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War as they see it ...
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, August 19, 2007

An interesting article in the NY Times today which many on the anti-war left have pounced upon like a dog on an unguarded pork chop. It's written by a group of soldiers and junior NCOs from the 82nd Airborne Division who make it clear the article is their opinion and not an official one or that of their chain of command. Fair enough. So, what do they have to say?
To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day.
I'm not sure that anyone has said the conflict is increasingly "manageable". In fact, I'm not even sure what that means.

I think most of what has been said is it should be after the Surge is completed. This is a group finishing up in Iraq, so the bulk of their experience has been in pre-surge Iraq, or said a different way, they're leaving at the end of the third month of the full implementation of the counterinsurgency doctrine (which apparently will run through at least next April) and they're already drawing conclusions and writing it off.

That's not to say they don't make fair points in the article about what they have seen in their little corner of Iraq. And you should be clear about that ... that's all they've seen, one small bit of an AO.

So, do I doubt this?
A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.
No, I don't doubt it happened.

But what I object to is the overall extrapolation they make based on their personal experience. We all know the police remain a problem. That's been reported constantly and consistently. And we certainly know that not all army units are as loyal as others or that there aren't problems within some units. But while their descriptions are probably right on for their bit of Iraq, they essentially do the same thing we've seen done for years ... they extrapolate their experience in their area as similar for the whole of Iraq.

Yet we can read contradictory reports from the likes of Michael Totten (who, btw, is embedded with another unit of the 82nd now) and Michael Yon, both of whom have a length of time in country and a depth of perspective that these young men don't have. That's not to fault them for their perspective, it's instead, to put it in some context. After all they put it in context themselves with the title, "The War as We Saw It".

Anyone who doesn't believe there are bad and disloyal men in the Iraqi army and police hasn't been paying attention. But it isn't like that's a problem being ignored. It's not.

And for these soldiers, their complaint really comes down to this:
In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. ... While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.
If you don't get it, they're saying "to heck with the rules of engagement, to heck with building alliances, let us loose and we'll settle this thing once and for all".

Now frankly, I'd be disappointed in a bunch of young infantrymen who didn't feel that what they do is the way to "fix" things. But that's not how you fight a counterinsurgency, and they know that. They're obviously not happy about it, but they still know that. And they've given short shrift to the obvious changes which are taking place in Iraq because of that.

They are building a case for "let us go or bring us home". They already know they're not going find the ROE suspended and given their head, so this is a bit of griping about that. They also know that counterinsurgency is a long and drawn out process, and in the case of Iraq, it has just begun. More than likely then, that means another tour for them.

They prefer the short, sweet and brutal route to the long and arduous CI route. Fine. I can understand their preference not that I agree with it at all. But it is obviously a matter of opinion and that's theirs. What you read in the rest of the article is their cynicism laid out for all to see concerning the present effort and their attempt to justify their belief it won't work.

But whether they like it or not, they do support the premise under which the Surge was launched. Whether they did so intentionally or inadvertently, however, isn't clear:
Coupling our military strategy to an insistence that the Iraqis meet political benchmarks for reconciliation is also unhelpful. The morass in the government has fueled impatience and confusion while providing no semblance of security to average Iraqis. Leaders are far from arriving at a lasting political settlement. This should not be surprising, since a lasting political solution will not be possible while the military situation remains in constant flux.
They're precisely right. And that is also the stated reason for implementing a counterinsurgency doctrine which has as its mission, the security of the population. As they note, until this is done, "a lasting political solution will not be possible". I couldn't agree more.

In fact, that's the whole point of the present mission.

They make another point a little later on to which I again agree completely:
Political reconciliation in Iraq will occur, but not at our insistence or in ways that meet our benchmarks. It will happen on Iraqi terms when the reality on the battlefield is congruent with that in the political sphere.
That is a restatement of their point above. But it also points out that the bottom-up reconciliation process that has been belatedly discovered and supported may be the route to final success in this process. That is an Iraqi driven process, as it must be.

Their most important point is this one:
At the same time, the most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums.
Again, I agree. It is indeed in this area where real progress must be made. It is the most demonstrable way to show the population things are changing and changing for the better. It is also in this area, since the PRTs and EPRTs have gone to work, that real progress is finally being made.

I share their concern, but I don't share their pessimism. Instead I regret the fact that things which could have been happening two or more years ago are just now happening in that regard.

They conclude:
In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.
Except we've been through that and that is now changing in many areas of Iraq. They've left out an important change taking place in some areas of Iraq. There is another realization which has taken place for much of the population and it was never more clearly stated than in Michael Yon's dispatch from Baquba when he talked about how one of the leaders of the 1920s Revolutionary Brigade finally figured out that we wanted out of there just as badly as they wanted us out, but that we weren't leaving until Iraq was secure and al Qaeda defeated.

