Iraq: Moving forward after the 'Three Week's War'.

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Red-Seven, Apr 24, 2003.

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  1. Mr44 VIP

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    May 21, 2002
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    I don't see how you've proven this. Again, all you have done is use statements from people in the DOD to extrapolate policy outside the DOD, which is an incredibly incorrect assumption.

    (and there are other similiar statements as well)

    Gonk, you and a couple of other people in this thread keep engaging in this strange practice of disconnecting the people who comprised HWBush's administration from their roles inside of the same. It's people who make up the administration, not the other way around. My illustrations are more in a response to how these people are being characterized. The same people who organized Desert Storm, the same people who organzied Operation Just Cause and so on, are now are suddenly too inexperienced to do anything?

    Gonk, Wolofowitz was in charge of shaping the entire US military's policy when the Cold War was coming to an end. And the DOD most certainly would be involved in a clandestine operation within Iraq. It's why the Special Forces were created, and their primary mission is to train/support insurgencies within a target country. The CIA's primary mission is to develop intelligence assests outside of the US. That's not to say that there isn't some overlap, but your broad statement is incorrect. What do you think the position of SecDef entails? Together, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State shape US policy.

    Yes, I have made some assumptions based on what these people have said, but it isn't meant to a definitive pronouncement, only a response to how they are being characterized.
  2. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

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    Nov 6, 2001
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    ogether, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State shape US policy.

    but only in a direction that meets with the approval of the president.
  3. Mr44 VIP

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  4. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

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    meaning that the policies and actions they shaped were greatly subject to the influence of H.W. just because they were in both administrations doesn't mean they had the same objectives, goals and frames of mind on both go-rounds.

    H.W. may have been a check against their natural inclinations. W, on the other hand, all too easily agreed with their ideas and went along with them.
  5. Mr44 VIP

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    Yeah, that's kind of what I've been saying as well. You mean like how Cheney didn't continue on into Iraq back in 1991, but the situation in 2003 was an entirely different matter? Those kind of changing goals, objectives, etc?

    For some reason, a few people keep telling me how a situation existed in one time never changes, and looking at it in any other manner is destined to fail, but that doesn't seem to be true.

    I guess that's just me nit-picking though...

    H.W. may have been a check against their natural inclinations. W, on the other hand, all too easily agreed with their ideas and went along with them.

    Yeah, like how HW authorized the removal of the leader from another country against the objections of the UN to further US drug control policy? Why that sounds nothing at all like his son, but since that was before the neocon label entered popular culture, it was still considered to be ok.

    At any rate, since neither of us can read minds, I'm not sure what basis that statement was made on, except for your own perception.
  6. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

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    44, the bottom line here is that H.W. was a very competent president (at least with foreign policy), whereas W is grossly incompetent.

    if H.W. had done what W tried to do in iraq, it may well have turned out better.

    it's not just the decisions that count, but how they are executed.
  7. Mr44 VIP

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    44, the bottom line here is that H.W. was a very competent president (at least with foreign policy), whereas W is grossly incompetent.

    if H.W. had done what W tried to do in iraq, it may well have turned out better.

    it's not just the decisions that count, but how they are executed.


    And KW, the point is that your above statement is only relevent to yourself. What filters are used for that statement? I know you don't like Bush for whatever personal reasons you have. That's fine. I don't know what other answer really matters with a statement like that.

    It's even more puzzling when one looks at all the hoops you set up in order to support a statement like that. The same people determined tactics and policy for both.
  8. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
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    It's taken me a while to consider the following post:

    Gonk, you and a couple of other people in this thread keep engaging in this strange practice of disconnecting the people who comprised HWBush's administration from their roles inside of the same. It's people who make up the administration, not the other way around. My illustrations are more in a response to how these people are being characterized. The same people who organized Desert Storm, the same people who organzied Operation Just Cause and so on, are now are suddenly too inexperienced to do anything?

    I never said anything about thier experience: I said that thier role in the administration is what thier role describes. You are consistently inflating those roles.

    Now: that is not to say that the Secretay of Defense has NO influence, or can have no influence, on the decision of whether or not to go to war, and when to stop it. But this influence depends entirely on the administation: McNamara was unable to persuade Johnson not to escalate Vietnam -- when he wanted it de-escalated -- you have not proven that the people you name in the DoD had any more influence than he did in 1991 in stopping or starting war.


