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Iraq: Do you want a Strategy or Tactics?
Posted by: Jon Henke on Wednesday, November 30, 2005

He keeps using that word. I do not think it means what he thinks it means...
Meanwhile, it's plain that there's no actual strategy here. The document calls for "building democratic institutions" and eventually "providing an inspiring example to reformers in the region." But the administration has no idea how to do that stuff.
Well, that's what you get for demanding a Strategy for Iraq, instead of Tactics for Iraq. I wish you guys had thought of that before now.

But since it's going to be brought up far and wide in the next few days...

There's a difference between strategy and tactics. Clausewitz said strategy was "the employment of battles to gain the end of war". In this case, a Strategy for Iraq is the employment of the various elements at our disposal (economic, military, political, etc) to achieve the policy goals established by the administration. Strategy is simply "a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal."

Tactics, on the other hand, is the "how to do that stuff" that Yglesias is looking for. Tactics "deals with securing objectives set by strategy". Answers.com spells it out more clearly...
Tactics and strategy are often confused.
  • Tactics are the actual means used to gain a goal.

  • Strategy is the overall plan.
The administration has laid out the strategy for Iraq. The tactics will largely be decided by the commanders on the ground. And, as a famous military strategist once pointed out, "just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain."

And besides, as Sun Tzu also said: "In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch you can attain is to conceal them."

The Bush administration has laid out the Strategy for Iraq. There may be valid criticisms to level against it, but this "you left out the tactics" complaint is not one of them.

UPDATE: More of this goalpost movement from Ezra Klein...
It's not a strategy, it's a goalset. Things like [list of strategic goals] Aren't touted as objectives but steps.

I'm not sure why Ezra claims that clear areas/hold areas/train Iraqi security forces" are "goals", rather than a strategy—or why the two are somehow mutually exclusive—but he, too, is looking for tactics. Even if that's what critics had been asking for all along—which it's not—that's just not the kind of thing that one can or should give too many details about.


MORE: on the positively incoherent (and inconsistent) Democratic reponses here.

UPDATE: The Opinionated Bastard points out that the insurgency is employing tactics, but not a strategy...
I've been saying for awhile now that the decision by the insurgents to use car bombs, IEDs and suicide bombings was a war-losing move. While tactically it seems to be good (most of the troops killed in Iraq are from IEDs), strategically its a disaster. Actions in war need to accomplish something. Ultimately, that's the difference between a terrorist and a soldier. Both may kill civilians, but soldiers do so accidentally in pursuit of a goal.

Terror is not a goal.

 
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And, as a famous military strategist once pointed out, "just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain."

Yup. It’s called getting inside the other guy’s decision cycle, to the point that his moves are predictable and in essence you’re calling them.

Think chess.

But you’re completely right on the tendency to mix tactics with strategy. Tactics are techniques. Strategy is the plan. The job of the commanders on the ground is to pick the proper techniques of war to ensure the strategic plan is successful.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
What does validity have to do with any criticism here? This is all about Getting Chimpy!

What part of that were you unclear on?
 
Written By: Mikey
URL: http://
I think he probably understands the difference. The tactic is similar to Sun Tzu, harrass then attack the enemy where they are not (essentially where they are weakest). Also, similar to the lawyer joke about poundig on the table.
It works for him because he is not running for office and therefore does not need to come up with a coherent plan himself.
 
Written By: anomdebus
URL: http://
What does validity have to do with any criticism here? This is all about Getting Chimpy!

What part of that were you unclear on?


I think Mikey has nailed the strategy. So how to get inside the decision cycle?
 
Written By: s.
URL: http://
Simple, let the Democrats get ahead (rhetorically) on issues you have a handle on, then do a full court press with the facts...

Democrats - "you don’t have a plan, things are a disaster"

Republicans - "here’s the plan, it’s been the plan all along, and look even some Democrats (thanks Joe) agree that there is good progress in Iraq."

In other words, give the opposition the rope to hang themselves.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
While I sometimes use the wrong word, I know the difference between a strategy and tactics (a necessity in the business world).

