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No More Troops

NATO AIR

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The time has come for Iraqis to stand up for their country or say goodbye to America.

http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly...o_more_troops_opedcolumnists_ralph_peters.htm

NO MORE TROOPS

By RALPH PETERS

October 10, 2006 -- WITH 26 American troops dead in Iraq in the first nine days of October, the combination of bad news and pre-election politics has those on one bench arguing for bailing out immediately and those on the other bench frantic to pile on.

Neither position is realistic. We're not going to pull out of Iraq overnight - no matter what happens in November. The "bring the troops home now" voices always blended arch political cynicism with willful naiveté - it's always been about Bush, not Iraq.

But remaining in Baghdad requires a new sense of reality. "Stay the course" is meaningless when you don't have a course - and the truth is that the administration still doesn't have a strategy, just a jumble of programs, slogans and jittery improvisations.

Our Army and Marine Corps urgently need increases in personnel strength. They've been stripped to the strategic and tactical bone. We need more boots. But not on the ground in Iraq.

Sending more troops wouldn't help and can't be done. It's too late. We've reached the point where Iraqis must fight for their own future. If they won't, nothing we can do will bring success.

As this column stressed months ago, the test for whether we should remain in Iraq is straightforward: Will Iraqis fight in decisive numbers for their own elected, constitutional government? The insurgents, militiamen and foreign terrorists are willing to die for their causes. If "our" Iraqis won't match that strength of will, Iraq will fail.

If Iraq's leaders stop squabbling and lead, and if Iraq's soldiers and police fight resolutely for their constitutional state, we should be willing to stay "as long as it takes." But if they continue to wallow in ethnic and religious partisanship while doing as little as possible for their own country, we need to leave and let them face the consequences.

Give them one more year. And that's it.

Meanwhile, the notion of sending more U.S. troops is strategic and practical nonsense. Had the same voices demanded another 100,000-plus troops in 2003 or even 2004, it would have made a profound, positive difference. Now it's too late.

By refusing to adequately increase active-duty numbers in the early phases of this struggle, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ground down our Army and Marines - both the flesh-and-blood troops and their gear. We must not ask the understrength forces who've carried the burden of this fight to shoulder yet more weight.

Make no mistake: Were our nation directly threatened, our ground forces would surge to respond powerfully and effectively. But as far as Iraq goes, they've given their best. They're willing to die for our country. But we should never ask them to give their lives to postpone a political embarrassment.

This doesn't mean that we can't temporarily deploy additional brigades for specific missions. But it does mean that we've got to shoot dead any nonsense about adding tens of thousands more troops on a long-term basis. It won't help. All we can do now is hold open the door for the Iraqis to go through. It's their fight.

And we have to avoid letting Iraq develop a military-welfare dependency on us. While even a successful Iraqi force would need U.S. support for years to come, the issue is: Who will take the lead in combat? The Iraqis must do this themselves - and their moment of truth can no longer be delayed.

It's absurd to brag that Iraq now has 300,000 men in uniform if all most of them do is collect paychecks and duck responsibility - while backing their own ethnic and religious factions.

And, although it pains me to write it, we can't trust the judgment of our military officers as to whether Iraqi troops and police are making sufficient progress. Clientitis happens. Our trainers inevitably cling to the success stories, insisting, Yeah, those other guys poked the pooch - but Col. Mohammed's men are doing a great job.

Our advisers develop emotional bonds with their Iraqi charges and lose big-picture objectivity. When it comes to judging Iraqi progress, the only useful measure is the security situation. If the carnage continues unchallenged by the Iraqis, game over.

Iraq is not yet lost, but it's harder every day to be optimistic. It's still too soon to give up - we must have the fortitude to weather very dark days. But we also need the guts to recognize when it's time to cut our losses. In Iraq, the verdict must come in 2007.

It's up to the Iraqis to make their case.

For us, the tragic aspect isn't what would follow an American withdrawal. That would be yet another grotesque Arab tragedy. What's heartbreaking is that we did the right thing by deposing Saddam Hussein, but we did it unforgivably badly.

A Victorian-era cliché ran that the saddest words in the English language are "if only." Well, if only Secretary Rumsfeld had permitted detailed planning for an occupation, sent enough troops when it would've made a difference, allowed our commanders to enforce the rule of law when they reached Baghdad . . . and so on, for a hundred other pigheaded mistakes.

Well, you face the future with the Iraq you've got, not the Iraq you'd like to have. We owe the Iraqis one last chance, and it's up to them to take it.

But no more U.S. troops. Make the Iraqis fight for their own country. If they won't, we need to accept that a noble endeavor failed.

