.
I don't think I've heard anyone to date say: "Yeah, I think we can win, but I'd really rather not." Apparently the Dems today came pretty close(see hotair.com)Bush finally hired a competent general--I'll defer to his judgment on when it's over.
"One of the things he does say in the interview, which is an unknown, is no one knows if we wait 3-4-5 years to pull out if the same potential outcome of civil war breaks out that would likely break out if were to leave now."oh no, DD, if there's one thing that gives the remaining war supporters certainty, it's that if we leave there WILL be utter chaos. They say this with the same certainty with which they have about everything else in this war. Being wrong has never been a deterrent.Of course it's unknown. But they are willing to continue sacrificing our soldiers to find out.
Yeah, let's recycle this debate. Count me out. Don't give her the traffic for shilling for the occupation, gang. Let the wingers debate each other and their strawmen.
Uh oh--I find myself in agreement with AL--there's a 240 comment thread below on this very subject--why dont we give it a couple of weeks to settle before we all dust off the same arguments.
For at least the past 10 years we have been told that the United States was actually winning in Viet Nam, but Johnson decided to negotiate rather than go on to victory. What people fail to understand is the fact that the Communists were willing and able to keep fighting, regardless of cost – because the government of South Viet Nam was corrupt and ineffective, and the U.S. troops were regarded as interfering imperialists.If there is a massive eruption of violence in IRAQ, people will compare it to the TET Offensive.We probably could, over time, win every military confrontation. We can not create a competent Iraqi regime. Unless the government of Iraq magically becomes effective, the country will probably split into three areas.When that happens, remember every American who died or was injured in this misadventure – their efforts will have been wasted.
Forty More Years!
"The surge is working"Sounds like the kind of rosy crap full of lies that we heard for the first four years of Iraq.The problem is that we have an idiot in the White House who is trying to pull a sword out of a stone and won't let go. And King Arthur, he ain't.
But luckily, we do have the 22nd amendment. In only 538 days, his hand will be forced off of the tiller of the Ship of State.
Luther, you said . . .Unless the government of Iraq magically becomes effective, the country will probably split into three areas.When that happens, remember every American who died or was injured in this misadventure – their efforts will have been wasted.Why?
Eli - well, you say that, but several of your allies seem pretty convinced that he's going to stay put. ;)
But luckily, we do have the 22nd amendment. In only 538 days, his hand will be forced off of the tiller of the Ship of State.What a relief! If I went just by what LOS or Hdhouse were ranting about on a daily basis, I would have thought the Constitution had been abolished and we were going to have to learn how to sing Amerika Uber Alles.
One thing to remember is that whatever we do now, our military will continue to spend a lot of time in the middle east one way or another.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Democrats would be best off if Bush keeps believing propaganda like Hugh Hewitt and keeps this war raging for another 18 months.Ann might be fooled, but I doubt the American people are THAT gullible. Although, they are pretty gullible.Sucks for the soldiers who are going to die for nothing. But oh well, that's life (or death).
How much time did we give the US Military in Germany and Japan, post WWII? Oops, we're still there.The big difference is we had a draft and a willingness to admit we needed a military big enough to meet the commitments of the Cold War. This incompetent and corrupt administration has decided to fight this war with the Army we have, not the Army we need. Ann's question should really be how long can the military sustain the surge. The answer is not much longer. I daresay that all Bush cares is being able to sustain it long enough so that he can pass the whole bloody mess to his successor.
Hoosier Daddy said... "What a relief! If I went just by what LOS or Hdhouse were ranting about on a daily basis, I would have thought the Constitution had been abolished and we were going to have to learn how to sing Amerika Uber Alles."Naw Hoosier....I'll be thrilled enough when some of the current group of Neo-Geo-P'rs start singing "working on the chaingang".George's legacy is pretty much assured...hmmmm wonder how he will look on Mt. Rushmore (remember that? ha)...or on the penny..thoroughly impractical...I mean a round coin depecting Cheney with his hand up George's ass moving his lips? I'm glad the surge is working. Just 10 more years of it before civil war really breaks out....peace is at hand.
One of the things he does say in the interview, which is an unknown, is no one knows if we wait 3-4-5 years to pull out if the same potential outcome of civil war breaks out that would likely break out if were to leave now. Of course, it is unknowable. But the reality is that approximately half of the Sunni Arab Iraqis have already fled the country, and they have been the ones behind most of the terrorist attacks. There are about two million or so of them left in Iraq right now, and those in the outer areas like Anbar are likely to be under a bit less pressure to leave. It is the ones in the mixed areas that are the most vulnerable (and most of those who have fled so far). Ignoring the "Surge" which has somewhat stabilized things as to this group, it is realistic to believe that in a couple of years the number of those in this group would have been reduced enough and those remaining isolated enough to be a significantly lower threat to stability.Add to this that the Iraqi military in particular has improved significantly in the last couple of years, and continues to do so, esp. now, as it is seeing a fair amount of combat in the "Surge". We have always know that it would take at least five years, and maybe ten, to build the level of military expertise we think necessary there (since the NCOs and junior officers have to be seasoned). So, I would suggest two big reasons why things are likely to be different, to our advantage, in a couple of years: first the demographic trends, and secondly, the state of the military.
The big difference is we had a draft and a willingness to admit we needed a military big enough to meet the commitments of the Cold War. This incompetent and corrupt administration has decided to fight this war with the Army we have, not the Army we need. As former Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld pointed out, you go to war with the military you have, not the one you want.It ignores a lot of inconvenient facts to suggest that things would have gone better if we had just waited until we rebuilt the military after Clinton's "Peace Dividend" gutted it (and that word is pretty accurate, given the number of active divisions that were eliminated). First, and foremost, it would take decades to rebuild the Army at an acceptable rate and competence. Part of that is for similar reasons that the Iraqis are facing with building their military - the time it takes to season NCOs and junior officers. I think that the Pentagon figures that it can add about 50,000 a year, max, without losing readiness and competence across the board. Yes, you could do like we did in previous wars, draft a lot of cannon fodder, and give them 90 day wonders to lead them. But our casualty levels would then skyrocket. The alternative is to do what we are doing right now, rebuilding at a rate that won't affect competence.Another thing that must be remembered is that of timing. In five years, we wouldn't have had any legal justification for interceding in Iraq. Sanctions were starting to fail, thanks to the massive bribes paid by Saddam Hussein in particular to two or three of the permanent members of the Security Council.Besides, the obvious - we wouldn't have rebuilt our military if we weren't already involved in hostilities. Indeed, it took a couple of years from the time we intervened in Iraq until we started to rebuild. So, your suggestion is essentially that since our military was understrength, that we shouldn't have intervened in Iraq in the first place, and not that we should have waited.
"The surge is working"Sounds like the kind of rosy crap full of lies that we heard for the first four years of Iraq.That is one of the more fact free refutations of the Administration's position that I have seen. You would do much better and cite misleading and/or irrelevant statistics as Lucky tends to do here. Refusing the even address the issue, but instead just name calling, rarely convinces anyone in this forum. Even the NYT seems to be admitting that the Surge may be working. And those actually on the ground outside the Green Zone in Iraq seem to be fairly optimistic. The more time they spend in the field, the more optimistic they seem. Note that I am not claiming that the Surge will work, but only that there is a lot of evidence right now that it seems to be, and evidence that it has a much better chance of doing so than the strategy we had in place until this spring. Maybe it is illusionary - only time will tell.
hdhouse saidNaw Hoosier....I'll be thrilled enough when some of the current group of Neo-Geo-P'rs start singing "working on the chaingang".Well since it was liberals like yourself that went out of thier way to ban the chain gangs cause they were 'cruel and unusual' punishment for those poor criminals I guess you'll have to think of something else to get your kicks.Heh....guess you need to be careful what you wish for eh?George's legacy is pretty much assuredWell as I mentioned before, history has a funny way of determining one's legacy. Case in point of Truman who had far worse poll numbers than Shrub, so much so he didn't even bother to run again. Yet today he's considered one of the top presidents.But don't let me get in the way of your hopes and dreams.
