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Adam in London

But where is the political solution that the surge was supposed to be buying time and space for?

Maduka

What does this tell us?

1. General Petraeus is a very competent military officer.
2. Senator McCain was right (he argued for a surge a long time ago).
3. The Bush Administration is even more incompetent than we first thought. Rumsfeld and Bush resisted increasing troop levels for THREE straight years.

The next important question is not whether there should be a war against Iran, but whether Bush can be trusted to manage such a war.

Simon Newman

Working with Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar against Al Qaeda has been very successful in reducing attacks on US troops, and AFAIK it has also improved quality of life for Iraqis in Anbar. But those Sunni leaders have no intention of obeying a Shi'ite dominated central govt in Baghdad; arming their tribal militias is a move away from a unified state, not towards it. Maybe some kind of devolved federal system might be workable, but it still seems a long shot. Probably the biggest danger though is a US attack on Iran leading to all-out war between US forces and the Shi'ite majority.

Simon Newman

"America needs to show that it is more determined than freedom's enemies"

If US success depends on US determination to stay in Iraq exceeding the insurgents' determination to get them out of Iraq, it's bad news, because the home team always has a huge advantage (as Vietnam and Algeria demonstrated), especially against modern liberal democracies. Luckily though this willpower/determination thing is largely irrelevant. When it comes to the ME,
both the US White House and al Qaeda share the same aims, both want regional destabilisation - 'creative destruction'. In particular both would like to see Iran weakened, both want the secular/Shia-Alawite dictatorship in Syria overthrown - the White House to 'spread freedom' and weaken an enemy of Israel (though Syria is already weak), Al Qaeda because Syria has a Sunni majority and the fall of the Assad regime may well result in an Al Qaeda-led Salafist-Islamist dictatorship.

Steevo

Its a very good thing for the Iraqi people they don't have to rely on their fate from people here. People who will claim how Bush, Rumsfield, America, Iraqi politicians, shieks and common people are inept, wrong and just plain unworthy. People who will not focus on hope and progress. Criticism, criticism, criticism. People who offer nothing. Good, for, nothing. And fortunately, who have no authority in determining the fate of a crucial nation in the middle east of 24 million.

A lot of us who have not wanted to forsake efforts are even wondering now if the day comes death tolls actually became lower than some communities in typical western democracies, will these naysayers who have really only wanted to focus on defeat giving NO credit to Bush and American resolve, still claim its wrong and a failure because THEY don't approve.

"But where is the political solution that the surge was supposed to be buying time and space for?"

Pathetic Adam. Just go to the Daily Kos linked here and you'll find a lot of folks in your camp on this.

"1. General Petraeus is a very competent military officer.
2. Senator McCain was right (he argued for a surge a long time ago).
3. The Bush Administration is even more incompetent than we first thought. Rumsfeld and Bush resisted increasing troop levels for THREE straight years."

When you really study the dynamics of this campaign Maduka, these points are much too simplistic. Although you can google plenty of folks who would elaborate some on these, it is presumptuous to come to such conclusions. My response is also very simple but I'll elaborate much more than your 'facts'. If we had more on the ground, because the populace at large had been conditioned to hate America under Saddam for 30 years, that hate wouldn't have awakened to understanding our intent nor that of their real enemies. THAT UNDERSTANDING IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS. Indeed, we could have remained an invading and despised occupier. It is understood by many who've been there the main reason the masses have come to accept and even embrace our presence is they have witnessed with their own blood their true enemies: primarily al-Queda but also sectarian violence and those responsible fomenting it. More troops may have created a police state always engaging an enemy held further at bay. An enemy who could sustain the appearance of "freedom fighters". The common people may not have known first hand the hard lessons, that have, borne the necessary realizations who is of evil and who is fighting it. Who is for Iraq to be subjugated in tyranny and death and who is for Iraq to be free. Even Petraeus said this realization has been necessary. Since the beginning of 07 we have have been able to and therefore started to hold territory with our troops keeping a permanent presence. To a point we could've started this earlier depending on location so to the extent such a change in strategy was not implemented was a mistake. Now, even in the midst of the some of the few remaining 'troubled' spots, our commanders are becoming like new community leaders so to speak. They are receiving some of the highest respect, even above local Iraqi leaders.

Simon, you're a very ignorant man. And as always, negative and defeatist. There is a lot I can post from the past concerning your gross ignorance and even underhandedness concerning our efforts. I will if you wanna challenge me on this. Your statement about American efforts is not only negative and critical as always but largely, nonsense.

There is no comparison with Viet Nam.

Movement has reached far beyond Anbar.

Nobody there, in the know, agrees with breaking up the nation. Sunni and shia community leaders have been embracing more and more as time goes on. The massive Iraqi army is well integrated. And, there are mixed marriages, neighborhoods and communities.

"But those Sunni leaders have no intention of obeying a Shi'ite dominated central govt in Baghdad; arming their tribal militias is a move away from a unified state, not towards it."

There's always been concern and with reason the central government is slow and too indifferent. But the indicators I read are not what you've stated. I read, first-hand reporting, on the ground. In central and western Baghdad for example, some of the heaviest consecrations of sunni are receiving assistance from the government and their own locals rebuilding. Sunni Iraqis are even now coming back from immigrating to Syria, into their former neighborhoods.

Yeah and what else... watch out for the horror America causes with Iran. Let em start making nuclear bombs. Leave it all up to the UN.

Steevo

"consecrations" was meant concentrations for any who don't get it.

Maduka

Steevo,

We lost a window of opportunity that existed shortly after the invasion. That window of opportunity was lost due to poor planning. The scandal however, was that Rumsfeld stubbornly refused to change his tactics.

