The Economist blog caught a snippet of testimony from Gen. John Abizaid, commander of CENTCOM, that needs be underlined again. From today’s WaPo:
In an unusual admission, [General John P. Abizaid, speaking before a Senate panel,] said there should have been more U.S. troops, as well as Iraqi and foreign forces, to stabilize the country immediately after the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. “General [Eric] Shinseki was right that a greater international force contribution, U.S. force contribution and Iraqi force contribution should have been available immediately after major combat operations,” he said.
[…]We can put in 20,000 more Americans tomorrow and achieve a temporary effect. But when you look at the overall American force pool that’s available out there, the ability to sustain that commitment is simply not something that we have right now with the size of the Army and the Marine Corps.
Bush wants to bolster our forces with ponies and leprechauns. James Baker, famous realist and hard-nosed policy thinker, thinks that the ponies should go but maybe hold back on the leprechauns:
Although the panel’s work is not complete, its recommendations are expected to be built around a four-point “victory strategy” developed by Pentagon officials advising the group.[…] Point one of the strategy calls for an increase rather than a decrease in overall US force levels inside Iraq, possibly by as many as 20,000 soldiers.
For the record, John McCain wants an unspecified number of ponies shipped to Iraq immediately. Bill Kristol plans to clear out the strategic pony reserve. As Gen. Abizaid made clear, none of these people are remotely serious. Adding troops to Baghdad did precisely nothing to stop the bleeding, and temporarily boosting our boots by 15% doesn’t even do for the country what we did in Baghdad.
Here’s a simple rule for people who want to be called “serious.” Those who think we can win in Iraq need to propose a troop increase that might actually do some good. ‘Stay the course’ has expired and incremental changes only give 15% more people a chance to bleed. Doubling our current numbers might help. Tripling them gets us near Shinseki’s estimate (“right” according to Gen. Abizaid), which he offered before the insurgency began. Those are serious proposals that have a realistic chance of changing the dynamic in Iraq. I would be sincerely impressed if anybody honestly did that. Of course nobody will, because then he or she will have to explain where to get the troops.
Again, eventually we have to choose between the impossible and the inevitable. Fish or cut bait. Refusing to choose simply means that people who didn’t need to die will do so while pundits and decision makers sit on their thumbs arguing about whether we should send in ten leprechauns or twenty.
Henry Kissinger concludes that fishing is no longer possible but we shouldn’t cut bait either. Apparently the first step in choosing between the inevitable and the impossible is acknowledging the impossible.
OK, enough with the ponies. We’re all out of ponies at this point (Bush’s popularity having been in the 30s for a long time). We’re also out of “Freidman Units” (roughly three months). Usage: “Iraq will be won or lost in the next two FUs”
We now need a new animal to supply for when Bush’s popularity hits the 20s and people are suggesting we keep sending non-existent troops.
I suggest unicorns, or jackalopes, or gelflings or something.
What, leprechauns don’t work?
If shrub really were the decider, he would ask for a draft.
If the 101st keyboarders were really serious about “winning,” they would enlist.
Since none of these things is happening, I conclude that none of these people are serious.
No, Tim, that’s the whole problem. Leprechauns are *lazy*, man, so they won’t work, whether or not they might. I’m leaning towards tumbleweeds, myself — they’re easy to pick up and well adapted to the desert climate.
Leprechauns just sit there, and they never give you their gold. That’s not very exciting.
I need the sense of joy that ponies bring, only better.
Care bears? Not well adapted to Iraq, but they get along with everyone. Might help out with the civil war bit.
Cabbage Patch Kids?
What we really need is the wisdom of Teddy Ruxpin, but that’s another matter.
I say we offer up the chickenhawks.
wow, bringing in the leprechauns while they’re still throwing out the fairies!
Fairies are just too small to operate the controls of the modern Army equipment. And despite OSHA and the ADA regulations, the Army’s just not gonna re-tool all its tanks to fit those little fairy hands and feet.
But chickenhawks? No. They aren’t joy-bringing.
How about parfait? Who don’t like parfait? You ain’t never hear anyone say, “I don’t like parfait!”
I’ll bet Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds would all like it if we dropped some parfaits around Iraq. Even the 101st fighting keyboard kommandoes could get on board with the parfait.
Pegasai, Ponies who think they can fly!
Or how about ‘Dumbos’, Elephants who think they’re Eagles.
Hmm. Laser equipped Tumbleweeds…
I wonder if NASA has consdered a tumbleweed rover for Mars.
As long as we’re thinking serious, why not borrow a page from Jimmy Buffett…
We saw enough Iraqi crotches when the Prison Scandal broke, thank you very much. >_
Um, yeah, ok, dumb idea.
Why do Republicans always want to lose wars?
There are a huge number of these imbeciles who want to go lose the Vietnam War even more. “We could have won if the liberals would have let us send in more troops”.
A lot of Rethuglican morons want to go back and lose the Civil War by supporting the South.
A bunch of them seem to now want to lose the Revolutionary War and go back to King George the Dimmer.
I congratulate Reagan for helping to win the Cold War. Despite popular Republemming myths, he did not win it by himself. The Pope John Paul II had a great deal to do with it as well as many others combined efforts over many years.
Bush the Elder did at least win the first Gulf War, which was not truly a war but rather a battle where he wisely stopped short of the hole Junior the Deciderer dug into more deeply and dived in headfirst.
Those who think we can win in Iraq need to propose a troop increase that might actually do some good.
Oops. Thought I took out that blockquote. Please ignore it.
And when you consider normal standards put T. McVeigh and J. Allen/Mohammed in uniform you’d think people would be a bit uneasy about teaching the guy who shouts at giant plaid squirrels how to use weapons and then subjecting him to incredible amounts of stress. Or maybe that’s all part of the plan. After a few weeks of The Rambo wannabe headcase brigade stalking around with dead burnt bodies and veins in their teeth, shouting about giant squirrels, the Iraqis will do anything to get us the fuck out of there.
Ah that’s easy you defeatocrat. Tinkerbell can sprinkle the soldiers with pixie dust, they’ll think happy thoughts and woosh! The President who won’t grow up will lead out there in his sock-enhanced flight suit. Equimpent can be shipped on a really long rainbow created by the leprechauns.
Oh wait, I’ve GOT IT. Katrina refugees. They’re going to send them out there. See? No ponies necessary.
If we went in massively, the insurgency never would have gained steam. We could have been mostly out now. If we went in with say 300,000 troops. Rotating some out at 6 months, some at a year, and then drawing the force down, firing the upper officer corps in the Iraqi army, but leaving it intact, reshaping retraining it, Iraq could have been in decent shape. But we didn’t.
Thanks Rummy, thanks Cheney, thanks “decider”.
There are no ponies to be found in Iraq. There never were any ponies to be found in Iraq. Stop trying to find the ponies.
Bush could have sent in every soldier in the US military into Iraq at the same time and he’d still have failed. The whole concept of ‘let’s invade, remake it in our image and magical ponies will shower down on us’ needs to be beaten in with a shovel until people stop trying to think ‘we could have done it if only…’.
How about: If a pony had fallen on Bush when he first came up with the idea to lie his way to infamy, we wouldn’t be trying to decide between: Leave the soliders there so they and watch the cradle of civilzation dissolve up close personal or bring them home so they can watch it on CNN. Oh yeah, and find out that the Bush Admin. has done everything it can to restrict the definition of PTSD. How’s that for gratitude?
AND as an added bonus, we might have Osama bin Laden in custody. Remember him? You don’t hear Bush go on about him so much any more. I wonder why. And speaking of repressive regimes that must be toppled at all costs, we might not be hearing that the Taliban is rearing its ugly head again.
