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April 06, 2009


The surge staved off defeat, but it did not achieve anything like victory in any sense in which we conventionally understand the word.

Let me guess: the notion that unconventional warfare might have an unconventional victory never enters the picture.

Captain Hate

Yeah Ricks is painting a very different picture than Michael Yon did last Fall. Sorry Ricks but I believe Yon.

Charlie (Colorado)

In particular, any sense in which we'd have to give any credit whatsoever, no matter how slight, to the Bush Administration.


Never,Karl. It's only victory if you march down the Champs Elysees and white girls in WWII outfits run up to kiss you and give you roses.


So, I might get a chance to say hello to Sen. Schumer tomorrow and wanted to line up a short question or two. Suggestions? This one comes to mind:

So, considering DC voting, Stevens, ACORN... has the DOJ gotten away from you... or is it just where you want it?

Danube of Thought

Cheers to Joan Walsh for her candor.


The Environmental Defense Action Fund (arm of EDF) has a full page ad, not in our newspaper, calling for our Congressman to support carbon caps. They argue:

- Our devastated economy (Liberals devastated it)
- is addicted to imported oil (Liberals won't drill or go nuclear)
- want clean energy jobs (not close to enough of jobs will be created and energy proposed can't meet base or peak demand)
- want carbon cap (hasn't worked in Europe and is a masked tax shouldered by the poor)
- claim the people who brought the worst mess since the 1930s (that really is the Dems) are using scare tactics (like their ad)
- claim utility bills up pennies a day ($650 billion will add more than pennies to utility bills)

At the very least, drill domestic oil, build nuclear plants, explore oil shale, and don't buy unfounded clichés; you can't cash in empty promises.

So -- did I miss anything?



how about a nice Bronx Cheer for the good senator?

As to Ricks, how can he argue that the initial invasion was a screw up? Very few casualties against what was supposed to be a defiant and resourceful enemy? The aftermath was the issue. The postwar plan was nonexistent, and all responsible should be faulted.

But the real issue is that of war and peace planning in general. Leadership seems to operate in a vacuum where only current problems are observed and acknowledged. Whether in 1861 or 1941 it seems that it takes @ 18 months-2 years for leadership to correct their initial mistakes.Perhaps it breaks down as follows:

year 1 - allow current plan to unfold
year 1+ 1mo - evaluate and define successes and failures
Year 1 + 2 mo - redefine goals based upon experience
Year 1+2/+12 - evolve new plan.

Government policy in wartime is like trying to turn an aircraft carrier I guess. Kasserine Pass was a necessary failure, as was Bull Run.Only afterwards were the flaws exposed. One would think knuckleheads like Ricks would understand this.


Almost all books and reportage on the Iraq War are trash.

For an example of the way to write about a war, read Shelby Foote's trilogy, "The Civil War."

Foote's work will also put in proper prospective the hard decisions, the uncertainty, the gambles, made by men at all levels of a war. Both Lincoln and Jefferson Davis made mistakes and bad calls. Each had their critics who, too often, sound like Bush's critics in the shallowness and stupidity of their charges.

For an example of piss-poor generalship, look to U.S. Grant at Cold Harbor. NOTHING that irresponsible and idiotic happened in Iraq. And Grant went on to the presidency and is honored on our currency.

And, we can thank God and the Iraqis can thank Allah, that we have had no Sherman!


IIRC--Condi ceded control of the post war situation in Iraq to Colin Powell who picked pro consul Bremer and his grandiose notions instead of DoD's idea of turning over civil administration immediately to a representative Irawi coalition leadership.


I'd agree with that view, although Fouad Adjami, "The Foreigner's Gift" is one of the best on the subject. FIASCO (premature)
Cobra 2, Feith's War and Decision, is good in part because of it's voluminnous
documentation ovewrought,

On the other hand anything by Peter
Galbraith, large stretches of Woodward, George Packer, James Banford, Sy Hersh, Jane Mayer (on the general subject of detainee)Mark Danner, is quite useless.


Fieth's book has been the only decent publication that has made any sense. His view is limited for better and for worst, by what he saw and knew. I have long wanted to read "The Foreigner's Gift" - it is a prospect for my short list of good books on Iraq.

Books critical of generalship are always suspect, especially when the war is still hot, not to say that generals are above criticism! it ain't easy being a winning general! Criticism is often of the "Why ain't you Sandy Colfax or Babe Ruth?" level.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a book that explains the Balkan Wars? I gave up listening to NPR because of their bewildering reportage.


