2004 September 06 Monday
Samarra Joins Growing List Of US Military No-Go Cities In Iraq

Want a handy way to watch the progress of the war in Iraq? Search Google News using the terms no-go iraq. This turns up all sorts of stories about where US forces can't go in Iraq (except in large numbers while under fire) and where foreigners can't go. See, for example, this article on how Samarra has joined the list of "no-go" areas in Iraq. (same article here)

"It's true that we can't go into Samarra very often," said U.S. Army Capt. Scott Synowiez, an intelligence officer at a 1st Infantry Division base on the outskirts of the city. "Whenever we go into Samarra we do get attacked, without a doubt."

500 insurgents in 3 Sunni Muslim groups control a city of 250,000.

The insurgents have destroyed police stations and government buildings. The police chief and mayor still live in Samarra, but have lost all authority. The city council president resigned last week after insurgents blew up the council building.

Note that the so-called central government has no control of some (probably all) no-go zones and there are competing militias in the no-go zones. Iraq has become balkanized. Or Lebanonized if you prefer.

How many no-go zones are there for US and allied forces in Iraq? It depends on how you count. So far only Najaf and Fallujah are officially US military no-go zones as a result of agreements made with insurgent forces.

In a further embarrassment, Thursday's peace agreement calls for Najaf to become Iraq's second no-go zone for U.S. troops, after Marines withdrew from the western city of Fallujah in May.

But there are lots of other effective no-go zones. Latifiya is referred to in news reports as a no-go zone for the US military.

Iraqi police and national guardsmen, assisted by US forces, raided the town of Latifiya, 30 kilometres (20 miles) south of Baghdad, marking the first time the interim government had taken decisive action against Sunni insurgents since it took full powers in late June.

...

The town is part of a virtual no-go zone for US troops, Iraqi police and foreigners and has earned the name "Fallujah's second head" after the Sunni rebel strongold west of Baghdad.

Reporting for the New York Times Dexter Filkins says US forces may pull out of even more cities in Iraq.

In Iraq, the list of places from which American soldiers have either withdrawn or decided to visit only rarely is growing: Falluja, where a Taliban-like regime has imposed a rigid theocracy; Ramadi, where the Sunni insurgents appear to have the run of the city; and the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf to the south, where the Americans agreed last month to keep their distance from the sacred shrines of Ali and Hussein.

The calls are rising for the Americans to pull out of even more areas, notably Sadr City, the sprawling neighborhood in eastern Baghdad that is the main base for the rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr.

Note the creeping withdrawal of American forces.

Some of the competing factions are local tribal militia. But one of the competing factions is the resurgent Baath Party.

Even with Saddam under lock and key, the Baath Party is back in business.

The pan-Arab socialist movement is going strong with sophisticated computer technology, high-level infiltration of the new government and plenty of recruits in thousands of disenchanted, impoverished Sunni Muslim Iraqis, according to interviews with current and former members, Iraqi government officials and groups trying to root out former Baathists.

Will the Sunni Baathists eventually regain complete control? Or can Sistani orchestrate an effective Shia Arab opposition to the Sunni Arab forces? Also, will the Shias or Sunnis each try to cut deals with the Kurds for autonomy in exchange for help against the other major Arab faction? Or will the civil war become 3-way or maybe 4 or 5 or 6-way?

The creation of a semi-sovereign government has not slowed the attack rate.

Nationwide, U.S. forces are being attacked 60 times per day on average, up 20% from the three-month period before the hand-over.

The August attack rate has gone even higher.

BAGHDAD, Iraq – A U.S. assault on one or more of Iraq’s three main “no-go” areas – including Fallujah – is likely in the next four months as the Iraqi government prepares to extend control before elections set for January, the U.S. land forces commander said Sunday.

Army Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz’s announcement came after a month that saw attacks on U.S. forces reach an average of almost 100 per day – the highest level since the end of major combat last year.

There are still plenty of blogs painting a rosy picture of how things are going in Iraq. I can't figure out how they manage to do this.

The US has a number of problems here. How can it insist on the holding of elections in January in cities which neither US forces nor the nominal central government control? Will any local militias allow elections to take place?

Also, how can US forces hope to defeat all these insurgencies? Where is the US military going to get enough soldiers to use to fight so many urban battles? Could US forces fight their way into a succession of towns and cities occupy each one for a week, hold elections in that town, and then withdraw to transfer troops to fight into the next town to hold the next election? What exactly would be the point of doing so? To elect a "national" parliament for a federal government that controlled some federal government administration buildings?

