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View Full Version : Seven Soldiers beat Bush and Patreaus to the punch.


Taco John
08-19-2007, 12:03 PM
The most compelling read of the year. These guys lay out the situation from a boots on the groud perspective, pulling no punches along the way. Their conclusion: Iraqis will soon realize that their best hope is to turn on us and force our withdrawl.


*Bolded for skimmers*


Op-Ed Contributors
The War as We Saw It
By BUDDHIKA JAYAMAHA, WESLEY D. SMITH, JEREMY ROEBUCK, OMAR MORA, EDWARD SANDMEIER, YANCE T. GRAY and JEREMY A. MURPHY

Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant.


Published: August 19, 2007


Baghdad


VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.

Similarly, Sunnis, who have been underrepresented in the new Iraqi armed forces, now find themselves forming militias, sometimes with our tacit support. Sunnis recognize that the best guarantee they may have against Shiite militias and the Shiite-dominated government is to form their own armed bands. We arm them to aid in our fight against Al Qaeda.

However, while creating proxies is essential in winning a counterinsurgency, it requires that the proxies are loyal to the center that we claim to support. Armed Sunni tribes have indeed become effective surrogates, but the enduring question is where their loyalties would lie in our absence. The Iraqi government finds itself working at cross purposes with us on this issue because it is justifiably fearful that Sunni militias will turn on it should the Americans leave.

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

Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.

Coupling our military strategy to an insistence that the Iraqis meet political benchmarks for reconciliation is also unhelpful. The morass in the government has fueled impatience and confusion while providing no semblance of security to average Iraqis. Leaders are far from arriving at a lasting political settlement. This should not be surprising, since a lasting political solution will not be possible while the military situation remains in constant flux.

The Iraqi government is run by the main coalition partners of the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, with Kurds as minority members. The Shiite clerical establishment formed the alliance to make sure its people did not succumb to the same mistake as in 1920: rebelling against the occupying Western force (then the British) and losing what they believed was their inherent right to rule Iraq as the majority. The qualified and reluctant welcome we received from the Shiites since the invasion has to be seen in that historical context. They saw in us something useful for the moment.

Now that moment is passing, as the Shiites have achieved what they believe is rightfully theirs. Their next task is to figure out how best to consolidate the gains, because reconciliation without consolidation risks losing it all. Washington’s insistence that the Iraqis correct the three gravest mistakes we made — de-Baathification, the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and the creation of a loose federalist system of government — places us at cross purposes with the government we have committed to support.

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

At the same time, the most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricity, telephone services and sanitation. “Lucky” Iraqis live in gated communities barricaded with concrete blast walls that provide them with a sense of communal claustrophobia rather than any sense of security we would consider normal.

In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, “We need security, not free food.”

In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.

We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.



http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/opinion/19jayamaha.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5090&en=5a8349a0e944e61b&ex=1345176000&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

Taco John
08-19-2007, 12:11 PM
It kind of explains why Ron Paul is getting the most support from the military (http://thespinfactor.com/thetruth/2007/07/17/ron-paul-leads-all-08-candidates-with-one-third-of-military-contributions-for-q2/).

patteeu
08-19-2007, 12:19 PM
Repost (http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=168032) /the Talking Can

Taco John
08-19-2007, 12:28 PM
Are you going to tell us what a bunch of defeatist pussies these guys are in either of these threads? ;)

stevieray
08-19-2007, 12:55 PM
Last time I checked, NCO's follow orders.

Logical
08-19-2007, 01:17 PM
Last time I checked, NCO's follow orders.What does this statement have to do with the article?

Taco John
08-19-2007, 01:28 PM
Last time I checked, NCO's follow orders.



Hahah! ROFL


"Their opinion doesn't count. They're only soldiers."

stevieray
08-19-2007, 01:39 PM
Hahah! ROFL


"Their opinion doesn't count. They're only soldiers."

funny how you have to put words in other's mouths to feel superior.

