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24 November 2006

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lester

our time in iraq is like what our time in beirut would have looked like if reagan hadn't pulled out after the barracks attack.

Why didn't we pull out of iraq after the dulfer report? we were there to make sure there were no WMD. that's it.

Iraq is going to be what it is whther we are there to take casualties or not.

still working it out

I was surprised to read the the below on JuanCole.com
http://www.juancole.com/2006/11/233-dead-in-civil-war-carnage-health.html

"a Sunni sheikh of the Shammar tribe noted to me that thousands of former officers are prepared to assault the G[reen] Z[one]. It is no longer a matter of can they do it, they are only mulling over the timing."
[NB: These are not actually Juan Coles's words. He's quoting a source of his]

Its third hand information at least and I was about to dismiss it as empty boasting. But now I read on the same day what seems to be yourself suggesting there may be something to this.

"We should look to the security of our forces and embassy. NOW!!"

Am I right in interpreting this as meaning the Green Zone itself may be vulnerable? I had thought that this could not be possible. But thinking about the number of times Americans on the ground in Iraq have screamed for things that have not happened because people up the line have been too far behind the curve to allow it has me wondering. Perhaps those responsible for security in the Green Zone are screaming right now?

J

Colonel,

this is a sad time, in particular having to sit and watch as our 'supposed national leadership' are interchanging their craniums with their backsides. the 43 bunch leading our nation has no head for history, world geography, societies & cultures, let alone current events. and one must remember that bush couldn't tell the difference/thought there was no difference between shia and sunni. and he is our 'decide-n-tater'.

while there are those who have 'dusted off' the emergency evac plans of the old saigon embassy, it appears that nobody has actually thought about the subsequent security plans from times past.

are we seeing history repeating itself, in particular the fumble-over-the-bumble scenarios all over again? twod appear so from this angle. sad, sooooooo sad.

semper fubar

"Is this our worst nightmare?"

Frankly, I think it's disgusting to even discuss whether this is OUR worst nightmare, when we're all sleeping safe and sound in our beds, and our worst "nightmare" is fighting the mall crowds to get the best deal on holiday shopping.

Our "worst nightmare" is a f*cking joke. The Iraqis are facing the worst nightmare, one which we've created.

We deserve whatever fallout we get from this.

My prediction -- a Beirut-style attack on our troops, with the concomitant loss of life, in the Green Zone. And, after a few hundred of OUR soldiers are killed in one attack, we'll whine and cry and twist our hankies about our "sacrifice" for "freedom."

Disgusting.

Happy Jack

Is this our worst nightmare?

My arms are tired from beating this drum, but I think the operative phrase is Task Force Smith.

Frank Durkee

Col. A question: Who, if any one, has sufficient leverage on the ground to actually make a creative difference? Or is the situation so anarchic that none of the present players have much real influence right now?

arbogast

It is exceptionally disconcerting to find this post on Colonel Lang's blog.

I know absolutely nothing about military tactics, but I know what a sitting duck is.

I also know what happened at Dien Ben Phu. The Vietnamese got artillery into the hills around the French camp.

Robert in SB

Iraq appears lost. Done, over. I am interested in hearing from the many readers of this site on what they think is the next step.

Cloned Poster

Frank asks above: Who, if any one, has sufficient leverage on the ground to actually make a creative difference?

Bush should go to Najaf and see Sistani.

arbogast

I also have read the history of the Battle of the Crater during the siege of Petersburg.

I daresay the Sunni's know more about the Green Zone than we do. And I daresay they won't make the mistakes the Union made at the Crater.

If and when there is a Dien Bien Phu/Crater in Iraq, Bush must be impeached. That is the only way our nation could go forward.

arbogast

Re-reading the history of Dien Bien Phu, I note that the battle marked the end of French influence around the world.

Katherine Hunter

i am listening to Bob Woodward's book, State of Denial, and the emphasis on the mistakes made by Bremer and the CPA (known as children pretending to be adults) like disbanding the Iraqi army, dumping the Ministeries, and firing all the Baathists which also resulted in firing all the teachers who were required by Saddam to be Baathists

now when i think of the so called Iraqi study group i see it includes Sandra Day O'Connor / i wonder if she feels any remorse or regret over helping to select George Bush as president in 2000

that event was our worst nightmare

Byron Raum

If the Green Zone gets successfully attacked on a massive scale, that might well be another exploitable event for "stay the course." A simple desire for revenge would silence the new voice the Democrats have recently found.

Mike

To withdraw (as the great majority of Americans - and Britons - would prefer) would make no difference to the present chaos. Perhaps the chaos would worsen. Perhaps the civil war would become hotter and more bloody. Probably the Iraqi "government" would fall. There would be a power vacuum in Mesopotamia, perhaps the country called Iraq would eventually break into three units - Kurdistan, Shiastan, and the Baghdad region. Perhaps the Iranians and Turks would intervene militarily. (Iran already is the dominant power in the region thanks to Bush's mad quest for mission accomplished). The USA and its British minion would have skulked off dementedly proclaiming a "victory", yet utterly without prestige and standing in the Middle East, and leaving a power vacuum behind.

To stay (as only a diminishing minority of Americans - and Britons -want) would make no difference to the present chaos. Perhaps the chaos will worsen. Perhaps the civil war will become hotter and more bloody. Probably the Iraqi "government" will fall. There would be a power vacuum in Mesopotamia, perhaps the country called Iraq will eventually break into three units - Kurdistan, Shiastan, and the Baghdad region. Perhaps the Iranians and Turks will intervene militarily. (Iran already is the dominant power in the region thanks to Bush's mad quest for mission accomplished). The USA and its British minion will eventually skulk off, dementedly proclaiming a "victory" yet utterly without prestige and standing in the Middle East and leaving a power vacuum behind. The USA and minion will have to leave sooner or later, so perhaps it might as well do it now.

But the reality is that America has to stay - not because of any moral imperative that demands it bring order and stability to a chaotic country (it can't), nor because it is obliged to stand by the "democratically" elected (ah, the memory of all those blue stained fingres held so triumphantly aloft in the US Senate) government of Iraq, nor because it needs to be a bulwark agains the menace of Islamic terrorism, nor because there is all that lovely OIL slopping around beneath the sandy plains over which flow the Tigris and Euphrates, but simply because preening self-absorbed narcissistic gang that currently governs America loves a winner and hates a loser and cannot bring itself to acknowledge a terrible error, and accept defeat, defeat, defeat. John Wayne never withdrew from anything. So out of the blind pig ignorant arrogant pride of Bush and his cronies, the long suffering American people will be forced to go on pouring treasure and blood into the sands of the land of the two rivers and continue wasting the unhappy nation it came to "liberate", and keep on slaughtering and maiming and blooding and traumatising its own youthful battallions.

A cynic might argue that Bush deserves to stay stuck aquirming in the thick slough of his own creation and to continue dragging his nation towards bankruptcy and to suffer and wallow in the chaos he has brought.

But the humanitarian must recognise that the price of this vainglorious folly is being paid for in the blood of hundreds of thousands by the poor and deprived of that unfortunate small country far away

So America and its minion should withdraw.

Got A Watch

It appears the next phase in the descent of Iraq to the depths of hell is starting now. The Iraqi government will most likely disappear, as all sides recognise they have no postive effect on events. I forsee total American withdrawal eventually (before election '08), as the logistical tail discussed here will be cut. The Green Zone falls to insurgents live on TV with the last chopper out looking just like Saigon.

The entire region falls into civil/ethnic/sectarian warfare - Turks vs Kurds,Sunnis vs Shiites, Israel/USA vs Iran, Syria/Hizbullah/Iran vs Israel, Islamic revolutions vs autocrats etc etc. Eventual outcome is the whole region is devastated, oil hits $250+ barrel, the world economy crashes, then one side goes nuclear and the whole region glows at night. American power and influence are diminished by at least 50%, probably more.

Bright spots - al-Qaida ends up weakened, as America withdraws from the area, while GWB and the Republicans/neo-cons get the blame for the whole mess. Future historians will not be kind to 43 and his cohorts - he will be recorded as absolutely the worst President in American history, while his legacy of hatred, violence and despair will stand for generations. Not much consolation from the judgement of history there.

Just my opinion, hope I am wrong.

Nancy Kimberlin

As a mother, I have always believed that we should never fight a war unless it was so important we would send our children to fight and die. Our children are fighting and dying and for what. What we have done to Iraq is a crime, but staying there will not make it any better. We have allowed our president to invade a foreign country, with no plan to secure that country or to get our troops out afterwards.

Nand Jagnath

If Iraq looks a right royal mess, then wait till U.S. or Israel attacks Iran. An attack on Iran would, I suspect, go down well in the United States. But Iran has made it clear that it won't take an attack lying down. Everything I have read suggests that they have plenty of avenues for retaliation. After that, just about anything can happen, all of which could add upto a meltdown in the Middle East.

