About those Iraqi troops:
“The U.S. military’s effort to train Iraqi forces has been rife with problems, from officers being sent in with poor preparation to a lack of basic necessities such as interpreters and office materials, according to internal Army documents.
The shortcomings have plagued a program that is central to the U.S. strategy in Iraq and is growing in importance. A Pentagon effort to rethink policies in Iraq is likely to suggest placing less emphasis on combat and more on training and advising, sources say.
In dozens of official interviews compiled by the Army for its oral history archives, officers who had been involved in training and advising Iraqis bluntly criticized almost every aspect of the effort. Some officers thought that team members were often selected poorly. Others fretted that the soldiers who prepared them had never served in Iraq and lacked understanding of the tasks of training and advising. Many said they felt insufficiently supported by the Army while in Iraq, with intermittent shipments of supplies and interpreters who often did not seem to understand English.
In case you think they’re kidding:
Some of the American officers even faulted their own lack of understanding of the task. “If I had to do it again, I know I’d do it completely different,” reported Maj. Mike Sullivan, who advised an Iraqi army battalion in 2004. “I went there with the wrong attitude and I thought I understood Iraq and the history because I had seen PowerPoint slides, but I really didn’t.”
To me Maj. Mike Sullivan’s brief paragraph encapsulates almost everything that America did wrong in Iraq. The hubris (powerpoint?), the world-class fighting force asked to do jobs they weren’t trained to do, the lack of resources to do the job right, the cultural and language barriers, the glaring disconnect between political rhetoric and on-the-ground reality, it’s all in there. More:
[Lt. Col. Kevin] Farrell, the officer in east Baghdad, said some advisers were literally “phoning in” their work. Some would not leave the forward operating base “more than one or two days out of the week — instead they would just call the Iraqis on cellphones,” he said.
If you care about Iraq and hope that America can eventually leave behind a stable, democratic state then a story like this is a punch in the gut.
Now they tell us. I suppose they couldn’t have mentioned this, like, a month ago, or two years ago, or maybe, ah, planned for it, even? This vital information is “unusually difficult to obtain”, what a shock.
But at least they weren’t gay!
*que Benny Hill music*
How does it work if you don’t have an interpreter? I mean, what exactly happens? Do you count on some of the Iraqis knowing english, and using them as interpreters?
An off topic, really silly question: Which are generally considered more badass: Rangers or Navy Seals?
When all is said and done, only a very heavy-handed, brutal dictator will be able to control the factions in Iraq. Billions wasted, many thousands of life wasted, only to complete the circle to a Saddam II.
The Iraqis in charge will be the one’s left standing after everyone else is beaten down. Ladies and gentleman, your Bush 2.0 legacy (we go by our guts, not fancy information and facts).
Naturally this comes out *AFTER* the elections.
Like I’ve said before: There are *NO* Ponies in Iraq.
matt, re the silly question:
Of the two, and all else being equal, the seals are ‘more badass’.
Note: I was a ranger in the 1980s. Later in my military career I worked alongside several other ‘special forces’ of the various services, which included SEALs. A couple of the subgroups of Army Special Forces (green berets) are on a par, and I nod with respect to any full-qual PJ or TAC from the Air Force. But for hands down “we can do more mayhem before dawn than you do all day” readiness and capability, the Seals are the leaders.
Note 2: The key to remember with ALL the special forces is that they’re specialized. “Individual mayhem” tends to be a Seal specialization. But if you put “all” the Rangers up against “all” the Seals, the Rangers have a chance due to relative numbers of members. Assuming, that is, both sides just go mano-a-mano, which is absolutely stupid.
This is all starting to sound very familiar:
You’re watching some sort of action flick. Some disaster occurs (truck flips over, something explodes, Dennys Hastert drops his pants). Your heart starts to beat faster, but then that disaster sets of another disaster and yet another disaster and on and on until after a while it becomes not an action flick, but a farce.
