Seven U.S. soldiers in Iraq say: Let ‘em fight it out; Update: Blackfive responds

posted at 12:13 pm on August 19, 2007 by Allahpundit

Their exact words are “let them resolve their differences as they see fit,” but it’s pretty clear what they mean:

[T]he Shiites have achieved what they believe is rightfully theirs. Their next task is to figure out how best to consolidate the gains, because reconciliation without consolidation risks losing it all. Washington’s insistence that the Iraqis correct the three gravest mistakes we made — de-Baathification, the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and the creation of a loose federalist system of government — places us at cross purposes with the government we have committed to support.

Political reconciliation in Iraq will occur, but not at our insistence or in ways that meet our benchmarks. It will happen on Iraqi terms when the reality on the battlefield is congruent with that in the political sphere. There will be no magnanimous solutions that please every party the way we expect, and there will be winners and losers. The choice we have left is to decide which side we will take. Trying to please every party in the conflict — as we do now — will only ensure we are hated by all in the long run.

The “80% solution,” in other words. If you can’t give them security and dignity, the authors say, at least give them dignity by pulling back (and ultimately out) and letting the Shiites win. That doesn’t make sense on their own terms — “we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence,” they say at one point, leaving one to wonder what kind of “dignity” they imagine will obtain once the Sadrists ascend the throne — but their point is clear enough. We can’t win, we’re only postponing the inevitable, so let’s cut our losses.

Oh well. The Times had to make amends to the left for that O’Hanlon and Pollack op-ed in time for the big Iraq debate next month. And now they have.

Update: In case you missed it last night in headlines, the Brits are already headed out of Dodge. And it won’t be easy.

Update: A lengthy but worthwhile rejoinder to the NYT piece from Grim at Blackfive. Sample:

The article suggests that the Shi’ites are trying to ‘consolidate their hold over Iraq,’ but what they really seem to be doing is competing for the right to consolidate the Shi’ite majority…

The EFPs, the murders of Shi’ite holy men who are not aligned with Iran, these are not the mark of an ungovernable local situation. They are the mark of intentional troublemaking — proxy warfighting — by Iran against the United States. The planting of EFPs against American targets becomes, then, not an expression of native anti-American hatred — a show of disgust for an occupier — but part of a war fought by Iran to control the Iraqi state by winning control of the Shi’ites…

Rather than engage the political question of what to do about Iran, I want to point to the military reality that their involvement creates. What we are seeing here is not a national liberation movement by Shi’ites against Americans come to be viewed as occupiers. What we are seeing is a divided Shi’ite Iraq, engaged in deadly infighting; with Iran backing some of the groups in a bid to control Iraq, and meanwhile also using them to wage proxy attacks against the United States. A national liberation movement directed against us would be a cause for despair indeed; less so the situation as it is. We can debate separately how we deal with Iran, but when we have dealt with them, a large part of this issue will resolve itself.

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I used to believe that too, but letting the Sunnis and Shias duke it out won’t help us in the long run. If the Sunnis win, then Al Qaeda will have better luck making Iraq a permanent haven (and who’s fault will that be, hmmm?). If the Shia win, then Iraq become Iran’s proxy (also that somebody’s fault).

mram on August 19, 2007 at 12:20 PM

I bounce between that same belief and knowing what a disaster leaving the Sunni and Shi’ites to “fight it out” will be for Iraq. I guess I want to think that I’m too nice to cheer for a massacre.

I hope that the coalition stays until Iraq at least becomes a little less insane. My fear is that once the US election is done in 2008, it’ll be a moot point. Because the Dems can’t wait to put their head back in the sand about terrorism and the Repubs just want to give up on a worthwhile fight only to save their own political ambitions.
It’s a shame that political ambition and convenience will be the cause of so many deaths.

Wow, pessismist much?

mjk on August 19, 2007 at 12:28 PM

Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about! Brains!

Let’s let the enemy regroup, refit, and give them room to manuever! That’ll show em.

Limerick on August 19, 2007 at 12:45 PM

Dems give thoughts on how to get out in latest debate

ugh

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 12:59 PM

It will happen on Iraqi terms when the reality on the battlefield is congruent with that in the political sphere.

What does this mean, if anything? Because I can’t make any sense out of it!

Why help the NYTimes and the WaPo push the “story” that this war in unwinnable?
Is it really?
All they’re trying to do is set it up so that President Hillary has an easy time pulling our troops out of Iraq and back to our cities where they get to fight the bad guys over here…

Jen the Neocon on August 19, 2007 at 1:03 PM

The Times says these guys are a bunch of sergeants. Pretty sophisticated analysis for non coms. I wonder where the Times found them?

