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03 January 2007

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John Shreffler

Col.,

The surge is clearly intended to give us the cassus belli for our upcoming strike on Iran. When the troops move on Sadr City, they will apparently discover that Sadr has been the conduit for Iranian support to the Sunni insurgency. The pieces began to fall into place on Christmas Day, when the NYT reported that Pasdaran special ops were caught in a raid in Sadr City. Today, there's been a follow up in the New York Sun:

http://www.nysun.com/article/46032

All kinds of other things keep coming out Iran daily, clearly an orchestrated campaign. 2007 is not gonna be pretty.

Babak Makkinejad

"Man does not live by bread alone." indeed. And the second part of thet sentence is "but by the knowledge of Word of God." which in thic case is the Quran.

lester

even the far right has big concerns over this move:


GEN Casey Gets Canned, Lots More To Follow……


General Casey subscribes to the philosophy that a democracy must be nourished with the blood of Patriots, Patriots defined as the countries own nationals:

In a telephone interview on Friday, General Casey continued to caution against a lengthy expansion in the American military role. “The longer we in the U.S. forces continue to bear the main burden of Iraq’s security, it lengthens the time that the government of Iraq has to take the hard decisions about reconciliation and dealing with the militias,” he said. “And the other thing is that they can continue to blame us for all of Iraq’s problems, which are at base their problems.”

We know what this “kind of talk” gets you, sadly the President has no idea that this thought process is the majority thought throughout the Senior Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Ranks:

Mr. Bush seems all but certain not only to reverse the strategy that General Casey championed, but also to accelerate the general’s departure from Iraq, according to senior military officials.

Maybe George Casey can write a book and give lectures like John Abizaid. I do know there will be a lot more to follow so if anything, though very sad, 2007 will be a fascinating year.

When John Abizaid goes public, and he plans to, the theme that you will hear from him is that the US Army is a warfighting force not a nation building force.

-- Oak Leaf

http://polipundit.com/index.php?p=16476

^I'd recommend all that guys topics at that site

Michael

Forgive my ignorance as I have no military background.. but 20,000 troops doesn't sound like a "shock and awe" kind of surge.. weren't they talking about 50,000 at one point?

So Bush believes economic deprivation is at the root of the insurgency? This from a guy who, before he was President, had never set foot outside North America? (I may be mistaken.. but I recall reading that a while ago).

No wonder his foreign policies aren't working.

Rex Brynen

So they're sending 10-20,000 Orc spearmen? ;)

Chris Marlowe

Since there are not enough US troops to completely dominate the situation in what was Iraq, the US military effectively just becomes another tribe involved in internecine warfare.

It is just a wild card, played whatever direction Bush and his advisors deem appropriate for their ends.

Becoming a tribal player is very degrading for any military force as it loses national cohesion, and starts attracting low-quality recruits. When this happens, the nation eventually turns to relying on foreign troops, as the Roman Empire did when it neared the end. Eventually the foreign troops turn on their masters.

ali

Some numbers: Last I read there where about 50,000 Iraqi troops and about 17,000 Yanks around Baghdad. The current garrison has a record of taking a couple of hours to respond to platoon sized insurgent attacks on ministries. There's a large Iraqi police contingent but these guys are certainly part of the problem. I've heard no hint that the US will cease its worthless kinetic campaign in Al Anbar. If we count the Iraqi army units as effective (a big if) sending another 20,000 (less than perfectly trained for this) Yanks to Baghdad and let's say we have 100,000 guys there. Baghdad has a population of more than 6 million. So we'll move from a ratio of maybe 1000:10 to 1000:16 of occupied to occupiers.

Even looking at this through dangerously rosy Pentagon glasses we are short of the 1000:20 that is the accepted norm in stability operations. The intensity of violence in Baghdad far exceeds Kosovo, N.I or Malaya where we often needed more than this deployed for several years at a time.

The US military can perhaps sustain this level of deployment until the 08 elections. But if US troops don't patrol on foot they'll make precious little difference, this will expose them to considerable risk. A move into Sadr City could rapidly turn very nasty. With the US electoral clock ticking any perceptible hike in US casualties is likely to result in US troops being cocooned in at best their armor and at worst their barracks. If so they'll be little more than a palace guard for the Emerald City.

This would have been a fine idea a couple of years ago it's now looking futile.

arbogast

There is usually so very little to add to the Colonel's posts. And this is no exception.

I would ask a question. Is the British decision to partition India a reasonable historical precedent?

It was a ghastly thing. And there were several wars as a result of it.

And take a look at the graph of the stock market today. Viagra is needed on Wall Street.

Charles

After the spectacle of (predictably)cheering witnesses taunting Saddam (predictably)made their way through the ether, I just have three questions left, never mind any gibberish about a surge. What did the Mayans know that made them end their calendar in 2012? How could they know the ME would come to this pass, America and Israel fiendishly yet incompetently pissing off EVERYONE just at a time when WMD would become widely available to the pissed on? How could any of this continue on longer than six more years?

Michael Siger

Bush may or may not be headed for a showdown with Congress(Biden and Pelosi) over the war. The fight would be about funding. For those of us who want a rational withdrawl it would be nice if the Democrats could cohere around a real plan to stop the "surge" and only fund a plan that would leave a much smaller force in Iraq. Because the Democrats don't think creatively about this there is no counterforce to the flag-waving neo-cons and their will to war. I would guess Bush will get his "surge" tax and the killing of American's will continue apace.
Michael Singer

W. Patrick Lang

Rex

Tribal orc spearmen. These are the best kind. pl

pbrownlee

Perhaps we are witnessing the end-game activities of the tribe of pro-rich, pro-war, pro-capital punishment (!) Christians who do not seem to be greatly aware of most of the New Testament but are strangely devoted to the more lurid, city-leveling, child-dismembering bits of the Old Testament.

Didn't Justice Holmes say that philosophy is what we use to justify what we want to do anyway?

lester

throw a little FDR socialism in there. why not? make it a full theatre of the macabre

Dan

On this point: 3- An economic development program (we were not doing this?) to provide jobs in the belief that jobs will prove to be the key to undercutting the insurgency (Sunni). "

Interestingly enough, as late as 2004, their was incredible resistance from the neocon hawks to doing decentralized, manpower intensive programs that many officers and others on the ground thought might have helped. "We don't do job programs,'' was how one callow CPA eager beaver explained it to me, apparently on economic ideological grounds. Military units were of course doing this on their own with money from the commanders emergency response fund, cerp, which was originally bankrolled with money seized from saddam's palaces, and then had an appropriation for a while. Funding dried up for this over a year ago. At any rate, there was no sign that small scale efforts to do so (in sadr city legions of young, military aged men, many Mahdi Army members/supporters of course were paid $5 a day to clean up roadsides and other make work like that. When something really good was paid for by the US miltary, like pumping stations to get raw sewage off the streets, Mahdi army guys would come around with signs a day or so later and put up signs saying "this project was brought to you by the Mahdi Army." Sneaky, but smart).

At any rate, when I now read that the "new plan" is to create jobs, something we resisted doing when things were fairly stable in 2003 and early 2004, I fall out of my chair.

Happy New Year
Dan (there's some other Dan who posts here now; not him Colonel.)

zsa

John,

I've been thinking the same thing, that the "surge" is a preface to action against Iran, but more along the lines of keeping the lid on Baghdad after air strikes.

Hadn't occurred to me that they could potentially be manufacturing a pretext as well. They'll need some Polish Army uniforms ...

The neocons never think small, after all. They dream big dreams. Doubling down in the ME means Iran. And it's going to get ugly ...

BTW, Col. Lang, what is the "hidden launch site"? Should I be cancelling my vacation plans? :)

Marc Monetti

Col. Lang,

You mentioned the OSP gang and another post opined that the "surge" will serve as a precursor to the Iran bombing. Am I barking up the wrong tree if I'm seeing the Likudnick/PNAC crowd still driving this policy? Solving any crime starts with this: cui bono. I wonder if Israel isn't enjoying this Arab "30 Year War"(defined as such by the neocon Varsity's David Brooks) Is it too much to think the Likudnicks wanted chaos all along? How many dead kids have to pile up before Americans get wise? We are not Israel and our interests are not the same.

W. Patrick Lang

Zsa

My apologies. As my under graduate teachers would have said, "a conceit." pl

Greg

Col.,

Why do people continue to use/endorse the semantics of the Cheney Administration by referring to a temporary military "surge," when in fact this is going to be a very large military escalation, i.e., a massive uptick in organized violence?

W. Patrick Lang

Greg

"a massive uptick in organized violence?"

You mean war?

I use "surge" because it is so obviously PR crap. pl

zanzibar

PL you have been prescient. Your analysis of the reality from many months ago have been right on the money.

So do you think this new escalation and possible "disarming" of the Mahdi will bring to bear the possibilities you expressed relative to the supply chain leading out of Kuwait?

Got A Watch

So it seems the Bushies are going to play the Sunni card again...politics sure does make strange bedfellows, don't it? Apparently no one in authority has examined the likely negative ramifications, all is sunny optimism just like '03. Which brings me to a point I have been meaning to bring up, that is, with the internet available to all, how hard it is to keep a troop movement or offensive a real secret anymore- nowadays, a grainy video is on YouTube or similar almost before the action has started. Apparently Shiites are not thought to be online too - I'm sure all of this will be a huge surprise to them. ( cough, sarcasm) The only real surprise will be in the White House when it all fails to go according to plan - seems we've seen this move before, but GWB somehow missed it the last 2 times around.

Good analysis covering the salient points on ATOL today: by W. Joseph Stroupe - worth a read, I think he summarises it nicely, at:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA03Ak01.html
and Tom dares to question the 100 year mission at:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA04Ak01.html

It looks like I had better get working on that fall-out shelter again.

Andrew Fisher

Love the Ork, he is right on the money about the kind of war we are fighting now.

But surely in the Neocon fantasy they are all Paladins?

Andrew

Richard Whitman

What happens if by odd chance or dumb luck that we win? Do we get to station a large amount of troops in Iraq for the next century, like we have in Germany and Japan?

Charlie Green

"What happens if by odd chance or dumb luck that we win? Do we get to station a large amount of troops in Iraq for the next century, like we have in Germany and Japan?"

Yeah, but we get to keep the oil this time.

ali

I was listening Wilkerson on the Ian Masters Podcast last night. He has despairingly concluded that even given a perfect plan, the political courage to acknowledge and correct their error the folks on Capital Hill are simply too inept to implement any corrective measure.

Stroupe in ATOL above suggests we are seeking to restore the regional stalemate between the Sunni and the Shi'a that Saddam's Iraq once maintained. I suspect the game we are playing may may be a less ambitious one.

Stroupe rightly sees the Shi'a dominated political process in Iraq as a runaway train that we set in motion but no longer control. We have a weak divided Sunni Arab world fronted by the corrupt crumbling authoritarian regimes of Saudi and Egypt. Given the sad spectacle of of our failure in Iraq a realist might say we simply lack the clout to shore these senile players up. Are we about to attempt to exploit the fissures in the Iraqi Shi'a in an effort to control them?

We seem to cosying up to Abdul Aziz al-Hakim of SCIRI at the moment and there's been some saber rattling directed at Al Sadr. An additional 20,000 US troops in Baghdad could be intended for an all out assault on Sadr city. This would probably result in a utter collapse of the Iraqi government solving one problem. With Al Sadr's power base destroyed we can then turn our attention to the SCIRI's power tool bearing Badr Brigade. Of course a highly dependant "Emergency Government" will be needed so we either ally with SCIRI and split them from their Iranian masters or crush them in turn and pick a puppet like Allawi hoping the army will serve as a power base.

This would be a big stupid version of the prudent divisive imperialist game Tehran has been playing in Iraq. It would probably lead to disaster but frankly this administration does not have the aptitude for anything but a big dumb roll of the dice. I'd not rate our chances against Al Sadr if he got steamed up and had the Iranians fully on his side.

It's not unlikely that the next President(s) will be confronted with a situation in which there is no hope of extracting a greatly expanded non-volunteer US military from the region.

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