Audio: Michael Yon on Iraq’s moment of truth

posted at 10:15 pm on March 28, 2008 by Allahpundit

I’m giving this to you sight unseen, er, sound unheard since Instapundit’s one of the sites caught in my Internet twilight zone right now. The clip comes recommended by Goldfarb and it is, after all, Michael Yon, so that’s reason enough to click. If you missed WaPo’s report this morning on the fighting in Baghdad, read that as prep. What was supposed to be an Iraqi military operation in the south is now a U.S. military operation in the north, replete with airstrikes on Sadr City and mortars being fired into the U.S. Embassy. All part of Petraeus’s master plan? Er, no:

The U.S. military is sending advisers down to Basra to help the Iraqi army coordinate an operation which American officers say was “put together on the fly” and has degenerated into a stalemate.

These officers complain Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki acted “impulsively” in ordering an offensive his army was not prepared to conduct, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin.

The Iraqis didn’t ask permission, they just went, which seems to have caught President Bush by surprise.

Residents of Basra tell the Times that the JAM controls half the city or more and has taken over at least one police station. How’d they do that? Simple — they are the police. An Iraqi security advisor tells WaPo that the IA is already calling on the U.S. and Brits for help, although whether that means air support, armor, or fighting their battle for them wholesale remains to be seen.

The question of the hour: What was Maliki thinking? Read the trenchant excerpt from “Abu Muqawama” at the end of this Danger Room post for a theory. It’s not so much that he’s trying to assert the central government’s authority, it’s that he’s doing his new pals in SCIRI a favor by crushing their main rival for Shiite supremacy. WaPo’s hearing the same thing:

Some officials have concluded that Maliki himself is firing “the first salvo in upcoming elections,” the administration official said.

“His dog in that fight is that he is basically allied with the Badr Corps [i.e. SCIRI's militia]” against forces loyal to Sadr, the official said. “It’s not a pretty picture.”

Lurking behind the scenes here, as always, is Iran, which has ties to both the JAM and SCIRI and as such is playing both sides of the conflict. How curious that fighting should break out just a few weeks before Petraeus is set to give his next progress report to Congress.

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Michael Yon puts the MSM to shame.

RobCon on March 28, 2008 at 10:24 PM

Sadr had to be either integrated or dealt with eventually. Means to an end for someone here…

blankminde on March 28, 2008 at 10:27 PM

Just kill Sadr already…good lord!

SouthernGent on March 28, 2008 at 10:31 PM

How curious that fighting should break out just a few weeks before Petraeus is set to give his next progress report to Congress.

Yes indeed. I might add this: How curious that fighting should break out just in time to take the subject off of Wrightgate & the struggling Democrat Party.

Keemo on March 28, 2008 at 10:36 PM

How curious that fighting should break out just a few weeks before Petraeus is set to give his next progress report to Congress.

Well news has been slow for months. Just what the MSM needs to get away from their O’Hillary stories. Now they can convince us we have lost the war all over again.

Limerick on March 28, 2008 at 10:39 PM

I have a feeling that Sadr has nothing to do with this. I think his followers have just gotten greedy.

SoulGlo on March 28, 2008 at 10:41 PM

May I suggest a show of force? Pick one JAM police station in a prominent location and level it.

indythinker on March 28, 2008 at 10:44 PM

I have a feeling that Sadr has nothing to do with this. I think his followers have just gotten greedy.

SoulGlo on March 28, 2008 at 10:41 PM

That is likely. There was a similar problem with AQI awhile ago where Zarqawi couldn’t get his guys to stop attacking (but for a different reason). Decentralized command and control is nice because it is hard to kill, but if your people are undisciplined then you can lose control of the organization.

blankminde on March 28, 2008 at 10:46 PM

Where can I get some SCIRI gear i.e. hat, t’shirt so I can represent?

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 28, 2008 at 10:47 PM

May I suggest a show of force? Pick one JAM police station in a prominent location and level it.

indythinker on March 28, 2008 at 10:44 PM

Escalation is actually a terribly idea. Think about what Petraeus did differently on a doctrinal level to achieve this tenuous peace. He moved troops out into the cities to help the people and stopped the endless 2nd generation onslaught on communities. One thing we have been succeeding in is that we’ve offered the people of Iraq a better potential future than the insurgency. If we return to the role of foreign destroyer it would be justified, but probably set us back a year or two strategically.

blankminde on March 28, 2008 at 10:51 PM

Blankminde, typical liberal thinking.

If you’re going to give the Iraqi people a better life, then you must take out the trash first.

This whole issue should be been resolved two years ago. We should have kill him and his thugs back then. As always stupid liberals get in the way and what we have now is more blood being spilled.

You won’t have peace unless these people are six feet under.

jdun on March 28, 2008 at 10:58 PM

You won’t have peace unless these people are six feet under.

jdun on March 28, 2008 at 10:58 PM

Its a lot more complicated than just killing them Jdun, and its not liberal thinking at all. The true danger is that Iraq will become a completely stateless region. The idea of just annihilating your enemy without addressing his moral or mental predisposition leads to inevitable failure (see Boyd’s Patterns of Conflict for background). A physical victory is ultimately meaningless against an ideology. I’m not saying we shouldn’t kill who we have to – I’m saying we need to react with recognition to the effect it will have on the people that have given us this peace. Destroying a few city blocks could be all it takes to get some of the tribal leaders back off the fence.

blankminde on March 28, 2008 at 11:05 PM

The U.S. military is sending advisers down to Basra to help the Iraqi army coordinate an operation which American officers say was “put together on the fly” and has degenerated into a stalemate.

