Non-bombshell: Petraeus to recommend drawing down surge troops; Update: Permanent bases?

posted at 7:41 pm on September 4, 2007 by Allahpundit

Drudge has the siren up. Why? Petraeus has to recommend a drawdown. The only alternatives are (a) further extending the troops’ already extended 15-month tours, (b) calling up a the Reserves, a measure usually confined to national emergencies, and (c) instituting the draft. As Fred Kaplan said last week at Slate, “Sorry, Mr. President, you’re all out of troops.” Once their tours end in the spring, the surge brigades will rotate out and we’ll be back to the pre-surge level of 130,000; the only mystery is whether there’ll be further drawdowns beyond that.

In fairness to ABC, there is a small nugget of news here — namely, that the surge drawdown may begin a few months ahead of schedule:

While he would not get specific about the recommendations that he gave to President Bush during a surprise visit to Iraq yesterday, when Raddatz asked if March would be the time for a drawdown to avoid further strain on the military and even longer deployments, he answered by saying, “Your calculations are about right.”

A military official told ABC News that a small drawdown could begin as soon as December, with further reductions every 45 days until the troop numbers are once again down to 130,000 from the current 164,000 troops…

As for the duration, U.S. troops will remain in Iraq. The top commander said he sees this as a “traditional counterinsurgency,” which would typically last a decade…

“Iraq will be dealing with a variety of issues for quite some time, without question. What everyone needs to figure out is how much will we need to contribute, and I think the answer is, less.”

Anbar has improved enough that they can probably afford to rotate out some troops from there early; doing it in December instead of the spring would be Bush’s way of throwing the left (and jittery Republicans) a bone by giving them sort of withdrawal to focus on while the security plan goes forward. Starting early would also let them withdraw more gradually so that the loss of the departing brigades isn’t as much of a shock as it would be if it started in the spring. Which way is Petraeus leaning? Towards spring, it sounds like:

“As you know, Sen. John Warner … after a visit to Iraq, said some troops must come home by Christmas. Do you agree with that?” asked Couric.

“Wait and see when I offer my recommendations to Congress,” Petraeus replied. “The surge has to run its course. There’s no question about that. The question is how can you make adjustments to the force to bring the force levels down and retain what we have fought so hard to achieve?”

In the meantime, keep your eye on this. It probably won’t amount to much, but it sounds like it was organized without significant U.S. input and the timing is fortuitous insofar as it gives Petraeus something concrete to point to next week as an example of national reconciliation. Quote: “‘There was across-the-board unanimity for the occupation of Iraq to end,’ O’Malley said. ‘That was tempered by the realization that if all coalition troops left tomorrow morning there would be a power vacuum that probably would result in a bloodbath.’”

Update: Another reason Petraeus is leaning towards spring is because they’re not sure yet what Gordon Brown’s going to do in Basra. If the Brits pull out, the U.S. might have to pull in, which would be a double nightmare: not only spreading the dwindling troops around Baghdad even thinner but somehow having to secure a city in Basra that’s already on its way to being a Mad Max set piece.

Update: Gateway Pundit relays a report from Voice of Iraq that the government is now considering permanent U.S. bases. That cuts against every bit of popular sentiment I’ve heard of, from Sadr all the way up to stalwart American friends like Jalal Talabani. They all want America out; some of them just want us to wait a few years until things calm down before we go.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

In World War II, there were instances of soldiers leaving the states in 1942 and not returning until 1945.

They Army can keep them out there as long as they’re needed.

Whether or not extended-extended deployments is a good idea is subject to debate. But let’s not get caught up in the mentality that Petraeus *has* to cut forces, irrespective of what Kaplan says.

John from OPFOR on September 4, 2007 at 7:47 PM

*the Army.

My spelling and grammatical errors bolster Hot Air’s comment count!

John from OPFOR on September 4, 2007 at 7:48 PM

That’s a good point John, here is what Petraeus said himself though:

“There are limits to what our military can provide, so, my recommendations have to be informed by — not driven by — but they have to be informed by the strain we have put on our military services,” Gen. David Petraeus said in the interview at Camp Victory in Baghdad. “That has to be a key factor in what I will recommend.”

So he’s thinking about it himself.

Just a side note, following the CBS link, there is a video of Katie and the President in the video cue, and having watched it, I must say he seems euphoric. Visiting the troops is certainly beneficial to both the troops and to him.

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 7:56 PM

OK guys, I know Petraeus has thought of this: What happens when the Brits leave?

bnelson44 on September 4, 2007 at 7:57 PM

That’s a good point John

What? The part about my crappy spelling helping out with the comment count?

Cause that totally was a good point.

John from OPFOR on September 4, 2007 at 7:59 PM

I feel so conflicted on this. I don’t want our soldiers to be exhausted due to extended tours. But I don’t want the war to be lost because we don’t have enough troops there.

SoulGlo on September 4, 2007 at 8:01 PM

In World War II, there were instances of soldiers leaving the states in 1942 and not returning until 1945.

They Army can keep them out there as long as they’re needed.

Needless to say, the world is a much different place now than it was then, starting with public support for the war in question. Given the grief they got for extending the tours the first time, there’s just no way they’re going to do it again.

Allahpundit on September 4, 2007 at 8:02 PM

Oh and just to follow up…

Soldiers fight better if they’re well rested and morale is high. That’s a fact. I’m not saying we should we maintain surge levels if we don’t have to, just that leadership over there is going to have to make some tough calls on security vs. rotations.

And on that note, my cousin -ranger qual’d, hard charging infantry- was on the plane, ready to leave country when they told the folks that they’d be staying another couple of months.

Tell me that doesn’t suck.

John from OPFOR on September 4, 2007 at 8:03 PM

Um, no I mean your 7:47 comment.

The Army can keep them out there as long as they’re needed…But let’s not get caught up in the mentality that Petraeus *has* to cut forces,

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 8:03 PM

Needless to say, the world is a much different place now than it was then, starting with public support for the war in question. Given the grief they got for extending the tours the first time, there’s just no way they’re going to do it again.

Hey no kidding guy. But since when has this administration allowed public opinion to dictate the direction of this war?

Just sayin’

Anyway this could turn into a circular debate. I don’t think they’re going to do it either. Was just pointing out that the military, by the letter of the law, can keep those guys there until their commitment expires.

John from OPFOR on September 4, 2007 at 8:06 PM

Um, no I mean your 7:47 comment.

Ha I know. /smartassery.

John from OPFOR on September 4, 2007 at 8:07 PM

Given the grief they got for extending the tours the first time, there’s just no way they’re going to do it again.

Especially if this is true:

The relentless rotation cycles have already compelled many soldiers and junior officers to quit the Army; pushing duty and tolerance much further might not just exhaust the troops beyond limits but spark an exodus from the armed forces.

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 8:07 PM

I guess this answers my question:

US plans to take over Basra if British troops are withdrawn

bnelson44 on September 4, 2007 at 8:24 PM

John, yeah that DOES suck.

As for the source … Drudge? ppppffftttt … I don’t listen to a word he says ever since he claimed that the British MI-5 captured bin Laden right after 9/11.

Tony737 on September 4, 2007 at 8:35 PM

John, yeah that DOES suck.

As for the source … Drudge? ppppffftttt … I don’t listen to a word he says ever since he claimed that the British MI-5 captured bin Laden right after 9/11. Anybody else remember that?

On the up side, there was a young Marine on my plane today and I gave him a free beer and announced him on the P.A. – the whole plane erupted in thunderous applause! I don’t care what the media says, the American people love their brave men and women in uniform, I see it almost everyday at work. Eat THAT, Katie Couric!

Tony737 on September 4, 2007 at 8:40 PM

What the hell? How’d THAT happen?

Tony737 on September 4, 2007 at 8:41 PM

In World War II, there were instances of soldiers leaving the states in 1942 and not returning until 1945.

They Army can keep them out there as long as they’re needed.

Whether or not extended-extended deployments is a good idea is subject to debate. But let’s not get caught up in the mentality that Petraeus *has* to cut forces, irrespective of what Kaplan says.

John from OPFOR on September 4, 2007 at 7:47 PM

I’m not a soldier so I’m not sure if this makes any difference but how long was the average U.S. GI in combat for that 3 or so years during WWII vs. the amount of combat the average GI in Iraq sees in 15 months?

Yakko77 on September 4, 2007 at 8:44 PM

On the up side, there was a young Marine on my plane today and I gave him a free beer and announced him on the P.A. – the whole plane erupted in thunderous applause!

That is awesome.

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 8:49 PM

Yakko,

Something 77% of the soldiers in Iraq are in support roles, not in combat roles.

My son’s combat unit cycled: mounted patrols, guard duty, down time. Towards the end of his duty they included QRF (quick reaction force) duty.

bnelson44 on September 4, 2007 at 8:56 PM

So the Army tells everyone they’re extended to do a 15-month tour instead of the traditional 12 month one. Then they are told they might go back to a 12 month tour and its a big victory and Patraeus is a hero. God I miss the Army.

BohicaTwentyTwo on September 4, 2007 at 9:03 PM

This reminds me of a quote from the office.