That said, if you read Michael Totten or Yon, they hint at a lot of what those guys are saying up front; you simply can’t trust anybody in Iraq. The political ground is like quicksand there.

rick moran on August 19, 2007 at 1:07 PM

Now we know why Rove pulled out the Hurricane machine and created Dean, good work. Going out with a bang.

jp on August 19, 2007 at 1:16 PM

This is why they wrote the article:

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.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 1:17 PM

We’re slogging our way through Iraq sending Jihadis on to Allah that would love to fly more airplanes in buildings in this country to benefit Iraqis just because we’re just so kind hearted?
I never thought that.

Gee I’m so glad we set that straight.

Speakup on August 19, 2007 at 1:26 PM

Failure to set in place a secular Constitution and back it with Coalition might until it stabilized has precipitated this theocratic crapulousness.

You get the crop you sow.

If you blithely chatter about the “Religion of Peace” instead of understanding its militant and violent dogmas you learn the hard way.

Only secular democratic republics can be counted on to remain unpoisoned by religious hysterics.

As things are, we have to remain where the jihadis are, and keep killing them.

Or let them gain more power, ground, and weapons.

And then fight them from a position of greater weakness.

Strike while you have the power or your enemy will wait until they gain enough to do the same.

And they have no moral compunction about annihilating us, since we are their untermenschen (infidel dogs).

Iraq is a mess, but abandoning it wil only generate an emboldened Mess.

profitsbeard on August 19, 2007 at 1:27 PM

By the way, Adhamiya is a very tough neighborhood, if that is where they are.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 1:31 PM

So…

A group of soldiers suggest that the area where they were fighting is untenable. Perhaps it is. Is it fair to then extrapolate that this is true for the entire nation of Iraq?

No doubt, that is what the Times intends, and perhaps even what these soldiers feel, but their experience does not seem to be the experience in many other provinces outside of Baghdad.

Bob Owens on August 19, 2007 at 1:42 PM

Hmm, so has the NYT done any articles on what Vets for Freedom (Iraq war Veterans) has to say? Yeah, I didn’t think so. 7 U.S. soldiers speak for the entire U.S. military just as Cindy Sheehan spoke for all parents of U.S. soldiers.

Michael in MI on August 19, 2007 at 1:45 PM

IF your going to do war news do the FULL news

Some help

map of surge

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2007/08/070817-d-6570c-003.jpg

Losses inflicted on enemy

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2007/08/070817-d-6570c-005.jpg

Captured leaders of IED teams

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2007/08/070817-d-6570c-007.jpg

Since June 15

6702 POWS captured
1192 Enemy KIA and 419 Enemy WIA
1113 Arms catches captured
2292 IEDs found and disarmed
52 VBIEDs found and removed

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 1:47 PM

Also, what seems to be the case now is that we no longer separated into groups of “pro-wa”r and “anti-war”, but now into people who are optimistic and working to get the job done and those who are pessimistic and just want to give up when the going gets tough. And, yes, the latter do exist in the U.S. military.

I will acknowledge the obstacles and the problems that the negative, “let’s just give up” pessimists state and then will go to the postitive, “let’s git er done” optimists to find out how we proceed and succeed.

I work with a lot of negative, pessimistic people in my office. They are a pain in the neck, because all they do is bitch and complain, while not contributing to positive examples and suggestions of how to get things done and succeed. They have plenty of gripes, but no solutions. Their whole purpose of complaining is to make others feel as crappy as they do. Some of their gripes are legitimate, but most of them have solutions, so long as people are willing to work at them. But almost every time, whenever I suggest a solution to their gripe, they simply blow it off and say it won’t do anything anyway and why bother.

I get the same feeling from people who gripe about this war effort, including those soldiers. And it is why I disregard those people and go to the people who are those who get things done, who are positive and realistic, not negative, pessimistic, defeatist and fatalistic.

If people here believe this war effort is not necessary, then I can understand the focus on the pessimism and wanting to get out. However, I believe most, if not all, here believe this war effort is necessary to national security and the transformation of the Middle East from a terrorist haven to a future relatively “normal” society. With that goal in mind, there is no “it’s too hard, let’s just give up” about it. Anyone who says that and has that attitude is not worth my time.

The focus should always be on how to succeed. Problems and obstacles should be discussed in the mindset of how to overcome them, not in the mindset that ‘see, see, we have all these problems, it’s a lost cause, let’s give up.’

I say again, no one here was focusing on all this pessimism and saying it was reason to give up when it came to the Amnesty Bill. So why all the focus on it now?

Michael in MI on August 19, 2007 at 1:58 PM

Just released today by the MNF-I:

The Insurgency

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 2:06 PM

Why do the troops hate the troops??

e-pirate on August 19, 2007 at 2:22 PM

Failure to set in place a secular Constitution and back it with Coalition might until it stabilized has precipitated this theocratic crapulousness.

I think everyone’s become so perverted with the idea of a federal government based around the idea we’ve seen in our own country, with US stripping power from the states to give to a central authority, that we’ll never truly win in most people’s eyes.

Why not though an Articles of the Confederation? A loose central government responsible for only security and the commerce between provinces, augmented by a taxation system on the oil (or movement of oil) or other goods. The biggest objective is to create a mutual defense agreement between the provinces and let them decide whether their own country can one day be united.

Patriquin Plan has always been about the grass roots efforts to reform from the bottom up. This is contradictory to every islamic country in the world, including Turkey, which rules with a strong federal government. There’s many obsticles, but get the ball rolling from the bottom, creating a better living condition for the ordinary Iraqi, and a lot will fall into place.

TheEJS on August 19, 2007 at 2:32 PM

The Times says these guys are a bunch of sergeants. Pretty sophisticated analysis for non coms.

rick moran on August 19, 2007 at 1:07 PM

They probably have a better idea of what is actually going on than the Generals do. Certainly a lot better than Bush does.

Just as doctors or nurses would have a better idea about the condition of the patients at a hospital than an administrator or CEO of the hospital would.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 2:32 PM

Fred Speaks out as related by Time Mag

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/fredthompsonandiowasgreatbull

Thompson chatted amiably with Grassley about everything from sports to immigration to judicial nominees, pausing only at Grassley’s urging to shake hands with fans. “We appreciate you sticking up for the U.S. We think you’re right,” one woman told Thompson. At the soapbox Thompson had voiced his impatience with the U.S. feeling that it has to apologize for every move in the world it makes. “This nation has shed more blood bringing peace to others,” Thompson said. “I’m tired of apologizing for being the United State of America.”

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 2:34 PM

Just as doctors or nurses would have a better idea about the condition of the patients at a hospital than an administrator or CEO of the hospital would.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 2:32 PM

To take your analogy A pediatrician knows what is going on in the ICU ? Or a Radiologist knows what is going on in Pharmacy ?

Not likely

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 2:35 PM

Why not though an Articles of the Confederation? A loose central government responsible for only security and the commerce between provinces, augmented by a taxation system on the oil (or movement of oil) or other goods.

TheEJS on August 19, 2007 at 2:32 PM

Sounds a lot like what is now called “The Biden plan”.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 2:36 PM

To take your analogy A pediatrician knows what is going on in the ICU ? Or a Radiologist knows what is going on in Pharmacy ?

Not likely

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 2:35 PM

Of course my analogy, like any other analogy, does not work nearly as well if you corrupt it too much.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 2:39 PM

Sounds a lot like what is now called “The Biden plan”.

Interesting editorial in the NY Times today that shoots down the Biden plan.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 2:46 PM

To make a military analogy just imagine some dogface sitting in Italy in knee deep mud on June 5th 1944 writing the President saying that His troops having moved an inch in months and the Germans keep killing them and he doesnt think the war is going to be won any time soon.

Then comes June 6th 1944 and northern France.

Said soldier might know whats going on in HIS front doesnt mean he sees the big picture

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 2:46 PM

Shiites may have a democratic majority but they can’t stand against Sunni without help. What needs to happen is US help to create prosperous stability that Shia want to keep and are willing to share political power to do so and Sunni are willing to forgo armed conflict to accept. Unless Sunnis have a stake in the game they will just take over again at their first opportunity (following US withdrawal).

As long as foreign terrorists can prevent economic development there is no real incentive for Shia to offer or Sunni to accept. That’s why local security and stability is key. US military presence can promote stability for economic growth at the local level that can over time provide the necessary incentives for cooperation.

Reducing the equation down to just military and political is incomplete and incorrect. The missing factor is economic, and the solution, if there is one, is growth and prosperity. Maybe Iraqi culture doesn’t quite get “democracy” but it’s a safe bet they get “wealthy”. People are just more likely to learn what they need to make a good living.

boris on August 19, 2007 at 2:48 PM

In case no one said it:

Chickenhawks!

frankj on August 19, 2007 at 2:48 PM

Said soldier might know whats going on in HIS front doesnt mean he sees the big picture

I agree and SGTs should know better.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 2:49 PM

I found this article by Rich Lowry via Real Clear Politics interesting on this topic. I guess if they don’t want democracy you can’t force it on them.

SouthernGent on August 19, 2007 at 2:51 PM

I guess if they don’t want democracy you can’t force it on them.

You know, it sure if funny how quickly people forget the Iraqi elections here in the USA. I assure you, they haven’t forgotten them in Iraq.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 2:58 PM

To make a military analogy just imagine some dogface sitting in Italy in knee deep mud on June 5th 1944 writing the President saying that His troops having moved an inch in months and the Germans keep killing them and he doesnt think the war is going to be won any time soon.

Then comes June 6th 1944 and northern France.

Said soldier might know whats going on in HIS front doesnt mean he sees the big picture

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 2:46 PM

Turn about is fair play.

You did not like my analogy and I don’t like yours.

These Sergeants have not likely been just sitting in one little place all the time that they have been in Iraq.

