Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 28, 2006

'I DON'T KNOW WHAT COULD HELP AT THIS POINT'.... When it comes to an escalation in Iraq, the public is opposed, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are reportedly against it, Defense Secretary Robert Gates apparently has some concerns, and many of the troops themselves don't seem too keen on the idea either.

Many of the American soldiers trying to quell sectarian killings in Baghdad don't appear to be looking for reinforcements. They say the temporary surge in troop levels some people are calling for is a bad idea.

President Bush is considering increasing the number of troops in Iraq and embedding more U.S. advisers in Iraqi units. White House advisers have indicated Bush will announce his new plan for the war before his State of the Union address Jan. 23.

In dozens of interviews with soldiers of the Army's 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment as they patrolled the streets of eastern Baghdad, many said the Iraqi capital is embroiled in civil warfare between majority Shiite Muslims and Sunni Arabs that no number of American troops can stop.

Spc. Don Roberts told the AP, "I don't know what could help at this point..... What would more guys do? We can't pick sides. It's almost like we have to watch them kill each other, then ask questions."

Sgt. Josh Keim, who is on his second tour in Iraq, said, "Nothing's going to help. It's a religious war, and we're caught in the middle of it. It's hard to be somewhere where there's no mission and we just drive around."

Sgt. Justin Thompson added that a troop surge is "not going to stop the hatred between Shia and Sunni." Thompson, whose 4-year contract was involuntarily extended in June, added, "This is a civil war, and we're just making things worse. We're losing. I'm not afraid to say it."

Now, these are comments from one battalion, not a poll with a random sample, so it's difficult to say with any certainty that "the troops are against escalation plans."

That said, two quick points. One, kudos to the AP for going straight to the source and getting so many soldiers' perspective. Two, how, exactly, do supporters of the war dismiss the opinions of the Army's 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, patrolling the streets of Baghdad? Cut-and-runners? Defeatocrats? Surrender monkeys?

Steve Benen 5:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (85)

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Pretty much the only people still supporting this war are the politicians who have been supporting it and don't know what else to do about that.

Posted by: Jimm on December 28, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, I shouldn't leave out the pundits (including bloggers) who championed the war and refuse to stop doing so, and some of the more extreme hawkish types who would like to "pacify" Iraq like we did to the Philippines.

Posted by: Jimm on December 28, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

AP-AOL News Poll:

. If you were asked to name a famous person to be the biggest villain of the year, whom would you choose?

* George W. Bush, 25 percent

* Osama bin Laden, 8 percent

* Saddam Hussein, 6 percent

* President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, 5 percent

* Kim Jong Il, North Korean leader, 2 percent

* Donald Rumsfeld, 2 percent

* John Kerry, 1 percent

* Rosie O'Donnell, 1 percent

* Dick Cheney, 1 percent

* Hillary Clinton, 1 percent

* Brad Pitt, 1 percent

* Tom Cruise, 1 percent

* Satan/The Devil, 1 percent

Posted by: Google_This on December 28, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

The plain fact of the matter is, these two "soldiers" are in no way a statistical samply, but were rather cherrypicked by the liberal media to try to sensationalize the issue where there is no issue. And it's well known that Baghdad is the lone blot in this whole imbroglio, so of course soldiers stationed there will have a skewed view of the world.

The plain fact of the matter is, everywhere else but Baghdad and Anbar are BOOMING. Kurdistan will soon become the powerhouse of the middle east. The Shi'ite is also strong and committed and booming. THese places are leaving Sunni areas in the dust. Over time, these two regions will grow their ways out of the morass, and the Sunnis will either join them or move out of the way.

Posted by: egbert on December 28, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

My brother has been home a year and retired in April. My husband retired a few years ago. My social circle is still heavy with military personnel and my best friend is a Major in the Reserves.

This is in keeping with what I have been hearing privately for over a year.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 28, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

What a complete waste of time going directly to troops in the field. Why did they not check with Ben of MESSofpotamia? He would have set them straight - Has a slew of "photos" sewn in his field jacket. May Ben end the way Benjamin Runkle of the Ohio 13th did following the Civil War - Cashiered and dismissed.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 28, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

CLICK THE LINK. ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK. Kevin doesn't point some of the troops say a surge in troops would be a GOOD idea.