Some would say that sounds not that far off from what U.S. policy on Iraq has been most of the time after the first three weeks of the war. Many reports have Americans doing a lot more than sending some advisers to Basara and in Baghdad for that matter. In any case so much for the Iraqis being able to conduct operations on their own I guess.

These officers complain Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki acted “impulsively” in ordering an offensive his army was not prepared to conduct, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin.

Not prepared to conduct? What have all those years of training been in? Gardening? Cooking? Fly casting?

The Iraqis didn’t ask permission, they just went, which seems to have caught President Bush by surprise.

lol.

Bush has said that Iraq is a democracy. Bush has said that Maliki is the democratic leader of Iraq. Why would Bush expect Maliki to ask permission from him?

MB4 on March 28, 2008 at 11:43 PM

Warlord vs. Warlord
By Fred Kaplan:
“The wars in Iraq (the plural is no typo) are about to expand and possibly explode, so it might be useful to have some notion of what we’re in for.Here is President George W. Bush, speaking this morning in Dayton, Ohio, and revealing once again that he has no notion. ”

“As we speak, Iraqi security forces are waging a tough battle against militia fighters and criminals in Basra—many of whom have received arms and training and funding from Iran. … This offensive builds on the security gains of the surge and demonstrates to the Iraqi people that their government is committed to protecting them. The enemy will try to fill the TV screens with violence. But the ultimate result will be this: Terrorists and extremists in Iraq will know they have no place in a free and democratic society.”

The reality, alas, is less stark. The fighting in Basra, which has spread to parts of Baghdad, is not a clash between good and evil or between a legitimate government and an outlaw insurgency. Rather, as Anthony Cordesman, military analyst for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, writes, it is “a power struggle” between rival “Shiite party mafias” for control of the oil-rich south and other Shiite sections of the country. The current fighting in Basra is a struggle for power and resources between those warlords. It’s hard to say which faction is more alluring or less likely to fall under Iranian sway. Neither seems the sort of ally in freedom and democracy that our president conjures in his daydreams. (The lively blogger who calls himself Abu Muqawama speculates that Bush officials have embraced ISCI because, unlike Sadr, its leaders speak English.) It’s not a case of good vs. evil. It’s just another crevice in the widening earthquake called Iraq.

MB4 on March 28, 2008 at 11:48 PM

Ali Sadr’s band of thugs needed to go away, but his troops are still a little green. Now its time for our forces to do what should have been done a while ago. Remove this militia and any group of thugs acting in a manner contrary to the common good of Iraq.

dogsoldier on March 28, 2008 at 11:52 PM

Ali Sadr’s band of thugs needed to go away, but Maliki’s troops are still a little green. Now its time for our forces to do what should have been done a while ago. Remove this militia and any group of thugs acting in a manner contrary to the common good of Iraq.

dogsoldier on March 28, 2008 at 11:53 PM

All of a sudden a few days is a disaster…get lost. You guys sound like dems.

tomas on March 28, 2008 at 11:55 PM

All of a sudden a few days five years, make it fifty make it a hundred is a disaster…get lost. You guys sound like dems realists.

tomas on March 28, 2008 at 11:55 PM

MB4 on March 29, 2008 at 12:14 AM

The U.S. military is sending advisers down to Basra to help the Iraqi army coordinate an operation which American officers say was “put together on the fly” and has degenerated into a stalemate.

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 5 star General and 34th President of the United States of America.

MB4 on March 29, 2008 at 12:16 AM

Bush’s legacy:

A) He took the gloves off and ended tha war, and secured the borders.

or

B) Press #1 for English.

Choose….

Seven Percent Solution on March 29, 2008 at 12:16 AM

Global warming believers and Surge believers have more in common than either would like to admit.

Global warming believers:
1) If the temperature goes up that proves global warming.
2) If the temperature goes down that still proves global warming.

Surge believers:
1) If violence goes down that proves the surge is succeeding.
2) If violence goes up that still proves the surge is succeeding.

Who knows, if Gore had won in 2000 maybe we would be having the Gore surge and the Bush global warming.

Whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad.

MB4 on March 29, 2008 at 12:24 AM

Apparently there are already “airstrikes in Basra” so we’re trying to achieve that pyrrhic “physical victory” which is really losing, or whatever.

Of course you can’t bomb an ideology, but you don’t see much state Shinto in Japan these days.

Beagle on March 29, 2008 at 12:24 AM

Its a lot more complicated than just killing them Jdun, and its not liberal thinking at all. The true danger is that Iraq will become a completely stateless region. The idea of just annihilating your enemy without addressing his moral or mental predisposition leads to inevitable failure (see Boyd’s Patterns of Conflict for background). A physical victory is ultimately meaningless against an ideology. I’m not saying we shouldn’t kill who we have to – I’m saying we need to react with recognition to the effect it will have on the people that have given us this peace. Destroying a few city blocks could be all it takes to get some of the tribal leaders back off the fence.

Apparently you have no idea what is going on in Iraq or living under a rock for the past few years. I also understand that the public school doesn’t teach critical thinking skills anymore. So this might be a little hard for you to understand so please do your best.

1. Iraq has a working elected government.
2. Iraq has a working police and military force.
3. Basra is run by thugs.
4. Basra currently has no rule of law because the British ran away with their tail between their legs.
5. Good Iraqi people living in Basra are being terrorized by thugs.
6. Putting the thugs six feet under or in jail will restore the rule of law in the city.

