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Author Topic: Passing the War
KnightEnder
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How many people think that the Bush administration strategy has become pass the war on to the next administration Hilary/x and blame them because "The surge was working <wah!> ; but then the Democrats pulled us out! If only we'd had a little more time we would have won, but those dam Democrat cut and runners caused us to lose" ?

I make this its own thread instead of adding this comment somewhere else because I want to be able to pull it up in a couple of years and say I told you so.

This will probably become clearer after the White House writes the "Petraeus Report", telling us the 'surge' is working.

quote:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 — Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, has told President Bush that he wants to maintain heightened troop levels in Iraq well into next year to reduce the risk of military setbacks, but could accept the pullback of roughly 4,000 troops beginning in January, in part to assuage critics in Congress, according to senior administration and military officials.
4,000?!! Out of 160,000!
"according to senior administration officials"? Who's writing this report?
quote:
General Petraeus’s view is considered overly cautious by some other senior military officials and some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, officials said. But they said it reflected his concern that the security gains made so far in Baghdad, Anbar Province and other areas were fragile and easily reversed.
Code for; we can't pull out.
quote:
Beyond the gesture of pulling back one brigade, officials who have been involved in the preparation of General Petraeus’s Congressional testimony to be delivered next week say he will discuss the possibility of far deeper withdrawals beyond January...
"Gesture" is right. That's all 4,000 troops would be.
quote:

But they said it was unclear how specific the general would be in publicly discussing the timing of pullbacks, and they said that even in internal administration deliberations he had described conditions that must be met before a reduction.

Since almost none of the benchmarks or "conditions" have been met, read: We are not reducing much, much less pulling out.
quote:
General Petraeus “is worried about risk, and all things being equal he’d like to keep as much as he could for as long as he could,” a senior military officer said.
Shocker!
quote:
Several officials involved in internal discussions about the testimony said that both General Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the ground commander in Iraq, were worried about signing on to a timetable that would commit them to steep withdrawals in the spring. In recent weeks, the ground commanders have said they need the option to halt any pullback if security conditions deteriorate.
Read: No matter what we say in the "Patreus Report" we retain the right to totally disregard any commitments to actually pullback the troops.
quote:
With more than 160,000 American troops now in Iraq, the withdrawal in January of one brigade, roughly 3,500 to 4,500 troops, would not amount to a large drain on General Petraeus’s forces. Mr. Bush has indicated to aides that he will be likely to embrace the outlines of General Petraeus’s recommendations, after declaring publicly that he will rely for advice on his ground commanders, [/b]rather than bowing to political pressure from those in Congress who are pushing for a speedier withdrawal.[/b]
Of course he will. Pulling out 4,000 as a sop to the Dems and the American people is what Bush wants. Not a true drawdown of US troops.
quote:
Still, the White House is nowhere close to committing to the deep reductions being discussed by Democrats and some Republicans, which would extend beyond the additional five combat brigades that Mr. Bush sent to Iraq. Some have endorsed a recommendation by the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan advisory panel, which called in late 2006 for a pullback of all combat brigades by the end of March 2008.

There are now some 20 American combat brigades in Iraq. Administration officials have signaled that even the most aggressive drawdown being contemplated by the White House would leave at least 10 combat brigades in Iraq by the end of 2008, down from the 15 in place before the troop increase began.

Numbers game. That's like buying a car. They raise the real price 15 up to 20 and when they give you a discount down to 10 they call it half off!


All of this fits in with the; we are staying in Iraq of the foreseeable future so we can "Pass the War" onto the next, 'probably' Democratic administration, and blame them for pulling out and 'losing' the war in Iraq.

Seeing Iraq Gains as Fragile, Petraeus Is Wary of Cuts

KE

edited to correct a figure at KE's request

[ September 09, 2007, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: OrneryMod ]

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KnightEnder
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quote:
Still, some members of the Joint Chiefs, including the outgoing chairman, Gen. Peter Pace, and senior officers at Central Command, which has overall responsibility for the Middle East, are said to be pushing for a faster drawdown of the 30,000 additional American troops sent to Iraq. Several officers involved said Adm. William J. Fallon, the head of Central Command, had joined in that effort...
quote:
White House officials said Thursday night that Mr. Bush had yet to make any final decisions about the recommendations. But General Petraeus’s apparent agreement to a small withdrawal beginning early next year could fit into a narrow consensus that is beginning to emerge on Capitol Hill. Many Republicans and Democrats agree that some troop withdrawal should begin soon, though major disagreements remain about how quick and deep the subsequent withdrawals should be.
Anybody want to bet on who wants quicker and deeper withdrawals? We already have the military "pushing for a faster drawdown" so is it the Republicans or the Democrats that disagree?

(In both posts; all 'bold' emphasis is mine.)

KE

[ September 09, 2007, 10:19 AM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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KnightEnder
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The first post should read 4,000 out of 160,000 troops now stationed in Iraq, not 130,00. I would have fixed it but my time ran out while I was attending to personal business. I don't know what I was thinking putting personal business in front of OA. I assure you it will not happen again. [Smile]

KE

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KnightEnder
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Not that this is the point of the post but; 500,000 to drive them out of Kuwait and we expect 160,000 to change the government, rebuild the infrastructure, and pacify the whole country? Who says math isn't important. [Roll Eyes] Not to mention critical thinking.

Will the last one out of Iraq please remember to turn out the lights. Oh, that's right, they don't have any lights. Never mind. Oh, and remember the last one out will be blamed for all that went before. At least that seems to be the plan.

Surely the American people are not that gullible?

KE

[ September 09, 2007, 10:37 AM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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FiredrakeRAGE
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KnightEnder -

You should realize two things...

1) You've just posted the first four posts on a thread. It's sounding less like debate and more like a rant [Smile]

2) The surge appears to be working. Why would you want a substantial drawdown? Sure, the symbolic 4,000 person draw-down is there simply as a political speed bump to the Democrats. Are you surprised? Regardless of the cheap political gestures, if the surge is working, I'm all for it. Government stability will lead to greater economic prosperity - that's pretty standard. The power will come back on as the military becomes more and more effective.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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KnightEnder -

You should realize two things...

1) You've just posted the first four posts on a thread. It's sounding less like debate and more like a rant [Smile]

2) The surge appears to be working. Why would you want a substantial drawdown? Sure, the symbolic 4,000 person draw-down is there simply as a political speed bump to the Democrats. Are you surprised? Regardless of the cheap political gestures, if the surge is working, I'm all for it. Government stability will lead to greater economic prosperity - that's pretty standard. The power will come back on as the military becomes more and more effective.

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Wayward Son
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And, of course, the dreaded double-post makes it sound more like a ranting rebuttal, too.

Don't you just hate that. [Big Grin]

Anyway, something I heard in passing on the radio is that the proposed troop "reduction" would have happened anyway. The normal rotation of troops from a combat zone will require a slight reduction of forces in the next few months. I thought it was in April, but January could be the start of it. Perhaps someone with a bit more time could look it up (my boss is starting to give me the evil-eye [Eek!] ).

So even a token "reduction" may not even be that, but just a logistical reduction that would have happened anyway!

[ September 10, 2007, 11:53 AM: Message edited by: Wayward Son ]

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RickyB
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FdR - The surge is "working" in a very limited, utterly unsustainable way, and is not creating any gains that can outlast its own existence.

There is still no dependable Iraqi force and none in sight. Practically all quieting down in Baghdad is more due to ethnic cleansing (not as easy to pile up the bodies when the groups are neatly separated) and NOT due to the surge.

And finally, the surge was supposed to create breathing room for the political and reconstruction efforts. Ain't happening and ain't happening.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Our only hope in Iraq is getting the current bum****s in the White House OUT, and hope that whoever replaces them gets it and cares enough to do something right for a change.
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scifibum
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"Our only hope in Iraq is getting the current bum****s in the White House OUT, and hope that whoever replaces them gets it and cares enough to do something right for a change."

Superb analysis! Care to explain what the right thing to do would be? I semi-recall you stating elsewhere you just want out...period...is that right?

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Redskullvw
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Watching the proceedings now.
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Everard
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FDR-
Even some of the evidence that the surge is working is "cooked" evidence.

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KnightEnder
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Patreaus report seems to be that "things are not as bad as they were WHEN THING WERE AT THERE WORST". Is that progress?

Why isn't he comparing things to the "average" situation?

The Wack-a-mole strategy is working for now!


FDR; Sorry about the multiple post, but I explained it. The fifteen minute rule got me and I couldn't get back in time to add to the original post. That and sometimes I add a second post if it is unrelated in some way to the original post and I want to be sure yall see it.

And I wanted to clarify some of the mistakes I made that I was unable to edit due to the fascist editing time rule of the forum.

I am perfectly capable of ranting on just a single post. [Wink]

KE

[ September 10, 2007, 02:16 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Daruma28
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One thing about this KE...when the invasion of Iraq first happened, Bush repeatedly stated in multiple appearances that this was going to be a "long war" that went on far longer than his administration.

He was saying that when he was giving his infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech.

He was saying that when things looked like they were going really well when the war first began.

