Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
This is pretty noteworthy
Posted by: McQ on Monday, October 29, 2007

Tell me again there isn't being progress made in Iraq. Bill Roggio reports:
Just 24 hours after the capture of 11 Sunni and Shia tribal leaders in northern Baghdad, the Iraqi Army has freed eight of the sheikhs. Meanwhile, Multinational forces Iraq has identified the Mahdi Army commander responsible for the kidnappings, and has begun to name other Mahdi Army leaders as being involved in criminal and insurgent activity.

Iraqi soldiers conducted the raid in as of yet unidentified region near Baghdad, likely with the aid of US Special Forces, and killed four of the kidnappers. "We have rescued eight of the hostages and are working to free the others. We killed four of the kidnappers," Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al Askari said.

Earlier today, Multinational Forces Iraq "identified Arkan Hasnawi, a former brigade commander in Jaish Al Mahdi [Mahdi Army], as responsible for the kidnapping of Shia and Sunni tribal leaders from Diyala Province yesterday." Hasnawi was identified as a leader of a "gang of criminals" that has "joined forces with Iranian-supported Special Groups that are rejecting Muqtada al Sadr’s direction to embrace fellow Iraqis."
Yes, there are still kidnappings and murders going on, but if you think this sort of quick success in finding and freeing kidnap victims in Iraq is something you'd have seen 6 months ago, you simply haven't been paying attention.

I'm not sure why Hasnawi became a "former" brigade commander with JAM, but he's now associated with JAM special groups which are exactly what they're described to be here - "criminal groups" which operate outside even al Sadr's command.

Sadr, in the meantime, said:
Sadr, for his part, has reiterated the cease fire remains in effect, and claimed lies were being spread so as to discredit his Mahdi Army. "Enemy parties are spreading this news (that the freeze ended) to tarnish the image of this heroic ideological army that has shown loyalty to its leadership by implementing the freeze," Sadr said on October 24. "So, we appeal to everyone to obey the order in every respect or risk being expelled from this ... army in which there is no place for renegades."
There's a reason for his caution. It has to do with a loss of power:
Sadr has been directly implicated in the Karbala fighting and is believed to be behind the assassinations of the governors of Muthanna and Qadisiyah provinces. Shia are beginning to turn on Sadr's Mahdi Army in the Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City.
As I've pointed out previously, the militias and the terrorists bring nothing to the dance but violence and death. Now the Shia are beginning to "awaken" to that basic truth and resist the Mahdi Army. Bottom-up reconciliation.

A final note: Coalition Forces today turned the province of Karbala, the province noted in the above paragraph, over to the Iraqis.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
At this pace for progress, stability in Iraq can be achieved in my granddaughter’s lifetime. She was born two weeks ago.
You are certainly correct that every week shows one improvement someplace. Unfortunately, it is offset by one setback.
When Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and McQ can picnic on the banks of the Tigris River outside the Green Zone without escorts on the 4th of July and then stroll to the park to watch the Iraqi’s celebrate American Independence Day out of respect for their liberation then I will believe that progress has been made.
 
Written By: kindlingman
URL: http://
Ummm ... but all of this isn’t about my ability to have a picnic on the banks of the Tigris, is it? Or celebrate some inane holiday. It’s about them being able to take charge and defend their own country.

So for people like you, progress in Iraq will never be sufficient to say "ok, that’s good". But, frankly, I’d guess the Iraqis couldn’t care less.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Kindlingman, unwittingly or otherwise, summed up nicely how, for some people — with hopes pinned on an American defeat or withdrawal — that there is no reasonable standard for victory in Iraq. No matter what is achieved, they will push back the goalposts and once again declare ’quagmire’.
 
Written By: J
URL: http://
Meanwhile, Northern Iraq is on the verge of being invaded by Turkey and we may well get stuck in the middle again. And let’s face it: We are one Tonkin away from outright war with Iran. If there is the "progress" you report, why can’t we leave before some other catastrophe occurs? Or let me ask more specifically: How close are we to leaving Iraq? If you can’t — or won’t — answer that, then your claims of progress are vapid propaganda. Progress towards what, exactly?
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Kindlingman, unwittingly or otherwise, summed up nicely how, for some people — with hopes pinned on an American defeat or withdrawal — that there is no reasonable standard for victory in Iraq. No matter what is achieved, they will push back the goalposts and once again declare ’quagmire’.
You have it exactly backwards. I have suggested declaring victory and getting out since Saddam’s statue fell. It is those like McQ for whom there will never be sufficient progress so that the U.S. can leave Iraq. It is Bush who will never find sufficient progress to leave, only sufficient progress to justify staying. That is the goal. And the goalposts will be placed whereever they need to be.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
So I have a few questions here for David (I’d say Erb...but I really can’t get past his first paragraph without falling asleep):

1. Does it pain you horribly to admit that there is real progress going on in Iraq, or are you just in denial?

2. Is your intention to see us completely out of the Middle East? If the answer is ’yes’ as I suspect, kindly answer the following:
a. How do you propose we’re going to secure the oil routes out of the Persian Gulf?
b. When Turkey DOES invade northern Iraq (which is, and has been for some time now, very stable and economically booming) what, pray tell do you expect the US and the International Community to do about it?
c. When Iran and Syria inevitably develop nuclear weapons because of our indifference, what do you propose we do about it?

