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Old 01-10-2007, 10:48 PM   #451
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As expected...

(click here for complete text of Bush's speech)

Quote:
Bush Adds Troops in Bid to Secure Iraq

By DAVID E. SANGER
The New York Times, January 10, 2007


WASHINGTON — President Bush announced tonight that he was sending more than 21,000 American troops to Iraq to quell the sectarian violence there, as he conceded for the first time that he had provided neither enough troops nor enough resources to halt the country’s descent into chaos over the past year.

Mr. Bush’s speech to the nation differed sharply in tone and substance from his previous insistence that the United States was making progress toward building a workable Iraqi democracy, and he acknowledged that his previous strategy was based on fundamentally flawed assumptions about the power of the shaky Iraqi government. The president described his new strategy as an effort to “change America’s course in Iraq,” and he gave no indication that the troop increase would be short-lived. Mr. Bush also acknowledged that a renewed effort aimed at bringing security to Baghdad would also bring about more American and Iraqi casualties. “Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility lies with me,” Mr. Bush said, in his most direct such admission in an American-led war that has lasted nearly four years and claimed more than 3,000 American lives.

But he rejected all calls to begin a withdrawal from Iraq, arguing that the strategies advocated by newly empowered Democrats, restive Republicans and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group were a formula for deepening disaster. “To step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government,” Mr. Bush said from the White House library, a room officials said was chosen to create more of a sense of a conversation with an anxious American public, rather than the formal surroundings of the Oval Office. “Such a scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer, and confront an enemy that is even more lethal,” he said. “If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home.”

Yet for the first time, Mr. Bush faces what could become considerable political opposition to pursuing the war. Democrats in Congress are drawing up plans for what, at a minimum, could be a nonbinding resolution expressing opposition to the to the commitment of more forces to what many of them say they now believe is a losing fight. They are likely to be joined by some Republicans, and they may attempt other steps to block Mr. Bush from deepening the American commitment. Not since President Richard M. Nixon ordered American troops in Vietnam to invade Cambodia in 1970 has a president taken such a risk with an increasingly unpopular war.

In his 20-minute address, Mr. Bush said that for the first time Iraq would take command-and-control authority over all of its own forces, and he argued that while more Americans ground troops are being put into the field, they will take more of a background role. He said the Iraqi government was committed to a series of “benchmarks” — which include adding another 8,000 Iraqi troops and police officers in Baghdad, passage of long-delayed legislation to share oil revenues among Iraq’s sects and ethnic groups, and a $10 billion jobs and reconstruction program, financed by the Iraqis.

In a running series of large and small briefings for reporters that opened a major campaign to market the new strategy, Mr. Bush’s aides insisted that the plan was largely created by the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. Yet Mr. Bush sounded less than certain of his support for the prime minister, who many in the White House and the military fear may be intending to extend a Shiite power over Sunni Arabs or could prove incapable of making good on his promises. “If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people,” Mr. Bush declared.

The president put it far more bluntly when leaders of Congress came to visit Mr. Bush at the White House earlier today. “I said to Maliki this has to work or you’re out,” the president told the Congressional leaders, according to two officials who were in the room. Pressed on why he thought this strategy would succeed where previous efforts had failed, Mr. Bush shot back: "Because it has to."

Until this summer, Mr. Bush had used the phrase “stay the course,” to describe his approach in Iraq, and his decision to describe his new strategy as an effort to “change America’s course” appeared intended to distance himself from that old approach. An earlier plan unveiled in November 2005 had been entitled a “Strategy for Victory in Iraq,” but Mr. Bush used the word “victory” sparingly tonight, and then only to diminish expectations. “The question is whether our new strategy will bring us closer to success,” he said. “I believe that it will,” saying that if it is successful it would result in a “functioning democracy” that “fights terrorists instead of harboring them.”