And it’s not the lack of a supposed strategy nor is it a lack of knowledge about the tactics being used to implement the so-called strategy that has bothered people (at least me),

What is missing are the specific benchmarks and timetables that would let us know what has to happen for us to say the job has been done and our troops can start coming home. The goals are not quantifiable. There is no mention of which goals must be met before the Admin will start bringing home troops. And there is no mention of a timetable for which the Admin hopes to accomplish the goals they have set for themselves.

For example, Bush’s ’new’ document says we look to "make steady progress" in fighting terrorism. Well, we’ve already made steady progress, but obviously not enough to bring our troops home. So how much more progress needs to be made?

Also, while the document very nicely lays out short, intermediate and long term goals, there is no mention of which ones need to be met before troops can come home. Do ALL of the long term goals have to be met? If so, tell us.

And I also fault them for not giving us a timetable by which they hope to accompish their goals. Giving us a timetable does NOT mean we pack up and leave if the goal isn’t met, it means we come up with a new timetable. But the American people have a right to know if Bush is constantly having to push back the timeframe by which he hopes to get the job done (just as Microsoft stockholders have a right to have Bill Gates tell them the expected release date for new software... missing the deadline doesn’t mean Microsoft stops working on the project.. but too many missed deadlines and shareholders might conclude that something is going wrong... just as too many missed deadlines in Iraq might let people know something has not gone to plan).

The lack of specificity in the goals and the lack of a timetable will keep Bush’s opponents from being able to criticize his handling of the war. Maybe this is Bush’s strategy... or tactic.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
Good points Steve ... and I agree with most of them. I’d only take slight issue with this:
And I also fault them for not giving us a timetable by which they hope to accompish their goals. Giving us a timetable does NOT mean we pack up and leave if the goal isn’t met, it means we come up with a new timetable.
Agreed, and I’d have no problem with a general timeline as you discuss it. But that’s not what the administration is being asked to provide. He’s being asked to provide a timetable for withdrawal of the troops and simply declaring the job is done.

Whole different ballgame.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
What is missing are the specific benchmarks and timetables that would let us know what has to happen for us to say the job has been done and our troops can start coming home. The goals are not quantifiable.

Give us an example of a quantifiable nation-building goal.

Then give us an example of a quantifiable goal that can’t be gamed. For an (over simplified) example, if we say we will pull out when there have been no car bombs for 30 days, well, we have just told our enemies what they have to do to get us off the board.

Quantifiable goals have their place, but not everything can be reduced to an HBS business case. War, especially fourth generation warfare, is one of those things.
 
Written By: R C Dean
URL: http://
Amateurs study strategy and tacics, professionals study logistics. Keep your eyes on inflation, W.

Steve, do you send a copy of your business plan to your competitors? Bush’s opponents spent most of 2004 criticizing his handling of the war. They didn’t make the sale. Still can’t.

What products has Microsoft released on initial schedule? Vaporware?
 
Written By: Mrs. Davis
URL: http://
The only problem with stategy, tactics, and timetable is the enemy has a vote too.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://www.tedkarol.com/blog
Give us an example of a quantifiable nation-building goal.

Write a constitution.

Now you list the tasks involved in such and undertaking and you set a date for their accomplishment which should lead you to a tentative date for the completed goal of writing a constitution.

Obviously "stabalize Iraq" would involve many, many more tasks than would "write a constitution", but those tasks could be identified and written and assigned a time frame for accomplishment, which should again lead us to a general timeframe for "stabalizing Iraq".

Obviously the timeframe requires we actually accomplish the tasks and within the time allotted, but it certainly could be quantified.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Steve,
When the troops come home is also a matter of tactics. In this case, some of the troops will come home when those troops are no longer required to meet the strategic goals. That is why the President keeps saying that the disposition of troops is in the hands of the commanders on the ground, where it belongs. He has consistently said that we would send more troops if the commanders on the ground said they needed them and that the troops will come home as the commanders on the ground say they are no longer required. President Bush knows where these decisions belong and it is not 10,000 miles from the battlefield.
 
Written By: Skeptic
URL: http://

It works for him because he is not running for office and therefore does not need to come up with a coherent plan himself.
The tragedy of this is that the Democratic Party had a perfectly good opportunity to do exactly this in fall of 2004. They didn’t and decided to play the opposition party instead.

I’m in favor of milestones but opposed to a timetable. The problem that’s too often ignored about publishing a timetable is the loss of credibility when the timetable isn’t met. You can’t just promote another timetable. You’ve created even more doubt about American intentions which further encourages armed opposition.

What are needed are specific milestones with specific consequences i.e. “when such-and-such happens, then we do so-and-so”. That would allow both prudence and confidence building.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
I wouldn’t favor a timetable such as you, steve, ask for, although it is a good idea and I commend you for it. Such a flexible timetable presumes the integrity of the anti-war people. A significant fraction of the anti-war people don’t have integrity and are pretty good at bamboozling another significant fraction of the anti-war people who do have integrity.

In short, the anti-war people have collectively behaved so badly that I’m not willing to give them a flexible timetable so they can game it.

And yes, I am well aware that the level of trust between the pro and anti-war factions has descended to the point of near madness and that I am an example of that. I try to fight it. I even know that pro-war people have collectively behaved badly. I try to fight that, too. For example, only an extraordinarily tiny minority of liberals are traitors. So stop it, Ann Coulter! Do you want them to tar us with the Timothy McVeigh brush forever?

So, for right now I’d like to keep reminding the anti-war people that people like me, who were, are and will remain pro-war, have always had, still have and will continue to have plenty of excellent reasons for our position which we think are quite sufficient to maintain that position. You may rest assured that I believe that same about you, even when your collective bad behavior makes a red curtain of blood descend over my eyes and I want to start screaming bloody murder.

Yours,
Wince
 
Written By: Wince
URL: http://winceandnod.blogspot.com
Give us an example of a quantifiable nation-building goal.

Write a constitution. - check
Hold elections for an interim
government - check
Try the murderous bastard who ran the country - in progress
Hold elections for a permanent governement - soon to be complete.

 
Written By: GM
URL: http://
Back in April of 2004, coalition forces put out an arrest warrant for Sadr. His militia was actively battling coalition forces. His militia killed many US soldiers, many more Iraqi civilians, and took control of several cities in
Southern Iraq. His was rightfully chastised by as an Islamic radical, an enemy of progress in Iraq, and a direct threat to the fledging democracy.

Today, not only are members of his militia not in jail, many have joined the Iraqi security forces. They "patrol" cities hunting for Sunnis to kidnap, torture and kill. Here is what Bush had to say about these forces today:
"The Iraqis," General Dempsey says, "are increasingly in control of their future and their own security. The Iraqi security forces are regaining control of the country."

As the Iraqi security forces stand up, their confidence is growing. And they’re taking on tougher and more important missions on their own.

As the Iraqi security forces stand up, the confidence of the Iraqi people is growing, and Iraqis are providing the vital intelligence needed to track down the terrorists.
And here is what USA Today had to say yesterday about Sadr:
Unfortunately, Sadr - whose father, one of Iraq’s most influential religious figures, was murdered by Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1999 - wants little part of non-violence.

The young firebrand is like Darth Vader to Suu Kyi’s ray of hope. He commands a private militia known as the Mahdi Army, linked to murders, kidnappings and torture. He has strong ties to Iran. He is idolized by millions of poor Shiites and occasionally brings them into the streets for a show of intimidating force.

Now, little more than two weeks before the country’s first parliamentary elections, he has emerged as a kingmaker.

The thirtyish Sadr is not entering politics himself. He is doing something that, ultimately, might give him more worrisome influence.

The cleric is setting himself up as a religious fount of wisdom, as Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini once did. He has negotiated positions for his supporters on the main Shiite slate of candidates, which could guarantee him huge influence. In the process, he is challenging more senior clerical leaders such as the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who has advocated peace and inclusiveness.

U.S. officials are attempting to put a positive spin on Sadr’s emergence, talking of the success at co-opting the militant cleric into politics.

But the reality is more gloomy: Despite a ban on private militias, Sadr’s Mahdi Army is not only strong, many of its members have also signed up with the Iraqi security forces. They cruise in patrol cars with Sadr’s portrait in the windows. When a group of mostly Sunni men was found tortured recently, there were strong indications of links with Sadr, raising the specters of both Saddam and Khomeini.
So what was Bush’s speech today? Effectively, an apology for handing over power to Shia thugs. Did Bush even begin to address the problem of the takeover of the Iraqi government and security forces by Shia militants? No. Did he present a strategy to mute the power of Sadr and his followers and the other radical Shia militias? Nope. Did he even acknowledge the problem? Once again, no. Did he dishonor the memory of those Americans who gave their lives in the fight to prevent Sadr and his thugs from taking over Iraq? You are damm right he did.

What is Bush’s strategy? Hand over power to domestic security forces bent on torturing and killing Sunni civiliians and imposing Sharia law throught the length and breadth of Iraq. As Jon points out, that appears to have been the plan all along.

BTW, when are we going to arrest Sadr? When are we going to defend the fledging Iraqi democracy from his fundamentalist grip? What’s the atrategy?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
A good measure of victory would be in NOT having to bring the troops home. We’re still in Germany big time. I know. I live here (Germany).
 
Written By: Jim Peterson
URL: http://
The problem with all this analysis is that it assumes that the primary conflict is a military one. I think this is wrong. The primary conflict in Iraq is political. The military role is to keep the factions from killing each other until they sort it out politically. Other than a threat to withdraw our troops and allow them to kill each other on a grander scale than they currently are, we have little leverage in this internal political battle. So the Administration’s strategies and goals are fine—the question is how do they translate on the ground? My sense all along has been that the Shia have been restraining themselves until after the December elections. They have been perfectly willing to allow us to interpose US troops between them and the Sunni. Once the government is elected and if, as seems likely, they are in control, I would expect the attitude to change markedly. I would expect them to begin the process of clearing Iraq of US troops and to take a much tougher line with Sunni. Is this Administration capable of dealing with this situation? I’m not really sure anybody can unscramble this egg, but this Administration seems particularly inept in these types of political dealings.
 
Written By: Steven Donegal
URL: http://
By the way, I would disagree with something above. Bush wrote the goals in my opinion. I would call the strategies as such:

1) Give the balance of power in the Middle East to the Shiites, thereby forcing the Sunnis to face an enemy more formidable than the USA (to them)...which will make them more quickly come around to being our buddies again like they were in the Cold War. Remember: the Nazis were quickly turned into being our friends when we empowered the Soviet Union during WW2. We may have been left with the Cold War (after empowering the Soviets) but we sure did get rid of the Nazi threat. A poster above thinks it was a mistake to give Iraq to Shiite "thugs". No it wasn’t. It was part of the strategy. The Sunni Insurgents, those with IQs above 80, should already be our buddies. Only some of their low IQs are preventing a realignment in thinking under the current circumstances. If we pulled out, the Sunni insurgents would be absolutely slaughtered by the Shiites.

2) Flypaper Strategy. Some might say this is a tactic, but why then is it all over the Internet defined as a "strategy"?

This strategy is to lure idiots from all over the world to come to die in Iraq so we won’t have them blocking democracy movements in their home countries or blowing up buildings in the west.

The left is enlisted in this strategy to cheer the bastards on in Iraq...but to get very angry with Al Qaeda when they kill outside of Iraq. The left is like a Pavlov Dog Trainer: they give the terrorists "biscuits" for slaughtering US soldiers and little girls in Iraq...but they "lose respect for the terrorists" when they blow up buses in London or hotels in Jordan.

The left, of course, is an unknowing participant in the Flypaper Strategy. The left, by definition, are sheep that need to be led by the right.

3) Strategy #1 in any war: Take the enemies source of income and resources!!! Duh!!

We haven’t taken Iranian oil (or for that matter Venezuelan oil) from sworn enemies yet.

The "Take control of the Resources" strategy is the main metric for winning a war and I would say that we are only 33% successful so far.