Ok now lets use some critical thinking skills. You have an elected government that is ready to restore order in the city. Where is the power vacuum? Iraq has a running government it not my opinion is a fact. There will be no power vacuum, period.

Lets go by the liberal view and leave them alone. All liberals that is reading this post please put on your critical thinking hat or what left of it. What happen when you leave thugs alone with there own city to terrorize? Will they get tried and give it back to the elected government? Will it be a state within a state? Will they try to spread out once they have the strength to do it? Basra is a cancer. It must be destroy or it will kill Iraq.

The only thing that thugs understand is violence. You can’t talk to them like gentlemen. Liberals needs to understand that some people in this world are better off dead for the sake of peace.

God I can’t believe I wasted my time trying to explain it to you. It doesn’t need that much thinking skills to understand the current situation in Basra.

jdun on March 29, 2008 at 12:40 AM

Apparently you have no idea what is going on in Iraq or living under a rock for the past few years. I also understand that the public school doesn’t teach critical thinking skills anymore. So this might be a little hard for you to understand so please do your best.

It doesn’t need that much thinking skills to understand the current situation in Basra.

jdun on March 29, 2008 at 12:40 AM

And it takes even less to engage in repeated ad hominem.

From what he has said and from what you have said, I think that blankminde would last a lot longer on General Petraeus’s staff than you would.

MB4 on March 29, 2008 at 12:52 AM

I don’t think it’s that simple, jdun.

If Sadr’s party wins the upcoming election in Basra, the Mahdi Army becomes a legitimate National Guard-style outfit.

And ever bomb the U.S. military drops on them probably earns them votes.

Not simple at all.

alphie on March 29, 2008 at 2:45 AM

OK Jdun….

“1. Iraq has a working elected government.”

No. It has a patchwork of nationalist and sectarian groups who don’t really trust each other and can not follow through on their proclamations.

“2. Iraq has a working police and military force.”

You are joking right?…. I mean this is pure crap. If it were true the US would be pulling out equipment and troops and Bush would be making another victory speech (Oh yeah… he did anyway lol)

“3. Basra is run by thugs.” Jdun

Is there a part of Iraq that is not run by thugs?…. Yes, I include the Kurdish areas in this observation. The Turks are going to return very soon to attack some of those thugs.

“4. Basra currently has no rule of law because the British ran away with their tail between their legs.” Jdun

Yeah, and Baghdad is a mess too because of the British? Iraq is a mess because of an incompetent US Administration that made no plans for the aftermath of overthrowing Saddam’s regime apart from flying Chalabi in with a few thugs and some of our money.

“5. Good Iraqi people living in Basra are being terrorized by thugs.” Jdun

Thugs the American taxpayers gave well over $300,000,000 to some time ago.

“6. Putting the thugs six feet under or in jail will restore the rule of law in the city.” Jdun

Maybe they just need more US cash.

lexhamfox on March 29, 2008 at 2:56 AM

lexhamfox on March 29, 2008 at 2:56 AM
A glass half full nit wit. Basra is the stronghold of the Mahdi army, they export their terror to the other cities from there. If the Brit’s would not have failed, they would not be in the position to export terror.
Don’t just run your mouth about something you don’t know anything about, show us proof of $300,000,000 going to thugs. Didn’t happen, go back to HuffPo so you can be with your own kind.
The people of Iraq need to learn the lesson that my grandfather taught to his children and grandchildren.
“We will eat when our chores are done.”
Basra needs to be cleaned up before they can sit down and enjoy the fruits of freedom.

leanright on March 29, 2008 at 7:59 AM

MB4 on March 29, 2008 at 12:52 AM

I get that you are against the war in Iraq, as was I from the very beginning. Bush and his motley crew of advisers has bungled the entire war since day one.
At the time I argued that while Hussein might need to go, the Bath party was still the best hope of containing Iranian expansion in the mid-east. All that is lost now thanks to Bush’s stupidity.
Bush did not have to destroy the Bath party, they had plenty of moderates that were willing to work with us. Now we are forced into finishing this job whether we like it or not. All of this came about because Bush allowed people that know nothing about mid-east culture to hold influence over him.
The only chance we have of maintaining stability over there, is to help the moderates in the Bath Party to re-establish some control. But that is never going to happen until Bush is history.

leanright on March 29, 2008 at 8:31 AM

It’s time to step on Mookie’s neck and bloody the nose of his Iranian backers. Drain this abscess now or live with the festering sore forever.

bloviator on March 29, 2008 at 8:53 AM

“Not prepared to conduct? What have all those years of training been in? Gardening? Cooking? Fly casting?
The Iraqis didn’t ask permission, they just went, which seems to have caught President Bush by surprise.
lol.
Bush has said that Iraq is a democracy. Bush has said that Maliki is the democratic leader of Iraq. Why would Bush expect Maliki to ask permission from him?
MB4 on March 28, 2008 at 11:43 PM”

President Bush…

“When they stand up, we’ll stand down…”

“Mission accomplished…”

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 9:08 AM

Yon, Totten and Roggio; now there’s a motley crew.

Yon’s, been puttin’ us all on for awhile now. Just hangin’ in the “Green Zone”.

“…Today, the clout still is partially from the gun, and definitely the money is key, but there is an intangible and growing moral clout and it flows from an increasing respect among Iraqis for our military. Washington has no moral clout in Iraq. Washington looks like a circus act. The authority is coming from our military. The importance of this fact would be difficult to understate…”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/21/iraq.alqaida

Uh huh, I say!

