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Old 12-15-2007, 05:30 AM   #181
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[q]Experts Doubt Drop In Violence in Iraq
Military Statistics Called Into Question

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 6, 2007; Page A16

The U.S. military's claim that violence has decreased sharply in Iraq in recent months has come under scrutiny from many experts within and outside the government, who contend that some of the underlying statistics are questionable and selectively ignore negative trends.

Reductions in violence form the centerpiece of the Bush administration's claim that its war strategy is working. In congressional testimony Monday, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, is expected to cite a 75 percent decrease in sectarian attacks. According to senior U.S. military officials in Baghdad, overall attacks in Iraq were down to 960 a week in August, compared with 1,700 a week in June, and civilian casualties had fallen 17 percent between December 2006 and last month. Unofficial Iraqi figures show a similar decrease.

Quarterly Defense Department reports released in March and June provided significantly different counts of sectarian killings in the second half of 2006. The discrepancy is one example of how shifting statistics paint pictures of progress in Iraq.

Others who have looked at the full range of U.S. government statistics on violence, however, accuse the military of cherry-picking positive indicators and caution that the numbers -- most of which are classified -- are often confusing and contradictory. "Let's just say that there are several different sources within the administration on violence, and those sources do not agree," Comptroller General David Walker told Congress on Tuesday in releasing a new Government Accountability Office report on Iraq.

Senior U.S. officers in Baghdad disputed the accuracy and conclusions of the largely negative GAO report, which they said had adopted a flawed counting methodology used by the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Many of those conclusions were also reflected in last month's pessimistic National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq.

The intelligence community has its own problems with military calculations. Intelligence analysts computing aggregate levels of violence against civilians for the NIE puzzled over how the military designated attacks as combat, sectarian or criminal, according to one senior intelligence official in Washington. "If a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian," the official said. "If it went through the front, it's criminal."

"Depending on which numbers you pick," he said, "you get a different outcome." Analysts found "trend lines . . . going in different directions" compared with previous years, when numbers in different categories varied widely but trended in the same direction. "It began to look like spaghetti."

Among the most worrisome trends cited by the NIE was escalating warfare between rival Shiite militias in southern Iraq that has consumed the port city of Basra and resulted last month in the assassination of two southern provincial governors. According to a spokesman for the Baghdad headquarters of the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I), those attacks are not included in the military's statistics. "Given a lack of capability to accurately track Shiite-on-Shiite and Sunni-on-Sunni violence, except in certain instances," the spokesman said, "we do not track this data to any significant degree."

Attacks by U.S.-allied Sunni tribesmen -- recruited to battle Iraqis allied with al-Qaeda -- are also excluded from the U.S. military's calculation of violence levels.[/q]
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Old 12-15-2007, 05:34 AM   #182
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Quote:
Originally posted by Strongbow

The fact that the leading Democratic candidates recently would NOT promise to have all US troops out of Iraq by 2013 shows that they might be gradually coming around to Bush's and McCains idea's for future US policy on Iraq.


this is amazing. just amazing. look at how falsely you've characterized it. "coming around"? i mean that's just ... wow.

yes, they're gradually seeing the light. it's not like they know the next president, R or D, has been dealt a shit hand and is going to have to deal with the mess made in Iraq since Bush has ensured that it is going to be the next administration's problem while he's on some sort of speaking tour and picking out carpets for his presidential library.

yes, they've seen the light. Bush and McCain were right the whole time. smack. bam. wow. hit 'em right in the head. NOW they get it.

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Old 12-15-2007, 12:42 PM   #183
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Quote:
Originally posted by Strongbow
A different time, and far different circumstances
And yet, we armed him and supported him.

Which of our allies who are getting arms and support from us now will you gladly send my nieces and nephews to fight against in the future? Who among our allies now will you be willing to kill my nieces and nephews for in twenty years, while you sit at your computer and look up "facts" to support another invasion based on lies?
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Old 12-15-2007, 01:00 PM   #184
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One thing that amazes me is how people will completely ignore the realities of the cold war and its impact on our foreign policy.

Saddam played EVERYONE!

I love how some refer to him as our buddy, when it is obvious that he played both sides of the cold war to his own advantage.

I love how some decide to forget that he we had very little strategic influence in the region once Iran fell to extremists, and hostages were taken.

Don't bother thinking about the historical context that led to him allegedly becoming our buddy without stats.

Saddam's military might was almost completely SOVIET technology.

When Iraq was a war with Iran, who should we have supported? Iran? SHould we have let Iran take Iraq?

It is a dirty world....Nobody in this forum, despite NUMEROUS ERRONEOUS claims that the US was the reason Saddam was in power, has EVER been able to demostrate any credible evidence.

