Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Another voice sounds off about the "debate" and the surge
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, May 01, 2007

As if by magic, we again see the argument made that what is being said here makes us look like the 'weak horse'. And, as Owen West (a Marine Corps Major in the reserves) points out, the irony is we are actually doing better in Iraq:
What was most remarkable, however, was the military’s inability to grab the reins and articulate a realistic war plan for Iraq. At home, recruiting, supply and deployment crises were solved; but in Iraq the generals continued to offer assessments of the fight that were as obviously inaccurate as those trumpeted by the politicians. The goal was to put Iraqi forces in the lead, but as a consequence, large-scale battlefield adaptation was scarce.

Today the civil-military relationship has righted itself, yet soldiers like me who believe that Iraq can be stabilized face a bitter irony. On one hand, the military is finally making meaningful adjustments to the complex fight. On the other, the politicians are finally asserting themselves. The tragedy is that the two groups are going in opposite directions.

Most Americans who have served side by side with Iraqi units, especially those of us who have been advisers to Iraqi companies and battalions, believe that significant numbers of our soldiers will be needed in Iraq for another decade. This timeline is about average for a classic insurgency, and optimistic for one so muddied by tribal feuds and religious hatred.

American soldiers in Iraq are constantly asked about our commitment to a fight we started. Most of the advisers I got to know during my most recent tour, which ended in February, were quick to try to assuage their Iraqi counterparts’ concerns and dismissive of the calls for withdrawal by American politicians, news of which trickled onto the battlefield during the winter. After all, the surge itself would not be fully under way until mid-summer. Surely the politicians would give it a chance to work.

The two Congressional votes last week establishing timelines for withdrawing American troops completely undermined such assurances. The confusion stems from an inherent contradiction in our politics: Though the burden of war is shouldered by few, the majority of Americans want to vacate Iraq, and the percentages are increasing. Something has to give.
Yes, something does. And it should be the games Democrats are playing with spending bills. Review the points in the post below about the "debate" and the different audiences listening to it and drawing up conclusions from it. Then review the emphasized lines again.

Want real world consequences for the nonsense of arbitrary timelines? How's this:
If American politicians pull the marines out of Anbar, the Iraqi soldiers told me, they too will have to pull back, ceding some zones to protect others. The same is true in the Baghdad neighborhoods where the early stages of the surge have made life livable again.
The irony is that if the Democrats would get behind the surge, the possiblity exists that those arbitrary timelines might actually be met by conditions based performance of Iraqi troops:
So how can we reconcile this military reality with the desire by the majority of Americans to reduce troop levels in Iraq? The current surge may provide an excellent opportunity, if we acknowledge two things: Iraq is now a law enforcement war and Iraqi security forces are best suited to fight it.

The surge must be accompanied by a commensurate surge in Iraqi troops. To date, the Iraqis have simply been shifting soldiers from other areas into Baghdad. But these are stop-gap soldiers — as are our own — when what we seek is permanence. The Iraqi government must double the size of its army, to 300,000 combat troops from 150,000 today. The American surge will give them the breathing room to do so, and a deadline by which it must be done.

The idea is that, starting this fall, the Iraqi units would bulk up so the American units could begin to break up, moving to an advisory model in which the number of American soldiers embedded with Iraqi units triples while the overall United States force declines. Today many American patrols operate independently. In a year’s time, ideally, no American patrol would leave its base without a fully integrated Iraqi presence.
So? So the Democrats should 'embrace the surge' as the article's title suggests because the surge offers the best opportunity for the end state everyone would call 'victory'. And, ironically, it would most likely do it in the shortest time possible.

But don't be deceived. That doesn't mean all of our troops would be out of Iraq and a year or so. Not even the Democrats plan that:
Oddly, the Congressional resolutions calling for withdrawal would allow for this continued American advisory presence, somehow not including these troops as “combat forces.” So even those members of Congress who voted for the resolutions could support bulking up the number of Americans assigned to Iraqi units without appearing as hypocrites.

The issue will be the numbers. A meaningful advisory force — both the embedded troops and the support personnel — would likely mean 75,000 Americans still in Iraq in the fall of 2008. This is about half of what we’ll have in place for the surge this summer, but more than the supporters of the resolutions might expect.

It will take political courage for these politicians to agree to the needed advisory forces. But it is the only way the Iraqis themselves will ever be able to make their country secure. And that is the one goal on which all Americans, those who support the war and those who “support the troops,” should be able to agree.

Another thing to keep in mind is those advisors, most likely at that level, will most likely still be in Iraq at the end of the next two presidential terms, whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat.

Last note:
It’s hard for a soldier like me to reconcile a political jab like Senator Harry Reid’s “this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything” when it’s made in front of a banner that reads “Support Our Troops.”
From his lips to God's ears.

Now, let's again hear from those who are absolutely sure that people who've been to Iraq or are serving there now have absolutely no idea of what the true 'reality' of Iraq is but how the Democrats here do (and thus are correct in pushing timelines larded with pork).
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Cue the mental dysentery from Erb and glasnost...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
I place almost zero credence on the "blogs" and military quotes you allude to McQ, because I’ve heard and read the opposite from others who served in Iraq, and a Vietnam vet friend of mine also has talked to me about how he saw during the Vietnam era the same thing he sees now. People who are involved want to believe that what they are doing is meaningful and worth it that they choose to cling to claims the victory is necessary and possible, and that their cause is noble. It’s a psychological defense mechanism.

Moreover, most people involved in day to day action use metrics that reflect their own experience rather than the larger forces at play — they have a very narrow view of the action. In my blog today I note that corruption and ethnic hatreds are things that we cannot stop. But if you don’t believe me, fine. But how long are you going to keep being wrong with optimistic claims about the war while the critics continue to be right? Are you just going to claim when the inevitable happens that "if only the war critics had supported the effort, then we would have won," a kind of stab in the back legend a la post-WWI Germany? Sigh.

If four years of being wrong hasn’t convinced you that you should question your belief about the war and America’s capacity to succeed (with success being defined down to just leaving Iraq relatively stable — a very minimal definition of success compared to the heady ideas of 2003), then wait. Maybe five years will be enough.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Damn I’m good...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
f four years of being wrong hasn’t convinced you that you should question your belief about the war and America’s capacity to succeed (with success being defined down to just leaving Iraq relatively stable — a very minimal definition of success compared to the heady ideas of 2003), then wait. Maybe five years will be enough.
As you say we each have our metrtics to measure success or failure, obviously your’s are tuned to "FAIL." A nearly bloodless vitory over Saddam and the installation of a democratically elected government is Failure...you have a funny definition of failure I guess, but then this HAS to fail for you Dr Erb. Otherwise we’ll try it again, and if we succeed again, it’s easier to accept failure of the US than the failure of your philosophy, right?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Baghdad Berb, feeling that he is riding a wave, stands at the mic and weighs in once again. Behind the evident bravado is a creeping fear that the "surge" will succeed (even partially) and the LN will be revealed as the travesy that it is. Like Washington at the Winter encampment, when the tories outgrabe [clever that, no?], President Bush is doing a masterful job of playing this situation just right. (laughter from the liberals - shrugs and head-shakes: clueless)

Just wait and see.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Are you just going to claim when the inevitable happens that "if only the war critics had supported the effort, then we would have won," a kind of stab in the back legend a la post-WWI Germany? Sigh.

Actually, this could even be true. It’s like trying to pull a bluff at a card game with your wife in the background wailing and gnashing her teeth at your cards. Methinks the other players would be affected by this.

But, in the interest of free speech and democracy, I agree we can’t have that sort of policy where everyone has to support the war. People should be able to oppose a policy regardless of what our enemies think, though it would be WISE for them to consider what it means when their talking points are eagerly picked up by our enemies.

Also:

Are we also losing in Afghanistan?

At what level do you define "loss" for a country...say is Colombia winning or losing against FARC?

Please clarify your metrics.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Please clarify your metrics.
I think it mostly boils down to:
Bush = Bad
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Scott, Did your daddy confuse revolutionary with contrarian? I am just trying to understand the mentality of the vacuous posts you write. It seams to me that you are in favor of "Political" posing over reason. Why?

By the way are you still forcing (required reading) your students to buy your mental play-dough for money. You should be ashamed! Next time you look in the mirror spend more than a moment.
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
I almost took coaster’s post as being directed at me...

Three paragraphs into my rather snarky reply, I got to the part where I pondered how the HELL you came to think I was a teacher...

And then it dawned on me.

In my defense, finals are coming up...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
With critics by the millions, it is difficult to slog on, but the President continues. We stayed behind the wire too long in part because moving out to JSSs, as we are now doing, means larger groups of causalities. The killing of 9 Americans this week in one blast is the future and I can well imagine that al Qaeda, in what they call their primary front, will do its best to capture a JSS to have videos of Americans being executed. So be prepared for even greater attacks on our forces and the President being blamed for continuing to fight a war we are losing, according to the media and the Democrats.
 
Written By: AMR
URL: http://
People who are involved want to believe that what they are doing is meaningful and worth it that they choose to cling to claims the victory is necessary and possible, and that their cause is noble. It’s a psychological defense mechanism.
God Professor, reading you is like huffing... irony.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
because I’ve heard and read the opposite from others who served in Iraq, and a Vietnam vet friend of mine also has talked to me about how he saw during the Vietnam era the same thing he sees now.
Are any of these peopl in Iraq RIGHT NOW?

Are they currently serving in the US military IN IRAQ?

If not, then I would have to wonder why you give more weight to people NOT THERE than you do to people are ARE THERE RIGHT NOW.

No, wait...

I don’t have to wonder why at all...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Also, Owen West is the son of Bing West, author of "the Village"

Sam Popkin, a guy who worked for several democratic campaigns, makes this book part of the required reading for his classes on counter-insurgency at UCSD.

I would listen carefully to what Bing says, and also his kid.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Are we also losing in Afghanistan?

At what level do you define "loss" for a country...say is Colombia winning or losing against FARC?

Please clarify your metrics.
Those are good questions, in part because they expose the problem. You have to stop thinking of ’winning’ or ’losing.’ We won a war in Iraq in 2003. We are unable to completely remake the political system and political culture because that cannot be done with military power. Our focus on governmental officials and policies, or on short term increases or decreases in violence levels, is illusionary — the problems are fundamental and systemic.

In Afghanistan we helped an ally — the Northern Alliance — win the war there, and then tried (and again failed) to reshape the political culture to create a stable democracy. War lords and local tribal chiefs still dominate, Karzai controls little outside of Kabul. The Taliban is resurgent, and al qaeda still operate on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. These are problems we cannot make go away with military force. So we have two victories already, but the problems remain. In Iraq they are worse than even during Saddam’s rule, since now it is a kind of anarchy with an al qaeda presence, in Afghanistan it is much better than when the Taliban ruled, but still unstable.

I haven’t been keeping up with recent events and conditions in Columbia, so I can’t answer that question.

My metrics? My metric is to acknowledge that in the kind of conflicts we’re seeing, and in nature of politics in an era of globalization and terrorism, the old thinking of wars as being won or lost militarily as a primary focus are over. This isn’t just a ’new kind of war,’ it isn’t really war. It has military operations, but what exactly is the goal? It was a democratic pro-American Iraq that would be a model for the region and pressure Iran and Syria. I doubt many would deny that the policy has failed to achieve those goals, and there is little chance it will. So my metric now for Iraq is: success is security for the people of Iraq, prevention of a regional Sunni-Shi’ite war, slow efforts to promote (but not force) governments to embrace accountability and rule of law, and no major disruptions in oil flows. For Afghanistan my metric is security for the Afghan people, a stable central govenrment which can operate throughout the country, an end to the Taliban insurgency, and efforts to build rule of law and accountability.

