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Bush has created a comprehensive catastrophe

Bush Administration 2006 Middle East Policy Foreign Policy Disaster

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#41 Spectacles

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 02:44 PM

Well, they're a little late to the party, but it looks like the Joint Chiefs of Staff have finally decided that vigorous dissent is important.

http://www.washingto...1801477_pf.html

Quote

White House, Joint Chiefs At Odds on Adding Troops

By Robin Wright and Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, December 19, 2006; A01



The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate.

Sending 15,000 to 30,000 more troops for a mission of possibly six to eight months is one of the central proposals on the table of the White House policy review to reverse the steady deterioration in Iraq. The option is being discussed as an element in a range of bigger packages, the officials said.

But the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House review is not public.

The chiefs have taken a firm stand, the sources say, because they believe the strategy review will be the most important decision on Iraq to be made since the March 2003 invasion.


At regular interagency meetings and in briefing President Bush last week, the Pentagon has warned that any short-term mission may only set up the United States for bigger problems when it ends. The service chiefs have warned that a short-term mission could give an enormous edge to virtually all the armed factions in Iraq -- including al-Qaeda's foreign fighters, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias -- without giving an enduring boost to the U.S military mission or to the Iraqi army, the officials said.

The Pentagon has cautioned that a modest surge could lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents and fuel the jihadist appeal for more foreign fighters to flock to Iraq to attack U.S. troops, the officials said.

The informal but well-armed Shiite militias, the Joint Chiefs have also warned, may simply melt back into society during a U.S. surge and wait until the troops are withdrawn -- then reemerge and retake the streets of Baghdad and other cities.

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#42 DWF

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 04:53 PM

I can't be think that if hadn't disdanded their army things wouldn't be this bad by now. :eh:
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#43 offworlder

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 11:05 PM

if the joint chiefs are quite vociferous on what Not to do ...... have they said their peace (piece?) on what To Do??
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#44 Captain Jack

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 02:04 AM

View PostShotenStar, on Dec 18 2006, 06:14 AM, said:

"comprehensive catastrophe"

I like that phrase.  Must remember that.

*star*

Me too.  It's too bad that Dubb'ya can't spell catastrophe, or knows the meaning of it. :p :D  I mean, how often does he use words with more than two syllables in them?

Edited by Spidey, 20 December 2006 - 02:05 AM.

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#45 Spectacles

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 08:59 AM

View Postoffworlder, on Dec 19 2006, 11:05 PM, said:

if the joint chiefs are quite vociferous on what Not to do ...... have they said their peace (piece?) on what To Do??

That's a good question. I suspect they have, but privately, since it's their duty to carry out policy as set by the President. That they have been making their dissent known to the press is pretty remarkable. They just don't do that.
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#46 Spectacles

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 09:52 AM

Also, a reason that Joint Chiefs are reluctant to commit more troops is that they've said they see the problem in Iraq as needing a political solution, not a military one. Obviously, we have to do what we can to keep the Shiites and Sunnis from killing each other--and keep the insurgents from killing us and representatives in the Iraqi government--but there is no military victory to be had. We aren't trying to defeat an enemy state's military. We're trying to keep Iraq from exploding. Without the cooperation of the Iraqis, there's only so much we can do. Therefore, there needs to be a political solution: a sense of Iraqi national unity, which is looking more and more like an impossible dream.
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#47 Mr. Synystyr

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 10:42 AM

View PostSpidey, on Dec 19 2006, 11:04 PM, said:

I mean, how often does he use words with more than two syllables in them?

He seems fond of "nukular".

:whistle:

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#48 ilexx

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 12:43 PM

Just a wild thought: how about go to the UN, say 'Sorry, people, we screwed up, but there are now a lot of people dying because of that and we could use some help?' and get the Security Council onboard?

#49 Kosh

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 03:31 PM

View Posttennyson, on Dec 18 2006, 11:39 PM, said:

Quote

. well, you see how well that worked for us when we bolstered the Taliban against Russia.

There was no such organization as the Taliban when the Soviet Union withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in 1989. Or in 1992 when the communist government fell and the country descended into factional infighting. The Taliban was founded in 1995-1996 in the religous schools of Pakistan by students, hence thier name for themselves which means a certain kind of student. They formed an armed militia and then became the dominant force in Pakistan through years of hard fighting. But no such organization existed when the United States was suppporting the Afghans and anyone else willing to fight the Soviets there.


Most of the same people are still involved. The names change to protect the guilty.




Quote

And I think they realized that it would have been next to impossible to raise up a citizen militia to take out Saddam given his control over the country.

Espcially after Bush 1 failed to keep his promise. They have no reason to trust us.
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#50 MuseZack

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 05:10 PM

With regard to Iraq policy, I'm watching events unfold with increasing dread.  By most accounts, it looks like Bush is getting ready to "surge" the number of US troops in Iraq, mainly by messing with the rotation schedule and extending some troops' tours while bringing in their replacements early.

And it looks like the beefed up numbers of troops are going to be used to try and take down Muqtada Sadr and his Mahdi Army (sounds like a band name, doesn't it?)  As some folks may recall, US forces have tangled with the Mahdi Army twice before in 2004, first across southern Iraq and Baghdad, and then in the Shi'ite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.  In both cases, the US inflicted hundreds if not thousands of casualties on the lightly armed, fairly undisciplined militia while taking not insignificant losses ourselves (Cindy Sheehan's son Casey was actually killed in a fight with the Mahdi Army.)  In both cases the fighting ended with a political settlement that drew Muqtada sorta kinda into the poltical process.