"McCaffrey does support a temporary surge in troop numbers, however, arguing that flooding Baghdad with more soldiers could "crush enemy forces all over the city instead of just pushing them from one area to another.""

Posted by: Real Al on December 28, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

There are the dozens of key issues surrounding how such a surge would/must take place. 30,000 seems to be an upper end number given by some surge supporters.

Does that mean 30,000 trigger pullers who will need another (conservatively) 70,000 troops making sure that they have triggers to pull?...Or…

Does that mean a total 30,000 troops of which about 12,000 will be patrolling the mean streets.

What about the extra trucks, humvees, Bradleys etc needed to make this happen.

Just how effective can el surgo be when so many of the troops (if not all) conducting it are under rested, under trained, under equipped or any combination thereof.

Are there any surge supporters here who can explain this to me?

Posted by: Keith G on December 28, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen: how, exactly, do supporters of the war dismiss the opinions of the Army's 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, patrolling the streets of Baghdad? Cut-and-runners? Defeatocrats? Surrender monkeys?

Knowing the AP's bias, I have little doubt that they sought out two soldiers with negative feelings. I see no reason at all to believe that the quoted opinions were typical of the Army's 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment.

At least the AP story didn't quote the unseen "Captain Jamil Hussein."

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 28, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: "Knowing the AP's bias ..."

The AP's overwhelming bias has been to puff up Bush and characterize any Democratic opposition to Bush's conduct of the war as "partisan bickering".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 28, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

And it's well known that Baghdad is the lone blot in this whole imbroglio, so of course soldiers stationed there will have a skewed view of the world.

No, it's just the place we get most of our news from because it's so damn dangerous for journalists to move about the country.

The plain fact of the matter is, everywhere else but Baghdad and Anbar are BOOMING. Kurdistan will soon become the powerhouse of the middle east. The Shi'ite is also strong and committed and booming. THese places are leaving Sunni areas in the dust. Over time, these two regions will grow their ways out of the morass, and the Sunnis will either join them or move out of the way.
Posted by: egbert

Goddamn eggy, you're not as funny as Norman but "BOOMING?" What is that some kind of IED joke, or you're just parroting Newsweek?

    Newsweek misleadingly reports 'a booming economy' in Iraq. Iraq's is a war economy, and some sectors have benefitted from the end of the old regime and of international sanctions. So there is construction, sure. And a lot of used cars and consumer goods have been imported (that is not actually necessarily a good thing). People talk on cell phones. But no new factories have been founded. There is no evidence of increased productivity. Inflation is up to 53 percent. The professional middle class is fleeing in droves, so that soon there won't be any physicians left. Electricity and fuel are scarce. Unemployment is probably 50 to 60 percent. Saying that this economy is "flourishing" (outside Kurdistan) is like saying that the US economy was "flourishing" during the Great Depression of the 1930s. There was construction going on then, too, quite a lot of it. Iraq's economy is different insofar as it functions in the midst of a civil war. War economies create pockets of wealth and activity. When a fourth to a half of your workers are unemployed, no one cares.

Posted by: cyntax on December 28, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

I would hate to think what today's liberals would have been like in 1777, 1862, or 1942. If they had their way we would either be saluting a British Flag, two seperate independant countries and possibly more resembling Europe, or we would be hailing some guy in a mustache.

Posted by: cj on December 28, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen quotes:

Spc. Don Roberts told the AP, "I don't know what could help at this point ..."

Complete withdrawal of US troops, beginning immediately, and proceeding as quickly as possible, would help.

The US Congress acting responsibly and performing its Constitutional duty by cutting off all further funding for the occupation and demanding that Bush use the funds already in the pipeline from the last SEVENTY BILLION DOLLAR appropriation to pay for bringing the troops home would help.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 28, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

You fool, it was the liberals who prevailed in every fucking instance you cite.

Better wingnuts, please.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 28, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

cj wrote: "I would hate to think what today's liberals would have been like in 1777, 1862, or 1942. If they had their way we would either be saluting a British Flag, two seperate independant countries and possibly more resembling Europe, or we would be hailing some guy in a mustache."