The only way to fix this requires a time machine. Powered by pixie dust.
Not so fast, Mr. Tengu(etc).
No ponies, sure. But American ponies are made out of plastic. And the plastic comes from OIL. And, you have to admit, there’s no oil shortage in Iraq. (Gasoline, maybe; oil, no.)
So I’d wager we’ll keep on trying to make the raw material from which we get our ponies. And if Operation Iraqi Liberation fails in 2006, I’d be willing to bet we try something similar (if, God willing, less incompetent) in the next ten years.
My understanding is that there are currently a lot of unemployed Republican staffers.
The Charge of the Right Brigade?
Go Operation Yellow Elephant!
Let me be the first to point out how ridiculous our courts have become:
Bay of Pigs, still not over
Would that be a “sixth column” that they’d be forming?
I wonder how long it is before the 70/30 Republican/Democrat military vote split is reversed. Are there any Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans running as Republicans? Are there real vets like Kevin Tillman out there criticizing the Democrats? When’s the last time the Republican leadership actually did anything for vets once they were out of combat (like better mental health and physical therapy resources).
Coming from a long line of Democratic combat vets (WWII, Korea, Vietnam – both sides of the family, all volunteers), I’ve longer understood that Republicans only understand war in theory – things like committing troops to unnecessary battles, authorizing torture – it’s all been the Republican way for the last 30+ years. What I want to know is what the fuck will it take for the rest of the American public wake the fuck up and realize that the Republicans are not the party to entrust with our troops?!?!?
Tom in Texas
You can say that again. Even after they lose their jobs you can’t trust ’em:
Wait, didn’t she lose? As in she’ll be sitting in Delay’s old seat until the real winner is sworn in? If so, did she really go from the Repbulican candidate to batshit Harris territory in a week?
Tom in Texas
She most certainly did lose the election for 2007. She won, however, the special election to serve the rest of DeLay’s term. She’ll be serving for seven weeks. In that time she plans on reforming immigration and cutting taxes. So, to answer your question, she is in fact batshit crazy, with delusions of grandeur and excessive paranoia being the classic symptoms.
Actually that’s a House Rule when a new representative moves in…they gotta wipe the computer systems of old files.
Just chalk it up to her being an insane fucktard…word is she actually expected W Bush to be there to personally welcome her on her first day there and was pissed that he was not.
You forgot her plan to solve the Iraq war in two months.
I swear she’s got an obsession with long hard ponies.
A week after China occupies the US mainland and not a day earlier.
Tom in Texas Says:
Oh right. She’s a Republican.
Possibly I’m being overly critical – but to my simple state school educated mind, Bush’s Iraq end game is beginning to look like one big giant set up that will be used in the 2008 elections to ‘blame’ those weak ‘girlie men’ Democrats for losing the Iraq war as well as to put a patina on the ‘Bush Legacy’ as not being the person who lost the Iraq war. The proposals to increase the number of troops as well as the request for a massive increase in funding ($130 Billion) for one last big push are certain to be challenged (and rejected) immediately by the newly Democratic House and Senate. More than likely, the Democrats will instead call for (demand) less troops and much less ’emergency’ spending on Iraq – instead of the ‘more’ (troops and funding) that the Bush Admin is requesting. So now when the former Nation of Iraq is in it’s final death throes (literally) in 2008. Bush with then ‘Blame’ those Pansy San Francisco Democrats for losing the war because they didn’t have the stomach to see the thing through to the end and WIN the war in one last big push. I can hear Bush now saying that instead of doing the hard thing to ‘protect’ us (the American people) – the Defeatocrats were too busy giving away our precious Social Security to the hordes of Mexican illegal immigrants.
They accused Major Tammy Duckworth of wanting to cut and run from Iraq and being unpatriotic. Does that count?
There surely must have been ponies in Iraq – look at all the evidence they left behind that our brave leaders have been using for talking points. That is horsesh*t they’ve been talking when they’re talking about Iraq, right?
The Democrats don’t need to reject Bush’s call for more money. They simply need to “hold him accountable” for it. When he demands his $130 billion, the Democrats drop a shit-stack of papers on the Speaker’s desk detailing what happened to the last $130 billion, and demand iron clad garantees that the money won’t be pissed away. Bush either can’t or won’t agree to these terms. He throws a hissy fit, releasing his attack pundits who will cry foul over how Congress won’t give him every penny he asked for now, now, now. Dems counter, releasing report after report, detailing how previous tax dollars were spent. War gets EVEN MORE unpopular. Bush loses. Looks like a heal. Everyone gets a pony.
The Bush-Blair Iraq war is over.
It’s all about political butt covering and damage control now.
Which would be just disgusting, and not a moral outrage, if our troops were not now being used primarily as extras in a political movie written and and produced by Karl Rove and the Bush mafioso.
Certainly getting close to a Johnson moment.
If this is true – what is the appropriate strategy for the Democrats to counter Bush’s bold ploy to blame losing Iraq on the Democrats by not authorizing more troops and more funding?
How about this. The Democrats should (after some debate) authorize everything Bush wants and a little bit more! But, with a few minor conditions involving some self-sacrifice. Being a war (Iraq Fiasco) supporter should no longer just require buying a $1.99 yellow magnetic sticker for your car and a 50 cent flag pin for your lapel. Instead – since we’re told how how important the war is for our future safety and prosperity (and Freedom) – war supporters must now be willing to make a few ‘minor’ sacrifices for the final big push. Here’s a short list to start the discussion:
1. The war can no longer be funded with Deficit spending and since the Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility first and foremost. They (the Republicans) will certainly be in favor of funding the war with a Tax increase on those that can most afford it. Say the top 5% earners. I don’t know the numbers – but the marginal rate for the top 5% should be increased immediately to generate about $150 Billion of Additional Revenue (annually) required for the big push to WIN.
2. Since $150 Billion likely won’t be enough for next years winning ‘big push’ strategy. A reasonable tithe on every (Democrat and Republican) elected and nominated official that supported the Iraq war. Say a 75% tithe on all income as well as surrendering 75% of all savings – including stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. That should be a fair sacrifice to provide the necessary gear for our brave troops. John Kerry and Dick Cheney should be able to kick in a nice chuck of cash that will save lots of American lives in the big push – not to mention the Bush family wealth.
3. In additional to the necessary financial support – ALL family members – aged 17 to 45 – of all elected and nominated officials that supported the war must be required to immediately serve a mandatory two year combat tour in Iraq since the US Military is having a tough time coming up with the necessary troops. Of course, all exemptions for women and gays from serving in combat will be lifted. No exemptions will be granted under any circumstances.
4. An equivalent to WWI and WWII bond tours will be launched with prominent War support celebrities (Rush, O’Reilly, Coulter, Hannity, etc.) headlining the tour. Of course, to show their support and good faith, these headliners will be expected to donate 75% of their entire wealth to support ‘the cause’.
Now if any Republicans reject the plan and say that the Democrats don’t want to win. They (the Republicans) need to be reminded that the Democrats know how to win the BIG Wars (WWI and WWII) and the Republican track record on winning the big wars is paved with failure (Korea and Vietnam). So the Republicans should leave running the war (and winning) to those with the better resume – the Democrats.
I remember that. Real classy (for those that don’t know, Duckworth had both her legs blown off while serving in Iraq). It’s not an accident or liberal bias when it’s almost universally Democrats at the top, and Republicans at the bottom, of the IAVA “troop support” ratings of US Senators. Republicans are more than willing to authorize money during war-time, but not for after-war military needs, or to examine how and why the money’s being spernt during the war (to make sure it goes to things the military needs).
