Are we losing ground in Iraq?

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  • #1
According to a recent statement by general George Casey, senior military commander in Iraq, There is currently only one Battalion of Iraqi soldiers currently prepared to do "stand alone" operations.

I find that a bit odd considering that Casey had said in June that there were three battalions ready.

We constantly hear that U.S. involvement can only be reduced when we have trained a sufficient number of Iraqi military battalions.

Since there are only 500 to 600 soldiers in an Iraqi battalion, this means after all of this time and money there are only 600 Iraqi soldiers capable of standing on their own. This is totally disgusting.

Several months ago the U.S. Army announced that they had purchased $85 million worth of military equipment from China which was to be used to arm the Iraqi soldiers. WHAT SOLDIERS?? Where are they going?? Are they taking their weapons with them??

When Rumsfeld was asked about this he replied:

There are an awful lot of people chasing the wrong rabbit here, it seems to me.
What the hell is that supposed to mean??

When my niece returned from Iraq, minus her left arm, she told me that a lot of the Iraqi soldiers and police would sell their weapons and then claim that they had been lost. If A U.S. soldier loses a weapon in a situation other than combat, he/she pays for it!

Attention: This has been my monthly rant, please feel free to comment on it, ignore it, or print it out and wipe your arse with it. That is all.
 

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  • #2
Lapin Dormant
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Chasing a Rabbit? at least they know theve got the worng one, hope they don't end up chasing me.

LD
Looks Left, Looks Right, Runs off, centered -ZZZZoooooooooom
 
  • #3
Integral
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It is not clear to me how you can lose ground you never held.
 
  • #4
Integral said:
It is not clear to me how you can lose ground you never held.
Oh come one! This is Bush we're talking about. He's managed to fail in ways that didn't exist before... :smile:
 
  • #5
its hard to see the situation as anything other then a terribly costly mess. i don't think ground has been lost yet because american troops are still there in full force but it would be vary easy to lose a lot of ground on many fronts if american troops were withdrawn before the iraqis were prepared to pick up where the americans left off.
 
  • #6
edward
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SIAB

Perhaps losing ground was not the best choice of words. But I do understand what you mean. Perhaps if others would read the entire post they would also.

Yes General Casey did, just this week, say that there is only one Iraqi battalion which can operate on it's own. And in June he said that there were three. Look at this info from a defense web site:

http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2005/20050321_260.html

Graduation Means All 27 Iraqi Battalions Now Operational
By Sgt. Lorie Jewell, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service


KIRKUSH, Iraq, March 21, 2005 – With the graduation of nearly 1,500 soldiers at the Kirkush Military Training Base on March 20, all 27 battalions of nine brigades in the new Iraqi army are now operational.

Someone is still promoting the big lie and a lot of Americans are still buying it.

But then we must use the Iraqi army we have and not the one we wish we had. :grumpy:
 
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  • #7
Rumsfeld is in a tough situation because on one hand he has to tell the truth to the american public and on the other hand if he doesn't have good news, support for the war will fall, insurgent's spirits will rise and the whole effort could be wasted if troops leave before the job is done.

it also looks bad for the usa if their huge war machine can be sent home packing with little more then a lot of tenacity
 
  • #8
SOS2008
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devil-fire said:
Rumsfeld is in a tough situation because on one hand he has to tell the truth to the american public and on the other hand if he doesn't have good news, support for the war will fall, insurgent's spirits will rise and the whole effort could be wasted if troops leave before the job is done.

it also looks bad for the usa if their huge war machine can be sent home packing with little more then a lot of tenacity
Regarding Social Security, Bush encouraged Congress to ignore their constituency with the reasoning that a policy can be right and unpopular at the same time. But this is not a dictatorship, it is a republic in which public officials are supposed to represent their constituents--even if/when it goes against their personal position. And lying to the American people can never be excused.

I would refer to Iraq as "The Money Pit" but it is far worse than that. The truth is we have failed miserably in transferring power to Iraq. We are probably just training and arming future enemies, which would be par for the course.
 
  • #9
edward
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SOS2008 said:
I would refer to Iraq as "The Money Pit" but it is far worse than that. The truth is we have failed miserably in transferring power to Iraq. We are probably just training and arming future enemies, which would be par for the course.