3. How close are we to leaving the Balkans or Korea? Does that mean that our victories there were vapid propaganda?
a. What’s your definition of victory?
4. What do you think will happen if we left Iraq today, at this very moment?
a. When the mass murders and genocides begin, who’s fault will it be?
b. What benchmarks do you propose for us to meet before we leave Iraq?

Answer those questions so I can see exactly where you stand. However, if you gloss this over and continue with empty criticism then you will have no legs to stand on. We have enough Arm Chair Generals as it is.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
I think that part of the problem is that President Bush did not explicitly state an end goal prior to the campaign. Because of that failure of communication (even though it might have been justifiable at the time as "too much to go into"), we, generally as a society, think of Iraq as a war separate from everything else going on. For those of us who connect Iraq into the larger war against the jihadis, possibly against Islamism generally, it is obvious why David Shaughnessy’s solution, leaving after the government fell, would be a massive failure: not only was Saddam himself still alive (and would have likely regained control of the country had we left), but the table was utterly overturned, and the odds of the jihadis being able to turn Iraq into a state like Afghanistan prior to 2002 would have been astronomically high. That would have strengthened, not weakened, the jihadis.

But if you do connect Iraq into the war against the jihadis, then we have a framework for figuring out an acceptable end state in Iraq: at a minimum, Iraq must be self-governed (i.e., not occupied, puppets or otherwise enthralled), representatively governed, secularly governed, economically better off than its neighbors, politically more connected to the modern world than its neighbors, and hostile to Islamism generally — all while still remaining a Muslim nation in real terms (otherwise, other Muslims will reject the Iraqi model out of hand). The basic idea is to get across to Muslims that they can be free, independent, prosperous and Muslim without being enslaved to the Mullahs as Iran is, in the process making the US safer in the future by preventing the next generation of jihadis from being created. We have to show not our enemies, but the pool of people from whom our enemies recruit, that Westernism is compatible with moderate Islam and leads to better prosperity and success than the fundamentalism of the Islamists and the constant religious warfare of the jihadis. Effectively, the goal is to make Iraq into a state much like Turkey, but in an Arab state so that the Arabs generally cannot write it off as the work of outsiders.

Once you start looking at the campaign in that light, and scoring it in that light, you see that we are making real progress. Iraq is moving towards true sovereignty, and eventually we will have to mostly withdraw to get them to the end state they need. Iraq is already representatively governed to some extent, and as the bottom-up reconciliations play out over the next several years, that will increase, provided that we don’t cause a breakup of Iraq into parts. Already, Iraq is becoming politically and economically connected into the world, and as the violence level goes down that will accelerate, as will Iraq’s already-improving economy. As the Anbar Awakening and the embryonic Shi’a Awakening show, Iraq is becoming very hostile to terrorism. As the violence is tamped down, the major impediments to progress currently remaining on all of these fronts will be removed.

So to David’s point, when do we leave? When the level of violence is low enough that the Iraqis can control their own territory against the insurgent and criminal threats to it, we can pull out most of our forces; this should happen within the next 12 to 18 months, given the current situation. When the Iraqi military has then been tooled and rebuilt around protecting Iraq from its neighbors, we can pull out the rest of our forces; the example of Korea indicates that this will be decades away potentially. So my guess would be that we obtain the military component of our objectives (suppression of violence to allow the country to develop politically and economically) before or soon after the next President takes office, and our long-term objectives over the next decade+. Once we have obtained the former, the latter could be sped up by taking out Iran’s and Syria’s regimes, but I don’t think that will be necessary for us to obtain our long-term objectives, so long as Iran does not develop, or get close to developing, nuclear weapons. If they do develop nuclear weapons, all bets are off, because Israel would strike Iran, likely using the Israeli nuclear arsenal.

Of course, if you deny the reality of a war against jihadis that will not be over until they stop fighting, then you can hand wave all of this away and simply paint everything in Iraq as a mistake, resulting from a lie, resulting from the bad intentions of a fascistic clique. I’m sure that for many, oddly enough including a lot of "realists," that is far more comfortable than facing the likelihood of a combination of small wars and tense periods lasting decades and involving religion as well as politics. Heck, I can see the attraction myself. Sadly, I’ve read and absorbed the lessons of too much history to think that if we stop fighting before they stop fighting, that that will do anything other than lead to them killing more of us.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
Joel C, those are great questions. But so is Shaughnessy’s; How close are we to leaving Iraq?

Not all of us who ask that question are looking for an exact date, or are pushing to leave so soon that it causes more and bigger problems, but if our continued troop presence in Korea and the Balkans - and other places around the globe - is going to be used as justification for leaving tens of thousands of US troops in Iraq for the next decade and beyond, then it only reinforces Shaughnessy’s point that for some people there will never be sufficient progress so that the U.S. can leave Iraq. We need to be open and honest about that with each other. If we are at least a decade from fully leaving Iraq, then when asked, then say so.

And yes, there are people for whom Iraq will always be called a quagmire, for the sake of domestic political scrapping. Only a fool would deny that. But that doesn’t mean we can dismiss questions about the impact of each step that we herald. Indeed, Progress toward what? Is the Big Picture Long Term Plan based on having pockets of forward-deployed infantry and armor dotted across the globe? That’s kinda what it looks like.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Without pretending that I have all the answers I will take ca crack at your questions:
1. Does it pain you horribly to admit that there is real progress going on in Iraq, or are you just in denial?
Well, I will put aside the trick question aspect of your question (When did you stop beating your wife?), and say this: It appears that violence is down in Iraq, which as I’ve said, before is good news for all concerned. But the whole point of the "surge" was ostensibly to foster national political reconciliation in Iraq so that we can leave. Has there been any "progress" thowrd that goal? No.
2. Is your intention to see us completely out of the Middle East? If the answer is ’yes’ as I suspect, kindly answer the following:
a. How do you propose we’re going to secure the oil routes out of the Persian Gulf?
b. When Turkey DOES invade northern Iraq (which is, and has been for some time now, very stable and economically booming) what, pray tell do you expect the US and the International Community to do about it?
c. When Iran and Syria inevitably develop nuclear weapons because of our indifference, what do you propose we do about it?
Now this directly related to Question 1. In fact, it answers it because it seems clear from your question that the U.S. is notleaving Iraq anytime in the foreseeable furture, if ever. I have said over and over again that this is the de facto policy of the Bush Adminsitration and all the happy talk about progress (toward an American departure) is merely blather. At some point — and perhaps it is now — the Bush Administration will decalre that, regardless of any "progress", we can not leave Iraq because of a) Iranian hegemony; b) Kurdistan instability; c) oil supply stability. All of these things are in turmoil as a result of our Iraqi invasion. Regardless, each of the items you mention must be carefully considered. Our withdrawal cannot be abrupt. It should be well-planned and well-executed. In my view, waiting until new other catastrophe occurs will not make for an orderly withdrawal. Let’s get out and relieve the pressure. Try to rebuild some international coalitions. Remove the spectre of a United States war on Islam. Then each issue you mentiion must be addressed. I agree they are serious concerns.
3. How close are we to leaving the Balkans or Korea? Does that mean that our victories there were vapid propaganda?
I don’t think the Balkans and Korea have much to do with the situation in Iraq. If you can show how they are connected, I’ll reconsider my answer. By the way, I was opposed to our intervention in the Balkans.
a. What’s your definition of victory?
Removing Saddam and eliminating his WMDs. Mission accomplished.
4. What do you think will happen if we left Iraq today, at this very moment?
I am fairly optimistic. I think the Iraqis have made it clear that they have no use for AQ so I don’t imagine AQ will find miuch comfort in an Iraq without America. There will probably be a low-grade (or worse) civil war and Iraq will splinter, proably into three states. In any event, we cannot prevent the Iraqis from reaching thier destiny. It is all inevitable.
a. When the mass murders and genocides begin, who’s fault will it be?
When did you stop beating your wife?
b. What benchmarks do you propose for us to meet before we leave Iraq?
The benchmarks were met long ago.
Answer those questions so I can see exactly where you stand. However, if you gloss this over and continue with empty criticism then you will have no legs to stand on. We have enough Arm Chair Generals as it is.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
By the way, this is a great discussion.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Wulf writes:
How close are we to leaving Iraq?
Hopefully not less than 50 years.

But if what you are really asking is when the violence will stop, the answer is probably never. It will probably level off somewhere near the level of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, or Los Angeles, in a few years.

The American job in the Middle East should and must extend through mid-century, unless we want that region to be a continuous source of terrorism, wars, and chaos.

The much more serious problem throughout that period, however, will be the demographic disintegration of European society and the cultural disintegration of American society.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Is the Big Picture Long Term Plan based on having pockets of forward-deployed infantry and armor dotted across the globe? That’s kinda what it looks like.
It has been for at least 60+ years, and most likely that won’t change. What will change is their location as different hot spots crop up based on evolving threats. For instance there’s a lot of talk about shutting down our bases in Germany and moving those troops south and east. And remember that we fairly recently left the Philippines and the bases there as the situation evolved in that area of the world (a country in which we’d based troops since before WWII). South Korea will always have our forces in country as long as North Korea exists as it does today. Who can forget the presidential promise concerning the Balkans - that our troops would be home for Christmas. Yet we’re still there. And we’ve maintained a presence in Kuwait since the end of the Gulf War. So to pretend that having or basing troops in Iraq as an end-state is somehow significantly different (and indicative of failure) than elsewhere simply doesn’t scan.

Our strategy has always been forward based combat troops (and Navy and AF assets as well) in the areas of the world where they are best located to protect our national interest. If I had to guess, I’d guess the end-state in Iraq may see some equivalent of the old MAAG groups (Military Assistance and Advisory Group) as our main military presence, with any combat troops (maybe a brigade or two there on a rotational basis) in the area based in Kuwait (or possibly in northern Iraq).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
In regard to McQ’s last post: Like I said, we ain’t never leaving Iraq as far as the Bushies are concerned. So all the talk about "progress," "benchmarks", etc is just quaint wordplay to keep the populace occupied.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
So to pretend that having or basing troops in Iraq as an end-state is somehow significantly different (and indicative of failure) than elsewhere simply doesn’t scan.
Oh, agreed. And it’s amusing in a sad way to see Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and others vilified on the Left for having admitted this. Especially since that’s exactly what we need more of - an honest and up-front recognition of the situation on both sides of the aisle.

When asked when we are going to leave Iraq, many politicians and pundits on the Right tapdance about progress instead of saying that we won’t actually ever be leaving. The American voters need to come to grips with the fact that forward-deployment has been and will continue to be our global political and military strategy, and Iraq is going to be a part of it for generations. But the Right is understandably afraid to be the ones to tell them.

Similarly, too many politicians and pundits on the Left are also allowed to tapdance about the progress, pretending that if our troops haven’t come home yet, then it’s because the Right (and Bush in particular) is evil and reckless.

It might be really helpful overall if folks on the Right were in a position to compliment and support those Democrat politicians and pundits who can look the Left in the eye and admit the truth, as Hillary did. But with respect to domestic politics, these wouldn’t be smart strategies for either side, so it rarely happens.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
ell, I will put aside the trick question aspect of your question (When did you stop beating your wife?),
lol glad you caught it.
But the whole point of the "surge" was ostensibly to foster national political reconciliation in Iraq so that we can leave. Has there been any "progress" thowrd that goal? No.
Thank you Jon.

No one is arguing this point, but I asked that question because every time Bruce or someone else brings this up, you immediately respond with:
If there is the "progress" you report
And here’s the clincher:

The point of the surge is two fold: the secondary purpose being to crack down on terrorist behavior and create safety to foment (the primary goal) political reconciliation. Everyone was in agreement here: without the first it is impossible to achieve the latter.

Therefore, we can safely say that the secondary point was met and continues: we currently have a situation where the Iraqi Parliament can now effectively reach the first stage of political reconciliation (a monumental task considering what we’re asking them to do here).

The problem is this is the first time I have seen you acknowledge that we have actually accomplished something, and it took me asking an obvious ’do you beat your wife’ question to get that answer.
1. In fact, it answers it because it seems clear from your question that the U.S. is notleaving Iraq anytime in the foreseeable furture, if ever. I have said over and over again that this is the de facto policy of the Bush Adminsitration and all the happy talk about progress (toward an American departure) is merely blather.
nope: this is standard US foreign policy. We will NEVER leave Iraq per se, just like after WWII we never left Japan or Germany, after Korea we never left Korea. We are still in Germany and Japan and Korea today, and those conflicts ended half a century ago. Having basis in Iraq is too strategically significant to pass up.

Again, where this Clinton (who would have done the same thing) this basic truth would also be the same.
a) Iranian hegemony; b) Kurdistan instability; c) oil supply stability. All of these things are in turmoil as a result of our Iraqi invasion.
Really?

So Iran was NOT trying to be hegemonous before Iraq? Turkey wasn’t trying to deal with the Kurds before Iraq? Our oil supplies were perfectly AOK before Iraq?

C’mon now: even you see how absurd this statement is.
Try to rebuild some international coalitions.
To what end?

Name me one instance in which ’international coalitions’ was successful in which the US didn’t do almost all of the heavy lifting. ’International Coalitions’ are a facade.
Removing Saddam and eliminating his WMDs. Mission accomplished.
Right:

Walk in, destroy everything, find the weapons (oops), depose the dictator, walk out.

...You don’t see any problems with this?
I am fairly optimistic. I think the Iraqis have made it clear that they have no use for AQ so I don’t imagine AQ will find miuch comfort in an Iraq without America. There will probably be a low-grade (or worse) civil war and Iraq will splinter, proably into three states. In any event, we cannot prevent the Iraqis from reaching thier destiny. It is all inevitable.
I’m fairly realistic:

Iran will move in and take over the Oil Rich Shiite Lands. Turky will annahilate the Kurds, possibly creating a genocidal situation for those people. The Sunnis will be overrun (as they were up until a few months ago) by AQI and/or other groups, creating a situation for them even more favorable than Taliban-Afghanistan.

Those are the ’three states’ you’ll end up with.
a. When the mass murders and genocides begin, who’s fault will it be?
When did you stop beating your wife?
Not at all.

When Turkey begins purging the Kurds and when AQI takes over and starts killing en masse (about a week after we leave) who’s fault is it going to be?

Hint: look at Cambodia.
The benchmarks were met long ago.
So then you think we should completely leave, right now, irrespective of the ’considerations’ you spoke about earlier?

That’s the problem that I’m trying to highlight: benchmarks are just that ’benchmarks’. But we cannot simply leave without having an Iraq that can keep a status quo else our leaving creates a worse situation than already exists...kinda like Cambodia.

 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Like I said, we ain’t never leaving Iraq as far as the Bushies are concerned.
You keep missing this, David:

It isn’t about Bush, it’s about established American Foreign Policy.

we ain’t never leaving Iraq as far as the POLITICIANS AND GENERALS are concerned. NO one (except maybe Kucinich and Paul) will ever take us out of there for reasons outlined. Only the reasons why and rhetoric will change.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Joel:

I think the upshot is that the U.S. is not leaving Iraq under Bush. Period. I have said this repeatedly only to be met with nonsense about "progress" being insufficient and "benchmarks" not being met. Such terms are only relevant to the extent of their referents. The "benchmarks" and "progress" towrads those benchmarks was defined by the Administration with the goal of getting the U.S. out of Iraq. My belief all along was that this was a fiction. That we had (and have) no intention of leaving Iraq. You may say that is the correct policy, but it is contrary to all public prononcements by the Bush Administation. That kind of thing is frequently called "lying." In fact, my view is that the real policy of the Bush Amdinsitration is, and has been for some time, to maintain just enough public support to remain in Iraq, knowing full well that the situation is so volatile that eventually something will go wrong in a major way — our troops will get sent to Kurdistan, our troops will engage with Iran, who knows what else — and we will be unable to leave. You think that’s good policy. I think it’s bad because 1) the cost is enormous: 2) we are making the worldwide battle against Isalmofacism more difficult on balance; and 3) our presence dramatically increases the risk of a catastrophic error. Nonetheless, I respect your honesty is stating it clearly. I wish the Bush Adminsitration were honest as well.
So then you think we should completely leave, right now, irrespective of the ’considerations’ you spoke about earlier?
I already answered this: We should leave as quickly as it can be accomplished in a safe and orderly manner. and, yes, regardless of the risks associated with our departure. On balance, I am convinced that staying in Iraq is worse for the U.S. than leaving. I am not happy that these are our choices but that’s where we are.


Two minor things:
this is the first time I have seen you acknowledge that we have actually accomplished something
I have said this numerous times. However, as we accomplish one thing, something else goes wrong, another danger pops up. That is why staying the course is such a poor policy choice. It is always a question of cost-benefit.
It isn’t about Bush
Yes, it is. But only because he’s the president. When Hillary Clinton is the president I’ll say the same.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
I think the upshot is that the U.S. is not leaving Iraq under Bush. Period.
Or, as some people are saying, until after 2013. However, this is something we’ve all known for quite some time now, except some of the Crazy Left, who seem to think they’ll be able to pull us out of Iraq before Bush leaves office.
I have said this repeatedly only to be met with nonsense about "progress" being insufficient and "benchmarks" not being met. Such terms are only relevant to the extent of their referents. The "benchmarks" and "progress" towrads those benchmarks was defined by the Administration with the goal of getting the U.S. out of Iraq.
and that’s where you are, again, incorrect.

Those benchmarks were set as steps for a unified and largely independent Iraq. The administration has said from the getgo that we can’t even begin to discuss leaving Iraq until such a time as Iraq can take care of itself without succumbing to either total collapse or falling under Iran.

I have no idea where you’re getting this framing. Perhaps if you cited something which backs up your claim? from all records, the Bush Administration has been quite clear to a. never set a date of leaving Iraq and b. maintaining that such talk will only come AFTER a largely stable Iraq.

So as for your charge of ’lying’, again, some citations, I believe, are required.
However, as we accomplish one thing, something else goes wrong, another danger pops up.
That’s called ’war’.

I’m sorry, but whoever told you that all battle plans are flawless and everyone neatly plays their part was lying to you.

By your standards, WWII would have been utterly unwinnable and is, today, a failure since we still have Nazis unaccounted for and a Neo-Nazi movement.
Yes, it is. But only because he’s the president. When Hillary Clinton is the president I’ll say the same.
Again, you don’t understand US Policy.

It ISN’T about Bush. This predates Bush and will Succeed Bush. This policy goes back to Eisenhower at the very least, the FIRST Roosevelt if you really want to start looking back.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Meanwhile, over in Diyala province... RECONCILIATION...
The Tamimi and Jibouri tribes, the two largest tribes in Iraq’s Diyala province, met Oct. 24 to discuss the importance of reconciliation and signed a fellowship agreement stressing cooperation and friendship between the two tribes.

The top three Shia sheiks of the Tamimi tribe and the top two Sunni sheiks of the Jibouri tribe attended the meeting, which was hosted by Diyala’s governor, Ra’ad Hameed al-Mula Jowad al-Tamimi. Six additional prominent sheiks from throughout the province were in attendance as well to discuss how reconciliation has improved their tribal areas.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Joel:

1. Our policy in Iraq is sui generis. It is the first and only time the United States has pre-emptively invaded another country. That country also happened to be Muslim, unfortunately. Eisenhower would have never invaded Iraq as Bush did. Never in a million years.


2.
Those benchmarks were set as steps for a unified and largely independent Iraq. The administration has said from the getgo that we can’t even begin to discuss leaving Iraq until such a time as Iraq can take care of itself without succumbing to either total collapse or falling under Iran.
I just want to make sure I understand something: Are you claiming that the Bush Administration has always intended to stay in Iraq indefinitely? If so, please point me to where someone in the Administration has said so, at any time, including today. If not, when was this decision made? When were the criteria amended to include preventing Iraq from "falling under Iran"? If that’s the test, then we are never leaving for certain. After all, those two countries are next-door to each other. And again, please direct me to where the Bush Administration has said any of this at any time.

If necessary, I will direct you to about ten million cites where the Adminsitration claimed, said, asserted, suggested, stated, declared, announced, promised, swore, etc. that the Surge was a temporary measure intended only to provide security for the Iraqi government so that the Iraqi government could make political progress. That, I assume, is no longer an operant rationale. Which kind of reminds me of how we got into this damn mess in the first place.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
If necessary, I will direct you to about ten million cites where the Adminsitration claimed, said, asserted, suggested, stated, declared, announced, promised, swore, etc. that the Surge was a temporary measure intended only to provide security for the Iraqi government so that the Iraqi government could make political progress. That, I assume, is no longer an operant rationale. Which kind of reminds me of how we got into this damn mess in the first place.

A 100,00 will do. I believe the troop draw down, MIGHT begin next year, so i guess the Surge was temporary....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Some numbnuts opined:
Our policy in Iraq is sui generis. It is the first and only time the United States has pre-emptively invaded another country.
John Lewis Gaddis:

"The idea of pre-emption or prevention is not new in American foreign policy.

It’s deeply rooted in American foreign policy, going all the way back to the aftermath of the War of 1812. It was a dominant feature of our foreign policy for 100 years, coming all the way up through the early 20 th century Roosevelt corollary to the Monroe Doctrine [that made the Western Hemisphere off-limits to European colonization]. There were no clear distinctions made between pre-emption and prevention in the thinking of that period.

I think we are actually back to a kind of situation which 19 th-century strategists had to deal with: the danger of non-state actors who, with state support or taking advantage of the failure of states, might gain locations from which they could threaten American interests. There was a sense that these dangers had to be pre-empted or prevented by taking over Florida, for example, from Spain, or taking over Texas from Mexico, or, according to many historians, provoking a war with Mexico so [the United States] could take California to prevent the French or British from taking it later.

[Another example is] our interventions in Central America at the beginning of the 20th century, which were intended to prevent so-called failed states from providing excuses that might lead European powers like imperial Germany, for instance, to intervene. There is a long tradition behind this, and I think it obscures more than it illuminates to try to provide this pre-emption/prevention distinction from the nuclear debates in the 1950s and 1960s and try to make them work in this new situation."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Firstly:

Martin beat me to it, thanks.

Secondly:

I asked you for sources because you made the claim that the administration lied...that’s a big claim to make. Until you document it, however, it’s mindless rhetoric.

I can scream all day and night that I found Hoffa’s corpse, but if I don’t show a body, then I look like Giraldo at Capone’s Vault.

Thirdly:

If you were to check every mention President Bush has made for not withdrawing, he has specifically cited Iran, mass murder, and the collapse of the country.

Back in 04, President Bush said he wanted to keep 14 permanent US Bases in Iraq to use in the GWOT.

The Iran problem has been in the forefront for a few months now, and I think you’re being disingenuous.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
I asked you for sources because you made the claim that the administration lied...that’s a big claim to make. Until you document it, however, it’s mindless rhetoric.
You claim that it is, and has long been, the policy of the Bush Administration to remain in Iraq indefinitely (for various reasons). I say that has never been the announced policy of the Bush Adminsitration (though I have always suspected it as the de facto policy). In fact, the Bush Administration has incessantly argued that we would not be in Iraq one moment longer than necessary. I suppose that one might argue that could mean that we will never leave because it will always be necessary that we stay. OK. I spent two years trying to convince Democrats that Bill Clinton was a liar. They didn’t believe me. I won’t try again with BushCo. Others can judge for themselves whether the Bush Adminsitration has been honest about Iraq. You, at least, have the decency to state the truth: We ain’t goin’ nowhere, regardless of "progress," "benchmarks," and all that other quaint nonsense.

 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
this is from May 2005:

Yet Congress is posed to finalize the president’s $82 billion request for the Iraq war that includes a half-billion dollars for permanent military bases

Here’s another going back to September 2004

Here’s March 2004

Now, does this mean we’re going too keep 100k troops in Iraq forever? No.

But don’t be surprised if we keep somewhere around 50k there, considering we have 50k in Japan.

...actually, considering how much larger Iraq is to Japan, and that we’ll have more bases in Iraq than japan, it isn’t out of the question to suspect the number to be closer to 100k than 50k.

However, antiwar.org, the HuffPo, and others have been clamoring about this for years...where have you been? The Administration has been open about this.

So no, I don’t see where he lied. Sorry.

Care to give me those citations?
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
My measurement of progress in Iraq is very simple. Why is everyone making this difficult?
When the pundits, partisans, and prickly personalities can picnic in Iraq without military escorts on the banks of the Tigris River outside of the Green Zone we will have achieved what we intended: a free and stable Iraq. Until then, we may have some small progress and we may have some missteps and everyone can debate until the cows come home but we will not have achieved what we said we were going to do.
When the home basketball team is down 100 to 18, is there progress when it is 100 to 20? Two points is not progress except to little children who do not know the truth of the game.
 
Written By: kindlingman
URL: http://
"When the pundits, partisans, and prickly personalities can picnic in Iraq without military escorts on the banks of the Tigris River outside of the Green Zone we will have achieved what we intended: a free and stable Iraq."

Why not use this metric to other places...like Compton, Colombia, or the bad part of any city? Right now, according to Michael Totten, you could actually rent a house and live in Ramadi in safety. So, there’s your answer regarding Anbar, I guess. Don’t know about the banks of the Tigris.

I think the question should not be "when can we 100% leave Iraq" but when can we return our military to the level where it could respond to other crises effectively. Is the plan to be able to fight 1.5 or 2.5 wars? I forget.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Me:
Kindlingman, unwittingly or otherwise, summed up nicely how, for some people — with hopes pinned on an American defeat or withdrawal — that there is no reasonable standard for victory in Iraq. No matter what is achieved, they will push back the goalposts and once again declare ’quagmire’.
David:
You have it exactly backwards. I have suggested declaring victory and getting out since Saddam’s statue fell. It is those like McQ for whom there will never be sufficient progress so that the U.S. can leave Iraq. It is Bush who will never find sufficient progress to leave, only sufficient progress to justify staying. That is the goal. And the goalposts will be placed whereever they need to be.
The Duke of Wellington said being born in a barn doesn’t make one a horse. Likewise, declaring yourself victorious doesn’t make it so. To Saddam’s propaganda machine, the Gulf War was a brilliant military triumph for Iraq.

And your criteria for that early-on victory?

No WMDs were found. So, how could you say that it was a victory in that sense? I have the suspicion that they did exist and still do today in Syria (though if the US intelligence community missed their transport out of Iraq it is just as much a damnation of them as incorrectly reporting the existence of WMDs). But I digress.

In fact, declaring victory shortly after the toppling of Saddam’s statue, would not have even resulted in digging Saddam Hussein out of his ’spiderhole’—that didn’t happen until mid-December 2003.

What you seem to suggest as the best course of action for is: We wage a 100-day Gulf War Number Two, route the Republican Guard hordes, knock over a few statues, pause to bask in the jubilation of the cheering throngs, and then scurry back over the berm to watch the impending ethno-tribal fireworks from the Udairi Desert?

If the Baathists remained in power, how long before we decided it was high time for ’Mother of All Battles Part III’? And if Saddam and the Baathists had been toppled, Iraq would have descended into chaos with no Coalition or American Forces there to play referee. If you think the last year has been a ’civil war’ you could call this the nightmare scenario.

I’m all for a reinstatement of the punitive expedition and letters of marque and reprisal. But, this wasn’t a punitive raid, it was the unseating of the government of a nation with an ethnically and religiously diverse population of 25 million, a central location on the Islamic world’s lines of communication (and an ideal hub and haven for terrorist networks), and a strategic location in terms of the global energy supply.

Making a nation a desert and calling it peace is no longer a viable victory criterion for responsible Western civilizations. Not only is it against our best national interests, but it is morally unpalatable.

David:
"In regard to McQ’s last post: Like I said, we ain’t never leaving Iraq as far as the Bushies are concerned. So all the talk about "progress," "benchmarks", etc is just quaint wordplay to keep the populace occupied."
Bush, or not, pending a ’victory’, we will probably not leave Iraq, completely, for a very long time. Doesn’t matter if it’s Bush, Hillary, Obama, Giuliani or McCain—it’s simply prudent application of the tried and true American military policy of forward deployment. Iraq is in the heart of an extremely important region strategically, economically, and politically.

As McQ said, we just recently left the Philippines where we’ve had military since we unwittingly came into possession of the islands after the Spanish-American War in 1898. We’ve been in Germany, Japan, Italy, and Korea for 60 years and counting. And it looks like we will be leaving a ’token’ force (at least brigade size) in Germany after all, despite what I feel is a short-sighted and vindictive attempt to castigate the former German government for their vocal opposition to our execution of OIF.

When talking of ’withdrawing’ or ’pulling out’ the troops it might very well be more correct to talk of ’drawing them down’ instead. Hopefully, in the future, a revitalized Iraq will be a close ally of ours. If that’s the case, we will probably enter into a Status Of Forces Agreement with them and keep a moderately-sized forward-deployed force stationed here for many years to come. I can’t picture ground forces of more than say division-size: say, 15,000 in addition to several thousand Air Force personnel and probably a small Navy contingent. That should be compared to the 160,000 American servicemen there now.
 
Written By: J
URL: http://
Kindlingman: My measurement of progress in Iraq is very simple. Why is everyone making this difficult?
When the pundits, partisans, and prickly personalities can picnic in Iraq without military escorts on the banks of the Tigris River outside of the Green Zone we will have achieved what we intended: a free and stable Iraq. Until then, we may have some small progress and we may have some missteps and everyone can debate until the cows come home but we will not have achieved what we said we were going to do.
When the home basketball team is down 100 to 18, is there progress when it is 100 to 20? Two points is not progress except to little children who do not know the truth of the game.
That metaphor is fallacious and you know it. Firstly, by any measure, no other side in Iraq is beating us, and not — by any measure – by as far a margin as you attempt to portray. Secondly, you play basketball until the buzzer sounds. You fight against an insurgency until it’s crushed. And that doesn’t happen in any time frame as neat as four 12-minute quarters. For your edification, a list of the duration of widely varied insurgencies (with equally varied results):

o Mau Mau Uprising: 8 years
o Algerian War: 8 years
o Moro Insurrection: 11 years
o Malayan Emergency: 12 years (widely cited as a positive COIN example to follow)
o Salvadoran War: 12 years
o Rhodesian Bush War: 15 years
o Angolan War: 27 years
o Vietnam conflict: 30 years
o Northern Ireland: 42 years

Counter-insurgency isn’t suited to an instant gratification culture with an ambivalent media....

You say your "measurement of progress" is that silly scenario. That’s not a measurement of progress, that’s an endstate. And it may very well be plausible, if we prove to have the intestinal fortitude.
 
Written By: J
URL: http://
You say your "measurement of progress" is that silly scenario. That’s not a measurement of progress, that’s an endstate. And it may very well be plausible, if we prove to have the intestinal fortitude.
Of course, by that measure, there are places in the US, where white people, conservative, liberal, or libertarian, might have a tough time setting up a picnic lunch, and remaining undisturbed by the locals. Same goes for any ethnic group.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
When the pundits, partisans, and prickly personalities can picnic in Iraq without military escorts on the banks of the Tigris River outside of the Green Zone we will have achieved what we intended: a free and stable Iraq.
Right then.

Using those same standards then:

"When the President, partisans, and pundits can picnic [along the banks of the Mississippi] in [the Lower 9th Ward] without an armed escort we will have achieved what we intended: a free and stable United States Government. [feel free to change the brackets with a city riddled with crime and it’s associated would-be picnic area but for the rapists, murderers, and thieves. Try parts of New York, Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia and Compton for starters]

By those standards, the only peaceful and stable places on the planet are Amish Settlements.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Well, so much for the citations David was supposed to give.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider