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Thread: NYT OP-ED from 82nd AB soldiers

  1. #1
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default NYT OP-ED from 82nd AB soldiers

    VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

    The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

    Eloquent, but does it run counter to IO we should be maintaining...especially some of the final paragraphs?

  2. #2
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
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    A quite sophisticated analysis.

    Obviously it hinders the IO campaign directed towards the American public, since this is as noted the personal opinion of the soldiers who wrote it, not part of the official storyline.

    Most striking to me are these paragraphs:

    A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

    As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.
    Hits directly at the loyalty of the Iraqi security forces, upon which the entire edifice of our long-term strategy is built.

    The Iraqi government is run by the main coalition partners of the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, with Kurds as minority members. The Shiite clerical establishment formed the alliance to make sure its people did not succumb to the same mistake as in 1920: rebelling against the occupying Western force (then the British) and losing what they believed was their inherent right to rule Iraq as the majority. The qualified and reluctant welcome we received from the Shiites since the invasion has to be seen in that historical context. They saw in us something useful for the moment.

    Now that moment is passing, as the Shiites have achieved what they believe is rightfully theirs. Their next task is to figure out how best to consolidate the gains, because reconciliation without consolidation risks losing it all. Washington’s insistence that the Iraqis correct the three gravest mistakes we made — de-Baathification, the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and the creation of a loose federalist system of government — places us at cross purposes with the government we have committed to support.
    This IMO really nails the political situation in the country from the POV of the religious Shia parties, as well as providing the appropriate historical context.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2005


    Soldiers who signed anti-war op-ed piece die in Iraq
    ....Staff Sgt. Yance Gray and Sgt. Omar Mora were members of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

    Gray, Mora and five other soldiers died Monday when their truck overturned near the Iraqi capital, U.S. officials said.

    Gray and Mora were among seven soldiers, mostly sergeants, who wrote the op-ed piece that appeared in the Times on August 19. It called the prospects of U.S. success "far-fetched" and said the progress being reported was being "offset by failures elsewhere."....

  4. #4
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    Aug 2007

    Default offers additional information and perspective

    A friend of the seven NCOs told me in an e-mail, several days before the accident, that Staff Sgts. Gray and Murphy were two of "the brains behind the op-ed." (The third was Spc. Buddhika Jayamaha, who, like the article's other three survivors, remains in Iraq and is not scheduled to leave until November.) They were inveterate readers of history, and they relished talking about books on civil wars and insurgencies—and how those histories related to the war that they were fighting—for hours after returning from a patrol.

    In other words, these were precisely the sorts of soldiers that Gen. Petraeus is trying to groom for a new U.S. Army attuned to the requirements of 21st-century warfare: soldiers who fight valiantly and think strategically.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2007


    We must have the best of the best soldiers humanuity has ever produced - millions of Iraqis are totally bent on killing each other and us , the country is in total chaos, literally up in flames with nothing but constant explosions, death and maiming. With millions of Iraqis out for our blood one would expect a high KIA rate everyday. shouldn't we have at say 30,000 KIA amidst such utter devastation, chaos, blood letting, butchery, civil war, sectarian violence, insurgency, terrorism, Iranian influence, poverty, terrible infrastructure, tribalism, inept government agencies on both sides, gouging contractors, laziness, ineptness, bungling, lying, stealing and even cheating at cards? Are we really that good or is everyone just sitting in the green zone and all the patrols and operations are simply holographs beamed home by the tryant Bush and his Halliburton cronies?

  6. #6
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    May 2007

    Default The kids are that good.

    Training today is so far ahead of my time it's literally mind boggling. Shy Meyer moving the Recruiting Stations helped a great deal but the training improvement is the big driver.

    The fascinating thing is, they're capable of doing even more and better...

  7. #7
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    Aug 2007

    Default for goesh

    To answer your question, Yes our troops are really that good! Not sure how you could come to a conclusion like this

    Are we really that good or is everyone just sitting in the green zone and all the patrols and operations are simply holographs beamed home by the tryant Bush and his Halliburton cronies
    Do you really think that with the level of media coverage of this war that that would be possible?

  8. #8
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Dec 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by goesh View Post
    even cheating at cards?
    That lower than a snakes belly in a wagon rut


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