Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Cut and Run? You Bet.
May 2, 2006 5:14 AM   Subscribe

Cut and Run? You Bet. A former general explains why he thinks the arguments for staying don't fly. Personally, I think leaving Iraq without disarming militias would be a disaster.
posted by js003 (42 comments total)

 
yep. How exactly do you tell a dead soldier's family that he/she was the last to die for a mistake?
posted by stevejensen at 5:34 AM on May 2, 2006


The US still have thousands of soldiers in Germany and Japan 50 years after the end of WWII. And both those countries have no oil.

Why would anybody think that the occupation of Irak would last a second less than the time to pump it dry?
posted by bru at 5:50 AM on May 2, 2006


How exactly do you tell a dead soldier's family that he/she was the last to die for a mistake?

Great logic. Far better not to acknowledge the mistake and let people keep on dying.
posted by biffa at 5:53 AM on May 2, 2006


I'd really like to hear about some long-term planning from the US strategic command; the last I heard there were still plans for fourteen massive, fortress-like bases.
I know there is an American embassy being built which has been compared to some of Saddam's own palaces with regards to defensibility and isolation, but what about those other buildings?

And even if the troops should withdraw, will there still be an American "police force" or other security detail to guard, say, the valuable oil infrastructure? I'm not saying that this was a war for oil, but the pumping and refining stations would probably be the most attractive targets in terms of potential monetary damage, and also those that would hurt the Americans most if attacked.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 6:10 AM on May 2, 2006


How exactly do you tell a dead soldier's family that he/she was the last to die for a mistake?

preferably in the form of a suicide note. "Do the honorable thing" and all that.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:10 AM on May 2, 2006


“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam -– How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

-- John Kerry in his 1971 appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

This is not a pro-war quote. I assume stevejensen was not using it in a pro-war fashion.
posted by jellicle at 6:11 AM on May 2, 2006


What is the point of disarming the militias? They'll just re-arm five minutes after our troops leave.
posted by lordrunningclam at 6:13 AM on May 2, 2006


exactly, lordrunningclam. Resupply would be no problem.

By now, we should be giving up the vain hope that the U.S. can bridge the ethnic and political tensions among Iraqi factions and achieve success. Every day we're there, we make it worse.

That was a very commonsensical and astute essay.
posted by Miko at 6:17 AM on May 2, 2006


A devil's advocate might point out that the militias will rearm even if our troops are still there.
posted by selfnoise at 6:19 AM on May 2, 2006


we can't even disarm the insurgents, can we? ... the militias will not disarm ... if we attempt it, they'll fight

it's already a disaster for iraq ... the general's article nailed it
posted by pyramid termite at 6:22 AM on May 2, 2006


If it was possible to disarm 25 million Iraqis, the U.S. would have done it already. It is not. The original poster might as well say that leaving Iraq without giving everyone a unicorn would be a disaster.
posted by jellicle at 6:26 AM on May 2, 2006


If it was possible to disarm 25 million Iraqis, the U.S. would have done it already. It is not.

Of course it is... I mean, the NRA and American militias say all the time that the government is going to take all of our guns away. Clearly our government actually has the power to do that. Gun nuts wouldn't lie... would they?

We just need to send the government to Iraq. Then they'll take all their guns away. Freedom!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:29 AM on May 2, 2006


Merits of Partitioning Iraq or Allowing Civil War Weighed:
As the U.S. military struggles against persistent sectarian violence in Iraq, military officers and security experts find themselves in a vigorous debate over an idea that just months ago was largely dismissed as a fringe thought: that the surest -- and perhaps now the only -- way to bring stability to Iraq is to divide the country into three pieces.
...
One specialist on the Iraqi insurgency, Ahmed S. Hashim, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College who has served two tours in Iraq as a reservist, contends in a new book that the U.S. government's options in Iraq are closing to just two: Let a civil war occur, or avoid that wrenching outcome through some sort of partition.
Militias steal new recruits with better pay and perks:
Soon after he graduated near the top of his class at the American-run police academy, Alah defected. He did not bother to inform his superiors. The young Iraqi police officer simply walked into a recruitment office in a rundown neighbourhood of Baghdad and signed on for the Mahdi Army, the private militia run by the radical young cleric Moqtada al-Sadr that has been blamed for some of the most savage atrocities in this city in recent weeks.

The 23-year-old absconder described it as "a career move". The pay was better, the duties less onerous and there was far less chance of being killed.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:41 AM on May 2, 2006


Why do so many retired military officers hate America? :-)
posted by nofundy at 7:24 AM on May 2, 2006


I am not sure why we must be the ones to disarm militias in what is now a new "democracy," with an election held etc. It wshould be pointed out that oil prices three years before now, at the time of the invasion, was much less than it is now, and that much less oil is being pumped out of the ground that there was before the invasion--and yet the oil was to pay the costs of the war. That said, are we or are we not building permanent bases in Iraq? Can anyone give an anser to this with supporting evidence?
posted by Postroad at 7:24 AM on May 2, 2006



The US still have thousands of soldiers in Germany and Japan 50 years after the end of WWII.


...as a result of a war in which the US was a victor. Once more, the better analogy would be Vietnam.
posted by pompomtom at 7:30 AM on May 2, 2006


No, better analogy would be Germany, which wasn't rebuilt in a day. Or three years.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:32 AM on May 2, 2006


Personally, I think you ought to leave your personal opinions out of the FPP itself. At the very least save it for a comment inside.
posted by caddis at 7:33 AM on May 2, 2006


leaving Iraq without giving everyone a unicorn would be a disaster.
posted by jellicle at 6:26 AM PST on May 2 [!]



Yes. Unicorns PRODUCE gas like cows and use less water than a camel. So Iraq could use a few more Unicorns.


as a result of a war in which the US was a victor.
posted by pompomtom at 7:30 AM PST on May 2 [!]


US Oil was the reason for the win. Without the Texas Railroad Commission and the oil controlled, there would have been no victory.

And when you look at the world through the lens of energy, WWI has roots in a lack of fertilizer.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:37 AM on May 2, 2006



The US still have thousands of soldiers in Germany and Japan 50 years after the end of WWII.


We had negotiated a surrender with those nations.
Just who would we be able to negotiate a surrender with in Iraq? No one has that much clout.
We were fighting uniformed armies in those wars, not every single civilian.
posted by Balisong at 7:37 AM on May 2, 2006


How exactly do you tell a dead soldier's family that he/she was the last to die for a mistake?

Well someone has to be...
posted by Artw at 7:44 AM on May 2, 2006


Personally, I give more credence to the general than to the bureaucrat trying to salvage his personal failure:
David C. Gompert is a senior fellow at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization. He served as senior adviser for national security and defense for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, during which time he negotiated the agreement to dissolve the militias.
posted by taosbat at 7:45 AM on May 2, 2006


Personally, I think leaving Iraq without disarming militias would be a disaster.

Well, you're in a bit of a trap then. Because it WILL be a disaster, and a bigger one the longer you stay there, and the whole "disarming militias" thing ain't going to happen. Basically when you leave Iraq will be a disaster regardless of how long you stick it out.
posted by Artw at 7:46 AM on May 2, 2006


Paris, I couldn't agree more. But planning (and paying) for a 50 year occupation is not something that would be (or will be) popular. Sucks to be the republicans.
posted by zpousman at 7:47 AM on May 2, 2006


I don't understand the argument that setting a withdrawal deadline will damage the morale of U.S. troops. This isn't the Special Olympics, fer chrissake! The morale and self esteem of soldiers is most certainly not a higher priority than halting the death and destruction we are causing by remaining in this unwinnable "war."
posted by leftcoastbob at 7:55 AM on May 2, 2006


No, better analogy would be Germany, which wasn't rebuilt in a day. Or three years.

No, it was just split in between conflicting factions that then spent the next half-century almost exterminating each other with weapons of mass destruction.

Oh. Yeah. MUCH better analogy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:00 AM on May 2, 2006


No, better analogy would be Germany, which wasn't rebuilt in a day. Or three years.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:32 AM PST on May 2 [!]


Guess I missed the part of history classes where the Germans used IED and snipers causing thousands of mutulated GIs and how the Americans kept attacking German cities after occupation.

Feel free to back up your claim with actual facts. Come on, be a man, not a troll.

But planning (and paying) for a 50 year occupation is not something that would be (or will be) popular. Sucks to be the republicans.
posted by zpousman at 7:47 AM PST on May 2 [!]


Borrowing money != paying for something.

If the taxes were raised to pay for the occupation, it would end right quick.

Oh and being a Republican government official doesn't suck. You aren't being shot at in the police action, and you live a nice life off the citizens.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:03 AM on May 2, 2006


The foreignpolicy.com article is quite good. However, the way I see it, Iraq is and will be a disaster, no matter how you cut it. The people of Iraq simply aren't willing to co-operate.
posted by Zero Gravitas at 8:22 AM on May 2, 2006


"morale and self esteem of soldiers" = codeword for republican poll numbers.
posted by Artw at 8:24 AM on May 2, 2006


How churlish of them not to co-operate in our occupation of their country. After all, it is our oil under their sand.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:26 AM on May 2, 2006


WWI has roots in a lack of fertilizer.

