Attacks will continue until we leave

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by SLClemens, Nov 19, 2003.

  1. SLClemens
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    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=465083


    Attacks will continue until day the Americans leave, says report
    By Patrick Cockburn
    19 November 2003


    As George Bush arrived in London last night, an unprecedented and bleak assessment of the deteriorating military situation in Iraq was circulating among policymakers in Washington.

    The report - contradicting many claims by the US administration - is based on briefings by Paul Bremer, the US de facto governor of Iraq; military commanders, unnamed intelligence officers and David Kay, the American who leads the hunt for Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction. It says attacks on Americans by Sunni Iraqis will continue "until the day the US leaves".

    US army commanders are also learning how Saddam Hussein forced his officers to read Black Hawk Down - the account of the shooting down of US helicopters in Mogadishu during America's disastrous intervention in Somalia in the early 1990s - to convince them the US would leave if it suffered major casualties. The Iraqi resistance movement is believed to have a war chest of up to $1bn - with a further $3bn hidden in Syria - and it is paying between $25 and $500 for each attack on US forces.

    It also says 95 per cent of the threat is from former regime loyalists and that suicide bombings are being carried out largely by foreigners.

    The report, compiled by the prestigious Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), is all the more devastating because of the unusual level of access provided to its author, Dr Anthony Cordesman, a specialist on Iraq. He concludes that US soldiers are dying because of the ideological approach of the administration, and "four years into office, the Bush national security team is not a team".

    Mr Cordesman accuses the administration of preparing the ground for "a defeat by underplaying the risks, issuing provocative and jingoistic speeches, and minimising real-world costs and risks." Senior US officials were also deeply scornful of claims by administration officials that Saddam and his former aide Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri are orchestrating guerrilla attacks.

    Mr Bremer is quoted as saying that Saddam is felt "to be isolated and on the run. Douri [is] felt to be dying".

    US military officials said the leadership of the resistance is coming from former generals and colonels from the old Iraqi army, now disbanded, who see no future for themselves. This means that US successes in picking up the remaining 15 senior Baath party officials and military leaders pictured on the 55 playing cards will have no effect on the strength of the resistance.

    The report makes clear that there is no long-term future for the US military in Iraq: "Some Sunnis and others will always treat the US as "antibody" and cannot even get intelligence up to the point where [it] will stop all attacks."

    Dr Kay says that "Iraq was actively violating accords during later 1999 to 2003". But despite a prolonged and vastly expensive search for chemical weapons there was "no evidence of weapons production" though Iraq could have produced sarin in two years and mustard gas in two months.

    Interviews with former Iraqi commanders show that while none of them had chemical weapons under their control they believed that other units did have chemical weapons.

    Mr Bremer said that there was no evidence of a direct role by al-Qa'ida, though he felt that the devastating suicide bombs were carried out by non-Iraqis. But he made clear that he had "no hard intelligence to confirm that they were foreigners".

    Mr Bremer told the CSIS that "the most critical problem is intelligence" on local guerrillas and possible foreign supporters. He said: "We do not have a reliable picture of who is organising attacks, and the size and structure of various elements." He suspected that there was local co-ordination and possibly greater co-ordination on a regional level. There were estimated to be at least eight resistance cells in Baghdad, each with some 25 members.

    The report, based on a visit to Iraq by Dr Cordesman earlier this month, entitled Iraq: Too Uncertain To Call, says the army is confident it can contain guerrilla attacks but says they are becoming more sophisticated and tactics are changing.

    Dr Cordesman suggests the Coalition Provisional Authority should abandon its heavily fortified headquarters in Saddam's old Republican Palace in central Baghdad. He says: "The CPA's image is one of a foreign palace complex replacing Saddam's and far too many CPA Americans in Baghdad are talking to Americans who should be working with Iraqis." He says, after extensive talks with US officers in the main combat divisions, that the CPA is seen as an over-centralised bureaucracy, isolated from the military, relies too much on contractors "and is not realistically evaluating developments in the field."

    Dr Cordesman points to an important flaw in US planning since mid-summer when the Interim Governing Council was established as the Iraqi face of the occupation. He says that it has delayed "nation-building" in Iraq because of divisions, personal ambitions and lack of local following. A critical question here, which may determine the success or failure of President Bush's plan to create a provisional Iraqi government with real legitimacy, is how far the failings of the council are carried over into a new body.

    Iraqi politicians independent of the US-appointed governing council interviewed by The Independent all believe that the council wanted to delay elections because its members feared they would not be elected. "They just want time to loot the country and then get out," said one Iraqi leader bitterly.

    There is little in the track record of the US administration to suggest that Dr Cordesman's recommendations will be carried out, particularly at a time when Washington wants to show results on the ground in Iraq in the months before the presidential election.

    One problem is that the US army is designed for major combat. It does not have the resources or training for the conflict it is now fighting. "The army as a whole does not have the MPs, civil action, intelligence, and trained counter-insurgency assets it needs."

    The report concludes that there is an overall problem with the US administration's advocacy of "democracy" in the Middle East. "It is largely advocating undefined slogans, not practical and balanced specifics.'' It was often seen as showing contempt for Arab societies, or as a prelude to new US efforts at regime change.
     
  2. Sevendogs
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    :) Yes, they will stop in Iraq, when we leave, but not elsewhere and at home. Bush missed the real target. There are no rules during war time, especially in modern times. Everything goes for victory. Bush exposed our troops to terrorists in the wrong country. He started this war based on wrong information. Terrorism has its own rules, real weapons of mass destruction are those schools where clerics indoctrinate suicide bombers.
     
  3. jimnyc
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    Oh no, they'll continue? So we should retreat because the enemy fights back? *giggle* What a plan!
     
  4. SLClemens
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    If a bully gets attacked by an increasing number of weaker students would he be wise to respond with more bullying?
     
  5. jimnyc
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    Bully would mean they sought out the lesser opponent. Before Nov 11th, was the USA involved in rebuilding efforts, or actively seeking out lesser opponents?

    You respond with a show of force to quell the uprising, which is exactly what they are doing.
     
  6. nbdysfu
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    exit strategy:D

    The same brilliant analytical method would tend to warrant it. But at the same time you stick with it because you believe you have something that needs to be heard. And it is being heard for all that's worth. Soldiers probably meet angry faces every day but that doesn't mean they should give up and go home, because frankly, that's exactly what happened the last time.

    But seriously-the attacks will stop?

    Sure the soldiers won't face more danger in Iraq, but what's to say the attacks won't simply continue on our allies and anew on our own soil?


    And what of the Iraqis who have already spoken out or stood up to become the new Iraqi government? the soldiers, police, doctors,politicians, aides, other citizens who went about their lives?
     
  7. Annie
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    With apologies to Jimmy, who locked the discussion on how we treat the military. (ahem, this does address the topic of the make-up of the US forces, and they are not mostly poor kids looking for health insurance), written by a reporter who was embedded: http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110004348

    Our Soldiers, Our Thanks
    Here's to the men who risk their lives to keep us free.

    BY KARL ZINSMEISTER
    Wednesday, November 26, 2003 12:01 a.m.

    With Thanksgiving here, and the first American troops to deploy for the Iraq War nearing their one-year anniversary overseas, it's a good time to remember some families in this country to whom the rest of us owe a great deal. Take the family of Sean Shields, a young American I encountered while embedded with the 82nd Airborne Division. Lt. Shields, currently stationed near Baghdad, is the third generation of his clan to serve in the U.S. Army airborne.
    Sean's grandfather was one of the men who first created the stellar reputation of the 82nd Airborne--parachuting into the critical battles of Normandy and Nijmegen during World War II. Sean's father served in Gulf War I, eventually retiring as a colonel. Now Sean is an Army Ranger doing his share of the heavy lifting in Iraq. He has shaken off two roadside bombings of his Humvee within a month, and soldiers on without complaint. There are many such families in this country with a multigenerational tradition of military service.

    There are also many families who seem oblivious to this tradition. In his recent book, "Keeping Faith," Frank Schaefer describes how, after he'd sent other children to New York University and Georgetown, his affluent Boston neighbors expressed disappointment at his son's decision to become a Marine. "He's so bright and talented and could do anything!" blurted one man. "What a waste!" A similar view is betrayed by New York Times reporter Chris Hedges when he describes today's soldiers as "poor kids from Mississippi or Alabama or Texas who could not get a decent job or health insurance and joined the Army because it was all we offered them."

    Are such impressions accurate? From my experiences observing American soldiers--most recently as an embedded reporter in Iraq--my answer is an emphatic "no." A much wider range of talented people serve in our military than many realize. There are suburbanites, hillbillies, kids from concrete canyons and farm boys in our fighting forces. I met graduates of tony schools like Wesleyan and Cornell in Iraq, not only in the officer corps, but in the ranks. I met disciplined immigrants from Colombia, Russia, Panama and other places. Our battlefield computers, helicopters and radars are kept humming by flocks of mechanical whizzes and high-tech aces.

    I know of a man who was most of the way through a Ph.D. at Fordham University when, looking for a more active and patriotic career, he decided he'd like to start jumping out of airplanes with the 82nd Airborne. He came in not as an officer but as a private. Four years later, he is a highly competent sergeant. I learned about the son of an engineer and a nursing supervisor who had glided through his school's gifted-student program before landing a job as an open-heart-surgery technician. Then the Sept. 11 attacks convinced him that his country needed him for more important work. He is now a medic in the 82nd Airborne, hoping for an eventual career as an Army doctor.
    A few years ago, I interviewed Gen. John Abizaid, now America's top military officer in the Middle East. He had entered West Point in 1969, and noted that at that time the academy had to accept every minimally qualified applicant just to fill his class. Today, entry into our military academies is prized as much as admission to an Ivy League school. That's a clear indicator of how support for the military has rebounded in this country since our Vietnam-era lows--and it hints at the quality of the individuals who flow into our armed forces at all levels.

    Our soldiers aren't all saints and scholars, but the base of our military pyramid is full of impressive individuals. There are also many unusually talented men and women at the middle and top of the command structure. The commanders of our troops in Iraq today are instructive examples. Brig. Gen. Martin Dempsey, who leads the First Armored Division in Baghdad, has earned, in addition to his military achievements, three separate master's degrees. Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, whose leadership of the 101st Airborne has temporarily made him the prince of northern Iraq, is well equipped for that task thanks to, among other credentials, a Ph.D. in international relations from Princeton (which he earned two years faster than most doctoral candidates). The commander of our third full division in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno of the Fourth Infantry Division, has a master's in nuclear engineering.

    Independent thinking by line soldiers is not only tolerated in our armed forces, it is required by the new freelancing style of warfare. Outsiders who envision our fighting forces as authoritarian institutions would be surprised to observe the meritocratic nature of our military in action. Obstacles are generally surmounted after open, democratic-style contention among competing views. I witnessed many spirited debates--among officers in the command tents as well as between privates and sergeants--over the best ways to achieve important objectives. The general modus operandi is competition: "May the smartest idea, and biggest bicep, win."

    America's soldiers have the skills to fly missiles into designated windows and squeeze off one-mile sniper shots. They have the openness and democratic habits to serve as good representatives of our liberal society. And they are also admirable on a third front: for their moral idealism.

    Hollywood war stories like "Saving Private Ryan" and "Black Hawk Down" promulgate the notion that contemporary soldiers fight not for cause and country but simply for the survival of themselves and their buddies. But most American soldiers are quite conscious of the titanic clash of moral universes that lies behind today's U.S. venture into the Middle East. They are not only aware of the historical importance of this fight, but proud of their role in it, and broadly motivated by high principles extending far beyond self preservation.

    Gregory Kolodciejczky was a New York City fireman. When the Twin Towers went down, 14 men from his stationhouse were killed, and he decided to help make sure the events of that day would never be replayed in his country. At age 32 he chucked everything and started a new career as a paratrooper. He believes that by fighting in Iraq he is honoring the memory of his dead friends, and helping protect Americans from future acts of terror. I know numerous soldiers who put aside well-paying jobs, family life, graduate school and comfortable careers after concluding, in the wake of Sept. 11, that their country needed their military service.

    Families of some of the soldiers I've reported on have shared their letters home with me, and many of these reflect the rectitude of those men and women. Lt. John Gibson of the 82nd's 325th Regiment wrote his parents on his birthday this summer that "we are homesick and want to see our families and loved ones, but not at the expense of an incomplete mission. I know that a completely free and democratic Iraq may not be in place by the time that I leave, but it will be significantly under way before I am redeployed. I see things here, on a daily basis, that hurt the human heart. I see poverty, crime, terrorism, murder, and stupidity. However, I see hope in the eyes of many Iraqis, hope for a chance to govern themselves. I think they are on the cusp of a new adventure, a chance for an entire country to start over again."

    Pvt. Melville Johnson of the 82nd Airborne reflected on his time in combat this way: "I feel Iraq has real potential for the future--with the help of the U.S. military, humanitarian agencies, and the installation of a just, fair, and compassionate government. I feel tremendously for the American families that lost a loved one. I also feel for the families of the enemy. At night, before I rest, I think of the enemy we killed. I remember the way their bodies lay in unnatural states, positions God never intended them to take. I hope these images will soon fade. But would I willingly, happily, and completely fight this war again? Yes, I would do it all over again with just as much, or more, determination."

    The patriot Thomas Paine once said, "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, so that my children may have peace." This is a creed many soldiers adhere to quite literally. To a man, the deployed GIs I know tell me they don't want any waffling or hesitation about finishing the job in Iraq. They say it is much less important that the Iraqi war be over soon than that it be successful, and they know that will take time.

    Amid the sour soap opera of Jessica Lynch, Americans should remember that there are many U.S. soldiers who displayed real self-sacrificial heroism in the Iraq War. Just among the 82nd Airborne there are men like Medic Alan Babin, who left a covered position and exposed himself on the battlefield to come to the aid of another soldier. He was shot in the abdomen and is now fighting his way back from the loss of numerous organs, several full-body arrests and 20 operations.

    When you talk to our wounded soldiers they say, astonishingly, that they don't regret the fight. Almost universally, they say they are anxious to return to their units as soon as possible. Most American warriors subscribe to the words of John Stuart Mill: "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

    It's easy for critics on both the left and right to convince themselves that the U.S. is a decadent society, that our young people have gone soft, that we will never have another generation like the men who climbed the cliffs at Normandy. That judgment, I'm here to report, is utterly wrong. We've got soldiers in uniform today whom Americans can trust with any responsibility, any difficulty, any mortal challenge.

    At the end of this strenuous year, we give thanks for them.

    Mr. Zinsmeister, editor in chief of The American Enterprise, is author of "Boots on the Ground: A Month With the 82nd Airborne in the Battle for Iraq," just published by Truman Talley.


    Copyright © 2003 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
     
  8. Sevendogs
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    :) Yes, attacks will continue and may be even increase, when shiite muslims will go more angry then now; and they will. There is not way out so far, it is very much like anotehr Vietnam situation. Locals do not value the opportunity for democracy in their country, because they hardly know if it would be good or bad for them. Bush and his naive American suporters will bust the dust. We must be prepared to take thousands of Iraqi refugees in the end.
     

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