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What to do about Iraq

by Ivan Seeking
Tags: iraq
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Ivan Seeking
#91
May27-07, 03:25 AM
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This is a terribly difficult situation. I can listen to either side of the debate and see that each makes great points, but with no definitive way to make a judgement.

At least now they are starting to talk about either leaving, or sending in 300,000 more troops like we should have done in the first place. Of course the number originally suggested and tossed out by Bush and Rummy was 500,000 troops.

Again and again I have to ask, if this "war on terror" that we are allegedly fighting in Iraq is REALLY such a great threat to the U.S., then why don't we get serious and call for a draft? I have a very hard time understanding how so much could be at stake, yet we don't even flip the war switch and act like it's serious.
edward
#92
Jun7-07, 11:00 AM
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This doesn't really surprise me but when I read the article on page 4 of my local paper I thought that it was more newsworthy than, "Paris Hilton Goes To Jail", which was on page 1.


In the first 4 1/2 months of 2007, American aircraft dropped 237 bombs and missiles in support of ground forces in Iraq, already surpassing the 229 expended in all of 2006, according to U.S. Air Force figures obtained by The Associated Press.

"Air operations over Iraq have ratcheted up significantly, in the number of sorties, the number of hours [in the air]," said Col. Joe Guastella, Air Force operations chief for the region. "It has a lot to do with increased pressure on the enemy by MNC-I" - the Multinational Corps-Iraq - "combined with more carriers."
http://www.theeagle.com/stories/0606...0070606025.php
Astronuc
#93
Jun8-07, 08:41 PM
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Joint Chiefs Shuffle: Gen. Pace Out; Adm. Mullen In
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=10876225
by Robert Siegel and Guy Raz

All Things Considered, June 8, 2007 · The Bush administration has announced plans to replace Gen. Peter Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Rather than risk a Senate confirmation struggle by reappointing Pace, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he would recommend Adm. Mike Mullen to replace him.
Gen. Pace to Step Down as Chairman of Joint Chiefs
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he will recommend Adm. Mike Mullen, currently the chief of naval operations, to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mullen would replace Marine Gen. Peter Pace, who has held the post since 2005.

If formally appointed by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate, Mullen would replace Pace as the nation's top military officer.

Gates, speaking at a Pentagon news conference, said that Mullen has the "vision, strategic insight and integrity to lead America's armed forces."
Speaking of the JCS, why does president Bush need a War Czar or advisor on military (war?) matters. I mean we already have a SecDef and JCS - but we need yet another position (person + staff) to counsel the president, who afterall is CinC??!?!!?
Astronuc
#94
Jun14-07, 07:10 PM
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Pentagon Report Shows Violence in Iraq at a High
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=11043078
by Renee Montagne and Guy Raz
Morning Edition, June 14, 2007 The Pentagon's quarterly report on Iraq shows overall situation, as measured by U.S., Iraqi and civilian casualties, violence hit a three-year high between February and May.
It's not working!

I would very much like Petreaus to succeed, but he needs an effective Iraqi government, and I seriously wonder if that is possible given the sectarian conflict.

Sunni, U.S. Leaders Unite Against Al-Qaida in Ramadi
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=11086554
by Rachel Martin
All Things Considered, June 14, 2007 A senior U.S. diplomat visits Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, once the most dangerous place in Iraq for U.S. troops but now the scene of an alliance with Sunni tribal leaders bent on destroying al-Qaida in Iraq.
Interesting development.

Some Mosques Attacked, but Iraq Relatively Calm
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=11067921
NPR.org, June 14, 2007 Several Sunni mosques have been attacked in apparent retaliation for the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra. At least four people were killed in the most recent violence, but increased security and a curfew kept most of Iraq calm.

Police in Basra said six people were also wounded when the Kawaz, Othman, al-Abayshi and Basra Grand mosques were hit by rocket-propelled grenades shortly after Wednesday's bombing in Samarra. Four Sunni mosques near Baghdad were also attacked several hours after the two minarets at the Askariya Shiite shrine were toppled.

Sunni insurgents were blamed for Wednesday's attack on the shrine, one of Iraq's most holy sites for Shiite Muslims. A bombing of the same mosque last year resulted in a bloody, sectarian confrontation between Shiites and Sunnis that left hundreds dead.

Immediately after the shrine was bombed, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki put Baghdad and Samarra under an indefinite curfew in hopes of heading off a wave of violence. He also restricted vehicular traffic through Baghdad, a measure that is expected to remain in place until Saturday.
They need to stop with the destroying mosques.

And some people need to stop preaching violence.
kaos
#95
Jun15-07, 02:12 PM
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I heard ppl talk about the US govt arming sunni militia , does this make any sense at all?
Astronuc
#96
Jun15-07, 03:26 PM
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Quote Quote by kaos View Post
I heard ppl talk about the US govt arming sunni militia , does this make any sense at all?
Apparently that is so. Various Iraqi Sunni groups are fighting al Qaida now, most of whom maybe foreigners (i.e. non-Iraqis).

U.S. Arming Sunnis in Iraq to Battle Old Qaeda Allies
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/11/wo...st/11iraq.html

BAGHDAD, June 10 — With the four-month-old increase in American troops showing only modest success in curbing insurgent attacks, American commanders are turning to another strategy that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past.

American commanders say they have successfully tested the strategy in Anbar Province west of Baghdad and have held talks with Sunni groups in at least four areas of central and north-central Iraq where the insurgency has been strong. In some cases, the American commanders say, the Sunni groups are suspected of involvement in past attacks on American troops or of having links to such groups. Some of these groups, they say, have been provided, usually through Iraqi military units allied with the Americans, with arms, ammunition, cash, fuel and supplies.

American officers who have engaged in what they call outreach to the Sunni groups say many of them have had past links to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia but grew disillusioned with the Islamic militants’ extremist tactics, particularly suicide bombings that have killed thousands of Iraqi civilians. In exchange for American backing, these officials say, the Sunni groups have agreed to fight Al Qaeda and halt attacks on American units. Commanders who have undertaken these negotiations say that in some cases, Sunni groups have agreed to alert American troops to the location of roadside bombs and other lethal booby traps.

. . . .
turbo
#97
Jun15-07, 04:36 PM
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While this sounds like a strategy with some merit, as presented, it is an official capitulation to the desires of the Saudis, who have been financing Sunnis and have been pressuring the US to force the Iraqi government to give Sunnis a larger role in the government. The Saudis are throttling oil production to drive up the prices (and their profits) and are now maneuvering this administration into financing the same groups that have been responsible for the killing of many, many US troops. Follow the money.
Astronuc
#98
Jun15-07, 05:35 PM
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And the Saudis, or those who support the royal family and the status, are opposed to al Qaida.
Astronuc
#99
Jun19-07, 06:26 PM
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Journalist Thomas Ricks on the Latest from Iraq
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=11186451

Fresh Air from WHYY, June 19, 2007 Washington Post correspondent Thomas Ricks author of the bestseller Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq talks about his latest trip to that country and the latest strategies the Pentagon is employing there. Ricks, a Pulitzer Prize winner and former Wall Street Journal staffer, is also author of Making the Corps and A Soldier's Duty.
Pretty sobering assessment of the situation in Iraq.
Andre
#100
Jun20-07, 12:37 PM
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Sorry, I have not studied this thread, so it may have been discussed already but perhaps it's good to mention it. I have been at a course / informal seminar about this recently and spoke with several people who have been in ISAF units several time and their observations are unaminous. The US Army fighting machine is excellent at winning wars but the characteristics which are needed for that, are highly unsuitable for winning the peace.

The suggestions of the movies that GI's are turned into aggressive procedure robots, apparantly emotionless with no initiative, has been confirmed in reality. It seems that if you happen to run into a moving Army convoy from behind, at at a certain distance, the guns are aimed at you, regardless if you drive a clearly marked ISAF vehicle. Inquiry after that behavior revealed: "standard operating procedures". That's not really reassuring for the locals.

There are other armies over there in that region, who do not routinely carry the guns Rambo-like ready to fire. Neither do they wear sunglasses unable to make eye contact for non-verbal communication. Instead they talk with the local people, show sympathy and emotion, do them little favors, assisting in cleaning up the mess and rebuilding schools and hospitals.

Might that make the difference?
Ivan Seeking
#101
Jun20-07, 01:07 PM
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That was the plan all along. We have already spent billions rebuilding the infrastructure, but with the constant attacks on US troops and the oil supply, which was supposed to help fund the rebuilding, we can't make much progress.

It's a little tough to put down your gun when people are shooting at you and taking out check points with car bombs.

