Not with bang?
July 6, 2007 6:55 PM   Subscribe

It's been said before that the US Army is broken: in April, last December by Colin Powell and Pat Buchanan, by the head of the Army Reserve in 2005, by several generals as far back as 2004. But now, even as another Republican senator, Domenici, joins Warner, Voinovich, and Lugar in abandoning support for Bush's War, Joe Klein in Time Magazine says the end is inevitable, regardless of what politicians want:
According to the Broken Army clock, troop levels will begin to wane in March 2008, no matter what Congress decides in September; the current 20 brigade combat teams will be reduced to 15 by August 2008. There is growing speculation in the military that Bush will try to pre-empt the Petraeus testimony by announcing a gradual drawdown from 20 to 15 combat brigades later this summer.
posted by orthogonality (104 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
When was the last time Joe Klein was right about something?
posted by pruner at 7:36 PM on July 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


You bug out of war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:41 PM on July 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


It's about time.
posted by hadjiboy at 7:42 PM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


troop levels will begin to wane in March 2008, no matter what Congress decides in September

Did we really think China was going to fund this thing indefinitely?
posted by psmealey at 7:42 PM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


'Supporting the troops' means withdrawing them: Gen. William Odom writes that opponents of the war should focus public attention on the fact that Bush’s obstinate refusal to admit defeat is causing the troops enormous psychological as well as physical harm.
posted by homunculus at 7:44 PM on July 6, 2007


Every time you post newsfilter, an Ann Coulter ad gains its wings.
posted by Eideteker at 7:46 PM on July 6, 2007


I guess this means that in March 2008, we're going to start hearing right wingers complaining that the troops don't support the troops.
posted by Flunkie at 7:48 PM on July 6, 2007


We already have more private contractors than soldiers there--there's no way that gravy train will end before Bush leaves, if ever.
posted by amberglow at 7:58 PM on July 6, 2007


a gradual drawdown from 20 to 15 combat brigades later this summer.

Which is what? 150k down to 100k? At most we'll see a token drawdown only in districts in trouble for the GOP, i bet.
posted by amberglow at 7:59 PM on July 6, 2007


I wondered when this would start happening.
posted by caddis at 8:05 PM on July 6, 2007


In June they were saying it too, but very very minor:
... The drawdown would begin in February 2008, although each of the two generals supports a slightly different plan.
Plan one, which officials say is being pushed by Odierno, calls for a reduction in troops from roughly 150,000 today to 100,000 by December of 2008.
Petraeus champions a slightly different approach that would be to cut the troops down to roughly 130,000 by the end of 2008, with further reductions the following year. ...

posted by amberglow at 8:18 PM on July 6, 2007


At most we'll see a token drawdown only in districts in trouble for the GOP

Map

Interestingly, Anbar is solid Republican.
posted by dhartung at 8:24 PM on July 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


and then in the beginning of May it was : Commanders in Iraq See 'Surge' Into '08--
Pentagon to Deploy 35,000 Replacement Troops

posted by amberglow at 8:25 PM on July 6, 2007


And then there's this coming up in the Senate:
GOP/Dem coalition of Senators to offer legislation to keep US troops in Iraq indefinitely --...they're claiming that the legislation implements the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Studgy Group, when in fact, the legislation codifies George Bush's current failed policies in Iraq.
The misnamed "Iraq Study Group (ISG) Recommendations Implementation Act of 2007,"... Probably the most offensive thing about the legislation is that it outright calls for the continuation of the status quo policy of keeping US troops in Iraq until the day that Iraq is 100% ready to stand on its own - namely, never. ...

posted by amberglow at 8:29 PM on July 6, 2007


So, if this is true, how do hawks come to terms with this? Because it seems to me if you buy into the logic that any retreat signals weakness and encourages enemies, you have to worry even more about what drawdown that's attributable to actual fatigue signals.

Hell, it worries me even as an opponent of the decision to invade Iraq. This doesn't seem good at all.
posted by namespan at 8:30 PM on July 6, 2007


Wow. Had I supported this war, now that the shit's hit the fan, I'd be a dick not to go enlist.

Phew.
posted by hackly_fracture at 8:31 PM on July 6, 2007 [6 favorites]


"Drawdown" just means the troops will be reassigned from places like Ft. Hood to Fort Sand Hell, Iraq instead of forward positions in war ravaged Baghdad. Don't worry, American planes and helicopters will still deliver ordnance to the Iraqis as they've been doing regularly (and woefully underreported) since 1991.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:33 PM on July 6, 2007


Good. I hope the entire fucking thing crumbles.

The US armed forces have been mainly used for evil purposes since the end of the Korean War -- they've also been pretty damned incompetent every time they've been challenged; note they were 0 for 4 (with an asterisk) on 9/11. If they didn't have massive technological superiority, they wouldn't even be doing as well as they have.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:35 PM on July 6, 2007


Did we really think China was going to fund this thing indefinitely?

What on earth are you talking about? It has nothing to do with the financial cost, manpower is the problem.
posted by delmoi at 8:45 PM on July 6, 2007


Lupus, linking to The Onion doesn't support your argument, slight as it is.

I'm a veteran, and I'm a professor at West Point. I'm also a far-left liberal. Two items of evidence to counter your unsupported claim about "evil purposes":

Item 1: Bosnia. Two of my friends in the Special Forces dismantled a rape hotel, wherein Serb officers were holding kidnapped 15-year-old girls and taking cash from other Serbs for half an hour of rape. They were arrested and tried for war crimes. Talk to me again about "evil purposes."

Item 2: Somalia. Before mission creep, and before the stupidity and cowardice and myopia of the civilian bosses, it was a mission about feeding people who were starving. Talk to me again about "evil purposes."

The soldiers I served with, and the Cadets I teach, are the best in the world. They have big hearts, and they know far more than you do just how terrible war is.

And they serve anyway.

But feel free to continue to critique from your position of comfort.
posted by vitia at 9:08 PM on July 6, 2007 [21 favorites]


vitia, I find it refreshing to know that West Point has openly liberal literature instructors there. West Point grads do tend to have a certain shine, regardless of the politics of war.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:14 PM on July 6, 2007


Addendum, for clarification: speaking only for myself and not for any institution with which I might be associated, I personally abhor certain contemporary circumstances. But I hate it when ignorant people see stupid actions from the higher-ups and generalize those actions to conclude that anyone in the ranks below is, by those actions from the higher-ups, a dumb and evil tool.

Try talking to a soldier or a sailor or a marine or a cadet, the next time you see one. Walk up and shake their hand. Smile.

You might be surprised.
posted by vitia at 9:20 PM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm curious about the oil. If the war is predicated on oil (or influence of) - either the fields are secure or they're not.
So what's the 'end' of the war? Indeed, as pointed out above - when did it really start considering there's been a no-fly zone imposed for a long time and bombing going on - etc.
I'm just wondering if this is merely the end of the show or is the circus actually going to leave town?
posted by Smedleyman at 9:34 PM on July 6, 2007


What on earth are you talking about? It has nothing to do with the financial cost, manpower is the problem.

Sorry, Friday night, a few drinks... I was being glib. Yes, manpower is the principal problem, as it relates to the focus of this FPP. But, outside the scope of this discussion, do you think there are unlimited funds available to fund this effort in perpetuity (even at reduced levels of manpower and materiel)? Manpower is certainly a huge problem today and tomorrow, but the nation's economic resources and access to additional capital will be the factors that will bring this whole thing to a grinding halt, regardless of ideology or "the will to prevail".
posted by psmealey at 9:35 PM on July 6, 2007


how do hawks come to terms with this

one word: defeatocrats

or Dolchstoss in the original german. Defeatocrats are to blame after Nixon & Abrams had secured a glorious future for the Thieu regime at the "Peace Talks".

As for the USA and evil purposes, as it stands now the Army is functioning more as a multi-level welfare program rather than an armed force directed towards social goods (homeland security, humanitarian interventions, guarantee of the status quo).

The Army itself could in fact vanish, and aside from the loss of regimental honors continuity I wouldn't miss much of it, given how the USMC, USN, and the Chair Force are perfectly capable of laying the smack down on any threat for the remainder of this century.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:35 PM on July 6, 2007


So what's the 'end' of the war?

When Chalabi can commute from his home to the Oil Ministry, and back, without getting blowed up, and without the Green Zone.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:38 PM on July 6, 2007


The Green Zone ain't going away, son.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:40 PM on July 6, 2007


I have a friend in her 50s who has a son who nearly joined the Army. He's had a hell of a time trying to stay employed in northeastern Ohio and rural north-central PA, but hopefully he'll avoid enlisting a bit longer. I'd wondered if he might join the Navy, but I've also wondered if the DoD might decide to reassign people administratively from one branch to another to make up personnel shortfalls.
posted by pax digita at 9:42 PM on July 6, 2007


how do hawks come to terms with this

I'm going to echo Heywood and say: "Stab-in-the-back" syndrome.

You know what stab-in-the-back syndrome is?

Lee & Davis didn't loose the war, but the Abolitionists did. (And they started it, too!)

Hindenburg didn't loose the war, but the Jews did.

Nixon didn't loose the war, but Jane Fonda did.

Bush & Rumsfeld didn't loose the war, but the Defeatocrats did.

There is no strategic military failue too large that it cannot be blamed on a convienent internal enemy.
posted by Avenger at 9:57 PM on July 6, 2007


pax, this has been going on for awhile. The DoA has been getting rid of certain MOS with the idea of 'one soldier, one shooter', an attitude they have co-opted from the Marines.

I don't see Iraq going away anytiime soon. I do see a lot more control being given over to Iraqi forces.

vitia: Thanks.
posted by Dagobert at 10:09 PM on July 6, 2007


Avenger - too true perhaps but I can't stand to "favourite" your post because it's too painful and true.
posted by porpoise at 10:19 PM on July 6, 2007


1.) When the fuck did I start agreeing with Pat Buchanan? I listen to Rage Against the Machine for fucks sake.

2.) My lil' sis is in the Navy, as is her husband. I am going to be supremely pissed if either of them are harmed in a war we lost years ago.

3.) In order to actually continue this war, they will need to invoke some kind of draft. I'm guessing that they will just use marketing to make Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery' more Xtreme (to the MAX, natch) and therefore more palatable to the youth that will suffer because of it.

4.) At some point, people will need to admit that this was a war for oil. Had we embraced that simple fact early on, we could have gotten rid of a lot of the nationalistic jingoistic crap. I don't like it, I don't think it was worth it, and I think our current plans will fail. But a war for oil is exactly what this is.
posted by quin at 10:20 PM on July 6, 2007


What facts does anyone have that this is a war for oil?

All I've seen is innuendo, paranoia and overriding loathing of Bush.

Are you saying that oil was an primary purpose? Or the only purpose?
posted by Dagobert at 10:33 PM on July 6, 2007


Heywood, your comments at 9:35 and 9:38 seem to contradict themselves.

Baghdad is 300 miles away from the USN's operating purview, Air Force can't target individuals without killing nearby civilians, and USMC is not equipped or trained for occupation and pacification.

How can the United States stop threats over the next century without a long-term land-based force to deter adventurism?
posted by infinitewindow at 10:36 PM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd wondered if he might join the Navy, but I've also wondered if the DoD might decide to reassign people administratively from one branch to another to make up personnel shortfalls.
posted by pax digita at 12:42 AM on July 7 [+] [!]

Yes, pentagon is doing something like this, taking Air Force and Navy guys and turning them into truck drivers and other things, and pulling Army and Marines out into the line. It's not necessarily a bad idea in terms of manpower use but a hell of a shock to the first ones this happened to, from what I can gather.

Got a nephew who, after a few of years knocking around after getting out of the Navy, went into the Army National Guard several months ago and then to Army helicopter school so that he can eventually fly medical evacuations. Apparently the only way to get that training is through the military, and, God help him, Iraq or Afghanistan is most likely where he'll wind up.
Is Vitia still here?
posted by etaoin at 11:26 PM on July 6, 2007


vitia writes The soldiers I served with, and the Cadets I teach, are the best in the world. They have big hearts, and they know far more than you do just how terrible war is.

If American troops are so great, why do they keep being tried for war crimes against innocent Iraqis?

Obviously, they're not all bad, but to browbeat people by saying "you haven't been there" frankly doesn't mean much. Nice to hear you support the institution which pays your bills, but I'm kind of tired of knee-jerk reactions to criticism like this. Over-extend people's tours and don't give them a clear mission like we're currently doing (are they there to kill or to democratize? and if they don't speak the language, how do they know which?), and we know this story will end every time.
posted by bardic at 12:02 AM on July 7, 2007


What facts does anyone have that this is a war for oil?

All I've seen is innuendo, paranoia and overriding loathing of Bush.


What Saddam did to his people, while horrible, was child's play to what's going on in many other parts of the world. But since Iraq is relatively rich in oil, it was fair game for an occupation.

I don't doubt that the magical-thinking neocons really thought this would be over in six months, but please -- there's a reason the US invades Iraq and doesn't do shit about an actual genocide like the one in Darfur. Please don't play dumb.
posted by bardic at 12:04 AM on July 7, 2007


*we know how this story will end every time
posted by bardic at 12:05 AM on July 7, 2007


Did we really think China was going to fund this thing indefinitely?
posted by psmealey

No...just long enough to sink us good.
posted by taosbat at 12:33 AM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


USMC is not equipped or trained for occupation and pacification

Show me a conflict where the USA actually "pacified" the place. IV Corps in Vietnam might qualify I suppose, as would the 19th century Indian wars, but from what I've gathered occupations only work when the bulk of the populace tolerates/desires our armed presence.

And since when does the US of A *have* to police an area ~unilaterally~? Just because we *could* make it to Baghdad by our lonesomes didn't mean we /should/ have.

How can the United States stop threats over the next century without a long-term land-based force to deter adventurism?

If it's continental, we'll need allies. If its naval, read Mahan. If it's space aliens, we're decidedly fucked anyway.

The vast commitment of talent and treasure we've poured into the Pentagon over the past decade+ is just a soul-killing example of blown opportunity costs, should one get one's mind around the actual numbers and lost investments in infrastructural and social capital improvements, both at home and abroad. If I had a time machine to go back to 1992 and start downsizing the Pentagon to sane levels (cutting 10% each year), we could have spent around $4T in toto on other stuff, like new rail corridors, etc. In other terms, $4T could have paid the salaries of ~2M people making 6 figure salaries over the past 15 years.

