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News Last combat troops pulled out of Iraq

  1. Aug 18, 2010 #1
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38744453/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa

    To me, this seems like a mere technicality, since we're keeping 50,000 troops in Iraq. Removing 14k and keeping 50k hardly seems like "ending the war" as the state department says.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2010 #2

    russ_watters

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    It's a good step, but I'm not clear on what the role of those remaining 50,000 troops are. Are they MPs? Supply groups? Traing and organizational advisors? Engineers?

    Still, I wouldn't call it a technicality because it (I assume) means an end to actual combat patrols.

    (Caveat: I'd be shocked if we don't still have special forces doing search-and-destory missions.)
     
  4. Aug 18, 2010 #3
    It would be a mistake according to Aziz:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-10888385
     
  5. Aug 18, 2010 #4
    I believe they are there to train Iraq military.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11020270
     
  6. Aug 18, 2010 #5

    russ_watters

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    Not sure why anyone would care what Aziz has to say, but certainly Obama is not being hypocritical here. IMO this is one of the biggest successes of his job as Cinc so far and he's certainly been consistent since the campaign that he was going to follow the withdrawal plan Bush laid out for him.

    Of course he wants to believe that Iraq was better off when he himself was in power there, but due to the lifiting of sanctions and pumping of American money into rebuilding, Iraq's GDP is something like 5x what it was 10 years ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Iraq#After_the_Fall_of_Saddam_Hussein
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  7. Aug 18, 2010 #6
    He is Former Iraqi deputy PM and has far more knowledge of Iraq than Americans. Who would qualify more?

    GDP does not measure quality of life.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Aug 18, 2010 #7

    loseyourname

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    The new SOFA in effect at this point has the remaining troops serving in an advisory role only. No more combat patrols. No more leaving the FOB for the most part, although I guess horizontal construction units, contractor pay units, civil affairs units, and personnel like that will still need to go out in the cities to more directly teach the Iraqis how to build roads and what not.

    I spent some time in training with a signal intelligence platoon at Ft. Carson last summer about to deploy and they were mostly fairly irked about the pointlessness of their own deployment. They can't do their regular jobs because intel collection has been handed over to the Iraqis, and the equipment they use is all classified and can't be shared, so they can't really teach them anything, either.
     
  9. Aug 18, 2010 #8

    russ_watters

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    Oh, he's absolutely the most qualified to answer questions about how Iraq was before the war, but being a criminal who took part in the various atrocities of that oppressive dictatorship also makes him perhaps the least credible witness on the planet on the subject! And as far as conditions today are concerned, he's only really qualified to speak about how the inside of his jail cell has deteriorated over the past 7 years.
    It is one way to measure quality of life, yes - though an indirect one.
     
  10. Aug 19, 2010 #9
    Does that have anything to do with his opinion on the matter we are discussing in this thread: pulling troops out of Iraq?


    GDP would naturally go up with American (the biggest economy) involvement in Iraq.


    It seems like Iraq government is not confident and democracy is not a right thing for Iraq at least at this moment.

    Iraq Military opinion:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-10947918

     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  11. Aug 19, 2010 #10

    Gokul43201

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    It certainly does! He has perhaps the most biased opinion (from the Baathist side) of anyone alive today (being Saddam's closest aide and highest ranking Govt official), and has the most to gain (in public empathy) by convincing people that they were better off under the Baathists. Not to mention that Aziz's only knowledge of post-Saddam conditions in Iraq comes from whatever little access he has to TV/radio news from the inside of a US Army base prison.
     
  12. Aug 19, 2010 #11

    russ_watters

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    Lol, no. What we spend on our troops in Iraq does not get counted as part of Iraq's GDP. As the link I provided shows, the rise in GDP is due primarily to the fact that they can now sell a lot more oil than they could before.
    That article says nothing about the government's confidence in democracy. Where are you getting that idea from?