Dwight: Through concentration, I can raise and lower my cholesterol at will.
Pam: Why would you wanna raise your cholesterol?
Dwight: So I can lower it

Dems want a troop drawdown? Bush says ok… so he raises troop levels… then does a drawdown… to pre-surge levels. There’s your drawdown! Muahaha.

e-pirate on September 4, 2007 at 9:22 PM

NRO has Couric in Iraq video

bnelson44 on September 4, 2007 at 9:26 PM

Sure sounds like Petraeus is thinking about bringing a token force home by Christmas

bnelson44 on September 4, 2007 at 9:29 PM

“Troops in combat for years during WWII is a myth.
During WWII there were troop rotations. Aircrew rotated after 25 bombing missions. Fighter crews after 100 combat sorties. Among the Infantry, most of the troops participating in North Africa and Italy were rotated out to be replaced by fresh troops. The actual combat time for most U.S. troops in Europe was 10 months between Jun 1944 and Apr 1945. In the Pacific, over 75% of the troops that assaulted Iwo Jima in 1945 were unbloodied troops. In WWII, the average combat time for troops was seven months.

The troops currently serving in Iraq on their third and fourth combat tours have served more months in combat than any other American troops since the Civil War.”

- from a comment on http://www.military.com

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 9:36 PM

Sure sounds like Petraeus is thinking about bringing a token force home by Christmas

bnelson44 on September 4, 2007 at 9:29 PM

It reminds me of a well used “sales technique”.

Have a 10% off sale after raising the price by 25%.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 9:38 PM

e-pirate on September 4, 2007 at 9:22 PM

I just noticed, you beat me to it.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 9:40 PM

Jesus, AP – you are getting pessimistic. How ’bout leaving the state of morale to us, not the NYT? Cheer up a little buddy – you are more down in the dumps than I am, and I am the one getting ready for tour number 2!

“The question is how can you make adjustments to the force to bring the force levels down and retain what we have fought so hard to achieve?”

The General already has an answer to that. Send folks like me to go train the Iraqis. We’ll get ‘r done, sir.

major john on September 4, 2007 at 9:48 PM

You know better than I, Major J, but some of the boys are tired. And even though they’ll answer the bell if asked, what about retention?

Allahpundit on September 4, 2007 at 9:51 PM

Needless to say, the world is a much different place now than it was then, starting with public support for the war in question. Given the grief they got for extending the tours the first time, there’s just no way they’re going to do it again.

*****

You know better than I, Major J, but some of the boys are tired. And even though they’ll answer the bell if asked, what about retention?

Allahpundit on September 4, 2007 at 9:51 PM

AllahPundit – The question that should be asked is do we want to win the war now or give up too soon now and have to send the “boys” back again later. Give that choice, I would guess most of them would say finish the job now and then live the rest of their lives without shuffling back and forth to the Middle East for 10-20 years.

I can understand the desire to look at this from an American political perspective, but the fact is that American politics is not driving the length of this war – the ideology of Islamic jihad is driving the length of this war. That doesn’t go away with a withdrawal in 2008.

So people can haggle all they want over the politics of this and what is bad for Republicans or good for Democrats or what is best for the troops in the short term. The fact is that this effort in which we are engaged right now is preventing a huge world war in the future. That is the perspective with which we should looking at this: BIG picture, not short-term picture.

The enemy does not wait to fight wars with us when we are not tired or when it is politically expedient for us to do so. We need to stop being so self-focused and start being focused on the big picture with regards to Islam and its goals for world domination and its efforts going on all over the world, including here in America with CAIR, MSA, etc.

Michael in MI on September 4, 2007 at 10:01 PM

what about retention?

Allahpundit on September 4, 2007 at 9:51 PM

Big reenlistment bonus work.

For a time.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:02 PM

Bush says ok… so he raises troop levels… then does a drawdown… to pre-surge levels. There’s your drawdown! Muahaha.

e-pirate, are you saying his playing politics by use of the troops? Do you attribute no merit to this idea:

“When we begin to draw down troops in Iraq it will be from a position of strength and success, not from a position of fear and failure.”

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 10:04 PM

We need to stop being so self-focused focused in Iraq and start being focused on the big picture with regards to Islam and its goals for world domination and its efforts going on all over the world, including here in America with CAIR, MSA, etc.

Michael in MI on September 4, 2007 at 10:01 PM

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:04 PM

Allah,
The Marines and the Army might be getting tired. But there is one thing much worse than a tired Army, and that is a defeated one.

I took this quote from the article you referenced to the good major:

Bush said, “Obviously there’s concerns about families, rotations. People who have got young kids want to be with their kids. I understand that. On the other hand, many of them reup,” he said, arguing that reenlistment rates are high in Anbar. Would service members’ concerns affect his decision about troop levels later this month? “The main factor that will affect my decision on troop levels is, can we succeed, what does it take to succeed?” Bush answered. “Because failure would lead to harm to America, is what I believe. As a matter of fact I’m certain of it.”

Sometimes Bush just sounds like Patton or Roosevelt or one of our other great war time leaders.

bnelson44 on September 4, 2007 at 10:06 PM

“When we begin to draw down troops in Iraq it will be from a position of strength and success, not from a position of fear and failure.”

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 10:04 PM

We could have withdrawn in 2003 from a position of great strength and great success. That chance may not repeat.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:07 PM

“Because failure would lead to harm to America, is what I believe. As a matter of fact I’m certain of it.”

Exactly. Failure now would lead to those same troops being rotated for years on end when we have to go back yet again to the Middle East to even worse conditions than now. We need to keep that in mind.

People seem to be of the mindset that withdrawing from the Middle East in 2008 ends the rotations for the troops. Not so, if we withdraw in defeat. Those same troops will be called again within 5-10 years to go right on back.

We didn’t finish the job in 1991 and we suffered all throughout the 1990s and early 2000s for it and had to go right back there in 2001 and 2003. If we leave now before the job is complete, those “boys” people seem so concerned about will be going right back. Or, someone else’s “boys” will be going there.

How about we get it right NOW and not force anyone’s “boys” to have to go back to the Middle East anytime in the near future.

Michael in MI on September 4, 2007 at 10:09 PM

Yea, MB4 keep telling yourself that and then tell yourself how you would live with Saddam having defeated the UN sanctions and rebuilding his nukes. That chance won’t repeat, thankfully.

bnelson44 on September 4, 2007 at 10:11 PM

We could have withdrawn in 2003 from a position of great strength and great success. That chance may not repeat.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:07 PM

Yeah, just as we withdrew in 1991 from a position of great strength and great success. Look where that led. Right back there in 2001 and 2003.

Going in, deposing Saddam and then immediately withdrawing in 2003 would have given Iraq to Iran, Syria and Hezb’Allah. We would have achieved nothing, except making things worse and causing the entire country to hate us even more than they did after 1991. Brilliant strategy that.

Michael in MI on September 4, 2007 at 10:12 PM

We could have withdrawn in 2003 from a position of great strength and great success. That chance may not repeat.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:07 PM

The past is past. If the surge continues to be successful, and if it creates that opportunity, then we have have that possibility. And by definition it will be due to increase troop strength.

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 10:14 PM

Howard Tells Bush Troops to Stay in Iraq

bnelson44 on September 4, 2007 at 10:19 PM

If the surge continues to be successful, and if it creates that opportunity, then we have have that possibility. And by definition it will be due to increase troop strength.

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 10:14 PM

The troop surge has done nothing to light a fire under the dithering, just back from a month long vacation, Iraqi “government”.

The surge is analogous to a doctor treating a patient for high blood pressure, and yes getting it down some, when the patient has Islamocarcinoma.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:27 PM

The US doesn’t have any “permanent bases” All bases around the world are there at the behest of the local government – bases would be shut and forces moved out upon request. The phrase is just a scare phrase that has no meaning at all.

lorien1973 on September 4, 2007 at 10:29 PM

Yeah, just as we withdrew in 1991 from a position of great strength and great success. Look where that led. Right back there in 2001 and 2003-2007 and counting.

Michael in MI on September 4, 2007 at 10:12 PM

In 1991 a little over 100 American troops were killed. You would have to repeat that going on 40 times to get to the number of American troops killed in this “endeavor”.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:30 PM

Brilliant strategy that.

Michael in MI on September 4, 2007 at 10:12 PM

And you think that this four and a half year mess is because of some brilliant strategy?

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:35 PM

In 1991 a little over 100 American troops were killed. You would have to repeat that going on 40 times to get to the number of American troops killed in this “endeavor”.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:30 PM

I take it you are being deliberately dense. My point is that we decided to do it on the cheap back in 1991 and it cost us throughout the 1990s and forced the necessity of going back in 2001 and 2003.

Those who would propose once again doing it on the cheap here and just getting us out after deposing Saddam in 2003 would have forced the necessity of going back yet again to clean up the even bigger mess of an Iran-Syria-Hezb’Allah-”Palestine”-Hamas-Other Islamic Terrorist Groups/States alliance.

I talk to veterans of Operation Desert Storm who state that we are there now, because we didn’t finish the job in 1991. The same thing will happen, with only worse results by leaving too soon again.

Michael in MI on September 4, 2007 at 10:35 PM

“In his autobiography, American Soldier, Franks describes a conversation with his subordinates who were upset with Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith; Franks tells them, ‘Here’s the deal, guys. I know OSD – Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith – are demanding a lot. But they are not the enemy. Don’t start thinking good guys-bad guys. We’re all on the same side.’ They could see I was serious. ‘I’ll worry about OSD, all of them – including Doug Feith, who’s getting a reputation around here as the dumbest @ucking guy on the planet,’ I continued. ‘Your job is to make me feel warm and fuzzy. Look, we’re all professionals. Let’s earn our pay.’

Franks shows a military man’s ability to get to the heart of the matter. But Feith isn’t dumb. His defenders, in fact, frequently stand up for him by citing his brilliance. But Franks’ lament is a blunter, less eloquent version of what Fallows wrote in the Atlantic of the office of the secretary of Defense, particularly Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith: ‘What David Halberstam said of Robert McNamara in The Best and the Brightest is true of those at OSD as well: they were brilliant, and they were fools.’”

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:37 PM

And you think that this four and a half year mess is because of some brilliant strategy?

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:35 PM

You obviously look at Iraq through a straw if you consider it a “mess”.

Try reading Military Blogs once in a while. You are obviously completely ignorant of all the success and progress that has been slowly but surely happening all over Iraq in many different ways from the efforts of the US Marines and Coalition Forces and Iraqi Police and Iraqi Military and the Iraqi local governments and the Iraqi people building relationships and trust with the American military… to groups like Spirit of America, Operation Iraqi Children and Coalition forces who are rebuilding schools and infrastructure all over Iraq.

To summarize all that with the word “mess” shows your absolute ignorance and negativity. I truly pity you if this is how you look at everything in life.

Michael in MI on September 4, 2007 at 10:40 PM

Military has lowered its standards to accept fatsos, felons, drug users, forty year olds and stupid people. They still aren’t cuttin’ the numbers.

There simply aren’t enough patriots stepping up to replace the wounded and those who have put in 3 or 4 separate 12 month plus tours in that crap hole of a country. Those guys have paid their dues and are ready to let some of you Armchair Activists miss out of a few of your kids Little League games to pick up the slack. C’mon its worth that extra $150 bucks a month in combat pay isn’t it?

Petraeus has to scale back with an eventual Iranian confrontation looming or risk permanently crippling our volunteer military.

frreal on September 4, 2007 at 10:48 PM

I take it you are being deliberately dense.

And I take it you are being deliberately childish with your resort to ad hominem. Not very creative either BTW.

My point is that we decided to do it on the cheap back in 1991 and it cost us throughout the 1990s and forced the necessity of going back in 2001 and 2003.

It did not FORCE anything. And it CERTAINLY did not force this getting nowhere four and a half years and counting “Nation Building” between Sunnis and Shiites who would rather kill each other than get along and form that democratic, respect for the rule of law, etc. nation of Bush’s dreams together.

Michael in MI on September 4, 2007 at 10:35 PM

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:50 PM

The troop surge has done nothing to light a fire under the dithering, just back from a month long vacation, Iraqi “government”.

The surge is analogous to a doctor treating a patient for high blood pressure, and yes getting it down some, when the patient has Islamocarcinoma.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:27 PM

On the substance of your statement, I disagree. The surge has either stimulated or coincideded with an increase in local/tribal leaders turning against AQ. I care more about AQ’s impotence then whether the government takes a siesta.

Taking your analogy, you view the problem as chronic. Starting from that admission then, what is the MB4 or DS answer?

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 10:54 PM

C’mon its worth that extra $150 bucks a month in combat pay isn’t it?

frreal on September 4, 2007 at 10:48 PM

Don’t forget that $20,000 to $40,000 U.S. Army enlistment bonus and college money.

Call 1-800-USAARMY now!

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:55 PM

Military has lowered its standards to accept fatsos, felons, drug users, forty year olds and stupid people.

frreal on September 4, 2007 at 10:48 PM

Really? Proof please (except for the age limit).

baldilocks on September 4, 2007 at 10:56 PM

According to Confederate Yankee Voice of Iraq was the original source for that bogus story about the al-Doura power plant. And now we’re arguing about permanent bases based on a VOI story? Color me skeptical.

bdfaith on September 4, 2007 at 10:57 PM

Taking your analogy, you view the problem as chronic. Starting from that admission then, what is the MB4 or DS answer?

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 10:54 PM

Don’t get any more of our troops killed or our Army any more abused for a terminal patient.

The current surge strategy as designed by Freddy Kagan in the American Enterprise Institute was designed to buy time for the Iraqi government to stand on its own; to pass reconciliation legislation amongst the Sunni/Shia/Kurd as well as to share oil revenues; the same Iraqi government that took the entire month of August off because it was “too hot” and they were “too tired” and continues dithering governing their own sovereign country while American troops do their heavy lifting.

The threat to America is AQ (The real AQ, not AQ of Mesopotamia, aka AQ in Iraq, aka AQI). America must refocus its efforts on capturing and destroying AQ, not the impossible dream of nation building between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 11:03 PM

bdfaith,

VOI has some news you don’t see elsewhere. But I would advise caution on this one. Iraq is in the middle of some tough negotiations with Iran and Syria right now and this may be part of that.

bnelson44 on September 4, 2007 at 11:07 PM

bdfaith,

KUNA though is also reporting it

bnelson44 on September 4, 2007 at 11:10 PM

The surge has either stimulated or coincideded with an increase in local/tribal leaders turning against AQ.

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 10:54 PM

And when they are finished with AlQ in Iraq (not the real AlQ), which they were once allied with, upon whom do you think they will turn next?

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 11:11 PM

The threat to America is AQ (The real AQ, not AQ of Mesopotamia, aka AQ in Iraq, aka AQI). America must refocus its efforts on capturing and destroying AQ, not the impossible dream of nation building between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq.

I actually agree on the surge. It’s intent may not have been reached, but there are clearly some benefits that deserve notice and in fact cause for hope. But I do not believe the Iraqis burn for democracy.

Btw: what qualifies as real AQ? Anyone who is not an Iraqi? What about those who stream in across the border from Iran? Are they real AQ because are not Iraqis? The fact that they swear allegiance and Bin Laden trumpets their victories (such as they were) as his own is not merely coincidental. If nothing else, again IF nothing else, then AQ is responsible for exporting the ideological fuel. You see no merit, since we are there and they are there, in undermining that ideology by force?

I am very much inclined to think victory is better than defeat. Especially since the streets of this country have heard the chants – we are all Hezballah. One can ‘cure’ cancer by ignoring it either.

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 11:15 PM

To summarize all that with the word “mess” shows your absolute ignorance and negativity. I truly pity you if this is how you look at everything in life.

Michael in MI on September 4, 2007 at 10:40 PM

And I truly pity you as you keep resorting to personal childish ad hominem attacks. Very sad.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 11:16 PM

Correcting myself so someone else doesn’t have to: It wasn’t Confederate Yankee who blamed VoI for the bogus al-Doura story, it was Dan Riehl.

bdfaith on September 4, 2007 at 11:16 PM

And when they are finished with AlQ in Iraq (not the real AlQ), which they were once allied with, upon whom do you think they will turn next?

If the interviews posted here on HA from the Sheikh Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman are an indication, that problem maybe self-resolving. Not to have too much of the rose-colored glasses view, but he did state that the predominate concern was the destruction. No conflict=no destruction, so confrontation with the US would not advance his stated concerns.

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 11:18 PM

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 11:15 PM

I do believe that we may be only a couple of nuances and an epiphany apart.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 11:25 PM

Btw: what qualifies as real AQ? Anyone who is not an Iraqi? What about those who stream in across the border from Iran? Are they real AQ because are not Iraqis? The fact that they swear allegiance and Bin Laden trumpets their victories (such as they were) as his own is not merely coincidental. If nothing else, again IF nothing else, then AQ is responsible for exporting the ideological fuel. You see no merit, since we are there and they are there, in undermining that ideology by force? (I do see merit in that small part of what has been going on, yes.)

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 11:15 PM

From Wikipedia:

Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).

The group is a direct successor of the Zarqawi’s previous organization known as Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (“Group of Monotheism and the Holy Struggle”). Since its official statement declaring allegiance to the Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist network in October 2004, the group identifies itself as Tanzim Qaidat Al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (QJBR) (“Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers”).”

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 11:33 PM

baldilocks on September 4, 2007 at 10:56 PM

Proof from a quick google.

frreal on September 4, 2007 at 11:45 PM

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 11:33 PM

What conclusion are you suggesting I draw from that Wiki entry? Multiple nomenclature at work? Agreed. Thus I would conclude AQ to be a coalition rooted in shared ideology.

Spirit of 1776 on September 4, 2007 at 11:45 PM

I was told months ago that permanent U.S. bases is a given. Camp Speicher (Tikrit) was undergoing heavy construction when I left. It’s supposed to be a mini-city just like any other U.S. base in any other country. Oddly enough though I was told Liberty is NOT going to be permanent which I thought was odd given it’s strategic location on the outskirts of the Baghdad International Airport.

Guardian on September 4, 2007 at 11:50 PM

The last that I heard most AlQ in Iraq are Iraqis, though many are not, particularly the leadership. I believe that the group started in 2003 and took the name AlQ in Iraq for “prestige”. Just as if you started up a football team in the neighborhood you might call your team the -fill in favorite NFL team here- in the neighborhood. In any case they are only a small number of “the players” in Iraq, although they are per size very deadly. They are also not where most of our efforts have been directed.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 11:57 PM

They are also not where most of our efforts have been directed.

A legitimate critique.

Spirit of 1776 on September 5, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Actually at times in the past the real AlQ and the faux AlQ have been very much at odds. The real AlQ thought that the faux AlQ was killing too many Muslims. Since some Sunni tribes have turned on the faux AlQ, I guess the real AlQ was right on that one.

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 12:01 AM

Don’t forget that $20,000 to $40,000 U.S. Army enlistment bonus and college money.

MB4 on September 4, 2007 at 10:55 PM

Sounds great until you divide that by a 6 year tour. Will you go to Iraq for an extra $3000 bucks a year. Hey I will even be generous and give you $7,000.00 a year bonus. How many Little League games are you willing to give up for a $7,000/yr bonus? Apparently not enough Americans are willing. Plenty of Americans are perfectly content letting OTHERS miss out on Little League games again and again and again….. Imagine that.

Hell the military is saving money on 40k bonus. Imagine if they had to pay overtime. Those guys work 6 days a week 14 hours a day. $3,000 a year is a drop in the bucket. Oh, Oh and don’t forget to pay taxes on your bonus.

Oh and also take note we haven’t even approached the mass exodus should an anti-military liberal become Commander in Chief.

frreal on September 5, 2007 at 12:06 AM

“I only get bits of the news but the reality here in the sand box is a Charley Foxtrot that does not match the rosy news reports you hear back home.”

- The Man with No Name

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 12:09 AM

Oh and also take note we haven’t even approached the mass exodus should an anti-military liberal become Commander in Chief.

frreal on September 5, 2007 at 12:06 AM

Should an anti-military liberal become Commander in Chief?

Huh!

I thought that happened last January, 2001. Pretty much anyway.

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 12:12 AM

frreal on September 5, 2007 at 12:06 AM

During the peak of the Vietnam war the U.S. Army had 1,500,000 guys, 1,000,000 of them enlistees.

Now with a population about half again as big and far higher pay, we have about 500,000.

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 12:15 AM

I thought that happened last January, 2001. Pretty much anyway.

During the peak of the Vietnam war the U.S. Army had 1,500,000 guys, 1,000,000 of them enlistees.

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 12:15 AM

1. We weren’t at war when Clinton was elected.
2. They were drafted. I’m talking about the destruction
of the volunteer army when our experieced soldiers begin walking rather than begin a 5th or 6th tour with NO END in sight and an Iranian engagement in the near future. Soldiers will tire of being political pawns.

frreal on September 5, 2007 at 12:20 AM

Proof from a quick google.

frreal on September 4, 2007 at 11:45 PM

Seriously, thank you and I’ll resist the temptation to argue about CBS being a reliable source. :-) At least I have leads to follow up on the info they provide in the piece.

baldilocks on September 5, 2007 at 12:23 AM

The 1,000,000 enlistees were not drafted.

As to most of the rest of what you are saying, you are preaching my message, don’t you know?

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 12:25 AM

baldilocks on September 5, 2007 at 12:23 AM

I agree the source is less than desirable but it was first on the google search. Unfortunately the report is one of many.

frreal on September 5, 2007 at 12:26 AM

I thought that happened last January, 2001. Pretty much anyway.

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 12:15 AM

1. We weren’t at war when Clinton was elected.

frreal on September 5, 2007 at 12:20 AM

I think that you read what I wrote too quickly and missed my point. George W. Bush was inaugurated January, 2001.

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 12:30 AM

More like 700k drafted but irrelevent to our current situation. What was the economy like back then? Military offered the poor and uneducated an opportunity. Today is far different as that same section of society can get free schooling by filling out an application.

I’m glad we sing the same song mostly. If we think Abu Graib(sp) is bad I can’t wait to see what kind of atrocities our new former felon recruits can muster up.

Pay the soldiers what the contractors make … then you might see those quotas filled.

frreal on September 5, 2007 at 12:41 AM

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 12:30 AM

HaHa. I get it. Sigh. I get it.

frreal on September 5, 2007 at 12:42 AM

John Watch out spittin historical comparison the US gen pop has near 0 military historical reference. Hence 3k casualties after invasion conquest and occupation of two extremely hostile populations of over 50million for pushing 5yrs is a failure insane never seen before failure. Even thou we lost more men a month in WW2, but hey a dummmbbdd down gen pop full of warm fuzzy BS like “the guy who invented the peanut” but no military generals history like say Patton or MacArthur makes good cogs for the great machine of socialist utopia right.

The problem is not could we should we can we. We know historically the US can endure sacrifice that makes todays heart felt but truly historically minor sacrifices look like a minor issue.

The real question is “Is the GWOT a fight and win or is it something we can just ignore without consequence”. That should be the question. Make those in the latter explain how if we just quit the GWOT their will be no more US civilians killed by the terrorist. None of them can garantey such or will admit such so that should be used to beat them over the head with proof that while War is not what we want it is the only availible answer. Make them counter with a alternative.

War is never nice or clean or easy or not without sacrifice, war is HELL it is HORRIBLE it is FULL OF SACRIFICE but something most if not all common Americans understand is that sometimes ya just gotta do what you gotta do, its part of life.

We don’t need a new military or plan or country we need a f*ckin leader that can either rally and explain in laymens terms what we face and why we must win NO MATTER THE SACRIFICE. Bush while he may have all the right ideas and balls to follow them he cannot rally or speak to the people AT ALL. Speeches at 12am when the men who understand sacrifice are busten balls at work is spitting in the wind, they should be prime time monthly or more. And if that leader cannot do that he best better delegate that mission to someone and make dam sure they are given the needed air time and media access.

C-Low on September 5, 2007 at 12:51 AM

More like 700k drafted but irrelevent to our current situation. What was the economy like back then? Military offered the poor and uneducated an opportunity. Today is far different as that same section of society can get free schooling by filling out an application.

Actually it was about 500,000 draftees and 1,000,000 enlistees as I said. That was at the peak of the Vietnam war, not totaling the whole duration for either enlistees or draftees. Of course, some/many of the enlistees (who got more say in their MOS by enlisting) would not have enlisted if they had not thought that they would be drafted otherwise, so I guess a certain percentage could be called “indirect draftees”. On the other hand the population was much lower. The economy was actually pretty good back then, but there was, in most cases, not all, about three years between tours, if you were in long enough, not one year like now. Plus going into the Army was considered to be more the norm back then as most guys fathers had been in.

I’m glad we sing the same song mostly. If we think Abu Graib(sp) is bad I can’t wait to see what kind of atrocities our new former felon recruits can muster up.

Actually I do not believe that Abu Ghraib was that bad. What Green did was extremely bad. I certainly agree that those with criminal records and former gang members are likely to be bad news. They will not only cause problems, but will drive a lot of others out who do not want to have to deal with them.

Pay the soldiers what the contractors make … then you might see those quotas filled.

Bad PR though.

frreal on September 5, 2007 at 12:41 AM

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 12:55 AM

Military has lowered its standards to accept fatsos, felons, drug users, forty year olds and stupid people.

frreal on September 4, 2007 at 10:48 PM

Y’know, I’ve heard this meme repeated at length in lefty circles, but I’ve never really seen any evidence of it.

Which is kind of funny, because today’s Left -always the deep thinkers- are the biggest proponents of the draft. Guaranteed way to get fatsos, felons, drug users, and stupid people into the force.

From my experience, the military represents an accurate cross section of society. You’ve got guys like my pops who left after 26 years with 3 masters degrees in business, then you’ve got Forrest Gump swabbing decks. Most are between the two.

John from OPFOR on September 5, 2007 at 1:14 AM

From my experience, the military represents an accurate cross section of society. You’ve got guys like my pops who left after 26 years with 3 masters degrees in business, then you’ve got Forrest Gump swabbing decks. Most are between the two.

John from OPFOR on September 5, 2007 at 1:14 AM

I would say at this point it is better than a good cross section. There are tons of enlisted even with higher education and multiple degrees. However, beyond the 5th or 6th tour patriotism isn’t going to be enough to keep these experienced guys around. The economy is great and they can and do get better civilian jobs. Many even return to Iraq as contractors to make the “big” money. Why do you think they are offering those bonuses?

The biggest point being they are lowering standards to meet recruitment goals and that doesn’t bode well. To be successful a volunteer military, or any job for that matter, needs to be made up of people that WANT to be there not those that have no other option. Replacing our best of the best ranks with criminals that formerly would have been vetted out is not a good sign.

Ultimately Petraeus, in my opinion, is scaling down in anticipation of future Middle East engagements. We can stay in Iraq for 10 years and cripple the military because it is unlikely that even a tiny percentage of all you Armchair Activists will step up when its time to pay your dues.

No need to insinuate I am a liberal because I disagree with your views. I am far from that end of the spectrum.

frreal on September 5, 2007 at 7:18 AM

The issue of troop fatigue is real. And so is the ability to surge combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan if necessary, for as long as necessary. No doubt the DOD has plans to deal with that if it becomes necessary.

I think that the next 6 months will be critical. What is different with Patraeus in command is that the troops are keeping what they take until they can hand it over to the locals. And for now, at least, the locals are stepping up.

What is also different on the ground is that the Sunnis and the Shiites are starting to look beyond their past issues. There is hope that their disputes will diminish.

Why do I say this? What most people forget is that the Shia/Sunni split occured 1400 years ago, and that for most of that time, Sunnis and Shias have lived peacefully, even intermarrying and in integrated communities in Iraq. The current sectarian violence was instigated by Al Qaeda, a Sunni brand. And the reaction to the bombing of the mosques had to do with both the current Al Qaeda activity as well as the 3 decades of brutal Sunni control over the Shia under Saddam, where their religious activities were mostly prohibited.

The surge has given both the Sunnis and the Shiites the opportunity to get rid of Al Qaeda and build a framework for governing after we do pull most of our combat forces out. I think that if they can continue integrating their army, now being recognized and appreciated by their population, with both Sunni and Shia, and if they can make progress on the political front, then we can declare victory and go home.

You may have forgotten, but Patraeus was the architect of the new (post Saddam) Iraq Army. That was his job on his last tour.

As for permanent bases? Yep. We’ll have them, if only to keep watch on Iran and Syria. Think Germany and Japan and our bases there in the 1950′s and 60′s.

That’s my 2 cents.

georgej on September 5, 2007 at 11:52 AM

Pay the soldiers what the contractors make … then you might see those quotas filled.

The overall investment in fielding a soldier is probably not too far off of what the contractor makes. Training, benefits, dependent services, retirement, etc…

The contractors get none of that, just a day’s pay for a days work.

Pablo on September 5, 2007 at 12:16 PM