Some people advocate unilateral withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. Well, in a sense US withdrawal is happening piecemeal as US forces withdraw from cities that are under insurgent control. Others, myself included, argue for partition of Iraq. Again, partition is happening piecemeal as different local militias and factions take over different towns and portions of cities. However, this piecemeal approach is likely to yield a far worse outcome than we could have gotten had the Bush Administration been willing to admit the scale of their error months ago. But the need for Bush to win reelection precludes such an admission of error as does the unwillingness of he and his advisors to abandon a very flawed set of assumptions about human nature.

Update: David Rieff argues that whoever wins election in November faces a dilemma in Iraq.

Whatever happens in Najaf or Falluja, United States officials continue to face a considerable difficulty: how to reconcile what an effective counterinsurgency strategy requires with what is politically acceptable to an interim regime whose continued political legitimacy and viability is also a strategic necessity for the United States. Use too much force and you alienate the very people you want to win over to the side of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's government. Use too little force and you allow Shiite and Sunni insurgents alike to become more powerful, and more of a threat to the Allawi regime.

My guess is that there is not some optimal level of force that will stop the insurgents while allowing the Iraqi government to appear legitimate in the eyes of most Iraqis.

Rieff also argues that a large scale construction effort in Iraq would pull enough unemployed youth into jobs that the incentive for joining the Mahdi Army would decline considerably. But can enough young males be employed in construction projects to make a very large dent in the size of the insurgency? I am skeptical.

Update II: A car bomb outside Fallujah just killed 7 US Marines. Can US forces afford to wait until after the US election before doing something about the insurgents in Fallujah? What say you hawks? Let US soldiers continue to die from bombs every day and put off a major offensive until after Bush gets reelected? Is that a price you are willing to pay?

Update III: After examining the attack rate, casualty rate, and death rate Steve Sailer shows that John Kerry and George W. Bush are both not offering any sensible strategy for Iraq.

What do the candidates say about this? Sen. Kerry announced on Labor Day that he'd like to get America's troops home within four years. (Let's see, 38 casualties per day times 365 days per year times 4 years equals ... 55,000 additional casualties under President Kerry, on top of the nearly 8,000 already. Time to build some more VA hospitals.) In response, Pres. Bush denounced Kerry for "flip-flopping" and refused to set any kind of deadline. (Let's see, 38 casualties per day times 365 days per year times infinity years equals ... )

We're all agreed now that in Vietnam the only two sensible choices were Win or Get Out. Right now in Iraq, we're headed toward the Defeat of a Thousand Cuts. Don't believe me? Then tell me what those nearly 1200 casualties during August accomplished strategically. Every month, we lose control of a larger portion of Iraqi territory because whenever push comes to shove in Iraq, Bush backs down.

If US troops are going to stay in Iraq then my suggestion is to start doing urban invasions that do not stop short. Do complete conquest. It would be most sensible to invade Sunni stronghold cities such as Fallujah first. The Sunni cities do not have as much in the way of shrines since the most important Sunni holy sites are in Saudi Arabia. Also, there are fewer Sunnis in Iraq. Plus, the Sunnis have more foreign Arabs fighting for them and probably including fellow Sunni Al Qaeda.

Another alternative would be to continue to withdraw. This could be done in conjunction with arming factions that seem like better bets to back according to some Machiavellian calculation. My advice is to arm the Kurds since we could stay on good terms with them. Does it make sense to side with the Sunnis or the Shias? That's a harder call. Also, which Sunnis to side with? The Baathists? If the more religious Sunnis come out on top they are more likely to provide a welcoming environment for Al Qaeda operatives and then finally Iraq really would become a serious supporter for Al Qaeda terrorism.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 September 06 03:30 PM  Mideast Iraq


Comments
John S Bolton said at September 7, 2004 2:17 AM:

Iraq would really be a steppingstone to someplace more important. Then we move on to the more worthwhile objective, and leave the muslims to kill each other, intervening only to keep one group from sweeping the field.

