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Baghdad: Center of Gravity
Posted by: McQ on Monday, November 19, 2007

Billy's post about the "cone of silence" seems to be on point. More and more press reports are focusing on the dramatic changes in Iraq, and especially Baghdad:
The gaudy orange, green and purple electronic palm trees flashing in the dark alert you that you're getting close to one of Baghdad's bustling nightspots.

The palms, like a mirage, can be seen from way down the darkened streets, lighting up the night and giving a promise of normality in the otherwise bleak and deserted capital, ravaged by four years of insurgency and sectarian strife.

And then, suddenly, you've arrived and the mirage has become an oasis of generator-driven light; a colourful jumble of trendy juice bars, cosy restaurants, fruit shops, roadside eateries and fish vendors, where children play, families dine and lovers meet.

"Even two or three months ago we would have been afraid to come here at night," said 20-year-old Hussein Salah, an off-duty soldier, slurping a milkshake with his wife, Shihad, at the Mishmesha (apricot) juice bar in Baghdad's relatively safe Karrada suburb.

"Now we sometimes sit outside here till one or two in the morning. It is quite safe. The security situation is vastly improved," said Salah, the orange light from a nearby flashing palm alternatively brightening and dimming his clean-shaven face.

Declines in Iraqi civilian casualties and a sharp reduction in bomb and mortar attacks have sparked optimism that the capital is at last starting to revive.
My nephew returned from Iraq last week and in a phone conversation with him I asked him what he had seen. His unit was located in the Green Zone and he said for most of his tour, he had been treated to fairly routine mortar fire landing randomly in the zone. But, he said, for the last month, he couldn't remember receiving any indirect fire. His assessment, anecdotal as it may be, was the changes were dramatic.
Up the road butcher Halim Sayed Ahmed, an Egyptian with a round face and hint of a moustache, is counting his lucky stars he didn't follow the rest of his family to Cairo when the conflict began ripping Baghdad apart two years ago.

"The butchery is thriving. Sales are up 80 percent compared to the beginning of the year" when violence was at its peak, he said between mounds of freshly cut chicken pieces, mincemeat and mutton.

"I have been here 30 years and I love Baghdad," he said. "Now that the security situation is improving, my family can return."

Seated on a stool manning the cash till at another juice bar further up the road, Aziz, who would give only one name, said he had just returned from a year in Syria, where he had fled to escape the violence.

"I was shocked when I returned to see how much things had changed," he said. "It's like a different city. Things are so good that I now think it would be possible for me to get married."
In military operations, there is a term, "center of gravity" which is used which means "a characteristic, capability, or locality—that enables one's own or allied forces to accomplish their objectives."

Baghdad was the center of gravity for the surge. And, as can be seen in the above story, the surge seems to have fulfilled its promise of at least tamping down the violence to the point where relative normalcy can again establish itself.

Why is that important? Well, think about it for a minute. Our priorities in life form a hierarchy. If we have provided for our food, shelter, clothing and safety, we can move on to other less pressing priorities and address them. However, if we're stuck at the level of attempting to insure any of those four basic priorities, we're not going to be particularly interested in pursuing other less important priorities until they are secure.

That was what was meant by providing the people of Iraq with the time and space necessary to begin to address reconciliation seriously by securing them. Until and unless those base priorities could be ensured, then Iraqis were not going to focus much on anything else. With those priorities secured, now they can and probably will address the other priorities. All of that to say, popular pressure from below, made up of people who now are interested in other priorities on the hierarchy, may begin to push legislators and government officials to address the issues of reconciliation and the other issues that have been lagging at a national level. My guess, given that security remains relatively static or even improves a bit more, is we'll see some of that progress toward reconciliation manifest itself by late summer of '08.

If it does, it should be a very interesting election season.
 
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Comments
Still moving goalposts around the desert, huh? Well, at least you’ve been given your final date. Summer of ’08 gets us through the Bush Adminsitration with no significant change in American presence in Iraq. In other words — as I’ve been saying for years now — we are not leaving Iraq under any circumstances while Bush is president. Congratulations. Mission accomplished.

This, however, is priceless:
That was what was meant by providing the people of Iraq with the time and space necessary to begin to address reconciliation seriously by securing them. Until and unless those base priorities could be ensured, then Iraqis were not going to focus much on anything else. With those priorities secured, now they can and probably will address the other priorities. All of that to say, popular pressure from below, made up of people who now are interested in other priorities on the hierarchy, may begin to push legislators and government officials to address the issues of reconciliation and the other issues that have been lagging at a national level. My guess, given that security remains relatively static or even improves a bit more, is we’ll see some of that progress toward reconciliation manifest itself by late summer of ’08.
Do you even take yourself seriously anymore? I certainly don’t.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Do you even take yourself seriously anymore? I certainly don’t.


And, yet, you’re here, reading and commenting every day.

You’re always free to stop reading. I certainly wouldn’t count it as a loss.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Still moving goalposts around the desert, huh?
I thought moving the goalposts was a right thing. Sounds like a massive case of cognitive dissonance and a desperate attempt to keep the narrative from melting down completely.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Hey DS, why don’t you read up on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs

This is a very good post by McQ and goes a long way to explaining why political improvements have been lagging in Iraq. You can’t go anywhere as a nation until the people’s Physiological and Safety needs are first met.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
And, yet, you’re here, reading and commenting every day.
I consider it public service.
You’re always free to stop reading.
As are you.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Which is more of the same. "moving the goalpost" has turned into a euphemism which means ’I don’t like it, I don’t want to be there, but even I can’t argue that things are getting better, so I’m going to act petulant".

Erb would be so proud.

Again, David, you have yet to address a single question that was asked of you the last time around. You are intellectually dishonest and, I’m beginning to conclude, a mental void.

You have this childish, naive view of war where everything is nicely set up, specific goals are outlined and met, and there is no such thing as an enemy with any say in anything whatsoever.

While this may be a lovely place to live in, it has no basis in reality. Until you realize this, no one here will take you seriously and you will be considered nothing more than an annoying mosquito.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Hey DS, why don’t you read up on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs
I can’t seem to recall President Bush mentioning Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in any of his zillions of explanations for why we can’t leave Iraq, or that this was a factor in the success of the Surge, or for any other purpose. Thank goodness Bush has people like McQ to do his talking for him. You know, one oil man for another and all that. Hey! Maybe we should spend 20 billion to send psychologists to Iraq to explain this stuff to the benighted. Yeah, that’s the ticket. National therapy and then national reconciliation right around the corner (or at least until the next American election). Why, one might call this a cynical attempt by the BA and its sychophants to merely kick the Iraq can down the road and let it blow up on his successor. . . . Nah, that couldn’t be it.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
You are intellectually dishonest and, I’m beginning to conclude, a mental void.
Until you realize this, no one here will take you seriously and you will be considered nothing more than an annoying mosquito.
Here’s what you don’t understand: I don’t care what you and the others Bush sychophants (allegedly) think. It is people who can think for themselves that I write for.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
This blog definitely chooses which news from Iraq to take seriously — while sites like antiwar.com show the situation to be dire. You gotta read all sides to get a realistic view. What I see happening is the US shifted from trying to defeat its opponents to coopting them in the short term and, it appears, accepting a close relationship between Iran and the emerging Iraqi leadership. This can buy time for the US to able to have a rather stable departure, but it clearly is vastly different than the policy objections and the rationale for launching something which has killed so many people and destroyed so many lives. I hope they can pull it out and extricate the US from the chaos. But they will not be allowed to redefine it as a success in any way shape or form.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Who’s moving the goal posts?

I learned young the hard way that the best tactic to cover your ass is to accuse other of what you are doing.

Here’s an except of Harry Reid
BASH: You talked several times about General Petraeus. You know that he is here in town. He was at the White House today, sitting with the president in the Oval Office and the president said that he wants to make it clear that Washington should not be telling him, General Petraeus, a commander on the ground in Iraq, what to do, particularly, the president was talking about Democrats in Congress.

He also said that General Petraeus is going to come to the Hill and make it clear to you that there is progress going on in Iraq, that the so-called surge is working. Will you believe him when he says that?

