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17 December 2006


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Pat, Kean and Barno may provide the "military legitimacy" for the AEI and anyone who takes it seriously --- but the question is how the JCS will react to something akin to this plan.

All indications are that there will be considerable resistance to the plan from the professional military -- so what are the odds of a significant resignation or two if this kind of plan goes forward?

W. Patrick Lang


1- They DO provide "military legitimacy." Damn them.

2- They should be forced to command in the debacle that they are helping to create. Get it now?


4- Resignations over principle? What? You haven't been paying attention. pl


Col. Lang:

Excellent idea to use the retired recall authority to return Keane and Barno (and how about McCaffery and Downing while we're at it) to active duty status.

They could then assume the responsibility for some of their cockamamie ideas about how to proceed in Iraq.

W. Patrick Lang


McCaffery has his moments but Downing should definitely be returned to active duty for this.

My slate:


MNFI - Downing

Corps Commander - Barno



If you could please provide some insight concerning Batiste and his complete turn around in his message? Was he threatened with a loss of his pension? I was really disappointed to hear him speak on MSNBC on Thanksgiving. They must have something on him.

W. Patrick Lang


MG (Ret.)Batiste is a one trick pony. He hated Rumsfeld but other than that.....

Retired military oersonnel do not receive a pension. They are still in the srevice (like me) but are paid at a reduced rate becasue they are not required to perform any duty.

Batiste was safe in his retired pay. They could never have done anything to him. pl


Can't we just put them in the lead vehicles instead?

Regards, Cernig @ Newshog.

P.S. Col. I've just discovered your site. I wish I hadn't missed such a good blog for so long. I'll be back frequently.



Let me ask you a question. It seems that many people in the military believe the Army's is over stretched and that this "surge" tactic could break the Army.

What are the chances that a Reserve or National Guard unit called up to go to Iraq just refuses to go. It would seem that when only 30% of the population now supports the War in Iraq, that many people will start to believe that this is a losing cause and who would want to lose their life to attempt to salvage a loser like GWB's legacy. Not me. Especially if I had already served a tour.

If a unit refuses to answer the call wouldn't that be a first in US history (maybe post War Between the States). Seems like that would be a very severe blow to the US.

Just a thought.

It seems like it will be soom a time for Republican House and Senate members to visit the boy prince and tell him the real facts. Get us out of Iraq or you will be impeached. The Republican Party has the most to lose. If the US is still in Iraq in 08 the Republican Party will go from what I now call the Southern Party to a nonexistent party. At least in my humble opinion.

W. Patrick Lang


There are rumors of similar events now. pl



Thanks for the answer. In my mind this is a terrible unhinging of the US. When the military can not be relied upon to answer the command of the civilian government it speaks volumes. Scary! In some ways it feels like South America.

However, it is understandable when the civilian government has lost its mind. Of course that is always what the military thought about civilian government when they took action in the SA.

Adam Stilson

I hate powerpoint. A little while back I had to take a week to fight with it because I had to present my lab's work to DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Admin) for them to evaluate/decide to continue our grant (I am a physicist). Two things:

1. They required PowerPoint. No other method was acceptable. When I asked why, they said that they summarize the scientist's presentations to their supervisors by cut and pasting powerpoint. And, in turn, that the superiors do the same to their superiors. Now it is a given that nothing can capture the sublties of scientific research (or taking over/rebuilding a country) better than Powerpoint's 'WordArt' feature. But what was strange was that they were not interested in seeing the actual papers we published in journals (journal articles always include a good paragraph abstract... it is the most important part). I was told that the folks higher up didn't bother with that. They wanted powerpoint bulletpoints. What is it? Are they so blind that only 24+ point fonts get though? If it's written big, it must be important? Are they powerpoint fetishists? Yikes. Whatever the cause, I got the impression that the DOD is a powerpoint shit storm.

2. I just cannot believe the number of unsupported, unresearched claims on the "choosevictory" presentation. DARPA, at least, is brutal. If you put data without error bars, they toss you out of there and we are all the better for it. The only way crap like this could be made is if there is no adversarial peer review at the top levels.

Beware powerpoint my son! It is the written form of talking head punditry. It's the gilded wrapper used to peddle compentence.

I feel alot better after getting that out. Thanks!


Attacking the Mahdi Militia or bombing Iran’s nuclear sites are such a cockamamie idea, one hopes that someone is telling George W the facts. The US has lost control of Al Anbar province to the Sunni insurgency. It isn’t exactly the smartest move to attack Shiites; the other half of Islam.


Regardless of which plan is eventually adopted:

“The president by definition knows more than any of those people who are serving on these panels.” --Andrew Card

BY DEFINITION! So those "experts" had better just shut up and learn from their master.

Since the election Pelosi has been trying to gag any talk of impeachment, but perhaps new events will change that. It would have to be preferable to a mutiny in the armed forces, I think.

W. Patrick Lang


I despise powerpoint. It is a substitute for real thought. I wonder what MacArthur or Marshall would have thought of it? pl


John, I think you are right that if we are still in Iraq in 08 it may not be such a good thing politically for the Republican party. Of course they will try to spin it. IMO, if they try the surge and increase combat forces and then in 08 we are still trying to quell the internecine conflict and attacks on our forces then it would sink the McCain presidential candidacy since he is one of the major advocates for increased troop strength in Iraq.

I believe as 08 rolls in and we are in either a similar or worse situation in Iraq we'll get to 80% of the American people against our presence there and the Presidential candidate that campaigns on withdrawal will win. Yes the neo-cons and the McCains and Liebermans will howl about the defeatists and those that would "lose" the Middle East to terrorists but the American people I believe will see through that fog as they did last November. Now several Democratic committee chairs are pledging to investigate war profiteering and the new Senate Intelligence Committee will get the opportunity to complete the report on politicization of intelligence leading up to the invasion that Sen. Roberts stonewalled. This is an interesting political dynamic as the voters spoke clearly in November by repudiating the current Iraq policy and want out with some specific timetable. The Decider is deciding to ignore the election results. Who else will he take down with him as that ship sinks? I am afraid it could be our military and the country as a whole too.


Col. Lang,
First time I have been to the site though I've seen you often cited for your expertise in many MSM articles.

Nice blog and nice post.

Regarding additional troops being sent to al Anbar do you think that Anbar and Baghdad are where most of the violence is coming from? I understand that there is violence in the Shia areas but aren't they a lesser priority in terms of bringing security to the country and something the Iraqis could/should do themselves?


Vietnam Vet:

It is kind of a Catch 22. If the US used nukes against Iran, it would show the world why they really do need nukes.

You know what gets me about the nuclear question is how easily some people move into the conversation of using it. Like no big deal. Once you go there where will you stop.

In my mind once the US uses nuclear weapons it will become the pariah of the world. We will be right up there with Hitler Germany and Tojo's Japan. The whole world will turn against us. It would be easy for the rest of the world to shut off the oil supply to the US. It is not eash to maintain supply lines.

Oh yeah, we have the strongest military in the world. I forgot that, but that is really only of any use if you are planning on nuking the whole world. We really have a very small fighting force to take and hold real estate.

I can not even believe that we allow the term nuclear to come up. Not that I am some pacifist, I just think I have a far better understanding of what the term means than 90% of America.


Col: Will we receive confirmation that Abizaid and Casey have failed when they receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

And has anyone had the decency to talk to General Shinseki?

John Howley

A Neocon brain-teaser:

"Sixty-one percent of Iraqis approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces." (ISG Report, page 35)

Sending another 20,000 U.S. combat troops to "clear and hold" neighborhoods in Baghdad will cause that percentage to go up or down?

Hmmm, let's see now....



you mentioned according to rational calculus that both casey and abizeid have failed, and therefore should be relieved of their command (that is if the u.s intends to continue fighting in iraq). that will only happen as a last resort under bush43, as he himself doesn't want to be held accountable, so therefore he will not hold those accountable under him. and in the meantime, more of our corporals and privates continue to be unwarranted cannon fodder for mr. bush's juvenile thinking pattern. what a sad time for our nation's families who are in service to our nation.


My questions about this "surge" idea are and have always been:

1. Where do the troops come from? The current rotation schedule is pretty brutal. Guard/Reserve? Not before early summer - the guys need trainup/mob time. New meat? Don't make me laugh.

2. What's the point? Using a "strategic reserve" makes sense in a conventional stand-up fight. You break the other guy, exploit the breakthrough, smashing victory, game over, thanks for playing. In a counterinsurgency all this does is "flood the zone" with bodies. The dumb G's wander into the net and get captured or killed. The smart G's go underground, or go elsewhere until the heat's off. I suspect that Darwin is pretty savage on the muj - most of the really dumb guys already have their virgins.

3. Wiping the floor with the Mahdi Army won't make Sadr go away. Didn't we learn that when we discovered that Iraq isn't Iraq because Saddam was Saddam: Saddam was Saddam because Iraq is Iraq. Sadr's folks rally around him because he represents something important to them. Those beliefs won't go away if the Mahdi Army gets decimated - they did in 2004 and, look, they're still here. Same for the Sunni muj. ISTM that these guys are as much effect as cause.

None of the talking heads that support this plan seems to explain how these extra guys are gonna make the Iraqi factions settle their differences politically rather than with guns. Until I see that happen I'm gonna expect this plan to work about as well as the "let's raze Fallujah and see what happens" plan that went so well for us back in 2004...

Dick Durata

I'm curious about the appointment of Gen. Odierno as operations head (#2 in the chain of command) in Iraq.
After he left the 4th Infantry to mixed reviews, he's been Condi's military advisor, and now his appointment is right before Gates takes over. I'd appreciate any insight into this.

Chris Bray

"In olden times, generals who failed in the field were relieved and replaced..."

Right in principle, but keep going. I may be mistaken, but it seems to me that in incident after incident in Iraq, the military brings serious charges against enlisted servicemembers for incidents in which maybe a few officers are reprimanded, and even fewer are charged with anything. The entire officer corps seems to have figured out how to insulate itself from responsiblity for the behavior of their organizations.

W. Patrick Lang


You are quite right. Senior officers in this war are nicely insulated from accountability.

Dick D.

Odierno took over 3rd Army Corps some time ago and the Corps headquarters has now rotated to Iraq. That is why he is back. pl


how about that!

colin powell is "not persuaded" that increasing the number of us troops in iraq is a good idea

wapo article on his appearance on cbs this morning

Powell Says U.S. Losing in Iraq, Calls for Drawdown by Mid-2007

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 18, 2006; Page A20

Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell said yesterday that the United States is losing what he described as a "civil war" in Iraq and that he is not persuaded that an increase in U.S. troops there would reverse the situation. Instead, he called for a new strategy that would relinquish responsibility for Iraqi security to the government in Baghdad sooner rather than later, with a U.S. drawdown to begin by the middle of next year

don't worry!

just because general powell
is not persuaded that increasing the troop level is a bad idea does not mean i am not confident that it is a bad idea

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