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TennBear

President Bush's New Plan for Iraq

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Don't know how many of you watched the Bush speech where he laid out his new plans to remove up to the 30,000 troops from the surge over the next year as progress warrants or any of the Political Shows that analyzed it, but I want to hear who thinks that this may be just the minimum that the limitations of the length of tours of duty dictates or if this is a new policy how you think that the policy will work out or is it just the same policy wrapped in a different tone and an attempt to put a new bow on it to sale it to the American people? Do you think that Petreus gave an independent viewpoint or was it just a calculated script laid out by the President in which he had been speaking to over the days and weeks prior to his meetings with Congress to give his report? In short, I am trying to see how people are viewing these new changes or announcements and how you think that they might affect the Congressional and Presidential Races next year.

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Let's see, 5+ years in Iraq and there are still no definable or measurable goals, the Iraqi goverment is dissolving, and hundreds are dying every month, What's Bush's answer to this, the same number of troops a year from now that he had a year ago.

Just this week,

  • 10 American Soldiers were killed in Bagdad

  • 2 American Soldiers where killed in Al Anbar

  • 1 American Soldier killed in Hawijah

Generals don't set war policy, they are supposed to implement it and Petreus's testimony didn't say anything useful to anyone but Bush who won't take responsibility for what is happening there. It's obvious his goal is to keep this thing going until he can dump the mess into the next president's lap.

Nobody is listening to GW Bush anymore. I said years ago on this forum (look for the thread War Without End) that this war would not lead to anything good, certainly it wasn't the "cakewake" we were promised and what I said then has turned out to be 100% accurate. We are not going to see the United States of Iraq no matter how much the neo-cons would promise us it's gonna happen.

Sadly the most disturbing part of this are there are still Americans who support this president and this misguided War.

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They also dont realize that one of the primary motives for going to Iraq is oil. It has nothing to do with terrorism. The terrorist didnt even have a camp set up in Iraq until we invaded. Our money has been wasted on a useless war instead of focusing on Osama Bin Laden and Alquida who attacked us on 911.

How on earth did America get bamboozled into supporting this war in the first place?

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The Petraeus report is a book-cooked pre-detemined speech that was scheduled to be made on September 11th in order to shore up what little support Bush can get.

Its not fully Petraeus' fault. He's just the method which Bush decided to use, and a general normally isn't going to say his management has been a failure to begin with. Bush appointed him, strongarmed the entire process, and he's trying to grow sympathy for a lost cause.

Who really cares? Bush has no new plan, he has a political ploy to try and gain sympathy while reducing troops very minimally. Petraeus is just caught in the middle and forced to show his management skills work.

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just another reason why we need to get out of Iraq. If the American People see enough of these images (im sure many are worse) They will say enough is enough and demand for this war to end.

art.ty.ziegel.before.after.jpg

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While I am generally displeased with the war as are most Americans, I'm not sure that sudden withdrawal is any better a solution than the slow grind we're currently experiencing. As we all know, this war is not entirely about Iraq itself, but about a long-term regional strategy we've pursued since WWII. I have yet to hear a plan, set even in general terms, for withdrawal which seems to be in line with the reality of our current relationship with Iran, Syria, and the other potential "players" in a post-war scenario.

To be perfectly honest, and I know this is a very unpopular opinion but I think it is true, from a military point of view a drawback is almost the polar opposite of what really needs to happen in Iraq. If our goal is indeed to achieve some measure of victory (defined by a stable, US-friendly Iraqi government able to support itself in the case of invasion and capable of suppressing internal dissidents), really the only way that is going to happen is if we increase our presence very quickly.

The problem to date with our strategy is that it has been half-assed and underfunded, largely for political reasons. We are putting security in the hands of private contractors and construction in the hands of the military, which is about as stupifying as anything I can think of in American military history. While Bush has talked a big game about his vision of victory, he has squandered the political leverage necessary to make that vision a reality. What Iraq needs (and I mean "needs" as in, people need oxygen to breathe) is enough military presence to have troops on every streetcorner, permeate entire cities with CIA agents capable of unearthing insurgent groups in their infancy, and enough firepower on the border to permanently stop the influx of personnel and weapons from the outside. In addition, there needs to be enough economic investment to completely reconstruct Baghdad and other major cities a la Germany and Japan, and it needs to be done NOW and not in a decade when there will be adults whose entire lives have been spent in a war zone.

These things will obviously not happen for political reasons, which is why we will lose this war. Unfortunately nobody seems to be thinking of this conflict in truly military terms, or it would have been over years ago. There was entirely too much corruption involved in the execution of the occuption; when a military is corrupt it is guaranteed to be unsuccessful. So instead of aiming for military victory we are really looking for political victory, which will come at a HUGE long-term cost to our interests in the Middle East (who's naive enough to think Iran won't own Baghdad in 10 years?). This was not fought like a war, and it will not end like a war.

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Staying the course will get us nowhere. A cut and run is counter productive as well. But I'm afraid the latter is what this whole kit and caboodle is going to boil down to. When the Vietnam war ended America had no choice but to cut its losses and make a hasty withdrawal. Iraq is nothing more than Vietnam all over again. Just swap out Charlie's hiding in steaming jungles with insurgents entrenched in broiling desserts and there you have it.

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While I am generally displeased with the war as are most Americans, I'm not sure that sudden withdrawal is any better a solution than the slow grind we're currently experiencing. As we all know, this war is not entirely about Iraq itself, but about a long-term regional strategy we've pursued since WWII. I have yet to hear a plan, set even in general terms, for withdrawal which seems to be in line with the reality of our current relationship with Iran, Syria, and the other potential "players" in a post-war scenario.

To be perfectly honest, and I know this is a very unpopular opinion but I think it is true, from a military point of view a drawback is almost the polar opposite of what really needs to happen in Iraq. If our goal is indeed to achieve some measure of victory (defined by a stable, US-friendly Iraqi government able to support itself in the case of invasion and capable of suppressing internal dissidents), really the only way that is going to happen is if we increase our presence very quickly.

The problem to date with our strategy is that it has been half-assed and underfunded, largely for political reasons. We are putting security in the hands of private contractors and construction in the hands of the military, which is about as stupifying as anything I can think of in American military history. While Bush has talked a big game about his vision of victory, he has squandered the political leverage necessary to make that vision a reality. What Iraq needs (and I mean "needs" as in, people need oxygen to breathe) is enough military presence to have troops on every streetcorner, permeate entire cities with CIA agents capable of unearthing insurgent groups in their infancy, and enough firepower on the border to permanently stop the influx of personnel and weapons from the outside. In addition, there needs to be enough economic investment to completely reconstruct Baghdad and other major cities a la Germany and Japan, and it needs to be done NOW and not in a decade when there will be adults whose entire lives have been spent in a war zone.

These things will obviously not happen for political reasons, which is why we will lose this war. Unfortunately nobody seems to be thinking of this conflict in truly military terms, or it would have been over years ago. There was entirely too much corruption involved in the execution of the occuption; when a military is corrupt it is guaranteed to be unsuccessful. So instead of aiming for military victory we are really looking for political victory, which will come at a HUGE long-term cost to our interests in the Middle East (who's naive enough to think Iran won't own Baghdad in 10 years?). This was not fought like a war, and it will not end like a war.

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Staying the course will get us nowhere. A cut and run is counter productive as well. But I'm afraid the latter is what this whole kit and caboodle is going to boil down to. When the Vietnam war ended America had no choice but to cut its losses and make a hasty withdrawal. Iraq is nothing more than Vietnam all over again. Just swap out Charlie's hiding in steaming jungles with insurgents entrenched in broiling desserts and there you have it.

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I know many people that have travelled to Vietnam in recent years. The country is doing just fine. Not only did they recover (after years of bloodshed as a result of what we did -- that the French actually started), but the domino-effect we were all so alarmed about didn't happen either. Communism isn't dead in Asia, but it isn't spreading either and we have plenty of business and trade with Communist countries. All the doom and gloom we were told that would happen globally by pulling out of Vietnam never came to fruition.

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While I am generally displeased with the war as are most Americans, I'm not sure that sudden withdrawal is any better a solution than the slow grind we're currently experiencing. As we all know, this war is not entirely about Iraq itself, but about a long-term regional strategy we've pursued since WWII. I have yet to hear a plan, set even in general terms, for withdrawal which seems to be in line with the reality of our current relationship with Iran, Syria, and the other potential "players" in a post-war scenario.

To be perfectly honest, and I know this is a very unpopular opinion but I think it is true, from a military point of view a drawback is almost the polar opposite of what really needs to happen in Iraq. If our goal is indeed to achieve some measure of victory (defined by a stable, US-friendly Iraqi government able to support itself in the case of invasion and capable of suppressing internal dissidents), really the only way that is going to happen is if we increase our presence very quickly.

The problem to date with our strategy is that it has been half-assed and underfunded, largely for political reasons. We are putting security in the hands of private contractors and construction in the hands of the military, which is about as stupifying as anything I can think of in American military history. While Bush has talked a big game about his vision of victory, he has squandered the political leverage necessary to make that vision a reality. What Iraq needs (and I mean "needs" as in, people need oxygen to breathe) is enough military presence to have troops on every streetcorner, permeate entire cities with CIA agents capable of unearthing insurgent groups in their infancy, and enough firepower on the border to permanently stop the influx of personnel and weapons from the outside. In addition, there needs to be enough economic investment to completely reconstruct Baghdad and other major cities a la Germany and Japan, and it needs to be done NOW and not in a decade when there will be adults whose entire lives have been spent in a war zone.

These things will obviously not happen for political reasons, which is why we will lose this war. Unfortunately nobody seems to be thinking of this conflict in truly military terms, or it would have been over years ago. There was entirely too much corruption involved in the execution of the occuption; when a military is corrupt it is guaranteed to be unsuccessful. So instead of aiming for military victory we are really looking for political victory, which will come at a HUGE long-term cost to our interests in the Middle East (who's naive enough to think Iran won't own Baghdad in 10 years?). This was not fought like a war, and it will not end like a war.

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It's difficult to respond point-by-point to the posts above, so I'll do my best to try and give general answers:

- First, I am not advocating our general strategy in the Middle East. It's clearly a flawed approach, which is descended from an already-failed approach of imperialism that died about 50 years ago. It is highly unlikely that we'll ever achieve an idealistic transformation of the region into peace and prosperity (at least not within several hundred years of the present), but if we are even remotely interested in real change in the Middle East then we need to radically change our general strategy there. That begins with our domestic energy policy, which currently makes our military investment there absolutely vital. Also, we need to change our post-WWII attitude that it is in our best interests to proactively influence the course of foreign politics.

- Having said all that, the ideals above have no bearing on our current strategy in Iraq. For us to switch horses mid-stream, especially after 5 years of total Iraqi dependence on our military protection, will be nothing short of a disaster for Iraq and its immediate neighbors. There are already incidents of genocide occurring on a weekly basis within the national borders, and both Turkey and Iran have a distinct interest in attempting to invade part or all of Iraq. We are responsible for the end-game scenario there, because we took on that responsibility in 2002 when we made the decision to occupy the country. I fault the Bush administration for not having a clear conception of what it would take to successfully transfer power from the fallen Saddam regime to a new and stable Iraqi government; but I will fault the next administration equally if it pulls us out of the region without a clear and specific plan for maintaining and improving stability in and around Iraq. GRDadof3, I object to your assertion that the next administration has carte blanche to remove us from Iraq without any long-term plan or even an idea of what will happen in the immediate future of the region. That is no better than what Bush has done, and could conceivably be even more of a disaster.

- Clearly we "won" against Saddam, but that has no relevance to the current situation. We are obviously in a war against militias and foreign guerillas in Iraq; calling it an "occupation" is just semantics.

- I am not an imperialist, nor a fascist, but in military matters one has to be realistic about goals. Hopefully nobody in this country wants us to leave Iraq in shambles. It is indeed possible to pacify and realign a hostile foreign area -- look at our current relationship with Germany and Japan -- but you have to achieve unconditional victory first. You can't let opposition and foreign subversion fester, and still expect to maintain control. It is quite evident that the vast majority of Iraqis are not so much opposed to the American occupiers as they are opposed to the violence that continues to occur on a daily basis. The one and only way that we are going to leave Iraq in a manageable state is to completely and thoroughly crush the insurgency without apologies, both through direct military action and through the activity of counterinsurgent agents. When, and only when that happens, will the stage be set for us to hand over control to local government (this has happened in every successful occuption since the dawn of history) so we can get the hell out of there and realign our long-term strategy as described in my first paragraph. Anything less is just not acceptable from a strategic point of view, as it will be nothing more than the prelude to further disaster (a la Iran 1979).

- Again, I am all for peace in Iraq; I am opposed to the war on principle and I am disappointed that the American public voted to reinstate a pro-war administration in 2004. However, you have to "get" war in order to properly criticize it. Most of the anti-war dialogue I am seeing, both in terms of grassroots discussion and from the presidential candidates, is basically aimed at having us tear town the house in order to fix the termite problem.

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It is indeed possible to pacify and realign a hostile foreign area -- look at our current relationship with Germany and Japan -- but you have to achieve unconditional victory first. You can't let opposition and foreign subversion fester, and still expect to maintain control.

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I really dislike seeing this comparison (not saying just from you, I see it all the time). The circumstances aren't remotely the same other than it being our military and an occupation. Germany and Japan STARTED wars and the world responded. They were soundly defeated and, I wasn't there and am not German nor Japanese but this fits with the history I've studied, their people realized that they paid the price for a misguided government. They weren't still hostile to us once the wars were over, their countries were pounded to bring their armies to submission, and their people WANTED to rebuild and rejoin the world.

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There is a serious chance that our evacuation of Iraq could put critical resources in the hands of stridently anti-Western interests. Unlike the Communists, Iran could invade a crippled, vulnerable country and basically have our economy by the balls in less than 6 months (it's not like they haven't tried before).

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How so? Iraq has never been a major exporter of oil to the US, and during most of the last 30 or so years it didn't export much oil to anyone. In fact, there is plenty of reason to believe that a motivating factor of the war was to keep Saddam from flooding the market with inexpensive oil.

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Ha ha... I'm sure Iran would love to see a "stabilized" Iraq under the Iranian flag. I think we are all on the same page about Ahmadenijad's concept of "peace" in the Middle East.

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Cheap oil = critical resource. As has been said several times in this discussion already, the immediate future of the world economy is tied up in oil supplies. That will be the case for at least 30 years, even if the best-laid plans of our current presidential candidates are realized. That makes Iraq some very valuable real estate, especially to a country like Iran which has not yet recovered from overestimating its own supply. The future of every country that borders Iraq (which is like a who's who of war-torn nations) will hinge on what happens there in the next decade; for us to abdicate responsibility for that outcome would be irresponsible in the extreme, especially considering we ultimately bear a moral burden for having initiated the current chain of events.

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There can't be a new energy revolution without money. Right now that money is tied up in a military endeavor to secure oil.

After five years of little progress through force, it's probably about time we attempt a diplomatic solution.

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I am fine with that kind of solution, but it is not on the table. Just as Republicans force-fed us on the unilateral invasion of Iraq, the Democrats are pushing hard for a unilateral withdrawal. Have you heard of any dialogue whatsoever between us and a neighboring country about a handover of power? No, the plan as it stands now is to simply pull troops and hope that the power vacuum sustains itself long enough for us to get out of dodge. I hate to keep harping on the word "irresponsible", but I was taught in kindergarten to clean up the messes I make. We have made a huge mess, and we are almost guaranteeing that it will take another decade or two of bloodshed before it finally settles down. Our experiences in Africa ought to caution us against leaving a power vacuum with two violent rival sects in charge of negotiating their own peace.

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What Democrats have you been listening to? None but the most radical leftists are calling for an immediate, unilateral withdrawal. All the serious proposals would gradually withdraw troops over the next year or more, plenty of time to coordinate a multilateral stabilization of the region. This would require a complete rethinking of our policy in Iraq and the Middle East overall.

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