I think an entire generation of vets will remember the dirty Republican smears from these past 4 years, especially those “deployed” during campaigns against the set of “Fighting Dems”. Add in the attempted smearing of all the retired generals, Pat Tillman , Murtha and any other veteran who speaks out because they love the military and know what Bush is doing is bad for the military and bad for America. Much like the vicious anti-immigration rhetoric of Republicans like Tom Tancredo will lose the latino voters to Democrats for a generation, the near-criminal mistreatment, misapplication and disrespect for the US military may cost Republicans a huge number of “once reliable Republican voters”.
As IAVA (the non-partisan veterans group I mentioned earlier) recently said in a press release:
 Smear in this case means multiple layers of attempted coverup of what actually went wrong, along with covering up the military’s failures that led to the situation where Tillman and crew ended up in a position to die by friendly fire.
The Other Steve
More than 30 million people voted for Republicans in the 2006 elections.
There ought to be 500,000 of them willing to put on boots and carry a gun.
This is a good suggestion – no joke. Authorize the money but attach conditions.
* Require the office that investigates Iraq reconstruction efforts to remain open (republicans are trying to get rid of this oversight). In fact, give it some more funding.
* Require the money goes to what the military wants, not what Bush wants (things we know, like better body armor)
* Add a rider for more help for troops that return home injured
* Raise the amount paid to a family if their enlisted family member dies
And your whole idea of forcing Republicans to come up with “real money” to do this is great. You won’t be able to avoid some “tarring” of Democrats with the “tax and spend” mantra – but some careful framing should help that:
Honestly, I would like to see that enshrined as a constitutional amendment. War Tax. Congress cannot “declare war”, nor can the President conduct broad military actions without paying for all of the costs of the war (deployment, support, supplies – every bullet fired, every bread-roll eaten, every galloon of gas expended, soldier pay) payed for up front by the tax-payer in the form of an increase to the US Income Tax of the percent necessary to meet the cost demands.
Make war a tax thing and people will be far more reluctant to pull the trigger. Measure the digust with the current Iraq War and include the bill on everyone’s IRS statement. Then see how long we stay.
Republicans to soldiers: Smile pretty and keep your mouth shut. And of course if you’re seriously wounded, please stay out of the picture all together.
Hmmm. You mean sort of like the way the so called pro-life movement loses interest in the “culture of life” once it is out of the womb? You mean sort of like the save marriage morons saying all we need to do to save marriage is stop some people from getting married but having nothing to say about saving marriage via outlawing divorce. You mean sort of like Bush snubbing the NAACP for most of his time in office but around election time the Republicans become the bestest friends of every African-American in the country?
Gasp! Gosh jcricket, are you suggesting that pack of rabid, mangy, kitten eating hyenas masquerading as the conservative republican leadership is a really a bunch of…hypocrites?
I must go hug my pony and eat some pie.
They outsourced that from the Ponies to Halliburton, who immediately went around and arranged an ass to mouth transfer system for the GOP leadership to encourage recycling.
The only things I’ve heard coming out of Baker Commission so far is political cover for Stay the Course. An additional 20k troops temporarily isn’t going to change anything other than line lengths in chow halls. It’s designed to enable the Great Decider to take up two years then giggle, fart, and say “Tag, you’re it” when the next president is sworn in.
That, and manipulate events to make Dems look as bad as possible.
Which is exactly what Bush said he would do. How to end this war? “That’s up to a future president.”
If there was ever any doubt that he was doing nothing but using the war as a political ploy, that erased it for me.
Let them eat ponies!
We went “massively” into Vietnam and the insurgency there got even stronger, and Iraq is even more violently sectarian.
That such a definitive statement about how 300,000 troops would have solved everything stands unchallenged on this thread demonstrates what an echo chamber this site has become. It’s unknowable whether twice the number of troops would have been a net help or net hurt. More soldiers would mean more targets while giving Iraqis an even greater feeling of being occupied/controlled.
Same with how no one challenges the extreme bias of the IAVA findings cited upthread in which ALL Dems were rated above all Repubs.. IAVA founder a Dem national delegate, head of Veterans for Kerry, gave radio address on behalf of Dems in response to Bush, etc. But none of it matters, because lefties must follow the talking points without questions.
“Impossible” and “inevitable” according General Abizaid:
Sounds like cautious optimism to be me rather than “inevitable” catastrophe. Contrary to the main theme of this thread, the main problem is not US troop levels, but with how far the Iraqis are willing to go to fight for democracy and law and order themselves. We can only do so much. In saying that, I acknowledge the possibility that Iraqi society may be too broken and fractured to support democracy. But it’s still too early to be proclaiming that such failure is ‘invevitable’
Darrell, why haven’t you signed up yet?
But his recommended solution was not more US troops, but the need to better train more Iraqi troops.. in fact, Abizaid specifically pointed out that more US troops would provide a disincentive for the ISF, doing the work that Iraqis need to take more responsibility for.
Ah yes, the patented leftist response – “chickenhawk!”
Such intellectual depth.
Have a “knowable” (is this the same as a known known?)
Leaving aside why it would have been better to launch an invasion sparked by false information with 300K troops; leaving aside the fact we seem to be bogged down in Afghanistan which did need a whoopin’: There isn’t a time machine to take us back to when we could have sent them in so I don’t get this wistful “if only” arm chair general crap. Furthermore, if there were a time machine we’d be better off using it to say: Look, there really isn’t any WMD in Iraq! No ground invasion of Iraq required. We might even have bin Laden and whoever keeps him comfy in his cave in custody. Problem solved, ponies for everyone.
Here’s a thing I don’t know: Current levels in Iraq are approximately 150,000. The military is struggling to maintain that level (more frequent tours, stop-loss programs and other crap that isn’t making the soldiers very happy). People are scratching their heads over how to come up with an additional 20K for the Big Strain.
Query: If 170,000 is a problem now, where would we have gotten the additional 130K to take us up to 300,000?
It is a well known fact that a Darrell’s courage is an inverse relationship to how close they are to the battlefield.
And you failed to answer the question, why aren’t you signing up for Iraq, Darrell?
Are you going to let that IED with your name on it go to waste?
Right, because the Iraqis will willingly volunteer themselves to be slaughtered en masse in a fight with guerillas and crooks armed with military grade weapons looted from Saddam’s armories.
Iraq is broken, it can’t be fixed. We need to initiate Operation ‘Shield of Darrells’.
Step 1: Round up the Darrells.
Step 2: Dump them in Iraq.
Step 3: Pull out the troops while the Iraqis butcher the Darrells.
Step 4: Profit!
We know you dream of Ponies, but please stop trying to tell everyone else they’re a pony too.
Rumsfield’s Ponies are Dead, Darrell. Stop beating them.
When one side wants to find the Pony and the other side tells you the Pony isn’t there, obviously one of them has to be lying. It’s not that hard to stop pretending there is a pony.
Sounds like evasion to me.
Darrell, what I’m saying is if you refuse to put your money where your mouth is, well, you’re just babbling in the wind.
When I look whether to invest in a business project, one of the first questions I have is how much skin does the promoter have in the game. If he has nothing invested himself (money, time, and/or effort), then obviously it isn’t very important to him and I will discount his presentation 100%.
Just as, because you haven’t carried out any of the actions necessary that you claim are necessary to win this war–well, why shouldn’t I deduce you’re not very serious?
Because you aren’t, are you?
The Pony is Dead, Darrell. Accept it.
It’s TOO LATE to train Iraqi troops. They don’t lack the skills, the problem is that most of them have
And at the rate they’re being killed off, you’re going to hit empty soon enough on the number willing to die for it.
One additional thought on countering Bush’s upcoming attempt to blame the Iraq Fiasco on the Democrats. What about the Democrats demanding some sort of Declaration of War from the White House before authorizing more troops and funding? Of course, the Declaration of War must include exactly what we are fighting for (in Iraq) – whatever that is? Of course there is no reason that the American people will embrace to support a Declaration of War by Congress and possibly this is another tactic to end the Fiasco.
Who cares what it sounds like to you? These people have been wrong about every aspect of Iraq for 25 years.
Why should we start listening to them now?
Since you’re favorably quoting Gen. Abizaid, here is the general testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the topic of those 300,000 troops. He takes the position that Gen. Shinseki’s original estimate of “several hundred thousand” troops (an estimate for which, let’s remember, he was fired by Rumsfeld) was correct.
Going way out on a limb, Abizaid implies that twice the number of troops would have been a net help.
Then you would be willing to let those who served/are serving in Iraq make that decision, and you would abide by it? Because they have the most direct experience and ‘skin in the game’, right? Because survey after survey indicates that they support the war in Iraq and that they believe it to be winnable.
But you wouldn’t abide by their views because you practice double standards. You are a hypocrite. Otherwise, follow your own damn advice and put the most weight with those with the most experience and skin in the game
In his opinion, we should have gone in with more troops. But now, he says the only more troops we need are Iraqi troops. That directly contradicts the leftist tripe on this thread claiming that if you don’t believe more US troops are needed, as Abizaid clearly does believe, then he and others cannot possibly be “serious”. That is the main theme being asserted on this thread.
How many more McCain units of troops or Friedman units of time would it take to convince you that failure is inevitable?
I think the Dems should run with that idea. It’s a winner. Shout it to the rooftops. Call your congressman and Senators. It is, after all, exactly what so many of you lefties would like to see done.
I believe that Abizaid and the troops serving in Iraq know better than the leftist halfwits posting here on Balloon Juice.
Despair, thy name is Democrat.
But that’s not the question. Where do you draw the line, in terms of McCain units and Friedman units?
It’s too late for “triumph of the will”. Let’s talk hard numbers.
As more evidence that leftists lack independent thought, note how many of them constantly repeat the same shit about “ponies”. Previously, it was “Dear leader”, “clap louder”, and “no blood for oil”… these days it’s more about “ponies”, “Shorter…” and steps 1, 2, 3, with step 4 = “Profit!”
Not much originality involved in repeating the same thing over and over. Funny how one side of the political spectrum is so prone to do that.
Falsehood, thy name is chickenshit.
Get in line please, I’m still waiting to hear where we get an additional 130-150K ponies.
Freudian slip alert:
Or maybe I missed the point where the debate switched from the war to cruising for young men.
Right on cue.. Does it hurt to be that stupid? I’m sincerely curious.
This is all irrelevant. Tim’s post proposes a test for “serious”:
Can you either suggest a better test, or offer a set of numbers that meets his test?
Tim’s premise is flawed and dishonest to the core. He suggests that anyone who disagrees that we need to double the number of US troops in Iraq is not serious. I pointed out that would include General Abizaid. Not only do I disagree with him, I think it’s dishonest, because by making absolute declarations like Tim did.. declarations which are directly contradicted by the General in charge of Iraq as being the only criteria for “seriousness”.. I believe that clearly falls under the category of dishonest debate tactic.
The increase-in-troop-levels argument loses most of its steam when you consider the number of Iraqi troops who have been trained and in the fight. With these additional troops entering the fray, violence was not quelled, as Tim’s thesis suggests. While it’s true that some of these Iraqi troops are dishonorable sectarians, the level of public support and approval ratings for the ISF indicates that most are, by and large, honorable and competent defense forces.
Btw Vida, I think it’s entirely reasonable to ask for metrics for sucess as you are doing. It’s extremely difficult to give a concrete answer, as there are few things in this world less predictable than war, and in the case of Iraq, the violent sectarianism adds more unpredictability. Not trying to evade your questions, but I’m persuaded by the troops and commanders who have actually served in Iraq.
In the US, it took a civil war to solidify our nation. Iraq suffers from a society which, for the last 30+ years, has known nothing but violent jungle survival – invasion of 2 neighbors causing war, plus civil war and ethnic cleansing within Iraq during that time. After all that, I’m on the fence whether Iraqis can handle democracy. We’ve handed them an opportunity. I would like to see them do more with that opportunity.
Is this a typo? Because as I read it you’re saying that the level of intersectarian violence there is increasing faster than Iraqui troops can be trained and brought into the fight. That seems roughly accurate to me, but it means that the situation is slipping out of control and that staying the course will not work.
I’m still trying to understand your view of the situation.
I’m gathering that you think that incremental increases in US troop strength would address what looks to be a crisis, assuming the incremental increase was targeted at training more Iraquis faster and getting them into the fight. Is that correct?
Tim suggested that significantly more US troops would be “serious” solution to quelling the violence. There have been approx. 300,000 trained and equipped Iraqi forces ‘added’ to our forces over the past 3 1/2 yrs.
You choose to characterize the situation as “slipping out of control”. I think it’s clear that war is hell and in a sectarian country like Iraq, it may have to get worse before it gets better. We had a civil war in the US which killed over 500,000 back when our population was a fraction of what it is today.
Darrell, the Ponies are only in your head. And yet for all your petty attempts at insults, you didn’t say I was wrong.
Darrell, you’re still trying to look for ponies. There are No Ponies in Iraq.
Darrell finally admits there is civil war in Iraq. Progress!
And yet Darrell can’t help but spout more Rove talking points like a good zombie troll. More Pie for Darrell!
Your first comment on this thread demonstrates that you understand neither Iraq nor Vietnam. The problem in Vietnam was never sectarianism, Darrell. Not even a little. Your dependence on Iraqi forces demonstrates a similar detachment from reality. Nobody in Iraq and few in America still believe that as many as one in ten Iraqi security forces have either the capacity to handle an insurgency or the interest in fighting anything other than their narrowminded sectarian battles. That mass kidnapping wasn’t done by police imposters. It was the police. Dozens of them, acting at once, to serve the bloody sectarian war.
You hurt your own credibility by trumpeting the Iraqi forces as the answer to our problems. Reality just doesn’t mesh with your fantastical notions about an impartial Iraqi army/police force. To prevent a breakup of Iraq we need more troops who don’t care about Shiite or Sunni, meaning us. You can either come up with a way to increase Americans in theater enough to matter or join a very long line of deeply unserious pundits.
Oh I’m sorry for that oversight.. please let me clarify. You were dead wrong in your post
Approx. 300,000 have been trained and equipped to varying degrees.
Talk about lying for Ponies, you’re using a 2005 Poll in a 2006 discussion. I call shenanigans on Darrell!
More Ponies from Darrell!
You failed to answer the actual problem with the Iraqi troops.
Most of them have NO LOYALTY to the US backed regime.
Couple that with rampant desertion, corruption, death squads, enemy infiltration and tribal loyalties and you don’t have an army, you have a joke.
Bush claimed 2 years ago 100,000 were trained in the Iraqi army. Didn’t work.
You claim 300,000 now, still isn’t working.
More pie for Darrell!
Try supporting your numbers for a change. Attrition rates are horrendous, meaning that out of ten trained eight quickly leave to apply their training in what you could call the prrivate sector. Many units counted as “trained” could barely manage to scratch their ass without help. You should know better than to swallow private contractors’ numbers without criticism.
The hell it wasn’t Tim. Buy a clue. The sectarian divisions were not just between north and south, but also between communist supporters and those who opposed communism. There was definitely sectarianism in vietnam. What are you talking about “not even a little”. How honest of you to try and use that as an example to discredit me.
