Monday, October 27, 2003
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Rumsfeld gets results from Ray Odierno!!
At one point in the much-discussed Rumsfeld memo, the Secretary of Defense asks:
From the Associated Press:
Thanks to Tom Holsinger & Trent Telenko for the link.
Alex Massie has further thoughts on the subject.posted by Dan on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM
What we have here is broken-recordism on the part of the administration. :
If there are more attacks, then it's a sign that things are getting better.
If there are fewer attacks, then it's a sign that things are getting better.
If it stays exactly the same, then it's a sign that things are getting better.
"...we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror"
You can say that again!
posted by: uh_clem on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
“Bush and his advisors risk the same fate as LBJ unless they publicly acknowledge that the situation in Iraq is serious and then provide some sense that they have a realistic plan for turning things around.”
The situation in Iraq is not in serious jeopardy! Quite the contrary, things are constantly improving. We should never forget that Iraq has a population of around 23 million people. A little violence here and there barely hinders the everyday lives of the majority. I may be wrong but there may be more murders committed every week in Chicago than loss of military life in Iraq! But do the ordinary folks of the Windy City become discombobulated? Far more people lost their lives while Saddam Hussein was still in power. The increasingly availability of medicine alone has saved countless children. Also, what is this stuff about a "realistic plan?" I'm afraid that human beings mostly have to muddle through their on going challenges. You can only plan so much--and then you have got to go with the flow.
Why do some us surrender to pessimism? It simply doesn’t make any sense. By every legitimate criteria, life in Iraq may even be exponentially improving. Oh gosh, I can imagine the Florida Marlins fans bemoaning the fact that they didn’t win the World Series in only four games. God forbid, it took six!posted by: David Thomson on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Bush and crew are not telling us everything is hunky dory, merely that things are much better than much of the media is reporting.
Rumsfeld leaked memo makes it clear this is going to be a long slog and I can recall GWB stating this many times.posted by: tallan on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
I agree that the lesson is from 1968, but the lesson is; don't let a left wing press get away with painting victory as defeat.posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
As cruel as this may sound, the difference between Tet 1968 and what occured today in Iraq, or 1/2 months ago with the attack on the U.N. headquarters, is that only one American died in today's attacks, vesus the American soliders who were killed during the Viet Cong's offensive. The lack of U.S. casualties makes this, as a stand-alone event, only a two- or three-day story at best for the American public.
If suicide attacks like these became a daily or bi-weekly constant, support will erode over time. But to really affect U.S. public opinion in the same rapid fashion that Tet did, Saddam's supporters would have to stage a major hit on U.S. troops, similar to the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon.posted by: John on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
That Tet was a considerable military victory was emphatically not the conclusion of the American news media at the time.posted by: Beldar on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
"That Tet was a considerable military victory was emphatically not the conclusion of the American news media at the time."
“I agree that the lesson is from 1968, but the lesson is; don't let a left wing press get away with painting victory as defeat.”
Victor Davis Hanson adamantly agrees. The Viet Cong was greatly encouraged by the anti-war movement. Almost certainly, the same thing is occurring in Iraq regarding those attacking our troops! Thus, it is very fair to assert that the Democrat Party and the liberal media establishment are unintentionally endangering America’s soldiers! The McGovern wing is still alive and well---and it only serves the interest of our enemies. Those clamoring for peace at any price paradoxically have much blood on their hands. But don’t they mean well? I am not judging their souls---only the practical results of their misguided efforts.
Interesting...posted by: chs on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Well, it's fairly clear that the Red Cross building was bombed because it was lightly guarded. It's natural to assume that terrorists will attempt to hit the most lightly guarded building that will have the greatest effect of terror.
It's of course impossible to draw a conclusion other than:
This can become true for reasons that indicate either more or less success.
Calpundit's conclusion rings quite false to me. He's criticizing behavior that I haven't seen at all. Every speech I've seen, Bush says that it will be difficult and long, but worth it. It seems to me that no matter how many times President Bush says that it will be a hard struggle, he still gets criticized for pretending that it's really easy. Honestly, I don't get it.posted by: John Thacker on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Behaviour you haven't seen at all? The attacks in Iraq mean one of two things. Either the Iraqi elements opposed to the US occupation have abruptly gotten more organized, better equipped and stronger (which isn't progress) or some external agency is working in Iraq against our interests, with the Iraqis as pawns (which isn't progress either unless you subscribe to some variant of that ridiculous flypaper theory). No one called the attack on the UN a sign of progress.
Also, since when has Bush made it known that this occupation was going to be a long term affair? remember, he originally wanted to be out of Iraq in August! I certainly haven't seen anything implying that there might still be troops stationed in Iraq in, oh, say, twenty years time -- AFAICT, the American public has reacted with shock and disapproval at the very idea. Bush really needs to give his people a reality check in a public forum.posted by: cheem on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
"Every speech I've seen, Bush says that it will be difficult and long, but worth it."
In his response to yesterday's violence, Bush said it was a reaction to things getting better in Iraq. A sign of things improving, I guess?
Quite obviously, the administration has been on a "charm offensive" over the last couple weeks. It's their misfortune to have begun that offensive right at the beginning of a significant worsening of the conflict.
All the major figures of the administration are out explaining why things are pretty good in Iraq. They're clearly not delivering a "the conflict will be difficult and long" type message, are they?
One of the things that's most consistently surprising about politics is how different our perceptions of obvious factual events can be. We all pay close attention to what's going on, and some of us see certain events as happening, while others of us are utterly convinced those events never happened. Why is that?
We'd probably solve some of our disagreements if we could just agree on what the simple, everyday facts are.
So I guess that's my challenge to you, John and David. Is it really fair to say that Bush and his people emphasize how "long and hard" this conflict will be? They're making a concerted effort to communicate with us these days. Is that they're message?posted by: William Swann on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
I don't think Gen Odierno's metric is a good measure of progress. The problem is the price has changed not only, or perhaps even mainly, because of alterations of the conditions on the ground, but rather because of an increase in knowledge of the rebels. That is, they want more money not just because it's now tougher to attack US troops, but rather because they know how hard (and deadly) it is to attack US troops.
The other problem is that the US's goal in Iraq is not to avoid attacks on our troops, but to rebuild the country. If our goal was to minimize attacks on US troops, then simply withdrawing would give us ultimate victory.
