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


patteeu
08-24-2007, 11:57 AM
This article is a response to "the most compelling read of the year (http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=168046)." I only post it because I suspect that Taco John, like the New York Times, won't find it "compelling" enough to publish. And by "compelling" I mean useful as anti-war propaganda.

Iraq Vets Respond
...to the New York Times seven. (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/006bzlfl.asp)
by David Bellavia, Pete Hegseth, Michael Baumann, Carl Hartmann, David Thul, Knox Nunnally, Joe Worley

ON SUNDAY, seven soldiers from the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division stationed in Iraq penned a passionate opinion piece in the New York Times that further illustrates the complexity of what is "really" happening in Iraq. Of the almost 3,000 soldiers from the Army's storied 82nd Airborne Division currently serving in the hottest of Iraqi neighborhoods, seven felt confident enough in their misgivings to sign an opinion piece. They should not be surprised that many of their comrades--including the seven undersigned here--find their work to be misguided.

The 2nd Brigade is responsible for two dangerous areas of Baghdad: Adihamiyah and Sadr City. Airborne troopers there have seen the worst al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army can throw at them and the Iraqi people. But the whole story is that the Iraqis and soldiers in their sector have not yet been fully affected by the surge of troops and operations, which have barely been in place two months.

Currently, American and Iraqi Forces are clearing sections of southern Baghdad before turning north to the 82nd Airborne's neighborhoods. As such, the portrait these soldiers painted, while surely accurate and honest, is more representative of pre-surge Baghdad: sectarian strife, lawlessness, and indiscriminate slaughter.

This is not, however, the picture elsewhere in Iraq, or even most of Baghdad. Additional American combat brigades first surged to the outlying areas around the capital, disrupting the flow of suicide bombers and car bombs and denying haven to al Qaeda.

The result? Attacks against civilians are at a six-month low and large al Qaeda-style truck and suicide bombings have dropped 50 percent in Baghdad. With additional troops and a sound strategy, the same results can occur in even the worst areas of Baghdad, including the 82nd Airborne's sector.

Take Anbar Province. In 2006, al Qaeda controlled the capital of Ramadi and Marine intelligence officers declared the province effectively lost. A leaked Marine Corps report concluded, "the prospects for securing western Anbar province are dim and there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there."

Today Ramadi is peaceful and Anbar no longer a haven for al Qaeda. The tribal awakening that brought about political reconciliation and stability in Ramadi and Anbar primarily resulted from an improved security environment provided by American forces. Americans not only cleared Ramadi, they also held it by occupying over 65 outposts.

This security environment allowed local tribal leaders to stand up to their former al Qaeda occupiers, and now American and Iraqi forces are improving security beyond Anbar in places like Diyala and Babil Provinces.

The 82nd Airborne soldiers quoted an Iraqi saying, "We need security, not free food." We could not agree more, and what American and Iraqi forces are doing now--for the first time in this war--is providing lasting security at the neighborhood level after driving insurgents out.

It's true that political reconciliation has not suited so-called "benchmarks," but political progress will only happen when the battlefield and political realities are congruent. We know that street level security is a necessary precondition for real political progress, and as such, the preconditions are finally being fulfilled. And as we've seen, Iraqi leaders--whether Sunni or Shia--will stand up for moderation and stability only when provided with a secure environment in which to do so.

We understand the frustration our fellow soldiers feel. All of us were in Iraq before the "surge" and lament never seeing a coherent, security-based counterinsurgency strategy. In truth, we were only clearing--not holding.

But we also know what's possible when even small portions of counterinsurgency strategy are applied. Insurgents are exposed, leaders stand up, and stability occurs. General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker understand the principles of counterinsurgency and are applying them up and down the chain of command. It's unfortunate that soldiers in the 82nd Airborne have not yet benefited from the new strategy, but it will ensure that their actions, and those of their fallen brethren, will not have been in vain.

Meanwhile, we applaud our brothers in the 82nd Airborne for their courage under fire, thank them for their commitment to our nation, and pray for the recovery of their injured co-author.

David Bellavia, Pete Hegseth, Michael Baumann, Carl Hartmann, David Thul, Knox Nunnally, and Joe Dan Worley all served with either the Army or Marine Corps in Iraq, and are all members of Vets for Freedom. This Op-Ed was originally submitted to the New York Times, which declined to publish it.

HonestChieffan
08-24-2007, 12:00 PM
If we claim we have won, can we come home?

patteeu
08-24-2007, 12:02 PM
If we claim we have won, can we come home?

Why not just claim we've come home?

HonestChieffan
08-24-2007, 12:27 PM
works for me. There is no way out, we need to admit it and come home

patteeu
08-24-2007, 12:29 PM
works for me. There is no way out, we need to admit it and come home

OK, rest easy, our troops are all home now, tucked safely in their own beds. :thumb:

Meanwhile, back in reality...

StcChief
08-24-2007, 02:22 PM
Why can't the anti-war folks go for fight for freedom instead of taking it for granted and bitching when
America has to stand up for it.

HolmeZz
08-24-2007, 02:27 PM
Why can't the anti-war folks go for fight for freedom instead of taking it for granted and bitching when America has to stand up for it.

Nobody's fighting for freedom in Iraq. We're babysitting at this point.

Taco John
08-24-2007, 02:30 PM
Not a bad article. Of course, these guys aren't over there, making it less compelling. The original article was from boots currently on the ground there.

In any case, the article only addresses a small portion of the reality of our situation. Nobody said that the surge isn't going to provide more security. It's the political reality of Iraq that needs to be sorted out, and that's not going to happen with the US providing them a net.

It's time to bring our troops home.

Taco John
08-24-2007, 02:31 PM
Fighting for freedom? *chuckle* Such naivety. How cute.

BucEyedPea
08-24-2007, 02:44 PM
Why can't the anti-war folks go for fight for freedom instead of taking it for granted and bitching when
America has to stand up for it.

Because we have freedom,or had. Should we work on our own?

Wars limit freedom. Never mind wars of foreign intervention on a county over 5000 miles away, with a dilapidated infrastructure, barely an army, no navy and no missile delivery system was not a threat. Not to mention leaving that bad guy in power was buffer between Iran and the rest of the ME

jettio
08-24-2007, 02:44 PM
This article is a response to "the most compelling read of the year (http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=168046)." I only post it because I suspect that Taco John, like the New York Times, won't find it "compelling" enough to publish. And by "compelling" I mean useful as anti-war propaganda.

Iraq Vets Respond
...to the New York Times seven. (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/006bzlfl.asp)
by David Bellavia, Pete Hegseth, Michael Baumann, Carl Hartmann, David Thul, Knox Nunnally, Joe Worley

ON SUNDAY, seven soldiers from the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division stationed in Iraq penned a passionate opinion piece in the New York Times that further illustrates the complexity of what is "really" happening in Iraq. Of the almost 3,000 soldiers from the Army's storied 82nd Airborne Division currently serving in the hottest of Iraqi neighborhoods, seven felt confident enough in their misgivings to sign an opinion piece. They should not be surprised that many of their comrades--including the seven undersigned here--find their work to be misguided.

The 2nd Brigade is responsible for two dangerous areas of Baghdad: Adihamiyah and Sadr City. Airborne troopers there have seen the worst al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army can throw at them and the Iraqi people. But the whole story is that the Iraqis and soldiers in their sector have not yet been fully affected by the surge of troops and operations, which have barely been in place two months.

Currently, American and Iraqi Forces are clearing sections of southern Baghdad before turning north to the 82nd Airborne's neighborhoods. As such, the portrait these soldiers painted, while surely accurate and honest, is more representative of pre-surge Baghdad: sectarian strife, lawlessness, and indiscriminate slaughter.

This is not, however, the picture elsewhere in Iraq, or even most of Baghdad. Additional American combat brigades first surged to the outlying areas around the capital, disrupting the flow of suicide bombers and car bombs and denying haven to al Qaeda.

The result? Attacks against civilians are at a six-month low and large al Qaeda-style truck and suicide bombings have dropped 50 percent in Baghdad. With additional troops and a sound strategy, the same results can occur in even the worst areas of Baghdad, including the 82nd Airborne's sector.

Take Anbar Province. In 2006, al Qaeda controlled the capital of Ramadi and Marine intelligence officers declared the province effectively lost. A leaked Marine Corps report concluded, "the prospects for securing western Anbar province are dim and there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there."

Today Ramadi is peaceful and Anbar no longer a haven for al Qaeda. The tribal awakening that brought about political reconciliation and stability in Ramadi and Anbar primarily resulted from an improved security environment provided by American forces. Americans not only cleared Ramadi, they also held it by occupying over 65 outposts.

This security environment allowed local tribal leaders to stand up to their former al Qaeda occupiers, and now American and Iraqi forces are improving security beyond Anbar in places like Diyala and Babil Provinces.

The 82nd Airborne soldiers quoted an Iraqi saying, "We need security, not free food." We could not agree more, and what American and Iraqi forces are doing now--for the first time in this war--is providing lasting security at the neighborhood level after driving insurgents out.

It's true that political reconciliation has not suited so-called "benchmarks," but political progress will only happen when the battlefield and political realities are congruent. We know that street level security is a necessary precondition for real political progress, and as such, the preconditions are finally being fulfilled. And as we've seen, Iraqi leaders--whether Sunni or Shia--will stand up for moderation and stability only when provided with a secure environment in which to do so.