Derek Copold said at September 7, 2004 9:46 AM:

The only way to win this war is to follow the Mongol example and start building pyramids of skulls. Otherwise, taking the "no-go" zones will only create a series of mini-Alamos. If you're serious about this, then it means we have to literally flatten Fallujah. The place should be bombed to the ground and not a single building should be left standing. No one should be residing within the city limits. Hell, we should even think about paving the entire place over. Then, we should be ready to repeat this process in Sammara, Ramadi, Sadr City and any other location giving us resistance.

Now, if you don't think the U.S. has what it takes, physically or morally, then you need to advocate withdrawal at the most opportune time, like next spring after the elections. Personally, that's what I would do. The American people simply don't have the constancy to win this kind of a war, and they never will. We'd best face that reality and cut our losses now.

gcochran said at September 7, 2004 11:12 AM:


I see no advantage to the US in crushimg Iraq - and big disadvantages. And, dare I ask, what gives the right to do so? We can hardly plead sef-defense.

If we're going to have a God-given right to kill Iraqis simply because they won't obey us, I for one insist on seeing the fiery letters in the sky.

I looked up - there aren't any.

I'm a lot more interested in crushing the people who got us into this.



Luke Lea said at September 7, 2004 11:42 AM:

The key thing is to keep the oil revenues out of the hands of the Sunnis, with which they (and Al Quaeda) can do harm to us. Maybe a Shia controlled Persian Gulf wouldn't be such a bad idea after all. What are the downsides?

gcochran said at September 7, 2004 12:10 PM:

Luke, you're crazy. I'm beginning to think that is the natural state of mankind. It doesn't matter (to us) who wins: anybody running Iraq will sell oil, and nobody running Iraq is going to be powerful/suicidal enough to be a threat to Honduras, let alone us.

Luke Lea said at September 7, 2004 1:42 PM:

Greg, Maybe I am crazy. Anyway, I meant to suggest splitting off and isolating the so-called Sunni Triangle, so that there would no longer be an "Iraq" as such. I do think that a unified, Sunni dominated Persian Gulf ruled by someone like Osama Ben Laden could be a threat to the global economy, and hence to the West, including the U.S. Islamism, after all, is an aggressive, world-conquering religion (?) and if the whole culture becomes, or seems to become, suicidal (via religious fanaticism) there is a lot of damage they could do. Think protracted oil embargo. Or do you think this is too unlikely to even worry about?

Derek Copold said at September 7, 2004 1:56 PM:

Greg,

Unless we're willing to "crush" a good portion of the Islamic World, you're absolutely correct. It'll gain us nothing and create even more problems.

As for morality, it's utterly depraved, but as the other side seems hopelessly detached from any kind of morality, I'm trying to present the argument in practical terms. If the moral appeals won't do it, perhaps a little "sticker shock" is in order. Let's see how far they're willing to go and and make them state it up front. If that doesn't change their minds, it'll at least make the undecideds think twice.

E.L. said at September 7, 2004 2:35 PM:

It's always hard to determine exactly the right time to panic. I'm glad you guys have decided for the rest of us.

Derek Copold said at September 7, 2004 5:44 PM:

Would you prefer to panic after we fly off into the abyss?

Lurker said at September 7, 2004 7:43 PM:

A downside of a Shia-dominated Iraq is that it shifts the balance of power in the Middle East, to the benefit of Shia-dominated Iran. This was why we installed Saddam in the first place: to keep the Shia majority of Iraq in check, to counter Iran's influence in the region, and to keep Iraq a secular state. The Iraq war has effectively undone all of those objectives, and after all of this we still don't have control of the Iraq oil.

Randall Parker said at September 7, 2004 7:49 PM:

Lurker,

The United States did not install Saddam Hussein in power.

A Shia state in Iraq would not shift the balance of power in Iran's favor even if that Iraqi Shia state submitted itself to Iran's will. But it wouldn't submit itself to be Iran's pawn anyway.

Fly said at September 7, 2004 9:59 PM:

Randall: “There are still plenty of blogs painting a rosy picture of how things are going in Iraq. I can't figure out how they manage to do this.”

I’ve seen pessimism growing on the blogs I track. The recurring Fallujah and Sadr problems are taking a toll. Expectations are lowering.

Turning police duties over to non-Kurd Iraqis hasn’t gone well. The Iraqi units only function when heavily supported by US troops. Iraqi political and military leaders who support the US have been killed or their families members kidnapped. Not good.

The scenario of a US supported strong man looks more likely.

Randall: “What say you hawks? Let US soldiers continue to die from bombs every day and put off a major offensive until after Bush gets reelected?”