And as we train those future enemies , we are teaching them exactly what tactics we will be using against them. Stupid Stupid Stupid :mad: :mad:
 
  • #10
edward said:
And as we train those future enemies , we are teaching them exactly what tactics we will be using against them. Stupid Stupid Stupid :mad: :mad:
Remember who the president is.

Forrest Gump said:
Stupid is as stupid does.
 
  • #11
vanesch
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Archon said:
Oh come one! This is Bush we're talking about. He's managed to fail in ways that didn't exist before... :smile:

Haha, this one is good ! "To Fail where no Man has Failed before" :rofl: :rofl:

"He Failed, Jim, but not as we know it" :rofl: :rofl:
 
  • #12
Grogs
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SOS2008 said:
Regarding Social Security, Bush encouraged Congress to ignore their constituency with the reasoning that a policy can be right and unpopular at the same time. But this is not a dictatorship, it is a republic in which public officials are supposed to represent their constituents--even if/when it goes against their personal position. ...

{snip}

There are 2 schools of thought regarding this issue:

1) The people elect a politician to carry out their will. He should vote however his constituents feel on a particular issue, regardless of his personal beliefs.

2) The people elect a politician because they believe he is a man of character and they agree with his views on the issues. He should vote what he believes best on a particular issue.

I tend to favor 2) more than 1) myself. A lot of the issues these guys work on are just too complex for the average person to make an informed decision about. If an elected official believes, based on months of research by his staff, that a particular change to social security is bad, should he still vote for it just because the majority of his constituents, having spent 10 minutes watching a segment about it on 60 Minutes, believe it's good? I also think option 1) encourages 'voting by poll' and I think that leads to wishy-washy behavior. A representative might vote for gun control on one bill and against it on another just because of the fickle nature of his constituents.
 
  • #13
Smurf
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vanesch said:
Haha, this one is good ! "To Fail where no Man has Failed before" :rofl: :rofl:

"He Failed, Jim, but not as we know it" :rofl: :rofl:
One small failure for a man, one giant failure for mankind.
 
  • #14
Ivan Seeking
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Did anyone see Rummy's response to the question of Iraqi troop readiness?

Instead of anwering the question of how we went from 3 battallion to 1, he responded by saying that no army can match the might of the US military.

Apparently US trained Iraqi soldiers are selling their guns for cash.
 
  • #15
pattylou
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This is so depressing.

We arn't going to get out are we? Unless we just leave our mess behind. God. I apologize, world.
 
  • #16
Ivan Seeking
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pattylou said:
This is so depressing.

We arn't going to get out are we? Unless we just leave our mess behind. God. I apologize, world.

Sometimes I wonder if Bush wasn't tricked into invading Iraq - the motivation being the pottery rule: We broke it, now we own it. After all, someone had to clean up Iraq. Everyone knew that something had to be done. Why not dump it on the stupid Americans?

But now that the cowboy rode into Baghdad on his big white horse, IMO, to pull out would likely destabilize the entire region and possibly lead to WWIII. So, for better or worse, we own it. But that may be our card to play: Hey world, either we get some help or we all suffer the consequences.
 
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  • #17
Dayle Record
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The ground in Iraq belongs to Iraqis. Not just Iraqis that want to make huge money doing business our way, but the whole nation.

The ruins of civilization on top of civilization attest to the difficulties of governance and peace in that area. We are liable to lose more than a place to stand in Iraq, it may happen that we will get a military trained and then a single event, or a string of what we would consider collateral incidents might occur; that will turn the whole situation in an afternoon, and we will be at war with the new Iraqi army, and their allies.

I read an account regarding the vanishing middle class in Iraq. People have armed men trespassing in their yards to take shots of convoys on the freeways. They are afraid to make any kind of move, their neighbors watch, and no one is sure of the political alignment of the watchers.

I would say that they have to be brave and take up arms, and remember that as property owners they have rights, and they should shoot militants that trespass. However, if that theory were taken to a much broader level, then the US might be seen as the interlopers, by all.

Iraqis are weary, worn down, hot, hungry, terrorized and hopeful. In all of this they are trying to have normal lives. The Iraqi society is not at all homogenous, so there are many types of normal lives, and their intolerance for differences will cause the "Democracy" to stumble again and again.
 
  • #18
Smurf
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Dayle Record said:
I would say that they have to be brave and take up arms, and remember that as property owners they have rights, and they should shoot militants that trespass. However, if that theory were taken to a much broader level, then the US might be seen as the interlopers, by all.
Right.... because getting the general population to start shooting random people will definitely make the situation calm down, you idiot. What the **** would you encourage that for? What on earth can you possibly hope to accomplish by creating even more violence, let alone outside of any recognizable faction. Hell while we're at it we should give everyone guns and tell them to kill anyone who disagrees with them politically! We'll have a new Rwanda by the end of the week. It's perfect.
 
  • #19
Ivan Seeking
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No name calling please. This constitutes a personal attack which is against the forum's posting guidelines.
 
  • #20
vanesch
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Smurf said:
Hell while we're at it we should give everyone guns and tell them to kill anyone who disagrees with them politically! We'll have a new Rwanda by the end of the week. It's perfect.

See, there's always a solution around the corner :devil:
 
  • #21
edward
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All posts considered, and aiming back at the topic, how did we manage to lose two Iraqi stand alone operational battalions since June?? They definitely aren't on summer vacation.

No one in the government or military has offered an explanation, except for Rumsfeld's rediculous comment about chasing the wrong rabbit. :confused: Why can't he point us towards the right rabbit.
 
  • #22
Smurf
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I honestly think that the best thing the USA can do right now is get out immediately. The longer they stay there the higher chance there is of being a bigger and bloodier civil war. You can only make things worse.
 
  • #23
SOS2008
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First, there was no revolutionary group within Iraq to work with. So unfortunately those who may have hoped for change via assistance from the U.S. are not part of prior, organized groups. Whereas there were already factions as the Baath Sunni and Kurds who have been more prepared to fight for their own agendas. Which is the second problem--the Bush administration's lack of understanding of the region and therefore lack of proper strategy (the lack of planning is a separate, more general problem as seen more recently with HLS).

The belligerence certainly hasn't helped either. Bush just tried to gain international help during the UN meetings, with no result. Too bad Kerry wasn't elected for this one reason alone.

Outside the United States

President Bush and French President Jacques Chirac during the 27th G8 summit, July 21, 2001. A survey conducted by Ipsos for the Associated Press in 2004 found that "just over half in Mexico and Italy had a negative view of Mr. Bush's role. In Britain, the closest U.S. ally in the war in Iraq, and in Canada, traditionally America's closest ally, two-thirds had a negative view...Three-fourths of those in Spain and more than 80 percent in France and Germany had a negative view of Mr. Bush's role in world affairs." While those in the United States were evenly divided on whether the war has increased or decreased the terror threat, by far the majority of those sampled outside the United States believe that Bush's foreign policy decisions in the Iraq war have "increased the threat of terrorism in the world."

Muslim countries are less favourable to Bush. In these Muslim countries, Bush's unfavorability ratings are particularly high, often over 90%. Among the non-U.S. nations polled in another worldwide poll by the CBC, Bush's popularity was highest in Israel, where 62% reported favorable views, however in the CBC poll, Israel was the only foreign country polled that had a net favorable opinion of Bush.

A 2005 poll conducted by the BBC World Service across 22,000 people in 21 nations found that a majority of world opinion (58%) believed that George Bush's re-election would have a negative impact on their peace and security. Only 26% believed it would have a positive one. Public opinion in the Philippines and India showed strong majorities in favour of Bush, but these were the only countries in favour. The same poll revealed that support for the Iraq occupation had dropped to 37% in Britain. In Turkey, 72% of those polled said that George Bush's re-election made them "feel worse about Americans".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_43#Anti-Bush

The only hope for an exit strategy would be if Republicans push for it before the 2006 elections. Otherwise we will have to wait until a changing of the guard in 2008, or an uncontrollable escalation into civil war before we can withdraw. Either way, it will be a hard road to bring the deficit spending under control.
 
  • #24
loseyourname
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edward said:
All posts considered, and aiming back at the topic, how did we manage to lose two Iraqi stand alone operational battalions since June?? They definitely aren't on summer vacation.

Three options I can think of:

1) Two battalions worth of Iraqi soldiers at stand alone capability have died since June.

2) Two battalions worth of Iraqi soldiers at stand alone capability have sold their weapons for cash since June.

3) Two battalions worth of Iraqi soldiers at stand alone capability have quit or deserted since June.

Take your pick.
 
  • #25
Smurf
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they lied about the three battalions in the first place?
 
