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Searching for an answer in Iraq
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Richard Holbrooke writes an open letter to President Bush about his options in Iraq.

Holbrooke suggests that in reality there are only 3 options now left to the Bush administration there. "Stay the course", escalate or disengage.

No real reason to discuss "stay the course" because it, apparently is out (and is now reported to have been expunged from the administration's vocabulary). That obviously means the strategy must change and a different option must be chosen.

Escalate? Well escalate isn't really an option, per Holbrooke, because the time to escalate has long passed:
If victory — however defined — is truly your goal, you should have sent more troops long ago. You and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld say that the commanders in Iraq keep telling you they don't need more troops, but, frankly, even if technically accurate, this is baffling. Plain and simple, there are not, and never have been, enough troops in Iraq to accomplish the mission.

But where would more troops come from? The Pentagon says the all-volunteer Army is stretched to the breaking point; it is now recruiting 42-year-olds and lowering entry standards. Afghanistan also needs more troops. And suppose additional troops do not turn the tide? Does the United States then send still more? Even advocates aren't sure escalation will produce a turnaround.
In essence, Holbrooke's right that given the lack of a plan for Iraq following the hostilities and what that has devolved into, more troops might have ameliorated the situation then, but not now. That is, unless you really plan to go to war with the militias and insurgents with US combat troops. I certainly see no indication of that sort of will or desire on our part. So escalation, while technically an option, is about as much an option as "stay the course".

Which brings us to his third option - disengage. What does Holbrooke mean when he says 'disengage'?
The last option is the most difficult for an embattled wartime president: Change your goals, disengage from the civil war already underway, focus maximum effort on seeking a political power-sharing agreement, and try to limit further damage in the region and the world.
Said another way (or at least as I'd interpret it), get out of Baghdad and let the Iraqis (ready or not) settle that while you protect, as much as possible, the government of Iraq and enable and facilitate a political solution that will end the violence, enhance the credibility and trust of the people in the government and leave a relatively stable and democratic Iraq in its wake.
Even your strongest critics understand that disengagement is fraught with risk. You have warned of the bloody consequences that might follow a U.S. withdrawal. Preventing such a tragedy must be your first priority. For this and other reasons, I do not favor a fixed timetable for withdrawal, since it would give away any remaining American flexibility and leverage. But the kind of killing that you predict would follow an American departure is in fact already underway, and nothing we have done has prevented it from increasing rapidly. At the current pace, there will be well over 40,000 murders a year in Iraq. A recent University of Maryland poll found that 78 percent of Iraqis surveyed believe the American presence is now "provoking more conflict than it is preventing," and 71 percent support a U.S. withdrawal within one year.
As much as I denied that a civil war was happening in Iraq prior to the last few months, honesty compels me to say I can no longer make that claim. Not only are Shites fighting Sunnis, but they're fighting each other now. And the death toll among Iraqis and American troops continues to rise.

The only peculiar thing about the violence is it is mostly centered in Baghdad, while the rest of the country is relatively peaceful.

However, in Baghdad, both we and the ISF have been singularly unable to stop it. At some point you have to decide, given the lack of success in quelling the violence, that in fact your presence might indeed be provoking it more than you think and as Holbrooke suggests. A simple test would answer that question —- get out of Baghdad and see what happens.

Regardless of the results though, I agree with Holbrooke's basic argument - now is the time to begin disengagement. Now is the time to bring even one brigade home as a symbolic representation of our ending commitment in Iraq.

Obviously such a move could send the situation in Iraq either way. Insurgents and militias might take heart and fight even harder hoping to force us to leave even more quickly. That would mean increased attacks on the troops left in Iraq as well as continued (and possibly escalating) violence within the population of Iraq.

On the other hand, it might actually dampen the violence. If in fact Holbrooke and other critics are correct, and it is our presence in Iraq which is provoking most of the violence, this, if viewed as a good faith first move, may see insurgents back off to see if we'll follow up with more withdrawals.