That's a major shift in attitude and it is certainly a shift away from the belief that the US military is an occupation force. It was certainly that belief which drove him and his insurgents to fight us previously. It was putting aside that belief that had him come to us as an ally, albeit a limited one, in Baquba.
Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.
And I again agree ... it is prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, as they are able. One of the things LTG Odierno said may happen before the end of the year is turning over 8 more provinces to the Iraqis. In the meantime you have to indeed let them step up where they can, take charge and operate.

My favorite line was the last:
We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.
I don't doubt that in the least. While I think their perspective is narrow and narrative dated, I never had any doubts about their professionalism.
 
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We all know the police remain a problem. That’s been reported constantly and consistently. And we certainly know that not all army units are as loyal as others or that there aren’t problems within some units.
And that the "lethal armor-piercing explosive" was probably manufactured in Iran. And if it was a suicide bomber then most likely it’d be a Saudi.
Now frankly, I’d be disappointed in a bunch of young infantrymen who didn’t feel that what they do is the way to "fix" things. But that’s not how you fight a counterinsurgency, and they know that.
It is though how to prevent foreign aggression against a country.
And that is also the stated reason for implementing a counterinsurgency doctrine which has as its mission, the security of the population.
Local counterinsurgency will work if this is a local insurgency, if however it is foriegn based and supplied aggression this is unlikely to be effective.

Is this an insurgency?
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
And for these soldiers, their complaint really comes down to this:

In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. ... While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.
If you don’t get it, they’re saying "to heck with the rules of engagement, to heck with building alliances, let us loose and we’ll settle this thing once and for all".
While I am not sure I agree with the take of unaha-closp as regards whether or not this would be effective in preventing foreign aggression, (presumably from Iran, and/or Syria) I am somewhat sympathetic to the argument. I am often enough complained about the rules of engagement being overly restrictive, as you’ll doubtless recall. Like yourself, Bruce, I have no doubts about their professionalism. Therefore I assume this to be wistful, wishful thinking.

That said, however, it interests me that so many on the left have either missed, or disregarded the import of this statement. It is most certainly not what the anti-war types would like us to think it is... a flat out statement against our current policy. Had the left understood that, they would not have been quite so quick to jump on that particular bone.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Didn’t they have anything positive to say? Did their story get chopped to pieces by the NYT editors? The MSM has been filled with nothing but bad news for years, so this is really just more of the same. That’s not the total story in this war though. Oh well. :(

That said, however, it interests me that so many on the left have either missed, or disregarded the import of this statement. ["to heck with the rules of engagement"]
I’m sure the masters of propaganda will have little trouble ignoring that, as well as:
We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.
So they aren’t all suffering from post-traumatic or going home to become home wrecking criminals and anti-social bad-things and whatever else a large amount of "soldier mental health studies" have "proven." As far as the anti-war side is concerned, Bush is still over in Iraq personally killing our soldiers, and deserves to be impeached or assassinated and stuff.
 
Written By: jows
URL: http://
Bithead,

We do not agree. I meant that foreign aggression into Iraq warrants use of force against Iran/Syria/Saudi in Iran/Syria/Saudi, not greater use of lethality in Iraq. I think the rules of engagement are good enough to combat a local insurgency in Iraq - okay at targeting insurgents and very good at offering positive support to cooperative Iraqis - and that the surge is more of the same. Probably in the 3 - 5 years when the Iraqis realise that you are not going anywhere this can win out against a local insurgency. However I am unsure it is a local insurgency.

I think the reason Saddam was able to command Iraq (where the US cannot) was due to his demonstrated willingness to use force against neighbours he saw as threatening. I think the brutality and lethality directed externally was more critical than the internal repression, in fact I think the brutal internal repression ended up being counterproductive. Hardening internal RoE and not defending against foreign aggression would be I believe the worst possible thing America could do at this point.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
We now have people over there who have been told what its like here first courtesy of our MSM. So when you go over there with a negative expectation, its not overly surprising you see it negatively.

Things like Harry Reids grand standing we’ve criticized for, among other things, undermining morale have to hit eventually.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I meant that foreign aggression into Iraq warrants use of force against Iran/Syria/Saudi in Iran/Syria/Saudi, not greater use of lethality in Iraq.
As I suggested, I am not so convinced, As for several reasons, not least of which is the idea that it would be a wider war than we could handle. For the scoreboard of wars in history, as I recall, does not give an overall positive picture of multi front wars.

FWIW, I agree that this is not a local insurgency that we’re dealing with. Indeed, I’ve been saying that for some months, now. The fact is, however, that we need to respond where and when the attacks are being made.