Where are you coming up with this “one in ten” percentage? Did you just make that up?
Next talking point straight from Rove’s mouth: Civil War is GOOD for the Iraqis!
You have to be paid to spout that kind of bullshit, right after denying that there was a civil war was brewing too. It would almost be funny if people like you weren’t getting others killed for your stupidty.
I call shenanigans! Iraq has only turned into a kill or be killed jungle in the last 3 years…since the US invasion.
Darrell just can’t stop wishing for Ponies. Even made up ones.
They were not handed an opportunity. They were dumped with a mess that Bush’s insanity made and are left holding the bag long after the Poo has spilled out on their shoes.
There was no hope of Ponies in Iraq. And it’s not the Iraqis fault that your Ponies didn’t appear.
Evidently there’s something very wrong then because in spite of all the Iraquis we’ve trained the situation there grows increasingly violent. We’ve either got to train more reliable Iraquis faster (how?) or get more US troops over there (how?). Neither the US forces nor the Iraqui government are controlling events there — just this week the insurgents kidnapped the Ministry of Education in Baghdad one day, and knocked off a whole convoy down in the south the next day (and I notice you didn’t really challenge the “slipping out of control” metaphor — in other words even you don’t seem to believe the situation is under control).
I don’t see anybody disagreeing with you on this point: it’s allmost certain to get worse. Problem is, all the supplies for Baghdad come up the highway from Basra; that’s order 300 miles through Shia country. So a definite sign of things getting worse would be if that road is cut. Then we’d have a problem.
Well, we may never know how they handle democracy. Clearly they don’t handle occupation well. We would make a big strategic blunder if we wait so long finding out that they can’t handle democracy that we end up getting chased out of there, when we could have negotiated a withdrawl in good order earlier.
Vietnam had political divisions between supporters and opponents of communism but no significant sectarian divisions unless you count the montagnards. As you undoubtedly know political disagreements do not amount to sectarian conflict.
You need to stop looking for Ponies before calling for other people’s Ponies.
Darrell refuses to let Irony die!
Try to meet people halfway. Support your claim about 300,000 troops using some non-loony news outlet and I or somebody else (it is late here and my long download is finally done) will gladly provide you with reasons why the number is next to meaningless.
Darrell insists on keeping the Irony alive.
Yes, why do you keep doing the same thing over and over, Darrell? Why are Hard Right Wingers so prone to this slavish tactic?
Umm. “varying degrees”? How many have been trained and equipped to a degree to which they could be useful in the fight — and of that number how many are willing to actually be useful?
Yes Tim, of course, as anyone “undoubtedly” knows. You might try brushing up on your vocabulary before picking such a narrow argument to dishonestly try and discredit me with, as extreme political disagreements, like with religious partisanship, both constitute “sectarian” disagreement:
It would have been better if you had confronted my arguments directly instead of trying to take a cheap shot.
Darrell, what the soldiers in Iraq feel about their being there is irrelevant to my arguement. They are not you. You can’t use them as a proxy for you. Nor can you use their virtue in fighting as some quasi-virtue that gloms onto you and somehow insulates you from criticism.
What I’m saying is that you don’t have any skin in the game. Never did, never will.
Either enlist or kindly shut your bloody gob.
Darrell, you are making a dishonest argument here.
McCain wants more troops. Bush is suggesting more troops. Bill Kristol wants more troops. The Right in general wants more troops.
Where do you propose to get them?
As Tim points out, you have two choices. Reinforce or Retreat. Staying and Bleeding is not an option.
I’m all for leaving Iraq. It sucks but Bush has left no other option that isn’t worse.
You seem to be for reinforcing. So explain where we get these reinforcements. You want to leave the exact numbers to the general in charge, okay. But explain where we get them.
I take it you are completely unable to substantiate your “one in ten” claim regarding ISF, as you are now scrambling to change the subject.
Regarding my 300,000 ISF claim, is this source “non looney” enough? Because if not, there are plenty of other sources. Glad to see how the lefties here are so well ‘informed’.
Vietnam had “sectarian” divisions?
After living through the period and reading about it for 30 years …. I must have missed that part.
Here’s a typical history for you, Darrell. Can you point me to the “sectarian” parts?
McCain is one of the few calling for more troops. Bush is proposing what, 20k more? The right, by and large, is not clamoring for more troops. Again, the theme of this thread is that doubling our troop levels, would be the bare minimum for being taken “seriously”. I called bullshit
You must be new here. Meet Darrell, troll and ankle biter extraordinaire. Lying cocksucker, thickheaded jerk, singer of spuds, robotic Bush apologist, spouter of righty talk radio truthiness and talking points, coward, bigot, homophobe, supporter of war on children.
Good, I’d like to see some of them because everything in that Wikipedia article is sourced to the DoD or the State Dept. and it doesn’t take much of a skeptic to realize that they’re going to emphasize the number of Iraquis processed through the training program rather than the number available and willing to fight (and by “fight” I don’t mean “fight the people over in the next village who may be a different religion than you”).
Does evading a question give you a tingle? You’re dodging at least two so I’m thinking the answer is yep.
This is my favourite:
Yes, it goes as follows: Here’s your uniform. And here’s a stick. Don’t lose it.
Ah yes, the classy left.. and their ever so well thought out ‘argument’. Especially nice touch with the part about how I support a ‘war on children’.
Good, I’d like to see some of them because everything in that Wikipedia article is sourced to the DoD or the State Dept. and it doesn’t take much of a skeptic to realize that they’re going to emphasize the number of Iraquis processed through the training program rather than the number available and willing to fight (and by “fight” I don’t mean “fight the people over in the next village who may be a different religion than you”).
Again: if you’re right there is an Iraqui army of 300,000 soldiers out there. Why are they not more effective in fighting for the “opportunity for democracy” we’ve “given” them? Why doesn’t this picture add up?
Argument? Is English a second language to you?
What I wrote is a description, Darrell, not an argument.
Besides, you don’t do argument. You don’t respond to simple direct questions, you don’t bother to provide factual support when challenged on facts.
Let’s talk about what doesn’t “add up”. The main theme of this post is that we need a doubling or tripling of US forces to be taken ‘seriously’ on controlling Iraq. I pointed out that a huge number of Iraqis forces have been trained, equipped, and have entered the fight.. all with little impact so far on violence in Iraq. The point being, that more troops is not necessarily the solution here, as has been repeated asserted. Not sure if reducing violence is a valid metric for measuring ‘success’ in Iraq at this point, as the Iraqi’s are going to do what they’re going to do. What is important is that their democratic government and constitution is upheld.
But every time you’re asked to lay out a counter proposal and show how it is in fact serious, you fail to respond. That’s not really calling bullshit, that’s just starting a food fight. The questions still on the table:
1. How many more US troops (order of magnitude)?
2. How much more time?
3. Where will the money come from? Are you willing to increase your taxes now, or would you rather pass the bill to your kids?
I was scrolling through the comments rather fast-did I miss Darrell’s answer about why he’s fighting the war here on Balloon Juice instead of in Iraq?
1. Abizaid says more US troops will provide disincentives to the Iraqis, who need to be taking more responsibility. I think he may be right, but I’ve read others on the ground who disagree.
2. I think we need to start scaling back our troop levels. Time for the ISF to step it up
3. Tax receipts are soaring thanks to Bush tax cuts. Economy is on fire by any honest account. Unfortunately, Bush is spending like a Democrat on non-military spending. Whether our ‘investment’ in Iraq and Afghanistan proves to be money well spent, depends on the whether other countries in that region become democracies in the coming years, and whether each country actively fights terrorists who try and gain a stronghold there.
