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Thread: The Illogic of American Military Strategy in Iraq

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Default The Illogic of American Military Strategy in Iraq

    On July 4th President Bush said:

    Al Qaeda hasn't given up its objectives inside Iraq. And that is to cause enough chaos and confusion so America would leave, and they would be able to establish their safe haven from which to do two things: to further spread their ideology; and to plan and plot attacks against the United States. If we were to quit Iraq before the job is done, the terrorists we are fighting would not declare victory and lay down their arms -- they would follow us here, home. If we were to allow them to gain control of Iraq, they would have control of a nation with massive oil reserves -- which they could use to fund new attacks and exhort economic blackmail on those who didn't kowtow to their wishes. However difficult the fight is in Iraq, we must win it -- we must succeed for our own sake; for the security of our citizens, we must support our troops, we must support the Iraqi government, and we must defeat al Qaeda in Iraq.

    For the sake of discussion, let's overlook the rather bizarre assertion that if the insurgents "win" in Iraq "they would follow us here." Instead let's look at what this line of thinking implies.

    The President identified an al Qaeda "win" (defined as controlling Iraq) as the threat. I personally think that's impossible but if we accept it, it suggests a very different military strategy than our current one. If foreign fighters are the threat, our entire military should be focused on border control, leaving internal pacification to Iraqi security forces (an approach, by the way, that might have been effective in Vietnam).

    I still insist, though, that the "center of gravity" in the Iraq insurgency--and in all insurgencies--is the morale and integrity of the state security forces. The Maliki government appears uninterested in or unable to assure the integrity of the state security forces. If history holds, this suggests that the counterinsurgency effort will fail.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    I disagree somewhat with that argument. The Maliki government is not a unified government but a collection of factions, united around certain goals but nearly or literally at war on many others, not least of which is the identity and mission of the Iraqi security forces. What should be noted is that almost none of these factions have a vested interest in the ostensible U.S. goal for said forces, which is as a unifying, non-sectarian, non-political force. Instead the factions are quite assiduously working to capture said forces for their own interests.

    Note that this is the ultimate U.S. end-goal, and that U.S. policies in Anbar and Diyala aimed at aiding or creating Sunni tribal auxiliaries as a short-term solution are actually counterproductive towards this end-state.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    I disagree somewhat with that argument. The Maliki government is not a unified government but a collection of factions, united around certain goals but nearly or literally at war on many others, not least of which is the identity and mission of the Iraqi security forces. What should be noted is that almost none of these factions have a vested interest in the ostensible U.S. goal for said forces, which is as a unifying, non-sectarian, non-political force.

    Note that this is the ultimate U.S. end-goal, and that U.S. policies in Anbar and Diyala aimed at aiding or creating Sunni tribal auxiliaries as a short-term solution are actually counterproductive towards this end-state.
    I agree with your take on the government, but that's what scares me. I can't think of a successful counterinsurgency campaign that was undertaken by an inept, factionalized government. If that's the best there is, then perhaps the whole endeavor is a losing cause.

    By the way, I played with the idea that things that make sense in the short term may be counterproductive in the long term in my recent Rethinking Insurgency study.

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Default Let Me Elaborate

    Think, for a minute, of the basic logic of defense. Take missile defense. Experts tell us that at every stage in the flight of a missle--pre-launch, launch, boost, re-entry, impact--interception becomes more difficult. The earlier in the flight a missle is destroyed, the easier. The same holds for the influx of foreign fighters into Iraq. But, by focusing on securing Iraqi towns, we are attempting defense at its most difficult point--impact. The best strategy would be to staunch the flow of foreign fighters and funds at their source. But given the nature of the benighted suppliers of fighters and funds (Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc) that may be impossible. The next best strategy, then, may be to focus on the "re-entry" stage--border security.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    One wonders, though, just how much foreign fighters contribute to the myriad problems of Iraq?

    One of the better examples of our general strategic confusion:

    ...

    In another sign of a potential policy shift, Bush also said in his speech that one of the encouraging signs in Baghdad is that "citizens are forming neighborhood watch groups." It is not clear what the difference is between those groups and armed militias, which U.S. officials have said in the past must be disbanded or incorporated into Iraqi security forces.

