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Baquba: Things are "changing in a palpable way".
Posted by: McQ on Friday, July 06, 2007

Michael Yon has his latest dispatch up. There's a part you should read about al Qaeda which, if true, will show them for the totally soulless barbarians they are.

The most interesting part of his dispatch concerns the change in the Iraqi people in Baquba:
The big news on the streets today is that the people of Baqubah are generally ecstatic, although many hold in reserve a serious concern that we will abandon them again. For many Iraqis, we have morphed from being invaders to occupiers to members of a tribe. I call it the “al Ameriki tribe,” or “tribe America.”

I’ve seen this kind of progression in Mosul, out in Anbar and other places, and when I ask our military leaders if they have sensed any shift, many have said, yes, they too sense that Iraqis view us differently. In the context of sectarian and tribal strife, we are the tribe that people can—more or less and with giant caveats—rely on.

Most Iraqis I talk with acknowledge that if it was ever about the oil, it’s not now. Not mostly anyway. It clearly would have been cheaper just to buy the oil or invade somewhere easier that has more. Similarly, most Iraqis seem now to realize that we really don’t want to stay here, and that many of us can’t wait to get back home. They realize that we are not resolved to stay, but are impatient to drive down to Kuwait and sail away. And when they consider the Americans who actually deal with Iraqis every day, the Iraqis can no longer deny that we really do want them to succeed. But we want them to succeed without us. We want to see their streets are clean and safe, their grass is green, and their birds are singing. We want to see that on television. Not in person. We don’t want to be here. We tell them that every day. It finally has settled in that we are telling the truth.

Now that all those realizations and more have settled in, the dynamics here are changing in palpable ways.
I only highlighted the one sentence because it tells you this isn't some guy who doesn't know what he's talking about. This is experience talking. Also read his description, near the end, about how Iraqi leaders are now in the area and taking charge.

BTW, if you're so inclined, hit the tip jar at Michael's place. If you support this type of reporting and feel it is worthwhile, you might want to help him out. I hit it last Friday (and no Michael Yon didn't ask me to say this ... I simply believe this is some of the best reporting coming out of the war and it is worth a donation to me).
 
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"We want to see that on television. Not in person."

I love this line.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Things are changing in a plapable way"

Sorry to nit-pick, but it’s in the title: palpable, not "plapable".
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
The big news on the streets today is that the people of Baqubah are generally ecstatic, although many hold in reserve a serious concern that we will abandon them again.
Unfortunately,
phase I was "surge the troops" (which inevitably has a dampening effect on the level of terrorism), phase II, the phase we are presently in, the surge of operations (clearing). The phases which follow will deal with holding, building and training after the clearing portion of phase II is complete.
so we’ll definitely be abandoning them again as soon as we’ve cleared their area. We’ll be back to hold in awhile. Hopefully they’ll be just as ecstatic when we return.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
...so we’ll definitely be abandoning them again as soon as we’ve cleared their area.
We certainly will if the Democrats have their way. That is what the Iraqis are talking about.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Sorry to nit-pick, but it’s in the title: palpable, not "plapable".
Yech ... for whatever reason the online spell checker doesn’t do titles (is that like not doing windows?). Thanks for pointing it out.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well, I think the Republicans are bolting on Iraq as well. But the point that a focus on short term military successes (if this was a success) misses is that the solution requires change in the Iraqi political structure and reconciliation. That front is looking bleak, and that is one reason so many former supporters of the military action are changing their position.

I think Iran is emerging as key in many ways. I won’t post it here because it’s very long, but I have two blog entries, July 5 and 6, inspired by the give and take with Keith about Iran, that gives my idea of how we might manage to successfully deal with the political side of things.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Erb wrote, emphasis mine:
But the point that a focus on short term military successes (if this was a success) misses is that the solution requires change in the Iraqi political structure and reconciliation.
This cannot happen until the military situation is under control; because absent the security for the people which the change in tactics the surge consists of might provide, the differing groups can only serve their best interests separately by scrambling for a best position to take what chunk of the post apocalyptic pie they can get.

What you decry to be short term is a necessary beginning, there is no doing without it.

But then you think the SE Asia horror is a result of our going there, not how we left.

