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Thread: Bush to Announce New Iraq Plan Wednesday

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    Default Bush to Announce New Iraq Plan Wednesday

    Bush to Announce New Iraq Plan Wednesday - Washington Post.

    President Bush will unveil his new approach to the 46-month-old Iraq war on Wednesday at 9 p.m., the White House announced today. "This is the president's proposal for moving forward in a way that he believes is going to be conducive to producing results," White House spokesman Tony Snow said this afternoon.

    Bush is widely expected to announce a boost in U.S. military forces in Iraq by as many as 20,000 troops, a jobs program to put Iraqis back to work and political benchmarks that the U.S. expects Iraqi leaders to meet in forming a national reconciliation government.

    Snow repeatedly declined at his daily news briefing to respond to questions about specifics in Bush's speech, which, he said, is still being written...

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    Default Not Enough

    None of which will likely change much of anything over in Iraq. 20,000 is still an insufficient number of forces to do much of anything outside of Baghdad, it doesn't pressure al-Maliki to crack down on al-Sadr's forces, unless there's some kind of pre-condition added to the deal it's unlikely that the Sunnis will see much of the aid or many of the jobs (and they make up the bulk of the anti-government insurgency) and reconstruction efforts are always going to be in trouble or stalled until the security situation is resolved. It's not enough effort to win, but enough to make it look like the administration is trying. It's a cynical half-measure that is akin to sticking our fingers in a bursting dam.

    So much for the new post-election approach to Iraq.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Victor Davis Hanson thoughts on "Stasis or Victory"

    A friend of mine sent this to me- good read with some reasonable historical analogies. I've read his recent book on Athens and Sparta - also a good read.

    Stasis or Victory?
    The problem in Iraq isnt simply one of troop numbers, and a surge will fail
    miserably unless this is understood.

    By Victor Davis Hanson
    January 5, 2007 6:30 AM

    The Allied offensives of August and September 1918 that finally broke the
    Kaisers armies followed from a surge of thousands of fresh American troops
    into the western front. But the victory wasnt due just to the increase in
    nuers. After all, the Germans themselves the previous spring had tried to
    break through the Allied trenches with thousands of additional storm
    troopers freed from the Russian Front. The difference was that the Allies
    created a new unified command structure under Gen. Foch, employed greater
    combined use of tanks, exploited the element of surprise by means of shorter
    bombardments, and depended on much better organized logistics to sustain
    initial breakthroughs.

    In the first dark months of the Korean War, Gen. MacArthur increased U.S.
    troop strength for the September 1950 Inchon assault. But that dramatic
    breakthrough and recapture of Seoul came as a result of risky amphibious
    operations  not just more boots on the ground.

    William Tecumseh Shermans Army of the West finally reached a level of
    nearly 100,000 troops in late summer 1864. Yet its success was predicated
    not on increased numbers per se, but rather on a radical shift in tactics,
    abandoning reliance on rail support and living off the land. When Sherman
    left on his March to the Sea, he actually pruned his forces. A good argument
    could be made that Lee finally cracked, not because Grants surges smashed
    his lines, but due to southern desertion and loss of morale, once it was
    known that a huge and unpredictable Union army under the unconventional
    Sherman was approaching the Confederate rear through the Carolinas.

    In contrast, the troop surges of the Athenians under Demosthenes into Sicily
    in 414 B.C., the steady increases in the Union Army of the Potomac in
    Virginia from 1862-64, the British build-ups in Flanders from 1914-17, the
    French rise to nearly 400,000 troops by 1956 in Algeria, or the American
    escalation from 1964-67 in Vietnam did little to change the dynamics of any
    of those wars. In all these cases, tactics went largely unchanged, in the
    mistaken view that prior failure was primarily due to an absence of
    manpower.

    If the United States sends more troops into Iraq, especially Baghdad, then
    we must expand the parameters of operations  otherwise, thousands of fresh
    American soldiers will only end up ensuring the four things we seek to avoid
    in Iraq: more conventional targets for IEDs when more soldiers venture out
    of our compounds; more support troops behind fortified berms that enlarge
    the American infidel profile; more assurances to the Iraqis that foreign
    troops will secure their country for them; and more American prestige put
    into peril.

    As the troop levels gradually rise, there will be a brief window of
    opportunity as the world watches whether greater numbers will radically
    change conditions on the ground. If in a matter of a few months conditions
    do not improve, they will begin to get far worse  there will not be a
    continuation of the status quo. The jihadists will grasp that they have
    survived the last reserves of American manpower; antiwar critics will
    pronounce the war to be unwinable regardless of the amount of American blood
    and treasure spent.

    So what might we do to ensure the success of this troop surge, the greatest
    gamble thus far in the war to secure the Iraqi postbellum democracy?

    1) Provide a clear definition of victory as the establishment of a stable
    Iraqi democratic government, free from sectarian and terrorist violence.
    While there may be a sick appeal in allowing Sunni and Shiite jihadists to
    kill each other off, such endemic violence will only wreck the country. The
    role of the U.S. military, then, must be to ensure a monopoly on violence
    for the Iraqi government, itself free of militia infiltration, fighting to
    put down insurrection and factional strife.

    2) Establish in advance new protocols with the Iraqi government that
    offensives and operations must be allowed to culminate. It will be a
    disaster if heads of militias are captured only to be let off, as happened
    once in the past when Moqtada Sadr was surrounded.

    3) Ensure that an Iraqi veneer covers all of our operations. The aim of
    these operations is not just the disarming of militias and the killing of
    terrorists, but fostering confidence in the Iraqi people that their own
    soldiers were responsible for such successes. As much as possible, we should
    keep American generals off the air and avoid the public-relations disasters
    of the summer of 2003 when Americans, not Iraqis, were televised in daily
    press conferences.

    4) Supporters of the surge may call it a "bump," or suggest that it really
    does not mark much of a change. But like it or not, it will be seen as an
    escalation with all the attendant risks. So warn the American public that
    there is going to be a new level of violence, a storm before the calm, as
    American and Iraqi forces hunt down the terrorists, kill them, and disarm
    the militias  and that this is as necessary as it is going to be ugly,
    especially when the rules of engagement must expand.

    5) The highest American administration officials  Bush, Cheney, Rice,
    Hadley, Gates  must all explain seriatim the new gambit in terms of
    democratic idealism, the only way to ensure that the millions of brave
    Iraqis who voted for a constitutional government are given the support
    necessary to stabilize their achievement. The war will not just be judged in
    Baghdad, but also in New York, Washington, Cairo, London, and Paris. Fierce
    antiwar critics, here and abroad, have staked their prestige and careers on
    American failure, and will not wish to see Iraqi and American troops,
    Ethiopian style, routing the Islamists. Their arguments must be countered
    hourly.

    6) Emphasize offense. Our new forces are not going to patrol or
    stabilize things by their presence or reassurance, but rather are
    being sent to Iraq for one purpose: to hunt down and kill or capture
    terrorists to ensure public confidence that the Americans and the new Iraqi
    government are going to win. And fence-sitters should make the necessary
    adjustments.

    7) Close the borders with Syria, and, as far as possible, with Iran. Assume
    that there will be more supposed wedding parties bombed and various other
    propaganda victories for the enemy once we begin hitting trans-border
    incursions  it is a necessary price to be paid in this final push for
    victory.

    8) Prepare regionally for the unexpected with more troops and air wings on
    alert. If more coalition troops begin to arrest and kill terrorists, expect
    Syria and Iran to foment trouble elsewhere, or to move on fronts in Lebanon,
    Israel, or to accelerate nuclear acquisition. We should assume that a surge
    will raise the stakes in the Middle East at large, and that our enemies
    cannot afford to see us prevail.

    There have been a number of anomalies in this war, as a brilliant American
    tactical victory in removing Saddam has not translated into quick strategic
    succ But one of the most worrisome developments is the narrowing of the
    recent debate to the single issue of surging troops, as if the problem all
    along has just been one of manpower.

    It hasnt. The dilemma involves the need to fight an asymmetrical war of
    counter-insurgency that hinges on what troops do, rather than how many are
    engaged. We have gone from a conventional victory over Saddam Hussein to an
    asymmetrical struggle against Jihadist insurgents to what is more or less
    third-party policing of random violence between Sunnis and Shiites.

    Our past errors were not so much dissolving a scattered Iraqi military or
    even de-Baathification, but rather giving an appearance of impotence,
    whether in allowing the looting to continue or pulling back from Fallujah or
    giving a reprieve to the Sadr militias.

    So, yes, send more troops to Iraq  but only if they are going to be allowed
    to hunt down and kill vicious and sectarians in a manner that they have not
    been allowed to previously.

    This surge should be not viewed in terms of manpower alone. Rather it should
    be planned as the corrective to past misguided laxity, in which no quarter
    will now be given to die-hard jihadists as we pursue victory, not better
    policing. We owe that assurance to the thousands more of young Americans who
    now will be sent into harms way.

     Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is
    the author, most recently, of A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and
    Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War

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    Default Third Round in Iraq to Test U.S. Troops

    Third Round in Iraq to Test U.S. Troops - Christian Science Monitor.

    As the Third Infantry Division redeploys this month - the first Army unit to pull three tours in Iraq - the war's wear on soldiers poses a challenge for the Pentagon and, in all probability, President Bush. The president's purported plan to boost U.S. troop levels in Iraq, set to be unveiled this week, would require longer stays in Iraq and shorter rotations at home, raising concerns among experts and some Army brass that the new demands will push America's foot soldiers past the limits of physical and mental endurance.

    "War is coming to be a constant. These [soldiers] are expatriates spending more time there than they are back here, and they're facing this experience without people back here really understanding very well what that means," says Tom Palaima, a classics professor at the University of Texas-Austin who specializes in the experience of war through history...

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