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Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

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  • Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/....ap/index.html

    Anti-American militia openly takes control of a city. Not the usual "we'll terrorize you with snipers and IED's", but instead they blow up three police stations and patrol the streets of Amarah as if they owned it. Anyone have any more info on this? Were there allied troops nearby? Will we send troops to push them out?

    More and more our gameplan, whatever it is, seems to fail in the face of what has become a civil war combined with anti-American operations. Granted, I'm not privy to every operational plan that the powers that be put into action, but I've seen little change in our general strategy. I'm wondering why our leaders seem to stick to whatever master plan they have when it doesn't seem to be doing much good against the enemy. It's been several years now, and despite the administration's assurance that the insurrection is almost done with, I don't see signs of that conclusion. We're calling up reserve troops to send in, and now we've got a group that's apparently decided to just flip us the bird and commandeer a city for their own.

    As always, I'm for completely pulling out and leaving the country to its own devices; I don't think the majority of the population wants the same thing we do. However, failing that, how can we adjust our gameplan to end this kind of nonsense? I'm tired of our soldiers being killed and maimed.
    [squadl]
    "I am the prettiest african-american, vietnamese..cong..person." -SugarNCamo

  • #2
    Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

    Originally posted by CNN
    About 800 black-clad militiamen with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers were patrolling city streets in commandeered police vehicles, eyewitnesses said. Other fighters had set up roadblocks on routes into the city and sound trucks circulated telling residents to stay indoors.

    Fighting broke out in Amara on Thursday after the head of police intelligence in the surrounding province, a member of the rival Shiite Badr Brigade militia, was killed by a roadside bomb, prompting his family to kidnap the teenage brother of the local head of the a-Madhi Army.

    The Mahdi Army seized several police stations and clamped a curfew on the city in retaliation.
    800 armed militia is a lot. As I understand it, most of our forces in cities outside Baghdad are only fielding 100-200 soldiers for patrols. This is a problem far greater than the Sunni insurgency - it's a trained, regimented army loyal to a political faction. Once these groups start clashing there isn't much we can do to stop them.
    In game handle: Steel Scion
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    • #3
      Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

      Why are we there, again?
      To bring democracy to a bunch of savages who don't want it.....

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      • #4
        Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

        If the US really wants to succeed there, it needs 2-3 million troops like we had in Germany and Japan.

        But from what I've seen, I don't think the culture there is ready for such a change. At least one Iraqi official thinks the same thing, too:

        http://memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=1285



        TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran

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        • #5
          Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

          I've heard one military correspondent describe this war as a "stalemate." In so much that the U.S. Military can control the ground they stand on, but that's it.

          Wars only make sense to those who profit from them. The American people do not stand to profit from any of this. And certainly neither does the American government.

          The question is, who does?
          | | |

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          • #6
            Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

            Great link, Tau. If I may quote for discussion:

            Yes, because we do not know what freedom is or what to do with it. We are like a tiny bird born in a cage. Its father and mother were born in the same cage, and so were its ancestors - for the past 1,400 years. Along came America and broke the cage open, but the bird does not know how to fly, because it has never used its wings. We do not know what to do with the values of freedom, because we were born slaves, the sons of slaves, the sons of slaves - for the past 1,400 years, with this inferior culture. I am not talking about the beautiful, tolerant, Islamic religion, which respects humanity. But there is an Arab Islamic culture, which, in many of its aspects... I don't mean all its aspects, because there is the Sufi culture, which is wonderful. But the official culture teaches you to become a slave to the ruler and to obsolete values and traditions. This is why we do not know what to do with the modern values of democracy.

            3) Support game play in a near-simulation environment. Where the focus of play would not be solely on doing what it takes to win, but doing so utilizing real-world combat strategy and tactics rather than leveraging exploits provided to players by the design of the game engine.

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            • #7
              Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

              What ever happened to the 'good news from Iraq' thread? This sounds like bad news to me. What happened to staying the course and focusing on the positive? Not working to well anymore? I can picture White House strategists sitting around a table right now, discussing how they can change course but claim they are staying the course.

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              • #8
                Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

                Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                What ever happened to the 'good news from Iraq' thread? This sounds like bad news to me. What happened to staying the course and focusing on the positive? Not working to well anymore? I can picture White House strategists sitting around a table right now, discussing how they can change course but claim they are staying the course.
                I think your eagerness to gloat is sad and telling.

                Some analysis of what's happening there: http://www.billroggio.com/ and http://analysis.threatswatch.org/200...cal-alignment/

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                • #9
                  Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

                  Originally posted by leejo View Post
                  I think your eagerness to gloat is sad and telling.
                  What's happened in Iraq is sad and telling. What's happening in the White House is sad and telling. 'Mission Accomplished' is sad and telling.

                  The only thing I am eager about is restoring some kind of intelligence in the White House and in the Pentagon so that our military isn't being kept in Iraq for no better reason than to stay on a miserable and poorly planned course.

                  Now, to quote from your analysis links:

                  Originally posted by ThreatsWatch
                  The challenge for Maliki and future prime ministers, then, will be to hold together the two Shi’a factions and like-minded independents, the moderate Sunni-dominated factions and the Kurds. If more elements of Sunni Arab Iraq can be brought into the political process, this will lessen a prime minister’s dependence on the Sadrists.
                  Wouldn't you agree that involving the U.S. in this process only furthers the destabilization of Iraqi political and religious factions? Or should the U.S. continue to use its military to 'convince' more elements of Sunni Iraq to come to the table? Are we not learning now that this approach does not work?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

                    Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                    What ever happened to the 'good news from Iraq' thread? This sounds like bad news to me. What happened to staying the course and focusing on the positive? Not working to well anymore? I can picture White House strategists sitting around a table right now, discussing how they can change course but claim they are staying the course.
                    <>

                    Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                    The only thing I am eager about is restoring some kind of intelligence in the White House and in the Pentagon so that our military isn't being kept in Iraq for no better reason than to stay on a miserable and poorly planned course.
                    Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                    Wouldn't you agree that involving the U.S. in this process only furthers the destabilization of Iraqi political and religious factions? Or should the U.S. continue to use its military to 'convince' more elements of Sunni Iraq to come to the table? Are we not learning now that this approach does not work?
                    No I would not agree and I think you have a very simple understanding of what's really going on over there.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

                      Originally posted by leejo View Post
                      Some analysis of what's happening there: http://www.billroggio.com/
                      "The U.S. and Iraqi Army can dismantle Sadr's Mahdi Army by force, but it will come at a great cost in lives. The U.S. midterm elections are but weeks away, and there will not be any major moves against Sadr until after the election."

                      This seems to imply that those in charge are more concerned with attempting to keep their own jobs than about getting something done in Iraq. Provides a distinct lack of confidence in my leadership, and only goes to reinforce that we either a) don't know what we're doing or b) don't really care about Iraq. It only helps convince me more that we don't need to be there.

                      That other article provides an interesting light on the quagmire that is Iraqi politics set in the midst of an all but full-out civil war. At this point, should we simply be considering the option of breaking up Iraq into separate countries for each faction? I doubt they'll come to an agreement on how to run the country anytime soon, and I think it's beyond absurd to let our soldiers die in the years between.
                      [squadl]
                      "I am the prettiest african-american, vietnamese..cong..person." -SugarNCamo

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                      • #12
                        Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

                        Originally posted by SmokingTarpan View Post
                        At this point, should we simply be considering the option of breaking up Iraq into separate countries for each faction?
                        That is an exceedingly bad idea, and would precipitate a region war. The Kurds want their own state carved out of sections of Turkey, Iran, and Iraq, centered on Kirkuk. Neither Iran or Turkey will allow that - nor will the Iraqi Turkomen already living in the region. Kirkuk is an extremely valuable oil city and is already hotly contested between the Kurds, local Sunnis, and the Shiite-led government. The south could quickly degenerate into an Iranian-backed theocratic state with a military and economic advantage over the Sunni state. Hostilies between all three parties and their neighboring countries would be pretty much inevitable. And there's your civil war.

                        Mind you, all of this might happen anyway, with or without our presence. As I recall, the goal has always been to bring all the factions into a peaceful political process. But that has been made impossible by the degenerating security and poor infrastructure. Without power, water, safe schools, and safe hospitals, there can be no faith in a central government.
                        In game handle: Steel Scion
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                        • #13
                          Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

                          Originally posted by leejo View Post
                          No I would not agree and I think you have a very simple understanding of what's really going on over there.
                          I think we all have a simple understanding of what's really going on over there. Every one of us, here in our chairs, contributing our opinions to a forum at a gaming site. All we're dealing with here is simple understandings (and misunderstandings). I am following this war as closely as you are, so do not criticize me because we have vastly differnent perspectives.

                          Why not explain what your current viewpoint on Iraq is instead of discounting the viewpoints of others? We all know that you believe that the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq, but do you think that things need to change in terms of American involvement, goals, and tactics? Why or why not?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

                            I just went out for beers last night with my buddy from grad school who's getting ready to go back to Baghdad (Sadr city, specifically) for his second tour with the 1st Cavalry/4th Infantry (I believe). He returns as a master gunner and Staff Sergeant, after fighting his first tour in Fallujah, Bagdhad and the monthlong Battle of Najaf as mounted infantry. If I sound proud of my boy when I list his veterancy, it's because I am. He's extremely intelligent, a "soldier's soldier", has fought (and will fight) hard for his country, and he doesn't BS when it comes to what's going on over there.

                            Last night he was talking about the most recent changes to the organization of the insurgents and mentioned that they're seeing more Sadr-educated teenagers that are self-organizing into those roving death squads you've been hearing about. So literally, fanatic kids are ganging up under no official banner and actively campaigning to kill as many other people as possible who don't subscribe to their precise version of Islam. He anticipates these gangs will be a significant and growing threat during their tour, which starts Sunday.

                            Given this perspective it definitely sounds like the insurgency/population of combatants is becoming more and more decentralized and even harder to target or pin down. And it's been trending that way for a couple years now.

                            Wish I had some policy position to articulate here but I just want him and his company to play it safe and come home in one piece. But the mission, whatever that may be, sounds significantly more dangerous than his first tour.
                            Beatnik

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                            • #15
                              Re: Not a good sign. Why are we there, again?

                              Please thank your friend.

                              For the record, no politician who claims to have a winning strategy, or the right strategy, will get my vote. When politicians set strategy, THAT is how you get Vietnam. The president sets policy. The DoD and military chain of command work up the strategies that support those policies, and the lower levels of command cook up the procedures to implement those strategies.

                              This is not to suggest that the Executive doesn't play an important oversight role, but with rare exceptions these corrections and management decisions will take place behind closed doors. With good reason.

                              President Bush seems to really get this, and I support his policy: try like hell to implement democracy in the region, starting with Iraq. If we fail in this, I believe we will be facing a truly horrible, bloody, and vicious war before long. I believe history will see this as a real, sustained, and important effort to be merciful, and I fear the consequences of failing.


                              President Bush seems to have given the military room to act and adapt. Also, I have read Military Operations in Low Intensity Conflict and see how these actions fit into an overall strategy from both our perspective and the enemy's. This has informed my perceptions about what does and does not happen in Iraq. As I have done many times before, I encourage folks to read it.

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