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7 posts tagged with iraq by caddis.
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How to win friends and influence people, in Iraq

The American military finds new allies, but at what cost? One afternoon, sitting with Captain Brooks in Thrasher’s rooftop gym, I asked if he felt that what he was doing in Iraq was appreciated by the people back home. “Oh, yeah,” he said. Turning to one of his N.C.O.s, who was seated nearby, smoking a cigar, he asked, “What do you think, Sergeant Cochran?” Lowering his voice, Cochran replied, “When that bullet goes by my head, all the politics goes right out the window. My only thought is to get my men out of there alive.” “Thanks for quoting ‘Black Hawk Down,’ Sergeant Cochran,” Brooks drawled. Turning back to me, he said, “When I went home the last time, we went skiing in Colorado. Everywhere we went, people thanked me. One man said, ‘I don’t support the war but I support the soldiers.’ I can accept that. We have a system that allows freedom of speech. Hell, I put on the uniform to defend that.”
posted by caddis on Nov 17, 2007 - 34 comments

Loyalty to the truth will be punished comrade

How General Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties. Whether the President was told about Abu Ghraib in January (when e-mails informed the Pentagon of the seriousness of the abuses and of the existence of photographs) or in March (when Taguba filed his report), Bush made no known effort to forcefully address the treatment of prisoners before the scandal became public, or to reëvaluate the training of military police and interrogators, or the practices of the task forces that he had authorized. Instead, Bush acquiesced in the prosecution of a few lower-level soldiers. The President’s failure to act decisively resonated through the military chain of command: aggressive prosecution of crimes against detainees was not conducive to a successful career. In January of 2006, Taguba received a telephone call from General Richard Cody, the Army’s Vice-Chief of Staff. “This is your Vice,” he told Taguba. “I need you to retire by January of 2007.” No pleasantries were exchanged, although the two generals had known each other for years, and, Taguba said, “He offered no reason.” (A spokesperson for Cody said, “Conversations regarding general officer management are considered private personnel discussions. General Cody has great respect for Major General Taguba as an officer, leader, and American patriot.”) “They always shoot the messenger,” Taguba told me. “To be accused of being overzealous and disloyal—that cuts deep into me. I was being ostracized for doing what I was asked to do.”
posted by caddis on Jun 16, 2007 - 44 comments

You've lost the troops, sir.

US Troop poll results in: 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and nearly one in four say the troops should leave immediately. In other news, 58% of Americans think the troops should stay. Back to the troops: 85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks,” 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.”
posted by caddis on Feb 28, 2006 - 74 comments

The Trouble with Neocons

A lapsed neocon speaks out: The problem with neoconservatism's agenda lies not in its ends, which are as American as apple pie, but rather in the overmilitarized means by which it has sought to accomplish them.... After the fall of the Soviet Union, various neoconservative authors like Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol and Robert Kagan suggested that the United States would use its margin of power to exert a kind of "benevolent hegemony" over the rest of the world, fixing problems like rogue states with W.M.D., human rights abuses and terrorist threats as they came up. Writing before the Iraq war, Kristol and Kagan considered whether this posture would provoke resistance from the rest of the world, and concluded, "It is precisely because American foreign policy is infused with an unusually high degree of morality that other nations find they have less to fear from its otherwise daunting power." ... We are fighting hot counterinsurgency wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and against the international jihadist movement, wars in which we need to prevail. But "war" is the wrong metaphor for the broader struggle, since wars are fought at full intensity and have clear beginnings and endings. Meeting the jihadist challenge is more of a "long, twilight struggle" whose core is not a military campaign but a political contest for the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims around the world.
posted by caddis on Feb 18, 2006 - 57 comments

Phone call from Iraq

"Hey Mom it’s me." Something my son always said every time he called, but this time his voice sounded unusual. He had a really serious tone in his voice and the automatic gunfire in the background was loud and more constant than usual. My heart began to race and I took a deep breath. "Hey, I'm trapped on a rooftop and I don't think we are going to make it out of here, so I just called to tell you that I loved you and that I am thinking of all of you."
posted by caddis on Oct 28, 2005 - 114 comments

Troops throw down a weapon?

A throw down? [Warning link to extremely graphic images of dead bodies, some nudity] Did US troops plant weapons on young boys after killing the boys? Currently, being discussed here, but it might be missed without coming here to the front page. Via insomnia_lj
posted by caddis on Jun 20, 2005 - 197 comments

Failed opportunities in Iraq

NEWSWEEK's Baghdad bureau chief, departing after two years of war and American occupation, has a few final thoughts. A short, yet refreshingly honest, look at Iraq from a respected journalist on the way home.

What went wrong? A lot, but the biggest turning point was the Abu Ghraib scandal. Since April 2004 the liberation of Iraq has become a desperate exercise in damage control. The abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib alienated a broad swath of the Iraqi public. On top of that, it didn't work. . . . The four-square-mile Green Zone, the one place in Baghdad where foreigners are reasonably safe, could be a showcase of American values and abilities. Instead the American enclave is a trash-strewn wasteland of Mad Max-style fortifications. The traffic lights don't work because no one has bothered to fix them. The garbage rarely gets collected. Some of the worst ambassadors in U.S. history are the GIs at the Green Zone's checkpoints. They've repeatedly punched Iraqi ministers, accidentally shot at visiting dignitaries and behave (even on good days) with all the courtesy of nightclub bouncers—to Americans and Iraqis alike.
posted by caddis on Jun 6, 2005 - 51 comments

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