    The president had previously emphasized the role of troops and law enforcement in protecting citizens. "When Iraqi civilians see a large presence of professional soldiers and police patrolling their streets, they grow in confidence and trust," Bush said in a speech in Michigan in April. "They become less likely to turn to militias for protection."

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Think, for a minute, of the basic logic of defense. Take missile defense. Experts tell us that at every stage in the flight of a missle--pre-launch, launch, boost, re-entry, impact--interception becomes more difficult. The earlier in the flight a missle is destroyed, the easier. The same holds for the influx of foreign fighters into Iraq. But, by focusing on securing Iraqi towns, we are attempting defense at its most difficult point--impact. The best strategy would be to staunch the flow of foreign fighters and funds at their source. But given the nature of the benighted suppliers of fighters and funds (Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc) that may be impossible. The next best strategy, then, may be to focus on the "re-entry" stage--border security.
    Steve,

    The porous borders are not ours to staunch, and haven't been for some time. Even in 2004, the points of entry at the Jordan and Syrian borders were not manned solely by US forces. There were small US footprint elements that "backed up" the Customs and Border Police units. Granted, it was a delicate if not impossible task and I don't fully understand why we did not run the POEs, but that was the case nonetheless. Most, in not all, screening was handled by IZ Customs personnel with the expected results of graft, corruption, and of course illegal entry.

    Without assembling another 5 Divisions in Iraq, we cannot control the borders from within Iraq - they are just too big. I therefore disagree that they are the next best area to orient on. If we focus security on the towns, cities, and populace - and do it well enough to the point that we are successful - we can build the upsurge of Iraqi sentiment that foreign fighters are not contributing anything to progress in Iraq. Although I am pessimistic of the reports, this appears to have happened among some of the Anbar tribes. Our track record on our own borders doesn't leave me inclined to think we could do it in a foreign sovereign state.

    If we can achieve the proper synergy between PRTs, indigenous forces, coalition forces, and sustainable growth/security, we can reduce if not eliminate those FF elements that seek to impede the coalition through jihad. That's where I think the scales have yet to be tipped.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Think, for a minute, of the basic logic of defense. Take missile defense. Experts tell us that at every stage in the flight of a missle--pre-launch, launch, boost, re-entry, impact--interception becomes more difficult. The earlier in the flight a missle is destroyed, the easier. The same holds for the influx of foreign fighters into Iraq. But, by focusing on securing Iraqi towns, we are attempting defense at its most difficult point--impact. The best strategy would be to staunch the flow of foreign fighters and funds at their source. But given the nature of the benighted suppliers of fighters and funds (Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc) that may be impossible. The next best strategy, then, may be to focus on the "re-entry" stage--border security.
    I agree with you on this component of the strategy. Border security has been ignored and neglected since day one. I have spoken to PM Maliki's staff about how to get the USA to help them resolve this issue but the love is just not there for us! The factions tie his hands on everything.

    There are 29,000 Iraqi border "troops" but they do nothing to stop the infiltration of personnel into Iraq from Syria and Saudi Arabia. In fact, many at the BCPs are corrupt, which is why the smuggling issues we have exist.

    Note that the Saudis are completing a massive 800km electronic & brick wall with Iraq because they know where AQ in SA is getting their leadership training, weapons and explosives. However border security is the only way to staunch the flow of manpower and money through western Iraq (oil smuggling is the number one fundraiser and captured American weapons sell like crazy at top dollar to the Lebanese mafia) but the internal strategy is not against AQ at all ... its against the other Iraqi insurgents who will persist in weakening the government until they get the cash concessions they want or attempt to overthow a future weak government and re-establish Baath domination ... near impossible but in the Sunnis minds, its possible and logical. No worries about what an AQ "win" would be ... the AQI Islamic Caliphate model is not even on the table for the Iraqis as I note here in my blog entry.
    Putting Foot to Al Qaeda Ass Since 1993

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Steve,

    The porous borders are not ours to staunch, and haven't been for some time. Even in 2004, the points of entry at the Jordan and Syrian borders were not manned solely by US forces. There were small US footprint elements that "backed up" the Customs and Border Police units. Granted, it was a delicate if not impossible task and I don't fully understand why we did not run the POEs, but that was the case nonetheless. Most, in not all, screening was handled by IZ Customs personnel with the expected results of graft, corruption, and of course illegal entry.

