Gen. McCaffrey: We can (and should succeed in Iraq) -- though it will take 10 years.
May 3, 2006 7:53 PM   Subscribe

"Do we have the political will, do we have the military power, will we spend the resources required to achieve our aims [in Iraq]?" writes retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey in a memo addressed to the heads of the social science department at West Point summarizing his findings after a week-long fact-finding trip in Iraq. It will take ten years and billions of dollars, but the McCaffrey Memo claims that to leave Iraq prematurely would risk "a ten year disaster of foreign policy in the vital Gulf Oil Region." Fred Kaplan thinks the costs are too high.
posted by shivohum (18 comments total)
Billions of dollars seems like a fairly conservative estimate to me. We're already well into billions.
posted by papakwanz at 8:32 PM on May 3, 2006

"A ten year disaster of foreign policy in the vital Gulf Oil Region....."

You sure as shit don't find geniuses in the military, as McCaffrey et al and this whole sad debacle has reinforced.

What the fuck does he think we're 3+ years into?

And all in a memo to the South Hudson Institute of Technology. Brilliant. Inbred R Us.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:43 PM on May 3, 2006

Isn't Iraq already costing hundreds and hundreds of billions? Didn't some pundits recently project that it might break a trillion?

And what was the quoted sale price for this clusterfuck, anyway? 50-80 billion? Sold as some kind of miraculous bargain, no doubt.

Mission accomplished!
posted by loquacious at 8:48 PM on May 3, 2006

posted by kozad at 8:57 PM on May 3, 2006

This paper is mostly crap. It's crap writing, stylewise, about crap content--straws to be grasped. It's the same retread nonsense about victory being there for the taking, if only we could silence the morale-sapping cowards at home.

He tells us the soldiers are enthusiastically doing a kickass job. Well, yeah. The U.S. military, like it or loathe it, is by an enormous distance the most potent, well-trained, and well-equipped large-scale military force in history. That leads to high force morale. We're the NY Yankees vs. double-A teams. So, if the U.S. military can barely hang on to the situation in Iraq, you'd have to be balls-out nuts to think any degree of Vietnamization, er, Iraqization, is going to stave off full-out civil war.
posted by Nahum Tate at 9:11 PM on May 3, 2006

The tab on this entire nightmare is currently running around 300 billion dollars, with a whopping 570 billion to be lost by 2010 and what appears to be a complete clusterfuck in Iraq. Civil war is inevitable, and you better believe that the truly dangerous factions of radical Islam will inevitably strike much harder at US troops than anything we've seen. We're never coming out completely, what with the obscene US embassy.

The depleted uranium munitions
we've been using willl come back to haunt us in both our own troops and the Iraquis who have to live with this crap in their air and water. The US is going to paying for this in more ways than just big buckets of hot cash. The Iran saber rattling by the Bushistas has me on edge - a disruption to Iranian oil would hit the Chinese hard, and they might decide that the US is a dangerous nuclear threat, fear, nasuea, twitching eye, uhm....

I need some tea.
posted by dbiedny at 9:27 PM on May 3, 2006

nausea. Ugh.
posted by dbiedny at 9:40 PM on May 3, 2006

Victory in this situation can only come by institution of the same strategy employed by Saddam himself (genocide). A ruthless culling of all dissent and the implementation of a totalitarian state would stabilize the region once again. So..... why did we fuck up a (relatively)good thing? We did, after all, put the man there to do exactly that years ago. So have more died in this war than he killed? If not, how long will it take to catch up, between the jihadists and the Army? Pyrrhic victory, but still victory, eh?
posted by IronLizard at 11:10 PM on May 3, 2006

" ... to leave Iraq prematurely would risk "a ten year disaster of foreign policy in the vital Gulf Oil Region.""

Ten Years?

He's an idiot of the 1st degree.

We'll be paying for the errors of our ways for the next fifty, and probably longer.
posted by Relay at 11:35 PM on May 3, 2006

McCaffrey is one of the better former military talking heads out there, if only that he comes from that long-forgotten tradition (since about 1945) of generals who like to fight wars that we can win. That said, he was such a joke as Drug Czar that it's hard to take anything he says seriously.
posted by bardic at 12:00 AM on May 4, 2006

"a week-long fact-finding trip in Iraq"...

Now THAT is the basis of some sound research and evaluation...
posted by HuronBob at 2:39 AM on May 4, 2006

Barry McCaffrey? The former drug czar?

'Nuf sed.

(On preview, I see I'm not the only person who had a problem with Gen. McC's tenure in that post. OK, I'll see your drug czar and raise you a Rumaila.)
posted by pax digita at 5:09 AM on May 4, 2006

Really, can we put a price tag on the joy of Democracy in the region?
posted by fluffycreature at 6:35 AM on May 4, 2006

Nah, sooner we're gone, the sooner it can collapse, and the sooner it can rebuild.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:15 AM on May 4, 2006

The Romans didn't win every battle. But they always won the most important one: the last battle. Of course, that is until their military machine exhausted itself. This is classic Army thinking. We failed the first two times, but we'll get it right the third time. Or the time after that. This is the same problem that's plagued every military machine ever: the possibility of defeat, or strategic withdrawl, is never even considered until it's too late. It's really up to the politicians to end the debacle because the officers will never give up.
posted by nixerman at 7:45 AM on May 4, 2006

He lost me right up front when he listed "dinner discussion" and "lunch sensing session" (now that takes the cake for blowhard military nomenclature) as sources. How can any of these "sources" be anything but polite, gung ho and supremely retarded?

Now had he gone undercover -- say posing as a chaplain and living with the troops for a few months, he might have had something. But no, what we get is like everthing else associated with this war: a ten year strategy based on a week's worth of dinner parties and circle jerks.
posted by Toecutter at 9:03 AM on May 4, 2006

...we have aims? in Iraq?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:53 AM on May 4, 2006

Barry McCaffrey? The former drug czar?

'Nuf sed.

Which he's the perfect spokesperson for this. Don't you see?

The "War on Drugs" and the "War on Terror" are identical in so many ways.
posted by nofundy at 6:14 AM on May 5, 2006

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