Taco John
08-19-2007, 01:40 PM
funny how you have to put words in others mouths to feel superior.



Funny how you have to denigrate the soldiers opinions to feel superior.

stevieray
08-19-2007, 01:41 PM
Funny how you have to denigrate the soldiers opinions to feel superior.

keep projecting instead of owning your comments...it's all you've got left.

Logical
08-19-2007, 02:08 PM
Last time I checked, NCO's follow orders.

Since you object to TJs interpretation of this statement I will give you another chance. What does this statement have to do with the article?

BucEyedPea
08-19-2007, 03:01 PM
Where's Mr.Yon when you need him?

Pitt Gorilla
08-19-2007, 03:22 PM
Last time I checked, NCO's follow orders.Can you elaborate? Your comments appear less lucid than usual.

Taco John
08-19-2007, 03:47 PM
keep projecting instead of owning your comments...it's all you've got left.


It's ironic that you charged me with not owning my comments in a discussion where you are trying to squirrel out of yours. Did you, or did you not just blow off these soldiers opinions by stating that the last time you checked, it was their job to simply take orders. I'm not projecting anything. I'm just pointing out the hole that you're digging in.

Personally, I put a lot of stock in these soldiers opinion. I think that they're giving it to us straight. I have no reason to doubt what they're saying, and I welcome their input in the national conversation regardless of whatever their opinion is.

I'm not sure what comment you are referring to that I'm supposedly not owning. But everyone can clearly see the one that you made...

6 Iron
08-19-2007, 05:51 PM
A well written article, and an important perspective. Here is a rebuttal that is also worth perusing.

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

6 Iron
08-19-2007, 06:02 PM
A couple of points:

"I wish to begin by conveying our respectful appreciation of their service, and our hopes that their Staff Sergeant Murphy will recover quickly and fully from his injury. It will surprise no one that I am going to argue against some of the conclusions they offer, but I do not wish disagreement to be read as disrespect. Their service honors our nation, as does the fact that they feel they can provide a frank assessment of their observations to the public."

and

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

Logical
08-19-2007, 06:30 PM
Can you elaborate? Your comments appear less lucid than usual.

I believe Stevie was embarrassed by his statement and has not responded to avoid it.

Ugly Duck
08-20-2007, 12:20 AM
a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force

They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

Remember them Iraqi polls? The majority already see us as occupiers:

Six in 10 Iraqis approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, up from fewer than half in an earlier PIPA poll in January.

Nearly eight in 10 say the U.S. presence in Iraq is provoking more conflict than it's preventing (as opposed to being "a stabilizing force.")

patteeu
08-20-2007, 06:25 AM
A well written article, and an important perspective. Here is a rebuttal that is also worth perusing.

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

Excellent article (which I'm sure very few will read). Thanks for posting it. :thumb:

BucEyedPea
08-20-2007, 07:14 AM
A well written article, and an important perspective. Here is a rebuttal that is also worth perusing.

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2007/08/coin-on-the-war.html
They are the mark of intentional troublemaking -- proxy warfighting -- by Iran against the United States. The planting of EFPs against American targets becomes, then, not an expression of native anti-American hatred -- a show of disgust for an occupier -- but part of a war fought by Iran to control the Iraqi state by winning control of the Shi'ites.
There's been no proof of this regarding those EFPs by Iran. There's contrary facts one being that those EFP are manufactured in Iraq. As for Iran's meddling care to mention our meddling in Iraq and for how many years? And our own meddling in Iran including using terrorism. Why can we do such things and then blame others when they do it? I even hear Mossad's involved. This is that whole imperial attitude that's the real problem and this administration is just waiting for the right pretext for regime change in Iran to do what they wanted since 1998. No different than Iraq. Propaganda.

Radar Chief
08-20-2007, 07:32 AM
There's been no proof of this regarding those EFPs by Iran. There's contrary facts one being that those EFP are manufactured in Iraq. As for Iran's meddling care to mention our meddling in Iraq and for how many years? And our own meddling in Iran including using terrorism. Why can we do such things and then blame others when they do it? I even hear Mossad's involved. This is that whole imperial attitude that's the real problem and this administration is just waiting for the right pretext for regime change in Iran to do what they wanted since 1998. No different than Iraq. Propaganda.


