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Author Topic: Why Bush is doing what he is doing in Iraq
Kent
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I seldom read anything original in the news, but this is the big picture I have been looking for from the "private CIA." Exceptionally insightful and really no political axe to grind.

From my favorite investment newsletter.

quote:
Iran will do everything it can, of course, to assure that the Americans are as exhausted as possible. The Iranians have no incentive to allow the chaos to wind down, until at least a political settlement with the United States is achieved. The United States cannot permit Iranian hegemony over the Persian Gulf, nor can it sustain its forces in Iraq indefinitely under these circumstances.

The United States has four choices, apart from the status quo:

1. Reach a political accommodation that cedes the status of regional hegemon to Iran, and withdraw from Iraq.

2. Withdraw forces from Iraq and maintain a presence in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia -- something the Saudis would hate but would have little choice about -- while remembering that an American military presence is highly offensive to many Muslims and was a significant factor in the rise of al Qaeda.

3. Halt counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and redeploy its forces in the south (west of Kuwait), to block any Iranian moves in the region.

4. Assume that Iran relies solely on its psychological pre-eminence to force a regional realignment and, thus, use Sunni proxies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in attempts to outmaneuver Tehran.

I look forward to Redskull's comments, and maybe I'll enjoy yours too.

[ September 08, 2006, 01:47 PM: Message edited by: Kent ]

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flydye45
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Don't have time to read the full post, but one thing stuck out immediately. He stated that the Sunni and Shia are all fighting one another in a free for all and ALL of them are fighting Americans.

This is BullShyte. While I'll speak well of American soliders, there is no way that a troop can kill 185 enemy who all look alike.

I will accept "Shia forces are engaging in revenge missions against the Sunni and also jocking for position with armed gangs against rival Shia organizations." Reverse Sunni and Shia and you have a good synopsis. So who is killing Americans? Some Sunnis, perhaps a few Shia groups such as Sadar, and the foreigners.

Most of the country is quiet. It is in the center of power, Sunni neighborhoods and entry points to the nation which are violent. This is not "every armed Iraqi wants to kill Americans and each other".

So with so flawed a premise as that, I have few hopes.

I will also give some time to his four alternatives. I believe there are more.

Here's one:

5. Flood Iraq with another 50-100,000 troops. Get a UN missive to "stop the flow of arms into Iraq" by blockading the Straits of Hormuz. All Iranian ships must stop and be inspected. So sorry. And since we are so strapped for troops it may take a while...Meanwhile, use these seivelike borders to send some secular Iranians from the region with care packages for everyone else in Iran who isn't a mullah.

Make these troops large artillary and tank units on the eastern border for MP duties.

Until Iran sees this conflict as costing it, it will not back down. The question is how to make them hurt without leading to war.

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Omega M.
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You know, I wouldn't want to bank on this, but this week in Time there's an article by an Iran-based reporter who says that most Iranians hate their government because it's hasn't delivered on any of its economic promises while publicly sending lots of aid to places like Lebanon. The article suggests that if if it really looks like we're about to go to war with Iran, Iran might back down before it starts because it wouldn't be able to count on its people's support.
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javelin
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Flydye - read it - it's not as long as it looks, and the flaws you see are due to not reading it. Trust me on this one - it's interesting, insightful, and thought provoking.

quote:
He stated that the Sunni and Shia are all fighting one another in a free for all and ALL of them are fighting Americans.
quote:
So who is killing Americans? Some Sunnis, perhaps a few Shia groups such as Sadar, and the foreigners.
He's saying the same thing. He's not saying that ALL Sunni and ALL Shia are fighting the American troops. He's saying that it's not just one of the groups.

quote:
"every armed Iraqi wants to kill Americans and each other"
He doesn't say this.

Key to the article:

quote:
Iran will do everything it can, of course, to assure that the Americans are as exhausted as possible. The Iranians have no incentive to allow the chaos to wind down, until at least a political settlement with the United States is achieved. The United States cannot permit Iranian hegemony over the Persian Gulf, nor can it sustain its forces in Iraq indefinitely under these circumstances.

