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  1.    #1  
    I read these this weekend and feel they point out aspects of the Iraq situation which are not being considered by most of us here.

    Face of the Iraq insurgency: What role do foreigners play?

    Iraqis clustering in enclaves of Sunnis or Shiites
  2. #2  
    Yeah, bascially the insurgency is being formented and supported by three major groups or grouping: Sunni's, former Baathists or Sadamists, and foriegn Jihadists.

    Many of the radicalized Sunnis's support the insurgency b/c they do not want to see their acendency in Iraq damaged and also b/c they do like the decentralized nature of the new Iraqi constitution which their fear gives too much power to the Kurds and Shiites. The Baathist/Sadamists obviously oppose the new government b/c it kicked them out of power. And finally the number of foreign Jihadists support the insurgency b/c they view it as the main battle for international jihad against the west and for the utlimate establishment for worldwide Islamic Caliphate as perscribed by Al Quada etc...
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  3.    #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by gfunkmagic
    Yeah, bascially the insurgency is being formented and supported by three major groups or grouping: Sunni's, former Baathists or Sadamists, and foriegn Jihadists.

    Many of the radicalized Sunnis's support the insurgency b/c they do not want to see their acendency in Iraq damaged and also b/c they do like the decentralized nature of the new Iraqi constitution which their fear gives too much power to the Kurds and Shiites. The Baathist/Sadamists obviously oppose the new government b/c it kicked them out of power. And finally the number of foreign Jihadists support the insurgency b/c they view it as the main battle for international jihad against the west and for the utlimate establishment for worldwide Islamic Caliphate as perscribed by Al Quada etc...
    Yes, however. The point to take away from that article and previous estimates I've seen are, at best, the foreign fighters make up all of 10% of the insurgency yet the current administration continually try to frame it as a struggle against the world's jihadist terrorists. Not the case. I believe if the U.S. left today, the Sunnis would kill them immediately.
  4. #4  
    So leave b/c you THINK they will kill the arabs when forces leave.

    That's the plan? You appear to be a vast thinker but your suggestion is too simple minded to take seriously.
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas
    Yes, however. The point to take away from that article and previous estimates I've seen are, at best, the foreign fighters make up all of 10% of the insurgency yet the current administration continually try to frame it as a struggle against the world's jihadist terrorists. Not the case. I believe if the U.S. left today, the Sunnis would kill them immediately.
    Or...

    If we left the foreign fighters would be hailed as the heroes who defeated the Americans (again) and showed them up for the cowards they are. Their power and influence in the Muslim world would grow exponentially.

    You're prepared to risk that?
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  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by phurth
    Or...

    If we left the foreign fighters would be hailed as the heroes who defeated the Americans (again) and showed them up for the cowards they are. Their power and influence in the Muslim world would grow exponentially.

    You're prepared to risk that?
    Of course he is. It would serve the dual purpose of gaining Dems political power in the US while weakening our position abroad.

    Phurth, did you read Ralph Peter's piece on this yesterday?
  7.    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by Advance The Man
    So leave b/c you THINK they will kill the arabs when forces leave.

    That's the plan? You appear to be a vast thinker but your suggestion is too simple minded to take seriously.
    I'm hardly advancing that as a reason to leave. My point was, while the U.S. is there, the insurgents will tolerate the foreigners as an "enemy of my enemy".

    Regarding getting out of Iraq, this administratin needs to state specific goals with deadlines and metrics to determine progress.
  8.    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by phurth
    Or...

    If we left the foreign fighters would be hailed as the heroes who defeated the Americans (again) and showed them up for the cowards they are. Their power and influence in the Muslim world would grow exponentially.

    You're prepared to risk that?
    By that logic, this situation continues endlessly. Remember that the U.S. is the invader in this situation. Regardless of how altruistic you may see it, the Arab world sees it as an invasion.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by 1911sforever
    Phurth, did you read Ralph Peter's piece on this yesterday?
    Yes. It was very interesting. His point is one that needs to be made more often. The Iraq war was justified in three areas:

    Public justification (why Iraq):
    This is the one everyone is focusing on. In the 12 month run-up to the war, several justifications were given including (in no particular order): WMD and the possibility of them falling into AQ's hands, freeing the Iraqi people from Saddam, Iraq's ongoing violations of the ceasefire that ended the 1991 Gulf War, creating a successful democratic example for the rest of the Muslim world, etc... These were the "tactical" reason why Iraq was the target of our strategy. These were an adequate rationale for invading this particular sovereign nation but would have served little strategic purpose.

    Timing (why now):
    The administration would have preferred to attack sooner, but took 12 months to at least give the appearance of trying to gain UN approval for the invasion. A case can be made that the extra time allowed the Baathists time to prepare the insurgent campaign that is currently underway. At any rate the attack was deemed necessary shortly after 9/11 - but not because Saddam's Iraq was thought to have had anything to do with it. Despite constant claims to the contrary, no one in the Bush administration ever linked Iraq with 9/11. The attack was to take place as soon as militarily possible after planning had been completed and the UN process had played itself out.