We understand the frustration our fellow soldiers feel. All of us were in Iraq before the "surge" and lament never seeing a coherent, security-based counterinsurgency strategy. In truth, we were only clearing--not holding.

But we also know what's possible when even small portions of counterinsurgency strategy are applied. Insurgents are exposed, leaders stand up, and stability occurs. General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker understand the principles of counterinsurgency and are applying them up and down the chain of command. It's unfortunate that soldiers in the 82nd Airborne have not yet benefited from the new strategy, but it will ensure that their actions, and those of their fallen brethren, will not have been in vain.

Meanwhile, we applaud our brothers in the 82nd Airborne for their courage under fire, thank them for their commitment to our nation, and pray for the recovery of their injured co-author.

David Bellavia, Pete Hegseth, Michael Baumann, Carl Hartmann, David Thul, Knox Nunnally, and Joe Dan Worley all served with either the Army or Marine Corps in Iraq, and are all members of Vets for Freedom. This Op-Ed was originally submitted to the New York Times, which declined to publish it.

Are these guys saying that B*sh and Cheney ought to resign because it took them two :o) :o) 4 years to implement a counterinsurgency strategy?

Taco John
08-24-2007, 02:50 PM
Ah weesh pehpol would jest love baby Jesus and the flag...

patteeu
08-24-2007, 03:02 PM
Because we have freedom,or had. Should we work on our own?

Wars limit freedom.

Did the revolutionary war limit freedom? I don't think we have any reason to apologize for trying to limit the freedom of islamist radicals.

Taco John
08-24-2007, 03:07 PM
Did the revolutionary war limit freedom? I don't think we have any reason to apologize for trying to limit the freedom of islamist radicals.



A key difference between the revolutionary war, and this war, is that our own people sparked the revolutionary war. And that's not a trivial difference.

patteeu
08-24-2007, 03:18 PM
A key difference between the revolutionary war, and this war, is that our own people sparked the revolutionary war. And that's not a trivial difference.

Is it your contention that our founding fathers weren't provoked by such things as taxation without representation and British colonial rule?

Taco John
08-24-2007, 04:00 PM
Is it your contention that our founding fathers weren't provoked by such things as taxation without representation and British colonial rule?


What? I'm straining how you ciphered that out of what I said?

You said that we shouldn't apologize for limiting freedom in Iraq, and that our own founders limited the people's freedom in the Revolutionary war.

I said the key difference is it was our own countrymen doing the limiting of freedom, not an outside, occupying force.

Then you somehow read into it that I said our founding fathers weren't provoked by such things as taxation without representation and British colonial rule.

I guess my only logical response to that would be: Are you telling me that George Washington didn't own any dogs?

patteeu
08-24-2007, 06:07 PM
What? I'm straining how you ciphered that out of what I said?

You said that we shouldn't apologize for limiting freedom in Iraq, and that our own founders limited the people's freedom in the Revolutionary war.

Nah. What I was trying to say was that if war necessarily limits freedom like BEP suggests then I wonder how she views the revolutionary war. (Maybe you should address your statement about our founders limiting people's freedom to her.)

Regardless of whether she's right about war limiting freedom, I don't think we have to apologize for limiting the freedom of radical islamists (such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who has had his freedom ultimately limited).

I said the key difference is it was our own countrymen doing the limiting of freedom, not an outside, occupying force.

Then you somehow read into it that I said our founding fathers weren't provoked by such things as taxation without representation and British colonial rule.

I guess my only logical response to that would be: Are you telling me that George Washington didn't own any dogs?

I don't understand why you think that's a difference. In both cases, Americans are fighting for freedom against an enemy that has provoked us. I guess I don't see any key difference here.

Bonus: According to this website (http://citizenlunchbox.com/famous/petdogs.html), George Washington had dogs named Captain, Forester, Lady Rover, Mopsey, Searcher, Sweetlips, Taster, Tipler, and Vulcan.

Logical
08-24-2007, 06:56 PM
So with 160,000 troops indefinitely and $300 billion a year forever, we can continue the march toward eternal peace.

Hallellujah and let us sing for joy.

the Talking Can
08-24-2007, 07:02 PM
hi, patteau

Thanks for posting this devastating indictment of Bush’s handling of the War. As the authors make clear, Bush has mishandled this from the very beginning. Think of how many lives are lost to the incompetence cited in this article.

And, since you're vouching for the facts in the article, could you source their stats for me? Just the link you have would suffice.

You might also help me out, because I'm not sure what exactly "large al Qaeda-style truck and suicide bombings have dropped 50 percent in Baghdad" means? What is the technical distinction between "large" and "small" here?