My question is: when is the attack on Iran most likely? I'd put my money on 2008 -- the year of the next U.S. Presidential election. Nothing like a new war to rally the people!

lester

I don't think an attack on Iran is likely with the democratic congress.

also OT-
http://talismangate.blogspot.com/

^BLOG of an INC member / chalabi sycophant I saw on CSPAN a couple days ago. hiding in plain site as it were.

taters

Dear Col. Lang,
I pray your strong and powerful words are heeded.

taters

Hagel weighs in...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Leaving Iraq, Honorably

By Chuck Hagel
Sunday, November 26, 2006; B07

There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq. These terms do not reflect the reality of what is going to happen there. The future of Iraq was always going to be determined by the Iraqis -- not the Americans.

Iraq is not a prize to be won or lost. It is part of the ongoing global struggle against instability, brutality, intolerance, extremism and terrorism. There will be no military victory or military solution for Iraq. Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger made this point last weekend.

The time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed. We do not have more troops to send and, even if we did, they would not bring a resolution to Iraq. Militaries are built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations. We are once again learning a very hard lesson in foreign affairs: America cannot impose a democracy on any nation -- regardless of our noble purpose.

We have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam. Honorable intentions are not policies and plans. Iraq belongs to the 25 million Iraqis who live there. They will decide their fate and form of government.
It may take many years before there is a cohesive political center in Iraq. America's options on this point have always been limited. There will be a new center of gravity in the Middle East that will include Iraq. That process began over the past few days with the Syrians and Iraqis restoring diplomatic relations after 20 years of having no formal communication. The next installment would be this weekend's unprecedented meeting in Iran of the presidents of Iran, Syria and Iraq, if it takes place.

What does this tell us? It tells us that regional powers will fill regional vacuums, and they will move to work in their own self-interest -- without the United States. This is the most encouraging set of actions for the Middle East in years.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/24/AR2006112401104_pf.html

Freeman

Commentators here have raised again the spectre of pre-emptive action against Iran's nuclear weapons program. During WWII the US developed these weapons in not much more than 3 years, starting from scratch on a whole range of new technologies, and without modern computers.

It seems therefore that, with its current head start, Iran could likely have a nuclear weapon before 2008, even though it may then have only limited delivery options. Several observers have remarked that this date sets a deadline if action were being contemplated. However, recent events are rapidly closing that window of opportunity.

Here I refer to the fact that Russia has agreed to supply Iran with 29 state-of-the-art air defence systems known as Tor-M1 (NATO: SA-15 Gauntlet) for defence of its nuclear development sites. This AD system is highly mobile, self-contained and fully automatic when set on watch. One imagines it would represent a significant threat to most attacking aircraft.

Deliveries of this AD system are reported to have started and are expected to be completed within 6 months. Iranians are also said to have been trained in Russia, so all 29 systems could be operational by then.

Together with the supersonic anti-ship missile sytems that Iran currently has in place, this new AD system is going to make Iran a very dangerous place to attack, even before it has a nuclear capability.

Walrus

With the greatest of respect, I don't think some commentators here and elsewhere understand that the talks of withdrawing and various "options" is based on the assumption that the choice is ours to make.

I have been saying consitently for over a month that the insurgents have options as well, and one of these is to slaughter our entire force and kick our sorry @ss out of the gulf.

We have approximately 140,000 troops in a nation of 26 million. I don't care what weaponry we have, those are bad odds.

The Army seems to have learned absolutely nothing from Vietnam, or taken great pains to forget its lessons.

For example we now have this shock/horror reaction by some to Juan Coles post about the possibility of an attack on the Green zone.

It may come as a surprise, but fortifications to keep people "out" of an area, also by definition keep the people inside "in", just like a prison.

Our troops are stuck in forward operating bases (effectively prisons) all over Iraq, probably with their commanders instructed to minimize casualties at all costs, so there will be no effective patrolling of the surroundings by day and night to keep the bad guys away.

The net result will be a steadily increasing series of attacks on FOB's like this one:

"Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a U.S. military spokesman, confirmed that "indirect fire rounds" had landed in the vicinity of the coalition forward operating base, but he refused to describe the results of the attack, saying that would allow "the enemy" to assess its effectiveness."

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20061126/D8LKS8H00.html

Random plinking away with mortars by day and night has a bad effect on morale.


The worst case scenario in my opinion is for the insurgents not to choose to let us withdraw, but instead surround, isolate and attack all those FOB's.

We could lose the entire force and its material, god help the "contractors" as well.

P.S. And if they somehow acquire manpads from Iran, or choose bad weather, air support won't be much use either.

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