The last advantage of such a move might be to finally impress upon the government of Iraq that the time is finally running out where the US will fight the bulk of the battles. While Maliki may be right that indeed these things "take time", that isn't a luxury right now he or his government can afford. Nor can we. As much as we need to consider other options and strategies, so must he and his government. The time consuming ones, although they may be the best in the long-run, aren't the most viable ones in the present circumstances.

Please note that Holbrooke is very specific about mentioning his lack of support for fixed timetables. I agree. Such announcements are simply counterproductive. You still want those out there that oppose you to have to guess as to the timeframe in which this will all take place.

To review, yes, begin the process of disengagement.

First disengage from Baghdad. Secondly, send a brigade home. Thirdly, accelerate turning over the areas outside Baghdad to the Iraqis. Fourth, pull back into strategic but isolated positions with the bulk of our forces (in a firebrigade posture) while leaving the trainers engaged with the ISF and giving the ISF combat help only when it is deemed absolutely necessary. Fifth, force the Iraqi government to step up or step down by these moves.
 
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Care to comment on all the attacks against Jack Murtha? I mean the guy was viciously assaulted (rhetorically), are we going to backtrack on that, or is Murtha still wrong even though you are now a lot closer to Murtha’s position than Bush’s?

Or is it Murtha’s fault (and everyone else who spoke up against this clusterf**k) that it was not a cakewalk?

I guess I should be satisfied that people are finally coming around, but there was a lot of really nasty rhetoric from the people who are now coming around, and I just wonder if they are going to continue to villify those that have been right all along.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Care to comment on all the attacks against Jack Murtha?
Not at all. You’ll notice I never said a thing about Okinawa and moving the troops there now.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’ve heard all the arguments against partition, but recent events have brought me back around to looking at that as possibly the best (i.e. least bad) choice available.

Kurdistan is doing fine, and if our lamebrained media would actually report on it, our own citizens and the rest of the world would have an object lesson in Middle Eastern success. The rest of the country, outside Baghdad is apparently doing pretty good too.

A main objective in the Iraq invasion was establishing a functioning, democratic, reasonably open society in the heart of the Middle East. We can get that from the Kurds, and an evolving possible second success story out of the Shiites in a large portion of the rest.

That leaves the rump Sunni Iraq to fish or cut bait (and possibly turn into another Syria), and it leaves Baghdad as a no-man’s land. I don’t much like those outcomes. But I’d rather see those problems than throw away the progress than has been made by insisting on a complete solution.

I’m not sure we have a choice about some of this anyway. The Kurds are never going to let themselves be controlled from other parts of Iraq again. If the Sunnis and Shiites allow their fighting to spread to the rest of the nation, I think we’ll have a de facto independent Kurdistan, no matter what the Turks think about it. We might end up with one of those "nation that dare not speak it’s name" things such as we have in Taiwan. I don’t think the Kurds care, as long as they get to govern themselves and outsiders leave them alone.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I’m not sure we have a choice about some of this anyway. The Kurds are never going to let themselves be controlled from other parts of Iraq again. If the Sunnis and Shiites allow their fighting to spread to the rest of the nation, I think we’ll have a de facto independent Kurdistan, no matter what the Turks think about it. We might end up with one of those "nation that dare not speak it’s name" things such as we have in Taiwan. I don’t think the Kurds care, as long as they get to govern themselves and outsiders leave them alone.
The problem, as I cover in the post on realpolitik, is the possibility that even if this happens (and I agree it could) that if we retreat from our foreign policy goal back into realpolitik, we could see an independent Kurdistan thrown to the wolves (that would be Turkish wolves with Iranian help I would imagine) in the name of "stability" or "containment" or whatever other new foreign policy goal we settle on.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The rest of the country, outside Baghdad is apparently doing pretty good too.

This is a myth held up by lack of media attention to the rest of the country, as far as I can tell. The south of Iraq may - may - only have as much outright killing between Shiite militias as, say, Gaza.

Everything west and north of Baghdad to the Kurdish border, as far as I can tell, is all-out-war.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Please note that Holbrooke is very specific about mentioning his lack of support for fixed timetables. I agree. Such announcements are simply counterproductive.


Are they? Or are they neccesary to create the pause in violence? I mean, pulling back a brigade, from the birds eye view of the average Iraqi, doesn’t diminish the perception of American control.


My suggestion is - better than a unilteral timetable or a... vague commitment to some sorta semiwithdrawal - is a negotitated timetable. You can even make it contingent on a general ceasefire.

How hard would that be? President Bush goes on TV says, "Iraqis, friends and enemies, we’d like to demonstrate our commitment to a ending this violence. We make an offer to the Iraqi people and insurgents - in you lower your weapons and refrain from violence in Baghdad, we will sit down with anyone short of Al-Quida and make a promise to remove American troops from Baghdad. Everywhere there is an end to violence for three months, is a city US troops will go home from."

It’s important not to go halfway when you are trying to break a trend.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Actually, as suggested by Peter Galbraith in "The End of Iraq", Kurdistan would be the best place to redeploy our forces. They would be welcome there, it is stable and relatively safe and our troops would provide complete security for the Kurds and still be close to Arab Iraq to deal with any large, Afghanistan-style terrorist problem . The Turks would just have to deal with it. Consider it payback for their intransigence during the original invasion.

He also suggested partition, or as the White House calls it "a non-starter". What Galbraith suggested is a combination of Murtha’s ideas and Joe Biden’s plan, and he probably thought of it first.

The best thing is that maybe now there can be a decent debate about what to do. Captin Sarcastic is right, it’s time to quit villifying anybody with a different idea about what to do.
 
Written By: Pug
URL: http://
This is a myth held up by lack of media attention to the rest of the country, as far as I can tell. The south of Iraq may - may - only have as much outright killing between Shiite militias as, say, Gaza.

Everything west and north of Baghdad to the Kurdish border, as far as I can tell, is all-out-war.
Given, as you admit, the lack of media coverage, on what do you base your assertion?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’ve heard all the arguments against partition, but recent events have brought me back around to looking at that as possibly the best (i.e. least bad) choice available.
So are magic carpets and unicorns. But they ain’t gonna happen either. If you think either the Sunnis or the Shia would ever agree to partition, you have a screw loose. For starters, the Kurds would never agree to a partition without Kirkuk becoming part of Kurdistan. And the Sunnis and, for that matter, the Shia, would never agree to letting it go.

Far from being an island of tranquility, Kurdistan represents that biggest threat in Iraq to regional stability. The PKK - a terrorist organization based in Kurdistan - is already engaged in a low-intensity war with our NATO ally Turkey.
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Turkish forces killed three members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) late on Monday, security officials said, as clashes continue despite a unilateral ceasefire launched this month.

Two sergeants were also wounded in the latest clashes since Oct. 1, when the PKK’s unilateral ceasefire — dismissed by the army and government as a publicity stunt — came into effect.

Soldiers came across the PKK members in the province of Batman, near the border with Iraq in the mainly Kurdish southeast, and the rebels opened fire when troops called on them to surrender, the officials said on Tuesday.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has said it will not carry out any attacks as part of the ceasefire but will defend itself if attacked.
But according to Billy ....
Kurdistan is doing fine, and if our lamebrained media would actually report on it, our own citizens and the rest of the world would have an object lesson in Middle Eastern success.


If your definition of success is a state-sponsor of Muslim terrorism against our secular ally in the region, well, then, yes, Kurdistan is a success. But that would of course mean Lebanon is a success too. If only our lamebrained media could understand that.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
I suspect the reason Bagdad has more violence then the rest of Iraq has to do with the overwhelming access to news crews in Bagdad combined with it’s significance as the Capitol. It is also filled with all the high value government and military targets. Therefore disruption in Bagdad is worth far more then disruption anywhere else in Iraq.

Also, Iran can more easily support its puppets there via Sadr and his henchmen, and they still have a large amount of sympathizers there.

Withdrawing from Iraq based solely on our experience in Bagdad would sacrifice all that we’ve won in the rest of the country. As other commentors have noted, the rest of Iraq is largely quiet. This would change if we followed the "Murtha" option.

Staying the course doesn’t get many votes because so few people realize just what is being done. Since most news reports are solely body counts and setbacks we fail to recognize what works, only what is broken. It could be argued that we are currently "Escallating" by staying the course and bringing more Iraqi forces online. The number of US troops may be constant, but the Iraqi forces continue to increase in number and effectiveness.
 
Written By: The Brain
URL: http://
Whatever, mk. Personally, I prefer to listen to people who have actually been there. Go ahead and rant. I’ll take their opinion over yours.

And don’t come back with some "But it’s not perfect!" strawman. We all know it’s not perfect. But I don’t see how it can be considered a failure, unless someone has a vested interest in seeing it as such. Which, of course, you do.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Glasnost ... in reference to your assertion about the myth of no violence beyond Baghdad:
He said that 90 percent of the sectarian killings that have sent civilian death tolls skyrocketing this year happen within 30 miles of Baghdad. “This is not a country that’s awash in sectarian violence,” he said.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"The only peculiar thing about the violence is it is mostly centered in Baghdad, while the rest of the country is relatively peaceful."

A modest solution comes to mind, sort of like fighting a forest fire. Why don’t we redeploy from Baghdad and form a cordon around it, isolating it and letting it burn itself out.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malayan_Emergency

"Although the conflicts in Malaya and Vietnam differed on many points in so far as the details of their wars, it has been asked time and again by historians as to how a British force of 35,000 succeeded where over a half million soldiers of the U.S. and others failed. One of the main points that differentiated the two was that the MRLA never had a dependable ally close at hand like the Viet Cong did with the North Vietnamese Army.

Another key point was the effectiveness of the Malayan Police Special Branch against the political arm of the guerilla movement.[3] .

The MRLA was also, as mentioned above, a political movement almost entirely limited to ethnic Chinese; support among Muslim Malayans and smaller tribes was scattered if existent at all. The British war effort never suffered from anything approaching the criticism that hammered the U.S. in Vietnam, and the USSR and China were too involved in Korea to give serious aid to the MRLA. Also, many Malayans had fought side by side with the British against the Japanese occupation in World War II, including Chin Peng. This is in contrast to Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) where French colonial officials often operated as proxies and collaborators to the Japanese. This factor of trust between the locals and the colonials was what gave the British an advantage over the French and later, the Americans in Vietnam; Commonwealth troops saw ordinary civilians as allies, not enemies."
 
Written By: T
URL: http://
What happened to "WE ARE WINNING" and "blame the democrats"? I really thought I could count on McQ for a delutional rant and here I find a reasoned and well thought out discussion on how to cut our losses. What next? Support for fluoridation of the water supply?

There is hope for you yet.
 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
What happened to surrender? The violence in NYC on 9-11 was too much. Let’s cut our losses and have the US military withdraw from North America.
 
Written By: French-American
URL: http://
Given, as you admit, the lack of media coverage, on what do you base your assertion?

Good question. I may get back to you.

But I sure don’t take General Casey’s word as gospel on the subject.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
This was an experiment. It looks like we might still be able to pull a partial victory from it, but even if it fails it was worth trying. WHY? well, because despite what Glasnost, Capt Sarcastic, Cindy, and MKultra and all the other Monday morning QB’s say. WHAT WE WERE DOING WAS NOT WORKING!!.

Ignoring terror attacks, working with the feckless UN, and wishful thinking was not doing a damn thing. Bush had the Idea of establishing a pluralistic regime in the mid east, OK, maybe it was optimistic, but if it succeeded the payoff would be enormous.

Even now, the payoff might come, but a little further down the line. IF Iraq is partitioned, it is just the reality of the situation, The nation was an artificial construction in the first place.

