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Old 01-11-2007, 06:58 PM   #466
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Changes in tactics if delivered will do more than any troop surge.
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Old 01-11-2007, 07:11 PM   #467
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by yolland
[B]As expected...

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

Does this:

"Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity * and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."

Mean this? (Say it ain't so):

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001869.php

January 11, 2007
Did the President Declare "Secret War" Against Syria and Iran?

Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.

The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country.
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Old 01-11-2007, 07:33 PM   #468
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Originally posted by Irvine511
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"?)
The current Iraqi government goes far beyond the 30 seats held by Al Sadr's supporters. Not all Shia's inside or outside of the government are engaged in militia's and ethnic cleansing. The Kurds, Sunni's and other minorities are well represented in the current government. There are certainly a lot of problems, but the government does exist. It may be very divided, but that was the case with Bosnia's first democratic government.

One could also make the arguement that when we support the government in Kabul, we are really supporting the Northern Alliance against the Pashtun in the south of Afghanistan. But this is not the case. Supporting the central governments in both Kabul and Baghdad is the best way to bring about stability to these two countries.

Many of the same "power players" that were there in 2004, are still there in 2007. The key difference between 2004 and the start of 2007 is that 3 years ago, there was essentially no Iraqi government or military, but you did have a Sunni insurgent movement and Shia militia's unwilling to cooperate with the coalition. Now in 2007, there is large and growing Iraqi military and a central government that represents every part of Iraq. The strength of Sunni insurgents and Shia's militia's is unchanged since 2004, but now they have to contend with the growing strength of an Iraqi central government and military. The Sunni insurgents and Shia militia's while still a threat are locked at the same level of capability they had three years ago. In contrast, the Iraqi military and government are rapidly growing and are supported by the strongest country and its allies, on the planet.


If you pull the coalition out now, all of what has been built over the past 3 years is at risk of rapidly crumbling. While the Iraqi military has made great strides and grown rapidly, it cannot logistically support itself, has no aircraft, and very little in the way of armor or artillery. Only a fully formed and capable Iraqi military will be able to protect the central government and bring security to the country. Pulling out prematurely will likely cause the collapse of the Iraqi government and military, and create the civil war that so many love to believe is already happening. A real civil war with 2 million Iraqi's murdered in the years following a pre-mature withdrawal would be likely.

No one suggest that the US military should withdraw from Afghanistan to Uzbekestan in order to help develop the Afghan military, nor does it make any sense to exlusively train and develop Iraq's military forces essentially outside of the country.

Without US forces in Iraq, elements from Syria and Iran will find it easier to interfer inside Iraq, especially if the United States withdraws prior to the Iraqi military being ready to handle the countries security problems. A total collapse into a Civil War could see Syrian and Iranian military units on the ground in Iraq. The only way to contain any sort of instability inside Iraq is to stay inside the country. Just look at what happened to Afghanistan after the Soviets left in 1989. Al Quada will find it much easier to base themselves in a broken and lawless Iraq created by the pre-mature withdrawal of coalition forces. Much easier than in Afghanistan where they did not speak the language and were ethnically different and easy to spot.

How can we abandon the only strategies that have been proven to work in nationbuilding and counter insurgency, and have accomplished so much already in Iraq? How can we simply leave Iraq to be Al Quada's play ground, leave Iraq to the slaughter of a war that will claim millions of lives, perhaps resulting in a new power within the country just as hostile or more hostile than Saddam was? The Planet remains tremondously dependent on Persian Gulf oil and will continue to be for years to come regardless of what happens with alternative energy development. The future of Iraq given its proximity to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will have an obvious impact on the security of the planets most vital energy reserves.

The arguements being advanced to call for withdrawal from Iraq could be used to call for withdrawal from Afghanistan, yet I don't here any Democrats calling for that despite the fact that Al Quada(not the Taliban) is more active in Iraq than Afghanistan currently.
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Old 01-11-2007, 07:39 PM   #469
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Judah
[B]
Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
As expected...

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

Does this:

"Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity * and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."

Mean this? (Say it ain't so):

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001869.php

January 11, 2007
Did the President Declare "Secret War" Against Syria and Iran?

Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.

