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First troop cuts officially announced
Posted by: McQ on Friday, December 23, 2005

Note that these cuts announced by Rumsfeld take the troop strength under the 138,000 troop baseline which the Pentagon has been maintaining in Iraq. This cut is over and above the 12,000 to 15,000 troops who were maintained above the baseline for the Dec. 15 election (and who are also coming home):
The United States will have two fewer brigades in Iraq in 2006, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today.

Rumsfeld announced before a cheering group of Marines that the United States will drop from 17 to 15 brigades in the coming year. The change will drop the number of Americans in the country under the 138,000-level baseline, officials said.

The decision reflects the proper balance between coalition and Iraqi forces, the secretary said. The coalition footprint must be large enough to help maintain security and allow the Iraq forces to train up, Rumsfeld explained, yet not so large as to be intrusive or to antagonize the Iraqi people. The force also must not be so large as to take initiative from the Iraqi security forces, he said.

The reduction is possible because of the growing strength and capabilities of the Iraqi security forces, the secretary said. In the coming months, he added, more and more Iraqi army and police units will take over battlespace from coalition forces. Iraqi brigades and divisions are standing up, Rumsfeld said, and American trainers will continue to work with Iraqi units.
In rough numbers, the reduction of 2 brigades is probably 7,000 - 10,000 soldiers. As I've been noticing in deployment bulletins from the DoD, this reduction has already begun. For instance, instead of deploying an entire brigade from the 10th Mtn Div, only a battalion is deploying (and it will probably be replaced by another battalion from the 10th when it's tour is up).

Obviously this is a cut has been predicated on the progress Iraq has made both militarily and politically. Further progress in '06 will likely mean further cuts in troop strength.

But this is a pretty nice Christmas present to the troops.

There was another interesting announcement out of Iraq by Sec. Rumsfeld:
The United States has not discussed basing American troops in Iraq, and would do so only following negotiations with the new Iraqi government, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today.

"At the moment, there are no plans for long-term bases in the country," Rumsfeld told a Marine during a question and answer session here today.

The secretary said the subject has not been discussed because until the most recent election, there was no one to speak with. He said the United States has been working with successive transitional governments in Iraq about American presence in the country. The U. S. military has transferred 17 bases to the Iraqi military in the past few months.

It will be some months before the new Iraqi government is set up and ready to enter these discussions, Rumsfeld said. The United States would base troops in the nation only if it would be mutually beneficial, he said.
Based on Rumsfeld's point about there being no one to speak with in Iraq (until the Constitutional government is stood-up) this doesn't at all mean we have no plans to request basing troops in Iraq. But it is instructive to note that of those temporary bases the US now occupies, 17 are now completely in Iraqi hands.
It will be some months before the new Iraqi government is set up and ready to enter these discussions, Rumsfeld said. The United States would base troops in the nation only if it would be mutually beneficial, he said.

The secretary spoke generically about U. S. troop-basing decisions. He said the United States only places troops in areas where they are welcome and needed. He pointed to the recent agreement with Afghanistan as an example. The Afghan people do not believe that their armed forces or police can yet handle the security challenge in the nation. Afghan leaders want a strategic partnership with the United States, and this means a U. S. presence in the country for some time. Rumsfeld was quick to point out that this does not mean permanent bases.

Rumsfeld said he did not know if the Iraqi people even want American forces to remain after the mission is complete. If they were to want American forces to remain, he said, he does not envision any permanent presence. He said any U. S. force in the country would have to fit in to the overall global military footprint and contribute to U. S. aims and needs.
I'm still not convinced that basing our troops in Iraq would have a net "beneficial" effect. While I understand the need and desire to have a US "fire brigade" available if things begin to get out of hand and the new Iraqi government is threatened and Iraqi forces, for whatever reason, seem unable to handle the situation, neighboring Kuwait seems a better choice for basing that force. We can certainly insert that force quickly from there, and in terms of air strikes, they'd be almost immediately available from that location.
 
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Of course now we’ll hear from the Demoacrts how it was not due to successes in Iraq, since they will still claim there IS no progress there, but rather these cuts were all due to their pressure on the WH. They’ll claim a victory victory and get louder for further cuts.

As to your last comment, McQ; I think they’re looking at the base being in Iraq as a visible impact thing, not specificly a response time issue.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
As to your last comment, McQ; I think they’re looking at the base being in Iraq as a visible impact thing, not specificly a response time issue.

Everything I’ve heard about bases in Iraq talks about putting them in the western desert. That’s not "visible". Kuwait has established maintenence and logistics bases, a port facility, airfieds and a much friendlier attitude (not to mention much more modern infrastructure). It would be much easier to arm and maintain a force (not to mention not having to run resupply convoys through Indian country and the ubiquitous IEDs) there than in Iraq.

Trust me ... those that need to be aware of the American presence will be very aware of it in Kuwait.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Yeah. Well, I guess THAT would depend on who you want seeing you.

See, here was I was implying; Placing them on the Wesern Desert would place them directly between Bagdhad and Syria, where, seemingly, is a major source of problems in Iraq at the moment. Or, so I took the logic of the placement, because it was the only advantage I ever saw in such placement. Understand; all I can do is guess based o what I’ve seen so far. And but for the Syrian ’insurgant’ threat, I’d agree; Kuwait would make some sense. Still does, as a supply line, if you follow me.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Frankly I see the Syrain foreign jihadi threat as something less of a problem (and waning over time, especially when they no longer have an excuse to "fight the US in Iraq") than the internal threat focused mostly on the US as an occupier.

Remove the US and remove the majority of the insurgency’s reason to exist. That makes it much easier to fight the foreign jihadis (they’re much more visible, much less able to hide than Iraqi insurgents and more likely to be turned in by a public which has grown very weary of their violence).

So, given the opportunity to kill off the internal insurgency for the most part by removing US troops (as well as the IED threat to the US logisitics element of any Iraqi base for the US) and letting the Iraqi security elements focus primarily on the foreign fighters seems a win-win and a smart way to ensure we’re there if we’re needed without being visible internally, seen as an occupier and encouraging further insurgent action.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Remove the US and remove the majority of the insurgency’s reason to exist.
I don’t know as I’ve ever bought this line. I don’t think our leaving will kill the problem.

Look; We weren’t in that area in any significant way when they attacked us initially, and had we stayed at home and counted our losses, I doubt they’d have stopped attacking us. Giving in to their demads doesn’t make them stop fighting; it simply emboldens them. Being ’nice’ only gives ’em a foothold.

And even were we to leave tommorow....They have still a larger battle to fight; Against the Democracy now in Iraq.

By the way, in case I don’t get to say this later.... Merry Christmas.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Obviously this is a cut has been predicated on the progress Iraq has made both militarily and politically. Further progress in ’06 will likely mean further cuts in troop strength.
Obviously.

From the AP:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Dozens of Sunni Arab and secular Shiite groups threatened Thursday to boycott Iraq’s new legislature if complaints about tainted voting are not reviewed by an international body.

A representative for former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi described the Dec. 15 vote as “fraudulent” and the elected lawmakers “illegitimate.”

A joint statement issued by 35 political groups that competed in last week’s elections said the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, which oversaw the ballot, should be disbanded.

It also said the more than 1,250 complaints about fraud, ballot box stuffing and intimidation should be reviewed by international organizations such as the United Nations.

The groups included the main Sunni Arab coalition — Adnan al-Dulaimi’s Iraqi Accordance Front — and a secular Shiite bloc headed by Allawi.
Also from the AP:
Protesters gathered across the country Friday to denounce parliamentary elections that demonstrators called rigged in favor of the main religious Shiite coalition.

In Baghdad, unknown assailants kidnapped a Sudanese diplomat and five other men as they left prayers at a mosque, a spokesman for Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said. An Iraqi Foreign Ministry official said he had not heard of the abduction.

As many as 20,000 people demonstrated after noon prayers in southern Baghdad Friday in a protest organized by Sunni Arab groups and attended by representatives of secular Shia parties.

Many Iraqis outside the religious Shiite coalition allege that the elections were unfair to smaller Sunni Arab and secular Shiite groups.

....

Meanwhile, gunmen Friday attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint in the city of Adhaim, killing eight soldiers and wounding seventeen, an Iraqi army officer said on condition he not be identified for fear of reprisal.

"There were too many to count," said Akid, a 20-year-old soldier from Diwanayah being treated for gunshot wounds to both thighs.

Akid, who would only give his first name for fear of reprisal, said his battalion of about 600 men had already suffered over 250 desertions after a Dec. 3 ambush in Adhaim killed 19 Iraqi soldiers.

"They gave up," he said.

In Balad Ruz, 45 miles northeast of Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt outside a Shiite mosque, killing four people and wounding eight, Diyala police said.
Obviously.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
....since they will still claim there IS no progress there.
On the contrary, there is lot’s and lot’s of progress in Iraq. I admit it. Progress toward an Iraqi government dominated by fundamentalist Shiite clerics, their militias, and their Iranian backers. Since installation of such a government appears to be the Bush administration’s goal, the Iraqis appear to be making tremendous progress.

For once I agree with you Bithead.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
I don’t know as I’ve ever bought this line. I don’t think our leaving will kill the problem.

Didn’t say it would kill it. Said it would "remove the majority of the insurgency’s reason to exist." I think that’s plainly true. The IEDs are aimed at Americans, not Iraqis.

Look; We weren’t in that area in any significant way when they attacked us initially, and had we stayed at home and counted our losses, I doubt they’d have stopped attacking us. Giving in to their demads doesn’t make them stop fighting; it simply emboldens them. Being ’nice’ only gives ’em a foothold.

What are you talking about? This discussion is centered on when we leave Iraq after turning the entire enterprise over to them. We’re talking about keeping a "fire brigade" around to stomp out a fire that may seem to be near getting out of hand. Othere than you wanting a base in Iraq, name a single reason why the same function, i.e. a fire brigade for rapid deployment to a trouble spot in Iraq, couldn’t be accomplished from Kuwait.

And even were we to leave tommorow....They have still a larger battle to fight; Against the Democracy now in Iraq.

For some, but certainly not all, of the insurgency. That’s my point. Basing US forces in Kuwait clears away the distraction in that regard. It lets the Iraqi security forces focus on those elements of the insurgency that remain and which would obviously be aimed at the overthrow of the Iraqi government.

By the way, in case I don’t get to say this later.... Merry Christmas.

Same to you and yours.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
And your response contained the claim that our being there creates the insurgency, or words to that effect.

As for the rest of your point there, I’d sugegst the commanders on the ground appear to be making something rather more of the Syrian threat than you are. Now, I don’t have the info they have, but nor do you.
For some, but certainly not all, of the insurgency. That’s my point. Basing US forces in Kuwait clears away the distraction in that regard.
... and would these not attack Kuwaiti targets, as they apparently tried to do in the initial invasion of Iraq? Let’s remember there’s an awful lot of Wahabbist anger directed at Kuwait as it is; Wouldn’t our being in there as you suggest cause the wackos to target THAT area, if what you say is true?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
On the contrary, there is lot’s and lot’s of progress in Iraq. I admit it. Progress toward an Iraqi government dominated by fundamentalist Shiite clerics, their militias, and their Iranian backers. Since installation of such a government appears to be the Bush administration’s goal, the Iraqis appear to be making tremendous progress.
So, freedom doesn’t work for you, eh, MK?

And I think you’re letting the labels do the talking for you, here.

THe real deal is what they do once in office, not what they call themselves.

And as to that, I have no real worries at this point; THere’s too much history between Iran and Iraq to see them getting overly chummy (Which seems your fear, here)

Further, I have said often enough that seeking to change the culture by means of government is fuitless at best and counter productive, at worst. THe left in this country has been trying to use government to alter the culture for years, and look at the disaster that’s turned into.

Seems to me that similarly, expecting the Iraqi people to go fully secular is perhaps unrealistic as well, and ignores the cultural background. In a choice between gvernment or culture, most will chose the culture every time. Witness the collapse of the USSR; the old culture psung up againt, once the governmentally enforced culture went away.

So, what does this mean for Iraq now?
A long, slow, culturally driven change. We’ve made far too many freinds in Iraq for them to to be a threat to us, (Barring some islamic coup. But at the same time to expect them to abandon the islamic background outright in one go is unrealistic.

Cultural change does not happen overnight.

Your expectation of it is more of your trying at all costs to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
I wonder if there will be a corresponding increase in armed civilian contact employees under contract with the Pentagon.

I really find it hard to believe that this administration is going to reduce the number of combatants when this option is available to them—simply increase the mercenary level.

See for example: Blackwater Security Services
 
Written By: Herman Nelson
URL: http://
And your response contained the claim that our being there creates the insurgency, or words to that effect.

No it didn’t. Look, you complain about people putting words in your mouth, so quit trying to put them in mine. The insurgency isn’t monolithic. There are parts of the insurgency which are fighting OUR presence. It is that part which will go away.

As for the rest of your point there, I’d sugegst the commanders on the ground appear to be making something rather more of the Syrian threat than you are. Now, I don’t have the info they have, but nor do you.

Not really. They recognize they are one component of the 4 components which are in Iraq fighting against either the US, the Iraqi government or both.

They also recognize it is the component which is wreaking the most havoc on Iraqi civilians so they’ve chosen to focus on stopping as much of that as possible. Seems a wise choice to me.

... and would these not attack Kuwaiti targets, as they apparently tried to do in the initial invasion of Iraq? Let’s remember there’s an awful lot of Wahabbist anger directed at Kuwait as it is; Wouldn’t our being in there as you suggest cause the wackos to target THAT area, if what you say is true?

Possibly. Maybe not. Smaller area, doesn’t have the history of Wahabbist terror or teachings, has been more than tolerant of our presence, has supported our action in Iraq. Modern port facilities, modern infrastructure, much more moderate outlook politically.

Why make something more complicated than it has to be if you’re simply trying to have a well located reaction force that can deploy as easily from Kuwait as it can from the Western Iraqi desert especially when it is much easier to support, not to mention much better duty for our soldiers in the former than in the latter?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
And as to that, I have no real worries at this point; THere’s too much history between Iran and Iraq to see them getting overly chummy (Which seems your fear, here)
Your ignorance of Iraqi history is manifest. Yes, they have been historical enemies. But that was when there was a Sunni dominated government in Iraq. Since Iraq became Iraq the Iraqis in charge have been Sunnis. Now that has changed.

I think I see the problem here - you don’t understand the difference between a Shiite and a Sunni. Now I get it.
Further, I have said often enough that seeking to change the culture by means of government is fuitless at best and counter productive, at worst. THe left in this country has been trying to use government to alter the culture for years, and look at the disaster that’s turned into.
Again, thanks for making my point. The idea that the US government was going to go into Iraq and change the sectarian nature of Iraqi culture was, is, and will always be a pipe dream. I couldn’t have said it better Bithead. But the idea that George Bush - of all people - was going to be able to pull it off was a pipe dream inside a pipe dream.
So, what does this mean for Iraq now?
A long, slow, culturally driven change. We’ve made far too many freinds in Iraq for them to to be a threat to us, (Barring some islamic coup. But at the same time to expect them to abandon the islamic background outright in one go is unrealistic.
Yes - like our good friend Sadr. Or our good friends in the Badr Brigade. You know - the same militia that receives its training and support from Iran. The same militia that runs the interior ministry. The same militia that sends out death squads to hunt down Sunnis. The same milita that is at this very moment opertaing torture chambers in Iraq.

Our friends lost the election, Bithead. Chalabi, Allawi, etc. They lost. Big time. The Iranian backed mullahs won.

Why do you want to hand Iraq over to the mullahs and the Iranians, Bithead? Why do you want to condemn the non-Kurd Iraqis to a life under the thumb of an Iranian style theocracy? Why do you hate freedom?

What I find most strange about our situation in Iraq right now is that wingers are trusting the Iranians to do the right thing in Iraq. Meanwhile, Iran is essentially calling for the destruction of Israel and is bulding a nuclear bomb, if it does not have one already.

You and your ilk is getting played, Bithead.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
And as to that, I have no real worries at this point; THere’s too much history between Iran and Iraq to see them getting overly chummy (Which seems your fear, here)

Your ignorance of Iraqi history is manifest. Yes, they have been historical enemies. But that was when there was a Sunni dominated government in Iraq. Since Iraq became Iraq the Iraqis in charge have been Sunnis. Now that has changed.
So, no nobody but Sunnis got killed in the Iran war, huh?
Why do you want to hand Iraq over to the mullahs and the Iranians, Bithead?
You’re the one drawing that conclusion, MK.
Again, thanks for making my point. The idea that the US government was going to go into Iraq and change the sectarian nature of Iraqi culture was, is, and will always be a pipe dream. I couldn’t have said it better Bithead. But the idea that George Bush - of all people - was going to be able to pull it off was a pipe dream inside a pipe dream.
I don’t think Bush ever said this would be a quick fix, nor did I. Matter of fact, that’s been the Democrats’ bitch all along, that it was going to take too long, eh? However, the Democracy seed’s been planted, now. The people have had a taste of what that means. I doubt they’ll abandon it.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
The insurgency isn’t monolithic.
Granted, that. But on the whole, I don’t think the split among them will be quite so great.
Not really. They recognize they are one component of the 4 components which are in Iraq fighting against either the US, the Iraqi government or both.


So, you’re suggesting there’s an advantage in dealing with only three of them?
Possibly. Maybe not. Smaller area, doesn’t have the history of Wahabbist terror or teachings, has been more than tolerant of our presence, has supported our action in Iraq. Modern port facilities, modern infrastructure, much more moderate outlook politically.


Which, as I read, it makes them a hotter target to begin with. Add US to their equation, and we have target practice, if we take the anti-us section of the insurgency seriously. Remember; those nutcases are pissed we’re anywhere in Arabia, including Israel.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Granted, that. But on the whole, I don’t think the split among them will be quite so great.

Well that’s contrary to what the insurgents themselves have said.

So, you’re suggesting there’s an advantage in dealing with only three of them?

Again, context. If we’re out of the country and based in Kuwait, which is what this entire discussions premise is based upon, we’re dealing with none of them. And yes, that’s preferable, wouldn’t you say?

Which, as I read, it makes them a hotter target to begin with.

Well that depends on whether the bad guys can manage to take hold there doesn’t it. So far, no dice, and the US has been basing out of there for years.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Well that’s contrary to what the insurgents themselves have said.
True enough, as well. Trouble is, I’m not taking what these say at face value, given recent history. We’ve both noted in our writings enough falsehoods from that region, to add the concept we’re being lied to into our thoughts almost as a reflex action.
Again, context. If we’re out of the country and based in Kuwait, which is what this entire discussions premise is based upon, we’re dealing with none of them


Well, there again, we seem to be leaning toward negating the threat posed by Syria. If I’m a commander, as a tactical choice, I’m a lot more comfortable in Kuwait as opposed to the western desert, only if Assad’s people aren’t running the show just a few miles west of there.
Well that depends on whether the bad guys can manage to take hold there doesn’t it
Well, no, because I don’t think them strong enough to take hold of much of ANYwhere in the region, (except Iran, of course). However, the ability of taking hold, and the ability of attack, are two different things.. and the latter is still a dangerous situation, for our people. I’m thinking if we’re going to expose them, we might a well gain something from the exposure.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Well, there again, we seem to be leaning toward negating the threat posed by Syria.

Not if we’re the "fire brigade" and that is what we’re discussing. If we’re the fire brigade we’re doing none of that. The Iraqis are.

The entire discussion is about where to place the fire brigade. That entails future ops. You continue to try to bring it back to current ops. We’re not talking about current ops.

Well, no, because I don’t think them strong enough to take hold of much of ANYwhere in the region, (except Iran, of course). However, the ability of taking hold, and the ability of attack, are two different things.. and the latter is still a dangerous situation, for our people. I’m thinking if we’re going to expose them, we might a well gain something from the exposure.

And I’m saying I’d rather they tried to operate in Kuwait where it would be much, much more difficult for them than operating in Iraq.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
The entire discussion is about where to place the fire brigade. That entails future ops. You continue to try to bring it back to current ops. We’re not talking about current ops
Ah. I see the trouble.

Well, yes and no, I’m thinking that Syria is future ops, you see, though not by our doing. Once we draw down, Syria will move, I’m thinking, though perhaps not overtly.
And I’m saying I’d rather they tried to operate in Kuwait where it would be much, much more difficult for them than operating in Iraq.
You’re thinking suicide bombers and the like, I take you? In such an event, you’re quite right, it would be... though I don’t doubt a few would get through at some point.

What I’m thinking of however, my fear here, is the idea that the place is small enough that anyone with a few gallons of fuel to expend could lob something into the place... a situation I gather the Kuwaitis have been concerned about since the late 80’s...

It’s interesting, this discussion, but we’re both of us working on short info. I’d give a bundle to have a better understanding of the thought processes of the commanders, here. And I say them specificly, because my read is that that’s where this is coming from; Bush has been playing hands off with his commanders for some time, now, it being his style. Assuming this is a field commander choice, (Or at least the Pentegon) it logically follows that this is more a tactically driven choice than a politically driven one.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
mkultra: Why do you want to condemn the non-Kurd Iraqis to a life under the thumb of an Iranian style theocracy?


Why would a Shi’a theocracy exempt the predominately Sunni Kurds? You do know that the Kurds are Sunni, right, mkultra? Following your twisted thinking(I won’t dare call it logic) the Arab Shi’a should have even more contempt for Kurdish Sunni than they have for Arab Sunni. So please explain to us exactly why you think the Kurds won’t share the fate of their brother Sunnis under the boot of an Iranian master. I’d be interested to see how you explain the singular importance of religious identity while at the same time discounting religious identity.
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
Just an aside on a related note...Am I the only that is pissed about the continual reference to divisions in Iraqi society by the MSM and talking heads in politics? It’s always "Iraqi Sunni, Iraqi Shi’a, Iraqi Kurds" and they can NEVER be bothered to include the Kurdish Sunni in the "Sunni minority" when discussing the future political landscape. As if a priori Kurds will align with the Shi’a. Do our betters not think we can’t understand the nuances? Would it be that confusing if all of a sudden people started saying "Arab Sunni, Arab Shi’a, Kurdish Sunni"? Or "Iraqi Sunni of Arab descent, Iraqi Shi’a of Arab/Persian descent, Iraqi Sunni of Kurdish descent"? We’re not all as dimwitted as mkultra.
 
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
Two quick things:
Our friends lost the election, Bithead. Chalabi, Allawi, etc. They lost. Big time. The Iranian backed mullahs won.
Funny, but I recall you saying a few months ago that a Chalabi win would result in an alliance with Iran. Now that he’s lost, Chalabi was our friend but there’s still going to be an alliance with Iran. While you’re criticizing people for not dealing with how the ethnic/sectarian conflicts will resolve themselves—and I agree with you on that to some degree; the lack of discussion on that point leads me to believe that many people are operating on faith, hope and ignorance—you seem to be ignoring the historical antipathy between the Persian and Arab Shia. Back during the Iran/Iraq war, the Iranians tried to get the Iraqi Shi’ites to help them overthrow the Saddam regime. Even then, the Iraqi Shi’ites were resolutely opposed to the Iranian regime.

I’ve no doubt that there will be a relationship—even a conciliatory one in many regards. But it’s hard to believe that Iraq will become a de facto client state of Iran.

Still...
If we’re out of the country and based in Kuwait, which is what this entire discussions premise is based upon, we’re dealing with none of them.
If we’re out of the country and operating out of Kuwait, what makes you think we’ll still have access to Iraq? Perhaps the Iraqi leadership will allow us access, but then perhaps they won’t. Once we’re gone, it will be incredibly hard to justify bringing us back in. Who, after all, would need us? The Shia would have military and numerical dominance. The Kurds and Sunnis wouldn’t have the numbers to take the reins of government in order to ask us to return. (if they were even so inclined)

That’s why I think we need to retain a real footprint in Iraq, albeit in the southern and western areas. We need to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement while we still have leverage and influence.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Funny, but I recall you saying a few months ago that a Chalabi win would result in an alliance with Iran. Now that he’s lost, Chalabi was our friend but there’s still going to be an alliance with Iran.
(Chuckle)

And that goes directly to my point about him earlier MK and the rest of the democrats... are going to spend it however they can so that we lose. they are seriously invested in the U.S. losing this war.
I’ve no doubt that there will be a relationship—even a conciliatory one in many regards. But it’s hard to believe that Iraq will become a de facto client state of Iran.
We agree here. My take is that their relationship will only be cordial enough to prevent them from getting into further war.The only way that situations gonna change is if Iran decides to invade. However; Most people here in the United States perhaps underestimate how bloody that war was for both Iraq and Iran. Thereby, they underestimate the reluctance on both sides to reenter that situation. The Iran’s reluctance will be intensified if as you say we have a real presence in Iraq.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
"If we’re out of the country and operating out of Kuwait, what makes you think we’ll still have access to Iraq? Perhaps the Iraqi leadership will allow us access, but then perhaps they won’t. Once we’re gone, it will be incredibly hard to justify bringing us back in...."

Are you saying that we should be able to operate US troops in Iraq, whether they like it or not? Don’t the Iraqis have a say in this? What if the Iraqis want us to leave? The implication of your statement, and I am sure many in the Arab world would see it this way, is that the Iraqi gov’t. is our puppet, and that we are the occupiers and real rulers. And why is it taken for granted that the people of the US would support an indefinite presence in Iraq? It would certainly take more than I have seen here to convince me that such a prescence would be either desireable or possible.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Are you saying that we should be able to operate US troops in Iraq, whether they like it or not?
No, Jon’s correct, here.
Think of it this way; If we’re already there, they would seem to be less likely to object, than they would on the question of re-allowing us access as a new venture. Maintaining a presence would be far less politically costly to the Iraqi government, than would establishing a new one.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
No, it’s merely YOUR finally understanding that the timetable would be longer than you’d envisioned. The Republicans, and Bush’s people in particular, have been telling us right along this was going to end up being a decades long struggle.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
The election results haven’t been officially announced yet and I’m hearing some say that it is all a house of cards and the Iraqis aren’t capable of figuring out what they want for their country. Of course there is interference from Iran’s Shia, just as there is interference from the Wahabbis in Saudi Arabia. Everyone wants their version of how things should be run. But it will take some time for them to work it out. You can’t start with perfection as your only metric. If that were so, you’d have to call the USA an abject failure. Some of you believe like MK seem to already believe that, so tell me what countries you admire for their democratic successes.

It’s repeated time and again that the Iraqis are Iraqi first and Sunni, and Shia second. There are divisions within the Shia, look at Mookie and Sistani. Those will have to be resolved by the Iraqis themselves, there is no reason those differences need to be included on our agenda. The Kurds are living proof that Sunni Muslims can govern themselves. Are they all happy? Are all democrats here happy? The answer is obvious. Iraq is never going to be anything but a muslim state no matter what. Isn’t it possible that the majority want to try something different even if the Islamists want to destroy the country?

Give me a break from the gloom and doom and celebrate the country’s new found way of resolving differences. Ballots, not Bullets. You think some election fraud went on? How about Wisconsin and St. Louis? You think there is some major corruption? look at New Orleans. You think major jockeying for influence and favor is going on? Look at Washington DC.

I bet on the Iraqi people for the long haul. They have endured the worst that can be thrown at a people and they’ve survived. Stop the condescension and give them a chance before you say they can or can’t do.
 
Written By: Abu Qa’Qa
URL: http://
"The Republicans, and Bush’s people in particular, have been telling us right along this was going to end up being a decades long struggle"
I must have missed that speech. Just when and where did Bush say we would be in Iraq for decades?

And still nobody wants to talk about how the Iraqi people feel about this idea. I don’t pay much attention to the polls taken in Iraq, but I think that most of the Iraqis want us out as soon as possible, and I don’t think that means decades.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The election results haven’t been officially announced yet and I’m hearing some say that it is all a house of cards and the Iraqis aren’t capable of figuring out what they want for their country.
Well, I dare say The Iraqis may think the same thing of us, given the power publicly aired political laundry of late. Yet, it’s with no small amount of irony, that I note that most of the reports that are talking about are coming from those who are most invested in our losing this war against terrorism, and who were against are becoming involved in the middle east and the first place.


Apparently, you haven’t been watching. He’s never defined it as anything else but a long struggle . Of course, the differences the long struggle is the overall global war on Terror. Like it or not, Iraq is part of that struggle.

With nothing more than recent trends indicate this is my read that Iraq is not only going to have to be able to stand on its own two feet in a status quo situation, something you could probably do in very short order, it will also need to be able to resist invasions from say Iran, or Syria. I don’t see them being able to do that for several years on their own without supplementary forces regardless of where they are drawn from US, U.N., whatever. That is one of the reasons why I suggest the placement in the western desert for a base for our troops makes a great deal of sense.

As to the attitudes of the Iraqi people; It’s my read that they are not overtly hostile to us as yet and at the moment, the threats from Iran, and Syria are "behind the curtain". I suspect that were those threats to become more overt that attitudes within Iraq would swing further than they are at the moment, toward our being in country for a while longer yet.

Much has been made of the supposed desire of Iraqis to get the U.S. and its non- Muslim personnel off the face of Iraqi soil, and out of Arabia. Too much, I think. Certainly, those concerns exist in Iran and Syria, but not so much in Iraq, particularly given the freindly response from the Iraqi people, themselves. The longer we are in country, the more friendly things get and the traditional (the westerners are devils) distrust takes a backseat. (This, by the way, is one of the reasons Iran is so worried about Americans being in Iraq; their long preached stereotypes about Americans die a hard death when the evidence is in front of the Iraqi people.)

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
"Just when and where did Bush say we would be in Iraq for decades"


I reiterate my question because nowhere in the links you provided(thank you) did I see any reference to a military presence in Iraq of decades. Phrases like "stay the course" or "as long as necessary , and not a day more" are nice political rhetoric, purposely vague while conveying determination and strength, but a little short on particulars. Like the idea of reforming, strengthening, or fixing medicare, there is widespread support, but the support seems to evaporate when actual details are discussed. I can just picture the response at a presidential news conference when, after all the ringing phrases such as

"Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own: we will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more."

have all been spoken, and some journalist asks the question:
"So are you saying that we will have substantial numbers of troops in Iraq for 20 or 30 years?".
When someone takes a poll of US and Iraqi citizens, and a majority of the respondents say that a decades long presence is just peachy, I will probably agree that such a presence is politically feasible. Practicality and efficacy are separate issues, and I am pretty sure we disagree on that as well.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I reiterate my question because nowhere in the links you provided(thank you) did I see any reference to a military presence in Iraq of decades.
And at what point did I say that it would be limited to Iraq?

still, a look at history tells us that wherever we have won a war and yet tensions remain we have remained, as a military presence. Japan, Germany, Korea, the Philippines, Italy, and so on.

You seem disproportionately interested in bucking that pattern, and defeating our efforts in that region. Why?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Nothing like changing the subject, eh, Book?

Sheesh.
And, here’s a flash for ya;

It’s time you asked yourself how much in the way of lives and money we’d be investing in fighting the nutbags HERE, had we not acted as we did.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
"And at what point did I say that it would be limited to Iraq?"

Nowhere, but the discussion is about a presence in Iraq. If you wish to change the subject, just say so.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Well, not really, because when you’re talking about Iraq, you’re talking about the GWOT, of which Iraq is a part. You cannot address one without it impacting the remainder.

In my view, so long as two situations exist....

1) Iraq cannot defend itself from internal or external attacks
2) The GWOT exists

... we are unable to abandon Iraq, unless we want to lose it to the terrorists.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
The hip bone is connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone is connected to the shin bone,...

Since everything is connected, I guess if I have a heart problem I can go to a podiatrist.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Tim;

Many Somalis don’t make it past the first logical challenge. Yours on the other hand, didn’t make it that far.

Envision with me for just a moment our leaving Iraq prior to their being able to take over both their internal and external security responsibilities. does not strike you as reasonable that if we do that we will end up having to take it back from the Islam offices all over again? The simple fact is that Iraq would be ripe for the picking were we do that.

As I indicated, these are precisely the same reasons that we stayed in the aforementioned Japan, Germany, Korea, etc. I daresay that had we seen the job through in Vietnam instant packing it in and running at the behest of American leftists we’d still be maintaining a presence there as well, to this day.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Simalies.... sheesh.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Well, I must admit that I can’t keep up, so I’m packing it in. First we are discussing a permanent US troop presence in Iraq, then the GWOT(?), then Iraq again. And your comparison to US troops stationed in Japan, etc. is oversimplified, but I’m too lazy to argue the point. What is a "simalies" or "Somalis"?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
It’s a contextual error from my voice dictation thingie, that I was too crosseyed tired to notice last night after spending a few hours beating up on some CSS code, sorry.

sim·i·le ( P ) Pronunciation Key (sm-l)
n.
A figure of speech in which two essentially unlike things are compared, often in a phrase introduced by like or as, as in “How like the winter hath my absence been” or “So are you to my thoughts as food to life” (Shakespeare).
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Over-simplified, say you?
I can’t WAIT to hear THIS one explained.


How?


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com

 
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