And this one with a surfeit of same.
posted by sfts2 at 8:44 AM on May 2, 2006


If the taxes were raised to pay for the occupation, it would end right quick.

What happens is, they fuck everything up, overspend and leverage, and then bow out, leaving the next Democratic administration holding the bag on an enormous debt. That administration has no choice but to raise taxes and institute programs to shore up the utterly failed economy. Then, the former saviors of democracy count their war profits while pointing accusatory fingers at tax-loving Dems.
posted by Miko at 8:58 AM on May 2, 2006


.
posted by taosbat at 9:02 AM on May 2, 2006


Oh fuck it, just put Saddam back in power and let him sabre rattle as much as he wants, just install some troops and covert ops to make sure he doesnt actually get nukes..
posted by SirOmega at 9:33 AM on May 2, 2006


Three Iraqi Pieces.

Gen. William E. Odom : I'll have an armistice, no civil war. Give me Baathists instead, and Shiite militia instead of Iraqi security forces.

Bushco: No substitutions.

Gen. William E. Odom : What do you mean? You don't have any Shiite militia?

Bushco: Only what's on the menu. You can have a number two - a plain civil war. It comes with a withdrawal date, cut and runs.

Gen. William E. Odom : Yea, I know what it comes with, but that's not what I want.

Bushco: I'll come back when you make up your mind.

Gen. William E. Odom : Wait a minute, I have made up my mind. I'd like a plain civil war, no Baathists on the plate. A cup of diplomacy and a side order of international cooperation.

Bushco: I'm sorry, we don't have any international cooperation. I'll give you a English prime minister or a colition of the willing.

Gen. William E. Odom : What do you mean "you don't make intenational cooperation"? You have a state department, don't you?

Bushco: Would you like to talk to the President?

Gen. William E. Odom : You've got diplomats. And a counsulates of some kind?

Bushco: I don't make the rules.

Gen. William E. Odom : OK, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. I'd like a civil war, plain, and a rapid withdrawal from Iraq, no colonialism, no elections, no leader. And a cup of diplomacy.

Bushco: A number two, rap-withdraw-war. Hold the colonialism, the elections, the leadership, and a cup of diplomacy. Anything else?

Gen. William E. Odom : Yeah, now all you have to do is hold the “credibility”, bring me the withdrawal, give me a check for the war on terror, and you haven't broken any rules.

Bushco: You want me to hold the credibility, huh?

Gen. William E. Odom : I want you to hold it between your knees.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:43 AM on May 2, 2006


Everyone does know
We will abandon Iraq
Timeline? our voting.
posted by edgeways at 10:18 AM on May 2, 2006


How exactly do you tell a dead soldier's family that he/she was the last to die for a mistake?

Why is this worse than having to tell the family of the first person to die for the same mistake?

It was better to end WWI with an armistice than to have continued fighting indefinitely, even if everybody knows that those killed at 10:59 am on 11/11/1918 died for no purpose. If it helps, think of it in terms of those who didn't have to die at 11:01. The same might well apply here, though is surely sucks to be one of the dead, first, last, or in the middle.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 10:21 AM on May 2, 2006


It's just a matter of time and further American and Iraqi dead and crippled before people realize that further occupation =/ a better future for Iraq.
posted by bardic at 10:39 AM on May 2, 2006


Wait, is someone suggesting that telling our troops they will no longer be subject to IED and mortar attacks, and that they get to go home and (I presume, maybe) leave the armed forces, they will react with REDUCED morale?

Because I find that kind of hard to swallow.

"Oh, damn. I was hoping to lose a limb or two before we got sent back. Curses!"
posted by beth at 11:03 AM on May 2, 2006


.
posted by trinarian at 12:20 PM on May 2, 2006


Time to stop feeling guilty and start really bombing
posted by homunculus at 12:55 PM on May 2, 2006


XQUZYPHYR writes "I mean, the NRA and American militias say all the time that the government is going to take all of our guns away. Clearly our government actually has the power to do that. Gun nuts wouldn't lie... would they?"

I'd posit that the US goverment has more control over the home land that is at peace than the country they have occupied that is in a state of war.

stevejensen writes "How exactly do you tell a dead soldier's family that he/she was the last to die for a mistake?"

By telling them that yes their child died but thier child is the last one to die.

At least we have modern communication now which means people don't continue to die for weeks after the crease fire is declared.
posted by Mitheral at 7:30 AM on May 29, 2006


« Older Put down that credit card, and step away from the ...  |  Shelley is a Republican.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments