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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:01 AM
Original message
Dems and Iraq: here's the guy who makes the most sense
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 10:08 AM by welshTerrier2
a recent article in the Boston Globe suggested that the Democratic Party may be unifying around the "Korb" plan; let's hope that's not the case ... the Korb plan calls for two more years of war and occupation in Iraq ... it says that most US troops should be out of Iraq by the end of 2007 ...

in the article below, Lieutenant General William Odom gives us a great history lesson that we best not ignore ... Odom draws a remarkable parallel between the unfolding of events in Iraq and the history of US involvement in Vietnam ... the comparisons he draws are truly startling ... Democrats, who have proposed a wide variety of approaches to Iraq, have failed with the most critical issue of all: even if tactical objectives were to be met, and they won't be, we will be left with a pro-Iranian government that will work against US interests ... the problem Democrats have thus far refused to recognize is that even if we succeed, we fail ... and it is nothing short of a naive pipedream to believe that "Iraqization" is going to succeed ... all the troop training Democrats have put so much faith in will produce one of two results: either we will fail to sufficiently train a sufficient number of troops OR once trained, the leaders of those troops will turn on each other in a struggle for power (this is what happened in Vietnam) ...

Clark, Clinton, Dean, Kerry and other prominent Democrats are wrong about their current policy ideas ... Odom has it right; even if we succeed we lose ... it's time to stop talking about how to achieve things in Iraq and start talking about getting out of Iraq as quickly as our own troop safety permits ... all other courses are pure folly ...

here are a couple of key excerpts from Odom's article ... to really understand his message though, you really should read his entire essay ...


source: http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=back...

The Vietnam War experience cant tell us anything about the war in Iraq or so it is said. If you believe that, trying looking through this lens, and you may change your mind. The Vietnam War had three phases. The War in Iraq has already completed an analogous first phase, is approaching the end of the second phase, and shows signs of entering the third.

Phase One ... began with hesitation and a gross misreading of American strategic interests. It concluded with the U.S. use of phony intelligence that made it seem that North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked U.S. ships in the Tonkin Gulf without provocation. <skip>

Iran had serious scores to settle with Iraq. In 1980, Saddam Hussein launched a bloody war that dragged on until 1988 without a decisive end. That President Bush would destroy Saddam's regime, saving Iran the trouble, was probably beyond its clerics wildest dreams. He did the same for al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden must have been ecstatic. The U.S. invasion opened the way for al Qaeda cadres to enter Iraq by the scores.

Phase Two in Vietnam was marked by a refusal to reconsider the wars strategic rationale. Rather, debate focused only on tactical issues as the war went sour. By 1965 things had begun going badly for U.S. military operations. By the end of March 1968, public opinion was turning against the war and Johnson chose not to run for re-election. His own party in Congress was breaking with him, and the pro-war New York Times reversed itself that summer.

During this phase, no major leader or opinion maker in the United States dared revisit the key strategic judgment: did the U.S. war aim of containing China make sense? Instead, debate focused on how the war was being fought: on search-and-destroy operations, on body counts, and pacification efforts.

This obsession with tactical issues made it easier to ignore the strategic error. As time passed, costs went up, casualties increased, and public support fell. We could not afford to cut and run, it was argued. The Viet Cong would carry out an awful blood-letting. Supporters of the war expected no honest answer when they asked How can we get out? Eventually Senator Aiken of Vermont gave them one: In boats. <skip>

Phase Three in Vietnam was marked by Vietnamization and make-believe diplomacy in Paris, policies still ignoring the strategic realities at the wars beginning. <skip>

Phase Three in Iraq is only beginning. Early signs were apparent in the presidential election campaign of 2004. Both Bush and Kerry put full confidence in Iraqization. U.S. forces will stand down as Iraqi forces stand up. They differed only on who could train more Iraqis faster. <skip>

In Iraq, we watch U.S.-led make-believe diplomacy negotiating a constitutional deal among Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. Should we believe that the Iraqi Shiites, a majority of the population with the trauma of Saddams bloody repressions burned into their memories, will settle for less than full control? And why should we expect the Kurds to surrender their decade-old autonomy after suffering no less bloody repressions than did the Shiites? And why should we expect Sunnis to trust a Shiite-Kurdish regime not to take revenge against them for Saddams crimes? And why would Iran and Syria be willing to abandon support for their co-religionists in Iraq in order to strike a peace deal favorable to the United States? <skip>

The difference lies in the consequences. Vietnam did not have the devastating effects on U.S. power that Iraq is already having. On this point, those who deny the Vietnam-Iraq analogy are probably right. They are wrong, however, in believing that staying the course will have any result other than making the damage to U.S. power far greater than changing course and withdrawing sooner in as orderly a fashion as possible.
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BootinUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:10 AM
Response to Original message
1. This is a misrepresentation
of Clark's position.

Clark favors a regional political strategy that by definition would reduce the direct control of Iraq by the US by other means than Iraqization. We would one of the countries in the process not the only one. He recognizes that its not a military/security problem its a political one.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Odom's point about a "regional political strategy"
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 10:12 AM by welshTerrier2
is that the players in the region have nothing to gain by "helping the US" with its diplomatic initiatives
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BootinUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Then he is wrong. n/t
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. if you say so ...
although some might consider your "n/t" argument to be a little thin ...
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BootinUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Its elementary
The ME countries would take part to avoid a wider conflict. And the goal is stability and human rights. These are goals that can be achieved and are worth trying to achieve. You've got to get the interested parties to the table and look for common interests.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. stability and human rights
admirable goals to be sure ...

but Odom does not agree, at least in the case of Syria and Iran, that those are their objectives ... he states: "And why would Iran and Syria be willing to abandon support for their co-religionists in Iraq in order to strike a peace deal favorable to the United States?"

the US has no credibility in the region as a peace broker ... we need to be totally out of Iraq and totally out of the subsequent process ... one need only think of Rumsfeld's handshake with Saddam, of all the weapons we sold Saddam and the region-wide hatred of Israel to understand that the US has no cards to play as a peace broker ...

stability and human rights are not the objective many in the ME hold; the objective is a rejection of all things US ... in Iraq, the objective is to establish a pro-Iranian, anti-US regime ... it doesn't seem credible, at least to me, that we can prevent that from happening ...
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BootinUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. The world is grey
not black and white. Let the diplomats handle the details. You're focusing on the Shite, but there are other parties involved Sunni and Kurds. Some actual discussions with Iran and Syria could be more fruitful than you imagine. You're right that human rights is not strong in the ME but you have to start somewhere, and people can agree on basic rights when there is not a dictator telling them what their rights will be.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. "Sunni and Kurds"
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 11:08 AM by welshTerrier2
here's what Odom said about the "Sunni and Kurds":

"And why should we expect the Kurds to surrender their decade-old autonomy after suffering no less bloody repressions than did the Shiites? And why should we expect Sunnis to trust a Shiite-Kurdish regime not to take revenge against them for Saddams crimes?" ... just this week the "democratically elected government" started hanging Sunni insurgents; hardly a confidence builder if you're a Sunni ...

if any regional process of negotiation is to occur in the ME, it can only occur AFTER the US leaves Iraq ... have we not seen the incredibly destabilizing effects of US presence? civil war in Iraq may be inevitable; spending another year or two or three or ten in Iraq is not going to change that ... the view that we should remain there and "fix things with negotiations" before we leave fails to understand the lessons of history ... and it also understands what the US objectives in Iraq really are ... bush is trying to establish a client-state that will be so poor, so devastated, so weak, that they will make any deal we demand to obtain a few US crumbs for their oil ...

there are powerful forces that will never negotiate while the US remains in occupation ... the path to peace will not be found while the US remains engaged in waging war ... we are a major part of the problem and cannot be part of the solution until we get out ... if the US truly seeks peace in the region, economic and humanitarian aid, with no strings attached, will yield far better results than the "stay until we achieve a solution" course that too many Democrats currently advocate ...
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BootinUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. I don't expect the Bushies to solve the problem
But at some point either we will get out as you advocate under the orders of the current administration or the experienced diplomats from our side will get a shot at the problem. In the meantime we should reduce our military footprint. And I do disagree that the US is currently causing the increasing violence. Its probably way beyond that.
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PATRICK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Some other countries should help
Namely those who would be in most danger of taking sides or splitting the whole region. Iran and Syria absent all US involvement might well come in like North Vietnam into Cambodia. Some other countries brokering a regional settlement that the peaceful majority of Iraq want and would accept can make a peacekeeping force balance.

