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16 December 2006

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Peter

What do you think the chances of the Neoconservatives getting the victory they are aiming for are?

How much is that related to the chances of a draft?

jonst

A nascent move, on the part of those with the most to lose, to strike back perhaps? http://www.appealforredress.org/

Things are getting more and more interesting. And deadly. And surrealistic. By the minute

David E. Solomon

Colonel Lang,

I think these people are insane.

This reads very much like the preparation for a buildup to an air attack and / or invasion of Iran as well.

All of this sounds very much like the dying gasps of a failing empire.

It took Rome many, many years to disintegrate, but the "decider" seems to be anxious to rush our fate along.


confusedponderer

The US assault would be like the French Assault on the casbah in the Battle of Algiers. The French won the fight, but lost the war.

I have confidence that US troops will, as usual, inflict terrific damage on the enemy, which will be about everyone. But I have my serious doubts that the Iraqis, after the US leveling larger swaths of Baghdad in their pacification effort, show palpable sympathy to their saviors.
There will be a period of calm afterwards, while the enemy re-organises. The Bushies will try sell that as success. When violence flares up again that will be because 'Syria and Iran colluded to thwart Great Leaders Glorious Victory'.

Frank Durkee

Col. The question I have is even with more troops in Baghdad what are the probabilities of establishing sufficient security to allow for the city to return to relatively normal functioning on a relatively permanent basis? If we can't have a siginificant probability of it working why are playing this charade? For whom and to whom is it directed?

Grumpy

Col., I read "Choosing Victory", the whole thing. I'm a grumpy disabled vet. As I read it, it sounds great on paper. BUT, in my humble opinion, there is a HUGE leap from paper or theory to "in country" or application. All through the national debate, we hear we need to win the war "over there", so we don't need to fight it here. Again, in my humble opinion, we can not win the war over ther until we win it here. They make the assertion, "We are a Nation at War", I say prove it! If we take our military families and put them on the shelf, what is the rest of the citizenry sacrificing in their personal lives for this war? This question on individual citizenry sacrifice, without violation of the U.S. Constitution is the bottom line to the issue.

THANK YOU, for keeping this blog and have a HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!

Grumpy

pbrownlee

Who gets to be von Paulus? And to protect supply lines? Or will all that be undertaken by air -- again?

The likelihood of a draft is approximately equal to that of a member of the Bush or Cheney family enlisting.

arbogast

Once again, Colonel Lang writes a post that cannot be added to, subtracted from, improved upon, or, God forbid, ignored. Readers of his blog are privileged indeed.

To me, the irreality of the people promoting these ideas centers around their flat-out, stand-up, center-square DENIAL of what just happened in South Lebanon.

Is there a Shiite in the entire world who has not been turned into a human fighting machine by the exploits of Hezbollah?

Is Iran, right now, not preparing the Shiites in Lebanon for whatever the United States Army can throw at them?

If this continues, there will be no choice but to impeach Bush and Cheney. It sounds far-fetched, but Colonel Lang has laid out for us in precise and detailed terms how equally far-fetched the fantasies of Bush and Cheney are.

And in the background, purring along, the implosion of the United States economy We will have a soft-landing in the economy comparable to the soft-landing in Iraq.

Stan Henning

What we are seeing here is a desperate leap into the abyss by Neocons trying, at the ninth hour, to make up for the most disastrous action ever taken in US history. No, Iraq is NOT really similar to Bosnia and Kosovo (just as Iraq is NOT another Vietnam - another mistake yes) and yes, the single biggest fallacy is the assumption that the militias will go away in the face of our increased, "righteous" presence. Sadly, were we really informed in the first place, we would have understood that nothing less than a complete US occupation, with martial law, total disarmament, etc., was required and that prospect should have caused us to hesitate from going in there in the first place. The ironic contradiction is that you cannot talk about Democracy among tribals without treating them all in an equal, albeit undemocratic, manner to begin with - nothing less than total control and total commitment was required from the get-go. If we go the way of "Choosing Victory" and it doesn't seriously take all this into account it will merely end up "magnifying misery".

John Shreffler

Er, yes Stalingrad. And the flanks? And the rear? William Lind thinks that there is a high order of probability that we're going to hit Iran (which I also believe--Walrus you ain't alone) and that this could cost us our Iraq garrison.

http://www.d-n-i.net/lind/lind_10_31_06.html

And we want to reinforce? Ah, strategerery!

VietnamVet

The surge lands my old brigade in Northern Baghdad after tours in Mosul and Southern Afghanistan.

PowerPoint leaves out a few details: the Shiite militia will join Sunni insurgents fighting the occupation; Baghdad will be flattened in front of Al Jazeera’s cameras, and the fighting will cause millions of Iraqi casualties and refuges.

The basic premise of embedding Americans in Iraqi units is that they want to be little Americans just like their trainers. No way. Not when every family has casualties caused by the Americans and their religion, Islam, is the one true religion.

In Ramadi, grunts can only move into FOBs at night. The Sunnis have taken the day away from US troops.

When the surge troops attack the Madhi militia, all of Iraq will be fighting the Americans. Embedding will be pointless; day and night will belong to the Iraqis.

bth

Bush may want to surge in 07, draw down in 08 and let it all collapse (the army, equipment, the Iraq endeavor) in 09 on the next president's watch.

That AEI hasn't been run out of the country is a betrayal of public trust.

Democrats should consider a tax increase for rich individuals and corporations plus a draft if the president proposes a surge. The 98% of this country that got a free ride the last five years needs to have some skin in the game for this nonesense to end. Does congress have the nerve? Until then, its pete and repeat.

Grimgrin

Wow... the first page and all four bullet points are completely misleading.

Using Bosnia as a model for example. The war in Bosnia was fought between three nations and paramilitary groups that were not just supported by, but took orders from their respective governments. When a peace treaty was signed, the fighting more or less stopped. Is there anyone in Iraq who could end the war by signing a deal on behalf of the Sunni's or the Shi'ites?

Even we grant that NATO involvement in Bosnia is a valid model for U.S. involvement in Iraq, The comparison is still bullshit. Bosnia has less than 5 million people, and required a commitment of 60,000 NATO troops. that suggests that at least 300,000 troops would be needed. Wait... where did I hear that number quoted before?

This power point studiously ignores history. The the short term history of the American involvement in Iraq, the Middle term of how Saddam's government ruled Iraq and what that meant, and the long term roots of conflict between the Sunni's and the Shi'ites each have implications for the conflict in Iraq, and this presentation seems to go out of it's way not to mention anything about them.

There also seems to be a total failure of pessimistic imagination when the authors were imagining the worst case scenarios in each phase of the operation. In many cases their "Most Dangerous" insurgent response seems to be what's actually happening right now.

Their proposed 'counters' all seem to come in one of two flavors. "Do what we've been doing all along, only this time it'll work" and "We should plan to do what we've previously failed to do".

So how many people will this plan kill if the U.S. attempts to implement it?

p.lukasiak

Okay, let me get this straight. For four years, we have been fighting an insurgency compost of Sunni Baathists and Sunni fundamentalists. And while that "war" is probably a stalemate, Iraq is now descending into chaos.

But, we're gonna send another 31,500 combat troops (or about an extra 100,000 troop all told, based on current ratios of combat to non-combat troops) to Iraq by next June. And we're going to wipe out both of the Sunni insurgencies by that September. And pacify the Shiites in January '08, after we've established peace and order to all of Iraq (with, of course, the ever-so-reliable iraqi army at our side!)

DOES THIS IDIOT UNDERSTAND HOW HOT IT GETS IN IRAQ IN THE SUMMER---WHEN THIS OFFENSIVE IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN?!?!?

I'm sure the author of this study is a whiz at the game "RISK", but I really don't think he should be taken seriously...

Nand Jagnath

I suppose every nation with considerable armed forces can easily make the mistake of assuming that armed might is a substitute for political solutions. The India Army was sent into Sri Lanka to put the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a guerilla force, in its place. Instead, it was the Army that took a pasting and the LTTE had its revenge by assassinating Rajiv Gandhi who was the Prime Minister that order the Indian forces into Sri Lanka.

Despite what has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, the neocons appear to be clinging to their belief that American military might will prevail and it is only a question of how to apply that might properly. Political solutions that require compromise go against the neocon creed that America must be able to reorder the world as it sees fit, using force if need be.

If America and/or Israel attacks Iran, the mess in the Middle East will be unbelievable. We'll have a belt of violent instability that extends from Afghanistan right across to Iraq and Lebanon.