The United States has four choices, apart from the status quo:

1. Reach a political accommodation that cedes the status of regional hegemon to Iran, and withdraw from Iraq.

2. Withdraw forces from Iraq and maintain a presence in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia -- something the Saudis would hate but would have little choice about -- while remembering that an American military presence is highly offensive to many Muslims and was a significant factor in the rise of al Qaeda.

3. Halt counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and redeploy its forces in the south (west of Kuwait), to block any Iranian moves in the region.

4. Assume that Iran relies solely on its psychological pre-eminence to force a regional realignment and, thus, use Sunni proxies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in attempts to outmaneuver Tehran.

None of these are attractive choices. Each cedes much of Iraq to Shiite and Iranian power and represents some degree of a psychological defeat for the United States, or else rests on a risky assumption. While No. 3 might be the most attractive, it would leave U.S. forces in highly exposed, dangerous and difficult-to-sustain postures.

Iran has set a clever trap, and the United States has walked into it. Rather than a functioning government in Iraq, it has chaos and a triumphant Shiite community. The Americans cannot contain the chaos, and they cannot simply withdraw. Therefore, we can understand why Bush insists on holding his position indefinitely. He has been maneuvered in such a manner that he -- or a successor -- has no real alternatives.

There is one counter to this: a massive American buildup, including a major buildup of ground forces that requires a large expansion of the Army, geared for the invasion of Iran and destruction of its military force. The idea that this could readily be done through air power has evaporated, we would think, with the Israeli air force's failure in Lebanon. An invasion of Iran would be enormously expensive, take a very long time and create a problem of occupation that would dwarf the problem faced in Iraq. But it is the other option. It would stabilize the geopolitics of the Arabian Peninsula and drain American military power for a generation.

Sometimes there are no good choices. For the United States, the options are to negotiate a settlement that is acceptable to Iran and live with the consequences, raise a massive army and invade Iran, or live in the current twilight world between Iranian hegemony and war with Iran. Bush appears to be choosing an indecisive twilight. Given the options, it is understandable why.

I believe this:

quote:
5. Flood Iraq with another 50-100,000 troops. Get a UN missive to "stop the flow of arms into Iraq" by blockading the Straits of Hormuz. All Iranian ships must stop and be inspected. So sorry. And since we are so strapped for troops it may take a while...Meanwhile, use these seivelike borders to send some secular Iranians from the region with care packages for everyone else in Iran who isn't a mullah.
Isn't considered an option for the same reason the glass lake isn't - there is no political will to make this happen in the United States.
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Redskullvw
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Jav you are absolutely correct on the point of increased troops acting as a embargo sanctioned by the UN.

No one will support it because no domestic political leader, including Bill Clinton could advocate it and have a ghost of a chance of getting it done. Its the same as the glass lake senario. No one will support it either.

Both would create more problems while solving the original ailment. Both take too much political power to implement as policy. And finally, no embargo, whoever sanctions it, would sit very well with the remained of the Arab world. About the only thing I could think of that might make them more angry would be outright invasions or nuclear detonations.

But I do think an embargo should be implemented by Iraq. And I have a sneaking suspicion Iran may try for a glass lake effect.

Kent,

been working on somethng or awhile now. I'll post it eventually.

Good article. I have a feeling the solution will require all four options combined.

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Kent
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I knew I could count on you to read it all the way through Jav. We're best friends now.
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Colin JM0397
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I really hate the idea, but there's also the option to initiate direct military action against Iran.

I suspect we're already operating in the border reigion, maybe not... There are several sub options therein. Full attack, special ops teams to recruit and lead an insurgency, and so on.

I've heard the same about the population there. However, if there's one thing we should take to heart from Iraq is those people don't equate to allies for us should we invade. Furthermore, we’ve spent quite a bit of our international reputation capital. More proactive attacks and nation building will only serve to piss off the rest of the world, regardless of how “right” it might or might not be.

Stratfor is an excellent site, by the way. Too bad you have to pay for full access these days [Frown]

[ September 08, 2006, 03:56 PM: Message edited by: jm0397 ]

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RickyB
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flydye, what in earth are you talking about? Basra (the whole province, not just the eponymous major metropolin) is a spiraling mess, tho not as bad as is all of western Iraq. Kurdistan is also showing signs of a rise in sectarian violence, and you have very severe demographic developments and pressures brewing there.