But Bushits will say, no one could have possibly predicted this would happen. However, pie has shown us that no, a very, very dead guy is laughing in his grave right now:
Bush: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.
Reality: As Iraqis stand up, *they are shot down*
Thanks for the insight!
What about Delta Force?
Well, if that was the plan they certainly screwed it up just about perfectly. Since no one is perfectly incompetent, that must not have been the plan. I think the real plan is to have a large, permanent U.S. military presence in the Middle East for the foreseeable future.
Yeah, they have those cool flying motorcycles.
If the dead can vote, why can’t they be elected?
They’d do a better job.
What about the Voltron Force?
There are alot of Special Operations groups. This list is by no means complete.
* NightHawks – Army helocopter pilots (see BlackHawk Down)
They fly crazy. They will set down in an alley way where the rotors are sending up sparks from both sides of the alley.
* Delta – Army unit still not acknowleged.
Very versitile. They do alot of the nasty bellow board operations. They are deniable.
* Rangers – Army large unit operations.
Interesting the Rangers were quite pissed off when the Marines were the first large scale unit to enter Afganistan. They were also pissed off when the whole army got to where the black beret, which used to be Ranger only. They get no respect yuk yuk yuk.
* Green Beret – Army small force multipliers “Advisers”
When you here “US Advisers” think Green Beret. They link up with indigenous forces and train them and enhance them. Language skills are a premium.
* SEALs – Straight up commandos.
Go in blow shit up, kill enemy, leave. There is another, more elite, group of SEALs formally known as SEAL team six. You have to have 3 years as a SEAL to apply for SEAL Team Six.
* Combat Air Controllers – Air Force attached to other forces
Air Strikes in the middle of no where… See that flat peice of land, lets call that our “Air Field”… call the Combat Air Controllers.
* ParaJumpers – Air Force medics with an unidentified mutant gene
Can and whill save your life anywhere; hurricanes? sure. side of an Ice Sheet? no problem.
* Force Recon – Marines. Deep Reconnisance
Marine Recon operates 0-10 miles behind enemy lines, farther out and you call Force Recon. In 2003 they created a group call Detachment One (83 marines +3 Navy Coreman) to be permanently attached to SOCOM.
In my humble opinion, they Badasses are SEALs, Delta, Force Recon, and Green Beret. However, to discount PJs, or Combat Air Controllers, or NightHawks would just be usefull for Movies, not real world situations.
All are largely organized under Special Operations Command (SOCOM). For the longest period the Marines refused to allocate Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs) or Force Recon under SOCOM permenantly; they were considered SOC Ready. After the Detachment One “experiment”, the Marines have been required to pony up for SOCOM.
With Chuck Norris, they’re unstoppable.
Oops I call NightStalkers NightHawks. The real term is NightStalkers.
James F. Elliott
“What about Delta Force?”
After all, they have Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin.
According to this guy, training Arabic-speaking armies from scratch makes cat herding seem like a breeze in comparison.
But of course, commissioning and understanding an accurate cultural assessment of the country your about to occupy is something the only the appeasing Loony Left would do.
It also seems to me that there may be well-trained(after a fashion), well-funded Arabic-speaking armies in the neighborhood who have time on their hands and somewhat of an obligation at this point.
No interpreters needed. Just suitcases full of money.
But isn’t this really just a case of Iraqis squandering the freedom we worked so hard to bring them? I mean, if they really wanted to be a Democratic society, they’d learn English, like God intended.
Well none of them can hold a candle to the brave and noble men and women of 101st Fighting Keyboarders
The 101st Fighting Keyboarders are standard whimpantry. The elite are members of the 82nd Chairborne.
Inside of every Shiite, Sunni and Kurd is a RedState Republican screaming to get out…
Chuck Norris doesn’t stand up, the earth lowers itself and his knees just straighten out.
Seals are properly referred to as Squids. And the only reason Chuck Norris is still alive is that Jack Bauer simply forgot to kill him.
What about Vogon Poetry?
But then the Iraqis take an antacid and it shuts up.
I’m fairly certain that Rush reading poetry to anyone is a Geneva Convention violation.
God I hope not, or that country is truly lost.
I have a friend that was in Iraq and in his second tour was helping to train them. He told me it was a sham. He said that the General in charge was a drunk. He said that the only good thing about that was, it was easy to get alcohol for him and his unit.
Ironic, since RedState Republicans are full of Shiite…
The Other Steve
How is this different from the Russian army?
There was a minor dustup some years ago over an opinion essay, backed up by a study IIRC, that reliance on PowerPoint presentations was dumbing down decision making – everywhere, not just in the military.
It’s the bullet points. You have a big pool of data, and you’re supposed to boil it all down to two or three bullet points per slide. Obviously, this means distorting the data – making it more definitive than it really is, omitting data that doesn’t lend itself to definitive bullet points, and otherwise simplifying the data until it’s pretty meaningless.
PP was intended to present a precis of substantive factual analysis, not as a substitute for it. The analysis is supposed to be done before the PP presentation is done.
Nowadays, corporations – and, apparently, the military – use PP ass backwards: to support something that hasn’t been analyzed, or that hasn’t been analyzed correctly and accurately.
I really like PP, and I use it extensively. I hate it when people take a perfectly good tool and de-legitimize it by using it as it was never intended to be used.
*No Republicans were punched in the gut during the making of this statement.
Powerpoint has destroyed lecturing in academia. I’m completely guilty. It’s easier for the teacher and much worse for the students.
The best lecture I ever saw was a keynote by a guy who decided to stop being a IT guy and start being a comic, and the entire thing was him drawing on an overhead projector and talking.
Oh, and these lectures by some guy named Richard.
But no one dies when an academic powerpoint presentation leaves out data. There’s some chance that the audience will have their grad student read the paper.
I’m a longtime PP user and one who has spent more than his share of time in front of meetings and classes …..
Let me say this about that, to paraphrase Richard Nixon:
Modern American business has perfected the art of sharing 15 minutes’ worth of information to rooms full of people in just an hour or two.
If this trend continues, and I expect that it will because I see nothing countering the trend, it will soon be routine to share five minutes’ information in an hour.
American business meetings are a collossal waste of time and energy. “Presentations” are the cornerstone of this achievement.
I just wish that BJ had a way for us to present our arguments with PP slides …..
frog design redesigned that PowerPoint POS that was leaked. Twice.
You’d think with the billions we’re tossing around someone could hire Tufte.
I think it would go something like…
I don’t see this as much of an improvement.
Well, my slides will have a fancy background and theater-style title fades. Thereby crushing Darrell’s presentation.
He’s going to need more slides.
Don’t worry, there will be an animation. “poophead” will fly in from the left and flash in big letters.
At long last … my name in lights.
Ooh…fancy! Will there be coffee at this presentation? I could really use a pick-me-up.
Well, first of all, your theatrics may be enough to initially “shock and awe” Darrell’s presentation; but what is your plan to pacify his Visio diagrams? Huh!?!! I thought so.
Actually, while we’re on the subject – If you could animate each word separately and have them make a clicking noise as they appear, that would be great.
Or, if you could present 127 slides in 15 minutes, each with an average of 5 bullet points, that would be very convincing, and I would retain a lot of info.
(Both true stories from presentations I sat through)
I think Darrell’s presentation title slide would be as follows:
Meh. Don’t get me started on Tufte…just DO NOT. He sees PowerPoint as a threat to his livelihood, and so makes a bunch of FUD-dy claims about it.
Although one can do carefully designed presentations with PP, that is not what it is designed for. The famous O-rings presentation (which Tufte criticized) is a superb example of what PowerPoint is designed to do: present a set of slides summarizing data, which are to be supplemented by a live presentation. Tufte is interested in dead-tree presentation of data — which is fine, but is rarely useful in the modern world.
So, he pulls a Dobson, and claims that his “classical” treatment is the only valid one. Just as Cobson’s claims about morality are willfully anhistorical, though…so are Tufte’s.