Besides, the obvious - we wouldn't have rebuilt our military if we weren't already involved in hostilities. Indeed, it took a couple of years from the time we intervened in Iraq until we started to rebuild.No, we haven't bothered to rebuild our military in the six years since 9/11. Except for the Stryker brigades, which were already planned, we haven't shifted the focus or the structure of our ground forces. We have only just belatedly begun to purchase vehicles purpose-built to protect troops against IED threats. We have not even bothered to expand the depot level maintenance to a war-time footing (the backlog at the depots is staggering). As for expanding the size of the military, it has only been in the last year that the administration has made the commitment to do so. How this will be accomplished is anyone's guess as they can barely meet current recruiting goals.
Freder said: No, we haven't bothered to rebuild our military in the six years since 9/11. Except for the Stryker brigades, which were already planned, we haven't shifted the focus or the structure of our ground forces.Here is the problem Freder, we haven’t had a military that has been capable of maintaining continuous combat operations beyond two years since the early 80s. One of the drawbacks to an all volunteer force is that you are trading quantity for quality which is fine for quick wars like Gulf War 1 but when you’re looking at a prolonged conflict such as we are in now, it starts to show its limitations. The real eye opener is the fact that Iraq isn’t even on par with Vietnam in terms of intensity so if the military is on the verge of breaking over this, then God help us if we get in a real shooting war with say, China or North Korea. As for expanding the size of the military, it has only been in the last year that the administration has made the commitment to do so. How this will be accomplished is anyone's guess as they can barely meet current recruiting goals.Easy, reinstate the draft. Fact is, every major war we have been in, popular and unpopular, we drafted. The fact that recruitment levels are low in the midst of a war should not be any surprise. Even with that noble, ‘popular’ effort in WW2 we had to draft in order to fill the ranks as that initial ‘surge’ of recruits started to slack off when it was apparent the war wasn’t going to be over quick. I would not argue that recruitment is low because Iraq is not a popular war as it shows a complete lack of understanding of human nature and history.
Sadly, here is something new for the debate. The rate of American soldiers dying per month has steadily increased over the history of the occupation, including the surge. SourceYEAR CASUALITYRATE2003 48.6 per month2004 70.8 per month2005 70.5 per month2006 68.5 per month2007 92.9 per monthOur troops deserve better than this fool's errand.
Sadly, here is something new for the debate.Actually its nothing new to the debate as we're informed daily on casulaty rates. I don't think there has been any war we have participated in which casulaty rates declined as the war went on so I'm failing to see the significance of your post.Our troops deserve better than this fool's errand.Suggestions?
Alpha: YEAR CASUALITYRATEInteresting how the Left twists stats to imply things are worse. Here's a more relevant perspective:"In May, we suffered 125 casualties. In June, that number ticked down to 101. With July almost over, the number currently stands at 74. Each casualty is a loss to be mourned; still, the fact that the casualty figure has declined by roughly 20% per month while our troops have been most active and engaged is clearly an encouraging sign. What’s more, given the activity level of the current American mission, the number of U.S. casualties should be a lagging indicator of the situation in Iraq. Logically, our casualties should decrease only when more bad-guys are dead and their activity already diminished. In other words, these numbers should represent improvement across the board in Iraq, which is exactly what General Keane reported and those two crazy-brave Brookings fellows wrote about in yesterday’s New York Times."/via hugh hewitt
Spin alert.At the beginning of the interview John Burns states:"The plan is that with the surge, aimed primarily at al Qaeda, who are responsible for most of the spectacular attacks, the major suicide bombings..." But then he goes on to state:"The question is at what point does that begin to translate into the kind of stepping up that would make a change in the warfare, specifically the flow of intelligence to the Iraqi and American militaries here, which would enable them to go after the people who are primarily responsible, whether it’s Shiite death squads or its suicide bombers, mostly Sunni suicide bombers."
