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Iraq: How bad is it?
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, October 27, 2007

Well for some Marines, it's reduced to garbage collection duties:
"This is the fight — sewage, water and trash," Lt. James Colvin said as he showed the landfill to a visitor. "I was a poor math major in college. I come here and they tell me: 'OK, fix the sewage system!' " said Colvin, remembering how shocked he was to return to Ramadi and find that he could walk down streets that he once dreaded crossing in an armored vehicle. "But there's no enemy to hunt down now, so this is our line of attack."
As has been noted here numerous times, the change in Anbar province has been nothing less than miraculous. So miraculous that the Marines are asking to be shipped to Afghanistan so they can get into the fight again.
Falk says there is little the Marines can do except keep up the pressure and hope for the best after they leave, ending a deployment that has been free of combat but full of conversations about trash and sewage.

"This is a dull life compared to what they were expecting," he said of the Marines in the unit who are experiencing Ramadi for the first time. "But the ones who were here before, they are very OK with this life."
Sometimes "dull" is good.

OTOH, this story is out today. BTW, the unit in the story is Scott Beauchamp's unit. I think the lesson from the two stories is challenges remain, progress is certainly at different points in different areas of Iraq, but it appears to me that the trend is toward the positive.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
OK, we won. Let’s go home now. No? Qu’elle surprise! So, we’re doing great but . . we . . . just . . . aren’t . . . . quite. . . there . . . yet . . .

And we never will because that’s how a quagmire works.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Found another enemy collaborator for you:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/26/AR2007102602402.html?hpid=topnews

Sgt. Victor Alarcon. Let the SwiftBoating begin!
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Korea: the quagmire that never ends. I’m not sure many Koreans would appreciate being told they aren’t worth the trouble of defending. Same for Iraqis.
 
Written By: jows
URL: http://
David, That link was in McQ’s post. Nor has this site been one to disparage troops for saying they are frustrated. Sadiyah is a tough place, who denies it? Of course Ramadi was a tough place once, and may yet be again. Glad you have noticed that war has some tough times and places. We thought it was all set the tanks in motion and let them roll downhill before you showed up. Thanks for lifting the scales from our eyes.
And we never will because that’s how a quagmire works.
That is as stupid and wrongheaded as the "inevitable victory" comments. Neither success nor failure is assured.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Korea: the quagmire that never ends. I’m not sure many Koreans would appreciate being told they aren’t worth the trouble of defending. Same for Iraqis.
For the most part, I couldn’t care less what Koreans or Iraqis "would appreciate." I am an American and the interests of the U.S. and American citizens are paramount. In my view, the Iraq War is counter to the best interests of America. By the way, your comment just reinforces my larger point: that we are not leaving Iraq under any circumstances (so long as Bush is president). The discussion of the metrics for "progress" in Iraq is foolhardy because none of that matters. If things "aren’t going well," we can’t leave because Iraq isn’t stable. If we’re "doing well," we’re staying because we’re on the road to even greater success (The surge is working!). Heads I win; tails you lose. Either way, we ain’t goin’ nowhere.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Neither success nor failure is assured.
Keith:

There is no success or failure by which extrication will occur. That is the point. There is only staying the course. That is why it is a quagmire.

quag·mire [kwag-mahyuhr, kwog-] –noun

1. an area of miry or boggy ground whose surface yields under the tread; a bog.
2. a situation from which extrication is very difficult: a quagmire of financial indebtedness.
Nor has this site been one to disparage troops for saying they are frustrated.
Umm, I’ll get back to you on that one.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
My name is not Keith.

That is not how quagmire is used colloquially in regards to war, nor is it how you used it. You said "we never will," not that it would be difficult. So my critique still stands. By the definition you provide though, all wars qualify, as does most government action. Fair enough, quagmires are all over the place, thus the term is now not so threatening, we can just go back to calling it a war.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Sorry, Lance, about the name.

I have used quagmire just as it is intended to be used. And Iraq is a perfect example of a military quagmire. According to Bush (and his enablers), we can’t (or won’t) leave. My answer is to leave anyway. But are there unanswered questions about the impact of our withdrawal? Yes, there certainly are. Will it be "very difficult" to leave? Yes. That’s why Iraq is a quagmire. Although, if you wish to emphasize the volitional component of Bush’s decision — we could leave, but we won’t — that’s OK by me. The truth is that all the options are bad. We have completely de-stabilized the region, from Iran to Turkey. And there are no good options available. That’s what you call a major policy blunder.

 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
David,
I have used quagmire just as it is intended to be used. And Iraq is a perfect example of a military quagmire. ... But are there unanswered questions about the impact of our withdrawal? Yes, there certainly are. Will it be "very difficult" to leave? Yes. That’s why Iraq is a quagmire.
I’ve seen very few of your comments that I agree with, but I can’t argue with that. It appears highly likely that the U.S. will have to maintain a significant military presence in Iraq for the next 10 - 20+ years, something that apparently wasn’t intended when the war was planned. It seems reasonable to call the whole situation a quagmire. But just because it is a quagmire, doesn’t mean the best option is to give up and go home. Annoying as it is, a quagmire can still be better than other possible results.
The truth is that all the options are bad.
Hard to argue with this either. But some options can be worse than others.
We have completely de-stabilized the region, from Iran to Turkey. And there are no good options available. That’s what you call a major policy blunder.
The region was not even remotely stable before the war. The policy blunder was not in removing Saddam, it was removing him without having much of a clue what to do after he was gone.
 
Written By: David C.
URL: http://
We had several thousand troops in Saudi Arabia in the 90s. Having even 20k soldiers in Iraq for the next century isn’t a big deal, the same way it hasn’t been for Japan or Germany the last 60+.
 
Written By: abw
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
The truth is that all the options are bad.
Hard to argue with this either. But some options can be worse than others.
Absolutely right. In my opinion, staying in Iraq ia worse than leaving. I base that upon a number of factors. First, our presence in Iraq comes at an enormous. comprehensive, and complex cost. I won’t get into all the facets of the cost and I won’t discuss the opportunity costs either, but just the direct economic and military costs alone make it a dubious proposition. Second, there is no evidence that we are actually accomplishing anything in Iraq. Almost certainly, Iraq’s fate will be determined by those who live there, or the immediate neighbors, or both. We are at best delaying the inevitable. Third, it is unclear that us leaving Iraq will have the catastrophic consequences commonly suggested. In fact, I think it equally likely that Iraq will fare better without the U.S.’s presence. Fourth, our continued presence in Iraq further destabilzes the region by making our troops (and our allies) inviting targets for AQ, as well as other raidical elements in the region.
We have completely de-stabilized the region, from Iran to Turkey. And there are no good options available. That’s what you call a major policy blunder.
The region was not even remotely stable before the war. The policy blunder was not in removing Saddam, it was removing him without having much of a clue what to do after he was gone.
Well, it was certainly more stable than it is now. Why change the status quo for the worse? Yes, I agree that the "policy blunder" was not planning for the aftermath of the invasion. But removing Saddam under false pretences in a preemptive war was far far worse than a simple policy blunder. Furthermore, the lack of a post-Saddam plan, like the duplicitous run-up to the war, was founded upon the hubris that winners take all. The Iraq invasion has been infected — cursed — by the nature of its conception. Some people refuse to recognize this, but much of the country and the rest of the world has no such trouble. Bottom line: the cost is very high; the reward questionable; and we are on the verge of another war (or two) on Iraq’s borders. Not good. Time to stop. Time to come home.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
"Well, it was certainly more stable than it is now."

Are you sure of that? Re-read the history of the region from 1960 - 2003 and I think you’ll see that its never been stable.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Saddam Hussein ensured the stability of the region? Well, that’s ironic. Or something.

If Saddam had been in command of Iraq today, would Al-Qaeda simply have melted away? Hardly. Would Iran not seek nuclear weapons? Equally unlikely. Would Israel have made peace with Syria and its allies and settled the Palestinian situation? Uh ...

 
Written By: Tom
URL: http://
Fellas, check the news. Turkey in on the verge of invading "northern Iraq"/Kurdistan. And we may well get stuck in the middle of yet another civil war. We are also on the verge of war with Iran. That’s about as unstable as it gets. On the other hand, if by noting the historic regional instability you mean that it was stupid for the U.S. to invade, then I’m with you 100%. And, you know what, if we would just get the heck out of there, I have no doubt that the various Iraqis would deal with AQ in the appropriate manner. Just as they would before we got there.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Over here in Ramadi things have been good, very good in fact.

We’ev had over 100+ days of no attacks in the city since coming here.

While I can agree that when things get to the point of no action it does get boring BUT, I cherish that time because it means no one is dying or being injured from insurgent activity.

v/r
SPC Branch
CAMP RAMADI
 
Written By: Ricardo Branch
URL: http://

 
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