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Ear to the Ground

Petraeus: Occupation Could Last for Decades

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Posted on Jul 9, 2007
petraeus
AP Photo / Gerald Herbert

The good news, according to the United States’ main military man in Iraq, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, is that American troops have succeeded in taking hold of two main insurgent hot spots, Ramadi and Baquba.  The bad news:  Petraeus is speculating that the situation in Iraq will get worse before it gets better—and that U.S. forces might need to stay there for many years.


BBC:

Gen Petraeus was keen to emphasise that the ongoing unrest in Iraq is not something he expects to be resolved overnight.

“Northern Ireland, I think, taught you that very well. My counterparts in your [British] forces really understand this kind of operation… It took a long time, decades,” he said.

“I don’t know whether this will be decades, but the average counter insurgency is somewhere around a nine or a 10 year endeavour.”

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By Max von Schuler-Kobayashi, July 19, 2007 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Lowry,

Please watch my typing fingertips;  There are about 1,500 people in Iraq who call themselves Al Qaeda.  They are mostly Iraqi, 45% Saudi, with a sprinkling of Syrians and Egyptians.  They are not descended in any way from the Bin Laden group, and do not take orders from him, and have no regular communication with him.  It is just a Nom de Guerre.

In the true sense of the word of the people who did 9/11, they are not the same.

Yet out of 200,000 some Resistance fighters, all Iraqi, the US keeps concentrating on these 1,500.  And in four and a half years, we have not caught them.

By the way, with 200,000 Resistance fighters classical military doctrine demands a ratio of one to ten or twelve to defeat them.  This is the ratio that was determined by the British in Malaysia.  That means to win in Iraq, we would need 2,000,000 troops permanently based in country.  And to maintain 2,000,000 troops there, we would need three times as many in total, 6,000,000, to maintain rotations, troop rest and retraining and so forth.

Those are the numbers that Iraq would require.  With the present numbers, we are merely flailing about in the mire.

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By Richard S. Lowry, July 19, 2007 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Max,

So much for “no al-Qaeda in Iraq.”

MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ
PRESS DESK
BAGHDAD, Iraq
http://www.mnf-iraq.com
703.343.8790

July 19, 2007
Release A070719c

Senior al-Qaeda in Iraq foreign terrorist identified

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition Forces positively identified a third foreign
terrorist killed in an operation June 23 south of Hawija.

Ahmed Sancar, also known as Khattab al-Turki, was a known terrorist and
senior leader in al-Qaeda and a key financier and facilitator for the
terrorist group.

Sancar was killed during the same operation that killed Mehmet Yilmaz,
also known as Khalid al-Turki, and Mehmet Resit Isik, also known as
Khalil al-Turki.  Yilmaz was a close associate of Khalid Shayikh
Muhammad, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon.  Yilmaz also led a group of Turks to
Afghanistan in 2001 to fight against Coalition Forces.

Intelligence reports indicate that Sancar, like Isik, performed key
communication and logistic roles for al-Qaeda in Iraq and coordinated
with other senior al-Qaeda facilitators.  Intelligence reports also
indicate that prior to Sancar’s death, he was aggressively pursuing a
plan to attack northern Iraq, specifically focusing on the
Kurdish-controlled areas to increase al-Qaeda in Iraq’s operational
reach in the country.

Coalition Forces killed the three foreign terrorists and senior al-Qaeda
in Iraq leaders in an operation June 23.  During the course of
surveillance operations, Coalition Forces identified a vehicle which
they assessed to contain Yilmaz and three associates traveling together.
When the vehicle stopped, Coalition Forces moved to detain the four
individuals.  The four men exited the vehicle, which was followed during
surveillance operations, with weapons in hand.  As Coalition Forces
moved to detain the armed men, the four armed terrorists fired on the
forces.  Responding in self-defense, Coalition Forces engaged the armed
men, killing all four.

Inside the vehicle, Coalition Forces found rocket-propelled grenades, an
RPG launcher, numerous AK 47 rifle magazines, a pistol and suspected
homemade explosive materials.  They safely destroyed the vehicle and
weapons on site.

“Coalition operations are disrupting and destroying al-Qaeda’s terrorist
network from the highest levels down,” said Maj. Marc Young, an MNF-I
spokesperson.  “We will continue to target and attack these terrorists
who conduct horrendous acts of violence and terror against the Iraqi
populace.”

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By Max von Schuler-Kobayashi, July 17, 2007 at 11:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Lowry, if you will notice, I have been complimenting General Petraeus.  Instead of all these pithy comments about things getting better in six months, he has had the guts to say decades.  Which really means never.