People get the government they earn. Those of us who believed that the situation in the Middle East required desperate measures may have to accept that the cynics were right when they insisted that Arabs can't govern themselves democratically. What if it doesn't take a village? What if it takes a Saddam?

If Iraq does fail, the cold truth is that the United States will do fine. We'll honor our dead, salve the wounds to our vanity and march on stronger than ever (with the world's most powerful and most experienced military). But the Middle East will have revealed itself as hopeless.

Ralph Peters is a retired U.S. Army officer and author.
 

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NATO AIR

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Pretty interesting column.

Indeed the growing feeling among many in this country seems to be along the lines of the "Iraqis are not anywhere near pulling their weight" and are in fact using our training, our protection and our money to pursue tribal, religious and personal vendettas. The time has come for the US to throw the gauntlet down. Iraq will be a defeat for the US, but a far larger defeat for Arabs and Iraqis. Despite our many mistakes in the beginning, we're literally on the top of our game now and its just not enough, not enough when the people you are trying to help are more interested in killing each other than saving a nation they don't even believe in.
 

Stephanie

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Indeed the growing feeling among many in this country seems to be along the lines of the "Iraqis are not anywhere near pulling their weight" and are in fact using our training, our protection and our money to pursue tribal, religious and personal vendettas. The time has come for the US to throw the gauntlet down. Iraq will be a defeat for the US, but a far larger defeat for Arabs and Iraqis. Despite our many mistakes in the beginning, we're literally on the top of our game now and its just not enough, not enough when the people you are trying to help are more interested in killing each other than saving a nation they don't even believe in.

Nato, Do you really feel this way? :salute:
 

onedomino

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Indeed the growing feeling among many in this country seems to be along the lines of the "Iraqis are not anywhere near pulling their weight" and are in fact using our training, our protection and our money to pursue tribal, religious and personal vendettas. The time has come for the US to throw the gauntlet down. Iraq will be a defeat for the US, but a far larger defeat for Arabs and Iraqis. Despite our many mistakes in the beginning, we're literally on the top of our game now and its just not enough, not enough when the people you are trying to help are more interested in killing each other than saving a nation they don't even believe in.
Defeat? That hardly describes what would happen if America pulled out. America's departure is exactly want the terrorists want. And you think we should give it to them? Great. Then Iraq can be used as an industrial sized Afghanistan with money from which future attacks can be launched against Americans. The government has been in power less than six months and you want to abandon the 12 million Iraqis who voted in their elections? Abandon them to a huge increase in bloody violence and the murder squads that roam the streets? We have a moral obligation to finish what we started. Further, America leaving Iraq would put our most virulent enemy, Iran, in the driver's seat and turn the fanatical Mullahs into a Middle East superpower. Bush senior abandoned the Kurds once before back in 1991, there is no way we can honorably do that again.
 

5stringJeff

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NATO's got a great point: at what point in time do we let the Iraqis have their country to run as they see fit? Is it after a government is in place? After enough troops are trained? After we feel "safe" that no terrorists are left in Iraq? When?
 

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Defeat? That hardly describes what would happen if America pulled out. America's departure is exactly want the terrorists want. And you think we should give it to them? Great. Then Iraq can be used as an industrial sized Afghanistan with money from which future attacks can be launched against Americans. The government has been in power less than six months and you want to abandon the 12 million Iraqis who voted in their elections? Abandon them to a huge increase in bloody violence and the murder squads that roam the streets? We have a moral obligation to finish what we started. Further, America leaving Iraq would put our most virulent enemy, Iran, in the driver's seat and turn the fanatical Mullahs into a Middle East superpower. Bush senior abandoned the Kurds once before back in 1991, there is no way we can honorably do that again.

Not to mention what every lefty in this country wants. In their eyes, it vindicates all the lies and whining they've been doing the past 3 years.
 

Gunny

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NATO's got a great point: at what point in time do we let the Iraqis have their country to run as they see fit? Is it after a government is in place? After enough troops are trained? After we feel "safe" that no terrorists are left in Iraq? When?

When the Iraqi government can stand on its own. If it takes 5 years, fine. If it takes twenty, fine. Have we come this far to bail out in the middle of the game?
 

USMCDevilDog

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When the Iraqi government can stand on its own. If it takes 5 years, fine. If it takes twenty, fine. Have we come this far to bail out in the middle of the game?

Exactly. Honestly, yes it's not a great situation we're in right now, but we're in it and we need to finish it. Leaving Iraq now would make America look 10 times as bad then if we just stayed there and did what we said we were going to do, which I have no idea how that is bad but the libs like to think that it's sooo bad.
 

Gunny

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Exactly. Honestly, yes it's not a great situation we're in right now, but we're in it and we need to finish it. Leaving Iraq now would make America look 10 times as bad then if we just stayed there and did what we said we were going to do, which I have no idea how that is bad but the libs like to think that it's sooo bad.

It's bad in the sense that we are so busy "winning hearts and minds" and being held to a standard Christ himself couldn't improve upon, that we're ignoring the reality of who is doing the fighting and why, and what needs to be done about it.

SUre, there may be some tribal BS going down under the name of "insurgency". That is a compeltely separate issue from Iran and Syria flooding Iraq with religious terrorists bent on maintaining disorder if they can't have control.
 

Annie

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NATO's got a great point: at what point in time do we let the Iraqis have their country to run as they see fit? Is it after a government is in place? After enough troops are trained? After we feel "safe" that no terrorists are left in Iraq? When?

I'm not sure that is Eddie's point, rather Ralph Peter's, whom I know he agrees with much of the time. I don't know if more troops would make a difference now or not, but do know that pulling our support out in a year, will NOT make for a better Middle East, not until the Iraqi police and military are ready to take over, which have been bearing the brunt of killings. Seriously, the Iraqis in uniform are the ones dyingin numbers, yet there are no shortages of those wishing to sign up. Are some 'insurgents'? Problably, undoubtedly. The vast number, no.
 

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"If I've lost Walter Cronkite, I've lost the country."
Lyndon Johnson, 1968

"If I've lost NATO, I've lost the country."
George Bush, 2006
 

Gunny

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José;490253 said:
"If I've lost Walter Cronkite, I've lost the country."
Lyndon Johnson, 1968

"If I've lost NATO, I've lost the country."
George Bush, 2006

Fuck Walter Cronkite and fuck NATO. Questions?
 
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NATO AIR

NATO AIR

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I'm not sure that is Eddie's point, rather Ralph Peter's, whom I know he agrees with much of the time. I don't know if more troops would make a difference now or not, but do know that pulling our support out in a year, will NOT make for a better Middle East, not until the Iraqi police and military are ready to take over, which have been bearing the brunt of killings. Seriously, the Iraqis in uniform are the ones dyingin numbers, yet there are no shortages of those wishing to sign up. Are some 'insurgents'? Problably, undoubtedly. The vast number, no.


This is my point. We're in the middle of a low-level civil war with increasingly high body counts for Iraqis, death squads roaming around at night, playing "iraqi" soldier or police officer during the day. If the US pulls out, guess what? Its already a centre for terrorists and a cause celebre for jihadists. Big deal. It will continue to be because Saudi and the other Arab states will support Mogadishu North, i.e. Baghdad after its been ethnically cleansed of Shiites, Iran will support the rump state of Iraq that is in the the South, and the US will have to figure out a way to support Kurdistan in the north without Turkey going in there and getting its ass embarassed by a guerrilla army just waiting to be betrayed.

Our troops are putting their lives on the line fighting, suffering and dying for a cause that few Iraqis believe in, let alone Americans. The successive Iraqi governments can't get their shit straight, and expect us to stay there for years while they haggle over tribal and sectarian power. I call bullshit, so is Ralph Peters, so is Fareed Zakaria, so is John Warner, etc, etc. This war is no longer worth the tens of billions of dollars we are spending if the Iraqis themselves aren't going to SOON step up and show some iniative and leadership that doesn't revolve around getting their cut of the reconstruction money or killing off the enemy sects and tribes.
 

nt250

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This is my point. We're in the middle of a low-level civil war with increasingly high body counts for Iraqis, death squads roaming around at night, playing "iraqi" soldier or police officer during the day. If the US pulls out, guess what? Its already a centre for terrorists and a cause celebre for jihadists. Big deal. It will continue to be because Saudi and the other Arab states will support Mogadishu North, i.e. Baghdad after its been ethnically cleansed of Shiites, Iran will support the rump state of Iraq that is in the the South, and the US will have to figure out a way to support Kurdistan in the north without Turkey going in there and getting its ass embarassed by a guerrilla army just waiting to be betrayed.

Our troops are putting their lives on the line fighting, suffering and dying for a cause that few Iraqis believe in, let alone Americans. The successive Iraqi governments can't get their shit straight, and expect us to stay there for years while they haggle over tribal and sectarian power. I call bullshit, so is Ralph Peters, so is Fareed Zakaria, so is John Warner, etc, etc. This war is no longer worth the tens of billions of dollars we are spending if the Iraqis themselves aren't going to SOON step up and show some iniative and leadership that doesn't revolve around getting their cut of the reconstruction money or killing off the enemy sects and tribes.

I was just forced by my company to get what's called a "Diversity Degree". It was total bullshit.

But I did learn one thing. Arab culture has what's called an "external" view things. It all comes down to fate and luck. Nobody really has control over anything.

How can you expect people with that kind of thinking to step up to anything?
 

LuvRPgrl

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Fuck Walter Cronkite and fuck NATO. Questions?

Yea, can I have the honors?

Im just wondering, for all those who dont think we are doing so good there, or if we can win.

Do you think "stay the course" worked well for Washington when he was in Valley Forge?

Do you think it worked well for Lincoln during the dark days of the first two years of the civil war?

How about the Brits during the nazi blitz on London?

We won the war in vietnam, but then we failed to support the South AFTER the treaty was signed by the N. Vietnamese, stating they would cease hostilities into S Vietnam, and allow S Vietnam to be a sovereign and democratic country. Only once they realized that Carter wouldnt supply the south with the support in ammunition, parts and other military support, did the VIET CONG attack and annhialate the south, because they had the backing of China and Russia.

ALSO, FACT is, "stay the course" isnt what the liberal lying dems make it out to be. It means we stay till we win, not that we just continue doing what we are doing now.
Every war is different, and this one is no different. (pun fully intended)
Fact is, our military has to adapt and improvise to win. We are doing that. Fact is we have established a democracy, we just need it to be sustained.

Does anyone realize how long it took for America to become decently functioning after the revolution? And that was WITHOUT a bunch of terrorists trying to subvert the plans.

NOW, FACT is, the harder the terrorists try to defeat us there, the more important it is we dont allow them to. The reason the terrorists are throwing 6their entire weight into this is because they realize the value and importance of winning, and if they lose, they realize it is the beginning of the end for them.
 

nt250

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Only once they realized that Carter wouldnt supply the south with the support in ammunition, parts and other military support, did the VIET CONG attack and annhialate the south, because they had the backing of China and Russia.

I was a teenager back then. How did Carter have anything to do with the Vietnam war?
 

onedomino

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This is my point. We're in the middle of a low-level civil war with increasingly high body counts for Iraqis, death squads roaming around at night, playing "iraqi" soldier or police officer during the day. If the US pulls out, guess what? Its already a centre for terrorists and a cause celebre for jihadists. Big deal. It will continue to be because Saudi and the other Arab states will support Mogadishu North, i.e. Baghdad after its been ethnically cleansed of Shiites, Iran will support the rump state of Iraq that is in the the South, and the US will have to figure out a way to support Kurdistan in the north without Turkey going in there and getting its ass embarassed by a guerrilla army just waiting to be betrayed.

Our troops are putting their lives on the line fighting, suffering and dying for a cause that few Iraqis believe in, let alone Americans. The successive Iraqi governments can't get their shit straight, and expect us to stay there for years while they haggle over tribal and sectarian power. I call bullshit, so is Ralph Peters, so is Fareed Zakaria, so is John Warner, etc, etc. This war is no longer worth the tens of billions of dollars we are spending if the Iraqis themselves aren't going to SOON step up and show some iniative and leadership that doesn't revolve around getting their cut of the reconstruction money or killing off the enemy sects and tribes.
We pull out of Iraq and leave the terrorists alone so they can regroup their forces, obtain billions in financing from Iraqi oil, and make plans to kill Americans all over the world? Moreover, American defeat in Iraq would embolden and give hope to the Taliban enemy in Afghanistan. The same jihadist killers fighting us in Baghdad would soon be murdering innocent people in Kabul. Yeah, it is a very “big deal,” NATO. If we pull out of Iraq, do you seriously think that Iran would be satisfied with south Iraq? Be realistic. Iran will dominate the entire country and it will be especially interested in crushing the Kurds (as will Turkey) because it has its own restive Kurdish population in NE Iran. Under your cut and run scenario (let’s call it what it is), Iran would control the Middle East and the first thing it would do is threaten the Sunnis running Saudi Arabia. I am no friend of SA, but that is the world’s largest pool of oil they are sitting on, and like it or not, it is the fuel of the western world. Your departure from Iraq would make the Persian Gulf an Iranian lake precisely at the time they are developing nukes and snuggling up to China with multi-billion dollar oil and natural gas deals. Your impatient call for failure in Iraq would be a massive strategic defeat for America. Yes, our troops are putting their lives on the line for Iraqis, but they are foremost defending America and its strategic interests. Try to look further than a few months down the road and envision a Middle East dominated by Iran and influenced by China. Do you like the view? America has long-term strategic interests at stake that would suffer great, if not irreparable, damage if your strategy of defeat is adopted.
 

5stringJeff

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When the Iraqi government can stand on its own. If it takes 5 years, fine. If it takes twenty, fine. Have we come this far to bail out in the middle of the game?

And at what point does the American presence in Iraq become a crutch for the Iraqis, in essence letting them get away with not getting their crap together?
 

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