For that to happen, the US must pay the price of surrendering all material interest in Iraq as well as being a military component. The unwillingness to trade oil interests for lives, American lives, is the treasonable reality of this continued occupation. The real obstacle to BEGINNING a possible solution is precisely the big hand in the cookie jar. However difficult all the other aspects are this behemoth in our living room is not faced for the central issue it is. Military assessments only circle this issue trying to plot a way out of the mess. The arguments are not a waste of time but there are a distraction from the single first step that must be taken and that this WH is incapable of considering out of their own private interests against the those of the rest of the human race.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. "surrendering all material interest in Iraq"
i agree with this point ... unfortunately, i believe oil interests were the central objective for going into Iraq in the first place ... by fighting for continued occupation until "something is achieved", all we're doing is furthering bush's efforts to hand Iraq oil over to his friends in the industry ... if we win, we lose ... and the Iraqis lose ...

the recent signings of numerous PSA's (preferred service agreements) has already largely sealed Iraq's fate ... perhaps if the current puppets are overthrown, that trend will be reversed ... the result will be an ugly, anti-democratic, religious state ... not a great alternative ... but it's too late to change the inevitable in Iraq ... ousting Saddam, as absolutely horrible as he was, was a catastrophic strategic blunder ... all we've done is traded one evil for another and killed a whole lot of people and our national stability in the process ...
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FloridaPat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:10 AM
Response to Original message
2. I wonder why Democrats like to shoot themselves in their own feet.
Two years? Right up to the next election. So no matter who wins, we keep being there. Only if the Democrats win, we'll have a different course.
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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:12 AM
Response to Original message
4. we are told it is for that elusive 'unity' concept.




...In Iraq, we watch U.S.-led make-believe diplomacy negotiating a constitutional deal among Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. Should we believe that the Iraqi Shiites, a majority of the population with the trauma of Saddams bloody repressions burned into their memories, will settle for less than full control? And why should we expect the Kurds to surrender their decade-old autonomy after suffering no less bloody repressions than did the Shiites? And why should we expect Sunnis to trust a Shiite-Kurdish regime not to take revenge against them for Saddams crimes? And why would Iran and Syria be willing to abandon support for their co-religionists in Iraq in order to strike a peace deal favorable to the United States? <skip>
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PATRICK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #4
15. It is in the shaky interest of everyone
to hold things together. The Kurds would have a weak state bounded by powerful enemies with restive Kurdish populations(Iran, Turkey). Shiite Iraq temporally shields them and makes them appear harmless but protected. The Sunnis in Syria and even Saudi Arabia also need NOT to line up against each other over persecuted populations or the dominance of any faction in Iraq. Logically if the American or the Iraqis can't, it is necessary for the neighbors to carefully support the fulcrum, at least temporarily.

America is screwing all possible solutions up. The Dems sound like the naifs in the Kennedy administration get their feet dangled in GOP mire. In that the Democratic party has learned absolutely nothing, especially in the realignment of foreign policy toward the REAL ideals the crooks are currently hiding behind. Under the leadership of even Bush I they would take up the evil policy and dig in as if it actually were in our national interest and a boon to the ME. This is worse an illusion than fighting the Cold War in SE Asia, but it is stuck like flypaper onto oil money. We don't need the oil, but we WANT the money and the control. In doing so we have CREATED something to be feared so that it APPEARS right to fight the suckers and take their country.

If the current Dems keep falling for this then they deserve to quickly fade from existence and leave the way for new mindsets that hopefully can draw a straight line.
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sutz12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
14. But this isn't like Vietnam...
:sarcasm:

Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. - Santayana

It is no suprise, considering none of these chickenhawks had anything to do with Vietnam. Except that * had an exit strategy.
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