Can you supply a list of successful liberal democracies so far in the region, Darrell? Just looking for which parts of the last 2000 years’ history would point you to the idea that democracy is on the march in the area.
Arab, Muslim liberal democracy. List, please?
OK. The main theme of your argument is that DoD and State Dept. figures claim 300,000 Iraqui troops trained to some standard (although looking at your source, most of the counrty falls under “not ready for transition” or “partially ready for transition”, and these are the areas where troops are needed most). I haven’t seen you claim that these 300,000 troops enforce the authority of the central government; and you’d need to establish that to support an argument that training 300,000 troops was even an interesting statistic.
You don’t dispute that the violence there is getting worse.
Yet you assert that “more troops is not necessarily the solution”. And actually, I sort of agree: after training 300,000 Iraqui troops and observing the result, training more of them is probably not going to solve anything.
So again: what is the solution?
Probably it’s not a valid metric for success but not reducing violence is a pretty valid metric for failure.
Over the past 2000 years, democracy in any part of the world was the exception. The caliphate, as I recall, was democratic.
I think that issue is the #1 most important in this debate. Iraqi society may be so torn apart that they cannot support a democracy. I hope that is not the case… but it may turn out to be true.
Just keep in mind that Abizaid will not publicly offer an opinion that contradicts the policy set by the C-in-C. That’s not a crit of Abizaid (although see under Shinseki, Eric): his job is not to have opinions, his job is to implement his boss’s policy.
this will happen… spontaneously?
As TZ’s question above implies, an lot of those countries in that area are semi-feudal monarchies or authoriarian dictatorships of one flavor or another — in other words, people in those places who are fighting for democracy will inevitably be labeled “terrorists” by their governments. So as these countries fight these terrorists they will be suppressing, not advancing, the democratic tendencies you’re looking toward to determine the return on our investment.
Wrong! The point was pointing out that Idiots like Bush and McCain and all the Rightwingers who think we can ‘win’ in Iraq are calling for more troops. And that most of them are obviously not serious since they only call for a 15% increase. What Tim IS saying is that’s total bullshit. Either you ramp up the forces by a material amount if you think it will help or stop the bullshit and go home.
There are no Ponies in Iraq, Darrell.
I never suggested or implied that a dictatorial government’s definition of ‘terrorist’ was what should define what a terrorist is. How honest of you to suggest otherwise.
This is also known as retreat…which is pretty much inevitable at this point. There is no working ISF to step up. Trying to claim otherwise is to dream of pretty little ponies in Iraq.
Bullshit. Worst deficits on record and going to get even worse in the next 4 years with no end in sight. Thank you for playing, try again.
I’m sorry, when did subpar growth become ‘on fire’? I do not think those words mean what you think they mean.
I call Bullshit again. Bush spends like a Republican, which he is. Your party took control and proved they can outspend Democrats any day of the week…only they won’t pay for it.
I’d say that losing two wars at the same time and causing the ENTIRE REGION to go backwards counts as money ill spent. Thanks to the Iraq War, Freedom and Democracy are in retreat, because the local liberal reformers now look like idiots after what Bush did to Iraq.
More confirmation of my 10:49pm post regarding the left’s tendency to recite talking points rather than come up with coherent arguments
Is there some school you morons attend to learn the latest leftist talking points and catchphrases? Because so many of you mindlessly repeat these phrases over and over on cue
Darrell, Lord of the False Argument.
You just stated that
Without stopping to consider that other countries have their own idea of what terrorists are. In the case of that region, liberal reformers are often considered terrorists. They will crack down on Al Queda and others out of self interest…and in the same stroke crack down on freedom and democracy movements for the very same reason using the very same laws and powers.
At some point Darrell will get sick of fucking the dead pony and finally bury it with some dignity remaining.
Yes halfwit, I never stopped to consider that. So when Iran and Syria talk about executing ‘terrorists’ protesting for democracy, I immediately equate those ‘terrorists’ with Al Queda.
Look Tengu, just because you’re dumb as dirt.. don’t assume everyone else is too.
You assume Republicans would actually dirty their hands with real work. That would require work ethics and integrity which Republican staffers do not possess.
*Taps ThymeZone* Right Idea, Wrong Quoted Person.
Please do not confuse me with someone who likes Pie and Ponies.
They will crack down on Al Queda and others out of self interest…and in the same stroke crack down on freedom and democracy movements for the very same reason using the very same laws and powers.
Whoosh, point missed. The Arab world has consistently failed to produce liberal democracy. Why that is, is subject to debate.
However, it leads any responsible person to conclude that a policy whose stated purpose is to produce an Arab liberal democracy is based on wishful thinking at best, and delusion and complete dishonesty at worst.
Therefore, the policy decisions at the foundation of our Iraq policy since 2002 must have been made by idiots at best, or lunatics at worst. The liklihood that a stable liberal democracy would be the result of our interference there was predictably near zero from the get go.
Nothing that has happened since would tend to indicate otherwise.
You are completely full of shit, because you’ve never recognized that, and still don’t recognize it now. You have no credibility on this subject. Shut up.
Sorry. Darrell makes me crazy.
Any of you guys read Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”? I hadn’t read it in about 10 years, but I picked it up again the other day. It’s pretty interesting. It’s really fun to read about all the mistakes the Bush Administration has made in the newspaper, and then find out there’s some guy who lived in China in 350 BC who could’ve predicted the outcome of most of them. That’s right, folks: there are people who’ve been dead for over 2200 years who can, from beyond the grave, predict the outcome of an insurgency better than some of the people around here.
I have to reach the conclusion that you can learn a lot more about Iraq from reading the military writings of a guy who’s been dead since the time when chariots were just obsolescent versus cavalry than I can learn from some of the me-lovers around here. Still, it’s nice to know I’m still popular. Some things never change.
General Odom (the former head of the NSA) – Yes that Gen. Odom – lays out the reasons in the linked article why the US should just leave Iraq immediately and with no preconditions. The debate in the thread above seems to be centered more around attempts to finese a reasonable outcome in Iraq (i.e., some measure of stability) by slight tweaks in the number of US troops or just a few more trained Iraqi police. Of course, anyone grounded in reality has already realized that past attempts to finese a solution (in Iraq) have all failed. Remember we’re been trying to stabilize Iraq for what 4 years and have not just failed after spending what ultimately will amount to more than $1 Trillion (US) – the situation (in Iraq) has actually gotten worse thanks to our “help”.
Gen. Odom argues that it’s actually in Americas best interest to just leave now. period.
Why should we (the USA) throw another $1 Trillion down the rathole in Iraq. Aren’t there better things that could be done with $1 Trillion such as expanding reasearch in alternative energy to eliminate our dependence on Middle Eastern Oil. The best way to defang the Terrorists and Iraq is to take away their cash. So if we quit buying Terrorist oil – the Middle East become irrelevant (to the rest of the world).
Here are just a few choice samples of contrasts between Sun Tzu and Bush et al, contrasts in which I find the 2200+ years dead guy more persuasive than the person who has access to as much, or in the case of Bush, far more, information than I do.
Sun Tzu: “Victory is the main object in war. If this is long delayed, weapons are blunted and morale depressed. When troops attack cities, their strength will be exhausted.
“When the army engages in protracted campaigns the resources of the state will not suffice.
“When your weapons are dulled and ardour damped, your strength exhausted and treasure spent, neighbouring rulers wil take advantage of your distress to act. And even though you have wise counsellors, none will be able to lay good plans for the future.
“Thus, while we have heard of blundering swiftness in war, we have not yet seen a clever operation that was prolonged.
“For there has never been a protracted war from which a nation has benefitted.”
Me Lover: “In the US, it took a civil war to solidify our nation. Iraq suffers from a society which, for the last 30+ years, has known nothing but violent jungle survival – invasion of 2 neighbors causing war, plus civil war and ethnic cleansing within Iraq during that time. After all that, I’m on the fence whether Iraqis can handle democracy. We’ve handed them an opportunity. I would like to see them do more with that opportunity.”
“You choose to characterize the situation as “slipping out of control”. I think it’s clear that war is hell and in a sectarian country like Iraq, it may have to get worse before it gets better. We had a civil war in the US which killed over 500,000 back when our population was a fraction of what it is today.”
“Not sure if reducing violence is a valid metric for measuring ‘success’ in Iraq at this point, as the Iraqi’s are going to do what they’re going to do. What is important is that their democratic government and constitution is upheld.”
Sun Tzu: “All warfare is based on deception.
“Therefore, when capable, feign incapacity…
“Pretend inferiority and encourage [the enemy’s] arrogance.”
George Bush: “Bring it on.”
Sun Tzu: “Generally in war the best policy is to take the state intact; to ruin it is inferior to this.”
Donald Rumsfeld: “Freedom is messy.”
Sun Tzu: “Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy;
“Next best is to disrupt his alliances:
“The next best is to attack his army.
“The worst policy is to attack cities. Attack cities only when there is no alternative.”
George Bush: “America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”
“Don’t forget Poland!”
“Americans will speak of the battles like Fallujah with the same awe and reverence that we now give to Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.”
Anyway, you see my point. The dead Ancient Chinese guy understands the Iraq war and insurgency better than the neocons and their cheerleaders do. The pastry that reads Sun Tzu also, by extension, is better-qualified to analyze the war than is the Commander-in-Chief of the United States.
Make of that what you will. I’m outta here. But I hope you guys continue to like me, and feel free to eat me any time you get the urge.
Well, I guess someone around here is no fan of mine.
Bite me, Tengu.
Here’s a link to that crazy-ass Bush quote comparing Fallujah to the Pacific Island campaigns. I didn’t put it in earlier because I hate sending my comments to moderation.
Okay, out of here for real now. Have fun playing with the Me-Lover.
Shorter pie: There’s no substitute for first hand experience.
Does Sun Tzu have anything to say about rulers who ponce about in borrowed military garb and claim victory before victory, in fact occurs?
So, get ready to welcome the Canadian & Mexican forces folks. We’ll have beer and Canadian bacon with our pie!
I haven’t gotten that far yet. He does bitch about rulers who interfere in the control of their armies, saying, “He whose generals are able and not interfered with by the sovereign will be victorious.” That’s not exactly the same thing as “Mission Accomplished,” but it does cover a number of Bush’s other meddlesome actions.
Here’s another fun quote apropos Dubya, though: “I say: ‘Know your enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.’
“When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal.
“If ignorant of both your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril,.”[emphasis added]
I was thinking of China, too, by a strange coincidence. But then I remembered how Me-Lover said that we only have to wait for them to invade Taiwan so we can repudiate our debts, and I decided that China’s not much of a threat.
After we’re done freeing Iraq and Afghanistan, we should definitely take on China.
The Grim Reaper himself, the Angel of Death, has apparently given up on this war.
So, the guy who gave you half of the names on the wall of the Vietnam War Memorial has decided that “victory” is not going to happen in Iraq.
That puts him, and most of the American government except for the insane George Bush, right about where this blog’s comments section was about a year and a half ago, where we predicted precisely the situation we are in today. Iraq screwed, public support gone, and fighting over how and when we get the hell out of there.
Yet, we are still arguing here with a dickhead who refused to see that reality then, or six months later, or twelve months later, or even a couple of months ago. Will we forever be stuck in a time warp that keeps us a year or two behind reality? There’s only one US policy that is congruent with the real world, and which properly honors the people we are now putting in harm’s way:
Kissinger has a known liberal bias.
Shorter Sun-Tzu: When people without a clue get in power, no one gets a pony.
Here’s two for you:
“It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.”
“No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.”
Sun-Tzu to George Bush: Boy, you couldn’t have fucked up any harder if you tried.
Perhaps The Art of War should be required reading for presidential candidates, with a final exam to test knowledge. Didn’t some modern day wise man once say it’s hard work being prezint?
Can we send The Cheerleader in Chief and his groupies to peform community service in Iraq? I’m thinking IED detection/detonation activites. Surely that comes with some sort of fancy uniform.
Plus, he’s probably got a book coming out.
Of course it is. Try to make a habit of supporting your claims without needing to be asked.
Now about that number:
Add up the numbers on approved leave, the AWOL rates, the numbers which are not ready or willing to leave their home territory to support operations elsewhere, the extremely high turnover rates and the number that wear the uniform just to pursue their bloody sectarian grudges and you have a much, much smaller effective fighting force.
Or here for example:
The people selling 300,000 as a meaningful number want to play Americans for chumps. Don’t get played, Darrell.
Thanks for the link Joe1347. I think you nailed what is the crux of the debate here
I disagree with your conclusion though
Well, your definition of “failure” must include the overthrow of a sociopathic dictator violently hostile toward the US, in favor of a constitutional democracy with a govt supportive of US efforts. Through mass murder, ethnic cleansing, and other violent means of oppression led by Sunnis, Saddam had exacerbated the ethnic and religious divisions in Iraq. Now that the Sunni jackboot has been removed from their throats, the Shia are engaging in payback for the suffering they’ve endured, and the Sunnis for their part, are fighting to maintain their control from the ‘good ole days’ under Saddam.
With Iraq’s last 30 years of history, a significant amount of violence and hardball politics cannot be avoided. The goal should be to keep the violence at a level where the country doesn’t spiral out of control. The most important goal is that Iraqis uphold their constitutional democracy.
Now, here’s a guy who is comfortable with conundra and dichotomies.
With a “plan” and a peace strategy in hand in 1969, he managed to spend four years getting a treaty signed to put an end to American military action in Vietnam. How many died for that delay? Twenty thousand Americans or more?
He probably thinks that a little Gordian knot like “can’t win, can’t get out” now in Iraq is small potatoes compared to the one he fucked up thirty five years ago.
When a man can make a living growling about impossible problems without actually solving them … he’s created an industry.
The fact that anyone is actually listening to his opinion now proves that we’ve gone into retrograde now in American policy. We are indeed doomed to repeat history, if he has anything to say about it.
Oh really? A US Senator today described the trend in Iraq on a Sunday talk show this morning:
“The first time I went to Baghdad (after Saddam was toppled), I could walk the street and buy rugs. Now, I have to see Baghdad from a tank.”
Sorry, butthead, “out of control” is a ship that sailed a long time ago.
Shut up, and go away. It’s 2006, not May 2003 like it is in your head.
Nothing in that article changes the fact that 300,000 Iraqi troops have been trained and equipped, with many in the thick of the fight. No one here, certainly not me, has asserted that Iraqi troop quality = US troop quality.
But their shear numbers alone, despite problems among their ranks, undermines your argument that significantly more US troops would be better than what we have now. That is a significant reason why General Abizaid disagrees with your assertion that we need to double or triple US troops in Iraq in order to improve the situation there.
You are attempting to characterize the entire, or most of the Iraqi army as completely unfit to fit your narrow views. Judging by the argument/evidence you’ve presented so far, you don’t have a clue to what extent that would, or would not be true.
You are so full of crap, I am amazed that you can even take a breath.
What is the readiness of your “300,000” Iraqi troops today, Darrell? How many of them are ready to defend their government right now as we speak?
You have a long history of making shit up here. Obviously, Iraq and the recent election have taught you nothing about the bubble of fiction you live in.
