The other night, Trish posed this question. "How much longer do we have to play Wounded Elephant on the Euphrates?" Did the arrogance of the Bush Administration and a misunderstanding of American history doom the venture? Was it ignorance of Iraq and the Middle East and a naive goal? The US people were asked to support a war and I believe they would have, but what kind of war?
The mantra after 911 was the long generational conflict. If the Administration knew that to be true, then they should have known the best way to win a long war was to sequence a linear campaign of demonstrably singular wins. A Roman style destruction of one enemy after another would work just fine. WWII was an example where The US systematically crushed one Japanese held island after another. Enormous losses were tolerated because they were followed with victories. The victories offset early losses and humiliations.
“My way or the highway” pushed potential allies away and events pealed active allies away, one at a time. "Old Europe vs. New Europe" delivered with a gleeful smirk may have been fun, but it established a policy of creating division, reluctance and outright rejection from a growing community opposed to the Bush way and it escalated into outright hatred. Instead of creating forward momentum, which would have brought new allies to the front, the Administration created adversaries. The most glaring example was the dismantling of the Iraqi bureaucracy and the Iraq military.
At one time the Administration estimated that about 400,000 people, mostly military personnel, lost their jobs when Saddam's military apparatus was dissolved in May 2003.
Initial plans for the interim defense force called for bringing about 30,000 Iraqi troops back to active duty. They were drawn from regular army units. This interim defense force was used primarily with coalition joint patrols and border patrols.. In a January 2006 interview between Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor of the Council of Foreign Affairs and L. Paul Bremer we see this surprising exchange:
"In your new book, My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope, you’re quite candid about the differences you had with Secretary of Defense [Donald H.] Rumsfeld and the Pentagon leadership over troop levels in Iraq, which you felt were too low. And in May, 2004, just before you departed for home you sent a personal message to Rumsfeld, again saying the troop levels in Iraq were inadequate. The troop levels since then have been about the same and the insurgency still continues. What is the problem with getting more troops into Iraq?The declared mission understood by the Administration was "law and order", and not military victory? Why did they think Americans would accept the role of policing Iraq? That does not sound like a war. That does does not ring in my memory as the stated goal, but to the man responsible on the ground, the goal was to establish law and order. How would that have worked in WWII? The metaphor proposed by Trish may be apt.
Well, the disagreement here is a view that I had while I was there that our primary responsibility was for law and order. In particular, in the aftermath of the invasion, we had not cracked down on the looting, which set an example on our apparent unwillingness to enforce law and order. On the other side of it, military people in our government argued that, first of all, they believed they had enough forces to accomplish their mission, and secondly, that adding more forces would, in their view, make the situation worse because you’d have more soldiers on the street and in their Abrams tanks. That’s a respectable view but I just don’t happen to agree with it. So, that was the key argument: Do the American troops actually need more troops—and by the way, I never heard a military man while I was there say he needed more troops. And the president had said and still says if they ask for more he will give it to them. So those are the two sides of it.
Since then, the insurgency has continued at the same or higher levels. Of course, now the sovereign Iraq government is in charge and the quality of the Iraqi troops, I guess, will be the deciding factor.
That's a two-pronged question, like "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" The first question implied by your question is "Is the venture doomed?"
If the answer is yes it is doomed, then prolonging the agony is criminal, we're losing at least a soldier a day, and concurrently pointing fingers in a blamestorming session while they die is grotesque.
If the answer is no it is not doomed, and there's a way to salvage the war, and that plan is being put into action, then blamestorming becomes irrelevant, because the players and strategy become completely different. In that event it does nobody any good to blame Rumsfeld or Bremer or Cheney or Wolfowitz or the 2003 force levels or the 2005 rules of engagement.
Only if the war is not doomed to fail, but there is no plan to salvage victory, or there is a victory plan but no motivation or leadership to put it into place, are we at liberty to assign blame. And that blame would rest squarely on the president if he did not present a plan to the American people. He knows all these calculations, and he has crafted a plan. But the majority of the American people believe option A is the case, and that the war is already lost.
"Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That's what happened in the -- after the 2000 election, I earned some capital. I've earned capital in this election -- and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on, which is -- you've heard the agenda: Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror."
The same thing applies to credibility.He probably spent most of it and even a good plan may be held hostage to that sad political fact of life.
