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Author Topic: Iraq: America Won The War And Lost The Occupation
Babbler # 3214

posted 19 April 2004 10:52 AM      Profile for drgoodword   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Until recently, I believed, as many babblers probably did, that the American presence in Iraq was going to last for years. Iraq has, within a relatively short period of time, become the centrepiece of their middle eastern policy, especially with the withdrawal of US troops from Saudi Arabia. They are spending billions to build 14 enduring bases capable of permanently housing over 100,000 troops. The oil--both its up-front dollar value and the leverage it gives over emerging rivals China and India--the control of the region and hostile elements therein, the protection of chief regional military partner Israel...the stakes for American control of Iraq could not be higher, dwarfing the perceived political importance of Vietnam for the previous generation.

But then events of this month puts the American control of Iraq in serious doubt.

The chief problem seems to be that the US was completely unprepared to deal with a hostile occupation. Just before the invasion began, Army chief General Eric Shinseki said "several hundred thousand soldiers" would be needed to successfully occupy Iraq, an assessment that was ridiculed by civilian defense officials like Paul Wolfowitz. But Shinseki's original guesstimate was in line with classical military doctrine that calls for 20 soldiers for every 1000 civilians to achieve successful control of a region.

But the US doesn't have nearly enough troops to spare to reach those kind of numbers in Iraq (they'd need 400,000). And with 700 reported troop deaths so far, and perhaps more than 10,000 casualties, they're losing their manpower in Iraq. Tours of duty are being extended...Iraq military commanders are requesting more troops...members of the "coalition" are leaving...the Iraqi resistance is widening steadily and becoming increasingly effective.

Given the importance of the reprehensible Iraq invasion and subjagation, I could not have imagined any outcome other than an American occupation lasting decades. But, with a US draft being political suicide and nazi-style collective punishments out of the question, can the occupation of Iraq be maintained?

More and more it looks like the answer is no.

[ 19 April 2004: Message edited by: drgoodword ]

From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 4790

posted 19 April 2004 11:03 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fine, yet the fact that key civilian planners who pursued the war rejected those estimates of force requirements has me asking if a long term occupation was the objective. I think that the primary motivation was the elmination of Iraq as a competing regional interest in the long term with a secondary objective being a succesful occupation, if feasible.

The invasion also serves the auxiliary purpose of adding 'credibility' to US military might. This serves the purpose of intimidating other competative powers, wether or not the occupation is "succesful." Powers like Iran, China, India and even Russia and other European contenders will naturally be more pliable to US threat potential given that the US is evidently not afraid to go in and fuck things up, even if they can not maintain absolute control. This gives them leverage on any number of key international issues, without even resorting to force.

I think that it is "credibility" that was the primary inducement to war.

[ 19 April 2004: Message edited by: Cueball ]

From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 2440

posted 19 April 2004 11:05 AM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by drgoodword:
More and more it looks like the answer is no.


The United States military command on Saturday closed down long stretches of two strategic highways leading to Baghdad, as American troops labored against insurgent attacks that have severely reduced the flow of food, fuel and other supplies into the capital.

The closings appeared to confirm the effect of two weeks of heightened violence in Iraq. American soldiers, stretched thin, have already been deployed in large numbers to contain serious and unresolved uprisings in the cities of Falluja and Najaf. Now they have been sent to face the growing problem of keeping crucial sections of highway open for the passage of critically needed convoys reaching the Iraqi heartland from Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait.

Via Steve Gilliard, who has this to say (scroll down, his permalinks are pooched):

The guerillas are winning.

They have cut the supply lines and US forces are unable to get what they need. Sure, they can airlift critical supplies, and dodge SAM's, but cutting the highway is a major deal and will limit combat operations.

We are on the verge of a disaster, a Chosin Resevior-like disaster, in Iraq. The US should be able to keep supply lines open with their forces. Now that they can't, we may have to fight our way out. This is a very serious, extremely serious, development.

Logistics is the way armies operate. Forget the tactics, if you can't eat and change uniforms, you can't fight effectively. If the guerillas have blocked the main supply lines from Kuwait, they have achieved a victory which is 200 times more important than their stand in Fallujah.

And from Steve this morning:

The Spanish are leaving Iraq "as soon as possible". They smell the disaster coming and they're not hanging around. While the new PM, Zapatero claims he's just fulfilling a promise, he's not moving his military alone. His commanders told him, quickly, that the world is going to explode and if he left the troops there, well, it would explode around them as well as the Americans.

This is the start of the exodus from Iraq. The British commander said point blank that the day the Shia want us to leave, we're gone. While Tony Blair may want to hang on to the bitter end, Gordon Brown, his likely successor, will not.


What has amazed me is the way the media can't state the obvious: the guerrilla forces are winning. Maybe I'm stupid, but the Marines are stalemated outside Fallujah and the Army is letting Sadr's militia grow by the day. Then of course, the roads are blocked. Good luck in feeding Baghdad like that.

[ 19 April 2004: Message edited by: Slim ]

From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 4140

posted 19 April 2004 11:06 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If the U.S. is able to get the Sh'ia, Sunni and Kurds fighting among themselves and killing each other on a large scale, then the U.S. may consider the occupation a success in part. So I'm not sure that simply giving the U.S. and its "allies" in the "coalition" a great boot out of Iraq is enough. The unity that develops during the course of events is pretty important as well. It sets the stage for what is to follow.

Preventing the establishment of a secular, democratic Iraq by setting up, recognizing and financing institutions, as much as the U.S. is able, that are structured along religious lines may keep a future Iraq weak and divided. And I think that's what the U.S. and its local client state want as one of their goals.

From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 2440

posted 20 April 2004 12:44 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fables of the Reconstruction

As the situation in Iraq grows ever more tenuous, the Bush administration continues to spin the ominous news with matter-of-fact optimism. According to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Iraqi uprisings in half a dozen cities, accompanied by the deaths of more than 100 soldiers in the month of April alone, is something to be viewed in the context of "good days and bad days," merely "a moment in Iraq's path towards a free and democratic system." More recently, the president himself asserted, "Our coalition is standing with responsible Iraqi leaders as they establish growing authority in their country."

But according to a closely held Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) memo written in early March, the reality isn't so rosy. Iraq's chances of seeing democracy succeed, according to the memo's author�a U.S. government official detailed to the CPA, who wrote this summation of observations he'd made in the field for a senior CPA director�have been severely imperiled by a year's worth of serious errors on the part of the Pentagon and the CPA, the U.S.-led multinational agency administering Iraq. Far from facilitating democracy and security, the memo's author fears, U.S. efforts have created an environment rife with corruption and sectarianism likely to result in civil war.

Provided to this reporter by a Western intelligence official, the memo was partially redacted to protect the writer's identity and to "avoid inflaming an already volatile situation" by revealing the names of certain Iraqi figures. A wide-ranging and often acerbic critique of the CPA, covering topics ranging from policy, personalities, and press operations to on-the-ground realities such as electricity, the document is not only notable for its candidly troubled assessment of Iraq's future. It is also significant, according to the intelligence official, because its author has been a steadfast advocate of "transforming" the Middle East, beginning with "regime change" in Iraq.

Much more at the Voice.

From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged

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