There has been a whole slide of reasons for the war, find WMD, export Democracy, now one of the latest you quote is that we have to fix what we broke.

I am sorry but that is beyond our ability.  It can only be done by Iraqi’s.  And America is the primary problem.  There was no civil war before we invaded.  This hurts to admit, I know, but we have to face facts or we will only dig ourselves in deeper.

You talk about standing up the Army and Police, but every initiative that the US has tried has failed utterly.  Completely. There is not a shred of success.  And please don’t start that stuff about the Sheiks or the former Sunni Resistance suddenly helping the US.  They are not fighting Al-Qaeda, because there is no real Al-Qaeda, the present group that calls itself Al-Qaeda in Mesopatamia is about 1,500 guys.  There are a total of some 200,000 Sunni Resistance.  These people are cozying up to the US for weapons to fight the Shia government, and they are smart enough to figure out that America will supply them arms if they say “We will hit Al Qaeda”  They really want to fight the “Persians” which is their code word for Iraqi Shia.

It is correct though that a retreat will take a long time, to get everything out.  The fact is, it is no longer possible to get all our stuff out, and the longer we delay the withdrawal, the more personnel we will lose.  And as far as helping Iraqi’s, why not let them immigrate to the US, if you want to take responsibility?  In case, I don’t think too many of them will die when we leave, believe me, they have already prepared some bolthole, or they have been partly working for the other side all along.  The police force regularly attacks US troops, the Army regularly doesn’t show up for operations.


Four and half years of failure, don’t you think it is time to pull the plug?  Admit it, the only reason we are still there is the pride of the President.

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By Richard S. Lowry, July 16, 2007 at 10:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just received this press release from the public affairs office in Baghdad:

BAQOUBA, Iraq – Approximately 50 tribal leaders from the Muqdadiya Qada in Diyala
province, Iraq, gathered at the governor’s house, July 14, to discuss security, services
and the importance of strength through unity.
Governor Ra’ad Hameed Al-Mula Jowad Al-Tamimi, Diyala governor; together
with Staff Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem, commander of Iraqi Security Forces in Diyala; and
Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of Coalition Forces in Diyala, led the meeting,
stressing the influence tribal leaders have on their people.
“We came here to achieve something great,” said Kareem, “and this great thing
is your tribal influence on your people.”
“I have seen the greatness of the sheiks,” said Sutherland, “I have seen the
greatness they can bring. The courage of the tribes is based on the courage of the
sheiks, many of whom are disgusted and disillusioned by the hatred al-Qaida brings.”
Citing examples from the Koran and past history of Iraq, Kareem emphasized
that “everybody in Diyala is supposed to be united – to work as one hand fighting the
enemy.”

During his opening comments, Kareem encouraged the leaders to return to their
towns and talk to the people in their respective tribes about strength through unity, and
standing up against al-Qaida and other militia groups.
“They [terrorists] are only few; they are not strong,” Kareem said. “We can still
unite against them and eradicate them. Please let us cooperate and be like one family
facing a danger – the face of terrorism.”
Following opening comments, the floor was open to comments by the tribal
leaders in attendance, all of which agreed to come together against al-Qaida and
protect their people and their lands.
“I hope there will be good results from this meeting,” said a representative of the
Jibouri tribe. “We will assist and stand to fight against the terrorists.
“We refuse al-Qaida to live among us. We reject them,” he continued. “There is
no difference between Sunni and Shia just as there is no difference between black and
white.”
After the representative spoke, the key tribal leader of the Jibouri tribe continued,
stating the people’s ambition is to have a strong government that provides security and
services without distinguishing between sects.
“We are ready to stand up to achieve this goal,” he said. “Let’s try to be as far as
possible from this sectarian violence and let’s try to be united for the security of our
people.”

Other sheiks in attendance discussed security issues in their respective towns
and provided intelligence to the provincial leadership in attendance. They stressed their desire to unite against al-Qaida and other militias by guarding their homes and
continuing to turn to the security forces for assistance.
“No one – no one individual and no group – can stand up to the tribes when they
are united,” said Sutherland. “No foreign army in the world has beaten a
counterinsurgency. It took the people to standing up to fight against the terrorists.
“There are not 25 different tribes and over 100 sub-tribes in Diyala,” he
continued. “There is one tribe that is joined as brothers just as we see the Iraqi Security
Forces join the Coalition Forces.”
After the meeting, the tribal and provincial leaders gathered for a feast and tea to
continue their discussions and work toward strength through unity.

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By Richard S. Lowry, July 15, 2007 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You know, I only asked that you give General Petraeus a chance and not speak ill of him without taking the time to understand the complicated situation in Iraq.