Having said all that, there do exist lots of good and usable metrics for success in Iraq, and there are Army operations research analysts measuring them, and briefing higer-up (up the the CG) on it regularly. Things like number of police trained, oil production, number of people with power, etc.
Rumsfeld's concerns were not with the rebuilding of Iraq, but with the war on terrorism in general, and there his concerns still stand. We don't have clear ideas of what progress means, really, which can be turned into useful quantitative metrics. And even if we did, chances are we couldn't collect good data to measure them.posted by: Doug Turnbull on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
It would be an interesting exercise in speculation to consider the German Ardennes Offensive reported as the American press reported the Tet Offensive, and vice versa.
David T: The idea of comparing the absolute number of murders in Chicago (population 3 million) to the absolute number of American troops (approx 150K) killed in Iraq is idiotic. Absolutely idiotic. Assuming the absolute numbers turn out the same (Chicago has about 650 murders a year), that means serving in Iraq is twenty times as dangerous as living in Chicago.
All your number illustrates is the conservatives are so right to worry about the state of math education in this country.
[Anyone who still doesn't see how silly the claim is, it's roughly comparable to saying since the absolute number of non-hemophiliacs who died from AIDS is greater than the absolute number of hemophiliacs who died from AIDS, hemophilia is good for you, at least with respect to AIDS. Of course, my argument is stupid because if ignores what a small percentage of Americans have hemophilia. The correct statistics say quite the opposite, that sloppy control of the blood supply let AIDS ravage hemophiliacs. Yes, David T's argument really is this silly.]posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
What is the lesson of Vietnam that nearly EVERYONE overlooks?
A: By coming very close to inciting a second Civil War in this country, Vietnam effectively ended (for decades) attempts by the president to use the military PROACTIVELY, rather than simply reacting to immediate provocations. The hesitancy to use appropriate levels of force when needed (think Beirut under Reagan, Sudan under Bush I, North Korea under Clinton) allowed terrorists to gain a foothold around the world. But taken on a case by case basis, these presidents acted prudently and wisely. It was only in the aggregate that we can see the immensity of their failure.
If Bush II goes down over Iraq, we will all have to wait for my city of Washington, DC to evaporate in a mushroom cloud for anyone to seriously raise the question of military force again. Of course, this begs the question of WHO would order such an action. It gives me no comfort whatsoever to think that, as my family smolders in the ruins, Dick Cheney will take over from his "secure location" on a salmon-fishing river. I'm moving.posted by: Kelli on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
When will someone look into the epidemic of amnesia afflicting the conservative commenters? What horrible syndrome is causing them to forget news stories from earlier this year? Is it like Rush and going deaf, that some drug overdose is ruining their memories? Back from the memory hole we have
Rumsfeld: It would be a short warTime magazine, June 23, 2003:
For obvious domestic political reasons, the Bush Administration going into the war had downplayed the scale and duration of a post-war occupation mission. When then-Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki told legislators that such a mission would require several hundred thousand U.S. troops, his assessment had been immediately dismissed by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz as "wildly off the mark." Wolfowitz explained that "I am reasonably certain that (the Iraqi people) will greet us as liberators, and that will help us to keep requirements down." [Did you guys think these quotes were another liberal retroactive fabrication!? A.L.] Six weeks ago [i.e., April 2003 A.L.], Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was still suggesting the U.S. force in Iraq could be reduced to 30,000 by the end of the year. But the prevailing assessment in Washington appears to be shifting to the idea of a figure closer to Shinseki's.In Newsweek, Rumsfeld said we would be out of Iraq completely in two years (current estimates eight to ten and rising):
While U.S. officials may play an oversight role for as long as two years, Rumsfeld doesn't want to see hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops there for nearly that long. "I'll probably come back to hate this answer, but I'm talking months," says a senior Defense official.posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
You're whiffing on what you think are homers:
Rumsfeld: It would be a short war
It took all of three weeks. So your point is...?
When then-Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki told legislators that such a mission would require several hundred thousand U.S. troops, his assessment had been immediately dismissed by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz as "wildly off the mark." [And that remains the case, with 150,000 U.S. boots on the ground, and no need to increase that total.]Wolfowitz explained that "I am reasonably certain that (the Iraqi people) will greet us as liberators, and that will help us to keep requirements down." [Did you guys think these quotes were another liberal retroactive fabrication!? A.L.]The facts outside the Sunni/Ba'athist Triangle bear Wolfie out. Again, your point?
While U.S. officials may play an oversight role for as long as two years, Rumsfeld doesn't want to see hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops there for nearly that long.
Neither do I. Of course, first, there would have to be hundreds, rather than tens, of thousands of U.S. troops there.
Cordially...posted by: Rick on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
The following point was made in an e-mail list in response to a criticism of the same metrics article I sent Dan:
"Uhm, there have been repeated and consistent reports that Ba'ath party officials have been using stockpiles of cash to pay citizens to launch attacks on US forces. These reports are followed with indications that the arriving radicals were doing the same thing.
Paying someone to "expend" themselves lets you keep your important people from being expended. So you pay Amal to carry the bomb that Al-Achmed assembled, this keeps your important bomb maker from being risked in the attack. And if Amal gets killed, why you just make another bomb and hire another carrier.
Since word is getting around that a lot of Amals are not getting to "double dip", i.e., get paid for their first mission, and their second mission, because they got killed in the first mission, the asking price to take the risk goes up.
The price also goes up as easier ways to make a buck become prevalent."
Such simple reasoning is beyond the mainstream media since they are Democrats writing through mainstream Democratic mental paradigms -- AKA "Iraq is a Vietnam-like Quagmire" -- and facts are all selected/bent to fit that worldview.
Glenn Reynolds has a link today about a blogger Fisking of a Newsweek story on Iraqi electric power distribution that makes that point from a different story angle.
There is another hard Iraqi post-war metric for Dan and the posters here to consider:
What are the reenlistment rates for troops in units deployed in Iraq?
If things really were a quagmire, those units should be losing all sorts of long term NCOs like the "Brown Shoe" US Army of the Vietnam era did.
I will leave that exercise up to the google-philes. I have seen a number of recent articles on the subject in the Early Bird Clipping service that should not be hard to find.posted by: Trent Telenko on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Rick, cordially, you are kidding, right?
1. You seem to believe that the war ended with the capture of Baghdad and the evaporation of the Iraqi Army. So what the hell is going on there now? "The war was over in three weeks; but we forgot to tell you the peace would cost $200 million and a soldier a day, every day for eight years." What a joke. Are you really going to argue there isn't a guerrilla war going on now?