    Gonk, Wolofowitz was in charge of shaping the entire US military's policy when the Cold War was coming to an end.

    Sure -- and the military policy is to decide what sort of force will be needed based on hypothetical likely scenarios, correct? That is to say, if the conflicts of the future require quick, light forces, design your army in such a manner.

    This has nothing to do with deciding who the enemy is. That is decided in different areas. You keep conflating the roles and blurring the lines more than professionalism would dictate.


    And the DOD most certainly would be involved in a clandestine operation within Iraq. It's why the Special Forces were created, and their primary mission is to train/support insurgencies within a target country. The CIA's primary mission is to develop intelligence assests outside of the US. That's not to say that there isn't some overlap, but your broad statement is incorrect.

    This is your coup de grace statement for that post -- but KnightWriter did put a statement in that you did not counter: in peacetime, Special forces cannot act without the express approval of the President. Once again it is managing the force versus deciding where and when it would be used: and the people giving credit to HW Bush are NOT giving credit for managing the Desert Storm as a conflict, but for the political decisions of when to start and stop hostilities, and how to deal with Saddam in a macro fashion: whether to destroy his regime, restore it, or contain it.

    In a time of war, perhaps you can say that the president's approval of Special forces missions is implied. It hardly seems appropriate to get Presidental approval for every mission likely to use deadly force that is now conducted in Iraq. But it would be entirely necessary to obtain it for a mission conducted in Bangladesh.


    What do you think the position of SecDef entails? Together, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State shape US policy.

    PPOR. This is simply not the case, becuase it changes from administration to administration -- and you've not proven how major Cheney factored into ending or starting the 1991 Gulf conflict, whether he came up with ideas himself or parroted what had already been decided, thus towing the party line. The truth is ALL cabinet officals come up with the foreign policy, not just these two positions: and it could entirely be the case that other positions end up superceding them. After all, it was neither the Secretary of State nor the Secretary of Defense who produced the solution for the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    True, these two positions are important. But you can't just see that they are important and assume they always work the same way, and that all major decisions that take place are ones they came up with, or that they even agreed with.


    Yes, I have made some assumptions based
  9. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
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    Gonk, I'm not really doing anything of the sort, nor have I ever attempted to cover every nuance of every situation that might pop up. I agree with all of that.

    My reply was simply a response to those who, for whatever reason, separate the people from the administrations.

    Let's say Stephen Hawking served in a position in one President's administration, and then served in the same position in another President's administration. Hawking wouldn't suddenly forget all of the theoretical physics he knew based on who he served under. (or more imporantly, based on the perception of someone regarding those Presidents)

    That's all I'm saying. This debate only started because the same people are under discussion. This entire line of discussion started because someone made the claim that the elder Bush wouldn't approve of the people in the current Bush's administration, but "those people" are the same.

    Certainly, all sorts of other nuances apply.
  10. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
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    If that's what the argument is, then certainly. It's certainly clear that, in 2000, HW Bush approved of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz nearly as much as Powell -- and I say nearly because even in 2000 Powell seemed just that much closer to "the old man" than anyone being chosen. As close perhaps as Baker.

    However, after the Iraq conflict, I would hesitate to say that the same situation exists.

    Actually, it can still be argued that the jobs for which Cheney and Wolfowitz were hired in 1988 (or whenever it was) have still been adequately performed under this administration, as far as I'm concerned: American casualties have been light and the conventional combat phases they have been deployed in in both Iraq and Afghanistan have been swift and concluded in victory. In terms of what that military had been designed to do, it performed exactly as was expected.

    However this was not the task that was given to the military: a task that was apparently in 2002 heavily influenced by those in the DoD and formerly in the DoD in 1991. The DoD and its alumni do not always play such a key role in foreign policy, but in this case figures, most notably Wolfowitz and Cheney, moved beyond thier expertise as had been proven in 1991. Wolfowitz had in fact been doing so since 1998.

    Cheney had a broader background to begin with, being a Congressman prior to Secretary of Defense, and it's clear his position as VP met with the approval of the older guard when he originally took it up. No longer.

    Basically, as far as military policy, the goals of those men were largely achieved and improved upon by Rumsfeld: but these same goals were not the ones required to bring victory in Iraq, and they themselves didn't seem to understand the fact.