In some of his sharpest words of warning to Iran, Mr. Bush accused the Iranian government of “providing material support for attacks on American troops” and vowed to “seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies.” He left deliberately vague the question of whether those operations would be limited to Iraq or conducted elsewhere, and said he had ordered the deployment of a new aircraft carrier strike group to the region, where it is in easy reach of Iranian territory.

While Mr. Bush has previously vowed to work diplomatically, largely inside the United Nations to stop Iran’s nuclear program, in this speech he said nothing about diplomacy.
slate.com has a decent concise overview of the pros and cons of the various (oppositional) ways the Democrats--and in all likelihood a few Republicans--might react...should they choose to do so.

What do you think Congress should do?
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Old 01-10-2007, 11:27 PM   #452
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Close the purse, Congress. For once in your big business-owned careers, grow a pair and do the right thing. Close the purse.
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Old 01-10-2007, 11:50 PM   #453
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Here's another article to supplement your other one, Irvine.

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Ethnic cleansing by U.S. backed Shiite forces in Iraq is increasing ahead of the planned 'surge

http://www.commondreams.org/views07/0109-21.htm


Presidential Campaign Launched in America with Ethnic Cleansing in Iraq
As Debate Begins, Sunnis Decry Massacres
By Tom Hayden


Politically, the coming escalation by 20,000 US troops in Iraq is best understood as the comeback strategy of the neo-conservative Republicans rallying around Sen. John McCain's presidential banner.

The political spin-doctors are calling it a "surge", an aggressive term implying a kind of post-election erection for Bush and the neo-conservatives. In fact, or course, it is an escalation, a term apparently carrying too much baggage from Vietnam.

The hardcore neo-conservatives, their ranks thinned by defections publicized in Vanity Fair, leaped immediately to salvage the war from November's voter disapproval. Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute and William Kristol of The Weekly Standard began promoting an increase of 50,000 troops, mainly to Baghdad. Bush, who all along said he was listening to his generals, now sacked generals Casey and Abizaid, who had plans to reduce troop levels over one year ago, and who now opposed more American soldiers in Iraqi neighborhoods. John Negroponte, a specialist in the black arts of counter-intelligence, became the State Department's point man on Baghdad. US ambassador Zalman Khalilzad, a Sunni who has been critical of the Shi'a-controlled interior ministry, was removed from his Baghdad post. An Ivy League general, David Petraeus, with a counter-insurgency agenda to prove, took over command of US troops.

Right after the election, Sen. McCain was touring Baghdad with his potential running mate Sen. Joe Lieberman, promoting the plan to escalate, although supported by only 20 percent of Republicans, 11 percent of independent voters, and a statistically-insignificant 4 percent of Democrats [LA Times/Bloomberg, Dec. 11, 2006]

It is a brilliant strategy – for a faction dealt a losing hand.

If and when the 20,000 Americans plunge into Baghdad neighborhoods, there will be dramatic television coverage of soldiers at risk. It is possible, though far from easy, to "stabilize" a Baghdad neighborhood for several months or one year, carrying the surge into the next presidential cycle. The strategy fits the polling data showing only 21 percent of Americans favor immediate withdrawal, while the moderate middle might be open to an undefined new strategy if convinced it will shorten the war and bring the troops home.

More likely, the ranks of the peace movement are likely to swell with people angry over the perceived betrayal by Bush of the November voter mandate. A failure by majority Democrats to prevent the escalation will convince more people to take to the streets or look to 2008 for a fix.

If the proposal to escalate somehow is blocked by Congressional Democrats along with a few Republicans facing re-election, McCain and the neo-conservatives will be able to salvage a narrative blaming the "loss of Iraq" on Democrats. Their Plan B is to claim the US should have escalated from the very beginning.

The Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group report offered a hint that this escalation was coming in its formulaic compromise stating that it "could" support a "short-term redeployment or surge" but only if "the US commander in Iraq determines that such steps would be effective." With the arrival of a new commander in Iraq, that mission is accomplished.

The term "could" represents one of the partisan trade-offs in the writing of the Report. The Republicans on the ISG would have been advocating the optional language on behalf of the White House while others tried to weaken the "could" by relying on a commander like Gen. Casey to nix it.

US Sides with Shiites in civil war

Meanwhile, as the politicians position themselves in Washington, urgent appeals from Iraqis warned of Shi'a death squads being unleashed against Sunni neighborhoods. The Baghdad security plan agreed in a teleconference last week being Bush and Prime Minister al-Maliki already is underway. According to al-Jazeera the Shiite militia attacks and roundups began on Sunday. The parliamentarian and peace advocate Saleh al-Mutlaq denounced the plan as an attempt to cleanse Baghdad of the Sunni majority it had in 2003. The Association of Muslim Scholars and Iraqi satellite TV stations began transmitting cries for help from relatives and neighbors in Baghdad.

Already tens of thousands have fled Baghdad, the largest percentage of the nearly one million Iraqis who have been displaced according to the United Nations. Forty thousand have relocated in Falluja. There they stand in a parking lot surrounded by razor wire, are hand-searched, given retinal scans, and provided ID's to enter Falluja, or weeded out. [LA Times, Jan. 4, 2007]

Baghdad itself, once a diverse city of five million, has become the Shi'a capital, with fifty of 51 governing officials being from Shi'a parties. The security forces, as well as the "commandos" and "public order brigades" under the Interior Ministry are from Shi'a militias. Having fostered, equipped, financed and trained these sectarian forces, US officials have attempted to distance themselves from the scandal, for example claiming in 2006 they only "recently learned" that the 7,700 members of the public order brigades were Shi'a. [New York Times, Mar. 7, 2006]

A media or Congressional investigation of these death squads operating under official auspices might begin by interviewing James Steele, Gerald Burke and Ann Bertucci, who were police advisers attached to the US Civil Police Assistance Training Team in Baghdad. [New York Times, May 22, 2006]The commando teams were developed by Steele and Burke under the direction of Gen. Petraeus at the time. Steele was quoted in 2006 as "not regretting their creation" but worried they had grown out of control. Bertucci admitted that American advisers were attached to the so-called Iraqi Volcano Brigade which committed infamous massacres on August 24, 2005. On that day, dozens of men wearing police uniforms entered a Sunni neighborhood, dragged 36 men out of their homes, shot them in their heads and spilled acid on their faces, an episode recounted in the international press. The US also runs brutal interrogation operations through its secret Task Force 626 in "black rooms" at Camp Nama, whitewashed in a 2004 report by Gen. William G. Boykin, the Christian evangelical who regularly denounces Islam. [New York Times, Mar. 19, 2006]

The hand-over of the interior ministry to the Shi'a Badr militia, an organ of the Supreme Command of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq [SCIRI] was completed in 2005, when Bayan Jabr took over the ministry from a prior Sunni official. Jabr was in charge in November 2005 when a secret prison holding 172 abused and malnourished inmates was discovered. There are up to ten unofficial jails in Baghdad alone run by a Special Interrogations Unit reporting to the minister alone, where prisoners are held without charges.

After years of flirtation, the US has rejected decisively any plans for peace talks with opposition leaders, including insurgent groups. Last week US and Iraqi troops even stormed the headquarters of an Iraqi parliamentarian known to advocate a US withdrawal and peace talks with the insurgents; six people, including a family of four, died in the attack. [see Huffington Post file]

Instead, the US is siding ever more deeply with the Shi'a parties that came to power with the assistance of US tanks, artillery and aircraft in March 2003. By 2005, US officials were "lowering their sights" from establishing democracy to "slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic Republic." [Washington Post, Aug. 14, 2005]

The wild card in this scenario all along has been Moktada al-Sadr, the Iraqi Shi'a cleric representing the Sadr City slums, whose Mahdi militia has fought the US on two occasions and who demands a US withdrawal. In a must-read investigative article by Robert Collier of the San Francisco Chronicle this week, an al-Sadr spokesmen said the US was attempting "to inflame a civil war", and al-Sadr himself was quoted as saying:

