When Do You Call It A Day?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by skunk, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #1
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4145585.stm

    Something's gotta give. This chaos is not going to stop. Exit Strategy, anyone? Does anyone here still think that this ill-advised, ill-planned and ill-executed piece of geopolitical opportunism can be brought to a just and worthwhile conclusion?
     
  2. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #2
    So far as I can see, the we've been painted into a corner on the Iraq elections. If they are postponed, it would certainly be read as a victory for the insurgency -- a very bad result. If they are held on January 30 as planned, and much of the country either can't vote or boycotts the proceedings, then the resulting government will lack legitimacy.
     
  3. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #3
    And what have all those highly-paid "experts" at the Pentagon and the State Department to say? It's a shame that falling on one's sword seems to have gone right out of fashion.
     
  4. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #4
    Its a sad situation. i imagine these insurgents are walking into Iraq from other countries. Guess Bush is doing as good of job on the Iraqi borders as he is here on the Mexican border. :rolleyes: I havent seen anything showing how they are monitoring the border and stoping these Muhamads Iwannakillmyselfs from entering the country. What a mess and the lucky American taxpayer gets to pay for it all.
     
  5. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #5
    On the contrary, all the evidence is that these are Iraqis for the most part. Resistance fighters. Freedom fighters. Patriots. There are many names for them.

    The lucky American taxpayer is paying only in borrowed dollars. The unfortunate Iraqis whose relatively stable if brutal regime you have destroyed for electoral and supposedly geopolitical advantage are losing their lives, their children, their future, their livelihoods and their country.
     
  6. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #6
    Those are three names I wouldn't personally chose to describe people who slaughter their fellow countrymen.
     
  7. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #7
    They had very good teachers in the art of indiscriminate slaughter.
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #8
    Sigh. Look, you know how I feel about this war. But let's not try to make the insurgents out to be "freedom fighters," or apologize for their tactics. They're not trying to produce any good result for their country.
     
  9. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #9
    While I agree with IJ, in that we are seemingly damned if we do, damned if we don't, I see no choice but to set in for the long haul.

    This probably means a commitment of at least another few years.

    As what to do in terms of actions/policy in this time, I cannot say, although somesort of limited federalism of the Kurdish, Shia and Sunni areas seems the best bet.

    Generally, I would hope that the State Dept and the Bureau of NEA will be given more independence and power of decision making, instead of being a tool of Policy planners, who tend to be more ideological and long-term in their thinking. Traditionally, the State Dept has been immune to politics and influence or influx of political appointments, and as such is a decent and fair gauge of the realities on the ground via it's embedded staff.

    A reassessment of staff in the NEA, from ambassadors in the key countries to undersecretaries is in order. Perhaps an opening of at least a consulate in Iran would be a helpful tool. In any case, one small improvement resulting from the current chaos in Iraq is the potential ability for US FSO's to actually be able to collect relevant and accurate information in Iraq, which was not possible under Hussein's Police State. Of course, the safety of this staff certainly comes into question currently, but it is an improvement potentially.

    Moreover, the use of skilled diplomacy through ambassadors in other key countries, such as Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan (perhaps Egypt) could allow for increased maneuverability by involving other Arab countries. This certainly has a precendent, as Lebanon and various mediations after the '67 and '73 wars involving Israel have shown.

    Alternately, we might appeal to the Embassies/consulates of other allied countries to share information with the US to the same end.

    In any case, it is as simple as collecting accurate and relevant information on the ground.

    Not that I am filled with hope or anything.
     
  10. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #10
    Is it still okay to call our occupation force "liberators"? What would an Iraqi's answer be?
     
  11. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #11
    I'm not condoning their actions by any means: I was trying to emphasize the bias and subjectivity of DHM's argument by adducing a couple of counterpoints. Once you have invaded a country, however, especially in such a deceitful, arrogant and loutish fashion, you inevitably incite a commensurate response. They are, after all, only saying: "If you're not with us, you're against us". Sound familiar?
     
  12. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #12
    Certainly.

    Careful who you're calling a police state...

    The trouble is, far too many of your diplomats are "Pioneers" for your Foreign Service to be of much use. You reap what you sow. In this case, it's a pretty shoddy crop.

    But would you listen? The prospects do not look promising from where I stand.
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #13
    No, not really. However many active fighters there may be (we've heard several numbers, mainly in the low thousands), they certainly don't represent the will of anyone in Iraqi but their own. Even if this violent insurgency hadn't taken hold, Iraq would still be a chaotic mess with many political issues to resolve. But we should keep in mind that the insurgents are not aiming their efforts towards that resolution, they are attempting to prevent it from occurring. I don't believe that the insurgency would end if the occupation forces departed, and I don't think the current evidence suggests that it's mainly directed against occupation forces at this stage.
     
  14. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #14
    To get back to the question, I believe it's time to admit that you're unable to keep order over there. You simply can't do it without thousands more troops, which you have not got. Without a sincere out-break of US humility, the rest of the world will be happy to sit back and watch your pretensions crumble along with your reputation.
     
  15. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #15
    Don't be so sure.

    They're clearly not aiming at a resolution on your terms. By destroying the morale and assets of the Iraqi National Guard, however, they are effectively removing your proxies, thereby preventing you from executing an exit strategy on your terms, either. This would seem to be a very effective approach. You're basically shafted - and us along with you, unfortunately. You can't put any more troops in, and you can't pull them out. And it's costing you hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars to simply keep your head above water. Who do you think has the more effective plan?
     
  16. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #16
    Forget reputation, that's long gone. Disappeared the day George W. Bush was elected the first time (let alone, the second). I wish humility actually mattered, but at this point, no nation in its right mind would want to be any more committed to Iraq than they are today. Even begging and self-flagellation would not change any minds I suspect. No, the US is stuck with this donnybrook -- and sadly, we can't even walk away and turn it over to the communists, like we did in Vietnam. If we left now, the country would likely descend into outright civil war, which could easily spill over into neighboring countries.
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #17
    Enough with this "you/yours" nonsense. Britain became involved in Iraq by its own free will, but still I won't saddle you with unwarranted "you/yours" characterizations because I know you don't any more agree with your government's actions than I do mine.

    As for an effective plan, as nearly as I can tell, nobody has an actual plan -- effective or otherwise. It's all going to be muddling along from here on in. And that's if we're very very lucky.
     
  18. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #18
    Maybe not, but it would be a welcome diversion.

    Odds are it will anyway. And if it does, what can you do about it with the nimble, lean, fighting machine that Uncle Rummy has designed for you? In the end, you may have to get out. You seem to cling to the illusion that, whatever happens, you can stick it out. That may not be true.
     
  19. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #19
    I have deliberately included "us" along with "you" several times: I am of course not trying to personalize it, but it's a lot quicker than typing "the Bush and Blair Administrations" every time...and, after all, these twats claim to be acting in our names, so it's worth keeping in mind that, like it or not, we do share a rather depressing collective responsibility.
     
  20. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #20
    To be honest, you did seem to be trying to pick a fight with me over this, which seemed a bit odd since I doubt we much disagree on this issue. But again, back to the substance: I think the US doesn't have much choice at this stage of the game to at least try to tough it out for however much longer it takes. The downside risk of bolting now is creating an even larger stain on the nation's reputation. I suspect W has maybe two years of political will left on the Iraq occupation, at most. If substantial (almost miraculous) improvement isn't seen by the midterm elections, I think we're probably looking a significant shift in public views towards the negative.
     
  21. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #21
    Perish the thought! You're one of the Good Guys. It was just shorthand :)
     
  22. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #22
    First on the active fighters numbers. Today I ran across a story wherein the head of Iraqi intelligence estimated the number of insurgents at 200,000 with at least 40,000 hard core fighters. Even taking those numbers with a grain of salt still leaves far more than the low thousands of insurgents. And if he is anywhere near correct, there are more insurgents than coalition troops in Iraq.

    Now, who do they represent? Many varying interests, but they definitely represent the will of segments of Iraqis. Sunnis are fearing feeling the sting of being a minority part of the government, particularly since the Sunni Saddam gave them disproportional amounts of power previously. The Shia have decided that the fastest way to power is through the ballot box, but don't think the incident with al-Sadr can't be repeated if the Shia aren't satisfied. They've been oppressed and crapped upon for too long now to not resort to violence if they think they aren't being heard. And don't forget that Iran has a vested interest in the way things in Iraq shake out. The Kurds want to be left alone with the oil fields of the north largely under their control. Al-Zarquai would like to see the country devolve into civil war, and bin Laden no doubt would as well, since it not only keeps American forces occupied as well as providing plenty of recruiting propaganda, but it provides a training ground similar to Afghanistan during the Russian occupation. Iraqi fighters today will become the next generation of 'blooded' leaders against us.

    So while I don't think the vast majority of Iraqis want to see a continuing war going on in their cities, there are large sections of the population that stand to lose power of some sort if the scheduled elections take place. If it were only a few individuals, this wouldn't be so concerning, but it is whole tribes, whole subsets of Islam that we are talking about. Certainly the insurgents are representative enough of the views of residents of the so-called Sunni Triangle to provide tacit if not outright support to the fighters amongst them.
    While I won't say the insurgents are trying to do what's best for all Iraqis, I do think many are aimed at a specific goal other than civil war. First, I think there are many insurgents who are fighting for nationalism, or because of the treatment of a family member by coalition forces. Second I think there are many Sunnis who think that if they can topple or otherwise marginalize any elected governemnt that they can stage a coup at some point and regain the power they had lost.

    There are also definetly a significant number that profit from war, but these are mainly non-Iraqis I would imagine. No normal person wishes perpetual war upon their own land and people.
    I don't think the insurgency would end in the occupation forces left either. And I don't think we can sustain our current force levels let alone increase them significantly for any length of time. Which is exactly what bin Laden wants to see.

    And you're right, the insurgency isn't mainly directed at occupation forces either. It's largely aimed at Iraqis who are helping us. They are the ones taking the brunt of the insurgency.

    Saddam managed to keep the lid on the can of festering hatreds between rival groups. Now we've taken that lid off, not to mentioned allowing free access to all the weapons and explosives you could haul away.
     
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #23
    Well, there's probably no one mind behind the insurgency, but to me it's fairly clear that it's directed mainly against building national institutions which would potentially marginalize those who once held all of the power in the country. Anyone associated with government ("helping us" I think is too simplistic) is being targeted. Nationalism is a motivation, no doubt -- but at its most elemental, this is an old-fashioned power struggle between populations that had been suppressed for decades. The Bush administration should have seen this coming; the fact that they obviously didn't is just mind boggling. And yes, I agree -- it could get worse. Much worse.

    It also amazes me that after all this time, we apparently still don't seem to have a handle on the number of active insurgents in Iraq. But even if it's as many as 400,000 this isn't anywhere close to a majority of the population. It isn't even a majority of the Sunnis. All this proves is that it doesn't take many malcontents to create chaos and instability, especially in a country with no strong national institutions, no government and lots of weapons for everybody.

    I suspect the immediate goal of the insurgency is instigating a civil war, from which the Sunnis can emerge with the power they held under Saddam. In any other scenario, they become a minority, and quite possibly, an oppressed minority.
     
  24. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #24
    Welcome to the lose/lose situation Bush has gotten us into. I'm glad Saddam is gone and all, but I can't help thinking we made things worse. And considering the fact that the same people Bush should have listened to pre-9/11, warned him about this very thing being a given possiblity in Iraq... makes me think this could have all been avoided had we played it smarter. I mean, hindsight is 20/20 and all, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    If I screwed up, and the guy who tried to warn me I was going to screw up is warning me I'm going to screw up again, I'd probably listen to him and not be so surprised if I screwed up again because I ignored him again.
     
  25. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #25
    This is timely. I wonder how long it will take for the White House to muzzle Scowcroft again?
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-scowcroft7jan07,1,7611761.story
     

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