Most of the hawks I read advocate totally smashing Fallujah and the Sadr militia with little regard for collateral damage or Iraqi public opinion. (Many are unhappy with Bush, but hate Kerry.)

For myself, I’m still trusting that the US military knows what it is doing and will successfully balance necessary force against Iraqi public opinion. I’m more pessimistic than I was.

Randall: “Is that a price you are willing to pay?”

Yes, if the transition to a secular, democratic Iraq succeeds, I believe the US will be far safer. At some point the price will be too high, but not yet. I don’t like the present trend of escalating attacks and casualties. We should be getting better at waging this type of fight. We should have better local intelligence by now.


John Bolton: “Iraq would really be a steppingstone to someplace more important. Then we move on to the more worthwhile objective, and leave the muslims to kill each other, intervening only to keep one group from sweeping the field.”

I want the US to stay until the Iran, Syria, and Saudi problems are resolved. (Iran’s nuclear program is stopped. Preaching, training, and funding of terrorism ends.) Afterwards I’d play it by ear. I wouldn’t spend many US lives or hundreds of billions pushing democracy if the Arabs reject it.


Luke Lea: “Maybe a Shia controlled Persian Gulf wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.”

Not as long as the Iranian mullahs are in power. As a minimum, I want all the ME governments to stop nurturing terrorism. If that means occupying oil fields and destabilizing ME governments, so be it.

Derek Copold said at September 8, 2004 6:07 AM:

Fly,

When it comes to nurturing terrorists, our track record in Iraq shows no one can touch the U.S. government. Our occupation has created new enemies almost none of us had ever heard of before March 17, 2003. Really, how many of us knew who Moqtada al-Sadr was? Zarqawi was a marginal individual terrorist before our invasion. Now he helps control significant chunks of Sunni Iraq. Then there's our policy of coddling the Chechen insurgents (Steve Sailer's blog has details), which is worse than worst that's been charged against the Saudi government. The Sauds have bought off al-Qaeda to keep them from attacking their government, but at least that could be attributed to self-interest, even if it was misplaced self-interest. What justification is there for us to fete the Chechens?

gcochran said at September 8, 2004 9:16 AM:

I haven't had to adjust my expectations much, but then I've been right. For those of you who have never had that experience, which surely includes every warblogger, let me tell you how it feels. In some ways it's not so good, watching the US trash alliances, waste over a hundred billion dollars, lose men, all for nothing. No Iraqi threat eliminated, no Iraqi democracy created: which was obvious in advance. To me, anyhow, maybe not to people who never bothered to learn anything about Iraq or the Middle East, never bothered to learn anything about nationalism or guerrilla warfare, never bothered to learn anything about modern weapons technology. The talking classes, the legislators, the Administration: the ignorati. I's not much fun having your pessimistic expectations fulfilled: Kassandra was truly cursed.


But I get to say "I told you so" every God-damned day, and that's worth a lot.

Fly said at September 8, 2004 11:08 AM:

Derek: “Really, how many of us knew who Moqtada al-Sadr was?” “Zarqawi was a marginal individual terrorist before our invasion.”

Sadr is a gangster with a family name and Iranian backing. Zarqawi is just the point of one spear aimed at the West. The names of the mosquitos aren’t important. Ending the mosquitos requires draining the swamp. As long as mosques preach hatred, madrassas train terrorists, and ME governments provides funds and havens for terrorism, the West will be under attack. If this situation continues the US will lose a city. The likely escalation will lead to worldwide total war.

The Iraq war didn’t create this threat. The Islamic movement had been growing for decades. US policy contributed to the problem. (The US may have supported the spread of the Wahabbi sect as a counter to the influence of Iranian Shiites in the Muslim world.)

Derek: “Then there's our policy of coddling the Chechen insurgents”

WindsOfWar has a good article and discussion on this topic.

Yesterday Putin pointed the finger at mid-level US officials who maintain contacts with people associated with the Beslan terrorists. It appears that the Chechen separatist movement of the late 90’s has been co-opted by Islamic terrorists. The US has been slow to recognize that change. I agree that US policy toward the Chechens should change.

lugh lampfhota said at September 8, 2004 11:58 AM:

It was insane to allow Saddam Hussien to thumb his nose at the civilized world for 12 years. Saddam's defiance empowered every nutcase with a cause and a handful of explosives. Saddam's very existance proclaimed "Look. The civilized world is addicted, corrupt and most significantly, weak."

Whether you are talking about Sunnis, Shias or secularists, we are fighting with warlords who use religion as the cover to gain power in a culture that has utterly failed to evolve. The advent of global transportion and communication systems, as well as weapons of mass destruction has brought the conflict to our door. We can't ignore the threat to our own civilization. And it is a threat because history has shown that warlords must either expand their influence or wither and die.

The very fact that we acted is victory since doing nothing is defeat. Merely trying to educate and evolve these primitives is a victory because allowing them to fester in their evolutionary deadend would result in more of the same carnage and destruction. This effort will be a generational war. The old way will not go out with a whimper.

The question is... do we have the will to stay until the job is done? Are we trying to win a city or a culture?

I regret the loss of every Western soldier, the grief of every loved one and the toll on our humanity. In a blind rage I might lash out and utterly destroy Fallujah or Najaf. But would winning that battle help win the war?

Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld told us that this war would last for a generation. The war against communism lasted a generation as well. How many generations have fought the war on crime? Is civilization worth fighting for? Or should we pull the legions from the Rhine and let the barbarians run amok in our towns and vineyards?

Derek Copold` said at September 8, 2004 12:27 PM:

"Sadr is a gangster with a family name and Iranian backing."

You're ineducable, Fly.

"Ending the mosquitos requires draining the swamp."

Policy by weak analogy.

"Or should we pull the legions from the Rhine and let the barbarians run amok in our towns and vineyards?"

We don't have any legions on the Rhine (ie, the Rio Grande). They're too busy trying to bring democracy to the Parthians.

The idea that Saddam was thumbing his nose is laughable. He had no control over his airspace, suffered 4,000 bombing sorties w/o shooting down a single fighter, and his country was economically crippled by sanctions. Given the cost so far, as well as the risks, we'd have been far better off standing pat, as we did with far greater monsters like Stalin and Mao.

lugh lampfhota said at September 8, 2004 1:12 PM:

"The idea that Saddam was thumbing his nose is laughable. He had no control over his airspace, suffered 4,000 bombing sorties w/o shooting down a single fighter, and his country was economically crippled by sanctions. Given the cost so far, as well as the risks, we'd have been far better off standing pat, as we did with far greater monsters like Stalin and Mao."

Derek
Saddam may not have had control of his airspace but firing missiles at Coalition aircraft was an act of defiance akin to the flipping of the bird at civilization. Are you suggesting that there was no "cost" of flying seemingly endless no-fly missions? What would the "cost" have been when a Coalition pilot was downed and captured? What about the "cost" of credibility in a part of the world that already seemed to regard the West as weak and unwilled? What about the "cost" to rule of law when Saddam ignored the ceasefire agreement that he signed with the civilized world?

Your assertation that we adopted a practice of "standing pat" with communism is absurd. The West did not allow communism to destabilize regions without a military response. The West certainly didn't send signals of ambiguity and weakness except during the inept Carter administration.

The demonstration of will is worth the cost in blood and treasure. I rather prefer our imperfect civilized world to the chaotic world that the warlords wish to establish. Would you prefer the feudal world of the early middle ages?

Derek Copold said at September 8, 2004 2:35 PM:

"Saddam may not have had control of his airspace but firing missiles at Coalition aircraft was an act of defiance akin to the flipping of the bird at civilization. Are you suggesting that there was no "cost" of flying seemingly endless no-fly missions?"

Compared to fighting endless stalemates, the cost was a fraction of the status quo. As it is, an operation that cost millions a year has now escalated into costing tens of billions, and it's claiming thousands of lives. Your cost benefit is non-existent.

"What would the "cost" have been when a Coalition pilot was downed and captured?"

As opposed to a thousand dead soldiers and a neverending stream of hostages? Yeah, we really came out ahead on that one.

"What about the "cost" of credibility in a part of the world that already seemed to regard the West as weak and unwilled?"

And backing down in Fallujah and Najaf (twice) has done wonders for our credibility!

"What about the "cost" to rule of law when Saddam ignored the ceasefire agreement that he signed with the civilized world?"

Well, what is this cost? You keep throwing it around like it's some quantifiable number. Out with it already. How much did it cost us? A few HARM missiles?

"The West did not allow communism to destabilize regions without a military response."

