Friday, April 9, 2004
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What to read about the Iraqi uprisings
Noam Scheiber converts some of these lemons into lemonade:
Virginia Postrel typically has smart things to say:
posted by Dan on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM
Maybe Al Sadr "jumped the gun" for that reason. Perhaps he wanted to highlight all the problems in Iraq so the US would be forced to finish what they started. Probably not but who knows? It's an interesting theory nonetheless.posted by: Kat on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
The vast majority of iraqis merely want to earn a nice living and stay out of harm’s way. I remain cautiously optimistic that these current troubles will be ancient history in a few more months. The militant Muslims and secular Baathist realize that they are on the losing side. This is their last ditch effort to stage a comeback. Will I bet my life savings on my theory? No, but I’m willing to wager a few dollars.
“...since the whole point of the Bush administration's withdrawal would have been to get Iraq out of the newspapers in time for the election campaign.”
Noam Scheiber’s argument seems very weak---if not downright dumb. We were never going to pull out that many troops from Iraq. Furthermore, President Bush’s partisan opponents would have crucified him if everything fell apart in Iraq. He could never simply walk away. In no way, would the media kept “Iraq out of the newspapers in time for the election campaign.” What planet does Scheiber live on?posted by: David Thomson on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
[B]efore this week, the administration's plan was to hand over power in Iraq as quickly as possible, and to begin withdrawing American troops soon after that. Had people like Moqtada al Sadr been savvier, they could have waited until after that transition had been completed, and after tens of thousands of American troops had been withdrawn, to start causing trouble. At that point we'd have been powerless to stop them, and, worse, more or less ignorant of what they were doing--since the whole point of the Bush administration's withdrawal would have been to get Iraq out of the newspapers in time for the election campaign.
Far harder to set up fellow Muslims that way, no?posted by: Bithead on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
This subject has been Overtaken By Events. Iran's mullah kleptocracy has not very covertly intervened in Iraq and attacked the United States. We are now at war with Iran whether or not we want to be.
The conflict has widened. Nothing we do in Iraq can be material here given Iranian intervention. That would be like trying to fight Al Qaeda after 9/11 without invading Afghanistan.
I repeat, Iran has attacked us in Iraq. Iran is at war with us. Iran will attack us again, and again, and again. The only way we can stop that is to change Iran's regime.
Furthermore Israel will nuke Iran to keep Iran from nuking Israel unless we conquer Iran first.
We have run out of choices and we are running out of time. Iran's nutballs will keep escalating until either we invade them or Israel nukes them. One or the other of those will happen within two years.
I had thought until recently that it would be the former in the fall of 2005. I now think we will invade Iran much sooner than that.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
I suggest skipping Postrel and TNR and head to Juan Cole and Tacitus.orgposted by: GT on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
“ABOUT THOSE PARTISAN IMPLICATIONS: Over the last few days, administration officials have responded to Democratic criticism by insisting that John Kerry needs to lay out "what he would do differently" in Iraq, as The Washington Post put it yesterday. Huh? Isn't it a little strange for the administration to be arguing, on the one hand, that Kerry flip-flopped on the war--first supporting it and then outspokenly criticizing its execution--and, on the other, that Kerry needs to figure out how to get us out of the situation we're now in? John Kerry's plan, as even the administration acknowledges, would have been TO NOT GET US INTO THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE!”
I am not through beating up on Noam Sheiber. The above sentences were lifted from the second half part of his TNR article. What exactly does he mean that John Kerry may not have gotten “US INTO THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE!?” I have been insisting for a long time that the Democrat mainstream is engaging in a dishonest pacifism. They shy away from military action to the point of absurdity. Indeed, the Viet Nam blowback meme pervades their thinking on terrorism. Christopher Hitchens adds this about people like Sheiber:
“I debate with the opponents of the Iraq intervention almost every day. I always have the same questions for them, which never seem to get answered. Do you believe that a confrontation with Saddam Hussein's regime was inevitable or not? Do you believe that a confrontation with an Uday/Qusay regime would have been better? Do you know that Saddam's envoys were trying to buy a weapons production line off the shelf from North Korea (vide the Kay report) as late as last March? Why do you think Saddam offered "succor" (Mr. Clarke's word) to the man most wanted in the 1993 bombings in New York? Would you have been in favor of lifting the "no fly zones" over northern and southern Iraq; a 10-year prolongation of the original "Gulf War"? Were you content to have Kurdish and Shiite resistance fighters do all the fighting for us? Do you think that the timing of a confrontation should have been left, as it was in the past, for Baghdad to choose?”posted by: David Thomson on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
The NYT, the WP, the LAT, the WSJ all have very good and similar articles today.posted by: GT on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
posted by: GT on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
I stopped reading the NY Times when I realized they were altering quotations to suit their political bias - at that point I could not trust anything it prints. They also lie blatantly, though that has been somewhat lessened with the new obudsman.
The LA Times is much, much worse. I've lived in California all my life and trust me, they invent stuff, even on intra-party Democratic fights. At this point the Washington Times, a Moonie paper, is more trustworthy than the LA Times on just about anything, including film news. The LA Times is a joke.
The NY Times is more comparable to the BBC and Reuters in reliability. They don't engage in wholesale fabrications and there are pockets of excellence.
The Washington Post is spotty in terms of reliability and credibility - it varies a lot from one reporter and editor to another. Sometimes the same reporters' related stories on the same subject are spun in quite inconsistent ways on different, sometimes successive, days.
The Wall Street Journal is consistent, politially biased, and accurate in news coverage. You can allow for the bias and get a lot of useful information from its news.
Cooperation between Sunnis and Shiites against us is an Iranian wet dream. It must be quite expensive for the mullahs.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
Re: Postrel: This is clearly not a last gasp. Nor is it necessarily the beginning of a trend. Look at the monthly death stats at Iraq Coalition Casualty Count (http://lunaville.org/warcasualties/Summary.aspx). The death rate has been remarkably constant, with the exception of the spike in November. However, given that people like Adnan Pacachi are grumbling about the U.S. Marines' actions in Falluja, I've got to think that we are really aggressively solidifying Iraqi opinion against the U.S. and its occupation. This seems much more likely than the thought that we are going to bludgeon them into open-armed submission. Much like the years of U.S. backed jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviets, and the U.S. experience in Lebanon, we will never conquer the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people now. And, I really do not buy the Israeli argument that we can make them at least respect us through massive violence. Thus, we are simply left with a detestable situation brought on one of the most reckless regimes in American history. Quite an accomplishment.posted by: comenius on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
re Holsinger's comment above: "Furthermore Israel will nuke Iran to keep Iran from nuking Israel unless we conquer Iran first."
re Holsinger's comment above: "Furthermore Israel will nuke Iran to keep Iran from nuking Israel unless we conquer Iran first."
If proponents of the war in Iraq had made a prediction in the run up to the war last year that simply laid out all the facts as they are now [on casualties, civilian casualties, Iraqi progress toward constitutional democracy, the unexpected cooperation from Libya, Pakistan et al and the current attacks from terrorists trying to derail democracy, etc.] ...
the Democrats would have laughed it off as ridiculously optimistic.
What a fantastic run of achievements the USA has had over the last year!! No other nation in history has ever done as much good for the world in a single year as we have achieved in the last year.posted by: stan on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
Yes stan things are going great.posted by: GT on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
Wow, so you don't read newpapers, huh Tom?
I guess that explains your views on Iraq.posted by: GT on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
"I stopped reading the NY Times when I realized they were altering quotations to suit their political bias - at that point I could not trust anything it prints. They also lie blatantly..." -- Tom Holsinger
You're right, Tom, but don't be too hard on them. If it wasn't for the NY Times' sloppy reporting, this war you wanted could never have occurred.posted by: Carl on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
“If it wasn't for the NY Times' sloppy reporting, this war you wanted could never have occurred.”
You wanted? Is someone hinting that war against Iraq was avoidable? Hmm, this is getting to be most interesting.
I am now convinced that the worst in over in Iraq. The coalition troops have the scum bags on the run. Why do I say this? The media are getting quieter.posted by: David Thomson on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
This is somewhat off topic but it caught my attention. I just started reading through my new book, it is a compilation of letters and editorials written during the process of ratification of the US Constitution. A little light reading..hehe. Anyway, I noticed that those who disagreed with how the first draft of the Constitution was written used the term patriot a lot to try to spur people to action. Those who were for the Constitution as it was did not call them anti-American, traitors etc. It seems during the earlier history of our country the ability to dissent was much more respected.
Another thing that also interested me was the high level of concern over freedom of pres, since as I am sure you all know the Bill of Rights came later. Yet when those arguments are brought up regarding the media monopolies they are dismissed by many.
Just a few random thoughts.posted by: Kat on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
You know you've won when the best your enemies can say in reply is to fabricate their own versions of what you said.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
"I am now convinced that the worst in over in Iraq. "
Are you as convinced as you were that Bush was going to be beating Kerry by 8 points in the polls by now?
Your optimism in the face of the facts never ceases to amaze me David.posted by: GT on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
“Are you as convinced as you were that Bush was going to be beating Kerry by 8 points in the polls by now?”
Fair enough. Actually, it was six to eight points. Rasmussen has Kerry currently ahead by two points---but this is pathetic for the Massachusetts senator considering the current troubles in Iraq. This is the only reason why Bush, at this very moment, is not ahead by the earlier predicted figure. Why am I so optimistic that the worst of the violence may be over? I just visited the website of the BBC. This is the lead story:
“Iraqi allies warn US over Falluja
Members of Iraq's US-appointed governing council have condemned the US military operation in Falluja after four days of bitter fighting.
One member described the operation as "genocide" after doctors in the Sunni Muslim city of 300,000 reported 450 deaths and 1,000 injured this week.”
The BBC would not be highlighting “genocide” charges if the coalition forces were doing poorly. It’s as simple as that.posted by: David Thomson on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
This ain’t too bad:
“Bush received 45 percent of voters and Kerry 44 percent in the poll taken April 5-7, AP said.”
Also, do you remember some state named Florida? Bush is leading Kerry by eight points, 51 to 43%!:posted by: David Thomson on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
The ARG poll has Kerry up by 6.
What's clear is that there has been a big drop in Bush's internals and support for his handling of the war is falling.
As for Iraq the situation is bad, bad, bad. It's almost irrelevant that we can beat them militarily. We know that. But now the opposition has a) united against us and b) knows it can strike us. There is no good option for us now.posted by: GT on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
That FL is almost ancient history.posted by: GT on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
er, that FL poll I mean.posted by: GT on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
Looks like even Bush's Iraqi puppets are starting to turn against the US:
Yep, Tom and David, looks like you're winning hearts and minds over there.posted by: Don Williams on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
“That FL is almost ancient history.”
March 30/ April 1 is close enough.
Anyone reading your comments will conclude that you are close to having an orgasm because of the recent bad news out of Iraq. My guess is that you would open the champagne if things got a lot worse. Am I the only reaching this conclusion? I wonder if some other people sense the same thing?posted by: David Thomson on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
NO ONE is happy about the bad news out of Iraq. Unlike you, David, I think the relative news silence shows that no one is all that excited about piling on against US interests. Why is it that ANY criticism must be disloyal?
We are there. We MUST win. I just wish we had more resources to do it with and I darn sure don't want Tom's "Zimmerman Telegram" to send us off into an adventure in Iran right now.posted by: TexasToast on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
“Unlike you, David, I think the relative news silence shows that no one is all that excited about piling on against US interests.”
I’ve got some swamp land in florida to sell you. The BBC and Reuters would love to pile on “against US interests.” These people intensely hate the United States. No, the situation is definitely improving.posted by: David Thomson on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
No, April 1 is not close enough, not when the whole Iraq situation happened AFTER that.
And David, if you want to be taken seriously please refrain from questioning people's motives. It may surprise you but you have no monopoly on patriotism.
The situation in Iraq is a mess and it will get worse. If you want to dream that things are going dandy be my guest.posted by: GT on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
posted by: GT on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
I suggest you check the whole Gallup poll David. The headline numbers are not very important right now. The internals are. Support for the war in Iraq is plummeting. Fully 1/3 want to get out now. 47% think the war was not worth the effort.posted by: GT on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
The U.S. suddenly finds itself trapped not so much in a civil war in Iraq, but in something different: a religious war. This is a much scarier proposition than fighting against Iraqi nationalists, Saddam recidivists or even simple, America-hating insurgents. Ask Israel what happens when a nationalist uprising turns into a religious cause...
As it happens, this turn toward religious tension in Iraq parallels a much broader trend, in which religion is assuming a bigger role in the world generally, and opening gaps among the U.S., Europe and the Islamic world.
In the U.S., religion is becoming an increasingly important -- or at least increasingly visible -- part of political life. President Bush describes himself as a born-again Christian, Americans increasingly turn to religion as an organizing force in their lives, and religion is discussed openly in political campaigns. That's fed Middle Eastern paranoia that the U.S. is on a religious "crusade" in Iraq.
In the Islamic world, it's even more obvious that religion is a growing political force. The very debate under way in Iraq -- how Islamic will the country's new government be? -- is playing out in nations across the Middle East and the wider Islamic world. Islamic overtones are influencing even governments that once prized their secular status.
Meanwhile, Europe is moving in a third direction, further away from religion and toward secularism. For evidence of the gap, look at a new international survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project. It found that 58% of Americans and 89% of Pakistanis, but only 13% of the French and 25% of Britons, said it is necessary to believe in God to be moral. It's a safe bet that one reason Europeans don't want to get involved in Iraq is their distaste for a conflict in which religion is intertwined with politics.
...the U.S. has tried, hard and in good faith, to keep out of the religious disputes that divide Iraq. The saddest part of the last two weeks' tragedies is that they may well signal that the well-intentioned effort has failed.posted by: Murray Sphincs on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
Sadr moved now because he had to, and because the trouble in Fallujah gave an opening he could wedge.
The CPA shut down his paper, started arresting his aides, a lot of people were complaining about him, and the government was clearly closing a noose around him and his operation. He could not afford to wait much longer because he might not have had a "movement" much longer.
Furthermore, the polling data and the experimental elections all showed that the people were not favoring theocratic rule. The closer he got to real elections, the more isolated he would have become, with more people voting and moving away from theocratic rule.
The conflict in Fallujah provided an uptick spark in nationalist pride and resentment. He had to tap into that. If he can sell his theocracy as a nationalist movement (which is what he's doing), then all the better.
I'm thinking that the struggle describing his actions has to do with a struggle for a metaphor -- clearly describing it as Tet II doesn't fit. Probably something with post-war Germany fits, with Nazi hangers-on kicking up a storm in [Fallujah], and militant communists in [Sadr City] trying to take advantage of the heightened troubles. Anybody got a good book on the period?
Dear usual suspects,
As usual DT is overoptimistic and Holsinger is waxing loudly about his long cherished expansion of the war whatever the cost to others must be for his dream to be achieved.
However I agree with DT on two points. Kerry and the media would have crucified Bush for walking away from Iraq. If Scheiber thinks otherwise then he's smoking the wrong kind of weed. The other point is that if this is the best Kerry can muster with Condi's testimony and Iraq scouring Bush's ratings, then there's still plenty of room for a Bush victory in November.
However, DT's analysis kind of neglects that the US military forces are pulling in their horns because it's a Muslim holiday and Sadr is desperately trying to negotiate his way out of the mess. That's why it's quiet. If the Administration insists on a battle to the death, then Sadr will fight to the death and the casualties will go back up.
The idea that everything is just going to "blow over" is an over-eager wet dream of fantasy.
When Sadr get's crushed, and it's probably only a matter of time, the collateral damage will likely cost us irrevocably a great deal of good will.
On top of that, many foreigners are being harassed or kidnapped - more than what make it to the headlines. With that kind of friendly hospitality, Reconstruction will grind to a halt. Would you volunteer to work under those conditions? Without Reconstruction, the Iraqis will lose hope and will eventually turn on us en masse.
And then this turmoil will seem like a love-tap in comparison.
The people fighting us don't have to beat us. They just have to prevent us from fixing things.
For one, I would volunteer to go there and take things over and turn it around. It is too important to the United States to be allowed to fail. However, I am under no illusion that me or anyone who would actually do anything about the situation will be allowed near the reins of power there to fix things.
Hence, expect to more set, rinse, and repeat of the debacles and tragedy chronically there except with the volume increasingly turned up.posted by: Oldman on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
Absurd. 99% of the populace does sees Sadr as an opportunistic thug that needed to be removed a long time ago. His promise of theocratic rule is only attractive to the criminals and wannabes that seek power through force. The majority is well aware that he would institute blackrobe dress for women, whippings for men, sharia for all. Killing him off is the best way to demonstrate that the US will not allow Iraq to backslide into that a new Afghanistan.
As usual, appeasers promise to do more harm.
"99% of the populace does sees Sadr as an opportunistic thug that needed to be removed a long time ago."
Do you have a specific cite for these numbers?posted by: sam on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
You're absolutely right, Sam. And thanks for bringing to attention Ursus's outrageous claim.
Ursus - Bob Dole and I have one thing to say to you: "Stop lying about our record"posted by: Tommy G on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
I wasn't disagreeing with his point, I was just curious about where he got his figures. Thanks for providing the source for figures on what the Iraqis think of Sadr.posted by: sam on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
"which may ironically be leading to greater interethnic coordination."
So is this now the latest "buzz" phrase for extremist groups acting together - "greater interethnic coordination"?
C'mon, Barry - Get with the program (pogrom?) You missed a doosy at last years Terror Application Industry bash. God what a hang-over.
Seriously, though: Good catch.posted by: Tommy G on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
You keep projecting. Iraqis aren't you. They have a much different past.
They like winners. They really, really, like winners. Strength is everything to them.
Either you can step out of your shoes and into someone else's, or you can't. If you can't, your sky will always fall.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
You ought to tell VP that this latest twitch in Iraq left over 500 Iraqis and about 50 or so Americans dead. If you adjust for population, 500 Iraqis dying is like having 5000 americans die in a week of violence...and have them all die in one small to medium sized city.posted by: Sam Jackson on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
Would those 5000 Americans also be armed and shooting at the government, lynching aid workers, etc? Just curious thanks.
Well, it's 99.9% in Baghdad...
"You know you've won when the best your enemies can say in reply is to fabricate their own versions of what you said."
Enemies? I thought we were "fellow citizens”.
Sounds like it’s you that is doing the “projecting” here. You are arguing that one more turn of the screw will solve the problem and refuse to notice that we might have stripped the threads by applying force with a drill that isn’t powerful enough. General Abouzad asked for more troops months ago but there are none available because (1) we have POed all of our allies and (2) we are in the middle of military restructuring which means we have no available American troops.
Remember that game in S&T 35 – Year of the Rat? If I recall correctly, it had some VC units in the Mekong Delta that you could destroy, but they would “come back to life” without adequate garrison troops. The “game” was to figure out how few troops could keep them from being a threat to the delta so that one could use all your ARVN to blunt the NVA offensive further north. Interesting game. Unfortunately, the Marines and insurgents in Fallujah, Kut, Najaf and all those other places aren’t cardboard unit counters. I have no doubt that we can defeat this insurgency – but the longer it goes on the more we will look like a modern day crusader army as we will be forced to use force to maintain order. The more force we use, and the longer we have to stay, the more difficult “democratization” will be - unless we really don’t give a rat’s a** about “democratization”.
If there was no war in Iraq, would you continued the US-enforced sanctions against Saddam's regime? Or you would you just lift them to please our french, german, and russian friends? Do you trust the goodwill of Saddam and his two sons to keep this country safe?
The ME is full of people that don't like us. And they didn't just start disliking us just because the CPA shut down a newspaper. These people have their own ideas, they are not robots who only react when the US does something...
I think Virginia has got it right we need to wait and see.
What disturbs me most is that the Iraqi police force just turned and ran although that is understandable when facing well armed thugs.
It seems to me that too many Iraqi's now expect the US to make everything right jobs, security etc and fail to realize that they must be part of the solution.
I remember Tom Freidman writing an op-ed last year stating it must be the Iraqi security forces which weed out the terrorist because they will be willing to play by the terrorist rules, not the US. So far I do not see this happening.posted by: tallan on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
Hmmmm. So, the only thing they understand is force and more force? Wow. The administration told me that we were trying to democratize Iraq. I guess that WAS just PR.
I don't recall those on the left wailing about the 'legitimate' voice being silenced as a result of the OKC trial. Was McVeigh's arrest, conviction and execution crusading, or was it a Democracy protecting itself from a ciminal element?
Here is more evidence that this isn't an "Iraqi uprising," but is instead an Iranian purchased attack:
•Iraqi Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr, who is directing a widespread armed uprising against the coalition forces in Baghdad and southern Iraq, receives his orders directly from the office of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Italian foreign intelligence organization, Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare (SISMI), a unit of the Italian defense ministry, said today in a report to the Italian parliament. The report, which prompted a call to foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi by Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini, said without political, financial and military support from the Supreme Leader, Moqtada Sadr and his al-Mahdi brigade could not have mounted their multiple, simultaneous attacks. Italian foreign minister asked Kharrazi to do what he can to put an end to the deadly clashes in Iraq. Agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp and the Quds special forces have infiltrated Iraq in the past months and have organized and armed Moqta Sadr's al-Mahdi brigade, SISMI said in its report. The Iranian agents work under the cover of several religious charity organizations in Sadr city in Baghdad and in the Shiite cities of Karbala, Najaf and Kufa, SISMI said. Iran is spending $70 million per month to support these front organizations, it added. The Supreme Leader has sent cleric Mohammad-Hossein Haeri to coordinate the efforts that are aimed at pushing the coalition forces out of Iraq, according to Italian daily La Stampa, which adds that, with that goal in mind, Sadr's al-Mahdi brigade has been attacking the Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian, Polish and Portuguese forces in Iraq. In his mission in Iraq, Haeri represents Qum-based senior Iraqi Shiite religious leader Ayatollah Kazem Haeri. Two Iranian intelligence officers who have recently defected to Britain have given the British intelligence agents documents showing the role being played by the Islamic Republic government in the recent unrest in Iraq, Italy's daily La Reformista reports, quoting British sources. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
General John Abizaid, commander of US forces in the Middle East, said he wanted an additional "two brigades of combat power, if not more" to beef up operations in Iraq.
The Army's longterm morale appears to be at severe risk due to its being so overstretched. Re-enlistments by the very backbone of the Army (senior NCO's and Officers) are going to start dropping like a rock unless the situation changes...
The Army is stretched to the limit. The problem is coming up with relief for units which have been there for a long time and need to come home, and in the next few months we're going to have to come up with about three divisions worth.
We could do that easily if we were willing to kiss off Korea entirely, and decide that any war there wasn't our problem. A lot of the Army is being kept in reserve in case any ground action happens there, and given the state of diplomacy and negotiations going on right now, this would be exactly the wrong time to do anything which seemed to weaken our capability to operate militarily in that theater.
But in the longer term, there's an even greater danger. We have the world's best military, right now. Will we still have in five years? The kind of force we have, which can operate at the level of effectiveness it does using the kind of tactics it uses, is only possible with volunteers who are capable and highly trained. That kind of military can't be created out of draftees, and it relies heavily on a substantial core of careerists, especially mid and high level noncomms. They follow orders, of course, and go where they're told and do what they're told, but when their term of enlistment runs out, how many of them will re-up? If too many decide they've had enough, and don't reenlist, we could face severe degradation. Too much experience and training will walk into the civilian economy, never to return, and it won't be easy to replace.posted by: gonan on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
Very sexy ad copy:
"Army Stretched Thin, Attrition Plummets"
Mundane, Boring Reality:
22 of 36 Active (6 0f 45 Reserve)Combat Brigades deployed. Only 18 of those in an Acitve theater.
Oops, Forget to mention the Navy's 9 Active (And 3 more Reserve)Combat Brigades.
Bonus Refutation! Bing-Bing-Bing!:
10 divisions at 4 years enlistment means that at any given year mark..., wait-for-it...That's right THREE new divisions of troop need to be recruited.
Yeah, you're looking out for the troops allright.
There really is a manpower problem, but it is mostly a question of willingness to spend the money long-term. IMO we'll need about a million ground troops on active duty for the next 15 or so years, i.e., something close to the 775,000 Army & 225,000 Marines on active duty thirty years ago, so we should bite the bullet and do it now.
But there are lots of people who don't want to consider what we'll really be doing in the Middle East and Pakistan after Iraq, for how long and the obstacles we'll face in implementing the Bush Administration's "National Security Strategy".
Not to mention inertia from all the special interests involved. Even the regular Army brass doesn't want to change. They're burning up the reserves and honking off the NCO corps to avoid changing their own career tracks.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
They'll come back if they're asked properly and believe necessary reforms are being implemented. The chance of Bush or Kerry doing either are pretty slim.
And the Army is not stretched to the limit. The brass just doesn't want to change their familiar patterns.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 04.09.04 at 03:11 PM [permalink]
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