    Look, the risk when removing an occyping force is always the same: if you remove the troops too soon, you risk allowing whatever force they were fighting against to rise back up and be disruptive again. But so far, fears of that happening have not panned-out. IMO, it is unreasonable to believe the insurgents are being so well disciplined that they have been biding their time for the past 2 years waiting to suddenly spring back to life.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  13. Aug 19, 2010 #12
    Of course, if things do get worse again, we still have over 50,000 troops over there to help out. I have no doubt that the US would re-start combat operations if the insurgents flared up. That's why I think it's a bit meaningless to declare this to be the "end of the war."
     
  14. Aug 19, 2010 #13

    russ_watters

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    I think you misunderstand and I tried to explain but must not have done a good job.

    Those 50,000 "troops" are not, for the most part, combat troops. Most are not equiped, trained or organized into units capable of "restart[ing] combat operations". Though I don't know what the disposition is, I suspect it is largely:

    -Mid-level enlisted for training new soldiers.
    -Senior enlisted and officers for training noncoms and officers.
    -Desk-jockies from the Pentagon working on developing a proper organizational structure and other various planning tasks.
    -MP's for guarding bases and otherwise providing security.
    -Perhaps combat infantry for additional security support.
    -Engineering units for helping build infrastructure.
    -Supply units, medical personnel, administrative personnel, etc.
    -Intelligence and surveilance units.
    -Air transport units.

    The only group of those that is even close to being capable of combat are the MP's, but they aren't equipped for power projection, only defense of bases. Perhaps the base defense includes light infantry as well, and they would be capable of very limited combat, but I doubt there are more than a few thousand of them.
     
  15. Aug 19, 2010 #14

    mheslep

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    As posted above, those remaining 50,000 will also be gone in 18 months, meaning some will start to leave in ~8 months.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S.–Iraq_Status_of_Forces_Agreement
     
  16. Aug 19, 2010 #15

    mheslep

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    Probably, but do you know that for certain? There is still a good reason for keeping heavy armor combat troops in theater ready to go: the external threat from Iraq's neighbors. A successful, sovereign democracy in Iraq/Kurdistan is a threat in varying ways to all the neighboring regimes including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, all of which I read are working covertly to subvert Iraq. Keeping a few heavy US brigades in theater sends the message "dont even think about sending in troops". Taking them out means a fast response with ground troops can only be done with airborne units. Then there's the political message of the last well armed boot leaving the ground. Iraq's neighbors would be rational in making the political calculation that, once the US pulls out the last combat ready soldier, the US will not respond adequately to a small bite of an invasion here and there, especially with the current administration in place.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  17. Aug 19, 2010 #16
    Hey, that's the exact opposite of what I heard on the news today when they quoted a pentagon official stating that "if need be," the troops left can assist in combat operations.
     
  18. Aug 19, 2010 #17

    russ_watters

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    Source, please.
     
  19. Aug 19, 2010 #18
    I didn't video tape the local news report for you. I'd find a different source, but it's midnight and I'm going to bed. That said, I'm surprised that you don't believe well-trained soldiers can't perform combat operations.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  20. Aug 19, 2010 #19

    russ_watters

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    Fair enough. For my part, I think you misheard of the media mischaracterized the issue.
    I'm former Navy. I understand that being ready for combat requires constant training for combat and equipent tailored to a combat role. "Combat troops" aren't just a bunch of guys handed M-16s who practice using them on a firing range once a year. And even in the middle of an active war, the ratio of combat troops to support troops is surprisingly (to most people) low. Here is a link that suggests that even during the active combat phase, the ratio of support personnel to combat troops was around 7:1. http://en.allexperts.com/q/Military-History-669/combat-ratio-1.htm [Broken]
    Even assuming that ratio held now (it wouldn't), that would put the number of combat troops at about 7,000.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  21. Aug 20, 2010 #20
    I used Iraq government and military confidence in handling the matter. I have provided Iraq military opinion on this matter. There have been many articles about low confidence among Iraq politicians and I have not seen any source yet claiming that Iraq government is capable.

    No, it does not have to do with insurgents springing out of nowhere but rather the sudden change in the forces that are acting against the insurgents.
     
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