Again I ask you, Darrell: What is the readiness of your 300,000 imaginary Iraqi troops? What effect is their readiness having on the situation there?
Spare me. The article points out, for example, that even-numbered Iraqi battallions are recruited locally and do no leave their home territory. That means that areas which don’t need pacification have plenty of troops while areas which need it badly (Fallujah, Baghdad) go sorely wanting. In fact that is one of the specific conclusions from both articles. Another point that you cannot or will not accept is that many of those troops are not part of the solution but an active part of the problem.
Recall the mass kidnapping in Baghdad. That wasn’t police impersonators, that was the police. Those were your precious 300,000 Iraqi troops in action and they were far from an anomaly. Eventually you have to realize that raw numbers mean much less than you plainly want them to.
Well, first of all, the number is between 320,000 and 355,000. I don’t have a good handle on the competency of the Iraqi soldiers other than what Centcom has told us, which is that they increasingly lead the fights against sectarian violence and againts foreign terrorists, with increasing success.
Do you have any evidence, other than isolated anecdotal examples, that significant percentages of ISF are completely inept and/or corrupt?
What? Who asserted that they were “inept” or “corrupt?”
I asked about readiness. I asked what effect they are having.
Can you answer a simple and direct question?
Well, first of all, it’s your number here. Let us know when you are done making it up.
Define “many”. What percentage of ISF are utterly incompetent and/or corrupt? You characterized them as if they’re all, or mostly incompetent/corrupt. You don’t have enough evidence to make such a characterization, which is why I think you’re being dishonest. You’re trying to paint of picture of ISF readiness which fits with your narrow views. If you’ve more than that IHT article, show it. I want to see the evidence to support your characterization that incompetency and corruption is PERVASIVE throughout the ISF.
As the kidnappings demonstrated the Iraq forces seem to lead the fight on both sides.
Let’s be clear Darrell, you are the guy who demanded proof that ever woman and child killed in Lebanon was not personally a terrorist. You will simply never accept that the Iraqi forces contribute to the violence as much as they solve that. I can grok it. A smart guy recognizes the difference between chatting productively and kicking a mule and spends his Sunday on more productive things.
More (Iraqi) troops have not resulted in less violence so far.
Ah yes, when Tim is asked to back up his assertions, he dishonestly changes the subject. I expected as much.
Would you elaborate on that claim? Specifically, to what extent are you claiming the ISF “contributes” to the violence, and please do let us know whether ISF fighting car bombers and thugs falls under your “contributing to violence” category.
I’m here all day today, Darrell. You picked the wrong day to do your patented bullshit schtick and fuck the thread.
The question is, how many of your imaginary 300-355k (pick the number you are inventing) ISF troops are ready, and are contributing to the effort there? What effect are they having? Where are they? What are they doing? Why is the situation on the ground getting worse every day, if ISF is the future of our Iraq “victory?”
Cut the crap, quit changing the subject, stop eliding the question. You are swinging that 300k+ club around this thread as if it means something. So show us what it means. Where are these troops, and what is their state of readiness? What are they doing? Why is the situation getting worse every day? Why is everyone bailing out on this colossal fuckup? Because they don’t know the truth that apparently only you know?
So, what would make you conclude that they will in the future?
In your answer, please reconcile with the apparent inability of the people in charge to correctly judge or predict anything about Iraq since this war started.
One reason why I think the ISF making good progress, are the increasing levels of Iraqi public confidence in ISF performance (page 36 of the report)
TimF is right, better things to do today than kick this mule you are propping up.
You are just posting straight lines now.
Give it up.
Only the most committed partisan hacks could be brainwashed enough to believe that such an increased high level of Iraqi public confidence in the ISF could ever be consistent with this statement made by Tim
Of course, outside of the ‘reality based’ community, that conclusion is entirely inconsistent with such increased levels of Iraqi public confidence in the ISF. Again, all you guys have shown are anecdotal tidbits. Meanwhile Iraqi security forces have taken the lead in vast swaths of the country, which is a huge change from 1 1/2 years ago. See page 43 of linked report for graphic.
You are truly a piece of work, I will say that.
Everybody on the planet is looking for a way to run away from Iraq and the huge catastrophe that gets worse there by the hour and day ….. but we can withdraw to Balloon-Juice, and read this crap from you.
Simply amazing. I remain convinced that your posts are written by John Cole just to fuck with us. There’s no other rational explanation for the crap you put out.
Citation please Tim.
I never asked for or ‘demanded’ such a thing, and it’s a lie to claim that I did. I believe you should cite where I did that.
All I said was that it was erroneous to count ALL bodies killed after Israeli attacks in the category of ” innocent civilian” deaths.
The main theme of this thread is the idea that rather than “run away” from Iraq, we should debate the possibility of doubling our troops there.
ThymeZone again demonstrates himself to be a clueless dolt.
Except that on BJ threads, factual arguments challenging leftist dogma are never to be considered “productive”
Today’s “factual argument” is that Darrell imagines that there are 355k ISF troops on our side, and
And that the Iraqi people have incresing confidence in these ISF forces, and that therefore ……
a) We’ve turned a corner?
b) Insurgency is in its last throes?
c) Democracy is on the march?
d) Stay the course?
And therefore, it means that the ISF troops are almost certainly not as worthless as has been asserted on this thread:
Not trying to “rosy up” the picture here.. I’m just pointing out that large numbers of ISF have entered the fight over the past couple of years, and it seems, judging by public opinion and increasing areas of control, that they are not the disaster they are made out to be
Sorry, I go by results.
What are the results?
Today’s disgnated Sunday talk show senator:
“Today, when I see Baghdad, I have to go in a tank.”
Which is fine, for him. Alas, the Iraqi people don’t have tanks to drive around in and get their groceries and get to their businesses and jobs. So they die in droves because the place is out of control.
You can flap your gums all day about the wonderful ISF.
The proof is in the (lack of) pudding.
Perhaps this thread should be re-titled: Fish or Cut Pie.
Wait for it…
There you go again with the Ponies, Darrell. Have some more Humble Pie and try not to make a mess on yourself.
And of course Darrell would take those numbers as gospel truth, because Centcom would never have numbers that don’t exist except on paper. Trick Pony, Darell. Trick Pony.
There are no Ponies in Iraq, Darrell. Just because you say it’s so, doesn’t make it any less of a lie.
Again you lie for Ponies, Darrell. Reinforce or Retreat. If you still dream of Victory Ponies then you want to Reinforce. The reality based community would like to leave. So Fish or Cut Bait.
McCain joins the quest:
“McCain, a front-running
GOP presidential hopeful for 2008flip-flopping head case, said the U.S. must send an overwhelming number of troops to stabilize Iraq or face more attacks — in the region and possibly on American soil.”
For those who are interested, ‘Iraqi Security Forces‘ includes both the Iraqi military and the Iraqi police. So, about 40% of the total 300k or so (~312k according to the DoD as of November 1st) is military (and about a third of them still need major help from us to accomplish anything–while the other two thirds still need us to do their planning and logistics for them), and the rest are police of some sort or another; only 8% of the total ISF forces are national police.
There’s unintentional wisdom in this statement. The US thinking it can export democracy is the height of hubris. Democracy is not the natural state of men or governments. It would be nice if the neocons and other war mongers would learn that lesson from Iraq. But looking at their plans with Iran, I doubt it.
You talkin’ to me?
BTW, I really think someone needs to start a blog consisting of nothing but Darrell quotes. Then, when we need to research one of his many inconsistencies, we can all head over to darrellwatch.blogspot.com or what have you and go back through the threads to find the relevant section.
Any pie- or playa-haters out there willing to have a go at it?