4) Strategy #2 in any war: Demoralize the enemy’s will to fight. Our liberals are doing their best to help the enemy here. But, with Shiites committing "atrocities" against the Sunnis in Iraq (that the insurgents will be increasingly unable to prevent) and the Shiite Iraqi army gathering quietly on the border with Saudi Arabia...the "will to fight" could quickly leave the Sunni Wahhabist clerics in Mekkah, etc.

The recent story about the Iraqi Interior Ministry prison should have been recognized as one of the turning points of the general war on terror. Notice that, in the world’s press, it was not an American "atrocity" this time that the press was complaining about. The press is now whining about the supposedly weak, incompetent and cowardly Shiite police and saying "Get those meanies away from the innocent Sunnis that we’ve loved so much the past three years as they killed those evil soldiers of ours."

Remember when the press was condemning Bush for putting innocent and naive Shiite men into police uniforms only to be killed like sheep by the "better trained and educated" Sunnis? Now Bush will be condemned for turning them into highly efficient Sunni insurgent killing machines.
 
Written By: Jim Peterson
URL: http://
America has "heaven born captains" galore, all battles are won. The American tactics when fighting the enemy are superb. Logistics of supply, the stremgth of America, is unquestionably brilliant.

Strategic problems are the problems. Strategy of ignoring foreign influence, strategy of destroying Baathist institutions, strategy of promoting foreign ownership of Iraqi oilfeilds, strategy of withdrawing as soon as possible - these strategies provide additional strength to the enemy.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
Destroying leftist Baathist institutions helping the enemy??? Are you kidding?? Part of Bush’s strategy is to discredit leftism in the entire Muslim world! I haven’t even touched on that, but look around you. Sexy young American women telling their professors that they are not attracted to them for the first time since 1968, people reading the Internet to get news as they cancel subscriptions to biased newspapers and ratings go down for joke stations like CNN. This is all part of the WOT: A strategy to discredit the left among thinking people (and those who just want to live) while we use their sorry asses to motivate terrorists to operate in a narrow field of battle (a open field of our choosing without mountains and jungles).

No, my friend, the socialist Baathists were slated for removal even before 9-11. They stand for pan-arabic leftism. They stand for anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism. They were going to be the left’s new Soviet Union. Don’t believe me? Then ask yourself why the left is really so upset about Saddam being taken out. Ask yourself honestly.

Sadly, Chavez is going to be the new focal point for the left’s militant opposition to capitalism if someone doesn’t deal with him soon.

A couple more points:

Liberals reading my post above may have been confused that I was considering the Iraq War as part of the general WOT. But that is because the Iraq War is part of the general WOT. Even Bin Laden says it is the central focus.

We just gave one third of the Middle East oil to the Shiite Muslims who already had one third. They now have 66%. The Sunnis now have 33%, down from 66% when they foolishly launched 9-11.

We are still left with the problem of Iranian hardliners who believe in the apocalypse (in order to raise the 12th Imam) and democracy stealers in Venezuela pocketing huge amounts of oil money (Chavez was elected in 1999, but we cannot be so sure he didn’t rig the 2004 recall, in fact we can be fairly confident that he did rig it). Chavez is bringing arab enemies into Venezuela and launching terror strikes in Colombia.

By the way: An important strategy has been fulfilled in the fact that Mesopotamia (and thus two thirds of Mideast oil) is now permanently in the hands of Shiites with the corresponding "never before in 1000 years" loss to the Sunnis. It is the strategy of disproportionately avenging even the smallest attack on the American homeland so any group would think twice about trying such a stunt again.

The Iraq War trumps all of the Crusades in its irreversible success.

What Bush says about what would happen if we pulled out? Not true. We can pull out now and the Sunni insurgents would get what they deserved. There would be zero chance of the Sunnis ever winning back Mesopotamia from the Shiites if our troops disappeared tomorrow.

 
Written By: Jim Peterson
URL: http://
Destroying leftist Baathist institutions helping the enemy??? Are you kidding?? Part of Bush’s strategy is to discredit leftism in the entire Muslim world! I haven’t even touched on that, but look around you. Sexy young American women telling their professors that they are not attracted to them for the first time since 1968, people reading the Internet to get news as they cancel subscriptions to biased newspapers and ratings go down for joke stations like CNN. This is all part of the WOT: A strategy to discredit the left among thinking people (and those who just want to live) while we use their sorry asses to motivate terrorists to operate in a narrow field of battle (a open field of our choosing without mountains and jungles).

No, my friend, the socialist Baathists were slated for removal even before 9-11. They stand for pan-arabic leftism. They stand for anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism. They were going to be the left’s new Soviet Union. Don’t believe me? Then ask yourself why the left is really so upset about Saddam being taken out. Ask yourself honestly.

Sadly, Chavez is going to be the new focal point for the left’s militant opposition to capitalism if someone doesn’t deal with him soon.

A couple more points:

Liberals reading my post above may have been confused that I was considering the Iraq War as part of the general WOT. But that is because the Iraq War is part of the general WOT. Even Bin Laden says it is the central focus.

We just gave one third of the Middle East oil to the Shiite Muslims who already had one third. They now have 66%. The Sunnis now have 33%, down from 66% when they foolishly launched 9-11.

We are still left with the problem of Iranian hardliners who believe in the apocalypse (in order to raise the 12th Imam) and democracy stealers in Venezuela pocketing huge amounts of oil money (Chavez was elected in 1999, but we cannot be so sure he didn’t rig the 2004 recall, in fact we can be fairly confident that he did rig it). Chavez is bringing arab enemies into Venezuela and launching terror strikes in Colombia.

By the way: An important strategy has been fulfilled in the fact that Mesopotamia (and thus two thirds of Mideast oil) is now permanently in the hands of Shiites with the corresponding "never before in 1000 years" loss to the Sunnis. It is the strategy of disproportionately avenging even the smallest attack on the American homeland so any group would think twice about trying such a stunt again.

The Iraq War trumps all of the Crusades in its irreversible success.

What Bush says about what would happen if we pulled out? Not true. We can pull out now and the Sunni insurgents would get what they deserved. There would be zero chance of the Sunnis ever winning back Mesopotamia from the Shiites if our troops disappeared tomorrow.

 
Written By: Jim Peterson
URL: http://
I still cannot believe that Unaha above actually thought it was some kind of "mistake" for Bush to remove the Sunnis from the Iraqi military and "institutions"! A mistake because some Sunnis got angry that they couldn’t trick the Americans by pretending to like democracy while they maintained control and then reseating Saddam a few years later? A mistake because a lot of Baathists got themselves killed in large numbers because they foolishly started a doomed insurgency? (many of the 20,000 captured Sunnis will be killed when the legitimate Shiite government demands them from the Americans - they should have stayed home and started businesses)

In fact, part of me would really like to see the Iraqi elections happen and the new government ask us to leave immediately or retreat to bases in the desert. We will do so. Then the Sunni world sees the most incredible slaughter begin (insurgent prisoners and all young Sunni males who have been witnessed as being pro-Saddam). The Sunni world then BEGS the US Army to intervene to save the Sunni insurgents and the heretofore anti-American Sunni males.

I can see Zarqawi on his knees begging for US Army help as a surprise Shiite Iraqi Division congregates on the Saudi border, aiming at Mekkah.

Think that is far fetched? Then why were you crying about the Interior Ministry prison story the other day? This is not too far fetched. It is actually Bush’s #1 strategy to push this scenario until the Sunni intelligentsia understands that he means business about giving Shiites more and more of the Middle East until Sunni attitudes change.

The Mekkah scare scenario could be less than a year away. Checkmate in this chess game will be when a Shiite force is clearly in line to take Mekkah from the Sunnis (smart players always tip their King over a few moves before checkmate).

Bush’s face saving mechanism for changing Al Qaeda’s attitude is for Al Qaeda to simply publicly split with the world’s left wing ideologically. The Bin Laden Family is traditionally conservative so this is doable. Al Qaeda could begin, as soon as possible, to ridicule the world’s left wing and say something like "we’ve decided that the American troops and the US President were brave enough for us to respect. We gave them a good fight. Our men were brave as well. But we will never respect the enemy cowards who cried and whined behind their own troops’ backs. Al Qaeda lays down their arms until such time as the west becomes spineless and weak as it inevitably will become due to its nihilism and the 47% who voted for John Kerry. Then we will finish the west off."

