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Old 06-19-2006, 05:38 PM   #16
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You can't say the present policy isn't working without a framework for an alternative.

What metrics do you use for measuring a successful policy and what policy elements would you implement to achieve better metrics?

And are we really getting that helpless that highlighting a lack of alternative is unfair to Democrats?
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Old 06-19-2006, 05:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
You can't say the present policy isn't working without a framework for an alternative.

What metrics do you use for measuring a successful policy and what policy elements would you implement to achieve better metrics?

And are we really getting that helpless that highlighting a lack of alternative is unfair to Democrats?


there were 100 insurgent attacks in Iraq last week.

that's nearly twice the same number as happened in the same week last year. as the level of violence increases from week to week, month to month, year to year, and our goal is precisely to create enough stability for a civil society to exist and a government to perform the most basic of tasks, how can we say that the present policy is working when it has failed to meet nearly all of its stated goals (however vague they might be) in any sort of meaningful way?

please note that i haven't defended the Democrats, but i am stating that characterizing their position, or lack of a position, as "cut and run" -- as Rove did half a dozen times or so in a speach last week -- is politics at best.
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Old 06-19-2006, 06:02 PM   #18
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OK - if your metric is number of insurgent attacks per week, you certainly could forward ideas that would help reduce that number.
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Old 06-19-2006, 06:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
OK - if your metric is number of insurgent attacks per week, you certainly could forward ideas that would help reduce that number.


and the current idea, not agreed upon in the Democratic party, is a gradual withdrawal in accordance with an agreed-upon timetable.

i think the situation we find ourselves in is one where there are no good options, no real plan, and, on a personal note, i really have no idea what to do. i think withdrawal would certainly precipitate a civil war, yet i think it's a terrible thing to ask American soldiers to continue to die when they have been sent into a foreign country under manipulated, false pretenses, when there is no danger whatsoever to the United States or its citizens (beyond those in the line of fire in Iraq), when there is not enough support, when there never was a post-war plan to begin with, and there was no coherent idea of what a post-Saddam Iraq was supposed to look like.

consider:

[q]From the Embassy, a Grim Report
From the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, a stark compendium of its local employees' daily hardships and pressing fears
Sunday, June 18, 2006; Page B01


Hours before President Bush left on a surprise trip last Monday to the Green Zone in Baghdad for an upbeat assessment of the situation there, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq painted a starkly different portrait of increasing danger and hardship faced by its Iraqi employees. This cable, marked "sensitive" and obtained by The Washington Post, outlines in spare prose the daily-worsening conditions for those who live outside the heavily guarded international zone: harassment, threats and the employees' constant fears that their neighbors will discover they work for the U.S. government.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...061601768.html

[/q]


the cable itself is highly upsetting that portrays a country in near-total meltdown and with an Islamist element growing in power.

surely, we cannot continue on this course.
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Old 06-19-2006, 06:57 PM   #20
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Your argument is really "we should never have gone into Iraq."

That is fine. There are plenty who agree with you. And a couple of members of Congress agreed with you as well.

Today, we are in Iraq. And we can toss various measurments of success and failure back and forth to show how well things are going.

Did we get an instant solution? No

In the long run, will things be better than if we had not gone in at all? I'd say yes.
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:14 PM   #21
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
In the long run, will things be better than if we had not gone in at all? I'd say yes.


and here, we disagree. and i think this will be a point of disagreement in American foreign policy for the next 50 years or so. fair enough.

you're right, i don't have an answer, but the reason why i thought we should never have gone into Iraq is because i never, ever thought this bunch of fanatics and ideologues in the White House were remotely capable of waging a successful occupation of a Muslim country -- too nationalistic, too hubristic, too ignorant of culture and society to have ever had a chance.
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Old 06-20-2006, 01:12 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511




there were 100 insurgent attacks in Iraq last week.

that's nearly twice the same number as happened in the same week last year. as the level of violence increases from week to week, month to month, year to year, and our goal is precisely to create enough stability for a civil society to exist and a government to perform the most basic of tasks, how can we say that the present policy is working when it has failed to meet nearly all of its stated goals (however vague they might be) in any sort of meaningful way?

please note that i haven't defended the Democrats, but i am stating that characterizing their position, or lack of a position, as "cut and run" -- as Rove did half a dozen times or so in a speach last week -- is politics at best.
Some attacks go unreported whether they happened last year, two years ago, or last week. But there is one thing that does not go unreported and that is the number US deaths per month.

Because the number of US deaths per month is far and away the most consistently accurate statistic reported from the start of the war to now, it is perhaps the best metric for comparing the strength of the insurgency at any point in time since the start of the war to now.

Here are the April to March death totals for each 12 month period of the war. The first one adds in deaths in the 10 days prior to April 2003 when the war began.

2003-2004 605

2004-2005 929

2005-2006 794

2006-2007(first three months) 176

The most costly month in terms of US deaths is still April 2004 when the insurgency nearly doubled in size and the United States lost 135 troops. The death figures since then have gone up and down, but have never reached that level, except during November 2004 when the US re-took Falluja.

At best, you could make the case that nothing has changed since April 2004. But the evidence from the US death rate shows that the insurgency is slowing down. Deaths from April 2005 through March 2006 were 15% below the previous year which saw the near doubling of the insurgency from the initial year.

October 2005 through March 2006 saw the first time that US losses dropped for 5 consecutive months in a row. Not exactly a sign of "rising insurgency" and things getting worse. The previous mark was only 2 months of consecutive decline.

Based on US casualty figures, the insurgency has not grown at all since April 2004, and appears to slowly be declining now.


The politicians who have given up on Iraq are those that are trying to pull out US troops prematurely. Defeating an insurgency and rebuilding a country the size of Iraq is something that takes years. The Iraqi's will be the ones to finish of the insurgency, but they won't be able to do it if the United States and coalition forces leave before the Iraqi military and police force has been fully rebuilt. Its going to take at least until 2011 for the Iraqi military to be able to perform all its necessary functions independent of any foreign assistence. As that period approaches, its likely the US and coalition forces will be able to slowly withdraw troops.

Any slow withdrawal of troops from Iraq is not a sign of "giving up", but the fact that conditions on the ground have improved enough that such units can leave. No one would cut US troop strength in an area that is getting worse there by endangering the position of the remaining troops. Fighting in certain area's may still be heavy, but if it is something that the Iraqi military and police force can handle, then US units can be withdrawn.


An Iraq that was on the verge of collapse would not have been able to hold the elections that happened last year. It would not have been able to elect a new government and make all the compromises that it has over the past year. These are major events which many people choose to ignore. The insurgency has not grown at all since April 2004 and is slowly starting to decrease. The Iraqi military and government on the other hand get stronger every day. The rebuilding of Iraq will succeed provided the United States does not prematurely withdraw its forces.
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:40 AM   #23
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[q]At best, you could make the case that nothing has changed since April 2004. But the evidence from the US death rate shows that the insurgency is slowing down. Deaths from April 2005 through March 2006 were 15% below the previous year which saw the near doubling of the insurgency from the initial year. [/q]



the death rate of US soldiers is not a good means at all of judging the effectiveness of the insurgency, since US soldiers are not their primary targets (Iraqi soldiers, police officers, civil servants, and plain old Iraqi civilians are), and the size and scope of US operations has reduced in size and scale over the past two years with fewer and fewere troops venturing out of the Green Zone. the result is that fewer and fewer troops are in harms way, therefore you see a slightly reduced US death toll, but this tells us nothing about the insurgency's strength and effectiveness.
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:47 AM   #24
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and the Washington Post intercepted this on Sunday:



[q]PM MEMBASSy BAgHDAD
TO SECSTArE WASXDC 5042

INFO IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAGXDAD 001992

E.O. 12958: N/A TAGSt P14GM. PRE ,. ASEC. AMGT, IZ
SUBJECTS Snapshots from the Office: Public Affairs Staff Show Strains of Social Discord

SESITIVE

1. (SBU) Beginning in March. and picking up in mid-May, Iraqi staff in the Public Affairs Section have complained that Islamist and/or militia Groups have been negatively affecting their daily routine. Harassment over proper dress and habits has been increasingly pervasive. They also report that power cuts and fuel prices have diminished their quality of life. Conditions vary by neighborhood, but even upscale neighborhoods such as Mansur have visibly deteriorated.

Womens Rights

2. (SBU) The Public Affairs Press Office has 9 local Iraqi employees. Two of our three female employees report stepped up harassment beginning in mid-May. One, a Shiite who favors Western clothing, was advised by an unknown woman in her upscale Shiite/Christian Baghdad neighborhood to wear a veil and not to drive her own car. Indeed, she said, some groups are pushing women to cover even their face, a step not taken in Iran even at its most conservative.

3. (SBU) Another, a Sunni, said that people in her middle-class neighborhood are harassing women and telling them to cover up and stop using cell phones (suspected channel to licentious relationships with men). She said that the taxi driver who brings her every day to the green zone checkpoint has told her he cannot let her ride unless she wears a headcover. A female in the PAS cultural section is now wearing a full abaya after receiving direct threats in May. She says her neighborhood, Mhamiya, is no longer permissive if she is not clad so modestly.

4. (SBU) These women say they cannot identify the groups that are pressuring them many times. the cautions come from other women, sometimes from men who they say could be Sunni or Shiite, but appear conservative. They also tell us that some ministries, notably the Sadrist controlled Ministry of Transportation, have been forcing fem1es to wear the hijab at work.

5. (SBU) Staff members have reported that it is now dangerous for men to wear shorts in public; they no longer allow their children to play outside tn shorts. People who wear jeans in public have come under attack from what staff members describe as Wahabis and Sadrists.

Evictions

6. (SBU) One colleague beseeched us to weigh in to help a neighbor who was uprooted in May from her home of 30 years, on the pretense of application of some long-disused law that allows owners to evict tenants after 14 years. The woman, a Fayli Kurd, says she has nowhere to go. no other home, but the courts give them no recourse to this new assertion of power. Such uprootings may be a response by new Shiite government authorities to similar actions against Arabs by Kurds in other parts of Iraq. (NOTE: An Arab newspaper editor told us he is preparing an extensive survey of ethnic cleansing, which he said is taking place in almost every Iraqi province , as political parties and their militias are seemingly engaged in tit-for-tat reprisals all over Iraq. One editor told us that the KDP is now planning to set up tent cities in Irbil, to house Kurds being evicted from Baghdad.)

Power Cuts and Fuel Shortages a Drain on society --

7. Temperatures in Baghdad have already reached 115 degrees. employees all confirm that by the last week of May, they were getting one hour of power for every six hours without. That was only about four hours of power a day for the city. By early June, the situation had improved slightly, In Hai Si Shaab. power has recently improved from one in six to one in three hours. Other staff report similar variances. Central Baghdad neighborhood Bab al Muathama has had no city power for over a month. Areas near hospitals, political party headquarters, and the green zone have the best supply, in some eases reaching 24 hours. One staff member reported that a friend lives in a building that houses a new minister; within 2l hours of his appointment, her building had City power 24 hours a day.

(SBU) All employees supplement City power with service contracted with neighborhood generator hookups that they pay for monthly. ‘ One employee pays 7500 ID per ampere to get 10 amperes per month (75,000 10 = USD 50/month). For this, her family gets 6 hours of power per day, with service ending at 2 am. Another employee pays 9000 ID per ampere to get 10 amperes per month (90.000 USD 60). For this, his family gets 8 hours per day, with service running until 5 am.

9. (SEW Fuel lines have also taxed out- staff, One employee told us May 29 that he had spent 12 hours on his day off (Saturday) waiting to get gas. Another staff member confirmed that shortages were so dire, prices on the black market in much of Baghdad were now above 1,000 Iraqi dinars per liter (the official, subsidized price is 250 ID).

Kidnappings, and Threats of Worse

10. (SBU) One employee informed us in March that his brother in law had been kidnapped. The mean was eventually released, but this caused enormous emotional distress to the entire family. One employee, a Sunni Kurd, received an indirect threat on her life in April. She took extended leave, and by May, relocated abroad with her family. Security Forces 4istrusted

11. (SBU) In April, employees began reporting a change in demeanor of guards at the green zone checkpoints. They seemed to be more militia-like, in some cases seemingly taunting. One employee asked us to explore getting her press credentials because guards had held her embassy badge up and proclaimed loudly to nearby passers-by ‘Embassy’ as she entered Such information is a death sentence if overheard by the wrong people.

Supervising a Staff At High Risk

12. (SBU) employees all share a common tale their lives: of nine employees in March, only four had family members who knew they worked at the embassy. That makes it difficult for them, and for us. Iraqi colleagues called after hours often speak Arabic as an indication they Cannot speak openly in English.

13. (SBLT) We cannot call employees in on weekends or holidays without blowing their cover. Uikewise, they have been unavailable during multiple security closures imposed by the government since February. A Sunni Arab female employee tells us that family pressures and the inability no share details of her employment is very tough; she told her family she was in ’ Jordan .then we sent her on training to the February. Mounting criticisms of the U.S. at home among family members also makes her life difficult. She told us in mid*-June that most of her family believes the U.S. *- which is widely perceived as fully controlling the country and tolerating the malaise *- is punishing populations as Saddani did (but with Sunnis and very poor Shiitenow at the bottom of the list), Otherwise, she says, the allocation of power and security would not be so arbitrary.

14. CSBU) Some of our staff do not take home their American cell phones , as this makes them a target. Planning for their own possible abduction , they use code names for friends and colleagues and contacts entered into Iraq cell phones. For at least six months, we have not been able to use any local staff members for translation at on-camera press events.

15. (SBU) More recently, we have begun shredding documents printed out that show local staff surnames. In March. a few staff members approached us to ask what provisions would we make for them if we evacuate.

Sectarian Tensions Within Families

16. Ethnic and sectarian fault lines are also becoming part of the daily media fare in the country. One Shiite employee told us in late May that she can no longer watch TI! news with her mother, who is Suruti, because her mother blamed all government failings on the fact that Shiites Are in charge. Many of the employees immediate family members, including her father, one sister, and a brother, left Iraq years ago. This month, another sister is departing for Egypt, as she imagines the future here is too bleak,

Frayed Nerves and Mistrust in the Office

17. (SBU) Against this backdrop of frayed social networks, tension and moodiness have risen. One Shiite made disparaging comments about the Sunni caliph Othman which angered a Kurd. A Sunni Arab female apparently insulted a Shiite female colleague by criticizing her overly liberal dress. One colleague told us he feels “defeated’ by circumstances, citing the example of being unable to help his two year old son who has asthma and cannot sleep in stifling heat. 1$. (SBU) Another employee tells us that life outside the Green Zone has become emotionally draining. He lives in a mostly Shiite area and claims to attend a funeral every evening. He, like other local employees, is financially responsible for his immediate and extended families. He revealed that ‘the burden of responsibility; new stress coming from social circles who increasingly disapprove of the coalition presence, and everyday threats weigh very heavily.This employee became extremely agitated in late May at website reports of an abduction of an Iraqi working with MNFI, whose expired Embassy and MNFI badges were posted on the website Staying Straight with Neighborhood Governments and the ‘Alasa

19. (SBU) Staff members say they daily assess how to move safely in public. Often, if they must travel outside their own neighborhoods, they adapt the clothing, language, and traits of the area. In Jadriya, for example, one needs to conform to the SCIRI/Badr ethic; in Yusufiya, a strict Sunni conservative dress code has taken hold Adhawiya and Salihiya, controlled by the secular Ministry of Defense, are not conservative. Moving inconspicuously in Sadr City requires Shiite conservative dress and a particular lingo. Once*upscale Mansur district, near the Green Zone, according to one employee, by early June was an unrecognizable ghost town.

20. (SBU) Since Samarra, Baghdadis have honed these survival skills. Vocabulary has shifted to reflect new behavior. Our staff *- and our contacts -- have become adept in modifying behavior to avoid A1asae, informants who keep an eye out for outsiders” in neighborhoods. The Alasa mentality is becoming entrenched as Iraqi security forces fail to gain public confidence.

21. (SBU) Our staff, report that security and services are being rerouted through local provider whose affiliations are vague. As noted above, those who are admonishing citizens on their dress are not known to the residents. Neighborhood power providers are not well known either, nor is it clear how they avoid robbery or targeting. Personal safety depends on good relations with the neighborhood governments, who barricade streets and ward of f outsiders. The central government, our staff says, is not relevant; even local mukhtars have been displaced or co-opted by militias. People no longer trust most neighbors.

22. (SBtJ) A resident of upscale Shiit/ Christian Karrada district told us that outsiders” have moved in and now control the local mukhtars, one of whom now has cows and goats grazing in the streets. When she expressed her concern at the dereliction, he told her to butt out.

Comment 23. (SBtJ) Although our staff retain a professional demeanor , strains are apparent. We see that their personal fears are reinforcing divisive sectarian or ethnic channels, despite talk of reconciliation by officials. Employees are apprehensive enough that we fear they my exaggerate developments or steer us towards news that comports with their own worldview. Objectivity, civility, and logic that make for a functional workplace may falter if Social pressures outside the Green Zone don’t abate. "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...ocs_061606.pdf

[/q]
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Old 06-20-2006, 01:10 PM   #25
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Originally posted by Irvine511
[q]At best, you could make the case that nothing has changed since April 2004. But the evidence from the US death rate shows that the insurgency is slowing down. Deaths from April 2005 through March 2006 were 15% below the previous year which saw the near doubling of the insurgency from the initial year. [/q]



the death rate of US soldiers is not a good means at all of judging the effectiveness of the insurgency, since US soldiers are not their primary targets (Iraqi soldiers, police officers, civil servants, and plain old Iraqi civilians are), and the size and scope of US operations has reduced in size and scale over the past two years with fewer and fewere troops venturing out of the Green Zone. the result is that fewer and fewer troops are in harms way, therefore you see a slightly reduced US death toll, but this tells us nothing about the insurgency's strength and effectiveness.
99% of the United States combat units are NOT stationed in the Green Zone. There has been no reduction in the size and scope of US operations. In fact, the size and scope of US operations is much larger than it was during the first year of the insurgency.

The main target of the Sunni insurgency has always been the United States military, since this is the organization that removed it from power and is the largest obstacle to their goals of re-establishing control of the country. As long as the United States military remains in Iraq, it will be impossible for any insurgent group regardless of their ethnicity to have any real control of anything. The insurgency cannot win as long as the United States military remains in Iraq which is why they have been the main target for most of the past three years.

As the Iraqi military takes up more of the fight and US units start to leave, a case could be made that the Iraqi military is the main target of the insurgency. While the Iraqi military is making progress, US units are still in the lead on most major operations. In addition, insurgence sometimes will target some Iraqi police units because they are easier to hit and inflict casualties on than the US military.

Killing civilians is an easier task that requires far less insurgent resources. Insurgents could attack a US post with a couple of car bombs and potentially not actually kill anyone. Drive the same car bombs into a crowded market, and you can kill hundreds.

Most Sunni insurgents do not actually support the attacks on civilians and have spent most of the past three years attacking US forces and are starting to engage Iraqi forces as they become ready and take up more responsibility. There have been deep rifts in the insurgent movement over the Al Quada attacks on civilians. If civilians were the main target as opposed to US troops, this rift would not exist. One thing all the various groups do agree on is attacking US troops. Doing so requires a lot of their resources in order to inflict the level of casualties on US forces that occur. To attack and inflict significant casualties on civilians or the Iraqi police force requires far less resources because those groups are lightly armed or have no means to defend themselves and are often crowded together in open area's and don't suspect an attack. Collectively, the insurgence are spending far more of their resources to attack the US military than they are attacking civilians.
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Old 06-20-2006, 01:14 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
and the Washington Post intercepted this on Sunday:



[q]PM MEMBASSy BAgHDAD
TO SECSTArE WASXDC 5042

INFO IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAGXDAD 001992

E.O. 12958: N/A TAGSt P14GM. PRE ,. ASEC. AMGT, IZ
SUBJECTS Snapshots from the Office: Public Affairs Staff Show Strains of Social Discord

SESITIVE

1. (SBU) Beginning in March. and picking up in mid-May, Iraqi staff in the Public Affairs Section have complained that Islamist and/or militia Groups have been negatively affecting their daily routine. Harassment over proper dress and habits has been increasingly pervasive. They also report that power cuts and fuel prices have diminished their quality of life. Conditions vary by neighborhood, but even upscale neighborhoods such as Mansur have visibly deteriorated.

Womens Rights

2. (SBU) The Public Affairs Press Office has 9 local Iraqi employees. Two of our three female employees report stepped up harassment beginning in mid-May. One, a Shiite who favors Western clothing, was advised by an unknown woman in her upscale Shiite/Christian Baghdad neighborhood to wear a veil and not to drive her own car. Indeed, she said, some groups are pushing women to cover even their face, a step not taken in Iran even at its most conservative.

3. (SBU) Another, a Sunni, said that people in her middle-class neighborhood are harassing women and telling them to cover up and stop using cell phones (suspected channel to licentious relationships with men). She said that the taxi driver who brings her every day to the green zone checkpoint has told her he cannot let her ride unless she wears a headcover. A female in the PAS cultural section is now wearing a full abaya after receiving direct threats in May. She says her neighborhood, Mhamiya, is no longer permissive if she is not clad so modestly.

4. (SBU) These women say they cannot identify the groups that are pressuring them many times. the cautions come from other women, sometimes from men who they say could be Sunni or Shiite, but appear conservative. They also tell us that some ministries, notably the Sadrist controlled Ministry of Transportation, have been forcing fem1es to wear the hijab at work.

5. (SBU) Staff members have reported that it is now dangerous for men to wear shorts in public; they no longer allow their children to play outside tn shorts. People who wear jeans in public have come under attack from what staff members describe as Wahabis and Sadrists.

Evictions

6. (SBU) One colleague beseeched us to weigh in to help a neighbor who was uprooted in May from her home of 30 years, on the pretense of application of some long-disused law that allows owners to evict tenants after 14 years. The woman, a Fayli Kurd, says she has nowhere to go. no other home, but the courts give them no recourse to this new assertion of power. Such uprootings may be a response by new Shiite government authorities to similar actions against Arabs by Kurds in other parts of Iraq. (NOTE: An Arab newspaper editor told us he is preparing an extensive survey of ethnic cleansing, which he said is taking place in almost every Iraqi province , as political parties and their militias are seemingly engaged in tit-for-tat reprisals all over Iraq. One editor told us that the KDP is now planning to set up tent cities in Irbil, to house Kurds being evicted from Baghdad.)

Power Cuts and Fuel Shortages a Drain on society --

7. Temperatures in Baghdad have already reached 115 degrees. employees all confirm that by the last week of May, they were getting one hour of power for every six hours without. That was only about four hours of power a day for the city. By early June, the situation had improved slightly, In Hai Si Shaab. power has recently improved from one in six to one in three hours. Other staff report similar variances. Central Baghdad neighborhood Bab al Muathama has had no city power for over a month. Areas near hospitals, political party headquarters, and the green zone have the best supply, in some eases reaching 24 hours. One staff member reported that a friend lives in a building that houses a new minister; within 2l hours of his appointment, her building had City power 24 hours a day.

(SBU) All employees supplement City power with service contracted with neighborhood generator hookups that they pay for monthly. ‘ One employee pays 7500 ID per ampere to get 10 amperes per month (75,000 10 = USD 50/month). For this, her family gets 6 hours of power per day, with service ending at 2 am. Another employee pays 9000 ID per ampere to get 10 amperes per month (90.000 USD 60). For this, his family gets 8 hours per day, with service running until 5 am.

9. (SEW Fuel lines have also taxed out- staff, One employee told us May 29 that he had spent 12 hours on his day off (Saturday) waiting to get gas. Another staff member confirmed that shortages were so dire, prices on the black market in much of Baghdad were now above 1,000 Iraqi dinars per liter (the official, subsidized price is 250 ID).

Kidnappings, and Threats of Worse

10. (SBU) One employee informed us in March that his brother in law had been kidnapped. The mean was eventually released, but this caused enormous emotional distress to the entire family. One employee, a Sunni Kurd, received an indirect threat on her life in April. She took extended leave, and by May, relocated abroad with her family. Security Forces 4istrusted

11. (SBU) In April, employees began reporting a change in demeanor of guards at the green zone checkpoints. They seemed to be more militia-like, in some cases seemingly taunting. One employee asked us to explore getting her press credentials because guards had held her embassy badge up and proclaimed loudly to nearby passers-by ‘Embassy’ as she entered Such information is a death sentence if overheard by the wrong people.

Supervising a Staff At High Risk

12. (SBU) employees all share a common tale their lives: of nine employees in March, only four had family members who knew they worked at the embassy. That makes it difficult for them, and for us. Iraqi colleagues called after hours often speak Arabic as an indication they Cannot speak openly in English.

13. (SBLT) We cannot call employees in on weekends or holidays without blowing their cover. Uikewise, they have been unavailable during multiple security closures imposed by the government since February. A Sunni Arab female employee tells us that family pressures and the inability no share details of her employment is very tough; she told her family she was in ’ Jordan .then we sent her on training to the February. Mounting criticisms of the U.S. at home among family members also makes her life difficult. She told us in mid*-June that most of her family believes the U.S. *- which is widely perceived as fully controlling the country and tolerating the malaise *- is punishing populations as Saddani did (but with Sunnis and very poor Shiitenow at the bottom of the list), Otherwise, she says, the allocation of power and security would not be so arbitrary.

14. CSBU) Some of our staff do not take home their American cell phones , as this makes them a target. Planning for their own possible abduction , they use code names for friends and colleagues and contacts entered into Iraq cell phones. For at least six months, we have not been able to use any local staff members for translation at on-camera press events.

15. (SBU) More recently, we have begun shredding documents printed out that show local staff surnames. In March. a few staff members approached us to ask what provisions would we make for them if we evacuate.

Sectarian Tensions Within Families

16. Ethnic and sectarian fault lines are also becoming part of the daily media fare in the country. One Shiite employee told us in late May that she can no longer watch TI! news with her mother, who is Suruti, because her mother blamed all government failings on the fact that Shiites Are in charge. Many of the employees immediate family members, including her father, one sister, and a brother, left Iraq years ago. This month, another sister is departing for Egypt, as she imagines the future here is too bleak,

Frayed Nerves and Mistrust in the Office

17. (SBU) Against this backdrop of frayed social networks, tension and moodiness have risen. One Shiite made disparaging comments about the Sunni caliph Othman which angered a Kurd. A Sunni Arab female apparently insulted a Shiite female colleague by criticizing her overly liberal dress. One colleague told us he feels “defeated’ by circumstances, citing the example of being unable to help his two year old son who has asthma and cannot sleep in stifling heat. 1$. (SBU) Another employee tells us that life outside the Green Zone has become emotionally draining. He lives in a mostly Shiite area and claims to attend a funeral every evening. He, like other local employees, is financially responsible for his immediate and extended families. He revealed that ‘the burden of responsibility; new stress coming from social circles who increasingly disapprove of the coalition presence, and everyday threats weigh very heavily.This employee became extremely agitated in late May at website reports of an abduction of an Iraqi working with MNFI, whose expired Embassy and MNFI badges were posted on the website Staying Straight with Neighborhood Governments and the ‘Alasa

19. (SBU) Staff members say they daily assess how to move safely in public. Often, if they must travel outside their own neighborhoods, they adapt the clothing, language, and traits of the area. In Jadriya, for example, one needs to conform to the SCIRI/Badr ethic; in Yusufiya, a strict Sunni conservative dress code has taken hold Adhawiya and Salihiya, controlled by the secular Ministry of Defense, are not conservative. Moving inconspicuously in Sadr City requires Shiite conservative dress and a particular lingo. Once*upscale Mansur district, near the Green Zone, according to one employee, by early June was an unrecognizable ghost town.

20. (SBU) Since Samarra, Baghdadis have honed these survival skills. Vocabulary has shifted to reflect new behavior. Our staff *- and our contacts -- have become adept in modifying behavior to avoid A1asae, informants who keep an eye out for outsiders” in neighborhoods. The Alasa mentality is becoming entrenched as Iraqi security forces fail to gain public confidence.

21. (SBU) Our staff, report that security and services are being rerouted through local provider whose affiliations are vague. As noted above, those who are admonishing citizens on their dress are not known to the residents. Neighborhood power providers are not well known either, nor is it clear how they avoid robbery or targeting. Personal safety depends on good relations with the neighborhood governments, who barricade streets and ward of f outsiders. The central government, our staff says, is not relevant; even local mukhtars have been displaced or co-opted by militias. People no longer trust most neighbors.

22. (SBtJ) A resident of upscale Shiit/ Christian Karrada district told us that outsiders” have moved in and now control the local mukhtars, one of whom now has cows and goats grazing in the streets. When she expressed her concern at the dereliction, he told her to butt out.

Comment 23. (SBtJ) Although our staff retain a professional demeanor , strains are apparent. We see that their personal fears are reinforcing divisive sectarian or ethnic channels, despite talk of reconciliation by officials. Employees are apprehensive enough that we fear they my exaggerate developments or steer us towards news that comports with their own worldview. Objectivity, civility, and logic that make for a functional workplace may falter if Social pressures outside the Green Zone don’t abate. "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...ocs_061606.pdf

[/q]
Go back to any month in 2004, and you'll see and equal amount of similar types of problems being reported.
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:38 PM   #27
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Go back to any month in 2004, and you'll see and equal amount of similar types of problems being reported.


so there's been no improvement in over 2 years.

there were not the same theocratic elements in 2004 that there are today.