    In other words, they were perfectly experienced enough to perform and continue to do so in thier 1991 capacity. They did not have the expertise to move beyond and into the roles thay had in 2002/2003. And, if you like, HW Bush, Baker and even Powell were quite probably as surprised by this as anyone.
  11. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    As usual, Gonk sums up the issue nicely.

    Speaking of Baker, I guess if we were expecting recommendations for radical strategic innovation from the Iraq Study Group, we can lay those hopes to rest. The Iraq Study Group has recommended, apparently, just about nothing. The concensus of the Group seems to be that real pressure on the Bush administration for strategic change is going to have to come from somewhere else.

    The challenge of the Group's flimsy compromise on setting a new course for Iraq was to offer a recommendation that "doesn?t look like a timeline to Bush, and does to Maliki."

    In the end the Group was butting up against the impenetrable wall of political pragmatism and face-saving has helped make success impossible, including:

    1) the political impossibility of massive increases in troop levels
    2) the political impossibility of immediate withdrawal
    3) the political impossibility of partitioning Iraq

    And underlying everything is this fanciful hope (shared by too many Democrats) that if we warn Maliki more forcefully that he has to start governing Iraq that will somehow help him govern Iraq.

    It should be obvious to everyone that Maliki's ability to govern is completely sequestered from threats of troop withdrawal because the forces that allow Maliki to remain in power at all will be pleased to see American troops leave so they have final authority over the government's fate.

    There is no strategy for success inherent in the threat of troop withdrawal. The Democratic Congress needs to recognize this. Withdrawal is not a strategy for success, it is an admission of failure. Withdrawal is about throwing in the towel.
  12. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
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    Great Washington Post Op-Ed

    The long and the short of it: Saudi Arabia will begin arming/funding Sunni militias in Iraq if the U.S. withdraws prior to achieving stability for an Iraqi national government. So the short-term future of Iraq is a battleground for a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    a month before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, warned President Bush that he would be "solving one problem and creating five more" if he removed Saddam Hussein by force. Had Bush heeded his advice, Iraq would not now be on the brink of full-blown civil war and disintegration.

    One hopes he won't make the same mistake again by ignoring the counsel of Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who said in a speech last month that "since America came into Iraq uninvited, it should not leave Iraq uninvited." If it does, one of the first consequences will be massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shiite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis/


  13. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

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    Aug 25, 2005
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    I think that explains sort of how I feel about the war. Yes it was a horrible mistake to go in there in the first place, and our troops are now getting killed in the middle of a low level civil war, but all we have done to screw up Iraq and the region up till now would pale in comparision to what would happen if we decided we didn't like our boys dying and brought them home ASAP. It wasn't just Bush that invaded Iraq, and even after he is gone our country will still owe a duty to help the Iraqis not kill themselves as much as we can.

    If this thing does go to an all out civil war, we don't have the force to stop it. I agree that Maliki isn't in a position to really do what we want him to do. What I don't really understand is why some kind of partition is totally off the table. I get Turkey and Iran are worried about the Kurds, but if we can't stop the sectarian violence, why couldn't we have a partial partition? The Iranians might not want the Kurds try and seperate, but they would gain influence and control over the large Shiite area. The only problem I can see is the Sunnis wouldn't want to be stuck with the non-oil areas. If this is going to turn into a regional conflict anyways, why not just give part of Iraq to Iran and part to Saudi Arabia? I know the Iraqis have a different culture than the Iranians and probably wouldn't like it, but I don't think there are any good solutions to the problems we have created. It just seems like if we can't stop the two groups from killing each other, the least we could do would be to separate them.
  14. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Personally what I think will happen is the status quo: even after Bush leaves office.

    The US will draw down its troops, but never leave: there will be a permanent rotating force of 70-50,000 there. The US will weather whatever comes and however bad it gets, and keep its troops on the bases, only coming out when the govenrment is threatened (and quickly deploying more troops when it is.

    A civil war is more than likely on it's way -- more than likely happening -- but it's not in US interests to leave. Not becuase the country would undoubtedly be thrown into chaos... that is happening whether US troops are present or not... but because a divided Iraq will be swollowed into the spheres of other nearby nations (except the Kurds), and this consolidation of power is precisely what the US primarily fought the 1991 gulf war to avoid.

    So the US will try to keep troops in Iraq for years at a level where people will hopefully cease to notice it, ensure that every Iraqi government supports a united nation of Iraq, and prevent that government from falling. Unless the Iraqi people can somehow force America off its Iraqi bases (not that they should, just saying until that's the case), America really can afford to stay in Iraq indefinately if it brings down the footprint it has there.

