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2006-11-19 Iraq
Retired Brig. General: Iraq Operational Problems and Solutions
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Posted by Sneaze Shaiting3550 2006-11-19 02:03|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [6459 views since 2007-05-07]  Top

#1 From a military standpoint one would tend to agree with the general, but war isn't just military. The relatively small force on the ground was not (just) about 'cheap': politically a lot of people felt, and still feel, that too big a 'footprint' wound be counterproductive. In 'limited warfare' of this type I suspect they are right - the hard part is identifying the optimum footprint size at any given time.
Home front politics count for a lot too: Rumsfeld wasn't wrong when he said you go to war with the military you have, not the one you wish you had. I'm sure we all wish we had several divisions worth of Special Forces type soldiers, but we don't. And we aren't going to. Most wish we had several hundred thousand more trained and equiped regular Army and Marines, but we don't. With a strong (or strong-ish) economy you aren't going to attract a lot of highest quality new personnel, and with a war concept that at most gathers 50% support of the people, you aren't going to get funding to pay for them at the current price, and certainly not at the price it would take to attract an expanded force.
Regarding Air Force and Navy systems - field commanders are focussed on THEIR mission, but at the top level that's a luxury that is not allowed; the initial B-17 bomber funding began around 1934, at a time when the world was not at war, and long before the US entered WW II, but long-range planners were anticipating potential future needs. They could staff an army in 6 months and build its capability in the field (at great cost) but they could not do that with aircraft. IED-armed jihadists are not the only threat we need to prepare for.
So, if you're going to fight at all, you're going to fight 'on the cheap'. The only strategic point I yield to the General is that we avoided requiring any personal sacrifice from the average American - but then all that would have done is cause us to quit and go home already. The American people do not believe we are at war and are not going to until they are personally hit upside the head with a two by four. At that point victory will be immensely more costly, if possible at all (see WW II, for example.)
Posted by Glenmore">Glenmore  2006-11-19 09:25||   2006-11-19 09:25|| Front Page Top

#2 Earth to Zais: can't build a nation out of sociopaths.
Posted by gromgoru 2006-11-19 10:23||   2006-11-19 10:23|| Front Page Top

#3 " I'm sure we all wish we had several divisions worth of Special Forces type soldiers, but we don't."

Could anyone connected with the military tell us if this is being rectified? or if not, why! As in this day and age, light troops rather than ICBM subs seem to be the way to go. Not that I'm disparaging the bubble heads or suchlike I'm just curious as to whether there are methods of reform in the US military or if change is only being forcibly driven on the battlefield(at the cost i might add of american lives!)
Posted by pihkalbadger 2006-11-19 10:39||   2006-11-19 10:39|| Front Page Top

#4 We can't change a culture in 4yrs. What we can do is setup the 20% of Muslims who want to join the world in places of authority assist them in setting up a government and Army, Police capable of keeping things in thier nation from getting out of hand and controlling containing the 20% radicals. In short we can set up a Constitution, Democratic, Capitolist, Free government that will be strong enough to take over everyday stability from our troops (the street patrol everyday security stuff).

Once that is done we can step back into the bases as a rienforcement/raider force and of course WE MUST leave a substantial force in country to be the trip wire for two things
1) to prevent foreign neighbors from getting any ideas
2) to keep the radical groups inside Iraq from attempting a coup by force. The Radicals don't have the political clout to do it by vote but by guns is another story. We must stay in some force so those elements understand we wont let that happen.

I wish we had a leader that could rally the people this is so freekin easy. A near history example of Iraq culture would be Japan militarist culture. It took generations to break the militarist japanese grip on thier culture. If we had pulled out fully after 4yrs in Japan what do you think would have happened? Do you think Russia/China would have invaded first or do you think the old school Jap Militarist would have recovered power first?

The Iraqi government will soon be able to take our place as keeping the violence from getting out of hand. By that I don't mean the will stop the bombings that is impossible how the hell do you stop some yahoo from going to the local market street corner whatever and kill some women and children bystanders? What I do mean is keeping the radicals from taking territory.

This war is plagued by our opponents being allowed to set the bar, which of course they set were they know damm well are impossible to achieve. When will LA stop the daily killings in the ghetto? answer NEVER The daily bombings in Iraq will stop when the Iraqi people realize the terrorist can bomb from now to kingdom come and it wont change a dam thing exept the length of thier death list.

If we hold steady and don't humiliate our nation AGAIN 40yrs from now Iraq will be at best like Japan standing at our side at worst like Turkey a solid ally exept in certian cases.

The only real mistake I think we made was not to be more brutal. When AQ took Falluja 1 we should have immediatley made exaple of that place with UTTMOST brutality smashed that city to let it be known our enemy could not mass, and Sadr should have been killed and his Mehdi wiped from Iraq into Iran.
Posted by C-Low 2006-11-19 11:09||   2006-11-19 11:09|| Front Page Top

#5 "The only real mistake I think we made was not to be more brutal."

This really is at the heart of the matter.

Homeys expect a perfectly "clean" war, no collaterals - with gun-camera proof upon demand, prosecution-quality evidence before any action, completed within the attention span of the Mayfly, and everyone lives happily everafter. Lotsa hearts and minds stuff with exultant crowds singing our praises, yadda™... followed by the duet: "Why, oh why don't they love us? We never shoulda gone in." and "Why didn't you anticipate everything - we coulda done it better!".

The Iraqis expect the brutality that is their norm. Anything less is wimp-city - strong horse or stay out of the race. A serious difference in the definition of "respect".

The "world" just wants to whack the big kid. The usual EconomicMilitaryFreedomDickSize envy.
Posted by .com 2006-11-19 11:21||   2006-11-19 11:21|| Front Page Top

#6 They could staff an army in 6 months and build its capability in the field (at great cost) but they could not do that with aircraft. IED-armed jihadists are not the only threat we need to prepare for.

Yep, it's counter-intuitive, but people are the easiest and fastest thing to procure in an all out war. Planes, tanks and ships take time. Exception to that of course is senior NCOs and field grade officers.
Posted by Shipman 2006-11-19 11:46||   2006-11-19 11:46|| Front Page Top

#7 Yep, it's counter-intuitive, but people are the easiest and fastest thing to procure in an all out war. Planes, tanks and ships take time. Exception to that of course is senior NCOs and field grade officers

Respectfully begging to differ but people take the most time and expense, and that is why boots on the ground are a far more expensive thing than hardware.

You can replace a tank or a rifle by having another one built, but you can't really replace a soldier from combat.

Depending on the nation it can take anywhere from 16 to 30 years to "build" a human being available for the military and it is why just a single death in combat has such a devastating impact.

Stalin's treatment of his very people before and during WWII, how millions were expended in war and in pursing a communist agenda now impacts Russia 60 plus years later, demonstrates just how expensive a single combat loss really is.

Posted by badanov 2006-11-19 12:15||]">[]  2006-11-19 12:15|| Front Page Top

#8 EconomicMilitaryFreedomDickSize envy.

About DickSize envy, I have read somewhere that the CIA wanted to fill B52s with million of XXXL condoms and drop them over Iran, printed on one side:

"Standard Size"
"Made in USA."
Posted by SwissTex 2006-11-19 12:34||   2006-11-19 12:34|| Front Page Top

#9 Post war nation building and anti-totalitarian thinking worked with Germans, Japanese, Italians, Koreans, etc. It has never worked with a Muslim populace. Why? Whenever they are placed under another authority, their Mullahs fatwa on threats to Islam and the jihadism ideology flourishes. Secularism is dying in both the Middle East and in the immigrant Muslim communities in the West. We are not effectively countering the Final-Jihad mentality, and jihad terrorists and their backers, are taking license from that indulgence. The Koran dictum - "jihad is prescribed to you," - is being embraced universally by Muslims. And Western Civilization has to adjust to that, even if it is - as Mark Steyn says - by America Alone.

I detect good faith in Mitchell Zais' motivation, but pundits like him must treat Islam with impartiality and objectivity. Zais, like most politically and academically engaged persons, have learned little or nothing about the enemy, since 9-11. All that can be learned from the garbage put out by John Esposito, Karen Armstrong, and other Dhimmi academics, is: the deranging power of multiculturalist zealotry.
Posted by Sneaze Shaiting3550 2006-11-19 12:44||   2006-11-19 12:44|| Front Page Top

#10 We'll disagree BadMan.
Posted by Shipman 2006-11-19 12:49||   2006-11-19 12:49|| Front Page Top

#11 I have a tendency to err on Sneaze's side in this one, but I go a bit farther, I think...

Culturally, monetarily, and systematically wall off muzzie fundamentalist countries. Explain to them in no uncertain terms that if they step across the wall militarily or ideologically, we will nuke a city of theirs chosen at random. Explain to them that if they develop nuclear weapons, we will nuke a city of theirs chosen at random.

Attacks in our areas on our side of "the wall" by anyone shown to have connections to a muzzie country will result in 2 repurcussions - 1) the nuking of a muzzie city chosen at random, and 2) the complete elimination of the muzzie country or ummah found and/or determined to be responsible for the attack no matter how small the casualties on our side were.

Blowback would, naturally, be huge, and neither we nor anyone else in the world has the stomach for such things, but sooner or later it is going to come down to either "us" or "them".

Remember the 3 Laws of Contact:

1) Any intelligent alien species is going to have evolved to be the "top dog" of their homeworld in any conventional sense,

2) The survival of their species (and civilization) is going to be more important to them than the survival of our species and civilization is.

3) They will assume that Laws 1 & 2 apply to us as well.

Applying these three simple principles to our current struggle clarifies a whole lot of issues.

Posted by FOTSGreg">FOTSGreg  2006-11-19 19:38||]">[]  2006-11-19 19:38|| Front Page Top

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