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 9:48 AM

J_Gocht… Putting us on? Please feel free to recount your tales from inside Iraq? Have you been traveling with our guys? Telling their stories? J… I think D_Kos is missing their village idiot, you best hurry back.

Dawnsblood on March 29, 2008 at 10:43 AM

We must never fault our military, they have done an outstanding job considering the asinine political parameters they must work with.
A. Our politicians need to STFU and let be done what must be done to end this war.
B.Petraus needs to be given unconditional control over all operations in Iraq.
C. No outlaw military terrorist groups can be allowed to exist in Iraq. Sadr and his cohorts must be destroyed at whatever cost.
D. Freedom is not free and war is not without casualties, a lesson our forefathers knew all too well.
WTF happened to this generation’s courage? Have they been spoiled to the point that they believe that the world can be made a better place by whining?
As a V.N. vet, I know war is a horrible thing to have to deal with, but witness the alternative in Islamic culture. They demand death to all Christians, gays, and freedom loving people. They beat their women and keep them as uneducated breeders. Islam promotes a filthy rotten miserable existence for everyone except the ones in control. For them, luxury and decadence knows no bounds.
I have had enough of all the whining from the pacifist. Living like a cowardly animal under Islamic rule is worse than death. So get off your asses and defend yourselves and what you say you believe in, before it’s too late.

leanright on March 29, 2008 at 11:00 AM


Not prepared to conduct? What have all those years of training been in? Gardening? Cooking? Fly casting?

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 9:08 AM
That’s right dumb ass, mock something you don’t know the first thing about, courage.
After several pitched battles and more firefights than I care to remember, I was still not prepared for the next one.
I am not sure if I ever became proficient at war, I just know that it took more than a few firefights to keep from pissing myself every time hell broke loose. Believe me mister, when it comes to fighting for your life, you don’t know shit from apple butter. So STFU.

leanright on March 29, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Michael Yon, stated…

“False advertising is afoot…The mantra that “there is no political progress in Iraq” is rapidly becoming the “surge” equivalent of a green alligator: when enough people repeat something that sounds plausible, but also happens to be false, it becomes accepted as fact. The more often it is repeated—and the larger the number of people repeating it—the harder it is to convince anyone of the truth: alligators are not green, and Iraqis are making plenty of political progress.
To say there has been no political progress in Iraq in 2007 is patently absurd, completely wrong and dangerously dismissive of the significant changes and improvements happening all across Iraq. Whether or not Americans are seeing it on the nightly news or reading it in their local papers, Iraqis are actively writing their children’s history.

I linked to what’s happening on the ground this week. Report on that, Dawnsblood.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/21/iraq.alqaida

Are the Guardian reporter[s] on the ground, outside the “Green Zone” getting actual video and audio from the Iraqi citizens? That’s quite different from editorial opinion on your or Mr. Yon’s part.

“False advertising; my right [a]foot, or is it left…?”

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 11:24 AM

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/21/iraq.alqaid
J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 11:24 AM

You rely on British trash to influence your opinion? No wonder your take on life is so depressingly stupid.

leanright on March 29, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Some on here are dismissing the direct result our internal politics have on Iraq.

Al-Maliki can read poll numbers. He can read the news… the same news that constantly states we’ll have a Dem for President… and the news that says both Dem candidates will pull out of Iraq.

He has a very limited time now to put his house in order, and the first step has to be to gain control of his own yard, kick out the gangs, and bring them under control.

Romeo13 on March 29, 2008 at 11:44 AM

…. Believe me mister, when it comes to fighting for your life, you don’t know shit from apple butter. So STFU.
leanright on March 29, 2008 at 11:21 AM”

leanright,I’m not going to get into a pissin’ contest with you; as to who’s spent more time looking at the hot end of an AK-47.

Thank you for your service.

What I’m saying is we all must look realistically at the present military situation in Iraq.
From what I read, bothe good and bad; the situation doesn’t appear very tenable to this pilgrim.

BS, from generals, politicians or reporters is just that; BS.

Show me the video!

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 11:47 AM

From what I read, bothe good and bad; the situation doesn’t appear very tenable to this pilgrim.

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 11:47 AM
See my 11:00 am post.
It’s a dirty fight in a dirty war, but look at who wants us to loose courage and quit. Do you really want to be part of that?

leanright on March 29, 2008 at 11:57 AM

“…He has a very limited time now to put his house in order, and the first step has to be to gain control of his own yard, kick out the gangs, and bring them under control.
Romeo13 on March 29, 2008 at 11:44 AM”

After five years of training and support isn’t it time they finally listened to President Bush?

“…when they step up we’ll step down!”

Would you propose that Senator McCain’s “…hundred year war.” is a reasonable alternative? Can our grandchildren and great grandchildren afford such foolishness?

Can we?

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 12:01 PM

Would you propose that Senator McCain’s “…hundred year war.” is a reasonable alternative? Can our grandchildren and great grandchildren afford such foolishness?

Can we?

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 12:01 PM

We have had bases in Europe for well over 60 years, and they will most likely be there another 60. Even though I am not a McCain fan,( I don’t like him at all), I have to believe that was what he meant.
We must all be more careful not to take anything too literally in this election year. Some people out there would encourage you not to think things through logically, it makes it easier for them to influence your opinion.

leanright on March 29, 2008 at 12:34 PM

“…See my 11:00 am post.
It’s a dirty fight in a dirty war, but look at who wants us to loose courage and quit. Do you really want to be part of that?
leanright on March 29, 2008 at 11:57 AM”

leanright, I agree that your approach is one alternative; problem remains, is it reasonable, tenable, actually doable?
The United States, despite our best intents and purpose; cannot with military means, force any people to accept our democratic tenants or beliefs.

