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Seizing the Initiative
Posted by: Dale Franks on Thursday, June 28, 2007

I guess the democrats are serious about pulling out of Iraq. According to politico,
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are expected tomorrow to announce a new coordinated effort to force votes in July to end the Iraq war, according to Democratic insiders.

Reid has already publicly declared that Senate Democrats will offer four Iraq-related amendments to the upcoming 2008 Defense authorization bill, including a proposal by Reid and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) to set a firm timetable to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by next spring.
Now, the president has been handed a defeat on this immigration deal, and the way he pushed it has angered his constituency. I'm not sure that this is the way to capitalize on it though.
Both Pelosi and Reid have come to the conclusion that President Bush's plan for a "surge" in the number of U.S. troops inside Iraq, has failed and that Democrats, despite losing their showdown with Bush and the Republicans over the recent Iraq supplemental funding bill, must continue to force votes to end the war.
This position is so out of touch with reality, I hardly know where to begin. As Bruce has pointed out repeatedly, the surge hasn't failed. It's just barely started. The surge wasn't sending some new troops to Iraq. The surge—which we're seeing begin now—is the counter-terrorist offensive that began last week.

Either Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid do not comprehend this, in which case they are too ignorant to have any useful opinion on the matter, or they do know it, and are simply uninterested in the possibility that it may be successful. In either case, they show why they are not suited to oversee the nation's security.
Petraeus is supposed to report back to Congress in September on the state of the "surge," but Democrats have decided not to wait for his report.
Ah. Well. So much for "listening to the generals".

Not they they really meant that, even as they were saying it.

Look, perhaps the surge will fail. Perhaps the Iraqis are simply too benighted to ever have any sort of stable government. But this assessment from Reid and Pelosi indicates that the Democratic leadership have already made up their minds about the matter, and the impetus for that decision has nothing whatsoever to do with whether the surge can be successful.

Not that all the blame lies with them, of course. President Bush has fumbled incompetently through the last four years in Iraq, and if the surge is successful, it will be in spite of his leadership, not because of it.
 
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You neglect a possibility: perhaps they know it has a chance of succeeding, are concerned that if it succeeds before the 2008 election the Democrats will not gain the White House, and are eager to ensure that it fails so that they do gain the White House.

Yes, I am cynical enough to believe that. But of course, politicians of both parties are the main reason I’m that cynical.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
President Bush has fumbled incompetently through the last four years in Iraq, and if the surge is successful, it will be in spite of his leadership, not because of it.
Sure Dale, and Lincoln had nothing to do with Grant finally winning it.

Whatever.

Your, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Think about who was pushing this immigration deal:

A moderate Republican president, a bunch of liberal Republican Congress critters, and a gaggle of liberal Democrat Congress critters. Remember, as I’ve said all along, Bush is no conservative, never has been.

So, now let’s examine the momentum set up by yesterday’s action in Foggy Bottom...

* This amnesty nonsense, got sent to defeat. Score one for conservatives.
* The supposed “fairness doctrine” bites the dust by a wide margin, That’s two.
* The supreme court decides that the best way to stop a racism is to stop making laws based on race. That’s the hat trick.

So, now, The Democrats are taking their opposition to the war seriously again? Laughable.
Rather than this being Reid trying to, as you suggest, capitalize on the defeat of the President, it looks from here like Reid is trying to play to his base so as to recover something of the large amount of momentum he’s lost to the conservatives.

His ability to do that, though, now that the conservative base has been fired up to the extent it has, is limited at best. This effort too, will fail.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
* This amnesty nonsense, got sent to defeat. Score one for conservatives.
* The supposed “fairness doctrine” bites the dust by a wide margin, That’s two.
* The supreme court decides that the best way to stop a racism is to stop making laws based on race. That’s the hat trick.

So, now, The Democrats are taking their opposition to the war seriously again? Laughable.
Rather than this being Reid trying to, as you suggest, capitalize on the defeat of the President, it looks from here like Reid is trying to play to his base so as to recover something of the large amount of momentum he’s lost to the conservatives.
Add on top of that the defeat of the union card vote, which is a defeat for the Democrats.

The Democrats are looking for any major issue with which to gain traction. And if that means giving up on our guys in Iraq, so be it, damn the consequences, as long as it gets them the support from their base they need.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Quite.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Well, gee, on the conservative "hat trick" I’m with the "conservatives" on two of the three, and with President Bush on the third.

But you’re missing the picture. The "surge" has two facets: a military side, and a more important political side which depends on the Iraqis. The Iraqi security forces have to be trustworthy and able to take over, and the Iraqi political system has to be able to funciton and build reconciliation. If that doesn’t happen, nothing the "surge" can obtain militarily will be anything more than fleeting. And I’m convinced that Senator Lugar and the other centrists coming out against policy in Iraq are focusing on the political, and the news is probably worse than what we read in public. Moreover, there are likely military problems that we don’t know about — many of you are basing your entire position on a few front line reporters who are friendly towards your perspective. That invites bias. But the Lugar defection is big. I think Pat Buchanan has the best take on it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Let’s all be honest, a large number of conservatives have fed into this with their "the surge is working" mantra from the first few months, when some ke indicators improved and some areas became safer.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
And I’m convinced that Senator Lugar and the other centrists coming out against policy in Iraq are focusing on the political, and the news is probably worse than what we read in public. Moreover, there are likely military problems that we don’t know about — many of you are basing your entire position on a few front line reporters who are friendly towards your perspective.
So what’s the weather like on your planet?

The Surge has only just begun. The political advances needed in Iraq can’t happen until some of the stated military objectives have been achieved. Take and hold has to happen for change at the local level to occur. The people have to see that they are, in fact, safe from the radicals that are blowing up civillians.

To claim it’s failed already is to show their deepest desires.

The Dems in congress are largely morons. Reid in particular.

This will very much bite them in the ass. All that needs to be shown is "Petraeus speaks to congress in Sept" and "We will listen to the generals".

I really look forward to an extreme change in House and Senate membership come the next election.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://

The Surge has only just begun. The political advances needed in Iraq can’t happen until some of the stated military objectives have been achieved.
That isn’t true — the political advances should have already been made, and need to be made before the military objectives are achieved. Why do you think reconciliation, oil deals, and the preparation of an Iraqi security force needs to wait until after military objectives are achieved?

I’ve developed my take on the "surge," based on reading a variety of sources, but won’t post it here — if you want to read it, you can check my blog.

Being opposed to the war will not hurt the Democrats given the state of public opinion. And note that I’m pointing not to Reid, but Senators Lugar and Voinovich, it will be Senate Republicans likely to lead the charge out of Iraq (which might actually help the GOP). But you need to settle down and get realistic. The Democrats are no more "morons" than the Republicans. When people start seeing one side as somehow intellectually or morally inferior than the other, that is a sign that bias is warping rational thought. The politicians of both parties are a lot like each other, and are a diverse bunch. No "moron" could make it to a leadership position of either party. They may be wrong, they make strategic mistakes, but name calling is silly.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Why do you think reconciliation, oil deals, and the preparation of an Iraqi security force needs to wait until after military objectives are achieved?
I’m sorry... I had thought you weren’t talking about things that were either already being done, or had already been done.

Right now the make thrust of the Surge is to secure more of the country. Political advances in these stronghold-areas can’t happen until they aren’t strongholds anymore.

That takes time.

More than a week or two, certainly.

They have to show they aren’t cutting out so the bad guys can just come back in.
But you need to settle down and get realistic. The Democrats are no more "morons" than the Republicans. When people start seeing one side as somehow intellectually or morally inferior than the other, that is a sign that bias is warping rational thought. The politicians of both parties are a lot like each other, and are a diverse bunch. No "moron" could make it to a leadership position of either party. They may be wrong, they make strategic mistakes, but name calling is silly.
Couple of points...

First, did you not hear Voinovich re: The Bill?? Hear Reid or Kennedy or others in the Senate during debate? You really telling me they didn’t act like blithering idiots?

And people seem pretty convinced Bush is a Moron, and he’s gotten to be PotUS for two terms... Not bad for an idiot.

And no Professor... I’ll not go to your blog. Not until you open up comments, instead of hiding behind a comment-free wall of cowardice.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
the preparation of an Iraqi security force
This has been occurring, and is largely a military objective (since they’re the ones training them.) It is on going, and they are increasingly taking the lead. They need experience, and they are getting that now.
reconciliation, oil deals,
The oil law is written and under consideration. They should not be rushed to accept something that isn’t of benefit and fits them.

Consider that it’s been 34 years since the first oil crisis in America, and we’ve still yet to pass an energy bill. And the Iraqi government is only just a year old...

There’s our timetable, Washington’s timetable, and then there’s reality.

That they are discussing the issues amongst themselves, and the majority of their people are not involved in violence, is a positive.

That politicians are squabbling to get the best deal for themselves and those they represent, isn’t that business as usual. Granted, their arguing while the country around them teeters on the brink of destruction, but they are politicians...

It’s going to be frustrating to watch them come to a consensus which we all realize is common sense, and in their best interests. Of course, we’ve got a different history and culture then they do, so maybe we need to give their political process some slack too.

A) Create conditions to lessen the violence.

B) Push locals to step up to lead and secure their areas. And since many areas are mixed, that means sharing power and cooperation on a local level.

C) Push the federal government to reach consensus on major issues. Resources, elections, constitutional amendments, corruption, security and rule of law.

D) reconciliation.

B can’t happen with out A, and A is helped when B occurs to. When the locals are invested in their own security, and the alternative is al Qaeda running loose, they are working in conjunction with us, and the Iraqi army.

C isn’t going to happen in the space of weeks, and absent security, isn’t likely to make much progress at all. So, IMO, when A & B are dominant in and around Baghdad, C will progress quicker but still slowly (as most political processes go.)

D isn’t going to happen without A, B, and C making progress. And having al Qaeda stirring up hatred, isn’t helping matters.

Hence, one of the main thrusts of the current operation being denying al Qaeda safe havens. The areas where al Qaeda can operate freely are being narrowed down. In several months, there’s likely not going to be anywhere in Iraq where they’ll have a free hand. They will have to remain in hiding, and they’ll be no Islamic councils set up by them in the open.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Ever notice that when the immigration bill seemed like it was going to pass it was a “Kennedy” bill but when it was going to fail it was a “Bush” bill. The truth is that is was always both. Bush has no conservative credentials left (for those who thought he did). And his performance as commander-in-chief isn’t impressive.

Rather than fighting leftist critics it’s best to criticize Bush from the right. Republican candidates should run against Bush for giving in to Democrats. The potential is there. Some candidates are aware of the potential – Newt talked about it – but they haven’t swung into gear. It has to be done with the right tone so that criticism from the right differs from criticism of the left.

The right needs to offer constructive criticism instead of the defeatism and demoralization we normally get from the left. It can be done. Dale, see if you can get Fred to do it. Remember Reagan was upbeat and optimistic while his opponents had nothing but negativism.
 
Written By: Jason Pappas
URL: http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/
Well, Scott, I don’t think the President, Voinovich, Reid or any of those are "blithering idiots." I’m not sure how you come to that conclusion. Yeah, my blog is very low tech — it doesn’t count hits, doesn’t have the capacity to allow comments, it’s really just my thoughts. I keep it mostly so my children will know how I thought about events of the day (I have a private journal for personal issues which they can read), and a few students follow it. Maybe I’ll jazz it up someday, but for now it’s more like a commentary page than anything else.

Keith: I hope you’re right on this:
Hence, one of the main thrusts of the current operation being denying al Qaeda safe havens. The areas where al Qaeda can operate freely are being narrowed down. In several months, there’s likely not going to be anywhere in Iraq where they’ll have a free hand. They will have to remain in hiding, and they’ll be no Islamic councils set up by them in the open.
But why do you think Lugar and other Republicans are suddenly shifting position here. Lugar is not a political opportunist or worried about 2008, his reputation is to be pretty straight forward. He apparently doesn’t have your optimism. Also, do we have the troop level or time to achieve what you describe? It seems to rely on the Iraqis really being effective when we move to some place else (since 170,000 or so troops isn’t enough to keep al qaeda at bay everywhere). Will they be up to that?

I am beginning to think, however, that events elsewhere in the Mideast might overtake Iraq as a concern.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Those Republicans who are currently serving in Congress have to propose solutions in the form of amendments and bills, even if they are bound to be shot down or unsupported.

Those who are outside, can propose solutions, but I want to here what’s next, not what they would’ve done differently in the past. We also need to here about what’s working, like the economy, and the less noticed successes in the war on terrorism.

That’s what so interesting about the Democrats, they seem to be mostly running against Bush/Cheney. They don’t have to mention Bush at all, he isn’t running after all.
He apparently doesn’t have your optimism. Also, do we have the troop level or time to achieve what you describe? It seems to rely on the Iraqis really being effective when we move to some place else (since 170,000 or so troops isn’t enough to keep al qaeda at bay everywhere). Will they be up to that?
Yes, we’ve the troops to do the job. We might need a brigade or so more, but Petraeus seems to think he has enough combat troops. Time is the problem. Political time is variable. What looks to be certain today, can change in 2 months. If the public mood changes, the political mood could change. Hence the reason for keeping some optimism, or at least delaying pessimism, long enough to see what the results of the surge are.

There is also going to be a scheduled draw down of troops, as those with extended tours are returned back in the fall/winter (I believe.) So, seeing troops coming back, and more security in Iraqi hands, and the effect of that, will be telling to the short term success. Until, the next phase of the surge is implemented, clearing Baghdad, I wouldn’t want to judge to strongly on the success or failure of current operations.

Plus, like I said, the political side is going to happen in it’s own time. All we can do is try to stabilize the security situation, and improve the competence of the Iraqi security forces. That will be one less burden on the Iraqi government, and may help led them to more consensus and reconciliation. I still think that is going to be driven more from the local regions up, then top down. So, when more areas are stable, people will be more willing to work together. Then they’ll demand the same from those who are supposed to represent them.

We have 170K +/- US troops.

There’s also British, Australian, Polish, and I believe South Korean as well. Not sure the numbers on that.

Then you have the Iraqi forces, which are somewhere around 275K, Army and police. Granted of varying effectiveness, but in many instances of increasing competence and reliability. They are the ones who are going to have to stay and keep areas secure. And we are increasing the size of that force monthly.

So, yes, as long as the Iraqi forces continue improving, I’m confident they can hold the areas we’ve cleared and are now occupying.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
The Surge has only just begun. The political advances needed in Iraq can’t happen until some of the stated military objectives have been achieved.
That isn’t true — the political advances should have already been made, and need to be made before the military objectives are achieved. Why do you think reconciliation, oil deals, and the preparation of an Iraqi security force needs to wait until after military objectives are achieved?
Whatever else you may or may not understand, you surely do not understand war. Winning the war is foundational to everything else. Not the other way around. It is instructive that you don’t understand that basic point.

It’s also instructive that you point so probably to Lugar without understanding the background. I would suggest strongly that you go back and read looters book "advice to the next president" to get a picture of the friction going on between Lugar and Bush 41. back in the day, he was angry about his political fortunes with Mr. Bush senior in the White House, and the book fairly well shouts with that anger. He’s never forgiven Bush 41 for beating him out of the republican nomination, back in the day. He obviously felt himself entitled to the job. If he was in such an idiot, he probably would have gotten better positioning, following the Bush presidency.

Add to that, that Lugar is one of the ones that can be thoroughly depended on the tilt left when things get bothersome. (No wonder Erb likes him) He’s been bucking for the title of Head RINO for decades now.

No sale.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I am beginning to think, however, that events elsewhere in the Mideast might overtake Iraq as a concern.
I don’t think America will be drawn into the Israeli/Gaza/West Bank situation, except as mediators and financiers.

Lebanon, we may use the Security Council and try some resolutions, but I don’t see us going into there either.

Iran, I really don’t see us invading them, or conducting bombing missions of their nuke/terrorist infrastructure.

I think the strategy we’ve got is allowing internal pressure to build up in Iran. If we can get them disciplined via the UNSC, with regards to supporting terrorism, and their nuke program, that would be a bonus. I think most of our strategy with them has been more bark then bite. It’s mostly been rhetoric, but backed up with a big, big stick. We could hit them, as long as we don’t care about the consequences. Limited air strikes against their known nuke/terrorist infrastructure. Any incursions over the border into Iraq would have to be dealt with severely, but I don’t think the Iranian people would back a war with US/Iraq. I really don’t see it coming to that.

Turkey, I think we can keep them placated enough not to make a serious thrust into northern Iraq. Hot pursuit of terrorists, by limited forces, may be what we see from them. It will be condemned but grudgingly accepted by Iraq.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
I am beginning to think, however, that events elsewhere in the Mideast might overtake Iraq as a concern
Of course! You’re just now figuring this out?

Gee, I mean, I’ve only been saying that since 2000. But what else have I been saying through that period? Regardless what else happens in the Middle East we would’ve never been able to deal with it with Saddam still in place in Iraq. It’s that simple.

I tend to agree with Keith; whatever else happens in the middle east is going to be small. Small, at least compared to what would have been, had Iraq not been dealt with. it’s always easier to deal with enemies piecemeal.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Bithead, it seems you don’t understand what’s going on in Iraq. The strategy is not designed to win a "war," (we won the war in 2003) but rather to create conditions which will allow the Iraqis to take over the job of defeating insurgents and pursuing reconciliation. The goal of the strategy is to take on the elements least likely to join in reconciliation and weaken them to the point that Iraqi forces with help of a smaller contingent of American forces can hold them at bay and continue to diminish their ability to act with on going counter-insurgency efforts while the political process moves forward. Such a counter-insurgency would take years to achieve "victory." The idea is this: Americans will only tolerate a surge short term, so hit hard at the most important targets until late 2007. Then start withdrawing troops (the Pentagon is already planning this)so that a smaller contingent of American forces can remain for sometime (perhaps indefinitely) to aid the long term Iraqi led counter-insurgency. If Keith’s optimism is correct, 2008 would see a less virulent insurgency and a stronger Iraqi military relying on smaller numbers of American forces. In that atmosphere political pressure to leave completely would decrease, and the White House could claim the surge had succeeded.

My pessimism about the surge is primarily pessimism about the state of the Iraqi military and Iraq’s capacity to have reconciliation and stable, effective government. It’s a rational strategy, far better than other approaches in the last four years, but I just don’t think the Iraqis are in a position to do what is necessary. But I really would like to be in a position in July 2008 or so to be writing "Keith, you were right, my pessimism last year was wrong." I just at this point don’t see it going that way.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, and Bithead, here’s another bit that shows this isn’t about winning a war.

Note this from the President:

President Bush held up Israel as a model for defining success in Iraq, saying Thursday that the goal of the U.S. mission there is not eliminating attacks but enabling a democracy that can function despite continuing violence.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
This position is so out of touch with reality, I hardly know where to begin. As Bruce has pointed out repeatedly, the surge hasn’t failed. It’s just barely started. The surge wasn’t sending some new troops to Iraq. The surge—which we’re seeing begin now—is the counter-terrorist offensive that began last week.
You might want to share the news that the Surge just began last week with your friend McQ. McQ told us in March that the Surge was working. And, of course, it was working in April too. And now that it has really just started last week what is it doing? Working! Definitely working. In that April post we learned that clear hold and build was being expanded to outside of Baghdad, then yesterday McQ informs us that clearly anyone who thinks we’d try to hold or build in these areas doesn’t understand the Surge. Oh well perhaps the details aren’t important as long as we’re clear that the Surge is working. Yaaay!
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
McQ told us in March that the Surge was working.
And I was right.

I also very carefully pointed out:
Got that? Thus far, only 20% of the US surge force is in Baghdad. Yet the sectarian death-squad killings are dramatically down. That means two things. That statistic should get even better when the entire force is in Baghdad and secondly, it appears it is the ISF which is mostly responsible for this decline in killings. Another positive.
And I concluded with:
In other words, things are going fairly well for the moment. Everyone should be able to understand that a successful surge is in the best interests of both the US and Iraq. Or said another way, we should all be cheering this progress (finally) and getting behind it and supporting it.
The tense alone would tell a keen observer that I’m not making any claims about the success of the surge. That sort of observer would naturally not include Retief.

The second simply cited Ed Morrisey’s rebuttal to a Scripps News report saying the surge was failing. I buttressed his with some facts that supported it. But again, as I’ve said in any number of posts which somehow Retief failed to find, the full surge force wasn’t scheduled to close until mid-June. Like this March post which apparently slipped Retief’s notice:
So to again echo the ambassador’s words, lots of challenges remain and there’s a long way to go, but it is indeed looking better than it has in quite some time. Also remember that only two of the five brigades of the surge are in place.
Or this one:
Standard disclaimer: early, just beginning, long way to go, not fully implemented yet, may fail, may not make a difference, etc. etc.
Etc., etc., etc ...

Kind of hard to start the full surge operation without all of our surge troops there, isn’t it Retief?

Surging troops into an area is bound to have an effect and it did. It dampened violence. But no one thought that was ’the surge’. It was simply the staging operation for Operation Phantom Thunder. Apparently Retief doesn’t understand that while surging troops into an area may have a beneficial effect, it isn’t a counterinsurgency operation. And my guess is he still won’t understand that after he reads this.

But he does provide a positive teaching point which reinforces what I’ve said previously about being aware of how the clueless will try to spin this thing.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Sure you’ve been good about saying that all your hopeful signs of progress were still early and that time would tell how the Surge turns out. But surely you will agree that you can not have been right that the Surge was working in March if the Surge didn’t start until last week. If you were right then either something that only started last week was already succeeding three months ago, or Dale is wrong. Now with your weasel words about the "full surge operation" you may be suggesting that what you were talking about was something different than the Surge that started last week. How many Surges are there? Are you going to number them so we can tell which one is succeeding today?


Choose one of the following, you can’t have both:
The surge wasn’t sending some new troops to Iraq. The surge—which we’re seeing begin now—is the counter-terrorist offensive that began last week.
or From February,
"The Surge is showing signs of success. The progress made so far invites hope and optimism, but it’s still too early to celebrate.” - Mohammed Fadhil
Indeed.


Just two more questions. When is the Surge going to engage the JAM as you’ve been telling us it would for months? And has there ever been any strategy we’ve implemented in Iraq that you’ve not suggested just getting behind and supporting?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Now with your weasel words about the "full surge operation" you may be suggesting that what you were talking about was something different than the Surge that started last week. How many Surges are there? Are you going to number them so we can tell which one is succeeding today?
LOL! If you weren’t for real I’d have to make you up, Retief.

I rest my case. Did I not tell you he still wouldn’t get it even after reading the explanation?

Heh ...
When is the Surge going to engage the JAM as you’ve been telling us it would for months? And has there ever been any strategy we’ve implemented in Iraq that you’ve not suggested just getting behind and supporting?
Already has, slugger ... need to learn to look around. How’d you miss this?
While the major offensive operation is occurring in the Baghdad Belts against al Qaeda and Sunni insurgent holdouts, major raids continue against Sadr’s forces and the Iranian cells in Baghdad and the south. Two major engagements occurred against Sadr’s forces since Monday — one in Amara and one in Nasariyah. Scores of Mahdi Army fighters were killed during both engagements after Iraqi Special Operations Forces, backed by Coalition support, took on Sadr’s forces.

The Iraqi government and Multinational Forces Iraq are sending a clear message to Sadr: when the fighting against al Qaeda is finished, the Iranian backed elements of the Mahdi Army are next on the list if they are not disbanded. Also, the Iraqi military and Multinational Forces Iraq possesses enough forces to take on Sadr’s militia if they attempt to interfere with current operations.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
”Yeah, my blog ... doesn’t have the capacity to allow comments. I keep it mostly so my children will know how I thought about events of the day...
”I’ve developed my take on the "surge," based on reading a variety of sources, but won’t post it here — if you want to read it, you can check my blog.”
nuff sed
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Retief:
"And has there ever been any strategy we’ve implemented in Iraq that you’ve not suggested just getting behind and supporting?"
Retief, I ask you: has there ever been any strategy we’ve (using the term loosely) implemented in Iraq that you’ve gotten behind and supported?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
The strategy is not designed to win a "war," (we won the war in 2003) but rather to create conditions which will allow the Iraqis to take over the job of defeating insurgents and pursuing reconciliation. The goal of the strategy is to take on the elements least likely to join in reconciliation and weaken them to the point that Iraqi forces with help of a smaller contingent of American forces can hold them at bay and continue to diminish their ability to act with on going counter-insurgency efforts while the political process moves forward. Such a counter-insurgency would take years to achieve "victory." The idea is this: Americans will only tolerate a surge short term, so hit hard at the most important targets until late 2007. Then start withdrawing troops (the Pentagon is already planning this)so that a smaller contingent of American forces can remain for sometime (perhaps indefinitely) to aid the long term Iraqi led counter-insurgency. If Keith’s optimism is correct, 2008 would see a less virulent insurgency and a stronger Iraqi military relying on smaller numbers of American forces.
Sounds like Scott’s "take" on the surge is pretty well thought out...

And frankly, whether he lets people comment on his blog is immaterial to our discussion here. If you want to know more about what he thinks, you can go to his blog. He’s more then willing to joust over positions here. And he’s always replied to my emails. Probably because I treat him with respect, both here and in email.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Robert, I’m not posting my bit about the surge and my take on Q & O out of deference to the Q & O readers and posters — it’s a long bit and it would take a huge chunk of space on the comments. I shouldn’t have done that about the EU constitution the other day.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Bithead, it seems you don’t understand what’s going on in Iraq.
That such as your assessment, is the best indication yet that I’m right on the money with Iraq. After all, you buy 180° out of whack with reality on everything else.... Now, if you insist on this definition of years, perhaps you’d be interested in relating it to some of the troops are over there fighting in that suppose of non war.

And by the way, just for the sake of laughs and smiles, let’s make the assumption that you’re right. I know it’s hard to believe, but let’s try it anyway. Isn’t this scenario you’re describing precisely what we were doing in Korea? If I recall rightly the scenario had the sanction of the United Nations at the time. Funny how now it’s not valid.




McQ:


To you I would suggest that one of the dampening factors was that your understanding that the surge was coming. They didn’t have to be there, yet. When the bank robbers know that the cops are on their way , by means of the siren in the distance, they have a tendency to skedaddle.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Retief is going all Greenwaldian with McQ’s posts, basically taking snippets and saying it means X...

Keep digging, there’s plenty of evidence to say that McQ knew the full surge wasn’t going to start until all the troops got there.

Also from the Feb post that Retief posted...
Hopeful signs, and yes, something to be happy about. But far, far to early to celebrate. But anyone who wishes for a safe and stable Iraq can’t help but be at least encouraged by these developments.
And speaking of Greenvald... From Feb 26th...
Isn’t that what the discussion now underway is all about? We. Us. You know, the "surge" of US troops necessary to ’clear, hold and build’? You have kept up with that haven’t you?

The entire effort previous to the surge was to teach the Iraqis to clear hold and build (thus the core embedded coalition units. They were the ’teachers’ but had no capability of "clearing, holding or building" themselves).

The strategy was based on ISF units doing it, not US units.

And the reason US units weren’t doing it is because "previously there weren’t enough [US]soldiers to hold key neighborhoods after they had been cleared of extremists and militias", just as Lieberman said.
From April 30th...

http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=5894
3. So what has changed that we should continue to support the effort in Iraq?

Answer: the entire focus of the mission has changed and, interestingly, in line with recommendations from the ISG which the Democrats were so eager to see the Bush administration implement. If you take the time to study the new doctrine and it’s aims, you’ll find that it is key to actually doing what is necessary to defeat the insurgency.

As Omar says, it must be given the time to completely unfold on the ground and be implemented. Then when that has been done and sufficient data has been collected, assess the effort objectively and make a recommendation. It is then, at least militarily, that we should pull the plug and begin to stand down if it isn’t working (you don’t reinforce failure) or we should expand the effort as necessary if it is being successful.

Gen Petraeus says August. I don’t think it is asking too much to allow him the funds and manpower necessary to implement his strategy and assess the results at the proper time.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Technically, the surge STARTED when we began moving the troops.

The operations for which the Surge was intended, however, only started recently...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
"nuff sed"
"I’m not posting my bit about the surge and my take on Q & O out of deference to the Q & O readers and posters..."

Guess I was wrong. I should have known that the master of framing would pretend not to get the obvious point and respond with a self-serving comment showing himself in the best possible light. However, this exercise is a microcosm of what is objectionable in much of Professor Erb’s commentary here.

My contrasting his two statements, IMHO, was to highlight his hypocrisy. Now, if I were in Academe, I wouldn’t allow comments on my blog either - and perhaps I would not even maintain a blog, unless I regularly drank with the appropriate Dean who could come down on me for something it contained. Not the point at all.

What I object to is claiming that the reason that no comments are allowed is that one does not know that one has free access to easily understood technology that would automatically provide such a feature (and also misrepresenting the purpose of having the blog).

Reframe that, Professor.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
highlight his hypocrisy
No hypocrisy. You try so hard to avoid actually engaging that you seek to construct insults but nothing is there. You are the essence of a post-modern political discussant, but without the necessary skill to pull it off.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Hmmmmm. Pure ad hominem. I believe that you are on record as to what that means about a commenter.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
On a more constructive note; you need to diagram "engaging" and "re-framing" and contemplate the difference between the two. An example of not "engaging" would be your lack of response to my comments concerning your contributions to this blog which I have expressed on this thread. "Re-framing" would be exemplified by your responses.
"...a post-modern political discussant..."
I don’t know what that is.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Robert, you forget the first rule of Lefties:"Rules for thee but not for me."
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
"In philosophy and critical theory, postmodernity more specifically refers to the state or condition of society which is said to exist after modernity."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernity


"[Post Modernism]......is the belief that direction, evolution and progression have ended in social history, and society is based instead upon the decline of absolute truths, and the rise of relativity......"
http://www.hewett.norfolk.sch.uk/curric/soc/POSTMODE/post11.htm

"I don’t know what that is."

The best I can figure, it means whatever you want it to mean, but it sure sounds intellekshual and cool, don’t it? From the second definition, and Erb’s previous comments, I think he, too, is a "post-modern political discussant". To paraphrase Friedman, we are all post-modernists now.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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