November 01, 2005
More Positive News?
Posted by scott at November 01, 2005 03:19 PM
Instapundit linked up this CSM article which seems to indicate progress, at least in the short term, is being made in some of the toughest regions in Iraq:
This city just 50 miles north of Baghdad was crawling with Sunni Arab mortar teams, snipers, and bombmakers. They had made parts of the city their own, killing police when they found them and driving the rest into hiding. Their grip was so strong that only 60 percent of the region's polling places opened for Iraq's first post-Saddam election. In Buhritz, not a vote was cast; some polling sites were torched.
But today, US commanders are pointing to Baquba as a symbol of what might go right. Every polling place stayed open all day for the Oct. 15 referendum that approved Iraq's new constitution earlier this month. Violence was light, while voter turnout was high.
The longer the Vietnam war went on, the more common stories about how bad the South's armed forces were became. With Iraq, the opposite seems to be true.
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2025 US troop deaths since the invasion.
Pat - if anyone told you this was going to be casualty-free, find them and smack them. They lied. That being said, I still think we're looking at the lowest overall total number of KIA's for any operation this size ever. While I realize that you oppose the war, the number of deaths should absolutely not be a deterrent to our continued committment to this cause.
I may be mistaken (What a shock right??)
For historical perspective, according to "Casualties - US vs NVA/VC" In the first FOUR years of Vietnam (1961-65) US Killed in Action (KIA) totaled only 1,864 (only?).
We have now surpassed that number in just over TWO years of conflict in Iraq.
Without the advances in Medical technology as well as personal protection (Body Armor) the death toll for Iraq would probably be at the very least DOUBLE what it is now.
At what point do you think we cut our losses and get out Ron?? Scott??
5K dead?? 10??
Two years?? Five?? Ten??
Just curious not flaming or anything.
I'm still not even close to convinced that Viet Nam is a good comparison at all. At a high level, you could say that we're looking at a superpower fighting a third world government. However, once you take one step past that, the comparisons start to break down. First off, the force structure is different - we've completely defeated the Iraqi army. We were still fighting the NVA. In fact, in VN, our opposition was being supplied by another superpower - what's left in Iraq isn't. Third, instead of attempting to prop up some random existing government, we're attempting to help guide the Iraqi's in instituting their own. Those are major, major differences that cannot be overlooked in any comparison.
Last point on the difference - last I heard, we're now looking to stop terrorist movement (no, I won't call them insurgents - gives too much dignity to those who will indiscriminately blow up children and innocent bystanders for no military value) and limit their effectiveness by doing such, not try to lure a major fighting force out into the open where we could fight them. Also, as noted below, the formation of the government keeps happening in spite of their best efforts. So, to me this smacks more of desparation attempts on behalf of the terrorists to try and sap the will of the Americans.
The other thing not mentioned in your stats is the relative levels of troops on the ground for those periods. At the end of 1965, it appears* that the number of troops reached 184K, however, at the beginning of the year, it was roughly 16K. So, the casualty rate would appear to be higher during that time period - in fact, it could be substantially higher, enough so that advances in body armor and the like are negated.
But, to your point - when do we stop? When the job is done. That's the best answer that I have. Like it or not, we started this war and we have to finish it - and progress appears to be being made. More and more people are participating in the elections. The formation of the government keeps moving ahead. The local forces keep getting more and more training and keep getting better at what they do.
*do a web search on 'americanizing the war' and you should get a page from faculty dot smu dot edu - can't post it as the filter keeps blocking me...
Seconded, Ron. I can't believe how many people keep telling me they didn't know the war in Iraq was going to take more than a week. Ten years was Bush's conservative estimate.
But then, I don't pay much attention to the MSM, so maybe people who still trust them are getting fed that BS.
Total deaths 2028. I never said anything about pulling out. I just want to remind people that there are troops being killed on a daily basis, real living breathing young people. We don't see any of the flag covered caskets coming off planes. I just need to know that someone other than Rumsfield, Cheney are in charge. I read lots, of blogs, newspapers, cable news including Fox. Everything cannot be blamed on the MSM.