They must want it for themselves! What I read now is that more than seventy percent of Iraqi’s want us out of their country!

Period!

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 12:42 PM

more than seventy percent of Iraqi’s want us out of their country!

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 12:42 PM
My nephew is on his second tour in Iraq and from the e-mails he sends the Iraqis are finding that the American sense of caring and concern is genuine and they are responding very well to our military efforts. They know that we cannot stay forever and they don’t want us to, but they also are very afraid of our troops pulling out before they can be made to feel safe. I can’t tell you that your figure of 70% is wrong, but I know what I am hearing first hand from my nephew.
PS. He is in Ba qbah, don’t know if it’s different there.

leanright on March 29, 2008 at 12:59 PM

I do not know why the lefties are bitching about Basra, this is what they wanted. The Brits pulled back, just like the anti war people want the US to pull back and the Mahdi militia is still there

As for mistakes made by Bush, if the left had put as much time and energy into coming up with rational alternatives as they do bitching and moaning and whining maybe we would not be in this position.

Clinton was in control of the White House for years before Bush came along. And his administration did not make peace with Saddam, in fact just the opposite. They did not deal with ALQaida, they did not deal with Zarqawi, they did not improve our intelligence abilities so that we actually knew what we were dealing with.

Noooo, they made the removal of Saddam from power our national policy and then lobbed some cruise missiles at Iraq.

Today people seem to think we could have kept Saddam in a state of suspended animation. They seem to think that Libya would not have finished its nuke program and that Iran would have abandoned its nuclear program and its support for terrorism whether or not the US had invaded Iraq. They seem to think that Zarqawi and his terrorist training camp in Iraq would not have been a big deal.

No, we could have chosen peace and rode off into a magenta sunrise on our unicorns and all would have been well.

But in truth most anti war people are just partisan, they don’t want the people of Iraq to ever have a decent country because if they do a Republican president might get some credit for it, so they must root for the enemy and hope for the worst. Too bad about the people in the mass graves they say, we need the Baathists back to bring order. Ah yes, order. We know what that means.

And then they posture and preen and whine about Darfur and Tibet.

Terrye on March 29, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Sorry Ba qubah.

leanright on March 29, 2008 at 1:02 PM

“….We have had bases in Europe for well over 60 years, and they will most likely be there another 60. Even though I am not a McCain fan,( I don’t like him at all), I have to believe that was what he meant.”
leanright on March 29, 2008 at 12:34 PM”

Come on now leanright, How many IEDs RPGs fired and ambushes being staged in Europe, Eastern Europe or Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia at anytime today or in recent memory?

To equate our five year old military operation in Iraq to those countries as Senator McCain has recently; is indefensible on it’s face and profound political foolishness.

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 1:03 PM

To equate our five year old military operation in Iraq to those countries as Senator McCain has recently; is indefensible on it’s face and profound political foolishness.

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 1:03 PM

You have to understand that we have never before faced an enemy that willingly murders so many innocent people to gain so little. They do this only because it gains them the headlines from the left wing rags that want to make fighting for freedom a hopeless endeavor.
Victory won’t be as clean or as quick as what we achieved in Europe because many people allowed the terrorist to separate us from our allies. The worthless cowards in Europe and Asia can’t even defend themselves, but they could at least help defray some of the cost of fighting the war for them. Still, a reasonable person would not believe the war will last 100 years, no matter how badly the British rags want you to believe that.
That the war is more difficult than past wars that we fought does not justify preaching defeat. Your showing of doubt and weakness is regaled around the world by our enemies. Show some iron for Christ sakes.
Sorry for being crabby- going out to eat, maybe I will feel better.

leanright on March 29, 2008 at 1:38 PM

God I can’t believe I wasted my time trying to explain it to you. It doesn’t need that much thinking skills to understand the current situation in Basra.

jdun on March 29, 2008 at 12:40 AM

I appreciate your candor Jdun, but I still think you’re wrong. I’ve spent over 2 years on the ground in Iraq (Fallujah and Ramadi) so I’ve got some perspective on this. I was there for the ground invasion as a part of Task Force Tarawa so I saw first hand the mistakes we made attempting to treat Iraq like a conventional 2nd generation battle space. You should have seen Nasiriyah… Despite the mistakes made in Iraq, you can only work with what you have – crying over spilled milk doesn’t really constitute strategy.
.
Basra is a problem, but not a new one. An unruly militia, and a power hungry Imam are things that need to be handled by the Maliki government in a manner similar to how police would handle a riot (albeit a very violent one). If we handle them with a 2nd generation mentality then we will use artillery and forward observers to generate a battle damage assessment – rationale being more dead enemies equals a victory. This is often not the case in the court of public opinion (theirs, not ours). Did you read the link for Boyd’s brief on the Patterns of Conflict? It is more or less the dividing line in understanding the French’s idea of 2nd generation warfare and the German’s implementation of 3rd generation warfare through the Wehrmacht. Reading through it will help explain why I feel we need to tread lightly in Basra.
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The problem remains that our highest military leaders and politicians are not treating Iraq as anything other than a conventional war. Petraeus was the first to change that and his strategy change (not the surge) has made progress in Iraq. Going back to blowing things up whenever someone wants to start some trouble is not going to assist in the goal of creating a state in Iraq.

blankminde on March 29, 2008 at 1:39 PM

“The problem remains that our highest military leaders and politicians are not treating Iraq as anything other than a conventional war. Petraeus was the first to change that and his strategy change (not the surge) has made progress in Iraq. Going back to blowing things up whenever someone wants to start some trouble is not going to assist in the goal of creating a state in Iraq.
blankminde on March 29, 2008 at 1:39 PM”

Finally someone who has both a military and political grasp of the indigenous, ethic and religious situation in Iraq.

