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anybody see Michael Ware report abt situation in Iraq on AC 360 last night?

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TexanDem Donating Member (786 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-27-08 12:15 PM
Original message
anybody see Michael Ware report abt situation in Iraq on AC 360 last night?
I only caught part of it on the rerun late last night, but it sounded explosive. Nevertheless I can find nothing about it on the Internet. He said something about that even though the violence and death is down, that the American people are being duped because there are many behind the scenes deals that are as much a part of the "The Surge" as more boots on the ground. He listed off a few things that were being done that helped create the illusion that all is better in Iraq. And stressed that people are just not being told these things.
Can anybody expound on that report or know what he was talking about -- or know of any links that are following this aspect of the war???
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OnceUponTimeOnTheNet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-27-08 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. Transcript of interview
Some perspective now from Michael Ware, who is in Baghdad tonight, as he has been since the war began.

Michael, in terms of long term, I mean, how -- how do you measure the progress, militarily and politically?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, clearly, there has been progress in this war. I mean, the number of deaths of both American troops and civilians are clearly down. In Baghdad alone, comparing this month to the same month last year, 1,000 people died from terrorist attacks last year, less than 200 this last year, 800 from sectarian killings last year, only about 40 this year.

There's a number of factors to consider. One is, what is the price of this? Let's look at the surge. What is the surge? I know it's taken on a phenomenon, this phrase, in America, and in the political campaigns. But, whilst it's been successful, there's none of the triumphalism that we hear from the campaigns here on the ground, nor is anyone setting benchmarks for withdrawal. It's far too fragile for that.

The surge is much more than just 30,000 troops. It's about cutting a deal with the Sunni insurgents, about getting the Shia militias to back off and what that takes. It's about the political surge forcing the politicians to move, which is going much more slowly.

It's not just about American boots on the ground. And there's long-term consequences for all of these things that none of the candidates are talking about. And how sustainable is this? There will be costs in the future. Again, the American people need to hear this, Anderson.

So, what's happening on the ground is indeed a success in many ways. But you're not getting the full picture on the campaign trail, and perhaps that shouldn't surprise anyone -- Anderson.

COOPER: When you talk to soldiers -- and that's sort of the perspective on most of the military leaders you talk probably to on a daily basis -- what are they saying about troop levels down the road? I mean, in order to sustain the military side of this, in order to sustain the military successes that universally just everyone has said we have seen, what kind of troop levels do you need down the road?

I read some report by Anthony Cordesman recently, and I think they were talking about 100,000 troops well into 2016, I think.

FOREMAN: Well, that's certainly a number that members of the Iraqi government are bandying about, 100,000 U.S. troops, down from what we will soon have of just over 130,000.

And, certainly, there's an expectation that America will hit that by the end of the year, an expectation held by some Iraqis. That's not necessarily an expectation held by American war commanders here on the ground.

Now, after the surge troops, the 30,000 extra combat forces that were sent here to flush through this war last year, once they go home in July, American force levels, American combat power will have been reduced by 25 percent already. Nonetheless, we're still going to have more Americans here after the surge, just by a few thousand, than before. So, in some ways, that's not a true indicator.

But I can tell you now, Anderson, Senator McCain mentioned 100 years American troops will be here. No one can speak to that. But I can tell you that American commanders here on the ground know that they're going to be here a lot longer than many people would otherwise expect.

Certainly, this sense of once people get into office they will start pulling the troops home is not a view shared by many here on the ground. And many believe that what's being said on the campaign will not necessarily be the action that a new president will take, no matter what party they're from. There's realities here. You just can't pull out -- Anderson.

COOPER: Last January, when the president announce the -- the so- called surge, he laid out 15 political benchmarks the Iraqi government needed to meet. Yesterday, John McCain said that almost of them -- with almost of them, we're either making progress or have succeeded.

Is that the view you hear from the political leaders on the ground, Iraqi and American?

WARE: Well, certainly from the State Department. They believe that what they call the political surge, which has been an unsung success of all of this, has been working.

And they're talking about the benchmarks. Absolutely, there's been significant gains on the political front. The deals that have been cut, the way Baghdad has been segregated off with massive blast barriers, so that it resembles a sectarian divided Sarajevo, where people can't cross the lines, has brought this down and bought some breathing room for political progress.

But, again, there's a cost for that. Can you pull the barriers down? No, or the bloodletting will resume. But, on the benchmarks, there has been progress on many of the fronts. But, again, remember, what are the costs? How long can it last? And don't forget, it's all completely underwritten by the presence of hundreds of -- more than 100,000 U.S. troops keeping everybody apart -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Michael Ware. Appreciate the reporting, Michael. Thank you very much, from Baghdad tonight.

Democratic politics coming up in just a couple of minutes.

And, remember, I'm blogging during the program tonight. So, join the conversation at
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TexanDem Donating Member (786 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-27-08 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks!! Extremely important stuff!
There's bound to be some blogs or information out there somewhere that focuses on the things that Ware only touched on. We're being misled again about the war! What else is new!
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-27-08 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. well our side of the campaign trail is gonna end this fucking travesty mr ware...get us the fuck out
Edited on Wed Feb-27-08 01:24 PM by spanone
recommended....the surge is a p.r. stunt
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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-27-08 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
3. Everybody in America is going to know this word: SAHWA
It is the Arabic word for "Awakening," the name given to the Sunni insurgents now on the US payroll in cash and guns.

They are called "sahwas," and they're a world of trouble. Come back in a year and see if everyone on these boards doesn't know the term "Sahwa" and "Awakening" at that point.

Lots of shit coming down the pike.
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OnceUponTimeOnTheNet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-27-08 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Sahwa.
Gotta go google that.
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OnceUponTimeOnTheNet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-27-08 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Links to recent Sahwa stories.

"We have information confirming that Iranian secret services have sent agents to sabotage the Sahwa experience in Iraq," the statement said, referring to mostly Sunni groups fighting Al-Qaeda in Iraq alongside the US military.

Shahwani "stressed the need for the Iraqi people to be vigilant in facing these activities."

He also urged Iraqis "to consolidate the security gains that have been achieved in Iraq and that all citizens are benefitting from."

There are about 90,000 members of the Sahwa, or "Awakening" forces across Iraq, according to the US military which pays them about 300 dollars a month. The bulk of the fighters are Sunni Arabs, but a good 20 percent of them are Shiite.

In effect Iraq now has an 80,000 strong Sunni militia which does not hide its contempt for the Iraqi government, which it claims is dominated by Iranian controlled militias. The former anti-American guerrillas have largely joined al-Sahwa. The Shia majority, for its part, is determined not to let the Sunni win back their control of the Iraqi state. Power is more fragmented than ever.

This all may sound like good news for America. For the moment its casualties are down. Fewer Iraqi civilians are being slaughtered. But the Sunni have not fallen in love with the occupation. The fundamental weakness of the US position in Iraq remains its lack of reliable allies outside Kurdistan. At one moment, British officers used to lecture their American counterparts, much to their irritation, about the British Army's rich experience of successful counter-insurgency warfare in Malaya and Northern Ireland. "That showed a fundamental misunderstanding of Iraq on our part," a former British officer in Basra told me in exasperation. "In Malaya the guerrillas all came from the minority Chinese community and in Northern Ireland from the minority Roman Catholics. Basra was exactly the opposite. The majority supported our enemies. We had no friends there."

This lack of allies may not be so immediately obvious in Baghdad and central Iraq because both Shia and Sunni are willing and at times eager to make tactical alliances with US forces. But in the long term neither Sunni nor Shia Arab want the Americans to stay in Iraq. Hitherto the only reliable American allies have been the Kurds, who are now discovering that Washington is not going to protect them against Turkey.

Very little is holding Iraq together. The government is marooned in the Green Zone. Having declared the Surge a great success, the US military commanders need just as many troops to maintain a semblance of control now as they did before the Surge. The mainly Shia police force regards al-Sahwa as anti-government guerrillas wearing new uniforms

The surge, along with the Mehdi Army truce and the emergence of al-Sahwa, the anti-al-Qaida Sunni militia, has helped to seal the demographic outcome of the ferocious battle for Baghdad that took place after the bombing of the Shia shrine in Samarra on 22 February 2006. It was a battle won by the Shia: the Sunni, always a minority, were pushed back into a few enclaves, mostly in west Baghdad, or forced to leave Iraq. Sunnis make up a disproportionate number of the refugees in Syria and Jordan and many, particularly the better educated, will never return. The Shia also suffered, but they outnumber the Sunni by three to one in Iraq and now control 75 per cent of the capital. Far more than the surge, the battle for Baghdad and central Iraq has determined the political landscape of Iraq for the foreseeable future.
Now, in the midst of the surge, the Bush administration has done an about-face. Having lost the civil war, many Sunnis were suddenly desperate to switch sides -- and Gen. David Petraeus was eager to oblige. The U.S. has not only added 30,000 more troops in Iraq -- it has essentially bribed the opposition, arming the very Sunni militants who only months ago were waging deadly assaults on American forces. To engineer a fragile peace, the U.S. military has created and backed dozens of new Sunni militias, which now operate beyond the control of Iraq's central government. The Americans call the units by a variety of euphemisms: Iraqi Security Volunteers (ISVs), neighborhood watch groups, Concerned Local Citizens, Critical Infrastructure Security. The militias prefer a simpler and more dramatic name: They call themselves Sahwa, or "the Awakening."

At least 80,000 men across Iraq are now employed by the Americans as ISVs. Nearly all are Sunnis, with the exception of a few thousand Shiites. Operating as a contractor, Osama runs 300 of these new militiamen, former resistance fighters whom the U.S. now counts as allies because they are cashing our checks. The Americans pay Osama once a month; he in turn provides his men with uniforms and pays them ten dollars a day to man checkpoints in the Dora district -- a paltry sum even by Iraqi standards. A former contractor for KBR, Osama is now running an armed network on behalf of the United States government. "We use our own guns," he tells me, expressing regret that his units have not been able to obtain the heavy-caliber machine guns brandished by other Sunni militias.

The American forces responsible for overseeing "volunteer" militias like Osama's have no illusions about their loyalty. "The only reason anything works or anybody deals with us is because we give them money," says a young Army intelligence officer. The 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, which patrols Osama's territory, is handing out $32 million to Iraqis in the district, including $6 million to build the towering walls that, in the words of one U.S. officer, serve only to "make Iraqis more divided than they already are." In districts like Dora, the strategy of the surge seems simple: to buy off every Iraqi in sight. All told, the U.S. is now backing more than 600,000 Iraqi men in the security sector -- more than half the number Saddam had at the height of his power. With the ISVs in place, the Americans are now arming both sides in the civil war. "Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems," as U.S. strategists like to say. David Kilcullen, the counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. Petraeus, calls it "balancing competing armed interest groups."

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-27-08 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
4. Edited: oops! Should have read responses. nt
Edited on Wed Feb-27-08 01:21 PM by babylonsister
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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-27-08 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. The Calm Before the Conflagration
The Calm Before the Conflagration
by Chris Hedges

The United States is funding and in many cases arming the three ethnic factions in Iraq-the Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunni Arabs. These factions rule over partitioned patches of Iraqi territory and brutally purge rival ethnic groups from their midst. Iraq no longer exists as a unified state. It is a series of heavily armed fiefdoms run by thugs, gangs, militias, radical Islamists and warlords who are often paid wages of $300 a month by the U.S. military. Iraq is Yugoslavia before the storm. It is a caldron of weapons, lawlessness, hate and criminality that is destined to implode. And the current U.S. policy, born of desperation and defeat, means that when Iraq goes up, the U.S. military will have to scurry like rats for cover.

The supporters of the war, from the Bush White House to Sen. John McCain, tout the surge as the magic solution. But the surge, which primarily deployed 30,000 troops in and around Baghdad, did little to thwart the sectarian violence. The decline in attacks began only when we bought off the Sunni Arabs. U.S. commanders in the bleak fall of 2006 had little choice. It was that or defeat. The steady rise in U.S. casualties, the massive car bombs that tore apart city squares in Baghdad and left hundreds dead, the brutal ethnic cleansing that was creating independent ethnic enclaves beyond our control throughout Iraq, the death squads that carried out mass executions and a central government that was as corrupt as it was impotent signaled catastrophic failure.

The United States cut a deal with its Sunni Arab enemies. It would pay the former insurgents. It would allow them to arm and form military units and give them control of their ethnic enclaves. The Sunni Arabs, in exchange, would halt attacks on U.S. troops. The Sunnis Arabs agreed.

More here :
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