Sunday, June 25, 2006

"War" in Iraq

Warning; long post.

Adam says that no liberal blog will ever say they want to win the “war”. Well, that’s because progressives and liberals tend to be reality based. Both parties have a lunatic fringe, but by and all Dems are pretty moderate on the Iraq “war” issue. I’d personally love to win the “war”, if we had one.

I refuse to call what we’re doing in Iraq and Afghanistan a war. We don’t have a War On Terror. Terror is a tactic, not a military objective. Going in and toppling the regime, that was a war. Wars have objectives; seize terrain or resources, topple governments, that kind of thing. Operation Iraqi Freedom I (one) was a war. II and III and IV are police actions.

I can’t say I hope we win the “war” because we’re not in a war. If Adam believes we’re in a “war”, I challenge him to state how we know when we win. He is a loud and proud member of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists so I expect him to have a rational position on this issue.

The problem we’re having in Iraq is that the military has no discernible end state. All we are told is “We’ll stand down when the Iraqi’s stand up.” Well, what exactly is that? How many battalions of Iraqis constitute “standing up”? (BTW, the military has now classified the number of ready Iraqi battalions so we can’t even measure progress.)

I hope we accomplish the military objective given by our civilian leadership. Even more, I hope our civilian leadership articulates a military objective. Give our military a war and they’ll kick ass and win it. Give them a police action and they’ll be there forever.

When Adam says no liberal will hope for winning the “war” in Iraq, what is he saying? That liberals want to stay in Iraq, fighting endlessly, that they want to keep encrusting Iraqi dust with American blood? I don’t think so.

Is he saying that liberals don’t support the “war”? Well, some do, some don’t. Hillary routinely gets booed by liberals now for supporting the “war”. I'm pretty sure that I've supported the "war". Notwithstanding the reasons we went there, I gave 18 months of service during which I worked 14 hour days to accomplish my military mission.

I think what Adam is saying is that anyone who doesn’t support the war is against … the troops … the President … truth, justice and the American Way…

Consider this: We have around 130,000 troops in Iraq. Subtract around, conservatively, 10,000 for mechanics, cooks, JAG officers, civil affairs, support types that don’t get outside the wire. Subtract another conservative 10,000 for fuel, ammo and food truck drivers and other support types that do go outside the wire but don’t go on offensive missions. A bunch of the ones left are Air Force, perhaps Navy, that have minimal offensive mission. On our FOB, we had lots of Airmen and women, but their mission was base defense, not offensive operations.

Estimate 100,000 troops left. Of them, around 25% were involved in force protection; manning the perimeter, guard duty, escorting and watching local nationals, etc. 25% were coming off a mission, eating, sleeping, doing maintenance. 25% were prepping for the next mission, fueling, planning, rehearsing. That left around 25%, 25,000, for offensive operations at any given time. For the 20 million Iraqis, that’s a ratio of 1 to 800. No wonder we can’t get control of the place.

My recommendation. The President should call a full mobilization and put the country on a war footing. All Reservists and Guardsmen should go on active duty, indefinitely until demobilized. Flood Iraq with troops and resources. Seal the borders. Conduct systematic and thorough sweeps and cleanse the country of all the weapons and munitions. Provide security of utilities and pipelines. Give the Iraqis two years to “stand up”. Raise taxes to pay for it. And then get the hell out. That will have been five years, longer than we participated in combat in either WWI or WWII.

This will give the US a stake in the outcome, instead of just saying “if you don’t go shopping, the terrorists win”, and we’ll get it over with. Better two years of intense effort than 20 of what we’ve got now. General Colin Powell and General Shinseki were right; go big or stay at home.

Rational people think about what we're doing, they don't just blindly support leadership. People are dying; don't we owe it to them to examine our policies and make sure their lives are spent in a good cause? I think we honor our troops more by constantly assessing the wisdom of our policies than by "staying the course" without regard to current facts.


Chris said...

Alan, you hit the nail on the head, either Americans back this war or they don't. And having a yellow ribbon on the back of ones car does not mean they are supporting or sacrificing the war effort.

If by in larger Americans don't think that Iraq is worth the cost in lives and money to all Americans then we shouldn't be there.

It's the duty of all Americans to shoulder the burden of war, not a few thousand.

Diana Rowe Pauls said...

Great post, Alan.