The War in Iraq is going Well; Discuss.

I am not trying to provoke by this exactly, but I see again and again people very sincerely claiming the war in Iraqi is a military disaster.

I don’t see it that way, but I am open-minded and am willing to be convinced.

First and foremost it is a war. All wars are horrible. Nice people die. Lots of people have died in Iraq, and will continue to do so. That is simply the nature of war and is not de facto evidence of a military disaster.

It looks like the Americans are punting on the all-important reconstruction effort. That is a worry. The Administration seems to be puzzled by the enormity of the task.

But I cannot help but think that in five years these local difficulties will be forgotten.

There are a lot of questions that ask “how can the Americans possibly win?” May I reverse the question and ask how the Old Regime can win?

The resistance does not project a coordinated political front (yet). They have not shown any ability or interest in rallying the Iraqi people to them.

It seems obvious that the Iraqi people are about fed up with the resistance. I predict that there will soon be a popular backlash against them. (Of course, I could be wrong.)

The resistance is inept, able to produce less than one dead American per day. Often traffic accidents kill more Americans in the region than that. How will that level of combat power force out the Americans?

Like I said, I am interested in hearing why my appreciation of the situation is wrong. I hope we can move beyond the “war is bad” argument.

I’ve not understood this to be the case. From what I’ve read, the reconstruction is the part that’s giving us the fits.

One highlight, the debate in congress about whether or to “loan” Iraq the money for reconstruction, seemed idiotic for people who’re obligated to use the best info available and have access to their own researchers.

I hope so. Would be nice.

My understanding is that they don’t necessarily have to win. They just have to keep the the US from “winning.” If we’re forced to keep throwing resources @ the affair eventually we will reach a point of diminishing returns.

I’m not familiar with the physical part of the first point. Maybe they have a physical base, (qaeda), or not. They may well have a psychological fortress. America isn’t well received anywhere in the area @ this point.

Our own generals and our military think tanks have assessed that we have about a third of the forces needed to pacify the area.

If the population turns on the resistance as you predict, that could be sufficient to end their efforts. If they do not, then I don’t see the resistance slackening.
The resistance does not project a coordinated political front (yet). They have not shown any ability or interest in rallying the Iraqi people to them.

Despit their current level of competence, recent comments from General Sanchez lead me to believe that the resistance is becoming more organized and more lethal rather than less.

To me, these all fall under the heading of reconstruction rather than the war. These are stabilization issues. The Pentagon report from July(?) revealed that we had a rapidly closing window of opportunity in which to get things running relatively smoothly before the resistance attacks would escalate beyond our desire to deal with them.

If the population at large turns on the resistance movement as you predict, that would be the best news we could hope for. You say that it’s obvious taht they are. Couild you show me some of the sign that make it so obvious?

There was a slow start. Bush and the cabinet were not very pleased, so the reconstruction team was sacked and replaced. there are numerous reports (which have not really been picked up by the media) that in much of Iraq power and water are back on. It just takes some time to undo the damage of 30 years of mismanagement.

I agree that all war is hell.

Still, as rough as things look from here, we’re doing pretty well. The Mullahs are not raising hell. People are slowly creeping out of their shells and opening up to us.

if you look around, you can see that an awful lot of the actual soldiers aren’t nearly as worried as the media seems to be. I suppose I can understand that. The papers see dead Americans; the troops see people. Iraqi people living and so forth.

The media, as always, underreports good news. I’d say some of the reconstruction efforts are rather impressive.

That depends on what the military’s mission is, doesn’t it? To the extent that the job was to remove Saddam Hussein from his position as leader of the country, they certainly accomplished the goal thoroughly and relatively efficiently. But that’s no longer their mission. Hell, I can’t even tell what they’re supposed to be tasked with now. Are they cops, are they fighting a guerrilla war, are they reconstructing the country, are they looking for WMDs? None of those jobs seem to be going all that well, if that’s the case.

You may wish to consider the incompatability of these two statements.

Which Iraqi people are you referring to–they’re hardly monolithic after all–and what is the evidence that they are “fed up with the resistance”?

You’re casting this in terms of a force-to-force fight, which is not really representative of the apparent methods and goals of the Iraqi opposition. They seem to be intent on preventing the very reconstruction that the Bushies are punting. The sabotage campaign seems to have been pretty effective, particularly in the early days. The current direct attacks on US soldiers certainly will not spill enough blood to cause us to withdraw (though they do seem to be getting bloodier), but they do a damn good job of distracting our forces from the jobs that they otherwise need to do. Guarding government buildings and driving around in convoys is a lot more difficult when you have to ensure that you’re not going to get blown up or shot.

Very nice, very well thought-out comments.


Let me reflect upon it.

I consider it really difficult to assess any progress we may be making in Iraq, since we were largely responsible for creating the situation to begin with. When we reach the point that we bring the infrastructure up to the level it was at before our attack - will that represent progress or merely treading water expensively?

Moreover, even if we are making progress, that progress cannot be viewed independent of its costs. Any progress has been and will continue to be extremely expensive, both in terms of lives, dollars, and materials spent, but also alternative uses for those resources that had to be deferred or eliminated.

We had the bastard in an effective cage. We had no legitimate reason to overthrow his government. And we now have no specific goal by which we can consider our mission complete.

Instead, we unnecessarily and voluntarily committed large numbers of troops and resources into a hostile environment for the foreseeable future.

Personally, I simply don’t give a fuck about the Iraqi people sufficient to justify spending our money and lives rebuilding their country when those resources could be better spent at home.

Pre-war levels aren’t sufficient to constitute a remaking of Iraq. pre-war levels are the equivalent of the status quo. The goal was to change Iraq, not to return it to how it was. our goal posts are higher than that.

Come on, that isn’t fair. An American administration in the 70’s and 80’s had the time to support Saddam for their Coldwar aims, I think they should clean up the mess they made. Also, an attitude like that towards oppressed people is what makes people like Saddam in the first place :rolleyes:

Ryan - America’s record at supporting human rights thru foreign policy is - at best - questionable. Do we invade Iran now to “clean up their mess” because we supported the Shah? Then on to Central and South America.

And how far back do we go when searching for wrongs to right?

When seeking future recipients of our benificence, is active support of an undesirable foreign leader necessarily significantly worse than hands-off tolerance?

America simply cannot be all things to all people all over the world. Hussein is or was a total shit. He is not the only world leader who could be so characterized.

In the meantime, I would far rather these resources be spent at home. Our rebuilding efforts are essentially a form of welfare being extended to citizens of a foreign state. I could imagine we could find plenty of folk in our big cities and back roads who would welcome the assistance.

Simon - Regarding our goals - what are they? When will we know they have been achieved. Running water, dependable electricity, adequate food and shelter, and some level of health care? Or cable TV and cell phones for everyone? Throughout the entire country or only in the cities? Do we truly want the Iraqi people to select the form of government and representatives they desire? Do our goals include some “American” values/beliefs?

Didn’t some yahoo warn against unnecessary foreign entanglements some while back…

First point. Bush said the War is “over”. Military victory done. Now its an occupation. “Political” disaster I would say. Still the number of soldiers dying might be acceptable in a “war”… but Bush said hostilities were over ! Contradictory ? You bet.

Well do you agree that the more the US troops stay in Iraq the longer and more likely reconstruction will happen/succeed ? Now the longer US troops stay the more the population will “rebel” against illegitimate occupation. So you have a situation where you have rebuild vs withdrawl pressures. The best way to balance both would be a stronger Iraq government and police… both of which are being less than helped out by the US. UN legitimacy and troops would certainly help out… if Bush really wanted.

Now taking the premise that US soldiers arent pacifying but rather keeping the resistance from going full blown… the tendency is for resistance to stiffen. Especially since its becoming less Saddam supporters and more religious in nature. So your “Old Regime” cant win comment is irrelevant as the old regime. The US media might be portraying rebels and left over Saddamites… Saddamites are certainly getting hit on… and the population is turning them in. The other resistance groups thou seem to be thriving and are bigger. Being religious or anti-american in nature they don’t seem to be opposed by the population. (You cant attack US troops in broad daylight and dissapear without popular support.)

One dead GI a day is acceptable POLITICALLY ? That is the issue. Certainly having 150k troops in Iraq is also politically expensive... Bush doesnt care for military aspects as much as internal politics. 1 dead a day is still 360 at the end of the year... now if the US intends to stay longer that means lots of casualties and more casualties a day as resistance stiffens.

 In the end the main issue is... did the US have to neglect diplomacy ? If the invasion had been carried out 6 months later by a real UN coalition would there still be resistance ? The UN has way more experience and legitimacy than the USA in dealing with these situations... power, water and peace would be restored way faster than a USA/UK "coalition" no matter what the "resistance" by Iraqi. The occupation certainly is becoming a too late and too little effort that might spiral into civil war or full blown rebellion.

I was led to believe that were wanting to establish a prosperous, free and democratic Iraq that’d be an example and role model for other nations in the region. As to what the detailed aspects of what this means, I’m not sure. However, pre-war levels of quality of life were conditions that allowed the deaths of many civilians from easily preventable hardships. This hardly seems inspirational.

First of all… war IS bad.

Second… Forget the WMD/liberation bullshit please!
This war is for OIL.

As long as the oil is kept flowing, the war is “being won”
1 or 2 US cassualties a day will be “acceptable” (specially if it’s among those barely legal latino immigrants)
Any amount of Iraqi carnage is “acceptable”.

After all:
Who determines who is winning this war? The US citizens?
The only moment they question this carnage is when the presidents tells them about the price of the bullets he needs to keep the killing show going on.

This war was lost the moment it begun. Maybe earlier.

As for setting up an exemplary democracy in the Middle East… I think its bull. Afterall if democracies have to be setup with this amount of blood and money… none of the other dictators will fear democracy… they will fear US presidential politics only.

Would it really qualify as a “model of democracy” if all the presidential candidates have to be pre-approved by the US?

I am not sure whether this can seen in the US media, but in Europe we have current coverage of a horrible situation in Iraq. Violence, rape and kidnapping is omnipresent.


Another cite

NY Times (needs registration): Veiled and Worried in Baghdad

Some more: Iraq’s despair reflected in youth’s suicide

Iraq is perhaps not a military desaster, but it is still a desaster.

a desaster eh? Come on, this is still a few months into the occupation and reconstruction, at least give them the benefit of the doubt for one year.

Will they have an year ? If this were a legitimate occupation the world naturally would be more generous... but its not a legitimate. The Iraqi know this and anti americanism is growing.

6 months havent shown enough results either... or any planning.

The admins mouthpiece.

Here’re some interesting insights: