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> US counterinsurgency expert expresses despair, We can only react in Iraq he admits
Dingo
post May 12 2006, 09:34 PM
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Ahmed Hashim says the only policy option available that is under our control is to leave.
US policy in Iraq has become one of simply reacting to events there
QUOTE
NEW YORK — Iraq is embroiled in a “low-level civil war” that is forcing the United States to react to events on the ground rather than shape them, according to a former U.S. military adviser who spent two years there studying the insurgency.

“Once you start reacting to events, you cannot impose a solution,” said Ahmed Hashim, a professor at the Naval War College who worked with U.S. troops in Iraq from November 2003 to September 2005 in an effort to understand the emotions and loyalties driving Iraq’s insurgents. “You go along with the flow.”
----------------------------
“To stay in Iraq and to affect the situation in Iraq will require a kind of understanding at a level far deeper than we have,” he said.

Hashim said he was struck by the shift in the attitudes of ordinary Iraqi civilians over the course of his time there. In 2003, most Iraqis he spoke to did not consider civil war a possibility, he said; two years later, all that had changed.


And just as an example of how helpless we are over there one need only look at what has happened with the principle resource Iraq has - oil.
Insurgents, smugglers and corrupt officials syphon off oil.

My question is:

Does anybody see any policy available to this country that can have a positive outcome in Iraq other than just leaving.

If your answer to the above is yes could you describe those policies.

If your answer to the above is no could you explain why you think our only option is leaving.

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Ted
post May 15 2006, 09:55 PM
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QUOTE
Does anybody see any policy available to this country that can have a positive outcome in Iraq other than just leaving.


Yes. Finish the job of training the Iraqi military to take over their own security. Certainly this is ongoing and only minimally affected by the “insurgents”. In fact the latest reports I heard included negotiations with some of the insurgent groups. The point will come when the insurgency will fall apart as the Iraqi army takes over security with US backup. Once it become very clear that they cannot win most insurgent groups will come to the table. The foreigners (Al Qaeda) will need to be driven out or killed. New technologies to detect and defeat the IED problem are being rushed to Iraq and this will take away the main weapon of the insurgents.


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Dingo
post May 16 2006, 02:39 AM
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QUOTE(Ted @ May 15 2006, 02:55 PM)
QUOTE
Does anybody see any policy available to this country that can have a positive outcome in Iraq other than just leaving.


Yes. Finish the job of training the Iraqi military to take over their own security. Certainly this is ongoing and only minimally affected by the “insurgents”. In fact the latest reports I heard included negotiations with some of the insurgent groups. The point will come when the insurgency will fall apart as the Iraqi army takes over security with US backup. Once it become very clear that they cannot win most insurgent groups will come to the table. The foreigners (Al Qaeda) will need to be driven out or killed. New technologies to detect and defeat the IED problem are being rushed to Iraq and this will take away the main weapon of the insurgents.

The problem is the Iraqi military
1. Has been heavily infiltrated by insurgents and insurgent sympathizers.
2. Those who are anti-insurgency tend to identify more with their local ethnic groups than any concept of the nation as a whole.
3. Corruption is generally rampant and the will to fight appears quite low.

Bush has a nice phrase about "as the Iraqi's stand up we will stand down" but like Vietnam it doesn't appear to be working.
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Vermillion
post May 16 2006, 09:43 AM
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QUOTE(Ted @ May 15 2006, 09:55 PM)
Yes.  Finish the job of training the Iraqi military to take over their own security.  The point will come when the insurgency will fall apart as the Iraqi army takes over security with US backup. 


And how's that going? After several years of work, the government not only cannot control the streets, but are in fact making very little effort to try. Those parts of the country which are peaceful (which, in case you haven't noticed, are getting fewer) are generally so because control has been handed over to local militias, of ten islamicist militias, with little or no control by the central Iraqi government, which STILL has not even managed for form a government.

In the last 2 days alone 7 US soldiers, 2 British soldiers and about 50-60 Iraqis were killed, some by roving death squads that now operate openly during the day in some areas.

I mean, in theory of course you are right Ted. The nation will become peaceful (hopefully) when the government is able to make it peaceful. You are right in theory in the same way one would be right in theory to state that everyone will be able to visit the moon once we build a giant pressurised ladder.

However, regardless of the theory, its not happening in practice. So what now?

QUOTE
New technologies to detect and defeat the IED problem are being rushed to Iraq and this will take away the main weapon of the insurgents.


Riiight... what new technologies exactly make one immune to a large expolsion, or a claymore mine? How exactly does one detect them on streets crowded with debris and rubble?