    Without assembling another 5 Divisions in Iraq, we cannot control the borders from within Iraq - they are just too big. I therefore disagree that they are the next best area to orient on. If we focus security on the towns, cities, and populace - and do it well enough to the point that we are successful - we can build the upsurge of Iraqi sentiment that foreign fighters are not contributing anything to progress in Iraq. Although I am pessimistic of the reports, this appears to have happened among some of the Anbar tribes. Our track record on our own borders doesn't leave me inclined to think we could do it in a foreign sovereign state.

    If we can achieve the proper synergy between PRTs, indigenous forces, coalition forces, and sustainable growth/security, we can reduce if not eliminate those FF elements that seek to impede the coalition through jihad. That's where I think the scales have yet to be tipped.
    But how much easier is it to secure every town and village than to control the border? What I'm trying to get it is that it's much harder to defend against them at the point of impact than on the infiltration routes since they are more dispersed and interspersed among civilians.

    While we all know that foreign fighters are a small proporation of the insurgents, if you look at what the President says, he never identifies Sunni tribal insurgents as the threat, only AQ. What I'm saying is that IF that is the strategic threat, we need a military strategy optimized to defend against it. And I don't think we have one now. If AQ is NOT the primary threat, the President needs to stop saying that it is.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Excellent entry by the way, mate. Overall I see our strategy as matching our sensing of the enemy (or at least portrayal of the enemy). Both are driven in a sense by the realities of the force structure we put on the ground and how we can sustain it. That is to say in our strategy we continue to grasp individual pieces of the puzzle as 'the anawer" rather than putting the puzzle together. Here you guys are talking the subject of borders; the reality is that we don't have the force structure and the Iraqis don't have the will (or the competent forces). Take the subject of UXOs ordnance stocks. We went for months/years openly admitting that we had no idea how much was in Iraq; we simply knew that we could not control it die to a lack of troops. But we have emphasized exterior sources of supply instead as a source of the IED problem. Abu B, you make similar points about the enemy we face; we emphasize for a lot of reasons. But in the vein I am offering here, I would have to say it has much to do with what our force structure allows us to do. Clear, hold, build means staying. The use of company and platoon outposts was in my view long overdue; that said, without sufficient force structure to implement the need to protect many small outposts may ultimately reduce actual contact with the population as discussed below:

    Iraq outposts plan may be flawed
    Some troops say the shift of forces to Baghdad neighborhoods is not achieving its goal: to increase street patrols and build trust.
    By Julian E. Barnes, Times Staff Writer
    July 8, 2007

    BAGHDAD The neighborhood outposts that the U.S. military launched with great fanfare in Baghdad early this year were supposed to put more American patrols on the streets and make residents feel safer. But some soldiers stationed at the posts and Iraqis who live nearby say they are doing the opposite.

    The outposts, along with joint U.S.-Iraqi security stations, form a cornerstone of the current Iraq strategy. Following a classic counterinsurgency tenet, military planners are trying to take U.S. forces out of their distant, sprawling military bases and into the day-to-day lives of Iraqis.

    Although senior U.S. commanders and mid-level officers say they believe the bases are starting to work, many soldiers stationed at the outposts are doubtful, arguing that the burden of protecting the bases means they spend less time on the streets.

    "They say we are spending more time 'in sector,' which we are doing we live here," said Spc. Tyrone Richardson, 24, a member of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, that operates in the east Baghdad neighborhood of Ubaidi, outside Sadr City. "But we aren't spending the time patrolling."
    Best

    Tom

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Blast From the Past

    Although his name still evokes controversy, this short column hits the mark:


    Our Own Worst Enemy
    By ALEXANDER M. HAIG, JR.
    July 10, 2007; Page A21

    Let us not delude ourselves. The recent Hamas conquest of Gaza is a signal defeat for the United States that goes well beyond the particulars of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We have sought to deny the Islamic terrorists a territorial base in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere. Now they have won one on the Mediterranean.