The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country.
The better question to be asking is if Iran and Syria have been engaged in a low level secret war against the United States. Most of the information shows that most Sunni insurgent groups and Shia militia's operate independently of any real serious support from outside the country. But if new intelligence is starting to show that Syria and Iran are engaging or esculating any sort of involvement in the conflict, than at some point this will have to be addressed. Syria and Iran need to know that they do not have a free hand in Iraq, and if they seek to destabilze Iraq and threaten US and regional security, they may face serious consequences for such actions.
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Old 01-11-2007, 07:46 PM   #470
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you've missed the point. this isn't a "stay or go" discussion. it's a change in TACTICS because what's currently going on is most assuredly not working.

the key assumption in the above post is that the alternative -- total chaos -- to what is currently going on -- chaos -- is far worse and we therefore have no other option than to continue to pour more blood and treasure into the current sinkhole. it sounds suspiciously like the tired, debunked WMD argument -- they pose a threat! if we don't act we'll be annihilated!

(it's also laughable to compare desperate Afghans to pissed-off Sunni jihadists, or the tiresome and irrelevant Bosnia comparisons -- tell me, again, how Bono supported Bosnian intervention and therefore he supports Iraq, even though he doesn't, but that support for military intervention in one situation is therefore support for military intervention in ALL situations, please, let's hear that one again -- but that's another matter, but hey, whatever convenient comparison you can muster)

many are proposing a withdrawal to Kurdistan that will allow the Shia government/death squads to come to some sort of settlement with the Sunnis without a foreign element mucking things up and making the wider understanding of the conflict less "Islam vs. America" and more "Islam vs. Islam." we might have to abandon control of the region in order to let the region stabilize itself.

by blaring into a bullhorn (which doesn't seem to garner any support) about the impending disaster if there is some sort of change in tactics causes an ossification of thought that has been the downfall of this administration since it took power in 2000.
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Old 01-11-2007, 08:27 PM   #471
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
But if new intelligence is starting to show that Syria and Iran are engaging or esculating any sort of involvement in the conflict, than at some point this will have to be addressed. Syria and Iran need to know that they do not have a free hand in Iraq, and if they seek to destabilze Iraq and threaten US and regional security, they may face serious consequences for such actions.
Riiiight...reliance on, er, reliable intelligence. I can't wait for them to contract Powell to make another presentation to the UN.

I thought that one commentor (after the blog's post) implied an interesting angle: the U.S. may be able to gather "evidence" that shows that Iran and Syria are getting more and more involved and use that as an excuse for an exit strategy. "Hey, you guys are meddling and making things worse, so you fix this. We're outta here."

But somehow i doubt that'll happen.
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Old 01-11-2007, 08:41 PM   #472
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
you've missed the point. this isn't a "stay or go" discussion. it's a change in TACTICS because what's currently going on is most assuredly not working.

the key assumption in the above post is that the alternative -- total chaos -- to what is currently going on -- chaos -- is far worse and we therefore have no other option than to continue to pour more blood and treasure into the current sinkhole. it sounds suspiciously like the tired, debunked WMD argument -- they pose a threat! if we don't act we'll be annihilated!

(it's also laughable to compare desperate Afghans to pissed-off Sunni jihadists, or the tiresome and irrelevant Bosnia comparisons -- tell me, again, how Bono supported Bosnian intervention and therefore he supports Iraq, even though he doesn't, but that support for military intervention in one situation is therefore support for military intervention in ALL situations, please, let's hear that one again -- but that's another matter, but hey, whatever convenient comparison you can muster)

many are proposing a withdrawal to Kurdistan that will allow the Shia government/death squads to come to some sort of settlement with the Sunnis without a foreign element mucking things up and making the wider understanding of the conflict less "Islam vs. America" and more "Islam vs. Islam." we might have to abandon control of the region in order to let the region stabilize itself.

by blaring into a bullhorn (which doesn't seem to garner any support) about the impending disaster if there is some sort of change in tactics causes an ossification of thought that has been the downfall of this administration since it took power in 2000.
It is essentially a stay or go discussion given the proposals to withdraw all US forces from Iraq. The nationbuilding and counterinsurgency process that has accomplished so much already will be stopped in its tracks if the US military is forced to withdraw prematurely.

The United States military is performing an enormous number of security tasks throughout Iraq currently. Who exactly will be performing these vital tasks if the United States military is no longer there in a year or so? The Iraqi military currently is not large enough or capable enough to take over the vital security role that the coalition military currently plays. Without the coalition forces in place in Iraq or something equal to replace it, disaster would likely ensue.

Saddam's Iraq posed an enormous threat to the region. His invasion of Iran, Kuwait, attacks on Israel, and Saudi Arabia risking the planets energy supply are not fairy tails, nor was the fact that he used WMD more times than any leader in history. Given Saddam's past behavior, the huge war the USA had already fought against him, the Billions being spent every year in trying to contain him that was failing, the only way to insure that Saddam would not create more problems and put the global economy at risk was to remove him from power.

Now with that accomplished, a stable Iraqi government and military must be built that is not hostile to its neighbors to insure the security of the region. Abandoning the process now will only increase the chances of mass death in Iraq, create a stable base for Al Quada, and eventually lead to a new power in Baghdad that is potentially hostile to its neighbors in the south and a serious threat to US and global security given how vital energy reserves in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are.


I never once said that Bono supported the initial invasion of Iraq. He did support the war in Bosnia and Afghanistan though. I have no idea what he thinks would be the best way to bring about a stable and secure Iraq.

Bosnia was a real civil war. You had three ethnic groups that waged a vicious war for 4 years that murdered nearly 10% of the population. Iraq's will be stepping much closer to what happened in Bosnia if the coalition withrdaws from Iraq prematurely. Bosnia has important lessons for Iraq and other conflicts around the world.

Afghanistan has many of the same fundamental problems as Iraq does, although it does not have the Al Quada element that it used to, although Iraq does now.

All of these conflicts involve nationbuilding and counterinsurgency task and can be compared and provide lessons for similar conflicts.


Withdrawing some US forces to a small area along the Turkish border does nothing to help the current process that is under way. It is an abandonment of that process. It is a recipe for instability and massively increased violence on the ground in Iraq, with no or little ability to control any sort of an outcome. A real civil war in Iraq will not create the stability that is needed, it will kill millions of people though and lead to involvement of countries like Syria and Iran.

Why would the Shia be more likely to make more compromises with their Sunni partners if the United States is no longer helping take care of the vital security functions on a daily basis? How long would any government be able to survive without coalition forces on the ground, given that the current Iraqi military could probably at best compatently replace only about 30% of the daily security functions that the coalition performs? How would they be able to deal with the Sunni and Shia insurgents and militia's that will NEVER compromise and will have to be destroyed or greatly rolled back?

If you think the Iraqi government and military is ready to take on all the tasks that the coalition military is currently providing, then you would have to believe that the current strategy has been vastly more succussful then even I think.

Withdrawal to Kurdistan or out of the country is NOT a strategy or a new tactic. You can only prosecute a new strategy or tactic if your actually engaged, and withdrawal is disengagement.

Democrats need to start talking about what they really believe in instead of focusing on their own political situation and opposing the President. The only way you could honestly support a pre-mature withdrawal from Iraq is if you believe that stability in Iraq is no more important than stability in Somalia to US security. If Democrats do believe that a stable Iraq is important to US Security, then they need to explain why abandoning all of what has been accomplished the past four years will make Iraq more stable and benefit US security. How can the Iraqi military replace the vital functions that the coalition is currently performing when it is still likely four years away from having all the resources and capabilities it needs to function independently of any outside aid. There is a process in place that is working, and its not at all clear how abandoning the process, doing nothing, will bring stability to Iraq.
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Old 01-11-2007, 08:43 PM   #473
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Originally posted by STING2


Syria and Iran need to know that they do not have a free hand in Iraq, and if they seek to destabilze Iraq and threaten US and regional security, they may face serious consequences for such actions.


Sure they don't have a free hand.

But, what if Iraqis or Iraqi Government invites them in?


Does America (Bush Admin.) have a free hand in Iraq?

