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16 August 2010

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John Minnerath

- classes in American government would be a good idea. -

My Dad who was an EM from 1937 to 1946 and then an Officer till his retirement in 1967, is probably rolling in his grave over this state of affairs we see today.

dh

I don't see a contradiction. It will be like Iraq. Pull some out and leave some forever.

Patrick Lang

dh

no. you are mistaken. we really are leaving iraq. pl

Fred

Maybe instead of an extra order of 'consultants' they could order up 10,000 copies of the US Constitution to pass around to both those bitching and all the members of the press who visit. Just who's government do these folks think they supposed to serve anyway, the US Government or Karzai's band of crooks?

In addition those on active duty should explain what would have happen if McChrystal (or Petraues for that matter) had been KIA by a car accident, bomb, etc? Al Queada/Taliban/(whatever 'enemy' label we are currently using) seems to keep right on going no matter how may "#3's" we knock off. Maybe those on active duty could answer why; that might help them figure out how to do their jobs. As to unfairness, there are plenty of folks here in the US are persevering who's co-workers were unfairly, and 'deleteriously for operations', let go.

Norbert M. Salamon

Colonel
:
your remark: we really are leaving IRaq, does it also apply to the Mercenaries and other similar leeches of taxpayer funds?
Tx for reply

J

Colonel,

Will Gates (SecDef) have to eventually 'McChrystal' the Gen. DP at the rate the Gen. DP is behaving?

What would Hack say if he could see it all now?

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Truth is the first thing to go in War. There must be some reporting that approaches reality but it is not in the American mass media. Ethnic cleansing and the promise of American troop withdrawal ended the Iraqi Insurgency for now. Confusion abounds with Iraqi and US Generals talking about US troops remaining to 2020 but other reports state that only dozens of embassy guards will remain after 2011.

The fog of war is all to a good purpose. The last thousands of troops and contractors in Iraq are going to be in one hell of a situation. One hopes that the Iraqis wave goodbye instead of decimating the last remaining REMFs and Mercenaries. But, Humans Beings dream of revenge.

Just like not pushing for a full Stimulus package to lower unemployment prior to the November 2010 election hurts the Democrats election prospects; pulling all the troops out a year before November 2012 election could assure a repeat of the Jimmy Carter’s One Term Presidency, all over again, with thousands of hostages and deaths in Iraq.

Patrick Lang

NMS

My reading of the tea leaves indicates that as US forces depart, the US role in Iraq will get smaller and smaller to include the role of contractors. Most of the "mercenaries" as you and others call them are logistics contractors. As long as we have a big diplomatic presence the State Department will continue to hire security companies to provide guards for them but they will have to operate within Iraqi law. The SOFA does not apply to them. If there really are going to be five consular posts outside Baghdad, there had better be some kind of armed security. te US Marines are not interested in providing more than a symbolic presence in the diplomatic compounds. I predict that by next inaugural day in 2013, there will be not more than ten thousand US government, service people and contractors in Iraq. pl

Norbert M. Salamon

Colonel:

Thanks for the detailed answer

walrus

Gates announces intention to stand down next year.

"One of the driving forces behind the war in Afghanistan, US defence secretary Robert Gates, has flagged that he intends to step down next year.

The former CIA director was appointed by George W Bush four years ago to replace the controversial Donald Rumsfeld.

The widely respected Republican stayed on under Barack Obama, but now says he will depart next year, when it is clear whether the administration's Afghanistan strategy is working.

On the weekend General David Petraeus said a troop drawdown next year would depend on security conditions, and he might advise the president to delay.

But Mr Gates has told the Los Angeles Times there is no question that the US will begin reducing troop levels next July."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/17/2984773.htm?section=justin

arbogast

"My generation learned something really basic about wars and the American people. When they say you are through, you are finished."

The difference is the "volunteer army". Yours and my generation were subject to the draft. How many of the brave soldiers you led were draftees?

One doesn't hear too much about recruiting difficulties these days, whereas a few years ago there were big problems recruiting. Why? An economic collapse.

So we have today an evil stew of "volunteer" soldiers many of whom want to be at war, a military brass who definitely want to be at war (how else to get promoted?), a totally corrupt industrial complex feeding off war, and a fanatic nation state whose representatives in the US control foreign policy and who want and thrive on war (recall that Israel could have cared less about the war in Vietnam).

We live in a very, very different era than we did during the Vietnam war. Nowadays it will not take much at all to persuade the American people that it is their patriotic duty to support a war that does not affect them as directly as did the war in Vietnam. Perhaps all that is lacking is a casus belli, and think what even a minor terrorist attack in the US would do to public opinion. Ten dead in Times Square would keep us in Afghanistan forever.

In fact, it seems obvious that America is headed into a dreadful spiral of defeat unless a truly courageous leader comes along who will save her. Personally, I am not holding my breath.

William R. Cumming

PL! What do you make of Karzai ordering all private contractor security forces out of Afghnistan in 120 days?
What impact will governmental response or non-response to Pakistan floods have on the anti-terrorism campaign?

Patrick Lang

WRC

I think he is "levering" the US to "lay off" on the anti-corruption investigations. He , his clique and their foreign partners do not like the "heat." pl

Patrick Lang

arbogast

You need to come home for a while. You are wrong about whether or not the Anmerican people care about these soldiers. To my surprise, they do.

"...we have today an evil stew of "volunteer" soldiers many of whom want to be at war,"

Take a voluntary vacation from SST.

I was always in units so skilled and cleared so high that the number of people who were not of the "evil stew" was always very small. The "line" of the "drafted army" always had a large number of professionals in it. We had all the significant leadership positions. pl

Harper

Definitely a split here between Gates and Petraeus. Gates is a politician who came up through the CIA ranks during Vietnam, and knows that, as Col. Lang indicated, you cannot continue a war when the population says "no." From the outset, Gates has seen the US as having 18-24 months to make the kind of visible progress that would enable the Congress and the American people to tolerate an additional period of time to "get it right" and "exit with some measure of success." It looks to me like that prospect has eluded us, and Gates is reading Obama's reelection desperation correctly. We are, after all, a Republic.

Also note Gates' other actions, involving the draw down of contractors, cuts in big ticket items, and taking on such sacred cows as the status of the Marine Corps and the draw down of flag grades, starting at the top with the four stars. If he is, indeed, preparing to leave, he has a legacy in mind. It will get very interesting over the next weeks and months. There is a difference between viable budget cuts and restructuring and across the board austerity. Gates is pursuing the former, as a way of protecting the military from the latter. A real tightrope, and Petraeus, despite his demigod status, does not have the same feel for the Washington bureaucratic wars or the mood of the American people as Gates does.

J

Colonel,

Increasing numbers are seeing the Peteraeus 'will we/won't we?' regarding Afghanistan as "P" is nothing more than a 'straw-man/shell-game' for/by Obama, and that Gates is a non sequitur as he is leaving in 2011.

Norbert M. Salamon

Another reason that the USA will leave Afganistan is the coming crunch in oil supplies and conseqwuential rise in price over the comfort level for the USA economy, causing further contrqaction in GDP, Please peruse:

OPEC's Spare Crude Oil Capacity - Will it Disappear by the End of 2011?

at:
http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/6859

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