McCain called for the sacking of Rumsfeld as far back as Abu Ghraib, Bush stubbornly kept him.

We lost valuable time and credibility as a result.

Thankfully, the surge offers us another fresh start. But the damage we caused was real.

This was a war of choice, we should have planned for it. There was no excuse for attempting to "wage war on the cheap". Due to our mismanagement of the post-war phase, our legacy in Iraq will be mixed and our reputation for competence has taken a battering.

mamapajamas

Maduka, calling for the sacking of Rumsfeld "as far back as Abu Ghraib" was rejected for a specific reason: The Administration had nothing to do with the excesses at Abu Ghraib, everything to do with arresting and trying and convicting the people who WERE responsible, and sacking Rumsfeld at that particular time would have looked VERY bad. Everyone... and I mean EVERYONE... on the left would have pointed and said, "You SEE??? He WAS involved!"

The Administration could not allow that to happen, and so did not allow it.

Steevo

"We lost a window of opportunity that existed shortly after the invasion. That window of opportunity was lost due to poor planning. The scandal however, was that Rumsfeld stubbornly refused to change his tactics."

Let's have the particulars Makuka. You haven't said a thing to contradict my points of the dynamics involved. Nothing.

Oh and Abu Ghraib, a small few from well over 200,000 serving while Rumsfeld was at the top. He's to blame? Responsible? Nonsense. How about some jerks making men get naked and taunting them and the only ones who possibly could know, their immediate superiors. And this, how about media comparing it to torture. Do you know even what torture really means? Those naked asses would know if they only had their chance.

McCain is some kind of an authority? He says some good things after the fact. He's a politician too. And with his experience held captive in Nam in my opinion and that of many others he goes a bit over the self-righteous top. I remember when he ran for president years ago, he couldn't handled anyone questioning him because he was a "war hero". His self-deserved attitude hasn't gotten him far and for all intent he's lost his final bid in the present in his hopes for the top office in the land. But his word determines your word... of course, because of the obvious: your sentiments with the bomb-dropping conservative Bush Administration.

"But the damage we caused was real.

"This was a war of choice, we should have planned for it. There was no excuse for attempting to "wage war on the cheap". Due to our mismanagement of the post-war phase, our legacy in Iraq will be mixed and our reputation for competence has taken a battering."

That's your bottom line Maduka. It always will be. You have nothing in common with most Iraqis. You've shown like so many others no real intent looking with humane and strategic hope to the future. You'll dwell on the NEGATIVE till kingdom come.

atheling

"How about some jerks making men get naked and taunting them and the only ones who possibly could know, their immediate superiors. And this, how about media comparing it to torture. Do you know even what torture really means? Those naked asses would know if they only had their chance."

Indeed, I've seen crueler things done at fraternity razings. Funny thing is, over a year ago, after Abu Ghraib was turned over to the Iraqis, the prisoners there were BEGGING for the Americans to come back and control the prison! Apparently they didn't like their new prison wardens...

Maduka

America will (rightly) be held to a higher standard than other nations. We should uphold those standards.

Abu Ghraib was no fratenity hazing - period.

Handing out severe punishment to a few NCO's did not give the impression that the Bush Administration was serious about dealing with Abu Ghraib.

(George Bush is a liability to the Conservative Movement. If somebody as incompetent as Bush could emerge as the standard bearer of the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement, how can conservatives convince America that they support a meritocracy?)

Steevo

Abu Ghraib was no torture - period. Abu Ghraib was an anomaly - period. Those who were guilty were punished - period. Those who have sought to use the incident as any indicator of the quality of our troops or leadership are bent on gross misleading judgment and do injustice to our armed forces - period. This is your "higher standard" - period. Like accessing white southern republicans as bigots. Or Christians, as wanting to take up arms ("fatwah"), well yeah something like it, against those in disagreement. Or hard Left dictatorships suitable for other peoples but I doubt for thee.

You at least make statements now instead of 'questions'. Nothing much that I've seen to back them other than the easy intent to smear and belittle. You're stuck for the most part with simplistic sound bites that have made the waves of circulation in the MSM.

A sign of maturity in life Maduka is attaining a sense of humility. Putting yourself in another's shoes etc. It can take a looong time if learned at all, one of the most difficult attributes in becoming a whole man or woman. It doesn't appear to me you've come to respect nor understand its substance. You have very deep resentments, maybe in part because you're black and still young. But I wonder if anytime soon you'll acquire the capacity to at least be truly honest with yourself, which is the first step.

mamapajamas

Maduka, re: "(George Bush is a liability to the Conservative Movement. If somebody as incompetent as Bush could emerge as the standard bearer of the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement, how can conservatives convince America that they support a meritocracy?)"

Yes, of course Bush is a liability to conservatives. His stances on illegal immigrants and overspending cost the Republican Party control of Congress. Yes, I know... political "experts" say it was the war, but polls of Republicans who failed to turn out to vote in 2004 say it was not locking down the borders and too much spending. A person who didn't vote knows a hell of a lot more about why he didn't vote than all of the "experts" put together.

Someone as "incompetent" as Bush? His opponents were Al Gore in 2000, who flunked out of college... TWICE!... and John Kerry in 2004, who has too much baggage with his Vietnam Era peace movement activities. Neither of them were acceptable to me.

mamapajamas

Whups... hit "post" too soon.

But the point is that George W. Bush ISN'T RUNNING IN 2008!!!

So I don't give a ^#%$! WHAT kind of "liability" or "asset" he may or may not be next year. It's irrelevant. And anyone who tries to "run against Bush" on the Democrat side is going to be resoundedly reminded that Bush isn't running.

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