Pat, it must feel so good for you that the United States invaded Iraq. If that hadn't happened, your most substantiative slogan would be "Selected, Not Elected". The alliteration is cute, but it's hardly a rallying cry for the Dem/Left cause. But now all you have to do is quote a number.
Except that if deaths were important to you, then why aren't you discussing the number of civilians killed by Hussein's regime? The problems caused by his refusal to disarm and allow inspectors free rein?
Oh, right--they were just a bunch of Iraqis, and who cares about them? It's not like white people were dying out there...
I have studied the Vietnam war a bit.
No there is no superpower supplying the insurgents. But there are several VERY RICH nations doing it (Iran/Syria) and where are they buying thier weapons from??
When we started in Vietnam we were fighting the VC. After we kicked the snot out of the VC the NVA started filtering in.
From several accounts that I have read it is possibale that we may be seeing Army trained Iranians/Syrians taking up the cause.
How long has that region been fought over?? How long has there been Despots and tyrants??
Until the Job is done?? What defines that?? A new goverment in place?? An Iraqi army able to defend itself?? If you look at the history of this type of transition/government then it wont take long for an enterprising General to stage a Coup and take over. Back to square one. Job done.
How long do we stay??
5 years? 10? 100?
Stay the course?? How far are you willing to go?? Bankrupt the US?? Totally destroy our ability to affect things in other parts of the world?? (Iraq is a HUGE drain on our rescources right now)
Do I say get out?? I don't really know. But we MUST have an exit strategy IMHO the only viable one is earlier is better.
We are still in Korea after 50+ years.
And the benefits that South Korea has given us have far outweighed the effort we put into it, despite the occasional spasm of anti-Americanism they continue to experience.
Iraq is quite different from Korea, but the benefits of a free Iraq could be even greater, throughout the entire region. We're not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel yet, and won't for quite some time (and those wearing the MSM blinders never will). But we're at least continuing to move forward, despite claims to the contrary.
Jeff - We're still in Japan as well as Korea, and it's been a mutual benefit to all of us.
You might not have been trolling before, but I think you are now. Yes, I said we stay the course - and that course has been pretty clearly defined. We stick around until Iraq has a government capable of sustaining itself. That's easy. How long does it take? Dunno - but significant steps have been made and continue to be made.
As for your comment about Iran and Syria supplying cash and/or weapons - it's possible, but when did either of these countries even come close to qualifying as a superpower? And, even if they are getting them from China, China is a very big regional power, not a superpower.
Last point to your doom and gloom scenario - it's definitely costly in terms of men and material, but I don't think it's near the drain that people think it is or that it's played up to be in the media. Nor do I think what we're doing will keep going on forever, as you seem to be implying.
As for an exit strategy, while it sounds good, what it basically does is give the opposition a deadline/milestone to aim for. All they have to do is make us miss this date, not accomplish what we came to do by some artificial date, etc., and then they can start back in again. To do that has the effect of limiting what we can and can't do - plus, it has the effect of forcing the terrorists to play their hand sooner, which means we can find and eliminate them. It's a huge task, no doubt - but every day that we get further into this process, coupled with every milestone successfully met in the formation of the government means more "buy in" from the Iraqi civilians - and they're the ones that will eventually win this by no longer accepting terrorist rule.
So Ron what you are saying is that if our presence is required in Iraq for the next 60+ years thats ok with you??
Syria/Iran are not super powers?? No they aren't but they have ##$#@s of money to supply and support the Insurgency and every reason not to want a stable government in Iraq. LMAO that you don't think China is a Super Power just a very big regional power.
You talk about all these milestones yet the violence increases everyday. Doom and Gloom?? How about learning the lessons that History teaches us rather than repeating mistakes made??
Look at the history of democratic governments in the third world. How many have succeded?? How many Coups?? How many governments has the US propped up in the region (The Shaw of Iran, Shoot Saddam for that matter many others) Look how well that turned out.
As far as draining our rescources?? Right now this very minute the US Army could NOT engage in another regional conflict of any large size because of it's commitments in Iraq and the drain on manpower and material. I wont even go into how much $$$ this is costing us.
I just have to wonder what your postition would have been on Vietnam in the late 1960s/Early 70s.
