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Author Topic: "What I saw in Iraq" by Joseph Lieberman
Kent
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From The Wall Street Journal

quote:
Al Qaeda is launching spectacular terrorist bombings in Iraq, such as the despicable attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra this week, to try to provoke sectarian violence. Its obvious aim is to use Sunni-Shia bloodshed to collapse the Iraqi government and create a failed state in the heart of the Middle East, radicalizing the region and providing a base from which to launch terrorist attacks against the West.

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RickyB
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And...?

I mean, McCain talking about "what he saw in Iraq" (through the layers of protection he was wrapped in) was silly enough, and he at least has a military background.

It's no coincidence that Libermoan is OSC's favorite non-republican. The man is incapable of saying "I was wrong about that".

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Kent
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Yeah, I pretty much discount everyone that disagrees with me too.

[ June 15, 2007, 07:05 PM: Message edited by: Kent ]

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RickyB
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[Big Grin]
Listen, Lieberman's a cheerleader. He hasn't criticized the war effort once that I know of. He's a self righteous, simple minded gasbag. Why on earth should I listen to him about Iraq? He saw jack that wasn't scripted and is entirely vested in a certain message.

The passage above happens to be true, which is why I asked: So?

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Snowden
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The excerpt seems spot on, but I agree with Ricky: So?
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Kent
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I keep forgetting that you don't want to read the article and you'd rather disagree with me than Lieberman. I would take a position if I were capable of defending it, but alas, I lack the intellect to do so.

quote:
Some argue that the new strategy is failing because, despite gains in Baghdad and Anbar, violence has increased elsewhere in the country, such as Diyala province. This gets things backwards: Our troops have succeeded in improving security conditions in precisely those parts of Iraq where the "surge" has focused. Al Qaeda has shifted its operations to places like Diyala in large measure because we have made progress in pushing them out of Anbar and Baghdad.


[ June 15, 2007, 07:39 PM: Message edited by: Kent ]

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RickyB
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Yeah, only gains in Baghdad have been reversed since Joey was last updated, and gains in Anbar are due to cooperation with the tribes and not due to the surge.

Next?

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EDanaII
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See no progress, Hear no progress, Speak no progress.
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Jesse
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"We are making real progress in stemming the tide of Illegal Immigration across our southern border, since fewer are crossing in California and more are crossing in Arizona. By pushing them east, we are making progres."

Liebermans statements are simply assinine.

[ June 15, 2007, 08:10 PM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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EDanaII
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"We are making real progress in stemming the tide of Nazi agression in the world, since fewer are fighting in Africa and more are being forced to fight in Germany. By pushing them out of Africa, we are making progress."

"We are making real progress in stemming the tide of the Civil War, since fewer are fighting in the North and more are being forced to fight in the South. By pushing them out of New England, we are making progress."

"We are making real progress in our Gallic conquest, since fewer are fighting in Gergovia and more are being forced to fight at Elusia. By pushing them out of eastern Gaul we are making progress."

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DaveS
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Ed, I assume by these rephrasings you are showing how silly Lieberman's comments are. Welcome aboard!
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DaveS
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Kent, Lieberman's comments reminded me of Dan Senor, who used to lambaste Democrats (usually) who suggested that things weren't going well in Iraq. He could tick off a list as long as your arm of the positive developments. The bottom line is that it's going as well as anybody says it is, for instance as well as Bush said it was going last October, until it's suddenly not really been going so well at all, for instance as poorly as Bush said it had been going for a long time last November. Keep your eye on the statistics, not the flapping jaws.

[Edit] BTW, I read the whole article and have seen a couple of interviews with Lieberman on TV since he got back. In one of them, somebody pointed out to him that one of the soldiers who he talked to said afterward that he was too intimidated to tell Joe how poorly he thought things were going.

[ June 15, 2007, 09:50 PM: Message edited by: DaveS ]

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Daniel Hammel
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Lieberman is a fool.
quote:
Connecticut for Lieberman Party Chairman John Orman called Tuesday for Sen. Joe Lieberman to resign, saying his advocacy of a military strike against Iran could explode into a global conflict.
He's getting kicked out of the second party in a year.
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RickyB
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Hi Daniel - you sure do seem to take a long time between posts [Big Grin] Can you source that please - that's great news.

ED, if terrorists operated like real armies, then there would be value in pushing them out of locale A into B. However, they don't, which is why your use of that silly scoring system is so irrelevant.