The smartest thing for Al Qaeda to do is to say "We won’t fight a brave man like George Bush. But we know you jellyfish in the west are going to vote him and his kind out of office and gut your militaries at some point within the next 10 years. And when you do, we will be waiting. And you won’t have enough time to restrengthen your militaries and vote in people who know how to fight."
 
Written By: Jim Peterson
URL: http://
A number of points (and some of which were good) were raised about my post, so here goes (in no particular order)...

Jim: our not being able to bring the troops home from Germany was a result of our not having won the Cold War until long after WWII ended. Now that we no longer need to protect Germany from Russian invasion, I don’t know why we have any troops there at all.

GM: yes, we’ve done all the things you outlined. But obviously those aren’t enough to get the troops home. So what else needs to be done and how we know when we’ve reached that goal unless Bush tells us?

RC Dean: As I have written elsewhere, I don’t believe the terrorists want us to leave... otherwise, they would simply hide away and let things happen, let us leave and then surface to do what Bush thinks they want to do. My belief is that they want nothing more than to kill Americans.

McQ (and Wince): just because some on the other side would play politics with Bush’s timetable doesn’t mean he shouldn’t give us one. And he needs to be clear that the timetable is for doing things, not for pulling our troops out, that our troops will come out when those things are done. The American people aren’t stupid, and provided that Bush keeps reinforcing that point (much better than his silly repeating of ’stay the course, stay the course’, the American people will distinguish between the two.

Ted: yes, the enemy has a ’vote’, and they’ll try to do what they can to keep us from achieving our goals. But I would rather than know our goals, know the benchmarks, know our timetable, in order for them to take us and be defeated. Going back in history, both the American people and the Japanese knew that MacArthur would try to recapture islands in order to launch attacks on Japan. We didn’t need to know which islands... what was important was that MacArthur was able to demonstrate progress towards that goal... had two or three years gone by without MacArthur moving, then Rosevelt and the American people would rightly have demanded someone else get in to do the job.

Skeptic: yes, the commanders on the ground ought to play a big part in deciding how many troops are needed to do the job they’re asked to do. But the goals and the benchmarks for achieving success rightly belong in the civilian leadership... 10,000 miles away.

That’s all folks... I’m going to eat dinner.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://http://thoughtsonline.blogspot.com/
A secret strategy paper was leaked today by an anonymous White House source. It is purportedly the Administration’s strategy for Iraq: This is a very complex plan. It takes highly trained specialists to understand it. Do your best to decipher what it means. Many highly educated individuals have not been able to comprehend this complex strategy.
1. Kill terrorists.
2. Train Iraqi Forces to kill terrorists.
3. Let the Iraqis structure a representative government.
4. Help the Iraqis repair and develop their schools and infrastructure.
5. When Iraqi forces can handle terrorists by themselves, gradually reduce our forces.
6. Leave behind a functioning country with representative government.
7. Defeating terrorism takes the three Ps: Presence, Patience, and Persistence.
8. The Iraq war is only one battleground, albeit a very important one, in the war on terror.
 
Written By: JJ
URL: http://
Jim,

Sacking the entire Iraqi army was a very bad thing. The USA had the opportunity to use the existing Army or at least pay them not to go bush. They could have provided the Iraqi army with something simple to do (like guarding the Syrian border perhaps), accounting for munitions and then start purging out the hardcore Baathists.

They did not weed out the socialist Baathists they sacked the entire lot, left thousands of weapons unaccounted for and then were shocked when the insurgency started up. They settled for a pre-determined ideologically motivated Washington run strategy. And as you say it kick started the insurgency.

If that insurgency had not started so quickly, President Bush may actually have achieved victory by now. The failure of President Bush to achieve victory is the biggest boon to the Left in America - economy is okay, unemployment is down, crime is relatively low, but since the war is not yet won the Left can make valid criticism of the Right.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://

 
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