I ask because according to Micheal E. O'Hanlon and Jason H. Campell (both of the conservative Brookings Institute), as found in their latest "Iraq Index" released on Aug. 23, 2007, the data for “Car Bombs In Iraq” doesn't exist. I'll provide their exact note found on page 21 of this report. (http://www3.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)

NOTE ON CAR BOMBS IN IRAQ CHART: Because we are no longer receiving useful data on the number of car bombs in Iraq,
this table will be discontinued.

The only other verifiable statistic presented in the article is this: "Attacks against civilians are at a six-month low." I presume they mean in Baghdad? Or all of Iraq?

The Iraqi government stopped reporting stats on civilian deaths in Iraq. I was also under the (possibly mistaken) impression that the US military did not collect data on civilian deaths. I mention this because obviously there would be a discernable correlation between “attacks” and “deaths.” A quick google confirms that the military does not keep records of Civilian deaths:
At a press briefing in Baghdad on August 4, 2003, U.S. military spokesman Col. Guy Shields said there was “no accurate way” to keep a record:
Well, we do not keep records, and there—it—for the simple reasons that there’s really no accurate way. There’s times when we have conducted operations, and we’re pretty certain that there are casualties, and we’ll go back and check. And there’s nobody there. So that’s just—we do not keep records like that.3
In response to a Human Rights Watch request for information about civilian casualties, the coalition’s press office sent this reply:
It is tragic that civilians have died as a result of our operations and we are fully aware that every time a civilian is caught in the line of coalition fire, we potentially lose allies among the Iraqi population. In terms of statistics, we have no definitive estimates of civilian casualties for the overall campaign. It would be irresponsible to give firm estimates given the wide range of variables. For example, we have had cases where during a conflict, we believed civilians had been wounded and perhaps killed, but by the time our forces have a chance to fully assess the outcomes of the contact, the wounded or dead civilians have been removed from the scene. Factors such as this make it impossible for us to maintain an accurate account.
http://hrw.org/reports/2003/iraq1003/3.htm#_ftn3

As I can not locate the statistic they provide, and, since you are testifying to its accuracy, could you source their claim?

The only data I can find for attacks is for all of Iraq. According to O'Hanlon and Campell, their data for "Enemy Initiated Attacks Against the Coalition and Its Partners" - as found on page 8 of their report (http://www3.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf) does not seperate stats for attacks on Iraqi Officials and Iraqi Civilians:

NOTE ON ENEMY-INITIATED ATTACKS TABLE: The data for 2006 and 2007 does not separate attacks against Iraqi government
officials from attacks against Iraqi civilians.

And furthermore, the lowest # of attacks on record - counting back 6 months from August - is between 800-1000(!) per month. The number of attacks on the Coalition has been steady at almost 3,500 a month since Sept. of 06. Though this not restricted to Baghdad, are these numbers too a measure of success?

I would also point out that their chart on Iraqi Civilian Deaths (page 22) only provides data through October of 2006. They have no data from 2007. This is anther reason it is so important that you provide your sources. You could help us and the Brookings Institute by providing your up-to-date data.

Any informed citizen, such as yourself, who was claiming the success of the Surge as a fact beyond dispute would obviously want to know (and, of course, would already know) who was collecting this data, and how, and where it was available. It would help all of us have an honest and frank discussion if you could reach into the "favorites" of you web browser and provide us the links.

As one Real Patriot to another, I thank you.

Logical
08-24-2007, 07:06 PM
hi, patteau

Thanks for posting this devastating indictment of Bush’s handling of the War. As the authors make clear, Bush has mishandled this from the very beginning. Think of how many lives are lost to the incompetence cited in this article.

And, since you're vouching for the facts in the article, could you source their stats for me? Just the link you have would suffice.

You might also help me out, because I'm not sure what exactly "large al Qaeda-style truck and suicide bombings have dropped 50 percent in Baghdad" means? What is the technical distinction between "large" and "small" here?

I ask because according to Micheal E. O'Hanlon and Jason H. Campell (both of the conservative Brookings Institute), as found in their latest "Iraq Index" released on Aug. 23, 2007, the data for “Car Bombs In Iraq” doesn't exist. I'll provide their exact note found on page 21 of this report. (http://www3.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf)



The only other verifiable statistic presented in the article is this: "Attacks against civilians are at a six-month low." I presume they mean in Baghdad? Or all of Iraq?

The Iraqi government stopped reporting stats on civilian deaths in Iraq. I was also under the (possibly mistaken) impression that the US military did not collect data on civilian deaths. I mention this because obviously there would be a discernable correlation between “attacks” and “deaths.” A quick google confirms that the military does not keep records of Civilian deaths:

http://hrw.org/reports/2003/iraq1003/3.htm#_ftn3

As I can not locate the statistic they provide, and, since you are testifying to its accuracy, could you source their claim?