Besides, even if that bit of hopeful thinking had any validity, the conclusions you sraw are incorrect. Of the seven US and two British troops who died this weekend, they were killed by mortar fire, a helicopter being shot down with a SAM, and gunfire. Besides, its the people we are losing that is even more of a problem. How is it possible tht in May 2006 the vast majority of Bagdad still has less access to fresh water and electricity than it did before the invasion?

Actually, we know why. In the papers last week, investigations over the US company (Parsons Inc.) contracted to buld 142 health care clinics in Iraq, after 2 years and all its alloted money, has constructed 18, and most of them are incomplete. They say they cannot be held responsible for this failure, as the US government promised them a certain degree of peace and ecurity in which to work, which has not happened. The same is happenining for a LOT of the rebuilding contracts: money gone, time run out, nothing accomplished.

The situation is. not. getting. better. During Vietnam, the same blind can-do attitude kept the US in place for several years, and cost thousands more lives even when the situation on the ground was lost to anyone with eyes and ears. Now The Irqi situation is NOT lost, its not that bad yet... but it is losing. And simply repeating the same three-year old platitudes while burying one's head in the sand is hardly productive.
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moif
post May 16 2006, 10:33 AM
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Does anybody see any policy available to this country that can have a positive outcome in Iraq other than just leaving.

Several, but none which would win votes in the USA.

What we have here is the classic case of a democracy unable to fight war because of its own self imposed restrictions.

The real problem here, and the only valid argument against GW Bush's war in any realpolitkal sense is that by invading Iraq without domestic support, and having clung to the forlorn hope that such support would materialise, the USA has made itself look weak.

Even worse is the fact that a pull out will be perceived by the Islamic/Jihadist world as yet another capitulation by the strongest military force in the west. For that reason alone the USA should not only stay in Iraq, it should up the stakes and start its own 'death squads' to impose American will upon the rebellion. Any one found with a weapon should be executed on the spot. Any one found with connections with the rebellion should be executed after interogation. Any nation found supplying the rebellion with weapons and ammunition should suffer the consequences with economic sanctions and military attack.

Iran has supplied Iraqi rebels with SAM7's so the USAF should obliterate an Iranian military target in return. Preferably an entire air base or a barracks.

That is how you fight war and win. If you are not prepared, as a people or a leader, to do what must be done in order to win, then you should not engage in warfare.

Once a war has been initiated however, there should be no question of doubt. If there is doubt, hesitation, or anti war demonstrations, then you have already lost.

This is the biggest problem with the USA (and every other democracy) and the clandestine armies of Islam know this and are banking on it to acheive their goals.
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Vermillion
post May 16 2006, 04:29 PM
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QUOTE(moif @ May 16 2006, 10:33 AM)
For that reason alone the USA should not only stay in Iraq, it should up the stakes and start its own 'death squads' to impose American will upon the rebellion. Any one found with a weapon should be executed on the spot. Any one found with connections with the rebellion should be executed after interogation. Any nation found supplying the rebellion with weapons and ammunition should suffer the consequences with economic sanctions and military attack.


I understand that your suggestion was the essence of realpolitik and obviously not practical, but the reality is, not only is such extremism not practical, its also completely ineffective. When in history has upping the stakes of relatliation quelled a populist insurgency? I every case it is tried, it does not deter the fanatics, and with every person you kill you create another family of fanatics.

The Nazis tried this in their occupied lands, and all it did was polarise the population and draw more support to the resistance. The lesson resisters learned is not that they had to stop, but that they had to up their own level of brutality to match the opressors.

QUOTE
Iran has supplied Iraqi rebels with SAM7's so the USAF should obliterate an Iranian military target in return. Preferably an entire air base or a barracks.


Ah, careful. The head of the US forces in Iraq is on tape telling the press he has no evidence at all to support the claim that Iran has supplied weapons to the Sunnis. SOME of the mines are similar to claymore mines, and are Iranian manufacture, but they are also widely exported in the Middle East, and exist in the arsenals of most countries. One cannot accuse the US of supporting the insurgency just because many of them carry US-made M-16 assault rifles...

I'm not saying Iran didn't supply weapons, just that there is no evidence at all that they did.

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moif
post May 16 2006, 06:23 PM
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QUOTE(Vermillion)
I understand that your suggestion was the essence of realpolitik and obviously not practical, but the reality is, not only is such extremism not practical, its also completely ineffective. When in history has upping the stakes of relatliation quelled a populist insurgency? I every case it is tried, it does not deter the fanatics, and with every person you kill you create another family of fanatics.
Imperial Rome was founded on such military extremism. When faced with rebellion the Romans would decimate the local population by executing every tenth person. If this didn't work they would simply remove or even kill all the people involved. The Ottoman Turks would enslave them. Stalin just shipped them to Siberia. In Africa they even go so far as to eat them.
How do you think Saddam Hussein stayed in power? Sure it works. It just depends on how far you are willing to go.