"if I were qualified to give a fatwa, I would do so without hesitation in order to ban the killing of our [Sunni] brothers in Iraq and outside of Iraq." – SF Chronicle, Jan. 7, 2007

Whether al-Sadr is the target of the unfolding escalation is the great unknown, but a Newsweek poll in September 2006 showed a majority of Shi'a themselves – as opposed to their party leaders – support armed resistance against the Americans [63 percent] and a one-year deadline for withdrawal. [80 percent] That from the constituency that benefited from the American invasion. If the Americans attack al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in the streets of Sadr City, it could bring down the Iraqi government where al-Sadr's 40 seats are crucial to Prime Minister al-Maliki. In that scenario, al-Sadr could align with other parliamentary blocs, attempt a peaceful coup, and demand the Americans leave. Alternatively, a "provisional government" is being discussed by some.

Poignant confirmation that the US sides with the current Shi'a rulers surfaced unexpectedly in the videos taken last week of the execution of Saddam Hussein, now causing a public relations nightmare for American officials. It is noteworthy to point out that, without the video, there would have been no public knowledge of the repellent sectarianism in the gallows chamber. Since then, US officials have sought to distance themselves from the role of executioners, but it will not be easy. The US Regime Crimes Liaison Office was the "behind the scenes organizer" of Saddam's trial, in which one judge was removed as too lenient and three defense lawyers were assassinated, according to the New York Times.[1] <#_ftn1> With the approval of Condoleeza Rice, US Task Force 134 delivered Saddam to his Iraqi executors, knowing that death would be inflicted on a Sunni holy day without independent witnesses or even the approval of the head of Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council.

In the end, it appeared that the American propaganda investments of decades were dealt a serious blow. Saddam managed to conduct himself with immense dignity, even as the noose tightened around his neck; he thanked his American minders; he told the Iraqi national security adviser not to worry. Meanwhile, the hanging party turned out to be southern Shi'a militia members shouting sectarian chants, including "Moktada." It was the forbidden camera revealed the nature of America's allies in Iraq.

Seen in this light, the surge is actually a purge, a forced removal of Sunnis from Baghdad to the enclaves of al-Anbar, al-Diyala, and other parts of the Sunni Triangle, where they will be subject to assault by American troops and air power far from the scrutiny of journalists. A key element in the cleansing process will be special units from Kurdistan, the peshmerga, whose sole interest is dissolving the Iraqi state. If Baghdad's Sunnis succumb to forced ethnic cleansing, they will be fulfilling the proposed agenda of a partitioned "end of Iraq" long favored by Peter Galbraith and Leslie Gelb. In this scenario, the Sunnis are being asked to end support for the insurgency in exchange for second-class status in an Iraq dominated by Shiites, Kurds and the United States. Relocated and trapped in their enclaves, the Sunnis will likely become more radicalized, not less, allying themselves with homegrown al-Qaeda units and Sunni exiles next door in Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. There they will continue fighting for the restoration of Baathist officers to protect their zones, and demand an equitable share of oil revenues and job funding. If necessary, they may even create a parallel entity seeking diplomatic recognition from their neighbors. [al-Qaeda already claims to be establishing a provisional Islamic state in Sunni-populated areas.]

It is little remembered that President Bush spoke of such a scenario just after the September 11, 2001 attacks. He promised not only to pursue those he termed terrorists and states harboring terrorists, but also of plans to "turn them one against another" until they would have "no refuge and no rest." Those words are coming true in Iraq. [speech to Congress, Sept. 20, 2001]

But the escalation can flounder. More American troops means more hated occupiers, even if they come promising jobs. More American troops mean more targets for snipers. If the American surge becomes overwhelming, the insurgents always can retreat to other battlefronts, and wait, like modern Lilliputians against Gulliver.

