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Old 01-04-2007, 12:30 AM   #16
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1. The type of troop increase, surge, etc that has been discussed recently in the media is not actually a troop increase at all. All that would happen is that a few brigades scheduled to leave at x time would remain several months past that point, while Brigades scheduled to replace them would arrive a few months earlier, which would temporarily mean there would be more troops on the ground in Iraq for a few months.

2. This has already been done on several occasions in the past with troop levels temporarily increasing by 10,000 or 15,000 troops.

3. It is not the escalation that Democrats talk of, nor is it some grand new strategy that will suddenly achieve objectives that are going to take years to achieve.

4. It does put greater stress on the active Army Brigades and Active Marine regiments that will be involved.

5. A permanent increase on top of the 17 Brigades already in Iraq is the only way to improve and speed up the nationbuilding and counterinsurgency task that are under way. The only way to achieve this is to end the restrictions on the use of National Guard Combat Brigades. Active Army and Marine Combat Brigades are all either deployed or are waiting to replace a deployed brigade. Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Okinawa, Bosnia, Kosovo have roughly 27 active Army and Marine combat brigades deployed to them with roughly the same number resting and refiting from their previous deployment so they can deploy again to replace current deployed brigades. All 51 active Army and Marine Combat Brigades are either deployed or are in line to replace a deployed unit. The vast majority of the National Guard's 34 combat brigades are currently at home and have no plans at the time to deploy anywhere, either to increase troops in Iraq, or relieve the burden on active Army and Marine Combat Brigades. Restrictions on the use of the National Guard must be changed in order to relieve the burden on active duty troops as well as allow for troop increases.

6. A larger permanent force on the ground in Iraq can bring greater security to Iraq as well as develop the Iraqi military at a quicker rate. Despite the improvements that a larger force can bring to Iraq, it will still take several years to build the Iraqi military, government, and economy to the point that coalition ground forces are no longer needed, but a larger force can help speed up the process and lesson the severity of setbacks that are often inevitable in such a long and difficult process.

7. Withdrawing 50,000 US troops while the Iraqi's are 4 years away from having the military force they need will only handicap the entire process. Insurgents and militia's will have more room to operate as the smaller number of coalition forces have less resources to deal with threats and provide security for the Iraqi people, government, as well as help build the new Iraqi military. Coalition casualties may also increase as area's once secured or at least patrolled no longer have such coverage and become more dangerous to coalition forces that will have to eventually go into such area's.

8. Withdrawal should only occur when the Iraqi military and other security forces are sufficiently ready in the numbers required to replace any withdrawn coalition forces.






McCain has supported a larger force in Iraq since the summer of 2003. But the only way to get a larger permanent force in Iraq is to end restrictions on the use of National Guard Brigades. A brief short term surge of a few thousand troops has already happened multiple times and in reality, does not represent any real new deployment of a greater number of troops to the country. It is not the esculation that democrats make it out to be nor the real increase in troops that many would like to see to improve the security situation in the country and speed up the development process.

Edwards idea is illogical and contradictory at the same time. On the one hand, its explained that the whole process under way in Iraq is a disaster and then in the next sentence there is going to be the reduction of 50,000 troops. If the situation is as bad as Democrats like Edwards would describe, you don't withdraw 50,000 troops. If you think a stable government and situation in Iraq is important to US and regional security, withdrawing 50,000 troops is not going to help insure that unless of course you think the Iraqi military and security forces are only a year a way from being able to replace the withdrawn coalition troops or conditions on the ground have improved to a degree that would warrent the withdrawal.



Its obvious that some of the candidates care more about winning the next election as opposed to what the right course of action would be. It appears Democratic candidates want to pick up the votes of those who would like to see the immediate abandonment of Iraq as well as those who are more cautious about such an approach. A phased withdrawal having nothing to do with conditions on the ground in Iraq accomplishes that and does nothing to insure that remaining forces will not find themselves in a more dangerous environment, improve the rate of development of the Iraqi military, as well as helping to improve the security situation throughout the country. Withdrawal in Iraq should be based on conditions on the ground, not ones political fortunes in the United States, if one is serious about building a stable Iraq that is not a threat to its neighbors.
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:35 AM   #17
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It appears Democratic candidates want to pick up the votes of those who would like to see the immediate abandonment of Iraq as well as those who are more cautious about such an approach.
You mean the 89% of your country which doesn't want the surge? Sure seems like a dumbass idea to actually listen to such a small majority. I mean, is that even a mandate?
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:48 AM   #18
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You mean the 89% of your country which doesn't want the surge? Sure seems like a dumbass idea to actually listen to such a small majority. I mean, is that even a mandate?
As I have just explained before, the "surge" has already happened multiple times in the past without any complaints. The surge does not actually send any NEW troops to Iraq. All it does is delay the rotation of a few brigades back home while speed up the deployment of brigades already assigned to replace them. Its already happened several times without any sort of outcry. But people on both sides of the political spectrum are trying to make hay out of it and describe it as some major new policy shift.

Shouldn't the intelligent course of action be to develop a policy that insures US security interest in the region and is based on conditions on the ground in Iraq as opposed to ones personal political fortunes in the next election? Do you want candidates that are only interested in doing what would best suit them politically currently as opposed to what is the best course of action for the country?

How does a premature withdrawal from Iraq strengthen US Security interest in the region and create a stable country that does not threaten its neighbors like Kuwait?
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Old 01-04-2007, 06:51 AM   #19
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Actually, the "McCain Doctrine" sounds an awful lot like Nixon's approach to Vietnam. We can see how that turned out.
The problem in Vietnam (well at least one of the problems) was that the U.S. was unable to fight a full-on, "conventional" war there. No one had the political will to do such a thing, there certainly wasn't any support from the American public, and it's debatable whether such an approach was even possible in Vietnam.

The situation is similar in Iraq.

My understanding is that even if Nixon increased troop strength, he also was responsible for getting U.S. troops out of Vietnam as well. Unfortunately, Iraq will suffer far more than Vietnam did when the U.S. exits stage left.

Here's the thing though. Isn't it true that one of Bush's many mistakes was in failing to send enough troops in the first place, and then failing to increase our troop strength during the early part of the war? I understand that the war grows in unpopularity, the idea of sending more of our soldiers over there is less and less appealing, but does that make any less of an improvement?
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Old 01-04-2007, 06:52 AM   #20
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Smart move by Edwards. McCain can't win with the "McCain doctrine". It's way too unpopular.
True.
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Old 01-04-2007, 06:56 AM   #21
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I actually think I agree with Sting2 here.

I always thought and still believe that it was a mistake to invade Iraq. A colossal mistake. I was against the war from the very beginning, and I've always thought the Bush admin. totally bungled the handling of this whole thing.

However. . .now that we've gone in there and fucked everything up I think we have a responsbility to stick around, and yes even increase our presence, rather than just abandon the Iraqis to their fate. We created this mess. I feel like we have to clean it up.

Can anyone really argue that Iraq will be better off if we pull out now? And if you can't make that argument, how can you in good conscience say we should just leave?
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:37 AM   #22
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Can anyone really argue that Iraq will be better off if we pull out now? And if you can't make that argument, how can you in good conscience say we should just leave?
The other question worth posing is whether our continued presence will make Iraq a better place.

The truth is, I don't know. I certainly understand what is at stake, but as I run all the scenarios in my head, I don't particularly see one that doesn't end in an Iraqi civil war. Post-Saddam Iraq is, at the end of the day, not all that much different than post-Tito Yugoslavia in that you had all these separate cultures forced to live together under one totalitarian roof for decades. Whether we continue to stay there for six months or six decades, are we ultimately doing little more than prolonging the inevitable?

I understand the idealism that neo-cons have when they look at the world. They look at WWII, where the U.S. is triumphant and is able to not only transform three enemies into three powerful allies with strong economies, but also where the U.S. takes a strong, dominant role in all affairs, such as with the Marshall Plan. This becomes all the more evident when you realize how many prominent figures in neo-conservatism are former "Truman Democrats." In fact, it's been mentioned that the ultimate father of neo-conservatism comes from one man: former U.S. Senator Henry M. Jackson (D-WA), and both Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle were once part of his staff.

But while I ultimately can appreciate such idealism, it has to be tempered with reality. Iraq is not Germany, Italy, or Japan, with the main difference being that all three countries were organically-formed nation-states. Iraq, however, is an artificially created tribal super-state, ultimately. There is no loyalty to "Iraq," as much as there are loyalties to one's Shi'ite, Sunni, or Kurdish identity. The success of Iraq ultimately is tied to whether those three can be integrated, but we're dealing with grudges that run well over 1,000 years long, at least in terms of the animosity between Sunnis and Shi'ites, and Kurdish nationalism runs too strong to give up their ultimate goal of an independent Kurdish state.

Bush once stated that the "war on terrorism" is a "different kind of war." So why are we continuing to act as if this is still the Cold War? Until we can realize all of this, I don't see why our continued presence in Iraq will continue to be anything less than a colossal failure and a waste of human lives.
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Old 01-04-2007, 10:29 AM   #23
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Great post Ormus. I couldn't agree more.
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:38 PM   #24
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The other question worth posing is whether our continued presence will make Iraq a better place.

The truth is, I don't know. I certainly understand what is at stake, but as I run all the scenarios in my head, I don't particularly see one that doesn't end in an Iraqi civil war. Post-Saddam Iraq is, at the end of the day, not all that much different than post-Tito Yugoslavia in that you had all these separate cultures forced to live together under one totalitarian roof for decades. Whether we continue to stay there for six months or six decades, are we ultimately doing little more than prolonging the inevitable?

I understand the idealism that neo-cons have when they look at the world. They look at WWII, where the U.S. is triumphant and is able to not only transform three enemies into three powerful allies with strong economies, but also where the U.S. takes a strong, dominant role in all affairs, such as with the Marshall Plan. This becomes all the more evident when you realize how many prominent figures in neo-conservatism are former "Truman Democrats." In fact, it's been mentioned that the ultimate father of neo-conservatism comes from one man: former U.S. Senator Henry M. Jackson (D-WA), and both Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle were once part of his staff.

But while I ultimately can appreciate such idealism, it has to be tempered with reality. Iraq is not Germany, Italy, or Japan, with the main difference being that all three countries were organically-formed nation-states. Iraq, however, is an artificially created tribal super-state, ultimately. There is no loyalty to "Iraq," as much as there are loyalties to one's Shi'ite, Sunni, or Kurdish identity. The success of Iraq ultimately is tied to whether those three can be integrated, but we're dealing with grudges that run well over 1,000 years long, at least in terms of the animosity between Sunnis and Shi'ites, and Kurdish nationalism runs too strong to give up their ultimate goal of an independent Kurdish state.

Bush once stated that the "war on terrorism" is a "different kind of war." So why are we continuing to act as if this is still the Cold War? Until we can realize all of this, I don't see why our continued presence in Iraq will continue to be anything less than a colossal failure and a waste of human lives.
Well, has the US presence in Iraq beyond May 1, 2003 made Iraq a better place? Would the following things have happened without the US presence in Iraq the past 4 years?

1. two successful democratic elections in which the majority of the population participated.
2. the passing of a constitution
3. Iraq's first elected government coming into office.
4. Over 300,000 military and police forces in training.
5. compromises between the various ethnic groups of Iraq including Sunni acceptence of Maliki as the new leader of the government when Jafferi was seen as unacceptable.
6. Iraqi military units that have performed very well in combat in various operations in Anbar province with little or no support from the US military.
7. The continued professionalism of the Iraqi military and non-sectarianism compared with police forces which have sometimes been caught in engaging in sectarian violence. The problems in the police forces are not seen anywhere near to that degree in the military.
8. Substantial GDP growth across the country.
9. Relative calm and peace in 13 of the 18 provinces of Iraq.
10. Polls in those provinces showing that "security" is not a top concern for the people that live there.
11. The distribution of humanitarian aid, electricity, and other services to many parts of Iraq that had often been denied such items for decades.
12. The standard of living of the average Iraqi in Shia and Kurdish area's of Iraq has improved since the removal of Saddam. Iraq, despite all the violence, still has a standard of living much higher than countries without any such violence, which is unusual historically.


The real problems of Yugoslavia erupted in Bosnia. Over a four year time period, 10% of the population was wiped out in the fighting between the three Ethnic groups, yet, US intervention stopped the fighting and Bosnia today has a higher standard of living than countries like China, Russia and Brazil. The point here is that civil war and endless conflict are NOT inevitable no matter what the history is. Iraq unlike Bosnia has been a country for nearly a century. Shia Arabs suffered most of the casualties in Iraq's war with Iran in the 1980s. The sectarian violence in Iraq is primarily isolated to an area within 30 miles of Baghdad, despite the fact that the ethnic groups are mixed all the way from Mosul in the North, all along the border with Saudi Arabia to Kuwait in the south. Less than half of the country is composed of area's where there is a clear majority of one ethnic group. The 1980s Iran-Iraq war shows that there is indeed a loyalty to the country as a whole by much of the population.

If Iraq was the failure that so many call it, the above accomplishments would never of happened. Progress continues every day in Iraq amid the violence. But completing this process is something that is going to take years.

Abandoning the process now potentially sets the stage for another war years later. It also would likely create a failed state in which Al Quada freely operate from, much like they did a few years after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan. The planet will continue to depend on oil from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for years to come, and their security as well as global security will be heavily impacted if hostile forces are allowed to take power in Iraq again. A premature withdrawal of coalition troops on the ground could lead to levels of violence in Iraq on the level of the Bosnian civil war, which in a country the size of Iraq would mean millions of deaths.

While the violence in Afghanistan is less than Iraq, it still has many of the same fundemental problems as Iraq, yet I don't hear anyone calling for withdrawal from Afghanistan.
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