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Author Topic: Baghdad violence forces U.S. to re-evaluate strategy
javelin
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quote:
A campaign to make Baghdad safer is being reconsidered after a "disheartening" surge of violence, a U.S. military spokesman said Thursday.

Officials say "some modification" is needed to the security plan which was a linchpin in the effort to restore law and order in the Iraqi capital.

Insurgent attacks increased 22 percent during the first three weeks of Ramadan compared with the previous three weeks, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said -- even as U.S. and Iraqi forces ramped up a 2-month-long crackdown in the capital.

"Operation Together Forward has made a difference in the focus areas but has not met our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence," Caldwell said.

"We are working very closely with the government of Iraq to determine how best to refocus our efforts."

Source
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Wayward Son
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But don't worry. President Bush will stay the course, even if he has to change it as necessary. [Wink]
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EDanaII
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Sorry Wayward, but I just gotta say... " [Roll Eyes] "

Can you imagine Columbus, on his fateful voyage? "No, wait... Sail west... uh, no. I was wrong, go north. No, wait. East! South! I meant south!"

"Staying the course" does not mean "never change."

Ed.

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TommySama
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I think by stay the course he means not give up trying to bring democracy to these completely undemocratic people.

Iraqi Election day:

99% voted for the Pro-US dictatorship party.

Just nobody remembers voting for this party...

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Jesse
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http://www.abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=2583579&page=1

quote:
Stephanopoulos asked whether the president agreed with the opinion of columnist Tom Friedman, who wrote in The New York Times today that the situation in Iraq may be equivalent to the Tet offensive in Vietnam almost 40 years ago.

"He could be right," the president said, before adding, "There's certainly a stepped-up level of violence, and we're heading into an election."

"


My mind is officialy blown. For once, I should have been watching George instead of Tim.

[ October 19, 2006, 04:43 PM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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Everard
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"Baghdad violence forces U.S. to re-evaluate strategy"

...about 4 years too late.

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Kent
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"Told you so"
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Wayward Son
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quote:
"Staying the course" does not mean "never change."
True. That's why, when others have said they wanted to change the course, the President has responded, "Stay the course!" Because staying the course allows for changing the course, unless of course it diverts from the course, which means heading to another course, and only the President knows the course that will lead us to the course we want to go.

Of course. [Smile]

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Can you imagine Columbus, on his fateful voyage? "No, wait... Sail west... uh, no. I was wrong, go north. No, wait. East! South! I meant south!"

"Staying the course" does not mean "never change."

Good thing America was there or else he and his crew would have perished staying the course to Asia...

...methinks that similar good luck from the blue is Double-Ought's essential plan.

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Liberal
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Today Bush admitted similarities between current Iraq and the Vietnam Tet offensive. The Pentagon has also officially declared defeat in securing Baghdad.
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flydye45
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I wonder at what cost this push by the insurgents to guarantee the failure.

Will we determine in 40 years that there were only 3 crippled boys and an old man left to fight us after we abandon the Iraqis to anarchy?

Talk seriously to some Vietnamese forced to live in America before you take Wayward course changes...

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Liberal
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quote:
Originally posted by flydye45:
I wonder at what cost this push by the insurgents to guarantee the failure.

Will we determine in 40 years that there were only 3 crippled boys and an old man left to fight us after we abandon the Iraqis to anarchy?

Talk seriously to some Vietnamese forced to live in America before you take Wayward course changes...

Where is the realism that was once the backbone of republican foreign policy?
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DaveS
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"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" means something different when it is used as a political strategy by the Republicans today. Now it means that if you stop being afraid, you might not vote for me. That's what the Republicans fear most.

The irony of their newest ad featuring a picture of Bin Laden and a mushroom cloud is staggering.

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Colin JM0397
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As if both parties don't play on fear to get votes. Fear is what gives them control. It always has worked, so why stop now?

"The republicans want to take away your social security and starve the poor by stopping welfare. Vote for us or you'll starve!"

"The dems want to surrender and allow the terrorists to run amuck in the US! Vote for us or you'll die!"

Sound familiar?

--------

Staying the course doesn't mean not adjusting the methods. The end goal is still the same.

For example, during WWII, after the failure of Operation Market Garden (see the movie A Bridge Too Far), the allies changed our tactics and focused on traditional ground attacks opposed to any more deep, massive Airborne assaults. This was still staying the course - to defeat the Axis, just adjusting tactics to best accomplish that goal.

Bush is still very much on course for his plan.

We can and do argue the intelligence of that plan all day long, but to try to nit-pick and claim Bush is not following through on his overall plan is just asinine.