REID: No, I don’t believe him, because it’s not happening. All you have to do is look at the facts.

The factors are this has been going on for three months. American deaths are at the highest they’ve been in two years. We have — it’s like a balloon.

Things have quieted down a little in Baghdad, but just a little bit. They’ve even moved up in the Kurdish area now. Have tremendous explosions up there, killing two dozen people today. The situation in Iraq is not getting better, and it won’t until we change course.
Considering ’change course’ is a euphemism for withdrawal, I’d say Harry’s made it clear he didn’t expect improvement on any level out of the Surge. I believe the same came from much of the Left.

Although I wouldn’t say its so much as moving the goalposts as subdividing the problem so you don’t have to acknowledge any of the successes.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
forgot the link for the quote from April of this year:

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0704/23/sitroom.02.html
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
who can think for themselves that I write for.
Is that provided they think like you while they’re thinking for themselves?

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
But they will not be allowed to redefine it as a success in any way shape or form.
Right, not as long as we have people like you involved in educating the next generations, you’ll, by God, see to that.

After all, in your view, Carter was/is great.
Pity the kids you’re teaching didn’t actually have to live through his greatness.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Is that provided they think like you while they’re thinking for themselves?
Recommended, but certainly not required.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Recommended, but certainly not required.
Ah so we have it. Whenever they think like you they are thinking for themselves. I see.

The irony is so thick.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Whenever they think like you they are thinking for themselves
I guess you flunked reading comprehension, huh? Irony, too.

 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
BS, DS.

You accuse us all of being sycophants because we agree with the administration in the broadest way possible, then you say that agreeing with you isn’t a prerequisite for those you consider capable of ’thinking for themselves’.

If you’re going to insult our intelligence the way Erb does, at least be as honest as Erb is and do it straightforward. Now you’re just being a moron and a hypocrite.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
guess you flunked reading comprehension, huh?
Hey, you said it.

Don’t blame if you can’t understand what you wrote.

But then you do a lot of that don’t you.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
But they will not be allowed to redefine it as a success in any way shape or form.
Right, not as long as we have people like you involved in educating the next generations, you’ll, by God, see to that.
The funny part is that the original comment was made without any trace of understanding what it implied.

 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
The funny part is that the original comment was made without any trace of understanding what it implied.
Using "Syriana" as a basis for a course says it all.

If Iraq turns into a Garden of Eden in 5 years, as taught by the good Professor, it will be taught that it had nothing to do with the American decision to oust Saddam Hussein. After all, we know before we got involved it was a land of happy kite flying children. What will be taught is that if we hadn’t taken a hand, the garden would have, by miracle, grown 5 years sooner.
Reality will be left as an excercise for the student who wants a 2.0 for the semester grade.
Disagreement isn’t punished, I’m sure, but I’ll bet it doesn’t get a 4.0 either.


 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
looker writes:
Using "Syriana" as a basis for a course says it all.
Indeed. But maybe the students will finally start laughing at him openly.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Using "Syriana" as a basis for a course says it all.
It’s actually perfect for a college course, though not as a ’basis’ but an opening point for a conversation about controversial but important issues — it brings in a lot of diverse bits of information, and does so in a way that is open to criticism on a variety of fronts. I use it as a take off point to study Islam, Mideast politics, terrorism, oil and energy issues, and US policy. It’s sort of "what every educated person should understand about the most important issues facing us today." Another great film is "Control Room," for comparing perspectives (US and Arab world).

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Another great film is "Control Room," for comparing perspectives (US and Arab world).
So are ’Flight 93’ and ’World Trade Center’ and ’Reign Over Me’ with Adam Sandler. Adam Sandler? Yes, Adam Sandler. You can rent ’em all on DVD and show ’en to your class, you know, for discussion and all.....
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
"If it does, it should be a very interesting election season."

Actually, if Iraq keeps going well, it won’t be an issue for the 2008 elections. That’s one of the problems I think. Possibly if the public has had enough of a "rest" from Iraqi war headlines it might come back a bit for the election, but I doubt it. Instead the focus will shift to the economy, healthcare, etc.

