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Thread: Administration Shaving Yardstick for Iraq Gains

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Administration Shaving Yardstick for Iraq Gains

    8 July Washington Post - Administration Shaving Yardstick for Iraq Gains by Karen DeYoung and Tom Ricks.

    The Iraqi government is unlikely to meet any of the political and security goals or timelines President Bush set for it in January when he announced a major shift in U.S. policy, according to senior administration officials closely involved in the matter. As they prepare an interim report due next week, officials are marshaling alternative evidence of progress to persuade Congress to continue supporting the war.

    In a preview of the assessment it must deliver to Congress in September, the administration will report that Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province are turning against the group al-Qaeda in Iraq in growing numbers; that sectarian killings were down in June; and that Iraqi political leaders managed last month to agree on a unified response to the bombing of a major religious shrine, officials said.

    Those achievements are markedly different from the benchmarks Bush set when he announced his decision to send tens of thousands of additional troops to Iraq. More troops, Bush said, would enable the Iraqis to proceed with provincial elections this year and pass a raft of power-sharing legislation. In addition, he said, the government of President Nouri al-Maliki planned to "take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November."...

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    8 July Washington Post - Administration Shaving Yardstick for Iraq Gains by Karen DeYoung and Tom Ricks.
    Does American strategy have any procedure for flunking out or has it become a big, honkin Montessori school?

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    "honkin Motesorri school" - ouch

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    Council Member Abu Buckwheat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Does American strategy have any procedure for flunking out or has it become a big, honkin Montessori school?

    BBBwwwwahahahaha

    Sniff ... OK seriously, this "policy", however much it shifts, has not stood the test of time or battle. The hunt for WMDs, the fight against AQ and others seem to smack of more than a little domestic politics and has always been the spawning ground for many other spurious claims. From Day One there never was a political framework to re-create Iraq, assist Iraq, support Iraq. I heard this from Paul Bremer's own mouth in 2002 when I asked him that at the National Press Club. Victory and Flowers was order of the day. It was supposed to be the other way around and once Plan A disintegrated in a haze of personal incompetence they studiously avoided any Plan B.

    Speaking from the deckplates, General Petraeus is working hard and I like the strategy as he applies it to the Iraqi populace but its a losing proposition if the President himself is adrift and paddless in the fluvium of excretia that he chose to make. From this article this line stands out.

    "The heart of darkness is the president," the person said. "Nobody knows what he thinks, even the people who work for him."
    Thats not good, right?

    The live-fire trained and battle tested insurgents and terrorists and they have a goal and some even have a strategy to kill our willingness to fight - "If you leave, we win; if you stay, we win." ... this quote from the Washington Post today, speaking tactically, sums up the Montessori approach for both policy and operations:

    We're winning. They wouldn't be fighting if we weren't winning. They wouldn't have a reason to," said Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich, the battalion commander. "It's a measure of effectiveness."
    .

    How about "You're a great big target occupying our nation and its our pleasure and duty to kill you where we see you?." (yes I deliberately left AQI out of that equation)

    I am once again brought back to the Report on Mesopotamia by T.E. Lawrence who wrote an excellent description of our policy and operations ... in 1920

    The Cabinet cannot disclaim all responsibility. They receive little more news than the public: they should have insisted on more, and better. They have sent draft after draft of reinforcements, without enquiry. When conditions became too bad to endure longer, they decided to send out as High commissioner the original author of the present system, with a conciliatory message to the Arabs that his heart and policy have completely changed.*

    Yet our published policy has not changed, and does not need changing. It is that there has been a deplorable contrast between our profession and our practice. We said we went to Mesopotamia to defeat Turkey. We said we stayed to deliver the Arabs from the oppression of the Turkish Government, and to make available for the world its resources of corn and oil. We spent nearly a million men and nearly a thousand million of money to these ends. This year we are spending ninety-two thousand men and fifty millions of money on the same objects.

    Our government is worse than the old Turkish system. They kept fourteen thousand local conscripts embodied, and killed a yearly average of two hundred Arabs in maintaining peace. We keep ninety thousand men, with aeroplanes, armoured cars, gunboats, and armoured trains. We have killed about ten thousand Arabs in this rising this summer. We cannot hope to maintain such an average ...
    Putting Foot to Al Qaeda Ass Since 1993

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    CSIS, 9 Jul 07: Iraq’s Insurgency and Civil Violence and US Strategy: Developments through June 2007
    ....It often takes six months to a year to determine how effective a given tactical approach really is, and how well insurgents and other hostile movements can adapt. The US-led Coalition and Iraqi government forces have always been able to win at the tactical level, but so far have not been able to hold or establish lasting security and the ability to build. Military success is dependent on political conciliation, effective governance, and the rule of law – none of which have as yet achieved major success in most of Iraq, and particularly outside Kurdish dominated areas....

    ....If success comes, it will not be because the new strategy President Bush announced in January succeed, or through the development of Iraqi security forces at the planned rate. It will come because of the new, spontaneous rise of local forces willing to attack and resist Al Qa’ida, and because new levels of political conciliation and economic stability occur at a pace dictated more by Iraqi political dynamics than the result of US pressure.

    It will not be possible to determine whether the elements of success or failure for such an option by the fall of 2007. It may well take until the spring of 2008. Even then, the prospects for lasting success in achieving security and stability in Iraq will almost certainly take several more years of determine US effort and support to the Iraqi government and Iraqi security forces. Success is possible, but remains a high-risk operation...

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    "I heard this from Paul Bremer's own mouth in 2002 when I asked him that at the National Press Club. "


    The last article reminds me of the Vietnam myth that no fight with VC was ever lost.
    How can someone claim that
    "The US-led Coalition and Iraqi government forces have always been able to win at the tactical level..." ???

    The Iraqi government forces have routed sometimes, that's no victory (well, successful disengagement was probably their plan even before combat began, so it might be a victory, but their superiors certainly had other expectations).
    The US-led Coalition forces have numerous contacts with own casualties but no enemy casualties (ambushes), just like the enemy intended. So definately not only victories either. Even some battles have been a draw, as offensives came to a halt for political reasons.
    It's rather the operational level where these forces had no defeats and for the Coalition forces also the shoot-outs and larger fights.


    The original topic seems like some spin ddoctor action to me. I guess the CENTCOM has already told those in Washington what can be expected and what not - and that's most likely again less than the neoconservatives claimed.

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