2. You cleverly deleted Wolfowitz's estimate that right now we would have 30,000 troops in Iraq. Who is closer to the truth, Shinseki at 200-250K or Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz at 30K? And the 150K is a political limitation on the strength of the Army—are you that sure we couldn't use a few more troops on the ground? As for your "The facts outside the Sunni/Ba'athist Triangle bear Wolfie out.", this is on par with "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"
3. Ha, ha. Since when is 150K troops "tens". And two years from now, the total will be much the same.
You lacked the honesty and guts to deal with the Administrations prediction that we would be out of Iraq in two years (indeed, 1½ years from now.) Would you like to make a cash bet on that?
What's wrong with you, that you won't just admit everything is much more difficult than you anticipated?posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Anyone care to speculate on what the situation in Iraq would be right now if the neocons weren't so influential after 9/11? For example, what if Colin Powell was Defense Secretary? Or, I guess what I'm wondering is what a conservative response would have been as opposed to neoconservative response?posted by: Mary C. on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Mr. Rick, let me have a go...
Mr Lazarus, Why the anger? You ask why are the conservatives forgetting the older news stories. Disengenious, to be certain, but valid nontheless.
I know that it doesn't appear that the 2004 election looks all that promising for the left, but that's no reason to be uncivil - you've got a little over twelve months to hash out a democratic view of foreign policy for the remainder of the decade. Plenty of time.
Now stop yelling (in bold), and try to understand that from a historical perspective - the war is progressing swimmingly. Surely there are other issues posted over at Buzzflash?posted by: Arthur Wellesley on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
You seem to believe that the war ended with the capture of Baghdad and the evaporation of the Iraqi Army. So what the hell is going on there now?
The armored thrust, infantry advance, air-strike war was ended when Tikrit was scooped up. What's going on now is an attempt to constitute a civil society, being met with resistance from Ba'athists and medieval Islamists. IOW, damned Arab right-wingers. For a parallel, consider Germnay in 1945-46.
You cleverly deleted Wolfowitz's estimate that right now we would have 30,000 troops in Iraq. Who is closer to the truth, Shinseki at 200-250K or Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz at 30K? And the 150K is a political limitation on the strength of the Army—are you that sure we couldn't use a few more troops on the ground? As for your "The facts outside the Sunni/Ba'athist Triangle bear Wolfie out.", this is on par with "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"
Seems the truth, and the need, is in the middle range. Which is where we are now. I don't know if Rummy has updated his end-of-year forecast. And you dismiss about 80-90% of Iraq's land area and population with the Mary Lincoln chestnut. To paraphrase an infamous NYT headline in re: Cambodia ca. 1975--"Iraq after Saddam: for most, a better life." The G.I.s were greeted as liberators. Get used to it.
Ha, ha. Since when is 150K troops "tens". And two years from now, the total will be much the same. 150K has been tens of thousands for precisely as long as it HASN'T been "hundreds of thousands. I expect your forecast is as ironclad as your numerology.
What's wrong with you, that you won't just admit everything is much more difficult than you anticipated? Because it isn't, and I don't know anyone predicting Iraq would become Pleasantville in such sort order. I anticipated the combat operations would last more like 3 months, so things are actually better than my expectations.
Cordially...posted by: Rick on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
For a parallel, consider Germnay in 1945-46.. Sure. Number of GIs killed by guerrilla and terrorist attacks in Germany subsequent to the surrender: Zero. Your turn.
80-90% of Iraq's land area and population with the Mary Lincoln chestnut. Baghdad alone is more than 20% of the population. In any event, I missed that Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld really said that we would be greeted as liberators and need only 30,000 troops in only 80% of Iraq, but we were going to suffer tremendous expense and casualties in the other 20%. And I missed it because (a) they didn't say it, they said all of Iraq and (b) the fact, if it is a fact and remains true (not clear), that 80% of the country is quiet is meaningless if we are unable to pacify the remaining 20%.
And you still haven't compared your answer to when are we leaving Iraq to the pre-war estimates. We agree on one thing though: they were unbelievable at the time.
[Arthur, the more successes we have like this week, the better Dean/Clark will do. You'd better hope Bush has some failures instead.]posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Andrew, congrats for sticking up for real history here. You are, of course, an Evul Librul PC Hater of America and Freedom, for not not obeying the 'robots.txt' file. All Real Patriotic Americans understand that digging up actual quotes and real history is only done by those who Hate America.posted by: Barry on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
“David T: The idea of comparing the absolute number of murders in Chicago (population 3 million) to the absolute number of American troops (approx 150K) killed in Iraq is idiotic. Absolutely idiotic. Assuming the absolute numbers turn out the same (Chicago has about 650 murders a year), that means serving in Iraq is twenty times as dangerous as living in Chicago.”
You obviously are not a careful reader. Please note that I prefaced my earlier remarks with “I may be wrong ...” My central point, however, remains unchallenged. Life continually goes on in Chicago regardless of the roughly 650 murders occurring there on an annual basis. A nation of some 23 million people barely notices the murders numbering in the few hundreds. And yes, far more people died while Saddam Hussein was still in power. Why is that fact being overlooked? Are some folks actually hinting that Iraq was safer during that tyrant’s reign?posted by: David Thomson on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
David, I'm still having trouble seeing why you don't compare death rates in like populations.
A nation of some 23 million people barely notices the murders numbering in the few hundreds.But we aren't talking about the 23 million Iraqis; we're talking about the 150,000 American soldiers. posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Mr. Thompson; regarding your desire to judge "only their actions, not their souls" - not so fast:posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
What about the soldiers, Mr. Lazarus?posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
"[Arthur, the more successes we have like this week, the better Dean/Clark will do. You'd better hope Bush has some failures instead.]"
I seem to remember quite a few pictures of us being welcomed by Iraqis. I've no doubt there are a lot of Iraqis who don't like us, don't want us there, but I bet there are quite a few who do want us there and realize that if we leave civil war will ensue.
If Rumsfeld said we'd need only 30,000 troops, isn't it possible that he simply made a mistake? It's pretty clear the administration had quite a few erroneous assumptions going into Iraq. We can't do anything about that now. We have to deal with the situation on the ground. Our reputation is on the line. Failure will be disastrous for the Middle East and for America. Stop hoping we fail.posted by: linden on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Well said, Mr. Linden. And by the way, you don't have to remember about the left's pictures - you can go to the site I listed above and see for yourself.posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
“But we aren't talking about the 23 million Iraqis; we're talking about the 150,000 American soldiers.”
I am not talking specifically about 150,000 soldiers. Instead, I am focussing on the overall few murders occurring in a population of 23 million. My point is that they are not sufficient numerous to curtail the dramatic economic and social improvements currently occurring in that country. The Iraqi people are now far better off than they were previously. In other words, our American soldiers are not dying in vain.
Why are you ignoring the obvious improvement in their lives of the Iraqis? Once again, why does it seem like you are hinting that things were actually better under Saddam Hussein? I prefer that you do not respond in a mealy mouth manner. Yes or no, is the Iraq of today better off than it was at the start of this year?posted by: David Thomson on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
You prefer he be sensible? Good luck with that, Mr Thompson. Let's just see...posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Dear Mary C.,
The conservative response is clear. Using the Powell doctrine of overwhelming force, we would have utterly shattered the Iraqi army with such speed that we would have gotten allot of prisoners as in 91. In addition, there would have been enough troops to prevent looting and the disintigration of order and civil society. This would have immensely reduced reconstruction costs.
Furthermore, with the shock of the US military forces everywhere we would have scooped up a desperate Saddam - *just like we did with Noriega*. The country would have been pacified and it would have been much easier to turn it into a functioning democracy. Furthermore a conservative approach would have demanded at least a NATO coordination if not outright UN blessing. The combination of *yes* Old Europe forces and money would have enticed places like South Korea and India and Pakistan to contribute forces *making our job much easier* and ironically accomplished much quicker.
Alqueda would have never had a chance to get a foothold the way it did. All of this was foreseeable, and indeed it was foreseen in official CIA and State Department evaluations.
In other words, everything would have gone much better. It is not too simplistic to say that, since it can and has been done before. When I advocated the idea of removing Saddam, that's what I thought would occur - because as I'd said *it has been done successfully before*.
All the stupid neocon excuses merely show them for the whining incompetents that they are - all bark and no bite. When you're in power, the most important thing is not your spin or your morality but whether or not you can *deliver*. The neo-cons have demonstrated that they are unable to deliver.posted by: Oldman on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Obviously if the number of attacks is going up (the military tells us this), and the price of attacks is also going up (according to the military)then the logical conclusion is that the total amount being spent to fund attacks is going up. The concept of the total amount of funding going up is one that the Bush aides have no trouble in citing why they think President Bush has allot of support- because he can get allot of people to contribute allot of money. Why do they have a problem seeing that if the total amount of funding for anti-Coalition attacks is rising that the support of anti-Coalition attacks must also be rising if only in a purely financial sense?posted by: Oldman on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Glad to see you took my advise from the 'across the bow' thread - you seem to have a thing for Mr. Rumsfield.
But I stand by what I said there - you're still out of your element of military matters. Which is to say, your 1973 71L MOS skills are not applicable to what's going on today.
The Military is no longer allowed to inflict massive casualties on our enemies. Most in service don't like it, but that's the deal. Sir, Yes, Sir and all that.
No - we can discuss how to win the peace in relevant threads, but it is pointless to discuss how 'conservatives' would have conducted the campaign. That decision is not made by the Generals, it is executed by them.posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
“Furthermore a conservative approach would have demanded at least a NATO coordination if not outright UN blessing. “
This is the achilles heel of your argument. It is fallaciously premised upon the quaint notion that the Old Europeans are morally decent human beings. Nothing of course could be further from the truth. These folks are envious and bitter toward our earned preeminent power. The French especially go out of the way to give us the proverbial middle finger. They despise countries like the United States and Israel which emphasize the values of hard work and liberal democracy.
Yes or no, is the Iraq of today better off than it was at the start of this year?Mealy-mouthed is not an adjective usually applied to me. Iraq as a whole, if one had to average over everything, is probably slightlly better off than under Saddam. Was it worth conducting the war we are? Deceiving ourselves and our allies? Signing up for a long-term messy occupation? No. Is America's physical security better than at the beginning of the year? No.
To return to the numbers question, I believe there are over 5000 Iraqi civilians dead from US police and military action since the beginning of the year, and buried in the news section you can see the terrorists are killing officials and civil servants who are working with us. That's a very bad sign. I don't know where the "few" murders number comes from: assualt, theft, rape, and criminal murder are apparently widespread. And I thought the whole numbers thing started with the absurd comparison between the number of homicides in our troops (150K) and the city of Chicago (3,000K). The 23 million snuck in later.
Mr Linden writes
If Rumsfeld said we'd need only 30,000 troops, isn't it possible that he simply made a mistake? It's pretty clear the administration had quite a few erroneous assumptions going into Iraq. We can't do anything about that now. We have to deal with the situation on the ground. Our reputation is on the line. Failure will be disastrous for the Middle East and for America. Stop hoping we fail.I believe that this entire thread is about the tension between "Everything is going great" now, and the fact everything is going much worse than advertised pre-war. Yes. Rumsfeld made a mistake. David T doesn't seem to agree with us on this; he's devoted this thread to explaining how the Administration's pre-war claims that look so wrong are actually correct.
Why Rummy and his staff don't quit or aren't fired for such a big mistake is a good question. Why you think he is any more competent to run the occupation than he was to calculate its cost is also a good question. I'm not hoping America fails. I'm hoping the idiots who got us into this mess (incl GWB) pay with their jobs and someone who knows what he is doing gets us out of it.posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
IMO comparisons of the occupation of Iraq to Vietnam are inane, and almost all of those making them are clueless. Our vital national interests were not involved in Vietnam - we intervened in someone else's civil war. We were attacked at home on 9/11. Very few of the Americans who opposed our invasion of Iraq pay more than lip service to its 9/11 origins, and no one comparing Iraq's occupation to the Vietnam War does at all.
9/11 was a world-changing event. You either get it or you don't. The Americans who haven't never will. A paradigm shift happened. It is a waste of time to discuss related events with people on the wrong side of the paradigm shift. Here those are mostly Democratic activists.
As an example, the Bill Clinton of 1992, and the Al Gore of 1992 and 2000, would have no chance whatever in the 2004 Democratic presidential race. Clinton beat an incumbent Bush. Gore almost beat a non-incumbent Bush, and got more popular votes. But they'd be dead in the current campaign. That says one hell of a lot about the Democratic Party today.
Furthermore none of the people who compare Iraq to Vietnam know beans about history, military history, strategy, military affairs, the Vietnam War or Iraq. The Vietnam War is just a term they sprinkle over everything like ketchup, just as many Republican nutballs used to sprinkle God over everything.
I've discussed the decision to intervene with major ground forces in Vietnam with some of the political people involved in the decision, and the then CIA chief of political affairs for the Far East. Ellsberg was right. LBJ made the call so as not to lose on his watch. He wasn't trying to win. He only wanted to avoid losing, and gutted the pre-intervention strategic planning which made the RVN regime the main target (basically we changed sides going in). "A mistake in strategy can only be cured in the next war" - chief of the German General Staff Halder. The strategic plan for Vietnam as implemented was fatally flawed at the beginning - prop up the RVN regime instead of replacing it. After that nothing mattered.
Contrast that with the Bush II administration laying out a major, major change in American grand strategy several months prior to the final call on invading Iraq. Each campaign in the overall war on terror calls for its own strategy, and each is, ideally, fitted into the overall grand strategy. First you have to have a grand strategy. Bush II made one. Conquering a given country is one campaign. Afghanistan and Iraq won't be the only ones. Reconstructing a given country is another campaign. Afghanistan is being neutralized, not reconstructed. Iraq is being reconstructed.
The one absolutely crucial objective in reconstructing Iraq seems to have already been achieved - securing a firm alliance with the Shiite Arab majority (we had one with Iraq's Kurds prior to the invasion). The media/press are clueless about this. They have no idea what the important stories are. Our relations with the various Shiite Arab tribes are the most important story in the occupation. I've paid close attention to the details emerging here. It looks like we've won. They're slowly dealing with their own crazies and the Iranian trouble-makers. Sometimes they need some backup from American forces, but we haven't had to actually take any action ourselves.
The differences between us pacifying Iraq's Sunni Arab tribes, and not doing so, will chiefly be these:
(1) how many Sunni Arabs remain in Iraq once we leave. Note that the Iraqi armed forces are being rebuilt with an all-new, i.e., non-Sunni, cadre. Unreconciled Sunni Arabs in Iraq will have the following choices once our occupation ends - (a) becoming reconciled, (b) becoming gone or (c) becoming dead.
(2) whether there is a significant prosperous and peaceful Sunni minority in Iraq to serve as a model for reconstructing the Sunni majorities in other Arab countries. It will be much more difficult for us to succeed with the latter if we don't.
Keep in mind that we will win the war on terror. The major question is how many Arabs survive the experience.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Well put, Mr. Holsinger.
Said someone more famous than I, Mr Lazarus: "You dirty (their) name when you speak it"posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Mr Wellesley: What about what soldiers? Unless I have missed a comment, the only discussion was about their casualty rate, which David T was irresponsibly comparing to Chicago's. Do you have some other point to make?
Mr Holsinger: Oddly enough, the architects of the Vietnam War were quite convinced of its importance to national security. Just as convinced as this Administration is about the Iraq War. Recall the Domino Effect, that we didn't want further Communist takeovers in Southeast Asia (eventually spreading to the Phillippines, etc.). And we also saw it as important to our natural interest to oppose Russian client states (e.g., North Vietnam), not just out of whim, but because for our security. Much of the Cold War was fought hot in the 3rd World. Indeed, I thought the Conservative Received View is now that Vietnam was an important, just war that we lost because liberals on the home front were too weak and cowardly.[*]
I guess I am one of those people who doesn't get 9/11. Or more to the point, I don't get why we invaded Iraq about 9/11. And doubly I don't realize why, if there were good reasons to invade Iraq over 9/11, the Administration instead polluted the air with false claims about Iraqi nuclear weapons. I most certainly see why we removed the Taliban from Afghanistan and I agreed 100%. I'm not Barbara Lee, even if I am in her district.
I haven't met a single person who voted for Al Gore who now says he's going to vote for Bush. You might see if such people exist before making your 2004 predictions.
[*] I myself have a nonstandard explanation for why we lost in Vietnam, which is that for some incomprehensible reason we didn't use our best troops. How could GWB, Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz, and Limbaugh have been relegated to the sidelines while the weak B team of Kerry, Cleland, Daschle, and company were sent into combat? (Actually, I can see why Limbaugh wasn't allowed to fight, it would have violated the Geneva Conventions on Poison Gas.)posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
"Iraq as a whole, if one had to average over everything, is probably slightlly better off than under Saddam."
Boggles the mind.posted by: jsmith on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Technology may have changed, but the eternal verities of human nature and that most especially primal custom of warfare have not. Sun Tzu could not tell you how to beat radar-guided Artillery, but he could tell you that statements such as this:
"The Military is no longer allowed to inflict massive casualties on our enemies."
Are the symptom of an utterly confused mind that is bound for military defeat. To quote Sun Tzu, Military warfare is the ground of life and death and it must be taken with the most uttermost seriousness. Furthermore, civilian commanders must not overly interfere with the conduct of war or they will prevent victory.
Yes, Sun Tzu really did write that and it's still true today as it was 2000 years ago. Victory cannot be achieved by inflicting causalties alone, but neither can it achieved by holding back.posted by: Oldman on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Just a mere decade ago, France and Germany were considered among those of our closest allies and essential as part of the cooperative NATO standoff that eventually led to the attrition and crumbling of the Evil Empire. They were valuable allies then, and they could have been valuable allies recently. Your after the fact historical revisionism is only an apology for a pointlessly tactless diplomatic campaign.
It should be remembered that not only France and Germany sided against unilateral US invasion, but also every other established country in the world such as Mexico, Chile, China, Canada, Russia, etc- including a majority of Britons and Spainards and significant figures inside their governments.
If you consider the popularity as by percentage population, virtually no country on the face of the earth supported us on this one. So stop villifying the French. They may lack spine, but in this case it was because they had their finger in the wind and they knew smartly which way it was really blowing not because they had it in for us in particular.posted by: Oldman on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
"I haven't met a single person who voted for Al Gore who now says he's going to vote for Bush. You might see if such people exist before making your 2004 predictions."
Cha-ching! Former liberal getting closer and closer to going Republican as the Democrats dig themselves a deeper hole. There are lots of me.posted by: linden on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
France hasn't been an ally in more than the paper sense for a long time. France became an enemy of the U.S. during the Clinton administration. Here is what happened:
France's government is set up so as to minimize accountability to the public. Its national leaders use foreign trade with the third world, plus arms sales in particular (for various reasons, such as the arms industry being largely nationalized) as income opportunities for the leadership through bribery, extortion, etc. I.e., France is a kleptocracy.
Clinton cut into their income. He had the CIA and NSA (code-breaking organization) find out exactly what bribes the French were offering for sales, plus their bid information, and gave that information to American companies so they could outbid the French. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown was involved in this.
Clinton and the Democrats got some of the money themselves a la the French.
The French government hated Clinton for this. HATED him. And they became an enemy of the U.S. This was expressed in the Balkans big-time during the Clinton administration. That did not change when Clinton left office.
BTW, check into the relatives of Prime Minister Cretien of Canada. He's got a piece of it, which is what has happened to Canadian policy towards the U.S.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Tom, where did you get all of that? Very interesting. Can I have some more?posted by: linden on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Well you won't get too much of a rise out of me in defending France - but bashing it is a distraction. The point is not that France was against us. The point is that we lost popular support from around the world - including majorities or pluralities in Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Russia, and Britain as well as in many of our "new-Europe" supposed allies. We also lost Mexico, Chile, and we even lost the Africans as well as the 53rd colony of Canada.
Bash the French all you want, but they're just a convenient target to distract from everyone else that decided that we were wrong.posted by: Oldman on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
My source about Cretien is the Economist. The stuff about Clinton, Ron Brown and the French is about eight years old and I don't recall my sources anymore. It was a major giggle on the old GEnie network at the time, especially among those with intelligence connections. Republicans got all worked up about Ron Brown too, for the usual wrong reasons.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
For an interesting discussion of post-WWII US and Allied (including Russian) military deaths in Germany due to sabotage and terror, and German violence against Germans accused of "collaborating" with the reconstruction, see http://220.127.116.11/focus/f-news/976319/posts. See, in particular, #11 in the thread, by "Pukin Dog."posted by: blogaddict on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
The security of the United States undoubtedly requires the proactive use of the military. However, that doesn't mean that any military use is better than none. Part of the frustration that many conservatives including myself have felt is that President Bush has listened to a bunch of whacking fools, and when anyone on his own side - as in hawks like Warner, Graham, Zinni, McCaffery, and McCain - tries to get him to start down a path that might actually win this war he starts shouting that "everything is getting better all the time," and "it's my way or the highway."
The safety of the United States of America requires that this conflict be won. However it cannot be won by accusing those who ask questions of a lack of patriotism or news filtering. A good start would be firing the idiots who got us into this mess and putting people in place with a proven track record of delivering in National Security matters.posted by: Oldman on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Over at my blog I have a post questioning the metrics that the CG of the 4ID is using. He has more facts on the ground than any one here, but my thought is the typical thought of metrics; is he actually measuring what he wants to measure(ie the level of US support in the Iraqi population) or is he only measuring what he thinks he is wants to measure.
My problem with the paragraph that Daniel quoted is that it discludes the guerillas learning a couple of key things including going force on force with US infantry backed by tanks and aviation is a losing proposition, the US infantry is massively over-armored compared to everyone else, and stand-off/blast weapons are widely available and cheap to use.
So it could be that the guerillas are trying to conserve their resources by avoiding dumb force on force situations and acting like true guerillas and going for the easy pick-offs and running like hell immediately afterwards.
What do you think.posted by: fester on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
That seems to be the pattern - more use of bombs and mortars, and firearms being used in coordinated group attacks. There's a lot of mortaring going on - in the WSJ today, there was an article on treating wounded soldiers. The field hospital was on an airbase (Airbase Sustain?), which was being mortared nightly.posted by: Barry on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
One of the more interesting things about the following article is that it includes an interview with the same author whose work is cited so approvingly by PukinDog.
"The werewolves existed more in the idea or the fantasy stage than ever as a real phenomenon," said Lt. Col. Kevin Farrell, a historian at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.[snip]posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
unclosed tag, sorryposted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Of course a key difference between Nazi Germany and Iraq was that we bombed Germany flat, then starved the survivors into submission. I doubt if such a policy would work today.
More to the point, many administration critics simply aren't logical. They are demanding absolute perfect foresight in WAR, which is impossible.
No serious strategist should expect such a thing. Was Eisenhower asked to predict the exact numbers of American troops and their positions a year from D-Day? Was FDR's cabinet asked to put a time table together for victory in 1942 and then castigated for every delay?
The problem with the anti-war left isn't that it offers criticisms to the administration, it is that their criticisms are so feeble and self-defeating.
"The plan wasn't perfect!"
What plan is? Has any battle or campaign ever gone completely according to plan? Robert E. Lee couldn't achieve this, nor could Napoleon. Rumsfeld is being held to a standard that no leader in world history could achieve. It's worse than disingenuous, it's just plain stupid.
Once the battle is joined, the enemy will change his tactics. You can't send James Bond into his hideout and figure out his every move. So you react and adapt. This is exactly what we are doing.
If the standard for success is now going to be not only flawless victory, but a victory gained without even the slightest deviation from a multi-year plan, we may as well just save time and adopt Sharia, because we will lose.
It is that simple.posted by: Alec on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
The French gave the Serbs technical military assistance on how to shoot down American aircraft and spoof our recon/targeting systems, locate downed American pilots, etc.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
This was on James Dunnigan's Strategypage.com and it supports what Tom Holsinger said up-topic about the fate of the Iraqi Sunnis. It is at this link:
Since Dunnigan's site scrolls posts off so fast, the relevant text is below:
IRAQ: It's Lebanon, Not Vietnam
October 27, 2003: At least five bombs went off in Baghdad, killing over 30 people and wounding over 200 more. One bomb went off outside a building used by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Several went off outside a police stations and another went off outside a government ministry. An ambulance was used for the bomb set off outside the ICRC building. Nearly all the casualties of these bombs were Iraqis. American bases are very well defended, so the terrorists are apparently going for more exposed targets, like police stations.
When the Moslem Brotherhood used similar bombing tactics in Egypt during the late 1980s and early 1990s, so many civilians were killed that the Brotherhood lost a lot of their popular support (for their battle against government corruption.) This led to more tips from civilians and the rounding up of most of the Brotherhood activists. By the mid 1990s, the Moslem Brotherhood was destroyed in Egypt, with many of those not arrested having fled overseas to join Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization. Iraq, however, is s slightly different situation. The resistance in Iraq is led by Sunni Arabs (Baath Party) who want to regain control of the country. Working with this group are Islamic radicals (al Qaeda and local religious zealots), who would normally be fighting the Baath Party. Thus the resistance in Iraq has an ethnic minority (the 20 percent of the population that is Sunni Arab) as a base of support.