First, however, the battle will be at home, state by state, district by district. Bush must convince the Democrats and several wavering Republicans to join him in snubbing the November 7 election results and the recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton Commission. That will not be easy, but the Democrats may compromise on funding some sort of escalation with the usual "benchmarks." In that case, the 2008 elections will play out as a struggle to either uphold or reverse the peace mandate of November 2006.
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Old 01-11-2007, 12:34 AM   #454
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Originally posted by redhotswami
Here's another article to supplement your other one, Irvine.




Both General Casey and General Abazaid have repeatedly said, they do not support any sort of pre-mature withdrawal of US military forces from Iraq. They do not support some arbitrary time table to withdraw troops or the ISG's recomendation that most US combat brigades should be withdrawn from Iraq by early 2008. It is the Democrats in congress, not President Bush, who are out of step with the recomendations of the US military on the ground in Iraq.

The only disagreement between the President the and some in the military as well as within the military is over the nature of a 20,000 troop "surge", which based on the plans that have been released so far, is not actually a troop increase at all, but rather simply the delaying of return and speeding up of deployment of various combat brigades in and out of Iraq so as to achieve a temporary increase of the number of forces in country for a few months. It has happened before, and no one complained last year when it brought the number of US troops in Iraq to over 160,000. The latest "surge" will bump the troop level up to 153,000 briefly.

The above article also leaves out the fact that the Presidents plans either continue or adopt several of the recomendations made in the ISG report. Everyone seems to focus on two of the recomendations that the President does not agree with and don't bother to read or discuss the other 70 or so recomendations that are already being implemented by the administration or are being adopted by the administration to a certain degree.
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:24 AM   #455
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Congress should actually try to come up with an alternative plan that will stabilize Iraq, and reduce Al Quada's presence there. If they really believe withdrawing US troops is the answer, then they need to explain how an Iraqi military that is years away from being able to operate on its own is to be expected to be able to suddenly take over the entire mission that the 160,000 man coalition is performing. Even with the political compromises that are needed between various factions in Iraq, without a strong and capable security force to implement any such plan, it will fail. That is why any plan that withdraws US forces before the Iraqi military has the capability to peform the same missions will fail. There are Sunni and Shia factions that will never compromise, and the central government must have a military force to defeat and roll back such factions. None of the Democratic congress's proposals does anything to insure that the Iraqi's will have all the capable security forces it needs prior to any sort of US withdrawal. All it is, is a blind and mindless attempt to get US troops out of Iraq as soon as possible without seeming like it is a total abandonment of the country.


If Democrats believe that a stable Iraq that is not hostile to its neighbors is vital to US, regional and global security, then they need to develop a flexible strategy that has a chance to accomplish that rather than the blind rush to simply withdraw troops regardless of conditions in Iraq or the capability and strength of the Iraqi military and government.

The ultimate irony is why if Democrats are serious about fighting Al Quada, they are in such a rush to leave Iraq where Al Quada is more active, but say nothing about a similar withdrawal from Afghanistan where Al Quada operations(not Taliban operations) or rare or non-existent compared to Iraq. Al Quada's leadership which is primarily Arab would continue to have an easier time operating in an abandoned Iraq than they did in non-arab Afghanistan where it was easier to detect their presence among the population.

Cutting off funding to US troops in the field or restricting the Presidents flexibility as Commander In Chief does NOTHING to address the security challenges the country faces and will only embolden the enemies of the country that seek to create domestic political division at home so as to force a pre-mature withdrawal of US forces from the region. Insurgencies usually succeed because they are able to effectively raise the cost to the occupier to a degree that causes enough political opposition domestically for the occupier, that the effort can no longer be sustained.
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Old 01-11-2007, 05:29 AM   #456
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Right now in Somalia the war on terror is being fought; a similar model could be employed in a lot of places.