as i said before, this is a picture of a society in sectarian and security meltdown -- we have theocratic crackdowns worse than exist in neighboring Iran in some areas.

keep in mind, this is the U.S. embassy's own private assessment.
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:03 PM   #28
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so there's been no improvement in over 2 years.

there were not the same theocratic elements in 2004 that there are today.

as i said before, this is a picture of a society in sectarian and security meltdown -- we have theocratic crackdowns worse than exist in neighboring Iran in some areas.

keep in mind, this is the U.S. embassy's own private assessment.
In some area's of Iraq, that would indeed be the case. But it is not the ever worsening situation that so many Democrats make it out to be. Lets keep in mind that large area's of Iraq have almost no fighting in them at all. The theocratic elements were definitely there in 2004 and it was discussed at length in this forum. Especially in relation to Al Sadr and his militia, a far more explosive and destructive force in 2004 than they are today.

In 2004, there was no elected Iraqi government, no constitution and people on the left were claiming getting those things in place would be impossible. The Iraqi military was small and only had a few hundred members. There have been massive changes in terms of the political development of the country and the development of the Iraqi military since 2004. As this continues, the ability to resolve some of the problems that have continued since the start of the war will increase.

Sectarian violence or attempts to create sectarian division have always been there. Its just that when a Sunni drove up to Shia workers in 2003 and set off a bomb killing them, it was not refered to as sectarian violence. Now after the Mosque bombing in February 2006, any civilian that gets killed has his ethnicity noted and is labled a victim of real sectarian violence, without any other evidence to support the claim. We now know that Al Zarqawi's insurgent group would regularly carry out attacks on certain groups in the hopes of provoking a sectarian conflict. They would also dress up as Iraqi military or police to carry out these actions.

Regardless, Iraq is not in the middle of a Civil War, and there has always been some indirect form of sectarian conflict in Iraq. Incidents where dozens of people of one ethnic group are murdered, in one area of the country, while terrible, does not constitute a Civil War. If you want an example of a Civil War and real nationwide sectarian violence, look no further than Bosnia. Three Ethnic groups going at it from March 1992 into the fall of 1995. During that time 300,000 people lost their lives out of a population of 4 million. If the level of violence in Bosnia was present in Iraq, we would be talking about the deaths of 2 million Iraqi's over the past 3 and a half years. Instead, the anti-war group Iraqbodycount claims that 40,000 Iraqi civilians have died, from all causes not just sectarian violence, although they can't even name 10% of them.
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:31 PM   #29
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[B]In some area's of Iraq, that would indeed be the case. But it is not the ever worsening situation that so many Democrats make it out to be. Lets keep in mind that large area's of Iraq have almost no fighting in them at all.

this is totally irrelevant. 5 million out of Iraq's 25 million people live in Baghdad. that's 20% of the population. it also totally ignores the reality of what a civil conflict is like. imagine if a car bomb in Detroit today killed five policmen; if the president was forced to declare a state of emergency in Dallas because 140 people were kidnapped and killed this month; if a priest was gunned down in Washington D.C.; if jittery police forces fired upon and killed two women women, one of them pregnant, north of the capital; what if the next day another 54 were killed by a car bomb in Washington -- all this happens on a daily basis in Iraq. it doesn't matter that no one was killed in WY, MT, or OK.



[q]Sectarian violence or attempts to create sectarian division have always been there. Its just that when a Sunni drove up to Shia workers in 2003 and set off a bomb killing them, it was not refered to as sectarian violence. Now after the Mosque bombing in February 2006, any civilian that gets killed has his ethnicity noted and is labled a victim of real sectarian violence, without any other evidence to support the claim. We now know that Al Zarqawi's insurgent group would regularly carry out attacks on certain groups in the hopes of provoking a sectarian conflict. They would also dress up as Iraqi military or police to carry out these actions.[/q]


so, essentially, you're arguing that the sectarian violence that has always been a part of Iraqi society is simply getting worse, that the insurgents are getting more effective, and that instead of lacking an understanding of why certain ethnic groups are getting killed, post February Mosque bombing, we now have a better understanding of what is going on.

what's happened is that the insurgency has metastisized into a multi-faceted army of armies representing former Ba'athist military, security, and intelligence officers, assorted nationalists and Islamists, tribal and clan leaders, and city and neighborhood militias.



[q]Regardless, Iraq is not in the middle of a Civil War, and there has always been some indirect form of sectarian conflict in Iraq. Incidents where dozens of people of one ethnic group are murdered, in one area of the country, while terrible, does not constitute a Civil War. If you want an example of a Civil War and real nationwide sectarian violence, look no further than Bosnia. [/q]


and perhaps a Bosnia or Rwanda is what we would have if not for the presence of American troops. even still, all those who have died since the invasion in 2003 it probably does not matter much what sort of war is going on in Iraq -- telling Iraqis that they should be glad they are not in Bosnia, or Rwanda, doesn't do much for the situation, and i don't think the definition of a civil war is predicated upon sheer numbers of dead but the conditions under which violence takes place. the fact is, there has been a war there now for over three years, and there is no end in sight, and it is spreading across the middle east

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...100599_pf.html

at some point we have to ask ourselves what "victory" is going to cost, and what results it will produce. if we "stay the course," it will come at the expense of thousands more American deaths, tens of thousands more Iraqi deaths, and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.
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Old 06-20-2006, 06:07 PM   #30
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this is totally irrelevant. 5 million out of Iraq's 25 million people live in Baghdad. that's 20% of the population. it also totally ignores the reality of what a civil conflict is like. imagine if a car bomb in Detroit today killed five policmen; if the president was forced to declare a state of emergency in Dallas because 140 people were kidnapped and killed this month; if a priest was gunned down in Washington D.C.; if jittery police forces fired upon and killed two women women, one of them pregnant, north of the capital; what if the next day another 54 were killed by a car bomb in Washington -- all this happens on a daily basis in Iraq. it doesn't matter that no one was killed in WY, MT, or OK.



[q]Sectarian violence or attempts to create sectarian division have always been there. Its just that when a Sunni drove up to Shia workers in 2003 and set off a bomb killing them, it was not refered to as sectarian violence. Now after the Mosque bombing in February 2006, any civilian that gets killed has his ethnicity noted and is labled a victim of real sectarian violence, without any other evidence to support the claim. We now know that Al Zarqawi's insurgent group would regularly carry out attacks on certain groups in the hopes of provoking a sectarian conflict. They would also dress up as Iraqi military or police to carry out these actions.[/q]


so, essentially, you're arguing that the sectarian violence that has always been a part of Iraqi society is simply getting worse, that the insurgents are getting more effective, and that instead of lacking an understanding of why certain ethnic groups are getting killed, post February Mosque bombing, we now have a better understanding of what is going on.

what's happened is that the insurgency has metastisized into a multi-faceted army of armies representing former Ba'athist military, security, and intelligence officers, assorted nationalists and Islamists, tribal and clan leaders, and city and neighborhood militias.



[q]Regardless, Iraq is not in the middle of a Civil War, and there has always been some indirect form of sectarian conflict in Iraq. Incidents where dozens of people of one ethnic group are murdered, in one area of the country, while terrible, does not constitute a Civil War. If you want an example of a Civil War and real nationwide sectarian violence, look no further than Bosnia. [/q]


and perhaps a Bosnia or Rwanda is what we would have if not for the presence of American troops. even still, all those who have died since the invasion in 2003 it probably does not matter much what sort of war is going on in Iraq -- telling Iraqis that they should be glad they are not in Bosnia, or Rwanda, doesn't do much for the situation, and i don't think the definition of a civil war is predicated upon sheer numbers of dead but the conditions under which violence takes place. the fact is, there has been a war there now for over three years, and there is no end in sight, and it is spreading across the middle east

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...100599_pf.html

at some point we have to ask ourselves what "victory" is going to cost, and what results it will produce. if we "stay the course," it will come at the expense of thousands more American deaths, tens of thousands more Iraqi deaths, and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.
No, it is not totally irrelevant and is something that US military forces on the ground often point out. In Iraq, the majority of the violence occurs in four out of the 18 provinces. This fact often goes unoticed by most people. As for violence in the United States, over 10,000 people are murdered every year.

The sectarian tensions that have always been there have been aggravated by the actions of certain insurgent groups and by the lack of a strong central government. But this does not constitute a Civil War. The US military on the ground does not see that they would consider to be a Civil War. This is something that are concerned about and have been trained to watch for, especially after deployments to places like Bosnia and Kosovo.

The insurgents are not anymore effective than they were back in April of 2004. After the February Mosque bombing, and all the talk of Civil War, the media mistakenly claims that nearly every person that is killed in Iraq is killed as a result of sectarian violence, and this is simply not the case. But instead of a full scale Civil War, we now have an elected Iraqi Government in place with its full cabinet. This took a lot of work between the various ethnic groups. There were a lot of compromises made, but they succeeded in making it happen. This would never of happened in a Civil War environment.

The insurgency all the way back in 2003 already consisted of "ormer Ba'athist military, security, and intelligence officers, assorted nationalists and Islamists, tribal and clan leaders, and city and neighborhood militias". It has not grown at all since April of 2004, and is slowly starting to decline.

How many Civil Wars take place in countries where all the major factions and groups agree to form a government together? Numbers do matter, otherwise one could make some very crazy claims as to where Civil Wars were taking place.


Its not enough to simply ask what "victory" is going to cost and what results it will produce. You also have to ask what "defeat" is going to cost and what results it will produce. Iraq is in one of the most vital regions on the planet, vital to the whole global economy. Saddam's regime and its threat to the region has been removed, but it is necessary to replace Saddam's regime with a stable government that does not pose a threat to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States. In doing so, the United States and its allies will prevent the need to return to the region 10 or 20 years from now to fight a war,under less favorable circumstances and at a far greater cost in terms of lives.

As for taxpayer dollars, lets keep in mind that what the United States is currently spending on the US military, operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as aid to those countries, is currently a smaller percentage of US GDP than what was spent on Defense during the Peacetime of the 1980s or in any period before that going back to the start start of World War II.
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