# Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

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Bystander
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Ricks is omniscient?

Respectfully, do you have anything meaningful to contribute, other than opinion? If you take issue with what Ricks has presented, the provide something tangible to argue your point.

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Bystander
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cyrusabdollahi said:
Respectfully, do you have anything meaningful to contribute, other than opinion?
No opinions have been offered --- I've asked a couple questions in an effort to clarify the point of this thread. You won't say what lies. You assert "no information gap." Cyrus, there's a huge amount of information that isn't publicly available --- of course Ricks isn't omniscient. So, what's the point of this thread?

If you take issue with what Ricks has presented, the provide something tangible to argue your point.
He hasn't presented anything with which to "take issue" based on the transcripts you've posted. He's a journalist chasing a Pulitzer. That's what journalists do.

vanesch
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I guess that, of the transcript, the gist is:
TOM RICKS: Exactly. It was a war of choice. It wasnt necessary to do. It wasnt necessary to do in the way it was done, and the occupation didnt need to be bungled in the way it was bungled. So thats -- its profligate, is the word I use.
It is amazing that the above text, full of evident truths clear to a lot of people since a long time, comes out as a kind of revelation at this point.
How come that, in most of Europe, say, this was about clear from the start to most people ?

I don't say this in a rhethorical way, but just: were we, in Europe, deluded by self-realising propaganda somehow, or was/is the American people deluded by (a huge dose) of propaganda so that now, they are surprised somehow by all these evident statements ?

pcorbett
cyrusabdollahi said:
That was a pretty pointless post, with all due respect. Do you have any real facts to present?

What does the deployment of force have to do with what we are talking about? No one is questioning our capability to deploy force, are they? No.
You are, by arguing that US general purpose forces were universally unprepared to execute this mission. Seems to me the obvious presence of a deployment schedule belies that claim.

Read the sources I have provided to you, they are missing no qualifications.
What sources? Forgive me for not reading the entire thread, but I have no intentions of doing so.

If you have problems about qualifications with the Director of the CIA, Bob Woodward, and Thomas Ricks, stay far, far away from my thread.
I have problems with the fact you present none of the qualifications surrounding Ricks' judgements. You've not evaluated anything pertinent by Woodward or whatever mystery DCI you're talking about.

pcorbett
cyrusabdollahi said:
Look, I am not trying to be rude to you pcorbett, but I do not want this post to become diluted with posts of peoples opinions. I only want facts from credible sources.
Then you might start by actually addressing the planning and preparation process actually in place, separating judgement (that is, assessment from performance) from empirical facts.

We are not going to proceed with the discussion of our military capability and deployment any longer, sorry.
So you're going to discuss the alleged unpreparedness of the US military in waging this mission without actually discussing the state of the force at the start and during the mission? So I guess we're going by anecdote now?

Also be mindful that not everyone here has read Ricks' book or intends to. On the other hand, if you feel free to present his arguments you should, at the very minimum, present his defense (if you abhor presenting your own). You know...common courtesy.

Bystander said:
No opinions have been offered --- I've asked a couple questions in an effort to clarify the point of this thread. You won't say what lies. You assert "no information gap." Cyrus, there's a huge amount of information that isn't publicly available --- of course Ricks isn't omniscient. So, what's the point of this thread?

He hasn't presented anything with which to "take issue" based on the transcripts you've posted. He's a journalist chasing a Pulitzer. That's what journalists do.
He already has a Pulitzer prize.

vanesch said:
I guess that, of the transcript, the gist is:

It is amazing that the above text, full of evident truths clear to a lot of people since a long time, comes out as a kind of revelation at this point.
How come that, in most of Europe, say, this was about clear from the start to most people ?

I don't say this in a rhethorical way, but just: were we, in Europe, deluded by self-realising propaganda somehow, or was/is the American people deluded by (a huge dose) of propaganda so that now, they are surprised somehow by all these evident statements ?
My dear vanesch, we were given a big shovel of propganda.

pcorbett said:
You are, by arguing that US general purpose forces were universally unprepared to execute this mission. Seems to me the obvious presence of a deployment schedule belies that claim.
Unprepared for an insurgency. Prehaps you should have read all of my posts. This is NOT a topic of debate, it is a *fact.* Read the transcripts.

[/quote]What sources? Forgive me for not reading the entire thread, but I have no intentions of doing so.[/quote]

Bystander
Homework Helper
Gold Member
cyrusabdollahi said:
He already has a Pulitzer prize.
--- and, chasing another.

NYT catches hell for blowing an intelligence project tracking terrorist finances, and Ricks blows strategy, tactics, and planning for a whole war and gets ignored? He's got fairytale information from fairytale sources --- the war's still on, Cyrus --- disinformation is the name of the game --- the American press is the most efficient means of transmitting disinformation to the opposition. This isn't the Johnson administration w' R. Strange McN. passing plans to Hanoi so they can redeploy AA for maximum effect, or Kissinger or Nixon spouting plans in public.

mathwonk
Homework Helper
I am glad to see this discussion. What puzzles me somewhat is how there could still be any room for doubt on this. Anyone who watched television during the run up to bush's war must recall hans blick patiently explaining there were no weapons of mass destruction, asking for more time to prove this conclusively, and the right wing attack journalists denouncing him as an easily deceived fool who could not find his rear end with both hands.

When I see the chaos, the death, the hatred mounting daily, the increase in terror recruits, I feel guilty at not doing more to stop this government from its near insane level of damage.

When i was a college student I demonstrated (peacefully) for years against rascism and the related vietnam war, and was clubbed and beaten by police, and spent time in jail until I could not take it any more.

I do not know what methods are best, but at least I hope everyone will discuss these issues, and ultimately go to the polls, to turn these self seeking profiteers out of office. it is the future of your generation that is being mortgaged to the hilt, not just in money but in good will abroad.

Has it ocurred to you why terrorists are throwing bombs? They see that we sit by and let these madmen kill and maim their families and destroy their countries, and they are trying to get our attention.

Maybe their leaders are as cynical as ours, maybe even more insane, but their young recruits believe this is a fight for their religion and sovereignty. And the bombs are falling primarily on their lands.

We cannot abandon our own democratic methods, even in the face of terror, but we must at least use them. We must organize, contribute, and vote. i sent a reluctant political contribution yesterday where I hoped it would do the most good. You get at best what you pay for, and big oil is willing to pay a lot for access to the resources of people throughout the world, including here.

If you like to travel in the US wilderness, do you make your voice heard when bush sells off access rights to public land and public resources for a song?

I apologize if this may offend someone who disagrees, as everyone must act on his/her own conclusions and conscience in our society, but I feel partly responsible for the innocent deaths that are being paid for by my taxes and encouraged by my silence.

good luck to you.

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pcorbett
cyrusabdollahi said:
Unprepared for an insurgency. Prehaps you should have read all of my posts. This is NOT a topic of debate, it is a *fact.* Read the transcripts.
The word "preparation" is implicitly judgemental. You cannot honestly claim that it is fact. For one, you have to articulate some sort of metric for preparedness. Since you haven't, I assumed you meant universal preparedness--this is obviously not the case as the force was clearly prepared to mobilize to theater.

And, in fact, your claim is apparantly based entirely on reading Ricks' citing one Maj. Isaiah Wilson, Army historian and planning officer while ignoring Ricks' citing one Capt. Chris Karns and Gen. Tommy Franks--two persons intimately involved in USCENTCOM's end of the JOPES pipeline. So tell me, is your definition of "fact" based principally on reporting only those second hand judgements that support your assertion?

If you don't wish to lay out even an overview of your case (read, Ricks' case) for unpreparedness, then why even carry on a discussion?

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TOM RICKS: Yes. I was struck when I was out there, that General Casey had started up a counterinsurgency academy. The Coin Academy.

CHARLIE ROSE: I read that, yes.

TOM RICKS: In Taji. But think of that for a moment. The fact that the commander out there says the officers youre sending out here are inadequately prepared. These are people who have been in the Army for 10 or 15 years. And he said, you cant command in Iraq until you go to my counterinsurgency academy, a week-long course.

CHARLIE ROSE: Basically saying, they havent taught you what you need to know to fight this war.

TOM RICKS: Thats right. And so, heres the tool kit. That`s a condemning fact, I think, that the commander in Iraq felt that the troops, the officers coming out were not adequately prepared by their institution.
For the last time, if you don't read what I write, then don't post. That is what is called a fact, and we are NOT going to debate facts.

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pcorbett
cyrusabdollahi said:
For the last time, if you don't read what I write, then don't post.
I do read what you post, from the moment I stepped into the thread. You need not discuss anything with me, but don't complain when posters raise objections to your points. It's unseemly.

That is what is called a fact, and we are NOT going to debate facts.
Apparantly we are going to debate facts; in fact, I'm starting to default to skepticism whenever you present something as fact. What you have there, at best, is Ricks surmising Casey's intent in reinstituting COIN school as force recovery rather than optimization. The phrase "I think" should've been a dead giveaway. That's what we call a judgement, my friend.

Oh. Here's something for you to chew on. If there are no officers and enlisted prepared for the counterinsurgency mission, where do COIN instructors come from?

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/20/AR2006022001303.html

Back then, U.S. forces rounded up tens of thousands of Iraqis, mixing innocent people in detention with hard-core Islamic extremists. Commanders permitted troops to shoot at anything mildly threatening. And they failed to give their troops the basic conceptual and cultural tools needed to operate in the complex environment of Iraq, from how to deal with a sheik to understanding why killing insurgents usually is the least desirable outcome in dealing with them. (It is more effective, they are now taught, to persuade them either to desert or to join the political process.)

Again and again, the intense immersion course, which 30 to 50 officers attend at a time, emphasizes that the right answer is probably the counterintuitive one, rather than something that the Army has taught officers in their 10 or 20 years of service. The school's textbook, a huge binder, offers the example of a mission that busts into a house and captures someone who mortared a U.S. base
The major criticism offered by students is that it would have been better to have the education six months earlier, when they were training their troops to deploy to Iraq, not after the units have arrived. Short had a tart response: It's not a bad idea, he said, but the Army back home wasn't stepping up to the job. "They didn't do it for three years" -- the length of the war so far, he noted. "That's why the boss said, 'Screw it, I'm doing it here.' "
Facts.

pcorbett
cyrusabdollahi said:
Says who? Why aren't the excerpts you provided better characterized as analysis? I'm quite sure you find Ricks' judgements entirely credible. You should make that case for the rest of us, and to do so you might start with introducing supporting evidence other than single source testimony.

Also, why haven't you answered my question? It's a simple one. Where are the instructors for the COIN school coming from?

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Is that the best response you have? "Says who?" You are questioning what has been said by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the U.S. commander in Iraq.

Good god. Please leave this thread, you refuse to listen to what experts are saying.

pcorbett
cyrusabdollahi said:
Is that the best response you have? "Says who?" You are questioning what has been said by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the U.S. commander in Iraq.
I haven't questioned anything General Casey has said. I've questioned what Ricks argues and more importantly I question both the accuracy of your presentation of Ricks judgements and your categorical characterization of them as facts.

Good god. Please leave this thread, you refuse to listen to what experts are saying.
That's hilarious. How about an answer to my question? Where are the COIN instructors coming from? In a show of good faith, you should be able to find the answer covered briefly in the article you've posted.

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That's hilarious. How about an answer to my question? Where are the COIN instructors coming from? In a show of good faith, you should be able to find the answer covered briefly in the article you've posted.
Yes, the COIN academy is taught by people in the Military. So what? Because there are a few people in the military that has this training does not mean the entire military sent to Iraq was given the proper training. Was this supposed to be a "good" question?

Did you bother to read what I posted?

The major criticism offered by students is that it would have been better to have the education six months earlier, when they were training their troops to deploy to Iraq, not after the units have arrived. Short had a tart response: It's not a bad idea, he said, but the Army back home wasn't stepping up to the job. "They didn't do it for three years" -- the length of the war so far, he noted. "That's why the boss said, 'Screw it, I'm doing it here.' "
I haven't questioned anything General Casey has said. I've questioned what Ricks argues and more importantly I question both the accuracy of your presentation of Ricks judgements and your categorical characterization of them as facts.
Well, the COIN institute is a FACT. What Casey has said about lack of proper training is a FACT.

Now, this is the LAST time I am going to defend a fact.

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pcorbett
cyrusabdollahi said:
Yes, the COIN academy is taught by people in the Military. So what? Because there are a few people in the military that has this training does not mean the entire military sent to Iraq was given the proper training.
Now we're getting somewhere. Now pop quiz. What segment of the force (let's make it easy and stick with the US Army) consistently receives coinsurgency training). And while you're at it, consider the pros and cons of providing counterinsurgency to the remaining (combat) force. Finally, ask yourself how much of the force actually requires this training to complete not just any counterinsurgency mission, but the one in Iraq. Then, my friend, you can arrive at a judgement.

Yes, actually.

Do you actually read anything I post?
Of course I do, which is why I'm glad you've backed away from your previously uninformed claim that the force was without qualification unprepared to take on the counterinsurgency mission. Now this discussion can proceed along the serious lines you aspired to in the beginning of the thread.

Well, the COIN institute is a FACT. What Casey has said about lack of proper training is a FACT.
The Center (there is no COIN institute) does exist, yes. So is the Small War Center for Excellence (which has been around for decades), as well as various other schools addressing stressing different areas of warfighting competence in all the services and occasionally in the unified commands. And I happen to agree with Casey's judgement that the US Army is not optimally structured to conduct a counterinsurgency mission. I do not agree with your judgement, a judgement you share with Ricks, that the US Army is unprepared to do the job. Neither does Casey in his assessment of the situation before he stoop up COIN Center of Excellence: "I'm convinced that with our support, the Iraqis and the Iraqi people will prevail in this struggle." [http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2005/tr20050930-secdef4002.html]

Now, this is the LAST time I am going to defend a fact.
I think you and I should review the definition of fact before moving forward. Trust me, it'd really help you make at least as strong and serious a case as Ricks is making.

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Of course I do, which is why I'm glad you've backed away from your previously uninformed claim that the force was without qualification unprepared to take on the counterinsurgency mission.
I did not back away from my previous statement that the military force was unprepared for an insurgency.The fact that COIN academy exists supports my claim. So again, whats your point?

pcorbett
cyrusabdollahi said:
I did not back away from my previous statement that the military force was unprepared for an insurgency.

The fact that COIN academy exists supports my claim. So again, whats your point?
How does the fact that the COIN school exists (and I'm glad we at least agree on this fact) uniquely support a claim that the force was unprepared rather than one that merely claims that force could afford to do better? Especially when General Casey claimed US forces could do the job before USCENTCOM got into the COIN education game?

pcorbett
Another thing to consider is that COIN is but one third of the military mission in Iraq. There's also Stability and Support Operations (SASO) and Small Scale Contingency readiness (essentially, the ability to regroup and reform for larger combat operations for action in the field...say against Syria or Iran)

How does the fact that the COIN school exists (and I'm glad we at least agree on this fact) uniquely support a claim that the force was unprepared rather than one that merely claims that force could afford to do better?
That is a great spin "afford to do better" for being, unprepared for an insurgency. :tongue2:

Side: Sorry, I have been rather belligerent with you. I apologize

Dammit, I need a vacation!

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pcorbett
cyrusabdollahi said:
That is a great spin "afford to do better" for being, unprepared for an insurgency. :tongue2:
One good turn deserves another. I congratulate you on your spin as well.

Side: Sorry, I have been rather belligerent with you. I apologize
Same here.

Dammit, I need a vacation!
That's what the weekend's for.