    Gaza is partly a consequence of three bad habits bedeviling the war on terror:
    Electing the anti-democrats.
    Speak fast, act slow.
    Too many generals. [in the Senate]

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Although his name still evokes controversy, this short column hits the mark:

    I even found today's Kissinger column worthwhile.

    I never met Al but Brian was my student at CGSC.

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    ILLOGIC OF STRATEGY vs. THE IMPORTANCE OF STRATEGY

    Strategy is more important than tactics. That also applies perfectly to the US IRAQ intervention.
    Had the US withdrawn forces after toppling Saddam the intervention had gone down as a big military success; but that would have called for an option of handing over to the UN which was not the case after unilaterally heading into IRAQ and simultaneously insulting allies and the UN as "debating society".
    So the perfect timing for an exit-strategy passed and the initial success was not exploited due to all that failed (lack of?) phase-4/COIN-plans over 3 years which everybody is now aware of; add Abu Ghreib and it gets clear, that a big mess was the only logical outcome...
    Today, all the invaluable COIN wisdom of Galula, Trinquier and others which has been (unfortunately too late) re-discovered will not help to turn back time, that is my opinion. (There is simply no second chance to make a good impression...) Just look back at the approach: "Garner as a Military Gouverner-no, doesn't work; Bremer and the dissolving of the IRAQI army- maybe a bad idea; Sanchez-mmh, not really the best man; .... lets try a COIN expert like Petraeus at last!" - Is that professional? Is that course of action the best what the greatest military superpower can show up with? Trial-and-error Strategy?

    Is there anybody else who has this "deja-vu" feeling when comparing the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and the US one in IRAQ? Even the struggling with a normally "simple" tactical threat (Soviets in AFG: anti-air-missiles/Stinger; US in IRAQ: IEDs) is strikingly similar.
    For the Soviets the seemingly easy and unimportant AFG-adventure turned out to be the beginning of the end, not at least because of the huge costs of the war in the end...
    Like them we went to IRAQ to topple the government at first place (the Soviets toppled Hafizullah Amin in Kabul, we toppled Saddam Hussein in Bagdad) and are now dragged into an attrition conflict in which we resemble the occupier and make a good "bad guy" and foreign fighters see IRAQ (as AFG before) as a playing ground for their form of jihad.
    There is a book on the Soviet-Afghan war called "The Bear Trap". Maybe somebody will write a book about IRAQ calling it "The Eagle Trap"...

    Summing up, I personally think that all the debates on tactical and operational level COIN-employment (even if they are good and useful - by the way SWJ is an excellent website!) fall short of answering the real question: the question for the grand strategy for IRAQ!
    My opinion: a good strategy would definitely include a really good Iraqi government and the UN...

    BRUZ

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRUZ_LEE View Post
    ILLOGIC OF STRATEGY vs. THE IMPORTANCE OF STRATEGY

    Strategy is more important than tactics. That also applies perfectly to the US IRAQ intervention.
    Had the US withdrawn forces after toppling Saddam the intervention had gone down as a big military success; but that would have called for an option of handing over to the UN which was not the case after unilaterally heading into IRAQ and simultaneously insulting allies and the UN as "debating society".
    So the perfect timing for an exit-strategy passed and the initial success was not exploited due to all that failed (lack of?) phase-4/COIN-plans over 3 years which everybody is now aware of; add Abu Ghreib and it gets clear, that a big mess was the only logical outcome...
    Today, all the invaluable COIN wisdom of Galula, Trinquier and others which has been (unfortunately too late) re-discovered will not help to turn back time, that is my opinion. (There is simply no second chance to make a good impression...) Just look back at the approach: "Garner as a Military Gouverner-no, doesn't work; Bremer and the dissolving of the IRAQI army- maybe a bad idea; Sanchez-mmh, not really the best man; .... lets try a COIN expert like Petraeus at last!" - Is that professional? Is that course of action the best what the greatest military superpower can show up with? Trial-and-error Strategy?