But, both of you continue to talk of crimes and lies, or the latest names used by Islamic insurgent groups. We are involved in a situation in Iraq today that does not have an easy solution. I am not happy with many of the things this administration has done in our war on terror, but as I have said, we are not going to agree on whether we should have gotten into this war or not. History will show, but now we have a very different problem.

Please, tell us all how we should end the war. I want to get out of Iraq more than anyone in the US. But, I want to do it responsibly. Colin Powell once said, “If we break it, we must fix it.”

If we leave prematurely, at least 700,000 Iraqis will be at risk. If we leave Iraq prematurely, Islamic extremists will claim a great victory and continue to spread their violence like in Tripoli, Lebanon and recently in Pakistan.

And, there will be no “beam me up Scotty.” America has 20 plus army Brigades in Iraq. It will take them a month to bring each Brigade home. That means we won’t have our troops home until well after the election, if we started the drawdown today.

General Petraeus has a very complicated problem to solve. He is trying to bring security to the neighborhoods of Iraq and stand up the fledgling Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police so that they will be able to maintain their own security. General Petraeus has a goal. His goal is to build a long-term solution, so some of our troops can come home and the others won’t be shot at on a daily basis.

Please try to understand what is happening today in Iraq. Petraeus will not end up with a bank account in the Caribbean. He will not end up with a concubine. He has the hardest job in the world today. He only has two more months to show significant improvement, before Congress will pull the plug. At least, give him that chance.

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By GB, July 13, 2007 at 11:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Richard S. Lowry

History has already proven who is blind.
Let me make it more simple.
The Bush administration said Iraq was an immediate threat to the US.
What they did was lie to the American public, the Congress, and the UN.
They said Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction and was preparing to use them on the west(LIE). They said Saddam was attempting to secure yellow cake uranium to make nuclear weapons (LIE). They said Saddam helped AL Qaeda in the lead up to 911 (LIE).etc etc. So with a willing Congress and media they made a pre-emtive strike on a sovereign nation at a cost of 3,600 US service men and women to date and cost of $480,000,000 to our treasury and rising.
Now a million of Iraqi citizens are DEAD. Their lives ripped apart, displaced, tortured.
You can not in good conscience claim this valid action for any Democracy.
I did not slander General Patraeus because I don’t know him and I don’t really care if I do. I said finally after general after general left the Iraq theater in disgust of Bush’s leadership they now have a general who is saying what they want and that is he feels we will need to stay in Iraq for more than a decade or so. This is what Bush wants to hear.
What is being reported in the news currently is the worst carnage yet in Iraq.
I’m not a professed writer so I don’t footnote my daily routine but everthing I mentioned is not made
up. It is reality.
It is obvious and proven that Bush, Cheney and others in the administration have broken many laws and have broken the public’s trust. So when I say criminal, its not an opinion.
77% of Americans want out of Iraq.
54% of Americans want Cheney impeached.
46% of Americans want Bush impeached.
If you are proud of these people and what they have done to our country and our reputation as the leaders of Democracy that’s your affair but you are right, I will never condone your thoughts.

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By Max von Schuler-Kobayashi, July 13, 2007 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Lowry,

As far as is known, Zaqawi did not use the name “Al Qaeda in Mesopatamia” until recently.  Whatever time he spent in Iraq, he was some other group.  His use of the name is simply a convienance, the origianal AQ is long scattered and destroyed.

Americans are waaaaay too obsessed with the name Al Qaeda.  So the boys over there have figured out a way to keep jerking our chain.  Just use the AQ brand name, and we run around all over the place.

According to Professor Juan Cole, there are at least 40 major groups in Iraq, and they all hate us.

So I think your CNN report overly optimistic.  Frankly, for candor, I read the BBC.

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By Richard S. Lowry, July 13, 2007 at 5:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Max,

But you said, “I have to say, there were no Al-Qaeda in Iraq until America brought them there.” Now you admit that they were there. Which is correct? Were they there or not?

Funny, I just watched a piece on CNN where the reporter went out into neighborhoods of Baghdad. She interviewed many citizens. The response was mixed but most wanted the Americans to remain. One even said they didn’t feel safe unless Americans were around. I personally interviewed a Marine officer who had been in Anbar Province.

When he talked about Marines entering homes with Iraqi forces, circa 2005, he said that the inhabitants always wanted the Americans to be the last to leave the house.

GB,

My first post was in support General Petraeus after your slander of the man. I cannot characterize your uninformed view of that man as anything less than blind hatred.

In my next post I showed, on one specific point only, that you use questionable sources to support your thinking.

I am sorry I grouped you with anyone else, you obviously are a independent thinker.

Let me make myself more clear. You and I will never agree, I am willing to consider your rational arguments, supported by facts, not accusations. I only ask that you consider my point of view.

Please tell me about current “human abuse” in Iraq. Do you know anything about what is happening in Iraq now? Did you know that the “human abuse” perpetrated by al-Qaeda in Al Anbar province got so bad that the majority of the Sunni tribes are now on our side, fighting to rid their neighborhoods of al-Qaeda alongside the Iraqi Army and US Marines?

History will prove who is blind.

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By Max von Schuler-Kobayashi, July 12, 2007 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A few more thoughts about American troop conduct.

As you might guess from my name, I am German.  The kind of German who is a New Yorker, born in Chicago, and who has actually never been to Germany, even though I speak the language well.

For many years, as a child in the Midwest, I would listen to people discussing WWII and what happened in Germany.  They would say how horrible those things were, and would always conclude the conversation with “It could never happen here”

Another aspect of American exceptionalism.  In this case, there is the assumption that there is something wrong with the German race, that predisposes us to horrible violence.  It also assumes that there is something superior in the American pysche, which prevents Americans from committing cruelty.

Well I have news for you, 25% of Americans, myself included, are of German descent.  So if there is something wrong with Germans, it must be in the genes, and that would mean…..

Actually, it has nearly happened in America.  We have nearly had a Fascist government.  We still have to be careful of the religious fundamentalists, America faces a difficult future domestically, and many of these people want a Fascist Theocratic state.

but I am digressing from troop conduct.

You see, Americans are human.  And the average 19 year old with a rifle does not interact well with a foreign population.  This is inevitable, and particularly difficult in a counter insurgency.  And then we are faced with the conundrum of our own behavior defeating ourselves.  In Vietnam, only the most highly trained troops, like the Green Berets, did well with the locals.  But they were trained for it, spoke the language, understood the culture.

In Iraq, sending a Christian army (this is how the Iraqi’s see it) into a Moslem country is a disaster.  And there were many intelligent Americans who foresaw this and were against the war.  Yet they were steamrollered by the bush administration.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no softie.  If Saddam was detrimental to American interests, and he had to go, OK.  Send in a SEAL team.  And we pick the next general to rule the place, and remind him that our SEAL’s are very good and train all the time.

But bad behavior on the part of 19 year Americans in Iraq was inevitable.  And I understand.  The complex culture of the Middle East is extremely difficult.  In Japan, when an American makes a cultural faux pas, Japanese people forgive and ignore, ignorant foreigner, that sort of thing.  The Middle East is different.  When Japan sent it’s detachment, (now withdrawn) an Iraqi resident here was brought forth as a cultural advisor, and he was on Japanese TV.  One thing he mentioned, if you meet an Iraqi man and his wife, no matter what his station, never compliment him on how beautiful his wife is.  He will be honor bound to shoot you on the spot, and all Iraqi’s carry pistols for this purpose.

That is a very demanding and complex place for a 19 trooper to understand.  The human reaction, and remember this boy is scared, would often be shoot first and ask questions later.

And oh yes, at roadblocks, Iraqi’s hit the gas pedal to get away faster.  In Saddam’s time, it was safer to speed away from troops in uniform.  Now just think, how are American armed 19 year old troopers, wary of car bombs, going to react when a car when an Iraqi family in a car suddenly speeds up at the roadblock?  And of course, that family has relatives, who will want to avenge their deaths.  Multiply the problem a zillion times, and you begin to get the picture.

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By Max von Schuler-Kobayashi, July 12, 2007 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Lowry,

Zaqawi and OBL never got along, the only thing they agreed with is shooting Americans.  Treatment for a broken leg does not mean Saddam supported the man, Moslems are required to perform Ikat, charity.  And a camp in Northeastern Iraq.  That region unfortunately for your theory, was out of Saddam’s control since 1991.  It was nominally ruled by the Kurds, American allies.  (we hope)

The Middle East is an incredibly complex place, with more problems and feuds than Americans can ever find solutions for.

When I was in the Marines, and I was in counter Intelligence against the Reds, I was willing to kill anyone or anything to advance the mission.  I was 19.  It was a good thing that I had superiors who restrained my rambuctiousness, and taught me to behave responsibly.

That seems to have largely broken down now.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article2758829.ece

Americans are taking casualties true.  But every Iraqi seems to be regarded as the enemy.  In their own words above, some American troopers are describing how their comrades react.  This is a disaster in a counter insurgency.  We will never ever get a government in Iraq that is going to cooperate with America.  It just won’t happen.  So it is time to wake up, smell the coffee, and come home.

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By GB, July 12, 2007 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Richard S. Lowry,

When you say you guys I will remind you I speak for myself.
Its interesting that since you can’t admit the truth that the reasons this administration gave us to start a unilateral attack on Iraq were not lies and that you still won’t acknowledge the devistation to it’s people makes me irrational.
My first message to you was in response to your accusation that my critiques of this administration are blind.
I feel you are the one who has blinders on.
The human equation is being able to look at both sides, the perpetrators and the victims.
Unfortunately, our troops and the people of Iraq are the victims.
In 2004 it was found over 90% of our service men and women on the ground in Iraq believed Saddam was responsible for 911. Now how do you think they got that idea? Recruiters? Rumsfeld? That number is significantly lower now that they have been experiencing the insanity of not knowing what the real mission is, settling civil war, securing the huge US embassy that is being built, securing the air bases aound the oil fields…
There is nothing irrational about concern for human abuse. I’m sorry, your compassion and facts are narrow.

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By Richard S. Lowry, July 12, 2007 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

GB,

I love it when you guys go irrational in the face of facts. I don’t expect you to do research for me and I am not going to get in a debate with you trying to prove a negative. Don’t do the research for me, do the detailed research for yourself.

Until you can rationally discuss issues, our conversation is over.

MAX,

I beg to differ, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi trained and fought in Afghanistan prior to 2003. He was seriously wounded in fighting during 2002. He fled to Baghdad for treatment. He set up his own training camp in the mountains in northeastern Iraq, long before the 2003 invasion.

Please refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Musab_al-Zarqawi for basic reference to his life and read “Hunting Down Saddam” by Robin Moore for a detailed description of the fight at Al-Qaeda’s training camp in Iraq.

Also, when you were in the Marines, did you go around shooting at everyone? What makes you think our Marines and soldiers shot at anything and everyone. Our casualty count in Iraq is so high because our soldiers do everything in their power to avoid civilian casualties, sometimes imperiling themselves.

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By Max von Schuler-Kobayashi, July 12, 2007 at 11:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And another reference to the Nir Rosen article on this site.

http://www.truthdig.com/dig/item/20060627_occupation_iraq_hearts_minds/

It has been my experience that Americans generally do not do well in another county’s culture.  I am American, a former Marine, and lived in Japan for 33 years.  I speak read and writeJapanese at a virtually native level.  However, too many Americans who come here (Japan) are way too sensitive and super critical, and often act like Baboons.

They think the US is superior, and judge everything in that fashion, and make their opinions known rudely.  They expect superior treatment on a job site to Japanese people, even though they are being paid more to begin with.

Fortunately, it is no longer easy to make money in Japan, and we have finally seen a sharp reduction in the American Baboon population.  Those Americans who still reside here are now tending to be more culturally sensitive, and tend to speak the language.

When America invaded Iraq however, I could well envision a horde of armed people with little patience and little understanding invading another country.  And our leadership promised them a cakewalk and that the people would throw flowers.

No wonder they became frustrated, and tend to shoot everyone in sight, just increasing the hatred.


We have become what we set out to destroy.

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By Max von Schuler-Kobayashi, July 12, 2007 at 10:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Lowry,

I have to say, there were no Al-Qaeda in Iraq until America brought them there.  They are not the Al Qaeda of Osama bin Laden, they just borrowed the name.

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By GB, July 11, 2007 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Richard S. Lowry
As I mentioned these are starting points. I’m not going to do detail research for you. Yes, these weapons were intended for lighting the sky but a lot of innocent victims fell to it’s effects.
You fail to acknowledge the horror of death and torture bestowed on an innocent citizenry in Iraq.THEY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 911 or TERRORISM. Now almost 1,000,000 are dead or incarcerated Yes, the brave men and women in our armed services are being sacriced in an illegal conflict and this is not only wrong it should be stopped now. We need them to protect our country outside and also in our country.
I didn’t prejudge your books. I said if you still feel this administration is on the right track with this illegal war then they would be a waste of time for me. I don’t know you so I hope your bonding with our service personnel will lesd you to beleive their job is not to obtain a hydrocarbon law in Iraq for the western oil industry and that their lives are too precious to be used for corporate grab bags.

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By Richard S. Lowry, July 11, 2007 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

GB,

Lets start with your first point and references.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1108/dailyUpdate.html  states

“The US military admits to using the weapon to illuminate battlefields in Iraq, and says it did so in Fallujah, but insists it did not use it in civilian areas.”

Here is what I know about the US Marines in Fallujah and their tactics and weapons. White phosphorous is used in small rockets that are used by pilots to mark targets - they do not kill everyone within 150 meters. They may also use it in illumination flares which dangle from parachutes to maximize the time of illumination. The flares burn out before they hit the ground.

I am not familiar with any bombs containing white phosphorous. The US uses napalm in their bombs because it is much more effective.

Now, lets talk about your own reference as quoted above. The military said it did not use WP on civilians.

The 1st Marine Division swept through Fallujah, house-to-house.  They could have leveled the city but they did not. They went into each house on weapons hold. Brave young Marines entered every room in Fallujah not knowing if they would find cowering civilians or fanatic Islamic Fundamentalists (Al-Qaeda). Many American Marines were killed that way and many of the citizens of Fallujah were spared because of these deliberate assaults. Please read “No True Glory” by Bing West or any number of books that detail the battle of Fallujah.

It really distresses me that you would choose to believe that the American military deliberately attempts to kill civilians from some documentary which quotes no sources whatsoever.

Ok, your second reference just quotes the first reference.

The third reference is much more believable. Yet Darrin Mortenson stated “[he] never saw anybody intentionally use any weapon against civilians”. Notice he said ANY weapon, not just WP.

So, I have learned something. The Army probably used marking rockets to flush out enemy fighters.

As you may have already noticed, I like to talk about the issues. I do not wildly rant about lies and criminals. You stated;

“When you leave out the human equation and make it sound like a video game you lose my interest.”

Then you prejudged my books without knowing a thing about me. The reason I writeis to tell the truth about our brave men and women who are fighting the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I tell many personal stories of bravery, sacrifice, life and death. I writeabout human beings, not about the “human equation.” I regularly visit Arlington Cemetery to visit the grave sites of three Marines who died in the bloodiest battle of the war and one of their father’s has become a close friend.

I take this war very personally and I do everything I can to try to get people to focus on facts.

I would address each and every one of your points, but I don’t want to go on forever.

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By GB, July 11, 2007 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Richard S. Lowry

Here are a couple places to start. You’ll have to dig for more if you’re interested. http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1108/dailyUpdate.html
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1115-03.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4440664.stm
What did Bush and co. accuse Saddam Hussein of?
Here is a start for you on the Reagan thing.
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/

If you wrote 3 books on the Iraq War and still believe the rhetoric coming from the White House, then I’m sure I would find reading them a waste of time.

Al Qaeda is a word Bush and his Republican/Democrat sycophants are labeling everyone who disagree with them so they can project it large enough to create the equivalent of a new (perpetual) cold war where criminals like Cheney go into the darkness and pop out with secret energy policies giving oil companies huge welfare subsidies at a time when oil companies are posting billions in windfall profits and the victims of Hurricane Katrina get left to drown.
Bush says he’s not that interested in catching Osama Bin Laden, the man he has accused of the largest crime in the history of our country. Instead, the agenda for the Project for a New American Century was followed. Everything Bush’s administration has done has been a lie and wrong.
To use conventional military measures to fight terrorism is not only the most inefficient method but very costly in treasure and innocent lives.
I’m appalled that so many innocent lives have been lost.
I’m surprised that there is still 23% of Americans who still think the war is good.
I can only assume they like George Bush don’t seem to be phased by outrageous collateral damage on this scale created by a BIG LIE.
When you leave out the human equation and make it sound like a video game you lose my interest.

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By Richard S. Lowry, July 11, 2007 at 6:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hello again,

I too follow world events. I have researched, written an published three books on the war in Iraq. I am currently working on two more. I too, am in search of the truth.

Could you please tell me more about the US’ use of white phosphorus? please list your source.

Could you also tell me more about Regan selling WMDs to Iraq? Again, could you provide a source so I can research this independently?

One last request. Could you tell me why you think that there were no Al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2003? Here is a source for you. “Hunting Down Saddam,” by Robin Moore.


Also, Muqtada al-Sadr is no longer in Iraq. His power is dwindling every day and only will return to power if the US Military is forced to leave prematurely.

I do my research. I don’t make unfounded claims. I don’t slander people. I just ask that everyone else do the same.

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By GB, July 10, 2007 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would like to respond to Richard S. Lowry.

