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Torture 'R US[A]
September 22, 2006 11:02 AM   Subscribe

New terror that stalks Iraq's republic of fear
U.N. Finds Baghdad Toll Far Higher Than Cited
Iraq torture 'worse after Saddam'
The Facts on the Ground: Mini-Gulags, Hired Guns, Lobbyists, and a Reality Built on Fear
U.S. troops in Iraq are Tehran's 'hostages'
Anti-Americanism Is A Glue
posted by y2karl (92 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
From the first link:
Then... and now

1998 "The Commission on Human Rights noted...massive and extremely grave violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law by the Government of Iraq... hundreds of executions, some of which may have been extrajudicial executions... Torture and ill-treatment continued to be widespread."

2006 "The situation as far as torture is concerned is now completely out of hand... many people say that it is worse than in the times of Saddam Hussein. You find bodies with very heavy and serious torture marks. "

1998 In July a group of six people, including one woman, were sentenced to death by hanging on charges of organised prostitution, involvement in the white slave trade and smuggling alcohol to Saudi Arabia.

2006 On 7 September, the Iraqi authorities announced the execution by hanging at Abu Ghraib prison of 27 prisoners, including one woman, convicted of terror and criminal charges. It is the first mass execution since Saddam Hussein's rule
posted by y2karl at 11:02 AM on September 22, 2006


So are you saying things aren't going according to plan in Iraq?

Since this topic has been covered many times on this site, perhaps we ought to try to discuss something specific: How, when, and under what circumstances to get out?
posted by cell divide at 11:15 AM on September 22, 2006


You still think you CAN get out?
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on September 22, 2006


From the last link:

'"It creates this impression that everybody is rising up against the Americans, and that's a problem," said the senior U.S. official.'

All he cares about is the impression.

And the last paragraph:

'"Opposition has hardened into anti-Americanism and shifted government policy in many places around the world, but the U.N.'s membership is much more in sync with traditional U.S. foreign policy goals and ideals than at any time since the U.N.'s founding," he said. "The tragedy is, the Bush administration hasn't been able to take advantage of that fact."'

Why? Because the Bush Administration has taken us farther from the goals and ideals of the United States than we have ever been.
posted by Malor at 11:30 AM on September 22, 2006


3000 civilians killed per month? I assume that includes insurgents, otherwise....

And re getting out, we can get out easily by leaving the cities. Bases in the desert are far easier to defend and supply routes are easier to patrol. Though I would suggest we first shift resources to the iranian and syrian border, and basically shut the two down. Assuming most of the fighters are coming from outside the iraq (there appears to be evidence for this) this would give the opportunity for the iraqi forces to get control of their cities. This process should probably start now.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:31 AM on September 22, 2006


Assuming most of the fighters are coming from outside the iraq (there appears to be evidence for this) this would give the opportunity for the iraqi forces to get control of their cities.

Let's see that evidence.
posted by y2karl at 11:33 AM on September 22, 2006


A confidential Pentagon assessment finds that an overwhelming majority of Iraq's Sunni Muslims support the insurgency that has been fighting against U.S. troops and the Iraqi government, ABC News has learned.

Officials won't say how the assessment was made but found that support for the insurgency has never been higher, with approximately 75 percent of the country's Sunni Muslims in agreement.

When the Pentagon started surveying Iraqi public opinion in 2003, Sunni support for the insurgents stood at approximately 14 percent.
Insurgency Gains Alarming Support Among Iraq's Sunni Muslims
posted by y2karl at 11:37 AM on September 22, 2006


We're not getting out. The GOP will not leave. The Democratic Party will not fight them.

We're going to stay until the Middle East collapses, then, when the oil stops flowing, we're collapsing right along with them.
posted by eriko at 11:38 AM on September 22, 2006


A sweeping majority of the insurgents in Iraq are waging the guerrilla war against the United States and allied forces to serve their interests on the domestic Iraqi scene, according to a major United Arab Emirates (UAE) daily.

They have no interest in pursuing an anti-US armed offensive outside Iraq, said the Sharjah-based Gulf Today.

"Most of them are Iraqi Sunnis who fear that their interests would be totally undermined by the Shiite-dominated government. They are seeking to realise concrete, local political goals and are not running a terrorism campaign against the US", said the paper in its Wednesday's editorial comment.
Majority of insurgents in Iraq are Sunnis, not Jihadists : UAE Daily
posted by y2karl at 11:41 AM on September 22, 2006


same shit, different day

He's mad as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:41 AM on September 22, 2006


Assuming most of the fighters are coming from outside the iraq

Well that's a damn silly assumption. It's local militias settling local scores, and getting ready for teh big civil war. The model of Americans & Good Iraqis against Saddam remnants & Foreign Al Queda Types is old and busted.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on September 22, 2006


Syria and Iran join and support insurgents
posted by Pastabagel at 11:42 AM on September 22, 2006


I'd like to revise my remarks to say that some fighters are foreign to Iraq, not most.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:43 AM on September 22, 2006


The US and Iraqi governments have vastly overstated the number of foreign fighters in Iraq, and most of them don't come from Saudi Arabia, according to a new report from the Washington-based Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS). According to a piece in The Guardian, this means the US and Iraq " feed the myth" that foreign fighters are the backbone of the insurgency. While the foreign fighters may stoke the insurgency flames, they make up only about 4 to 10 percent of the estimated 30,000 insurgents.
The CSIS study also disputes media reports that Saudis are the largest group of foreign fighters. CSIS says "Algerians are the largest group (20 percent), followed by Syrians (18 percent), Yemenis (17 percent), Sudanese (15 percent), Egyptians (13 percent), Saudis (12 percent) and those from other states (5 percent)." CSIS gathered the information for its study from intelligence sources in the Gulf region.
The 'myth' of Iraq's foreign fighters
posted by y2karl at 11:43 AM on September 22, 2006


I'm tired of this stuff. No one is saying anything about the good we are doing over there. I think there's some sort of marsh thing we restored, right? Plus we have been working steadily to reduce the number of large-statue-of-Saddam related injuries.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:44 AM on September 22, 2006


Armed Groups in Iraq
posted by Pastabagel at 11:45 AM on September 22, 2006


Bases in the desert are far easier to defend and supply routes are easier to patrol.

There are over a dozen installations already under way along the main Oil Field lines of the country. Think they'll just pick up these million dollar construction projects and leave because the heat is getting turned up and it's "far easier" to defend something in the middle of nowhere? Critical thinking.
posted by prostyle at 11:46 AM on September 22, 2006


Ok, ok, I was wrong, you convinced me!
posted by Pastabagel at 11:48 AM on September 22, 2006


Those main oil lines are in the middle of the desert or far enough outside of the city to be easier to defend than something in the green zone.

I do not think we'll ever abandon these installations (nor do I think we should).
posted by Pastabagel at 11:52 AM on September 22, 2006


yawn2karl - same shit, different day
posted by dhammond


Well, considering the chaos and tragedy in Iraq is happening every day, same as before, I think it bears multiple, daily, hourly repeating dhammond. Or are you content to just ignore it and hope it goes away?
posted by NationalKato at 11:54 AM on September 22, 2006


Anti-Americanism Is A Glue

If it is a grue, turning on the light would help.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:58 AM on September 22, 2006


yawn2karl - same shit, different day - posted by dhammond

well, I don't think y2karl is posting for your personal entertainment. And it's not the same, the nature of the Iraq conflict is changing (and/or the perception of it in the US).
posted by stbalbach at 11:58 AM on September 22, 2006


Though I would suggest we first shift resources to the iranian and syrian border, and basically shut the two down.

Um, that's over a thousand miles of borders to shutdown. How the hell do we do that?
posted by octothorpe at 12:00 PM on September 22, 2006


On that scorching afternoon last month, Ahmed Kamel was playing soccer with his two children outside his home when three men drove up in a Chevy Caprice, pulled out their guns and dragged him away.

'You will see your father tomorrow behind the levee,' one advised Kamel's 13-year-old, Mustafa, as the boy clung desperately to the escaping car.

Four hours later, the family later learned, police found Kamel's body where the kidnappers said he would be: a notorious dumping ground for the dead in northeast Baghdad. His crime? He had served in the Iraqi army for more than a decade and lived in a neighborhood where, as part of Baghdad's ordeal of ethnic cleansing, Shiite Muslim militias are pushing out Sunnis like him.

Evidence enough in the cold calculation of life and death that presides in this capital of fear. A wrong turn, a detour, an untoward stare, a pointed finger, an anonymous denunciation, a nod of the head - these can, and, do, lead regularly, and increasingly, to death.
Death squads abound

But feel free to keep putting lipstick on that pig.
posted by y2karl at 12:04 PM on September 22, 2006


Dr. Emile A. Nakhleh served for 15 years and retired this past June as the CIA's Director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, "the intelligence community's premier group dedicated to the issue of political Islam":
"I have come to believe that our presence is part of the problem and that we should begin to seriously devise an exit strategy. There’s a civil war in Iraq and our presence is contributing to the violence. We’ve become a lightning rod–we’re not restricting the violence, we’re contributing to it. Iraq has galvanized jihadists; our presence is what is attracting them. We need to get out of there."

[Harper's Magazine | September 20, 2006]
posted by ericb at 12:07 PM on September 22, 2006


Um, that's over a thousand miles of borders to shutdown. How the hell do we do that?
posted by octothorpe at 12:00 PM PST


Silly 8-thor P.E. We use all the skills that have been gained in keeping the US/Mexico border from having people cross said border.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:08 PM on September 22, 2006


yawn2karl - same shit, different day


Yeah karl. I am tired of hearing about rampant corruption, failed policy, global warming, the coming theocracy and the dying environment. Dontcha know that if we just ignore all those issuse, they will go away?
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:10 PM on September 22, 2006


