Stop the madness

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. One of the tasks the US military has seldom had to do is occupy a hostile foreign country. It is not duty that any soldier welcomes, because it amounts to waiting around to be shot at, and being forced to exercise superhuman restraint in responding to attacks. It is becoming clear that our military leaders have not given this task enough thought and lack clear ideas on how to deal with the current situation in Iraq.

    They walk a fine line, as does any occupation force. If you try the sort of "hearts and minds" strategy they seem to be utilizing, you are very vulnerable to terrorists and foreign troublemakers, even though their numbers can be quite small. If you adopt a hardline, Soviet-style iron fist occupation, using secret police, torture, summary executions and scorched earth policies, you embitter the whole population, and energize the usual anti-american groups in the congress, media and activist organizations.

    So what to do? I think a good start would be to stop the insanity of having troops wandering around various cities like they were on leave in Paris or Rome. They should be in hardened billetts and should go out only on patrol or other missions. If they need something , bring it to them.

    The hard core Saddam areas like Faluja should be under 24 hour curfew. Anyone on the street needs a pass. We could issue them microprocessor identity cards and be able to tell from surveillance who exactly is in an area when there is an attack. Then we round up everyone who was there and put them through the wringer. Over time you eliminate the killers, and create incentives for people to rat them out.

    I saw soemthing the other day that turned my stomach. After a bomb had blown up a humvee, a bunch of Iraqi's had the audacity to be out there "demonstrating" for us to get out. They might as well have been dragging the dead soldiers through the street. Certainly they were literally dancing on their graves. They should have all been rounded up and after thorough questioning, I'm certain some of them would have given up those responsible.

    These people are not criminal suspects that are entitled to the full Johnny Cochrane kid gloves treatment. They are defeated enemy combatants and are damn lucky we didn't just put the lot of them in internment camps, something that we can still do.

    There is a bottom line question here. Which is more important, our troops' lives or making life as easy as possible for the Iraqi's? Frankly, I think we are getting close a Vietnam type situation here. By that I do not mean the stupid "quagmire" analogies. Rather I refer to the utter immorality of exposing troops to death but at the same time not being willing to do what is necessary to win.
  2. Good! It's about time for us to hear some voices from the right expressing concern over the situation of the troops in Iraq.

    Too many on the right will just claim that Bush is a great leader, he knows whats he's doing, Viet nam was much worse, everything is under control, etc...
  3. Dude, I think you're kind of losing it here.

    Even in the "hardcore Saddam areas," there has been good cooperation with tribal leaders and the population as a whole. A crowd here or a crowd there might chant slogans of defiance over the wreck of a Humvee, but you could probably find a few crowds in areas of this country that would do the same over the wreck of a police cruiser. Likewise, a protest demonstration here or there, or a crowd of 100 shouting Saddam slogans doesn't mean much of anything.

    The comparison to Vietnam is seriously overdrawn - even within the narrow terms that you set. Even bringing it up just plays into the hands of people I know you despise. Winning in this situation will be handing off as much of the security and other governing responsibilities to Iraqis as quickly as is safe and practical. In the meantime, overkill on security measures is likely to do more harm than good.
  4. Vietnam was much worse. Much worse. Inexpressibly worse. At the height of the Vietnam war, we were losing 500 soldiers - mostly draftees - every week, and killing many more Vietnamese.
  5. There is a very easy solution. Impeachment.
  6. Hey, I know all that.... I only meant that I'd rather not hear the line 'Viet Nam was much worse' as a standard way of brushing off legitimate concerns over the safety of today's troops in Iraq.
  7. Well, that's reasonable - but what's not reasonable is presuming that it should or can be easy or safe or fun. That's not what soldiers sign up for. If personal safety is their primary concern, there are other vocations.
  8. welo


    I think the bottom line is every day that goes by and Hussein isn't captured is one more day we screwed up, and one more chance for someone to further organize underground resistance in his name.
  9. This is not the point. The question is whether or not our tactics are appropriate. There is a big difference in casualties sustained in a tank assault and some poor guy getting whacked while he's buying friggin' CD's. My impression is that for whatever reason, the brass has seriously underestimated the potential for terrorist action and has been woefully slow to change tactics.

    I have to wonder if some of that lack of urgency stems from their being ensconced in secure HQ's. I guarantee if we had lost 10 or 15 generals and colonels to these types of attacks, things would have changed very quickly.

    I am also concerned that we are using a kid gloves approach to try to hasten political cooperation from the Iraqi's and to minimize US and Euro criticism. It would not be the first time an administration has exposed ordinary citizens to increased risk for the sake of political correctness.

    I note from the morning's news that a fairly large number of putative Saddam loyalists were rounded up in sweeps last week. Perhaps things are changing, but I hate so many enlisted men had to die to prompt a change in tactics.

    I also don't understand the domestic politics of this. The single worst thing for the administration is a continued flow of body bags. It makes the operation look unsuccessful, anyone who says that such deaths are unavoidable appears horribly callous and it plays into the hands of the quagmire chorus. After the occupation phase began, their main objective should have been to minimize casualties. Instead, it appears to have been an afterthought.
  10. I disagree: The main objective at all times has to be the overall mission - the political objective in the broadest sense, which hinges on making Iraq a long-term success, certainly not Bush's poll numbers on any given day, and not even minimization of casualties. Obviously, if short-term minimization of casualties was the main objective, then we'd be rushing them all home on every available plane and boat. Achieving the main objective and the key secondary objectives such as getting the Husseins, establishing and reinforcing local indigenous government and security, continuously collecting intelligence (which requires direct contact with Iraqis of all types), and so on, requires risks, and any sign of weakness, fear, or uncertainty only increases the risks both short- and long-term.
    #10     Jul 21, 2003