    Is there anybody else who has this "deja-vu" feeling when comparing the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and the US one in IRAQ? Even the struggling with a normally "simple" tactical threat (Soviets in AFG: anti-air-missiles/Stinger; US in IRAQ: IEDs) is strikingly similar.
    For the Soviets the seemingly easy and unimportant AFG-adventure turned out to be the beginning of the end, not at least because of the huge costs of the war in the end...
    Like them we went to IRAQ to topple the government at first place (the Soviets toppled Hafizullah Amin in Kabul, we toppled Saddam Hussein in Bagdad) and are now dragged into an attrition conflict in which we resemble the occupier and make a good "bad guy" and foreign fighters see IRAQ (as AFG before) as a playing ground for their form of jihad.
    There is a book on the Soviet-Afghan war called "The Bear Trap". Maybe somebody will write a book about IRAQ calling it "The Eagle Trap"...

    Summing up, I personally think that all the debates on tactical and operational level COIN-employment (even if they are good and useful - by the way SWJ is an excellent website!) fall short of answering the real question: the question for the grand strategy for IRAQ!
    My opinion: a good strategy would definitely include a really good Iraqi government and the UN...

    BRUZ

    One thing that frightens me is the extent to which the absolutely nonsensical elements in the Administration's explanation of Iraq resonate among the general population. For instance, here's a comment posted just a few hours ago to a general discussion board I sometime look in on:

    Let's assume we pull all of the troops out of Iraq. Civil War insues and the Al Queada and other terrorist groups take over the country and the oil supplies.

    What do you then do?

    Do we just wait on them to organize buy weapons with Iraq's oil money and fight them in the US and other countries when they attack?


    So, if I understand, if the United States leaves Iraq, those 500 or so AQ guys are going to take over a country of 23 million, then they are going to launch attacks against the United States.

    On one hand we can laugh at this. But it's clear to see where these ideas come from--they were lifted directly from the President's July 4th speech.

    Ultimately I'm afraid discourse on Iraq has shifted to the surreal.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Without getting off track too much, I have to disagree about the Haig article. It's a sloppy piece that trafficks overmuch in generalities and shows a lack of seriousness.

    1) Conflation of Hamas with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, global jihad, etc. A key insight of Kilcullen is disaggregating local conflicts from the main fight. Hamas vs. Israel/Fatah in the Palestinian territories is a prime example of this.

    2) Haig's point about elections not being a panacea is correct, but he acts as if the U.S. had any real say over whether or not the Sadr movement, Hizbullah, or Hamas was going to run in their respective elections. This was not the case in any of the aforementioned examples. Bashing neocons is even more pointless here since the neocons agree with him about the necessity of excluding just those 3 movements from political involvement.

    3) The point about the slow speed of the "surge" and overstretch of our armed forces is valid, but by this point is something of a banality.

    4) Haig apparently believes that Congressional leaders have no role in foreign policy other than backing the president.

    Haig has not even the ghost of a solution, beyond calling for a debate on "how to win." Thanks for the insight, sir.

    edit: Steve, he's not the only one. I groan every time I hear Tom Ricks, when flogging his book (which has many good qualities), predict the rise of a new Saddam in Iraq who will somehow magically unite the country, buy nukes (I suppose all the ones the Iranians haven't snapped up, since you know they're just lying around), and inaugurate the Caliphate.
    Last edited by tequila; 07-10-2007 at 05:01 PM. Reason: grammar

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    Sounds like a neighborhood watch group is just another form of a militia...


    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    One wonders, though, just how much foreign fighters contribute to the myriad problems of Iraq?

    One of the better examples of our general strategic confusion:
    "Speak English! said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and what's more, I don't believe you do either!"

    The Eaglet from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Without getting off track too much, I have to disagree about the Haig article. It's a sloppy piece that trafficks overmuch in generalities and shows a lack of seriousness.
    Perhaps but as short opinion piece it serves to prompt discussion.

    1) Conflation of Hamas with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, global jihad, etc. A key insight of Kilcullen is disaggregating local conflicts from the main fight. Hamas vs. Israel/Fatah in the Palestinian territories is a prime example of this.
    Conflation is too strong a term. Does he draw linkages between the two? Yes and I would say that is fair.