We coulda progressed towards Camelot, instead we're sliding towards Rome ca. 80AD.

posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:37 AM on July 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


There is no strategic military failue too large that it cannot be blamed on a convienent internal enemy.

Thanks to Fox News and Rx Limbaugh, the right has had that particular script in place since before the initial invasion in March 2003. Either way, they can't lose.
posted by psmealey at 6:19 AM on July 7, 2007


We're essentially on our own in Iraq because we weren't able to convince the UN or Iraq's neighbors that Iraq was a threat.

Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States of America sent combat troops during the Gulf War.

Australia, Denmark, Poland, the UK, and the US invaded Iraq.

a gradual drawdown from 20 to 15 combat brigades later this summer

That's just de-surging.

We already have more private contractors than soldiers there

"One important note about the force structure of these contractors: the vast majority of them are not triggerpullers."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:53 AM on July 7, 2007


Bush & Rumsfeld didn't loose the war, but the Defeatocrats did.

IMO, this war would be over by now if the Democrats had been smarter about opposing it.

Instead of arguing "Bush is a failure, we lost this war" they should have been saying "We won, now let's get out." Because we've overthrown the government of Saddam and established a new democracy, and because our forces haven't lost a single battle to the enemy, it's a factually correct argument. It also plays better to American voters who often associate claims of "losing" with a lack of patriotism.

At the end of the war we're going to pull out and claim victory no matter what happens.
posted by b_thinky at 8:46 AM on July 7, 2007


Instead of arguing "Bush is a failure, we lost this war" they should have been saying "We won, now let's get out."

Is this being disingenuous, or is there really a belief that the US "won" the war in Iraq? Can the US even pull out and claim victory?

The usual assumption is that if US troops leave there will be a civil war, and that Iran will have an even greater influence in Iraq than it does now.

Isn't "pulling out" code for abandoning the cities, withdrawing to so-called secure "super bases" in Iraq where significant numbers of troops will be stationed, and continuing air strikes?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:04 AM on July 7, 2007


What facts does anyone have that this is a war for oil?

All I've seen is innuendo, paranoia and overriding loathing of Bush.


Exactly. George Bush was FORCED to go to war by those Americans who hate him. The whole of accountability must rest on those who think GWB is a lying piece of shit, and promote peace. It's his only/best way to distinguish himself from them.

Oil? That's an unintended bonus.
posted by Balisong at 9:15 AM on July 7, 2007


War Costs Soar by a Third; Total Could Top $1.4 Trillion
posted by homunculus at 9:44 AM on July 7, 2007


"We lost our country, we lost our family. If we can be together, we would appreciate it."
posted by taosbat at 11:08 AM on July 7, 2007


¿re-election-year conversion?
posted by taosbat at 12:10 PM on July 7, 2007


Show me a conflict where the USA actually "pacified" the place.
mmm ... Japan? the Philippines? Kosovo?

I do get your point -- the army is not trained to succeed in traditional counterinsurgency and does not have a great track record there. One can argue that *no* army does -- even the British, who suppressed rebellions in Malaya, Transjordan and Kenya took forever to arrive at peace in Northern Ireland, and their record in Basra is decidedly mixed.

However, I think the greater point is that while the Iraq war has been an utter failure, the argument for staying is that leaving the Middle East to the armed forces of Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran is arguably a worse option.

You say that if there are continental threats, then it's best to go in with allies. This works in places like Bosnia where the allies that can be fielded are high tech and thoroughly professional European armies. It does [i]not[/i] work in places like, say, Africa, where your allies would be an armed rabble like Ethiopia or Nigeria. In fact, it's a problem that UN peacekeepers would run into in their more recent missions -- trying to run ops with soldiers who are more interested in procuring 15 year old refugee prostitutes than in doing their job; because that's what one is limited to by relying on regional armies to fill out a peacekeeping force.

In the future, if the armies of developing nations can be trained up to a level of professionalism and competency that would make the reliable partners, then this would probably have some merit, but the unfortunate fact of the present is that if there is a crisis in the world, it's America who is in a position to respond in a speed and scale that actually matters. That's not American triumphalism, simple fact of the politics and I dearly wish that it wasn't so.
posted by bl1nk at 12:18 PM on July 7, 2007


What facts does anyone have that this is a war for oil?

Cheney's Energy Task Force was eyeing Iraqi oil fields in March 2001: Documents turned over in the summer of 2003 by the Commerce Department as a result of the Sierra Club’s and Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as two charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” The documents, dated March 2001, also feature maps of Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals.

Recently Australia's Minister of Defense Brendan Nelson admitted that Australia was also in Iraq for reasons of "energy security":"The defence update we're releasing today sets out many priorities for Australia's defence and security, and resource security is one of them," he told ABC radio.

"The entire (Middle East) region is an important supplier of energy, oil in particular, to the rest of the world.