However, I find the suggestion of applying forced directly to Teheran and Damascus unpalatable for many thousands of reasons... specifically, those people who do not support those governments, but don’t have a great deal of option in terms of the women in them. Attacking these, does not sound like a plausible way of maintaining links with them.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
But what I object to is the overall extrapolation they make based on their personal experience.
If you can fault these soldiers for doing this what about the leftosphere as a hole?

"Look! This ancedote supports the left-of-center meme...it must be gospel!"

I’d try to explain anecdotal evidence to them so that they understand...but no one has that much time.
 
Written By: Rich Horton
URL: http://www.iconicmidwest.blogspot.com
The soldiers spoke very well for themselves. They don’t need you to explain what they meant. And, sorry, but they don’t agree with the Bush narrative. More enemy collaborators, no doubt.
VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day.
What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.
Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.
Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence.
In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
As I suggested, I am not so convinced, As for several reasons, not least of which is the idea that it would be a wider war than we could handle. For the scoreboard of wars in history, as I recall, does not give an overall positive picture of multi front wars.
The gyp is there are actually two ways to avoid that. Either provide a credible threat of countering potential aggression or adopt a policy of non-aggression as you suggest & accept losses.
The fact is, however, that we need to respond where and when the attacks are being made.
If it is foreign instigated, then no. If an attack launched by AQ, it is only of transitory importance to look for people in the local area. Each successive local reaction risks being counterproductive as the response may be worse than the provocation.
However, I find the suggestion of applying forced directly to Teheran and Damascus unpalatable for many thousands of reasons... specifically, those people who do not support those governments, but don’t have a great deal of option in terms of the women in them.
That is a fine reason and because of this plus thousands of others, I accept that America will not act to issue credible threats to Iran or Syria. And because of the special relationship will never threaten Wahabist Saudi Arabia. America will not provide a credible threat.

Which means an unfortunate dilemma. The American military is the most able to potentially solve the Iraq problem, but will not act. The Iraqi forces are structured to fight a counterinsurgency and are not able to provide a credible threat. The Shia militia (next strongest) in collaboration with Iranian backing could provide a credible threat thus protecting Iraq, but would likely religously persecute the Sunnis. The Sunni backed by AQ/Saudi are not capable of gaining power if there is a large Shia/Kurdish force, which means they would need to do some "force reduction" work in country.

In an ideal world USA/UK would muscle up and tell Saudi where to stick it on human rights violations, arms sales, wahabism & terrorism as this would be a strong policy signal that would scare most everybody into a reassessment of threat and make a commitment of support only to the democratic states in the region (pretty much what Bush outlined 6 years ago), but this will not happen. Next best is arming the new Iraqi Army with a credible offensive capability, but the USA is rightfully scared that they will be arming people who will be less than friendly to American (American/Saudi/Gulf State) interests so will not do this.

What I (a pessimist/realist?) think will happen is that America will stay for a few more years fighting a "counterinsurgency" against something that is not an insurgency and then withdraw due to American public opinion. The Shia and Sunni Arabs will go to war with each other and kill alot of people. A dictatorial regime will emerge and in a gesture of unification of the Iraqi nation (Shia & Sunni & Kurd alike) will blame the mass killings and mayhem they largely carried out on America. America will sell another $20billion in arms to Saudi to protect against this threat. AQ will get covert support from Iran, Iraq & Saudi and bombs will go off in major American cities. America will launch a retalitory attack on...

What I hope is that this is actually an insurgency and that the surge will beat it.

 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Sorry about that I am just a little disheartened about the war at the moment.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
And, sorry, but they don’t agree with the Bush narrative.
There is already a tremendous number of Iraq veterans who have spoken about the war. They wouldn’t really agree with the current MSM narrative.

What is the Bush narrative anyway? I don’t think he has one about the war. He has sometimes stated that the ultra-negative leftist agenda driven reporting has been wrong. And you know he has a good point there because that is true.
 
Written By: jows
URL: http://
Sir:

I do not understand where you come up with the following in your post: If you don’t get it, they’re saying "to heck with the rules of engagement, to heck with building alliances, let us loose and we’ll settle this thing once and for all".

When the seven end their Op-Ed with the following:
“Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.”

We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.”

It appears to me that

If Mr. Totten and Mr. Yon have the “depth of perspective that these young men don’t have” (personally I find that difficult to believe) than why hasn’t the President employed their superior intellect in defense of the Mother Country?

More than likely then, that means another tour for them”. And, sir, how many months do you have in a (any) combat zone? How many months do any of your siblings have? Your children? Then the prospect of a second or a third or a fourth has got to range from the disagreeable to the terrifying. For the record, I have 35 months combat time during the 1960s while in the U.S. Navy.

Libertystreetusa says it far better than I at:

http://libertystreetusa.blogspot.com/2007/08/american-centric-response-to-critique.html

In closing, seeing I was one of those “enlisted men” back in the sixties, I close with:

What I find so significant about this Op-Ed is the ranks, or pay grades, if you will, of the authors. These aren’t policy wonks with PhDs. Or even masters degrees. The authors are at the heart of the Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) corps. Four are E-5 sergeants and two are E-6 sergeants. These are significantly high enough enlisted men that they lead troops. Staff Sergeants and sergeants would have a title of Squad Leader and, depending on the type of unit be responsible for from eight to sixteen subordinate soldiers.

These soldiers are not commissioned officers wanting to make sure everything has the right spin so as to not put future promotions in jeopardy. These soldiers have the freedom to “tell it like it is.”
 
Written By: Chief
URL: http://
Yet another enemy collaborator.
Seeing Is Believing

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: August 19, 2007

Is the surge in Iraq working? That is the question that Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker will answer for us next month. I, alas, am not interested in their opinions.

It is not because I don’t hold both men in very high regard. I do. But I’m still not interested in their opinions. I’m only interested in yours. Yes, you — the person reading this column. You know more than you think.

You see, I have a simple view about both Arab-Israeli peace-making and Iraqi surge-making, and it goes like this: Any Arab-Israeli peace overture that requires a Middle East expert to explain to you is not worth considering. It’s going nowhere.

Either a peace overture is so obvious and grabs you in the gut — Anwar Sadat’s trip to Israel — or it’s going nowhere. That is why the Saudi-Arab League peace overture is going nowhere. No emotional content. It was basically faxed to the Israeli people, and people don’t give up land for peace in a deal that comes over the fax.

Ditto with Iraqi surges. If it takes a Middle East expert to explain to you why it is working, it’s not working. To be sure, it is good news if the number of Iraqis found dead in Baghdad each night is diminishing. Indeed, it is good news if casualties are down everywhere that U.S. troops have made their presence felt. But all that tells me is something that was obvious from the start of the war, which Donald Rumsfeld ignored: where you put in large numbers of U.S. troops you get security, and where you don’t you get insecurity.

There’s only one thing at this stage that would truly impress me, and it is this: proof that there is an Iraq, proof that there is a coalition of Iraqi Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds who share our vision of a unified, multiparty, power-sharing, democratizing Iraq and who are willing to forge a social contract that will allow them to maintain such an Iraq — without U.S. troops.

Because if that is not the case, even if U.S. troops create more pockets of security via the surge, they will have no one to hand these pockets to who can maintain them without us. In other words, the only people who can prove that the surge is working are the Iraqis, and the way they prove that is by showing that violence is down in areas where there are no U.S. troops or where U.S. troops have come and gone.


Because many Americans no longer believe anything President Bush says about Iraq, he has outsourced the assessment of the surge to the firm of Petraeus & Crocker. But this puts them in an impossible position. I admire their efforts, and those of their soldiers, to try to salvage something decent in Iraq, especially when you see who we are losing to — Sunni suicide jihadists and Shiite militants, who murder fellow Muslims by the dozen and whose retrograde visions offer Iraqis only a future of tears. But we could never defeat them on our own. It takes a village, and right now too many of the Iraqi villagers won’t work together.

Most likely the Bush team will say the surge is a “partial” success and needs more time. But that is like your contractor telling you that your home is almost finished — the bricks are up, but there’s no cement. Thanks a lot.

The Democrats should not fight Petraeus & Crocker over their answer. They should redefine the question. They should say: “My fellow Americans, ask yourselves this: What will convey to you, in your gut — without anyone interpreting it — that the surge is working and worth sustaining?”

My answer: If I saw something with my own eyes that I hadn’t seen before — Iraq’s Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni leaders stepping forward, declaring their willingness to work out their differences by a set deadline and publicly asking us to stay until they do. That’s the only thing worth giving more time to develop.

But it may just be too late. Had the surge happened in 2003, when it should have, it might have prevented the kindling of all of Iraq’s sectarian passions. But now that those fires have been set, trying to unify Iraq feels like doing carpentry on a burning house.


I’ve been thinking about Iraq’s multi-religious soccer team, which just won the Asian Cup. The team was assembled from Iraqis who play for other pro teams outside Iraq. In fact, it was reported that the Iraqi soccer team hadn’t played a home game in 17 years because of violence or U.N. sanctions. In short, it’s a real team with a virtual country. That’s what I fear the surge is trying to protect: a unified Iraq that exists only in the imagination and on foreign soccer fields.

Only Iraqis living in Iraq can prove otherwise. So far, I don’t see it.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Beyond all the "experts" whether they be armchair pundits or boots on the ground in Iraq, is the extremely high amount of foreign debt the Bush Administration has accumulated in the four plus years we have had troops in Iraq. I am concerned about the future viability of the U.S. government as "a going concern" considering the billions of borrowed money we spend each week supporting the troops in Iraq.
 
Written By: Chief
URL: http://
I do not understand where you come up with the following in your post: If you don’t get it, they’re saying "to heck with the rules of engagement, to heck with building alliances, let us loose and we’ll settle this thing once and for all".
I got it from the paragraph above that sentence.
If Mr. Totten and Mr. Yon have the “depth of perspective that these young men don’t have” (personally I find that difficult to believe) than why hasn’t the President employed their superior intellect in defense of the Mother Country?
This makes no sense. Why should he?
What I find so significant about this Op-Ed is the ranks, or pay grades, if you will, of the authors. These aren’t policy wonks with PhDs. Or even masters degrees. The authors are at the heart of the Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) corps. Four are E-5 sergeants and two are E-6 sergeants.
That’s correct, and their visibility is severely limited to the level on which they operate in the area in which they operate. And that is the context in which what they say should be considered. Its a bit like a math teacher in rural GA explaining why his local experiences mean the entire education system is screwed in the US. It may be true, but most likely not because of the reasons produced by his local experience.
And, sir, how many months do you have in a (any) combat zone? How many months do any of your siblings have? Your children?
My father was a 36 year Army vet. Fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. I put in 28 years as an infantryman and was in VN. I also served with the 82nd Airborne Div. One brother served in the navy during VN, my other brother in the AF during Desert Storm. My son was a cavalry scout during Desert Storm.

Does that make me qualified to hold an opinion or perhaps have an understanding of what I’m saying? Or was this another pitiful attempt to use the bankrupt "chickenhawk" argument to try to shut me up?

I see Shaughnnesy is back trolling after claiming he was done posting here:
Yet another enemy collaborator.
Who here ever called anyone an "enemy collaborator?"
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
trolling
In other words, pointing out things that don’t fit inside the White House propaganda machine.
Who here ever called anyone an "enemy collaborator?"


I was called that on this blog by one of your fellow Bush-bots. Since it furthered the White House agitprop, it went unremarked upon.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
I was called that on this blog by one of your fellow Bush-bots. Since it furthered the White House agitprop, it went unremarked upon.
You mean it was something which occurred in the comment section? After you did your "bushbot" crap, right?

Look, Shaughnessy, if you have something to add other than insults and want to do something other than troll, you’re welcome here. If not, please find another place to vent your poison.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You mean it was something which occurred in the comment section?
Oh, you don’t read the comments, huh?
After you did your "bushbot" crap, right?
I don’t think "Bush-bot" the equivalent to "enemy colloborator." . . . Calling someone a presidential sychophant is not like calling someone a traitor. You guys sure have sharp elbows when it comes to insulting Lefties, mocking the "Liberal Narrative, etc. But "Bush-bot"? Wow. That’s out of bounds.

Ban me if you want. I could care less. I might go away. But the the truth won’t go away. You’ll just have to keep closing your eyes tighter and tighter.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://

The survey of 108 experts, including Republicans and Democrats, showed opposition to the so-called "surge" across the political spectrum, with about two-thirds of conservatives saying it has been ineffective or made things worse in Iraq.
Foreign Policy, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the experts polled on May 23 to June 26 included former government officials in senior positions including secretary of state, White House national security adviser and top military commanders. . . . seven of 10 experts supported the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq. Experts have increasingly cited the war as the root cause of what they believe to be U.S. failure to win in its war on terrorism

 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Oh, you don’t read the comments, huh?
What has that to do with anything? What takes place in the comment section has nothing to do with how the blog is written.
I don’t think "Bush-bot" the equivalent to "enemy colloborator."
Really ... how uninteresting.

The point of course, is you whine when someone insults you, but hey, it’s ok if you’re insulting others. They should just shut up and take it, huh?
Ban me if you want. I could care less. I might go away. But the the truth won’t go away. You’ll just have to keep closing your eyes tighter and tighter.
You won’t go away, because you haven’t the character to keep your word. You demonstrated with your last vow to leave.

You are an obvious troll and you’ll get what you deserve if you hang out here.

It is mildly amusing, however, to watch you try to claim to be the only one in possession of the ’truth’ now.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Ah yes, another linkless and contextless cut-and-paste job. Nice work Shaughnessy.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
What takes place in the comment section has nothing to do with how the blog is written. . . . You are an obvious troll and you’ll get what you deserve if you hang out here.
The fish rots from the head.

