The Iraq "election"

Why doesn't Bush send over Ken Mehlman and the GOP GOTV machine to Iraq, cause the outlook stinks:BAGHDAD, Jan 6 (AFP) - The preliminary findings of a new internal US State Department poll on Iraq obtained by AFP Thursday shows only 32 percent of Sunni Muslims are "very likely" to vote in landmark national elections this month and only 12 percent consider the event legitimate.

The survey, conducted from December 12-16 by the State Department's Bureau of Research and Intelligence, revealed major concern among Sunnis about the security situation in Iraq, with many saying the threat of violence could keep them away from the polls.

The poll, which has not been released publicly, found three-quarters of Iraq's influential Shiite majority, who make up 60 percent of the country, would boycott elections if called upon to do so by a respected religious leader.

Meanwhile, in everyday news that's too common to get much coverage:A roadside bomb killed seven U.S. soldiers in northwest Baghdad and two Marines were killed in action in western Iraq Thursday, the deadliest day for American forces since a suicide attack last month, the U.S. military said.There are only three possible strategies. Continue as is, investing further and further into the hole; try to let "Iraq" take over, ala Vietnam & these sham elections; get out of Iraq. A, B, or C. We should have never went in to occupy Iraq, it was a mistake, and the only possible end of this mess is to leave, and let them work out their own solutions. Totally unrealistic, I know, just like it was for those saying pretty much the same thing about Vietnam in the late 1960's. For Iraq, the only question is, how much longer?

Tags: Foreign Elections (all tags)



Will more people vote or injured trying to vote?
There's a good poll question for you.
by afs 2005-01-06 03:02PM | 0 recs
The generals could get us out the fastest

Although the Bush admin has made it clear that dissent equals end of career, I have to hope that there are some multi-star generals who understand that their duty to their country goes beyond simply shutting up and following orders to the best of their ability.

The phrasing would have to be different, but, at some point, duty demands delivery of this message:
"Look, Don/Dick/George. Here's the situation. Your orders require us to make a lot of dead people and to turn a lot of buildings into rubble. Our soldiers have been doing a damn good job of it. All it is costing us, from my perspective as a planner of the military operations, is thousands of our own bodies, hundreds of billions of our own dollars, the ability to do squat on the ground anywhere else on the globe, and the ability to recruit adequate numbers into the National Guard and the Reserves for the next generation.

"Now, it isn't my job to decide whether or not the price is worth it. It is my job, however, to tell you two things. First, that, whatever your orders, making dead people and making rubble are the only things our troops can accomplish in Iraq for the forseeable future. Second, that, while I don't know exactly what's wrong with Iraq today, I'm pretty sure that what is wrong is not a lack of dead people and rubble.

"Now, you have your job and I have mine. I'm going to go back and continue planning operations to make more dead people and rubble. You need to ask yourselves if more dead people and more rubble is the miracle you need to turn the Iraq crock-up around. I won't tell you what I think. that's not my job. I'm just telling you what I know."

If the generals fail us, the other three ways we get out are:

  1. Ali Sistani tells us we no longer have any business being in Iraq, and calls on Shiites to support his demand that we depart. This happens after the newly elected Shiite government is firmly in control of Iraqi military resources.
  2. The people of the United States demand that we depart when a military draft becomes the only way to maintain the troop strength required to remain in Iraq.
  3. The 2008 elections go strongly to a candidate who asks what the hell we gained from the 5 years, 30,000 casualties, and $500 billion spent in Iraq.

by Ottnott 2005-01-06 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: The generals could get us out the fastest
There is another alternative path that would get us out, namely the one the French encountered in VietNam.  In addition to losing control of large parts of the terrain, which seems to have happened quite some time ago, we could start losing significant battles.  

There is this American notion that The American Armed Forces are Invincible.  That notion is erroneous.

