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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:50 AM
Original message
The neocons, breaking the army and what Iraq's VP wants
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 10:56 AM by ProSense
The neocons:

Analysis: Iraq out of time, needs troops

By PAMELA HESS
UPI Pentagon Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- A leading U.S. military analyst is advocating the addition of some 30,000 U.S. forces to Iraq, with a new mission: to protect the Iraqi people.

Frederick Kagan, a former instructor at West Point and now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, believes his plan to add seven Army brigade combat teams and Marine regiments to Baghdad and Anbar province early next year could establish security in Baghdad by the fall of 2007.

While much of the focus in Washington is on increasing the pace of American training of Iraqi security forces who will eventually take on the bulk of the fighting, Kagan argues the United States and Iraq no longer has that luxury of time.

"Iraq has reached a critical point. The strategy of relying on a political process to eliminate the insurgency has failed. Rising sectarian violence threatens to break America's will to fight. This violence will destroy the Iraqi government, armed forces, and people if it is not rapidly controlled," he writes. "Violence is accelerating beyond the Iraqis' ability to control it."

more...


Breaking the army:

Dec. 14, 2006, 11:37PM

Army moves to reduce strain on troops

By LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press Writer
2006 The Associated Press

WASHINGTON The Army's top general warned on Thursday that his force "will break" without thousands more active duty troops and greater use of the reserves. He issued the warning as President Bush considers new strategies for Iraq.

Snip...

According to defense officials, the plan may require shifting equipment and personnel from other military units so the two new brigades could be formed next year and be ready to be sent the war zone in 2008. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans are not final.

Noting the strain put on the force by operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker said he wants to increase his half-million-member Army beyond the 30,000 troops already authorized in recent years.

Though he didn't give an exact number, he said it would take significant time, saying 6,000 to 7,000 soldiers could be added per year. Schoomaker has said it costs roughly $1.2 billion to increase the Army by 10,000 soldiers.

Snip...

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, meanwhile, urged the Bush administration to set a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. At a news conference in Washington, al-Hashemi, a Sunni leader who met with Bush this week, said the timetable should be "flexible" and depend on development of a capable Iraqi security force.

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What Iraq's PM wants:

Originally Aired: December 14, 2006

Iraqi Vice President Discusses Political Crisis in Baghdad

Amidst continuing violence in Iraq and waning American support, Iraqi politicians struggle to bring peace and order. Iraqi Vice President Tariq Al-Hashimi, a Sunni leader, speaks about the political crisis in Baghdad and what can be done to improve the situation.

Snip...

Withdrawing American troops

RAY SUAREZ: In the past, you've said publicly that you'd like American troops to leave Iraq. How do you feel about that now? And do you think a date is necessary?

TARIQ AL-HASHEMI: There are foreign troops on my territory. This in itself is damaging the sovereignty of the -- the dignity of the country, the dignity of the people, and the sovereignty of the country. This is one. So I would be very happy, in fact, to see my country, in fact, free from any sort of presence of any foreign troops.

On the other hand, I am a man of practicality. I am quite worried time being, because of the worsened situation in security. I am worried about this security vacuum.

So I am sincerely looking now for a plan that, one, gives the message to the Iraqis that the existence of the American troops will be temporary. This is one.

But there, whatever the time will take to restructure, retrain, supply equipment, armament for a newborn army, and the security forces of MOI. If it takes one-and-a-half years or two years, in fact, after the completion of this program -- and I am expecting that to contribute -- and finals, and offer their expertise, in fact, to have a professional and patriotic security forces.

Once you complete that, there will be no need, in fact, to keep the American troops on the Iraqi territories. So what I am calling now is a timetable-conditional withdrawal, basically to have other national troops to replace the American army. Once you finish that, definitely there will be no need, in fact, for the Americans to stay in Iraq.

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:28 AM
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1. Final Fantasy: Fred Kagan's disastrous plan for "victory" in Iraq.

Final Fantasy

Fred Kagan's disastrous plan for "victory" in Iraq.

By Spencer Ackerman
Web Exclusive: 12.15.06

Print Friendly | Email Article

Snip...

Now, Kagan is no liar. As far as I know, he takes no midnight rides and has bitten no backs. But judging from his paper, he has quite a gambling problem. And while I can't presume to know what the Lord's plans for Fred Kagan are, if God doesn't cut him down, reality surely will. The plan, as released in preliminary form yesterday by AEI, is a tease. It's arranged as a 52-page bullet-pointed PDF -- easily translatable into the Pentagon's indigenous language of PowerPoint -- and as such, it makes assertions instead of arguments. Uncharitable as it may be to argue with bullet points, it's a necessary task when faced with such overwhelming and consequential shallowness of thought. The full report is to be released in January, raising the prospect that Kagan's proposal could dovetail with President Bush's anticipated "New Way Forward" plan to be released shortly after the New Year. As such, countering Kagan's fantastic plan has a certain urgency.

Snip...

First, Kagan's basic idea can be summed up in two words: "Security First." By this, he means that no possible acceptable outcome to the Iraq war can occur without an imposition of security. Furthermore, since the Iraqi Army is hardly up to the challenge, the only force imaginable that can impose security is the U.S. military. In the final analysis, Kagan proposes that once the U.S. military can impose security, some political settlement is possible. This, of course, runs up against one very potent obstacle: the sheer exhaustion of the Army and Marine Corps, many of whose forces are on their third combat tour in Iraq and operate equipment in dire need of replacement or repair. Also past the wheezing point is Americans' political desire to continue fighting a near-half-trillion dollar stalemate, as demonstrated by November's Republican meltdown at the polls.

Kagan's response is the blithest one possible. He writes (again, in bullet point form) that America has "1.4 million troops under arms 140,000 in Iraq." Well, then! Arguing for a troop infusion this week in the Standard, editor Bill Kristol and contributor Robert Kagan (Fred's brother) insisted that "yes, the troops exist," and that Fred Kagan has identified "where they would come from." In fact, what Kagan has offered is no more than a bewildered assurance that there simply must be more troops to send. What he neglects is that nearly all of the available combat force among the Army and Marines are either in Iraq now, recently returned from deployment (in most cases, not their first), or are preparing to return. Kagan settles on 50,000 troops as his magic number. Were he serious about actually deploying these forces, they could be roughly found in the combined forces stationed in Afghanistan and Korea. Yet, for some reason, he doesn't propose pulling out of either of those hot spots, despite warning of the catastrophe that losing in Iraq would augur.

Having conjured up 50,000 additional soldiers and marines, Kagan has the burden of suggesting what they should do. His answer is that they should first secure Baghdad, which he asserts can occur by fall 2007. The basis for his estimation receives not a word of explication. "Security" is less than a clear objective. What does "security" entail? Twenty attacks a day? Forty? None? Furthermore, three and a half years in Iraq has yielded a single proven course of action for providing security. As Tom Ricks of The Washington Post documents in his definitive book Fiasco, the Fourth Infantry Division under General Ray Odierno opted for a massive show of near-indiscriminate force to subdue its area of operations north and west of Baghdad, while the 101st Airborne Division under General David Petraeus opted for a lighter approach combined with economic initiatives for Iraqis in its area of operations around Mosul. Petraeus was vastly more successful. If Odierno and Petraeus represent opposite extremes, Kagan refuses to embrace any particular approach at all, seemingly under the sway of the fantasy that more troops automatically equals more security.

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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Another great compilation.
KandR.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:31 PM
Response to Original message
3. It's time to admit it's over in Iraq (Richard Clarke, 11/20)

It's time to admit it's over in Iraq

By Richard A. Clarke
November 20, 2006

Americans tend to think we can achieve almost any goal if we just expend more resources and try a bit harder. That spirit has built the greatest nation in history, but it may be dooming Iraq.

As the head of the British army recently noted, the very presence of large numbers of foreign combat troops is the source of much of the violence and instability. Our efforts, then, are merely postponing the day when Iraqis find their way to something approaching normalcy. Only withdrawal offers a realistic path forward.

Too often in the Iraq debate, we have let intuition, slogans and appealing thoughts cloud logic. Perhaps the most troublesome example is the argument that we must honor the American dead by staying until we can build something worthy of their sacrifice.

Stripped of its emotional tones, this argument is, in economic analysis, an appeal to sunk cost. An MIT professor once promised to fail me if I ever justified actions based on sunk cost so I learned that what is gone is gone, and what is left we should conserve, cherish and employ wisely.

A similarly illogical argument for staying in Iraq is that chaos would follow any near-term U.S. withdrawal. The flaw lies not in the concept that chaos will happen, but rather in thinking that chaos would only happen if we withdraw in the near-term. Chaos will almost certainly follow any U.S. withdrawal, whether in 2008 or 2012.

Even granting that chaos after a 2008 pullout may be worse than what would follow a 2012 withdrawal, is the difference between those two levels of disaster worth the cost? This cost comes in American dead and wounded, Iraqi dead and wounded, billions of dollars in military expenditures, the continued damage to U.S. influence in the world, and the further strengthening of radical Islamist terrorists everywhere.

Another emotionally charged argument against withdrawal is that al-Qaeda will be emboldened by our departure. But are we to conclude that, if we make a mistake, we should continue to make it lest our enemies gloat? Al-Qaeda is already sufficiently emboldened.

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