So it's not as if he's changed his talking points to accomplish some hand off to the next Administration and avoid blame.

Aside from that, I don't believe even a Democrat Controlled congress and a Hillary Presidency would pull out of Iraq immediately...they too would wait until the Generals in the field advise them that we can do so without Iraq falling into a civil war bloodbath.

Wait and see...the Democrats in power will disappoint their anti-war base just as assuredly as the GOP did to their base on Government spending and illegal immigration.

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KnightEnder
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THANK YOU MOD! [Smile]

See FDR; the Mod fixed my post because time had run out.

KE

[ September 10, 2007, 02:23 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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KnightEnder
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Daruma,

The Dems have disappointed us so far, so you're probably right. I still think they GOP will blame the ultimate failure of Iraq on the Dems though. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Feel free to say "See! I told you so." if they don't. [Smile] And I will graciously concede the point.


KE

[ September 10, 2007, 02:25 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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"I semi-recall you stating elsewhere you just want out...period...is that right?"

Yup.

By the time pour politicos of ewither party actually face up to the mess they've made, there'll be naught left to salvage anyway.

But, being who they are, they'll probably stick around longer just to prove that they're achieving, oh, you know, Peace With Honor. Or similar crap.

And I agree with KE, at least in the long haul, the GOPers will say about Iraq the same things they say now about Nam: 'we coulda won that war', 'the war was a success', and similar contradictory nonsense that fails to jive with historical data.

It's very difficult to achieve good endings to good wars. Achieving good endings for bad wars is nigh impossible.

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kenmeer livermaile
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" Bush repeatedly stated in multiple appearances that this was going to be a "long war" that went on far longer than his administration."

It was a neat job he did, conflating th4 invasion of Iraq with the War on a Verb, which was accepted for the most part as being one of those long struggles spanning decades.

But our actions in Iraq are anything but a War on Terror.

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RickyB
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We need to stay in Kurdistan, no matter what.
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kenmeer livermaile
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They're not shooting our asses off and killing each other wholesale in Kurdistan, right?

And weren't we kind of there before anyhow?

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guinevererobin
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quote:
Anyway, something I heard in passing on the radio is that the proposed troop "reduction" would have happened anyway. The normal rotation of troops from a combat zone will require a slight reduction of forces in the next few months. I thought it was in April, but January could be the start of it. Perhaps someone with a bit more time could look it up (my boss is starting to give me the evil-eye
It's not, IMO, a "withdrawal" of US troops whatsoever; it's that 4K less will be sent over during the transition where new commands assume control of their respective areas and the units being relieved ship their boys and girls home (and yes, it starts in January).

Which works if the mission has changed significantly (I think it has) and those troops are no longer required (questioning that one).

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Paladine
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Petraeus has been amazing.
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Ilmari
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quote:
Originally posted by Daruma28:
One thing about this KE...when the invasion of Iraq first happened, Bush repeatedly stated in multiple appearances that this was going to be a "long war" that went on far longer than his administration.

Really? Can you give me some quotes of him saying that the Iraq war would last longer than 8 years (or are you talking about 'The War on Terror' or some other war?).

I ask because most of what I remember from that period was pretty much everyone in the administration telling us what a quick and easy war Iraq would be.

For example Cheney on Meet the Press March 16, 2003:

quote:
Cheney, March 16, 2003: Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . .

Q: If your analysis is not correct, and we're not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

Cheney: Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. . . . The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.

And Rumsfeld, February 7th 2003 (in a speech to U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy):

quote:
"It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
And Wolfowitz to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on the 11th of March 2003:

quote:
The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator.
Heck, even before the invasion began, we were repeatedly told by top administration officials that the war would be quick and relatively painless:

quote:
(CBS) There will be no World War III starting with Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared Thursday, and rejected concerns that a war would be a quagmire.

"The idea that it's going to be a long, long, long battle of some kind I think is belied by the fact of what happened in 1990," he said on an Infinity Radio call-in program.

He said the U.S. military is stronger than it was during the Persian Gulf War, while Iraq's armed forces are weaker.

"Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that," he said. "It won't be a World War III."

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/11/15/world/main529569.shtml

Overthrowing Saddam was indeed pretty easy, but I don't think anyone in the administration was telling us that the US would need to have a major troop committments (engaged in combat operations) in Iraq for years to come under an insurgency.

But I may be wrong, do you have some quotes to the contrary from that time period (2003-ish)?

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Ilmari
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Oh, and just from that last piece on Rumsfeld, to all those people who insist that the war wasn't about WMDs, so their lack of existance doesn't matter:

quote:
Rumsfeld also told radio listeners it is impossible Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction. "What it would prove is that the inspections process had been successfully defeated by the Iraqis if they find nothing."

The conflict with Iraq is about weapons of mass destruction, Rumsfeld insisted.

"It has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil. It has nothing to do with the religion."

In other words, if the weapons inspectors conclude there are no WMDs, that would just be construed as evidence that Iraq has WMDs, just well hidden. I'm glad we followed that line of reasoning into war.
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Daruma28
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Ilamri - this might be a little bit more semantics or otherwise..but the "war" was quick in easy.

It's the occupation that's been clusterfudged. [Smile]

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Daruma28
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Here's another thought...let's just say things are significantly improved - to the point where we can follow Patraeus' recommendations and start withdrawing troops by next year...and say we are "done" and turn it over in 2008 - 2009...would it not be obvious what would happen then?

The Dem administration (most likely Hillary *Oh God Help Us All*) will than take credit for winning?

If Iraq turns out for the better, it will be the Dems declaring victory and taking all the credit....no?

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Ilmari
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quote:
Originally posted by Daruma28:
Ilamri - this might be a little bit more semantics or otherwise..but the "war" was quick in easy.

It's the occupation that's been clusterfudged. [Smile]

Yeah, though I doubt that that was the impression that people got (though it would be pretty funny in a black comedy kind of way if the administration carefully never mentioned the possibility of an insurgency just so they could claim the 'war' would be quick). But anyway, I think everyone will agree that the U.S. wasn't greeted as 'liberators' to the extent that was hoped for before and during the initial phases of the invasion.

By the way, for those interested, here are the contentious DOD figures for coalition/Iraqi Security Forces and civilian deaths, comparing the 2006 and 2007 figures:

(Coalition/Iraqis)

1-2006 64/779

1-2007 86/1802

2-2006 58/846

2-2007 85/3014

3-2006 33/1092

3-2007 82/2977

4-2006 82/1009

4-2007 117/1821

5-2006 79/1119

5-2007 131/1980

6-2006 63/870

6-2007 108/1345

7-2006 46/1280

7-2007 88/1690

8-2006 66/2966

8-2007 88/1674

And remember, these are the official DOD figures (most sources think that the Iraqi casualty figures are significantly higher, particularly due to their dubious methods of counting sectarian-conflict related deaths).

Note that deaths for 2007 are much higher for all months except for August (convenient, since that's just in time to claim that progress is being made!). One good month does not progress make, especially looking at the big picture:

Totals:

Total civilian deaths in Iraq jan. 2006 - aug. 2006: 9,961

Total civilian deaths in Iraq jan. 2007 - aug. 2007: 16,303

64% increase.

Total coalition deaths jan.2006 - aug. 2006: 491

Total coalition deaths jan.2007 - aug. 2007: 785

60% increase.

http://icasualties.org/oif/

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Paladine
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So we measure success by casualties now, do we? Man, Gettysburg was a bad day for the Union. [Frown]
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kenmeer livermaile
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"So we measure success by casualties now, do we? Man, Gettysburg was a bad day for the Union."

You know, there were two sovereign governments fighting that war. They fought each other, not amongst themselves. Oh, there was a nasty riot in NYC but it was over in a few days.

Two big armies representing two constitutional governments going loggerheads along classical battle lines to fight a war with clearly defined goals and objectives...

...and then there's us in Iraq.

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kenmeer livermaile
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I like what this guy said:

quote:
We, the USA, are a nuclear dinosaur. We had, for so many years, tried to prep with war with the good old USSR. Now there was an enemy you could understand.

But now, with all the asymetrical warfare and what not, we stumble. As perhaps we did in Vietnam. Occupation does not work unless you practice total war. If you are not willing to do that then one should stick to clandestine insurgencies.

If one wanted to occupy Iraq, in a sense that a general in 400 BC might understand, one might retreat to the oil fields. Fortify them, secure them, pay great fees for those that work there and dispense terrible punishments for those who attack it.

The Nazi's knew how to occupy a country, to subjugate it. The Romans knew. The Mongols. It was with the British Empire that the idea began to fail.

As well it should have, I think.

Nevertheless, we still try and grasp at dreams of empire...

But it's over and the country must accept that.

In WWII the allies bombed Dresden to the core, we oblitrated two Japanese cities in the twin flash of suns.

If we wanted to do justice to the invasion of Iraq, we either should realized that the enemy was within the country and not without and thus prepared to seize the mind of the people when it was morphine-high with USA jingoism or we should have taken another approach. The OSS had more parallels that any engagment with the Desert Fox.

But the US failed to see that. The world has changed, the days of tank wars and maneuvers and tactics in the traditional sense are over.

One can defeat an enemy on the field, but with the populace, well, we just have no clue.


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Ilmari
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
So we measure success by casualties now, do we? Man, Gettysburg was a bad day for the Union. [Frown]

So how do you interpret deaths rising by over 60% over the past year?

If we found that malnutrition-related deaths were up 60% over the past year in Ethiopia, should we not say that the famine problem has gotten worse? If it's fair to say that, wouldn't it be equally fair to say that the sectarian conflict/insurgency has gotten worse if deaths are up by a significant amount?

Does it really mean nothing to you, or can it at least be taken as a sign (if not outright indication) that things are deteriorating?

You also seem to be having difficulties understanding how years-long insurgencies differ from battles lasting a couple of days from 150 years ago. I suggest you do a bit of research to find out why those two are not directly comparable.

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KnightEnder
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Thanks llmari,

The "War on Terror" was the 'long war' to which Bush referred.

KE

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Redskullvw
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Well after watching a day and a half of testimony, it appears that the only way we can lose is if we withdraw before the Iraqis have a full army. The General and Ambassador seem to be telling a frank and honest assessment.

Its a far cry from the moveon.org Betray Us add. But then they have been moving the bar of success repeatedly to the point that their collective criticism is meaningless.

How many of you are actually watching this testimony?

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Well after watching a day and a half of testimony, it appears that the only way we can lose is if we withdraw before the Iraqis have a full army."

This is a report? This is belated strategy. That statement was true the day we invaded.

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Redskullvw
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Many of you are like children who ask for something repeatedly, each time asking for it in a subtlety different way, thinking that eventually you will hear the answer you want to hear- even though your parent neither changes his answer nor deviates from his reasons and evidences. Like such children many of you will only be satisfied when you get the answer you want after your parent gives up trying to reason with you.

I don't think many of you have even watched the testimony. And if you did most of that few apparently didn't listen too well.

I haven't liked a lot of the answers, but the men have made it very plain what the current status is on the ground and how they intend to successfully conclude the withdrawal of coalition forces and assure a democratic Iraq. I don't like the time table. I don't like the eventual costs. I don't like the realization that this strategy should have been instituted immediately after the Golden Mosque was attacked the first time. And I am amazed that the Syrians and Iranians meeting with the Iraqis and US representatives have turned out to have suffered no penalty for not assuring borders and transit. Especially given the testimony that we have just now begun stringently interdicting the highways from Iran and Syria.

But given all my criticisms of the testimony so far, the comments made by some people about it are just flat out political garbage devoid of any thought whatsoever.

We deserve to lose this battle, and this war.

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KnightEnder
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I did. (Wow, deja vu. I feel like I just answered that question.)

Red, if mom says 'no' it's always a good idea to go ask dad. (Remember the key is not to tell dad that mom has already said 'no'. [Smile] )

But you're right; anybody that comes to a different conclusion than you must not have watched the same report. It is a known fact that no two people can watch the same thing and come to different conclusions. Condescend much?

"Moving the bar"? That is hilarious. How many of the 'benchmarks' have been met? Or don't they count anymore because the General paints a slightly rosier picture. "If we stay there until the Iraqi's have their own army we will win." ? Wow! How long will that take? And what does that have to do with the current situation or the Iraqi's current abiity to defend and govern themselves?

Nice graphs though. [Frown]

KE

[ September 11, 2007, 02:34 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Ilmari
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quote:
Originally posted by Redskullvw:
I haven't liked a lot of the answers, but the men have made it very plain what the current status is on the ground and how they intend to successfully conclude the withdrawal of coalition forces and assure a democratic Iraq.

We've been told for the past three years by various highly placed people (including Petreaus previously) that victory is near, we've turned a corner in Iraq, that the insurgency in its last throes, etc.

A rational person can only take so much, coming to the conclusion that things are not, in fact improving to any significant degree, and that the costs of staying in Iraq greatly outweight the potential benefits.

Heck, I'm an economist, and it's part of my training to recognize sunk costs for what they are and realize that sometimes it's best just to cut your losses and stop wasting resources on projects which provide little returns.

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Loki
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I can tell things are improving, my friend on leave told me other night that he hopes he gets to redeployed to the same area, because it's a lot better there. So clearly, it's getting better in small pockets at least.
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kenmeer livermaile
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"I can tell things are improving, my friend on leave told me other night that he hopes he gets to redeployed to the same area, because it's a lot better there. So clearly, it's getting better in small pockets at least."

I think so too. It's gotta be gruesome for some soldiers who've invested so much and seen so much happen, to see the Big Picture threaten to swallow it up.

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