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Old 10-19-2006, 09:26 AM   #196
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Yeah, we should have a FYM Santorum defeat party
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Old 10-19-2006, 11:10 PM   #197
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An Iraq Vet's Plan to Avoid Civil War

By Phillip Carter
slate.com, Oct. 18, 2006


Sectarian violence exploded in Iraq this weekend, with Shiite and Sunni militants openly battling for control of Balad and Duluiyah, two cities north of Baghdad. The violence began with the kidnapping and beheading of 17 Shiite laborers; so far, nearly 100 Iraqis have perished in the fighting. U.S. forces initially held back, giving the Iraqi police and army the chance to pacify the cities. Once they recognized that this approach had failed, U.S. combat troops moved into Balad on Tuesday, conducting joint patrols in an effort to take back the streets. For now, the unrest seems to have simmered down.

Despite having 140,000 troops in Iraq, our military is still forced to play a game of whack-a-mole with the insurgency and militias, because it cannot dominate the country enough to secure every city and hamlet. The U.S. military constitutes a thin green line capable of containing the insurgency when deployed, but it cannot be everywhere. The inability of Iraqi police and army units to retake Balad on their own demonstrates the continuing problem with the U.S. exit strategy of "standing up" Iraqi security forces so we can "stand down." Without a radical change of strategy, the mission in Iraq will fail.
...............................
Although the United States has nearly 30,000 troops near Balad, it does not have any troops in the city on a full-time basis. During the last two years, the U.S. presence in Iraq has consolidated in massive superfortresses like Anaconda and shut down dozens of smaller bases and outposts across the country. This operational withdrawal was meant to make the U.S. presence more efficient and to reduce the risk of having small units deployed on small bases where they might be vulnerable to insurgent attack; it also forced the Iraqis to become more self-sufficient in securing their own cities. Unfortunately, this has come at a price. When a massive flare-up happens in places like Balad, Tikrit, or Kirkuk, all cities without a permanent U.S. presence, our military must respond from afar, its effectiveness and responsiveness limited by distance.

Of course, this presumes that U.S. forces are able to respond at a moment's notice. Nothing could be further from the truth. The American battalion responsible for Balad is stretched over hundreds of square miles and is responsible for partnering with Iraqi forces, engaging local government officials, overseeing reconstruction projects, securing its bases, and providing security throughout the area. Covering all these missions presents a difficult tactical problem, one that forces commanders to spread their troops thinly. A medium-sized city like Balad, with 100,000 residents, might be patrolled only by a company—100 to 150 men—at any given time.

This violent weekend proves that America needs to radically change its course in Iraq, while some form of victory still lies within our grasp. First, the U.S. military must reverse its trend of consolidation and redeploy its forces into Iraq's cities. Efficiency and force protection cannot define our military footprint in Iraq; if those are our goals, we may as well bring our troops home today. Instead, we must assume risk by pushing U.S. forces out into small patrol bases in the middle of Iraq's cities where they are able to work closely with Iraqi leaders and own the streets. Counterinsurgency requires engagement. The most effective U.S. efforts thus far in Iraq have been those that followed this maxim, like the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Tal Afar, which established numerous bases within the city and attacked the insurgency from within with a mix of political, economic, and military action.

Second, the United States needs to reinforce the most successful part of its strategy so far—embedding advisers with Iraqi units. Our embedded advisers achieve more bang for the buck than any other troops in Iraq; one good 12-man adviser team, living and working with an Iraqi unit, can bolster an entire Iraqi battalion. Without these advisers, Iraqi army and police units remain ineffective—or worse, they go rogue. However, these advisers are drawn primarily from the reserves and the staff ranks, not from America's military elite, so they represent the B Team of today's military talent. The military needs to invest its best people in the job. If necessary, it should shatter existing units to cull the best officers and sergeants—those selected for command positions—for this critical duty. And the United States cannot afford to lavish advisers on the Iraqi army alone, as it has largely done since 2003. It must extend the embedding program to the police and the Iraqi government, down to the province and city level, to bring critical services like security, electricity, and governance to the Iraqi people.