I do not think either of these metrics are results that military action can achieve. Moreover, I think the nature of our military action in Iraq is counter productive to the goals there. Military operations may be needed, but the current effort is misguided. In Afghanistan we’re doing better, in part because it’s a NATO operation and in general that war had more global legitimacy. However, without more attention (not just militarily) Afghanistan doesn’t look set to really move towards success soon.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So my metric now for Iraq is: success is security for the people of Iraq, prevention of a regional Sunni-Shi’ite war, slow efforts to promote (but not force) governments to embrace accountability and rule of law, and no major disruptions in oil flows.
And how should we accomplish this?

I know, get everyone involved and it will magically take care of itself...

But since, we don’t yet live in that world where everyone realizes that helping each other is in their bests interests, and we have the allies we have, and the resource we have now, what should we do?

Iraq today is making progress on the economic, security and political fronts.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
And how should we accomplish this?
I don’t believe we (the US) can — it’s certainly not something that can be achieved through military power, especially when given the levels of corruption and sectarian violence in Iraq. Moreover, I think our efforts so far have made matters worse — we enabled corruption (which was going to start anyway — but we could have launched a massive anti-corruption effort from the start regulating how money was spent; instead, we trusted the market), and created conditions where sectarian violence could explode.

I know, get everyone involved and it will magically take care of itself...
No, it only makes the probability of solving the problems greater than the current policy. Bottom line: I’m absolutely convinced what we’re doing now cannot and will not work.
But since, we don’t yet live in that world where everyone realizes that helping each other is in their bests interests, and we have the allies we have, and the resource we have now, what should we do?
We can work to build a regional solution; I think if the US shows a bit of humility and admits that the problem is not one we can solve, and we are willing not to try to control how Iraq develops, then we can start building a true coalition that might be able to succeed. It’s our best bet.

Iraq today is making progress on the economic, security and political fronts.
That claims been made constantly for four years. Yet scores are killed daily, violence and insurgent activity move somewhere else if the US enters a region, and insurgents can wait, learn, and adapt. Not only that, but the division of our country and the lack of support for the war is real. That severely limits resources at our disposal. Moreover, Iraq has cost us half a trillion, as I noted elsewhere, our dollar is weak, current accounts deficit high, the economy slowing, and we’re susceptible to a major oil shock. All OPEC states except Saudi Arabia and Iraq are operating at peak production, yet demand is increasing. This effort promises no real rewards and yet puts our economy and security at great risk. If we don’t change policy on our terms, we’ll be forced down the line. The blame game will be played, the war critics (I don’t say ’left’ because there are prominent war critics on the right) will be blamed by pro proponents for not "giving it the chance" to work, and war proponents will be blamed by war critics for the whole mess. Now we can unite the country if we change policy fundamentally, and then go into diplomatic talks with regional powers without having to be supplicants. But in a few months, our position may deteriorate even more. Believe in ’steady progress’ if you wish, but frankly, I think a lot of us have heard that too many times.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You have to stop thinking of ’winning’ or ’losing
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

It is exactly this attitude that gets us into messes in the first place. To believe that there is no winning or losing allows the enemy to gain a foothold. We WON the major military operation of eliminating the tyrannical regime of Saddam Hussein, just like we WON the major military operation of removing the Taliban from power. We will WIN the war on terror, starting in Iraq, by either pummeling the enemy into submission, killing him off entirely, or convincing any who might join him that better opportunities abound.

WINNING now in Iraq is leaving behind a stable democratic government that can defend itself from terrorists and insurgents alike, and which is capable of building and rebuilding its country. Will there be growing pains? Of course. Nobody is suggesting that there won’t be. But to throw up our hands just when significant progress is being made is to (a) play directly into the hands of the enemy (aka "LOSING"), and (b) confirm the Iraqis’ worst suspicions that, just like after the Gulf War, the Americans won’t stick around to help them (aka "LOSING").