That's just an off the cuff synopsis for ya. It's far more than a few 'hoods in Baghdad. Oh, and remember the very sharp drop in casualties in August, from 1800 or so to 500+? Um, that number is no longer operative. it's 1500+. Still a drop, tho probably attributable to near-impossibility of exerting much effort in Iraq in August, even to kill an infidel.

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by Kent:
I knew I could count on you to read it all the way through Jav. We're best friends now.

[Big Grin] I've always coveted the title "Kent's favorite"....

[ September 08, 2006, 04:24 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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flydye45
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Hmm, his statement

quote:
Calling it a free-for-all would be more accurate. It is not simply a conflict of Shi'i versus Sunni. The Sunnis and Shia are fighting each other, and all of them are fighting American forces.
is just a bit of hyperbole then?

[ September 08, 2006, 05:11 PM: Message edited by: flydye45 ]

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flydye45
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Where do you get your Iraqi news, Ricky?

This is a serious question, so I can refine my sources.

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by flydye45:
Hmm, his statement

quote:
Calling it a free-for-all would be more accurate. It is not simply a conflict of Shi'i versus Sunni. The Sunnis and Shia are fighting each other, and all of them are fighting American forces.
is just a bit of hyperbole then?
It's modified by the rest of what he's talking about - he defines it by going it into detail. It's not hyperbole, it's context challenged. [Smile]
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DaveS
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Overall, a very good article.
quote:
At this point, except for the United States, Iran has by far the most powerful military force in the Persian Gulf. This has nothing to do with its nuclear capability, which is still years away from realization. Its ground forces are simply more numerous and more capable than all the forces of the Arabian Peninsula combined.
This has been overlooked so far, but I think is extremely important to factor into US policy toward Iran. There has been very public speculation in the US that Iran is "very close" to having nuclear weapons, some saying only months away. That situation requires an immediate preventive action by either the US or Israel. Some propose nuking their nuclear development facilities or bombing the whole country back to the stone age. Others propose using tactical warheads to disable the government centers, then going into the country in victory march style and proclaiming the country liberated.

Except that we have no idea what their nuclear development status actually is, and a consensus is emerging that Iran is probably years away from having nuclear weapons. So, an attack is uncalled for. Worse, if we're unable to control Iraq where there is no organized enemy to fight, what hope do we have that we can defeat an organized army the size and capability that Iran has? So, the available military options would be at best ineffectual, and more likely, extremely counterproductive.

On the other hand, I don't like any of the article's four non-military options to contain or neutralize Iran. As he says, none of them are particularly good ways to go.

So, here's another unpalatable option: Stop resisting the inevitable and let Iraq split into three autonomous or semi-autonomous self-governed regions. Allow Iran their political alliance with the Shiites in southern Iraq. They will never truly merge due to ethnic divisions, despite their common religious orientation. Let the Kurds go their own way (they will anyway). We should continue to help stabilize the Sunni region based in Baghdad, at least for a while longer. That won't be easy, but possible if we concentrate our efforts without the phony unification government that is working hard to prevent it from ever happening.

Then, withdraw most of our troops to surrounding countries, maybe even go looking for Bin Laden again. Most importantly, we wait for or even help the government in Iran to collapse. Their economy is a shambles already, propped up only by the high price of oil. If the price goes down to saner levels, partly the result of reduced military conflict in the region, it'll be in even worse shape. I already expect that either Ahmadinejad will be voted out of office for his lack of accomplishments, or his power domestically and internationally will at least wane. Khatami is in the midst of a very successful political trip to the US that will serve him well in European eyes, as well. The people of Iran (at least in urban areas) are already somewhat sympathetic toward western ideas and ideals. If we can avoid killing them and instead encourage them, they may well swing the country away from confrontation and perhaps even in our direction.

[Edited to clean up last sentence...]

[ September 08, 2006, 10:55 PM: Message edited by: DaveS ]

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Gaoics79
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quote:
Worse, if we're unable to control Iraq where there is no organized enemy to fight, what hope do we have that we can defeat an organized army the size and capability that Iran has?
I would think defeating Iran's army would be a cinch for the mighty U.S. war machine, which has never had a problem beating organized conventional forces, certainly not in recent history. It's the aftermath (eternal guerilla war) that seems to be where the U.S. gets into trouble. No?
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Everard
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Agreement with jason. Assuming, of course, we free up the mighty war machine from iraq.
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DaveS
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Jason, Iraq had an army before we invaded, and I see no reason we should expect to avoid the same eternal conflict in Iran. They have about 400,000 troops on active duty and can expand to over 1M. We don't have anywhere near the number of troops necessary to do defeat them with finality.
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Kent
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Our ability to collapse the price of oil will ultimately be our best weapon, and we are so many years away from being able to do that.
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flydye45
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"The idea that this could readily be done through air power has evaporated, we would think, with the Israeli air force's failure in Lebanon."

This is one of the most plainly fraudulant statements in the piece, and I'm surprised more of you didn't catch this.

He used one example of one (non American) state against an almost landless fighting force with a full bore American assault against a nation with a territory, fixed assets and large targets.

As a counter example, how did the air war against Iraq fare? How far back did we kick Saddam? Going by the claims of some of the critics, we didn't need this current war because Saddam was nearly helpless. As this example 1) deals with America, 2) deals with state on state fighting, and 3) had a clearly demonstrated effect (the uprisings, the shabby shape of his military on the second attack etc), I submit it is a clearer example.

So option 6. Attack with air power, SUPPORT the popular uprisings with logistics if nothing else (thanks for nothing GHB!), and let them spend their cash on replacement military toys instead of new ones, if they survive with their current government intact.

Option 5 is still rational. If we put another 50 to 100,000 troops in Iraq on the border with Iran, this creates many opportunities.

1. Critics which have been bellyaching about the derth of troops are will be shown that their opposition is not for specifics but is generic if they continue to complain.

2. The added troops may be able to stop the flow of "Iraqi" Shia (refugees from the last Iraqi/Iranian war) from entering the country as well as arms and money. This may dry up the power of some of the Shia militias and will make the IEDs less numerous or dangerous.

3. Iran is stuck with a "put up or shut up" scenario. They can do nothing, cutting their so called moral clout in the area; they can move troops to the border, or they can attack. These second two moves puts enormous pressure on their military and their finances. They are the South, a nation with a single cash crop with a tiny little door through which to transport it.

I could, using the same facts, cite that Iran is slowly alienating most of the power brokers against it. Russia is barely relevant except as a veto and a supply of weapons, and China is far away and not particularly loyal if they can get a better deal elsewhere. The Sunnis are slowly gathering a critical mass of opposition to Iranian adventurism and their ability to manipulate the oil price can eviserate Iran's finances. Meanwhile, with a radically opposed populous and huge economic outlays abroad, it is in a precarious position. The drop of the price of oil by $4 a barrel or so isn't helping them.

The piece, while good in the main, misleads by it's overemphasis of Iran's power and America's helplessness.

[ September 10, 2006, 01:25 PM: Message edited by: flydye45 ]

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DaveS
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Fly, the ideas sound plausible, but the logistics are what derailed Israel and would derail us. We have little actionable intelligence about Iran's military infrastructure (according to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has spent virtual no time on it), no active supply routes to feed logistical and tactical supplies to support "popular uprisings", and no identified opposition group to work through. In previous Ornery threads on this issue over the past 6 months, nobody could explain how this kind of military operation would actually work.

I agree that Iran is alienating their international support base. The more we can do to weaken that support further through isolation, sanctions and alternative sourcing of oil, the more pressure Iran will feel to collaborate and compromise. Within Iran, it works t our interests that there would not be an internecine religious or ethnic conflict if the present government were toppled. That gives me hope that a non-military solution, like Ahmedinejad losing the next election to a "moderate", can achieve our objectives quicker with far less cost and carnage.

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flydye45
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"Within Iran, it works t our interests that there would not be an internecine religious or ethnic conflict if the present government were toppled."

Except for the oil, I'm not sure I agree, though having a civil war is not a choice I would make strictly for moral reasons.

"That gives me hope that a non-military solution, like Ahmedinejad losing the next election to a "moderate", can achieve our objectives quicker with far less cost and carnage."

Problem. The Mullahs controls the nomination process. If you aren't acceptable to them in one way or another, you don't get on the ballot. This calls into question how far off the reservation Ahmedinejad really is with his wild statements. The truth of the matter comes out with the next election. If he loses the support (or even nomination) by the Mullahs, then he's the dangerous freak he seems to be. If he is faced by a number of weak sisters or no opposition, the Mullahs are quite happy with how Ahmed's doing. In the first instance, having political dissention within Iran is a plus for us. In the second, the desire of the press et al to have it all be Ahmed's fault will be shown the lie it...might be.

"We have little actionable intelligence about Iran's military infrastructure (according to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has spent virtual no time on it), no active supply routes to feed logistical and tactical supplies to support "popular uprisings", and no identified opposition group to work through."

Bunkers with rockets and AK's are easily hidden. Airfields, tanks, barraks, artillery positions and oil infrastructure are all easily seen from space, aerial recon and drones. I'm sure more work needs to be done, but don't think that Iran is equivilant to Lebanon. A bridge is a bridge is a bridge. But that just begs the question; if we don't know their military infrastructure, this hyperventillating on how strong Iran (who have also had sanctions on them forever) is kind of speculative.

We didn't have an established opposition group in Iraq either. One appeared. As any Iranian group will also be an insurgency, the logistical framework would be much easier then keeping American troops stuffed with Coke, Cable, and C-Rats (all right, MRE's, but it didn't scan as well).

All we offered the Kurds was a no fly zone and look at what they did. If nothing else, an opposition group would have Iraq as a safe haven. You (generic) can't have it both ways. Either logistics are easy (i.e. from Iraq into Iran) or they aren't. If we can ship supplies into Iraq, I'm sure any opposition will find a way to get it.

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Paradox
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quote:
Until Iran sees this conflict as costing it, it will not back down. The question is how to make them hurt without leading to war.
I don't think that there is a way to make them cost without leading to war, but there might be a way to make them hurt without invasion. Iran has a weak spot: oil. If oil facilities start going up in flame, how long do you think it is going to take for Iran to get the message? Iran's economy relies on oil - without it, their power is significantly reduced.

If they persist, an air war against military targets might have to continue for some time, but even if Iran's government remains in power and continues subversive activity, when the US does pull out eventually, they will be in no condition to exploit any instability.

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flydye45
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As I've stated on other threads, if we could secretly, with plausible (or even semi plausible) deniablity damage their oil distribution (not drilling) operations, we would go a long way to "winning" the war.
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Richard Dey
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Flydye, you're applying Archimedean principles to quicksand. You could put in a million troops in there, and America wouldn't float to the top.

It reminds me of Mayor Curley saying we need more police officers on our streets to deal with crime; well, he added hundreds of cops -- and crime, of course, skyrocketed!

I said 3 years ago now that we were in Iraq because of Iran. The Pentagon advised the administration that we needed 'a base of operations' close to Iran. Cripes, Iran would have been easier to occupy than Iraq!

The best solution would have been to create a Free Kurdistan, cut a deal for military bases in return, obliging all parties in the region to kowtow by siding them with something in everybody's best interest.

The Shia-Sunni battles are civil wars. Nobody wins a a civil war, least of all 3rd parties.

But oh no -- we just had to pull out a rubber banana and wave it at everybody with another Gulf of Tonkin 'incident', this one with 'weapons of mass destruction', and we've pulled a Bay of Pigs as a result.

We have no choice. The sooner the withdrawal the less embarrassing, and shortest-remembered, it will be.

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flydye45
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Richard, you remind me of the MSM, "Crime rates are down across the nation, but our prisons are full." Duh.

What do insugents do when pressured? They fight back. What happens? Higher casualties. And that continues.

It is, however, nice of you to indulge in a post without a single reference to Homos Uber Alles. [Big Grin]

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DaveS
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quote:
But that just begs the question; if we don't know their military infrastructure, this hyperventillating on how strong Iran (who have also had sanctions on them forever) is kind of speculative.
I'll concede we don't know how strong they might be if you concede we don't know how weak they might be. If you assume they are weak, then you go into the fight with too few soldiers and too short-sighted a plan, it takes longer and maybe you have to redefine your ultimate objective along the way. A debacle similar to Iraq would result.

On the other hand, if you assume they are strong, you budget for and mass the necessary force (draft, callups, abandon Iraq and Afghanistan, pull troops from possible confrontation with NK), form an honest coalition of invasion partners, budget for and plan and develop alternate sources oil for all of Iran's customers (who would have to go along with our military strategy), then budget for and fight and win a protracted war and rebuild from the wreckage (all of that is a polyannaish best case) --- or you do what you clearly don't have any interest in, you negotiate, sanction, isolate and drive them into a domestic political meltdown. That too can take years, but we appear to have that amount of time before Iran has actually developed their first bomb.

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Kent
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bump
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Pete at Home
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"The best solution would have been to create a Free Kurdistan"

We did. And by pretending to do something else, we avoided an even bigger bloodbath.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"We did. And by pretending to do something else, we avoided an even bigger bloodbath."

Qualify "avoided" as 'postponed', and I agree.

[ September 11, 2006, 10:40 PM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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flydye45
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quote:
On the other hand, if you assume they are strong, you budget for and mass the necessary force (draft, callups, abandon Iraq and Afghanistan, pull troops from possible confrontation with NK), form an honest coalition of invasion partners, budget for and plan and develop alternate sources oil for all of Iran's customers (who would have to go along with our military strategy), then budget for and fight and win a protracted war and rebuild from the wreckage (all of that is a polyannaish best case)
This is your pollyannish best case scenario? [Eek!]

But let's look at it. So for support from the "sensible liberal", we have to get a bunch of permission slips from "honest allies" (as opposed to the "dishonest" allies we have now [Roll Eyes] ), start a draft, gut the budget for a military buildup in advance , develop fusion power and cheap hydrogen technology, make sure China (or any other nation) doesn't miss a barrel of oil or spend a yuan more then they would have, and then we get the joy of a years long D-Day invasion. While these preparations are undertaken, these sensible liberals are NOT going to be decrying the jingoistic, imperial ambitions, having draft riots and screaming about domestic spending. Yeah, sure.

It would be much shorter for you to write "Never".

I'll ignore the idea that somehow Iran is the same industrial giant that Germany was, when it plainly isn't. The author is correct that Iran has the biggest military in the region sans America. Excuse me if that isn't a flattering comparison when you consider the military forces in the area. Who exactly was the last "toughest military in the area?" I think we still have some of it in our cleats. Just for a bit of historical reference. [Wink]

quote:
or you do what you clearly don't have any interest in, you negotiate, sanction, isolate and drive them into a domestic political meltdown. That too can take years, but we appear to have that amount of time before Iran has actually developed their first bomb.
Let me cast my eyes to history and see how sanctions worked before. Hmm, yes our honest allies in Russia, France, Germany, and China were quite the "honest partners" when we had Iraqi sanctions. Ditto North Korea. You think Russia or China wouldn't use their vetos in a quite aggressive and vindictive fashion to stop us from doing so when they (as France) plainly seek some more counterweights.

But you are wrong about me. I am more then content to allow the Euroweenies to try their stunts with diplomacy without a military option. I can already see how swimmingly that going... Color me skeptical.

Hope you are right about the nuke thing.

[ September 12, 2006, 03:24 PM: Message edited by: flydye45 ]

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DaveS
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quote:
This is your pollyannish best case scenario? [Eek!]
Hmmm, you're right! I forgot the silver bullet scenario [Smile]
quote:
But let's look at it....Yeah, sure.
I'm not touching that.
quote:
Who exactly was the last "toughest military in the area?" I think we still have some of it in our cleats. Just for a bit of historical reference. [Wink]
Yes, we are indomitable, but they've killed 2,000 or our soldiers in the 3 years since they clogged our cleats, and we've killed about 100,000 of their civilians.
quote:
Hope you are right about the nuke thing.
The bottom line.
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flydye45
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"Yes, we are indomitable, but they've killed 2,000 or our soldiers in the 3 years since they clogged our cleats, and we've killed about 100,000 of their civilians. "

I look at that aftermath as something very seperate from "military". A bomb on the roadside is murder. If they can hold territory, they've switched into a military. Please note that we have not fallen into that scenario.

"I'm not touching that."

Please? [Wink]

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DaveS
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quote:
I look at that aftermath as something very seperate from "military". A bomb on the roadside is murder. If they can hold territory, they've switched into a military. Please note that we have not fallen into that scenario.
This puts us in an odd position, since these are civilians killing our soldiers. I don't understand how your definition can hold. Isn't this the definition of guerrilla warfare?

"Please? [Wink]" -- It was cartoonish and condescending, and I couldn't quite rise to the challenge of responding in kind. If that's how you really think, that's fine, but I would hope you're capable of a better response.

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DaveS
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quote:
Please note that we have not fallen into that scenario.
I forgot to respond to this piece. Your point is that what's happening now isn't a "military" engagement, but according to Col. Richard Zilmer:
quote:
Zilmer, who has commanded U.S. forces in western Iraq since February, said increasing the number of U.S. troops there would help in the short term, "but at the end of the day I don't think it's going to be the significant change that is necessary to achieve long-term security and stability out here in Anbar."
He was put out to talk to the media because of a report by Pete Devlin that said (according to UPI):
quote:
Fallujah and al-Qaim have been mollified through massive military crackdowns and continuous occupation, but there are not enough troops to occupy and pacify the region. Adding to the troop deficit, an Army Stryker unit was deployed from Rawah to Baghdad in August to participate in a security crackdown in the capital.

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Redskullvw
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Still working on a post. Went back and reviewed the I slam Islam thread, and some of the commentary. Overall I think it was pretty spot on, as was Paul's and Wm Lambert's commentary as to what we faced.

I have said it before, and I think it should be said again, collectively we are as good as any Washington Think-Tank in predicting policy, political developments, and the outcomes of such actions if followed.

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Kent
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Red, only you would actually take daaaays to work on a post. The rest of us just let our fingers vomit up whatever our irresponsible superegos allow. That is why we love you here.
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Kent
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Daaaaaaaays, that is.
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Everard
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Man... I was skimming back over greg's thread that he mentioned.

Everard, august 15th, 2003:

""I still think you're wrong, Greg. Not in the nature of radical Islam, but in what our options are and the consequences of our actions.

Iraq is more or less in shambles right now. This is to be expected, and may, eventually, lead somewhere good. It doesn't appear to be leading to democracy at the moment, but the mess that currently exists may, someday, become a democratic free nation. We're still engaged in Iraq, and the longer we remain engaged, the longer the necessity of being engaged will become. The problem is, Iraq wasn't the enemy. It never was. Saddam Hussein was the enemy. We had several options for toppling his power, and chose the method that has the greatest negative impact on our long-term ability to project power. A multinational approach wouldn't have lessened that power. We've failed, since Bush's publicity stunt on an air craft carrier, to secure any assistance in rebuilding Iraq, meaning we have to do it ourselves... meaning Iraqi's have more reason to hate us then they did under Hussein. Obviously, the removal of Hussein gives us a large amount of good will to work with... but that good will is already evaporating, as we shoot Iraqi policemen, as we exert our own martial law on Iraq. We have no choice but to impose martial law... but this is, in fact, one of the consequences of waging a "regime change" war over a man who we weren't even moderately certain could threaten us. As more and more evidence, or lack thereof, is emerging, this is a man who wasn't going to be able to threaten us with strategic weaponry for years. We've also failed to uncover evidence that Hussein was in any way behind any attacks on the United States.

Where do we go from here? Our government obviously didn't listen to the voices of people of my ilk, so now we have to clean up the mess, straighten things out, and try to lessen the negative impacts while improving our chances of sucess against terrorism.

The first thing that the US must learn is to gather better intelligence. Right now, we look a little foolish. "We know where the weapons are." Well, we didn't find them... whether we DID know where they are or not, we haven't been able to back up our claims. We used intelligence that was shown to be false even before we used it to justify our war. The list goes on...

The second thing we need to do is learn the importance of REAL diplomacy with our erstwhile allies. Would France and Germany have committed to the removal of Hussein if we'd acted a little bit less like children, and a little bit more like consensus builders? Perhaps, and perhaps not. We wouldn't, however, have had the announcements from Chirac that he would veto any UN resolution authorizing the use of force. We wouldn't have huge gaping holes in our relations with France, Germany, and dozens of others of our second tier allies. Obviously Britain and Israel back us to the hilt... but we need other nations on board for our over-seas actions. Otherwise, we'll spread too thin, bringing me to my third point.

We've embarked on a course of action that could, conveivably, have us at war in the middle east and far east for the next generation or two. If we want to remain a free nation, we have to curb our impulse to wage war against everyone. For a while, it looked like we were going to invade Syria. We still might. North Korea and Iran also seem to be on our agenda... if not today, then a couple years down the road.

We have two choices in costs we can pay combatting terrorism. We can either send our young men to war for the foreseable future, maintain our unilateral power, or we can bite the bullet and realize that if we build strong coalitions committed to the overthrow of terrorism, we may lose some of our reputation for international power, but we'll gain the ability for rapid response in multiple locations.

Finally, we've got to learn to distinguish between war and crime. Terrorism is a crime. War is one nation pitted against another. Terrorism is carried out by citizens. War is carried out by governments, and is waged against everyone in the opposing nation. This is why we're having problems in Iraq. We didn't find and identify criminals... we found and identified a nation, and the sad part is, the nation wasn't really guilty of what we waged war against them for. So, we've left the people with a political mess.

Unfortunately, in Iraq, Hussein was a criminal towards his own people. But, that, again, is something to be dealt with by an international community. isolated action by one nation against another, if based upon human rights violations, leads to some very sticky problems in terms of precedent.

I think our long term solution is to identify nations with a view towards freedom and democracy. Japan, Canada, Israel, South Korea, Britain, France, Germany, Poland, the Scandanavian countries, Brazil to some extent, etc. We need to reach a consensus with these nations, and other nations of this ilk. We need to sit down, have LONG talks with them, and identify what terrorism is, and how to go after it. Then, we need to work in concert with those nations, to fight terrorism, without fighting nations. Fight governments when necessary, but if we have a consensus among democratic nations about when a government is a terrorist organization, we have the support that MATTERS on our side. The UN can't act against terrorism, its not designed to. Bush's vision of loose coaltiions ignores that some nations are more important to our continued well being as a nation then others, and that a structured alliance offers more strength.

Part of the reason the United States federated, rather then remaining a loose coalition is that we recognized that, in military actions, the closer alligned individual states (or nations) are to each other, the better they can act in concert against a common enemy.

The hardest part of such an alliance would be convincing several of these nations that radical islam is an enemy that needs to be fought. It can be done, I believe, given that terrorists have hit even french interests in the last several years. But it requires diplomacy, not arrogance.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Everard -

The problem is that some 'arrogance' is warranted. The United States is one of the few nations that is willing to act militarily. The 'arrogance' you see is seething frustration that many other nations seem more willing to allow barbarity to slide, and less willing to act firmly against it.

--Firedrake

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Everard
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The arrogance referred to at the bottom of my post is our blithe dismissals of our allies in our attempts to negotiate with them. When we act arrogantly with our allies, they are less likely to be convinced of the rightness of our position. Without the support of our allies, our strategic strength is lessened, as I detail in that post.

I also disagree with the premise of your post that a willingness to act militarily is in any way a positive. Other nations were not willing to allow barbarity to slide, they wanted to use non-barbaric methods to counter barbarism. We wanted to act in a way that would bring death to tens of thousands of innocent people in order to act firmly against barbarism. That IS barbarism.

Finally, if it wasn't arrogance, and was instead seething frustration coming out, then we picked some pretty incompetent people to represent us, and should be ashamed of ourselves for choosing a government that can't hide what it really thinks in order to persuade other nations to act in a way that is beneficial for us.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Everard said:
quote:
I also disagree with the premise of your post that a willingness to act militarily is in any way a positive.
Of course. Violence never solved anything, did it?
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