I can’t add the link for some reason. It’s on Reuters. I’m sure you could find it (if you were actually interested in the truth and not propagandizing for the Bush Administration.)
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
(Snicker)
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
(Snicker)
As I said:
The fish rots from the head.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
The fish rots from the head.
Well at least this fish has a head.
I can’t add the link for some reason.
Wow ... there’s a surprise.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Here is the entire article. Spin away. Better yet, ignore it.
U.S. foreign policy experts oppose surge

By David Morgan Mon Aug 20, 4:20 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than half of top U.S. foreign policy experts oppose President George W. Bush’s troop increase as a strategy for stabilizing Baghdad, saying the plan has harmed U.S. national security, according to a new survey.

As Congress and the White House await the September release of a key progress report on Iraq, 53 percent of the experts polled by Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for American Progress said they now oppose Bush’s troop build-up.

That is a 22 percentage point jump since the strategy was announced early this year.

The survey of 108 experts, including Republicans and Democrats, showed opposition to the so-called "surge" across the political spectrum, with about two-thirds of conservatives saying it has been ineffective or made things worse in Iraq.

Foreign Policy, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the experts polled on May 23 to June 26 included former government officials in senior positions including secretary of state, White House national security adviser and top military commanders.

The findings were published in the form of a Terrorism Index in the magazine’s September/October issue, to be released on Monday. The magazine published similar indices in July 2006 and in February.

Bush has deployed 30,000 additional U.S. forces in and around Baghdad to quell sectarian violence in a bid to foster political reconciliation between Iraqi’s Sunni, Shi’ite and Kurdish communities.

The strategy was announced early in the year but U.S. forces did not reach their intended strength in Baghdad until mid-June.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, are due next month to provide Congress with a progress report that could prove vital in determining how long U.S. troops stay.

Democrats and some Republicans in Congress say it is time to begin bringing troops home.

Foreign Policy said seven of 10 experts supported the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq. Experts have increasingly cited the war as the root cause of what they believe to be U.S. failure to win in its war on terrorism.

Ninety-one percent of those polled said the world has grown more dangerous for Americans and the United States, up 10 percent from February.

More than 80 percent of the experts said they expected another September 11-scale attack on the United States over the next decade, despite what they described as significant improvements among U.S. security, law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

A decade from now, the Middle East still will be reeling from the ill-effects of the Iraq war, particularly heightened Sunni-Shi’ite tensions in the region, 58 percent said.

Thirty-five percent believed Arab dictators will have been discouraged from pursuing political reforms as a result.

Only 3 percent believed the United States will achieve its goal of rebuilding Iraq into a beacon of democracy within the next 10 years.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
What’s to spin ... it’s a survey. Whether it is informed or not isn’t at all clear since we have no idea how the survey was conducted.

Was it voluntary? How many surveys were sent out? How many were sent back? 10% participation? 50%? 100%?

Any idea at all?

Or is that unimportant to you if it says what you want it to say?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Whether it is informed or not isn’t at all clear since we have no idea how the survey was conducted. Was it voluntary? How many surveys were sent out? How many were sent back? 10% participation? 50%? 100%?
That’s the best you can do? You better go back to spin class.

Oh, and Tom Friedman’s article . . . and the op-ed by the soldiers in the Times. Everybody is wrong except you and George Bush.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
That’s the best you can do? You better go back to spin class.
That’s what I thought. You don’t care as long as it says what you want it to say.

And you want me to take you seriously? Lord, you’re not even a worthy troll.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Lord, you’re not even a worthy troll.
Troll? I have posted three different news articles that you probably would have entirely ignored otherwise. Is that what a troll does? Points out countervailing information? I thought that was part of debate.

By the way, I would be happy to debate you on the Iraq War, one-on-one, at any time, in any place.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Troll?
Yes. Troll.
I thought that was part of debate.
Cut-and-paste isn’t debate. Nor is misrepresenation or insults. Nor is ignoring legitimate questions about your sources (which I see you’ve once again ignored).
By the way, I would be happy to debate you on the Iraq War, one-on-one, at any time, in any place.
Oh please, why would I waste my time on a "true believer" who hasn’t the mental wherewithall to figure out how to link an article in a comment section with the button staring him in the face? Or who hasn’t the character to keep his word when he claims he’s done posting here?

You have had plenty of opportunities to debate Iraq right here on the blog. Instead we’ve been treated to your petty little insults and your disingenuous attempts to portray actual analysis and information as propaganda put out by "bushbots". If it doesn’t conform to your now "revealed truth" why it is surely wrong.