    It won't prevent a civil war, but it would probably make a civil war a meaningless gesture where the country will remain together, duct tape and all, in the hopes the Iraqis become exhausted with fighting.

    In other words, the war is impossible to win, ever, but the only thing stopping the US from "losing" it, if losing it means the breakup of the country and a withdrawl of all troops, is the US. In regards to what the original goals were beyond the fall of Hussein in 2003, after all, this war was in fact lost some time ago...
  15. shinjo_jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
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    Well, it's official, even Rumsfeld thought that Iraq was failing.

    Not trying to be rude, or offensive, but do any conservatives, or liberals, here still support the Bush Administration's handling of the war? I know some to the far right, personally, who do, and it boggles my mind.
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
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    Unfortunately, Gonk almost certainly has it right. U.S. troops will maintain some kind of presence in Iraq more or less indefinitely, or at least as long as the oil is still flowing from the region.
  17. Mr44 VIP

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    May 21, 2002
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    Except that's been part of the plan all along. The permament force isn't going to be as large as 50,000-70,000, but it was always organized as such.

    Generally, all peacekeeping missions are organized as such, and it's been a cornerstone of US policy for decades.
  18. Jediflyer Force Ghost

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    Dec 5, 2001
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    Except that's been part of the plan all along.

    No it hasn't.

    There was no plan for any kind of peacekeeping force.

  19. Ender Sai Chosen One

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  20. Mr44 VIP

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    No it hasn't.

    There was no plan for any kind of peacekeeping force.


    Huh? What basis are you using to make such a statement?

    Bolton gave a speech to the UN back in 2003, mere months after the invasion, outlining such a prospect, and here's another article that covers the same thing from 2004:

    2004

    From the ashes of abandoned Iraqi army bases, U.S. military engineers are overseeing the building of an enhanced system of American bases designed to last for years. As the U.S. scales back its military presence in Saudi Arabia, Iraq provides an option for an administration eager to maintain a robust military presence in the Middle East and intent on a muscular approach to seeding democracy in the region. The number of U.S. military personnel in Iraq, between 105,000 and 110,000, is expected to remain unchanged through 2006, according to military planners.

    "Is this a swap for the Saudi bases?" asked Army Brig. Gen. Robert Pollman, chief engineer for base construction in Iraq. "I don't know. ... When we talk about enduring bases here, we're talking about the present operation, not in terms of America's global strategic base. But this makes sense. It makes a lot of logical sense."


    It's always been a goal from the very beginning based on the situation that existed prior to the invasion.
  21. Jediflyer Force Ghost

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    It's always been a goal from the very beginning based on the situation that existed prior to the invasion.



    I'm not referring to the plan to use Iraq as a base in the Middle East, but rather to the plan (or non-plan) to pacify Iraq through the use of U.S. troops.

    See here, here, and here.
  22. Mr44 VIP

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    May 21, 2002
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    JF, this debate has been done to death and then flogged, but I guess it all depends on what one means by "pacify through US troops."

    The plan as it has always existed was to crush Saddam's army, (and therefore remove him from power) establish a new government, train the Iraqis to support the new Iraq, and then redeploy the forces which were in Saudi Arabia to Iraq and other less visible areas around the Middle East.

    The first two goals were established back in 1998, and formed the core of the Iraqi Liberation Act which was signed back then. The last goal was initiated as soon as Iraq was invaded. This isn't a surprise. As E_S points out in the Middle East thread, it's a reason why analytical sources such as the Economist supported the invasion out of initial principle.

    I understand that the overall situation has become hung up in between goal 2 and 3, and has suffered for it, but you can't claim that there was no plan for any kind of peacekeeping force, when such a force has always been the goal.
  23. Jediflyer Force Ghost

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    Dec 5, 2001
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    Mr44, those troops being restationed from Saudi Arabia were not meant for peacekeeping. We had originally planned to simply install somebody from the Iraqi exile group and be done with it as far as military action. The current occupation (or even the one in Dec 2003) was not to be found in any plan.

  24. Mr44 VIP

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    May 21, 2002
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    I don't know what any of that means, but I think it is a result of different interpretations of the definitions.
  25. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

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    Aug 17, 1999
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    For the generation before mine, do you remember if this is what it was like in the late sixties with Vietnam and trying to find peace with honor?
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