 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
This was an experiment. It looks like we might still be able to pull a partial victory from it, but even if it fails it was worth trying. WHY? well, because despite what Glasnost, Capt Sarcastic, Cindy, and MKultra and all the other Monday morning QB’s say. WHAT WE WERE DOING WAS NOT WORKING!!.
Despite the use of uppercase letters, you’re still wrong.

Sanctions and enforcement of the no-fly zone in the 1990’s reduced Saddam to a toothless tiger. He had no WMD. In other words, he wasn’t a threat to the world, and, had we simply kept up enforcement, there is zero reason to believe the would have become more of a threat. And, despite Bush administration assertions to the contrary, he was not actively supporting AQ.

It’s an insult to the military to suggest that our post-Gulf War I containment of Saddam wasn’t working. It was. Moreover, Saddam still remained as an effective counterweight to Iran. Now, we have created an Iranian ally.

Was Saddam a bad dude? Sure. But so what. It was obvious to anyone who knew anything about why we didn’t invade after Gulf War I that invading Iraq would turn it into a failed state - Lebanon on steroids. Again, this was hardly a mystery.

Monday morning quaterbacking? Hardly. Here is what Dick Cheney said in 1991 - yes 1991 - 1991!!!!
I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we were going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we’d have had to hunt him down. And once we’d done that and we’d gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we’d have had to put another government in its place.

What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi’i government or a Kurdish government or Ba’athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable?

I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it’s my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq.
How can it be Monday morning quaterbacking when we knew how the game would turn out 12 years before it was played?

Sorry. Try again.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Bush had the Idea of establishing a pluralistic regime in the mid east, OK, maybe it was optimistic, but if it succeeded the payoff would be enormous.
That is a very cavalier attitude to take with the lives of our soldiers.

Let’s take a shot, what’s a few thousand soldiers.

We should never go to war unless it is to defend ourselves, the idea that invading a nation to remake it in our image as a defensive measure in the long run should be antithetical to the foreign policy policy philosophy of anyone but the most arrogant of policy makers or policy watchers.

Let me make this clear, the law of unintended consequences made success in Iraq unlikely, but even if it were successful, it would still have been wrong, AND it would have invited more adventures of this kind, which would have ended in disaster. As it is, this failure will set American foreigh policy BACK, as pointed out in the RealPolitik thread, we will be MORE fearful of doing what should be done as a result of the experiences we had in doing what should never have been done.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Staying the course doesn’t get many votes because so few people realize just what is being done.
The real beginning and end of the whole argument. Continuing the current plan might be the only right thing to do, but it’s very bad PR.

Just look at the response from the anti-war peace creeps whenever the administration responds to critics. The left just fires back with having their "freedom of speech" silenced (heh?).
 
Written By: Josh
URL: http://
McQ:

First, I commend you on reassessing your Iraq position.

Second, I don’t think that the Iraq experience necessarily equates to a retreat into realpolitiks. It may, but that would be an erroneous overreaction. Iraq is sui generis and it has nothing to do with Darfur. What should be done is a through investigation of what mistakes were made and how they were made. Then we can draw whatever lessons there are to be learned. That is likely to happen once the Democrats take the House (and perhaps the Senate).

Third, we cannot afford an isolationist or realpolitik foreign policy. What happens in the rest of the world is of compelling interest to the United States in today’s world. Islamofacism won’t go away merely because we become petulant and buck up dictatorships in Islamic nations in a false search for momentary stability. That would be the worst foreign policy we could adopt.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
Fifth, force the Iraqi government to step up or step down by these moves.

This will increase the bloodshed. The situation will transform from the current course where America (with ISF assistance) runs around and tries to stop everybody fighting, to a full blown civil war with the ISF trying to win it for the Shia and the Sunni fighting back. There will be large scale massacres and it will require fortitude to stay allied to an Iraqi government that will be complicit in many of these massacres. If America sees its way through the killing and supports the government (morally and with weapon supply) it will win a friend in the region, but if America balks the Iraqis will find support for the same bloody activity from Iran and America will create an enemy in the region.
The problem, as I cover in the post on realpolitik, is the possibility that even if this happens (and I agree it could) that if we retreat from our foreign policy goal back into realpolitik, we could see an independent Kurdistan thrown to the wolves (that would be Turkish wolves with Iranian help I would imagine) in the name of "stability" or "containment" or whatever other new foreign policy goal we settle on.
Unlikely, there is a lot of oil under Kirkuk that needs extracting. Much more likely is encouragement of detente between Kurds & Turks, possibly cemented by the commissioning of an oil pipeline from Kurdistan to the Med.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Third, we cannot afford an isolationist or realpolitik foreign policy.
I agree. However, when things like this happen, the natural inclination is to swing the pendulum the other way and, usually, we swing it too far.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
This will increase the bloodshed.
Compared to what? At this point that’s really no longer the major consideration in charting our next moves.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Un F*ck*ng believable, Holbrook?? I thot more of this sight! C YA

The Iraqi Govt. has had less than a Baseball season as Cheney pointed out!

Yes, it’s time for the Iraqi’s to step up and they should possibley have more pressure applied by us and the coalition!

Who is this Really?? Walter, is that You??

I think we should become more deadly with the Likes of Sadar, Kill the Sum Bitch, No more pussy footin and games!

I don’t think this takes more troops, it takes a commitment to winning! If a Town has to be competely Destroyed, so be it!

Falujah should have been made nuttin but a Parking LOT!

It’s called Force, KILL and Destroy, and until we get serious about winning, nuttin’s going to change! It also puts our brave military at risk and costs more lives in the long run! Hell, they been bleeding us for a month now!

All we got now is a Holding action!

Change Tactics, You Betcha, "Cut and Run?"

Sheesh!
 
Written By: mike
URL: http://
Murtha is a Traitor! Period!
 
Written By: mike
URL: http://
If we leave Iraq I would most definitely want to adopt an isolationist foreign policy. I’d vote for detangling ourselves from the UN as well.
 
Written By: Monica
URL: http://
I think it is now very clear that we never had enough troops in Iraq to stabilize the country after the invasion. However, every time I see a Clintonista complaining about too few troops in Iraq I am reminded of why we didn’t have enough troops to send in the first place. Clinton cut 500,000 personnel from the American military. U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter said
Our defense-force structure was cut
massively in the 1990s. The Army had 18 divisions in 1991, the last
time we fought in the Gulf. Under the Clinton administration, it was
reduced to 10 divisions. During the same period, the 24 Air Force
fighter airwings were cut to 13 and the 546-ship Navy was slashed to a
level barely above 300.

And Clinton was planning on downsizing the military long before he entered office so don’t give me that tired crap about the downsizing beginning under Bush Sr. Clinton became President and changed tax policy, attempted to nationalize healthcare, etc. He could have changed existing policies regarding downsizing the military if he had wanted, but he didn’t. He decided to cash in on the ephemeral "peace dividend" by gutting miltary spending and downsizing the military at the same time he was sending troops to the Balkans.

The fact that we didn’t have sufficient force strength was a legitimate argument against invading Iraq in the first place, but it is absurd to indulge Clintonistas in their criticism of inadequate troop strength in Iraq. Their policies are the reason that we don’t have enough troops to deal with all the problems that metasticized on their watch.
 
Written By: jt007
URL: http://
The fact that we didn’t have sufficient force strength was a legitimate argument against invading Iraq in the first place, but it is absurd to indulge Clintonistas in their criticism of inadequate troop strength in Iraq. Their policies are the reason that we don’t have enough troops to deal with all the problems that metasticized on their watch.
Let’s assume your rather insane premise is true: Our lack of troops is Clinton’s fault, despite the fact that he hasn’t been president for 6 years.

So what? Even if Bush had them, he wouldn’t have sent them. Moreover, we have been at war for 3 1/2 years. If we needed troops, Bush could have instituted a draft. If Iraq is important as those on the right to believe, shouldn’t we have a draft?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Despite the use of uppercase letters, you’re still wrong.

Sanctions and enforcement of the no-fly zone in the 1990’s reduced Saddam to a toothless tiger. He had no WMD. In other words, he wasn’t a threat to the world, and, had we simply kept up enforcement, there is zero reason to believe the would have become more of a threat. And, despite Bush administration assertions to the contrary, he was not actively supporting AQ.
Of course what I was referring to was the overall strategy in the middle east which was not working at all, not some no fly zone or other stop gap tactic.

But then again, Looking at the big picture was never a strong suit of the left.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
I’m in the escalation camp. Redeploy troops from Germany and Japan, and initiate a more comprehensive clear-and-hold strategy. It worked in Haditha until Marines were sent away to retake Fallujah.

Rumsfeld has screwed the pooch by not sending enough troops. It’s way past time to fire his ass and get someone who can employ an actual counterinsurgency plan.

 
Written By: Charles Bird
URL: http://www.redstate.org
In the mid-70’s, one Colonel Harry G. Summers had occasion to discuss the Vietnam war with a Colonal Tu of the North Vietnamese army. Summers said to him, "You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield."

Tu replied, "That is true, but it is also irrelevent."
 
Written By: We already lost
URL: http://
He said that 90 percent of the sectarian killings that have sent civilian death tolls skyrocketing this year happen within 30 miles of Baghdad. “This is not a country that’s awash in sectarian violence,” he said.

A question, MCQ- how many troops do we have in Baghdad?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/25/AR2006072500157_pf.html

Military officials said the U.S. contingent brought into Baghdad could be as large as a brigade, which would mean 2,000 to 5,000 more troops joining the 30,000 now deployed in the capital area

We’ve had between 125 and 150K troops in Iraq. If "90 percent of the violence" is in Baghdad, then how come our big sweep in Baghdad amounted to 5K + to the 30K?

I know not everyone is a combat soldier, but if 90 percent of the violence was in Baghdad, you would imagine that 90% of the combat troops would be there as well. This doesn’t sound much like that to me. Go ahead, tell me that I’m wrong, if I am wrong.

If 35K is 90% of our combat troops of our 127K forces in Iraq, then we’re crazy to thing that we can stop the violence. Among 20 million non-Kurdish Iraqis.
How many US, Russian and allied troops were in Germany in 1945, for a population twice the size of Iraq’s? Was it four million or so?



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
How many combat troops can the entire US military muster to be put in one place? It looks to me like the answer is not enough to occupy any medium-sized country by itself. Ever!

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
We’ve had between 125 and 150K troops in Iraq. If "90 percent of the violence" is in Baghdad, then how come our big sweep in Baghdad amounted to 5K + to the 30K?
You tell me, ’nost. I understand your point, but can’t answer for someone else’s plan.
I know not everyone is a combat soldier, but if 90 percent of the violence was in Baghdad, you would imagine that 90% of the combat troops would be there as well.
Well first of all not all of our troops in Iraq are "combat troops". In fact, if the truth be known, only about 1/3 to a 1/2 are. Trigger pullers I mean.

So cut that in half and then pull another 1/3 as trainers. In reality, our "combat" presence in Iraq isn’t a large as 130K would indicate.

And it would also suggest that the bulk of our available combat power is in Baghdad.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
So cut that in half and then pull another 1/3 as trainers. In reality, our "combat" presence in Iraq isn’t a large as 130K would indicate.

I understand that, but let’s do the math. There’s only 4000 trainers, so we’re short about 50 percent. The rest of it is in Anbar, where soldiers continue to die on a regular basis. I don’t have a blog and aren’t going to spare the time, but I bet you could come up with a rough regional allocation of forces - and you certainly could for the deaths. You’ve got the connections.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

 
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