  • #26
pattylou
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They're also lying about the one battalion now?.....
 
  • #27
edward
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Very good :biggrin: Now how do we explain the fact that the Department of defense is oblivious to all of these scenarios? Ok Ok that question is too easy.

The Iraqi army being capable of "standing on its own" is the key to our being able to bring our troops home. Our illustrious president has made that, or similar statements, dozens of times over the last year or so. Yet no one in government seems to be unduly alarmed that the top General in Iraq has just announced that the capabilities of the Iraqi army is only a fraction of what it was claimed to be in June.

According to our leaders our only way of getting out of Iraq is to train enough Iraqi soldiers so that they may take over the hostilities in order that we may leave.

My opinion is that most of the Islamic soldiers in Iraq do not want to engage fellow Islamics in firefights, and especially so under the direction of Americans who only came to Iraq to take their oil. (forget Saddam, one bullet could have taken him out of the picture) It is in essence already a civil war being mostly fought and directed by outsiders.

The paradox is that the Iraqi army will not fight as long as we are there and we will not leave until they are willing to fight.

Any possible solution has to consider the fact that we will not give up the oil in Iraq.

I leave the floor open. Where do we go from here?
 
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  • #28
Smurf
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edward said:
I leave the floor open. Where do we go from here?
I don't think the USA has any options at all. I'm still not entirely sure what their motives were for going into iraq in the first place.
 
  • #29
BobG
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edward said:
My opinion is that most of the Islamic soldiers in Iraq do not want to engage fellow Islamics in firefights, and especially so under the direction of Americans who only came to Iraq to take their oil. (forget Saddam, one bullet could have taken him out of the picture) It is in essence already a civil war being mostly fought and directed by outsiders.

The paradox is that the Iraqi army will not fight as long as we are there and we will not leave until they are willing to fight.

Any possible solution has to consider the fact that we will not give up the oil in Iraq.

I leave the floor open. Where do we go from here?
Only partially true. Several Sunni Muslim groups and Shi'ite Muslim groups would have no problems engaging each other in firefights. Immediate withdrawal would result in a scenario similar to Rwanda or to the Serb-Kosovo situation.

Maybe the US should take a more liberalized view of an Iraqi military able to stand on its own. Aren't three Iraqi militaries better than one?

The Kurdish peshmerga have an estimated 75,000 in their militia - unfortunately, they only protect Kurds and oil fields in the Kurdish region. Also, their lack of afiliation to any centralized Iraqi government is a little problematic.

The "Badr Brigades" in the Shi'ite region are still fighting other Shi'ite militias for the honor of being the dominant militia in the Shi'ite region, but they should eventually win. Once again, the fact that the local militias are stronger than the central government's army is a little problematic, but it would still be more stable than the current fighting among various groups.

The Sunni region looks pretty much hopeless. Eventually, though, someone should become the dominant local militia and then the Sunni militias could concentrate on attacking the Kurds and Shi'ites for a share of the oil revenues (the oil fields exist in the Kurdish and Shiite regions).

I really don't see much hope of a single, stable Iraq coming out of this. If something emerges that can keep some semblance of stability at least in the heart of each region, that's probably going to be the best we can do.
 
  • #30
BobG said:
I really don't see much hope of a single, stable Iraq coming out of this. If something emerges that can keep some semblance of stability at least in the heart of each region, that's probably going to be the best we can do.
Having got themselves into this quagmire if I were Bush (shudder) I would think the best thing for the US to do now is to crystalize their planning around what was always their central goal anyway which is to stabilize the flow of oil from Iraq.

The oil comes from the north and south so possibly the best way forward now is to facilitate the breakup of Iraq into the three major ethnic areas. Abandon central Iraq and actively encourage Sadr's militia to fight it out with the Sunnis for control of that area thus keeping both sides who form the backbone of the current insurgency locked in a war of attrition.

The US could then concentrate military forces in the north and the south.

In the Kurdish north they can assist the major Kurdish party by aiding their defense against invasion from central Iraq and gain kudos by keeping the Turks off their backs and by helping to put down the Kurdish opposition rebel groups.

The south would be more difficult due to their close ties with Iran but again in the short term the US would probably have broad support there in return for aiding their defence against any attacks from the central region whilst longer term they could develop a working alliance if they were to foster good relations with Iran.

Other than that I see very little else that could reverse the current slide into civil war and possibly a far wider ME conflict.
 
  • #31
kat
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interesting post about the battalion debate:A Few Good Men
The widely circulated report in the press that of 3 Iraqi battalions that were formerly combat ready, only one is currently rated in that status is an example of how the 'quantity of men' issue has been misunderstood. That number turns out to be the number of Iraqi battalions in Category 1, which as we shall see later, is not the critical category at all. Here is the exchange that pertains to it:

Q: General, you and General Abizaid and the secretary, and others, have said that in large measure, our ability to pull American troops out of Iraq will depend on progress in training the Iraqi forces. You've just given a large number of figures there. But you said yesterday that only one Iraqi battalion, army battalion now, instead of the three previously stated, are able now to operate alone without U.S. military help. And yet you say that's not a setback to U.S. hopes to leave Iraq. Would you explain that? How is that not a setback, sir?

GEN. CASEY: Charlie, think about what you're saying; two battalions out of a hundred. One thing. Second, let me explain here the different levels and why we set them up like we did.

First of all, we purposely set a very high standard for the first level, because as we looked at our strategy, we said that whatever happens with the Iraqi security forces, when we leave them, we have to leave them at a level where they can sustain the counterinsurgency effort with progressively less support from us. So that first one is a very, very high standard. We set that standard knowing full well that it was going to be a long time before all Iraqi units got in that category. And so the fact that there's only one or three units, that is not necessarily important to me right now. Next year at this time, I'll be much more concerned about it. Right now I'm not.

General Casey emphasized that however one calculated what Iraqi battalions fell into which classification, in absolute terms the number of Iraqi units has increased enormously.

In May, Iraqi security forces conducted about 160 combined or independent operations at the company level and above, so about 100 people as company level, and about 160 operations. In September, that was over 1,300, and then our transition teams that we have put with the Iraqi security forces have greatly enhanced their development and their ability to operate with us. We are at the point now where 80 percent of all of the company-level and higher operations that are done are combined operations with the Iraqi or Iraqi independent operations -- big step forward.
 
  • #32
SOS2008
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kat said:
interesting post about the battalion debate:A Few Good Men
When unable to hot link to the site, I tried to launch directly via the embedded address. Still no success. In googling I finally found information on Wikipedia about The Belmont Club weblog, but the links provided on Wikipedia didn't work either--maybe it's just me.

So based on the quote and my personal perception, it makes sense that a battalion that can stand alone is a higher standard, so does not represent ALL the Iraqi troops that exist. Why we lost two (went from three to one) is still a good question, and why there is so much conflicting information is still a concern. Let's put it this way...according to the wegblog, General Casey states: "Next year at this time, I'll be much more concerned about it." I think this was said at this time last year, but nonetheless, I wonder what will be said next year if/when there is no improvement.
 
  • #33
edward
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In May, Iraqi security forces conducted about 160 combined or independent operations at the company level and above, so about 100 people as company level, and about 160 operations. In September, that was over 1,300, and then our transition teams that we have put with the Iraqi security forces have greatly enhanced their development and their ability to operate with us. We are at the point now where 80 percent of all of the company-level and higher operations that are done are combined operations with the Iraqi or Iraqi independent operations -- big step forward.

This is just an explanation in military jargon which when all is said and done shows that we still only have one battalion (600) of Iraqi soldiers who can do stand alone ops. Only 1300 Iraqi soldiers involved in 160 operations is a miserably low number. How long have we been training these guys now???
 
  • #34
kat said:
interesting post about the battalion debate:A Few Good Men
I read the link and most of the thread.

It appears that the tide has turned, BushCo allies in the media are turning against them.

The 3 battalions to 1 is significant, but more in the vein of that army is having problems classifying and qualifying combat readiness. Of course the interview is what is commonly referred to as damage control.

My question is; Why couldn't Rummy clear this up instead of confusing the issue even more?

The whole episode is another example of the incompetence of the Rumsfeld pentagon.
 
  • #35
faust9
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The White House's stalking horse "We're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here!" seems to have fallen by the way side with the increased threat level in NYC. It seems they are STILL trying to fight us over here WHILE fighting us over there. Hmmm. Anyway, Juan Cole(professor at the greatest school on the planet) has a thing or two to say about this: http://www.juancole.com/
 

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