The only data I can find for attacks is for all of Iraq. According to O'Hanlon and Campell, their data for "Enemy Initiated Attacks Against the Coalition and Its Partners" - as found on page 8 of their report (http://www3.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf) does not seperate stats for attacks on Iraqi Officials and Iraqi Civilians:



And furthermore, the lowest # of attacks on record - counting back 6 months from August - is between 800-1000(!) per month. The number of attacks on the Coalition has been steady at almost 3,500 a month since Sept. of 06. Though this not restricted to Baghdad, are these numbers too a measure of success?

I would also point out that their chart on Iraqi Civilian Deaths (page 22) only provides data through October of 2006. They have no data from 2007. This is anther reason it is so important that you provide your sources. You could help us and the Brookings Institute by providing your up-to-date data.

Any informed citizen, such as yourself, who was claiming the success of the Surge as a fact beyond dispute would obviously want to know (and, of course, would already know) who was collecting this data, and how, and where it was available. It would help all of us have an honest and frank discussion if you could reach into the "favorites" of you web browser and provide us the links.

As one Real Patriot to another, I thank you.

Outstanding rebuttal Mr. the Talking Can...:clap:

Rep

patteeu
08-24-2007, 07:43 PM
hi, patteau

Hi Mr Con,

I ask because according to Micheal E. O'Hanlon and Jason H. Campell (both of the conservative Brookings Institute)

What makes Brookings a "conservative" institute IYO? They claim to be nonpartisan although most consider them progressive, afaict. Perhaps you've merely mistyped. Perhaps you're just so far left that they appear to be conservative from your pov. Or perhaps you're just making it up. :shrug:

And, since you're vouching for the facts in the article, could you source their stats for me?

I'm vouching for the fact that this article appears at the other end of the link I provided. It's up to you to believe or disbelieve their statistical claims or, to try to contact the authors if you're curious where they came up with their data. I'm sure you'll be at least as willing to be persuaded by any proof they offer as you've been in the past when I've refuted your false claims including those suggesting that George W. Bush lied us into war, that Karl Rove illegally outed an undercover CIA operative and on and on.

I would point out to you that these Iraq vets never claimed to have obtained their statistics from Brookings so the fact that the Iraq Index doesn't contain the data you seek doesn't surprise me all that much. Personally, I'd be pretty shocked to find out that our military doesn't keep track of how many car and truck bombs are detonated in the parts of Iraq under their control and I find it equally shocking that you would assume that the inability of Brookings to get good data indicates otherwise. But of course that doesn't necessarily mean that these 7 soldiers have access to that data so again I suggest you attempt to contact them.

I'm seriously impressed by your interest in this matter. I'd begun to think you'd already made up your mind on Iraq and had little use for new information about the consequences of the surge, good or bad, but I can see now that you remain inquisitive and open minded. It's been a pleasure discussing this with you. Let me know if there's anything else I can do to help you understand the things you read here. :thumb:

patteeu
08-24-2007, 07:45 PM
Outstanding rebuttal

He raised some good questions, but it's hardly a rebuttal. It's not like his inability to find verification of their statistics disproves them.

StcChief
08-24-2007, 07:54 PM
David Bellavia, Pete Hegseth, Michael Baumann, Carl Hartmann, David Thul, Knox Nunnally, and Joe Dan Worley all served with either the Army or Marine Corps in Iraq, and are all members of Vets for Freedom. This Op-Ed was originally submitted to the New York Times, which declined to publish it. That says as much about the validity as anything.

Taco John
08-24-2007, 08:12 PM
I don't understand why you think that's a difference. In both cases, Americans are fighting for freedom against an enemy that has provoked us. I guess I don't see any key difference here.

Huh? Iraq didn't provoke us. They were pretty much inert. We had them contained.

patteeu
08-24-2007, 08:18 PM
Dear tTC,

Based on this editorial from Ralph Peters, it sounds like those 7 soldiers may have gotten some of their data from the office of General Petraeus. :shrug:

IRAQ'S RE-LIBERATION (http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/08222007/postopinion/opedcolumnists/iraqs_re_liberation.htm)

By RALPH PETERS

August 22, 2007 -- GEN. David Petraeus' Baghdad office reflects the man: It's spartan. There are no giant flat-screen TVs or I- love-me photos on the walls. There's no spectacular view, just no-nonsense wall maps of the city and the country.

It may be the least ostentatious four-star general's office in history. There's a representational office elsewhere, but this is where the general runs his war - when he's in an office: He often makes two or three grueling "battlefield circulation" trips around the country in a week.

