Perspective on the wars in Afghan and Iraq

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by sagegirl, Oct 27, 2004.

  1. sagegirl
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    sagegirl Member

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    Watched Frontline last night and thought I would ask for some opinions about what was said.

    Basically it focused on Rumsfeld, but had alot of background on the pentagon officials, the army, and other cabinet members. Evidently the pentagon military rebuilt the army after vietnam and prepared for the war that was perceived to be on the horizon in Europe (soviet expansion). It was heavy on tanks and artillery. Well we all know the wall came down . So now to the events around 911.

    Immediately, consideration was given to invading Iraq. (There was a previous plan to invade Iraq so we would supposedly know what we were doing.) There were those who wanted to go into afghan, and some who favored Iraq. a vote was taken at camp david (Rummy abstained ) and the vote went for afghan. The army saw afghan as another quagmire much like vietnam and remembered the hammering the soviets took there. So Tenet came into the picture and said we could utilize our intelligence connections, and use those connections with a variety of the war lords and clashing factions to wage our battle. Tenet had rather wanted a slow methodical invasion that would take time, but this threatened Rummy's desire to take the army in.(the previous plan) Rummy jumped in and was quite succesful in the use of special forces to come in and hit the strategic targets as the intelligence community located them. There was a problem with interrogating prisoners and Rummy was sort of off the mark in his methods of interrogation (hence Abu Garib?????) but overall the war in afghan was going well.

    There were still those who wanted to take the action on into Iraq (Wolfie). The military, the army, was really divided on several issues, especially troop strength, and a plan or lack of it to stabilize the country after our "awe and shock" crusade. Those (Shinseki and White) who said 200,000 or so troops were basically needed ( in questioning before congress )were criticized for the numbers and both Rummy and Wolfie were quoted saying they "didnt know how many troops it would take but well under the 200,000 number". I think their estimates were more like 50,000. Keep in mind that Shinseki was a military man and had many years of experience and Wolfie had not served. Rummy had served as an aviator and flight instructor, but didnt have a lot of experience on the ground so to speak. But Tommy Franks who initially favored the higher number finally caved and went along with Rummy and Wolfie. Colin Powell favored the army side of the question until he caved too. Remember his now infamous pottery shed anology, you break it, you buy it. So we went into Iraq. We initially had great success and marched into Baghdad. Immediately, the underestimate of troop strength became evident in looting and raiding of ammo depos etc. (of which we are debating now) , and the lack of troop strength to maintain control throughout the country. Somewhat vindicating those who claimed the need for higher troop strength. This was not like the war Rummy had rather sucessfully led in Afghan. At the start of the war in Iraq, Rummy held almost daily press conferences and touted how well things were going, but he hit dead bottom with Abu Garib. He quit holding press conferences after that.

    Some of the photos showed the contempt that Rummy, Cheney, Powell, and others had for each other, in their struggles for power within the administration.

    Well I for one found the program most informative, as it dealt mostly with facts on record and not so much on rhetoric and opinion, except as expressed by those involved. Any comments?
     
  2. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    frankly, there IS order (Control) in MOST of the country...its not just an issue about the number of boots on ground - it's about the type of enemy they are fighting; and enemy who shoots an RPG at you, then drops the left-overs, walking into a crowd of kids and women.

    :(
     
  3. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    First, I disagree that our failure to prevent looting was any indicator of inadequate troop strength. Enforcement of civil law is not the function of the military. The war proceeded at such a fast pace that our troops never really had time to consolidate a position before it was time to move on to the next objective. Taking advantage of the speedy collapse of the Iraqi military was a smart tactic because it kept the pressure on and prevented an orderly retreat and did not allow enemy units to consolidate or to harden their positions. That saved the lives of many of our troops by reducing enemy resistance.

    Second, war is ALWAYS a mess. There has never been an exception to that axiom. Somehow many people seem to be under the impression that fighting a war is something that can be done on a spreadsheet with actuarial tables. Every time we fight, we have to be open to the idea that nothing will go as planned. Those who do not understand or accept this concept are either monumentally ignorant of military history or simply attempting to make cheap political points in the "I told you so" game.
     
  4. sagegirl
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    sagegirl Member

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    I think this obvious assumption that war is hell and unpredictable was downplayed by some of those making decisions. Wolfie at one point was saying that he really "couldnt imagine any scenario that would indicate we would have problems after the take over." What?????? Wolfie did not serve in the military and may well be one of those you consider "monumentally ignorant of military history "(or at least strategies) judging by his comment.

    As far as the I told you so game, unless we go back and study the comments and promises made in the heat of the debate how can we accurately evaluate the performance of the planners. ( I think Rumsfelt was given credit for running a effective war in Afghanistan. ) We should not limit ourselves to only wanting to speak of our successes, but to be honest and hopefully learn from our past so we have a more successful future.
     
  5. Fmr jarhead
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    Fmr jarhead Senior Member

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    Merlin...you must never have played Ghost REcon....it is very orderly, and the opposition does collapse quickly and easily, and you can even ignore orders with no punishment.

    You don't have to guard anything, and you can just go capture the objective.
     
  6. trobinett
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    trobinett Senior Member

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    Since "Desert Storm", I`ve been a VOCAL supportor of our military, and for the most part the Administrations that have been in power while our military fought those wars.

    Having been in the Army during the Vietnam war, and saw the way the politicals screwed that up for the guys on the ground, and how the people back home showed no support for the troops once they were back home. I didn`t want to see a repeat of ANY of that.

    But I`ll be straight with you folks, the politicals are getting more and more involved, and the military is having less and less of a say on how this war is waged. That my freinds is the formula for failure.

    It matters little weather your talking Afgan, or Iraq. Once the military takes the back seat, and the driving is in the hands of the politicals, well, no need to repeat myself.

    The "elite media", ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and the like, are NOT helping the stiuation either.

    I would like to see the media get back to reporting, and step away from telling me how I should see the news, I`ll figure that one out on my own.

    I`m VERY impressed with the job our military has done to this point, but its time to make the war in both Afgan, and Iraq more of a police action, with lots of intell, and move the militrary out, they aren`t suited for this phase of the war. But they sure kicked ass on the part they were. :2guns:

    Thanks......... :dance:
     
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  7. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    Trobinett, it is true that the American military has performed with great effectiveness and professionalism in Iraq. But the war is not over. Subduing the Sunni triangle cannot be done with police. The terrorism in Iraq will never stop until we destroy the support that is coming from Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran. One of the reasons that the Taliban was so quickly defeated in Afghanistan is that they had very little, if any, outside support. One of the reasons that the Soviets lost in Afghanistan is that they could not stop outside support of their enemies coming from Pakistan, America, and elsewhere. Due to the outside interference of Saudi, Syrian, and Iranian Islamic fascists, we have a military problem in Iraq that is similar to the military problem that the Soviets had in Afghanistan. The French, Germans, and Russians are delighted that we are tied-down and distracted in Iraq. If we do not attack and destroy the outside support of our enemies in Iraq, the war will never end.

    check this out: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/10/22/1098316857610.html
     
  8. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    If you, and others, are so good at Strategy, and Military doctrines - why aren't you working in that field?

    Oh! Because the BEST people are already there. ;)
     
  9. trobinett
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    trobinett Senior Member

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    Well thought out response onedomino, you make several good points, the best being your example of a "military problem". The article you gave as support, also reinforces your position:

    I do however, think the police need to take a more "pro-active" role in those areas where the military is not currently carrying out operations, would you agree ?

    As a aside, that was a interesting site that your supporting article was located, thanks. :salute:
     
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  10. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    Yes, I agree the military should be relieved where the situation can be handled by police.
     

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