What's developing is a civil war, similar to what went on in Lebanon from 1975-90. There, Islamic radicals (mostly Shias) first used suicide bombers against their political enemies (mostly Arab Christians.) The civil war in Iraq will probably be more vicious than the one in Lebanon, because the Sunni Arabs were quite savage towards the Shia Arab and Kurd majority, over centuries. But the last few decades of Sunni Arab rule were particularly nasty, and the Shia and Kurds will not be gentle in dealing with Sunni Arab resistance.
In some Sunni Arab areas, the locals are becoming aware that American troops are actually protecting them from the wrath of Shia and Kurd gunmen. There are still armed Shia and Kurds coming into Sunni areas looking to kill specific Sunni men who committed atrocities against Shias and Kurds. But the Americans will be withdrawing as soon as a functioning democracy is set up in Iraq. This may take two years or more, and will probably still leave the war with the Sunni Arabs unsettled. The hostility between the Sunni minority and the majority Shia and Kurds will never end, but everyone will eventually get tired of the car bombs and other violence, just as they did in Lebanon and Egypt. There will be peace, but the Sunnis will always be looking for an opportunity to be in charge once more.
>The French gave the Serbs technical
Yeah, those times on GEnie were great.
Watching the Washinngton Times report on how Commerce Secretary Ron Brown used the CIA and NSA to screwed the French out of a Brazilian traffic control radar contract was a hoot.
The Washington Times reporter didn't know whether to poop or go blind writing it up as a "scandal" and "abuse of power."posted by: Trent Telenko on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
"More to the point, many administration critics simply aren't logical. They are demanding absolute perfect foresight in WAR, which is impossible."
Not true. The administration did not lack perfect foresight, ignored what was actually predicted. Gen. Shelton predicted that it would take a couple of hundred thousand troops to secure Iraq, and was ignored by Wolfowitz, who predicted that we'd be down to ~30K by the end of the summer.
The State Department's interagency task force work on the probable post-war situation was not only ignored by the Pentagon, but Garner was blocked when he wanted one of those planners on his staff.
The post-war efforts were clearly not enough, even though there was very little urban combat in Baghdad and no use of WMD's and most of the Iraqi army disintegrated. Which says that those efforts would have been far too little in what was the most likely scenario.
In short, the administration screwed up. Get over it. Move on.posted by: Barry on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
The French gave the Serbs technical military assistance on how to shoot down American aircraft and spoof our recon/targeting systems, locate downed American pilots, etc."
Posted by Tom Holsinger at October 29, 2003 10:34 AM
Mr. Barry. Just so you know- you have just credited the administration with perfect foresight. Did you mean to do that?
You then follow with the declaration that perfect foresight is possible.
Are there still such things as calvinists?posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
In one of the two trials, the French officer in question said he had been ordered to do so by French political authorities.
The problem in both cases was American intelligence bugged NATO lines and caught the French officers involved.
Why any serving NATO officer assumed any NATO lines were *not* bugged by _someone_ is beyond me.posted by: Trent Telenko on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Wow, Mr. Telenko, and just like that he stops posting. Perhaps the black helicopters got our poor Mr. Barry.posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
In one of the two trials, the French officer in question said he had been ordered to do so by French political authorities.While I find the story quite plausible, given historical amity between France and Milosevic, I don't think this evidence if uncorroborated is worth much. It's the sort of excuse the fly always tries to give the spider.
To return to the main topic, I am not, believe it or not, asking the Bush Administration to have perfect foresight. If we were still locked in a standard military struggle against the Taliban in the outskirts of Kabul, I wouldn't hold it against Bush.
What I do hold against Bush are (1) his determination to go into Iraq which I saw as tangential to the security of the United States [I realize this opinion is in the minority here]; (2) his acceptance of—no, his insistence on—acquiring and disseminating false pseudo-intelligence in furtherance of the invasion of Iraq and (3) even supposing that he feels no need to investigate the pre-war intelligence failures, because the were in conformity with his desires, his failure to analyze the intelligence failures with respect to the post-war (?!) period, which unlike the pre-war errors were not in the direction he desired, and his failure to protect against similar failures in the future or to fire those responsible.
Why do Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz have jobs while Grady Little doesn't?posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
You got a person raised as a Calvinist right here. Growing up among religious fundamentalists didn't do me no harm as far as I can tell - nicest and most kind people I've ever did meet. While Barry's diction may be mangled, he's got the right point.
It ain't about perfect foresight. It's about common sense. Given the modern military's experience in Serbia, Somalia, Lebanon, Panama, and Iraq the last time around pretty much everything that happened was very foreseeable. In fact, the CIA and State department gave official warnings based on research and interviewing Iraqis about each and every mistep that happened.
This could have been done better and it should have been done better. The reason why we know is that Republicans like McCain, Warner, Graham, etc. are getting fed up by Bush's refusal to come clean and just do what it takes to win. The real reason why more troops aren't going over there is that doing so would require a mass-mobilization which would be politically unpopular.
Despite what Bush says, Abizaid does not have everything he needs to do the job. His own ground commanders are begging - to reporters - for counterinsurgency troops, FRTs(Fast Reaction Teams), and more special ops / elite commando type units to hit back at anyone who takes a pop shot at the US ground troops there.
The refusal to do so because it would require taking a political hit means that Bush is trying to have it both ways - win a war but not have it seen as a big problem.
War don't work like that. You do whatever it takes. If you do that, it get's easier. There ain't no way to bargain down the price of victory. It takes what it takes. And Bush's refusal to do what it takes b/c he's afraid of the political cost is the damning sin that pretty much ensures that all the rest of the criticisms about the conduct of the war are indeed justified.posted by: Oldman on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
There was a change of power between the Socialists and the Gaullists during the Bosnia crisis.
Milosevic had only been buying off the party in power and the returning party was making a point about that.posted by: Trent Telenko on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
We'll get there soon enough. "War is the ultimate moral solvent" - George Will.
It is a moral imperative to use all lesser means first.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Mr Oldman, you are getting tiresome.