Your judgement is more than merely suspect, it is confirmed flawed.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
No, Tom, you’re wrong. You are wrong that the political situation can’t be mended until the military situation is secure — that’s not the plan behind the surge, even the administration disagrees with you. And of course our going to Vietnam set up conditions that led to Pol Pot’s regime, and it was inevitable that when we left we’d leave the way we did given the nature of democratic politics and military involvement in a region where there is no direct national interest at stake. That’s reality.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"And of course our going to Vietnam set up conditions that led to Pol Pot’s regime"

We never invaded Indonesia, yet they had the largest communist party in the world in 1965. Explain.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Erb, you’re not a history professor right?

You foolishly wrote:
You are wrong that the political situation can’t be mended until the military situation is secure — that’s not the plan behind the surge, even the administration disagrees with you.
The according to Hoyle strategy for Iraq is this:

Create security for the Iraqi population, by isolating and killing extremists. This creates an environment where political progress of the sort we desire is a dominant strategy—previously, jockeying for position on the rubble heap left after we left was a dominant strategy. Security also permits rebuilding efforts to remain intact, and when a the full web of infrastructure a modern society depends on is in place, it has a much greater chance to remain a modern society, and not wholly regress to earlier social structures. Lastly, frame the Iraqi results in a way that presents them to the Arabic Islamic peoples as an example of modern democracy working in their societies, this undermines the expectations that permit AlQaeda to exist. All of this to be done while in constant consultation with local Iraqi political figures who are amenable to our success, permitting them to claim progress as their own, deeply investing them in the process.

So Erb, where’s your white paper quote that refutes that.

Like I said, security first, then politics.
And of course our going to Vietnam set up conditions that led to Pol Pot’s regime
Not at all. Our staying in SVN would have prevented the KR from obtaining sovereign power—we wouldn’t have let them. They would have had American SF troops rampaging through their rear areas instead of NVN supplies coming in. How does it work that they would have been successful anyway—your proposition—when their chief patron would not even have existed?
it was inevitable that when we left we’d leave the way we did
It is not inevitable that the idiots will command our political scene.
given the nature of democratic politics
Some hope remains the American public will not screw up the same way twice.
and military involvement in a region where there is no direct national interest at stake. That’s reality.
Of course there was a direct national interest at stake. We had an interest in preventing communism from having any success wherever that fungus started to grow. We were right to support the struggle against the French communists, the Greek communists, the Korean effort, at cetera, et cetera.

What we were not right to do was drop SVN after we’d put all that effort into stabilizing the situation, and in fact seen it stabilized to the point the SVN could throw back a heavy armor supported NVN invasion, while shattering it, and that with very little American ground support, only air and material. Maintaining that success was cheap at the price and cutting them off reversed all gains to that date.

I swear to God Erb, how stupid are you?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Tom, there has and remains constant pressure on the Iraqi politicians to reach agreement on oil laws, fighting corruption and reconciliation. The "surge" is meant to help that, but so far the evidence is meager that this will make a difference. Moreover, the problems are so fundamental in the Iraqi system that the idea that the "surge" — which is rather small and localized — is very unlikely to alter conditions much. My blog for July 5 and 6 focuses on Iran and gives a possible way out of Iraq that takes this into account — I think the political problems are so deep partition is really the best bet, though that contains a myriad of problems. Also, the time it would take isn’t there — look at how the GOP is turning on the war. It’s becoming an avalanche. You have to deal with reality, not what you wish would be.

I think you’re absolutely wrong on Vietnam, but you’ve never really supported your point accept to assert that "if we had helped" things would have all been different. You can believe in your alternate history if you want to, it allows you not to confront the reality that Vietnam was a huge fiasco for which we paid a high price, and which both political parties agreed we needed to get out of. In any event, look at public opinion on Iraq, look at GOP defectors in the last few weeks. You seem to want an alternate reality for domestic politics where everyone thinks like you. It ain’t gonna happen. So you can fantasize about an alternate history, wish for an alternate reality in the present, and call people stupid who don’t share your vision. But it seems to me that unrealistic fantasies about past and present really deserve the kind of insults you like to hurl.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The failure is Iraq was predictable, and indeed was predicted.