Losses of battles are of several sorts:

  1. You start losing positions, starting with small ones held by a squad or two and working up. Deploying advisors to police force and Iraqi units in large numbers ups the opposition target count. That is the harder loss, because it requires that the opposition take fixed defensive positions.  There are several paths to this, as demonstrated in WW1, notably that they run a large tunnel under the position, pack it with HE, and set it off.
  2. You stop being able to take positions, because the defense inflicts too many casualties.  There is appreciable evidence this happened in Fallujah, pass one last spring, in that reporters noted that we would lose ground because the opposition could find holes in undermanned lines.  Note that in Fallujah pass two recently, we had to ask the UK to take over areas, because we do not have the reserves needed to pile up on one small city.
  3. You stop being able to supply positions, because the level of road side bombing goes up, the other side starts blowing bridges systematically while you are not near them, or the other side gets improved man-carried missiles.  The Russian Republic is now seriously unhappy with BushCo, and the possibility that Cornet or other missiles might start leaking their way to Iraq cannot be rules out.
  4. Hopelessly offending the Kurds and the Shiites, giving a ten-fold increase in the size of the resistance, is also a possibility.
  5. Breaking the Army as somewhat happened in VietNam will take a while longer, but at some point when every supply convoy hits an IED rather than every 4th convoy, you will have issues.
  6. The opposition may decide to expand the war, carefully.  Blowing up random buildings would create civilian casualties and anger Americans.  Commando attacks on legitimate military targets outside Iraq would have a different outcome; there would be this large perceived need for more garrisons.
by phillies 2005-01-06 06:09PM | 0 recs
Too Long
Matthew Yglesias, Kerry's foreign-policy problem was really his party's. It's time for Democrats to get serious once and for all, really, is right, he just doesn't say it. He advocates Texas Rep. Turner's "Winning The War On Terror," (which, at best, is just wrongly titled) and then says:
Democrats watched -- with occasional carping from the sidelines -- as the administration began outlining and implementing a radically unsound policy agenda. Over time, the failings of the Bush approach became evident and the president's approval rating sank. But the public was never convinced that the opposition had outlined a coherent alternative -- largely because it hadn't... My advice to Democrats is this: Take a deep breath, then start considering what you really believe about Iraq, terrorism, military and intelligence reform, and all the rest.
It's good advice, the 80% of us in the Democratic Party that believe the war in Iraq should stop need to tell the other 20% to get on board. Afterall, that's exactly what the 80% of the Republicans who want to continue to occupy Iraq have told the 20% of Republicans that want to end the occupation/war/mistake.

Instead, the Democrats let the wrong 20% dictate the terms, like "war on terror", and we continue to provide no coherent opposition.

by Jerome Armstrong 2005-01-06 03:21PM | 0 recs
a serious question
i'm not old enough to remember what this country was like when we were fighting the war in vietnam.  in fact i was born the year we finally cleared out.  but what i see today - with this war - makes me think that we're just repeating our history.  what concerns me is what resulted in vietnam when we finally left and how that comparison is relevant to what we face today.

the ultimate goal (CW) of vietnamisation was - as i understand it - to stop the spread of communism in asia.  but in reality, communism is alive and well in that region.  vietnamisation arguably did not work.  now what we have today is iraqification.  we're there to stop the spread of islamofascism (CW) and promote democracy in the middle east.  nevermind that promoting democracy in the middle east isn't really the goal.  let's pretend the administration is being honest here with their democracy loving rhetoric.

no matter what the real goal is in iraq, we are seeing the same symptoms manifest in iraq as we did in vietnam in the early days.  a growing insurgency with suppliers in foreign nations, growing casualties, similar tactics (incuding free fire zones)... eventually it's going to blow upin our faces just lie vietnam did.

so i ask, seriously, what is the harm in getting the hell out of there now?  nobody knew what would happen in vietnam if we left early (and realistically our "worst fear" came true since communism wasn't defeated in that region - so much for the domino theory).  nobody know what will happen in iraq if we leave now.  but we DO now, thanks to vietnam, what will happen if we stay.  

iraq is already a money pit (whatever happened to the oil revenue paying for the war?).  our soldiers are dying with more frequency each month, and unfortunately i'm sure our casualties will continue to increase.  we're not spreading democracy and most iraqis won't consider their lovely new government legitimate.  we've created arabic boogeymen in the forms of zawqari, who was basically a fucking nobody before we started giving him all the attention (he's osama's ally now).  we've also set the stage for a civil war in iraq (if you don't think it's coming, you haven't been paying attention).  and worst of all, our hypocritical actions have emboldened and inspired an entire new generation of terrorists.

what. the. fuck.  we have accomplished the opposite of our so-called mission.  i honestly do not see a downside to getting the hell out of there right now.  if we now what will happen if we stay, why not take the chance and try something new.  leave.  bring our troops home.  NOW.

CW = conventional weisdom

by annatopia 2005-01-06 04:36PM | 0 recs
Iraqi Situation Differs from Vietnam Importantly
Iraq differs from Vietnam is one significant, essential factor right now:  no major power exists supplying the insurgency.  While the insurgency seems to be fully equipped from the weapons stocks which our ineptitude allowed them to scavenge at will, this supply is a wasting asset which is consumed in the act of conducting the insurgency.  Dubya's analysts have undoubtedly decided that they will commit the US to an attrition strategy to wait out the Iraqi insurgents and just grind them down.  This was the strategy the US adopted early in the Vietnam War, only to find out that it was a strategic bust, negating any and all tactical and operational advantages we enjoyed in Vietnam.

Dubya's posse's policies are trying to achieve two irreconcilable goals simultaneously, however.  The insurgency now is driven by the Iraqi Arab Sunni population, which has no real champion external to Iraq who might be able to supply them over the long term.  Current administration policy continues to stoke the Sunni insurgency by essentially accepting their being negligible players in the Iraqi polity and relying on the Iraqi Shia majority.  Catering to the Iraqi Shia majority minimizes immediate direct Iranian involvement in Iraqi politics.  However, it increases the likelihood that a Shiite theocracy gets established in Iraq and that Iraq establishes friendly relations with Iran.  Once the US begins to move against a Shiite Iraqi regime trying to ally itself with Iran, the US increases the likelihood that Iran assumes the role of strategic supplier to Iraqi insurgents and the insurgency gets fanned into a white hot fire again.

Or course, the neocons may be banking on their invasion of Iran preventing this from happening.

by VizierVic 2005-01-06 05:41PM | 0 recs
Iraq is not Viet Nam
While that is not the only important difference, it is The Big One.

Unlike the Iraqi insurgency, the Vietnamese had years effective defense from air attacks, an air force, armor and an unlimited supply of small arms and ammo.  On top of that, the Vietnamese had twenty years' experience fighting colonial powers.

Can you imagine what Iraq would be like right now if China were providing arms and money and Iran providing arms, intelligence and sanctuary?

by James Earl 2005-01-06 09:06PM | 0 recs
actually, iran IS supporting the insurgency.  go google for iran + insurgents + support and you'll find a wealth of information.  
by annatopia 2005-01-07 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: actually...
You can google all you want, but it's still GIGO.  Are you claiming that the Iranians are supporting the Sunni insurgency against the Iraqi Shia?  Just how do you arrive at that conclusion?  Just how does it make any sense?  It doesn't, which means that the current situation doesn't support Dubya'a posse's assertions that the Iranians are involved in supporting the Iraqi insurgency.  That's what those Google hits consist of -- assertions by Dubay and Rummy and Condi and the rest of the criminal conspiracy that Iran is supporting the insurgency.  It's basically deja vu of Dubya's assertions that Iraq had WMD.  They were lies then and they are certainly lies now.  Why should anyone believe the lies pumped out by this dishonest, low regime in Washington?

I have seen no informed independent commentors state explicitly that the Iranians are supporting the Iraqi Sunni insurgency.  Have you?

by VizierVic 2005-01-07 09:09AM | 0 recs
too flippant
my comment was made somewhat flippantly, and that doesn't do the seriousness of this matter justice.

so before you go off half cocked on me, take a fucking chill pill and let me elaborate.

yes, i've actually read several independent reports which suggest that iran may be assisting the insurgency in iraq.  and i'm not talking about administration propoganda.  for example, iran's government is taking a laissez-faire approach to securing their side of the iran-iraq border, and that is allowing foreigners (whatever you wanna call them - fighters, insurgents, terrorists) to easily cross over into iraq to assist the iraqi resistance.  it creates other massive problems for us, but that's another post altogether.  in addition, there is a somewhat steady flow of cash going to the iraqi resistance - where do you think it's coming from?  all over the region, including iran.  to claim that iran is helping in more ways than that right now would be careless of me as i cannot recall beyond what i just mentioned.  

