Keep in mind, this nation was a complete disaster after declaring independence in 1776. I think it took something like 10 years before we developed anything that resembled organization. And after over 230 years, we still haven’t perfected democracy. Iraq isn’t like WWII where Americans died by the thousands every month. It’s not exactly a bloodbath. In the whole scheme of national defense strategy, it’s not for every individual to understand exactly what’s happening. You and I aren’t briefed by the CIA, FBI, JCS, field commanders, and a myriad of other organizations on a constant basis. Some things must be kept secret. Unfortunately, many people watch the news and think they have the complete picture and feel qualified to criticize the President about military decisions. Every war is controversial. Lincoln was bombarded by his own party for his unbending determination to hold the nation together. Now he’s an American icon because he refused to allow states to leave the union. Freeing the slaves was just a means to an end (i.e. crippling the southern economy that was dependent upon slave labor). Controversial and highly criticized in his time, but in the end pure genius.
Things in Iraq haven’t exactly happened according to the plan, but then NOTHING in war EVER happens according to the plan.[/quote]
Judging from books, leaks and interviews the plan was to start a bombing campaign while simultaneously inserting special forces soldiers, to be followed by a train of soldiers entering the country from the South, in Kuwait, and a smaller amount to the North, in what is essentially Kurdistan.
I’m not saying I’m the Secretary of Defense, but judging by the ‘mumblings’ from Generals who are still serving (it’s pretty rare for dissention from active military commanders to become public as much as it did with Rumsfeld) there was little to no post war planning, with Rumsfeld actively threatening any analysts who thought that focus should be turned to post war planning. The Generals have clearly asked for more troops despite any denials that people may have made, there have been too many things said by former military personnel and too many leaks from current personnel to believe otherwise.
We are one of the most efficient armies in the world. We are the strongest. We should have been able to dominate Iraq, but inbetween the initial routing of Saddam Hussein and people saying “what next” there appeared to be a literal pause in doing anything to secure the country, which allowed the majority of the foreign agents that are now in the country to get in.
The failure in Iraq does not speak to a failure of the troops, it speaks to a failure in leadership. From the statements of Cheney and books like Fiasco and State of Denial (which I do take with a grain of salt) there appears to be enough evidence to indicate that our leaders had what essentially was a brainfart.
But this still takes away from what I was saying before. The initial quotation that this good doctor is everything America is trying to do. I have no fucking idea what America is trying to do, at all. There were few questions raised prior to the war, I was told it was because Iraq was a threat and it was apart of the broader war on terrorism. He had the capacity to proliferate knowledge and weapons of mass destruction. Good enough for me. The problem with Iran and North Korea isn’t that they’ll attack us. They won’t. They’re states, the leaders want to remain leaders, they know they’d be obliterated. The problem with them having nuclear capability is that they will profilerate that capability to non-state actors who want to and will attack us. It’s a fine rationale for war. I understand what we were trying to do then.
What I do not understand is why the question of what we do with a gigantic, ancient country in the middle of our enemies with three seperate social groups that have hated each other much longer than you and I have been alive was raised. The complete lack of post war planning, and I mean a literal lack, as in next to no preperation made from all reports and from the testimony of Rumsfeld, Rice and Cheney on television and infront of Senate committes, is probably one of the worst things I have ever seen.
And now that our initial goal of disarming a potential nuclear threat was apparently for naught (hey, it happens), I don’t understand what our purpose is. Everything America is trying to do. What the fuck are we trying to do? It appears that none of our leaders know. Not Democrats, not Republicans, not the DoD, not the military leaders on the ground. We are in the middle of a civil war with no direction. If we want to leave, we shouldn’t pussy foot around while more people die. If we want to secure the country, the leaders made a mess for poor soldiers on the ground (per the norm of all warfare over the course of history) and they do not have enough forces on the ground to route out enemy, especially when apart of the enemy force are some of the people we are trying to secure the country for.
No one has said what we are trying to do. The question is asked to the President, the question is asked to Nancy Pelosi, the question is asked to everyone and the answer is always some overly contrived needlessly elaborate way of saying I have no idea. We’re going to stay the course, we’re changing tactics, we’re there to liberate the people, they’re going to be an ally in the Middle East, we’re going to show them a Democracy can function. These are all pretty good reasons. Unfortunately, they’re not good enough reasons for Americans to be dying and for this country to be torn apart when we need strength the most and we need a military with assets in reserve, not a reserve that’s on the frontlines.
I also have to key in on the phrase “it’s not exactly a bloodbath.” This is true, but the targeting precision by insurgents is fucking amazing. I’m talking about the terrorists, not the militas fighting each other based on leader and what sect of a religion they belong to. The terrorists are actively targeting two groups: potential military and police recruits + current military and police members (at a time when the police and military are still fledgling), and academics. The brains of the country and the brawn of the country. The future ruling class who can bring about liberalism and resist the advances of Iran and Syria, and the only people who can keep order after we leave.
That, as far as I know, did not happen en masse during our war for independence. Atleast not with the seeming ease that these people are able to do it. It seems like the terrorists actually see the “big picture” better than the leaders in Iraq and America. The in-fighting is crippling the country now, but they’re setting it up so that the country will be crippled in the future and easily dominated. Unfortunately, they’ve probably already succeeded. It seems now that this war will never end up benefiting the United States of America, or the Western World. We replaced a despot who was anti-fundamentalism, and the ideals behind Islamic fundamentalism are our enemy, with someone who is ‘doing lunch’ with representatives from Iran and Syria. The great shame is that people like the good man in the original post are stuck in a country where there is literally no direction, in a situation that everyone expects someone else to fix and more people suffer because if he is what ‘what America is trying to do there’ then he essentially epitomizes a void. We don’t need a history lesson about our war for Independence when it’s a war we fought, not a war that was fought for us. It’s a war we wanted. Many Iraqis didn’t want liberation (those who used to be in power), the only people willing to fight for it were a small amount of Kurds (who we essentially left to die after the first war) and there is severe dissention in the ranks. The only comparison that can be made between the war in Iraq and our war for independence is that people died in both. Other than that, there are no parallels to be drawn.