Oh, good. An ignorant, weak-minded, gullible dittohead mental slave of right-wing extremist propaganda, regurgitating Rush Limbaugh's vomit. Just what this site needs for a change.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 28, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

I would hate to think what today's liberals would have been like in 1777, 1862, or 1942. If they had their way we would either be saluting a British Flag, two seperate independant countries and possibly more resembling Europe, or we would be hailing some guy in a mustache.
Posted by: cj

You might want to start by explaining what in the hell those wars have in common with what we're doing right now.

A more apt comparison would be 1898.

Posted by: cyntax on December 28, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

cj, if you believe what you just typed, please to back to your high school and sue them for dereliction of duty.

You should not have been allowed to leave with such and underwhelming understanding of US History.

Posted by: Keith G on December 28, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

cj: I would hate to think...

Apparently so.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 28, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

A-13 delivers the death-skewer to the littlest wingnut!

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 28, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

My advice to these young people is to refuse to serve. Refuse to serve your commanders and your Commander in Chief before you are killed as an intruder in someone else's country. Please.

Posted by: Brojo on December 28, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

egbert and real al need to realize that kevin didn't post this.

Posted by: Jimm on December 28, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

If they can call Jack Murtha a coward and a cut-and-runner after his years of service with the Marines, I don't see why they'd hesitate to say the same things about current servicemen.

Posted by: wahoofive on December 28, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

egbert and real al need to realize that kevin didn't post this.
Posted by: Jimm

That and one or two other things...

Posted by: cyntax on December 28, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

"I would hate to think what today's liberals would have been like in 1777, 1862, or 1942. If they had their way we would either be saluting a British Flag, two seperate independant countries and possibly more resembling Europe, or we would be hailing some guy in a mustache."

I hate to break this to you "cj", but in 1777 the conservatives supported the British, in 1862 the conservatives were the ones fighting to preserve slavery, and in 1942 the conservatives were the ones selling arms to the Nazis because it was profitable.

Posted by: CDWard on December 28, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo:
"My advice to these young people is to refuse to serve. Refuse to serve your commanders and your Commander in Chief before you are killed as an intruder in someone else's country. Please."

Whoa!! Now liberals are advising the soldiers to defy their commanders and overthrow them. This is not only insubordination, but it's illegal and treasonous.

Everyone notice this. Notice what the liberals espouse! This is why we need to take things into our own hands. If Bush wanted to temporarily halt Congressional activity, you wouldn't hear any complaints from me.

Posted by: egbert on December 28, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

CJ, in World War II it was mainly liberal Democrats -- Franklin Roosevelt among them -- who thought we should fight Hitler and help Britain when she stood alone against HItler. Most Republicans did not want to get into World War II or fight Hitler. Many of them said this was because Hitler was anti-Communist, but a lot of them were prompted by anti-Semitism they shared with Hitler. See, henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh.

And as for 1776, beginning a revolution against one's ruling monarch is hardly a conservative thing to do. Nor did it promise any profits to Washington, Jefferson, et al. Hard to see how they'd fit into today's republican party.

Please spend part of the holidays reading some American history.

Posted by: AnnieCat on December 28, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

As many times as it has been pointed out to egbert that Steve, not Kevin, has been posting here at PA, I believe it's willful on his/her part to intentionally begin a post with, "Ah, Kevin." Check the recent threads. You'll see, "Ah, Kevin," over and over despite people pointing out the error.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 28, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

egbert;
once again, your ironic choice of the word "booming" amuses us all.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 28, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Appollo13:

This is Kevin's blog, is it not? Now we're supposed to keep track every time Kevin takes a break and one of his flunkies takes over? Maybe I should get a copy of Kevin's rolodex, so I can keep track of his every movement.

Posted by: egbert on December 28, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

I started reading ex-liberal's post and smiled to myself, thinking it was another Al or egbert wingnut parody post skewering the idiocy of dead-enders.

It might as well have been. And maybe it was.

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Do they know they lost the elections and now are the Minority?

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on December 28, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting history primer today -

In 1777, our libs did not fight the "liberal" Brits - They fought the conservative Brits - Hell, our Tories fled to what is now Canada.

In 1862, the libs were the abolitionist backbone of the Republican Party - The Copperhead Democrats wanted to go with McClellan and sue for peace

In 1942, many of the Republicans did not want to fight two wars - They only wanted to fight the Japanese - Check the elections of November 1942, when many Republican isolationists defeated Democrats who supported Roosevelt's war efforts.

The Pubs and Dems of today are vastly different from those of the past - Shrub, also, is no conservative by any stretch of your deluded immagination.

And kudos to Cyntax for pointing out that much of Iraq is indeed "booming" and there is a lot of cordite in the air.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 28, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

This is Kevin's blog, is it not? Now we're supposed to keep track every time Kevin takes a break and one of his flunkies takes over? Maybe I should get a copy of Kevin's rolodex, so I can keep track of his every movement.

It's a little thing called accuracy and holding the right person accountable for what they write--if Kevin Drum didn't write the post on the front of the blog, he's not responsible for the content of that post. And Steve Benen is not a flunkie, he is a guest blogger. Hopefully, someday we'll see egbert's byline on the front page and he can square us all away as to how the world really works.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 28, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

No just look under the Heading and you will see plain as day who wrote what thread. It's not that hard, really.

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on December 28, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Please spend part of the holidays reading some American history.
Posted by: AnnieCat on December 28, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

I was thinking that the world would be better off if he'd spend the holidays crushing his head in a vice. Or maybe that's what he's BEEN doing.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 28, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Really sorry about your lack of reading comprehensive skills, eggy - Here is a small tip - bypass the rolodex - to save time, simply look to the left bottom of the current thread - Often, there is a name there, such as Kevin at times or for this week, Steve Benen.

No need to thank me - I like to assist the mentally challanged. Build up points at the Pearlies or even down below for a day pass.

Posted by: stupid git on December 28, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Steve Beneen (Drum?): "I hate the US military, therefore everyone else must also."
Posted by: egbert

Even shorter eggy:
"The US military hates the US military."

Posted by: cyntax on December 28, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

CDWard: ...in 1942 the conservatives were the ones selling arms to the Nazis because it was profitable.

Another point about your comment....

Conservatives have overlooked the Bush family history with Hitler and the Nazis. Prescott Bush, Dubya's grandfather, was a director of companies that profited from the financiers of Nazism and Hitler. His assets were seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act and "civil action for damages [were] brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz" some 60 years later.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 28, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Come on now Rush did not have that info for them.Advice to Rush: Your listener's are not very bright please explain how to troll a blog.P.S. Never click the link untill you know who wrote the thread.

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on December 28, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK
This is Kevin's blog, is it not?

Arguably. Arguably, its the Washington Monthly's blog.

Now we're supposed to keep track every time Kevin takes a break and one of his flunkies takes over?

No, you are supposed to read the piece you are criticizing. If you do that, and it is guest written, the first thing you will read will be something like Guest: Steve Benen, which will tell you who wrote it. (In most browsers, you'll also notice that the guest posts are in a distinct, sans-serif font.)

If you can't read that much of the entry, don't expect anyone to take anything you have to say about it seriously.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 28, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

BUSH, is that German.And Coulter French right? Limbaugh that sound german also.HMMMM sounds funny to me.Wolfawitz-german Cheney French. starting to make sense now.

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on December 28, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hey 3rdP! Hope you had a good Christmas.

Posted by: cyntax on December 28, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Mods, don't freaking delete egbert's posts. He's not spamming. He's just dumb/funny.

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Shoot Saddam and withdraw, that's what I'd do if I were in their place.

And, you know, they're perverse enough to do exactly that, the 'surge' simply to cover the evacuation.

Posted by: cld on December 28, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax,

Yeah, fine Christmas - What Tourette's Syndrome can do to improve one's cooking techniques. Truly a marvel.

Hope you and yours enjoyed the day as well.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 28, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Mods, don't freaking delete egbert's posts. He's not spamming. He's just dumb/funny.
Posted by: shortstop

Wow, when you can even fool the mods... the irony.

Hope you and yours enjoyed the day as well.
Posted by: thethirdPaul

Thanks, it was good.

Posted by: cyntax on December 28, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Well, gosh people, none of this matters, because John Kerry may or may not have eaten lunch by himself in Iraq. That's what's really important news!!!