however, it's still early in the game, so to speak.  and while the guys we were fighting in vietnam had assistance from a government entity from the get-go, that does not in any way preclude the possibility that other nations in the middle east will soon begin actively assisting the iraqi resistance.  

and who is to say that they ("they" being a variety of possible parties, from syria to egypt to iran to whoever) are not already doing it?  to claim otherwise would be even more foolish.  we don't even really know what the hell is going on over there on a day to day basis.  

and that is what worries me the most.  we don't know what the hell is going on or what will happen if (as i asked upthread) we leave.  but i don't see what good it does to us to stay and continue to stir the proverbial hornet's nest.  i for one would rather this not turn into a bloodbath for us like we had in vietnam.  

by annatopia 2005-01-07 12:39PM | 0 recs
Ken Mehlman?
Dubya's gonna need Baghdad Bob or Joseph Goebbels if things in Iraq continue like this.

Spin away...

by ypsilanti 2005-01-06 06:33PM | 0 recs
Arabian Union - ala the European Union but
with the critical difference that all the oil would belong to the Union not the individual "countries" of the union.

Kurdistan, of course, Sunnistan, Shiastan and Baghdad, each their own countries with their own rules and militia, all sharing all the oil via the Union. Immediately invite Jordan, Syria and Lebanon if they sufficiently democratize their governments. Be prepared for Iran, and Turkey and/or Egypt. Turkey might have a special relationship as it sees itself headed for the EU. Syria, Turkey and Iran will need to yeild some territory to the Kurds of course.

How can we get out of there. We turn over the running of the "occupation" to someone else. The UN or a real coalition of willing. We still pay for the mess - in money and a lot of bodies - we just don't get to call the shots anymore.

That's the only good way out. The Bush regime can not and will not do it.

As long as this country (the U.S.) hasn't the spine to stop the Bush regime from other invasions it is almost better that the regime is tied up in Iraq. Bad for Iraq but better for the sanity of the rest of the world.

by Jeff Wegerson 2005-01-06 06:38PM | 0 recs
don't know if it would work, but...
...interesting idea nonetheless.  that's definitely thinking outside the box.
by annatopia 2005-01-07 12:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Arabian Union - ala the European Union but
and of course i forgot to say that i don't know that it wouldn't work, either.
by annatopia 2005-01-07 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Arabian Union - ala the European Union but
I, as many in these parts, follow Jaun Cole closely. He is adamantly against partition. But I have yet to see him discuss an approach like an Arabian Union.

But what's the point. Again only the U.S. occupation could pull it off, and they have no intention of trying.

by Jeff Wegerson 2005-01-18 02:26PM | 0 recs
Looks like the generals are already making a move

Retired General Is Going to Iraq for Full Review
"The Pentagon is sending a retired four-star Army general to Iraq next week to conduct an unusual "open-ended" review of the military's entire Iraq policy ...underscores the deep concern by senior Pentagon officials and top American commanders over the direction that the operation in Iraq is taking, and its broad ramifications for the military, said some members of Congress and military analysts. ...Army officials are now considering whether to request that the temporary increase of 30,000 soldiers approved by Congress be made permanent.
...A principal focus will be to address one of the biggest problems facing the military in Iraq today: how to train Iraqi soldiers and police officers to replace the American troops now securing the country. Commanders have expressed disappointment in the performance of many of the Iraqi forces.
...In another move that could affect hundreds of thousands of members of the National Guard and Reserve, the senior Army official said the Pentagon leadership was also considering whether to change mobilization policy to allow reservists to be called up for more than 24 months of total active service, which is the current limit.
...General Luck's assignment is tacit acknowledgement that the Iraq operation, including the training program, has reached a crossroads.
...The success of that program is the linchpin to America's exit strategy from Iraq."

Got that? We need to add troops (and increase the burden on existing troops) just to maintain our position. Meanwhile, our exit strategy isn't panning out.

Damn liberal media. Somewhere in Iraq, another school got painted.

by Ottnott 2005-01-06 07:24PM | 0 recs


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