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19 December 2006

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Grimgrin

Col. Lang: Reading this raises a few questions for me. You said "we can offer what it is that we can trade them for their cooperation."

Do you have any opinions on what the various regional powers will want for their cooperation?

How difficult will it be to come to an agreement that satisfies all of Iraq's neighbors? Will the demands of Iran and Saudi Arabia for example, be mutually exclusive?

Good to see you getting time to present your opinions on CNN.

arbogast

Our war dead deserve to have their memories honored by the impeachment of the individuals who sent them to their deaths unnecessarily and negligently.

A modern Gettysburg address will be pronounced at the conviction for high crimes and misdemeanors of George Bush and Richard Cheney.

That is the honor are fallen soldiers deserve. And no less.

arbogast

Colonel Lang,
In the same breath, you say that large scale diplomacy is needed and then say that "we" should go around to the various nations in the Gulf and bargain using our troops as a chip.
Huh? A unilateral solution? Based on our military weight?
The constituency in the United States that wants to marginalize the United Nations is the same constituency that got us into Iraq in the first place. There are United Nations troops in Lebanon. The United Nations is the only conceivable way out of this.

Will

Fi fo fum, I hear an ADULT talking sense. Too bad the Decider, his sychophant careerists, or his NeoKon counsellors don't.

Will

News Item: Abizaid early retirement in March. About time he stood up or stood down for something.

W. Patrick Lang

Roger Bigod
Sorry, but you are wrong about the "war" phase. If you look at the record, as for example in the Army's history of the war, "On Point," you will see that the campaign was won by heavy forces who, contrary to to media misinterpretation met a lot of resistance along the way and in Baghdad and simply blew it away.

The "transformation" theory of Rumsfeld's OSD is appropriate only if one faces guerilla forces who will run on every occasion of contact or are consistently outweighed by commandos with light weapons.

His theory has not worked against an insurgency which forces the occupier to expose himself to a constant threat of ambush.

Ask the soldiers how they would be doing in Iraq without tanks and APCs. pl

W. Patrick Lang

Grimgrin

Yes I do. I am going to publish it. pl

W. Patrick Lang

Arbogast

One of the realities of diplomacy is that a force in being is a "weight" to be used in diplomacy.

One among many. Diplomacy is not an exercize in "playing nice." pl

W. Patrick Lang

plp

You sent me a phony e-mail address. do that again and I will ban you. pl

Robert

Being an old SpecOps guy (MACSOG '69-'72) I agree whole heartedly with Roger Bigod. Except for Hill 875 (Vietnam's Hamburger Hill), it's been a long time since the problem for the U.S. military has been taking an objective. It's always been holding it. Rumsfeld clearly did not factor that element into his equations. But why should he have? Conventional wisdom at the time was that the Iraqis would welcome us with open arms and everything would be normal in 90 days. This debacle is not military but political. While watching the 3ID move on Baghdad I was rereading McNamara's book on Vietnam. To be sure there were differences but the similarities were overwhelming. Perhaps the most important one was the fact that we did not fully understand the political and cultural situation on the ground. We cannot continue to throw the military into every situation that defies a political and/or diplomatic solution. If we do, no matter how large the U.S. military becomes, it will never be large enough. F/A-18s and even M1s are no match for IEDs. Do we really want to create and maintain an occupation army?

taters

Thank you Col. Lang. I truly regret that I missed it.
What are your thoughts on Rumsfeld's scrapping of the Crusader artillery system? Gen Shinseki had support from key members of congress ( or so it seemed ) - and even Wolfowitz was on board. In the end we know what happened. To this lay person, I thought the idea of heavy artillery, which emphasized rapid deployment seemed like a good idea. And history has already shown us that Rumsfeld has been wrong numerous times while Shinseki has been vindicated. And I disagree with the Brookings Institute's assessment of O'Hanlon that both Rumsfeld and Shinseki were right. ( A cop out, IMHO )

DeWitt Grey

Colonel:

The rhetoric of the Administration suggests that they have no interest in engaging Syria and Iran because those countries are contributing to regional instability. It seems to me, however, that it is the United States that is currently contributing most to regional instability by its all-too-public support for "regime change" in Syria and Iran, its support of Israel's destablization of Lebanon, and its poorly-judged interventions in Palestinian politics (not to mention the overthrow of the Iraqi regime and the civil war that has ensued).

Do you see any realistic prospect of our backing away from these positions so that some constructive diplomatic engagement can take place? Or am I overestimating the impact of our rhetoric in the region, given that the local players are accustomed to how much of the rhetoric is aimed principally at the U.S. domestic audience?

mlaw230

You were correct regarding the Decider's reaction to the ISG report and I was wrong. He is just ignoring it. So I'll shut up now and just ask questions.

I believe that as bad as the situation is in Iraq, it can only get worse if we "double down" with Iran.

Do you hear anything regarding Iran beyond what has been published? Do you think the joint chiefs or others are sufficiently against such plans that they would be leaked? As a non military person, I would expect resignations at a high level as the honorable course of desent, but apparently that is not considered so in our military culture. So will they leak?

It is often difficult to distinguish between leaks intended as saber rattling and those intended as an honest warning. It will take decades to recover from Iraq, it may be generations if we attack Iran.

John Howley

While I would question the need to increase the size of our standing army (preferring to down-size our foreign policy), I write to challenge the timing of Bush's announcement.

He was starting to lose media momentum on the "surge" idea. So, he both changed the subject and muddied the waters.

The normal person, who is busy with other things, may not catch the distinction between "increasing the military" and "increasing the military in Iraq." Bush and the generals appear to be in agreement -- more soldiers solves everything. The "surge" dispute gets submerged.

Meanwhile, Dear Leader can say to his generals: "I've given you what you asked for -- more troops -- now give me what I've asked for -- more troops."

Gift giving -- 'Tis the season!

Frank Durkee

Jay Rosen has a very insightful post on the Huffington Post about the Bush group's decision to create 'facts on the ground' and to by pass the normal empirical based reality tests and arguments that people like Col. Lang and others I've known in the upper reaches of the thinking people in our national life reoutinely use. this is a group that both domesticaly and internationaly set out to be radical, innovative, and to alter the status quo through dramatic action to establish a new reality which they thought they could determine through their effective use of power of various types. I don't think that has changed as the core oreintatinof this group. thank God for blogs that call this to attention and the few effective reporters who've also done that. the latest in Iraq, surge, comes out of the same orientation and playbook. To be truthful this is an orientation that can be effective. I've been involved in a small way with their use in projects here in the US. and we were able to gain our objectives. It's not crazy, but it is inherently risky. Failure can set you back a long way. In side the US my limited experience is that it tends to be seen a attractive to those who wish to create dramatic change and who are operating from a positiion of weakness, within a situation in which the more powerful groupings will probably This seems to fit the Bush inner circle and operation. Their mistake was not recognizing that their efforts might, as in Iraq, be reisited by people who understand the reality of the use of violence much better than they did and who saw the chance to us it, and did. We still haven't figured that one out. Sadam would have known what to do. We won't do those things, or what the British did in the '20's and we will probably not be effective in our efforts. New 'facts on the ground' can offset the original attempt at 'new facts on the ground' Personally I think it comes from a blind spot in people who have never had to support or be on the 'short end of the stick' and therefore fail to include that perspective in their deliberatins with sufficient force.

John Hammer

Abrogast

The U.N. is the Security Council and the Security Council is the P-5 to include China, Russia, and France. I can't imagine three worse countries to involve in constructive diplomacy.

zanzibar

Excellent interview PL.

Assuming the most likely action by the Decider - not to engage diplomatically with Iran and Syria and offer a trade for stability - how visible do you think the regional actors would be in supporting their "tribes" militarily as the Iraq partition accelerates? In your opinion will most of the fighting be primarily a proxy war in Iraq or is there a distinct possibility of say Iran and Saudi directly fighting each other or will it again be proxies like inciting the Shia in Saudi?

Will

I recall that the CIA/Special Forces/Northern Alliance "won" Afghanistan and that Rummy horned in on the credit toward the end phase.

And then he blew it in the end by letting OBM/UBM get away or maybe that was the NeoKon plan.

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