They seem to think they do.
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Old 01-11-2007, 08:52 PM   #474
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The United States military is performing an enormous number of security tasks throughout Iraq currently. Who exactly will be performing these vital tasks if the United States military is no longer there in a year or so?
Unless the Iraqi Military gets ongoing support I would imagine theocratic militia; but then given the coalition support for the Badr brigades this would almost seem to be the intention.
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Old 01-11-2007, 08:54 PM   #475
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so ... boiling it all down, you think US troops need to stay because the Iraqi army is too incompetent to provide stability in Iraq. accomplished "so much" already? it's been four years.

this is a total misformulation. and i'm not going to get dragged into your obfuscations.

again, as stated before, this is not a situation where Al-Qaeda occupies large parts of Iraq and is waging a battle against the Americans and the Iraqi government. therefore, sending in more American troops into Baghdad and al-Anbar to help the Iraqis retake neighborhoods that have fallen to Al-Qaeda is not an answer. it's wishful thinking.

if a guerrillia group can bomb an apartment building in a Shiite neighborhood, the civil war will continue. reprisals are very, very easy to provoke, and a state of constant reprisal is not a solution. a "clear and hold" strategy will not work in Iraq because you need a sympathetic civilian population, and polls suggests that Sunnis overwhelmingly support violence against the US.

indeed, the problem isn't "Al-Qaeda" or "the insurgency" -- these are jihadists who've appropriated either name, or been dubbed with such a name to make it easier for Western audiences to understand. note that when Al-Zarqai was killed, "the insurgency" raged on as if nothing had happened.

the American/Iraqi (read: Shiite) forces can continue to fight and to think they've pacified neighborhoods because a guerrilla does not have to hold territory to be effective. all that needs to happen are mor events like the mosque at Samarra and a wave of violence washes over the country again and again and again.
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Old 01-11-2007, 08:59 PM   #476
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Originally posted by Judah


Riiiight...reliance on, er, reliable intelligence. I can't wait for them to contract Powell to make another presentation to the UN.

I thought that one commentor (after the blog's post) implied an interesting angle: the U.S. may be able to gather "evidence" that shows that Iran and Syria are getting more and more involved and use that as an excuse for an exit strategy. "Hey, you guys are meddling and making things worse, so you fix this. We're outta here."

But somehow i doubt that'll happen.
The United States did not have any troops on the ground in Iraq when Powell made his speech. US forces in Iraq have found very modern Russian built surface to air missiles and other equipment with insurgents that is obviously not domestically produced unless you think the insurgents have special powers. A dozen or so foreign arab's including some Syrians were found on Haifa street in Baghdad armed with motars and RPG's.

I still think most of the information and evidence shows that Iraq's insurgents and militia's get their supplies and funds from inside Iraq itself, but there are signs of support from outside Iraq as well.
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Old 01-11-2007, 09:03 PM   #477
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Originally posted by deep




Sure they don't have a free hand.

But, what if Iraqis or Iraqi Government invites them in?


Does America (Bush Admin.) have a free hand in Iraq?

They seem to think they do.
The Iraqi government does not want to invite forces into the country to bring down the Iraqi government obviously. As long as who ever has been invited is not there to distabilize Iraq, then there is nothing wrong with it. Iraq has already resestablished diplomatic relations with Syria and Iran. The United States has to work with the Iraqi government and military and does not have the "free hand" it had the day it first invaded Iraq.
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Old 01-11-2007, 09:05 PM   #478
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I think that it is daft to suffest that Bush is looking for excuses to bring Iran and Syria into this given the degrees they have gone to to ignore or downright bury evidence such as the source of IED, missiles and light arms as well as expertiese.
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Old 01-11-2007, 09:07 PM   #479
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Unless the Iraqi Military gets ongoing support I would imagine theocratic militia; but then given the coalition support for the Badr brigades this would almost seem to be the intention.
Most militia's have little ability to provide security beyond their own local area's, and do not have the capabilties that a national military force would have. The Badr Brigades and Al Sadr's Mahdi militia have recently engaged in combat with each other. This is definitely not something that can adequately replace the security functions currently provided by the coalition.
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Old 01-11-2007, 09:11 PM   #480
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In the absence of a central government with a military or even an armed and regulated militia towns and cities will ally with local power and that has been shown nearly universally to be tribal / religious groups. It won't replace coalition troops doing security sweeps and anti-terrorist operations because the end of many of these groups is rule of the gun and Sharia. I would like to see a plan that can deliver and consolidate security under an Iraqi government where the secular parties have a balance of power but since that is not going to happen any time soon there are some big questions to answer.

Democracy cannot survive theocracy - especially when those theocrats view such a system of government to be blasphemous.
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