Author Topic: 2500  (Read 533 times)

Asmodean Prime

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2500
« on: June 22, 2006, 10:20:11 AM »
Today marks the 2500th combat death in the war in Iraq. Today also marks the beginning of the biggest debate in the House since the war's inception. The Republicans have offered a resolution tying the Iraq "war" to the ongoing war on terrorism. They have prevented the Democrats from offering any amendments to the resolution. By framing the issue in this way, the Republicans hope to continue their obfuscation of the issues, and paint the Democrats into a "cut and run" corner just prior to the mid-term elections.

2500 deaths. Nearly 20,000 wounded. Troops now being deployed for their 3rd and 4th tours of duty....and on and on. Ok, the purpose of this mini-rant...the war on terror versus the war in Iraq. Can they be separated? Most people have now come to realize that there was no "terrorist" movement in Iraq prior to our invasion. For those that still maintain that fiction, I suggest you dust the cobwebs off of your reading glasses. I won't even waste the time with you. No, I am here to contend that the current argument, that Iraq is and will be a haven for terrorists if we redeploy, is equally flawed reasoning.

We are in the midst of a civil war that we have unleashed. Our troops are reviled by most of the "Iraqi" populace, and the vast, vast majority want us to depart immediately. The "insurgency" is not a terrorist movement; it is homegrown Sunnis and Shia fighting each other and us. The military has been loathe to estimate the number of "foreign" fighters in Iraq, of late, but General Abizaid estimated them to be fewer than 1,000 in late 2004. The range is 2 to 6 percent of all fighters, from the various reports I have read.

So, can we agree to dispense with the fiction that we are fighting the terrorists in Iraq? No? How about this then...when we finally redeploy, whether it is after another 100 American deaths, or another 2500, the Iraqis themselves will eliminate the foreign fighters. Of course, Iraq might have formed three countries, as there has never been a true Iraqi identity, but so be it. Poorly thought out plans by the current administration are fraught with consequences we are only beginning to come to grips with. Iran has been emboldened by our quagmire in Iraq. North Korea has set the administration back on its heels time and time again. Somalia has been taken over by Islamic fundamentalists, and we are too weak politically and militarily to do anything about it. The Taliban in Afghanistan has been reinvigorated, and is now fighting in battalion size units, as opposed to platoon size, a year ago...largely because we have starved them of the necessary resources. Pakistan is one bullet or bomb away from becoming the largest Islamofascist country in the world...and they have nuclear bombs, and have shown a propensity to share technology.

Yet, with all this, we continue to fritter away our resources in Iraq. Oh yeah, and the precious lives of our troops.

Straw man? You betcha.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Anonymous »

Big Mac

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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2006, 10:42:25 AM »
The shit's gonna hit the fan soon. The way everything is going down hill, I recommend getting a rifle and getting ready for when it goes to shit, the way this current administration is taking us down the crapper. Wait, does that violate the Deceny Act?
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Big Mac »
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And what if pigs shit candy?

Whitney

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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2006, 11:16:05 AM »
When this whole thing started I questioned Bush's intention in invading Iraq. His statement about God speaking to him causes me to wonder if he isn't invading to fight terrorism as he likes to make us believe, but that he was invading because they are mostly Islamic. Freedom, ya right, you can't force democracy on people.

I know apologizing isn't really part of US policy, but I think we should admit we were wrong for invading, offer financial support to help them rebuild, and leave. At this point it's become quite apparent that we are doing a lot more harm than good both to ourselves, foreign policy, and Iraq.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Whitney »

Asmodean Prime

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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2006, 11:17:54 AM »
I also posted this in a forum in my town, and had an interesting debate ensue.  For anyone interested, here it is.   :sw:

Quote
cj wrote...2500. Today marks the 2500th combat death in the war in Iraq. Today also marks the beginning of the biggest debate in the House since the war's inception. The Republicans have offered a resolution tying the Iraq "war" to the ongoing war on terrorism. They have prevented the Democrats from offering any amendments to the resolution. By framing the issue in this way, the Republicans hope to continue their obfuscation of the issues, and paint the Democrats into a "cut and run" corner just prior to the mid-term elections.


Nelson: My only comment on this paragraph is that the Democrats seem to do a pretty good job of cutting and running without Republicans help. Of course Kerry preparing to offer a resolution to pull our troops out of Iraq came before the discovery of the latest Al Quieda documents that in essence said Al Quieda were losing in Iraq.

cj...Thank you for making my point. Yes, “Al-Qa’ida in Iraq”, Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s organization, has been fading, as the Sunni-Shia civil war has exploded over the last year. Although deadly, and vicious, his involvement has only been minor in comparison to the growing internal conflict. The foreign component, for which he was significantly responsible, has always been a bit player in the civil war. As I mentioned elsewhere in my post, General Abizaid estimated the foreign component to be less than 1,000 in late 2004. If we accept your reasoning that Al-Qa’ida in Iraq is “losing”, then the violence should be lessening. As we can see, this Straw Man is without substance. Our own military has suffered increasing casualties every month of the year, so far. We are losing the equivalent of a battalion per month in deaths and injuries. The number of deaths and injuries to Iraqis has exploded during that same time. Civil war or terrorist campaign? Please keep in mind that my post was about the link House Republicans are attempting to make between the war on terror and the conflict in Iraq. cj

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No, I am here to contend that the current argument, that Iraq is and will be a haven for terrorists if we redeploy, is equally flawed reasoning.

