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Tom Odom
08-03-2007, 02:06 PM
Defense chief: U.S. underestimated sectarian hatred in Iraq (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/18670.html)
By Nancy A. Youssef | McClatchy Newspapers

ABOARD A U.S. AIR FORCE PLANE Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, returning from a four-day trip to the Middle East, offered a pessimistic view of Iraq's political progress Thursday, saying he thought that the United States had underestimated the level of distrust between the Shiite Muslim-led government and other ethnic groups.

"I just think in some ways we probably all underestimated the depth of the mistrust and how difficult it would be for these guys to come together on legislation, which, let's face it, is not just some kind of secondary thing," Gates said aboard his plane en route to Washington.

"The kinds of legislation they're talking about establish the framework of Iraq for the future, so it's almost like our constitutional convention. . . . And the difficulty in coming to grips with those we may all have underestimated six or eight months ago," when the Bush administration began implementing its policy of a U.S. troop buildup.

The say the first step is to admit one has a problem. At least SecDef Gates has taken it.

Best

Tom

Mark O'Neill
08-03-2007, 02:23 PM
D'oh ...........

T. Jefferson
08-03-2007, 02:46 PM
The say the first step is to admit one has a problem. At least SecDef Gates has taken it.

Best

Tom
If American political leaders are willing to admit that they underestimated the difficulty in political reconciliation in the Sunni / Shia conflict, what is the next step?

Tom Odom
08-03-2007, 03:04 PM
If American political leaders are willing to admit that they underestimated the difficulty in political reconciliation in the Sunni / Shia conflict, what is the next step?

Have a drink? :eek:

Seriously, there has to be a reevaluation of political strategy to match or at least approximate what is happening on the ground. Personally I see the Iraqi Parliament's vacation as something of a Nero-like violin concert.

Admiral Mullen's had similarly blunt words on Iraq this week.

Tom

T. Jefferson
08-03-2007, 03:16 PM
Have a drink? :eek:

Seriously, there has to be a reevaluation of political strategy to match or at least approximate what is happening on the ground. Personally I see the Iraqi Parliament's vacation as something of a Nero-like violin concert.

Admiral Mullen's had similarly blunt words on Iraq this week.

Tom
Unfortunately I had the same thought, Nero fiddling while Rome burns.:(

I guess I was wondering if we could do an end run and maybe catalyze a ground up political solution. I believe that the USA had much stronger state governments before our Civil War changed their relationship to the Federal government.

wm
08-03-2007, 06:24 PM
Unfortunately I had the same thought, Nero fiddling while Rome burns.:(

I guess I was wondering if we could do an end run and maybe catalyze a ground up political solution. I believe that the USA had much stronger state governments before our Civil War changed their relationship to the Federal government.

Pardon me for pointing out what I see as a little bit of hypocrisy. Why not have same knee jerk reaction to American Congressional recesses when we don't have a budget or need some other important legislation passed?

The Iraqis' timetable may very well not coincide with ours. We certainly need to get that point pretty soon if we do not want to continue to be perceived as a self-centered bully/occupying force.

Tom Odom
08-03-2007, 06:30 PM
Pardon me for pointing out what I see as a little bit of hypocrisy. Why not have same knee jerk reaction to American Congressional recesses when we don't have a budget or need some other important legislation passed?

The Iraqis' timetable may very well not coincide with ours. We certainly need to get that point pretty soon if we do not want to continue to be perceived as a self-centered bully/occupying force.

WM,

I take your point. However, ultimately the US Congress will not return to Baghdad from its break; that would be the fate of the Iraqi Parliament.

Tom

T. Jefferson
08-03-2007, 06:44 PM
Apparently we have a different perception as to the consequences of major pull back in our force levels without the necessary Iraqi political and military structure in place. I would expect an escalating civil war with several hundred thousand people dead. If the surge does not demonstrate necessary political progress, then I see a major reduction in force levels and a change in mission as inevitable.