This all falls squarely on the Bush admin and their terrible mismanagement of this unnecessary war. Many Americans believe that this is the worst foreign policy disaster in US history - I believe there can be no doubt about this any longer. It is a disaster. We are infinitely sympathetic to the innocent people caught in the middle of this, but soldiers become hardened with time, and most of our soldiers have been there far longer than is reasonable. It is estimated that 30% of the returning troops have psychological problems due to the sustained trauma of warfare.
Andre
#102
Jun20-07, 01:33 PM
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The problem is the threat and violence spiral up. Immediately after the war part of the war, the locals were grateful for the termination of the dictatorial regime. It won't help exploiting that further with un-communicating sunglasses with loaded guns, driving around in tanks. most certainly one could have expected terrorist retalliation. But it would make a huge difference if the locals saw the GI as liberaters rather than yet another round of oppression.
baywax
#103
Jun20-07, 05:49 PM
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Wtf did the Iraqi people ever do to the US?
turbo
#104
Jun20-07, 06:13 PM
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Quote Quote by baywax View Post
Wtf did the Iraqi people ever do to the US?
Nothing. They suffered and died under the rule of Saddam, when he was Reagan/Bush's favorite bully-boy, and when he had out-lived his usefulness in protecting the Saudis and Kuwaitis from religious extremists, he was cast aside. The role of the Reagan/Bush government in supplying him with chemical weapons and satellite intelligence has been quietly covered up. Bush I failed to kill him off, so the task fell to Bush II and his neocon buddies. People who can't see beyond 9-11 are too ignorant to put the pieces together.
Ivan Seeking
#105
Jun21-07, 12:23 AM
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Quote Quote by Andre View Post
The problem is the threat and violence spiral up. Immediately after the war part of the war, the locals were grateful for the termination of the dictatorial regime. It won't help exploiting that further with un-communicating sunglasses with loaded guns, driving around in tanks. most certainly one could have expected terrorist retalliation. But it would make a huge difference if the locals saw the GI as liberaters rather than yet another round of oppression.
Frankly we're stuck in a catch 22. It is too dangerous to put down the guns and park the tanks, and our primary role is now to police the country and try to support the elected government, but our very presense helps to incite the violence. And if we leave we fear that the scale of the disaster will only get worse. The argument that you make is generally recognized but there is no agreement on the best way to proceed. However, your point about the sunglasses is unique and I can see where it might have an impact. They are just another barrier between the troops and the people we are trying to protect.

At this point the insurgency is only a fraction of the problem and the sectarian violence is probably unavoidable. Meanwhile, the people most needed to help rebuild the country - educated professionals of all kinds - are leaving Iraq as fast as possible.

Kofi Annan said it best: We're in a position where [as a military force] we can't leave and we can't stay.
Ivan Seeking
#106
Jun21-07, 01:05 AM
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Quote Quote by baywax View Post
Wtf did the Iraqi people ever do to the US?
If you read my signature you will see why this happened: The Bush admin managed to convince many Americans that Saddam was involved with the 911attack; that he was building an arsenal of weapons for more attacks in the future. So on flimsy evidence that was misrepresented, we went charging into Iraq like Rambo on a great white horse, and swiftly defeated the enemy, but with no plan for what happens after Saddam was defeated - no plan for peace.

Many of our best military minds argued that we needed far more troops to ensure that we could bring peace after we attacked, but in his supreme arrogance, Bush [and his team] refused to listen. This is why Iraq is such a disaster now. And, of course, Saddam didn't have the alleged weapons of mass destruction that were used to justify the invasion to, not only the US, but to the rest of the world as well.

There are also many Americans who believe that everything said here is a lie, that we [the people] have never been told the real motives for the invasion, and that like the Iraqi people caught in this, the American people are victims of Bush and his adminstration as well; especially those who have died while fighting Bush's war. We have spent half a trillion dollars on this war already - that's almost a $2000 bill for each and every American - and many billions of that went to a company that our Vice President Cheney once led - Halliburton.
arunbg
#107
Jun21-07, 01:13 AM
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Yes, it is definitely catch 22 here and there seems to be no likely end to it.

There can be very little hope harboured about the success of a democratic government there, simply because the notion of trust is lost. I believe many people there still see the US invasions a new form of colonialism, and who can blame them? Imagine if all this had happened in your country, would you have seen it anyway different?

First you are told that your country is being invaded for allegedly possessing WMD and then you are told that it was all a big mistake, then your country's long time leader(however evil) is executed, after a ruling from a court that was anything but impartial. No stable government in place, constant airstrikes, terrorist attacks, social fabric destroyed. All you hear are promises.

The US policy makers have erred time and again, in restoring a stable governmental and administrative system in the country. They need to start rebuilding goodwill on a major scale, and developing infrastrucure and providing for basic necessities certainly go a long way more than cruising around in battle tanks wearing sunglasses.
Neutralino
#108
Jun21-07, 01:40 AM
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I guess the only way is to pack out as soon as possible but thats not to say they're quitting. Let its neighbours, say Iran, help out and then provide whatever help they need to do so. More of an indirect rebuilding.


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