For all the talk of fighting a different type of war it seems as if the model has regressed.
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Old 01-11-2007, 05:56 AM   #457
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In what way do you see Somalia being a model?
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Old 01-11-2007, 06:10 AM   #458
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I mean that rather than occupation and having your troops do grunt work of security it is better to augment other forces with intelligence and satellite information, naval and aerial support and the possible use of special forces to kill Al Qaeda terrorists. I thought that was what 'a different kind of war' meant.
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Old 01-11-2007, 08:51 AM   #459
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
I mean that rather than occupation and having your troops do grunt work of security it is better to augment other forces with intelligence and satellite information, naval and aerial support and the possible use of special forces to kill Al Qaeda terrorists. I thought that was what 'a different kind of war' meant.


and this is what i thought we were talking about way back in October of 2001.

but i suppose we need land wars across the desert to guarantee re-election.
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:36 PM   #460
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Geoffrey Wawro, 46, director of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas in Denton. Once a Republican, he is now registered independent.

"To say that the only way to bring peace, tranquillity and security to this troubled region is to implant democracy there is a fool's errand. The United States can't be in the business of creating democracies in countries that have authoritarian traditions…. I find it to be stupefyingly naive….


"Why we are even tolerating talk about more troops for Iraq baffles me…. We should leave [the Iraqis] to settle their affairs their own way. It won't be any messier and bloodier than it already is.

"Why should American boys and girls be standing in the line of fire? The only argument you can make is that we created this mess and we should fix it. But the American people aren't going to accept that anymore."
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Old 01-11-2007, 02:05 PM   #461
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^
Great quote.
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Old 01-11-2007, 05:43 PM   #462
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U.S. raid on Iranian consulate angers Kurds


BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military operation Thursday in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil that resulted in the arrests of six Iranians has drawn a sharp denunciation from Iraq's Kurdish regional government.

A spokesman for the autonomous regional government and its presidency expressed their "alarm" and condemned the Thursday morning operation.

They characterized it as a raid on the Iranian consulate in Irbil, "which opened in the provincial capital in an agreement between the Iraqi government and the Iranian government."

The Kurdish regional government is based in Irbil.

The Kurdish statement, which includes a call for the immediate release of the detainees, says the consulate is entitled to immunity in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.

The statement also says the Kurdish government, which covers the provinces of Irbil, Sulaimaniya and Duhuk, needs to be informed when such actions are taken.

Iraqis, the Shia and some Kurds have and want relations with Iran.

The Kurds considered them allies against Sadddam and the Sunnis.

Do American troops have any right to interfere?
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Old 01-11-2007, 05:48 PM   #463
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for those who support either the upcoming "surge" or who think that staying the course is an acceptable option, there's a fundamental misunderstanding: there is no national democratic government in Baghdad defending itself against attacks for Jihadist insurgents that needs American support so that democracy might flourish.

this government does not exist -- the government that was elected and is so championed by Bush and others is little more than a guise for various Shiite factions and death squads. this is the realitly on the ground. it doesn't matter what our intentions are or what we wish to believe. when we support the current Iraqi government we are aligning American soldiers and their resources with Shiites thusly sending a terrible message to the Sunnis of the Middle East.

it is not "democracy vs. insurgents." it might have been in early 2004, but no longer.

would it really be worse if we pulled out or redeployed? or would the withdrawal of American troops and their transition into more of an advisory role (from Kurdistan) remove the Western/colonialist element to the current civil war that might, then, keep it contained to Iraq's borders and not involve Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and others?

how do we ask more American soldiers to die for a strategy that has no chance of working and will likely spur more regional violence?

(and shall we mention that none of our "allies" wants anything to do with the current "surge"?)
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Old 01-11-2007, 06:53 PM   #464
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The same things were said about Bosnia and the professor is ignoring the fundamental security priorities that the United States cannot simply walk away from in the region.
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Old 01-11-2007, 06:56 PM   #465
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Iraqis, the Shia and some Kurds have and want relations with Iran.

The Kurds considered them allies against Sadddam and the Sunnis.

Do American troops have any right to interfere?
There are plenty of disputes among the Kurds about what type of relationship they want to have with Iran. In any event, the Kurds have a much stronger and involved relationship with the United States than they have had with Iran since 1991.
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