In fact, victory might hurt the GOP as the Iraq War was a unifying force keeping the factions together. Rudy, for example, may not do so well if Iraq is looking good, since the social cons won’t feel its so necessary to hold their noses and vote for him. They could just stay home.

Of course Pakistan and Iran will probably keep national security somewhere near the front burner.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Kids get to watch Syriana for class now?

All I got to see was the Battle for Algiers.

Seriously, Erb you need to make sure to kids are forced to watch something with subtitles or it really isn’t a college experience.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Seriously, Erb you need to make sure to kids are forced to watch something with subtitles or it really isn’t a college experience.
Well, Syriana has subtitles...I have it on good authority that Clooney’s Farsi is horrible. I do think film is very effective on a variety of levels. I find Hume’s argument about ethics compelling, and it’s also convinced me to take film seriously as one of many teaching tools.

Ethics for Hume come from sentiment, and not rational thought. Trying to come up with ethics from some kind of rational process isn’t possible, all you need do is change assumptions or principles and the whole system collapses. Moreover, people who are not very intelligent or rational may be very moral and kind, while some of the worst criminals in history had brilliant and exceedingly rational minds. In fact, to develop moral character Hume thought we should read novels, we need to learn that others have value like ourselves. After all, when you look at the atrocities of human history, the devaluing of others, either by dint of their ethnic group or through ideological rationalization, seems a necessary condition to get mass publics to engage in heinous crimes. Film does something similar to novels. (I also think art is important — my blog entry today is about art and alienation).

Though this weird "Iraq is going well" theme this blog has developed is really out of touch with how most of America is experiencing that issue. After all 2007 is the year of the most American troop deaths in BOTH Iraq and Afghanistan. And the latest news from Iraq includes a lot of animosity and a continued lack of political reconciliation. I cannot imagine any way Iraq could ever be seen as anything but a fiasco.

Looker asks "if Iraq is a garden of Eden" in five years...but positing a wish for the future ignores the fact that people like me were right in 2003 predicting how things were likely to go, while the hawks and pro-war side has been proven horribly wrong and completely misguided in their beliefs. Now they have redefined "success" to mean being able to at some point have security — in other words, success now seems to mean not having the violence continue indefinitely. Lower the bar far enough, and success can be anything!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Lower the bar far enough, and success can be anything!
Yeah, some college might even hire you as a perfesser someday......



that people like me were right in 2003 predicting how things were likely to go, while the hawks and pro-war side has been proven horribly wrong and completely misguided in their beliefs.
That’s hilarious. Do you do card tricks, too?
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
That’s hilarious.
You know it’s true. Face up to reality.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Seems like all the benchmarks are continually being met. It may take time, patience and a roundabout way to get there (from deposing Saddam to creating a strong pro-US/pro-Western govt.), but it’s happening.

So anyway, where’s this disaster you and the 5th Column of Socialist Whiners keep yapping about? That 46K Iraqis returned to Baghdad over the past few weeks? That Iran has decided to tone down its help with the insurgency? That Sunnis and Shiites are beginning to reconcile? Help me here, Scotty. I’m trying to find DIIISSASSSTEERRRRR! here.

Go ahead, show me some bogus Lancet study or tell me how the world hates us (yet somehow immigration continues apace!) or perhaps how deposing terror-supporting govts in Afghanistan and Iraq somehow creates more terrorists.

I guess it is a disaster.... for your side, perfesser.
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
I guess it is a disaster.... for your side
LOL! Keep blustering, and avoiding the issues. But the fact is that this has been an utter policy failure. I hope we can get out of it with Iraq stable, and am encouraged by recent news. But five years, all these deaths, all this destruction, the widows, the orphans, the dead Americans, the military people suffering brain injury and other wounds, all the costs, a strengthened Iran, a tottering Pakistan, a divided America...and with the future still very uncertain in the region, with a real chance for continued violence between ethnic groups (or within them) and still the possibility of a regional war. No, any attempt to claim this has been a worthwhile endeavor is absurd on its face. It’s been a waste of life, money, and energy.

