The Generals begin to talk about Iraq withdrawal

Their reasons are not exactly the same as the one I identified inthis thread but getting out is getting out and the reasons are secondary.

According tothis account in the Los Angeles Times our top military commanders are beginning to think that the US presence is starting to turn into a hinderance rather than a help in Iraq.

From the article

The reason in bold face was the one I cited and the field commanders have added two more. Those two are the same as many war critics have identified for quite a while now.

True the generals favor a “gradual withdrawal” but “gradual” is subject to definition and maybe if a start is made, the pace of withdrawal will pick up.

Maybe they are really taking a lesson from our Vietnam experience where we kept saying (for more than ten years) that the Vietnamese had to win the fight themselves but they “weren’t quite ready yet.”

I wonder what the “stay the course” claque thinks about this now that our military commanders are beginning to suggest that the course has been stayed?

As you may recall from that earlier thread, I favored giving things a month or two to see how things shook out. Well, It’s been a month or two, and rather than 3 trained and capable Iraqi divisions, we have one, about 1,000 men. Rather than a unifying constitution, we have a divisive piece of crap that’s fueling violence

Happy horseshit notwithstanding:

It’s time to figure out how to get out. We’re not going to create a city on a hill, and staying just adds more heat to the lake of fire.

I’ll certainly agree on that. Now if we can get them on our side, we’ll have something.

Excellent essay saying something that is completely new to me and makes a startling amount of sense.

The article says the war is misguided because Iraq is a fractured state of several nations and Bush’s administration is inept. None of that is new. It sure as hell isn’t new to you.

Elections 2006

Yet more evidence we’ve wrought disaster:
Iraq’s President Calls for PM to Step Down

Rather than the dreamed of unity, tension, apprehension and dissension have begun.

Iraqi Lawmakers Make it Harder for Voters to Defeat Charter
A simple majority of those who vote can pass it, while it’ll now take a 2/3 majority of all registered voters in three or more provinces to defeat it:

Voter Suppression now makes even more sense:

I view a reduction in U.S. involvement in Iraq as a positive thing, however, to the insurgents, even a small presence will be viewed as a source of aggrevation and insult to the hardline extremists.

The winning strategy is going to be real diplomacy. One that this administration shows a great inablity to carry out and frankly lacks. Even if they had the skills necessary, they have used up their trust currency to get the right parties to the negotiation table. Diplomacy and peace building will be up to the next administration. Lets hope they have the political and diplomatic skill to pull it off.

What a rotten pickle for a decent, conscientious officer to be in. If he bucks the civilian leadership, he does the right thing, he speaks for his men. He also wipes his ass with his career. And if he does, some ambitious cocksucker who isn’t hindered by honor will step right into his place.

“Staying the course” is the only hope the Bushiviks have, that by some miracle things will turn around. Any other course of action is defeat. Tell them what they don’t want to hear, and they will replace you with someone who has a more flexible relationship with candor.

For that officer who speaks truth to power: this civilian salutes you.

I didn’t catch any of the Sunday talk shows but apparently Gen. Abizaid said on one of them that withdrawals could start fairly early next year. That he said this surprises me a little. The task of the Iraq commander is to carry out the task in Iraq to the best of his, or her, ability with the means provided. The President or at least the Secretary of Defense makes public statements about grand strategy such as changes in the force.

Like you I feel sorrow for every single military person there.

I’m all for getting the hell out of there as soon as possible-- ie, as soon as the Iraqi army can take over. In fact, I’d like to see a published withdrawl plan with semi-hard dates of troop draw downs. Semi-hard in the sense that they are tied to a schedule of projected Iraqi troop strength numbers, and we adjust as necessary if the troop strength is ahead or behind schedule. Let the Iraqis know what we intend to allow them run and defend their own country. In fact, let them know that we **expect **it, and that we expect it by “x” date. If that causes the insurgency to wait things out, so much the better. That means fewer American deaths and, at least in the short term, fewer Iraqi deaths.

Yes, we need to set a date certain. We stayed a long time in Vietnam because the South Vietnamese were never quite ready. I see no reason to repeat that experiment in Iraq.

What if the Iraqi army is never able to take over? (A scenario which looks increasingly likely.)

Serious question. What would you position be if in 12, 18, 24 months, the Iraqi “army” continues to be, well, an army in quotation marks?

Another serious question; isn’t it kind of a bad sign for the future of a state if you’re operating on the assumption that it will need the ARMY to maintain the integrity of the state against an insurgency of its own people?

There’s an implicit assumption there that the Iraqi Army is, or would become, a politically-neutral guardian of the integrity of the nation. That doesn’t seem likely given the ethnic/religious divides that are driving everything else there now, combined with the fact that everyone in that army is a member of one of them. Rather, aren’t we already seeing Sunnis who had been in the Army under either the Saddam or Bush regimes, defecting (and thanks for the training and weapons, guys) and joining the Sunni insurgency against the nascent US-supported Shiite theocracy, and Kurds leaving to defend the nascent independent Kurdistan? Why the hell would any of them want to help the Shiites enforce their new government, seeing the direction the Shiites seem to intend to take it?

It’s possible that a Shiite army could enforce dominance over the Sunnis by sheer force of numbers, given a fervent enough and inspirational enough leadership, maybe. If that constitutes “the ‘Iraqi’ government and army establishing control”, well, maybe that’s the best we can realistically expect, and we can agree to call it that to save face while the last of our people climb the embassy stairs to the rooftop helipad.

Correct. With no schedule, and with Uncle Sam doing your fighting, there is no incentive to get your shit together or to do your own fighting.

Good question. Maybe the semi-hard dates have some hard absolute deadlines that kick in regardless.

I used the term “army” loosely. Call it internal security forces or whatever. No state could survice without a law enforcement arm. Yes, it’s a bad sign that Iraq has an active insurgency. So what? Does that automatically mean its a lost cause?

Sounds like a good old-fashioned Eye-racki version of the 'Merikan Spoils System.

Are you such a racist that you think them Eye-rackis can’t handle the same kind of government Gawd gave America?

-Joe, yes, that was sarcasm

I agree with SteveG1; absent this, the chances or the new Iraqi state standing on its own are pretty much zero. Nobody ever fought a war they could get someone else to fight for them.

Not at all. It’s simply a matter of degree, but that’s really the question here, right? What degree the Iraqis have to be “ready” to support the structure of their own state before the U.S. will leave.

I mean, pretty much every nation has someone who could be defined as an “insurgency.” Canada had a little aboriginal rebellion a few years back over a golf course where the Army had to be brought in to keep the peace; that doesn’t mean Canada is about to dissolve into civil war. But clearly there has to be some line between “Canada” and “Complete goddamn chaos” that Iraq has to get over before you can say, with any seriousness, that the “Iraq” the U.S. has created by force has become a meaningful representation of the will of its people.

If Iraq has to use military means to quash pockets of resistance, that’s one thing. If on the other hand it’s a situation where one group of Iraqis called the “Iraqi army” is fighting full scale warfare against insurgents that represent a significant part of the population, if not more of the population than supports the “Iraqi Army,” you can’t claim to have created a state there; a state openly warred against by most of its own people isn’t a real state. It’s a puppet regime, a South Vietnam.

The concentration on training up X numbers of battalions of Iraqi troops is fine, but that army has to be seen as the arm of a legitimate government or it’s just another gang.

Maybe the generals are publicly talking about force leve reductions because such reductions will be forced.

Gen Barry McCaffrey (USA, Ret) was on Countdown talking about the army’s reduction of their recruitment standards in order to try to meet recruiting goals. He pointed out that the military is at war - but the country is not. In his opinion the National Guard is in even worse shape from a personnel standpoint than is the regular army. “Meltdown” was the term he applied to the Guard.

He went on to say that by midsummer he thinks the army will be forced, by lack of fully equipped and ready forces, to start reducing the force level in Iraq.

It is possible that the army General Staff has been telling the President and DOD this without effect and they feel they must speak out to get the country ready for the beginning of an exit, with or without an exit strategy.