I am an independent thinker, voter, researcher. That’s the beauty of not being a right winger or a left winger. I just want the truth. Those who speak it get more of my respect.
I have been following the events of our world for quite a few years and my critiques of this administration are not blind.
I know what they are up to and it’s not good for the US, the world, and the planet.
Just because you interview a man doesn’t make him a saint.
The Pentagon had to admit they used white phosphorus weapons on civilians. This stuff literally burned the skin of women and children while they’re alive.
Almost 4,000 US troops and 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have been killed because?
Every reason Bush, Cheney, and their cabal including the mainstream media gave for needing to invade Iraq was a lie.
Iraq had nothing to do with 911, they got rid of the WMD’s Regan sold them, and Al Quaida had no operations there.
I would like to suggest you do your research and search your conscience.

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By tony, July 10, 2007 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Civilian victims in Iraq and Afghanistan. Full story:

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=13260

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By Max von Schuler-Kobayashi, July 10, 2007 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr.Lowry,

I am not anti military at all, in fact, I applaud General Petraus’s candor.  I think this is his way of saying that the war cannot be won, while still serving in uniform.

As far as the oil, it is no longer possible for maintain military presence in Iraq.  The most powerful man in Iraq is Muqtada al-Sadr, and we know how feels about America.  I beleive there will be Civil war for about one year after the US leaves, until a strongman wins out.

The next strongman is virtually certain to be anti American, so the oil cannot be counted on.  Perhaps Japan could buy it and resell to America.

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By awells, July 10, 2007 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

I’m surprised that in this discussion the subject of THE OIL hasn’t come up. Does anyone think for a minute that the oil concessions just bequeathed to the multi-nationals for the next 20-30 years will go unprotected? Strangely, this fact is next to invisible in any news anywhere. This, it seems to me, is the real news.

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By Richard S. Lowry, July 10, 2007 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“He is just saying what was placed before him by the white house.

I suspect there is also a confy account in the bahamas waiting for him after he ‘retires’ from excemplary military service to his country and the cause of freedom all over the world.

He will also get a bunch of medals and maybe a concubine or two, in anticipation of all the virgins he expects to have in heaven.”

Does this guy Moe really represent you all in the anti-war camp? Does anybody with a sixth-grade education really believe this crap? Moe is another fine example of why Americans need to keep up with current events and research the facts, before opening their mouth.

I have the utmost respect for those of you who are against the war because you sincerely believe it is wrong. But, I have no patience for those who spew concubine and payoff babble. Moe, you have no right to slander a man like General Petraeus who is working very hard for this country.

Moe, please supply a reliable source for your assertion that General Petraeus is just saying what the White House has told him to say. I have interviewed the man and I know he speaks for himself.

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By moe, July 10, 2007 at 10:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

He is just saying what was placed before him by the white house.

I suspect there is also a confy account in the bahamas waiting for him after he ‘retires’ from excemplary military service to his country and the cause of freedom all over the world.

He will also get a bunch of medals and maybe a concubine or two, in anticipation of all the virgins he expects to have in heaven.

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By Max von Schuler-Kobayashi, July 10, 2007 at 10:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think the General is being smarter than everyone gives him credit for.  He is a uniformed officer, and the American tradition is not to disobey an order from a civilian superior.

However, he is the FIRST General officer to say success will take 10 years or more.  This is his way of saying it cannot be done, and we should go home.

And Frikken Kids, I would not worry about those four mega bases.  The US military cannot maintain itself in Iraq now, we are not going to be able to maintain four bases in a hostile country.

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By Richard S. Lowry, July 10, 2007 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good morning all,

I just finished reading the blog and all the accompanying comments. I understand that you all are against the current administration and the war in Iraq. What I don’t understand is your blind hatred for anything to do with the administration.

Please let me suggest that you all scrutinize your accusations. I know you believe that this war is wrong. I respect that point of view. But, your foundation-less beliefs that “the military” is in this for self-preservation reasons is completely ridiculous. Please take the time to follow what is really happening in Iraq.

General Petraeus is trying to bring peace and security to the neighborhoods of Iraq. And, he is succeeding.

I want to address a specific comment to highlight your blind assertions which are not based in fact:

“Why is Petraeus such an expert?  Who annointed him the End All of All Opinions?  The military men who can before him were incompetents.  But he is suddenly the Albert Einstein of warfare.

Right.  Get a real job, Petraeus.”

General David Petraeus, first, and foremost, is an honorable man. He is a West Point graduate. He has devoted his entire career to service to his country. He was shot in the chest and nearly died. He has a PhD in international affairs from Princeton University. He has served in Iraq on three tours. He is the father of the new Iraqi Army. As the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division, he brought peace to the people of Mosul in 2004, using the same techniques he is using today. He authored the new Counterinsurgency Field Manual in 2006. And he is unquestionably the most intelligent Officer in the US Army. He is THE most qualified person to lead our troops in Iraq.

He has the most important job in America today.

Ah, yes, the Democrat Senate “anointed” him in an 83-0 confirmation of his appointment as the Multi-National Force Iraq Commander.

Give General Petraeus a chance to bring peace to the 20 million people of Iraq. You will all have your chance to run the show come 2009. Until then, make it your goal to understand what is truly happening in Iraq, and try to do it with unjaded eyes. Try to support our troops.

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By GB, July 9, 2007 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How many generals did Cheney and Bush lose before finally getting one who would say what they want to hear. If this isn’t propaganda for Cheney’s money making schemes I don’t know what is.
So how racist can we be to say by us leaving things would fall apart.
EVERYTHING in Iraq was ripped apart by Bush’s LIES and we’re telling the puppet Iraqi government that they need to hold the peace???
Walk two seconds in the average Iraqi’s shoes and tell me this occupation will ever fly.
The real solution is IMPEACHMENT of Cheney and stop this madness. This phony war has given the pirates in the White House the constant excuse that whenever they are questioned they claim state secret.
They still have plenty of time to create alot more problems for our troops, security, Democracy, the Constitution, borrowing more money from China and stealing it (losing it), shrinking the dollar on and on…

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By DennisD, July 9, 2007 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess according to Petraeus we have an unlimited supply of men, women and money to piss down the rat hole we’ve made of Iraq. He only wishes so much. Army enlistment is down for the second month in a row and will continue to drop even with the huge incentives and lowering of whatever standards for people they have left. The handwriting is on the wall.
The permanent bases will gradually disappear when there’s no one to fill them. No one in government will risk political suicide to bring back the draft which is exactly what it will take to stay there the decades Petraeus is talking about. The end is closer than he thinks though not close enough.

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By QuyTran, July 9, 2007 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

Hey Gen. Petraeus,

Fon’t forget that this damn administration has only 2 more years to live. The next will not be stupid to keep its troops in Iraq any longer. Are you awake yet, General ?

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By vet240, July 9, 2007 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

First some Republicans compared the Iraq war with Vietnam.

Now this General can’t see the difference between Northern Ireland and Iraq.

General the siruation in Northern Ireland involved two factions in that country with very little outside interference, or interest taken by neighboring countries, as the outcome would have little or no effect on their neighbors.

Iraq is totally different. There are many factions inside Iraq, and many neighboring countries that are and will become involved to insure there is no fall-out adversely effecting their perspective countries.

The bu$h group decided to man this war with 160,000 high priced civilians and augment that force with as many of our troops in uniform as possible (140,000).

The military has earned the reputation for not giving a damn where the money comes from just as long as they get all they want to perpetuate their promotions and great retirement benefits.

Generals, infortunately don’t often involve themselves in direct combat. In all of WWII only one General Officer died as a direct result of enemy fire. That was General Rose in Northern Germany in 1944 I believe.

When the Berlin Wall came down some of my fellow vet buddies wondered where the U.S. military in Europe would end up. I told them then, they shouldn’t worry the military would find a home somewhere.

General I know you can’t conceptualize the very real possibility this damn occupation will inevitably result in our total bankruptsy.

Someone in Washington has got to get the message that the Generals were never meant to set policies like the size of our defence orginizations. They are supposed to do what they are told. They are not to do the telling.

It’s ironic that our Dummandeer in Thief never saw the need to serve himself, nor Dumsfield or chainey.
Yet they now want to rely on the military to develope the political strategy needed to get us out of there.

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By tyler, July 9, 2007 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with fricken kids.  Why does everyone’s jaw drop when the ‘possiblity’ of long-term occupation is mentioned? 

It is the absolute reality of the situation.

There is no way that the US is going to abandon the 4 mega-bases that halliburton built in Iraq.

I think that the propaganda machine, oops, I mean mainstream media is being told to stay away from that topic so that bush & co don’t further have to push their feet down their throats.

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By Frikken Kids, July 9, 2007 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Isn’t it pretty much a given that US forces will be in Iraq indefinitely simply because of the bases that have been built there? 

Given that the generals know about the bases and their intended long term purpose, and congress and the senate know about the bases and the media should know (unless they are retarded) isn’t all the talk about withdrawal and timetables a ridiculous waste of time?

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By Mudwollow, July 9, 2007 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

That’s perfect. It will take about four decades for Nancy “impeachment off the table” Pelosi to realize that all her political politeness hasn’t been paying off as she had hoped.

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By republicansscareme, July 9, 2007 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why is Petraeus such an expert?  Who annointed him the End All of All Opinions?  The military men who can before him were incompetents.  But he is suddenly the Albert Einstein of warfare.

Right.  Get a real job, Petraeus.

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