Saddam played both sides. The US and Soviet Union tried to take advantage of it. As did EUROPE ect....

It continues to amaze me that after so many years of participating in this forum, posts continue to be made without any factual evidence to back a position.

The Facts ARE as we currently stand indicating that the President may actually be successfully securing Iraq. This makes so many of the posters in this forum, who react with emotional posts verses factual posts CRINGE.

I am sitting here today thinking, I may be wrong about the war. They may actually pull the rabbit out of their ass and make it work.

Then again, this could be the calm before the storm.

Facts about current day Iraq indicate that progress is picking up steam.

http://www.cfr.org/publication/15019/
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Old 12-15-2007, 01:14 PM   #185
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha


And yet, we armed him and supported him.

Which of our allies who are getting arms and support from us now will you gladly send my nieces and nephews to fight against in the future? Who among our allies now will you be willing to kill my nieces and nephews for in twenty years, while you sit at your computer and look up "facts" to support another invasion based on lies?
Speaking of lies, I mean errors.......

Between 1973 and 1990 Arms imports to the country of Iraq break down as such:

Soviet Union 68.9%
Warsaw Pact
France 12.7%
China (PRC) 11.8%
United States 0.5%
Egypt 1.3%
Others 4.8%

So in 17 years we armed him how? Help me understand how your post is based in FACT?

More facts - The .5% was helicopters that were NOT EQUIPTED for military purposes.

More Facts - Iraq was responsible for 10% of the worlds arms purchases 1970 - 1990

More facts - The USA's support of Iraq during the Iran Iraq war came in the form of intelligence data on troop movements.

So again, who the hell were we to support when our oil from the region was in jeopardy in 1982? Should we have allowed the country to fall to shite as it did in the 70's during the gas crisis? Or should we have done something to protect our economy?

Kuwaitt had MORE attacks on its shipping industry by IRAN in the 80's than any other oil producing country in the region. Should we have allowed IRAN to continue to do this?

Maybe we should have sent our troops in then? No, so we supported a country with military intellegince to fight our battle for us.

The facts are that the USA did not approach any type of normalized relations with Iraq until the Iran - Iraq War. At the time Kuwait Oil Tankers - Important to the USA for obvious reasons- were being attacked by Iran and Iraq started losing the war.
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Old 12-15-2007, 01:44 PM   #186
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And the fact is, things are improving -

[Q]Iraq: Can We Guard What We've Gained?

By Stephen Biddle
Sunday, December 9, 2007; Page B07

Last month I returned from my second trip to Iraq this year. Like many observers, I was struck by the changes since the spring. Baghdad neighborhoods that were no-go zones in March are coming back to life. Parts of Diyala province that were too dangerous to visit then are now secure. Patrols in Fallujah that would have been ambushed a year ago are met by kids mugging for photos from Marines who carry lollipops along with their rifles. Iraq is still a war zone, but the trends are turning positive.

What does this mean? Is it an illusion born of an unsustainable spike in U.S. troop levels? Is it a window of opportunity that Iraqi dithering will soon waste? Or is it a fundamental change that can allow us to start bringing our troops home?


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The reduction in violence may prove to be fundamental -- a new phase in the war with a better chance for stability than we have seen in many years. But it may not offer much chance for deep or rapid U.S. troop drawdowns. If we are not prepared to stay in large numbers for a long time, the gains of recent months could easily be reversed.

The Iraq conflict is a communal civil war. Classically, ending a civil war has two chief requirements: First, a cease-fire must be negotiated. This cease-fire must then be enforced by outside peacekeepers. The whole reason for civil warfare is that the locals do not trust each other.

Since last winter, a combination of good fortune, enemy mistakes and a new U.S. strategy with more troops and a mission of direct population security has created a largely unanticipated situation. Across much of Iraq, former combatants have chosen to stand down. Many of these fighters have switched sides, agreeing not only to stop firing on U.S. or Iraqi government troops but also to turn their arms against common enemies such as al-Qaeda in Iraq and, increasingly, rogue elements of Shiite militias such as Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. These voluntary cease-fires have led to many locals joining "Concerned Local Citizens" organizations (CLCs) with U.S.-paid salaries, uniforms and recognition as local security providers; in exchange, they provide biometric data to facilitate vetting and enforcement of the terms of their agreements. There are now more than 60,000 CLC members, up from essentially none last winter.

Important hurdles remain in extending this system of cease-fires to the holdouts, especially in the northern and southern provinces. But it is increasingly plausible that we might achieve something like a nationwide cease-fire via local negotiated settlements.

Civil war cease-fires, however, are rarely self-enforcing. Much has been made of the danger that CLC deals could collapse: Many are the same fighters who had been killing U.S. and Iraqi troops; they retain their arms and sometimes even their leaders; some hope to seize power later if they can. It is true that we have not destroyed the enemy or driven him out of Iraq.

An outside peacekeeping role is thus critical to success, by punishing violators and building confidence that others can safely stand down. The troop counts normally sought for peacekeeping are not much lower than those for counterinsurgency war fighting, at least in the early years, and a meaningful outside presence can be needed for a generation. Many hope that the Iraqi cease-fires can be enforced via positive inducements such as government salaries for CLCs. But the record of such deals elsewhere suggests that more may be needed -- for years to come.

For now, the only plausible candidate for this peacekeeping role is the United States. No one else can be expected to step in until and unless the war is clearly over. Yet pressure for a deep drawdown in U.S. forces is growing. War opponents would cut our losses; many war supporters hope the declining violence translates into safe U.S. troop reductions. Some reduction is unavoidable: We cannot maintain today's operating tempo without breaking the military. But if we are to maintain the gains of the past year, we must retain enough troops to enforce a system of local cease-fires as peacekeepers.

A U.S. commitment to police an Iraqi cease-fire is no guarantee of success. A cease-fire might collapse even if we did keep a large peacekeeping force, and the peacekeepers might ultimately be rejected as foreign occupiers. One could defend a choice to withdraw altogether given these uncertainties.

Sticking it out to stabilize Iraq and avert the potential consequences of failure, however, is more defensible now than it has been for a long time -- but only if we are willing to do what it takes to maximize the odds that Iraq does not return to bloodshed and chaos. A withdrawal that is too fast or too deep could create a self-defeating prophecy. The past year's decline in violence may yet signal a new phase in which the American presence shifts from war fighting to peacekeeping. But if we take it chiefly as an opportunity to come home, we could easily lose what has been gained.

[/Q]

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...120701981.html

the question is - will it last?
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Old 12-15-2007, 03:35 PM   #187
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Dread, you play both sides of the fence at all times on all issues, which makes your posts nearly pointless.

Saddam was our ally when he could serve a purpose. The Taliban was our ally when they could serve a purpose. Our country makes short-sighted alliances, and then shifts loyalties. You could say that's just the way things are, and I would agree with you. The point is, it's pointless to get too attached to either friend or enemy nowadays. Eventually our friends will be our foes, and vice versa. To defend wars and invasion based on past alliances is a loser's game. Our president and Congress haven't learned this yet. I don't think they ever will.
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Old 12-15-2007, 04:17 PM   #188
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Originally posted by martha
Dread, you play both sides of the fence at all times on all issues, which makes your posts nearly pointless.
Haha!!!!

Oohhh that hurt!

When confronted with FACTS Martha, you always seem to resort to personal attacks and bullying when you cannot factually prove your talking points.

I will continue to call BULLSHIT when I see it on either side if you feel that makes me a fence sitter so be it.

There is enough of it thrown by the right and the left to go around.
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Old 12-15-2007, 04:25 PM   #189
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Originally posted by Dreadsox

When confronted with FACTS Martha, you always seem to resort to personal attacks and bullying when you cannot factually prove your talking points.
You didn't disprove anything I said. I said Saddam was an ally, you quoted facts that showed we did indeed arm him.
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Old 12-15-2007, 07:22 PM   #190
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox

The Facts ARE as we currently stand indicating that the President may actually be successfully securing Iraq. This makes so many of the posters in this forum, who react with emotional posts verses factual posts CRINGE.

I am sitting here today thinking, I may be wrong about the war. They may actually pull the rabbit out of their ass and make it work.

Then again, this could be the calm before the storm.

Facts about current day Iraq indicate that progress is picking up steam.

http://www.cfr.org/publication/15019/


where's the political process? where's the central Iraqi government capable of governing the country? and does anything that happens in the future of Iraq justify the 4,000+ dead americans, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, loss of focus in Afghanistan, the creation of AQI, the entire generation of terrorist recruits we've created, enormous blow to america's esteem in the world, damage to our reputation and credibility, etc., especially when the real problems that face the world are going to require more american intervention rather than less.

no matter what happens, it will not have been "worth" it. we should have focused on Afghanistan and AQ, continued to contain Iran and Iraq in the way that we have NoKo, and invested billions into alternative energy in order to wean ourselves off of foreign oil, which is the actual lifeblood of terrorism (it supports governments that breed radicalism amongst their populations).

also, the "surge" is unsustainable after March of 2008. all Bush has done is run out the clock.

don't believe the hype.
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Old 12-15-2007, 08:21 PM   #191
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
Saddam was our ally when he could serve a purpose. The Taliban was our ally when they could serve a purpose. Our country makes short-sighted alliances, and then shifts loyalties. You could say that's just the way things are, and I would agree with you. The point is, it's pointless to get too attached to either friend or enemy nowadays. Eventually our friends will be our foes, and vice versa. To defend wars and invasion based on past alliances is a loser's game. Our president and Congress haven't learned this yet. I don't think they ever will.
Exactly. The fact is, we did support Saddam. Regardless of our reasons why, we did. And then we suddenly turn around and get on some moral high horse about his treatment of his people and now he needs to leave-well, gee, isn't it nice we're just now realizing this? Same goes with the Taliban. They were mistreating their people when we were friends with them, why didn't we care then and stop our alliances with them? It just looks a little suspicious and hypocritical.

Quote:
Originally posted by Strongbow
If there is going to be a Democrat in the White House in January 2009, hopefully it will be Clinton as there is likely to be more continuity between the Bush administration and a Hillary Clinton administration on Iraq policy specifically as well as other foreign policy issues, than with any of the other Democratic candidates.
And that's what bothers me. I do NOT want a continuation of Bush administration-era policy in regards to Iraq and other issues related to that. I want a change. I want somebody else to try a different method, a diplomatic one.

I guess what also worries me is how long is it going to be until we look more and more like an occupying force instead of a liberating one (assuming we don't already look like occupiers, which I personally think we do)? We got rid of Saddam. Great. Now let's leave and let them try and set up their country their own way. They're smart people, I think they're perfectly capable of hashing things out themselves.

Quote:
Originally posted by Strongbow
If Americans really felt they had been misled, they would never have re-elected George Bush nearly 2 years after the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Bush was re-elected in 2004 mainly because of BS "morality issues". The war did play a part, yes, but there were a lot of other factors, too. And besides that, they may have supported him on the war THEN, but a lot of people don't support it now. A lot of people are now realizing they were misled, a lot of people are now thinking this war isn't worth extending anymore, a lot of people are asking for the troops to come home, etc. Bush's popularity is at a serious low now. This administration has lost any sort of credibility it may have ever had. It's time for a change.

Angela
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Old 12-15-2007, 08:47 PM   #192
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It is the reality of the world we live in. It is not hypocritical. Its the cards that were dealt at the time.

To say the USA is responsible for Saddam's rise to power, and military ability is NOT ACCURATE.

In the real world, unfortunatley, there were few choices.

Irvine, I am sorry, but the reality is, there have been gains made. I am not certain they can be maintained. That remains to be seen.
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Old 12-15-2007, 09:33 PM   #193
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
It is the reality of the world we live in. It is not hypocritical. Its the cards that were dealt at the time.
Again, we supported him, and while he was mistreating his people, no less. Now all of a sudden he's wrong, he's evil, and he has to go away. There is something really strange about that logic to me, and I still say it's hypocritical. You're free to disagree with me on that, but that's how I see it.

Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
To say the USA is responsible for Saddam's rise to power, and military ability is NOT ACCURATE.
I don't think we were solely responsible for his rise to power, no. I think he could've easily achieved a lot of what he did without us. But our support certainly didn't hurt the guy's chances.

Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
In the real world, unfortunatley, there were few choices.
Eh, I disagree again, but then again, I know that my suggestions of non-violent, diplomatic means of dealing with people are always going to be seen as too idealistic. I still say it wouldn't hurt us to try them, though...god knows waging wars hasn't solved any of the world's problems over the centuries.

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Old 12-15-2007, 09:48 PM   #194
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What was the choice? Ignore the fact that Iran took hostages and was attacking the boats the supplied us oil? I remember the gas lines in the 70's. I remember the high interest rates.

Send in our own troops to fight Iran? We have avoided that for thirty years and now they are possibly going to have nukes within my children's lifetime.

Economically, the right choice was made. Support the lesser of two evils.

Thinkint that the situation with Iran could be dealt with peacefully has proven foolhardy.

My big criticism of this administration is that Iran had more to do with Al-Qaeda than Iraq. The evidence was there, and we chose to ignore it. I do not know why. I do not understand.
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:47 PM   #195
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox

Irvine, I am sorry, but the reality is, there have been gains made. I am not certain they can be maintained. That remains to be seen.


there's nothing to be sorry about, it's true that the violence has dropped the past few months, even though 2007 remains the deadliest year of the conflict. the reality is also that "the surge" is unsustainable after March of 2008, and that a drop in violence should be the impetus for actual political progress, and there has been none. everyone said that the reason why there was no political progress was because of the lack of security on the ground. that a government was impossible without security. i said this too. but it seems that it's even worse than we thought. there is security -- relative to the civil war that's been going on since february of 2006 -- but there isn't any political progress.
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