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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Have we Run Out of Time in Iraq?

According to a recent ABC News poll only 17% of the American public support sending more troops to Iraq. 28% think we should leave Iraq immediately but 70% think our troop strength should be decreased but not immediately. Over 70% of the surveyed Democrats think we ought to leave immediately.

The Generals have said that surging troops into Iraq will be counterproductive. Unless we can find 30,000 troops trained in the Military’s new “police work” counter insurgency operations, there’s no point in sending them as they will likely undo the “good” that has been done. Others say that unless more troops are sent to disarm the militias there will be no security in Baghdad and without security, our efforts in Iraq will inevitably come to failure.

The problem is “time.” Despite the Coalition's efforts to date, the average Iraqi soldier seems to view military service as merely a paycheck. Early on, AWOL and desertion rates were so high that a very lenient policy had to be adopted in order “build numbers.” Among those troops that have seen action, significant numbers have “disappeared” when called upon to put their training into practice. Iraqi Police Forces are seen as being more corrupt, less disciplined and more partisan than the Army. The British operation in Najaf against the "Serious Crimes Division" highlights the problem within the Iraqi police forces. Colonel David Hunt said last weekend that the “entire Iraqi police force” is worthless.

Al-Maliki, like Faoud Sinoura in Lebanon, is a weak leader who must walk a fine line. His military and police forces owe no allegiance to the nascent Iraqi state and it’s very questionable whether the US has the will to remain long enough to do the nation building necessary to ensure Iraq’s future. Without American protection, Al-Maliki is in an untenable position and is more susceptible to assassination than Pakistan’s President Musharraf. Without a strong commitment from the United States, he has no incentive to crack down on the Sadr militia which has been allowed to swell to 25,000 strong. To do so would be signing his own death warrant which will be carried out as soon as the Americans are no longer around to provide for his security. Iraqi politicians have no confidence in their military and no will to use them against the Iraqi people. Better to let the US or British be seen as the “bad guys.”

With the Democrat control of Congress and waning US public opinion, the Iraqis can tell which way the wind is blowing. Both al-Maliki and Sistani have indicated that Sadr is not a problem. They say the problem is with the Sunni and Baathist insurgents, Al-Qaeda, Foreign Jihadists, and the criminal element which evidently includes the Police. The only crackdown we are likely to see is on al-Qaeda and other foreigners, actual criminals or operations against death squads that can be publicly described as criminal enterprises.

It’s doubtful that 30,000 additional troops sent for a year or 18 months will buy the time required to make something out of the disparate collection of tribes and clans that behave like a herd of cats.

25 comments:

  1. Whit said, "It’s doubtful that 30,000 additional troops sent for a year or 18 months will buy the time required to make something out the disparate collection of tribes and clans that behave like a herd of cats."

    Here's what it will do: Discredit the "stay the course" option once and for all, just in time for the 2008 election season. At the presidential debates, the only argument will be over how fast to get out of Iraq.

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  2. Whit's "herd of cats" is a metaphor for the ages, for it's clerity is beyond windex. However time will not run out on this problem. The venue may shift, the participants leadership will certainly change, but the character of the problem is timeless. How do nations,tribes,gangs or any advisary resolve an intractible problem? War.
    The United States unfortunately has, as writer Diana West says, a seemingly insurmountable cultural override on waging war.
    There is not a shread of doubt that if we could forget talk of a 50 or 100 year war, we could blast our way off the endangered civilizations list and pocket an overwhelming military victory within two weeks. Our culture however is paralyzed by the cost in civilian casualties.
    Ms.West goes on to write that the great paradox of TWAT is that as our capacity and desire to protect civilians in warfare grows, our enemies capacity and desire to kill civilians grows even more rapacious.
    To this paradox and the accompanying conundrum comes the clarifying nexis of war, total war waged over a month's time unleashing every aerial weapon we have on pockets of resistance such as Sadr City, to name but one.
    If we fail, if we allow the polls in a representative democracy to dictate timetables we will have sold out mankinds last hope for a future of freedom , for only we are capable of this endeavor. But if we prevail at this time and place then we can go forward to Churchill's broad sunlite uplands.
    It is up to those of us who know history, who know that wars are always over the next horizon of time to eschew an ephemeral peace and demand a clarifying victory, no matter the cost to our adversaries civilian lives. It has always been thus and either we visit it on them or they on us.

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  3. "Al-Maliki, like Faoud Sinoura in Lebanon, is a weak leader.."

    Then get a strong leader. Why on earth do we put up with these two bit clowns that can't deliver?

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  4. With the public announcement of Ethiopia’s stunning annihilation of the invincible jihadists of Somalia, the State Department felt safe in announcing today its support for Ethiopian offensive. Everything is, doubtless, subject to change with the developing complaints of brutality to come from the UN, Arab League, and the ICRC.

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  5. "We should not exaggerate the ability of the United States Foreign Relations Committee or the Congress to get a president to act in a manner in which the Congress thinks is more rational or more appropriate," Biden said Tuesday. "There's nothing the United States Congress can do by a piece of legislation to alter the conduct of a war that a president decides to pursue."

    "This is President Bush's war," he said.


    Battle on the War

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  6. sam,

    Thanks for the link.

    Well, again Mr. Biden shows the lack of presidential timber. If he, or the Congress as a whole, finds reliable the poll data cited, they may assuredly end the war through legislation. It is more likely, however, that the Congress has looked at the poll internals and understands the displeasure of the public is with HOW the war is being waged rather than opposition to the war itself.

    If I were a betting man, my money would go on McCain instead of Collins or Coleman, not that I support McCain personally.

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  7. President Ford has died. RIP.

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  8. Ford was a good guy. Dumber than a box of rocks, but a good guy.