Krista – if it makes the story and better (worse?) this was the vice president of my department. And he’s done this more than once.
So now, apart from everything else that is wrong with it, Powerpoint is to blame for losing Iraq.
Powerpoint animations do make it easy to highlight when you’re going to cut and run
TimF, you are ALWAYS putting on the high and mighty act, like most leftie loonies, acting like if TimF or Barbara Streisand had been in charge of the military, and the military underlings had all been given to read a Middle East version of Sunni and Shia War and Peace, everything would be going swimmingly in Iraq. You just love to blame America first don’t you? The reality is, even if you don’t want to admit it, is that even General Babs would be having a hard time over there, as we are dealing with primitive people, trying to get them to act in a civilized fashion, which is against their temperament and culture.
As Bush says, it is “hard work” and it will take time. And your sniping and arrogance, bereft of any thoughful advice, will not speed things up over there, it will just unfairly denigrate our troops and our military leadership.
The Other Steve
Wow, scs is really coming unhinged.
She used to be “Oh heavens me, I’m not so well informed, but Bush is just such a lovely young man and I can’t help but support him”
Now it’s rantings and ravings about the “leftie loonies”.
Yes, launching an invasion against a country based on false information and some hare-brained idea that the people will throw flowers and ponies is indeed quite difficult. Anyone that stupid must have trouble remembering to breathe.
In the words of Vice President Cheney – Go fuck yourself.
I’ll tell you what’s unfair and denigrating to the troops: Sending them into combat without adequate planning or equipment while some dry drunk draft dodger chants “stay the course” as they get shot up and blown up because he wouldn’t recognize reality if it bit him on the arse. Then, to top it all off, arseholes like you, parroting that gang of blood thirsty thugs in the White House, suggest that IEDs; mortar rounds; bullets; never knowing if the guy walking towards you is just a guy or has a little HEX under his belt; “stop loss” programs, never knowing when the hell you’re going to get home; never know what the fuck is going on; frequent redeployements and all of the other shit they have to up with are all fun and games to the men and women in uniform, HOWEVER, criticism of the war and the President will hurt their little feelings. Do you see the disconnect in your version of events? No one is saying anything about the soldiers (other than, those poor bastards, what a mess they’re in) but know-nothings like you have somehow gotten the idea that repeating what the soldiers already know is somehow “bad” for them.
Screw you, if you gave half a shit about the soldiers, you’d join in with the “loonies” but it’s all some game to souless hulks like you. You’ve convinced yourself that so long as we talk nice about the president and the war, the soldiers will be just fine. So please, slap a few purple heart bandaids across your mouth and return to your alternate universe. Your mind clearly can’t cope with this one.
And we westerners are just the ones to help those ignorant barbarians learn how to be civilized, right? It’s that kind of attitude (West knows best) that has actually caused a lot of the problems in the Middle East and Africa — that western arrogance of overthrowing other countries’ governments because we don’t like their ruler. We’ve redrawn geographical boundaries with absolutely no consideration for ethnic/tribal boundaries, and basically just this incredible gall and patronizing attitude that makes us think that we have the right to go into any non-first-world, non-western country, with hardly any understanding of the “primitive” people contained therein, and just re-arrange things “for their own good”.
Christ, no wonder they hate us. We’ve been treating them like they’re not even human beings.
SCS, I don’t want to look like I’m laughing at you but that burst of invective and bile makes me worry about your state of mind. Normally you at least make an effort to look reasonable, in appearance if not always in fact. This outburst of ad hominems and dog-tired arguments which practically refute themselves sounds like somebody else entirely. Criticism hurts the war effort? Say it, scs. Dissent equals treason. Let that repulsive authoritarianism out for everybody to see. Your comment that mideasterners are practically subhuman is even worse. I don’t really mind if you want to shoot down your own points before you’re done making them, but it is a bit embarrassing.
Train the troops outside the country and split the country into three. Training them in Baghdad is insane. They’re infiltrated constantly and cannot be protected. Other countries have offered help in this effort. It’s about time we took it.
Of course, the cradle of civilization needs our help! Or bombs. Something anyway, they’re doing it all wrong and they need a bunch of snot-nosed kids (relatively speaking) to show them the light. I say we go after the British next.
Good idea, Jake! After all, we’re the culture that has produced such gems as Pamela Anderson, “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?” and eating contests. We know all what how to teach them there other countries how to be civilizationized!
Unfortunately Bush turned them all down and we don’t get any do-overs. The reality is that Iraq has gone to Hell, with SCS, Darrell and company merrily clapping all the way down.
The only reasonable alternative left is Operation Darrell Shield.
Step 1: Round up the Darrells (and scs)
Step 2: Dump them in Iraq.
Step 3: Evacuate US troops while Iraqis are busy chopping up the Darrells.
Step 4: Profit!
Corrected for accuracy.
Ummm, yes. You got any other candidates?
Ummm, yes. It’s called recognizing that just because another culture is different from our own, it does not mean that they’re not civilized. It also might be peachy to recognize that you cannot instill cultural change by force. It’s one of those things that happens when the populace is exposed to new ideas, and starts to change their way of thinking.
If a country’s traditional ideas are harmful to other people in their country, such as women or children, then we do have a moral responsibility to try to work with them to consider other ideas, and influence them to think differently, and to work with those being oppressed to guide them towards being able to stand up for their rights.
But to go in from the viewpoint that they are primitive and uncultured, and that we’re going to change their society without even listening to what they want — well, it’s patronizing, and when western countries go in with that complete lack of empathy, they immediately set themselves up for a lot of trouble.
The Other Steve
Manifest Destiny rears its ugly head again.
Of course, those unwashed heathens would have never figured it out for themselves (whatever “it” is). That is why we had to invade Iraq. It was just to get their attention (very stubborn your average U.H.) so we could teach them how to eat with forks and the wonders of toilet paper.
By scs’s logic Britian should have invaded the US after England outlawed slavery. I mean, slavery is about as barbaric as it gets, right? The less barbaric nation has a duty to correct the more barbaric ones, yes? And what about the US’s first foray into biological warfare? You know, that little trick with giving blankets used by pox patients to native Americans. Shit, we needed our heads smacked together for that one, didn’t we scs? Stupid British, why didn’t they give our barbaric backsides a well deserved paddling?
Well said Krista. I see your point; however, I don’t think it’s true in all cases. A gun barrel pointing down on you has an underestimated ability to make you see a different light. For instance, slavery….
Well we did have a little thing called the Civil War in this country, remember? It seemed to be pretty effective in ending slavery – a lot more effective it seems than the diplomatic wrangling engaged by some delegates against Southern delegate at the writing at the constistution. It seems that a war was the best and only way to take care of that problem in that case.
And Scs proceeds to scrape the bottom of the barrel of moral integrity.
Yes, guns make people see things differently. That’s how you *IDIOTS* got us into this mess in the first place, remember?
And how many wars did it take Europe to abolish slavery? I’m sorry, did I miss the British Civil War between pro and anti-slavery forces?
If you’re trying to prove that Republicans are dumb by example, you’re succeeding.
Claiming Civil War is a good thing automatically relegates you to the ‘Complete Moron’ bin.
Attention all civil rights activists:
Stop with the legal wrangling, peaceful protests, letter writing campaigns and all that sissy stuff. Go down to your local gun dealer and buy something that will blow holes in a brick wall.
By the way scs, I hope you’ve made large donations to the HRC, NAACP, Anti-Defamation League…
Well, I wasn’t around for that one (and abolishing slavery was not the first reason for the war), but thanks for proving my point: WE had a Civil War. We were not invaded by foreigners who held guns to our heads until we “saw the light.”
If you’d prefer the invasion route, keep your fingers crossed. The US still has crappy and increasingly ass-backwards laws regarding gays and lesbians. Maybe enough countries will get pissed and bomb us for that.
I’m about three-quarters convinced that scs is a rank spoof, emphasis on rank. The remaining quarter says that she is a truly pathetic excuse for a human being.
Oh, look. scs has a playmate. Aren’t they adorable together?
The Other Steve
This is because the South is full of primitive people, and we had to kick their asses back down to Atlanta to get them to act in a civilized fashion, which is against their temperament and culture.
Probably true at that time.
At the time, the British were imposing slavery and murderous oppression on their colonies, as were France and Belgium… although the French and Belgians were typically far more brutal to their colonial subjects than the Brits
Despite lacking the finances of the Union forces, the Confederates killed and injured substantially more Union soldiers than Union soldiers killing Confederates. And a significant number of the Union states (4 or 5) had legalized slavery during the civil war.
The Other Steve
Is this supposed to dispute the fact that the South is full of primitive people who need to be taught to live in a civilized fashion, which is against their temperament and culture?
The South during the time of slavery was a very sparsely populated place. There were only a very few cities with a population over 5,000, mostly coastal. The rest was a lot of farms. Slavery perhaps went on so long perhaps because of the inabilty of slaves to compare themselves to any other way of life because many of them were so isolated in rural areas- to them, there lives were mostly normal. They worked the fields during the day, but on off-hours their lives were mostly their own, living in separate enclaves in their own family houses. In fact, for the most part, slaves were decently treated and well-fed, not so much out of kindness of course, but as this would help ensure them working harder in the fields. Many people did not have rights in the old times, women, children, poor people, as well, so perhaps the shock of the idea of slavery was less back then.
So I submit, that American slavery, while terrible, was done in as civilized way as possible by the Southerners. Other than that, the old South seemed to live a civilized lifestyle, with no signs of mass starvation, tribal warfare, constant political murders, mass killings, rampant corruption from the ruling class. It was in fact mostly a peaceful agrarium soceity, with the lower classes busy in farming and building homesteads, and with an upper class that seemed to be mostly harmless, indulging themselves in their interests in fine living and the arts.
So for the most part, the Old South already lived in a civilized fashion for the times. In fact, they probably had a more peaceful life back then than do Baghdadis today. So I do not believe they needed to be taught to live in a civilized fashion, as such a fashion existed for most of the people of the south. The South needed a little teaching about slavery and race, but not about their lifestyles. That is in contrast to Iraq and many parts of the Middle East, which hasn’t had a stable existence for centuries. So I still believe the Iraqi’s need to be taught how to be civilized.
And the award for Staggeringly Ignorant Twat of 2006 goes to…
[rustle of envelope]
Well, no surprises here folks, scs takes the prize again!
Really. I am awe. You make a sack of dead polititians look clever.
Never mind that they were living relatively peaceful lives BEFORE idiots like you decided that they needed to be ‘civilized’ out of their nonexistant WMDs.
Scs, a fine example of why America’s current reputation is in the toilet.
And I submit that Scs needs to keep her mouth shut unless receiving a Dick Cheney in it.
TenguPhule has revealed what scs stands for: Stupid Cheney Sucker.
Well if hundreds of thousands of Shia killed by Saddam’s goons is a peaceful existence to you, then I prefer slavery. And DougJ, I know who you are and your “dick” comments are just making me laugh. Such pent up sexual energy! Maybe you should get off the blogs and spend a little more time with your wife to fix that.
Isn’t stupid cheney sucker great folks? Almost too stupid to maintain cardio-pulmonary functions without constant reminders and yet s/he manages to use a computer.
Come on, give her/him a hand.
Or at least a finger.
The Other Steve
Well, both scs and Darrell did seem to kind of miss the point.
No contest. Darrell did not puke out a long apologia for slavery that demonstrated a jaw-dropping ignorance of American history. Someone would have to argue that there really is a secret group of Jewish over-lords that runs the world and the Earth is flat to even come close to scs’ level of idiocy.