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Old 07-30-2007, 12:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: Winning the war....

The blog post used the word "winning", so I used that in the header; the actual NYT article referred to "a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis can live with". IMO, that might not be winning, but it is the best possible outcome from the situation as it is now. There was some pretty well reasoned counterpoint from another blogger, Joe Klein:

Quote:
I agree with many, but not all, of the conclusions Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon reach in this NY Times column, but you really can't write a piece about the war in Iraq and devote only two sentences to the political situation, which is disastrous and, as Petraeus has said, will determine the success or failure of the overall effort.

It could be argued that what the U.S. military is now accomplishing is clearing the field of foreigners--i.e. the Al Qaeda in Iraq foreign fighters--so that the indigenous Sunnis and Shi'ites can go at each other in a full-blown civil war, complete with Srebrenica style massacres. (Although a precursor to that civil war is the internecine Shi'ite battle between the Hakim and Sadr militias that is about to take place in Basrah. If Sadr wins that fight, he will control Baghdad and the southern oil fields--and will be the de facto leader of Shi'ite Iraq.) I see absolutely no evidence that the majority Shi'ites are willing to concede anything to the minority Sunnis, and there are significant signs that Baghdad is being ethnically cleansed.

Yes, progress has been made in the fight against the most extreme jihadis (AQI), but that should not be extrapolated into anything resembling optimism....And if we manage to put a major hurt on AQI--which is Bush's (current) rationale for us being there--what rationale remains for us staying there if the Iraqis themselves are intent on slaughtering each other?

Update: One thing I just realized--Pollack and Hanlon seem to have visited only Sunni areas--Ramadi, Tal Afar and Mosul, the Ghazaliya neighborhood on the west (Sunni) bank of the Tigris River. And that's where the progress, such as it is, has been made, with the tribes moving against the jihadis and toward us. But Iraq is primarily a Shi'ite country--and we're not doing so well with those guys, especially the most prominent of them, Muqtada al-Sadr.

I should also note that their optimism about the Iraqi Army might look a bit different if they went to mixed areas like Diyala province, where a corrupt Shi'ite-dominated Army is going to have to deal with a police force that is being recruited from former Sunni insurgents. There certainly are a few excellent, mixed units in the Iraqi Security Forces, but the majority of units are local, sect-specific and awful.

It's still in the balance.


Tom
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: Winning the war....

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Originally Posted by Hammer67 View Post
Things are bad, for sure, but the media is biased. And too involved, in my opinion. Imagine what they would have video of if that were not so tightly controled during WW2?

I use the phrase "win" to mean the best possible outcome compared to the objectives going in. Creating a stable country in the region, a democracy at that. It may be too much to ask of at this point but, hey, it's better then keeping that part of the world as is. It is a religious, fundamentalist hornet's nest.

hey man, i totally understand the point you're making. i sincerely hope you don't think i'm trying to trivialize the problems in that region.

the fact is, we weren't going to iraq to establish democracy. we were going there because the threat of WMD's. we were told they could come to us in a "form of a mushroom cloud".

there are so many accounts of experts in that region explaining the complexities of the kurds, sunnis, shiites... but what's the point in that... the american people were never asked if they thought establishing democracy in iraq was worth an invasion.
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Old 07-30-2007, 01:55 PM   #13
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Default Re: Winning the war....

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So you think this isn't about oil? Do you think Bush is just really concerned with the quality of life in the mid east and wanted to help everybody out. You know give the people the benefit of all our wisdom,maybe open up a few McDonalds.
I concur that we need to figure out what is going on and either get the job done or get out. But, to say the war is "for oil" shows that you don't have a full grasp on why they are there. I don't see how the US is gaining anything, as it relates to oil, from this war. If oil were the reason, why not invade Canada where we import the majority of our oil from? Or Venezuela? Or Mexico? They are much closer and it would be much easier!

Sounds like you have been drinking the leftist kool aid, friend!
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Old 07-30-2007, 02:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Winning the war....

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Originally Posted by j-dawg View Post
hey man, i totally understand the point you're making. i sincerely hope you don't think i'm trying to trivialize the problems in that region.

the fact is, we weren't going to iraq to establish democracy. we were going there because the threat of WMD's. we were told they could come to us in a "form of a mushroom cloud".

there are so many accounts of experts in that region explaining the complexities of the kurds, sunnis, shiites... but what's the point in that... the american people were never asked if they thought establishing democracy in iraq was worth an invasion.
Oh, I totally agree that we went under false pretenses and that is Bush's fault, for sure. He has mishandled things mightily. But his incompetence aside, there is still a fight there regardless. I only hope for the best possible outcome for us and the world. And, let's face it, Islamic fundamentalism is the main plight in the world today. And, its capital is the Middle East. Whether we went to Iraq or not, we still would fall victim to muslim extremists.