Jeff - good job of trying to strawman me. First of all, I never said 60+ years. I made comparison to other countries where we've had a continued presence that have been of great economic benefit to us - not a detriment, but I notice that you managed to completely ignore them in your analysis. You've also managed to do a very bad job of comparing past attempts at creating democratic governments with what we're doing here - in the past, our goal was to find a leader that was sympathetic with us, not popularly elected, and then basically place them in power. That's certainly not what's happening here. But, to specifically address your statements:
So Ron what you are saying is that if our presence is required in Iraq for the next 60+ years thats ok with you?? Are you trying to twist my comparison of our military presence in Japan and Korea into the ability to say that we're going to continue with the status quo for the next 60 years? That I'm supporting us fighting and dying for the next 60 years? That doesn't seem to be an accurate comparison to those countries, now does it?
Syria/Iran are not super powers?? No they aren't but they have ##$#@s of money to supply and support the Insurgency and every reason not to want a stable government in Iraq. True, but that's also being addressed diplomatically and it's frowned on by the international community. Syria and Iran may be buying arms and people, but it's going to start getting detrimental to them - China could afford to do that, as could Russia - these countries really can't. And, as the evidence continues to mount, the world will have to take action. LMAO that you don't think China is a Super Power just a very big regional power. Let's see - how to define a superpower. One working definition might be an economic and military might that places it well above the rest of the world. China fails on both counts - though they keep getting closer and closer. Why? First of all, their economy is propped up by their government and artificially-adjusted currency values. If they bothered to value their currency the way the rest of the world does, you'd see a drop in their economic power initially prior to it becoming more stable and moving forward. That being said, they're also not leading the world in any real innovations, just a source of cheap labor - without that, they won't really move into economic super power status. As for military might, being big doesn't mean being good (see Iraq). Additionally, the Chinese Army can get to the rest of Asia (that it touches) and Japan - not to us. They have absolutely no ability to get their army in any position to attack us - or most of the world's economies, for that matter. Russia could have. We certainly can. We're they stupid enough to try, our Air Force would absolutely sweep them from the skies. It'd be bloody due to the sheer difference in numbers, but they'd lose. If they tried to get troops to us, they'd be forced to use airlift capabilities - and with no air defense, they're done. Secondarily, they could try and ship them to us - and I get the feeling that our Navy would put a very, very quick stop to that. Nukes might be an option, but even that favors us to a huge degree. This is why I limit them to being a very big regional player, not a super power.
You talk about all these milestones yet the violence increases everyday. Have two major votes occurred? And did the second vote have even more voters than the first? And did both of them confirm the democratic process going forward? Doom and Gloom?? How about learning the lessons that History teaches us rather than repeating mistakes made?? Again - we've learned. Maybe I didn't state that explicitly, but I have now. We're doing things significantly differently than in Viet Nam, or any other attempt at nation-building we've tried. We're letting the Iraqi people decide what works best for them. And they're writing their own constitution, electing their own leaders, and moving forward. A better question would be how aren't we applying the lessons learned?
Look at the history of democratic governments in the third world. How many have succeded?? How many Coups?? How many governments has the US propped up in the region (The Shaw of Iran, Shoot Saddam for that matter many others) Look how well that turned out. See above - lessons learned are being applied
As far as draining our rescources?? Right now this very minute the US Army could NOT engage in another regional conflict of any large size because of it's commitments in Iraq and the drain on manpower and material. I wont even go into how much $$$ this is costing us. Yeah, and right now I couldn't write a check for a brand new Ferrari. Doesn't show need in any way, shape or form. The simple fact is that they aren't needed elsewhere - nor are they likely to be needed elsewhere. If they were, I get the feeling we'd figure a way out of it.
I just have to wonder what your postition would have been on Vietnam in the late 1960s/Early 70s. Irrelevant to the current discussion.
And, in the meantime, good job of ignoring the points I brought up RE the exit strategy and Viet Nam. I've pointed out, and you haven't argued against, that Viet Nam isn't a good comparison to the current war, therefore, I must consider the point conceded. Given that, continued references don't seem to be doing any good.
100,000+ civilian casualties in Iraq since 2003 including women and children. Now no more about this please. We can agree to disagree.