/Hewitt presents an archetype of the Left [head exploding when good news presented]: "Congresswoman Nancy Boyda who found three-star General John Keane’s (ret.) positive report about Iraq so upsetting that she had to leave the briefing room in a huff."What the General reported:"The markets are teaming with people. Some operating at full capacity; some not quite there because of the level of violence in their neighborhood and some of the construction that was being done, but nonetheless a steady improvement. Government services are being administrated in the neighborhoods and again some of that is uneven because of the nature of the government of itself, but nonetheless there is an attempt to provide essential services to the population where in ‘06 there were none…I think Baghdad (in a year or two) will be stable except for an occasional car bomb by the al Qaeda. Anbar province will be stable. Diyala province will be stable and many of the provinces around Baghdad will be almost as stable. And I see us, from a security perspective, having made some very significant gains, particularly in comparison from ‘06 and from a political perspective, I absolutely see the change that is taking place from the grassroots level in the Sunni and Shia wanting change."The Democrat Congresswoman's Moonbat's reaction [commitment and consistency]: "there was only so much that you could take until we in fact had to leave the room for a while. So I think I am back and maybe can articulate some things -- after so much of the frustration of having to listen to what we listened to"The Left and Good News From IraqI think Petreaus should be warned that his report may endanger the santity congressional Democrats.
"According to [Democrat House Majority Whip] Clyburn, a strongly positive report by Petraeus would be "a real big problem for us." Clyburn's candor may be commendable, but it's unfortunate that the Dems regard strongly positive news from Iraq as a problem
Eli Blake: "The surge is working" Sounds like the kind of rosy crap full of lies that we heard for the first four years of Iraq.What "rosy crap"? From day one, I knew that this was a long war and that we would be in Iraq for at least a decade."The surge is working"It is working. Thats a good thing, right? You WANT the surge to work?
“By achieving these successes, America is building Sunni militias,” said Ware. “Yes, they’re targeting al Qaeda, but these are also anti-government forces opposed to the very government that America created.”Interesting take from Michael Ware. The whole interview is worth listening to. Even if it's from the Glenn Beck network.He also makes interesting reports on the ethnic cleansing/segregation, and people fleeing the country. So, now Bush and Saudis are on the same page again, both arming the Sunni militias. Which are Saddam's guys...
Breaking: Sunni Arab Bloc Quits Iraqi GovtIf the surge were any more "successful", Iraq would be a Shiite theocracy.Time isn't the magic answer. It's a nice two-dimensional argument that we can all understand, but it isn't the answer. The military can't fix the political problem. The Iraqi government will never be legitimate as long as US is propping up the Shiites. That's not to say that I favor partition or some other variation of a US-imposed allocation of authority. The point is that Iraq needs to devise its own political solution. And it might well be a theocracy. And the "solution" may be preceded by civil war. But at least it will be legitimate and respected.
So, now Bush and Saudis are on the same page again, both arming the Sunni militias. Which are Saddam's guys...Interestingly enough, those Sunni militias comprise a lot of former Batthist army members who were disbanded after the war much to the chagrin of many war critics who now say it was a mistake.But arming them and supporting them now to fight al qaeda is bad.Sounds like damned if you do or damned if you don't to me.
Those July casualty rates are the biggest piece of propaganda I've seen in a long time.Casualty rates have dropped consistently in the summer during this war. You can see trend lines here:http://icasualties.org/oif/But let's look at July deaths over time:July 2003: 49July 2004: 58July 2005: 58July 2006: 33July 2007: 89Yup - huge success there. And deaths were not 74. They were 89, including 80 US soldiers. 89 deaths also happens to be higher than January, February, and March of this year. 89 deaths is higher than every month of 2006 except too.But that's ok. If we want to judge the success of this war based on declining soldier deaths, fine. If the number continues to go down substantially, then the pro-war crowd will have a point. And I'll concede that.But if deaths continue to rise, will the pro-war back down and admit defeat. Never. I except them to be saying stuff like "There were only 200 US deaths in July, down substantially from 250 deaths the prior month" and other crap like that.Stats don't lie. The casualty rate is trending higher, not lower, not withstanding one cherry-picked month.
But let's look at July deaths over time:No. Thats a dishonest way of cherry-picking stats - its not a seasonal hurricane. "The military reported that four more soldiers had been killed on Tuesday, July's last day, taking the month's toll to 78, the lowest since last November."Lowest total in 8 months, so it looke like total US deaths are trending down.
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