Your bluster is an attempt to close your eyes to the fact that those of us who opposed the war were right in our arguments, and those who claimed "oil revenues will pay for the war," and "we’ll be greeted as liberators" or "Iraq will be a model democracy" and all the other crazy claims from 2002-03 were proven wrong.

And you know it. Admit it. It’s obvious to the whole country and to the world.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
and all the other crazy claims from 2002-03 were proven wrong.
Along with:
Years and 10,000 deaths just to take Baghdad or
Baghdad will not be taken, American military is not prepared for an Urban conflict

Yeah, you’re right there Erb. there were a lot of BS being thrown around during that period.

Just remember - Small steps, Erb. Small steps.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
What I find amusing is how you dare presume to speak for our men and women in uniform, Erb.

You presume too much with that one. They can speak for themselves, and they are almost unanimous with their support of our presence in Iraq.

Iraq, up to a few months ago, had not been going well for reasons we’ve all spoken about: but whether or not a military engagement goes well does not mean it wasn’t a worthwhile endeavor. In WWII, we had terrible, terrible set backs. Deaths were in the millions for our enemies, in the tens of thousands for us, and that includes civilians, too.

What’s sad is that I firmly believe that if this were 1943, you’d be on about how we’ve ’paid too dear a price’ and we should have ’negotiated with the Japs’ and ’damn that Roosevelt for killing our boys in Pearl Harbor to get us into a war we have no business fighting’ and how ’it’s a total failure’.

Every generation has their embarrassments. You, DS, and those like you are ours much like Fonda and Kerry were for the Vietnam Era and Joe Kennedy was for WWII.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
But the fact is that this has been an utter policy failure. I hope we can get out of it with Iraq stable
Dude, get this: if we leave Iraq with a stable, pro US govt, then the policy has not been a failure, but largely successful, since that was the initial goal, you twit!
But five years, all these deaths, all this destruction, the widows, the orphans, the dead Americans, the military people suffering brain injury and other wounds, all the costs, a strengthened Iran, a tottering Pakistan, a divided America
You forgot to mention mendacious blog commenters.....
 
Written By: Come on, please
URL: http://
What I find amusing is how you dare presume to speak for our men and women in uniform, Erb.
I speak for myself, Joel, and provide my analysis and opinions. I find it amusing that some people can’t seem to stand it when people don’t think like they do. Oh well, not my problem.

You see, even if Iraq ends up being stable, you’ll never get away with calling this a success. It was far too costly, achieved very little if anything, and caused massive amounts of suffering and damage, especially to the Iraqi people. This was precisely why so many of us argued going to war was a bad idea (I never doubted we could easily depose of Saddam, and I certainly didn’t think there would be 10,000 deaths to take Baghdad — maybe that would have been the cost in 1991 when Iraq was relatively much stronger, but not 2003 when it was a decimated country).

This isn’t worth a "war" like WWII, I believe it has been a pointless waste of lives and resources, with severe costs that we’ll be paying for a long, long time. And I’m not convinced that a downturn in violence means things are about to get a lot better — again, the news posted here cherry picks good news, go to antiwar.com and find a lot of negative stuff. Look at all sources before you assume things are somehow going to get rosey in the future.

But we’ll see how history remembers this in both the near and middle term — I find it almost impossible to see scenarios where it’s remembered as anything other than a major fiasco.

And "Come on," the Iraqi government is and almost certainly will be pro-Iranian.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And "Come on," the Iraqi government is and almost certainly will be pro-Iranian.
And our immediate departure is going to change that? So what if they are going to be pro-Iranian. That is their choice - and that is something that completely escapes you. It will be their choice. Not yours, not mine, not Bush’s, not the UNs - but the Iraqis themselves will have the power to make that choice - or not - but they whqtever choice they make will be made for themselves and that, friend Erb, is worth it all!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
That is their choice - and that is something that completely escapes you. It will be their choice.
That’s not the way the Administration thought this would go. That’s the point — the policy has failed because these are the choices Iraq is making.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
That’s not the way the Administration thought this would go.
There is a lot of things about this war that did not go according to "plan".
That’s the point — the policy has failed because these are the choices Iraq is making.
That is where you are wrong, Erb. The policy succeeds for the very reason that "these are the choices Iraq is making."

The fact that the Iraqis are making these decisions for themselves is what this is all about. And if you think they will allow themselves to become a vassal state of Iran, you got another think coming. I am willing to bet you some hard cash right here and now - and be willing to give odds in your favor - that does not happen. (Note: 300,000 Iraqis took to the streets today to protest Iranian influence in Southern Iraq - and these were not just Sunnis!)

You said once the surge was failing - and I took you to task on it. You were wrong then and you are wrong here also! IMHO.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
SShiell, by every measure, the policy in Iraq has failed utterly. Violence is still rampant, there is virtually no progress on political reconciliation, and even if stability could come after five years it would be testament to the utter and complete failure of the US to achieve what it set out to do. This is a military embarrassment for the United States, and a sign of weakness. You can try put all the lipstick you want on this pig, but it still smells and you can’t cover that up.

Here’s some articles for you to enjoy concerning Iraq:

Gen. Sanchez supports Democratic efforts.

Maliki fighting with Sunnis.

74 Iraqis killed in violence yesterday (a typical day)

The alternate reality you right wing bloggers are trying to perpetuate about Iraq suddenly turning around is absurd. But it’s the same thing you all have been saying for years now. The public has already made up its mind about Iraq. You can bluster, but reality bites. Hard.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Now whose the one with the delusions. Keep up "The Surge is Failing! The Surge is Failing!" mantra. (Apologies to Chicken Little)

Just Remember - Small Steps, Erb! Small Steps!

I predict those words are going to haunt you. Any bets?
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
You said once the surge was failing - and I took you to task on it. You were wrong then and you are wrong here also! IMHO.
Actually looking back at my January blog for a bit about Iran for a different comment thread (someone was trying to say Ahmadinejad’s difficulties with the ruling Guardian Council were new and related to the surge — I noted that these difficulties were not new, and in fact I blogged on them back in January), I noted that my January 17th entry "A Peace With Honor Moment" may remain the best predictor of how the surge would go. I predicted it would not solve Iraq’s problems, but might create enough security stability for the US to be able to declare victory and find a face saving way out. I wrote that in January, as the surge was beginning.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
No, Erb. I will not go outright and call you a liar but I will remind you that on this blog - This Blog - THIS BLOG - you stated the Surge had failed. I could give two hoots and not even a sngle holler what you have stated on your own blog - that is not what I was referring to and you know it! This was in the February-March timeframe on this blog. I took you to task on your statement that the surge had failed even before the first new brigade had arrived in country. After several rounds of comments back and forth between the two of us (and others providing input), you finally admitted that maybe you had been kinda sorta a little bit premature in declaring the surge a failure.

And by the way, you can quote Sanchez all you want. The man is a hack and is bitter because he did not get a fourth star from Bush. He has gotten condsiderable criticsm because it was basically his gameplan (shared by others) that was thrown under the bus in lieu of the COIN strategy now being employed. And he took that to heart as well he should. He was one of the generals Bush should have fired but didn’t when the war began to turn badly in 2004/5. And he has been actively positioning himself for a future potential cabinet-level post with the Democrats ever since he retired by speaking out against Bush.

Check out your history and look at other such general officers who came out to claim defeat and disaster in World Wars One and Two and Korea, etc. Let me know when someone widely respected like Casey starts talking out - not a hack like Sanchez.

It also seems strange to me that of the some 175 general officers that have retired since the beginning of the War in Iraq, only 7 have spoken out against the war and while most of them have been discredited because they had no Iraq experience, the two that did have agendas they are pushing.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Personal attacks on Sanchez because you don’t agree with him, but the fact is that there have been more retired Generals speaking out against this fiasco than one can remember when the US was engaged in military conflict. I personally think you’re just attacking Sanchez because you don’t like what he has to say. That seems common with you — you find a way to try to denegrate people whose views on this kind of issue are contrary to yours, especially those in politics like Carter, Murtha and Sanchez. It appears you are avoiding real critical thought and simply defending your perspective to the point you cannot accept that honest, intelligent and good people have views very different than yours. And it does seem like the "surge" may be working out like I predicted in January. I think I had that view pretty much the whole time — the surge as designed to create a peace with honor moment. I’m not sure what you’re talking about that I posted in a comment on this blog.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Personal attacks on Sanchez because you don’t agree with him, but the fact is that there have been more retired Generals speaking out against this fiasco than one can remember when the US was engaged in military conflict.
Well, your memory has never been that good. I remember statements by you regarding your memory of the popularity of the war in Viet Nam that had to be tossed out.
Check out your history and look at other such general officers who came out to claim defeat and disaster in World Wars One and Two and Korea, etc.
Go back and check the record, there Erb.
I personally think you’re just attacking Sanchez because you don’t like what he has to say.
You know the day you get any sort of clue why or what I think is the day I will climb into my coffin and call it quits. You have not the first clue. I do not like what Sanchez has to say because it is WRONG!

Just like Carter and Murtha. I do not know Carter. In fact, I have a lot of respect for some facets of Carter’s life but when he steps out of into the public and says the things he does and supports the kind of people he does, he puts a smear on America that I find repugnent. So you are defending his statements about Israel? So you are defending his statements supporting Hamas?

I do not know Murtha. I have taken Murtha to task on one thing and that is his dispicable attack on the Haditha Marines. So tell me there Erb - how goes the Haditha Court Martials?
That seems common with you — you find a way to try to denegrate people whose views on this kind of issue are contrary to yours, especially those in politics like Carter, Murtha and Sanchez.
Common of me? Look at yourself - you keep defending the most despicable of hacks like Carter, Murtha and Sanchez.
It appears you are avoiding real critical thought and simply defending your perspective to the point you cannot accept that honest, intelligent and good people have views very different than yours.
And you? It appears you are simply defending those whose views agree with yours regardless of their agenda or bias.

As a side note:
I’m not sure what you’re talking about that I posted in a comment on this blog.
It may take some digging but we will have this discussion again. I promise you!

Small steps, Erb. Small steps.

 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
SShiell, I have a much higher opinion of Carter, Murtha and Sanchez than of you, even though you believe they are wrong and you are right. You seem more like a fan at a Red Sox game hurling insults at the Yankee outfields. Meanwhile, they remain the stars who get the attention, you’re just a voice from the cheap seats.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
By the way, so there’s no misunderstanding SSHiell, I’m in the cheap seats too. And some of the folk around me are taunting and yelling insults at people like Bush, Rice, and Cheney. I’m the guy not joining in, recognizing that what Murtha is to you, Cheney is to someone else. What Carter is to you, Bush is to someone else. What Sanchez is to you, Praetorus is to someone else. It’s not good vs. evil, or right vs. wrong, just different perspectives trying to figure out a complex world.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If it is a strike, I’ll call it a strike because I know there is no umpire in the world who will take back a call of ball or strike. And there are only three outs in any one inning - per side. And as any fan I have my prejudices and my biases, my favorite teams and my not so favorites - as do we all. But what you are saying is you are sitting in the stands calling the shots - not at the players on the field but at the fans in the stands.

Sad, if it were true. How can I doubt that it’s not true? Easy - do you defend Bush or Cheney or Rice or Patreaus with the same conviction you do with Murtha or Carter? It is a rhetorical question - I already know the answer. If you say you do then it is not evident in the pages of this blog.

By the way I can’t stand either the Yankees or the Red Sox. And even though I am only a voice from the cheap seats, I have a voice and in this country the freedom to use it - as anyone else does. I served this country for 24 years to garuntee that right for all - I must have done a pretty good job ’cause the freedom is still there - for both of us.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I actually have said a lot of good things about Rice and Patraeus (in this blog as well as out of it), not as much about Cheney, who I really don’t like. Still, I try to be respectful. I probably have a gut feeling about Cheney like you do about Murtha, but I realize that I don’t know the man and I might be reading things through my bias so I won’t be attacking him personally the way some do.

I’m actually a Minnesota Twins (and Vikings) fan. And I agree about the importance of freedom. I just wonder if our foreign policy and foreign involvements really does anything to defend our freedom or, by making us a super power, creates a government so strong that it actually creates a danger to our freedom.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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