Moreover, if the Iraqis think we will abandon them (again) they really have no choice but to make alliances with militias, insurgents and terrorists, since those will be the ones controlling their lives. Decades of corruption, tyranny and political enslavement have taught many in the Arab world to hedge their bets by saying whatever is necessary to keep the trouble out of their own house. Family, tribal and religious alliances are not just favored in such a world, they are absolutely necessary for survival. There is no culture of truth and justice because those things tend to get you and your family killed. Instead, a culture of survival means that lying, cheating, bribing, and doing anything else that keeps the spotlight of your family is the norm. Unsurprisingly, "stability" in such a system is illusory and comes at the end of the dictator’s gun.

By clearing out the overlord of Saddam and offering an opportunity for the people to have a say in their own affairs, we are really offering the Iraqis the chance to freely choose their own way. Not only will they will have the chance to choose who will govern them, they get to choose whom they do business with, consort with, and live with. That kind of freedom is infectious, and by spreading it around Iraq, which is at the geographic center of the terrorist breeding ground (i.e. the Middle East) the hope is that others in the that part of the world will start to hunger for their own freedom and will find the courage to cast the yolk from their own shoulders. That is the long view, and it is bold. But the policy of "wait and see" that this country (and the rest of world) adopted for the past 30 years led directly to 9/11. Any steps we take towards the bold goal of democracy in the ME are productive ones. Otherwise, the swamp is left to fester and the mosquitoes will buzz us again and again, getting deadlier each time.

Winning isn’t an option, nor a state of mind. Winning is the only way to ensure our own safety, as well as that of the ME and likely the rest of the world. Allowing terrorists to operate with impunity is simply giving the loonies the run of the asylum.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
It is exactly this attitude that gets us into messes in the first place. To believe that there is no winning or losing allows the enemy to gain a foothold. We WON the major military operation of eliminating the tyrannical regime of Saddam Hussein, just like we WON the major military operation of removing the Taliban from power. We will WIN the war on terror, starting in Iraq, by either pummeling the enemy into submission, killing him off entirely, or convincing any who might join him that better opportunities abound.
I agree we won against Saddam and the Taliban. But the issues we face now are not ones that can be dealt with by simplistic slogans and rah-rah talk about ’winning.’

I think you’re setting up an impossible task, and ignoring the immense cost and risk to us, with few or no benefits. Moreover, I think your way of thinking about this actually leads to actions that hurt us and makes it more likely that what we’ll end up doing will be dubbed a ’defeat.’ All the rhetoric in the world about ’victory’ doesn’t alter the strategic and political realities. And one reality is the emerging "Iraq syndrome" here in the US.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Those are good questions, in part because they expose the problem. You have to stop thinking of ’winning’ or ’losing.’
Sorry Professor, but I believe the odds that you’re smarter than the collective minds of the last thousand generations of civilization aren’t very good, which, in this statement, is exactly what you’re claiming.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
Owen West is clearly right, to have any chance of making Iraq look like we want it to we will have to have significant numbers of troops there for a decade. Unfortunately, Bush’s bumbling has lost us the past four years so that’s a decade from now. Does Owen West, or anybody else here imagine that we can get the American people to support casualties in Iraq of 2-3 deaths a day for anything like that time? Or does he hope that in the next six to twelve months we can make enough military and political progress that we can keep 75,000 troops there without many casualities? As we all know, that is the only way we can possibly be there for his decade. If that’s what he’s hoping for, the bill the President just vetoed both funds that effort and (as you kindly point out) authorizes a continued training presence. How much more committed to the surge can the congress be than fully funding it? And if it works this already lays the ground work for West’s ten years of training, and if doesn’t it acknowledges the fact that there is no way in the world that we’ll just keep dying there for ten more years. Can any of you really imagine that if, in October of this year, the news from Iraq is similar to the news from Iraq last week, that the public will stand for talk of keeping our troops there for ten years? Ten more years like the last four years are not going to happen. Pretending that if we only had ten years we could win this thing is just silly. If it ’s going to take ten more years of fighting to win it, then the war is lost. We haven’t got ten years.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Sorry Professor, but I believe the odds that you’re smarter than the collective minds of the last thousand generations of civilization aren’t very good, which, in this statement, is exactly what you’re claiming.
That certainly is not what I’m claiming. You apparently can’t respond to the argument, and instead make a bizarre claim that has no relation to anything I posted. If you have nothing, you’re better off posting nothing. Note I was talking about these particular situations explicitly — Iraq and Afghanistan — where a war was already won and now we’re undertaking a big social engineering experiment to reshape a political culture.

I found this article interesting, by the way. Particularly this section:
The hard political reality is that anything like "success" in Iraq, even as that term is defined down to levels that would have seemed wildly pessimistic when President Bush gave his "Mission Accomplished" speech four years ago, will require several more years of all-out commitment. That commitment will cost, at a minimum, the lives of several thousand more of our troops, along with tens of thousands of serious injuries, and hundreds of billions more tax dollars.

And of course this immense sacrifice might very well fail to achieve even the relatively modest goals the White House is now pursuing (the word "victory" has become noticeably absent from the president’s speeches).

Whatever one thought of the original decision to invade Iraq, the political question the nation now faces could not be clearer: Should we ask our troops to continue to fight this war, and our children to pay for it through future tax increases? (The option of paying for it ourselves would require some sacrifice on the part of the average voter, so it never seems to have been considered seriously).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
That certainly is not what I’m claiming.
My metric is to acknowledge that in the kind of conflicts we’re seeing, and in nature of politics in an era of globalization and terrorism, the old thinking of wars as being won or lost militarily as a primary focus are over. This isn’t just a ’new kind of war,’ it isn’t really war.

It might not be your direct claim, but it is the direct implication of your claim.
You apparently can’t respond to the argument, and instead make a bizarre claim that has no relation to anything I posted.
Insofar as you’ve merely changed the definitions of important terms of the debate, such as "war" and "winning" and "losing" to suit your purposes, there’s not a whole lot there to rebut, so I went after your implicit premises instead.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter Jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
To use an apples and oranges comparison here, our policy in Iraq appears to be an adaptation of our Vietnam strategy 1969-1973, that is Vietnamization. Do you know what the amazing part about this comparison is? It worked. Vietnamization (according to documents now available) scared the Ho Chi Minh out of the Communist leaders in Hanoi. It was effective (though flawed) and, given our promise of air and logistic support to Thieu’s government post-1973, would have worked. The NLF/VC had no effective counter tactic and neither did the NVA (which is why they risked all on the 1972 Easter Offensive). The only problem with the equation was that the US government (thanks Frank Church and Billy Fulbright) reneged on our promises to the South Vietnamese government. The ARVN lacked the mobility and, more importantly, air cover and fire support provided by US air assets. When confronted with the NVA fully recoverd from its losses in 1972 (and with air support), the ARVN collapsed. Had the US kept its promises, South Vietnam would have remained a free nation. This is not a rehash of the Erich Ludendorff stabbed in the back theory. This is simple fact, backed up by interviews and diaries from Communist participants. If America predicates its withdrawl from Iraq on promises of support to the Iraqi government, post-withdrawl, then the Iraqis are better off looking for help from al-Sadr or any of the militia leaders because its going to be 1975 and the boat people all over again with Reid and Pelosi playing the roles of Church and Fulbright as Iran, Syria and who knows what other groups rolling in to seize Baghdad.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
If America predicates its withdrawl from Iraq on promises of support to the Iraqi government, post-withdrawl, then the Iraqis are better off looking for help from al-Sadr or any of the militia leaders because its going to be 1975 and the boat people all over again with Reid and Pelosi playing the roles of Church and Fulbright as Iran, Syria and who knows what other groups rolling in to seize Baghdad.
Exactly.

It’s funny, the left wants to get all puffed up with all their "new" real politik paradigms while the paranoid left jumps on every little rumor about this ship movement or that assistant undersecratary’s speech at the some local VFW as evidence of Bush’s intent to go to war against Iran, while in reality the shortest possible road to war with Iran and/or Syria is to leave Iraq. These are totalitarians. They don’t respond well to temptation.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
Insofar as you’ve merely changed the definitions of important terms of the debate, such as "war" and "winning" and "losing" to suit your purposes, there’s not a whole lot there to rebut, so I went after your implicit premises instead.
I have not changed definitions, I have pointed out how the current situation does not fit the kind of terms being used; we won the war in 2003, the effort now isn’t really a war — there are numerous conflicts and rivalries taking place, some sectarian, some against US forces, some focused on Iraqi nationalism, others on Islamic extremism. But I laid out very clearly why the terms "winning" and "losing" are inappropriate, you have not answered in substance, just gave a vague insult.

To for Vietnam...

I don’t think anything we could have done, save rejoining the war, would havve saved South Vietnam. It’s always possible to play the "what if" game in any historical situation and develop alternate scenarios. Ho Chi Minh remained popular throughout Vietnam, and his forces had infiltrated almost all aspects of South Vietnamese life. In any event, Vietnam deserved to be united. If that had happened in 1956 as promised by the Geneva treaty, there would have been a lot less death, destruction, probably no Khmer Rouge, and it wouldn’t have changed the ultimate outcome (the demise of communism) one bit.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Ho Chi Minh remained popular throughout Vietnam
But Ho had been dead for 6 years by the time Saigon fell. I suggest that the attractiveness of communism died with him.
In any event, Vietnam deserved to be united.


Agreed, as did Korea, but look what happened there.
If that had happened in 1956 as promised by the Geneva treaty...
Which, oddly enough, was written by the French and Chinese delegates. Neither Ho, Bao Dai, Le Duc To or any other Vietnamese was part of negotiating the final language of the document. For that matter, neither was the US or the Soviet Union. Although the Treaty was well-meaning, it was effectively pointless as it resolved no issues except French withdrawl from Vietnam.

By 1975, Thieu and Ky were the men in charge of the South and had finally formed a stable, reasonably non-corrupt government. The ARVN, despite popular opinion, was developing into a solid force that could have beaten back the NVA with US air support. We, as a nation, turned our backs on millions of people who had been our friends and allies for twenty years. Not exactly our finest hour. I sincerely hope that the same thing does not happen in Iraq, regardless of whether our withdrawl is this year, next year, or ten years from now.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Which, oddly enough, was written by the French and Chinese delegates. Neither Ho, Bao Dai, Le Duc To or any other Vietnamese was part of negotiating the final language of the document. For that matter, neither was the US or the Soviet Union. Although the Treaty was well-meaning, it was effectively pointless as it resolved no issues except French withdrawl from Vietnam.
The treaty stipulated 1956 elections, and when they did not happen, Ho justifiably felt betrayed and realized he’d have to unite the country by force. The US should have recognized Ho’s claims back in the late 40s when he asked for recognition and even aid from Truman. Instead, we supported futile efforts of the French to maintain an empire.

The idea that the government in the south was "non-corrupt" is stretching it. Whether or not different US policies would have prevented 1975 remains one of those ’what ifs’ of history. I strongly suspect not; given the rapidity of the defeat, I doubt US help would have made much of a difference (unless we re-entered the war, which was obviously a political impossibility at the time!) I find it very hard to believe that air support would have turned that all around — but even that was a political impossibility at the time. By then the "Vietnam syndrome" was in full force, just as I suspect an "Iraq syndrome" will soon be. You may think I’d welcome that, but it could cause too much timidness when force is actually necessary.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I have pointed out how the current situation does not fit the kind of terms being used; we won the war in 2003, the effort now isn’t really a war — there are numerous conflicts and rivalries taking place, some sectarian, some against US forces, some focused on Iraqi nationalism, others on Islamic extremism.
"Winning" and "losing" aren’t terms relative to the context of hostilities, but rather are relative to the existence of an enemy opponent. When we’re unlucky enough to have an enemy committed to aggression against us, then it doesn’t matter if it’s a conflict, skirmish, rivalry, or even a game of chess—it’s all war, and the destruction of that enemy the only rational goal.

And again, this knowledge has been ours since the beginning of history, evolving warrior by warrior, battle by battle, war by war, and civilization by civilization. I’m sorry if my point offended you, but it nevertheless stands.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
"Winning" and "losing" aren’t terms relative to the context of hostilities, but rather are relative to the existence of an enemy opponent. When we’re unlucky enough to have an enemy committed to aggression against us, then it doesn’t matter if it’s a conflict, skirmish, rivalry, or even a game of chess—it’s all war, and the destruction of that enemy the only rational goal.

And again, this knowledge has been ours since the beginning of history, evolving warrior by warrior, battle by battle, war by war, and civilization by civilization. I’m sorry if my point offended you, but it nevertheless stands.
Your point is utterly meaningless and silly. You are avoiding talking about the reality of the issues at hand, and fall into vague and abstract rhetoric. I don’t even know what you’re talking about. What enemy do you want to destroy? How do you want to destroy it? Do you even understand what’s going on? I think you need to stop thinking in romantic abstract terms and start dealing with the specifics of what we’re facing.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Sir,

You are the one who stated that we aren’t really at war in Iraq, or do I have to copy and paste that again?

Are you saying that you do not believe that there are organized political entities in Iraq fighting us and our ally, the legal, internationally recognized government of Iraq? Because if we don’t, then you’re right, there is no war. But if those enemies exist, then war is exactly what we have on our hands, and those those enemies have minds, values, and purpose beyond our ability to dictate other than our means and will to destroy them. Just because this is simple doesn’t mean that it’s "romantic," much less untrue.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
Are you saying that you do not believe that there are organized political entities in Iraq fighting us and our ally, the legal, internationally recognized government of Iraq? Because if we don’t, then you’re right, there is no war. But if those enemies exist, then war is exactly what we have on our hands, and those those enemies have minds, values, and purpose beyond our ability to dictate other than our means and will to destroy them. Just because this is simple doesn’t mean that it’s "romantic," much less untrue.
War and internal insurgencies are different things. War is a state against another state. The only kind of war this could be is an Iraqi civil war. In reality it is numerous sub conflicts. Many do see us as an invading and occupying force (which we are) and fight for that reason. Most wouldn’t be at all against us if we weren’t in their country undertaking the actions we do.

This is in reality a grand social engineering experiment using big government and the military to try to reshape a political culture. We shouldn’t have gotten involved in this fiasco, but once we did, we should have left right away in May 2003, and then worked with the UN and regional powers to assure stabilization. It would not have deteriorated this far if we hadn’t been so arrogant in our policies. Bush is now at 28% approval. Most of the public want us out of Iraq. It’s only a matter of time now, this can’t be sustained without public support.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

Well we’re at the bottom of the page Professor Erb, so I’ll let you have the last word. Besides, our discussion is pushing the boundaries of the scope of this thread, although I’m sure we can count on our hosts to provide us with many more opportunities in the future to pick up where we’ve left off.

I’ve found our exchange interesting and thank you for taking the time and effort to be so responsive.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
I’ve found our exchange interesting and thank you for taking the time and effort to be so responsive.
Thanks, and same to you. Disagreement is good. It’s the best way to test positions and ideas. It would be a sorry state of affairs if everyone agreed on important issues. Because, as hard as I might argue a point, I know very well I might be wrong (and have been wrong many times in the past). Thanks for engaging.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider