View Poll Results: What is Charles Schumer doing?

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27. You may not vote on this poll
  • He's absolutely right about the effectiveness of the Surge.

    3 11.11%
  • He's completely wrong.

    9 33.33%
  • He firmly and honestly believes this position.

    6 22.22%
  • This is the official position of the Democratic Party on the Surge.

    7 25.93%
  • He'll say anything that is the antithesis of POTUS' position.

    14 51.85%
  • He's lost his mind.

    6 22.22%
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Thread: Charlie Schumer - does he get it?

  1. #1
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Default Charlie Schumer - does he get it?

    SEN Charlie Schumer spoke this past week on Iraq and his impressions of the Surge:

    And let me be clear, the violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge. The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes from al Qaeda said to these tribes we have to fight al Qaeda ourselves. It wasn't that the surge brought peace here. It was that the warlords took peace here, created a temporary peace here. And that is because there was no one else there protecting.
    Last edited by RTK; 09-08-2007 at 09:27 PM.
    Example is better than precept.

  2. #2
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Not much left to say following this

    The Democrats have the same view of the military that they do of all Americans. The average American, according to the liberal view, cannot make it on their own without government programs, regulation or control. The same holds true for the military. They cannot possibly get it right if they are led by a conservative commander-in-chief.
    Jeez, hope he never gets elected !

    RTK, why do you get to vote twice ?

  3. #3
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default RTK gets to vote twice...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Not much left to say following this
    Jeez, hope he never gets elected !

    RTK, why do you get to vote twice ?
    ... because he is from Chicago .

    I don't know how he did that - Bill and I can't vote twice and we have full admin control on the site. Will see if we have a glitch here or if Ryan is the hacker we all suspected he was.
    Last edited by SWJED; 09-08-2007 at 09:49 PM.

  4. #4
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    ... because he is from Chicago .

    I don't know how he did that - Bill and I can't vote twice and we have full admin control on the site. Will see if we have a glitch here or if Ryan is the hacker we all suspected he was.
    Cause I marked it as a multiple choice poll. You can have more than one answer the one and only time you vote.

    I'm not from Chicago, but I am fluent with their way of politics and business...
    Example is better than precept.

  5. #5
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Duh...

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    Cause I marked it as a multiple choice poll. You can have more than one answer the one and only time you vote.

    I'm not from Chicago, but I am fluent with their way of politics and business...
    I feel foolish, not for missing the multiple choice option, but for listening to Stan .

  6. #6
    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Default Not a single decent candidate!

    Being from New York I am sick that we can not get a single descent candidate Republican or otherwise. The GOP just wants a protest, no shot in hell, candidate. They aren't willing to support a real candidate. They forget that New York isn't a heavy blue state. On a state level if Pataki hadn't hit a term limit he'd still be in office. Republicans control the state assembly. The GOP just refuses to get along with NY Republicans. We're Conservatives. Not neo-conservative, not progressive conservatives not post-conservatives. All I can say about Schumer is that he used to be a decent senator. Also, atlest he isn't Hillary. She is not a New Yorker neither in the state of city sense. If Guilliani hadn't had prostate cancer he would have been the candidate and she wouldn't have had a shot in hell. Sorry, I'm on a soapbox. For your information I'm acually an independent. Atleast for now.

    Please, don't blame all New York's people for our senators?
    Last edited by Adam L; 09-08-2007 at 10:15 PM. Reason: improvement

  7. #7
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    Chuck Schumer is not stupid by any means. He's just "doubling down" on the bet he's already placed.

    Schumer is head of DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee), and he's busy recruiting potential candidates to run in 2008 and beyond. He won his bets in 2006, and in his view, the situation has not changed enough to alter his approach, so let's keep the same game going heading into 2008, only let's "double down" on the bet. Smart move IMO (even though I don't agree with him).

    Now, he wants to get out ahead on this whole September report (that's why he was first in line). If he's your "face" guy for recruiting candidates, well, got to establish his street creds.

    Say what you will, Schumer is one very smart pol. Ethical and all the other stuff - I'll leave that alone. Ask yourself - who's he going with for Democratic presidential candidate. That alone right there should tell you how smart this guy is.

  8. #8
    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    I was a Congressional intern last summer (sorry, SWAdmin, but probably the source of those Capitol Hill site hits you were getting . . .I was a bad boy at the office), and Schumer's rep (besides being the worst camera hog in Washington - he has staff assigned to scour the media for references to him) is, as watcher said, a very smooth political operator. He's going to hammer the surge as long as it continues - you can contrast his reaction with other Democrats like Durbin or Levin who are vacillating and acknowledging some progress. Schumer is guns-blazing on Iraq and he has a vested interest in this point at downplaying any success, whether legitimate or illegitimate.

    That said, we would be remiss if we didn't examine the Senator's charge and address it. The al-Anbar miracle is far and away the Surge's biggest success, at least as touted by the administration and many of Petraeus' remarks. Yet I think it's valid to ask if the transformation that took place there was the result of what the US did, or what al-Qaeda did to turn the local tribes against them.

    I know we engaged with the sheiks and all that stuff, but it's true that during much of 2003-2006, we could provide little or no security to the locals in al-Anbar. Now, with the tribes' help, we are doing well there. I think it's fair to ask if we really deserve as much credit as we give ourselves for that turnaround.

    My .02.

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

  9. #9
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattC86 View Post
    I was a Congressional intern last summer (sorry, SWAdmin, but probably the source of those Capitol Hill site hits you were getting . . .I was a bad boy at the office), and Schumer's rep (besides being the worst camera hog in Washington - he has staff assigned to scour the media for references to him) is, as watcher said, a very smooth political operator. He's going to hammer the surge as long as it continues - you can contrast his reaction with other Democrats like Durbin or Levin who are vacillating and acknowledging some progress. Schumer is guns-blazing on Iraq and he has a vested interest in this point at downplaying any success, whether legitimate or illegitimate.

    That said, we would be remiss if we didn't examine the Senator's charge and address it. The al-Anbar miracle is far and away the Surge's biggest success, at least as touted by the administration and many of Petraeus' remarks. Yet I think it's valid to ask if the transformation that took place there was the result of what the US did, or what al-Qaeda did to turn the local tribes against them.

    I know we engaged with the sheiks and all that stuff, but it's true that during much of 2003-2006, we could provide little or no security to the locals in al-Anbar. Now, with the tribes' help, we are doing well there. I think it's fair to ask if we really deserve as much credit as we give ourselves for that turnaround.

    My .02.

    Matt

    I'm waiting for CavGuy to show up. He was there in Ramadi when 1/1 AD got the tribes to flip. I'm sure he has an opinion on this.
    Example is better than precept.

  10. #10
    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    I'm waiting for CavGuy to show up. He was there in Ramadi when 1/1 AD got the tribes to flip. I'm sure he has an opinion on this.
    I forgot about that - I knew he was there, and I'm remembering what he's said about it.

    I'm in for it for that comment above, lol.

    Alright, sir, I apologize already. . . .

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

  11. #11
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    Default Having just read the discussion before I voted

    I used the Chicago method (also used by Noriega in Panama) and voted 4 times!!!!!

    Seriously, though, he really adds little to the debate.

  12. #12
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default My Kid's outfit flipped two near Fallujah in late 2004.

    Matt, it took the unit about four months to do that -- and they've stayed flipped. They failed with another due to ham handedness from the CPA.

    The unit later, on a tour in Afghanistan in 2006, used the same techniques and got a few village headmen to switch sides. Patience, common sense and a lot of work can do good things.

  13. #13
    Registered User Hownowcow's Avatar
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    My fundamental problem with Senator Schumer's assertion is the "thought" behind it: "It was that the warlords took peace here, created a temporary peace here. And that is because there was no one else there protecting." No one else protecting? The U.S. mission is not to distribute fish, it is to inspire the locals to fish for themselves. Security and the rule of law are participatory, not spectator sports. The very idea of "warlords" reluctantly forced to act because their people weren't properly protected by infidels is silly. A comparison & contrast led to this "flip." Enlightened self-interest is at the center of progress in Anbar and it is also the fundamental motivation for many politicians' views on war.
    Last edited by Hownowcow; 09-09-2007 at 11:48 PM.
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  14. #14
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Default A very short and simplified version of what happened in Ramadi:

    Ok, I was taking a day off from SWJ but RTK made me come and defend my unit's honor .....

    As said I was there. That also means I was very close to it personally, and it colors my views. That said, I'll try and give as objective as a summary as possible. Forgive the dick and jane writing style, I have to type quickly because I promised to play cars with my 3 year old.....

    This version is entirely my own personal view and from memory without my notes, so forgive me if any inaccuracies in dates or units are involved. My position gave me a first hand view of the complete fight at Brigade level from August 2006-February 2007.

    Setting, June 2006. 1/1 AD takes Ramadi over from 2/28 ID. Ramadi is largely under insurgent control, and a Marine BN is hunkered in the government center and a few other sites in central Ramadi. Insurgents have complete freedom of movement in the city, and AQIZ controls most of the town. Daily battles rage between the marines and the fighters around the Gov Center. 2/28 pursues a containment strategy to isolate Ramadi. Residents begin to flee the city in anticipation of a US Fallujah style takedown due to AQIZ (Al Qaeda Iraq) presence. SIGACTs average around 40-60 a day. Attacks against CF are 20+ per day, and tend to be complex. There are less than 300 IP's on the books, and less than 100 report to duty daily in a few decrepit stations on the periphery of the city, and undertake no missions or security duties. The major bases east and west of town are mortared/rocketed multiple times per day from both rural and open areas. COL Devlin, I MEF G2, declares Anbar irretrievably lost. 1/1 AD was charged basically with keeping a lid on things, and preventing an AQIZ sanctuary. COL MacFarland, the commander, was given essentially a free hand to do what he wanted, because things couldn't get much worse.

    1/1 AD brings a slightly different experience base to Ramadi. First, they are an in theater transfer from Tal Afar, and followed 3ACR's success. There 1/1 AD learned a lot about local governance development, combat outposts, and tribal cooperation. COL MacFarland determined not to mount a citywide assault and instead begin establishing company bases in key places, starting on the outskirts of the city and moving inward. The bases are designed to reclaim Ramadi one neighborhood at a time.

    The campaign begins, and the first few company bases go in. The bases endure daily attacks for several weeks, including ambushes, VBIEDs, mortars, and complex attacks with 40-50 fighters. Over subsequent weeks, the amount, complexity, and frequency of attacks drop. We expand patrols around the base, and leverage CA teams to provide assistance to the population in the neighborhoods surrounding the bases. Although wary, the locals offer some measure of cooperation in many areas. As one area is controlled, another COP is built further in the city, and the process starts over. Two maneuver battalions participate in the initial COP expansion, TF 1-37 AR and TF 1-506 IN.

    During this period, we begin to see indications of "Green(Civilian) on Red (AIF)" violence north of Ramadi. Technical intelligence indicates that AQIZ murdered a major tribal sheik in a power dispute, and desecrated his body. His tribe and several nearby tribes begin to fight AQIZ. At this point, our engagement officers, with the support of COL MacFarland, and led by CPT Travis Patriquin, begin engaging the sheiks of the area. It is determined that the sheiks are fed up with AQIZ, but lack the strength, both physical, political, and moral, to take on AQIZ, which is threatening their traditional power in Ramadi. Over time, a deal is struck with a few tribes to the NW of Ramadi, led by Sheik Sittar. We provide training and weapons to members of their tribes, and they join the IP's and cease supporting those attacking us. We cooperatively will work to rid Ramadi of AQIZ. The announcement of the Anbar Salvation Council is made, and greeted with skepticism by outside sources.

    We begin police recruitment large scale in August/September. As outlined in CPT Patriquin's "How to win in Al Anbar" PowerPoint, groups of tribal militia are sent to Baghdad and Jordan for police training, while the other half protect the tribe. When one group comes back, another departs. By December over 1000 IP's have been trained and are active in the force. The IP's are deployed into stations protecting tribal areas. AQIZ flees these areas and the surrounding tribes take notice. One by one, the tribes approach the SAA council and us and ask to join. We wholeheartedly accept, and when a tribe joins an IP base is created in their area, supported by CF. The US units in the area provide backup and support to the tribal fighters when attacked by AQIZ. By November, most of the area north and west of Ramadi has been secured by tribal forces backed by US and IA heavy units. The main bases to the west of Ramadi received virtually no indirect fire attacks from October forward. Attacks on CF in these areas drop to Zero, and many caches are revealed. As each tribe comes on line, it adds to the IP recruits, and civil affairs projects are targeted to those areas.

    East of Ramadi remained a problem. In late November AQIZ attacked a tribe in an area immediately east of Ramadi that was about to "flip". AQIZ murdered about 20 members and began burning houses. Locals fled across the river in boats and approached an Iraqi Army Outpost north of the river, and described the situation. CPT Patriquin called the local sheiks for a better description. We made contact with the tribal sheik who begged for help. We immediately shifted air and ground resources to the area, and AQIZ began to withdraw. We clearly caught a body being dragged behind a car on UAV as AQIZ withdrew west. TF 1-9 IN emplaced blocks and in cooperation with USMC airpower we targeted and destroyed three AQIZ vehicles fleeing the scene.

    The that evening we sent companies of 1-9 IN into the area, who established presence to support the attacked tribe. Other tribes, seeing the forces, requested help. Over the next weeks an area that was previously considered "no go" terrain became supportive as every tribe in the area "flipped". Almost all the major outer Ramadi tribal areas were now friendly to CF. TF 2-37 Armor (TF 1-6 IN began it in that sector until Oct) and TF 1-9 IN developed and maintained the tribal relationships, and ensured AQIZ could not retaliate against the friendly tribes.

    While the outer area fight was occurring, the bases in the city were expanding under TF 1-37 AR, TF 1-77 AR, and 1/6 Marines (1-35 AR and 1-506 PIR began the processes but rotated in Oct/Nov 2006). The Marines under 1/6 were able to leave their embattled outposts and established new bases in northern Ramadi where AQIZ had fled as the base footprint expanded. The fighting was heavy but brief, and AQIZ was largely driven from the western and Southern Ramadi Areas. We moved to establish a joint command center for IP/IA/US forces, and the SAA appointed a mayor for Ramadi to establish local governance. In January things had progressed that th IP and IA waged a major fight that expelled AQIZ from west Ramadi during a fight at the "White Apartments". This action, while backed by US, was conducted entirely by IP and IA working together.

    At this time (February) 1/1 AD changed out with 1/3 ID, who enthusiastically adopted our concept of operation and continued with it.

    By April, 1/3 ID reported that every tribe in Ramadi was cooperating with SAA, and attacks had dropped to less than 1/day. The campaign rippled outward to the rest of Anbar. 1 MEF and 2 MEF were more than happy to assist.
    Last edited by Cavguy; 09-09-2007 at 06:09 PM. Reason: Amplify Details, White Apartments edit. Added all the major maneuver BN's in the task org.
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  15. #15
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Default Split post, over 10000 characters!

    continued from above .....

    So why did it happen? Here are my personal views, and I think it was a combination of these factors, at different strengths among each sheik.

    1) The "Taliban" effect. The tribes flipped because it was in their interest to. They saw what life would be like under AQIZ and didn't want any of it.

    2) Power. AQIZ became more powerful than the tribes. The tribes decided that this wasn't good, and maybe the Americans aren't so bad.

    3) Fatigue. The locals were tired of their families being killed, justified and unjustified. Most just wanted some law and order and a job.

    4) Recognition that the US would eventually leave. They watch the news too, and realized that sooner or later the US would be leaving. Extrapolating from that, the real question is what would happen once the US left. They fear the central government and Shia militias. Losing their best fighters to US firepower only weakened their long term position if it comes to a civil war.

    5) US Forces learned. US Forces employing COIN doctrine that respected local power structures. We weren't trying to create their society new, we sought to work with rather than against traditional tribal structures. 1 MEF (MajGen Zilmer) and 2 MEF (MajGen Gaskin) were 110% supportive of our efforts and gave us all we needed, especially in non-kinetic resources.

    6) The wind was blowing our way. Tribes and Iraqis have a long history of siding with whoever it seems will be the winner, and changing that in an instant. Securing the population from company outposts and ridding the criminal element bought a lot of goodwill, and convinced many that the US would win the tactical battle in the short term.

    The risks:

    1) Tribes flip back. This would mainly happen if we failed to back them against AQIZ or the central government. Hence Bush's visit to Anbar last week, demonstrating political support.

    2) Arming the Sunnis for an upcoming sectarian war.

    3) The Sunnis still do not trust the central government in the least.

    4) Having empowered the tribes, they act more as mafia type organizations than semi-legitimate governments for the local populace, creating a corrupt and unpopular local government that will channel the population to support AQIZ against the sheiks.

    Hon. Schumer has some points. The tribes flipped for their own reasons. But the awakening could not have happened without our support. As Ken stated earlier in the thread, this was attempted but not exploited in 2004, and elsewhere. Bottom line a strategic window opened, and 1/1 AD was smart enough to exploit the window of opportunity. The results are where they are today. We didn't kill those mortar teams hammering our FOB's, they flipped. In essence, that is the goal of both Sun Tzu and COIN theory, defeating your enemy without having to combat him. By co-opting him my FOB is just as safe, except if the guy flipps back. But isn’t that how you win most COIN actions, by convincing the other guy not to fight?

    But some pundits are right. While a great tactical and operational success, it only has meaning if the Root Cause of the insurgency is addressed, which requires political reconciliation. All that work is for nothing if the country isn't able to come back together. But that's beyond a BCT's scope.

    As a final note, 1/1 AD endured 89 KIA in Ramadi (IIRC +/- a few), and over 500 wounded acheiving the above. It was not easy, and very kinetic at times. A high US price was paid for the Anbar awakening.

    Now I have to go and “play cars”
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  16. #16
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Default Oh and about the surge.....

    As to whether the Awakening would have been possible without the surge ....

    As the timeline indicates, all the major muscle movements took place in August-November 2006. Well before the surge. We were augmented by a few companies from a MEU on an Anbar surge from November-January, which enabled us to expand further in 1-9 IN's AO.

    In fact, we were extended from 12 to 14 months in theater in Oct 2006 because our replacement BDE was shifted to support the Baghdad surge. This past spring it became policy for all units to have 15 month tours.

    1/1 AD remains the only BDE extended during both of its OIF tours - 15 months in OIF 1 to combat the Sadr Rebellion in 2004 and then again this past tour in Ramadi.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    Ok, I was taking a day off from SWJ but RTK made me come and defend my unit's honor .....
    Very, very helpful overview--thanks, Cavguy.

  18. #18
    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    And let me be clear, the violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge.
    Well that part is dead on, violence was on the decline in Anbar before the surge and the surge doesn't amount to that many extra troops in Anbar, so yeah he gets it

  19. #19
    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    1/1 AD remains the only BDE extended during both of its OIF tours - 15 months in OIF 1 to combat the Sadr Rebellion in 2004 and then again this past tour in Ramadi.
    That's tradition, in '96 I was with 1/1 AD (3/5 cav since reflaged 1-36 inf) my company was about 4 days from leaving Bosnia and then the word came down indefinite extension . . . we went back to Germany 4 months later.

  20. #20
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    Default Well said Cavguy and I just read

    Sen Joe Biden's statement where he says that GEN Petraeus is wrong. I used to think that most Congressment and Senators were willing to look at the facts and assess them honestly. Yet, here is another Senator who either can't see what is happening or doesn't understand it or just wants the US and Iraqis to lose because he so hates President Bush!.

    How many people who have been on the ground for any length of time and seen what is going on are prepared to say that Petraeus (and Kilcullen among others) is wrong in his assessment. Petraeus and Crocker were critics of the way the war was being waged. Now they are fighting it their way and having some success based on a strategy that links the tactics Cavguy used in Ramadi at the operational level. But still, Senators Schumer, Durbin, and Biden see either gloom and doom or that success has nothing to do with our efforts. Are they really that stupid? Or are they just totally venal?

    Sorry about the rant.

    JohnT

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