Now… if only you Dear Sir or Madam; could convince our political leaders and the Iraqi’s!

Lessons learned… indeed or never?

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 2:05 PM

To equate our five year old military operation in Iraq to those countries as Senator McCain has recently; is indefensible on it’s face and profound political foolishness.

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 1:03 PM

I think what’s more important is whether or not it is worth the cost, both financial and in American lives, to ensure Iraq does not spiral into chaos. Given the alternative of a stateless region under the control of Islamic radicals I would happily spend every day left in my life fighting in Iraq. The 100 years comment to me doesn’t sound like he wants to be there a hundred years, or even that he expects to be there a hundred years, but rather that he understands that what we’re really fighting for is worth a hundred years.

blankminde on March 29, 2008 at 2:09 PM

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 2:05 PM

There are people in the military that understand this conflict and want to solve it expeditiously. We have new generations of leadership that know that we have to evolve tactically in order to remain free, and as they move through the ranks their insight will inevitably come into play. What troubles me is that there are billions of dollars mired in defense contracting for initiatives that are no longer relevant. Rather than serve the interests of the nation, some generals choose to perpetuate this by towing the line in order to ensure a place for themselves in retirement. This isn’t the rule, but it only takes a handful of self-centered, politically motivated generals to destroy a doctrinal revolution in the military.

blankminde on March 29, 2008 at 2:17 PM

To equate our five year old military operation in Iraq to those countries as Senator McCain has recently; is indefensible on it’s face and profound political foolishness.

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 1:03 PM

Stop treating Sharia-supreme Iraq like post-war Japan

President Bush [and John McCain], of course, frequently refers to the democratization of Japan as a model for the democratization of Iraq (and the wider Islamic Middle East). But, as Lewis’ must-read essay makes historically clear, the president has been comparing apples and oranges.

It isn’t just that the total defeat and utter devastation of Japan nullifies the comparison with Iraq (which it does). There is something else. There is the completely different U.S. approach to Japan’s animating, warlike state religion of Shintoism, which, not incidentally, bears striking similarities to the animating, warlike state religion of Islam.

In 1945, our government was of one mind regarding state Shintoism. Lewis quotes Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, who wrote: “Shintoism, insofar as it is a religion of individual Japanese, is not to be interfered with. Shintoism, however, insofar as it is directed by the Japanese government, and as a measure enforced from above by the government, is to be done away with. … There will be no place for Shintoism in the schools. Shintoism as a state religion — National Shinto, that is — will go. … Our policy on this goes beyond Shinto. … The dissemination of Japanese militaristic and ultra-nationalistic ideology in any form will be completely suppressed.”

Obviously, there have been no analogous U.S. efforts to “de-jihadize” Islamic public culture even as the United States has spent lives, limbs, money and years trying, essentially, to stop the jihad in the Islamic Middle East — not even, to take a manageable example, in the U.S.-funded Palestinian Authority, where state-run media continue to incite Islamically motivated violence against Jews and Americans. And then there are all those U.S.-fostered constitutions that enshrine Sharia law — just the sort of ideological concession our forebears would never have made.- Diana West

MB4 on March 29, 2008 at 2:36 PM

The 100 years comment to me doesn’t sound like he wants to be there a hundred years, or even that he expects to be there a hundred years, but rather that he understands that what we’re really fighting for is worth a hundred years.

blankminde on March 29, 2008 at 2:09 PM

Well said! And thank you and all other vets for your service and sacrifice.

And J_Gocht, try reading outside your sphere of comfort and get both sides of the story, rather than just blindly spouting the defeatist party talking points or sources that only corroborate your very limited points of view.

“Mission Accomplished…” Sheesh. It was a sign behind the President on a ship which had, indeed, accomplished its mission. Not something the President said, as all lefties such as yourself insist on perpetuating.

techno_barbarian on March 29, 2008 at 2:54 PM

“I think what’s more important is whether or not it is worth the cost, both financial and in American lives, to ensure Iraq does not spiral into chaos. Given the alternative of a stateless region under the control of Islamic radicals I would happily spend every day left in my life fighting in Iraq. The 100 years comment to me doesn’t sound like he wants to be there a hundred years, or even that he expects to be there a hundred years, but rather that he understands that what we’re really fighting for is worth a hundred years.
blankminde on March 29, 2008 at 2:09 PM”

Worth the cost in blood and treasure; that’s always the question, isn’t it?

‘…Given the alternative of a stateless region under the control of Islamic radicals I would happily spend every day left in my life fighting in Iraq…”

Your sacrifice, my dear “blankminde” is indeed very altruistic and idealistic. With that thought in mind the only reasonable extension of your thought is to then confront Iran, and Syria on the same basis. Don’t forget, there is also Afghanistan and Pakistan poised precariously on the brink of being lawless Islamic states.

When and where do our good intensions overload our financial and military will and ability? My though is that… Iraq has and is expending our last “rounds” of both!

I thank you for your brace and courageous service to our country.
Olde soldier sends!