That’s not debate, skippy. That’s faith. To this point I’ve seen absolutely nothing to lead me to believe you to be capable of debate under any circumstance.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Cut-and-paste isn’t debate. Nor is misrepresenation or insults.
Unless the insults are directed at those who disagree with the Bush Administration. It’s OK to call those people "enemy colloborators." Right?
hasn’t the mental wherewithall to figure out how to link an article in a comment section with the button staring him in the face?
I’ve posted other URLS no problem here. I don’t know what the issue is (or what that has to do with anything, either).
petty little insults and your disingenuous attempts to portray actual analysis and information as propaganda put out by "bushbots"
"Actual analysis"? "Infomation"? Please. At least have the integrity to admit that you have been co-opted by the Bush Adminsitration.
To this point I’ve seen absolutely nothing to lead me to believe you to be capable of debate under any circumstance.
Declined an honest debate. As I suspected.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Declined an honest debate.
Uh, no, not at all. Declined dishonest nonsense from someone who hasn’t the character to know the difference.

And your source? Have any answers about that survey yet, Mr. Honesty?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Hey, McQ. Don’t waste your time with DS. Careful or he will pull out his famous "I am rubber and you are glue" gambit again. Truth be told, He probably has a bet with his little buddies at the roller rink that he can get banned from this blog.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
David S. wrote: I have posted three different news articles that you probably would have entirely ignored otherwise. Is that what a troll does? Points out countervailing information? I thought that was part of debate.

My reply: No, it’s not what a troll does, but no one on this blog will accept links to news articles, no matter how many you post, if those articles do not correspond with what McQ, et al. already believe. And yes, McQ *will* focus on trivialities not essential to the debate itself, such as whether you were able to post a link or not, as a way to discredit differing points of view and avoid developing a cogent counterargument.

 
Written By: Kathy
URL: http://libertystreetusa.blogspot.com/
And yes, McQ *will* focus on trivialities not essential to the debate itself, such as whether you were able to post a link or not, as a way to discredit differing points of view and avoid developing a cogent counterargument.
More whining Kathy? And I do love the charge of "focusing on trivialities" from a woman whose original comment had to do with the use of the word "unfortunate".

But tell me - If combat fatigue is related to combat and PTSD is a disorder found post-combat and, as acknowledged by everyone, are two different problems, is it possible to have PTSD without ever having combat fatigue?

Is it possible to experience combat fatigue and not have PTSD?

The answer to both of those questions is "yes."

So again, speaking of trivialities, tell me the relevance of your PTSD links to a request for data supporting your assertion that combat fatigue is an "enormous problem" in this war.

Btw it is nice to see you’re still reading this blog. You have one too, somewhere, don’t you?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
So again, speaking of trivialities, tell me the relevance of your PTSD links to a request for data supporting your assertion that combat fatigue is an "enormous problem" in this war.

You answer a question for me first. I have sensed that your disagreement hinges on the adjective "enormous." So, what if I were to substitute — for the sake of getting the repeating chord in the tune back in its groove and moving forward again — the word "serious" or "significant" for the word "enormous." Combat fatigue is a serious/significant problem for U.S. troops in Iraq. Would the underlying, basic, substantive premise then be less offensive to you?

If you say yes, then you are focusing on a point that is trivial in relation to the larger issue. If you say no it would not make any difference, then we are in complete disagreement for real, and not just spinning our wheels over verbal shades of emphasis.

Btw it is nice to see you’re still reading this blog. You have one too, somewhere, don’t you?

I enjoy reading blogs that are very different in point of view from mine. You feel that way, too, don’t you?

 
Written By: Kathy
URL: http://libertystreetusa.blogspot.com/
I have sensed that your disagreement hinges on the adjective "enormous".
Sensed? No need to "sense" such a thing. I’ve been very straight forward in my challenge to your assertion.

I don’t try to impute what others might mean when they use a word such as ’unfortunate’ so there is no reason to "sense" anything.
So, what if I were to substitute — for the sake of getting the repeating chord in the tune back in its groove and moving forward again — the word "serious" or "significant" for the word "enormous."
Irrelevant. You bear the burden of providing data that it is a significant problem using any adjective.
If you say no it would not make any difference, then we are in complete disagreement for real, and not just spinning our wheels over verbal shades of emphasis.
Not only do we disagree, you still haven’t provided one iota of support for your assertion. And I do love how you’ve again attempted to side-step that challenge to that assertion.
So again, speaking of trivialities, tell me the relevance of your PTSD links to a request for data supporting your assertion that combat fatigue is an "enormous problem" in this war.
Still, nothing.
I enjoy reading blogs that are very different in point of view from mine. You feel that way, too, don’t you?
I certainly don’t mind if they have a different point of view than mine, but they do have to be worth reading.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Irrelevant.

Cool. I will consider this topic of discussion closed.

I certainly don’t mind if they have a different point of view than mine, but they do have to be worth reading.

Obviously. And just as obviously, both of us would say the same thing about that, to wit: If you find something worth reading, read it. If you don’t find it worth reading, don’t read it. But don’t imagine that anyone cares other than you.