Welcome to the elephant.
It may just be a head-fake that Maliki is doing all the right things all of a sudden, and Moqtada, almost definitely, is engaging in "Hudna," and, obviously, Some of the Iraqi troops still aren't worth killing: however, some pretty smart people with knowledge on the ground are saying the we "just might" pull it off.
Some of the Iraqi troops do seem to be performing pretty well, and we have kicked some pretty serious ass in some battles, recently, and the rules of engagement do seem to be being improved. Witnesses say that many "Insurgents" are deserting the "cover" of Baghdad and running for the hills. They WILL be easier to identify and kill in the less populated areas.
Mookie's boys really do seem to be laying low. The Marines do report getting more help from the local Sheiks. Bush is, finally (why he took so long is unfathomable,) starting to stand up to the Iranians.
I don't know; it seems like Americans just have to put themselves into a "Crisis" in order to function. I'm not saying this is "Valley Forge," and we just crossed the Delaware, but, just, maybe, this isn't a good time to be immobilized by despair, either.
We should know more in a few weeks. If Maliki maintains his new-found resolve, and the Iraqi Army "Shows Up" we might be in for a better 07' than we had, 06'.
- This attack wearing US uniforms and english speak terrs really is a worrying indicator. The terrs would have got far more mileage keeping the captured soliders alive and parading them, but in any case it makes day to day operations that much more diffcult as it rachets up the paranoia/security hassle factor across the whole theatre. Well organized, clever, daring, ruthless, disciplined, sophisticated while conceptually simple - reminiscent of some of Shamil Basayev's better coups against Russia in the late 90's. Not good oponents to have. Like Israel against Hezbollah the longer the war drags on the more we train the enemy.
- Another bad sign : Busting those guys for offing civilians under Colonel Michael Steele orders indicates quite strongly that a Roman solution is not in the offing. One of the most agressive, effective and unorthodox commanders was apparently tending towards Roman style ruthless kill-em-all operations. The leadership can stomach bombing a wedding party and killing a bunch of complete innocents along with a possible couple bad guys (After watching some of the AC-130 gun camera videos you gotta wonder), but going in with rifles and killing less innocents but more probable terrs is apparently not acceptable.
Kinder, gentler warfare, where the nominally evil are bloodlessly pulverized by pushbutton but bayonetting the probably guilty is considered barbaric.
No good will come of it all. Flee.
Maliki may have been sobered by the video of Saddam hanging. He has to stay on top to avoid a similar fate. Winning one neighborhood of a time may work. Sort of a virtual Katrina. Send them all to Houston.
Deuce, he (Maliki) found "Jesus" somewhere along the line. It might have woke him up when we showed him evidence that Iran was not only helping the Shi'ites, but was helping the Sunni, and AQ.
And, you're right, He might have finally realized that he was about to be "on his own," and not ready for the experience.
Or, maybe it's just "hudna."
Oh, I agree, but in the same way that Budyonnovsk was pretty much a one off (later attempts to do it again failed miserably). Like Basayev, vicious inventive guys with nerves of steel, you gotta be afraid what they will come up with next time, and the times after that. They really didn't exist previously - we are inadvertently making them.
I'll bet it turns out to be a "phyrric" victory. A lot of the people involved may not Work again.
By the way, you might have noticed this line:
And the US is a leading market for enhanced oil recovery techniques, including carbon dioxide floods and pumps
Carbon Dioxide? When you refine a bushel of corn you get 1/3 back in Carbon Dioxide, which you can then use to produceMore Oil. Something that the "energy balance" talkers don't seem to ever take into consideration.
It will last as long as the OIL lasts.
But, hardly a day, more.
Oh, throw some bud light in the cooler before you leave, okay?
Naturally this gives Iran all the cover they need to go full steam ahead on nuclear power. Ahmadinejad can even say he's doing it for the children.
When you refine a bushel of corn you get 1/3 back in Carbon Dioxide, which you can then use to produce More Oil
They are playing around with this in Alberta.
but in that process, the CO2 is produced from an on-site coal plant and is used to squeeze methane out of another part of the local coal seam. Your idea would need a new corn refinery built at each depleted oil field, or an infrastructure of pipes to deliver the CO2 from a remote location. This may be too costly to justify.