Saddam wasn't destabilizing anyone in 2003. He was trying to hold on to his own power. If anyone destabilized the region, it was us. Hell, the neocons proudly yelled about how they wanted to destabilize the region. Boy, they got their wish.

"The West certainly didn't send signals of ambiguity and weakness except during the inept Carter administration."

And our withdrawal from Vietnam was a signal of strength? Our accepting a draw with the Red Chinese under Eisenhower in Korea was also a symbol of our power? Or how about JFK's promising not to overthrow Castro in exchange for the Soviets removing their nuclear missiles from Cuba? And let us not forget ol' resolute Ronnie Reagan trading arms for hostages with Iran.

"The demonstration of will is worth the cost in blood and treasure."

Tell it to the families who've had to pay the price in real blood and treasure.

lugh lampfhota said at September 8, 2004 3:09 PM:

Derek,

You are an appeaser cut from the same bolt of cloth as Chamberlein. Your idea of fighting crime is to move to another neighborhood and leave the gangs in charge of the hapless citizens who can't leave. History has taught the lesson over and over, but some refuse to learn.

This life we live is but a brief journey and each is quite inconsquential when compared to 150,000 years of civilization. The only value of our lives is our sacrifice to the greater good of building a civilization worth living in. Soldiers make the choice to give something precious while weaklings and cowards complain. History will record their sacrifices while your whining will not even receive a footnote.

Churchill had it right, they chose appeasement to prevent war but got war anyway. Tis funny how history separates men from girls. Is it time for tea dear?

Derek Copold said at September 8, 2004 3:30 PM:

"Your idea of fighting crime is to move to another neighborhood and leave the gangs in charge of the hapless citizens who can't leave."

My idea of fighting crime is to fight it in my neighborhood. Not to go out fight it in every nook and cranny of the world.

"Soldiers make the choice to give something precious while weaklings and cowards complain."

I'm actually a veteran. But thanks for your insults. It demonstrates that I've won the argument.

gcochran said at September 8, 2004 4:09 PM:


Actually, the no-fly policy may have cost us as much as 1.5 billion a year - but we never lost any planes or pilots. Our current Iraq policy is costing something like 50-60 billion a year, around 500 KIA a year, thousands of wounded. Probably I would have to go back to the foundations of arithmetic, talk about the Peano axioms, expl;ain the irrelevance of Godel's proof in order to really solidfy my case: but trust me, 50 billion a year is a BIGGER NUMBER than 1.5 billion a year - considerably bigger. And, having 1000 guys killed is actually worse than than losing none at all. This may seem paradoxical, but it's quite true.

As for demonstrating will, I'd be impressed if lugh would hold his breath for six minutes. No pure oxygen allowed.

Lurker said at September 8, 2004 5:30 PM:

Yes, to say that we 'installed' Saddam was a incorrect metaphor. Rather, we supported and endorsed the Saddam regime in the Iran/Iraq war for the reasons I mentioned earlier. Iran will almost certainly be strengthened by a Shia-dominated Iraq. At the very least, a former enemy has been vanquished and is now an ally, with no cost to Iran. The high cost of the war in casualties, money, and support at home and among our allies also weakens our ability to pressure Iran on their nuclear program. If you don't think that Iran will be a bigger problem than before, just ask the Israelies what they think.

I consider this another example of gross incompetence by this administration. Not only did they have no plan to win the peace, they did not forsee the consequences to the entire region that a less-than-best-case scenario could create.

We should have 'stayed the course' in Afganistan and helped those people like we promised we would, and taken the search for Bin Laden into Pakistan.

lugh lampfhota said at September 8, 2004 6:34 PM:

"My idea of fighting crime is to fight it in my neighborhood. Not to go out fight it in every nook and cranny of the world."

Ah Derek....so the global attacks on civilians elsewhere just don't matter much to you eh? Let the Poles suffer, Czechs suffer....those Nazis will never threaten us here in fortress America.


Cochran
What price would you put on civilization? One billion? Three? Please provide the calculations that you would employ to find the value of civilization.

"I consider this another example of gross incompetence by this administration. Not only did they have no plan to win the peace, they did not forsee the consequences to the entire region that a less-than-best-case scenario could create."

Lurker
Well little armchair corporal, you seem to have some insight into this generational war that the policymakers in Washington don't. Have you shared your comments with the Pentagon? Do you think our professional military and Pentagon planners run this campaign the same way that your boss runs his Village Pantry?
I suspect the Pentagon planners knew that the warlords were going to be madder than a cornered weasel and that Iraqis were going to wait to see who the strong horse was. Tis sad that you have given up on our military and the Iraqi people after 18 months.

"We should have 'stayed the course' in Afganistan and helped those people like we promised we would, and taken the search for Bin Laden into Pakistan."

Now this drivel is special. I smell a Kerry speechwriter. What evidence can you cite that America has not "stayed the course" or "broken a promise" in Afghanistan? Hmmmm....9 million Afghans registered to vote, schools open, a free press and elections on track. Have you considered the implications of "searching Pakistan for bin Laden"? Do you think either the wild primitives of Waziristan or the Pakistani Army would have permitted a violation of their national sovereigntry? What might those consequences have been? Do you think our guys would have stumbled into Bin Laden in the mountains of Waziristan?


gcochran said at September 8, 2004 7:47 PM:


The Iraq war does nothing for us except cause trouble. You embrace it: you're either a traitor, a lunatic or a moron. Or some linear combination. The idea that Iraq is a total waste is, by the way, the general opinion of various fringe groups like the Army War College, Norman Schwartzkopf, two out of the last three Centcom commanders (Hoare and Zinni), people like General Odom (Head of NSA under Reagan), people like Brent Scowcroft (NSC head under Bush I). A bunch of inexperienced pinkos, I guess.

I take national security pretty seriously. I vote. I read the paper. I campaigned door to door (for Ronnie). I read hundreds of books on strategy and history. I worked on the design of the guidance sensor for the Trident II, that shrank the CEP by a factor of ten. I bothered to check out the engineering physics of isotope separation, enough to determine that the Administration claims about those 'aluminum tubes" were fatuous lies.

You, on the other hand, are nothing but a punk.


.

Lurker said at September 8, 2004 8:14 PM:

"I suspect the Pentagon planners knew that the warlords were going to be madder than a cornered weasel and that Iraqis were going to wait to see who the strong horse was."

What kind of plan is that? No plan at all.

"9 million Afghans registered to vote, schools open, a free press and elections on track"

Hmm, most of the new I read about Afganistan is about opium, poverty, warlords, and how the Taliban are regrouping. If this is wrong and things are fine and on-track there, then I would be happy to be mistaken.

"Have you considered the implications of "searching Pakistan for bin Laden"?"

We have designated Pakistan as a "Major Non-NATO Ally". Why whouldn't they want to help us if they are our 'ally'. As for your quote above, here is another quote: "We will not only deal with those who dare attack America, we will deal with those who harbor them and feed them and house them."

lugh lampfhota said at September 8, 2004 9:46 PM:

Cochran

Seems like you're quite busy citing yesterday's military leaders who were quite ready to continue pursuing heavy military formations for the last war. These same commanders were quite unwilling to consider any military operations against any terrorist group without deploying several tank divisions. These dinosaurs were great tacticians against the Soviet Union but are quite out of their league against assymetrical enemies such as those we face today.

I'm not prepared to care about the bill of particulars regarding Saddam's failure to abide by the terms of the 1991 ceasefire agreement. The particulars are meaningless words once the treaty has been utterly disregarded. If treaties, thus rule of law, are meaningless then civilization is doomed.

How is a stable democracy in the heart of the ME a "waste"? How is the demise of a brutal dictator who funded terrorists, murdered his own people and attacked his neighbors a "waste"? How is killing terrorists over there, rather than over here a "waste"?

Traitor? Moron? Lunatic? How learned professor! I engineered the mask sets for Hughes-Carlbad and developed the mask process that made the SDI trigger possible. My hobby is history and I keep abreast of news myself. We have arrived at very different conclusions based upon our studies and experience. My personal experience is that one should never appear weak to an enemy. US foreign policy in the ME has been ambiguous at best and cowardly at worst for two decades. 911 was a direct result of a policy of weakness. Ask Muammar if he thinks America is weak today?


Fly said at September 8, 2004 11:48 PM:

Lugh Lampfhota, I don’t know if you’ve run across Greg before. He insults people who disagree with him. He tries to shut down discussion by claiming expertise. He has a reputation for doing the same on the GNXP site.