This sounds harsh by our modern perceptions, but it worked for the Romans. The city of Rome lasted 1,230 years before it was finally engulfed by the barbarians and if you look at what actually happened to the Romans, it was their affluence and 'tolerance' that destroyed them.

The risk we run today is in following the Romans by allowing our own tolerance to so hinder our ability to wage war that we are unable to defend ourselves.

Don't get me wrong though. I'm not advocating this course of action. I'm merely pointing out that this is the nature of war and if you intend to use war as a political tool and expect to be successfull, then you must be prepared to do as the Romans did and kill the enemy. Not just the soldiers but every single man, woman and child and who serves to act as a threat to your authority.

Naturally this is not what the USA is attempting in Iraq today, but, I fear, it is exactly the sort of mentality the enemy has and as such, the tread-softly approach adopted by the coalition forces is, and always was, doomed to failure. All we are really doing now is putting off the inevitable, and the Iraqi's know it.

QUOTE(Ayatollah Ahmad Husseini Al-Baghdadi )
But as for defensive Jihad - it is not conditional upon turning to a Sunni or Shiite jurisprudent, to a source of authority, any Islamic school of thought, or Islamic party, because this type of Jihad is an individual duty. Everyone must fight - children, women, the elderly, the youth in order to liberate man, to liberate mankind, in order to liberate Palestine in its entirety, in order to liberate Iraq from the American-Zionist-British presence.

Wielding the guns of battle is the only way to liberate this nation. By Allah, if not for the resolute stand and the resistance of our people in Iraq, the entire region would have fallen, and would have turned into warring and feuding cantons and mini-states, ravaged by wars between different ethnic groups and religious schools of thought. But the mujahid Iraqi people of the resistance shattered the American plan, not only in the region but throughout the world, because Europe and the Russian federation were humiliated. They are afraid of America. But we stand firm, and we unite, and if we begin to believe in the diverse Arab Islamic Islam, we will annihilate America.
Link.

It doesn't matter whether or not the Ayatollah himself really believes what he is saying. Nor does the truth play any part in his diatribe, what matters is what the faithful believe.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
The Nazis tried this in their occupied lands, and all it did was polarise the population and draw more support to the resistance. The lesson resisters learned is not that they had to stop, but that they had to up their own level of brutality to match the opressors.
The nazi's 'thousand year Reich' lasted what? 12 years?. They were rank amateurs Vermillion, surely as a historian and expert on that period you must understand that.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
Ah, careful. The head of the US forces in Iraq is on tape telling the press he has no evidence at all to support the claim that Iran has supplied weapons to the Sunnis. SOME of the mines are similar to claymore mines, and are Iranian manufacture, but they are also widely exported in the Middle East, and exist in the arsenals of most countries. One cannot accuse the US of supporting the insurgency just because many of them carry US-made M-16 assault rifles...

I'm not saying Iran didn't supply weapons, just that there is no evidence at all that they did.
True.


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Vermillion
post May 16 2006, 06:40 PM
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QUOTE(moif @ May 16 2006, 06:23 PM)
Imperial Rome was founded on such military extremism. When faced with rebellion the Romans would decimate the local population by executing every tenth person.


Actually decimation was a fate reserved exclusively for legions accused of cowardice in the face of the enbemy. However your general point about brutality is truem the Rmans were quite brutal to some populations, and because of it there were widespread rebellions over the entire empire quite frequently. The only way they could stop rebellions for a generation was literally to kill any males of near the age of bearing arms, which while effective for a time, was hardly practical.

In fact the Roman empire survived based on its military innovations, and its kindness. It gave land to veterans, citizenship to foreigners who earned it, it allowed people a way to gain from the benfice of Rome, and that created fanatic loyalists. None of that had ever been done before. Tribes had been massacring each other for millenia, without ever being able to put down resistance except in the case of total genocide. The Iroquois were only able to end their struggle with the Hurons by exterminating them, there ar no Hurons left. But the act of doing so created new enemies among new tribes...

QUOTE
How do you think Saddam Hussein stayed in power? Sure it works. It just depends on how far you are willing to go.


Well yes, but didn't you just say in another thread that you figure the Hussein tyranny was doomed anyways? Besides, don't forget that Hussein used carrot and stick. His Iraq had the highest standard of living, literacy rate and emancipation for women of any in the region.

QUOTE
Naturally this is not what the USA is attempting in Iraq today, but, I fear, it is exactly the sort of mentality the enemy has and as such, the tread-softly approach adopted by the coalition forces is, and always was, doomed to failure. All we are really doing now is putting off the inevitable, and the Iraqi's know it.


Not doomed, but certainly the odds were against it.

On that note, I read a very interesting article in the Herald Tribune today. Apparently one of the Islamicist tribes that the US has turned power over to in a region of north-central Iraq has been keeping the peace quite effectively. Until recently when a bunch of men in government uniform ambushed and killed their tribal chief. As a result, the forces of this tribe just ambushed and killed a convoy of Iraqi police. They have gobe from ignoring the central government to working against it.

The point is, people like Ted tend to presume we are facing 'raghead' fanatics with long Hollywood beards and shooting AK-74s into the sky. This act shows that the enemy is damn clever, adaptive and very tactically aware.

And they are winning.


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moif
post May 16 2006, 08:16 PM
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QUOTE
Actually decimation was a fate reserved exclusively for legions accused of cowardice in the face of the enbemy.
Indeed?

Ah well, the example still, clearly shows the iron will of the Roman legions.


QUOTE
However your general point about brutality is truem the Rmans were quite brutal to some populations, and because of it there were widespread rebellions over the entire empire quite frequently. The only way they could stop rebellions for a generation was literally to kill any males of near the age of bearing arms, which while effective for a time, was hardly practical.
Another alternative was to not have an empire... which is sort of my point.

If the USA were to put aside its affluent life style, get rid of its dependecy on oil and as a result deconstruct its global ambitions then it would not have to face this conflict at all...

But would that make us all safer?

People keep having to point out to the anti war crowd that 9/11 happened before the invasion of Iraq.

What no one wants to face up to though is that Islam was attacking Christianity long before Columbus ever set foot in the New World.

I know, I know. Saddam Hussein was a secular leader... I've heard that so many times its becoming a sort of background chant. Does it matter? Look at history's examples. Islamic history is full of men like Saddam Hussein. Tyrants who abuse the religion just as easily as the clerics of Iran do.

And why? Because islam justifies any actions carried out in its name. Saddam Hussein was secular when it suited his purposes. When being religious suited his purposes, he turned to Islam.


QUOTE
In fact the Roman empire survived based on its military innovations, and its kindness. It gave land to veterans, citizenship to foreigners who earned it, it allowed people a way to gain from the benfice of Rome, and that created fanatic loyalists. None of that had ever been done before.
And yet, this is exactly what the western world is doing now and it is the means by which the enemy is undermining us.

By which, I'm not stating that all individual Muslims pose a deliberate threat to western society. Only that willingly or unwittingly, they are a part of a strategy to erode western democracy and replace it with a Sharia based Islamic world.


QUOTE
Well yes, but didn't you just say in another thread that you figure the Hussein tyranny was doomed anyways? Besides, don't forget that Hussein used carrot and stick. His Iraq had the highest standard of living, literacy rate and emancipation for women of any in the region.
Yes, but Saddam Hussein's fall from grace was initiated by the USA. Not his own people.

The divisions that exist in Iraq were always there but Saddam was able to maintain control over them. What spelled his doom was not the internal divisions of Iraq but rather the aftermath of his invading Kuwait. From that point on, his grip was slipping and he was losing control over the internal pressures of Iraq.

Saddam Hussein had the will, but not the means.

America has the means but not the will.

The Islamic extremists have both.


QUOTE
Not doomed, but certainly the odds were against it.

On that note, I read a very interesting article in the Herald Tribune today. Apparently one of the Islamicist tribes that the US has turned power over to in a region of north-central Iraq has been keeping the peace quite effectively. Until recently when a bunch of men in government uniform ambushed and killed their tribal chief. As a result, the forces of this tribe just ambushed and killed a convoy of Iraqi police. They have gobe from ignoring the central government to working against it.

The point is, people like Ted tend to presume we are facing 'raghead' fanatics with long Hollywood beards and shooting AK-74s into the sky. This act shows that the enemy is damn clever, adaptive and very tactically aware.

And they are winning.
But who are 'they'?

Certainly not the common people of Iraq. If the US pulls out and leaves Iraq to its fate, then the winners will be the islamic extremists like Ayatollah Al-Baghdadi and they won't stop with just Iraq.

These people are turning the whole world into one big battleground.

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Ted
post May 16 2006, 09:57 PM
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QUOTE
Dingo
The problem is the Iraqi military
1. Has been heavily infiltrated by insurgents and insurgent sympathizers.
2. Those who are anti-insurgency tend to identify more with their local ethnic groups than any concept of the nation as a whole.
3. Corruption is generally rampant and the will to fight appears quite low.

Bush has a nice phrase about "as the Iraqi's stand up we will stand down" but like Vietnam it doesn't appear to be working.

No one expected it to be easy and those who did were wrong. The “insurgency” will collapse when 1. A truly representative government takes over and 2. when the Iraqi military reaches the point where they control the cities and borders.

At that point people will see that their best chance to “make it” in Iraq is not with the “insurgents” but with the process. Most Iraqis hate the foreigners and are now “turning them in” when they feel they are able to do that and not be later murdered by them.

IMO the country will emerge into a type of democratic state much to the chagrin of totalitarian neighbors like Iran and Syria.

And Vietnam is not an good analogy. In Vietnam we never ever controlled the North militarily or otherwise. We had half the country fighting the other half. That is not the case in Iraq as much as idiots like Teddy K would like us to believe.

The only way to lose in Iraq is by giving up. To do so would show the world we have no stomach for any conflict that cannot be ended quickly in our favor.


QUOTE
Vermillion
I mean, in theory of course you are right Ted. The nation will become peaceful (hopefully) when the government is able to make it peaceful. You are right in theory in the same way one would be right in theory to state that everyone will be able to visit the moon once we build a giant pressurised ladder.

Come on please. Do you expect perfection and in such a short time? Maybe it’s the fact that you are Canadian. Come to Boston, NY, or Camden NJ where the murder rate is out of control. Look at most industrial countries and count the murders and crimes per day. What you have is the usual press coverage of the negatives above all else. This is not the true picture. If we just did this for one US city like NY daily you could go on for HOURS with the bad news. This is not the entire picture.
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Vermillion
post May 16 2006, 10:36 PM
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QUOTE(Ted @ May 16 2006, 09:57 PM)
No one expected it to be easy and those who did were wrong.  The “insurgency” will collapse when 1. A truly representative government takes over and 2. when the Iraqi military reaches the point where they control the cities and borders. 


Actually, I can hardly think of a single insurgency/ rebel group which gave up as soon as a government started expressing authority, I hardly see why this one should be any different. Anyways, its academic, because you left out a critical word: IF and when, not when. And at the moment, the if looks unlikely.

The government has not even managed to form a government yet, and they are making no effort to control the streets. They have not even started to deal with either the insugents, nor the large sections of Iraq out of their control because the US handed over control to local militias.


QUOTE
Most Iraqis hate the foreigners and are now “turning them in”  when they feel they are able to do that and not be later murdered by them.


Yes thats true, but it has now been admitted by all senior military commanders that the number of 'foreign fighters' was always far fewer than expected. The insurgency is almost all Iraqis. Some fight for political reasons, some for religious reasons, some for personal reasons, but whatever their reasons they are not going away easily.

QUOTE
And Vietnam is not an good analogy.  In Vietnam we never ever controlled the North militarily or otherwise.  We had half the country fighting the other half.  That is not the case in Iraq as much as idiots like Teddy K would like us to believe.


Actually, while not a good analogy for the war, Vietnam is a very good analogy for the occupation. The US does not control the country, they don't even control the green zone. The local insurgents are roving the streets executing at will, and the US and the hapless local government are unable to do anything about it.

The analogy holds because the US poured time, money, equipment and lives into training and equipping the ARVN, and kept repeating the mantra that the US would withdraw when the ARVN took responsability for its own defence. But that NEVER happened, and all the 'can-do' and refusal to accept reality in the world could not change that.

QUOTE
Come on please.  Do you expect perfection and in such a short time?


How about progress? How about signs that things are getting better? In fact the opposite is true.


QUOTE
Maybe it’s the fact that you are Canadian.  Come to Boston, NY, or Camden NJ where the murder rate is out of control.  Look at most industrial countries and count the murders and crimes per day.


I'm not sure your point here. In Iraq over 100 people were killed on the weekend that we know about, 13 of them Western soldiers. Are you implying Camden has that kind of fatality rate? If it does, we should pull out of Camden too.
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Nebuchadnezzar
post May 17 2006, 01:17 AM
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Does anybody see any policy available to this country that can have a positive outcome in Iraq other than just leaving. Yes and no.

If your answer to the above is yes could you describe those policies.

While I think leaving is probably the best course of action, we could relive ethnic tensions in Iraq by allowing autonomy among the Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds. While we would no longer be "working toward a united Iraq," it may be the only practical solution in the long run. If the insurgency is only getting stronger after three years of occupation, there is virtually no common ground between to be found between the two groups, and, therefore, no room for compromise. It's a possibility.