[ June 16, 2007, 05:28 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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RickyB
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I need to amend that statement: Of course there's value in clearing a city of AQ, but not as long as you show no ability to prevent them from moving around indefinitely inside the theater from A to B to C and back, nor to clamp down on their influx into the theater. Unlike regular armies, terrorists don't have to have nominal control in order to be effective from their point of view.
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EDanaII
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As far as I know, they've been moved out of A and are staying out of A, so any declarations of success are valid since the objective was to move them out of A.

@ DaveS:
quote:
Ed, I assume by these rephrasings you are showing how silly Lieberman's comments are. Welcome aboard!
Nice try.

You are just demonstrating your lack of understanding with regards to basic military strategy (and common sense) if you think Lieberman's statement was silly.

Ed.

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RickyB
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"As far as I know, they've been moved out of A and are staying out of A, so any declarations of success are valid since the objective was to move them out of A."

Oh yeah? Which A is that?

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EDanaII
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I think you know which.
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velcro
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The objective was to move them out of A, B and C. Moving them from A to B, then back and forth from B to C does indeed clear A, but does not meet the objective.

Lieberman never bothered to officially form the Connecticut for Lieberman party that he ran under. A Lieberman opponent filed the paperwork and uses it to embarrass Lieberman. From the John Orman entry in Wikipedia, some of the party rules are

1.If you run under Connecticut for Lieberman, you must actually join our party.

2. The party will nominate people for office who have the last name of Lieberman and/or who are critics and opponents of Senator Lieberman.

3. If any CFL candidate loses our party's nomination in a primary, that candidate must bolt our party, form a new party and work to defeat our party's endorsed candidate.

4. We in the CFL intend to run the same candidate for three different jobs at the same time, ie.
House, Senate and Governor.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.

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martel
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Ed-I think we don't know which A, and could you please answer the question? If you mean Baghdad, by everything I've read, you're wrong. If you mean Anbar, we're making progress, and some people are now helping us, but they're not "out". If you mean Fallujah specifically, I call "the operation was successful, but the patient died."

If you mean something else, please enlighten us.

Velcro- agreed, and how do you know when you chase them into B that they're not going to sneak back into A when your back is turned? To the best of my knowledge, we have only had success (relatively speaking) in stopping insurgency action in areas where we maintained troop levels.

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RickyB
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LOL. Cute [Smile]

Ed- no, really - which? See: martel.

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Jesse
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quote:
Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno said American troops launched the offensive in Baghdad's Arab Jabour and Salman Pac neighborhoods Friday night. It was the first time in three years that U.S. soldiers entered those areas, where al-Qaida militants build car bombs and launch Katyusha rockets at American bases and Shiite Muslim neighborhoods.
quote:
Odierno said there was a long way to go in retaking the city from Shiite Muslim militias, Sunni Arab insurgents and al-Qaida terrorists. He said only about "40 percent is really very safe on a routine basis" — with about 30 percent lacking control and a further 30 percent suffering "a high level of violence."
Making progress, but it's hard work. Al-Queda. It's hard work making all this progress.

We'll stay the cour---DOH! That one expired.

[ June 17, 2007, 02:02 AM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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RickyB
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Oh, great. Odierno. He of the infamous 4th Infantry - a unit that did more to sour relations between the US and locals than any in Iraq.
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FiredrakeRAGE
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RickyB -

What do you have against 4th ID? Most of 'em are ok [Smile]

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RickyB
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I have nothing against anyone except people who behave unethically, unprofessionally or immorally - especially when they do it in my name. According to (Pulitzer winner) Thomas Ricks, in his book "Fiasco", the 4th ID under Ray Odierno was guilty of far more instances of such behavior than any comparable unit in Iraq.

(btw, the most stellar results in all Iraq in the years 2003-2005, according to same book, were achieved by forces commanded by one David Petraeus, who from that book (written before his appointment to chairman) came out best of all US commanders in the war.)

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EDanaII
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@ martel

Haven't you been reading this thread? It's about Lieberman's statements. Which Ricky promptly refutes with ad homonyms and red herrings. That which.

According to yesterday's Pentagon report, 40% of Baghdad has been secured. That's the "A" and they've been pushed out to fight elsewhere, just as Hitler, Lee and Vercingetorix were pushed out of there areas only to fight elsewhere.