    2) Haig's point about elections not being a panacea is correct, but he acts as if the U.S. had any real say over whether or not the Sadr movement, Hizbullah, or Hamas was going to run in their respective elections. This was not the case in any of the aforementioned examples. Bashing neocons is even more pointless here since the neocons agree with him about the necessity of excluding just those 3 movements from political involvement.
    He does indeed act like we could have influenced the process. That should not surprise anyone because we claimed the elections proved that our pushing demcocracy works. Neocons now agree that the forces he lists should have been excluded. They were not so vocal before it became clear those elements would win.

    3) The point about the slow speed of the "surge" and overstretch of our armed forces is valid, but by this point is something of a banality.
    Banality? I don't believe that anyone looking at troop strengths and commitments regards this issue as banal.

    4) Haig apparently believes that Congressional leaders have no role in foreign policy other than backing the president.
    Here I would agree. But again this is Al Haig, who told everyone to relax when Reagan got shot because he was "in charge".

    Haig has not even the ghost of a solution, beyond calling for a debate on "how to win." Thanks for the insight, sir.
    I would say that Haig is saying what we have said on this thread: develop a strategy with objectives achevable with the means we have in hand or the means we are willing to develop.

    Best

    Tom

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Banality? I don't believe that anyone looking at troop strengths and commitments regards this issue as banal.
    Bad wording on my part. I was trying to say that Haig is making a point that has been made by others since 2003, just in a slightly different way.

    Here I would agree. But again this is Al Haig, who told everyone to relax when Reagan got shot because he was "in charge".
    Ha! Thanks for reminding me of this moment. Not Haig at his brightest.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Bad wording on my part. I was trying to say that Haig is making a point that has been made by others since 2003, just in a slightly different way.

    Ha! Thanks for reminding me of this moment. Not Haig at his brightest.
    It was very much the beginning of the end for Haig as Sec State as I recall; he had a very Rumsfeldian approach when it came to the press and lesser beings.

    The truly sad thing is that you are correct on the issue of overreach but it predates 2003. Had it been seriously considered in 2002 or 2003 we would not be having this discussion.

    Best

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Ultimately I'm afraid discourse on Iraq has shifted to the surreal.
    Looking at what's being discussed right now one can divide the parties into two big groups:
    1) I'm fed up with this war, constantly bad news from Iraq, too many casualties and too expensive. Get out there quickly. Let's have the Iraqis deal with this mess. Though pulling out may look a little bit like Vietnam we can still point out to liberating Iraq from Saddam; at least that's something. And what becomes of Iraq....I don't care.
    2) The fate of Iraq is not important. The only important thing for the US is not being "defeated" and humiliated by these Islamists. Not another Vietnam-Trauma again. We have to win that at any cost! Hang on! Lets keep up supporting the war until the right moment when we can somehow claim a win; for achieving this let us intimidate the US citizens with the image of Jihadists coming to CONUS to place IEDs in front of the Capitol; every trick is welcome just to get the necessary support for the war...

    Common to both options is that they don't care about Iraq and the Iraqi people.
    By the way, why was the war started ...?

    BRUZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRUZ_LEE View Post
    Looking at what's being discussed right now one can divide the parties into two big groups:
    1) I'm fed up with this war, constantly bad news from Iraq, too many casualties and too expensive. Get out there quickly. Let's have the Iraqis deal with this mess. Though pulling out may look a little bit like Vietnam we can still point out to liberating Iraq from Saddam; at least that's something. And what becomes of Iraq....I don't care.
    2) The fate of Iraq is not important. The only important thing for the US is not being "defeated" and humiliated by these Islamists. Not another Vietnam-Trauma again. We have to win that at any cost! Hang on! Lets keep up supporting the war until the right moment when we can somehow claim a win; for achieving this let us intimidate the US citizens with the image of Jihadists coming to CONUS to place IEDs in front of the Capitol; every trick is welcome just to get the necessary support for the war...

    Common to both options is that they don't care about Iraq and the Iraqi people.
    By the way, why was the war started ...?

    BRUZ
    Not sure where the two groups you've stereotyped are coming from. Looks like the political spectrum. I don't think you're talking about people here.

    My problem with leaving is that I will feel like I lied to every Iraqi I came in contact with over 2 years if we don't help them establish the safety and security they deserve. Maybe I'm the only one around that is dumb (or is that patient?) enough to still believe it can happen.
    Example is better than precept.

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