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RickyB
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Wait, Ed, are you implying that Bush knows as much about what he's doing and where he's going as Colombus? That's reassuring.

jm - Bush does not have a plan. He never did. What he had was wishful thinking with zero investment in alternative scenarios.

Liberal - what the White House means by similarities between Iraq and Tet is that (they claim) in Iraq they are also winning militarily, but in danger of having the perception of defeat prevent them from capitalizing in the military success.

You see, the Tet offensive failed. By most accounts, it was actually possible in the aftermath of Tet for the US to have overpowered the VC and take Hanoi. The right believes that this proves that the left and the media were treasonous - they made a victory look like a defeat and sapped the will of the nation to presevere with the fight.

I personally don't buy all this, but the fact remains that Tet failed and that it was portrayed by the media as more successful (or more of a defeat for the US) than it actually was.

[ October 20, 2006, 12:31 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Richard Dey
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One can hardly say that the Thet Offensive was not successful in intimadating the Pentagon! We would be foolish to impose ultima thule as a rationale for it. It was meant to intimidate. It intimidated.

http://www.strategypage.com/militaryforums/478-27.aspx

Otherwise, RB is right.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Wait, Ed, are you implying that Bush knows as much about what he's doing and where he's going as Colombus? That's reassuring. "

Last I heard, Bush authorized a massive expedition to re-discover America... in Iraq.

"I personally don't buy all this, but the fact remains that Tet failed and that it was portrayed by the media as more successful (or more of a defeat for the US) than it actually was.'

I suspect that the reason the Tet Off parlayed into such negative news stateside is because our USA-all-the-Way hubris was already over-extended in Nam. It only took a strong breeze of ill wind to flip that hubris over. From 1969 on, the dominant meme vis a vis Viet Nam was confusion, shame, embarrassment, and a growing sense of betrayal by our own government.

All the VC attacks of that entire war, and all the liberal media that ever was, can't take credit for that sense of betrayal (although the publishing of The Pentagon Papers confirmed that sense and established it as cautionary canon). Such betrayal comes when citizens realize that the war they'd entrusted their patriotism, taxes, and children too was now what it has been represented to be.

We see the same phenomenon now with Iraq.

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Colin JM0397
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Take down Sadam and then institute a democratic, self-sufficient government and military isn't a plan?

As I said, we can argue over the intelligence and negligence of instituting and following through on this, but that has been and continues to be "the plan" he's referring to when he says "stay the course".

Claiming he "does not have a plan" is not accurate.

While clicking your heels together and chanting "there's no place like a democracy in the Middle East" is quite silly, it is still a plan.

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KnightEnder
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So one old man and three crippled boys have killed more US Marines in the last month than at any time since January of 2005? (68 killed Marines this month last report I heard.) [Crying]

KE

[ October 20, 2006, 02:37 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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RickyB
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No, jm, those are goals. A plan says HOW you do that. That's precisely the point. God can say "let there be light" and that's all it takes. Us mortals have to plan how to string the bulbs and where the power's gonna come from.

Besides, wake up and smell the coffee - the WH has been dropping the democracy part lately. Ain't happening. They'll settle for a reasonably mild, pro-West strongman now. Can't really see that happening either.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
You see, the Tet offensive failed. By most accounts, it was actually possible in the aftermath of Tet for the US to have overpowered the VC and take Hanoi. The right believes that this proves that the left and the media were treasonous - they made a victory look like a defeat and sapped the will of the nation to presevere with the fight.
I personally don't buy all this, but the fact remains that Tet failed and that it was portrayed by the media as more successful (or more of a defeat for the US) than it actually was.


Et tu, Ricky.

People who wish we could have just "fought 100%" in Vietnam, I'm sorry, just don't understand the nature of that conflict. "Could have overpowered the VC and taken Hanoi"? We could have done that in about a month, about as easily as we took Bagdad. We could have occupied every square inch of vietnam in 6 months if it had simply been about us versus the VC and the NVA.

Vietnam was not about the VC and the NVA. Vietnam was about fighting a proxy war to halt the perception of Soviet expansion. Having developed the thermonuclear device by that point, the Soviets had, not a parity with us, but a sufficient nuclear deterrent to prevent direct conflict. Both sides knew that any direct encounter between conventional forces would inevitably lead to a nuclear exchange, so even direct traditional warfare was out of the picture. All that was left was proxy warfare, whereby we prevent new states from joining the soviet bloc under the pretense of protecting their established sovereignty. The whole point of the game was to leverage as much force as possible without directly engaging the real enemy (and thus risking nuclear anhiliation). The scenario played out in many different places.

"Protecting the sovereignty of South Vietnam" was seen as a legitimate use of force at the time. It wasn't hostile enough to provoke direct Soviet intervention. However, that was a two way street. Had we simply invaded and conquered the north (militarily, an easy task), we certainly would have had a direct fight with the Soviets on our hands, and thus the potential for nuclear war. THAT was the risk we were trying to avoid. The whole history of the Vietnam war was a series of careful, diplomatically presented escalations, whereby we tried to gradually bring more military might to bear without giving the Soviets a pretext for direct involvement. Thus, we started with retaliatory bombing strikes (Operation Flaming Dart), only eventually moving to saturation bombing (Rolling Thunder). The whole exercise was part of a much larger struggle.

The problem in Vietnam is that the Soviets were sending as much INDIRECT aid as they could. Our escalations didn't provoke a direct confrontation, but they were always met with increased aid and material support for the NVA. Who do you think made the SAMs that shot down John McCain? We weren't really making any real progress with the slow escalation, and the rapid one still had too high a cost. So what we had was a dynamic equilibrium, a stalemate that was consuming G.I.s like a meat grinder.

Add to that events like the Tet offensive, which was significant, not for being a victory or a defeat, but because it illustrated the massive amount of discontent in Vietnam, which previously the US gov. had downplayed. The US public didn't lose heart because they thought they were losing, they lost heart because, while so many good men were dying, the people of Vietnam didn't even seem to want us there. The resistance wasn't some rabble of communist sympathizers, it was a large enough group to organize a massive, coordinated attack. Remember that the whole domino theory was hardly inspirational public fodder. Vietnam was sold on the idea of the poor citizens of South Vietnam yearning for freedom. Tet showed the American people that a good chunk of those people at least were yearning for us to leave.

Whether Tet was a victory or a defeat in conventional military terms is irrelevant, because it wasn't a conventional engagement. It was a proxy military engagement, one small aspect of a global bipolar struggle. It very successfully damaged the perception of legitimacy that was crucial to the complex nature of our strategy in that struggle, and so, in that sense, it was a victory for the VC.

The point of this long rant is that I get massively... irritated when people look back and say "we could have won in Vietnam, if only we had done this and this." OF COURSE!! Of course we could have won. General Custer could have orchestrated a victory with our forces in Vietnam, had it been a straight up engagement. We had them unbelievably outgunned. That doesn't change the fact that it wasn't a straight up engagement. And ignoring the obviously proxy nature of that conflict in order to blame defeat on the peaceniks is as fallacious an argument as I can imagine.

Adam

ps I'm not ascribing this view to you Ricky, just using your comment as a pretext to make this general observation.

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RickyB
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You're right, Adam. I didn't address these factors in my comment. All of this is why I said I don't buy the "we could have won" theory. And yes, the reason Tet was portrayed the way it was is precisely because of the lockstep, all is well official line until then.

In Iraq,this whole disillusionment process was much accelerated. Not enough so, but more.

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Richard Dey
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AoL is polling its public on the matter. As of 2006.10.20 17:00:

Should the U.S. change its military tactics in Iraq?

Yes 90%
Not sure 7%
No 3%
Total Votes: 114,523

Bush has to make a biiiig decision before he doesn't have a sympathetic Congress to work with, 'ey?

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
In Iraq,this whole disillusionment process was much accelerated. Not enough so, but more.
To the enormous benefit of our fighting men and women. To look at the history of Vietnam and think "we could have won" is absurd, because we quickly realized that we didn't have to. It was the same administration that finally gave up on victory there that discovered that the domino theory was false anyway. Instead of a bloc of allied communist states, the familiar checkerboard security pattern was emerging. Nixon instituted detente with China, and our strategic goals in Asia were achieved bloodlessly. The terrible truth of Vietnam is that the 58,000 G.I.s need not have died at all.

In Iraq, the truth is the same, but thankfully not as terrible. If we pull out right now, we will have saved thousands of American lives simply by not going down that dead end road quite so far this time. Which will speak well of the American people and our ability to learn from the past.

Adam

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kenmeer livermaile
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"It was the same administration that finally gave up on victory there that discovered that the domino theory was false anyway. Instead of a bloc of allied communist states, the familiar checkerboard security pattern was emerging."

Funny. I was reading just a few hours ago of how the immediate post-WWII administration convinced itself that the Communist nations didn't think or behave like other nations in geopolitical relations. We demonized them so thoroughly that it took us decades to resume real political interaction with them on a rational power basis. Your expression:

"Instead of a bloc of allied communist states, the familiar checkerboard security pattern was emerging."

overlay what I'd been reading perfectly. D'accord.

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