I too strongly believe that an attack on Iran is highly likely during this Administration's watch. My guess, which I stated in an earlier post, is that the attack is probably slated for 2008, the year of Presidential elections. Given Israel's vigorous support for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, I simply don't see the U.S. media or the Democrats opposing such an attack.

jang

Maybe the deciderer fell asleep before learning Time's Person of the Yr 2006. His New Yr's resolution should be to read Sic Semper Tyrannis 2007. Congratulations and thank you, Col. Lang for taking the time to write SST which not only provides a forum for those with military experience to share viewpoints, but is also a tutorial for those of us who are militarily-illiterate. Makes one ill to read about Stalingrad in the context of Baghdad. God love the soldiers in the middle of it all.

walrus

Mt comments cannot be printed in this blog. Save to say the author of this powerpoint presentation is engaged in lethal fantasy.

walrus

Sadly, it would also appear that Col. Lang has drunk the Kool Aid.

zanzibar

What struck me about Kagan's PowerPoint was right in the beginning on slide 3 titled Victory is Vital. His first bullet is an assertion that the "US must prevail in Iraq to secure our vital national interests". There was nothing there that defined what US national interests in Iraq are. But on the other hand six bullets to bolster the argument about costs of failure.

This in my mind has been the fundamental flaw of the Decider and his acolytes strategy. What US national interests were served by invading Iraq in the first place on the basis of false pretenses? Now that the Pandora's Box has been opened what national interest is served by continuing a failed policy and strategy by adding marginally to the troop strength?

What continues to puzzle me is that the chickenhawks never seem to articulate what exactly is the national interest other than making the assertion that there is some mythical national interest that requires tremendous expenditure of resources and blood.

arbogast

I try to proof-read my comments. I meant to say that Iran was preparing the Shiites in Iraq for whatever the US throws at them.

Is there a nation on earth, on earth, that wants Americans with guns wandering around loose on their soil?

Are we going to station troops in Saudi Arabia to prop up George Bush's good friend the...King.

What is particularly troubling is that the comments to this blog are all reading from the same page...and all coming from different points of view.

Impeach Bush and Cheney. Impeach them now.

blowback

According to Uri Avnery, it now appears that the Israelis didn't have a plan when they went to war against Hezbollah.

Uri provides a 101 in running a war:

WHEN A STATE starts a war, the sequence is - in simplistic terms - as follows:

1- The government adopts a clear political aim.

2- The government deliberates whether this aim can be achieved by war - after it comes to the conclusion that it cannot be achieved by other means.

From this point on, the emphasis moves from the political to the military leadership. Its duty is:

3- To draw up a strategic plan for attaining the aim decided upon by the government.

4- To translate the strategic plan into a tactical plan. Among others: to decide what forces are needed, which forces will be employed, what is the target of each force and within which time it must achieve it, as well as to foresee possible moves by the other side.

5- To prepare the forces for their tasks, in accordance with their training and equipment.

A wise government will also think about the situation it would like to have after the war, and will instruct the military to take this into consideration while planning their operations.

Perhaps the Israeli government passed on their way of going to war to the neo-cons.

walrus

This document is an Israeli Likudnik response to the Baker report. How long must America put up with these thinly disguised Israeli manipulations of our nation?

It is full of half truths and wishful thinking.

"Victory is possible" - no it isn't and the size of the U.S. vis a vis Iraq is irrelevent unless we have a draft and a wartime economy, complete with austerity.

"Success requires effort and will, but we need not choose to lose" - We have not chosen to lose. we are in the process of being defeated by superior tactics and we do not have the logistical or numerical numbers to defeat the insurgents.

"Victory is vital" - vital to who? Not America, but definitely Israel. Why not give the whole mess to Israel to sort out? They got us into it in the first place.

"Iraq is at a critical point" by this the author means that success is still an option. I don't think so.

"Security First" - yes what a belated realisation! Securing the population is the first requirement for a successful counterinsurgency campaign, only point the author doesn't realise, or is not willing to say, is that the reason security is vital is because it opens the possibility that the locals will give themselves permission to trust you and your programs. Of course no Iraqi will ever trust America again after the violence, stupidity and downright lies and deceit practiced on the Iraqis - we blew "security and trust" when we reopened Al Ghraib.

"Create Security in Baghdad by Fall '07" sure! Exactly how do you propose to do that?

"We must make every effort to secure the population of Baghdad rapidly

•Baghdad is now the center of gravity of this conflict

•We must act at once to improve security there

•Strategy must change from training Iraqis to restoring security-a vital American interest

•Political solutions must accompany this effort, but security is the essential precondition for any forward progress in Iraq"

Exactly how do you propose to do this?

"Caveats

•The proposal for establishing security that follows is an example, not an operational plan.

•The proposal is based on open-source information about the current situation in Iraq.

•The purpose is to show that establishing security is possible with available resources.

•Military commanders will adjust it to changing circumstances on the ground.

•Numbers of troops and timelines are approximate.
As of Dec 13, 2006 10"

Translation: I don't know what I'm talking about - this product contains nuts.

"Phase I: Deploy (by March)

•Phase II: Prepare (by June)

•Phase III: Clear critical terrain (by Sept.)

•Phase IV: Hold cleared areas and transition to Iraqi control"

Exactly how do you propose to clear critical terrain? If I were a militia member, I would simply bury my weapons and wait till you have gone away.

Alternatively, if the soldiers involved are as inept as Mr. Kagan, I would kill quite a few, and then bury my weapon and wait for the rest of the Americans to go away.

I like this trite phrase:

"Rapid, thorough clearing operations and strong leave-behind presence in each cleared district combats enemy surge attacks. Increase protection of high value targets."

Easier said than done. If I were an insurgent leader, I would honeycomb whole regions of Baghdad with IED's and wait for your "rapid" clearing operation.

However I suspect that Kagans phrase really means destroy Baghdad.

"Continue to develop local intelligence to root out any cells that have gone to ground within cleared districts."

No local intelligence because of zero trust.

"Reconstruction is an incentive for future cooperation"

Translation: You mean you have destroyed Iraq and you are not going to put it back together? I think there is a cell waiting for you in the Hague, Mr. Kagan.

"Every clearing operation should be accompanied by a set, fully funded reconstruction package

•Restore essential services immediately: sewer, water, electricity, and trash removal services

•Commanders should be granted authority and money to distribute funds and oversee the execution of reconstruction efforts, aided by appropriate US Government agencies"

You wish.....what are you smoking?

"We Are At War

•Success requires a national commitment

•Some military units will be deployed for longer tours

•Some National Guard units may deploy again sooner than planned

•Equipment must be borrowed from non-deploying active, reserve, and Guard units

•Military industry must be mobilized to make up equipment shortages"

May you rot in hell Mr. Kagan. There does not need to be a war. I do like your last point - a sop to your backers perhaps?

Here is the list of traitors and dupes who participated in this orgy:

"Participants
•Frederick W. Kagan, AEI
•Jack Keane, General, U.S. Army, Retired
•David Barno, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army Retired
•Danielle Pletka, AEI
•Rend al-Rahim, Iraq Foundation
•Joel Armstrong, Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired
•Daniel Dwyer, Major, U.S. Army, Retired
•Larry Crandall
•Larry Sampler, IDA
•Michael Eisenstadt, Washington Institute
•Kimberly Kagan, Georgetown•Michael Rubin, AEI
•Reuel Gerecht, AEI
•Thomas Donnelly, AEI
•Gary Schmitt, AEI
•Mauro de Lorenzo, AEI
•Vance Serchuk, AEI
•Molly McKew, AEI
•Laura Conniff, AEI
•Jonathan Bronitsky, AEI
•Adrian Myers, AEI"

Twenty One Idiots, Twelve AEI members and about half of them Jewish. How long before we realise we are being led by the nose to our doom?

W. Patrick Lang

Walrus


"Koolaid?" What are you talking about? pl

anna missed

I'm always puzzled by all this talk of "our vital interests", when these "intrests" are reasoned and repeated ad-infintium without ever, any definition. "It" takes us to Iraq, "It" remains the reason behind all we do in Iraq, "It" is the reason we must stay in Iraq.

Looking back on the last 4 years of, the death, the treasure spent, and reputation sullied, what in hell could "our interests" possibly be, to justify even more of the same?

walrus

Sorry PL, I'm just more stupid than usual.

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