PNAC's new line: U.S. military presence in ME is a "generational commitment"

Certainly…if you can prove it IS throwing good money/lives after bad. The problem of course is you can’t, as you don’t know the future any better than any of the rest of us do. Iraq COULD be another South Korea…or it COULD be another Vietnam. Its simply too early to tell. My own personal reasons for not wanting the US to pull out are simple…I want to avoid the bloodbath we’d be relagating the Iraqis too if we pulled out, a bloodbath I think would make the invasion/occupation seem like a party by comparison. We broke it, its our responsibility to do what we can to fix it…until and unless the situation gets SO bad that its hopeless. Unfortunately for to gloom and doomers about the situation just isn’t hopeless yet in the minds of the majority of the US’s citizens. Maybe next year.

We probably DO have a long term commitment to the ME and have had one for some time. After all, we get at least half of our energy from there…it would almost HAVE to be a major strategic commitment. If we didn’t need energy from the region, and if the region basically left us alone, I think the US would be more than happy to let it sink back into some kind of medeval obscurity. I don’t really see us occupying one ME country or another for long periods of time…unless you want to count the existing situations, which would kind of be a no brainer…I’m sure we WILL be in Iraq (though not ‘occupying’ it unless you think we are still ‘occupying’ Germany and South Korea of course) for the long term…and probably Afghanistan too.

Any way out of what? Continueing in Iraq? Not that I see, at least not in the short/medium terms. Having strategic needs in the ME? Again, not that I see, at least not soon. There certainly ARE a few ways out of dependance on the region…but will we take them? No idea.

Same place we got the troops that are still stationed in South Korea and Germany…we simply expanded our force structure so that we kept those troops and commands perminent. Like in South Korea and Germany I can see a perminent Iraq station. Other than that I don’t think we are going to need all THAT many more troops…once the logistics is set it will simply be another station where you might be assigned if you go into the military. As long as the region is vital to our interests though we will have to be aware of whats going on there, and we’ll have to be ready to intervene if we need too I suppose (much as it grates on me to say that).

Well, I think this is two issues. I don’t see how we can withdraw ALL or nearly all US forces from Iraq any time soon. The forces stationed in Iraq though are defensive forces…they aren’t going to suddenly pick up and bound into Iran. Nor are the forces stationed in South Korea going to form the basis for an invasion of the North.

So, from an offensive perspective, we will probably do what we usually do…we’ll deploy garrison forces in Iraq (eventually) on a perminent basis (like those in S Korea), we’ll deploy heavy equipment (tanks, arty, supplies, etc) wherever we can stash it (maybe Kuait…I think we have a number there already…maybe Iraq itself, maybe just keep it at Diego Garcia) so that we can stage up again later if we need too. I don’t see us having an offensive army poised for invasion in the ME…the cost would be astronomical (and frankly impossible to maintain…one of the reasons we HAD to invade Iraq was that we couldn’t maintain that level of readyness indefinitely).

The other issue is we will have to be aware of the region as long as its strategically vital, which means we need to be prepared in case we DO need to protect our interests there. That means a hightened state of observation, planning, etc for those ‘just in case’ scenerios.


xt: My own personal reasons for not wanting the US to pull out are simple…I want to avoid the bloodbath we’d be relagating the Iraqis too if we pulled out, a bloodbath I think would make the invasion/occupation seem like a party by comparison.

But as the OP points out, this assessment is the exact opposite of what PNAC itself was predicting in 2003, when they opined that US military forces would be able to draw down in Iraq in not much more than a year, and that the dangers of a serious insurgency had been avoided.

Two years later, according to you, Iraq would still be facing a “bloodbath” of unprecedented ferocity if US troops pulled out. And according to PNAC now, the magnitude of the dangers is such that we’re obligated to a “generational commitment” and a substantial troop increase.

Why should we trust the opinions and recommendations of this group now, when they were so spectacularly wrong the last time?

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but you seem to be laboring under the false impression that I agree with anything PNAC has to say on any subject, let alone their report. If you read through what I had to say, I ALSO disagreed with their force level projection, how they wanted to deploy, etc. I think they are frankly delusional if they think we could withdraw our troops from Iraq in less than a year and NOT have it be a blood bath…or that the dangers of serious insurgency have been avoided.

Seems I disagree with PNAC then. Why is that so shocking to you?

You’d have to tell me Kimstu as I never trusted either their opinions OR their recommendations. Perhaps you could tell me first why you think I’m defending them when I didn’t even address their idiotic recommendations in my own post but merely answered the OP with my OWN opinion?


Sacrifices are so much easier when it’s not your ass on the line, isn’t it?

All I know is that the sacrifices people made in wars for freedom is what got you to say those chosen words.

We can’t all be soldiers friend.

Then blame China, not the US, we couldn’t go further anymore and risk world war three.

Well, when the much better prepared North Korean army invades and forces back your army and people to a perimeter around Pusan, you’d throw anything you had at them.

South Korea has the worlds 9th largest economy, I think it was definately worth it.

The immiseration and isolation of the North is the NK leadership policy, they’re isolated because they choose to be.

Thats kinda hypocritical considering how you don’t seem to think anything good has come out of this war, and how people like me are supposed to take that as gospel.

Indeed. And if I agreed with you that no good can yest come from Iraq, I’d say we should leave earlier. Instead, based on the successful election and the recent signs that the insurgents may be loooking for a way into the political process, I think things are, tenatively and slowly, looking good.

You seem to forget the orgin of the Korean War; the communist North attacked and wished to conquer the south. The US/UN force resisted and counterattacked. The war did not produce a communist North Korea run by a megalomaniac; that already existed. The war prevented Kim Il-Sung from taking the whole peninsula.

Granted, a better-executed war plan might have done better; but the final result was a return to the status quo ante.

I believe the claim in bold is a misstatement of the facts. The Sunni leadership that advocated not participating in the election may be looking for a way in but the insurgents aren’t. They are killing Shiits and US personnel as fast as they are able and if the Sunni’s leaders begin to join will probably start killing them too.

I hope that the Iraqis can establish a functioning government next week but will take any that comes whenever that might happen. Of course we have to remember that a truly representative Iraqi government might not be to our liking.

I also question the notion that the insurgency has an identity: it is Sunni, it is Baathist, secular, or whatsoever. Iraq is a big nation, potentially wealthy and powerful, and that power is up for graps, in a nation literally awash in small arms. What do we really know about the “insurgency”. If some political development results in Sunnis hating us less and Shia hating us more, and more Shia start killing our troops, is the “insurgency” now a different entity?

Unless the insurgency can be defined around goals and methods, who de fuck and what de fuck, its pointless to look towards some specific event as likely to lessen the insurgency. How do you change a man’s mind if you don’t even know what he thinks? And that’s what has to happen, can’t kill 'em all.

The insurgency is anyone who doesn’t respect the democratic usage of power within Iraq in order to represent all Iraqis.

Respect is an emotion. The insurgency is anyone who uses violence against the occupation forces and/or the government established under them.

Rising in revolt against established authority, especially a government
What established authority are they rebelling against one wonders?

What good guesses have you?

xt: Seems I disagree with PNAC then.

I can see that you disagree with what PNAC was saying back in 2003, but you seem to be agreeing with the main points of what they’re saying now: i.e., the necessity for a long-term commitment in the ME that will require more troops.

I don’t dispute that you have independent reasons for your own opinions. I’m just pointing out that PNAC’s recommendations (which is what this thread is about, after all) should be regarded warily, considering their track record.

furt: You seem to forget the orgin of the Korean War; the communist North attacked and wished to conquer the south.

Yes, I know that. My point is that since, as Ryan noted, we can’t predict the future or know what would have happened in an alternative scenario, we can’t just take credit for positive consequences while disclaiming responsibility for negative ones.

According to that type of reasoning, I could argue that since we didn’t go to war in Czechoslovakia when the Soviets crushed their attempted reforms in 1968, and Czechoslovakia is not Communist now, that proves that not going to war “was worth it”. Maybe if we’d tried that approach in Korea, they wouldn’t be Communist now either.

Obviously, this line of reasoning is simplistic and dumb. You have to use detailed, realistic arguments to justify ascribing particular historical outcomes to particular historical actions. It’s not enough just to say “well, we did A, and now we have situation B, so therefore A is responsible for B”.

Erm no, because we had a doctrine where we respected their European sphere of influence to a point. Another point is that it could of started World War three, the same was for Korea, China invaded to use it as a buffer from the Capitalist West, Mac Arthur wanted to go into China, Truman didn’t because he knew it would cause World War Three.

We did try that approach, but didn’t we just say the North invaded the South? The Korean war was a defensive action, it wasn’t precipitated by us.

A democratic representative one? Who says thats legitimate for them to do so?

and violence is an offshoot of anger and resentment, both of which are emotions.

Would this be “moving the goalposts”? Perhaps a strawman response? Or is it simply a case of ignoring the salient points of the analogy? The point, as I read it, is that you have made the assertion that we paid a high price for invading a foreign country, which was worth it because the invasion of said country had a desirable result. To which the response is that this reasoning is flawed, because there are instances in which we did not invade a foreign country, also with desirable results. Your response does not address that at all, sacrificing the substance of the analogy by getting lost in specifics.

<relevant nitpick>
Not necessarily. Which is why we have phrases like “cold-blooded killer”. The insurgents could be acting completely rationally, from their point of view. I’m not sure the same can be said for “respect”; at least, IMO, not anything approaching a similar degree.

Well, I wouldn’t say I’m agreeing with the details of WHY they want to do what they want to do…only that their main point (WRT keeping troops in Iraq/Afghanistan anyway) are obvious. Its sort of like saying I agree with the Communists because I think there is a need for Social Security reform (just an example). We both agree there is a need for reform, we probably disagree quite a bit on WHAT needs to be reformed…and we don’t agree at all on nearly everything else. Hardly a meeting of minds that you seem to be implying between me and the PNAC report cited in the OP.

I certainly think that we need to maintain troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for the near future. If PNAC agrees with that then I suppose we agree on this one issue from a big picture perspective (I doubt we agree on WHY we need to maintain troops in Iraq/Afghanistan though). I also agree that we have strategic interests in the ME so need to keep an eye on the region while hopefully looking for alternatives that will make us less dependant. These are really broad issues though that I think MOST reasonable people agree on (well, at least that the US has strategic interests in the ME…I doubt most ‘reasonable’ people on this board agree with me that we need to stay in Iraq :))…at least those with ties into the real world. The fact that PNAC see’s this too doesn’t make it either a good thing or a bad one…only an obvious one.