Combat is about controlling territory and that requires you to either destroy your enemy or push him out of that territory. The surge has managed to push them out of territory. Whether or not they stay out remains to be seen.

But to declare failure because they are fighting elsewhere ignores the reality of combat. It's like declaring your horse has lost despite the fact that the race is still on and he's only fallen behind.

Ed.

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RickyB
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Question, like with the invasion, ain't with the taking. It's with the holding. Remember Fallujah?
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Richard Dey
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Hey, when Baghdad is as safe as Stamford, and he buys his mother a condo there, I'll believe him.
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Daniel Hammel
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RickyB here is the link to the quote about Lieberman getting kicked out of his party - Lieberman Gets Owned. Yes i do take a long time between posts, i have for several years checked in with Ornery, but never been a very active member. I mainly want to see how deluded OSC has gotten for entertainment purposes, and on that note he has delivered.
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Daniel Hammel
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With regards to ED's statements. You sure sound like you know what you're talking about with your A and B philosophy, however you to easily simplify the insurgency in Iraq. It has been PROVEN so many times that territory is not what needs to be controlled in Asymmetrical Warfare, its literally hearts and minds. There are physically not enough Americans in Iraq to control the territory, this is without question. There will always be some guy willing to plant a bomb in a road for $50 when there is no work, no wives, and no welfare. Iraq is a lost cause not because our military is incapable of securing victory, but because it is incapable of securing the peace. You can't kill all the demons in the world, there will always be people who will oppose "us" there will always be people who are bitter, displaced, and poor. These people will do the things they do because they are driven by desparation and their own situation to do them. The only way we can gracefully exit Iraq is to get the various parties to talk it out. I know this sounds nieve, but so does killing every boogie man in the world.
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Jesse
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Putting the world Risk champion in a chess match with Bobby Fisher....for the second time in four decades.

"I've got the little horsey on the run. HEY!! Where's my pointy headed guy?"

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EDanaII
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@ RickyB

I dunno: Remember the "Bulge," Bataan, Bunker Hill?


@ Daniel Hammel

quote:
You sure sound like you know what you're talking about with your A and B philosophy, however you to easily simplify the insurgency in Iraq.
But I'm not talking (specifically) about Iraq. I'm talking about Lieberman's statements about Iraq. And those statements concern themselves with the control of territory.

quote:
It has been PROVEN so many times that territory is not what needs to be controlled in Asymmetrical Warfare, its literally hearts and minds.
No, it has not been proven and if you do have such proof, please cite sources. Asymmetric Warfare has to do with the _strategies chosen_ by a weak enemy against an overpowering enemy. Your final statement about hearts and minds is true of ANY type of warfare since the ultimate goal of war is to destroy your enemies _willingness to fight._

quote:
There are physically not enough Americans in Iraq to control the territory, this is without question.
Which is why we are fighting a "holding action" to keep Iraq stable until the Iraqis can begin controlling their own territory.

quote:
There will always be some guy willing to plant a bomb in a road for $50 when there is no work, no wives, and no welfare.
This assumes infinite supply. It also assumes motives not consistent with the nature of the insurgents. The majority of insurgents are, as described by the Iraqis themselves, "foreign fighters." The other group in question are Sunni insurgents (and likely former Baathists) who better fit the category you are describing. However, given Petraeus' reports about more cooperation from Sunnis against Al Qeada, this number is probably shrinking. The supply is not, and, therefore, cannot be, infinite.

quote:
Iraq is a lost cause not because our military is incapable of securing victory, but because it is incapable of securing the peace. You can't kill all the demons in the world, there will always be people who will oppose "us" there will always be people who are bitter, displaced, and poor. These people will do the things they do because they are driven by desparation and their own situation to do them.
This is a false conclusion that uses asymmetrical warfare and infinite supply to declare that winning is impossible.

Now, let's try constructing the argument properly. What you say is true about asymmetrical warfare: we are, in fact, in one. But that fact, in itself, does not mean that we cannot win. Quite the contrary. The very definition of asymmetric war means that WE are the odds on favorite, not the insurgents; we are the overpowering enemy, not they.

The closest conventional war analogy to the situation in Iraq is that of siege with us being the besieged and the insurgents being the besiegers. In such a scenario the goal is for the besieged to outlast the besiegers. This is rarely easy for the latter as they almost always have limited supplies & manpower and must fight in only one place. But this does not mean that the besiegers have unlimited supplies either, they too may be limited in supplies and manpower.