    Strategic purpose (why this action):
    This is the most critical factor - and has unfortunately also been the least discussed by the administration. Strategic realities are what they are. Probably since the 1970's, but definitely since Beiruit in the 80's, the US has been seen by the Muslim world as a paper tiger. This didn't have much consequence for us prior to the emergence of Al Qaeda. Throughout the 90's Al Qaeda prosecuted a low-level, but ever-escalating war against the West in general and the US in particular. Also throughout the 90's we did not respond as if we were engaged in a war. We backed-down, did nothing, looked the other way while Al Qaeda was funded by supposed allies, or at best responded with empty gestures. Each non reaction to a new provocation was an invitation to further escalation by Al Qaeda. This is not a criticism of the Clinton administration in particular - I don't know whether a Republican administration would have reacted much differently. All of this inaction and one-sided escalation eventually brought terrorism to New York and nearly 3000 American civilians were killed in one day.

    The decision was made by the Bush administration that the strategic reality had to change - we could no longer be the paper tiger we had been. But how? Iraq. Saddam had doomed himself with each targeting of US fighters patrolling the no-fly-zone and each time he played games with inspectors. Iraq, a high-profile Muslim country, a rogue nation, a proven possessor of WMD, an enemy of the US, a neighbor to Saudi Arabia - and most importantly - a beatable foe.

    So, given that strategic reality, calls for a premature pullout from Iraq are disasterous. Not a pullout - just the serious consideration of it. They serve to confirm what the Muslim world thought of us prior to the Iraq war and undermine the entire strategic purpose.
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  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas
    By that logic, this situation continues endlessly. Remember that the U.S. is the invader in this situation. Regardless of how altruistic you may see it, the Arab world sees it as an invasion.
    Wrong. You're assuming we would never leave. No one is saying that. We leave when Iraq is reasonably secure and stable.
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  11.    #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by phurth
    Wrong. You're assuming we would never leave. No one is saying that. We leave when Iraq is reasonably secure and stable.
    Goal, metrics. You're using vague terms.

    Many people believe there will never be stability while the U.S. is occupying Iraq.
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by phurth
    Wrong. You're assuming we would never leave. No one is saying that. We leave when Iraq is reasonably secure and stable.
    Iraq and secure and stable in the same sentence? Sounds a bit oxy-moronic to me.
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by ChkYaHead
    Iraq and secure and stable in the same sentence? Sounds a bit oxy-moronic to me.
    reasonably
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  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas
    Yes, however. The point to take away from that article and previous estimates I've seen are, at best, the foreign fighters make up all of 10% of the insurgency yet the current administration continually try to frame it as a struggle against the world's jihadist terrorists. Not the case. I believe if the U.S. left today, the Sunnis would kill them immediately.
    An alternative viewpoint - the Washington Post article is apparently simple propaganda - drawing entirely wrong conclusions from Anthony Cordesman's research:

    By Evan Kohlman - The Counterterrorism Blog
    As much as I am fatigued by the seemingly endless "fisking" of misinformed articles on Iraq's foreign fighters, I cannot resist drawing attention to yet another recent Washington Post article which twists the research and conclusions of Anthony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Snuck into a long WP article on the sinking political prospects of Vice President **** Cheney, journalists Michael Fletcher and James VandeHei also included this wandering snippet:

    "Some observers called into question Cheney's repeated description of the enemy in Iraq as 'terrorists' who are seeking to control that country to establish a base from which they can 'launch attacks and to wage war against governments that do not meet their demands.' U.S. intelligence agencies say foreign terrorists represent a minority of the insurgent forces; the vast majority are Iraqis. Classified findings by U.S. intelligence agencies are reflected in a study by Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, released yesterday, which estimates that at least 90 percent of the fighters are Iraqi."


    OK, so what's wrong with this passage? Well, first off, Cordesman doesn't base his study on "classified findings" by "U.S. intelligence agencies." Quite to the contrary, Cordesman bases his research almost exclusively on foreign intelligence reports produced by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia--not the United States government. In fact, a number of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement sources I have spoken with have expressed *strong* dismay that Cordesman's research is being used to imply that there is no significant presence of foreign fighters in Iraq. One will recall my previous post on this subject when one such highly credible source compared those who complain of the U.S. government allegedly overinflating the presence of foreign fighters in Iraq to UFO conspiracy theorists.

    Besides mischaracterizing Cordesman's sources, they have also flubbed on his actual conclusions. Contrary to the tone of the Washington Post article, Cordesman has been rightly hesitant to offer any specific numbers as to the total number of foreign fighters present in Iraq. In another recent interview, Cordesman conceded he was not sure as to the total population of foreign fighters, but added, "If there are anything like 3,000 foreign fighters in Iraq, this poses a serious threat... In any case, the exact numbers are largely irrelevant. All it takes is enough volunteers to continue to support suicide attacks and violent bombings, and to seek to drive Iraqi Sunnis towards a major and intense civil war... many [foreign fighters] are likely to survive and be the source of violence and extremism in other countries." Though I often disagree with Tony on his research, I wholeheartedly concur on this point. The numbers are largely irrelevant, and only a small number of foreign fighters are necessary to upset regional geopolitical stability. Thus, no informed sources--not even Cordesman himself--seem to agree with the misbegotten conclusions formulated by the Washington Post's Fletcher and VandeHei.

    Nor should anyone take this post as some abstract defense of **** Cheney on my part. Besides my general distaste for partisan politics, in the recent past, I've referred to V.P. Cheney's views on the Iraqi insurgency as self-delusional and "stunningly obtuse." I have also characterized the decision by the Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2003 as a "colossal strategic error." But, from an objective standpoint, it is fair to say that George Bush and **** Cheney are not the only ones pushing a dubious agenda for Iraq through the mass media.
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  15. NRG
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    #15  
    Why is president Bush demoralizing our troops?


    Source: UK Times

    Bush set to pull out 60,000 troops

    PRESIDENT BUSH is planning a major pullout of US troops from Iraq amid rising opposition to the war on Capitol Hill and across America.

    After a fortnight in which the political debate has rapidly moved from how to fight the war to how best to get out of Iraq, the White House is looking at reducing troop levels by at least 60,000 next year.

    Confirming the worst fears of the war’s conservative supporters, who argue that more troops are needed to defeat the insurgency, senior military officials made clear yesterday that the Bush Administration’s goal is to cut troop levels from 160,000 to below 100,000 by the end of 2006.

    Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, far from denying the withdrawal plan first reported in The Washington Post, said that a gradual pullout of troops could begin “fairly soon”, and that the number of coalition troops is “clearly going to come down”.

    -snip-
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by NRG
    Why is president Bush demoralizing our troops?
    Your point is what, exactly?

    The administration has been saying all along that 2006 would be the year we begin handing things back over to the Iraqi authorities. The current level of 160,000 is artificially high because troop levels have been reinforced due to the upcoming elections. The "normal" level is 138,000, so a reduction to 100,000 or so by the end of next year is reasonable and prudent - hardly the buggering out the left would like to see. On the contrary, this is an indication that things are going well enough to begin planning for a draw-down.
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  17. NRG
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    #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by phurth
    Your point is what, exactly?

    The administration has been saying all along that 2006 would be the year we begin handing things back over to the Iraqi authorities. The current level of 160,000 is artificially high because troop levels have been reinforced due to the upcoming elections. The "normal" level is 138,000, so a reduction to 100,000 or so by the end of next year is reasonable and prudent - hardly the buggering out the left would like to see. On the contrary, this is an indication that things are going well enough to begin planning for a draw-down.
    My point being is when one side requests troop withdrawls, it is demoralizing the troops, then when the other side says it, it is reasonable and prudent. Thanks for making my point for me.
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by NRG
    My point being is when one side requests troop withdrawls, it is demoralizing the troops, then when the other side says it, it is reasonable and prudent. Thanks for making my point for me.
    Perhaps if the left would do more than unconstructively whine and call for immediate withdrawals, they might be taken more seriously? Perhaps, if the left were calling for a gradual draw-down over a fairly lengthy time period as goals (the upcoming election, for example) were met, you would have a point.

    You seem to think that the administration's plan is the exact same thing the opposition's been calling for. It is not, and that was my point. The difference should be fairly obvious.
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  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by NRG
    My point being is when one side requests troop withdrawls, it is demoralizing the troops, then when the other side says it, it is reasonable and prudent. Thanks for making my point for me.
    The problem is that one side has compared our soldiers to SS stormtroopers on the floor of the senate, and maintained from day one that we could never win.

    Which side do you think that might be?

    Before you answer, I spent the afternoon with a Marine that just returned from Iraq. He spoke about how low the morale has become with the political fighting that is taking place inside the Beltway. Listening to this young buck speak, I was reminded of Kipling's poem, "Tommy". Tommy isn't a bloody fool, you bet that Tommy sees.

    The Beltway Democrats are driving yet another wedge between themselves and those that serve in the military.
  20.    #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by 1911sforever
    The problem is that one side has compared our soldiers to SS stormtroopers on the floor of the senate, and maintained from day one that we could never win.
    I believe that was in response to torture which was fostered by the current administration and those images did nothing to help the cause or morale of the soldiers.


    Quote Originally Posted by 1911sforever
    Before you answer, I spent the afternoon with a Marine that just returned from Iraq. He spoke about how low the morale has become with the political fighting that is taking place inside the Beltway. Listening to this young buck speak, I was reminded of Kipling's poem, "Tommy". Tommy isn't a bloody fool, you bet that Tommy sees.
    I would argue that this is less a response to the increasing disillussionment of the American people regarding this fiasco but rather a shared feeling of "What the heck are we supposed to be doing here(there)?" feeling.

    What the people and the soldiers need is leadership which sets goals and a timetable for completing these goals and to slowly get the U.S. personel out of the cross-hairs. Then get them home. One suggestion I would have is to move the Iraqi military into the bulk role and use the U.S. in only fast response support situations. Kinda what Rumesfeld has argued for years.
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