Category Archives: Occupation is a full time occupation

And The War Goes On Forever

Women Bombers Open Gates of Hell in Iraq;

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that four female suicide bombers killed or wounded 350 persons on Monday. Late reports give 61 as the number of those killed. Al-Hayat says the bombings reminded Iraqis of the bad old days when this level of destruction was a common, almost daily occurrence.

It appears the balloon isn’t entirely deflated.

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The Surge Has Ended, Long Live The Surge!

Did the Surge Work?

Using logic, if the U.S. troop surge had been the cause of the diminished violence, then why did the mayhem go up in 2005 when the United States undertook a troop surge of similar magnitude? Moreover, because little true political reconciliation has occurred in Iraq since the surge began, if the additional troops were the cause of the new tranquility, that calm should be evaporating now that U.S. forces are being reduced to pre-surge levels. Yet so far, no spike in violence is occurring. Thus, the logical conclusion is that other factors are likely to have been more important in improving conditions than the addition of more troops.

Questions! Always with the questions,

Full Iraq deployment to stay through 2005

Originally published 11:09 p.m., May 4, 2004, updated 12:00 a.m., May 5, 2004

The Pentagon announced yesterday it will maintain its expanded force of 138,000 troops in Iraq at least through 2005, based on a request from Gen. John Abizaid, commander of forces in the region.

That level was attained by extending the tours of 20,000 troops already in Iraq and who now must be relieved from a larger replacement force.

But, but..

“General Abizaid has now indicated his desire to retain the current level of forces in Iraq, roughly 135,000 to 138,000 forces, for longer than the 90 days that we recently extended about 20,000 forces to get up to that higher figure,” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon.

Seems we have a memory leak in the system. Now about those mercs… Basically the public discourse on the surge is 100% per Bush league bullshit.

I Must Have Missed That

Things are going so well in Iraq I hadn’t noticed the reporters all standing in front of the Blue Mosque instead of a green screen. The curious locals are a nice touch.

How The West Was Lost

Josh notes, Satire Eight Paces Up on Reality

Another interesting detail, noted by the Times. al-Dabbagh’s statement was released by CentCom. I do not know how often Iraqi government statements are released by CentCom.

CNN plays it pretty straightforwardly as a mistranslation. Considerably more credulous than the Times.

You know if the corporate media really wanted to boost Americans confidence in their government and institutions they could start with reporting facts as verified by someone other than their own sources.

Another reason to quit watching national television “news”.

Speaking of Yada Yada, Where is Yoda In The Surge?

Preznit said,

A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.

Those benchmarks appear to be somewhat met if you exclude political developements. Doh!

Iraqi:

* The Government of Iraq commits to:
o Reform its cabinet to provide even-handed service delivery.
o Act on promised reconciliation initiatives (oil law, de-Baathification law, Provincial elections).
o Give Coalition and ISF authority to pursue ALL extremists.

* All Iraqi leaders support reconciliation.
* Moderate coalition emerges as strong base of support for unity government.

Well after four three Friedman Units and six months,

To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq’s provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation’s political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq’s constitution.

Mostly unmet.

We will use America’s full diplomatic resources to rally support for Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States need to understand that an American defeat in Iraq would create a new sanctuary for extremists and a strategic threat to their survival. These nations have a stake in a successful Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors, and they must step up their support for Iraq’s unity government. We endorse the Iraqi government’s call to finalize an International Compact that will bring new economic assistance in exchange for greater economic reform. And on Friday, Secretary Rice will leave for the region, to build support for Iraq and continue the urgent diplomacy required to help bring peace to the Middle East.

So far Dubai is the only nation to forgive debts from the Saddass years, IIRC.

Somewhere along the line the “surge” became a military only operation, which is convenient for the War Party, but hardly an accurate description of what it was laid out to be.

I doubt that the original goals will become part of the narrative at this point, but to say the surge is a success is to stretch the meaning of the word success, much less what it does to the popular understanding of the “truth.”

But truth has never really been a forte of this administration, anymore than the reporting of it has been with the press, but I do think the press could be reformed to reflect some sort of journalistic standards. Accurately reporting teh surge results would be a start, and I know some will say that the lack of political progress has been reported, but that would require me to overlook the fact that false assertions by the War Party to the contrary, or that over generalized statements as to the success of the military operations being one and the same with the political ones have been passed along without any clarification by the press, or in fact without any challenges whatsoever with those assertions.

While it may be in the War Party’s interest to assert such things, their credibility was nil long ago, I fail to see what possible benefit the press derives from debasing their own credibility.

Lot’s of little edits.

What’s That Snap In Yonder Blog?

Snap Back To Reality

Counterinsurgency skeptic Gian Gentile — one of the most interesting defense thinker/practitioners in the U.S. Army — has a tremendously valuable essay on the myths and the reality of the surge in the new issue of World Affairs.

I dug out something different, because I did,

But there is a disconnect between claims and reality that runs through the surge narrative. The two factors overwhelmingly and demonstrably accountable for the diminished violence haven’t depended on the surge at all. The first was the 2006 decision by senior American officers to pay large sums of money to our former enemies to ally themselves with us in the fight against al-Qaeda—a decision that, according to a January 2008 report from U.S. Army headquarters in Iraq, made “significant contributions” to the lowering of violence. The practice began in 2006 in Ramadi, where, tellingly, the resulting decline in attacks predated the surge. The second factor was Muqtada al-Sadr’s decision to stand down, flee to an exile in Iran, and order his forces to suspend attacks against Americans—a decision that top U.S. officers in Iraq praise nearly every day for the ensuing reduction in violence. Absent these twin developments, Americans would still be dying in large numbers.

These two developements are what the surge proponents are declaring as vindication for having been wrong all along about the war anyway. This too is a feature not bug.

Spencer, who moves around the tubes like a man on roller blades has more.

Assume The Patient Is On Dialysis

Not exactly what was linked,

OILFIELD IN A COMA. I’ve often wondered how it could be explained that Iraq has been for months (and figures to remain forever) poised perfectly between surge-is-working-great and if-we-leave-they’re-doomed. How can our Mission be on the verge of Accomplished, and Iraq such a basket case at the same time?

Tell It Like It Is

A city council member in Mada’in (Salman Pak) abruptly opened fire on Americans who had been in a meeting with him. He killed 2 US troops and wounded 4 other Americans. He had been in India recently because Sunni-Shiite tensions made it too difficult for him in Mada’in. He had only been back one week as councilman. Although there is speculation that he was unstable, my own suspicion is that the continued US military occupation was just too hard for him to take. India has an anti-colonial atmosphere, after all. Here is some of what McClatchy reporters overhead the people of Mada’in say in the aftermath:

‘ Anti-U.S. sentiment remains widespread, with many locals viewing the American presence as an intrusion. As news of Ajil’s killings spread, some residents hailed him as a hero. Several uttered his name and added, “God rest his soul,” and a taxi driver at the scene pointed to the bloodstains and said, “the pigs deserved this.” ‘

Not exactly the stuff you here on telebision. Guess I’m wrong about that. HT HLN

But I’m glad you shield me from this stuff. I might start to question my government.

Both Halves Of The Surge Argument

Big Gains in Iraq?

Dr. iRack took note of two good pieces on security progress today, one in the WaPo and the other in the NYT. The Times article is an especially comprehensive and balanced overview. Riffing off that piece, we can pause and take stock of the emerging security and political landscape in Iraq.

I was going to post this yesterday, but I waited until today to see if it would be picked up by any of the MSM, (excluding Lou Dobb’s who of course is of some other MSM,) since I know that they are fair and balanced like this article.

Update: Dr. iRack’s article is the balanced one. Just to be clear.

More Oil Than ANWR, Faster Than An OCS Scam

Mr. Cheney’s Energy Task Force, I presume?

BAGHDAD — Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

Imagine that.

This ought to drive the price of gasoline down to $2.50 toot sweet.

Yeah, I Remember Those Iraqi Benchmarks

Democrats no longer talk of the 18 benchmarks for measuring progress in Iraq because so much progress has now taken place.

Well, if the benchmarks were all-important to Democrats in the fall of 2007, they have become meaningless to them in 2008. When is the last time you’ve heard a benchmark reckoning from Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi? The reason for the deafening silence on this matter is simple. The military and political progress in Iraq has proved so monumental that the majority of the benchmarks have now been met.

What are Iraq’s Benchmarks?

“The purpose is to infuse a sense of urgency into the political process in Baghdad,” says Andrew Exum, formerly of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“I want to see life starting to come back,” Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) told the New York Times in mid-2007. “I want to see people in markets.” Other lawmakers have pressed for more specific metrics to gauge whether or not the surge is working. “The key question is: What have we won?” asks Exum. “Have we set the Iraqi government on a path toward stabilization or reconciliation? Or have we just won the right to stay in the country for another six months?”

It makes sense to have benchmarks as a part of our discussion on how to go forward,” Mr. Bush said, even as he threatened to veto the House plan, approved on a 221-to-205 vote Thursday night, which would require him to seek approval in two months for the balance of the war money.

Obvious an ingenious political ploy to cover up the pigeon dung on the bench,

Government Benchmarks:
Perform constitutional review. – Unmet
Enact de-Ba’athification reform. – Partial
Form semi-autonomous regions. – Unmet
Hold provincial elections. – Unmet
Address amnesty. – Unmet
Establish support for Baghdad Security Plan. – Met
Ensure minority rights in Iraqi legislature. – Met
Keep Iraqi Security Forces free from partisan interference. – Unmet

Security Benchmarks:
Disarm militias. – Unmet
Provide military support in Baghdad. – Partial
Empower Iraqi Security Forces. – Partial
Ensure impartial law enforcement. – Unmet
Establish support for Baghdad Security Plan by Maliki government. – Unmet
Reduce sectarian violence. – Partial
Establish neighborhood security in Baghdad. – Met
Increase independent Iraqi Security Forces. – Unmet

Economic Benchmarks:
Implement oil legislation. – Unmet
Distribute Iraqi resources equitably. – Partial

Heh heh, my my.

Feed Bumped

Feudalism As Counterinsurgency

Iraq Ain’t No Insurgency, Say Former Petraeus Aides

America isn’t exactly following its new manual for fighting such conflicts, writes Stephen Biddle, a Council on Foreign Relations scholar and former Petraeus advisor, in the same Perspectives on Politics issue. The manual calls for reinforcing the national government’s legitimacy, and power. Instead, U.S. forces help set up a set of groups of neighborhood watchmen, alternatively known as “Concerned Local Citizens” (CLCs) or “Sons of Iraq” And these militias are “largely extragovernmental and independent,” Biddle notes. “Most CLCs provide their own security from continuing fear and distrust of their fellow Iraqis in the government security forces.”

That’s not to say the counterinsurgency manual hasn’t been helpful. “Some aspects of the manual have proven very helpful in Iraq, Biddle writes.

Unfortunately we only have two opinions getting any exposure from the traditional media outlets for various and $$undry reasons, which can be reduced into political sound back biting.

The First Casualty Of War Is Truth

The death just gets stretched out by the proponents. The cake walk became a quagmire, and the six month surge has been going on for a year and half. But given enough time…

Update:Michael Ware has been pointing out for years why we can’t just withdraw from Iraq, and this PM he was pretty blunt about Iran, that for the most part most of Iraqi factions are proxies of Iran. That’s one elephant, the other is that this is an American made mess.

Everyone in the region has played us. Everyone.

We can blame the has been all we want, but America, as a nation, is responsible for destabilizing the Middle East.(this wasn’t even close to accurate) All the told you so’s won’t change that, and so I fail to see how listening to the same people that got us into this mess is going to be of any use since they are going to say whatever is necessary to salve their own egos.

This is after all what they spent their lives working to become, experts, and now that they are discredited by the reality of Iraq as it is, they will talk up another one over and over again until one finally works. Frankly I don’t really care to hear from the original pie in the sky experts. These are the dogs that are chasing their own tails and can’t hunt. Surely in this nation we have more experts than the ones who got us into this mess.

News Flash for Neo-Cons- real men go to Tehran- to negotiate. It’s bad enough you’ve passed the cost of the war on to our children and grandchildren, but apparently your ideology demands they fight your misbegotten war as well.

Update: I included a link to an article or post that is more informative.

58 Bases Ain’t Baseball

War in Iraq, 2003-??

But unbeknownst to the press, the public, and most of the Army itself, the clues to an American military occupation of Iraq — that could last for years and even decades to come — can be found inside Fort Monmouth. What is happening within that facility suggests that the White House continues to mislead the world about its ultimate intentions.

You Try To Take What’s Mine I’ll Sure As Hell Retaliate

Indulge me for a second. Two years ago I shopped around a deeply-reported piece about U.S. plans for permanent bases. No one wanted it. Print and TV. Seriously. Too shrill, too conspiracy-theory, too hot. Mike Tomasky was the only editor I could interest, and I’m proud of the result.

So lets cut out the soft shoe shuffle,

The CIMS project has a simple objective: to connect the sprawling U.S. base outside of Baghdad, known as Camp Victory, with the rest of the U.S. bases in Iraq. Three aspects of CIMS are especially noteworthy: First, it’s a land-based network of huge communications towers and underground fiber-optic cables, rather than a comparatively costly but temporary system reliant on satellite signals. Second, it won’t connect every base in Iraq to Baghdad — just the bases that the United States plans on keeping far into the future. Finally, its completion will connect Baghdad to the other U.S. military installations in the Middle East, from Qatar to Afghanistan.

When a company called Galaxy Scientific Corp., which has a branch near Fort Monmouth and is now part of the defense conglomerate SRA International, received a $10 million contract to build CIMS in late 2004, savvy defense observers knew exactly what the deal represented. “This is the kind of investment that is reflective of the strategic commitment and intention to continue a military presence in Iraq,” Thomas Donnelly, an Iraq hawk at the American Enterprise Institute, told Eli Lake of The New York Sun. “This is one of the indicators of an intention to stay, these kinds of communications networks.”

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.