If your answer to the above is no could you explain why you think our only option is leaving.

Ultimately, I don't think setting up a new government will do anything in the long run. The legitimacy of governments set up by another nation is usually very low, the history of the region is tumultuous, and the political culture of Iraq is not adapted to democracy. Once we leave (if the government is ever functional), Iraq will be ripe to fall back into a military dictatorship. Just because a dictatorship has collapsed doesn't mean democracy will rise from the ashes, quite the opposite -- most revolutions do not result in a better form of government over the long run (think Napoleon, Nigeria's numerous coups, the numerous communist revolutions, etc.). It is my view that we are fighting against a historical inevitability.
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Hobbes
post May 17 2006, 01:50 AM
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QUOTE(Nebuchadnezzar @ May 16 2006, 08:17 PM)
Ultimately, I don't think setting up a new government will do anything in the long run. The legitimacy of governments set up by another nation is usually very low, the history of the region is tumultuous, and the political culture of Iraq is not adapted to democracy.  Once we leave (if the government is ever functional), Iraq will be ripe to fall back into a military dictatorship. Just because a dictatorship has collapsed doesn't mean democracy will rise from the ashes, quite the opposite -- most revolutions do not result in a better form of government over the long run (think Napoleon, Nigeria's numerous coups, the numerous communist revolutions, etc.). It is my view that we are fighting against a historical inevitability.
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Interesting statement, given that essentially ALL current governments were established through some sort of revolution or imposition from an external force. This would then mean that ALL current governments are worse than whatever they were prior to their revolution (think the US, England, France, Germany, Japan, etc. etc), that this cycle has been repeating for millenia (and will continue to repeat as either war or additional revolutions are used to correct the ever increasing ills of the current government) and that, therefore, the historical inevitability is the downfall of civilization. Is that your stance?
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BoF
post May 17 2006, 02:08 AM
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QUOTE(Ted @ May 16 2006, 04:57 PM)
IMO the country will emerge into a type of democratic state much to the chagrin of totalitarian neighbors like Iran and Syria. 


Ted,

I applaud your "optimism," but there are times when optimism is little more than tossing coins in a fountain and making a wish.

The administration has talked much about the Iraqi army standing up.

In this video, recent graduates just quit. This could easily have fit in the political joke thread.


http://www.shoutwire.com/viewstory/11837/I..._Ceremony_video

This post has been edited by BoF: May 17 2006, 02:47 AM
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Nebuchadnezzar
post May 17 2006, 02:36 AM
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QUOTE(Hobbes @ May 16 2006, 08:50 PM)

QUOTE(Nebuchadnezzar @ May 16 2006, 08:17 PM)
Ultimately, I don't think setting up a new government will do anything in the long run. The legitimacy of governments set up by another nation is usually very low, the history of the region is tumultuous, and the political culture of Iraq is not adapted to democracy.  Once we leave (if the government is ever functional), Iraq will be ripe to fall back into a military dictatorship. Just because a dictatorship has collapsed doesn't mean democracy will rise from the ashes, quite the opposite -- most revolutions do not result in a better form of government over the long run (think Napoleon, Nigeria's numerous coups, the numerous communist revolutions, etc.). It is my view that we are fighting against a historical inevitability.
*



Interesting statement, given that essentially ALL current governments were established through some sort of revolution or imposition from an external force. This would then mean that ALL current governments are worse than whatever they were prior to their revolution (think the US, England, France, Germany, Japan, etc. etc), that this cycle has been repeating for millenia (and will continue to repeat as either war or additional revolutions are used to correct the ever increasing ills of the current government) and that, therefore, the historical inevitability is the downfall of civilization. Is that your stance?
*



Good point, but I said most, not all. And I didn't say that all revolutions cause a regression to a worse form of government, I just used those examples to make a point. My point was that a great number of revolutions merely result in a regime change rather than a complete change of government, especially dictatorship to democracy. I should have phrased it better, and probably made it more specific to Iraq, but I think the point stands. The prevailing conditions in Iraq are not conducive to democracy, but that does not preclude it entirely in the future. The problem of overly agitated ethnic tensions has to be fixed before the government can be effective, and it most likely isn't a problem that will be solved even during the next decade or two considering how long it has already been going on. It is ultimately a problem that Iraqis themselves will have to work out.
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Hobbes
post May 17 2006, 05:30 AM
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QUOTE
My point was that a great number of revolutions merely result in a regime change rather than a complete change of government, especially dictatorship to democracy. I should have phrased it better, and probably made it more specific to Iraq, but I think the point stands. The prevailing conditions in Iraq are not conducive to democracy, but that does not preclude it entirely in the future. The problem of overly agitated ethnic tensions has to be fixed before the government can be effective, and it most likely isn't a problem that will be solved even during the next decade or two considering how long it has already been going on. It is ultimately a problem that Iraqis themselves will have to work out.


