I generally agree with your theme, Rick, except I wouldn't characterize the change in strategy as "modest". Also, I wouldn't write off Baghdad, but the south is pro-Iranian and it looks unlikely that that will change.
COIN doctrine recognizes that this effort cannot be won by military means alone. We are seeing political advances at the province, city and tribal levels. Heck, al-Sadr's standing down his militias is political progress because al-Sadr is a political leader. Obviously, things are at an impasse on the national stage, but given what's done since last February, I think it's worth giving the national government more time. It's unfortunate that this plan was to put into play so late.Comment Posted By Charles Bird On 5.09.2007 @ 11:31
People who believe we've already lost are going to support orderly phased withdrawal and actions to minimize the loss of American and Iraqi lives.
People who know that we're in an extremely sticky situation but believe there's still a chance of turning this around will have a separate set of ideas for going forward.
I'm in the latter camp but there's an expiration date. For three years, we had been employing the wrong strategy for Iraq, thanks in large part to Bush, Rumsfeld and the generals. The way to succeed is to use a tried and true counterinsurgency methodology, and we finally have a general in command who not only believes in COIN ops, but literally wrote the book on the subject.
To me, the most important thing right now is to give the plan a chance to work (or fail). So far, the plan is only ten weeks old and we won't be at full manpower until June. Already, sectarian killings have dropped dramatically, and al Qaeda has come to the fore as our primary opponent. We really should know by year end whether the plan works. For me, if there's no discernible progress by that time, I may just move over to the defeatist camp.Comment Posted By Charles Bird On 1.05.2007 @ 09:00
This paragraph is most certainly a lie:
"I said I was bothered by the notion that â€œthe troopsâ€ were somehow becoming hallowed beings above society, that they had an attitude that only they had the means â€“ or the right â€“ to judge the worthiness of the Iraq endeavor."
Arkin never said he anything about his concerned that they were becoming hallowed. Rather, the opposite, since he referred to them as young, naive and confused. The quotes of the soldiers--in both attitude and actual words spoken--did not convey that "only they had the means â€“ or the right â€“ to judge the worthiness of the Iraq endeavor." Arkin is indeed a bald-faced liar.
Doesn't the WA Post fact-check his material before he hits the "post" button?Comment Posted By Charles Bird On 1.02.2007 @ 19:41
I don't know if 20,000 more is the right number, or 70,000, or somewhere in between. But the point about the COIN manual is that there is a major difference between the ops conducted today versus the steps recommended by Petraeus. More troops are needed to be sure, but just as important is the taking the right approach in clearing-holding-building.
I agree that al-Maliki needs to get on board with the Bush plan, assuming the Bush plan follows the steps outlined in the COIN manual. If Maliki doesn't separate from Sadr, then no strategy will really help.Comment Posted By Charles Bird On 9.01.2007 @ 20:24
More like 30 months too late, Rick. The insurgency started picking up steam in the latter half of 2003, and we haven't really conducted sustained counterinsurgency ops except for a few locales such as Fallujah. I'm just digging into Petraeus' new counterinsurgency manual, and it's pretty damned informative. It's a full spectrum approach that blends military ops, reconstruction, diplomacy, etc. If Bush does as per the Petraeus manual, then I believe our chances are good for turning Iraq around, but it's going to take more manpower, more U.S. embeds, and more training of U.S. and Iraqi forces.
BTW, I'm with you on Bush and his failing presidency. I listed you as one of the Dissatisfieds several months ago.Comment Posted By Charles Bird On 8.01.2007 @ 20:16
Rumsfeld should be the one resigning, not Condi. Our dismal performance in Iraq is the main reason for Bush's low approvals and political weakness.Comment Posted By Charles Bird On 16.08.2006 @ 18:54
For what it's worth, this conservative is with you, Rick. My only wish is that Moussaoui gets hard labor, ten hours a day, six days a week, breaking rocks in the hot sun.Comment Posted By Charles Bird On 4.05.2006 @ 22:10
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