Friday, December 02, 2005

Comment here on previous post?

Well, Blogger rides again. It seems that comments for the previous post today (Part II of the two-part series on planning for the Iraq War and its aftermath) are not working. Comments on the other threads seem to be fine.

So, here's a new post to provide a place for those who want to comment on the previous post to do so. Hope it works!

[ADDENDUM: I decided to try republishing the previous post to see if it would fix the glitch with the comments, and lo and behold--it did! I'll leave this up, though, just in case-]

16 Comments:

At 7:12 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Tina said...

move to Canada. griping about our political system is comparable to flying into a rage because there's too much shaved chocolate topping on your mousse.

 
At 8:23 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

“The casualty rates are much less than I expected, not more; the speed with which the beginnings of a democracy and functioning government have been implemented has far exceeded my expectations ... I consider myself to be a realist.” [sic]

Brilliant comrade Neo-neo: that clairvoyant “realism” of yours cuts like a steely knife through all that liberalsurrenderpinko crap peddled by the New York Times and Nancy Pelosi et al.,… not to mention your “razor-sharp” DIALECTICAL intellectual maneuverings- maybe that’s because ubber-smart Neocons are usually former Trotskyite thinkers “mugged by Pharisaic theology”...

Anyway, Down with donkey defeatism!

Long live el presidente Bush! blah blah blah ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

In the meantime, in the reality-based part of our galaxy, MARINES ARE BLEEDING IN BABYLON: the Associated Press reports that 10 U.S. marines were killed near Fallujah two hours ago…

One might recall that Fallujah used to be a peaceable and sleepy provincial town where Sunnis, Christians, and Shiites lived in harmony…that was long long time ago, before the US Government decided to teach “Ayyrab terrorists” a lesson they would never forget: In November 2004, George W. Bush launched Operation Al-Fajr ("The Dawn" in Arabic), also known as Operation Phantom Fury, a joint U.S.-Iraqi offensive against “rebel strongholds” in the city of Fallujah. The Pentagon called it "some of the heaviest urban combat Marines have been involved in since Hue City in Vietnam in 1968."

While listening to the latest wave of robotic Neocon platitudes churned out by the US military’s PR and Information Management Department, I remembered the words of a famous 19th century American philosopher who once said of brainwashed pseudo-patriots “Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?...
Visit the Navy Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts—a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing […] The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense…”

Truly, Thoreau’s prose was prescient in many ways...

 
At 9:32 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

In the midst of law school exams, I haven't had a reason to smile very much lately. That, my good Doctor, was just the medicine I needed. Thank you for offering the healing power of laughter.

 
At 3:33 AM, December 03, 2005, Blogger Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

- Señor Holmes,

Well, good luck for your exam!

Dr V

PS Okra tastes good, even when it’s frozen or “mediocre” stuff
In my hometown we have it in the form of Brunswick stew

 
At 10:09 AM, December 03, 2005, Blogger t-ham said...

Dr. V;

"liberalsurrenderpinko crap"

My I use that?

Additionally;

"...In most cases there is no exercise whatever of judgement or the moral sense.."

Not prescient, just a dusty quote reflecting the state of civilization in past times, out of a larger quote presenting a point of view that sits nicely on a piece of paper or bounces in mellow tones off the panelled walls of some gentlemans library, but a selfindulgent exercise incompatible with the stark reality of a still brutal world. Modern, rational man is still the rider strapped to the back of the fascist beast. Modern, rational man is still the exception in this world rather than the rule.

This would be the same Thoreau that, having moved to the pond to return to nature and simpler ways, proceeded to live off the covered dishes of the local ladies.

His Romantic instincts seem very similar to the foundational ideas that gave birth to the "Volk" and eventually those flowers of humanity, The National Socialists and Fascism. Amazing how resilient the Beast is. Today it wears new clothes, still promises meaning, feelings, identity, and still dooms the individual.

That's why we must continue.

 
At 12:20 PM, December 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the Associated Press reports that 10 U.S. marines were killed near Fallujah two hours ago…"

I'm still waiting for you or someone like you to name a war where soldiers haven't died. That's pretty much why it's called war. The point is not that people die, the point is that they die to accomplish a goal.

By your reasoning we should get rid of all cars because people die in them. Not only do they die in them, but they die in them at the same intersections and on the same roads over and over again. Obviously, it's not working and we should just get rid of them.

Last year 42,000+ people died in traffic accidents in the US. In other words, the Iraq war would have to go on 50 years before we hit the same number of deaths as die in one year on the roadways here. Now balance that against the freedom and hope for the future of 25 million people for the next 50 years. What's that worth? Losing 300,000 people in World War II bought us peace in Europe for 50 years. That's the upside to the downside. That peace came with a cost but hardly anyone I know would rather that Hitler had taken over the world.

Numbers in isolation mean nothing. They are part of the bigger picture and have to be evaluated in the larger perspective. A force roughly size of that in Iraq today went into Normandy on D-Day and lost anywhere from 2500 to 5000 (depending on estimates) men killed. Obviously, it's not about the numbers, it's about the will. They were determined to accomplish something and they did.

 
At 12:26 PM, December 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neo, thanks for being a voice of sanity in a MSM enabling and Dem anything to regain power (yes even selling out our country)insane time. You stated "So they were busy planning the next stage--the second war--and they had plenty of time in which to do so. Their only hope was to go underground and set up a postwar insurgency like the one we've faced".
History needs to remember how the French sold out the U.S.A. in this regard. The 4th I.D.was to head south from Turkey acting as the hammer to anvil. The 4th I.D.( The most technically advanced Army Unit we had) was to crush the Dead Enders the 3rd I.D was driving north. I have no idea how many lives and limbs could have been saved but wince each and every loss.
France bribed the Turks with E.U. acceptance. The 4th I.D. had to thus reembark and assault 3 weeks later from Kuwait. Historians smarter then I can debate how many lives and limbs could have been saved but until I reached my last breath I'll blame 100% of them on the "oil for food" French.

 
At 12:54 PM, December 03, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The fourth ID wasn't that important. THe important part is the Kurds. The Kurds could have served the same role as the Fourth ID. Not as well, but they could have minimized the insurgency filtering and escape routes, since they knew the territory far more than we did.

Which is why it made perfect sense for the US military to tell the Kurds not to take any aggressive action at all... or maybe it didn't make all that much sense at all in the end. Unless it was to bribe Turkey... which is a losing proposition if France is on the other side of the bidding table. France knows how to bribe, they've been doing it for 50 years running now, ever since they started with bribing Fascists with Jewish sacrfices.

A pincer movement would have been important to delay or crush the insurgency before it started. But only because the Baathists and whomever escaped to Syria, and nobody was at the Syrian border to stop them, no 4ID nor 3rd ID no Airborne Divisions, no Kurds, absolutely nothing.

An interesting flaw in the plan.

 
At 1:20 PM, December 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ymarsakar, one of those historians smarter then I.

"The fourth ID wasn't that important".

"Which is why it made perfect sense for the US military to tell the Kurds not to take any aggressive action at all... or maybe it didn't make all that much sense at all in the end".

"A pincer movement would have been important to delay or crush the insurgency before it started".

Which college do you teach history?
I'm lost The 4th I.D. (and leading edge tech) couldn't flank right and "crush" them on the road to Damascus because why?

 
At 1:42 PM, December 03, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Look on a map. Kuwaitt is SE, Turkey is NW. The "plan" so to speak, was to do a pincer. Without Turkey, you can't get a force strong enough to cover the Syrian border.

The forces from Kuwait would have to go all the way across country to reach Syria, which by the time would already have been infiltrated by Baathists seeking a secure base from which to plan an overthrow of American forces.

This is one of the reasons why Bush was lobbying Turkey so hard, because his military planners knew that this was important.

But like I mentioned before, obviously they didn't care about the Syrian border enough to enlist the help of the autonomous Kurdish militia/guerrila fighters.

This allowed the terroists to gain Baathist support, infrastructure, and cash to do what they are doing.

It also made extraction of Baathist officials very hard.

A safe operations base is one of the prerequisites to a successful guerrila/terroist/insurgency war.

No exceptions. WIthout a base, you are screwed.

The 4th ID wasn't important solely because Bush failed in getting Turkey on our side, probably because he wasn't willing enough to play hardball.

 
At 1:48 PM, December 03, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

As for Thoreau, he was definitely high on thorium without exception.

 
At 2:15 PM, December 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was that not my point? Bush had obtained Turkeys support, the 4th Id's equipment was locked and loaded ready to head south. It was the French that stabbed us in the back, again. Regarding the Kurds it was the Turks that demanded they be sidelined, they were worried the Kurds would cause some trouble in Turkey over some long disputed land or such is the way I remember it. Correct me if I'm wrong. I also specifically remember video of the Kurds Meshed in with our troops and in the fight in the Kurdistan region. How early and how large a force I cant recall but can invision alot of State Department liberal hand wringing.

 
At 11:50 AM, December 04, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

You asked a question on a specific topic and I answered it. I feel intuitively that that wasn't the question you really wanted to ask, however.

Regarding the Kurds it was the Turks that demanded they be sidelined, they were worried the Kurds would cause some trouble in Turkey over some long disputed land or such is the way I remember it.
It was beneficial to the Turks, certainly, but the State Department, and Bush ultimately, chose to prioritize Turkey over using the Kurds.

In fact, they could have acquired both Turkey and Kurdish help if the Bushies were willing to go all out and step on a few toes. Provide an understanding to the Turkish military that if they don't give us help, then we'll be giving the Kurds all kinds of help, support, money, and weapons to do what the Turks won't. Either they fold, and let us in, or they can fold under the Kurds and their own military special interests.

Bush ended up with neither the Kurds nor the Turks, and that wasn't the fault of the Kurds nor the Turks, but of his and his State Department's choices. France may have been responsible for Turkey, but Bush was responsible for not making use of the Kurds appropriately.

I also specifically remember video of the Kurds Meshed in with our troops and in the fight in the Kurdistan region.

They were being "escorted" by the 101st Airborne (or the 82nd), so as to make sure they didn't do anything Bush's diplomats thought might be insensitive. Like taking over Kirkut.

It was not a military alliance set to accomplish military goals such as surrounding Baghdad, as in Fallujah, to prevent enemy retreat lines.

This all leads back to the point that the 4th ID did not matter in relation to sealing the Syrian border, because the plan was obviously not to seal the Syrian border but to go to Baghdad as fast as possible while controlling the Kurds for diplomatic reasons, perhaps Bush still wanted refueling and air space rights.

It was his decisions that brought this about, and he would have made the same decisions had there been no France, Turkey, or the Kurds.

He exercises little control over the State Department, and it has cost the United States much in this war.

Bush had obtained Turkeys support, the 4th Id's equipment was locked and loaded ready to head south.

That's not true either, simply because Turkey hadn't voted on anything yet when the 4th ID was on the Navy transport ships at sea. And Bush kept those ships there for whatever reasons he had, when it became apparent that the Turks really weren't going to go for the bait. If Bush believed in Turkish promises, that becomes his guillibility problem, no one else's.

It would be more accurate to characterize it as Bush had gotten "promises" of Turkish support, and chosen a military plan that counted on Turkish support.

So, no, I can't agree that had France failed in bribing Turkey, that Bush would have allowed the 4th ID to shut down the Syrian border, and thereby either crush/delay/annihilate the insurgency infrastructure, i.e. the Baathist personnel who escaped.

The single problem with the war plan was the same as its single virtue, the shortness of it.

It seems to the Air Force, that "Shock and Awe" means fast and to the point. The same for armored tank divisions.

But in a counter-insurgency, shock and awe means something totally different.

The faster the war plan planned, the harder it became to fight the post-war fight.

It would have made more sense to construct your strategy so that your weaknesses were protected while your strengths were left open to enemy attack so as to bait them to overcommitt themselves. But Saddam was pretty cunning, in that he evaded our strengths and tried to strike at our weaknesses, as he learned from Somalia.

But Bush's concentration on WMDs wasn't just a diplomatic trick, he isn't that subtle or cunning, but rather it was an honest belief of his, rather than a means to an end to convince the American people. If it was a means to an end to convince the American people, it would have been much better for the country, because then Bush wouldn't have been blindsided by the actualities in Iraq.

Being direct and forward, epitomized by the military plan he "chose" from those that were provided to him by the Generals, might be nice in a conventional war, but it is rather disastrous in a non-conventional war.

So it might be said that Bush is an exceptional Commander-in-Chief, when the war is conventional, but lacking in psychological skills when the war is unconventional, and fought not on battlefields but in the opinion of his fellow human beings. And he knows this, which is why he appointed a Marine as for Meyer's position.

 
At 2:26 AM, December 05, 2005, Anonymous colagirl said...

A force roughly size of that in Iraq today went into Normandy on D-Day and lost anywhere from 2500 to 5000 (depending on estimates) men killed.

That few?

Personally I don't really understand those who are trying to make political hay out of the "high" casualty rates. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no expert in matters military, and of course each casualty is a tragedy, but even to my knowledge, by the standards of previous wars, 2100 casualties since 2003 is *very* low. Heck, at Antietam we lost ten times that in *one day.* So, seeing some of the rhetoric about the casualty rate is kind of puzzling to me. It almost makes me wonder if the people saying that as a nation we can't win a war anymore because we've lost our capacity for sacrifice are right.

Boy, that's a depressing thought....

 
At 2:12 PM, December 05, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

COlagirl.

They're hoping.

 
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