The war is over. How can we even go any farther if you can't accept that simple fact. Tell me that that is not your entire premise. Please, tell me that you have already thought through a possible counter-argument to 'quagmire' in the event that you were wrong, and the war was won.
What is going on now is stability operations. Mr. Oldman, seriously, what kind of phony aphorism is "do whatever it takes"? We have, we won the war. We are now attempting to keep the peace.
Read alec's post again. Can you contest his logic? No. Your response is...
I mean, seriously, "Mass-mobilization"? Your not even making sense anymore. Go see a play or something, this bitterness of yours is unhealthy. Seriously.posted by: Arthur Wellesley on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Hah, Art. Nice. Ouch, old guyposted by: Beetle on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
No kidding, AW. How many of us do you think their are, oldman? Try Defenselink.mil, punkposted by: sgt101 on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
"More to the point, many administration critics simply aren't logical. They are demanding absolute perfect foresight in WAR, which is impossible.
No serious strategist should expect such a thing. Was Eisenhower asked to predict the exact numbers of American troops and their positions a year from D-Day? Was FDR's cabinet asked to put a time table together for victory in 1942 and then castigated for every delay?"
At least alec makes sense. What's you great post-war plan, oldman?
posted by: TommyG on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
I'll throw one suggestion out: contributions of men and money will be much greater if we stop insisting on US control. (Like, the Europeans will contribute to the Halliburton Profit Guarantee Fund?)posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
David Thomson wrote: the quaint notion that the Old Europeans are morally decent human beings. Nothing of course could be further from the truth.
Tom Holsinger wrote: Keep in mind that we will win the war on terror. The major question is how many Arabs survive the experience.
Art Wellesley wrote: Well put, Mr. Holsinger.
Can David advise me how many Europeans have recommended genocide in the blunt terms that Tom advocated and Art supported?posted by: Jesurgislac on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
TommyG, the point is not that anyone demanded "absolute perfect foresight". The point is that military experts foresaw the logistics required for occupation of Iraq. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz dismissed the expert opinions available to them because politically it made sense at the time to do so. Trying to claim that no one could have predicted the situation that we're currently in in Iraq is folly: many people did predict it. Bush and Co just chose not to pay attention.posted by: Jesurgislac on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Europeans that have recommended genocide? Hmm, let's see... Euro..peans...genocide...
Boy, you know, I'm drawing a blank her meinen freund.
Gosh- can you really have written that?
And with that easy one, I'll quit this post.posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
And with that easy one, I'll quit this post.
Ah, Art. Thank you for the quick quip. I guess you mean that genocide is fine with you. Well, at least we know what side you're on.
uh, j-slac, reads to me like you asked a stupid question, drawn from a stupid premise, and had it handed to you (via AW). Then you try and play cute?
Dude, you don't even matter.posted by: TommyG on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Andrew Lazarus drooled:
Number of GIs killed by guerrilla and terrorist attacks in Germany subsequent to the surrender: Zero. Your turn.
Buildings housing Allied and Soviet staffs were favourite targets for Werewolf bombings; an explosion in the Bremen police headquarters, also in June 1945, killed five Americans and thirty-nine Germans. Techniques for harassing the occupiers were given widespread publicity through Werewolf leaflets and radio propaganda, and long after May 1945 the sabotage methods promoted by the Werewolves were still being used against the occupying powers.
Gregposted by: Greg D on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Mr. Jesurgislac you have offered zero evidence to support your position.
The problem is not a shortage of troops, it is a lack of knowledge of the enemy. Counter-insurgencies are not defeated by massed armies and divisions of tanks. If they were, South Vietnam would still exist.
What is needed is a gradual buildup of local intelligence and security forces. To put it simply, we can’t make the Iraqis want to rule themselves. Sending another quarter million troops over won’t speed the process up. If anything, it would lead to an increased sense of occupation and passivity. The idea would be: “Ah, the Americans will take care of everything.”
We can’t and we won’t.
When compared to historical military operations, the liberation of Iraq is one of the most successful in almost every sense. It was successful because of the success it achieved, NOT because some grand plan was flawlessly implemented.
Again, I defy you to show me any general in history capable of such foresight. So you found a general who wanted more troops (what general doesn’t) but there is zero reason to believe larger occupation forces would somehow prevent terrorism.
Using your logic, the problem in Northern Ireland was that Britain needed more troops. Hardly.
The genius of command is the ability to react to quickly changing circumstances. A quick survey of the great “planners” of history reveal a collection of incompetent, defeated generals. A leader who claims a “flawless” plan and sticks to it without any attention to the changing strategic and tactical environment is guaranteed failure.
We have seen this time and again.
I hate to repeat myself, but I will: the criticisms are simply self-defeating. No one, not even your far-sighted generals, knew the Red Cross would be bombed yesterday, nor did they magically know how to stop it.
If you can see the future, set up a 1-900 number. The rest of us will muddle through as best we can.
Have you considered writing for the New York Times?posted by: Tom Holsinger on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
Yes, he did. And not even I would hire him.posted by: H Raines on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
More ammo for you, Greg and
TG, I'm lost. http://www.strandlab.com/germocc/uscindex.html
was a very interesting article but made no mention of "werewolves" or attacks on occupation troops. Did you send the wrong link?
Greg, would you do me the courtesy of following the links I post? I did for you. As I posted above, if you look at the more recent interview with Biddiscombe, his take is much less inflammatory. See my post of 9:48. Biddiscombe, the very author you link to, says "Certainly, there weren't American troops dying at the rate that they are in Iraq".
The other historians in the field (whom I excerpted there) take an even dimmer view of the werewolf legend.posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
The issue is not prediction but preparation. No one can know exactly what will happen. However preparation buffers us against reasonably possible outcomes.
The Bush administration has failed not because of it's lack of prediction, but it's lack of preparation. Before the war, maybe we might have needed biochem suits and maybe we wouldn't. No one could foresee that for sure, not even maybe Saddam Hussien.
However it would have been plainly neglicant not to prepare for that possibility by taking 'NBC' gear and response teams with us.
In the same way regarding Arabic speakers, counter insurgency forces, civil affairs, MP's, the civil engineers, etc. the failure for the Bush administration to either prepare for these contingencies or respond swiftly to them is what is the crying shame. Not prediction but preparation.posted by: Oldman on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
vietnam, Vietnam, It'll be Vietnam ‘til the last wooden stake is driven into the last boomer’s heart.posted by: Robert Schwartz on 10.27.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]
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