At the same time, we must recognize the limitations of our strategy to raise the Iraqi forces—it is a blueprint for withdrawal, not for victory. At best, it will enable us to substitute Iraqi soldiers and cops for American men and women. But simply replacing American soldiers with Iraqi soldiers and cops will not end the insurgency; it will merely transform it into a civil war where the state-equipped army and police battle with Sunni and Shiite militias, with Iraqi civilians frequently caught in the crossfire. To combat the insurgency, America must adopt a more holistic approach than simply building up the country's security forces. We have the seeds of this in Iraq today—the State Department's Provincial Reconstruction Teams. I worked closely with the PRT in Diyala to advise the Iraqi courts, jails, and police, and I saw their tremendous potential. However, having been hamstrung by bureaucratic infighting between the State and Defense departments, these teams now lack the authority, personnel, and resources to run the reconstruction effort effectively. America should reach back to one of its positive lessons from Vietnam, the "Civil Operations and Rural Development Support" program. There, the United States created a unified organization to manage all military and civilian pacification programs, recognizing that only a unified effort could bring the right mix of political, economic, and military solutions to bear on problems.

Although we copied some parts of the CORDS model in Afghanistan and Iraq when we created the PRTs, we did not go nearly far enough. It has become cliché to say that the insurgency requires a political solution; in practical terms, that means subordinating military force to political considerations and authority. Today's PRT chiefs need to have command authority over everything in their provinces, much as ambassadors have traditionally exercised command over all military activity in their countries. We must also empower the PRTs to actually do something besides diplomacy—that means money. Like battlefield commanders, PRT chiefs need deep pockets of petty cash (what the military calls the Commander's Emergency Response Program fund) to start small reconstruction projects and local initiatives that will have an immediate and tangible impact.

The Iraq Study Group led by James Baker will reportedly propose many significant adjustments to our diplomatic strategy and our relationship with the nascent Iraqi government. Failing that, the panel will recommend a strategic withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. I believe that there is still time to secure Iraq and stave off what some believe is an inevitable civil war. Bolstering Iraq's security forces and our own reconstruction efforts may not be enough, but these practical fixes represent our best hope for pulling Iraq back from the precipice. We must act quickly, though, before more cities explode like Balad and Duluiyah.
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Old 10-20-2006, 11:42 AM   #198
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That is a good thoughtful plan.
But it is not what we want or why we went. Iraqi's are just pond scum


Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil

Even as Iraq verges on splintering into a sectarian civil war, four big oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as "the prize."

By Joshua Holland

10/18/06 "AlterNet" -- -- Iraq is sitting on a mother lode of some of the lightest, sweetest, most profitable crude oil on earth, and the rules that will determine who will control it and on what terms are about to be set.
The Iraqi government faces a December deadline, imposed by the world's wealthiest countries, to complete its final oil law. Industry analysts expect that the result will be a radical departure from the laws governing the country's oil-rich neighbors, giving foreign multinationals a much higher rate of return than with other major oil producers and locking in their control over what George Bush called Iraq's "patrimony" for decades, regardless of what kind of policies future elected governments might want to pursue.

Iraq's energy reserves are an incredibly rich prize. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, "Iraq contains 112 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, the second largest in the world (behind Saudi Arabia), along with roughly 220 billion barrels of probable and possible resources. Iraq's true potential may be far greater than this, however, as the country is relatively unexplored due to years of war and sanctions." For perspective, the Saudis have 260 billion barrels of proven reserves.

Iraqi oil is close to the surface and easy to extract, making it all the more profitable. James Paul, executive director of the Global Policy Forum, points out that oil companies "can produce a barrel of Iraqi oil for less than $1.50 and possibly as little as $1, including all exploration, oilfield development and production costs." Contrast that with other areas where oil is considered cheap to produce at $5 per barrel or the North Sea, where production costs are $12-16 per barrel.

And Iraq's oil sector is largely undeveloped. Former Iraqi Oil Minister Issam Chalabi (no relation to the neocons' favorite exile, Ahmed

Chalabi) told the Associated Press that "Iraq has more oil fields that have been discovered, but not developed, than any other country in the world." British-based analyst Mohammad Al-Gallani told the Canadian Press that of 526 prospective drilling sites, just 125 have been opened.
But the real gem -- what one oil consultant called the "Holy Grail" of the industry -- lies in Iraq's vast western desert. It's one of the last "virgin" fields on the planet, and it has the potential to catapult Iraq to No. 1 in the world in oil reserves. Sparsely populated, the western fields are less prone to sabotage than the country's current centers of production in the north, near Kirkuk, and in the south near Basra. The Nation's Aram Roston predicts Iraq's western desert will yield "untold riches."

Iraq also may have large natural gas deposits that so far remain virtually unexplored.

But even "untold riches" don't tell the whole story. Depending on how Iraq's petroleum law shakes out, the country's enormous reserves could break the back of OPEC, a wet dream in Western capitals for three decades. James Paul predicted that "even before Iraq had reached its full production potential of 8 million barrels or more per day, the companies would gain huge leverage over the international oil system. OPEC would be weakened by the withdrawal of one of its key producers from the OPEC quota system." Depending on how things shape up in the next few months, Western oil companies could end up controlling the country's output levels, or the government, heavily influenced by the United States, could even pull out of the cartel entirely.

Both independent analysts and officials within Iraq's Oil Ministry anticipate that when all is said and done, the big winners in Iraq will be the Big Four -- the American firms Exxon-Mobile and Chevron, the British BP-Amoco and Royal Dutch-Shell -- that dominate the world oil market. Ibrahim Mohammed, an industry consultant with close contacts in the Iraqi Oil Ministry, told the Associated Press that there's a universal belief among ministry staff that the major U.S. companies will win the lion's share of contracts. "The feeling is that the new government is going to be influenced by the United States," he said.

EVEN Mr Blair concedes the Truth:

Yesterday, Mr Blair told MP’s at Question Time: “Troops will be out of Iraq in 16 months.” No one asked him about an earlier report by Kim Sengupta in The Independent (22.09.06), who wrote: “A force of around 4,000 British troops will stay behind in Iraq for an indefinite period, even after all provinces controlled by the UK are handed over to the Baghdad government in nine months' time, senior defence sources said yesterday. ” The soldiers will be positioned at a base in Basra ready to act to "protect the investment" made by US and British forces in the country, it was disclosed.”

WHAT ‘investment’?

It is important to read Mr. Holland’s well researched article (18.10), Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil1 “Even as Iraq verges on splintering into a sectarian civil war, four big oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as "the prize." This ‘prize’ is probably also why there is reportedly a new US base being built near the oil fields in Northern Iraq.
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Old 11-04-2006, 06:51 PM   #199
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Iraq War Proponents Decry Administration
Nov 04 5:39 PM US/Eastern

By BARRY SCHWEID
AP Diplomatic Writer

WASHINGTON


A leading conservative proponent of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq now says dysfunction within the Bush administration has turned U.S. policy there into a disaster.
Richard Perle, who chaired a committee of Pentagon policy advisers early in the Bush administration, said had he seen at the start of the war in 2003 where it would go, he probably would not have advocated an invasion to depose Saddam Hussein. Perle was an assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan.



"I probably would have said, 'Let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists,'" he told Vanity Fair magazine in its upcoming January issue.

Meanwhile, the Military Times Media Group, a Gannett Co. subsidiary that publishes Army Times and other military-oriented periodicals, said Friday it was calling for Bush to fire Rumsfeld. An editorial due to be published Monday says active-duty military leaders are beginning to voice misgivings about the war's planning and execution and dimming prospects for success. It declares that "Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large."