"Australians and all of us need to think well what would happen if there were a premature withdrawal from Iraq?"


Dagobert, did you think it was a coincidence that during the looting of Iraq back in 2003 one of the only buildings protected by U.S. troops was the Oil Ministry? Since US forces rolled into central Baghdad a week ago, one of the sole public buildings untouched by looters has been Iraq's massive oil ministry, which is under round-the-clock surveillance by troops.

The imposing building in the Al-Mustarisiya quarter is guarded by around 50 US tanks which block every entrance, while sharpshooters are positioned on the roof and in the windows.

The curious onlooker is clearly unwelcome. Any motorist who drifts within a few metres of the main entrance is told to leave immediately.

Baghdad residents have complained that US troops should do more to protect against the looters, most of them Shi'ite Muslims repressed by Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime who live in the vast slum known as Saddam City on the northern outskirts.

But while museums, banks, hotels and libraries have been ransacked, the oil ministry remains secure.

posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:04 PM on July 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


Is this being disingenuous, or is there really a belief that the US "won" the war in Iraq? Can the US even pull out and claim victory?

This is the trouble for going to war without a clear definitions of success and failure. Nobody should be allowed to go to war unless we say we're doing X to achieve Y. This war lacks a clear definition of an end. I think opponents of the war would have been better served to try and create such a definition of the end rather than claim we are "losing" or have "lost." Such remarks only serve to make war proponents want to fight it harder.

The analogy to Vietnam is a bad one. We lost in Vietnam because Ho Chi Minh took over the entire country; something we fought to prevent. In Iraq we did succeed in defeating Sadaam's regime and in installing a democratic one.

Where we've failed is in policing the country's various factions, which I don't think can be done well by outsiders at all, unless with brutal and excessive force. The Iraqis are going to slaughter each other until life is sufficiently crappy for everyone there and they decide to stop. It really makes no difference whether we are there in the meantime or not.
posted by b_thinky at 1:23 PM on July 7, 2007


We can't install democracy. We did not install democracy. It's a joke to even state that it's possible for an army to do that at all.
posted by amberglow at 1:45 PM on July 7, 2007


David Shuster dismantles Fouad Ajami’s comparison of Libby to our fallen soldiers
posted by homunculus at 1:47 PM on July 7, 2007


Nobody should be allowed to go to war unless we say we're doing X to achieve Y.

The reason given was to prevent Saddam Hussein from using Weapons of Mass Destruction: Bush, Rumsfeld Confident Iraq Had Weapons of Mass Destruction

The United States did not go to war in Iraq because of "new, dramatic evidence of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass murder," Rumsfeld added. "The objective in the global war on terror is to prevent another terrorist attack like Sept. 11th -- or a biological, nuclear or chemical attack that would be worse -- before it happens," he said. "We can say with confidence that the world is a better place today because the United States led a coalition of forces into action in Iraq."

Rumsfeld was wrong, and that's one of the reasons he's no longer Secretary of Defense. how the war terror made the world a more terrifying place An authoritative US study of terrorist attacks after the invasion in 2003 contradicts the repeated denials of George Bush and Tony Blair that the war is not to blame for an upsurge in fundamentalist violence worldwide. The research is said to be the first to attempt to measure the "Iraq effect" on global terrorism. It found that the number killed in jihadist attacks around the world has risen dramatically since the Iraq war began in March 2003. The study compared the period between 11 September 2001 and the invasion of Iraq with the period since the invasion. The count - excluding the Arab-Israel conflict - shows the number of deaths due to terrorism rose from 729 to 5,420."
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:50 PM on July 7, 2007


Japan? the Philippines? Kosovo?

By mid-1945 Japan was largely 'pacified' by their civilians' utter disgust with the lies, failed policies and unkept promises of their military.

The Phiippines Insurrection was put down on the model of the Indian Wars, I guess. Not too big a job for the USMC I would argue, should we really want to revisit those methods.

Kosovo was a mission of separating combatants. If we can't scare up enough allies to assist us in this mission then it's not worth doing.

Nobody has formely appointed us GloboCop, and I'm getting kinda tired of paying the $15k + deferred interest every April 15 for the shitty results we're getting trying to do it.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:51 PM on July 7, 2007


Excuse me--war ON terror
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:52 PM on July 7, 2007


Lieberman Recycles Iraq Talking Points To Justify War With Iran
posted by homunculus at 2:11 PM on July 7, 2007


The military is fine. Give them a *military* problem (enter and defeat Saddam's army) and they do great. Give them a police action or heart surgery or candy making and they will fail. They are not trained as surgeons or police or entrepreneurs politicians. Never use a micro-caliper to hammer drywall nails.
posted by sammyo at 2:18 PM on July 7, 2007


If the US Army is broken, how the hell are we (global community) going to clean up the deteriorating mess in Afghanistan?

That was a war the entire world supported. That was a war to destroy a specific terrorist group and simultaneously destroy a religio-dictatorial regime that was brutalizing the country's citizens. That was a war that could be won.

Damn fine opportunity lost.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:18 PM on July 7, 2007


Remember that scene in Pootie Tang where Pootie winds up and delivers a massive, open-hand bitch slap to someone who did him wrong?

Someone needs to do that to Lieberman.
posted by quin at 2:23 PM on July 7, 2007



That was a war the entire world supported.


But there's no oil in Afghanistan--and we already got the pipeline deals signed, i think. They lost interest in Afghanistan even before we went in.
posted by amberglow at 2:44 PM on July 7, 2007


Never use a micro-caliper to hammer drywall nails.

That seems odd.

Never use a hammer to measure non-integer hammer units.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:18 PM on July 7, 2007


Some of the results of today's "democracy-bringing" successes and progress
posted by amberglow at 3:27 PM on July 7, 2007


By mid-1945 Japan was largely 'pacified' by their civilians' utter disgust with the lies, failed policies and unkept promises of their military.

Uh, no. The Japanese gave 'em hell on Iwo Jima, and the Japanese gave 'em hell on Okinawa. People were prepared (or were coerced by an overwhelmingly powerful state) to fight to the death. Besides, the true horror of total war was brought to the Japanese civilians only in February 1945, when the US was able to start bombing (and firebombing) the Japanese homeland at will.

Although Japan had lost more than 2 million soldiers by 1945, the country had not endured the strategic bombing that Germany had faced for the previous three of four years.

But after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Emperor said "we give up!" and the population followed right along. The first American occupiers to reach the Diet were journalists, not soldiers. (see Japan at War: An Oral History).

The Japanese people, while probably disgusted by war were not disgusted by the leadership, and would have fought to the death. But death for a diseased and exhausted population would have come easily.

The pacification strategy was easy: send food.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:20 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


And we airdropped food into Berlin too, no? (after bombing the hell out of it, of course)
posted by amberglow at 8:22 PM on July 7, 2007


E&P: 'N.Y. Times' Editorial: Leave Iraq Now

(Actual editorial here--but Bush doesn't listen anyway so...)
posted by amberglow at 8:49 PM on July 7, 2007


And we airdropped food into Berlin too, no?

I think you're referring to the Berlin airlift, amberglow, no?

After WWII, Germany was divided into four sectors, each controlled by on of the victors: Britain, France, Russia & the U.S.A.

Berlin, the capital city, 120 miles inside the Russian sector which we came to know as East Germany, was likewise divided. The Russians so felt the 3 sectors belonging to Britain, France & the U.S.A. which we came to know as West Berlin, like a boil on their ass...

We so liked pwning that boil on their ass...

Spandau Prison was their boil on our ass in West Berlin (British sector). Each of the 4 got to guard it throughout the year; so, the Russians got to have their soldiers in the Brit's sector for 3 months each year.

I've watched from the nearest guard tower at Spandau as the last prisoner, Rudolph Hess, took his exercise. He would come out the back of the main building into one of the sort of pie-shaped segments behind that building.

There was a trodden dirt path the guard details walked to change shifts in the towers that circled the inside of the prison wall. It went through various segmenting walls that ran from the outer wall to whatever inside connecting structure.

Hess would come out the door and walk down a few stairs to his own trodden path. Once down the stairs, he goose-stepped straight out to the guards' path. Then he would goose-step the arc of the guards' path between his segmenting walls, stopping just at the arch in each.

Back in some day, Hess' exercise yard had been a flower garden but it was unkempt. He would goose-step along until he came upon some flower he liked (I saw him in summer, the USA's quarterly bit).

He would stop in his walk, at attention for some rose, execute a left/right face, then bend at the waist like some Disney caricature of a NAZI to sniff.

When he died, the Russians so liked their boil on our ass they wanted to entomb him there or something.

Berlin Brigade: represent!
posted by taosbat at 10:12 PM on July 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


With the exception of Fuzzy M mentioning the recent comments by Brenden Nelson, again, all I get when it comes to "Oil for Money" is innuendo and incredulous indignation over my 'ignornace.'

Again, I want facts.
posted by Dagobert at 11:02 PM on July 7, 2007


Bomb Levels Section of Iraqi Village, Killing 105
posted by homunculus at 11:11 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Regardless of the justifications -- moral or otherwise, sufficient or otherwise -- this is not a war. This is an occupation. Benign or otherwise, it is an occupation. All occupations end, whether sooner or later. Success must be defined and achieved independently of the ending of the occupation.

It is very important that we change the vocabulary with which we refer to this conflict, because without the right vocabulary there is no clarity about means or ends.
posted by randomstriker at 3:38 AM on July 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Reservist fighting his fifth war call-up
posted by homunculus at 9:57 AM on July 8, 2007


I think you're referring to the Berlin airlift, amberglow, no?
Yup--but i thought it had happened earlier--right after the end of the war and at the beginning of the division.
posted by amberglow at 1:13 PM on July 8, 2007


Powell tried to talk Bush out of war
posted by homunculus at 5:42 PM on July 8, 2007


Powell tried for 2 1/2 hours, then happily went to the UN, and every single tv show on Earth to tell us lies.
posted by amberglow at 7:29 PM on July 8, 2007


He should have resigned--no amount of trying to exempt himself of responsibility for this will make up for what he did do.
posted by amberglow at 7:31 PM on July 8, 2007


whatever. I wish we had another few leaders like Powell in the executive office, and then perhaps we wouldn't be in this mess. One man just could not stand up to this army of neocon robots.
posted by caddis at 7:34 PM on July 8, 2007


Another few wouldn't have stood up to them either, and neither did Powell. His actions show that clearly.
posted by amberglow at 8:04 PM on July 8, 2007


Yeah, you go solo in that environment.
posted by caddis at 8:17 PM on July 8, 2007


Colin Powell: My Lai...spit.
posted by taosbat at 12:17 AM on July 9, 2007


the true horror of total war was brought to the Japanese civilians only in February 1945

true horror of war to dawn on America... ?
posted by dreamsign at 6:14 AM on July 9, 2007


Rude Pundit: Soldiers have always been just stiff plastic players on the foosball game of politics. Which is why it's not even remotely surprising that Karl Rove is in any way, shape, or globular form involved (NYT) in a decision on whether or not to withdraw troops from Iraq. As a few Republican senators up for re-election make noise like they actually have the 'nads to oppose the White House, Rove is telling Bush, as ever, to play like he's got the only bucket in the sandbox: you wanna build any castles, you gotta do it on his terms. ...
posted by amberglow at 8:42 AM on July 9, 2007


true horror of war to dawn on America... ?

Modern warfare? never. War-ish things (Vietnam, Iraq, etc)? never (altho Vietnam finally showed us more of the reality of it than ever before).

Civil War, but it was too long ago--that was the last time the true horrors of war dawned here.

WW2 got lots of attention, but it wasn't the horror of war that dawned so much -- it was the gearing up for it and work at making it happen and scrap metal drives and rationing and media accounts more than the horror of it, etc...The horror was kept to newsprint until after the war, or for propaganda movies, and there was (as now) heavy restrictions on what you could see or report and show in newsreels.
posted by amberglow at 8:49 AM on July 9, 2007


“Obviously, they're not all bad, but to browbeat people by saying "you haven't been there" frankly doesn't mean much. Nice to hear you support the institution which pays your bills, but I'm kind of tired of knee-jerk reactions to criticism like this.”

Not at all what he was saying.
But in terms of “you haven’t been there” is there some reason a veteran is less equipped to criticise or oppose a given war effort because of their direct experiance?
Furthermore: is competancy in any given field judged better by a ideologue or an expert in the field?
Although I agree with your assertion that over-extension and other pressures and ambiguities can, have and do lead to atrocities and war crimes, that’s not what vitia was disputing has or could happen. I also doubt he’s chosen this particular environment to verbally defend his paymasters.
I’d argue your perspective may have been colored and your mischaracterization of his remarks is due to your reaction to his background rather than to the comments themselves.
But his motives are irrelevent. His statement - at face - was subjective and anecdotal. The people he’s encountered are just great. (To anecdotally support vitia’s point, I’ve encountered a few rockeaters myself and rendered aid)
Granted that’s a narrow scope and fails because it’s unverifiable, but by the same token it’s unassailable from a broader perspective. No amount of atrocities committed by anyone anywhere can change the fact that the people he’s met are altruistic.
You allowed for a general understanding by saying they’re not all bad - but then you point to a variety of war crimes.
The implication then there is that the vast majority are bad except a few might not be.
And then you go on to assert that flaws in the mission and over-extensions and such create opportunities and pressures to commit war crimes.
The upshot then is what?
I don’t think there is any clear point here in part because you’ve not expressed vitia’s point correctly (whether you misunderstood it or not would be conjecture on my part) and predicated your point based on that.
There’s little to debate however. Your supporting points, such as they are, are indesputable: War crimes are committed; some people refuse to criticise any acts by any servicemembers anywhere; poor leadership and unclear objectives lead to intolerable pressures that can explode into tragic situations, and so forth.
I don’t see how that refutes what vitia is saying - that most troops are altruistic (as indeed is evident by how small the percentage is that commit war crimes given those massive and unreasonable pressures), that they haven’t been used *exclusively* for evil purposes (although lupus_yonderboy’s
comment given the term “mostly” is indeed open to debate), and they (the troops themselves, not any given administration which sends them to war) aren’t incompetent or “dumb and evil tools.”
Didn’t seem at all like he was browbeating anyone. And indeed, if your criticism is set against the contemporary social picture, I think he allowed for that.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:59 AM on July 9, 2007


Jim Webb Leads Fight to Rescue Military
posted by homunculus at 12:04 PM on July 9, 2007


"Accidents" of War: The Time Has Come for an Honest Discussion of Air Power
posted by homunculus at 1:02 PM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Rove, lying like a rug to movers and shakers: Rove: ‘I Make No Apologies’ For Any Of Administration’s Mistakes Or Lies
This weekend at the Aspen Ideas Festival, President Bush’s political adviser Karl Rove seemed incapable of uttering a single honest statement.
Facing a chilly reception from the audience, who “shook their heads and groaned in unison” during the speech, Rove grossly distorted administration’s policies, on everything from Guantanamo to Iraq to the leak case: ...

posted by amberglow at 2:04 PM on July 9, 2007


Guess Which Country We Invade in Army's "Future"
posted by homunculus at 5:54 PM on July 9, 2007


“In the States, it’s like we’re in the last half of the third reel of a three-reel movie, and all we have to do is decide we’re done here, and the credits come up, and the lights come on, and we leave the theater and go on to something else,” he said. “Whereas out here, you’re just getting into the first reel of five reels,” he added, “and as ugly as the first reel has been, the other four and a half are going to be way, way worse.”

U.S. Envoy Offers Grim Prediction on Iraq Pullout
posted by KokuRyu at 8:46 PM on July 9, 2007


140,000 Turkish Troops Mass at Iraq Border
Iraq Benchmarks still Waiting for Godot

posted by homunculus at 11:43 AM on July 10, 2007


Republicans Kill Webb's Troop-Protection Amendment
posted by homunculus at 10:16 AM on July 11, 2007


Republicans Kill Webb's Troop-Protection Amendment

Why are they allowed to filibuster and we never do? WTF?
posted by amberglow at 2:48 PM on July 11, 2007


They're ratcheting up the FEAR! TERROR! thing bigtime: Republican playbook calls for new terror attacks in time for election 2008
posted by amberglow at 5:18 PM on July 11, 2007


All News Is Good News-- If, that is, you're a Republican. Atrios points us to an Associated Press article reporting that "U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded al-Qaida has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since just before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." ... this damning indictment of George W. Bush's policies is described as something that "could bolster the president's hand at a moment when support on Capitol Hill for the war is eroding and the administration is struggling to defend its decision for a military buildup in Iraq." ...
posted by amberglow at 10:35 AM on July 12, 2007


This is what our military has become - an ex-guard at Abu Ghraib is coaxed into telling his stories, with a bit of beer. His callousness will make you want to vomit.
posted by caddis at 12:09 PM on July 13, 2007


That was discussed a while ago, there was a lot of hoping that it was fake.
posted by quin at 12:34 PM on July 13, 2007


We were just talking about that here. I missed that first thread.
posted by homunculus at 5:26 PM on July 13, 2007


White House, Pentagon cite executive privilege to hold up documents on friendly fire victim Tillman
posted by homunculus at 5:28 PM on July 13, 2007


What earthly reason do they have for claiming that, other than it's going to support the already public knowledge that they lied about what happened?

Man, I hope the next government has the foresight to eliminate a whole of the the loopholes and claims this Administration is making. This sort of shit is just unhealthy for a nation.

We need some open-source folk in office. Make this governance thing a wholly open process. Let the citizens know what's going on, so they can protect themselves.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:53 PM on July 13, 2007


They don't have a reason--they're just reinforcing their position for the Attorneys thing, and all the many many other crimes--past and present.

They're daring Congress to get tough and take them to court, and they want to escalate so they can get a Supremes decision in their favor of exec privilege (for the next GOP Pres or so they can just stay forever) if it even gets that far (bec it has to go thru the DOJ, which we all know is simply a branch law firm for Bush and the GOP now).
posted by amberglow at 8:05 PM on July 13, 2007


fff, just get the underground railroad ready for us to get up there.
posted by amberglow at 8:05 PM on July 13, 2007


Bush Will Veto Any Antiwar Measures By Congressional Dems On Iraq -- And Iran-- ... President Bush will veto any and all measures put forth by Congressional Dems to halt the Iraq War, according to a little-noticed letter from the White House to Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The letter also says that the White House will veto any measure that would tie its hands on Iran -- including on military action inside that country. ...

posted by amberglow at 8:54 PM on July 13, 2007


... Why is it, almost six years to the day after your infamously ignored daily briefing entitled “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US”, you are being handed a document entitled “Al-Qaida better positioned to strike the West”? ...
posted by amberglow at 9:11 PM on July 13, 2007


The Ever Changing Definition of ‘Mission’ In Iraq (from 2003 to today in quotes)
posted by amberglow at 11:17 AM on July 14, 2007


Did Military and Media Mislead Us? Most Outside Insurgents in Iraq Come from Saudi Arabia
posted by amberglow at 11:58 AM on July 15, 2007


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