The problem?  The Mahdi Army has more than regenerated its fighting strength, and has by many accounts been getting trained by Hezbollah and the Iranian special forces.  If this is the case, the US has a much tougher foe to fight this time around, and that's in addition to the ongoing Sunni insurgency.  

Is the US public really ready for a two-front war in Iraq that has the potential of drawing in a significant chunk of the majority Shia population?  More to the point, this would seem to have a real possibility of going badly for the US, especially given that US supply lines all go from Kuwait through heavily Shi'ite southern Iraq.

Color me seriously concerned.
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#51 Hibblette

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 05:45 PM

Yea well I'm right beside you Zack.
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#52 Mark

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 05:49 PM

View PostHibblette, on Dec 21 2006, 04:45 PM, said:

Yea well I'm right beside you Zack.

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#53 Captain Jack

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 11:22 PM

View PostMr. Synystyr, on Dec 20 2006, 07:42 AM, said:

View PostSpidey, on Dec 19 2006, 11:04 PM, said:

I mean, how often does he use words with more than two syllables in them?

He seems fond of "nukular".

:whistle:


And yet, he can't pronounce it right...
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#54 Rhea

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 12:16 AM

I'm with Zack too. ;)

I see him using tired troops who have had 2 and now some of them 3 tours of duty in Iraq to make an even bigger mess, and I loathe the man and hold him responsible for every serviceperson who has died in Iraq.  :angry:

I hold him responsible for the Iraqi civilian deaths as well. The Shiites and Sunnis who are murdering each other is another story.
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#55 ilexx

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 01:52 AM

Just to understand things better: how long is a tour of duty in Iraq for the American army?

#56 Captain Jack

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 04:43 AM

Too long.
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#57 Spectacles

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 10:18 AM

View PostMuseZack, on Dec 21 2006, 05:10 PM, said:

With regard to Iraq policy, I'm watching events unfold with increasing dread.  By most accounts, it looks like Bush is getting ready to "surge" the number of US troops in Iraq, mainly by messing with the rotation schedule and extending some troops' tours while bringing in their replacements early.

And it looks like the beefed up numbers of troops are going to be used to try and take down Muqtada Sadr and his Mahdi Army (sounds like a band name, doesn't it?)  As some folks may recall, US forces have tangled with the Mahdi Army twice before in 2004, first across southern Iraq and Baghdad, and then in the Shi'ite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.  In both cases, the US inflicted hundreds if not thousands of casualties on the lightly armed, fairly undisciplined militia while taking not insignificant losses ourselves (Cindy Sheehan's son Casey was actually killed in a fight with the Mahdi Army.)  In both cases the fighting ended with a political settlement that drew Muqtada sorta kinda into the poltical process.

The problem?  The Mahdi Army has more than regenerated its fighting strength, and has by many accounts been getting trained by Hezbollah and the Iranian special forces.  If this is the case, the US has a much tougher foe to fight this time around, and that's in addition to the ongoing Sunni insurgency.  

Is the US public really ready for a two-front war in Iraq that has the potential of drawing in a significant chunk of the majority Shia population?  More to the point, this would seem to have a real possibility of going badly for the US, especially given that US supply lines all go from Kuwait through heavily Shi'ite southern Iraq.

Color me seriously concerned.

And beyond that, I keep wondering what we can reasonably hope to accomplish militarily at this point, whether we increase the troop strength or "stay the course."

The only positive outcome for the U.S. and our Western allies would be a stable, Western-friendly Iraq. That isn't going to happen. It isn't going to happen because we've lost far more friends than we've won in this occupation. We were unable to provide security--thanks to Rumsfeld's insistence on using far fewer troops than we should have in the initial invasion/occupation and Bremer's de-Baathification and disbanding of the Iraqi security. No security led to disastrously wasteful and dangerous reconstruction projects that were mere bandaids, a dangerous society rife with kidnappings and violent crime (praised by Rummy initally as freedom breaking out  :wacko: ) and a real petri dish for the growth of militias, insurgents, anti-American sentiment, and Islamic radicalism.

This did not happen overnight. It was clear within a month of the occupation that trouble was brewing, but this administration decided to address with political sloganeering: "mission accomplished," "freedom is on the march," "stay the course."

Well, the rhetoric is only working its magic now on about 30% of the people. The rest are looking at the smoking, bloody ruins of Iraq and wondering how the hell we're going to get out of there. But the Bush Administration has to play to the 30% who still believe and think there is no such thing as fighting stupidly. So off to the meat-grinder go more troops for an unrealistic cause.

I think this is totally politically motivated. It's an effort to appear "strong," which is the hook for the 30% who still support this administration. They haven't thought it through enough to realize that appearing strong isn't the same as being strong. But Bush has to keep them happy, so we'll throw more bodies into Iraq.

I honestly dread the day when we have to finally admit that Iraq is beyond our control and leave, but that's the reality. What will follow will be a replay of post-Vietnam malaise. It won't be fun and there will be much finger-pointing. So I think this plan to give it one last shot is mere face-saving. And the radio conservatives will argue for decades that we could have won the war if only everyone had stayed as resolute as George W. Bush.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#58 Rhea

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 04:45 PM

View PostSpectacles, on Dec 22 2006, 07:18 AM, said:

[I honestly dread the day when we have to finally admit that Iraq is beyond our control and leave, but that's the reality. What will follow will be a replay of post-Vietnam malaise. It won't be fun and there will be much finger-pointing. So I think this plan to give it one last shot is mere face-saving. And the radio conservatives will argue for decades that we could have won the war if only everyone had stayed as resolute as George W. Bush.


Of course they will. Admitting that you screwed up is not a strong point with any politician or political group, but the neocons have made virtue out of pretending nothing's wrong.  :suspect:
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
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When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH



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