Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

October 31, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

TIMETABLES....The LA Times reports that high-ranking military officers are warming up to the idea of deadlines and timetable in Iraq:

"Deadlines could help ensure that the Iraqi leaders recognize the imperative of coming to grips with the tough decisions they've got to make for there to be progress in the political arena," said a senior Army officer who has served in Iraq. He asked that his name not be used because he did not want to publicly disagree with the stated policy of the president.

....Some in the military argue that publicizing a timetable for reducing forces is far less damaging to a counterinsurgency campaign than the administration has suggested.

Many officers, particularly those who adhere to the military philosophy of former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, a retired Army general who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, believe that deadlines are necessary to avoid getting mired in an endless war fueled by enmity between Iraq's long-subjugated Shiite population and the Sunni Arabs who ran the government under Saddam Hussein.

Two years ago, this might have done some good. Today, I'm not so sure, though it's certainly worth a try.

Regardless, it's nice to hear that there are at least a few rumblings among the officer corps. Three decades ago, after the Vietnam War, they swore they'd speak up before they'd allow the civilian leadership to lead them into a ditch again without protest, but that's pretty much what they've done in Iraq. If the Iraq debacle reminds them of that promise, at least it will have accomplished something.

Kevin Drum 12:03 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (45)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I love the smell of Democratic vindication in the morning.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on October 31, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Win what?

Posted by: Determined to Strike on October 31, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Via Digg, THIS is what Real Democracy looks like!

Posted by: Al's Mommy on October 31, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like someone has finally woken up to the fact that our military is being used to wipe out the sunni minority.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on October 31, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Tying oneself to a printed schedule is never a good idea in a combat situation. It provides too many opportunities for the enemy to make one's decisions look like the result of their actions.

But that is an issue of means. The end we need to be working toward is liquidating the American commitment in Iraq. It may be that the pressure of imminent American withdrawal might focus Iraqis attention on what they need to do to keep violence from escalating even further after the Americans leave, but at the end of the day our first priority has got to be our requirements, not theirs.

Posted by: Zathras on October 31, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Three decades ago, after the Vietnam War, they swore they'd speak up before they'd allow the civilian leadership to lead them into a ditch again without protest, but that's pretty much what they've done in Iraq. If the Iraq debacle reminds them of that promise, at least it will have accomplished something.

Well, setting the specifics of the Iraq War aside I'm not sure that actually would be an unqualified good. One of the key tenets of our system is that the civilian authority retains control over the military -- that is why the elected president, rather than the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is commander-in-chief.

Having an officer corps which feels entitled to protest against policies enacted by the popularly elected goverment can be a recipe for disaster, as Latin America has learned to its cost.

Posted by: Stefan on October 31, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

The LA Times reports that high-ranking military officers are warming up to the idea of deadlines and timetable in Iraq:

CLICK THE LINK. ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK. The military believe timetables are BAD and will only strengthen the terrorists.

Link

"President Bush and other administration opponents of hard deadlines have argued that telegraphing troop departures would help the insurgents."

"Opponents of timetables also fear that small drawdowns will unleash public demand for more dramatic withdrawals, allowing violence fomented by Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias to erode whatever political advances have been made."

"Military officials generally have agreed with the civilian leadership that a deadline would strengthen insurgent and militia groups."

Posted by: Al on October 31, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Some definitions for liberals who are too dense:

Deadline: The date on which we leave.

Victory in Iraq: Occupation which does not end.

Timetable for leaving: Prescription for surrender.

Democratic Plan: Waving of a white flag.

Posted by: gregor on October 31, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Click the link. Then actually read all of it:

"Military officials generally have agreed with the civilian leadership that a deadline would strengthen insurgent and militia groups. But the failure of the Iraqi government to move forward on key political and security measures has left senior military leaders frustrated.

Although U.S. military leaders remain wary of the consequences of imposing deadlines, increasingly officers say they are starting to look more attractive. The shift in opinion is a sign that gridlock in the Iraqi government is seen as a greater threat to achieving stability in Iraq than the insurgency itself."

Posted by: Joel on October 31, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I thought we won already in, what was it, May 2003? Didn't we accomplish our mission then?

Since then we haven't been fighting a war, we've been occupying a country and nation-building, and doing a piss poor job of both. The combat we've been engaged in is counter-occupancy--the military estimates less than 2% of the fighters are foreigners. 98% are Iraqis.

I love it when Bush asks what the "Democrat" plan is. I guess he's looking for a plan anywhere he can find one, since he hasn't a clue.

Posted by: Cal Gal on October 31, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Not only does the story include ample evidence that military officials are also wary of the impact of deadlines, there is very little to go on when it comes to comments from the officers themselves.

We don't know who they are, where they served, at what rank, or in what capacity. Kevin may be thinking "a brigade commander deployed to Mosul" when the officer could be a 2nd Lieutenant from a supply company stationed in the International Zone.

What is clear from the sparse officer quotes provided is that they do not actually support the LA Times headline. For example, Kevin excerpted:

"Many officers, particularly those who adhere to the military philosophy of former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, a retired Army general who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, believe that deadlines are necessary to avoid getting mired in an endless war fueled by enmity between Iraq's long-subjugated Shiite population and the Sunni Arabs who ran the government under Saddam Hussein."

But the actual officer quoted immediately following this paragraph said: "The Powell Doctrine is all about overwhelming numbers of troops with specific missions, with specified end-states, for specified durations with go figure an exit strategy, to not mention this stuff is actually counter to the contemporary military mind-set."

Well there's a big difference between having an exit strategy and setting a deadline.

Now it may well be that many officers agree with the thought that we need a deadline, but the article certainly does not establish this.

Posted by: Hacksaw on October 31, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Since then we haven't been fighting a war, we've been occupying a country and nation-building, and doing a piss poor job of both.

Oh no, we've been fighting a war, at about the same level of combat intensity as Vietnam or the Soviet invasion of Aghanistan. That's what's even more fucked up about it -- the Republicans would like us to believe they "won" in May 2003, but we didn't win the war at that point any more than, say the Germans "won" WWII when they entered Paris. The war's not over until the other guy stops fighting....

Posted by: Stefan on October 31, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Well there's a big difference between having an exit strategy and setting a deadline.

True, except we have neither.

Posted by: Stefan on October 31, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Stefan, I realize that.

My point is that the objective of our invasion--ending the regime of Saddam Hussein--really was accomplished long, long ago. The mess since, the war since, has been one of inept occupation. The failure of the Pentagon and the Oval Office to plan for this occupation is, as I know you agree, grounds for removal from office. It has been, dare I say it, a sin against America.

Posted by: Cal Gal on October 31, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

What I saw as the subtext to the comments was that officers on the ground are losing confidence in the commitment of the Iraqi government to do the things necessary to hold the country together.

A lot people talk about how we are babysitting a civil war. That is wrong. We are funding, equipping and training one side in a civil war. As long as we are playing defense for the Iraqi government, there is no incentive for them to do anything but try to lay the groundwork for the time when we eventually leave, by wiping out the opposition.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on October 31, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

And by "Iraqi government" I think you mean "Shiite establishment in Iraq."

Posted by: Cal Gal on October 31, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

My point is that the objective of our invasion--ending the regime of Saddam Hussein--really was accomplished long, long ago. The mess since, the war since, has been one of inept occupation. The failure of the Pentagon and the Oval Office to plan for this occupation is, as I know you agree, grounds for removal from office. It has been, dare I say it, a sin against America.

Exactly. The key question to ask now is "what are we fighting for?" Because, seriously, I don't know, and I doubt they do either. We've gotten caught in this endless loop where we fight because we're there, and we're there because we fight.

Posted by: Stefan on October 31, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

With the highest level of both American and Iraqi troops ever, the violence is worse than ever:

With the US death toll in Iraq passing 100 this month and mid-term elections just days away, the number of US troops in Iraq has swelled to 150,000.

Its the highest level since January, after a US troop build-up for the Iraqi elections in December 2005.

A Pentagon spokesman attributed the growth in size of the force to overlapping unit rotations but the stepped-up operations have so far failed to bring the violence under control.

http://tinyurl.com/yym28e

Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki is telling his inner-circle that the situation in Iraq is "nearly out of control", according to CBS News intelligence sources.

Prime Minister Maliki has ordered that all checkpoints in Baghdad be lifted. Lara Logan of CBS News reports that some American troops expect that violence will now increase and are left questioning why U.S. Commanders would allow checkpoints to be removed now. The move is widely seen as a victory for Muqtada al-Sadr of Sadr City who controls one of the largest militias in Iraq.

The Inspector General warns that Iraqis don't even have the capacity to fund or maintain their army. The Pentagon is being called to provide better weapons and armored vehicles to Iraqi security forces. The Pentagon's Inspector General has found that 14,000 small arms provided to the Iraqis are now missing. The lost weapons were never registered an can not be audited.

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Video_CBS_says_US_to_stay_1031.html

Posted by: Windhorse on October 31, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

We are funding, equipping and training one side in a civil war.

U.S. Is Said to Fail in Tracking Arms Shipped to Iraqis
By JAMES GLANZ
Published: October 30, 2006

The American military has not properly tracked hundreds of thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces and has failed to provide spare parts, maintenance personnel or even repair manuals for most of the weapons given to the Iraqis, a federal report released Sunday has concluded.

The report was undertaken at the request of Senator John W. Warner, the Virginia Republican who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and who recently expressed an assessment far darker than the Bush administrations on the situation in Iraq....

The answers came Sunday from the inspector generals office, which found major discrepancies in American military records on where thousands of 9-millimeter pistols and hundreds of assault rifles and other weapons have ended up. The American military did not even take the elementary step of recording the serial numbers of nearly half a million weapons provided to Iraqis, the inspector general found, making it impossible to track or identify any that might be in the wrong hands.

Exactly where untracked weapons could end up and whether some have been used against American soldiers were not examined in the report, although black-market arms dealers thrive on the streets of Baghdad, and official Iraq Army and police uniforms can easily be purchased as well, presumably because government shipments are intercepted or otherwise corrupted.....

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/30/world/middleeast/30reconstruct.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Posted by: Stefan on October 31, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

And by "Iraqi government" I think you mean "Shiite establishment in Iraq."

I forget ths source, but I read somewhere that most of the members of the Maliki cabinet are based in UK.

Posted by: gregor on October 31, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

LA Times reports that high-ranking military officers are warming up to the idea of deadlines and timetable in Iraq:

I have to wonder if the LA Times didn't get it backwards, because I wonder if isn't the military trying to get the Bush administration to consider "benchmarks" as an alternative to Bushies little visceral hatred for all thinks Dem, like the word timetable.

Did Casey whisper in Bushie impressionable little mind?

But of course what does Preznut Cheney say...that waterboarding will save the day?

Talking the little Bushie is like talking to the hand, but not the hand that controls anything.


Posted by: Cheryl on October 31, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Regardless, it's nice to hear that there are at least a few rumblings among the officer corps. Three decades ago, after the Vietnam War, they swore they'd speak up before they'd allow the civilian leadership to lead them into a ditch again without protest, but that's pretty much what they've done in Iraq. If the Iraq debacle reminds them of that promise, at least it will have accomplished something.

Rumblings from the military - for whatever reason, even against misguided or even pernicious Bush policies - are never justified.

There is something sick, evil, and weird about the American obsession with the military. Kevin's post is just as bad as anything Bush or Cheney has said or done.

Posted by: Thinker on October 31, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

We are funding, equipping and training one side in a civil war.

Looks like we are at least equipping both sides.

Posted by: thalarctos on October 31, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

No deadlines or timetables, only benchmarks.

Posted by: GW on October 31, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

The American military did not even take the elementary step of recording the serial numbers of nearly half a million weapons provided to Iraqis,

I should hope not! We wouldn't want to offend the NRA!

Posted by: craigie on October 31, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like we are at least equipping both sides.

There may be more than just two sides in this one.

Posted by: asdfg on October 31, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

There may be more than just two sides in this one.

True. But when I say we are training and equipping one side, I include the Shiite-run militias as well. Sadr is part of the Iraqi government. In the last couple of weeks we've had two extreme cases where the Iraqi government has stepped in on his behalf. In both cases, our military seems to have acquiesced.