As Greg doesn’t offer interesting links, analysis, or commentary, I ignore him.

gcochran said at September 9, 2004 8:29 AM:

to fly: The Administration said a lot of things about Iraq, and about the likely cnsequencez of our invasion. They thought that there were 'weapons of mass destruction'. They thought that there wouldn't be any serious guerrilla resistance. They thought that the oiccupation would be relatively inexpensive. They thought that it would be possibly to quickly ramp up oil production. They thought that Iraq was ripe for democcracy. They thought that there weren't any 'holy cities' in Iraq. They thought that any resulting alienation in the rest of the world would subside quickly.

They werr wrong on every point. From this, you conclude that the Government is implementing some kind of subtle, multi-level, wide-ranging, well-thought out strategic plan. And I conclude you're an utter loon.

If you ever have a _single_ prediction come true, which I doubt, I'll rethink your loonhood.

As for expertise on GNXP - sure, I know more genetics than anyone on that list. Other than Harpending, of course, and we work together extensively.

gcochran said at September 9, 2004 9:05 AM:

As for Lugh, anyone who think that potentially losing a pilot on no-fly, which never happened, somehow trumps losing hundreds KIA and thousands seriously wounded in Iraq - which actually _has_ happened - that's insane too. Not insane in an interesting way, either. When someone analyzes things well enough to tell us what happens next, now that's interesting. And I'll take a shot: things will get worse in Iraq. And then, in a year or two, we'll quit and go home. It will have been for less than nothing. Now with any luck, if the FBI is allowed to do its job, we'll get to put some of those responsible in prison.

Derek Copold said at September 9, 2004 10:42 AM:

I have a feeling that if the FBI was turned loose, a lot of those responsible would suddenly feel the need to make "aliyah."

lugh lampfhota said at September 9, 2004 3:09 PM:

What is really disturbing is an allegedly intelligent person who has an utter disregard for the rule of law and then cites FBI investigation, thus law, to deal with his perception of a foreign policy issue. Quite rich stuff there Cochran. So... who chooses which laws will be selectively enforced? You? Political ideologues?

Let's do an exercise. Cite the reasons why it is in the best interest of the civilized world to ignore Saddam's disregard for the ceasefire agreement of 1991. Do you think ignoring Saddam's disregard of the law brought stability to the region and the world? What impact did Saddam's disregard of law have on proliferation of WMD in nation-states such as Pakistan, North Korea, Libya, et al?

You can find the local effects of failure to enforce law in any crime filled neighborhood. The vacumn is filled by gangs of criminals who enforce their own laws, all the while selling drugs, weapons, prostitution and items looted from the neighborhood. Once the activity reaches critical mass in the neighborhood it will spread to adjacent neighborhoods as other criminals are encouraged by successes of other gangs.

You seem to be prepared to turn a blind eye to the crime, bar your doors and wait until the thugs show up at your door....then you would call the FBI to investigate...the police! When did you lose your morals professor?

cat said at October 24, 2004 9:12 AM:

i agree with derek copold, a lot of soldiers died because he sent them to war..for what??? America has taken enough power from poor countries, leave iraq's oil alone. These soldiers have family, and it is clearly suicide to go to war, wherein they are the ones to die and not the leader who clearly wants to benefit from the oil money. Let the soldiers go home Bush!!!

riza said at October 24, 2004 10:16 AM:

I just read a soldier's story on how they are tricked into going to Iraq, and how soldiers got involuntary extensions of their contract..and the possibility of not being able to finish it because of threats left and right. Most probably they will go home dead. I have this growing anger for Bush, who does he think he is? Don't vote for him,he only wanted to benefit from the oils in Iraq at a soldiers expense, meaning life at cost. I am not American, I'm a Filipina...But i care because I'm human unlike Bush.

Randall Parker said at October 24, 2004 12:35 PM:

Riza,

Bush didn't go into Iraq in order to make money off of oil.

Bush is certainly all too human and what we are seeing is the result of classic human flaws.

Cat, Again, Bush didn't go into Iraq to make money off of oil.

Randall Parker said at October 24, 2004 12:38 PM:

Lugh, Elected officials or their appointed servants make decisions every day on which laws will get enforced. John Ashcroft makes those kinds of decisions. There are tons of laws and enforcement is very selective. Old laws are dug up to do prosecutions to prove some point or gain some advantage.

There certainly are political ideologues in the Bush Administration and there were in the Clinton Adiministration.


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