I would agree that it is a valid point to consider for Iraq, and would further agree that agitated ethnic tensions is the real issue to solve. This has been used as an argument as to why democracy can't work in Iraq, with valid points. However, I think these types of issues are even stronger evidence that ONLY a democratic government can really solve the problem, as it is the only form of government in which all the various parties can have a say in the government. So, what I think is really the question is what needs to be done to convince the various parties of that. This will be particularly hard for the insurgent groups because I think they already understand this, and it is exactly what they are fighting against, since they know that in a democratic Iraq they won't have nearly the power they would like to have (and have had in the past via military force).
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Vermillion
post May 17 2006, 08:51 AM
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QUOTE(Nebuchadnezzar @ May 17 2006, 01:17 AM)
While I think leaving is probably the best course of action, we could relive ethnic tensions in Iraq by allowing autonomy among the Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds. While we would no longer be "working toward a united Iraq," it may be the only practical solution in the long run. If the insurgency is only getting stronger after three years of occupation,  there is virtually no common ground between to be found between the two groups, and, therefore, no room for compromise. It's a possibility.


In theory this is probably the best solution, let each group have its own nation, its own government and let them do with it as they please.

However, it flounders on one critical practical issue: almost 100% of the oil wealth of Iraq is in the Shia region. The Sunni and Kurdish 'nations' would be destitute with little of no national feasability.

But the Shiia would be very happy...
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Ted
post May 17 2006, 04:23 PM
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QUOTE
Vermillion
Actually, I can hardly think of a single insurgency/ rebel group which gave up as soon as a government started expressing authority, I hardly see why this one should be any different. Anyways, its academic, because you left out a critical word: IF and when, not when. And at the moment, the if looks unlikely.


Its not an IF unless we give up. No insurgency in Iraq or any 5 other countries like it can beat us. The Iraqi military may never crush “all” insurgency but as I said crime will never end either. It will become insignificant.


QUOTE
Actually, while not a good analogy for the war, Vietnam is a very good analogy for the occupation


WRONG. We never ever controlled any part of the “North” – not the cities, factories etc. AND they had a well trained and equipped military there. How you can compare this to a bunch of insurgents roaming the street with small arms and IEDs is beyond me. We trained the ARVAN but they never even attacked the north much less conquered it as we have done in Iraq. WE control the entire country and the insurgents have NO standing army, no factories, no camps (in the country) and when they do attack we slaughter them at will. This is not Vietnam where 10s of thousands of NVA and gorilla troops infiltrated the south and took us on.

And as far as progress there is plenty of it but if you just listen to CNN you will never hear it.
Some good news here:
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MjBhZ...TMxNGUwODhjZGI=
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Vermillion
post May 17 2006, 05:48 PM
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QUOTE(Ted @ May 17 2006, 04:23 PM)
Its not an IF unless we give up.  No insurgency in Iraq or any 5 other countries like it can beat us. 


Wow, I could actually HEAR you playing a fife and drum as you typed that.

Ted, I don't want to border on the insulting here, but are you unaware of whats going on? The US is losing, and its losing pretty badly. The US is taking casualties, and spending money at a fairly impressive rate, and nothing is getting done. You can't even get the power and water flowing regularily in Bagdad.

The Iraqi government has shown itself to be completely incapable and unwilling to govern, and the insurgents literally walk the streets in daylight hours now. And above it all you make this staggering assertion that if the Iraqi government ever actually formed a government and took interest in governing, the Insurgents would sudeenly up and vanish? Where on earth do you get that wild assertion from? Has that EVER happened in human history? Is there ANY evidence at all it might happen now?

Attacks per day are on the increase, casualties among Iraqis are on the increase, and all you can do to oppse that is close your eyes and keep repeating 'we can't lose, we can't lose, we can't lose'. Are you wearing ruby slippers too?

The Iraqi military may never crush “all” insurgency but as I said crime will never end either. It will become insignificant.


QUOTE
  WE control the entire country and the insurgents have NO standing army, no factories, no camps (in the country) and when they do attack we slaughter them at will.    This is not Vietnam where 10s of thousands of NVA and gorilla troops infiltrated the south and took us on.


The US controls the entire country? Really.
There are no camps for insurgents anywhere in Iraq? Really.
Whenever they attack, you slaughter them at will? Really.

Ok, if this is actually what you believe then I'm done here. I can't work with that. I presume you think the 2400+ US dead all died in unfortunate running-with-scisors accidents as well.


Yes, the National Review is SO much more unbiased and honest than CNN.

But even if we credit it, what's this 'good news' you keep saying needs to be heard?

"5 Kidnapped hostages were rescued"

"Over a thousand Iranians were arrested crossing the border"

"repairs on a municipal fire station were completed"


You are right Ted, those certainly are more newsworthy than the over 100 people killed in Iraq in the last 3 days, including 8 Americans and two Brits. You should write a letter to CNN expressing your ardent dismay that the repairs to a firestation were not given top news billing.

I wonder, is that firestation where the half trillion dollars the US has spent so far has gone? If so, I bet its got a nice paint job...

But while basking in the firestation-repair-triumph, you might pause to consider some of the bad news as well? Like the near anarchy in the streets, absense of law and order, daily attacks, mass killing, roving death squads, lack of any form of government presence to prevent any of the above, disillusionment of the Sunni and Shia with the system... that little stuff.
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Ted
post May 17 2006, 09:36 PM
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QUOTE
Vermillion
The US is losing, and its losing pretty badly. The US is taking casualties, and spending money at a fairly impressive rate, and nothing is getting done. You can't even get the power and water flowing regularily in Bagdad.


As usual the “good news” doesn’t interest you folks on the anti-Bush left. We are “losing pretty badly” whatever that means. Come on give me a break. The country is FREE and has had elections (with a participation rate higher than most industrial countries). Nothing getting done? Only if you have your eyes firmly shut – as you appear to. Do you think ANY war ever fought went better??? NAME ONE.

U.S. and Iraqi troops uncovered a massive weapons cache near Baghdad on Wednesday. The cache was largely made up of materials used to make IEDs:
…searched a house in New Baghdad and discovered 142 land mines, 58 blocks of C4 explosives, approximately 8,000 feet of detonation cord, 107 fuses, 22 rocket-propelled grenades, a launcher, 59 mortars, 40 pounds of mortar propellant, four shape charges, 43 blasting caps, explosive-formed projectile materials, two gas masks, six two-way radios, multiple mortar launching tubes, maps of Baghdad and Iraq, and anti-Iraqi force literature.

The story continues:

The discovery of weapons caches, often a result of a local's tip to Iraqi or American forces, occur nearly every day in Iraq, but the May 10 discovery was particularly large.
In a press conference this week, Major General Lynch noted that tips from Iraqis have increased significantly this year. During the first eleven days of May, Iraqis had phoned in more than 1,500 phone calls. Lynch said that 98 percent of the tips contain usable intelligence. The tips have been especially useful in the fight against al Qaeda and IEDs:
Improved intelligence and increasingly capable Iraqi security forces also led to the capture or killing of more than 161 senior leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq, as well as a marked decrease in effective improvised bombs. More than 50 percent of the bombs now are found and defused before they can kill, he said.


Among the schools getting makeovers was the Mustafa School, which serves 930 high school students in the morning and 430 elementary students in the afternoon.

The $290,000 project included 300 new interior lights, 55 ceiling fans, 11 window air conditioners, 300 square meters of new concrete playground surface, remodeling of restrooms, roof repair, raising the perimeter security wall one meter, repairing all broken glass and installing a steel mesh to protect all exterior windows, painting all interior and exterior walls, and supplying a new 80kva generator.
“It’s one of 13 public-school renovations in East Baghdad that we oversaw in the last year,” said Jeremy Way, project engineer with Gulf Region Central District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The head of Iraq’s central bank said this week the country was making progress in reforming the banking system:
He also said Iraq was on track in its financial reforms, including transformation of the banking system "from one depending on cash to a system depending on credit."
"By the end of the year God willing, our banks will have a developed payment system to carry out their settlements fast through accounts at the central banks," he said.
He also said Iraq’s foreign reserves now stand at $10 billion.
The American chamber of commerce third “Rebuild Iraq” conference ended this week on a high note for residents of Fallujah:
"Fallujah is a secure city and returning to a normal life and its soil is ready for investment". Delegates also heard from speakers of the huge resources available for utilization including 40,000 skilled and currently unemployed people in Fallujah and highlighted the many products that could be sold across Iraq and internationally including ceramics, stone and even a budding tourism sector.
MORE --http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MjBhZTlkNmYzYTQzMTBhM2MxYWY0NTMxNGUwODhjZGI=
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