Maineman's Point Acknowledged

Annie

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but seems there are shifts going on:

http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/iraq/articles/20070606.aspx

...

Militarily, U.S. troops are unstoppable. But American military success is not what will bring victory in Iraq, it's the willingness of Iraqis to stop killing each other. Ultimate success is a quiet Iraq and American troops going home. But the Sunni Arabs have had a real hard time living with the idea that they are no longer in power. However, four years of getting hammered by U.S. and, increasingly, Iraqi, troops, has caused a very visible shift in attitudes. But it's difficult to predict if, by September, the vast majority of Sunni Arab communities will have gone over to the government.

...
 
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Annie

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Great article!
Thanks! There are more and more reports coming in on the troops getting information that is resulting in arrests and/or kills. Seems even the Sunnis are not crazy about the targeting of civilians by the terrorists, whether al qaeda or not.
 

CSM

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Thanks! There are more and more reports coming in on the troops getting information that is resulting in arrests and/or kills. Seems even the Sunnis are not crazy about the targeting of civilians by the terrorists, whether al qaeda or not.
Intentional targeting and killing of innocent civilians is only popular among the extremists.
 

Shogun

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or.. you know.. those who can shrug their shoulders and rationalize death in war (on their side, of course)
 
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Annie

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or.. you know.. those who can shrug their shoulders and rationalize death in war (on their side, of course)
That really did not fit in this conversation, at least so far. Perhaps you can delete and enter later?
 

maineman

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I gratefully acknowledge the acknowledgement...

I do hope that this movement to the government by sunni communities is not a temporary thing but my gut tells me otherwise. I suspect that, even if sunnis "make nice" to the point where it would appear to outsiders that the Iraqi government has, indeed taken control of the situation and quelled the violent urges of its citizenry, and America proclaims "mission accomplished" yet again and leaves, that sectarian violence can, and will explode shortly thereafter with or without any singular overt provocation. I sincerely hope that my suspicions are unfounded, but like I have said before: crap in one hand and hope in the other and see which one fills up faster.
 

maineman

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I gratefully acknowledge the acknowledgement...

I do hope that this movement to the government by sunni communities is not a temporary thing but my gut tells me otherwise. I suspect that, even if sunnis "make nice" to the point where it would appear to outsiders that the Iraqi government has, indeed taken control of the situation and quelled the violent urges of its citizenry, and America proclaims "mission accomplished" yet again and leaves, that sectarian violence can, and will explode shortly thereafter with or without any singular overt provocation. I sincerely hope that my suspicions are unfounded, but like I have said before: crap in one hand and hope in the other and see which one fills up faster.
"U.S. forces have begun arming nationalist guerrillas and former Saddam Hussein loyalists -- and coordinating tactics -- in a marriage of convenience against al Qaeda radicals in one of Iraq's most violent provinces, senior U.S. commanders tell CNN."
http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/

I wonder how long before those arms we are giving the nationalist guerrillas will be used against our own troops?
 

Shogun

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That really did not fit in this conversation, at least so far. Perhaps you can delete and enter later?

well.. considering the post right above it...


are you going to follow me around this board like a smitten schoolgirl?
 

RetiredGySgt

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MM's points regarding the situation in Iraq are not without merit, and in fact, quite logical and fact-based.

Where he and conservatives go separate ways, IMO, is in what to do about the situation.
And that is the whole point. It has not mattered why we went since the minute we invaded. It does not matter what mistakes we made up till now as long as we are correcting them as we learn. The only thing that matters is doing our duty to Iraq by ensuring they have the tools to float or sink on their own.
 

JeffWartman

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And that is the whole point. It has not mattered why we went since the minute we invaded. It does not matter what mistakes we made up till now as long as we are correcting them as we learn. The only thing that matters is doing our duty to Iraq by ensuring they have the tools to float or sink on their own.
Agreed.

:clap2:
 

maineman

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I posted this some time ago, but think it bears repeating:

I think it is instructive to consider how the some on the right frame this debate about the wisdom of our continued involvement in the affairs of the Iraqi people: "Republicans want to “WIN” in Iraq" versus "Democrats want to “accept defeat” in Iraq".

There is, however, a constantly shifting definition of "winning", and, therefore, an equally shifting definition of "being defeated". At its very essence is the idea that our enemies are making some stand in Iraq and we must "win" against them there or they will have "defeated" us. This view of this involvement in Iraq as some sort of time constrained contest is artificial and tends to skew our perspective away from reality. This is not some global sporting event and we are not in the third quarter of a fixed time game. The enemy seeks to outlast us - not on the battlefield in Iraq, but in the timeless worldwide war of ideas and influence. In that war, we "win" when America's social and economic interest is felt in the world and those interests prevail in the world. We certainly need to look at that war with a wider, longer view.... we want to WIN that war of influence and ideas over the next century.

Is it really sensible to choose Iraq as the hill upon which we will die this decade? Can't we admit that we made an error in elevating Iraq into some symbolic preeminence that it does not deserve? Our war is against Islamic extremism... and that war will not be won militarily, but socially, politically, and most importantly, economically. Our war is not against Iraqi insurgents who really want to fight one another in a turf battle for oil and a 1200 year old grudge match over Islamic interpretation and ascendancy. Let them settle their own intramural differences without our continued muddying influence.

Those of us with a military background know full well that, in the major wars that engulfed our planet in the last century, America lost its share of BATTLES...America retreated from individual battlefields when it became clear that continuing to fight on that spot was not helping us win the larger victory.... when it became clear that that was not the hill we should chose to die on.... but America prevailed in those large wars because we did NOT let ourselves become obsessed with winning any one battle at the expense of overall victory.

I am all for fighting and winning the war against Islamic extremism. I know full well that our military will play a role at times in that war, but that ideas and economics will play a greater role. From the very outset, I have been against the action in Iraq, not because I didn't want to fight and win the war against Islamic extremism, but because I did not believe that our planned action in Iraq advanced our cause in that larger war.

Saddam was an asshole.... but he was an unwitting ally of ours in our war against Islamic extremism. The vision of Islamic extremists has no place for secular nation states like Jordan or Syria or Egypt or Saudi Arabia OR IRAQ. Saddam, therefore, had no vested interest in promoting or assisting an ideology that was bent on his own destruction.

Saddam was an asshole, but he did three things very well - three things that we would LOVE for someone to be doing better than we are doing them today:

1. he kept Islamic extremists from gaining bases of operation in Iraq (and don't start about Saddam's support for terrorists - his support was solely for NATIONALIST terror organizations and, as repugnant as they were and are, they are not the same as the Islamic extremists that threaten us).

2. He kept Sunnis and Shi'ites from slaughtering one another en masse in a country that was unique in its mixed population of Shiites and Sunnis at the edge of Arabia and Persia.... and

3. He acted as a foil against Iranian regional hegemony.

We need to admit that we will NEVER be able to do those three things as well as Saddam did them and that we fucked up by removing him from power and forcing ourselves to occupy a large portion of our military, our economy, and our diplomatic energy in trying to keep Iraq from boiling over when we could much more effectively use those assets to our benefit elsewhere in the world.

No one wants DEFEAT in the war on Islamic extremism, but I think we should consider leaving the battlefield we created in Iraq and focusing our efforts on winning the war that we should have been fighting in the first place.
 

DeadCanDance

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And that is the whole point. It has not mattered why we went since the minute we invaded. It does not matter what mistakes we made up till now as long as we are correcting them as we learn. The only thing that matters is doing our duty to Iraq by ensuring they have the tools to float or sink on their own.
Of course it matters. Accountability always matters. As you state, major mistakes have been made. Certain people totally misread the intelligence leading up to the war, saw threats that weren't there, and then totally bungled the occupation and reconstruction of iraq.

These are huge mistakes. Lyndon Johnson was effectively forced to resign, and not run for a second term because he was held accountable for vietnam. Most democrats cheered when Joe Lieberman lost the connecticut democratic primary. He would never have even been re-elected save that republicans turned out in force to vote for him, rather than their own GOP candidate.

Virtually nobody at a high level has been held accountable in the Bush adminstration. Bush certainly doesn't hold them accountable. Condi got promoted. Wolfowitz was never fired. Rummy hung on for three years, until a Democratic landslide election in 2006. Steven Hadley is still there - he got promoted.

The people who made these massive mistakes should be fired. Bush should have immediately implemented the bipartisan Iraq Study Group recommendations last year. But, he didn't.
 
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Annie

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"U.S. forces have begun arming nationalist guerrillas and former Saddam Hussein loyalists -- and coordinating tactics -- in a marriage of convenience against al Qaeda radicals in one of Iraq's most violent provinces, senior U.S. commanders tell CNN."
http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/

I wonder how long before those arms we are giving the nationalist guerrillas will be used against our own troops?


As you have said numerous times, I hope for the best. Some more good about the 'deal making' mentioned on another thread perhaps in the wrong context. Seems you MM, are one of many of the leaders that do go out of their way to understand the locals, now it seems it's filtering up:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2007-06-07-diyala-tribal_N.htm?csp=34

In Diyala, U.S. aligns with tribal leaders
By Jim Michaels, USA TODAY
U.S. military officials say they are making progress in negotiating with tribal leaders in a turbulent region north of Baghdad, using a formula that helped reduce violence in western Iraq.

"Within the last three or four months we've seen a much greater interest in tribal reconciliation and we've seen a shift in tribal attitudes," Maj. Tim Brooks, a staff officer for the Army brigade based in Diyala province, said in a telephone interview from Iraq.

The efforts to form alliances with tribes highlights a new emphasis on local initiatives aimed at political reconciliation. Iraq's central government has been slow to take steps aimed at ending sectarian divisions. Iraq's parliament has yet to pass laws on the distribution of oil revenue and other issues that have divided the country on sectarian lines.

"One of the concerns that I've had … was whether we had focused too much on central government construction in both Iraq and Afghanistan and not enough on the cultural and historical, provincial, tribal and other entities that have played an important role" in both countries, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said recently.

Iraq's central government has struggled to provide services and money to the provinces, said Army Col. Mike Everett, the political division chief of the U.S. command in Baghdad. "The greatest challenge in this country is how do you make national government effective."

By contrast, local initiatives have had a better record of success. "There is great effort at both levels," Everett said. "Arguably, we're probably making more progress at the local level."

...
 

maineman

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I will always hope for the best.

Further, I will - and do - PRAY for the best.

To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, when asked if he thought God was on HIS side in the Civil War, he replied that he only hoped that he was on God's side.
 
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Annie

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I will always hope for the best.

Further, I will - and do - PRAY for the best.

To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, when asked if he thought God was on HIS side in the Civil War, he replied that he only hoped that he was on God's side.
I'll agree with that.
 

actsnoblemartin

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I agree, government is not held accountable. Its up to us, to hold every single republican and democrat accountable.
 

RetiredGySgt

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I agree, government is not held accountable. Its up to us, to hold every single republican and democrat accountable.
You will discover that liberals have no intention of holding any ally accountable for anything they can cover up or ognore. Several liberal posters on this board have stated they will NOT call to task fellow liberals for lies and misinformation. The reason being they believe any ally is good, no matter the problems.
 

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