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Old 10-15-2007, 01:52 AM   #1
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Al-Qaeda in Iraq reported crippled

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The Washington Post
October 14th, 2007


The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al-Qaeda in Iraq in recent months, leading some generals to advocate a declaration of victory over the group, which the Bush administration has long described as the most lethal U.S. adversary in Iraq.

But as the White House and its military commanders plan the next phase of the war, other officials have cautioned against taking what they see as a premature step that could create strategic and political difficulties for the United States. Such a declaration could fuel criticism that the Iraq conflict has become a civil war in which U.S. combat forces should not be involved. At the same time, the intelligence community, and some in the military itself, worry about underestimating an enemy that has shown great resilience in the past.

"I think it would be premature at this point," a senior intelligence official said of a victory declaration over AQI, as the group is known. Despite recent U.S. gains, he said, AQI retains "the ability for surprise and for catastrophic attacks." Earlier periods of optimism, such as immediately following the June 2006 death of AQI founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a U.S. air raid, not only proved unfounded but were followed by expanded operations by the militant organization.

There is widespread agreement that AQI has suffered major blows over the past three months. Among the indicators cited is a sharp drop in suicide bombings, the group's signature attack, from more than 60 in January to around 30 a month since July. Captures and interrogations of AQI leaders over the summer had what a senior military intelligence official called a "cascade effect," leading to other killings and captures. The flow of foreign fighters through Syria into Iraq has also diminished, although officials are unsure of the reason and are concerned that the broader al-Qaeda network may be diverting new recruits to Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The deployment of more U.S. and Iraqi forces into AQI strongholds in Anbar province and the Baghdad area, as well as the recruitment of Sunni tribal fighters to combat AQI operatives in those locations, has helped to deprive the militants of a secure base of operations, U.S. military officials said. They are less and less coordinated, more and more fragmented," Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq, said recently. Describing frayed support structures and supply lines, Odierno estimated that the group's capabilities have been "degraded" by 60 to 70 percent since the beginning of the year.

Calls for restraint

Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, chief of the Joint Special Operations Command's operations in Iraq, is the chief promoter of a victory declaration and believes that AQI has been all but eliminated, the military intelligence official said. But Adm. William J. Fallon, the chief of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, is urging restraint, the official said. The military intelligence official, like others interviewed for this report, refused to speak on the record about Iraq assessments and strategy.

Senior U.S. commanders on the ground, including Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of U.S. forces in Iraq, have long complained that the Central Command, along with the CIA, is too negative in its analyses. On this issue, however, Petraeus agrees with Fallon, the military intelligence official said.
For each assessment of progress against AQI, there is a cautionary note that comes from long and often painful experience. Despite the increased killings and captures of AQI members, Odierno said, "it only takes three people" to construct and detonate a suicide car bomb that can "kill thousands." The goal, he said, is to make each attack less effective and lengthen the periods between them.

Right now, said another U.S. official who declined even to be identified by the agency he works for, the data are "insufficient and difficult to measure."

"AQI is definitely taking some hits," the official said. "There is definite progress and that is undeniable good news. But what we don't know is how long it will last . . . and whether it's sustainable. . . . They have withstood withering pressure for a long period of time." Three months, he said, is not long enough to consider a trend sustainable.

Views of the extent to which AQI has been vanquished also reflect differences over the extent to which it operates independently from Osama bin Laden's central al-Qaeda organization based in Pakistan. "Everyone has an opinion about how franchisement of al-Qaeda works," a senior White House official said. "Is it through central control or is it decentralized?" The answer to that question, the official said, affects "your ability to determine how successfully [AQI] has been defeated or neutralized. Is it 'game over'?"

In Baghdad, the White House official said, the group's "area of operations has been reduced quite a bit for a variety of reasons, some good and some bad." Three years of sectarian fighting have eliminated many mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhoods. Those areas had been the most fertile and accessible places for AQI, which is composed of extremist Sunnis, to attack Shiite civilians, security forces and government officials. But the death of mixed neighborhoods also has made another Bush administration priority -- promoting political reconciliation -- more difficult. The expanded presence of U.S. troops in combat outposts in many parts of Baghdad has also put pressure on AQI, but a major test of gains against the organization will come when the U.S. military begins to turn security in those areas over to Iraqi forces next year.

Lying low?

Recent suicide bombings in northern Iraq have convinced some officials that AQI has moved its operations in that direction. But the officials said they do not know whether AQI militants have permanently decamped from Baghdad and Anbar or whether they are merely lying low in anticipation of a U.S. departure or the failure of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to end the sectarian divisions that AQI fostered and now feeds upon.
While a victory declaration might have the "psychological aspect" of discouraging recruitment to a perceived lost cause, the White House official said, advantages overall would be minimal. "I recognize that there are pros to saying, 'Hey, listen, the bad guys are on the run.' " But if AQI were later able to demonstrate residual capabilities with a series of bombings, "even though it was temporary," he said, "the question becomes: 'How does this play out in terms of public opinion?' "
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:14 AM   #2
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Quote:
The flow of foreign fighters through Syria into Iraq has also diminished, although officials are unsure of the reason and are concerned that the broader al-Qaeda network may be diverting new recruits to Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Isn't this just another diversion...

I mean how bad was Al Qaeda in Iraq before we got there? We drove them there by invading...

The fact that they are unsure of the reason and the broader network really isn't being taken care of really doesn't bring me astounding hope.
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Old 10-15-2007, 08:32 AM   #3
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There's a rather intellectually demanding book called, "The Gulf War Did Not Take Place," by Jean Baudrillard. I say "demanding," because 95% of people look at that title and call him a nut. The other 5% recognize Baudrillard's name as a premier postmodernist academic, and then understand that that title isn't meant to be taken literally at all. It really means to say that, to everyone except those physically present in Iraq, there is "no war" to us--just a media event. That point understood, it is true; the American public defines "the war" in a framework that is wholly different than how someone physically present in Iraq would, whether that be U.S./Iraqi military members or the Iraqi public at large.

I bring this up, because I imagine, at this point, that nobody really knows what the hell is really going on in Iraq at all anymore. I'd really like to believe that this article is true--because victory is obviously the preferable option above all--but the "media event" has played this game many times over.

In some ways, that's the sobering fact about how we are told about the world. The outside world "does not exist" to us; it is a carefully orchestrated "media event" of it, and we constantly are forced to discern whether that view is colored by government interests in making us love or hate a country that is an ally or enemy of ours, or, in the case of the media, whether that view is colored by the temptation of ratings.

"The Truth is out there." But from those of us forced to view the "media event," we will probably never get it.
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Old 10-15-2007, 08:33 AM   #4
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this is good news.

of course, there was no AQM in Iraq before we brought them there, but it's good to see that we're winning agianst enemies we've created. an exercise in futility? perhaps. has our presence in the region created another generation of AQM recruits? probaby.

violence has gone down over hte past two months. some of this is AQM's own doing rather than anything the US is actually doing. it seems they are so depraved that they've turned the local populations against them. so it's not that the US has really won a battle, per se, but they've at least allowed their enemies (the Anbar Sunni) to fight who they new see as a worse enemy (AQM). but we've also stood and watched as Iraq has ethnically cleansed itself thus reducing ethnic friction.

but, again, the Surge continues to have failed on it's own measures. there is no political reconciliation. none. this is what is needed for any sort of peace, or to point to the Surge as being even remotely successful. it's silly to credit "the Surge" with the progress made against AQM, though many will be quick to do so.
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Old 10-15-2007, 01:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
There's a rather intellectually demanding book called, "The Gulf War Did Not Take Place," by Jean Baudrillard. I say "demanding," because 95% of people look at that title and call him a nut. The other 5% recognize Baudrillard's name as a premier postmodernist academic, and then understand that that title isn't meant to be taken literally at all. It really means to say that, to everyone except those physically present in Iraq, there is "no war" to us--just a media event. That point understood, it is true; the American public defines "the war" in a framework that is wholly different than how someone physically present in Iraq would, whether that be U.S./Iraqi military members or the Iraqi public at large.

I bring this up, because I imagine, at this point, that nobody really knows what the hell is really going on in Iraq at all anymore. I'd really like to believe that this article is true--because victory is obviously the preferable option above all--but the "media event" has played this game many times over.

In some ways, that's the sobering fact about how we are told about the world. The outside world "does not exist" to us; it is a carefully orchestrated "media event" of it, and we constantly are forced to discern whether that view is colored by government interests in making us love or hate a country that is an ally or enemy of ours, or, in the case of the media, whether that view is colored by the temptation of ratings.

"The Truth is out there." But from those of us forced to view the "media event," we will probably never get it.
I was thinking along those lines a few months ago when I heard that Baudrillard had died.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
[B]There's a rather intellectually demanding book called, "The Gulf War Did Not Take Place[B]
What Iraq is
or is not
is very difficult to determine.

It may be easier to say what it is not.

I believe it is not what we are being told.

What information we get from "inbeds" and information "czars" is not objective or reliable.

Iraq is being treated like a "colony" of the United States.

We have "U S death squads" operating in Iraq.

U S Soldiers , snipers squads. killing innocent Iraqis and then planting evidence on them.

There is a good argument that Viet Nam was just a proxy War between The U S and Communist China.

What might Iraq end up being?

A proxy War between Iran (Shiites) and Sandi Arabia (Sunnis).

And Turkey and the Kurds will certainly escalate.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
I mean how bad was Al Qaeda in Iraq before we got there? We drove them there by invading...
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
of course, there was no AQM in Iraq before we brought them there, but it's good to see that we're winning agianst enemies we've created. an exercise in futility? perhaps. has our presence in the region created another generation of AQM recruits? probaby.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:31 PM   #8
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I hope this report turns out to be true. But then again:

Quote:
originally said by Dick Cheney, May 2005
I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:23 PM   #9
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the JOKE is on the rest of us



The mission really was accomplished


there was no end game
because it really does not matter


manipulating the price of oil

well,
that is what really matters

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Old 10-15-2007, 08:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by financeguy
I was thinking along those lines a few months ago when I heard that Baudrillard had died.
I wasn't aware that he had died. C'est dommage.

He was one of the boldest academics in modern philosophy that I ever encountered. He will be missed.
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Old 10-15-2007, 08:28 PM   #11
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I think it is important to note the article is from the Washington Post - not Bush or Cheney (not that they won't use it to their advantage)
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
I think it is important to note the article is from the Washington Post - not Bush or Cheney (not that they won't use it to their advantage)
And ... ?

What about the eight replies to your post?
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
What about the eight replies to your post?
All of which failed to acknowledge anything positive about this development. Which btw, is a bit of a shame in FYM, sadly.

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Old 10-15-2007, 09:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by MadelynIris
All of which failed to acknowledge anything positive about this development. Which btw, is a bit of a shame in FYM, sadly.

To be fair, though, I don't consider my post to be especially "negative" either. It's more a result of war-weary skepticism, although, if someone wants to hear it, I really hope that that article is true. It would be a very positive development.
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:12 PM   #15
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fair enough melon.
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