I always wondered why they don't just break up Iraq into three separate countries instead of forcing it to stay as is. I mean, Iraq as a country is only about 100 years old.
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Old 07-30-2007, 02:08 PM   #15
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Default Re: Winning the war....

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Originally Posted by Mosca View Post
I'm going to say right now that winning the battle for our country and our troops is more important than turning the situation into political hay. It is certainly possible (and in all probability true) for this to be a clusterfrock of the highest order, AND for the only way out of it to be to see it through to the end rather than leave.

If this all works out, then Petraeus is the man of the year, and of all years.


Tom
If we pull out now, the progress being made will become blah.

I found a good video displaying some of the progress made up till last December.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=qSeYlcOs9D0
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Old 07-30-2007, 02:12 PM   #16
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Default Re: Winning the war....

So whats your grasp? IOW why are we there then??

I don't drink kool aid. I spent 6 years in the Marine Corps, I'm not a liberal, left wing, anit-military type. I know why we're there and it's not to promote democracy.

In the PC world we live in you can't invade Canada or Venezuela just because we want thier oil. The Iraqies tried to throw Exxon out of Kuwait after Exxon built the infrastructure to get the oil out of the ground. It really is that simple.
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:56 PM   #17
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Default Re: Winning the war....

This a complete utter joke.

Last edited by ChronoCross; 07-30-2007 at 04:56 PM. Reason: deleted the rest.. would of got in trouble.
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:11 PM   #18
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Default Re: Winning the war....

Here is what I don't understand.

Since when has intelligence estimates become FACT? They NEVER are. I remember the UN speech, the other speeches, NEVER did the president, or anyone else say WE SAW WMD THE OTHER DAY. They say, "Here is the evidence, we believe it is conclusive."

They were wrong.

That is not false pretense, that is not lying... that is bad intelligence. Get a grip.

Yet, we still must make decisions based on the intelligence at hand. NO ONE... in ANY NATION... argued that they did NOT have WMD.

So the "No WMD" argument is a moot point. All western intelligence agencies beleived they had it... ALL western intelligence agencies, in hindsight were wrong...


WAR FOR OIL....

Um.. Seems to me that there were three nations that were hindering the UN debate on the war. 1. Russia, 2, France, 3 Germany.

Soon thereafter, a scandal broke out, about Iraq selling oil for food, and putting the money to things other then food. Lots of payouts were given as well... What three nations were involved?

1. Russia 2. France 3. Germany. Also, The UN. Sec. General's son, and possible even him.

This was no war for oil, it was a NON-war for oil. Since the war began, money, food, etc. has poured into the nation.

The ONLY war for oil in the gulf in the last 20 years was Iraq going into Kuwait, and then prepositioning for a jump into Saudi Arabia.

Kinda funny, in both wars... we STOPPED countries from illegally getting oil, or money from oil. So sad that is lost on so many.

And yes, there is a WIN in Iraq. When Iraq has a government that is able to stand on its own, able to pass authority through elections to another leader, and protect its people.

Oh yeah... and when we are able to use Iraq as a staging ground to face of Iran. Cause we WILL face them some day. The question is, do we fight them on thier ground, or ours. Because it IS coming.
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: Winning the war....

I guess Michael O'Hanlon had a revelation in the last week and now sees light at the end of the tunnel if his Op-Ed post in today's NY Times is to be believed.

The Brookings Institution, for whom O'Hanlon works, publishes an "Iraq Index." The Iraq Index "is designed to quantify the rebuilding efforts and offer an objective set of criteria for benchmarking performance. It is the first in-depth, non-partisan assessment of American efforts in Iraq, and is based primarily on U.S. government information. Although measurements of progress in any nation-building effort can never be reduced to purely quantitative data, a comprehensive compilation of such information can provide a clearer picture and contribute to a healthier and better informed debate. "

Here is the introduction to the most recent Iraq Index report

JULY 23, 2007- With what promised to be a pivotal summer now more than half over, the situation in Iraq remains tenuous at best. Even with all surge forces in place and operational, the modest progress made in the security sphere thus far has not had the hoped-for subsequent influence on the political and economic sectors. Adding to the pressure is the steadily increasing demands stateside for a change in strategy. Indeed, the ?political clocks? in Washington and Baghdad are perhaps farther apart today than they have ever been.

From a security standpoint, having the full allotment of surge troops in theater has allowed for intensified coalition operations in and around Baghdad aimed at rooting out militants from their sanctuaries. Initial reports indicate that these have led to a decrease in the levels of violence in these areas. However, violence nationwide has failed to improve measurably over the past 2-plus months, with a resilient enemy increasingly turning its focus to softer targets outside the scope of the surge. And while the number of internally displaced persons has declined, it has done so not as a result of security improvements but because there are fewer places for Iraqis to run with a number of provinces unable to accept any more refugees. In assessing the overall sentiment of the Iraqi people recently, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker summed it up in one word: fear.

Politically, there has yet to be significant progress in the legislation of any of the critical benchmark laws. This has been made exceedingly more difficult with recent boycotts of the government by both the Shiite officials loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr and the largest Sunni bloc, the National Accord Front. Though both have now agreed to return their members to parliament after weeks of abstention, neither has resumed participation at the cabinet level, leaving 13 of the 38 Iraqi cabinet positions vacant. With Kurdish lawmakers denouncing the most recently proposed oil revenue sharing law and the National Accord Front threatening to resume its boycott, it is difficult to see how any measurable political progress will take place before the all-important September update from Ambassador Crocker and commanding General David Petraeus.

Economically, ?stagnation? continues to be the key word. The precarious security situation has continued to stymie any significant improvement of such macro indicators as unemployment, GDP and inflation. Fuel production fluctuates from week-to-week with insurgent attacks on infrastructure and suspected widespread corruption causing the average Iraqi to endure interminable lines to obtain scant amounts gasoline and propane. In addition, the availability of electricity has deteriorated over the past couple of months with Ambassador Crocker recently stating that the average person in Baghdad can count on only one or two hours of electricity per day.


Michael O'Hanlon spearheads the Iraq Index project at Brookings...

http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.htm

You can make compelling arguments regarding what to do in Iraq in support of various positions, but only someone as smart as Mr. O'Hanlon is able to argue both sides simultaneously.
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:26 PM   #20
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Default Re: Winning the war....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan View Post
I guess Michael O'Hanlon had a revelation in the last week and now sees light at the end of the tunnel if his Op-Ed post in today's NY Times is to be believed.

The Brookings Institution, for whom O'Hanlon works, publishes an "Iraq Index." The Iraq Index "is designed to quantify the rebuilding efforts and offer an objective set of criteria for benchmarking performance. It is the first in-depth, non-partisan assessment of American efforts in Iraq, and is based primarily on U.S. government information. Although measurements of progress in any nation-building effort can never be reduced to purely quantitative data, a comprehensive compilation of such information can provide a clearer picture and contribute to a healthier and better informed debate. "

Here is the introduction to the most recent Iraq Index report

JULY 23, 2007- With what promised to be a pivotal summer now more than half over, the situation in Iraq remains tenuous at best. Even with all surge forces in place and operational, the modest progress made in the security sphere thus far has not had the hoped-for subsequent influence on the political and economic sectors. Adding to the pressure is the steadily increasing demands stateside for a change in strategy. Indeed, the “political clocks” in Washington and Baghdad are perhaps farther apart today than they have ever been.

From a security standpoint, having the full allotment of surge troops in theater has allowed for intensified coalition operations in and around Baghdad aimed at rooting out militants from their sanctuaries. Initial reports indicate that these have led to a decrease in the levels of violence in these areas. However, violence nationwide has failed to improve measurably over the past 2-plus months, with a resilient enemy increasingly turning its focus to softer targets outside the scope of the surge. And while the number of internally displaced persons has declined, it has done so not as a result of security improvements but because there are fewer places for Iraqis to run with a number of provinces unable to accept any more refugees. In assessing the overall sentiment of the Iraqi people recently, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker summed it up in one word: fear.

Politically, there has yet to be significant progress in the legislation of any of the critical benchmark laws. This has been made exceedingly more difficult with recent boycotts of the government by both the Shiite officials loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr and the largest Sunni bloc, the National Accord Front. Though both have now agreed to return their members to parliament after weeks of abstention, neither has resumed participation at the cabinet level, leaving 13 of the 38 Iraqi cabinet positions vacant. With Kurdish lawmakers denouncing the most recently proposed oil revenue sharing law and the National Accord Front threatening to resume its boycott, it is difficult to see how any measurable political progress will take place before the all-important September update from Ambassador Crocker and commanding General David Petraeus.

Economically, “stagnation” continues to be the key word. The precarious security situation has continued to stymie any significant improvement of such macro indicators as unemployment, GDP and inflation. Fuel production fluctuates from week-to-week with insurgent attacks on infrastructure and suspected widespread corruption causing the average Iraqi to endure interminable lines to obtain scant amounts gasoline and propane. In addition, the availability of electricity has deteriorated over the past couple of months with Ambassador Crocker recently stating that the average person in Baghdad can count on only one or two hours of electricity per day.


Michael O'Hanlon spearheads the Iraq Index project at Brookings...

http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.htm

You can make compelling arguments regarding what to do in Iraq in support of various positions, but only someone as smart as Mr. O'Hanlon is able to argue both sides simultaneously.
There are times when that is a real sign of maturity and intellectual acumen.

I have a feeling that is not the direction you were going in your discussion of his ability AD!
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