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09/17/2004 04:37:03 PM · #1

Far graver than Vietnam

Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday September 16, 2004
The Guardian

'Bring them on!" President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is "winning" in Iraq. "Our strategy is succeeding," he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday.
But, according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."

Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan."

W Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute - and the top expert on Iraq there - said: "I don't think that you can kill the insurgency". According to Terrill, the anti-US insurgency, centred in the Sunni triangle, and holding several cities and towns - including Fallujah - is expanding and becoming more capable as a consequence of US policy.

"We have a growing, maturing insurgency group," he told me. "We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self-regenerate. The idea there are x number of insurgents, and that when they're all dead we can get out is wrong. The insurgency has shown an ability to regenerate itself because there are people willing to fill the ranks of those who are killed. The political culture is more hostile to the US presence. The longer we stay, the more they are confirmed in that view."

After the killing of four US contractors in Fallujah, the marines besieged the city for three weeks in April - the watershed event for the insurgency. "I think the president ordered the attack on Fallujah," said General Hoare. "I asked a three-star marine general who gave the order to go to Fallujah and he wouldn't tell me. I came to the conclusion that the order came directly from the White House." Then, just as suddenly, the order was rescinded, and Islamist radicals gained control, using the city as a base.

"If you are a Muslim and the community is under occupation by a non-Islamic power it becomes a religious requirement to resist that occupation," Terrill explained. "Most Iraqis consider us occupiers, not liberators." He describes the religious imagery common now in Fallujah and the Sunni triangle: "There's talk of angels and the Prophet Mohammed coming down from heaven to lead the fighting, talk of martyrs whose bodies are glowing and emanating wonderful scents."

"I see no exit," said Record. "We've been down that road before. It's called Vietnamisation. The idea that we're going to have an Iraqi force trained to defeat an enemy we can't defeat stretches the imagination. They will be tainted by their very association with the foreign occupier. In fact, we had more time and money in state building in Vietnam than in Iraq."

General Odom said: "This is far graver than Vietnam. There wasn't as much at stake strategically, though in both cases we mindlessly went ahead with the war that was not constructive for US aims. But now we're in a region far more volatile, and we're in much worse shape with our allies."

Terrill believes that any sustained US military offensive against the no-go areas "could become so controversial that members of the Iraqi government would feel compelled to resign". Thus, an attempted military solution would destroy the slightest remaining political legitimacy. "If we leave and there's no civil war, that's a victory."

General Hoare believes from the information he has received that "a decision has been made" to attack Fallujah "after the first Tuesday in November. That's the cynical part of it - after the election. The signs are all there."

He compares any such planned attack to the late Syrian dictator Hafez al-Asad's razing of the rebel city of Hama. "You could flatten it," said Hoare. "US military forces would prevail, casualties would be high, there would be inconclusive results with respect to the bad guys, their leadership would escape, and civilians would be caught in the middle. I hate that phrase collateral damage. And they talked about dancing in the street, a beacon for democracy."

General Odom remarked that the tension between the Bush administration and the senior military officers over Iraqi was worse than any he has ever seen with any previous government, including Vietnam. "I've never seen it so bad between the office of the secretary of defence and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaida. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic."

· Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is Washington bureau chief of salon.com

09/17/2004 05:18:09 PM · #2
you are correct, the US did lose the war, lets call our troop back and let them have their land back and we will NEVER again assist a nation in need. That will fix every thing

James
09/17/2004 07:12:11 PM · #3
'assist' ... ? like Afghanistan, yes?

E
09/17/2004 07:19:25 PM · #4
Originally posted by jab119:

you are correct, the US did lose the war, lets call our troop back and let them have their land back and we will NEVER again assist a nation in need. That will fix every thing

James


Sheesh, it was so altruistic [/sarcasm]. There are plenty of other nations without oil that are really in need.
09/17/2004 08:05:56 PM · #5
A good way to assist a nation in need is to shoot em all down yeah! :P
09/17/2004 08:11:27 PM · #6
you dont stop bad people with guns by talking to them, when you people understand that.

I don fully agree with what is going on over there, but many of you just go over the top wit your anti-war stuff.

If you want to stop the damn war go over there and do soething about it. you are not going to stop a single thing on this photo web site.

give up the political shit and go take some freaking photos

James
09/17/2004 08:16:50 PM · #7
Originally posted by heida:

A good way to assist a nation in need is to shoot em all down yeah! :P


With Depleted Uranium shells! So that their children are born all messed up!

09/17/2004 08:24:33 PM · #8
But I thought...?

' . substr('//msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/msnbc/2086000/2086046.standard.jpg', strrpos('//msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/msnbc/2086000/2086046.standard.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
09/17/2004 09:16:29 PM · #9
Originally posted by jab119:

you dont stop bad people with guns by talking to them, when you people understand that.



But, evidently you CAN stop them with inspectors, sanctions, and no-fly zones, though. That is what the governments own report has just said.

Not only that there were no WMD, but that Saddam was contained very nicely, thank you, with the above measures. Just like France said. ;)

So this Iraq war, hatched in the White House BEFORE 9/11 ever ocurred, was launched for not a single good reason.

30,000 innocent people dead, the Muslim world infuriated with us for decades to come, al queda on a recruiting blitz, tens of thousands of American soldiers mutilated, 200 billion of your tax dollars evaporated.

Bush lied and our soldiers died.

09/17/2004 09:22:50 PM · #10
Originally posted by jadin:

Originally posted by heida:

A good way to assist a nation in need is to shoot em all down yeah! :P


With Depleted Uranium shells! So that their children are born all messed up!


Those are horribly sad pictures. Truly terrible what we stupid males do to each other. Its always the children who pay the worst price :(
09/17/2004 10:22:53 PM · #11
<censored>

Message edited by author 2004-10-20 02:43:01.
09/17/2004 10:54:49 PM · #12
1027 killed,but nothing got reported on CNN ?

50 this month,75 in August.



Message edited by author 2004-09-17 23:05:40.
09/17/2004 11:24:59 PM · #13
Originally posted by micknewton:

...The people of Iraq simply aren’t worth it. They’re a bunch of gutless, cowardly religious fanatics that won’t lift a hand to help themselves. But, they’re quite willing to die in order to kill innocent Americans, even women and children. They glorify brutal, sadistic, psychopathic leaders, even when those leaders rape, torture, and murder their own people.

To hell with spending billions of dollars to rebuild their country. We should pull all of our people out and leave them to rot. Then, at the first sign of any hostility or terrorist activity we should bomb the crap out of them. We should also assassinate every known terrorist and terrorist leader that we can find, no matter where the cowardly bastards are hiding...


Is it conceivable that you are quite uninformed about the history of Iraq?
Have you ever lived in a Muslim country or in one fundamentally different than your own?
What, arguably, is your understanding when you mention the people of Iraq, that you do not hesitate to, indiscriminately, condemn them to your judgement?
On what authority do you base your slanderous and destructive labels?

Are you, indeed, not aware that you are extending your baseless and inclusive claims to civilised people, to men and women of a fine sensibility, to children who have tasted more horror than you will likely encounter in several life-times, if ever?

Message edited by author 2004-09-17 23:26:12.
09/17/2004 11:28:37 PM · #14
All I need to do is read the Koran to make my judgement.
09/17/2004 11:37:27 PM · #15
Originally posted by David Ey:

All I need to do is read the Koran to make my judgement.


What we need to do, is to reserve judgement until we're intellectually and emotionally equipped to extend this critical facility to others.
09/17/2004 11:40:43 PM · #16
Many americans are righteous in their beliefs, many are ignorant, many are intelligent, many are hospitable, many people in america will stand up for what they believe and suffer consequences for those beliefs. All americans bleed when cut, hurt when suffer loss of a love one, think about (and maybe act with) revenge when wronged. The same is true of iraqis, afghans, sudanese, croatians, serbs, canadians.
That which divides us is much less than what we share in common. Let's try and remember that we are all human. What one does effects all others. Hatred breeds hatred.

No one wins a war of any kind. Children lose fathers, wives lose husbands. Men lose limbs and life. The world is getting smaller, we need to learn to respect and love each other.
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" gandhi
09/18/2004 01:05:26 AM · #17
<censored>

Message edited by author 2004-10-20 02:43:34.
09/18/2004 01:05:50 AM · #18
U.S. Intelligence Shows Pessimism on Iraq's Future

Report finds Iraq prospects bleak
Sources have confirmed to CNN that a National Intelligence Estimate was sent to the White House in July with a classified warning predicting the best case for Iraq was "tenuous stability" and the worst case was civil war.

The Bush administration, however, continues to argue publicly the U.S. is making good progress in Iraq, with the President saying Thursday that "freedom is on the march" in Iraq, citing scheduled elections in January next year.

But the intelligence report raises serious questions about Iraq's ability to achieve political solutions in the next year or two, noting the country's "limited experience with representative government" and "history of violence".

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a report to the U.N. Security Council last week, said the persistent violence in Iraq would make it difficult to hold elections in January.

"I think that anybody that thinks that you can hold elections in the Sunni Triangle by the end of January is really smoking something," military historian Frank Fukuyama said.

And the Pentagon also admits the insurgency in Iraq is growing in both size and sophistication, and as a result, the number of U.S. war dead -- now over 1,025 -- is climbing at a faster rate than any time since major combat ended.

Baghdad car bombing

Many Killed as U.S. Pounds Fallujah

Message edited by author 2004-09-18 01:08:24.
09/18/2004 01:29:06 AM · #19
<censored>

Message edited by author 2004-10-20 02:43:58.
09/18/2004 02:53:39 AM · #20
Originally posted by micknewton:

Originally posted by zeuszen:

Is it conceivable that you are quite uninformed about the history of Iraq?

Is it conceivable? I suppose so, depending on whose mind is doing the conceiving. Most people can conjure up just about anything if they try hard enough.

Originally posted by zeuszen:

Have you ever lived in a Muslim country or in one fundamentally different than your own?

Yes, I have lived in a couple of foreign countries. Oddly enough, no one there wanted to kill me just because I was an American, or because I didn’t believe in their religion. The silly barbarians.

Originally posted by zeuszen:

What, arguably, is your understanding when you mention the people of Iraq, that you do not hesitate to, indiscriminately, condemn them to your judgement?


I believe that I stated my opinion quite clearly in my previous post. I certainly made no attempt to disguise it with flowery rhetoric or innuendo.

Originally posted by zeuszen:

On what authority do you base your slanderous and destructive labels?

I need no authority, other than my own, to have and to express an opinion.

Originally posted by zeuszen:

Are you, indeed, not aware that you are extending your baseless and inclusive claims to civilised people, to men and women of a fine sensibility, to children who have tasted more horror than you will likely encounter in several life-times, if ever?

Are you, indeed, not aware that you are making several baseless assumptions about me, a person that you have never met and know little, if anything, about?

I have no doubt that there are some civilized people in Iraq. I have no doubt that there are children, probably many, who have had to endure unimaginable hardships. However, civilized people do not sit quietly by while their leaders commit mass murder and other psychotic acts. They do not allow their leaders to abduct young women and girls off the street to be raped, tortured, and then killed for sport. Civilized people rise up and fight such leaders.

To me, my two children and my wife are the only people that matter. Period. These “civilized people of fine sensibility” that you speak of have, for no reason, condemned my children to death. That makes them my enemy. I would kill every last Iraqi on this planet if that is what it would take to protect my loved ones. Every one of them.

Idotic thinking based on idiotic well prepared missinformations,I do feel sorry for you ! :-(

No wonder your photos suck !

Message edited by author 2004-09-18 03:00:35.
09/18/2004 06:56:18 AM · #21
Originally posted by micknewton:

Personally, I think that it really is a shame that good people, Americans and others, are loosing their lives in Iraq. The people of Iraq simply aren’t worth it. They’re a bunch of gutless, cowardly religious fanatics that won’t lift a hand to help themselves. But, they’re quite willing to die in order to kill innocent Americans, even women and children. They glorify brutal, sadistic, psychopathic leaders, even when those leaders rape, torture, and murder their own people.

To hell with spending billions of dollars to rebuild their country. We should pull all of our people out and leave them to rot. Then, at the first sign of any hostility or terrorist activity we should bomb the crap out of them. We should also assassinate every known terrorist and terrorist leader that we can find, no matter where the cowardly bastards are hiding.

I'm tired of hearing about good people being killed in that shit-hole of a country. They just aren’t worth it.


WTF? What do you know about the people of Iraq? I've not been to Iraq, but I know enough about the world to know that the country is just full of normal human beings like the rest of the world and that your comment is full of ignorant stereotyping hatred. I don't even know why I'm responding to your comment, it's clearly one of the most ignorant things I've ever seen posted here. Sheesh. It's people like you that give Americans a very bad name.
09/18/2004 07:32:20 AM · #22
I stopped reading your Bush bashing article as soon as I realized the writer was making stuff up...

Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

General Hoare was never the Marine Commandant. That's a pretty important position to just "throw" in there. Makes me wonder what else he just "threw in there". Being a former Marine and still working for the Marine Corps I think I should let you all know that most Marines support President Bush and most want to go to Iraq and fight. Not because we are blood thirsty animals, but because we believe in what we signed up for; To protect freedom around the world. That may sound like a text boox answer for some of you, but if you've ever put on a Marine uniform you know that it's not. So many people just bash Bush and never seem to look at all the positive things we have done in Iraq. So, maybe those of you who think being in Iraq is such a bad idea should take some time out and talk to someone who has fought over there. You might be suprised at what you hear.
09/18/2004 12:42:55 PM · #23
<censored>

Message edited by author 2004-10-20 02:44:33.
09/18/2004 01:18:06 PM · #24
Originally posted by gingerbaker:

IRAQ - We have lost the War

How can we lose a war we already won? All of the main objects of the war have already been accomplished. I suppose it's possible to lose the rebuilding process if the left keeps exploiting the situation for their own political gain.
09/18/2004 02:14:02 PM · #25
<censored>

Message edited by author 2004-10-20 02:45:04.
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