Were this all true, how does that change anything in what you quoted?

patteeu
08-20-2007, 07:53 AM
There's been no proof of this regarding those EFPs by Iran. There's contrary facts one being that those EFP are manufactured in Iraq. As for Iran's meddling care to mention our meddling in Iraq and for how many years? And our own meddling in Iran including using terrorism. Why can we do such things and then blame others when they do it? I even hear Mossad's involved. This is that whole imperial attitude that's the real problem and this administration is just waiting for the right pretext for regime change in Iran to do what they wanted since 1998. No different than Iraq. Propaganda.

Someone writes on bringourtroopshome.com that there isn't absolute ironclad proof that Iran is meddling in Iraq and you accept it as gospel, but you don't seem to need much proof to believe that Mossad is involved. :hmmm:

Chief Henry
08-20-2007, 08:06 AM
Since when do libs listen to soldiers. I guess
Pigs do fly !

patteeu
08-20-2007, 08:36 AM
Are you going to tell us what a bunch of defeatist pussies these guys are in either of these threads? ;)

No but it's interesting to speculate on why some people rush to post threads like this. :p

Taco John
08-20-2007, 01:00 PM
No but it's interesting to speculate on why some people rush to post threads like this. :p



Well I can tell you why I did: because I find their perspective more valuable than the white washed perspective of the Bush Administration.

the Talking Can
08-20-2007, 01:13 PM
actually, people rushed to the op-ed from war tourists O'banlon and Pullack, or whatever their tour guides called them....all over the tv news, newspapers, right wing radio...massive exposure...that thread was 5 times the size of this one...


the response to this piece is crickets...nada...nothing


....no one wants to hear from you if you aren't a McCain-Lieberman type out for a well armed spin and over-nighter in the Green Zone...

we don't do reality...

Radar Chief
08-20-2007, 01:30 PM
the response to this piece is crickets...nada...nothing

A well written article, and an important perspective. Here is a rebuttal that is also worth perusing.

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

:shrug:

chagrin
08-20-2007, 01:50 PM
Someone writes on bringourtroopshome.com that there isn't absolute ironclad proof that Iran is meddling in Iraq and you accept it as gospel, but you don't seem to need much proof to believe that Mossad is involved. :hmmm:

Why should she? A so-called centrist-conservative reserves the right to change their mind with any passing fancy.

patteeu
08-20-2007, 02:14 PM
I absolutely think that this pov should be considered when Bush and Petraeus sit down to plan next steps in Iraq. And it should be given quite a bit more weight than the opinion of seven ChiefsPlanet posters but not any more than seven engaged experts who have a better vantage point for observing the big picture.

patteeu
08-20-2007, 02:16 PM
actually, people rushed to the op-ed from war tourists O'banlon and Pullack, or whatever their tour guides called them....all over the tv news, newspapers, right wing radio...massive exposure...that thread was 5 times the size of this one...


the response to this piece is crickets...nada...nothing


....no one wants to hear from you if you aren't a McCain-Lieberman type out for a well armed spin and over-nighter in the Green Zone...

we don't do reality...

If it makes you feel any better, I tried to re-route any interested parties to your thread. ;)

|Zach|
08-20-2007, 05:13 PM
Why should she? A so-called centrist-conservative reserves the right to change their mind with any passing fancy.
And a close minded in one ear out the other conservative reserves the right to use no pragmatism. Working so hard to fit everything into a neat little box where their myopic views are held.

BucEyedPea
08-20-2007, 05:37 PM
Someone writes on bringourtroopshome.com that there isn't absolute ironclad proof that Iran is meddling in Iraq and you accept it as gospel, but you don't seem to need much proof to believe that Mossad is involved. :hmmm:
You don't know what proof I have. For one I didn't say I had proof anyways...I said I heard was all. That was from an Iraqi-American who owns Sinbad's in Minnie who went to Iraq. And of course it was posted on my 99.9% reliable antiwar website. :p That site has a better trackrecord than the Dumb-ya administration.

patteeu
08-20-2007, 06:05 PM
You don't know what proof I have. For one I didn't say I had proof anyways...I said I heard was all. That was from an Iraqi-American who owns Sinbad's in Minnie who went to Iraq. And of course it was posted on my 99.9% reliable antiwar website. :p That site has a better trackrecord than the Dumb-ya administration.

Just a minor correction: I'm not saying you said you have proof that the allegation is wrong, I'm saying you said that "there's been no proof" of the allegation. I doubt whether you know the extent of the evidence and the degree to which it proves or doesn't prove the allegations. Instead, I'm accusing you of simply accepting that counter-allegation because (a) it comes from a website or a source for which you lack a healthy level of skepticism and (b) because that website or source is telling you what you want to believe.

Neither of us are in a position to know the full truth, but unless there is a widespread conspiracy within the military to back up the allegations of the neocons in the administration or alternatively unless there is a very successful disinformation campaign aimed at that group of military officers, I think we have a substantial degree of confidence that elements within Iran are supporting anti-US factions within Iraq and that Iran's government, if not complicit at the highest levels, is not doing enough to prevent it.

BucEyedPea
08-20-2007, 06:08 PM
Just a minor correction: I'm not saying you said you have proof that the allegation is wrong, I'm saying you said that "there's been no proof" of the allegation. I doubt whether you know the extent of the evidence and the degree to which it proves or doesn't prove the allegations. Instead, I'm accusing you of simply accepting that counter-allegation because (a) it comes from a website or a source for which you lack a healthy level of skepticism and (b) because that website or source is telling you what you want to believe.
Oh well..still...that website's forewarnings all turned out to be correct.
It also has the former binLaden counterrorism chief, a CIA veteran and three others from the same writing for it now...not to mention Ritter who is knowlegeable and contrary claims by other military. Most likely it's another pretext for another war.

a1na2
08-20-2007, 06:18 PM
What does this statement have to do with the article?

Try the UCMJ and the US Code.

siberian khatru
09-12-2007, 06:46 PM
Thought you all might like to know:

Two of Seven Soldiers Who Wrote 'NYT' Op-Ed Die in Iraq


By Greg Mitchell

Published: September 12, 2007 7:25 AM ET

NEW YORK The Op-Ed by seven active duty U.S. soldiers in Iraq questioning the war drew international attention just three weeks ago. Now two of the seven are dead.

Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance T. Gray died Monday in a vehicle accident in western Baghdad, two of seven U.S. troops killed in the incident which was reported just as Gen. David Petraeus was about to report to Congress on progress in the "surge." The names have just been released.

Gen. Petraeus was questioned about the message of the op-ed in testimony before a Senate committee yesterday.

The controversial Times column on Aug. 19 was called "The War As We Saw It," and expressed skepticism about American gains in Iraq. “To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched,” the group wrote.

It closed: "We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through."

Mora, 28, hailed from Texas City, Texas, and was a native of Ecuador, who had just become a U.S. citizen. He was due to leave Iraq in November and leaves behind a wife and daughter. Gray, 26, had lived in Ismay, Montana, and is also survived by a wife and infant daughter.

The accident in Iraq occurred when a cargo truck the men were riding in overturned.

The Daily News in Galveston interviewed Mora's mother, who confirmed his death and that he was one of the co-authors of the Times piece. The article today relates: "Olga Capetillo said that by the time Mora submitted the editorial, he had grown increasingly depressed. 'I told him God is going to take care of him and take him home,' she said. 'But yesterday is the darkest day for me.'”

One of the other five authors of the Times piece, Staff Sergeant Jeremy Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head while the article was being written. He was expected to survive after being flown to a military hospital in the United States.

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003638726