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 2:57 PM

Your sacrifice, my dear “blankminde” is indeed very altruistic and idealistic. With that thought in mind the only reasonable extension of your thought is to then confront Iran, and Syria on the same basis. Don’t forget, there is also Afghanistan and Pakistan poised precariously on the brink of being lawless Islamic states.

When and where do our good intensions overload our financial and military will and ability? My though is that… Iraq has and is expending our last “rounds” of both!

That is precisely why this will be a Long War. You can stop being at war with radical islam and walk away. However, they will not stop being at war with you and all the other infidels in dar al harb.

I want peace as much as you do. Unfortunately, the jihadis only want your submission. The disturbing thing to me is that you, and so many who think like you, are so willing to to submit to them. They will not be merciful or in any way fair. Count on it.

techno_barbarian on March 29, 2008 at 3:02 PM

rather than just blindly spouting the defeatist party talking points

Using words like “defeatist” and “surrender” for non-believers in “Iraqi nation building” or “surge till they merge or now surge because they are not merging” is similar to Al Gore using “flat-earthers” and “deniers” for non-believers in “Global warming” to try to shut down debate.

It is not going to work either.

MB4 on March 29, 2008 at 3:06 PM

Nice post, blank, but I think you are being too kind to Petraeus and Co.

The only way the “100 years” plan will make sense is if the U.S. military only has to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan for the next 100 years.

Turning the U.S. military into a peasant fighting force means it won’t do well against an actual army….like the PLA.

alphie on March 29, 2008 at 3:06 PM

“…“Mission Accomplished…” Sheesh. It was a sign behind the President on a ship which had, indeed, accomplished its mission. Not something the President said, as all lefties such as yourself insist on perpetuating.
techno_barbarian on March 29, 2008 at 2:54 PM”

Dear t_b, you missed this then!

“…When he received an advance copy of the speech, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld took care to remove any use of the phrase “Mission Accomplished” in the speech itself. Later, when journalist Bob Woodward asked him about his changes to the speech, Rumsfeld responded:”I was in Baghdad, and I was given a draft of that thing to look at. And I just died, and I said my God, it’s too conclusive. And I fixed it and sent it back… they fixed the speech, but not the sign.”[8]
Bush reiterated a “Mission Accomplished” message to the troops at Camp As Sayliyah on June 5, 2003 — about a month after the aircraft carrier incident: “America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished.”[9]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_Accomplished”

You can only fool an olde fool, occasionally.

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 3:23 PM

What the hell is this stuff about a hundreds year war. The Democrats are out there spreading this lie about McCain, deliberately misrepresenting what he said…either because they are dishonest or not too bright…or they think enough other people are not too bright that they can keep saying this over and over. Dean says it Obama says it the Democrats in the comment section say it…but that does not make them right.

McCain said that the point was casualties, we could be there for a long time and if there were not casualties it would not be an issue. He at no time said he wanted a hundred years of combat.

Terrye on March 29, 2008 at 3:30 PM

So, we run away and Iraq turns into Somalia with huge oil reserves…who does this help? I mean really? This is all just politics, partisan gotcha politics. Honor be damned.

Terrye on March 29, 2008 at 3:31 PM

Time for “Bad to the B-one”, on one big head (and body)!

Entelechy on March 29, 2008 at 3:31 PM

And if we are going to surrender Iraq, why bother with Afghanistan?

Terrye on March 29, 2008 at 3:34 PM

With that thought in mind the only reasonable extension of your thought is to then confront Iran, and Syria on the same basis. Don’t forget, there is also Afghanistan and Pakistan poised precariously on the brink of being lawless Islamic states.

When and where do our good intensions overload our financial and military will and ability? My though is that… Iraq has and is expending our last “rounds” of both!

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 2:57 PM

I think you’re confusing me with that odd sort of conservative that thinks we are bound by duty to spread democracy and stability to the four corners of the earth. I personally believe that our foreign policy should be motivated to protect and defend the liberties of the American people – nothing more. In my view, democracy is only the right of those willing to fight for it. It cannot be given or protected by foreign hands.
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Regarding how far my altruism should extend, confrontation with foreign countries is not an easy thing to parse. If those states are truly devolving into stateless chaos, similar to the world prior to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, then I do not believe we have any obligation to prevent that. While it could potentially provide a breeding ground for radical Islam (or Islam in general – take your pick) preventing the collapse of a state is not something undertaken lightly, and cannot be solved through military action alone. If they collapse then we are faced with potential enemies (though not declared ones) that do not resemble a military, but are more like a guerrilla force or mercenaries. In short, they become a 4th generation or “non-trinitarian” enemy. There are only two defined means of defeating such an enemy: De-escalation, and the Hama model. The Hama model refers to Syrian president Hafez al-Assad destroying the Moslem brotherhood in an attack on the city of Hama – an effective, but politically difficult means of destroying a non-state enemy. De-escalation is a very broad concept that involves keeping a smaller footprint, preserving the legitimacy of the state, and a variety of moral, mental, and physical factors.
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Sorry for the length there, but it is hard to explain this when the doctrine behind my thinking is not widely known. Debating what we should have done with Iraq is nonsense at this point, but how should we handle other countries where similar problems could occur? I can’t really answer that question fairly because I’m in no position to shape national policy, but I would think that if they are no direct threat to us then we should work to gain partnerships with nations around the world that do have an interest in preserving the state (their’s or ours). Chaos benefits no one in this instance, and cooperation in some sense with anyone willing to work together against it is necessary. The reality is that once sides are established it will not be a matter of political ideology or religion separating sides, but states against non-states (which could be any organization with independent loyalties from the state). At that point I recommend the Hama model.

blankminde on March 29, 2008 at 3:36 PM

Sorry for the long post…very complicated topic. I still feel I haven’t given it justice so if you’re interested in some reading, here are some links:

FMFM 1: Warfighting

FMFM 1a: 4th generation warfare (draft)

Patterns of Conflict

blankminde on March 29, 2008 at 3:42 PM

“…And J_Gocht, try reading outside your sphere of comfort and get both sides of the story, rather than just blindly spouting the defeatist party talking points or sources that only corroborate your very limited points of view.
techno_barbarian on March 29, 2008 at 2:54 PM”

That’s why I’m here t_b…that’s why I’m here!
Thanks for the suggestion!

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 3:43 PM

“…If they collapse then we are faced with potential enemies (though not declared ones) that do not resemble a military, but are more like a guerrilla force or mercenaries. In short, they become a 4th generation or “non-trinitarian” enemy. There are only two defined means of defeating such an enemy: De-escalation, and the Hama model. The Hama model refers to Syrian president Hafez al-Assad destroying the Moslem brotherhood in an attack on the city of Hama – an effective, but politically difficult means of destroying a non-state enemy. De-escalation is a very broad concept that involves keeping a smaller footprint, preserving the legitimacy of the state, and a variety of moral, mental, and physical factors…”blankminde on March 29, 2008 at 3:36 PM”

If I get your drift, you’re referring to asymmetrical [4th generation] warfare as DoD spokespersons like to make reference?
Question is…just because they have a word for it, do they understand it? From your posts, I might surmise that many do not?

You post reminds me of classes we took in what we euphemistically referred to as “guerrilla warfare”, at the Special Warfare School at Ft. Bragg, NC in 1962. We studied many passages from Mao’s “Little Red Book”, Che’s letters and the British experience in Malaysia.

Thanks for the reading list. That should keep me from aggravating the fine folks here on Hot Air, for an indeterminate period.

Perhaps…?

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 4:18 PM

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 4:18 PM

Asymmetrical warfare is a term for it, but calling it that already implies that they have no idea what it means…as if there is a “symmetrical” warfare to speak of anymore.
You are right to say that many of our politicians don’t understand the nature of war, let alone 4th generation war. Some people refuse to accept that the world is constantly changing and adaptation is key to survival. War is no different.
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There is no aggravation in polite conversation.

blankminde on March 29, 2008 at 4:38 PM

Took me a bit of time for reference.

Damn, looks to me we’re right back to “Kentucky windage and Tennessee elevation”.

The more things change the more they remain the same!
FMFM 1a: 4th generation warfare (draft)

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 7:12 PM

I’m in Basrah and work training some local Iraqis. They are all frustrated with the British pull-out because the local Iraqi police (in their words) are about as corrupt as Saddam’s police and most have sold their equipment/weapons for cash. Local civilians cannot call the police to report terrorists/insurgents for fear that the police might be militia sympathizers.
IMO, the British draw-down was a bold experiment but it has failed and we need some show of force back in the streets to curb these events ASAP. If the British won’t do it, the US should (and probably will). I just hope it’s sooner instead of later as I’d like to be around to give you guys more updates.

JetBlast on March 29, 2008 at 8:07 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_Accomplished”
You can only fool an olde fool, occasionally.

J_Gocht on March 29, 2008 at 3:23 PM

wikipedia as a legitimate source? You are aware that just because it’s on the intertubes and in newspapers like the ny times it still may not always be true, correct?

Well, at least you’re consistant.

And MB4, respectfully, I was in no way trying to shut down debate. Just putting forth my side for consideration. I’ve heard your arguments for getting out of Iraq now, and you are certainly entitled to them. But I don’t agree we should abandon the Iraqis and let chaos reign.

We’re getting close to a major US election and of course aq is putting on the big push to sway US public opinion by killing as many as they can. Sad that it seems to weaken resolve so easily.

techno_barbarian on March 29, 2008 at 10:56 PM

I believe it was our puppet Maliki that started this latest round of killings, techno.

alphie on March 30, 2008 at 3:40 AM

I agree that tactics must evolve and plans be realistically achievable to the situation at hand. However, you have to put teeth into your strategy or it’s worthless. When push comes to shove and the fight must be fought, you must put the bullets in the bad guys in order to win. Period.
Can you negotiate a truce with the terrorist? Yes, but only after you have forced them to the table, and it will hold only until they get reorganised. They have no honor, and must never be trusted.
alphie on March 30, 2008 at 3:40 AM
The Mahdi army took control of Basra and was steeling the oil and selling it on the Iranian black market, using those funds to bankroll their terrorist activities.
That is an act of war against a sovereign government. What the hell do you expect Maliki to do, not defend his country? Your opinion on this matter is naive and unrealistic.
Why don’t you go back to KOS where your more in step with their idiotic notions. Your zero experience in what is going on in the real world is glaringly lacking.

leanright on March 30, 2008 at 9:36 AM

Bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq, one bullet at a time…

The violence that began in Basra and spread to the capital continues as fears of a new civil war grow… http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/30/iraq2

BAGHDAD (AP) – Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is offering to pull his fighters off the streets of Basra and other cities if the government halts raids against his followers and releases prisoners held without charge… http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/7422979

…winning their hearts and minds will be…

“a long hard slog!”

J_Gocht on March 30, 2008 at 9:43 AM

Al Maliki has just indicated he will accept al-Sadr’s offer.

J_Gocht on March 30, 2008 at 10:06 AM