Posted by: TypicalTrollLoser on December 28, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

This is Kevin's blog, is it not? Now we're supposed to keep track every time Kevin takes a break and one of his flunkies takes over? Maybe I should get a copy of Kevin's rolodex, so I can keep track of his every movement.

Ah, Norman.

Mr. Dicely has already explained.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 28, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop,

No, some of those techniques are not to be found in the c, f, m, p and s sections of Joy of Cooking.

Posted by: thethridPaul on December 28, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

But at least Senator Kerry did not bring a plastic turkey for a photo-op with the troops. That day of yore, a real Turkey brought a faux turkey for the prime time news shot.

Posted by: stupid git on December 28, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

egbert ...Now we're supposed to keep track every time Kevin takes a break

I mean, like golly, you expect us to actually *read* these posts before we post our Rush's talking points.

Posted by: RWnutjob on December 28, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

In 1777, our libs did not fight the "liberal" Brits - They fought the conservative Brits - Hell, our Tories fled to what is now Canada by thethirdpaul

Exactly! So the truth is just the opposite of what cj wrote! If the conservatives had their way in 1777, we'd be still saluting the British Flag.

In fact the republicans are so incensed at their their defeat in 1777 and they so hate our constitution that they want to bring back King George via the doctrine of the unitary executive .

Posted by: ppk on December 28, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Concerning that priceless pearl of flagrant ignorance touted by cj upthread:

Don't you just love it when the junior varsity tries to bring their game to The Garden?

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 28, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

"Ah, Kevin.

The plain fact of the matter is..."

...that you are like a small child covered in feces you are deternined to call chocolate.

To start with, it's not Kevin, you nincompoop. If it's too much trouble to keep up with who's doing the posting here, don't do it. Your idiotic natterings, based on exactly nothing (when they are not RNC talking pointings) add zero to the discussion. In any case, you know nothing about the concept of discussion, and your grasp of the English language is even more pathetic than your idea of citizenship. So why not do yourself and everyone else a favor and just fuck off right now?

But do enjoy the chocolate—it's soooo yummy!

Posted by: Kenji on December 28, 2006 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kenji, you're arguing with a parody.

No, some of those techniques are not to be found in the c, f, m, p and s sections of Joy of Cooking.

Sorry, Paul. This went right over my head, like so much does these days.

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

I loved the AP-AOL poll Google_This posted.

Five bucks says the Fox headline is: "New Poll: Hillary Tied with Satan."

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop,
So who does these spoofs, anyway? I don't know whether to take the bad grammar and insipid arguments as evidence of phoniness or authenticity. I do notice that they rarely respond to being spanked, except to pathetically ask for more. I blame Lee Atwater for muddying the waters beyond all recognition.

Posted by: Kenji on December 28, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Quit looking at me--I'm trying to figure out my new digital camera.

Crap. I just took a picture of my elbow...

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 28, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Kenji, I can say with perfect sincerity that I have no idea who's writing egbert.

I do find him hilarious, even though lately he's been way over the top in Freaking Obvious territory. The 7:01 post is a case in point. I was highly amused to find that ex-liberal, who's a damned good parody if he's not for real, sounds no less satirical than Al or egbert do in this thread.

In fact, whoever's doing Al has been pretty damn funny lately. Usually, not so much.

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and "I blame Lee Atwater for muddying the waters beyond all recognition" made me smile.

Posted by: shortstop on December 28, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Guess I should have called them the Atwaters. ;)

Posted by: Kenji on December 28, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop,

In cooking, when all else fails, throw in a few MFs and other appropriately timed stress relief curse words and Voila!

Helps on occasion when doing home improvements.

And when reading some of the trools posts.

No, I do not have Tourette's - But 39 months in the US Army helped and hurt my vocabulary. Couldn't open my mouth for the first year back in college. - Did not know what would come out.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 28, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

"McCaffrey does support a temporary surge in troop numbers, however, arguing that flooding Baghdad with more soldiers could 'crush enemy forces all over the city instead of just pushing them from one area to another. ' "

In which case, of course, the enemy forces will not be cretinous enough to stand, fight and let themselves be crushed, but will simply do exactly the same thing that any sane guerrillas would do and which they have in fact routinely done in places like Ramallah -- namely, bolt the city for other parts of Iraq and wait for the Surge to leave. McCaffrey, like so many other self-proclaimed "realists", is still ensconced firmly in Fairyland. The only possible way to win this war would be with a massive NATIONWIDE surge in US troops, which will be impossible without a draft and would quite possibly not work at this point anyway, given the growing tendency of formerly on-the-fence Iraqis to detest us.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on December 28, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G -- Based on a few reports (assuming they can be believed)... Over a period of 6-8 months, and out of a total of about 30,000-40,000 troops, it looks like about 8,000-10,000 combat, with the balance for support/logistics. The obvious questions are: What can they accomlish during that period? What happens in 6-8 months? ("Peace with honor"?)

Posted by: has407 on December 29, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

p.s. A significant percentage of those "combat troops" will, at any give time, likely be devoted to force protection; the number of "boots on the street" will be considerably less than what is popularly quoted.

Posted by: has407 on December 29, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

has407
Given the absence of other nations fool enough to play for extended periods in the Brier Patch ( or in this case the desert ), "Surge" brings force levels back to "Stay the Course".
We all know how well that serves to make things worse : except of course for the ever growing possibility that the natives will tire of the game and decide to show the lost where the door is located.
Someone pointed out a surge might be useful for evacuation. At that point my thoughts were going in the direction of potty mouth.
The most damning question is simple. Is the military doing a job for which it is trained, equipped and proficient ?

Posted by: opit on December 29, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

opit: The most damning question is simple. Is the military doing a job for which it is trained, equipped and proficient ?

Good question. I think there are a few in the military who get it. Unfortunately, most still think this is a traditional problem--a stand-up fight that can be won with more firepower and quick-and-dirty action. It probably could be won with sufficient firepower and given sufficient time--but nothing we can bring to bear. (Or more precisely, nothing we are willing to bring to bear for a sufficient length of time--martial law with 400-500K troops for the next 3-4 years anyone?)

To your point... No, our militiary is not trained, equipped or proficient for the job that needs to be done in Iraq. Thank Rumsfeld, Rice, et. al. for that. They've got exactly the military they wanted and worked hard for years to get. Unfortunately, it's not a military that can support the mission.

Posted by: has407 on December 29, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

To your point... No, our militiary is not trained, equipped or proficient for the job that needs to be done in Iraq.

Here's a good example - one of my old units was the 513th MI BDE, which had as its primary mission to support the Middle East / CENTCOM / whoever they sent as a kind of echelon-above-Corps type thing. Our camo? Green. (can't recall if we had desert camo--all I remember is the green camo and sewing several diamonds and hexes together.

So for as long as the unit has been constituted at Fort Gordon, they know they're going to the Middle East. They know what their mission is going to be and they actually played a big part in Gulf War I.

What did we train in? Tan vehicles, tan tents, tan everything as far as the gear. In green BDUs. In the Georgia pines and red clay.

I drove a Humvee only once during one session of blackout driving, and none of the vehicles had actual armor, besides a few "turtle-shell" type Humvees. Roughtly 75% of the brigades vehicles were all vinyl skin/vinyl doors (whatever that fabric is--you can almost tear it with your hands).

The other times I drove, we did convoys but no reaction to fire, none.

What's the thing that killed and wounded hundreds in the first year of the insurgency? Vehicles without armor driven by troops who had never had proper convoy training.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 29, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

The quoted opinions are likely quite representative of opinion in their unit, ex-liberal and present Ignoranus (A person who's both stupid and an asshole). Were you to go do some reading at vets blogs, or at GI blogs, you would find this sentiment expressed frequently.

I note you are an "ex-liberal". Are you also an "ex-GI" or did you evade that honor? Are you perhaps under 45 and thus still eligible to join? Wouldn't care to put your ass where your mouth is, eh?

Typical rightie coward. Another drug-dealing pimp like Horst Wessel.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 29, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

I should also add that in all my time in the military, I never once put on a set of body armor.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 29, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Poor Egbert - we should pity him, not damn him. I mean, how sick and twisted would your worldview be if you'd had to spend all your life responding to "Eggggggggbert!"???? It's right up there with "a boy named Sue."

Parents who create these Ignoranuses (stupid people who are simultaneously assholes) should be held to account for the names they saddle the poor little morons with.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 29, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Further on Prescott Bush's Nazi connection. When he was at Brown Brothers, Harriman, he made loans to backers of Hitler in 1928 that were critical to the Nazis' being able to break into the electoral "mainstream" of German politics. As a result, he was rewarded after 1933 with contracts with German firms, and maintained them until he was told he was to be indicted under the Trading With The Enemy Act. He only avoided this by getting himself elected Senator from Connecticut.

It can be said that, were it not for Prescott Bush, there might not have been a World War II. A real hero, that man was.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 29, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

how, exactly, do supporters of the war dismiss the opinions of the Army's 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, patrolling the streets of Baghdad? Cut-and-runners? Defeatocrats? Surrender monkeys?

Gay, obviously.

Posted by: craigie on December 29, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider: I should also add that in all my time in the military, I never once put on a set of body armor.

I expect from your previous comments that you're not speaking of the 70's... truly fucking amazing. Did you train in NBC gear?

Posted by: has407 on December 29, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

TCinLA - I just had to stop talking to a couple I knew from highschool after they named their kid Seamus.

Posted by: on December 29, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Math, something conservatives are not good at.

Shinseki said we'd need 400k troops immediately after the war to KEEP the country calm. That's double (at least) what we had.

Now they say that doubling the troops in an area will make it calm.


Except it isn't 2003 anymore. Maybe its dates they have trouble with.

Posted by: mcdruid on December 29, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

I expect from your previous comments that you're not speaking of the 70's... truly fucking amazing. Did you train in NBC gear?

No, dude--I got out in 2003.

I did extensive training in full NBC gear several times, the full decontamination training and all that. Tear gassed plenty of times. Covered head to toe in charcoal. But never wore body armor, never saw a fully uparmored Humvee or truck.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 29, 2006 at 7:58 AM | PERMALINK

I think I was replying to has407, not egbert.

Jeez-can't anyone read anymore?

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 29, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

I get it - Kleiman is Chuckles.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 29, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

I had earlier guessed that the AP cherry-picked the soldiers to quote. I was right.

Blogger Riehl has done the analysis and discovered that
"A total of two out of dozens of interviews don't see a surge helping, while the clear majority does."

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK


ex-lib....

here's an analysis...

of troops needed to maintain security in iraq ...


A series of secret U.S. war games in 1999 showed that an invasion and post-war administration of Iraq would require 400,000 troops, nearly 3-times the number there now. - AP 11/4/06


in 2003...looks like the clear minority didn't listen to the majority..

why the change of heart now, ya think?


Posted by: mr. irony on December 29, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Irony, I have been screaming at the top of my lungs about Desert Crossing for a couple of months now. But the reich-wing is not interested in having the lie put to their meme.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 29, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

mr. irony - that's a fair point. Especially now that the occupation has so clearly be screwed up, it's persuasive.

However, there are many projections. I would assume that there were other projections which said the US was using a good strategy. Clearly those projections proved to be incorrect.

The point is, Bush/Rumsfeld botched the occupation. That's obvious. However, I'm not that impressed that some projections had recommended something different from what was done. There are always a variety of projections and recommendations. Whatever the President did, there would have been some who had recommended something different.

Similaryly, the effective Bush/Rumsfeld strategies for the original wars in Afghanistan and against Saddam were also opposed by some. In those two case, Bush/Rumsfeld were right and their critics were wrong.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

ex liberal
Are you referring to the other projections which Don Rumsfeld would not allow to be made ?

Posted by: opit on December 30, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: There are always a variety of projections and recommendations.


a variety?

there are 3 that have been reported on.....the one above was in between these two:


1991 iraq invasion - 400k troops

2003 iraq invasion - 150k troops

and remember...2003..bushco claimed saddam had wmd's and cheney said hussien had reconstituted nukes!

its not like many didn't know it would turn out like this...

junior has a long track record...of success's that haven't happened yet...

Posted by: mr. irony on December 30, 2006 at 6:53 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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