Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What Petraeus really means...


Via reasononline:

Be Angry—but Patient

President Bush's "surge" isn't solving Iraq's political problem. But what's the Democrats' hurry to end it?

Pity Gen. David Petraeus, the military commander in Iraq. Before Memorial Day, his September progress report from Baghdad was expected to be a turning point in the Iraq war. By Labor Day, it looked like most of the other turning points in this strange war: one where nothing turned.

Partisans worked through the summer to show that nothing as trivial as the field commander's assessment would influence their views. In July, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean announced, "We do not need to wait until September" to know that President Bush's "surge" strategy had failed. In August, Bush's allies shot back that the strategy was plainly succeeding.

People who knew better than to listen to partisans paid more attention to a raft of August progress reports: a partially declassified National Intelligence Estimate; a leaked draft report [PDF] from the Government Accountability Office; early accounts of a congressionally commissioned study of Iraqi security forces; and reports from members of Congress and think-tank experts who traveled to Iraq.

The assessments disagreed on some details, such as how much Iraq's security forces are improving, if at all. Taken together, however, they painted a coherent picture, which Petraeus's report seemed unlikely to change.

  • Tactically, which is to say militarily, the troop surge is making headway. Partly thanks to Sunni tribes joining with U.S. forces against Al Qaeda, and partly because the Pentagon is devoting more resources to a better plan of attack, security has improved in Iraq's contested central regions. But:
  • Iraq is still a dangerous and volatile place, far from stable. Sectarian militias, foreign terrorists, and domestic insurgents remain potent; violence remains unacceptably high. And:
  • Strategically, which is to say politically, the surge is working much less well. As the National Intelligence Estimate summarized, "Broadly accepted political compromises required for sustained security, long-term political progress, and economic development are unlikely to emerge unless there is a fundamental shift in the factors driving Iraqi political and security developments."
  • Absent a political settlement, Iraq's government and security forces are too incompetent, sectarian, and corrupt to stabilize the country without continued large-scale U.S. intervention.
  • The troop surge is not sustainable much beyond next spring unless combat tours are extended, which would strain the Army to or near the breaking point. Pre-surge forces could be maintained a while longer but not indefinitely.

In sum: The surge has temporarily stabilized what had become a downward spiral and, by doing so, has bought some time. But not much time, and the Iraqis have done little with it.

Petraeus yesterday recommended pulling out about 30,000 troops by next summer and 1000-2000 Marines this month.

Read more.

theteach

20 comments:

AnimeFreak40K said...

Ugh...

No, I did not watch the report. Mostly because I was at work, and I have more important things to do than listen to talking heads. Espeically when I already know what was going to be said.

What I expected, was that the surge was working, because it put more bodies on teh ground to kick ass and chew bubblegum. Insurgents and those committing acts of violence are unable to continue their operations as safely as before because they cannot infiltrate and/or corrupt the military and police forces. They cannot stand against the superior training, equipment and firepower of the United States Army. So they either halt operations temporarily or risk getting caught.

Iraqis do nto see much of a difference, because there is still violence and plenty of shooting going on. In addition, despite the increased number of US troops, the infrastructure is still in shambles, if not totally wiped out period...with nothing seeming to be getting done to fix that. To the Iraqis, the increased number of troops seems more like a full-blown occupation.

The current Iraqi Government is stupid and they are incompetant. Period.

Guess what I got from the brief snippits that I heard? Yeah, exactly.

And you know what? The whole thing pisses me the fuck off. Excuse my language, but I cannot fully express my anger at the reaction to the report in any other way. Our congress is filled with fucking morons.

I could go into a very long tirade of curse-ladden hatred for stupid politicians, and how they all need to have their skulls kicked in until they get a fucking clue...but I would like to keep my angry venting to a minimum and try to remain coherent and intelligent about this.

Why do I think the congressional reacion is pitiful?

Because those that are criticizing the surge in the first place do not seem to know what it is that they want, or what they expect. I mean, they somehow expected after 6 months for these extra troops to somehow magically make an impotant government work. They somehow thought that a bunch of extra soldiers could wiggle thier fingers and noses like some sort of rifle-carrying, armor-weary Harry (and Harriette) Potters to make the infastructure all better. They seem to think that the extra bodies over there with big guns will somehow cuase people who have been fucking FIGHTING each other for over A THOUSAND FUCKING YEARS to suddenly kiss, shake hands and make up.

Our troops are badass. They are the best in the world, our training and equipment is second to none. But they are NOT miracle workers. The only "Jesus" I know in the Army was a guy who had that as part of his last name, and he was Purto Rican!

This is not some sort of business, an RTS game or even some huge boardgame where one expects results like this in weeks or months. It takes YEARS to get the sort of results that these fuck-tards on capitol hill are expecting. Did you hear that? FUCKING YEARS! Not 1 or 2...not even 5. I am talking 10-20 years of constant occupation, patrols, control and general management.

The reason why I am saying this, and the main reason for my anger is because I said this EXACT same thing 4 years ago: If they want this done RIGHT they need to do it like we did Germany and Japan in WWII and Korea after the Korean War.

It pisses me off that the answer is RIGHT FUCKING THERE but it is ignored becasue the American people "need results now". Do you want results now, or do you want the job done right? You can't have both!

And you know what pisses me off even more? Is that within the next 4-8 years, all the troops will have been pulled out and everything that we would have worked for would have been for naught.

I am not advocating a "Stay the Course" tactic by any means. What I am talking about is if you want to do a job, you must do it right. So far, we have been half-assing it from day one...and the results are quite blatant because of it...and nobody seems to notice this.

Things have not worked because they have not been allowed to work.

GAH!

Ok, I am going to cut this off here. I am getting far FAR too angry about all of this, and I think I have cursed enough on your blog. Right now it is after dark and it is raining so I can't find any puppies to kick. So instead, I am going to find some digital villains to destroy to cool off and unwind.

the teach said...

You are absolutely right about Germany and Japan after WWII. But we stayed in those countries AFTER the war was over. Each country surrendered to us. Who will surrender to us in Iraq? Al-Qaeda? Ha!

My post said: "Tactically, which is to say militarily, the troop surge is making headway. Partly thanks to Sunni tribes joining with U.S. forces against Al Qaeda, and partly because the Pentagon is devoting more resources to a better plan of attack, security has improved in Iraq's contested central regions."

If we can get more of the tribes to join with us against Al-Qaeda that would be very good, wouldn't it?
I wouldn't mind if we stayed there longer if the fighting was over, if we could defeat Al-Qaeda (at least in Iraq) if that's possible.

I just can't stand our men dying over there when the country is still wracked by violence and sectarian hatred.

AnimeFreak40K said...

"You are absolutely right about Germany and Japan after WWII. But we stayed in those countries AFTER the war was over. Each country surrendered to us. Who will surrender to us in Iraq? Al-Qaeda? Ha!"

This is true...however I think it would take a full-blown occupation on that level and scale (which our current forces cannot support anyway) to make things work over there. There are many political problems with doing this of course...but I am one of those guys who puts results above policy and politics.

"If we can get more of the tribes to join with us against Al-Qaeda that would be very good, wouldn't it?
I wouldn't mind if we stayed there longer if the fighting was over, if we could defeat Al-Qaeda (at least in Iraq) if that's possible."

I agree with you completely. However, getting those tribes to cooperate with us will take a lot of time, work and effort. Problem is that neither the public nor congress are willing to put forth that necessary effort.

Frankly, I am against the war. We went there for good reasons (real or imagined!) and we went there for selfish reasons too. The US Military was lied to, the UN was lied to, the American people were lied to. We should not even be there in the first place. Roger, got it.

However, is that any reason to just up and leave? Just because we were not supposed to be there in the first place...does that make it right to not fix what we broke? Is it permissible to leave a job only partially complete?

No. It is not. I do not like the idea that our soldiers are over there in the first place...but since they are there, they should be allowed to do their job. If they die...well, it happens. That is part of war. That is part of such violence. But if you just up and leave and leave the job half-done and the country worse off than when you came in, that would have made those deaths meaningless.

Those men and women who have died over there did so as a service to our country and the defense of the rights of the Iraqi people...to abandon this in a wrecked shambles that it is would be doing them a much greater disservice in my opinon.

If you are going to do the job, do it right. If that means sticking it out for 30 years, then so be it.

the teach said...

I have ALWAYS been against the war, even at the beginning. And when my nephew was there I was so upset. And I remain upset because the guys who are there are so young and have so much life ahead of them. But if we could stop the fighting, join forces with tribal Sunnis, Shiites or Kurds to clean up Iraq and get it on an even keel again well okay.

Oh god, 30 years -- preserve us from that!

AnimeFreak40K said...

At one time, long ago, I was not as against the war as I am now. But back then, I was being lied to and did not even know it either.

The fact that I am (or any one of us is) for or against the war right now is irrelivent in my opinon. We are there now. And because we are there, we have a responsibility to make that country better than when we found it. We have a responsibility do the job of putting it back together, and a responsibility to do it right. This applies to Iraq, the rest of the world and our own reputation. It is OUR responsibility.

...unfortunalty, the American mentality has become frighteningly good about ignoring responsibility =/

Frankly, I do not care how long it takes or what we have to do to get things set right. The fact of the matter is that it MUST be done. If it takes 5 more years, fine. If it takes 30, fine. If it takes 150...also fine. As long as the job is done RIGHT. Half-assing it and cutting corners will only cause problems and solve nothing.

I would rather be stuck in Iraq rebuilding and stabilzing it for the forseeable future and make sure that the Iraqis and the Middle East as a whole improve and grow because of it than let those men and women who died over there and suffered grievous wounds have to have made those sacrifices in vain.

As far as soldiers being young... Mary...that is how soldiers are. That is how they always are. Those young people, in my opinion are older in wisdom and in life than their age lets on. They are willing to fight, die, bleed and suffer for you and 90% of the American people...most of which they will never EVER meet. And most of whom couldn't care less about these soldiers that are willing to give so much for so little.

I am not a religious man by any means. However, my Dad is, and he told me that he respects the men and women of the United States military more than anyone else. His reason is simply that the only OTHER person who was willing to fight, suffer, bleed and die for another person and asking for nothing in return is Jesus.

Kinda corny, I know...but when you look at it from that perspective, it makes a lot of sense too.

the teach said...

You say: "This applies to Iraq, the rest of the world and our own reputation. It is OUR responsibility."

I say: "Yeah, I know but I didn't agree to go into Iraq and screw around with the country. Now you tell me it's my responsibility to put it back together... Humph! I'm NOT ignoring responsibility. I'm angry I had the responsibility foisted upon me!!"

And another thing...if they stop the fighting our troops can be there til Kingdom come cleaning up the mess we made. But I don't want anymore young men killed!

You say: "They are willing to fight, die, bleed and suffer for you and 90% of the American people...most of which they will never EVER meet. And most of whom couldn't care less about these soldiers that are willing to give so much for so little."

I say: Oh god, don't think I don't APPRECIATE what you guys have done for us. Putting your lives on the line for us. I do thank you and all of you. I agree with your Dad.

Yeah about Jesus -- a little corny but not a lot corny. heh!

Want to look at my post for today? Sept. 13?

AnimeFreak40K said...

I did not agree to go to Iraq either. I am not happy that we have been handed this responsibility...or rather, went in like bloody idiots and brought this responsibility on ourselves (we broke it - we fix it). Unfortunatly, we have it now and we really should do it right.

Unfortunatly, given the Arab mentality, they will NEVER stop fighting us over there. Why?
- Some see us as invaders
- Others see us as Crusaders (think 1100 AD) sent to destroy their holy lands (insane fundys!)
- Some see us forcing the West upon them, and they don't want it.
- Others see us as interlopers. You know what the most dangerous situation for law-enforcement is, right? Trying to break up a domestic dispute. Getting in the middle will cause the couple to lash out at you. Guess what we have here? Sunnis, Shites and Kurds all in one, huge domestic dispute...

And Mary, I am not saying that you don't appreciate it. I know that you do. But there are a lot of people out there who don't. They don't appreciate us, understand what we do, why we do it or even why it must be done.

...And I think that goes all the way up to Capitol Hill too...

the teach said...

Can I ask you why you volunteered? Weren't we in Iraq when you volunteered? (I'm sorry you told me the length of time you were in the Army and now I don't remember.)

When you joined up did you think you were going to be sent to Iraq? Maybe you were in the National Guard? and got called up...?

And don't get me started on the Crusades...the religious fundys at that time were the Christians reclaiming the holy lands from Muslim rule. But the Crusades continued all the way into the 16th century when they were usually against pagans, those considered by the Catholic Church to be heretics, and peoples under the ban of excommunication for a mixture of religious, economic, and political reasons. Sound familiar?

AnimeFreak40K said...

The reason why I joined the Army are fairly simple, yet a little complex at the same time.

My grandfather on my mom's side escaped from Bulgaria in the early days of WWII when the Communists rolled in and took over. He used to tell me and my cousins his stories about all that he had to go through.
With that, he als told us about how he came to the United States and how happy he was to be in a free country. He also told us of some of his exeriences in WWII, because at the time, a quick way to get his green card and start on the road to citizenship was to join the Army...so he did. That was an inspiration to me.

His two sons also joined the Army...whether they were Active Duty or not, I do not remember for certain. What I do know is that they joined up, served at least 8 years (if not more) each and I had nothing but respect for both of them. I wanted to be just like them: Soldiers.

There has always been a part of me that tends to put others before myself. Where I was always willing to take the hits so someone else would not have to do so. To me, that is a necessary quality to be a soldier (at least for more than 2 or 3 years)...the wilingness to put oneself in harm's way, to face death and injustice and generally fight for the protection of others so they do not have to do so are trademarks of all soldiers, male, female, old and young. That is just how I always have been, and I guess that is how I always will be.

I joined the Army in 1997 as an Armor Crewman. In 2000, I reenlisted for 5 years to go into IT/Communications. I have always been Active Duty, with no real desire for Reserves or National Guard. I honestly feel, that if you are going to serve, you should go all the way.

I am not insulting the Reservists or National Guardsmen and women out there...their views are different than mine, and work for them. For me, I would not be satisfied with anything less than Active Duty.

I know better than to get anyone started on the Crusades. I disagree with them for the most part (the First Crusade was less of conquering the Holy Land and more like securing a route for pilgrims and maintaining peaceful relations with the Muslims so all could enjoy the Holy Land...later on, people got greedy =/). Thing is, is that is how some Arabs view any and all Westerners...and in a way, they are no different themselves (persecution, killing and maiming due to religious reasons).

And stuff like the Crusades and the Inquisition? Yeah, this is why I really REALLY hate organized religion in general. The concepts and teachings are fine...but the establishments? They need to go.

the teach said...

So being in the Army is part of your family...In a way it is in my family too. My father was in the Army and my nephew (which I've mentioned a 100 times before) is presently in the Marines.

Of course I'm in complete agreement with you about the Crusades...Also I no longer practice the religion I was brought up in - Catholicism.

Will you listen to Bush speaking tonight?

AnimeFreak40K said...

In a way, yes it is.

My dad was against me joining up - but he was ultimatly suportive of my decision. He told me he did not want me joining...but if that is what I wanted, then he was going to support that. I think that 8 years after the fact, he is more proud of me than he otherwise would have been. My mom was strictly anti-military...it took my recruiter and some family members to get her to accept it.

Not that either one could stop me. I was 18 anyway XD.


I do not practice any religion. To me, they are a spiritual and psychological crutch that people seem to need either becasue they are weak in spirit and/or will. This does not mean that they are somehow inferior or anything. I mean, not everyone can be physical body-builders...so not everyone can be pillars of spiritual strength. I will not say that I am either of these...but I know that I do not need religion to feel better about myself or provide guidance and hope. *shrug*

Bush is speaking tonight? Ehhh....I will most likely catch the aftermath on CNN.com or something tomorrow. Talking heads, political BS and hyperbole make my head hurt...I have enough things to concern myself than him at the moment.

As a computer technician who works and has worked with a variety of computer systems, here is what I can pass on about laptops:

Laptops are expensive, sometimes prohibitivly so. I can find any part in a laptop, or its PC equivilent, for a desktop PC at a fraction of the cost. More than likely the PC parts are better. If I looked for a part that cost the same as what you would find in a laptop, it would be close to (if not sitting at) top of the line.

Laptops are fragile and are very quickly outdated to say least. The warrenty is not the best all the time, and the extended warrenty is more trouble than it is worth.

Example: A friend of mine spent over $2,000 on a brand new laptop. About 2 years later, not only is the laptop out of warrenty, but the parts she needs for repairs (power outlet and video card...which is integrated with the motherboard) are no longer made at all. To get those things fixed by Dell, she would have to spend almost as much as she paid for it new.

Speaking of parts. Laptop parts tend to be propritary...and that means that most companies can (and will) charge exhorbant prices for them. In a lot of cases, when a Laptop goes kaput after about 2 years of use, it is cheaper to just buy an all new system.

Do not get me wrong, laptops DO have their uses. However, it is my opinon that laptops belong in the hands of employees who's companies cover the costs of maintaining and upgrading those systems.

There are some people who feel that they need a laptop as they are on the go a lot. That is fine too...but those people are usually not your average or regualr users anyway.

the teach said...

My brother was against my nephew joining up but my nephew joined anyway just like you did. So then we all accepted it and hoped he wouldn't have to go to Iraq (which he did for 6 months) But he's back now and at Pendleton in California. he gets out in Sept. 2008. He's not re-upping.

The only value religion has is that it helps if you believe that when you die there's a heaven to go to and a God to see. If you don't believe in that then you have to face the fact that when you die that's IT! Nada! Nothink!

I didn't listen to Bush (which I found out he said nothing of interest) I watched a movie called "Running with Scissors." A really crazy but poignant sort of movie based on a book by Augusten Burroughs. Druggie mom, boy trying to grow up, alky dad. There were some funny parts but I don't know I wasn't nuts about it.

Thanks for all the info about laptops. Been thinking of getting one but really my desktop works okay and when I go away most hotels have Internet connections that guests can use (and pay for) if I want to stay in touch with my e-mail and blogs.

You mentioned Dell...I have a Dell desktop. Dell's okay I guess. My system is about 3-4 years old. I have to get in touch with my ISP because my cable keeps dropping my connection sometimes occasionally sometimes 2 times in a day. I get the connection back easily by rebooting the cable but I have to call them. that shouldn't be happening, right?

You've probably built your own computer system. I have another nephew, not the one in the Marines, that built his own. Periodically he has trouble with it. I don't know why.

Anyway I'm on to answer your other comment...

AnimeFreak40K said...

Well, I am glad your nephew completed his tour well and good. I hope that he is a better person for his time too. I know that joining the Army helped me grow up a whole lot and made me a better person oaverall. That is usually the effest, and I hope it was the same for him.

Last night...I took a nap (as up until then I had about 12 hours or of total sleep between Sunday Night and then), answered E-Mail, read my web-comics and played with my cats. I know...big night XD

No problem on the info.

I want you to know, that laptops are not garbage, but for the average user are more money and trouble than they are worth. It is easy to legitimize the use of a laptop (I bought a laptop so I could have a personal computer in Iraq for example), but one should also be informed of the risks and costs involved of having one.

Dells are not bad computers. I would take a Dell over most other systems to be honest, and that is saying a lot because I really dislike "Name Brands". I know that with Dell systems that you get what you pay for (for the most part) rather than the name and logo. I still prefer to build my own computers however (you are correct in that I did build mine!)

If you keep losing connectivity and the only way to get it back is to reboot your cable modem, that tells me that there is most likely something wrong with the cable modem itself. I would talk to your ISP and try to have them come out and replace it...or at least look into why it causing problems. You are correct, it is not normal for a cable modem to just drop connectivity...unless there is something inherently wrong with your signal. If that were the case, then a simple reboot would not be the fix...unless there is THAT much coincidance in the world!

No offense to your nephew, but if he is having problems with it, either one or multiple parts have reached the end of their lives or he did something wrong. Right now, I have some minor issues, but that is because my processor is old and since building the PC in 2005, I have upgraded most of the major parts (Harddrives, RAM, Video Card, Sound Card)...I think it is about time for a CPU upgrade as well...but I want a NICE one with the Duel or Quad cores (which are bloody expensive! XD)

the teach said...

So you have cats! Plural, eh? I used to have fish in a tank but no more.

Thanks for the info about laptops and about modems. I had my modem replaced by my ISP about 6-9 months ago and it fixed the problem for a while but now it's dropping connectivity again. I can easily go to a Time Warner store and swap my modem and get a new one (or maybe a reconstituted one).
So I'll try it again.

AnimeFreak40K said...

Yep. I have two.

I had one for awhile, but she needed a lot more attention than I was able to give her (at the time I was commutting 2+ hours a day each way to work) and she needed someone who could play with her and keep her out of trouble...so I got her a friend XD

the teach said...

You said: I was commutting 2+ hours a day each way to work) and she needed someone who could play with her and keep her out of trouble...so I got her a friend XD

Was that 2+ hours because of traffic. Is it better for you now? That's a lot of time to spend in commuting.

That's very nice of you to care that your cat needed company...:)

AnimeFreak40K said...

The reason for my long commute was less traffic related and more actual distance related. I was on a contract with a different company than who I am working for now and I was with Health and Human Services. The company I was working for needed someone who had a Security Clearance who could cover down on a different contract that they had for the Department of Defense. To put it simply: their guy on the contract currentty was leaving, and they did not have someone ready to take over yet, so they needed someone there until the company got a more perminant employee.

Thing was, is that I live in Germantown...the location where this job was at was in Lexington Park. It was about 90 miles each way. I got paid for the extra milage (which was almost $80 a day - applied AFTER taxes and such) and was on-call (meaning that I got paid overtime all the time).

So it was not a terrible arrangement by any means...it was just very time-consuming.

the teach said...

Sounds like an interesting and lucrative job.

The best job I ever has was at the UN. I was hired as a consultant for building a database of Social and Economic Development country reports.
I read, abstracted and indexed these reports that described infrastructure development for the most part in developing countries around the world. They pain me as a consultant and paid my TAXES believe it or not. So that my pay and the pay of a national from a country that didn't have to pay taxes and my pay would be equal. Pretty good, eh!

I worked in the city at the UN plaza proper. Travel time on the subway was 1 hour each way. I stayed with them for about 2 years.

AnimeFreak40K said...

Heh... your job with the UN seems a lot more lucrative and interesting than what I had.

It was lucritive becuase of the OT and mileage pay. It was not very interesting though XD

the teach said...

The UN job was lucrative because they paid my taxes for me!