The Iraqi government is letting guys like Sadr "take the gloves off" while we sit back and talk about not allowing "the enemy" to get the wrong idea with talk of timetables and milestones.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on October 31, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Get off the NRA, it is the 2nd amendment in this democratic Republic.

I will tell how to get the Military to speak up. They can never work for a subcontractor with a military contract. No double dipping = No bullshit on the first go around.

The same people that got us into this mess; retire and then become experts? America is getting the governance it deserves.

Posted by: Greg Hunter on October 31, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh...why do high-ranking US military officers hate America?

Posted by: Gregory on October 31, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Hacksaw" wrote: Well there's a big difference between having an exit strategy and setting a deadline.

It'd be nice if the Bush Administration had either one. I'm not picky.

Posted by: Gregory on October 31, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Well, at least one military man (Lt. Gen William E Odom, ret) says today that a timeline for withdrawal would be good.

What date would he set for withdrawal?

Now.

"First, invading Iraq was not in the interests of the U.S. It was in the interests of Iran and Al Qaeda. For Iran, it avenged a grudge against Hussein for his invasion of the country in 1980. For Al Qaeda, it made it easier to kill Americans. Second, the war has paralyzed the U.S. in the world, diplomatically and strategically...

Only with a rapid withdrawal from Iraq will Washington regain diplomatic and military mobility"

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-odom4may04,0,2656287.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

Posted by: pdq on October 31, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

If the Iraq debacle reminds them of that promise, at least it will have accomplished something.

Mission Accomplished?

Posted by: Disputo on October 31, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you must be confused.

Timetables and milestones are bad, Democratic ideas.

I believe you meant "benchmarks" which are completely different from milestones because that was Bush's idea.

See? With the proper semantics you can be a republican too. (For those of you in Minnesota, think Pawlenty's cigarette "fee" which is totally not a "tax").

Posted by: Barb on October 31, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

No deadlines or timetables, only benchmarks.

How much time are you going to allow for the benchmarks to be completed ?

What happens if the benchmarks aren't completed in a reasonable amount of time ?

"Benchmarks" is just another way of saying timelines.

Posted by: Stephen on October 31, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Just adding my two cents to A1 and Thinker's response to the military's post-Vietnam mea non culpas.

It was the military brass that designed and implemented the body-count attrition strategy and told the civilians that they -- the professionals -- could win the war.

I know Kevin's only repeating the viral meme but then, one does have a duty to display a bit of a raised eyebrow when one does.

Posted by: Ellen1910 on October 31, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Mainly, Saddam is alive, under house arrest and still in control of one, possibly two armies. The outcome of the Iraq mess depends upon what happens with Saddam. If Saddam is executed, then it is unrelenting atttacks on US troops by the Baath militia.

Sorry Republicans, but Saddam has battled you guys to a tie.


Posted by: Matt on October 31, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Here is some more cheery news about Iraq: Training of Iraqi security forces could take decades.
Read the third to last paragraph. Every Democratic candidate in America should have that quote in their campaign literature.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 31, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK


stefan: Having an officer corps which feels entitled to protest against policies enacted by the popularly elected goverment can be a recipe for disaster, as Latin America has learned to its cost.


maybe its just self-preservation?


The Army is facing a major officer shortage, expecting to fall short 2,500 captains and majors this year.

"We're ruining an Army that took us 30 years to build," said Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE).

Posted by: mr. irony on October 31, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

性爱图片 十八电影网 美腿图片 强奸图片 祼体写真 美女写真 性感美女图片 做爱小电影 美少女自拍 日本av电影 明星裸照 黄色电影下载 免费色情电影 两性健康 性教育片 激情电影 黄色图片 成人性爱电影 性电影下载 成人电影下载 性爱视频 偷拍图片 泳装美女 性感内衣 性爱贴图 性生活图片 作爱图片 性交视频 做爱电影 性福联盟 人体摄影 裸女图片 乱伦图片 强暴电影 轮奸视频 迷奸图片 免费小电影 免费电影在线 免费影片 最新大片 免费电影下载 免费在线电影 看免费电影 免费电影网站 情色电影 激情视频下载 明星露点图片 激情写真 阴部图片 乳房图片 全裸美女 淫荡小说 淫乱小说 美女脱衣视频 裸体女人 女性手淫图片 波霸美女 美女淫水 阴户阴毛图片 美女图库 美女口交图片 韩国电影 性知识 最新电影 宽带电影 经典电影 恐怖电影 人体艺术 美女图片 美女走光 性教育电影 同志电影 舒淇写真 写真集 性虐待电影 淫书 人体写真 A片下载 毛片 偷窥图片 裸体视频聊天室 成人网站 成人论坛 性爱论坛 变态日本女生 淫女 女大学生 美女下阴图 女性生殖器 操逼操比操屄 激情论坛 三级片 性爱电影 联通铃声下载 联通炫铃 联通彩铃下载 联通手机铃声 中国联通炫铃 联通彩铃 中国联通铃声 联通免费铃声 联通用户铃声 联通cdma铃声 联通和弦铃声 联通mp3铃声 联通特效铃声 联通炫铃下载 联通炫铃网站 联通炫铃业务 联通cdma炫铃 联通手机图片 联通手机炫铃 中国联通彩铃 联通手机彩铃下载 联通彩铃业务 联通彩铃网站 联通免费彩铃 联通cdma彩铃 成人贴图 情趣内衣 性生活电影 作爱自拍 艳情图片 性交电影 做爱视频 性福电影 人体艺术 明星合成裸照 裸女贴图 黄色小说 成人小说 乱伦故事 性爱文学 偷拍走光 漂亮美眉 泳装写真 乳罩内裤 美女漏点 两性写真视频 美女阴部 少女乳房 自拍裸照 强奸视频 裸体美女 美女自拍 黄色电影下载 色情图片下载 激情图片 激情小电影 性感写真 淫荡妹妹 做爱小电影 裸露美少女 av美女 色情电影 同志图库 成人视频

Posted by: 手机图片 on October 31, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

I really do not know how you could possibly criticize the current regime for not recording the serial numbers of weapons.

Clinton cut the budget for not only pens, ink and quills, but slashed funding for that new fangled monstrosity that IBM was working on - UNIVAC or something? Plus the Publicans stopped him from implementing the Abacus System at DoD because of Chinese campaign contributions.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 31, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, Mr. Irony - it is worse than that - throughout the ranks, the Army is missing 3500 officers - and in the Reserves, they are missing nearly 11,000 Lieutenants and Captains. My friend Joy (you know her as Joyfully Subversive) has been out for 10 years, and she just went back to the Reserves, where they made her a Major. She had been a Captain less than a year when she resigned her commission.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 31, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

And while I'm on that rant, where do these Publican jackasses get off claiming exclusive provicence to the loyalty of the troops in uniform? Under that horrible, horrible Clinton, there were waiting lists for OCS and the standards were high. Now, nobody gets turned down and very few wash out.

Why can't this president keep the officer corp operating at capacity? I though he was a military icon?

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 31, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Even Clinton could salute better than that little Popinjay - Where the hell did he ever learn that little half ass flip of the hand?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 31, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

This may be a little off-topic, but the "they" that swore after Vietnam to speak up the next time aren't the same "they" who are senior officers now - I'd venture to say that there aren't too many Vietnam vets still on active duty today.

Oh, and for Greg: "double-dipping" is when you retire from the military and go to work as a civil servant, not as a contractor. And for those of us who did leave the military and now work as contractors, what exactly do you expect us to do for a living? I spent my entire active duty career driving ships - there ain't exactly a huge market for that in the civilian world. If I weren't a contractor, I'd be seriously poor right now. Also, many defense contracting firms are LOSING money because of the war - because money that would have been spent on programs we're supporting is going to operations in Iraq instead.

In any case, I can pretty much guarantee that very few of us have anything more to say about whether the war in Iraq continues than any other citizen... so quit being mean to contractors!

Posted by: Sean Peters on November 1, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

jonny

Posted by: jonny on November 3, 2006 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly