The War as We Saw It....

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by DeadCanDance, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. DeadCanDance
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    DeadCanDance Senior Member

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    The War as We Saw It

    By BUDDHIKA JAYAMAHA, WESLEY D. SMITH, JEREMY ROEBUCK, OMAR MORA, EDWARD SANDMEIER, YANCE T. GRAY and JEREMY A. MURPHY

    August 19, 2007
    Baghdad

    VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

    The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

    A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

    As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.

    Similarly, Sunnis, who have been underrepresented in the new Iraqi armed forces, now find themselves forming militias, sometimes with our tacit support. Sunnis recognize that the best guarantee they may have against Shiite militias and the Shiite-dominated government is to form their own armed bands. We arm them to aid in our fight against Al Qaeda.

    However, while creating proxies is essential in winning a counterinsurgency, it requires that the proxies are loyal to the center that we claim to support. Armed Sunni tribes have indeed become effective surrogates, but the enduring question is where their loyalties would lie in our absence. The Iraqi government finds itself working at cross purposes with us on this issue because it is justifiably fearful that Sunni militias will turn on it should the Americans leave.

    continued

    Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/o...0e944e61b&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
     
  2. eots
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    On January 5, 2006, Congressman Murtha held a town hall meeting with Cong. Jim Moran (D-VA 08).

    The soldier who asked the first question served in Afghanistan and said that morale among troops is high and that he would gladly serve in Iraq today. His comment was the only one replayed by Fox News the next day.

    But the majority of soldiers in attendance spoke out against the current policy. Fox News did not broadcast their remarks.

    Here are some excerpts.

    John Brumes, Infantry Sgt. US Army:

    Everything that the Bush Adminstration told us about that mission in Iraq is absolutely incorrect. Furthermore, I'd like to say ... I came home to no job, no health insurance. Until we take care of this war, we can't take care of the problems that matter like health care.
    I've witnessed both ends... Congressman Murtha, I implore you to keep doing what you're doing.


    John Powers, Capt. 1st Armored Division, served 12 months in Iraq:

    The thing that hits me the most is the accountability. ... Where is the accountability for those men [who took us to war], as well as where is the accountability for Paul Bremmer, who misplaced millions of dollars and claims to keep accountability in the war zone?... I know that if we lost $500 we would be court marshaled. So where is the accountability for this leadership?
    Garin Reppenhagen, served as a sniper in Iraq for a year in the First Infantry Division:

    My question is also about accountability. The soldiers that you see, Congressman Murtha, at the hospitals... those are my friends. After coming back, being a veteran, my question is why? Why did we go to this war, why the hell did it happen, why are we in this condition. A lot of soldiers are debating whether this war was fraudulent to begin with. And there doesn't seem to be a clear answer. A lot of Americans now are debating the fact over whether or not the war was fraudulent in the first place. How come there hasn't been an investigation on the fraudulent lead up to the war by this Administration?
    C-SPAN has the full broadcast here.

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