This is where the similarities between Iraq and the siege analogy end. We are not limited in supply; we have a supply chain in Iraq. And while our man-power is more limited, it is not limited in the way it would be behind castle walls surrounded by our enemy. Nor are we limited to staying inside the castle walls, we can take the battle to the enemy any time we want. The key point of this analogy is that the primary objective in order to win is that we outlast our enemy.

Turning back to asymmetric warfare for a moment, since we are the overwhelming enemy and by definition are "unbeatable" the goal of the insurgents is to either -- like Luke Skywalker making a hole-in-one against the Death Star -- (A) find our weaknesses and exploit them and/or (B) destroy our morale (hearts and minds).

To accomplish A, they must either destroy our supply chain or destroy a considerable portion of our manpower. In order to destroy our supply chain, they must destroy our aircraft carriers, transports and seize control of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Persian Gulf. This doesn't seem likely.

This leaves them only option B: destroy our will to fight. And this appears to be exactly what they are doing. Since they cannot attack us directly, they concentrate on making the war look as horrendous as possible.

And here's the irony. We have the ability to outlast our enemy. They cannot hit us and destroy our ability to make war, but many look at this war at face value and see the death toll to both our own and to Iraqis and assume that, just because it looks ugly, we must be losing. The people who make these conclusions don't seem to stop for a moment and compare this war to the death tolls of other wars, both civilian and military. All previous wars in the 20th Century were between 5 to 150 times more costly in lives than this war. And, yet, somehow they conclude we're losing? We haven't lost yet and won't lose until we quit and to let the insurgents convince us to quit when they have done very little to hurt our ability to fight would be playing right into their hands. It's just foolish.

Ed.

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RickyB
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Those were regular armies in conventional conflicts. You repeatedly fail to grasp the current paradigm.


That's probably because you guys invested so much early on in scoffing at any "law enforcement" approach to terrorism.

In reality, terrorism is indeed more a law enforcement problem than a military one. Just takes fancier SWAT teams at times, is all.

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Ilmari
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quote:
Originally posted by EDanaII:
All previous wars in the 20th Century were between 5 to 150 times more costly in lives than this war. And, yet, somehow they conclude we're losing? We haven't lost yet and won't lose until we quit and to let the insurgents convince us to quit when they have done very little to hurt our ability to fight would be playing right into their hands. It's just foolish.

Actually, you're dead wrong. In terms of deaths per year, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is very comparable to the current war - over a 9-year conflict they lost only about 15,000 soldiers while about a million Afghans were killed.

However, the insurgency, which played out in a similar way to what we're seeing in Iraq, proved to be too tought to beat and the economic and military losses (one must remember that death tolls don't cont injuries and loss of equipment) resulted in Soviet withdrawal.

Vietnam is a pretty close parallel too - there were more American deaths per year, true, but then again the maximum troop deployment in the area was over 550,000 (and even then we're only talking about 3 or 4 times as many deaths per year as in Iraq, as opposed to the 5-150 you're proposing). Then again, there are still people who are convinced that if only the US had remained in Vietnam a few more years, or had further escalated it's involvement, they could somehow have won. These people are, frankly speaking, fools to say the least.

What both cases show is that even a superpower can't outlast a determined insurgency. The cost in lives, resources, opportunity costs and popular support will cause it to end it's involvement far sooner than the will of a determined insurgency movement runs out - especially if said movement has international support.

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DaveS
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quote:
All previous wars in the 20th Century were between 5 to 150 times more costly in lives than this war. And, yet, somehow they conclude we're losing? We haven't lost yet and won't lose until we quit and to let the insurgents convince us to quit when they have done very little to hurt our ability to fight would be playing right into their hands. It's just foolish.
Ed, you strung together some decent arguments that others have pointed out some problems with. I'll add to them that your "strategy" relies on the one thing that Americans actually have far less of than the people in Iraq and elsewhere in the ME with regards to this conflict, which is purpose.

You covered military strength, but remind us again why we are fighting, strategically and tactically, and what winning really is? Were the Russians less militarily capable than the Afghanis? Were we less militarily capable than the Vietcong, whose casualties were 10-20x ours? Were both conflicts lost for no reason other than a lack of will?

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EDanaII
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quote:
Those were regular armies in conventional conflicts. You repeatedly fail to grasp the current paradigm.
Yes they were and no I don't. Or are you going to tell me that there is no way terrorists can occupy territory? Everyone occupies territory. It's an important part of our physical reality.

quote:
That's probably because you guys invested so much early on in scoffing at any "law enforcement" approach to terrorism.
Here, I have no idea what you are talking about.

quote:
In reality, terrorism is indeed more a law enforcement problem than a military one. Just takes fancier SWAT teams at times, is all.
And the last line of law enforcement is the military.


@ Ilmari:
quote:
Actually, you're dead wrong.
[Checks pulse] Nope. Still here.

quote:
In terms of deaths per year, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is very comparable to the current war - over a 9-year conflict they lost only about 15,000 soldiers while about a million Afghans were killed.

However, the insurgency, which played out in a similar way to what we're seeing in Iraq, proved to be too tought to beat and the economic and military losses (one must remember that death tolls don't cont injuries and loss of equipment) resulted in Soviet withdrawal.

You seem to forget that we took down the Taliban without any trouble at all. We did what the Soviets couldn't.

quote:
Vietnam is a pretty close parallel too - there were more American deaths per year, true, but then again the maximum troop deployment in the area was over 550,000 (and even then we're only talking about 3 or 4 times as many deaths per year as in Iraq, as opposed to the 5-150 you're proposing).
Sorry, I wasn't clear, as I was referring to a previous conversation. Those 5 to 150 factors are in terms of average deaths per day not per year.

quote:
What both cases show is that even a superpower can't outlast a determined insurgency. The cost in lives, resources, opportunity costs and popular support will cause it to end it's involvement far sooner than the will of a determined insurgency movement runs out - especially if said movement has international support.
Now you confuse theory with fact. Asymmetrical warfare is the use of strategy in an _attempt_ to outlast an overwhelming opponent. There is no guarantee that you actually can.

Furthermore, you declare the Iraqi a "determined insurgency" while ignoring the fact that most of the insurgency is what the Iraqis, themselves, refer to as "foreign fighters" and while ignoring the fact that WE are starting to arm Sunni against Al Qeada. That does not sound like a "determined insurgency" to me. The fact is, an insurgency can outlast an overwhelming foe if they can hide among the populace, and it's doubtful that Al Qeada can do so if the populace is arming against them.


@ DaveS:
quote:
You covered military strength, but remind us again why we are fighting, strategically and tactically, and what winning really is?
As has been pointed out to you many times before, winning is stabilizing a region that, were we to withdraw, could explode into a war that costs millions, possibly even tens of millions of lives.

quote:
Were the Russians less militarily capable than the Afghanis?
No.

quote:
Were we less militarily capable than the Vietcong, whose casualties were 10-20x ours?
That was a conventional war, not the holding action in the asymmetrical war that we are fighting now. It was jungle warfare and a true "determined insurgency" or "resistance" to be more correct.

quote:
Were both conflicts lost for no reason other than a lack of will?
We beat the Afghanis where the Russians didn't. We lost Viet Nam because we quit.

Ed.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
You seem to forget that we took down the Taliban without any trouble at all. We did what the Soviets couldn't.
Excuse me, but the Taliban were not in control of Afghanistan before the Russians invaded. They took over well after they withdrew.

As I recall, the Soviets had no trouble taking over the country. It was quelling the constant guerrilla groups that eventually made them withdraw.

So far, we haven't done anything the Soviets didn't try before us.

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EDanaII
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You mean the Taliban isn't composed of Afghani? They aren't fighting in the same country amongst the same cities and terrain using the same strategies?

So far, we haven't got bogged down like the Soviets either.

Ed.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Ed wants us to win. The president should follow his example.
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Wayward Son
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Most of the Taliban are Afghani's, but not all Afghani's are Taliban. [Smile]

Which is to say, the resistance the Soviets had may or may not have been the same from the Afghani government when they came in verses when we came in. You can't really state that things were just as bad/worse for us and we've done better.

As for getting bogged down--how long were the Soviets in Afghanistan? How long have we been there? How much support has there been to the Afghani "freedom fighters" now verses then?

Although I haven't checked, my impression is that we've been there for less time, with a less-funded resistance. So there is still plenty of opportunity for us to get "bogged down" like the Soviets.

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