In a session with The Post yesterday, Petraeus stressed that he wasn't going to offer any premature declarations of victory. Far from it. Despite meaningful and measurable progress since he assumed command earlier this year, Iraq remains a brutally difficult place.

But it's a better place than it was a year ago, with violence reduced by half in Baghdad. Long the deadly base of al Qaeda in Iraq, Anbar province has gone from hundreds of daily attempted attacks on our troops to four earlier this week. Iraqis assume ever more responsibility for their own security. And former enemies are rallying to fight beside us, instead of against us.

How did the general and the troops under his command achieve such rapid progress? He lays out a model: "The Re-Liberation of Iraq," this time from a new wave of oppressors, the terrorists, insurgents and militias.

Petraeus acknowledges the errors made in the early occupation years, stressing, above all, the failure to provide security for the population. We cleaned out the violent actors from one city after another, but failed to stay and set the conditions for political and economic progress. When we left, the bad guys came back - and killed anybody who had cooperated with us.

Now, through the efficient use of American troops and a greatly increased employment of Iraqi forces, we're taking an approach that allows for fighting fiercely when necessary, but which looks beyond the gunfights.

As one example, the general points out that, "When we took down Baquba this time, we had a post-operations plan in place."

It's critical to involve the local people immediately and enduringly in shaping long-term outcomes. Petraeus recognizes that there's no one-size-fits-all solution for a country as complex as Iraq, but a series of common emphases have been working well thus far:

* Coalition forces went on the offensive - and sustained the pressure. This time around, al Qaeda and our other enemies didn't get their accustomed break between rounds. And al Qaeda's own arrogance and over-reaching, from targeting popular local sheikhs to destroying commerce all along the Euphrates River Valley, gave the general a timely card to play.

* Taking advantage of Sunni-Arab disillusionment with al Qaeda, Petraeus moved swiftly to present our renewed efforts as a far more attractive option than the terrorists.

* And post-combat operations are now Iraqi-centric, not futile attempts to turn Iraqis into Americans. "Involve the local people," the general states, laying down a non-negotiable rule. "Instead of firing, we're hiring locals" and putting them to work, he stressed. While providing dependable security is fundamental, it's not enough. Economic issues can be fundamental. And the people need the services only a central government can deliver - while the new approach empowers local government, it avoids doing so at the expense of fatally weakening the Baghdad authorities.

Instead of backing mammoth, hyper-expensive construction projects designed in Washington, our new approach prods Iraqis to fix their existing infrastructure. Iraq's utilities won't be state-of-the-art, but they're beginning to work again: Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it took a profound change of mindset for us to get there.

Nor will Iraqi democracy mimic our own. Petraeus works systematically with Iraq's time-honored social structures, exploiting the levels of trust and control already in place. Instead of trying to replace tribal leaders with out-of-towners, we now focus on developing mutually supporting relationships between respected local authority figures and the feds from Baghdad.

The general's recognition that locally recruited security forces have the immediate trust of the local population has been critical to the entire effort. Even with the surge, we lacked the forces to do it all ourselves. Petraeus recognized that, yes, all politics is local - and so is security. So he pushed hard for reconciliation programs to engage former enemies who now want to work with us to drive out al Qaeda.

Meeting rebellious Sunni Arabs halfway is yielding impressive successes. For just one example among many, 1,700 fighters who belong to a former insurgent group have been vetted and brought on board to serve their community in Abu Ghraib, just west of Baghdad. And no, contrary to media myths, we are not arming our former enemies. Iraqi tribes already have all the weapons they need. The issue is which way those guns are pointed - and they're now aimed at our mutual enemies.

Could things go wrong down the road? Things can always go wrong. But when your former enemies are killing your worst enemies, it sounds like a pretty good deal.

Also, instead of massing behind the walls of large bases, our troops now live and serve beside their Iraqi counterparts, giving us a deeper understanding of the Iraqi way of doing things, of the opaque-to-outsiders fault lines in the population. Petraeus acknowledges that we're doing things today that should've been done four years ago. The learning curve was steep.

And myths abound. Contrary to a common misperception, tactical commanders didn't have adequate funds they could disperse early on - and, in Iraq, money does buy loyalty. Funds to jump-start local economies and employ young men are vital to inhibiting insurgent recruitment. Multiple tours in Iraq have convinced Petraeus that "Money is a weapon." Not every project we're providing with seed money now will meet OSHA standards - but this is Iraq, not Connecticut.

From working with tribal leaders to investing time and money at street- level, it's essential to "understand the Iraqi style" of doing things. It's counterinsurgency judo: working with the weight of tradition, instead of fighting a losing battle against it.

The general recognizes that political progress at the top in Iraq may lag as an indicator, but local initiatives look like the key to national success. He believes that, in this case, the politicians will eventually follow the people - who genuinely want better lives, not more bickering and butchery.

What will be the test of a worthy Iraqi government to Gen. Petraeus? "A government representative of and responsive to the people . . . at all levels."

Can Iraq get there, after all its recent travails and struggling under the weight of history? Petraeus insists that "we're realistic." He believes that Iraq has a fighting chance. But he refuses to predict miracles.

That said, the general himself looks like the miracle Iraq needed. If that country ultimately fails - if Iraqis fail themselves - it won't be the fault of David Petraeus and our men and women in uniform.

patteeu
08-24-2007, 08:20 PM
Huh? Iraq didn't provoke us. They were pretty much inert. We had them contained.

We aren't fighting Iraq anymore. Saddam did provoke us but he's gone. Now we're back in the business of fighting non-governmental islamists like those who provided cover for the inside job at the WTC.

Logical
08-24-2007, 08:21 PM
He raised some good questions, but it's hardly a rebuttal. It's not like his inability to find verification of their statistics disproves them.
Actually it is exactly a rebuttal. People around here don't seem to understand that a rebuttal is raising questions about an opinion offered by someone else. You do not have to prove another opinion wrong to offer a rebuttal only refute that opinion. At least in debates.

If you check the synonym for rebut it is refute.

patteeu
08-24-2007, 08:41 PM
Actually it is exactly a rebuttal. People around here don't seem to understand that a rebuttal is raising questions about an opinion offered by someone else. You do not have to prove another opinion wrong to offer a rebuttal only refute that opinion. At least in debates.

If you check the synonym for rebut it is refute.

After looking up both words, it appears that they can be used either way. If you meant that he raised questions about some of the facts cited in the article, I agree. If you meant instead that he disproved anything in the article, I don't. Thanks for the vocabulary expansion.

Logical
08-24-2007, 08:56 PM
After looking up both words, it appears that they can be used either way. If you meant that he raised questions about some of the facts cited in the article, I agree. If you meant instead that he disproved anything in the article, I don't. Thanks for the vocabulary expansion.

I thought he did an outstanding job of raising legitimate questions about the data when evidently it is no longer being collected. If you can show the data is still being collected and cite it then you would probably be doing us all a service.

patteeu
08-24-2007, 09:21 PM
I thought he did an outstanding job of raising legitimate questions about the data when evidently it is no longer being collected. If you can show the data is still being collected and cite it then you would probably be doing us all a service.

Do you honestly believe that no one is keeping track of large scale car/truck bombings? I can believe that they may not supply it to the public, but it's inconceivable to me that they aren't paying attention to it. For goodness sake, you can probably get that kind of information from reading the newspapers.

You must really be cynical if you believe that we are too incompetent to keep track of this kind of data for purposes of understanding whether our operations are having an impact.

But since you seem fairly easily impressed, I'll "rebut" his "rebuttal." Can he independently verify that Brookings is "no longer receiving useful data on the number of car bombs in Iraq?" They make that claim in the note he quoted, but since he's vouching for them, maybe he can provide us with a link to evidence that it's true. And even if it's true, why should the fact that Brookings doesn't have data on car bombs lead us to believe that no one does? And why should a statement by Col. Guy Shields indicating that the military doesn't keep accurate statistics about how many civilians we kill have any relevance to whether or not they keep statistics about how many civilian attacks the insurgents make? It seems like the Talking Con does a lot of apples and oranges juggling in his "rebuttal."

the Talking Can
08-24-2007, 09:30 PM
Dear tTC,

Based on this editorial from Ralph Peters, it sounds like those 7 soldiers may have gotten some of their data from the office of General Petraeus. :shrug:

IRAQ'S RE-LIBERATION (http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/08222007/postopinion/opedcolumnists/iraqs_re_liberation.htm)

By RALPH PETERS

August 22, 2007 -- GEN. David Petraeus' Baghdad office reflects the man: It's spartan. There are no giant flat-screen TVs or I- love-me photos on the walls. There's no spectacular view, just no-nonsense wall maps of the city and the country.

It may be the least ostentatious four-star general's office in history. There's a representational office elsewhere, but this is where the general runs his war - when he's in an office: He often makes two or three grueling "battlefield circulation" trips around the country in a week.

In a session with The Post yesterday, Petraeus stressed that he wasn't going to offer any premature declarations of victory. Far from it. Despite meaningful and measurable progress since he assumed command earlier this year, Iraq remains a brutally difficult place.

But it's a better place than it was a year ago, with violence reduced by half in Baghdad. Long the deadly base of al Qaeda in Iraq, Anbar province has gone from hundreds of daily attempted attacks on our troops to four earlier this week. Iraqis assume ever more responsibility for their own security. And former enemies are rallying to fight beside us, instead of against us....


Yeah, that's even more vague than the first article. I'd assume they'd reference Petraeus if that was the source. But since the White House, and not Petraeus, is writing the report, I doubt they got it from him.

It amazes after all this time that basic fact checking just gets ignored. Even an editorial should reference its primary sources.

My question remains: Can any of the people loudly and frequently declaring the Surge a success provide the source for their claims?

The answer on this board is a resounding "No."

patteeu
08-24-2007, 09:37 PM
Yeah, that's even more vague than the first article. I'd assume they'd reference Petraeus if that was the source. But since the White House, and not Petraeus, is writing the report, I doubt they got it from him.

It amazes after all this time that basic fact checking just gets ignored. Even an editorial should reference its primary sources.

My question remains: Can any of the people loudly and frequently declaring the Surge a success provide the source for their claims?

The answer on this board is a resounding "No."

Any explanation for why you tried to pass off a statement by the military about not keeping statistics about civilians killed in US operations as somehow relevant to the statistic about civilian attacks by insurgents or are we going to just move on and ignore the sleight of hand?

Logical
08-24-2007, 10:17 PM
Any explanation for why you tried to pass off a statement by the military about not keeping statistics about civilians killed in US operations as somehow relevant to the statistic about civilian attacks by insurgents or are we going to just move on and ignore the sleight of hand?

Did I miss something, did you cite some actual statistics the Army has published? I admit I may have.

patteeu
08-24-2007, 10:21 PM
Did I miss something, did you cite some actual statistics the Army has published? I admit I may have.

No, I'm criticizing some of the nonsense in his "rebuttal".

Logical
08-24-2007, 10:24 PM
No, I'm criticizing some of the nonsense in his "rebuttal".

OK, seriously I sense you are becoming frustrated.

the Talking Can
08-24-2007, 10:26 PM
What's even more amazing is that if you really look at O'Hanlon's stats - and obviously no one has - they don't support his war-tourist take that things are peachy in Iraq. The level and scope of violence he documents is breath taking. That Bush has the cojones to tell us it is proof of his success as a leader is well, nauseating.

Here's another angle on the Republican "The Surge is a success no matter what the facts say" spin:


funny what you can do with stats (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2007_08/011931.php)

patteeu
08-24-2007, 10:33 PM
OK, seriously I sense you are becoming frustrated.

Not at all, why would you think that? I just saw that he'd posted in the thread and I wanted to give him a chance to respond if he could, just in case he didn't read my longer reply to you which contained the same criticism.

the Talking Can
08-24-2007, 10:36 PM
Any explanation for why you tried to pass off a statement by the military about not keeping statistics about civilians killed in US operations as somehow relevant to the statistic about civilian attacks by insurgents or are we going to just move on and ignore the sleight of hand?

Uh, did you even read what I wrote?

I mention this because obviously there would be a discernable correlation between “attacks” and “deaths.”


I don't know how I can say that with any more clarity.

I could find no stats to support their claim about "civilian attacks." So, I thought if I could find stats on civilian deaths I might be able to at least find a "ball park" correlation to substantiate their claims.

I then asked you to provide the information that you were personally vouching for. But you didn't. Because you can't.

You can't answer any of my questions because you don't have any actual information to support your claims. You are a fraud, in short.

And it is clear as day for anyone to see.

patteeu
08-24-2007, 10:59 PM
Uh, did you even read what I wrote?




I don't know how I can say that with any more clarity.

I could find no stats to support their claim about "civilian attacks." So, I thought if I could find stats on civilian deaths I might be able to at least find a "ball park" correlation to substantiate their claims.

I did indeed. I read it closely enough to not only notice the acknowledged mismatch between "civilian attacks" and "civilian deaths" but also (and more importantly) to notice that the statement you provided regarding civilian deaths was about civilian deaths caused by coalition operations. It tells us nothing about whether the military keeps statistics on civilian attacks or civilian deaths as a result of insurgent attacks.

I then asked you to provide the information that you were personally vouching for. But you didn't. Because you can't.

You can't answer any of my questions because you don't have any actual information to support your claims.

And it is clear as day for anyone to see. You are a fraud, in short.

And now it's my turn to ask the question. Did you even read what I wrote? How you can come to the conclusion that I have somehow "personally vouch[ed]" for the statistics in the article that I posted escapes me. But then, given your lack of honesty (or at least your failure of due diligence) with respect to the issue discussed above, maybe I'm expecting too much from you to expect my posts to be characterized accurately. :shrug:

One of us made two false assertions here and it wasn't me. I don't know whether you are a fraud or if it was just carelessness.

Calcountry
08-25-2007, 05:28 PM
If we claim we have won, can we come home?If our Military is successful, will the Democrats maintain power?