Most have probably even been on multiple tours, quite possibly if not probably in multiple places.

Most of them probably have contacts in other units, maybe even through the internet/email which Al Gore had not yet invented during WWII, and their contacts probably have contacts, and so on and so forth.

Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ‘em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.
And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on,
While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.

- Augustus De Morgan

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 3:19 PM

You know, it sure if funny how quickly people forget the Iraqi elections here in the USA. I assure you, they haven’t forgotten them in Iraq.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 2:58 PM

Ah yes, the vaunted “purple fingers”.

And they probably have not forgotten for whom they voted. Pretty much Shiites for Shiites and Sunnis for Sunnis and Kurds for Kurds, thereby just deepening the divide between them all.

That’s pretty much it.and that’s pretty much all there is ever going to be.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 3:23 PM

Most of them probably have contacts in other units, maybe even through the internet/email which Al Gore had not yet invented during WWII, and their contacts probably have contacts, and so on and so forth.

I doubt they have a lot of contact outside of their AO and for most of them even outside of their company. Today’s army is pretty compartmentalized and front line soldiers don’t have a lot of time to chit chat with strangers. You might visit an modern army base and talk to some Iraq war veterans when you get a chance.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 3:25 PM

And they probably have not forgotten for whom they voted. Pretty much Shiites for Shiites and Sunnis for Sunnis and Kurds for Kurds, thereby just deepening the divide between them all.

That’s pretty much it.and that’s pretty much all there is ever going to be.

Just like we vote pretty much: Democrat for Democrat and Republican for Republican, that is normally how a democracy works.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 3:26 PM

“Why do we keep trying to deal with these Islamic societies as if there’s any chance that any of them are, or every will be, loyal friends to us?

I think it’s time we “cut and run”. We should first destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, and then we should notify the other Muslim countries that we’re tired of dealing with their irrational behavior and dysfunctional religion, and therefore we’re going home. And then we should leave. Period.”

- rational from JihadWatch

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 3:28 PM

I think that we will pull back from Bagdhad but not out of Iraq and let the Iraqis sort it out for a time until they tire of killing one another.

Bradky on August 19, 2007 at 3:29 PM

“From this, it is safe to assume that the only Iraqis who can be trusted are the Christian minorities – meaning that around 97% of them are totally untrustworthy, unreliable, and will smile at you during the day whilst placing IEDs at night, ready to blow up the vehicles of some unsuspecting Coalition soldiers. The enemy can be easily identified. It is 97% of the Iraqi population. Around $1 trillion has been spent trying to get that dysfunctional country on its feet, and we who rescued them from Saddam Hussein, have been repaid by treachery and mass murder – proving that under Saddam, they got what they deserved and nothing less.

Being a Muslim is all about repaying those who help them with premature burial. Being a Muslim is about being ungrateful when aid is given to them. Being a Muslim is all about wanting to cut off our heads when we rebuild their schools and hospitals. And finally, being a Muslim is all
about being the most dysfunctional, barbaric, backward, misogynistic, intolerant, heartless, ungrateful, treacherous and vilest sod on the planet.”

- Spirit Of 1683 from JihadWatch

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 3:32 PM

I think that we will pull back from Bagdhad but not out of Iraq and let the Iraqis sort it out for a time until they tire of killing one another.

Bradky on August 19, 2007 at 3:29 PM

I think that the Kurds would probably welcome a few tens of thousand of our troops.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 3:34 PM

Most of them probably have contacts in other units, maybe even through the internet/email which Al Gore had not yet invented during WWII, and their contacts probably have contacts, and so on and so forth.

Im sure if it was possible a soldier in Italy if he could have Emailed a Soldier on Omaha Beach on June 6th and said

“I think this war sux and its going badly”

that aid Omaha soldier would agree. Doesnt again mean that they know the whole deal.

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 3:38 PM

You know, it sure if funny how quickly people forget the Iraqi elections here in the USA. I assure you, they haven’t forgotten them in Iraq.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 2:58 PM

I should have made it clear that is what the article was saying, not my point of view.

SouthernGent on August 19, 2007 at 3:47 PM

You might visit an modern army base and talk to some Iraq war veterans when you get a chance.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 3:25 PM

When I was in RVN I had contacts and my contacts had contacts and that was before Al Gore had invented the internet. Granted I did not have contact with my contacts that often, but I didn’t need to.

I also have a friend who is over in Iraq right now as we “speak” and he has contacts and his contacts have contacts and so an and so forth.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 3:47 PM

Doesnt again mean that they know the whole deal.

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 3:38 PM

Well I think we are making a lot of progress here as you seem to be coming around to them knowing more than what is “two feet” in front of them anyway.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 3:51 PM

Well I think we are making a lot of progress here as you seem to be coming around to them knowing more than what is “two feet” in front of them anyway.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 3:51 PM

I never said they knew nothing I simply pointed out that they cant possibly know everything.

That is the point you keep wanting to assert is because they are where they are that they must know everything

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 4:32 PM

That is the point you keep wanting to assert is because they are where they are that they must know everything.

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 4:32 PM

I never said they know everything.

I have simply maintained that they know quite a good bit, from their own experiences and those with whom they have contact with, and that is probably enough to give a pretty reasonable picture. A better one than we are going to get through “channels”.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 4:59 PM

I also have a friend who is over in Iraq right now as we “speak” and he has contacts and his contacts have contacts and so an and so forth.

Ever play the game of telegraph? Anyway, having access to the Internet means they see what you and I see, but that doesn’t give them any greater insight into the entire battlespace than you or I.

Not sure what your friend does, is he in a combat MOS? Is he an infantryman in a front line unit as these guys are? I am trying to let you know what front line combat enlisted guys see, and for the most part, what they see is what their Company sees in Iraq, and of course, when they have free time, what they see on the news (or usually, ESPN).

It is very apparent in this op-ed that their AO has colored their view of Iraq and they are projecting what they see in their AO to all of Iraq.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 5:13 PM

Iraqi Security Forces and Civilian Deaths from icasualties website:

Aug-07 1165 (as of Aug 18)
Jul-07 1690
Jun-07 1345
May-07 1980
Apr-07 1821
Mar-07 2977
Feb-07 3014

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 5:13 PM

Ever play the game of telegraph? Anyway, having access to the Internet means they see what you and I see, but that doesn’t give them any greater insight into the entire battlespace than you or I.

I was thinking of, in addition to their own many experiences, probably from multiple tours, emailing their buddies in other units once in a while anyway, not looking at various websites.

Not sure what your friend does, is he in a combat MOS? Is he an infantryman in a front line unit as these guys are? I am trying to let you know what front line combat enlisted guys see, and for the most part, what they see is what their Company sees in Iraq, and of course, when they have free time, what they see on the news (or usually, ESPN).

He is an infantry officer, that’s all I can say. That and he “gets around” both up and down and sideways.

It is very apparent in this op-ed that their AO has colored their view of Iraq and they are projecting what they see in their AO to all of Iraq.

Could be I suppose, but I give them more credit than that, particularly as they are not saying anything that I have not heard plenty of before.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 5:13 PM

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 5:22 PM

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.
In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. (In the course of writing this article, this fact became all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head during a “time-sensitive target acquisition mission” on Aug. 12; he is expected to survive and is being flown to a military hospital in the United States.) While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.

Not for anything but the perspective here is the exact intel Bushco should have had before shock and awe. For crissake did we even have interpreters?! The Idea of letting the Iraqi’s fight it out among themselves is attractive except for the fact Iraq could become AQ central. I am guessing Iran would facilitate such a situation. If we could appeal to moderate Iraqi’s and speed up the election cycle the Parliment could reflect a more grassroots politic. Additionally four years may have produced a small number of graduates to sow seeds of unification. The hell of living in a war zone for years may have softened some views about religious differences.

sonnyspats1 on August 19, 2007 at 5:27 PM

I was thinking of, in addition to their own many experiences, probably from multiple tours, emailing their buddies in other units once in a while anyway, not looking at various websites.

Your projecting. There isn’t that much cross communication. Guys who are in combat day in and day out can’t even talk much about what they are doing to people outside their company, let alone want to.

He is an infantry officer, that’s all I can say. That and he “gets around” both up and down and sideways.

I am talking about combat enlisted men. There is a difference, ask your friend.

Could be I suppose, but I give them more credit than that, particularly as they are not saying anything that I have not heard plenty of before.

Your projeting again. It is obvious that they are painting a picture of all Iraq that looks like their section of Baghdad.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 5:32 PM

Iraqi Security Forces and Civilian Deaths from icasualties website:

Last full 6 months (Feb 2007 to July 2007) of 2007: 12,827.

Corresponding 6 months (Feb 2006 to July 2006) of 2006: 6,216.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 5:33 PM

Sounds a lot like what is now called “The Biden plan”.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 2:36 PM

I believe that the Articles of Confederation is a historical document. The point I was trying to get, and you apparently missed, was that Constitution, like “insurgency”, is so far misplaced from the actual definition of what it began as that we’ve got to re-evaluate our biases.

But of course, you only wanted to pick a fight; biden’s plan is complete withdraw.

TheEJS on August 19, 2007 at 5:34 PM

OK, finally some experts weigh in. Read:

COIN: On “The War as We Saw It”

and

82nd ABN NCOs in the NY Times

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 5:40 PM

Good point:

A COIN strategy of disaggregation relies on fragmenting opposition movements, to make each of them easier to defeat in detail. Here, the fragmentation is already accomplished. There is not a Shi’ite front to — in the words of the article — “realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.” The Shi’ites are more concerned about each other than about us, or even the Sunnis. The article suggests that the Shi’ites are trying to ‘consolidate their hold over Iraq,’ but what they really seem to be doing is competing for the right to consolidate the Shi’ite majority.

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2007/08/coin-on-the-war.html

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 5:43 PM

Another good point (you probably should read the entire article):

… There must be consequences: this is a basic part of my understanding of COIN strategy.

The Sunnis in Anbar, and increasingly in Baghdad, are effective surrogates. They did not get here by learning to love America. They got here by being put in a position where they had to choose between alliance with us and alliance with AQI — and then watching those cities who allied with AQI fall one by one to the United States Marines. They got here by watching a chain of fortresses cut them off from their allies in Syria. They got here, in other words, by watching bad choices be punished, while those who allied with America found themselves supported and defended by America, their interests protected even against our other allies. ….

The same can be done with the Shi’ite factions. We must understand the proper role of reconciliation: it is the role of forgiveness for old enemies who are now ready to be allies. It is not a way to win allies with bribes. It is an offer made to those who will now fight with you, in pursuit of a political order they agree in advance to defend. In return, reconciliation.

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2007/08/coin-on-the-war.html

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 5:49 PM

I am talking about combat enlisted men. There is a difference, ask your friend.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 5:32 PM

He was not always an officer and as I said he “gets around” up DOWN and sideways. BTW, I DO NOT have to ask him the difference between enlisted and officer as I was both myself. 13E20 and 1193.

I NEVER said their views were the “be all and end all”, just valid. I do think they, and others like them, certainly are worth listening to and are a better source than “official channels” and MUCH BETTER than those who go on “dog and pony” shows over there.

Just because you do not like what I say does not mean that I am “projecting”.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 5:49 PM

In order to get some military perspective on this Op-Ed, go to Blackfive where Uncle Jimbo and GRIM give some needed analysis:

COIN: On “The War as We Saw It”

82nd ABN NCOs in the NY Times

Also, read the comments section as many military members, current and former, as well as military family members, parents and spouses and siblings, add their good perspective.

It would also be nice that when Hot Air posted stuff like this from the Mass Media, they would also go out to the military blogs, such as Blackfive and Mudville Gazette, to get their reaction to it as well.

Michael in MI on August 19, 2007 at 5:54 PM

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 5:40 PM

I should have read the latest comments before I posted. Good on you, bnelson. I am glad there are other good people here who are searching out the military blogs to make sure to put this in proper perspective.

Michael in MI on August 19, 2007 at 5:55 PM

MB4,

Didn’t mean to offend and I apologize if I did. I was just pointing out that junior NCOs don’t get much training in COIN nor do they usually get to visit other commands like officers do in Iraq. At least that is my experience from talking with a number of Iraq veterans and active duty enlisted men in Iraq right now, including my son. Their view of the war is pretty much limited to what happens with their company and what snippets they can get on TV or on the Internet. Junior level NCOs don’t normally bother themselves with high level strategy discussions. That is left for the bars and bbqs when they get home.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 5:58 PM

But of course, you only wanted to pick a fight; biden’s plan is complete withdraw.

TheEJS on August 19, 2007 at 5:34 PM

I was not trying “to pick a fight”. I happen to like “Biden’s plan”, a lot better than what is going on now anyway, so saying that “your plan” “Sounds a lot [not exactly I know that, that's why I said a lot and not exactly] like what is now called “The Biden plan”” was more along the lines of a compliment.

BTW, I would not think that the “Biden plan”, which does not call for immediate withdrawal, would necessarily preclude keeping some forces in Kurdistan which I am in favor of.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 6:04 PM

I never said they know everything.

I have simply maintained that they know quite a good bit, from their own experiences and those with whom they have contact with, and that is probably enough to give a pretty reasonable picture. A better one than we are going to get through “channels”.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 4:59 PM

You have ONE article that quotes 7 non coms. And they are suppose to speak for the whole army ?

Your ASSUMING they talked to others and that they have a better grip on what is going on. I’ll take facts thank you not assumptions.

Im not saying that they are right or wrong Im saying Im not taking them as the only source on Iraq.

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 6:07 PM

MB4,

Didn’t mean to offend and I apologize if I did.

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 5:58 PM

No apology in the least bit needed or called for. I was not offended. We are just bouncing things around.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 6:08 PM

Hey everyone! Uncle Jimbo agress with me at Blackfive! OK, so little things sometimes make my day :)

I think the biggest and really only mistake they made was taking their experiences in a small part of the war and extrapolating them out to the entire theater. As Grim points out the situation changes dramatically at times. We are nearing a tipping point and even if not all see it, progress is certainly being made.

Cordially,

Uncle J
http://www.blackfive.net/main/2007/08/coin-on-the-war.html#comment-79986629

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 6:13 PM

Im not saying that they are right or wrong Im saying Im not taking them as the only source on Iraq.

William Amos on August 19, 2007 at 6:07 PM

I’ll go with that.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 6:14 PM

Uncle J – “We are nearing a tipping point and even if not all see it, progress is certainly being made.”

Murphy – “Success is alway just around the next corner.”

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 6:17 PM

… I’ll meet you ’round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend…

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 6:25 PM

I think that the Kurds would probably welcome a few tens of thousand of our troops.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 3:34 PM

Yes. that’s the point. We are not going to be leaving the country for a very long time regardless of who is elected next year. Unless absolutely necessary our forces should not be put in the middle as convenient targets for both sides. Be there (in Iraq) to protect the larger strategic interests of the region but not to be targets of opportunity in an urban environment.

Bradky on August 19, 2007 at 7:07 PM

It’s difficult to know how to discuss these matters anymore. Within the range of strategies I consider likely to succeed for the Americans, there’s not anything the Americans in control are presently willing to consider. Pvssy strategies don’t seem likely to carry the day, whether the Americans remain in Iraq or not. Let them stay. Leave. Stay. Just understand that, if the Americans lose, they’re worse than the terrorists.

Kralizec on August 19, 2007 at 7:10 PM

Just understand that, if the Americans lose, they’re worse than the terrorists.

Kralizec on August 19, 2007 at 7:10 PM

Huh?

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 7:20 PM

Just understand that, if the Americans lose, they’re worse than the terrorists.

Kralizec on August 19, 2007 at 7:10 PM

The Americans won the Iraq war. If Americans allow others to frame what we have done as a loss, bad on Americans for allowing this to occur.

Bradky on August 19, 2007 at 7:25 PM

“On supporting this war – it’s won already. What’s our remaining goal(s)?

WMD – check
Odai/Qusay – check
Saddam Hussein – check
Zarqawi – check
Elections – check

Democracy? They have a new constitution – not based on our values, but theirs – namely shariah. Under this set-up, Chaldeans and Assyrian Christians are fleeing to (of all places) Syria (while the US plans to takein 7000 Iraqi Muslim refugees). Which of them – Shia or Sunni – are pro US? Shia? They are mainly supporting Iran and Hizbullah. Sunni? They are either supporting Saddam’s Baathists, or Zarqawi’s al Qaeda. Kurds?sure, they are the most grateful of the lot, but we aren’t supporting a separate Kurdistan. So which of the people who we are trying to support actually deserves it?

And once again – what’s our mission _now_? Resolving whether Mohammed’s rightful successor was Umar or Ali? If there is a civil war between pro-Hizbullah Shia and pro-Ikhwan Sunni, whose side should we pick? Should we even stop such a fight?”

- InfidelPride from JihadWatch

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 7:37 PM

MB4

Is this all a game to you?

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 8:05 PM

MB4

Is this all a game to you?

bnelson44 on August 19, 2007 at 8:05 PM

No, it is NOT like a sis-boom-bah go-our-team sporting event to me and it is CERTAINLY NOT for our troops either, that’s why I want them out of there.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 9:08 PM

Just wanted to say thanks for adding the link to the Blackfive piece, AllahPundit.

Michael in MI on August 19, 2007 at 9:33 PM

No, it is NOT like a sis-boom-bah go-our-team sporting event to me and it is CERTAINLY NOT for our troops either, that’s why I want them out of there.

MB4 on August 19, 2007 at 9:08 PM

Who amongst us treats this like a sporting event? Not me and certainly not our soldiers!
Your comments are highly offensive.
This is a war for our safety, survival and security and fine men and women have lost their lives or been hurt fighting it.
To even suggest that we who support the war and who resent bad news of setbacks or inadequate progress (much of which is exaggerated for the Leftist MSM)and who rejoice in good news from the front are nothing but team cheerleaders is appalling.
We are “rooting” for our troops and our country and for the future of a free Iraq and a free Aghanistan.
We are the good guys and backing our war effort and victory is worth everything we’ve risked.
To suggest that this is nothing more than a “game” with domestic political power being the prize is cynicism and jaded partisanship at its worst and the sooner it’s removed from the equation of winning this war, the better.

Jen the Neocon on August 20, 2007 at 12:23 AM

Who amongst us treats this like a sporting event?

I don’t know, you tell me. Did I say anyone on this blog was? NO. My response that you are referring to was to someone who asked me if I thought this was a game. You are being much too “sensitive” and choose to completely ignored the context.

Not me and certainly not our soldiers!

Of course not our soldiers!!! That was my main point!!!

Your comments are highly offensive.

No they are not. If you consider my comments so offense, what about the seven soldiers who are the subject of this thread? Do you consider them offensive too?

This is a war for our safety, survival and security and fine men and women have lost their lives or been hurt fighting it.

You seem to have a very Iraqi centric view of the world. I do not. Neither do the seven soldiers who are the subject of this thread. Neither do most Americans. About 70 % last I heard.

To even suggest that we who support the war and who resent bad news of setbacks or inadequate progress (much of which is exaggerated for the Leftist MSM)and who rejoice in good news from the front are nothing but team cheerleaders is appalling.

Again, you are being too “sensitive”. Don’t try to play the victim now. Leave things like that to Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson and Geraldo.

We are “rooting” for our troops and our country and for the future of a free Iraq and a free Aghanistan.

Are you so sure that the troops want you to “root” for them to stay in Iraq? Second, third, fourth tours? 15 month tours? I am “rooting” for them to come home. Our future does not lie in Iraq. Iraq is not the center of the universe.

We are the good guys and backing our war effort and victory is worth everything we’ve risked.

No it is not. Not in Iraq. The Bush Iraq vison is a lost cause and the sooner that is realized the better.

To suggest that this is nothing more than a “game” with domestic political power being the prize is cynicism and jaded partisanship at its worst and the sooner it’s removed from the equation of winning this war, the better.

I suggested nothing of the kind. You see but you choose not to observe.

Jen the Neocon on August 20, 2007 at 12:23 AM

MB4 on August 20, 2007 at 1:17 AM

Who amongst us treats this like a sporting event?

I don’t know, you tell me. Did I say anyone on this blog was? NO. My response that you are referring to was to someone who asked me if I thought this was a game. You are being much too “sensitive” and choose to completely ignored the context.

You implied that “neocons” like me did treat it like a game and that only you were serious and thoughtful about it.
No sense in denying it.

Your comments are highly offensive.

No they are not. If you consider my comments so offense, what about the seven soldiers who are the subject of this thread? Do you consider them offensive too?

Yes, they are offensive and yes, I’m bothered that these 7 soldiers would complain to the Enemedia.

Neither do the seven soldiers who are the subject of this thread.

Dog faces always seem to know better than their commanders, don’t they?

You seem to have a very Iraqi centric view of the world. I do not.

The President and the Pentagon (Gen. Petraeus) say that Iraq is the key front in the war and I believe them.

Neither do most Americans. About 70 % last I heard.

I don’t follow polls and anyway, you gave no link or cite for your number.

Are you so sure that the troops want you to “root” for them to stay in Iraq? Second, third, fourth tours? 15 month tours?

How many tours they serve is totally their choice, but I do know that the overwhelming majority of our soldiers support the mission.
(That’s why these 7 are a “story” to the NYSlimes.)

I am “rooting” for them to come home. Our future does not lie in Iraq. Iraq is not the center of the universe.

I’m rooting for them to come home, too–after achieving victory.
Our future does lie in Iraq…right now. And Afghanistan.
They are the main fronts in the WOT.

No it is not. Not in Iraq. The Bush Iraq vison is a lost cause and the sooner that is realized the better.
MB4 on August 20, 2007 at 1:17 AM

It is not a “lost cause.”
And I will never accept or realize that democracy and cleaning AQ out of Iraq isn’t better than what they had before we got there or would have under an Islamist theocracy.
What I said above still stands:
To suggest that this is nothing more than a “game” with domestic political power being the prize is cynicism and jaded partisanship at its worst and the sooner it’s removed from the equation of winning this war, the better.

Your opposition to the war isn’t based on any reasoning, rationale or intelligent analysis of the situation, either long or short term but is based on pure political partisan contrarianism.
You are the new lead Liberal troll here at HA who replaced Honora.
I usually skip all your replies but since you addressed mine directly, I did you the favor of countering your repeated lies.
Have a nice day!

Jen the Neocon on August 20, 2007 at 8:59 AM

Some mornings if the NYTimes asked me how it was going in some of our apartment complexes I would probably respond “Let them fight it out” even though I know that isn’t an answer to the problem. It would just be a tired remark to seemingly unending problems with armed gang members marking their turf with threats, bullets, and blood and not a overview of the need to stop trying to make my little corner of the world safe for the good people who live there also.

Buzzy on August 20, 2007 at 9:01 AM

High five to Jen the Neocon.

Ortzinator on August 20, 2007 at 12:46 PM

You implied that “neocons” like me did treat it like a game and that only you were serious and thoughtful about it.
No sense in denying it.

You are profoundly paranoid.

Your opposition to the war isn’t based on any reasoning, rationale or intelligent analysis of the situation, either long or short term but is based on pure political partisan contrarianism.

Your continued argumentum ad hominem name calling is completely vacuous.

You are the new lead Liberal troll here at HA who replaced Honora.

I am NOT a liberal. Again your words are just more vacuous argumentum ad hominem name calling.

I usually skip all your replies but since you addressed mine directly, I did you the favor of countering your repeated lies.

There you go yet again. You are making most “liberals” look like little leaguers.

Have a nice day!

Vacuous and trite. You are really on a roll.

Jen the Neocon on August 20, 2007 at 8:59 AM

MB4 on August 20, 2007 at 4:05 PM