The editorial concludes by saying that regardless of which party wins in next week's election, the time has come "to face the hard bruising truth: Donald Rumsfeld must go."

When asked about the Vanity Fair article and Perle's criticism, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, "We appreciate the Monday- morning quarterbacking, but the president has a plan to succeed in Iraq and we are going forward with it."

Other prominent conservatives criticized the administration's conduct of the war in the article, including Kenneth Adelman, who also served on the Defense Policy Board that informally advised President Bush. Adelman said he was "crushed" by the performance of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

The critiques in Vanity Fair come as growing numbers of Republicans have criticized Bush's policies on Iraq. The war, unpopular with many Americans, has become a top-tier issue in next week's congressional elections.

Perle said "you have to hold the president responsible" because he didn't recognize "disloyalty" by some in the administration. He said the White House's National Security Council, then run by now-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, did not serve Bush properly.

A year before the war, Adelman predicted demolishing Saddam's military power and liberating Iraq would be a "cakewalk." But he told the magazine he was mistaken in his high opinion of Bush's national security .

"They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the postwar era," he said. "Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."

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Old 11-05-2006, 08:41 PM   #200
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Perle: I Only Agreed To Tell The Truth About Iraq If It ‘Would Not Be Published Before The Election’
In a new article in Vanity Fair, prominent neoconservative Richard Perle — one of the principle advocates of invading Iraq — blasts the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq. Here’s some key excerpts:

[Bush] did not make decisions, in part because the machinery of government that he nominally ran was actually running him…Huge mistakes were made, and I want to be very clear on this: They were not made by neoconservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened, and certainly almost no voice in what happened after the downfall of the regime in Baghdad. I’m getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war. I was in favor of bringing down Saddam. Nobody said, ‘Go design the campaign to do that.’ I had no responsibility for that.

Now, Perle is calling foul, saying he only agreed to tell the truth if it was published after the election. Here’s Perle in the National Review:

Vanity Fair has rushed to publish a few sound bites from a lengthy discussion with David Rose…I had been promised that my remarks would not be published before the election.

Another prominent conservative quoted in the article Eliot Cohen, has a different view. Cohen said, “thinking the government’s conduct of the Iraq war an entirely appropriate subject of political debate I do not think anyone should have kept mum in an interview of this kind until an election had passed.”
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Old 11-05-2006, 10:27 PM   #201
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That "retraction" or whatever by Perle is utter bullshite! Don't tell the truth if it hurts my pals politically, plus all of sudden the neocons aren't responsible for Iraq?!? So is he blaming the generals and the military, that should go over well. Hmm, Bush did not make decisions, machinery of government he nominallly ran was actually running him..........wow, and here I thought that Bush was the decider. If things had turned into flowers and kisses, they would be taking total credit. Hey Richard, a lot of us have read the Project for a New American Century manifesto.

Good for him to see the light, too bad he is a such a whiner about it.

It is appalling that tens of thousands of innocent people have died and the architects of the whole event can just shrug their shoulders and go oops, my bad.
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Old 11-05-2006, 10:34 PM   #202
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They're all blaming Bush now - how convenient. They all have blood on their hands and I think at this point the only good thing that will come out of this tragic, unfortunate mess is the idea that Neoconservatism is a completely failed ideology, at least in the eyes of the public.
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Old 11-05-2006, 10:56 PM   #203
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Yes and the world can embrace hard nosed realpolitik and isolationism again just like in 1991 when America let the Shiites rise up to be crushed by attack helicopters

Few here seem to appreciate the neocons when they talk about cutting dependence on foreign oil, embracing alternative energy sources and cutting the petrodollars to the gulf states or when the neocons were talking up Clinton era humanitarian interventions.
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Old 11-05-2006, 11:15 PM   #204
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Yes, but the neocons have (for better or worse) forever and ever been tarnished with the Iraq clusterfuck. Iraq and Afghanistan are lost. It's over, it's only a matter of time before pull out happens. The neocons themselves are admitting as much.

And regardless of any of the other aspects of their ideology, they will be equated with Iraq forevermore.
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Old 11-06-2006, 01:59 AM   #205
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The initial invasion was a success and achieved the objectives, the failures from lack of planning and allowing reactionary forces to take hold through 2003 - 2004 deserve to be held to account. But when foreign forces leave support for a government has to continue; if Iraq and Afghanistan fall to clerical fascists there will be blowback and I doubt the electorate will be willing to give up lives and resources in nation building when it is so much easier to just annihilate from 30,000 feet.
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Old 11-06-2006, 10:16 AM   #206
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Originally posted by anitram
Yes, but the neocons have (for better or worse) forever and ever been tarnished with the Iraq clusterfuck. Iraq and Afghanistan are lost. It's over, it's only a matter of time before pull out happens. The neocons themselves are admitting as much.

And regardless of any of the other aspects of their ideology, they will be equated with Iraq forevermore.
Typical liberal wishful thinking. The so called Neocons are only one group that supported the removal of Saddam as well as the war in Afghanistan. Hell, even BONO supports the war in Afghanistan. Virtually the entire US government has supported the war in Afghanistan and the current occupation of Afghanistan is the most successful foreign occupation of that country in its 5,000 year history!

In Iraq, the insurgency has not grown since April of 2004, and despite the insurgents best efforts, they were unable to prevent multiple elections, the approval of a constitution, the formation of a new government, and the growing capabilities of a new Iraqi military and security force. Nation building and counter insurgency take time, usually 10 plus years, and Iraq is no more lost now than Northern Ireland was in the early 1970s, or Bosnia in the early 1990s.

The only way Iraq and Afghanistan will be lost is through the premature pullout/redeployment advocated by liberals and Democrats.
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Old 11-06-2006, 11:14 AM   #207
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Originally posted by STING2


Typical liberal wishful thinking.
That's what you said to me when months ago, I said the electorate would boot the Republicans from Congres...
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Old 11-06-2006, 11:16 AM   #208
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But the insurgency which has overwhelming opposition from Iraqis is not the biggest problem as it was in 2004 - the sectarian militias are and being able to leave without those militias precipitating collapse.
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Old 11-07-2006, 09:05 AM   #209
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TOKYO: Media mogul Rupert Murdoch said on Monday he had no regrets about supporting the US-led invasion of Iraq and argued that the US death toll in the conflict was "minute" from a historical perspective.

The conservative News Corp chief spoke on the eve of US elections where President George W Bush's Republican Party was expected to lose seats in part due to a backlash over the war.

"The death toll, certainly of Americans there, by the terms of any previous war are quite minute," Murdoch told reporters at a conference in Tokyo.

"Of course no one likes any death toll, but the war now, at the moment, it's certainly trying to prevent a civil war and to prevent Iraqis killing each other."

A total of 2,832 US troops have been killed in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. Thousands more Iraqis have died.

Murdoch -- whose News Corp empire includes the New York Post and Britain's most widely read newspaper, The Sun tabloid -- said while the United States made mistakes in the war its intentions were good.

"I believe it was right to go in there. I believe that certainly the execution that has followed that has included many mistakes," Murdoch said.

"But that's easy to say after the event. It's much easier to criticize the conduct of the war today in the media than it was in previous wars. I'm sure there were great mistakes made in the past, too."

"I think that one forgets that American foreign policy for the whole of the (20th) century saved the world from terrible things three times," he said, "for which they certainly got no thanks and for which they never had imperial ambitions at all."
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Old 11-07-2006, 11:48 AM   #210
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Originally posted by anitram


That's what you said to me when months ago, I said the electorate would boot the Republicans from Congres...
Regardless of what happens today, the Republicans will still be there. If the DEMS win, then will get to see just how effective a Democratic congress can be. What margin will they win with, and will they be united enough to be any more effective than they were over the past 6 years?
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