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A good reference on the surge and the awakening - General Wm Odom

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Muttocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 09:48 PM
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A good reference on the surge and the awakening - General Wm Odom
All this back and forth about the surge and awakening reminds me of the most straightforward assessment of the surge I've heard - from William Odom in April 2008, shortly before he passed away. Maybe this is good fuel for those of you who are writing LTTE, responses to nutty emails, etc.

Odom is no liberal nut - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Eldridge_Odom

Here is his plainly-written but insightful written testimony
http://foreign.senate.gov/testimony/2008/OdomTestimony0...

for this hearing
http://foreign.senate.gov/hearings/2008/hrg080402a.html

Some excerpts (emphasis mine)

"Turning to the apparent success in Anbar province and a few other Sunni areas, this is not the positive situation it is purported to be. Certainly violence has declined as local Sunni shieks have begun to cooperate with US forces. But the surge tactic cannot be given full credit. The decline started earlier on Sunni initiative. What are their motives? First, anger at al Qaeda operatives and second, their financial plight.

Their break with al Qaeda should give us little comfort. The Sunnis welcomed anyone who would help them kill Americans, including al Qaeda. The concern we hear the president and his aides express about a residual base left for al Qaeda if we withdraw is utter nonsense. The Sunnis will soon destroy al Qaeda if we leave Iraq."


"As an aside, it gives me pause to learn that our vice president and some members of the Senate are aligned with al Qaeda on spreading the war to Iran."


"Thus the decline in violence reflects a dispersion of power to dozens of local strong men who distrust the government and occasionally fight among themselves. Thus the basic military situation is far worse because of the proliferation of armed groups under local military chiefs who follow a proliferating number of political bosses.

This can hardly be called greater military stability, much less progress toward political consolidation, and to call it fragility that needs more time to become success is to ignore its implications."


"The only sensible strategy is to withdraw rapidly but in good order. Only that step can break the paralysis now gripping US strategy in the region. The next step is to choose a new aim, regional stability, not a meaningless victory in Iraq. And progress toward that goal requires revising our policy toward Iran. If the president merely renounced his threat of regime change by force, that could prompt Iran to lessen its support to Taliban groups in Afghanistan. Iran detests the Taliban and supports them only because they will kill more Americans in Afghanistan as retaliation in event of a US attack on Iran. Irans policy toward Iraq would also have to change radically as we withdraw. It cannot want instability there. Iraqi Shiites are Arabs, and they know that Persians look down on them. Cooperation between them has its limits.

No quick reconciliation between the US and Iran is likely, but US steps to make Iran feel more secure make it far more conceivable than a policy calculated to increase its insecurity. The presidents policy has reinforced Irans determination to acquire nuclear weapons, the very thing he purports to be trying to prevent.

Withdrawal from Iraq does not mean withdrawal from the region. It must include a realignment and reassertion of US forces and diplomacy that give us a better chance to achieve our aim.

A number of reasons are given for not withdrawing soon and completely. I have refuted them repeatedly before but they have more lives than a cat. Let try again me explain why they dont make sense..."
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