 
Written By: Kathy
URL: http://libertystreetusa.blogspot.com/
That’s correct, and their visibility is severely limited to the level on which they operate in the area in which they operate. And that is the context in which what they say should be considered

You didn’t get this idea from me, did you? That’s what I keep saying about the photo-op tours being given to ideologically friendly pundits, as well as the carefully incomplete snippets of positive data handed out by DoD (example: "a certain type of vehicular bomb attack has declined by a third since the surge began!!")


In other important news:
This should not be surprising, since a lasting political solution will not be possible while the military situation remains in constant flux.
It was ironic that you highlighted this phrase, because the point is that the military situation will be in flux as long as our army is in the middle of this place. Unless you think military resistance to the Army is going to cease in the next year, or five years, this means that our counterinsurgency itself makes a political solution very unlikely. The first part of the ’political solution’ would be the end of the fighting - but the US Army’s modus operandi and mission precludes the possibility of the end of the fighting. Every time we group the supposed moderates off from the supposed extremists, we leave people in group 2. and the fighting continues.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Anybody else notice that when Kathy started posting David stopped? I’m imagining a tag-team blog comment battle. Let’s hope they picked matching costumes.
I see Shaughnnesy is back trolling after claiming he was done posting here
I saw that too, McQ. My thought is if someone posts a huge prima-donna-like diatribe on how he’s leaving, he should have the courtesy to spare us his presence for at least 6 months.

And who says vaudeville is dead?
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com
I’m imagining a tag-team blog comment battle.
Imagine away, if that’s how you care to spend your time. Meanwhile, know this: I speak for myself. The views I give are my own. I am not beholden to any person or any party. It’s called independent thought. You might use some of your free time to try it. It’s difficult, but very rewarding. Good luck.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
It’s called independent thought.
So long as it conforms to the Liberal Narrative!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
The views I give are my own...It’s called independent thought.
Errr...except you didn’t give any views or thoughts. All you did was repost someone else’s thoughts without any analysis. Then you spent the rest of the time whining because someone called you a name in a previous thread. Great job!
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
All you did was repost someone else’s thoughts without any analysis.
Facetiously naming the authors as enemy collarorators becasuse they don’t share the Bush-bot view of the Iraq War. That was my commentary. It’s called sarcasm. Sorry it went over your head.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
the Liberal Narrative
If the choice is between 1) W(rong), his FUBAR Geniuses, and the Bush-bots; or 2) the Liberal Narrative, I’ll take the Liberal Narrative. Whatever it is.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Facetiously naming the authors as enemy collarorators becasuse they don’t share the Bush-bot view of the Iraq War.
And every time you label someone as a "Bush-bot" you paint yourself with a bullseye the size of your *ss! Give it a rest! It is possible to have an opinion without having the likes of you disparaging it for reasons of your own BDS. Take warning from this point onward. Every time you pull out the "Bush-bot" meme, I will be all over you like stink on sh*t. It will not matter the topic nor the theme of the posting. You don’t like to be called an "Enemy Collaborator"? I can understand that. But that is kindergarten stuff compared to what will come your way if you persist with the "bush-bot" crap.

(Note to McQ et al: My apologies to you for this. If you want to ban us both, I will completely understand. But with this matter, my patience with this little puke is at an end.)
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Take warning from this point onward.
"Liberal Narrative" is OK. "Enemy collaborator" is OK. "BDS" is OK. "Little puke" is OK. Threats are OK. But "Bush-bot" is not? Tough. You are now Bush-bot No 1. Congratulations!

Now have fun.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Whoa. So the war is on? OK. Well, I will not even bother with Enemy Collaborator - how ’bout we go straight to TRAITOR! Works for you? Good. Works for me as well.

And in the meantime, check you back - carefully!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Whoa. So the war is on? OK. Well, I will not even bother with Enemy Collaborator - how ’bout we go straight to TRAITOR! Works for you? Good. Works for me as well.

And in the meantime, check you back - carefully!
Ho! Ho! Ho! Get a life.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
"Ho! Ho! Ho! Get a life."

How about getting a clue, cementhead.

You can ask one of your "experts" (without referents or mention of credentials) what that means.


"Arguing with one rejects reason is like arguing with your dog".

 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://
Seems "Traitor Shugnasty" thinks it is funny. We’ll see. . .
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Seems "Traitor Shugnasty" thinks it is funny. We’ll see. . .
Nice to hear from you, Bush-Bot No. 1. Keep up the good work!



 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Nice to hear from you, Bush-Bot No. 1. Keep up the good work!
Wow, he runs a rating service too. Do you deliver prizes and fresh fruit as well?
 
Written By: capt joe on the road
URL: http://

 
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