From the 4th link: And yet it turns out that Camp Cropper, which started out as a bunch of tents, has now become a $60 million "state-of-the-art" prison. The upgrade, on the drawing boards since 2004, was just completed and hardly a word has been written about it. Fucking $60M clams for an Iraqi prison? That's not an unreasonable price for a Californian prison. WTF? What did they build it out of, diamonds? It holds 2,000 prisoners at a time - that's $30,000 a bed. Fucking cronyism wrapped up in a big fluffy torture bow, is what.
posted by DenOfSizer at 12:17 PM on September 22, 2006


yawn2karl - same shit, different day

Just the attitude those who are running for office this November would like most people to have. Forget about the bigger picture -- don't discuss it -- but, by all means, set about wondering how Anna Nicole Smith's son died and whether or not the Asian-American tribe on 'Survivor/Cook Island' will reign supreme.
posted by ericb at 12:17 PM on September 22, 2006


and OMG there's ecoli in the spinach!!!
posted by saulgoodman at 12:19 PM on September 22, 2006


Iraq Leader Warns of Spreading Violence.
posted by ericb at 12:20 PM on September 22, 2006


DenOfSizer: One reason that it costs so much because the contractors have to pay their workers hundreds of thousands of dollars just to set foot in the country.
posted by octothorpe at 12:23 PM on September 22, 2006


From the next to last link:
Gone are the days when the US military could be so cavalier about Muqtada's forces that it deliberately provoked a major confrontation with him in Najaf in April 2004. That was when he was believed to have 10,000 poorly trained troops.

Since then, US officials have avoided giving any estimate of the Mehdi Army's strength. But according to a report published last month by London's Chatham House, which undoubtedly reflected the views of British intelligence in Iraq, the Mehdi Army may now be "several hundred thousand strong". Even if that estimate vastly overstates his troop strength, it reflects the sense that Muqtada has the strongest political-military force in the country - because of the loyalty that so many Shi'ites have to him.

The Mehdi Army controls Sadr City, the massive Shi'ite slum in eastern Baghdad that holds half the capital's population. But even more important, perhaps, it holds sway in the heavily Shi'ite southern provinces, and as Muqtada knows well, that gives him a strategic position from which to bring the US military to a standstill.

Patrick Lang, former head of human-intelligence collection and Middle East intelligence at the Defense Intelligence Agency, explained why in an important analysis in the Christian Science Monitor of July 21: US troops must be supplied by convoys of trucks that go across hundreds of kilometers of roads through this Shi'ite heartland, and the Mehdi Army and its allies in the south could turn those supply routes into a "shooting gallery".

Lang noted that the supply trucks are driven by South Asian or Turkish civilians who would immediately quit. And even if the US military used its own troops to protect the routes, they would be vulnerable to ambushes. "A long, linear target such as a convoy of trucks is very hard to defend against irregulars operating in and around their own towns," Lang wrote.

It would not require a complete cutoff of supplies to make the US position untenable. A significant reduction in those supplies would begin a "downward spiral", according to Lang.
What was it Martin Van Creveld said ?

Oh yes--something like ...the present adventure will almost certainly end as the previous one did. Namely, with the last US troops fleeing the country while hanging on to their helicopters’ skids.

Our situation is far more dire than most people realize.
posted by y2karl at 12:25 PM on September 22, 2006


Strained, Army Looks to Guard for More Relief.
posted by ericb at 12:26 PM on September 22, 2006



posted by ericb at 12:30 PM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Opening on Broadway in 2024 Cameron Mackintosh's hit new musical: 'Miss Baghdad!'
posted by ericb at 12:33 PM on September 22, 2006


General William E. Odom, director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988, compares Iraq with Vietnam.
posted by ericb at 12:36 PM on September 22, 2006


Echoes of Vietnam.
posted by ericb at 12:37 PM on September 22, 2006


DenOfSizer: One reason that it costs so much because the contractors have to pay their workers hundreds of thousands of dollars just to set foot in the country.

Also I hear stocking them with all the proper torture devices really runs up the price.
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:52 PM on September 22, 2006


I don't understand you people who complain that "this topic has been covered many times on this site" (or say idiotic things like "same shit"). Do you really think the immensely complex ongoing tragedy that is "Iraq" can be summed up and dismissed as "Iraq bad" (or, if you're completely cuckoo, "mission accomplished!") and we can just move on to other things? Iraq is a messy place with a messy history, and the situation changes day by day. If you have any interest at all in the world at large, or if you feel in any way involved in the actions of the United States, you should be trying to assimilate as much as possible of the available information, and you should be grateful to y2karl for seeking it out and presenting it here.

Thanks, y2karl. Your efforts are, as always, appreciated from this quarter.
posted by languagehat at 1:03 PM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying this stuff shouldn't be discussed, but could karl SAY something other than simply posting links to whatever the "articles of the day about Iraq" are?

Or to put it another way:

If you do insist on posting about those subjects, make sure it's actually something of major importance or at the very least interesting, and not just another news blip about war.

FWIW, I'd prefer one or two links that are a little more focused. This is all over the map, so to speak, and it's lazy.

And to those of you implying that I don't want to hear about this stuff because I don't care about Iraq or would rather hear about Anna Nicole Smith...well, that's a nice straw man argument!
posted by dhammond at 1:05 PM on September 22, 2006


posted by Mr_Zero Also I hear stocking them with all the proper torture devices really runs up the price.

Naw, the car batteries, electrical cables, duct tape, and bathtubs full of water are cheap. The real expense are the bribes and lawyers working overtime to find and write loopholes excusing us from torture.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:07 PM on September 22, 2006


and OMG there's ecoli in the spinach!!!
posted by saulgoodman at 12:19 PM PST


"But the villain in this outbreak, E. coli O157:H7, is far scarier, at least
for humans. Your stomach juices are not strong enough to kill this
acid-loving bacterium, which is why it~Rs more likely than other members of
the E. coli family to produce abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever and, in rare
cases, fatal kidney failure.
Where does this particularly virulent strain come from? It~Rs not found in
the intestinal tracts of cattle raised on their natural diet of grass, hay
and other fibrous forage. No, O157 thrives in a new ~W that is, recent in
the history of animal diets ~W biological niche: the unnaturally acidic
stomachs of beef and dairy cattle fed on grain, the typical ration on most
industrial farms. It~Rs the infected manure from these grain-fed cattle that
contaminates the groundwater and spreads the bacteria to produce, like
spinach, growing on neighboring farms.
In 2003, The Journal of Dairy Science noted that up to 80 percent of dairy
cattle carry O157. (Fortunately, food safety measures prevent contaminated
fecal matter from getting into most of our food most of the time.) Happily,
the journal also provided a remedy based on a simple experiment. When cows
were switched from a grain diet to hay for only five days, O157 declined
1,000-fold."

Vai the NYT.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:07 PM on September 22, 2006


Well, I'm currently looking into it, as I'm a cheapskate who doesn't like to foot the bill for torture centers with my hard earned tax money. According to this press release, the contractor in question is Prime Projects International (a sub for Halliburton, of course), who illegally traffic mainly Philipino builders to Iraq to keep costs down, which in turn helps this fucker win yatch races in Thailand.

I know this is off the point of this thread but goddam I'm so fucking sick of this war and our shitty ass media who can't fucking report on what it took me, a plain old citizen, 10 minutes of googling to find.
posted by DenOfSizer at 1:12 PM on September 22, 2006


Forget Vietnam, we are building Cambodia in the fertile crescent.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:22 PM on September 22, 2006


Hey bitches we already won.

This isn't the war you're looking for...
posted by Mister_A at 1:24 PM on September 22, 2006


Once again people here lump those who seek to ignore the war altogether with those who simply don't want to read about it all the time here on MetaFilter. There is a very obvious difference between these two camps.

Everyday, every hour, new developments come out of Iraq. But the same could be said about any particular politically charged issue. The environmental landscape is constantly changing. The abortion argument continually evolves. And so on...

And if someone, on a regular basis, posted new develops in the fight to save the environment, they'd be pegged as a fanatic and an axe-grinder. But y2karl and Iraq? OMFG, he's going to help save our country from ourselves!!! He's a one-man CNN on MetaFilter.

And hey, that'd be fine, except that nothing new ever comes from the discussions that ensue. It's always the same people saying how bad the Bush Admin. is and how we're really screwed, blah blah blah...the sky is falling....holy crap we're a theist dictatorship.

I'm all for Iraq links if something other than the rancid, echo-chamber noise would develop. Seeing as how that's almost never the case, I fail to understand why these links make a good FPP.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 1:33 PM on September 22, 2006


Seize the Day, just ignore it, flag it, or take it to Meta if your knickers are so twisted about it.
posted by DenOfSizer at 1:40 PM on September 22, 2006


No point in MeTa, really. Karl's heard my rant a million times (though not from me) and until recently, has held back, which I appreciated (for whatever that's worth). But in the last few weeks he's beginning to escalate his tiresome soapbox once again.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 1:44 PM on September 22, 2006


How

the usual logistical means

when

now

and under what circumstances to get out?

the longer we wait, the worse the circumstances will get

we simply don't have control of the ground in iraq, except in a few fortress areas ... we never did and never will ... we send extra troops to baghdad to reduce the sectarian violence and it increases ... we war against the insurgents and they increase ... we take action against the madhi army and they just get more pissed at us

no control of the ground = no objectives gained
posted by pyramid termite at 1:44 PM on September 22, 2006


Once again people here lump those who seek to ignore the war altogether with those who simply don't want to read about it all the time here on MetaFilter. There is a very obvious difference between these two camps.

And once again those who don't want to read about it "all the time" can't even contain their own ignorance without stopping in to drop off a few complaints and negative assertions.

This is all over the map, so to speak, and it's lazy.

381 posts by y2karl

Lazy is not the word you are looking for.

But in the last few weeks he's beginning to escalate his tiresome soapbox once again.

Look who's talking now. Get over yourself.
posted by prostyle at 1:46 PM on September 22, 2006


What prostyle said. If you don't want to read about it, don't read about it. Is that so hard? Those of us who do appreciate the links (which, believe it or not, are not all the same!).
posted by languagehat at 1:49 PM on September 22, 2006


No point in MeTa, really. Then just don't click there, ok? We don't need an extra war.
posted by DenOfSizer at 1:53 PM on September 22, 2006


posted by SeizeTheDay And if someone, on a regular basis, posted new develops in the fight to save the environment, they'd be pegged as a fanatic and an axe-grinder. But y2karl and Iraq? OMFG, he's going to help save our country from ourselves!!! He's a one-man CNN on MetaFilter.

And hey, that'd be fine, except that nothing new ever comes from the discussions that ensue. It's always the same people saying how bad the Bush Admin. is and how we're really screwed, blah blah blah...the sky is falling....holy crap we're a theist dictatorship.

I'm all for Iraq links if something other than the rancid, echo-chamber noise would develop. Seeing as how that's almost never the case, I fail to understand why these links make a good FPP.


Seconded. The reason these war2karl threads invariably become echo chambers is because, well, his topics are invariably the same: "The situation in Iraq is terrible, and it's getting worse every day." Well, land o'goshen!

Jesus fucking waterboarding christ. Yes, iraq2karl, we know the situation in Iraq is bad, mostly because you continue posting the same tired news links about how bad it is.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:02 PM on September 22, 2006


if you guys don't want to look at it, then don't ... a lot of days, i don't feel like looking at y2karl's posts and that's what i do

it's easy
posted by pyramid termite at 2:12 PM on September 22, 2006


Y'know, at least in Viet Nam our G.I.s got to bring home those hot war brides. I don't think we'll even see that small consolation out of this mess.
posted by lekvar at 2:32 PM on September 22, 2006


I greatly apprciate y2karl's FPP's. Each of these pieces contained new information, although the most important IMO was the fifth one re: how Moqtada al Sadr arguably has more power than the US miltiary right now.

Dhammond, so you're saying his posts would be better if he editorialized more and "told us stuff" in the framing? I disagree.

So threadcrap away. y2karl's political posts are obviously so distracting, so damaging to mefi that you just have to jump into the pig-pen instead of doing something as radically unthinkable as ignoring it and moving the fuck along.
posted by bardic at 2:45 PM on September 22, 2006


You still think you CAN get out?
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep! Neck deep! Soon even a
Tall man'll be over his head, we're
Waist deep in the Big Muddy!
And the big fool says to push on!
posted by kirkaracha at 3:30 PM on September 22, 2006


Jesus fucking waterboarding christ. Yes, iraq2karl, we know the situation in Iraq is bad, mostly because you continue posting the same tired news links about how bad it is.

Ah yes, the-bury-our-heads-in-sand brigade, out in force once again on Metafilter, disrupting threads. Sorry there aren't any Flash games in the thread.

Following are the latest figures for military deaths in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003:

U.S.-LED COALITION FORCES:
United States 2,695
Britain 118
Other nations 116

IRAQIS:
Military Between 4,900 and 6,375
Civilians Between 43,269 and 48,046

Stick those numbers up your "same shit different day" asses.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:35 PM on September 22, 2006


Stick those numbers up your "same shit different day" asses.

You don't have to be a prick about it. Complaining about a post that we don't think is FPP-worthy is verboeten, but it's okay for you shit all over the rest of us who disagree with you? Give me a break.

I certainly do not want to endlessly harp on why this isn't good FPP (and I haven't), but at the same time, I would expect that others do not harp on how I must not give a shit about soliders dying because I haven't read the specific numbers on a daily basis.

I come across a lot people in the "anti-war left" that share your holier-than-thou elitism, fold. Do you ever wonder if that's why y'all are so ineffectual as a movement?
posted by dhammond at 3:49 PM on September 22, 2006


BREAKING NEWS:
1. Situation In Iraq Worse Than Yesterday
2. Majority of Americans Fed Up and Angry About War in Iraq
3. Bush Insists We Must "Stay The Course"
4. Experts Agree No Solution Aside From Withdrawl
5. American Soldiers, Iraqi Civilians Are Being Killed
6. Water Declared To Be Wet
posted by fandango_matt at 3:52 PM on September 22, 2006


fandango_matt, what's your take on Sadr's rise to power? Is there any chance left for the US military to engage with him as a force for stability, or is he going to be an Iranian puppet no matter what the US does? Perversely, is the US's best hope now to cultivate these sorts of relationships with obviously pro-Iranian Iraqi leaders? (I have a feeling that even some of the most hardcore Bushies are starting to sense that Iran may be the only way out of this mess, but it's unconfirmed, of course. I mean, that would just piss off somebody like Stephen Hadley! ROFL!)

Anyways, thanks for RTFAs and discussing this with me. Your insights are always greatly appreciated.
posted by bardic at 3:59 PM on September 22, 2006


Stick those numbers up your "same shit different day" asses.

Tim Ryan has some more numbers to cram in there.
posted by Mr_Zero at 4:01 PM on September 22, 2006


Frequent deployments stretch Army, National Guard to near breaking point.
posted by ericb at 4:02 PM on September 22, 2006


Strained, Army Looks to Guard for More Relief. -ericb

Wait a second...


Army recruiters are making more use of the Internet to attract young prospects, and the Army this year began allowing people as old as 42 to enter the service; the maximum age previously was 35.

The Army also has accepted a larger number of recruits whose score on a standardized aptitude test is at the lower end of the acceptable range, and it has granted waivers to permit the enlistment of people with criminal records that otherwise would disqualify them. The Army says it does not grant waivers if there is a pattern of criminal misconduct or for convictions of drug trafficking or any sexually violent crimes.

..."We're sticking with all the improvements we made" over the past year, including a beefed up recruiting corps, Harvey said. "If we start seeing trends that we don't like, we may" add even more recruiters, he said.

posted by hoborg at 4:08 PM on September 22, 2006


"For the Army, the pace of combat has been relentless. Many soldiers are already on their third combat tour. Frequent deployments have cut training time at home in half, which has left two-thirds of all Army combat units rated 'not ready for combat.'

'I think, arguably, it's the worst readiness condition the U.S. Army has faced since the end of Vietnam,' says NBC military analyst and retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey."
posted by ericb at 4:14 PM on September 22, 2006


“...you should be trying to assimilate as much as possible of the available information, and you should be grateful to y2karl for seeking it out and presenting it here...”

seconded. er...thirded?

“Everyday, every hour, new developments come out of Iraq. But the same could be said about any particular politically charged issue.”

Yeah, except for y’know, people are dying and American troops are giving their lives, coming home maimed, families weeping, stuff like that. But party on.

Look, no one wants to hear that someone’s son or daughter or brother or sister isn’t coming home anymore. It’s just boring. Why can’t we just get over it?
So congress is cutting funding to vets suffering from traumatic brain injury - but congress does shitty things every day. We know that already. Yes one in 10 Iraq vets has sustained a concussion at some point during his or her tour of duty. War sucks. They shouldn’t have signed up, etc.

And besides all that we have a bill appropriating more than $400 billion in defense spending, primarily to support a war in Iraq that has already cost hundreds of billions ofdollars. Congress can't find a few million to adequately treat troops wounded with brain injuries for the rest of their lives for the same reasons we don’t want to keep hearing about Iraq:
As Jenny Manley, told USA Today, "There were just so many (fiscal) priorities...”

Sounds similar to the “other priorities” Cheney quote doesn’t it?
Thousands higher than reported dying in Bagdahd and showing signs of torture?
Oh, there’s just SO much to care about, I can’t handle it all! Oh, lordy, I’m gettin’ the vapors!
*faints*
posted by Smedleyman at 4:23 PM on September 22, 2006


"I come across a lot people in the "anti-war left" that share your holier-than-thou elitism, fold. Do you ever wonder if that's why y'all are so ineffectual as a movement?"

We're out-numbered by willfully ignorant neo know-nothings like yourself, it seems.
posted by black8 at 4:23 PM on September 22, 2006


You know what else was underestimated?

Excerpt: “The government used prewar data to estimate the cost of caring for veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, contributing to a $3 billion budget shortfall at the Veterans Affairs Department since 2005, congressional investigators say.
The department used "unrealistic assumptions, errors in estimation and insufficient data" to project its budget, the Government Accountability Office said in a report Wednesday.
Investigators also said the VA failed to estimate correctly the costs for these war veterans partly because the agency could not get accurate information from the Defense Department.”
posted by Smedleyman at 4:33 PM on September 22, 2006


yawn2karl - same shit, different day
posted by dhammond


OK dhammond, here are the news you want to hear (happynews.com). Now bugger off, adults are talking.
posted by clevershark at 4:34 PM on September 22, 2006


Ha, I'm not even remotely close to being neo-anything. I'm quite liberal actually, and I hate this war. But bravo for antagonizing those who would otherwise share most of your beliefs. Now, I'll let you get back to stopping this illegal and unjust war. Any day now, right?
posted by dhammond at 4:36 PM on September 22, 2006


You're letting someone behind a handle on the intarweb change your political views dhammond?
posted by bardic at 4:41 PM on September 22, 2006


Another 'flip flopper!'
posted by ericb at 4:45 PM on September 22, 2006


You are incorrect, bardic, and I'm not even sure what you're referring to. I've been liberal for all of my sentient life. Please keep in mind that being a liberal and thinking that some of the fringe left (including those who would assume that I am a neo-con because I get sick of the anti-Bush rhetoric) are not mutually exclusive.
posted by dhammond at 4:52 PM on September 22, 2006


Oops, of course that should be "thinking that some of the fringe left are obnoxious."

Now returning to your regularly scheduled Bush-bashing.
posted by dhammond at 4:55 PM on September 22, 2006


Is this is a Bush-bashing thread, or one discussing the current situation in Iraq?
posted by ericb at 4:59 PM on September 22, 2006


Well, maybe not directly, but it's certainly implied by the fact that he is the Commander-in-Chief of this war that is going so miserably.
posted by dhammond at 5:04 PM on September 22, 2006


Well, I think this is a fine post, and t contained a lot of info I didn't know, so thanks y2karl. Also, I never really noticed that he was posting a lot about uiraq, but it sort of makes sense that the would be a lot of posts on it here, seeing as though it is the dominant political issue in the US and UK, people are dying, resources are at stake etc etc etc.
posted by Pastabagel at 5:14 PM on September 22, 2006


"While Iraq and future Iraq policy are constantly in the news, almost all the American facts-on-the-ground in that country -- of which Camp Bucca is one -- have come into being without consultation with the American people or, in any serious way, Congress (or testing in the courts).
Camp Bucca is a story you can't read anywhere -- and yet it may, in a sense, be the most important American story in Iraq right now....
If, for a moment, you stop listening to the arguments about, or even the news about, Iraq here at home and just concentrate on the ignored reality of those facts-on-the-ground, you're likely to assess our world somewhat differently."

Prescient.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:15 PM on September 22, 2006


U.S. Fatalities in War Equal Those from Sept. 11.
posted by ericb at 5:20 PM on September 22, 2006


Berming Baghdad -- U.S. and Iraqi authorities are hoping that old-style walls and trenches can protect the capital. Local residents are less convinced.
posted by ericb at 5:48 PM on September 22, 2006


Well, maybe not directly, but it's certainly implied by the fact that he is the Commander-in-Chief of this war that is going so miserably.

dhammond -- How would you rate our Commander-in-Chief's performance relative to managing/directing the current conflict in Iraq?
posted by ericb at 6:15 PM on September 22, 2006


Do you agree or disagree with the majority of Americans ...

...that George W. Bush does not have a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq -- 61%

...who disapprove of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq? -- 57%

...that [a]ll in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States that the war with Iraq was not worth fighting -- 56%

...who oppose the U.S. war in Iraq -- 58%?
posted by ericb at 6:21 PM on September 22, 2006


U.S. Fatalities in War Equal Those from Sept. 11.

Actually, the number of Americans killed in Afghanistan and Iraq passed the number of Americans killed in the September 11 attacks some time ago. Approximately 316 foreign nationals were killed on 9/11.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:35 PM on September 22, 2006


dhammond -- How would you rate our Commander-in-Chief's performance relative to managing/directing the current conflict in Iraq?

Huge clusterfuck. Of course, time will tell...but I'm guessing he'll go down as one of the worst Presidents in history.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I disagree with the articles posted here...I just don't think it's "the best of the web." That's all.

Frankly, it's a little silly that some folks here assume I'm a Republican or a neocon just because I think a barrage of "Iraq is fucked" posts becomes repetitive after awhile.
posted by dhammond at 7:51 PM on September 22, 2006


That elephant in the living room? please just ignore it.
posted by Artw at 7:58 PM on September 22, 2006


Frankly, it's a little silly that some folks here assume I'm a Republican or a neocon just because I think a barrage of "Iraq is fucked" posts becomes repetitive after awhile.

I agree.
posted by ericb at 7:58 PM on September 22, 2006


That elephant in the living room
posted by ericb at 7:59 PM on September 22, 2006


posted by bardic what's your take on Sadr's rise to power?

Obviously there are multiple factors involved and I doubt an accurate assessment of his rise to power is possible within the time I'm allocating to this response and the effort I'm willing to devote to investigating his history, the tribal and religious means and circumstances involved, and the limits of the information available to us on the intarnetwebs. My guess would be he's got the same gift of Koran-waving gab most of his confederates seem to have and if I may draw a crude parallel, he's probably a lot like the Reverend Lou Sheldon or any of the other crazy religious wackjobs who know how to lead and mobilize their followers by using religious doctrine and hatred to promote their agenda, a technique which is remarkably effective when used in a theocratic society in which the power structure has been disrupted by an occupying force and is available to anyone with the means and ability to seize it.

posted by bardic Is there any chance left for the US military to engage with him as a force for stability, or is he going to be an Iranian puppet no matter what the US does?

At this point I think the options available to us are limited to choosing from the shrinking pool of who hates us the least, and that pool is growing very small, very fast. I imagine we'll just throw money at him with the same sort of carrot-and-stick diplomacy we've used in the past.

posted by bardic Perversely, is the US's best hope now to cultivate these sorts of relationships with obviously pro-Iranian Iraqi leaders?

He might very well be our only option. And once he's in power, we'll have another totalitarian theocracy calling for the destruction of Israel and all things American, and I think we're all aware of the current administration's ability to negotiate peace and trust with Iraq's totalitarian theocratic neighbor. I guess the plan is to replace the murderous dictator in green fatigues and a mustache with a murderous dictator in a turban and a beard. So our choices seem to be a picnic of shit sandwiches, or starving to death.

posted by bardic (I have a feeling that even some of the most hardcore Bushies are starting to sense that Iran may be the only way out of this mess, but it's unconfirmed, of course. I mean, that would just piss off somebody like Stephen Hadley! ROFL!)

Well, I wouldn't be surprised. I'd be grasping at straws, too. I can't imagine how they--or anyone else--envision us getting out of this mess. I can't. Can you?

posted by bardic Anyways, thanks for RTFAs and discussing this with me. Your insights are always greatly appreciated.

Sure, no problem. The feeling is mutual.
posted by fandango_matt at 8:22 PM on September 22, 2006


...Donald Rumsfeld's original intention was to reconfigure the US military towards a much smaller army, strenuously avoiding large numbers of "boots on the ground", and placing much greater reliance on long-range strike forces and special forces.

Instead, more boots on larger ground is exactly what the Pentagon has got, and the army - worn down by years of war in two theatres, Iraq and Afghanistan - is bearing most of the burden. To meet the cost of replacing lost equipment, repairing worn-out kit and buying huge quantities of ordnance while modernising its systems, the army is reported to be seeking a massive 26% increase in its budget from $111.8 billion....

The second indicator is even more revealing. This is a reported assessment of the main technology requirements being faced by the US military. The driving force here has long been the fundamental requirement for the United States to retain a pronounced lead in military technology over every other country, as this is seen is the one sure way to maintain superpower military dominance.

This has been a feature of long-term US military planning for more than sixty years. It started with the Manhattan Project that resulted in the atom bomb, and continued through to the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles and more recently stealthy aircraft such as the B-2 strategic bomber and the new F-22 and F-35 fighters...

These have all been multi-billion dollar programmes, some lasting thirty or more years. Yet the biggest problem facing the US military is a device that costs a few dollars to produce and is causing huge problems in Iraq and now Afghanistan. ...the roadside bomb or "improvised explosive device" (IED).

...In short, the world's most powerful and best-equipped military is facing basic homemade devices that can destroy main battle-tanks and armoured trucks costing millions of dollars to produce. Moreover, the knowledge and techniques to manufacture these devices are proliferating rapidly, aided by the huge amount of experience that insurgent forces and transnational paramilitaries have gained in the past three years of war in Iraq.

This is perhaps one of the most subtle indications of the way George W Bush's "long war" is evolving. For all its power and hundred-billion dollar defence budgets, the United States is facing the ultimate in asymmetric warfare as its opponents exploit vulnerabilities that would have seemed ridiculous barely five years ago.
Iraq: the cost of asymmetry

How would you rate our Commander-in-Chief's performance relative to managing/directing the current conflict in Iraq?
Men who embrace the ideal, while rejecting the real, will only accomplish their ruin.

Niccolo Machiavelli
If we attack Iran, we could be driven from Iraq and lose our army in the process. If not the army, its trucks, tanks, ordnance and billion dollar bases. It could very well be a defeat to rival the destruction of the Athenian expedition in Syracuse in the Peloponessian War.

And if, in attacking Iraq, we become the first nation to ever use nuclear bombs again in war, we will be the pariah nation of all time. We will be cursed by the whole world forever. We will be ruined. And our ruin will be the world's ruin as well.

We have painted ourselves in a corner.
posted by y2karl at 10:30 PM on September 22, 2006


Rumsfeld's war-on-terror memo

Below is the full text of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's memo on the war on terror:

October 16, 2003

TO: Gen. Dick Myers
Paul Wolfowitz
Gen. Pete Pace
Doug Feith

FROM: Donald Rumsfeld

SUBJECT: Global War on Terrorism

The questions I posed to combatant commanders this week were: Are we winning or losing the Global War on Terror? Is DoD changing fast enough to deal with the new 21st century security environment? Can a big institution change fast enough? Is the USG changing fast enough?

DoD has been organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies, navies and air forces. It is not possible to change DoD fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror; an alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere — one that seamlessly focuses the capabilities of several departments and agencies on this key problem.

With respect to global terrorism, the record since Septermber 11th seems to be:
We are having mixed results with Al Qaida, although we have put considerable pressure on them — nonetheless, a great many remain at large.

USG has made reasonable progress in capturing or killing the top 55 Iraqis.

USG has made somewhat slower progress tracking down the Taliban — Omar, Hekmatyar, etc.

With respect to the Ansar Al-Islam, we are just getting started.
Have we fashioned the right mix of rewards, amnesty, protection and confidence in the US?

Does DoD need to think through new ways to organize, train, equip and focus to deal with the global war on terror?

Are the changes we have and are making too modest and incremental? My impression is that we have not yet made truly bold moves, although we have have made many sensible, logical moves in the right direction, but are they enough?

Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?

Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? The US is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan, but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists. The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' costs of millions.
Do we need a new organization?

How do we stop those who are financing the radical madrassa schools?

Is our current situation such that "the harder we work, the behinder we get"?
It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog.

Does CIA need a new finding?

Should we create a private foundation to entice radical madradssas to a more moderate course?

What else should we be considering?

Please be prepared to discuss this at our meeting on Saturday or Monday.

Thanks.
posted by taosbat at 11:01 PM on September 22, 2006


What we need is a Third Force, neither French nor communist. It's all in York Harding.
posted by stammer at 4:51 AM on September 23, 2006


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