It's very difficult for those invested in defeat to define victory. Maybe rightly-attired girls kissing GIs would suffice? Maybe not. For the rest of us, how about "mission accomplished"?

Were we defeated in Iraq? Is the country a shambles? Are the people suffering and dying at the hands of the enemy? Are they buying Hummers?

For a war approved by a 77-23 vote in the Senate -- a vote begged for by Democrats, which we actually won -- there sure are a lot of armchair generals with fantasies of skulls lined up on shelves like in 1970s Cambodia.

Captain Hate

Cheers to Joan Walsh for her candor.

I guess that honesty is best but I'd kind of prefer that she honestly was hoping for victory all along, no matter what the impact was on the toxic septic tank that her ilk has made out of domestic politics.


Oh, yes, and Rumsfeld is a knave and a buffoon. Here's hoping Ms. Walsh has her buns in a dire situation someday and has to choose between Bush, Rumsfeld and Obama to protect her.

Thomas Collins

You rock, clarice! It's about time someone took on the loony notion that the neocons were in control of Iraq policy!

Thomas Collins

OK, I guess an OT 24 post is best done on a national security thread. I'm hoping Jack finds a way out of the FBI offices and into Starkwood for the looming firefight. I know, no liveblogging 24 out of consideration for those JOMers who will be seeing it later. But I just can't resist a little pre-show 24 talk!


Funny, TC, that's just what HH was saying yesterday.

Btw, was Steyn great again as Rush's substitute today or what? The man is a one-in-a-million combination of funny and solid. Is there a way to buy stock in that guy?


look to U.S. Grant at Cold Harbor.

And up pops memeorandum:with Times of London:
Bob Dylan on Barack Obama, Ulysses Grant and American Civil War ghosts

Thomas Collins

Clarice, HH, Angelo Codevilla (who in a Claremont post I believe discussed the non-neocon input into Iraq policy), a few have pointed it out, but all too few. And I hope those who have seen through the Iraq as neocon plaything meme keep pounding the idiots who try to perpetrate it, Extraneus.

Hey clarice, what about a book about it? I know, easy for me to say, but it would be a great Iraq book. Exposing the lie that the neocons were driving the Iraq bus.

richard mcenroe

sbw: "So, Senator, when will you be moving that vote of censure on Chris Dodd for protecting the AIG bonuses?"


Was Iraq once a threat? Is Iraq a threat today?

Honesty is one thing the BDSies still seem to have in short supply.



Was Iraq once a threat?

I about fell out of my chair when I read this bit of AP analysis about terrorists and Iraq. Abu Ibrahim was a member of Black September and the PFLP but my googling doesn't show whether he was involved in the Dawson's Field incident.

Maybe it was Bush's deviousness that allowed this terrorist (along with Yassin) to escape.

Thomas Collins

This won't spoil 24.

Jon Voight-definitely deserves the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series (if there is such an award).


Richard Perle already detailed the non role of the "neo cons" and his article was either ignored or pooh poohed by the sages of the Huff Po etc.

In Feb he explained why the Irawq war was already won to the same general response.


Rumsfeld was ultimately right about a great many things, the primacy of missile defense,
(from his chairmanship on the long range Missile commission) the need for a more democratic Middle East,the elephantine pace of the Pentagon bureaucracy, the need for a structure to deal with 'unlawful enemy combatants. We can fault him for not providing nearly enough troops, although a failure of an effective counterinsurgency strategy is a better claim, Gates bycontrast
proved skeptical of the Petraeus plan to exploit the Anbar Awakening, and too trusting of the Iranian regime's intentions.
(You'd think he's have learned this lesson in twenty odd years)

I found out an interesting wrinkle in Po's LUN of the often disagreeable Matt Taibbi's dissection of the subprime mess, a hereto
unknown motive for the Stevens indictment:

None other than disgraced senator Ted Stevens was the poor sap who made the unpleasant discovery that if Congress didn't like the Fed handing trillions of dollars to banks without any oversight, Congress could apparently go fuck itself — or so said the law. When Stevens asked the GAO about what authority Congress has to monitor the Fed, he got back a letter citing an obscure statute that nobody had ever heard of before: the Accounting and Auditing Act of 1950. The relevant section, 31 USC 714(b), dictated that congressional audits of the Federal Reserve may not include "deliberations, decisions and actions on monetary policy matters." The exemption, as Foss notes, "basically includes everything." According to the law, in other words, the Fed simply cannot be audited by Congress. Or by anyone else, for that matter.


I think that a too remote motive, narciso. For years the FBI had a task force in Alaska investigating Alaskan pols. A number were indicted and convicted before Stevens but they were so far down the totem pole the prosecutors obviously dreamed of making their professional bones on a bigger fish.


Richard, I think Dodd will be moot by the time that happens. Heh!

hit and run

For the record: I have been a HUGE Carolina fan throughout this tournament. And if you doubt me, just ask Daddy.

E. Nigma

In the course of re-reading a lot of the contemporaneous writings of the invasion part of OIF recently, it comes to mind that the single biggest failure was one of intelligence about Iraq.
And I don't mean about WMD's or the Iraqi military.
We just didn't grasp how poor most of Iraq was, and how politically backward it had become under Saddam's Baathist dictatorship. The average Iraqi isn't stupid, and there are many well educated and intelligent people in the country, but the social institutions and organizations had all been corrupted and used to by the Baathists. There was no trust between anyone, anywhere in the country, except maybe by the Kurds up north, who had been isolated and isolated themselves from Saddam, and had started the nascent beginnings of a self-government.

They just are not really ready to govern themselves in anything like a responsible and ethical way. They are trying and they will stumble some, but of course people like Mr. Ricks will blame Bush and the neocons. But it is the result of decades of the Baathist party dictatorship that has created such a rot.
It will take another twenty years, until the children who are 10-12 years old now have grown up and begin to run the country, before Iraq can really begin to heal and grow. Saddam did that much damage to the minds and hearts of those people.


Powerline has a post saying the toxic assets sale is a repeat of Enron energy trading.

Help Please!!



They just are not really ready to govern themselves in anything like a responsible and ethical way.

Perhaps they're ahead of us, then. Think of our Congress.

Rick Ballard


TM covered an iteration of that "strategy" in the Sach's post. I call it 'The Great $50 Cat Swap'. I suppose 'Dance of the Zombies' would work as well.

Who says opéra bouffe has no place in government?

JM Hanes

Anytime someone on the left has a decent word to say about Iraq is a good day. They'll never use the word victory though, because if Obama calls it the easy war and screws it up anyway, they'll have no one else to blame.

I fully expect, however, that it won't be long before the left is citing the AUMF vote as evidence that they supported the Iraq mission from the start, and that what they warned against was the ill-fated Bush quagmire in Afghanistan. Plus ça change.


Heh--jmh--or claim that the real enemy is over the rainbow someplace not where our troops are or can get to in short order.


Sorry, they were able to proceed in
conditions that would have made the current Congress, blanch, Yes Maliki is as much a parochial sectarian machine pol as Obama, they agree on so much, but despite that the Sunnis have come to the realization that they 'are not at the center of the universe' a delusion they had held for 80 years, justifying the disenfranchisement of the growing Shia majority, throughout that time. Congress couldn't find the time to fund the troops on a ready schedule, develop an energy plan, complete
appropriations bills in a timely manner. At least when Salman Rushdie was late in turning in a review of Pynchon's Vineland, he had reasons to be tardy.


Thanks Rick, TM seems quite comfortable with the oversight.

I remember Geithner's oversight of the banks.

Captain Hate

Congrats to daddy's Tarholes; way to rep the ACC!!! Except for the brief mention of spawn of hell Dean Smith (brought up by that witless dunce Jim Nantz who should never broadcast anything moving faster than golf) I enjoyed every minute of your win.

Danube of Thought

Proud to say that I bet a friend $50 on Carolina against the field in early December, and pleased to announce that I am at this moment gloating pitilessly in his face.

This may be a carol for another Christmas, but I for one think there is a very strong case to be made against Rumsfeld's tenure as SecDef, and I take some comfort from the fact that the Joint Chiefs who served in his tenure absolutely despised him. And with good reason.


I fully expect, however, that it won't be long before the left is citing the AUMF vote as evidence that they supported the Iraq mission from the start,

It will be like the Clinton government shut down in the 90's. That- to this day- is classified as both Clinton shutting down the government to get a balanced budget" and Gingrich shutting down the Government to screw Americans.

Or the Afghanistan war, which made a quick pivot to the war everyone supported once Iraq came along.



And [[[[sob]]]].

Soylent Red

Lots of good and, IMO, accurate analysis here on a subject that has become almost over-analyzed.

The point that goes unmentioned in most conversations is whether or not the unraveling of Iraq could have been predicted, and if so, whether contingency planning could have prevented or mitigated that unraveling.

It's easy to sit back after the fact and explain all of the indicators and atmospherics that Rumsfeld, Bremer, et.al. should have accounted for. That was the basic model for "Fiasco". Where Ricks failed, and where Feith counters, is explaining the intellectual steps that led through the planning and reaction to events.

It's important to understand that most of what passes for intelligence is merely circular reporting, and of that small body that is new intelligence, very little of it is predictive. Predictive analysis is not like weather forecasting. People's careers are at stake. Thus, very little of it gets done at the safe strategic levels where everyone goes home at 1630. It's at these levels where the kind of complex terrain analysis and cultural expertise that could have accurately predicted an insurgency, and given prescription for how to prevent it reside.

It's not that elements of the book aren't true (some are verifiable and others are anecdotally accurate from what I can determine), it's that Ricks painted an intent that he could never have given a shred of evidence of during the period in question.

Plain and simple: I will not purchase a copy of "The Gamble" because I do not want to subsidize the man who promulgated the hatchet job that was "Fiasco". Further, I believe "Fiasco" was written solely for the purposes of conflating strategic miscalculation into sin of commission in order to politically assault the Washington Post conception of Neoconservatism.

Screw Ricks and his books. If I get any indication that any are worthwhile, I'll steal them from the local library.


The other assumption is that timing made no difference -- that what Petraeus did was the "right" thing to do and everything would have been hunky-dory-A-OK if we had just done it in 2003. It is much more plausible to argue that Bremer, et al, did the best that could have been done holding the lid on things until the Iraqis got themselves to the point where counterinsurgency tactics would work.

Either way, not provable.


I think Obama should be shamed into disassociating with MoveOn. How can he still allow their active support in his grassroots efforts after their General Betrayus ad? That should not be acceptable from our Commander in Chief.


Agreed, SR. His,(Ricks) clothes seem threadbare and his brushy face untrimmed..the eclectic professor, huh? He might not be selling much if it's been out two months and now gets Walsh, salon.wannabe
babe-to suck up a tiny air bubble to the neo-cons to give the book and it's author a fair shake? Yea, like, when did they cure BDS? Has Obama's 70 so days of infamy caused a review of O's "words & music"?And, OT...do you really know some of them neo-cons? Are they crooks with bright lights or swimming con-men? Sweet dreams to my peeps!


Solyent. I don't really believe you mean what you said about stealing books from your local library, but in case you were serious a better alternative would be to purchase a second hand copy from a library friends group for a dollar or so.

Charlie (Colorado)

I think Obama should be shamed into disassociating with MoveOn.

Sadly, I suspect "shame" is a word he'd have to google/

Fresh Air

Heh--jmh--or claim that the real enemy is over the rainbow someplace not where our troops are or can get to in short order.

Well, we can always reach the Japanese from the new Murtha army base on Okinawa.

Fresh Air

This Ricks stuff all seems so dated to me. Having inhaled all the Michael Yon reporting, and having become addicted to counterinsurgency blogging at places like Small Wars Journal, I'm not really sure what Ricks has to add except to run his axes over the Arkansas stone for a few hundred pages. The only MSM reporter I trust at all is John Burns. But Ricks, Gordon, that obnoxious Aussie and Dexter "Nine Millimeter" Filkins can all rot for all I care. Then again, I still think there are Iraqi weapons buried in the sands of Syria like this guy, so what do I know?


the lefty blogs say when they have to hire an Lawyer it means it's real bad, real eeffing bad...

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, confirmed Monday he has hired a nationwide law firm in the wake of a federal probe into a Washington lobbying group that has been his top campaign contributor.

The congressman said he is seeking advice from Perkins Coie, one of the pre-eminent firms in campaign finance law, for help in complying with Federal Election Commission rules in the future.

The firm's hiring comes four months after the FBI raided the offices of The PMA Group, of Arlington, Va., a firm that has been Visclosky's biggest single source of campaign cash since 2003. It has funneled $179,450 to him in the last eight years, federal records show....

Does not sound good in O High O

Soylent Red

No worries ROA. I don't really steal books from libraries...

And glenda makes a good point: timing is everything. COIN is only useful when there is an insurgency, and things have to degrade quite a bit before that happens. OTOH, there were certain things that could have been predicted, and preventing those things would have gotten us in position for when the (I think inevitable) insurgency got going.

Fresh Air is right to a large degree, in that Ricks' particular line of argument has been disproven by a variety of reputable sources. Small Wars Journal, Bill Roggio and Michael Yon have done more to give me an accurate picture than any dozen WaPo investigative reporters.


Fresh Air, That was an excellent link. Combine it with this One and it is easy to see how America has been played by propaganda experts and our own Anti-Americans.

hit and run

Soylent! Where ya been? You still planning on coming down this way? Or have you already come and gone, slipping in without my knowing?

Call me!

::places hand to side of face with thumb pointing to ear and pinky pointing to mouth, with eyebrows going up and down in a flirty, suggestive manner::


Burns, has a very fair outlook on the whole situation, from the Baathist plague on Iraq, through the insurgency to the completion of the counterinsurgency strategy. So of course, he wasn't offered a book contract. Instead we get Filkens, a former Miami Herald police reporter, to deliver the same litany of perfectscenarios.
His wife Ana Menendez, delivered enough of the pro Castro, pro Salafi, anti war diatribes to earn a Fulbright to Egypt.

Bremer in retrospect might have been the wrong choice for a Cromer type, specially since we didn't want to conquer the country.
But I can't say that Khalilzhad, the US envoy to Afghanistan, demonized because of his Unocal connection and ties to PNAC, would have been better. My choice would have
the superb polymath and career diplomat Hume Horan, Argentine born, half Iranian enemy of the Wahhabi, but his health may not have been well enough to accept it, he passed on a few years later. If the State Department had its full way, they would have sent Charles Freeman

Tom W.

The surge staved off defeat, but it did not achieve anything like victory in any sense in which we conventionally understand the word.

Liberals don't have the term "victory" in their lexicon, so of course Ricks doesn't understand the word.


I think Obama should be shamed into disassociating with MoveOn.

IMO, obama associates with a lot that are as bad and some that are worse than Moveon.


When they put on a Tie they become former Communists or former terrorists or whatever.

Even more dangerous than the people Obama associates with, is the way foundation and other money moves around the far leftist circuit of US anti democracy groups. Anyone remember the TIDES foundation conversation when Kerry was the far leftist candidate?

Tides launders donations, spreads the cash around. Any doubt that lots of Obama campaign cash got “washed” before it found its way into his dirty clothes hamper campaign war chest?

There is also more at the Center for Consumer Freedom (aka ActivistCash.com) on Tides.

In his Undue Influence profile on Tides, Ron Arnold includes names from the Board of Directors, which includes both Drummond Pike, who is also profiled at DTN (and in RBO’s November 11 article), and Wade Rathke. In RBO’s article we wrote:

The Tides Center’s Board Chairman is Wade Rathke, who is also a member of the Tides Foundation Board. Rathke, a protege of the late George A. Wiley, serves as President of the New Orleans-based Local 100 of the Service Employees International Union [which he founded], and is the founder and chief organizer of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

DTN informs us that Rathke is not only on the Tides Center board, but is also the founder and “Chief Organizer” of the “radical cult ACORN, a nationwide activist network engaged in ‘community organizing’ and in voter mobilization drives for George Soros’ Shadow Party.”

Rathke was also a “draft-resistance activist” for the — wait for it! — ta da! — Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), with which every RBOer should be well familiar by now.

After reading that last link, it will be apparent that America can not survive as a free nation unless we can turn the flow of money back to other groups besides Communists.


timing is everything

Cathyf's point I think. That's been my one note samba as well. Along with the other note from lil bro who did too ACOE tours there ... the commercial infrastructure advancing to the point where there's enough chips in the kitty to promote joining the game and playing by the rules.

Instead of those who got nuttin' gots nuttin to lose.


pagar, activistcash.com details the work of Tides, its grants and donors, history and key players.
It does the same with many other "public interest " and "consumer " groups. I think you will find the site worthwhile.


Hey, Hit, I've got the entire Robert Duvall tango club lined up here waiting for our bud Soylent to turn up..


LUN for a Barney Frank rant at Harvard denying any involvement in the sub-prime mortgage melt-down.

The student misses a chance to bring up the 2006 cloture vote on FM regulation.


Thanks, Clarice. I've been there before and its a really good site. I just don't have time to get to them all every day.


Liberals think war planning can be perfectly scripted like Hollywood movies.

Because of their ignorance about the military and combat, they fail to understand that almost all planning goes out the window as soon as you make first contact with the enemy.

After that, it's a series of moves to adapt to the new realities on the ground and to counter the actions of your enemy, who's throwing all kinds of variables into the mix.

Cecil Turner

I'm still trying to figure out which planet it was on which "Ricks was the nation's top expert" [on Iraq]. And I'd have a lot more time for lefties expressing hope for the war effort if they hadn't done their level best to torpedo that same effort when the issue was in doubt.

IMNSHO, the main failure of the Administration's planning effort was to underestimate the lengths to which the Democrats and their allies in our Fourth Estate would go to support the enemy's propaganda war on our own airwaves. I'm trying to imagine a world in which the defeatist press didn't turn every enemy war crime (whether senseless mass murder of civilians, torture-murder of abductees, or perfidious ambushes whilst sheltering amongst civilians) into a "coalition failure" . . . providing the propaganda victory which inspired the attack in the first place, and incentivizing even more lurid atrocities. I'd even settle for one in which the relentless negative stupidity didn't monopolize front pages for weeks at a time and head every evening telecast. I'm not sure what the result would've been, but it would certainly have been different.

And at this late date, it appears to me both Ricks's change in tone and Joan Walsh's willingness to be persuaded boils down to one little point: "we won" (and we're not talking about some pesky little war, either). Because the relationship of either's prose with military realities is tenuous at best . . . nor do they appear to be trying all that hard.


Cecil's right. The constant, defeatist, "Iraq is a quagmire like Vietnam" crap from the Dems encouraged the insurgency because it allowed the insurgents to believe that they could destroy American will and resolve enough to force a premature withdrawal, leaving them in possession of Iraq.

It almost succeeded.

One canonly wonder just how differently things would have gone if the Dems had been united behind the only "exit strategy" there is in a war:



The bearded spock planet, in the multiverse


The liberal refrain that "we're creating even more terrorists" by confronting them begs this question:

Why, then, did 20,000 - 30,000 Muslims go to Afghanistan to train in Al Qaeda jihadist training camps during the Pax Clintona "Holiday from History" in the 1990's?


The answer?

They were preparing to fight a jihad to force US troops from the Muslim Holy Lands of Mecca and Medina (Saudi Arabia).


And why were US forces in Saudi Arabia?

They were left there to contain Saddam Hussein after the Persian Gulf War.


So .... what was the best way for the US to pull its troops out of Saudi Arabia?

Get rid of Saddam.

hit and run

it appears to me both Ricks's change in tone and Joan Walsh's willingness to be persuaded boils down to one little point: "we won" (and we're not talking about some pesky little war, either).

And I'll go back to Schumer showing Harry Reid "compelling and astounding numbers" in April 2007, that they could use the Iraq war to pick up seats in the Senate ... that is, promulgating the idea, if not the reality, of defeat there.

The success of the surge made that strategy inoperative, and the meltdown of the economy made it unnecessary.

But Schumer (leak of his letter to regulators saying IndyMac was about to fail) and Reid (statement that unnamed major insurance company that everyone knows is about to fail) were active participants in that electoral strategy as well.

Whatever it takes...no matter who gets hurt.


So ... how do you eventually get rid of Saddam, after 12 years and umpteen worthless UN resolutions and sanctions in which Saddam prevented meaningful weapons inspections, corrupted UN officials in the "Oil For Food" payoff scheme, aid to Palestinian terrorists in Israel, assistance to other Islamic terror groups, and daily incursions into the No-Fly Zones?

Invade Iraq and effect regime change.



" ... 12 years and umpteen worthless UN resolutions and sanctions ..."

Some "rush to war", huh?


At the end of his second term when he'd clearly lost control of so much of the govt and Congress I was getting tired of Bush, I admit it, but I still loved him and, boy, do I ever miss that man now. On the one big, hard decision that faced him he did the right thing and stuck with it.


What is amazing about Rumsfeld is that he had some of the deepest support of the troops, not the Lords of the Rings in the Pentagon but the boots on the ground folks. One of the primary problems faced by all those touting early COIN ops, is that the US had no modern COIN training regime in place. Taking Gen. Petraeus from the field (where he had demonstrated hands-on COIN) and putting him into TRADOC where the entire US military system could re-orient itself is a stroke of genius. TRADOC is Training and Doctrine, the place where you formulate the necessary underpinnings of warfighting and then incorporate necessary training to get it done. America was not ready for a COIN fight in 2003, and we nearly botched the first change-over of troops that year, so doing COIN was not something that was going to happen... especially since al Qaeda had announced it presence before the war with multiple bombings across Iraq.

OIF from 2003-05 was one of the hardest on-the-fly operations ever staged, starting out with Turkey not allowing one entire infantry division to attack out from the North to the change of Saddam's posture to COIN (thinking the Coalition had been thwarted by Turkey) and then the mad dash in to take advantage of that shifted posture. No one had ever expected the high overhead US military system to turn on a dime like that with insufficient resources to seal off the north. We would pay for that, but it was a gamble that was judged worth taking.

No one wants to talk about the logistics and manpower necessary in Iraq, nor that there were never enough troops to 'police it' afterwards, unless you wanted to extend tours to two years *and* pull out half the ready reserve in PACOM, and nearly everyone from EUCOM... and in two years you have NO ONE to shift in to replace them. Germany and Japan did not right themselves that fast after WWII and we had lots of spare manpower to do that job, plus two peoples that were used to carrying on the bureaucratic civil system. If you think a Fascist system is bad, throw in traditional Arab graft and corruption and you begin to get an idea of why that civil system collapsed in Iraq.

To set the stage for 2007 you had to go through 2006 which was the first major transition through three different concepts of warfighting: the last of the highly kinetic fights, the sit at your bases concept and then the sit at big bases concept. The transition to COIN was already starting in Anbar due to Special Forces and the slow coalescing of local COIN that would then be backed, and hard, early in 2007. The major operation, pre-surge, was pulling up the smuggling networks that allowed a cross-Iraq support system to keep insurgencies going that went into Iran and Syria. That was the logistics system of the insurgency, and it was being torn up. Without that the surge would have had major problems... yet it goes unrecognized.

When I see Iraq I see Americans used to chaos and coping then adapting to it. Well was it that the German Commanders of WWII saw the battlefield as the natural home of Americans: they had seen our culture. Our troops and command system changed immensely in those years, 2003-2006, and fought one of the lowest casualty wars by any statistic you care to use and then adjust for scale of the conflict. For all that we have collapsed the timeline from kinetic war to COIN to handover that was done in the Philippine-American war (1899-1915) and have had many problems that remain, eerily, the same. And with good grace we are not in the failure loop of Haiti 1915-34... that has been avoided. To put it bluntly, the average 9 years to half-life of COIN was shattered by the US in Iraq - no one expected that to be bettered, and even hitting the low end of that average, those are unusual to say the least.

Afghanistan is another place, entirely, and I can only recommend examining the success of the last Western military force to be successful in the region... the outlook of the peoples, there, haven't changed much over the past couple thousand years. But then modern analysts outside the military realm don't much take to doing that...

hit and run

Oh boy...Another http://blog.zap2it.com/korbitv/2009/04/kal-penn-leaves-house-for-obama-no-seriously.html>former terrorist joins the Obama administration.

(narciso bait. oh, and TC too.)


"It's Achmed, not Ahmed" now go get the component for the A bomb to take out the city. They really have discarded any pretense of the real terrorist, this season, haven't they.


LUN for the live streaming of FWDAJ at noon.


I hated to see him go, hit. Just like Anoop on "Idol", I thought he was good for Bobby Jindal.

I hope they use the story to point out that some suicides are from a sudden chemical and/or electrical disruption in the brain that has a sudden onset and there are no prior warning signs.


Per Politico and AP The Judge in the Stevens case says this is the worst case of prosecutorial misconduct he's seen in 25 years.

Naturally you'll hear a lot of blathering that this vindicates the system. It doesn't to me--Stevens' career is shattered, he spent an estimated $2 million defending himself and he was lucky an honest FBI whistleblower came forward.

Way past time that DoJ clean house and that judges pay closer attention to prosecutorial misconduct.


The judge pitched the conviction, ordered the institution of a criminal procceding against the prosecution team and oredered Holder to institute a training program for prosecutors. He also said he's seeing more and more prosecutors withholding necessary material from the defense and suggested that in criminal trials throughout the country judges order prosecutors to turn over all exculpatory material.


Timing was a critical element in the Iraq War. As someone above mentioned, Bush always said that when the Iraqis could stand up, we would stand down.

The Iraqis needed time to develop their political consciousness, build civil networks, establish heirarchies, and create the governmental infrastructure. It takes years just to build the army, especially the NCOs that make it run.

When the Iraqi government developed the will and the facility to defend itself, that's when the surge could happen and it did.

In the mean time, Bush had to stand tall, take the inevitable political hacket jobs (like Lincoln did), and wait until the time was right.

Character is the prime feature of a good leader and Bush was a strong one. Given some time, historians will consider him one of the great presidents.


I agree Whitehall. I'm enjoying your comments. Hope you stick around.

LTC John

"The postwar plan was nonexistent, and all responsible should be faulted."

I am so sick and tired of that @#$%ing throw away line I could vomit. Yes, there was a post-war plan. It wasn't like the Campaign Plan and all the OPORDs all just went blank... Go access SIPR and look. Oh, don't have one? Then I guess you might just be making that up.

Mr. M - as for #1, wrong. Safe Sunnis vote, participate and actually believe that "Iraq" doesn't mean "Shia place with no Sunni". Have you not seen the way the SOI have been incorporated into Iraqi C2?

#2 - that should not say "Ricks makes the troubling point", rather "Ricks tries very hard to fantasize a bad outcome". Who do you think picks the IA's generals? I spent enough time in MNSTC-I to see that if anything, the PM and MoD have too much control over the military. You could not get fuel, ammo, etc without a sheaf of papers and stamps and signatures. If you wanted ammo over 12.7mm, the PM had to sign fer Crissakes. A coup? HA! I saw the Basra Operations Center Commander get shuffled out, 14th Division CDR get changed and on and on. Ricks must be confused with early Reanaissance Italy or something.

#3 - Ricks again is looking for rain clouds. He is predicting doom in the future so he can pop up and yell "see, I told you so!" should it come to pass. He's the Linus Pauling of Iraqi politics.

I wish I had the time to write this out in a better organized fashion. Sorry, you'll just have to take this rant as it comes.


Had Turkey allowed the 4ID to move south as the original plan called for, we might have caught the bulk of the remaining Iraqi forces in a vise between the 3ID and 1MEF moving north ... before they had a chance to slink away into the civilian population afterwhich they morphed into the insurgency, along with AQI and foreigners coming from Syria, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere.

Charlie (Colorado)

Colonel, you did a fine job.


John! Is that a promotion I see (sorry, don't know military terms)!



LTC John;

I like you have a lot of friends with chips in the game. Planning for postwar Europe began in 1943, and the Marshall Plan was well on the way to its final form in late 1945. The Constabulary took effect very shortly after the cessation of hostilities.

We didn't have an evolved plan nor the intelligence necessary to do so in Iraq. The dissolution of all authority and secular hatred only made it that much more difficult. A loss of control of Iraqi Army weaponry and the task of securing huge depots hidden all over the country added the fuel to the fire. Little control of the borders made it a sisyphean task. That was my point. Most operational plans do not survive first contact regardless. The plan as originally enacted didn't work and it took 24 months to turn the ship.


One canonly wonder just how differently things would have gone if the Dems had been united behind the only "exit strategy" there is in a war:

IMO, they just can not bring them selves to do that. At least, not for us.


It's interesting to hear my mother talk of the occupation forces in Europe. She was in an Austrian city after the war with my father until 1947. If there was a plan, it was a bumpy ride for our military and their people.

Good thing NPR wasn't there doing its anecdotal news shtick with a message to people for who history begins at dawn.


Whitehall, TC, LTC John. Bravo. War is awful, and never goes according to plan. Anybody who has the slightest familiarity with history knows that--think about how smoothly things went in the great good war, WWII. That's why the bad guys figure--correctly, with depressing frequency--that the good guys won't go to war to stop them.

Think about Mugabe in Zimbabwe. He lost the election, decided he wasn't going to accept that loss, and the world did . . . nothing. That's what Saddam was banking on, and for a long time--too long--he was right.

Who in the current political world leadership has the courage and will to stand up to the world's tyrants?

By the way, Whitehall--is that a boat reference? (drool)


Roll in. Kill people (literally). Roll out.

Lather rinse, repeat.

You little neocons are like Wilsonian pussies.

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