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Listening to "Commanders on the ground" and such ...
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, May 09, 2007

MG John Batiste in November of last year:
John Batiste, a retired Army major general who also joined in the call for Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation, described the Congressional proposals for troop withdrawals as “terribly naïve.”

“There are lots of things that have to happen to set them up for success,” General Batiste, who commanded a division in Iraq, said in an interview, describing the Iraqi government. “Until they happen, it does not matter what we tell Maliki.”

Before considering troop reductions, General Batiste said, the United States needs to take an array of steps, including fresh efforts to alleviate unemployment in Iraq, secure its long and porous borders, enlist more cooperation from tribal sheiks, step up the effort to train Iraq’s security forces, engage Iraq’s neighbors and weaken, or if necessary, crush the militias.

Indeed, General Batiste has recently written that pending the training of an effective Iraqi force, it may be necessary to deploy tens of thousands of additional “coalition troops.” General Batiste said he hoped that Arab and other foreign nations could be encouraged to send troops.
Or this in April of last year:
JIM LEHRER: If the leadership of the U.S. government had listened to you and your fellow military leaders, what would be the situation in Iraq today?

MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: Well, first off, I think we have got to complete the mission in Iraq. We have no option; we need to be successful; we need to set the Iraqi people up for self-reliance.

With their form of representative government that takes into account tribal, religious and ethnic complexity that defines that country is nothing new. The Brits had a hell of a time with that in the '10s and '20s of the last century, nothing new at all. And we got to set them up for self-reliance so they can go on it on their own.

I think we're going to be successful. There's nothing this country can't do, if we put our mind to it, but we need to do it right. We need to mobilize this country.


MG Batiste now (associated with the dishonorable VoteVets organization):



Which is the real MG Batiste?

(HT: Hot Air)
 
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This trend is going to continue; people are rethinking their positions on Iraq and coming to the conclusion that given the lack of support for the war at home, the intense corruption and social difficulties in Iraq (and there will be no ’success’ without addressing those, there is no military solution), the price of this conflict on the US military and our budget is just too high. Moreover, it weakens us without harming Islamic extremists who actually benefit from having America as a convenient punching bag.

I really urge those who have supported the war to really think about the reality of the situation: the lack of support at home, the corruption and social division in Iraq, and weakness of the Iraqi government (about to go on vacation without even dealing with an important oil revenue bill, last I heard), and ask is this truly in the national interest to continue? Are we really making our country safer or stronger in this endeavor? Also, I think war critics like myself need to ask what alternatives there are to try to bring stability to the region and security to average Iraqis. It’s easy to be a critic, but I think that we need to all think about how to handle the reality of the situation. Move away from partisan politics or left-right pro-war/anti-war slogans. Deal with the problem realistically. Because, like it or not, this affects us all.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
A lack of support for the war at home is a reason to not support the war oneself? That’s an appeal to cowardice.
 
Written By: Luke
URL: http://
A lack of support for the war at home is a reason to not support the war oneself?


Yes, because it makes the war unwinnable. Without domestic support, the public won’t tolerate what may be necessary to win. That’s why you had the Weinberger and Powell doctrines.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Without domestic support, the public won’t tolerate what may be necessary to win."

Which is why many people have been wondering about the effect of the media (and the opposition party for that matter) influencing public opinion.

Allow me to offer a somewhat testable hypothesis: once we have pulled out of Iraq, Afghanistan will suddenly become a front page quagmire, and public support for that part of the war will fade as well. (Of course, there could be some help to the media there with all the jihadi reinforcement arriving in Afghanistan if Iraq falls.) I believe Canada as the canary in the coal mine already wants to pull out.

In any case, the ramifications are that the US public will not stand for any war that involves counter-insurgency fighting after a certain "acceptable" period - because such wars take time.

Which means we might have to consider changing strategies to accommodate this problem. Either we never use conventional forces again, at least not against countries that will be able to mount an insurgency, or we have to "occupy" the friendly parts of countries (Kosovo, Kurdistan, etc.) to slowly squeeze an enemy.

We’d have to consider punitive raids where we do not stay in the country for a long period after we topple a regime. Dash for Tehran, destroy the weapon sites, kill the scientists, and then exit, leaving the pottery broken on the floor.

Or more likely, we will just move on to "kill lists" to deter WMD attacks.

The media and the public won’t like those either, though, but they’ll be done within the acceptable 6 months time frame.

Okay, that’s the back end. On the front end, I guess we could try to get the opposition party to sign up for wars in advance...HA HA HA...or we can simply elect Democrats to solve some of the problems of public and media support. (j/k)
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Allow me to offer a somewhat testable hypothesis: once we have pulled out of Iraq, Afghanistan will suddenly become a front page quagmire, and public support for that part of the war will fade as well.
Now it’s a back page quagmire, it’ll move up in the world! It’ll be easier to keep support against the Taliban and al qaeda, however. Plus the US is part of a true multilateral force there.

I think the only thing that really will work is a true multilateral, international counter-terrorism effort where all military action is a shared burden. That requires a change in thinking not only by the US, but also countries in the EU, and even countries with counter productive policies like Russia and China. I’m under no illusions that this will be easy, but if we can work towards it there will be less need for military action (I’d argue Iraq was unneeded anyway) and when it is needed, it’ll be easier to garner support.

But don’t even think of a quick topple of the Iranian regime — that won’t work. Iran is no Iraq. Iraq was a beaten down, impoverished shell of a country. Iran is a regional power.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So, if we would all just support the war we’d win then...
the lack of support at home, the corruption and social division in Iraq, and weakness of the Iraqi government (about to go on vacation without even dealing with an important oil revenue bill, last I heard), and ask is this truly in the national interest to continue?
So, when our Congress goes on vacation without finishing important business... ALL IS LOST.

There’s corruption in our government (at all levels)... ALL IS LOST.

There’s weakness in Congress and the Executive Branch... ALL IS LOST.

There’s social division in most major cities... ALL IS LOST.

Of course, we’ve had 200+ years to get where we are, but we can’t give the Iraqis any more time. There’s elections to be won here after all...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
And it certainly is ironic that a main criticism at the outset of the war/occupation was that Bush was trying to do it on the cheap (which was true but had decent reasoning behind it.) Now, the complaint is it’s to costly.

War is always costly. There’s no way to get around that fact.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
And it certainly is ironic that a main criticism at the outset of the war/occupation was that Bush was trying to do it on the cheap (which was true but had decent reasoning behind it.) Now, the complaint is it’s to costly.

War is always costly. There’s no way to get around that fact.
I won’t post it here, but my blog today (May 10) is about liberal interventionism and the difficulty in implementing it (based on Tony Blair’s self-proclaimed foreign policy ideology). I think those are the dilemmas that undermine policies like that in Iraq.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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