The problem is not the left, nor the right, the problem is the flawed assumptions made prior to the invasion. The administration invaded a nation based on best case scenario assumptions. The likelihood of these best case scenario assumptions holding true was slim, and if the adminsitration proved wrong in their assumptions, the current failed situation is exactly where the situation would be expected to be.

Listening to Ahmed Chalabi was a huge mistake.

Ignoring CIA estimates of the consequences of the invasion was a huge mistake.

Ignoring a post invasion plan (Desert Crossing) created in 1999 was a huge mistake.

The administration made a huge mistake in avoiding post war planning. “I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that,” [Brig. Gen. Mark] Scheid said. “He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war.”

In short, all you people who want to say, "but we have to deal with where we are now, the past is done", need to understand that the past made the present a situation a foregone conclusion, including the American people’s unwillingness to back this war.

The current situation does NOT represent a failure of the American people, or the result of an MSM agenda, it represents exactly what was expected to happen, and nothing is going to change it.

So when you talk about not supporting the troops, or not supporting the mission, you really need to go back and understand that the adminsitration, in their failure in the beginning, failed to support the troops and the mission by failing to recognize the most likely outcomes of this adventure, not the rose colored view they assumed when going in.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
I hereby notify all QandO readers that I am in complete disagreement with Tom Perkins.
Me too.—Dick Cheney
 
Written By: George Bush
URL: http://
Just so you know, the strategy I outlined is taken point for point from one of George Bush’s speeches earlier in the year. It’s difficult to argue it is not in fact the strategy.

If you’re honest.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Tom, there has and remains constant pressure on the Iraqi politicians to reach agreement on oil laws, fighting corruption and reconciliation.
And the failure to more promptly implement conventional COIN strategies has prevented much political progress and had placed us into a costly holding pattern. The fact that we were not persuing AlQaeda unto destruction meant everyone in Iraq knew they’d have to make accommodations with them later. Now we are dismantling AQ, and this will remove back pressure on the political process.
Moreover, the problems are so fundamental in the Iraqi system that the idea that the "surge" — which is rather small and localized — is very unlikely to alter conditions much.
It is affecting the most populated areas and the ones with the worst problems, in fact the sources of trouble for surrounding areas.
You have to deal with reality, not what you wish would be.
Here is reality, deal with it yourself.

As for Vietnam, I am not in the position of needing to defend my assertions that by 1972, SVN was stable, US ground forces were relatively uninvolved, and the SVN army could crush whatever the NVN could throw at them. This is what happened. I do not think you can require me to give evidence of reality, instead, it is your task to show why, with the lower level of involvement we had attained by 1972, and with the balance of power on the ground in our favor...

...you Erb, need to explain how abandoning the SVN and drastically changing the balance of power on the ground in favor of the NVN was a good move.

You need to show why the status quo of 1972 was unacceptable, or how the status post bellum in 1976 was inevitable.

Most particularly, you need to explain how repeating the disaster of abandoning our efforts in Iraq is a good move in light of the developments, the genocide, that befell SEAsia after we left.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Just so you know, the strategy I outlined is taken point for point from one of George Bush’s speeches earlier in the year. It’s difficult to argue it is not in fact the strategy.
...because George Bush never misleads anyone about anthing?
Create security for the Iraqi population, by isolating and killing extremists. This creates an environment where political progress of the sort we desire is a dominant strategy—previously, jockeying for position on the rubble heap left after we left was a dominant strategy. Security also permits rebuilding efforts to remain intact, and when a the full web of infrastructure a modern society depends on is in place, it has a much greater chance to remain a modern society, and not wholly regress to earlier social structures. Lastly, frame the Iraqi results in a way that presents them to the Arabic Islamic peoples as an example of modern democracy working in their societies, this undermines the expectations that permit AlQaeda to exist. All of this to be done while in constant consultation with local Iraqi political figures who are amenable to our success, permitting them to claim progress as their own, deeply investing them in the process.
David Kilcullen is Senior Counterinsurgency Adviser, Multi-National Force—Iraq and one fo the architects of what we call "The Surge" and he descibes the strategy very well over at smallwarsjournal.com.

Your description is not necessarily wrong, but it is not terribly enlightening either. The strategy is simply a population based strategy whereby US forces will physically separate individual communities from intimidation by enemy elements, not necessarily destroying the enemy, but opportunities to do so will taken advantage of. Once the community has been effectively separated from enemy intimidation and control, US forces will then hold the area in that prtected state until it can pass the control of the area to Iraqi forces who will be charged to retain the area in that protected state in perpetuity. The final result being all communities in Iraq being relatively safe and stable.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this strategy, and probably offers the best chance of success of any available strategy. The problem is that while even if the surge were given 5 years to succeed, there is no assurance that it will work, because it relies completely on the Iraqi people making it succeed, and it may be case of the right solution at the wrong time. In order to have succeeded in Iraq, this strategy should have been put into place back in 2003, immediately on the heels of the removal of the Iraqi government. Call it armchair quarterbacking, but from my armchair, we have lost support for this war, so everything we do between now and when we leave Iraq is a waste. the military has no choice but to follow the strategy, but I believe that it is a sad fact that because the administration took too long to actually address the problems in Iraq, the military will not be given a chance to succeed.

It’s analogous to figuring out how you could win the Indy 500 on the 499th lap. It might have worked, but the race will be over before you could make it work.

Do I owe it to the military, the Iraqi’s, and America’s interest, to support this because it offers the best chance of success? Or do I owe it to those same interests to support getting them out because I believe that leaving Iraq before the surge could be successful is a foregone conclusion?


This is not BDS (though you may disagree) but perhaps with new leadership, we could combine this new strategy with a larger strategy, that could gain the support of the American people. Perhaps a plan whereby we clear a community. transition it to Iraqi forces, and then redeploy the troops at each successful transition. For all the talk of getting out of Iraq, I won’t support any plan that does include a plan for a stable Iraq. I like elements of the Biden-Gelb plan, though many Democrats do not.

As a nation, we have lost faith in the administration, and even though they may have come up with the right plan, we are just not going to let them carry it through. As I said before, this is not the fault of the American people for withdrawing support, this is the fault of the administration failing to make a plan for victory that would allow them to be have achived success within the expected constraints of maintaining the support of the American people.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Tom, comparing 1972 with 1975 is misguided. These were completely different contexts, and clearly the North was much stronger by 1975 and the US gone. There was no way we were going to go back then, and no reason to think that a little aid would have turned around a pretty decisive battle. You are a believer in your own fantasy, but I have to deal with reality in analyzing and assessing foreign affairs.

We screwed up Southeast Asia with what has been historically proven to be a pointless and immoral intervention. We need not make that same mistake in the Mideast. We will pull out of Iraq, American politics is dictating that, as the GOP abandons support for the war and the public has turned almost completely against it. No democracy can fight a war on foreign soil with a high price when the public thinks it wrong; Bush has until Mid-2008 at the latest to create conditions for a disengagement that does not lead to disaster. How it gets done is what matters (my proposed solution is in my blog of July 5 and 6).

You inspire me, though, to fight against historical revisionism about Vietnam by making sure the reality is made very known to people. You have no evidence for your position except an irrational assertion that since the north couldn’t win in 1972 while the US was still there, some aid by the US in 1975 would have turned around a decisive victory. That’s silly on its face. If the US had re-entered the conflict that might have made a difference, but there was no chance of that in 1975.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott,

You claim Tom has presented no evidence. You have presented none either but persist in calling it a fantasy. I have an idea, you find a military history which feels that the South was not devastated by our withdrawal of support which presents a cogent argument for how depriving an army of such basic things as enough ammunition to even fire their weapons in their own defense, or claim that air power is a minor aspect of the modern battlefield. Just one. You won’t be able to, and military historians as a whole do feel that if the S. Vietnamese had had our air power and adequate supplies, most critically ammunition, they would have been able to resist the North. That you claim two such critical factors are minor, whether in fact they would have succeeded or not, is flabbergasting. In fact let us quote one military historian, Jim Webb:
On the battlefields of Vietnam the elimination of all U.S. logistical support was stunning and unanticipated news. South Vietnamese commanders had been assured of material support as the American military withdrew the same sort of aid the U.S. routinely provided allies from South Korea to West Germany and of renewed U.S. air strikes if the North attacked the South in violation of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords. Now they were staring at a terrifyingly uncertain future, even as the Soviets continued to assist the Communist North.

As the shocked and demoralized South Vietnamese military sought to readjust its forces to cope with serious shortages, the newly refurbished North Vietnamese immediately launched a major offensive. Catching many units out of position, the North rolled down the countryside over a 55-day period. In the ensuing years I have interviewed South Vietnamese survivors of these battles, many of whom spent ten years and more in Communist concentration camps after the war. The litany is continuous: “I had no ammunition.” “I was down to three artillery rounds per tube per day.” “I had nothing to give my soldiers.” “I had to turn off my radio because I could no longer bear to hear their calls for help.”
That is called evidence Scott, though I could put up thousands of words of it, if you wish, detailing exactly what kind of aid was denied in great detail and the resulting shortages which doomed the SVN, along with long quotes from actual military experts. However, the burden is on you, since it is pretty much self evident that not having ammunition and air power is fatal to Tom and myself, so you have to show that it wouldn’t necessarily be before we get down to more detail. So find that one military historian who provides a cogent explanation for how such a situation was not decisive as opposed to you claiming it is a fantasy.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Lance, that may be evidence, but it’s not very strong. They had shortages, and were shocked and demoralized. But that hardly means that if the US sent aid it would have made a difference — especially given the time it would take to get aid there. As for the US participating, well, that was a non-starter by 1975, there was no way Americans were going to get actively involved again. And if we had, then it probably would have just delayed the inevitable.

And the burden is on you to make a stronger case — you can’t demand that somebody disprove that a history that didn’t happen would not have happened! After all, the South was clearly unable to defend itself. Why? The government was ineffective, corrupt, and not well supported. The reason the South couldn’t defend itself was due to things beyond our control — a competent, effective government would have been getting ready for a potential invasion after 1972, they didn’t. So you can imagine "maybe it would have been different," but that’s not likely.

Of course, if the US had not supported the refusal of the dictatorship in the South to participate the 1956 elections called for by the Geneva convention, the whole region would probably been much better off.

Lessons:
1. Intervention in other states is dangerous as it could unleash forces and angers that lead to consequences far worse than anything not intervening would cause;
2. In a democracy there is limited support for interventions in distant lands that do not seem to counter a direct threat to the nation. Four years seems the maximum where trust will be given to the government. If you are going to engage in such a thing, a government has to recognize it has limited time, and that it needs to have the people behind it. If a government doesn’t think it can accomplish that, it does more harm than good to get involved in a conflict.

Clearly in Vietnam and Iraq the government underestimated the difficulty of the task at hand. Johnson couldn’t believe that the "world’s greatest superpower" could be defeated "by some raggedy ass fourth rate dictators...we’re going to grab Ho by the balls and squeeze until he screams uncle." (Johnson’s words). So clearly there is a third lesson:

3. Interventions will very often appear easier on paper than they will be in reality, and this should be taken into account (this was also proven in Kosovo — the bombing there was only supposed to last a few days).

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Lance, that may be evidence, but it’s not very strong. They had shortages, and were shocked and demoralized. But that hardly means that if the US sent aid it would have made a difference — especially given the time it would take to get aid there. As for the US participating, well, that was a non-starter by 1975, there was no way Americans were going to get actively involved again. And if we had, then it probably would have just delayed the inevitable.
One problem with discussing things with you Scott, is that you don’t really pay attention to what is being said. First of all, nobody is arguing that our troops were going back. Second, they didn’t just have shortages, they were out of ammunition! We cut them off. The aid didn’t need to get there, it needed to be already there. As for just delaying the inevitable, maybe, but the evidence doesn’t support you given the proven ability for them to defend themselves prior to the aid cutoff.

Either way, it refutes your claim that it is a fantasy, which is what I was arguing against. Given that many military historians do believe that with aid they may have been able to survive, and given how critical our aid would have been given how drastically we know it affected them, the best you can argue is that it might not have been enough, no more, without providing something beside it is "a fantasy." You can’t, and the several times this has been discussed you have steadfastly provided nothing besides condescension.
The reason the South couldn’t defend itself was due to things beyond our control — a competent, effective government would have been getting ready for a potential invasion after 1972, they didn’t. So you can imagine "maybe it would have been different," but that’s not likely.
BS. If they had been the best government in the world they still would not have been capable of defending themselves against the North. Just as the NV wouldn’t have been able to overthrow them without the aid of the Soviet Union. You can’t win without ammunition or air support, which they had been promised they would have. They had prepared, we changed the plan and removed the means. The artillery men of the South wouldn’t have had any more shells or been any more effective because their government was better. The South’s military forces were actually pretty good, and their reputation was unfairly smeared by many, as most historians now agree. There is no evidence that when adequately supplied they were not the equal of the north’s forces. Unfortunately the North had allies who were there at the critical time, we were not.

Compound that with even had they had the means to acquire such things from other sources, our yanking it out from under them meant they had no time to change their strategy or find sources for such critical supplies. With such aid they had already proved they could defend themselves without our troops on the ground. It is you who are imagining things, since in the one test we have of the argument they passed, and decisively. Not a close call, they kicked their a**.

None of this is my imagination, it is historical fact, facts which you were not aware of, and ever since it was first pointed out to you that your narrative was wrong, you have just stuck to your original claims come hell or high water, even while slowly acknowledging that your original argument was factually off base. Argue that they might have lost anyway all you want, but drop the nonsense about how clear it is, since so many quite knowledgeable people who have studied this intensely say it is not as clear as you think it is.

As for the rest of your post, off my topic, though simplistic and flawed as well.

As for whether my evidence was not very strong, on the point I was making it was quite strong, and you provide no evidence, and you never have, weak or otherwise. You just say your opinion, but provide no facts upon which to base it. Tom and I, across many threads, have supplied many facts, facts which you did not know, and thus as above, you continue to think we are saying things we are not. You have provided mere assertion. If the supply shortages were not acute, crippling, or easily obtainable from other sources, please provide some kind of evidence, even a claim which I can check on my own. No need to cite, just tell me the evidence and I’ll look at it. Even evidence of a concurring well grounded opinion of why it is a fantasy. Some respected military historian of any ideological stripe would be a nice start. The problem is even if one existed, you don’t know of him. You are blowing unsupported smoke and have no familiarity with the literature. Your opinion is based on general impressions, not any actual knowledge of people who even might agree with you, or of the actual military situation at the time, of the capabilities of either army, or where the sprang from.

I guess England was an unworthy ally to aid since they couldn’t defend themselves from Germany alone. If they had an effective government they wouldn’t have needed aid. That can be the only explanation. Meanwhile those who win wars can claim they are a good government, since if they were not they wouldn’t win. That is the corollary to your claim. I hate to break it to you, but corrupt, ineffective governments win all the time. The North proves that for one example.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
We certainly will if the Democrats have their way. That is what the Iraqis are talking about.
Nice mind reading. Are you sure those Iraqis aren’t talking about their experience over the past four years of constantly changing plans and rhetoric not matched by action?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Are you sure those Iraqis aren’t talking about their experience over the past four years of constantly changing plans
Oh, but I thought the criticism of Bush was that he wasn’t doing or saying anything other then "stay the course."

Now you tell me that they’ve been constantly changing plans???
 
Written By: keith_indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
I dropped $50 for Yon - I hope others pony up some as well.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
I dropped $50 for Yon - I hope others pony up some as well.
I did $100 last week.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Tom, comparing 1972 with 1975 is misguided. These were completely different contexts, and clearly the North was much stronger by 1975 and the US gone.
Erb, I despair of you making an honest argument. Did you miss the fact that my whole fvcking point is that it was huge mistake for us to be gone in the first place!!!
We screwed up Southeast Asia with what has been historically proven to be a pointless and immoral intervention.
Historically proven only to the extent your sort is for the most part writing the histories.

It is only pointless because we left, abandoning the SVN, and my point is thaw we should not have left, that that was a mistake. If the SVN intervention was immoral, why wasn’t the Marshall Plan immoral? Why not opposing the Greek communists, or the North Korean invasion of the South?

C’mon Erb, what’ve you got?
We will pull out of Iraq, American politics is dictating that, as the GOP abandons support for the war and the public has turned almost completely against it.
And if we do it will be a repetition of the terrible mistake we made in abandoning SVN, that is my point. Try addressing the point.
You have no evidence for your position except an irrational assertion that since the north couldn’t win in 1972 while the US was still there, some aid by the US in 1975 would have turned around a decisive victory.
Erb, quit lying. I do not believe you could have been mistaken as to what my point was, I believe you are misrepresenting my argument purposefully, trolling. My point is now and has always been that we should not have discontinued aid to the SVN—I have never spoken of resuming aid in 1975, but of having continually supplied aid in the degree required in late 1972, or in any case to the degree needed to offset the aid the NVN rec’v’d from the Comintern nations.

I am terribly pleased to see that in the brief absence of my internet connection, that Lance has handed you your a$$.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Actually it will be worse then the mistake of abandoning SVN, we would be leaving Iraq with the foreknowledge of what was likely to happen there...
No one can know for sure whether President Bush’s "surge" of U.S. troops in Iraq will succeed. But those who believe that human rights should play a central role in international affairs should be doing everything in their power to maximize the chances that it will. For one of the consequences of failure could well be catastrophe.

A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces could lead to a bloodbath that would make the current carnage pale by comparison. Without U.S. troops in place to quell some of the violence, Iranian-backed Shiite militias would dramatically increase their attacks on Sunnis; Sunni militias, backed by the Saudis or others, would retaliate in kind, drawing more and more of Iraq into a vicious cycle of violence. If Iraq descended into full-blown civil war, the chaos could trigger similar clashes throughout the region as Sunni-Shiite tensions spill across Iraq’s borders. The death toll and the displacement of civilians could climb exponentially.

Perhaps the greatest irony of the political debate over Iraq is that many of Bush’s critics, who accused his administration of going blindly to war without considering what would happen once Hussein’s regime was toppled, now blindly support a policy of withdrawing from Iraq without considering what might follow.

In this respect, the debate over Iraq is beginning to look a lot like the debate about the Vietnam War in the 1960s and ’70s. Then, too, the argument in the United States focused primarily on whether U.S. forces should pull out. But many who supported that withdrawal in the name of human rights did not foresee the calamity that followed, which included genocide in Cambodia, tens of thousands slaughtered in Vietnam by the North Vietnamese and the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of "boat people."

In the final analysis, U.S. leaders will pursue a course in Iraq that they believe best serves U.S. interests. My hope is that as they do, they will make the human rights dimension a central part of any decision. The consequences of not doing so might prove catastrophic to Iraqis, to regional peace and, ultimately, to U.S. security.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
1. Keep Iraq together by giving its major groups breathing room in their own regions and control over their daily lives. A central government would be left in charge of common interests like defending the borders and distributing oil revenues.
2. Secure the support of the Sunnis — who have no oil — by guaranteeing them a proportionate share of oil revenue and reintegrating those with no blood on their hands.
3. Increase, not end, reconstruction assistance but insist that the oil-rich Arab Gulf states fund it and tie it to the creation of a massive jobs program and to the protection of minority rights.
4. Initiate a major diplomatic offensive to enlist the support of the major powers and Iraq’s neighbors for a political settlement in Iraq and create an Oversight Contact Group to enforce regional commitments.
5. Begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces this year and withdraw most of them by 2008, with a small follow-on force to keep the neighbors honest and to strike any concentration of terrorists.
Does this not also rely "completely on the Iraqi people making it succeed." And on top of that also relies on Iraq’s neighbor states to also operate in good faith to make it succeed.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
"With aid they could have continued to survive."

In DECEMBER 1974 Congress passed an act to stop funding the South. Do you think that somehow this meant that in just a few months (the invasion started March 10, 1975) they went from having loads of ammo ready to repel an invasion to being able to be easily defeated? If aid through early 1975 was not enough, why would aid in the first two months of 1975 be enough? Moreover, it was Thieu’s strategy that caused shortages, his retreat lead to conditions where it was difficult if not impossible to resupply. There was emergency aid requested to bolster the regime at the end, but that was after the North already took much of the country and the focus was on Saigon. By that point throwing more aid would have been pointless and would have delayed the inevitable.

Lance, you and Tom are simply WRONG. Objectively wrong.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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