In a fascinating and extremely well-written piece in the NY Times, a bunch of grunts got together and discuss the situation on the ground. Some selected excerpts:
To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day.***
Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.***
At the same time, the most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricity, telephone services and sanitation. “Lucky” Iraqis live in gated communities barricaded with concrete blast walls that provide them with a sense of communal claustrophobia rather than any sense of security we would consider normal.
In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, “We need security, not free food.”
In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.
Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.
While these guys are in the 82nd Airborne, you can see that what they write is sure to infuriate the patriots in the 101st Chairborne. I wonder if they are going to have the nerve to ratchet up the smear machine against these guys. They have their names. Do they have the balls? I am betting that since they don’t, they will choose route #2- ignore the op-ed completely.
At any rate, read the whole piece. Compare what they have written to the one written by “war critics” O’Hanlon and Pollack a few weeks ago. Which sounds more accurate?
Support the troops, as long as they support your meme.
Plus, one of those soldiers has a funny-sounding name. Probably a communist.
Why can’t our troops just support our troops?
“You can do many things with a bayonet, except sit on it.”
Waging war to make peace is like fucking to make virginity.
I can’t believe you just said “if”. I really cant. After everything you’ve seen from these clowns, you still proffered an “if”…
“…to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit.”
Sorry fellas, we don’t “do” nuance. Kill em all and let Jesus sort ’em out.
We have made the memory of Saddam not so unpalatable to the Iraqi people. They would probably welcome a less murderous strongman in charge.
These guys should be drummed out of the military. They are nothing more than traitors.
“Which sounds more accurate?”
The editorial clearly represents a minority view among soldiers, at least among the accounts I’ve read. So, obviously, O’Hanlon and Pollack’s account. It’s interesting how veterans and active-duty soldiers against the war almost always speak in the same style, saying the same things… almost as if someone was telling them what to say. But certainly those brave souls trying to simply tell truth to power wouldn’t allow themselves to be caught up in that. Certainly not people like Jesse MacBeth or Scott Beauchamp or any of the other serial liars. Why is it that no accounts from soldiers supporting the war have been found to be false? It’s another new GI face every two weeks among the “reality-based community” who either can’t keep his facts straight or never had any facts to begin with.
Unless, of course, you have some secret magical way of determining which set of conflicting evidence from basically the same source is more correct. Undoubtedly this formula will lead you to the conclusion that these seven soldiers’ evidence is more believable.
Why are the troops anti-American?
Damn you, Scott Beauchamp!
Yeah, this is certainly Scott Beauchamp’s doing.
The NY Times has just been Beauchamped! Eat that, TNR!
Here is what they said about morale:
We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.
Something tells me these soldiers do not like having politicians and pundits so worried about what happens to their morale when American Citizens debate and critique the war.
Something tells me these soldiers are actually offended by the morale worriers and feel it is condescending and patronizing.
Davis X. Machina
The editorial clearly represents a minority view among soldiers, at least among the accounts I’ve read
Majority, minority, doesn’t matter. It’s not their call.
Leaving the decision, or just appearing to leave the decision, to the military on scene as to what national policy should be, and how it should be exercised, worked wonderfully well in French Algeria.
It killed the Fourth Republic.
To me, it sounds like the NYT editors wanted to “balance” O’Hanlon-Pollack by publishing today’s piece. It’s clear that the seven authors take a dim view of the current COIN strategy, using charged phrases such as “occupation force” and claiming that the only way to achieve real success is through “lethal and brutal force”. They’re welcome to their opinion, but I think they’re dead wrong as to how to go about turning things around. It’s also clear that their perceptions are fueled by their location. Baghdad is a tough spot, and there are plenty of competing forces at work. They are no doubt correct that security and basic services remain an issue, and it’s going to take a while to peel off the irreoncilables from the rest.
Chaos asks why no accounts of soldiers supporting the war have proved to be false? Maybe because the left has more respect for the personal experiences of soldiers that they disagree with than the rabid tighty-righties. These chickenhawks are not known as the Party of Mean Spirit for nuttin’.
What about their point that going on a guided tour surrounded by a squad of soldiers does not present an adequate picture of the security situation for Iraqis? That’s a significant rebuttal against anybody trying to claim they know what it’s like in Iraq because they’ve “been there.”
This war had one purpose. To topple Saddam and save us from WMD (none found). Then it seemed to have a purpose of insuring this nation would be an example of democracy to the region. Next it was to tear down socialism and implement capitalism.
We have come to learn that this war was a way to demonstrate to the region we had the ability to wreck a nation; cause those who had money to escape (Katrina) our might and insure for a series of approved contractors an income stream.
Those who were against it have been labeled unpatriotic and those in service of the contractors are somehow patriotic.
Those men who serve the U.S. Forces have come home to find we were not prepared to heal or hear them (Katrina) and the national will is to end it. The politicians want it to continue or at least not admit failure. This includes most who are running to replace the fools who got us in.
No plan we could devise will resolve the religious desires for power or hatreds within sects which have hundreds of years awaiting revenge. It is our troops who now face these energies and to give them the task is what is unpatriotic.
The victims have expressed a desire we leave. We should or will we do to Iraq what the politicians have done to New Orleans?
It will be a certanity that the mainstream media will give this as little play as possible. After all, this is the same propaganda machine that played up the war in the first place – deny it all they want, and they haven’t.
You don’t have to be a blind conservative not to see it, just an ignorant one to deny it.
And yours aren’t fueled by your own location?
Ooookie-dokie. The next six months are going to be critical….
In order to make any progress on ending this war the “irreconcilables” that need to be peeled off from “the rest” are named Cheney, Kristol, Kagan, Feith, Ledeen…
I don’t think it’s just the virtues of the left that keep them from disproving the “pro-war” evidence of soldiers (although I’d certainly like to hope so). It is, rather, the irrelevance of it. The argument for strategic withdrawal is not predicated upon the assumption that the US is achieving no strategic military victories. It is, rather, that the situation in Iraq cannot be resolved by military means.
I think this contrasts with the right in that their argument is predicated upon the assumption that everything is going great, and you’ll see just how great in another six months. After a few years, that belief becomes rather tenuous, and those who cling to it are going to become very, very defensive about it.
Well at least there’s no civil war, right? And is the surge still working? Can we wrap it all up in September, or is this now a long war that could take decades? Are they already past the ‘bait’ phase and now into the ‘switch’ phase of catapulting the propaganda? I can never keep up.
You can go home now, General Petraeus and take the rewritten Whitehouse version of whatever Pretraeus was intending to say to congress with him. We got it straight from horses mouth so Cheney and Bush’s lying two-cents worth.
The Smear Machine – first they’ll try to find out if these guy are remotely connected to the Dem Party. Jeebus that gets old. Then write that these miliary men betray American, same old ugly Rovism – just trash em. It must be that affinity that WP columnist Border spoke about, that the GOP supposedly has for veterans and the military.
The same affinity whereby if you don’t have an armered flak jacket – it’s all because Bush much prefers to give taxpayer money to unbid contracters. It’s because giving your life to the Bushies Iraqi pipedream is not nearly as important as campaign contibutions.
Excellent op-ed from seven “dumb” grunts. But of course intellectually, even collectively they just can’t compete with Harvard educated Bill Kristol. Nope. First hand I saw the awesome intellectual and visionary prowess bedrocked by his Harvard PhD displayed on TDS this past week.
He knew the truth. It came to him. After spending almost a week in the Green Zone, he had seen the pony, and it was good. Next month Petraeus would be delivering the sweet smelling flowers. Six months after that, the long desired candies. Stay the course.
If making a case that a PhD degree doesn’t automatically confer intelligence, Kristol would be a poster boy. One of many among the brilliant neocon geopolitical strategerists.
I sure hope those grunts cleared that NYT op-ed with their command. Otherwise they may be getting an invitation to meet with their battalion commander. Time? Just about now.
Damn, that’s great spoof. He’s now claiming the 82nd is lying? “never had any facts”? 101st Chairborne knows more than the Special Forces in Iraq!
So I guess it’s not the Right’s job to support the troops, only to support those special, Bush-loving troops. Thanks, clowns.
Apparently, pud (a very apt name, by the way) you didn’t read the whole article, or you would know that one of their number was shot in the head in Iraq this week.
Explain to me how exactly that makes him a traitor, you vile piece of shit.
Because you haven’t been paying attention, of course… now apply the same level of scrutiny across the board that you’d apply to teh evil Scott Beauchamp, and see what suddenly turns up…
Military families are giving more campaign dollars to Dems than the GOP. That speaks volumes.
Right Wing Douchebag
“You can do many things with a bayonet, except sit on it.”
Tallyrand? That name sounds French to me.
Well, the French couldn’t dig the Panama Canal either.
I hope Michelle Malkin does a “L-O-S-E-R” cheer for each one of these traitors and another bigger one for the New York Times.
If any single fact can be disputed (for example, exact number of people without basic services) then it is ALL DAMNED LIES.
Yep. They can fight an insurgency (in blazing heat), they don’t mind having their deployments extended over and over, they can stand up to being Walter Reeded if they get wounded, but if you express doubt about the pResident’s Mess o’ Potamia, they’ll break down and cry.
When the insurgents figure out waving pictures of anti-war rallies sends the average soldier into a swoon … it will be the war protesters fault that we lost.
The ones who note the op-ed will Beauchamp him. I guarantee that Freepers and LGFers greeted this piece with knee-jerk cries of “Fraud!” and rushed off to google the names so as to prove that they are really Democratic plants.
If Jesus Christ came down himself and told them the war should end, they would argue against him. Only GWB, and ultimately Dick Cheney, can pierce their miasma of hero-worhsipping delusion.
It must be time for another purge of the COMMIES from our armed forces. These “soldiers” are so blinded by Bush Derangement Syndrome that they cannot see Iraq for what it is: a shining city on the hill.
(I think my gallbladder just exploded from all that sarcasm)
I do, in fact. It’s called “listening to the Iraqis themselves”. Lots of sub-alterns speaking, but they’re too brown for you and Charles Bird to pay any attention to.
It takes a lot to become a refugee. The minute you leave, you lose your property, just ask the Palestinians. Try asking one of the estimated 2 million Iraq refugees how things are going.
Gee, the lefties are out in full force this morning. They must have gotten their talking points early. These alledged soldiers have the right to express their viewpoint. Only, not while in the uniform of the United States Army. I wouldn’t go as far as to brand them traitors, just malcontents. If you don’t like it, get out and quit taking all the benefits. Daddy use to say, Don’t bite the had the feeds you. Well, these guys just did.
My son is with the 82nd in Iraq and his opinion is entirely different as is those of his associates. It is sad to see the Sgts come out like this as it is just propoganda for the force that is wagging war against the rest of the units. These guys have just hurt their buddies, then again, these young men appear to be somewhat short sided and may not understand anything they say may be used against their buddies. Of course after this, I wouldn’t want them in a foxhole with me, and I doubt any other soldier in Iraq would either. I want someone I can count on to give 110%. Keep them out of Iraq for my son’s sake.
Sign me Proud Poppa of an 82nd Airborne Soldier
Hey John, being ex-milly, what’s your take on this?
I’m guessing #2 at first, followed quickly by #3.
Yeah, gotta love this!!!
Like a 4th grader would do. Nice.
using charged phrases such as “occupation force”
Funny how you can deny reality with such looney claims about language — perhaps that is why facts cannot penetrate such brains. This op-ed is full of tough info (2 million refugees – another 2 million displaced) that also gets dismissed as simply a “balancing” piece.
If not occupation, what is the proper word for an invasion force that stays in place long after most of the locals want it gone? “over-staying guests”?
Charles Bird, I would like to know how much longer you think our current force levels can be sustained.
The Other Andrew
Charles–how are we not an “occupying force,” again?
Lee–you think that these soldiers are doing propaganda for a huge, diverse collection of insurgent groups that are trying to kill each other? How does that work, exactly?
Bonus questions for any war supporters who might be reading: how does arming both sides of an ethnic conflict help us resolve it?
And no doubt Jim Webb is a traitor for suggesting otherwise, according to those geniuses… fortunately GOP heroes Domenici, Voinovich, and Lugar helped to make sure that our troops weren’t given too much time off from the battlefield…
Hey, it worked for Reagan, right? No? Maybe?
If these “American soldiers” really are soldiers (or even Americans), this sentence pretty much tells you all you need to know about the level of loyalty they have to the USA, i.e., not much.
Maybe they are really Americans and are suffering from a little Stockholm syndrome. Maybe they are getting too fond of the Iraqis around them–hey, I guess that would be understandable, they’re human, right?
But to say that we need to look at security from anything *but* an American perspective is indeed pretty close to traitorous. The reason we are fighting in Iraq is precisely to guarantee American security from Al Qaeda. Iraqi perceptions would be nice to have on our side, possibly, but at the end of the day I’m not paying my tax bill to foot the security of anyone but my community and my family.
I suppose it was just a mistake on the part of the authors, but a pretty big mistake; and it appears in a noted liberal mouthpiece to boot. They probably should be disciplined, but not jailed or worse. If they really are American soldiers, at all–dubious at best.
I suppose it was just a mistake on the part of the authors, but a pretty big mistake; and it appears in a noted liberal mouthpiece to boot. They probably should be disciplined, but not jailed or worse. If they really are American soldiers, at all—dubious at best.
Funny to watch the prediction being carried out right in the same discussion thread of the post itself.
The reason we are fighting in Iraq is precisely to guarantee American security from Al Qaeda.
And a pony. You don’t want to forget the pony.
As an American Soldier in Iraq I’ve been told over and over by my commanders that we are fighting to secure freedom and some sense of normalcy for Iraqis. If we had been thinking from an American perspective from the begining we wouldn’t be in Iraq.
If the soldiers’ mission is to help make Iraq safe and secure for Iraqis, it seems that the Iraqis’ perceptions of their own safety and security would be an important indicator regarding the success of that mission. Or is “F the Iraqis” going to become the new pro-war mantra?
It’s thoughtful of so many conservatives to show up in these comments to accuse the soldiers of disloyalty. It really tells you everything you need to know about the character of those who still support this war.
In other news, I can’t decide which spoof I like better. Lee certainly gets the prize for Most Garbled Cliches per Minute (though he forgot something about breaking eggs), but Robert F. deserves credit for suggesting the possibly not American not soldiers have Stockholm Syndrome.
I hope the rest of you wannabes are taking notes.
You’ve either been lied to or you’re a traitor.
This motherfucker hasn’t been drinking the right wing Koolaid, he’s been mainlining the shit. Unbelievable.
I know it is against UCMJ for soldiers to appear at political events in support of candidates (not that that has stopped the pretend rancher/President from using the miltary as a backgrop for everything he can), but where does it say that military personnel cannot have and voice opinions? If it is prohibited, I’d like to know why they have to obey the law if the President doesn’t?
Two words, Lee, BULL. SHIT.
The brave young men who wrote this article, like your son, are risking their lives in an ill-advised distraction from the real struggle against Islamic extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. One of them took a bullet to the head for his troubles last week. Such a malcontent, huh, Lee? I guess he’ll be taking his “benefits” from the Army now. Maybe he’ll be in one of the rooms at Walter Reed with cockroaches. Lucky guy.
Unlike you on the unprincipled, bloodthirsty right, we “lefties” actually care about what happens to the troops. We do things like try to ensure they get enough rest between deployments, adequate medical care and pay raises. You guys say you care, but when the rubber meets the road, you betray the very people you claim to hold in such high regard.
In short, you guys are full of shit. Our troops deserve better leadership than this bunch of draft-dodging, gutless wonders, and you should be thinking about that more than anyone. I wish your son well.
This is thought provoking, but unfortunately will be buried or discredited. We are supposed to be trumpeting the good news from Iraq. These guys will be beauchamped.
Well, I think we have a pretty clear idea what the strategy to discredit these guys is by now.
“Anybody who’s been fighting over there and hence has a clear idea of what’s going on militarily has a moral obligation to march in lockstep with Dear Leader and all the troops who don’t question forever and ever and accept the wisdom of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists. If they don’t, they’re traitors.”
I think that pretty much sums up the talking point.
And 100,000+ men and women would trample over each other rushing for the door were that an option right now…
“Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective.”
I don’t see how any reasonable person can interpret that as a “got’cha.” The authors are talking about parameters of a debate, not the actual physical security of actual Americans. If you read the article, it is clearly referring to using the short-term experiences of protected American observers as a metric for the actual security situation experienced by the Iraqi people. I don’t beleive they’re saying short-term American observers have nothing to contribute to discussion. Rather, they are pointing out that it is falacious to assume short-term observer input defines reality without considering the experiences of the relatively unprotected population actually living in Iraq. That point seems obvious.
Overall, I found it a thoughtful and well-written article. As a veteran myself, I salute these men for their willingness to testify to their experience in a sober, reflective manner. That is what America is all about.
Because the Brown Hordes are raring to go in their plastic submarines and paper airplane drones to invade the homeland and make everybody speak Arabic and if that means having to sit on your ass and make shit up for the good of Dear Leader then by gawly you’ll do it.
Charles Bird said:
I thought their point was it’s not really much of a COIN strategy.
I returned last month from my second trip to Iraq this year. The letter represents a strain of thinking that is increasingly accepted by our soldiers.
They see the effects of policy on the ground, every day. They understand the warp and woof of the war in a profound way that cannot be obtained by reading press or brief visits to the country – they have daily contact with ordinary Iraqis.
What I saw, this time around, was a professional military being demoralized by a leadership that persists in promulgating a policy uninformed by facts that the soldiers confront every day. Moreover, those same soldiers understand well that they pay the price.
The only issue, then, is whether the soldiers should speak out. My view is that we have no better window on the reality of the war. Politicians and military commanders are too insulated from the tactical reality of the war to provide useful commentary on this subject.
The “broad view” is supposed to be the province of the commanders, which incorporates factors that are not visible to the ordinary soldier. However, the tactical situation should certainly be an important component of this view, and in this war, as in Vietnam, it isn’t. The relevance of the tactical situation is denigrated as something that is controllable. This is a fundamental mistake, in my opinion. It is the tactical situation that determines the “hearts and minds” campaign, and is therefore key to the war.
So to return to my main point: if the leadership denigrates the tactical situation, and ordinary soldiers know it best, then those same soldiers can provide unique insights to the ultimate decision making authority, the public. The insights provided by these soldiers must be available to the public, and we should take them very seriously.
If that is criteria for an “American” perspective, Lee, then I have bad news for you. The American invasion and occupation of Iraq has done three things: allowed Al Queda and the Taliban to re-group in Pakistan and Afghanistan, created an Al Queda in Iraq where none was before, and placed your son at risk of dying or being maimed for an operation that does not help American security.
So, either by the standards of normal people, by the standards of the Iraqi people, or by the standards of the partisan hacks who make up your right wing, Iraq is a colossal failure.
Well at least there’s no civil war, right? And is the surge still working?
There’s sectarian strife in parts of Iraq, Pb, most notably Baghdad. The surge strategy is still in process. There have been signs of progress as well as signs of non-progress. Quite a bit has not yet been accomplished.
If not occupation, what is the proper word for an invasion force that stays in place long after most of the locals want it gone?
The polls are mixed on what the locals want, dm, and when they want it to happen. We have a presence there certainly. If you want to play word games, fine, call it an occupying force. The Mahdi paramilitias are also occupying forces because a large percentage don’t want them there either. They’ve taken over Hurriyah and are extorting businesses in exchange for “protection” and they’re forcing women to wear veils. Al Qaeda was an occupying force in Diyala. The sword cuts both ways.
Charles—how are we not an “occupying force,” again?
Reading comprehension, OA. Where did I say we weren’t?
Charles Bird, I would like to know how much longer you think our current force levels can be sustained.
I’m giving the current strategy ’til year end, Tim. If there’s no discernible progress by then, it’ll be time to go for an orderly, phased drawdown.
I thought their point was it’s not really much of a COIN strategy.
When their answer to the problem is “lethal and brutal force”, Darkwater, they’ve pretty much rejected the current strategy.
This is a bad argument against there being a state of civil war in Iraq. The United States Civil War only took place in parts of the US. By this line of reasoning, the Civil War was actually not a civil war.
Non-progress? That’s Bushspeak for failure. Charles Bird is quite the semanticist, but then that has become par for the course for war-boosters, who have now been reduced to trumpeting short-term tactical success as victory. What happened to the ‘spread of democracy’ and the ‘new middle east’?
It’s pointless to ask charlatans like Bird about political objectives, or about the new Allawi/Sunni bloc currently forming against the Maliki government, or how Iraqi society can rebuild when nearly its entire professional class has been driven out of the country while we pursued the six previous strategies. His function is to sell the surge, ignoring past failures and hoping for…what?
The Arabs have a saying: Better the tyranny of the believer than the justice of the infidel. Bird represents that entire tribe who never knew anything about Arabs or Muslims and is thus capable of conflating the Mahdi army with the American army. Nonsense.
There is another point of semantics that is important:
The word strategy is misused in the context of the surge. A troop surge is a tactic to implement the counterinsurgency strategy.
A report on the success or lack thereof of a counterinsurgency strategy 9 months after its initiation is a military absurdity. A report on the success of the tactic of a troop surge is irrelevant, since the focus should be on the counterinsurgency strategy, or if one prefers because the troop surge will be over with shortly.
Any report that focuses on the counterinsurgency strategy must focus on hearts and minds and governance issues – the military situation is of secondary importance. What do you bet we get a report on military operations with the barest nod in the direction of Iraqi political dysfunction?
Dave in ME
That seems like a safe position to take, given that a drawdown of troops will begin next year whether the surge shows progress or not. Readiness limitations will ensure it.
A further point of curiosity, if you don’t mind. How will you react if Petraeus testifies about tantalizing, limited progress? A credible person obviously could not throw his hands up and declare victory, but I could see him making the case that victory is just around the corner. Would you support prolonging the “surge” using forces that don’t exist? Or would you instead accept that we return to the earlier, obviously insufficient force levels?
I don’t think that you would find either of those arguments any more compelling than I do. Rather the only argument that I can pick up from credible war supporters these days is that we should keep troops in Iraq until we don’t have any troops left to send (e.g., early next year), and then we should leave.
Good comments. This…
Actually, I think that’s a strain of thinking that has been around for a while, not just recently. And not just by enlisted in some hot AOs. But also by some officers seeing the “broader picture.” With The Surge to date not materially affecting that opinion.
I saw this meme repeated on a few tighty righty blogs yesterday…
I believe the offending passage from the op-ed was this…
Gee, I didn’t take that passage to mean “their answer” IS lethal and brutal force. I took it to mean that while they have the firepower and training that could turn the air into mist, they (likely meaning the broader context of the US Army) will always refuse. That they and the rest of our armed forces exhibit the full measure of professionalism that our county hopes and expects to be present.
But hey, you can take any hate-the-troops position you like, Bird.
That any can call the current surge tactic itself a full, comprehensive COIN strategy is totally laughable. How’s that Maliki government moving along in the strategy? Or the vacationing parliament? ISF been vetted yet?
Some brilliant strategerists like Kristol now reflexively point to Anbar as success, but how does the Sunni cabinet members from that region recently withdrawing from Maliki’s government also fit into the overall strategy? Everyone in Iraq with the obvious exception of the insurgents are all working in coordination on the same COIN page, right?
A further point of curiosity, if you don’t mind. How will you react if Petraeus testifies about tantalizing, limited progress?
We’ll see if such “limited progress” grows from there, Tim. I’m interested in seeing how the political side of things go, and the major players are only going to have a few weeks before Petraeus reports to Congress. I think we’ll have a clearer picture by December, after the parties have haggled for a few months. The military command said themselves that the surge phase of the operation could only last until around mid-2008 before drawdowns would be necessary. Mine own deadline is Dec-2007, and I’ve gone on record as holding that position since last January and I’m sticking to it. That should be more enough time to know whether the current strategy is working or not. If not, then Plan B should be an orderly, phased withdrawal.
The United States Civil War only took place in parts of the US.
Nonsense. The entire country was at war, with two national governments pitted against each other.
You are right, Mr. Bird. This explains the famous Civil War “Battle of Chicago.”
pud, to respond to your comment left on 8/19…
My husband is also an NCO serving in the same company and fights along side as ALL of these men! I know these guys and NONE OF THEM ARE TRAITORS! In fact, they are the bravest, most patriotic men I’ve ever known! They are true soliders. I am very proud of Gray and the other guys for standing up and saying what we are all thinking.