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  9. Whit, I don't know what "IT" is, but whatever "IT" is, the Iraqis don't have "IT."

    And, us hanging around holding their hand isn't going to help them find "IT."

    I, basically, consider Biden a Clown; but, on this one, he's right. We want their success and democracy more than they want it; and, that won't work.

    They were supposed to put six lousy battalians in Baghdad; they sent two. Fuck'em.

    It's time to tell them we're leaving.

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  10. American political leadership failed to recognize that an enemy has to be defeated in order for him to know he has lost. A defeated enemy knows the price of defeat and the consequences of taking up arms again.

    We were in Viet Nam for fourteen years. We peaked at 550,000 troops. The American public was supportive from 1964 through 1970. That support was frittered away because we never stopped the re-supply of troops or material from sanctuary countries. The enemy in Viet Nam knew how the politics were playing in the US. They listened to American politicians grasping for ways to get out of the war. They knew that they would win by America getting fed up and quitting.

    What is different in Iraq? In Viet Nam, the NVA and Viet Cong wanted us to leave. When we left it was over. It was not personal. It is personal in Iraq.

    There is the religious and cultural tribal gulf that we thought could be bridged with elections. It is even more goofy than was the allowing of the sanctuaries around Viet Nam.

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  11. Deuce, I don't see it as a defeat. We won the friggin war. We allowed the people to elect a government. We stayed long enough for the government to get on it's feet. We trained them an army.

    But, Dammit. Our job is not to be a "Security Force" for a worthless bunch of scumbags. They're just going to have to police their own damned sorry-assed criminals from here on out.

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  12. If anybody, here, has ever managed to help someone who "wouldn't help themselves," then by all means inform us as to how it's done.

    But, I for one, don't have a clue how that can be done.

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  13. I have no quarrel with that rufus. I have said on many occasions that I do not care which side wins. I want them both to lose, preferably at their own hands. The military brass lost me when they make distinctions between combatants and non-combatants.

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  14. Who was that scumbag with the long hair ( looked like he starred in some pirate movie) that was an imbed with a bunch of marines that shot some prisoners that flinched? The marines were investigated because of the film he took. I would have shot them myself and possibly accidently broke his camera. You know it is going to go badly when that starts happening.

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  15. Who was that scumbag with the long hair ( looked like he starred in some pirate movie) that was an imbed with a bunch of marines that shot some prisoners that flinched? The marines were investigated because of the film he took. I would have shot them myself and possibly accidently broke his camera. You know it is going to go badly when that starts happening.

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  16. I have two reasons for my recently, adamant stand against "staying the course."

    (1) I'm NOT CIC, so I get to vent my frustration for free.

    (2) I'm convinced that things won't be any better, OR, ANY WORSE, Whichever course we take.

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  17. as Trish said earlier, roger that.

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  18. I need some serious ZZZZZ's. put the dog out when you leave.

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  19. Yeah, me too.

    Maybe, we'll wake up and find that Saddam's been hanged. That would make the morning coffee taste a little better; Right?

    G'nite all.

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  20. 2164th said, "A defeated enemy knows the price of defeat and the consequences of taking up arms again."

    You defeat enemies by killing his men, emptying his treasury, and breaking his stuff faster than he can rebuild it. In Iraq it's bass ackwards. The enemy is breaking his own stuff faster than we can rebuild it for him, and it's costing us two gigabucks and a dozen lives every week.

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  21. In Iraq it's bass ackwards. The enemy is breaking his own stuff faster than we can rebuild it for him,

    Good One, WC.

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  22. Holding the left flank of the Union line at Gettysburg was the 20th Maine under Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
    In positioning Chamberlain there Col. Strong Vincent told Chamberlain that if they failed to hold the entire Union Army would be flanked and taken. Many of us know this history well.
    If we fail to hold somewhere in Iraq by almost all knowledgeable people, both Rep & Dem, the admission is that the entire ME will become a cauldron for a much larger war and the probable nuking of Israel.
    If we fail now the butchers price will only increase.
    Wars have propelled America from a traditional past structured by families, communities, religion, faith in progress, and a sense of a national whole to a postmodern present of atomization, fragmentation, secularization, and anomie. We may see the old beliefs and institutions of America as good or bad, fair or unjust, universal or particularistic; but they served an important integrative role, and nothing has taken their place. Standing forsquare against Islam while preserving the rights of man can go a long way in resurrecting a rudderless nation. We Must stand for something. We will be forced to take a stand somewhere. Let us make it in Iraq and not Virginia.

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  23. Wasn't it LBJ who said Ford couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time?

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  24. Were it not for the despair inspired by Mr Ford and his junkie wife, James Carter could never have barnstormed the electorate and rescued them from the Internationalist, Inflationist and Recessionist decisions of Gerald Ford.

    Before he was so vanquished, Ford'd muscle out the great Justice O'Douglas, notoriously denigrating him with the racist epithet "Paddy." And in spite of his attitude problems, Ford'd retire with all the trimmings, cosmetic angioplasty and all.

    Hopefully America has the self-respect to tip Ford's rigid remains down the grieving chute into the Amnesty chipper. The mechanical whirl will spit out a crunch, before returning to the calm churn of a moment before. A fitting crescendo for the 38th if there ever was one.

    May he be stored in tin cans so that his memory may live on for posterity.

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  25. But we'll always get to remember Ford for his cover on Cosmo.

    Maybe when he's divied up into cans he can make the cover of Time. Unless his lavish Michigan tomb's terra cotta vetoes and pardons prove more noteworthy.

    Maybe its best we lay his body in one of Gerry's iconic station wagons and set him careening over a Michigan dune and let him rest there, naturally and publically. Just how Gerry would have wanted.

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