# Are we losing ground in Iraq?

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They're also lying about the one battalion now?.....

Very good 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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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.

BobG
Homework Helper
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.

Art
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.

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.

SOS2008
Gold Member
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.

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???

Skyhunter
kat said:
interesting post about the battalion debate:A Few Good Men

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.

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/

Charlie, think about what you're saying; two battalions out of a hundred. One thing.
LOL, this argument doesn't make any sense. He acts like the two battalions becoming worse is insignificant because there are a hundred battalions, even though all but three of those were never ready. That's like a serial killer saying to the judge, "But I only killed one billionth of the people on the planet!"

Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Iraq rebuilding slows as U.S. money for projects dries up

By Rick Jervis, USA TODAY
Mon Oct 10, 7:33 AM ET
On paper, the Iraqi Army barracks was a gleaming example of the future Iraq. The plans called for a two-story, air-conditioned barracks housing 850 soldiers, a movie theater, classrooms, basketball courts, a shooting range, even an officer's club.

Makes one wonder if they would ever leave.

But when the $10 million project in southern Iraq is finished this month, it will fall far short of those ambitious plans. The theater, classrooms, officer's club, basketball courts and shooting range have all been scrapped. The barracks will be one story instead of two. The reason for scaling back the barracks? The U.S. government is running out of money. The higher than expected cost of protecting workers against insurgent attacks - about 25 cents of every reconstruction dollar now pays for security - has sent the cost of projects skyward. The result: Some projects have been eliminated and others cut back. "American money has dried up," says Brent Rose, chief of program/project management for the Army Corps of Engineers in southern Iraq. And tracking the billions of dollars that flooded into a war zone in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion has proved difficult, too. Nearly$100 million in reconstruction money is unaccounted for.

The ultimate price of a slowdown in Iraq's reconstruction could be steep. U.S. strategy here is based on the premise that jobs and prosperity will sap the strength of the insurgency and are as important as military successes in defeating terrorists.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20051010/ts_usatoday/iraqrebuildingslowsasusmoneyforprojectsdriesup [Broken] :yuck:

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Astronuc
Staff Emeritus

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805076026/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Amazon.com
Most of the accounts of the Iraq War so far have been, to use the term the war made famous, embedded in one way or another: many officially so with American troops, most others limited--by mobility, interest, or understanding--to the American experience of the conflict. In Night Draws Near, Washington Post reporter Anthony Shadid writes about a side of the war that Americans have heard little about. His beat, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 2004, is the territory outside the barricaded, air-conditioned Green Zone: the Iraqi streets and, more often, the apartments and houses, darkened by blackouts and shaken by explosions, where most Iraqis wait out Saddam, the invasion, and three nearly unbroken decades of war.

Shadid is Lebanese American, born in Oklahoma, and he has a fluency in Arabic and an understanding of Arab culture that give him a rare access to and a great empathy for the people whose stories he tells. Beginning in the days leading up to the American invasion and closing with an epilogue on the January 2005 elections, he talks with Iraqis from a wide range of stations, from educated Baghdad professionals who look back on the country's golden days in the 1970s to a sullen, terrified group of Iraqi policemen in the Sunni Triangle, shunned as collaborators for taking jobs with the Americans to feed their families. (Perhaps his most telling and characteristic moment is when he trails behind an American patrol, recording the often hostile Iraqi comments that the soldiers themselves can't understand.) He takes the ground view and gives his witnesses the particularity they deserve, but the various voices share an exhaustion with a country that has seen nothing but war for 30 years and a frustration with a liberator that has not fulfilled its promises of prosperity and order. It's a despairing but eye-opening account, told with an understanding of the Iraqi people--hospitable, proud, and often desperate--that, were it more common, might have led to a different outcome than the one he describes.
--Tom Nissley (for Amazon)

I heard today an address by Shadid to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. He talked about his book, his experiences as a journalist in Iraq, and the horrors and tradgedies experience by ordinary Iraqis since the US-led occupation. IMO, Iraq is hardly liberated and the current situation is no better for ordinary Iraqis than during the regime of Saddam Hussein. How can I say that? Well, based on what I heard, the Iraqis are still suffering from deprivation and less security than under Hussein. So many Iraqis have died at the hands of Americans, and so many other Iraqis have witnessed it that it is hard for many Iraqis to see US as liberators. Rather, the US is seen as one more insult after Saddam. Iyad Allawi did not fair well in recent elections - but he is supported by US. What will happen as anti-US politicians become the peoples' choice? Will the US really accept democratic rule, even if the government is not pro-US? In the absence of true leadership in Iraq, tribal and religious law is established.

Informal Logic
Astronuc said:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805076026/?tag=pfamazon01-20
Amazon.com
--Tom Nissley (for Amazon)
I heard today an address by Shadid to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. He talked about his book, his experiences as a journalist in Iraq, and the horrors and tradgedies experience by ordinary Iraqis since the US-led occupation. IMO, Iraq is hardly liberated and the current situation is no better for ordinary Iraqis than during the regime of Saddam Hussein. How can I say that? Well, based on what I heard, the Iraqis are still suffering from deprivation and less security than under Hussein. So many Iraqis have died at the hands of Americans, and so many other Iraqis have witnessed it that it is hard for many Iraqis to see US as liberators. Rather, the US is seen as one more insult after Saddam. Iyad Allawi did not fair well in recent elections - but he is supported by US. What will happen as anti-US politicians become the peoples' choice? Will the US really accept democratic rule, even if the government is not pro-US? In the absence of true leadership in Iraq, tribal and religious law is established.
A couple of days back there was a news program with footage from an embedded journalist. I wonder if it was the same person?

In any event, the footage of the Iraqi soldiers really struck me. It seemed that their hearts are not in this war effort (probably because it is against fellow Iraqis). They seemed apathetic, as if they were just showing up to get a paycheck, and the US soldiers seemed frustrated with them. I was thinking it might be better to train them to work at the DMV. No offense to anyone - It just struck me that way, and that we will never get out of there.

The destiny of Iraq is either one of 2 things. Either we (US) never leave like many other countries where our troups went and still are (unlikely) or Baghdad will become the sole and shrinking bastion of democracy until it disappears and they revert to an islamic state (extremely likely). If democracy takes root there after we are gone I'll eat my turbin.

"Peace is an illusion, you merely haven't yet seen what is trying to kill you." old Spathi proverb

"Peace is an illusion, you merely haven't yet seen what is trying to kill you." old Spathi proverb
Peace might be an illlusion.

But the reason we went to war was because the tension of worrying about Saddam, was more than people wanted to stand. They wanted some sort of resolution - either way - they didn't care if meant war.

Living with uncertainty is scary. I mean it. It isn't a reason to go to war. The people I find most inspiring, understand that you have to live with tension and uncertainties. At the moment, that might mean, for example, being uncertain about Iran's nuclear goals -- Being uncertain indefinitely, rather than blowing them away with a nuclear bomb. Because the latter strategy is unconscionable (as was invasion of Iraq) and it is not at all guaranteed (as seen with Iraq.)

The tension we feel with Iran is as good as it gets - and it's a hell of a lot more 'peaceful' than aggression and mounting casualties.

Spathi? You're using a proverb from a socio, xeno and spectrophobic race that exists only in a fictional computer game universe?

:rofl:
Geeze man, if you're going to use a cop-out at least get a quote from someone reputable?