Nelson: I haven't read any articles that contend Iraq will be a haven for terrorists. I have however read several articles contending that the terrorists are backing and providing weapons for the Sunni lead insurgency.

cj...That’s curious. I found 160,000 articles with a .34 second Google search. Let me cite one of the results. “The Associated Press reported the administration was so determined to get its message out that the Pentagon distributed a highly unusual 74-page ‘debate prep book’ filled with ready-made answers for criticism of the war. The Pentagon's battle plan for the debate said that ‘Iraq will become a haven for terrorists, murderers and thugs’ if the United States left ‘before the job is done.’ “ http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20 ... 059672.asp The “debate” being referred to, is the debate taking place in the House…and once again, that is what my post is about…the House Republicans creating a Straw Man, suggesting that a redeployment will create a “haven for terrorists”. By depicting the internal strife, whether you want to call it a “civil war”, which I do, or as sectarian violence on a massive level that dwarfs any foreign involvement, as “terrorism”, belies the facts. By disguising the truth, the Republicans hope to hide the facts from the American people, and has been shown time and time again, they will probably succeed, as facts never seem to get in the way.
Regarding your other comment, the “terrorists” are the recipients of the backing, not the source. The sources are numerous, and they supply both the small number of foreign jihadists, and the overwhelming majority of the insurgency, those homegrown fighters engaged in the civil war against the Shia. I cite the DIA testimony to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities and the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in July of 2005… “the main external sources of financing for the Iraqi insurgents are wealthy private donors in the Middle East and elsewhere, former elements of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime, and corrupt members of transnational charities.” http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/libra ... usia02.htm cj


Quote
We are in the midst of a civil war that we have unleashed. Our troops are reviled by most of the "Iraqi" populace, and the vast, vast majority want us to depart immediately. The "insurgency" is not a terrorist movement; it is homegrown Sunnis and Shia fighting eachother and us. The military has been loathe to estimate the number of 'foreign" fighters in Iraq, of late, but General Abizaid estimated them to be fewer than 1,000 in late 2004. The range is 2 to 6 percent of all fighters, from the various reports I have read.

Nelson:
There would always have been a "civil war" (as you call it) except Sadamn was killing all the Shia. It is accepted that the Sunnis are the majority of the insurgency and the latest estimates that I found were that less than 20,000 Sunni were insurgents in a country of millions. How can you call that a civil war?
And I simply cannot accept that the "vast, vast majority" want us to depart immediately. I read daily aout the Iraquis glad we are there. This question is a matter of who you believe when you read articles printed.
As far a 2 to 6 percent are foreign fighters, I would ask this question. If we were engaged in an armed conflict in this country, a civil war so to speak, at what percent of foreign fighter would you become upset?
After all, how many mob bosses are needed to keep the mob in business and how many gang leaders are needed to keep a gang going?

cj...You certainly are entitled to believe that the Iraqis are “glad we are there”. However, try as I might, I can’t find any legitimate sources that share that opinion. The latest WPO poll shows that 87% overall, 94% of Sunni, 90% of Shia, and 64% of Kurds want the newly elected government to set a timeline for withdrawal. The same poll found that 47% overall, 88% of Sunni, 41% of Shia, and 16% of Kurds approve of attacks on US forces. http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/ ... 5&lb=hmpg2
Regarding your estimate of Sunni insurgents, I’ll have to side with General Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when he states that “he is not sure that even the Iraqi insurgents themselves know how many members are associated with their movement.” At the time of his testimony in February, he stated that there were 50 to 60 insurgent operations on any given day. The number was revised to an average of 70 per day in testimony by General Maples, director of the DIA., in testimony given to the Senate Armed Services Committee. That has risen to 90 per day in May. This compares with an average of 25 per day in 2004.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... usia02.htm
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... E&refer=us
I am very glad that you asked the question “If we were engaged in an armed conflict in this country, a civil war so to speak, at what percent of foreign fighter would you become upset?” The answer is there should be no tolerance for foreign fighters in a civil war, and we only have to look at our own history to see how we reacted when the British wanted to intervene in our own civil war. They had the good sense to back off, when the Union threatened retaliation.
I find it ironic that you are actually referring to the jihadists as foreign fighters, and not our own military. Most Iraqis see us as occupiers, not residents…”foreign fighters”, so to speak. They want both of us to disappear. I agree with Congressman Murtha, in that we have become the main attraction for foreign insurgents and that once we leave, the Iraqis will solve that aspect of the “foreign” insurgency on their own. They will then be left their own civil strife, and will have to resolve it, just as we resolved our own civil war without the intervention of outside forces. We can find better uses for a trillion dollars, and the blood of our brave troops. cj


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So, can we agree to dispense with the fiction that we are fighting the terrorists in Iraq? No? How about this then...when we finally redeploy, whether it is after another 100 American deaths, or another 2500, the Iraqis themselves will eliminate the foreign fighters.

Nelson:No, I do disagree. We are fighting terrorists led insurgents bent on keeping the mideast in turmoil. I do, however, agree the the Iraquis when properly trained, will eliminate foreign fighters.

cj...I think I have already addressed the “foreign fighters” myth. cj

Quote
Somalia has been taken over by Islamic fundamentalists, and we are too weak politically and militarily to do anything about it.

Nelson:
Oh, can you just hear from the media and the Democrats if we decided to go into Somalia?

cj...You are missing the larger issue. By concentrating our forces in a useless conflict, by alienating the world community, we have sacrificed our ability to respond to real threats. Somalia has huge potential of now becoming a training ground for more terrorists, and we are pretty much powerless to do anything about it, as we have squandered our resources, both militarily and diplomatically. Our enemies throughout the world have become emboldened by our Iraqi folly. cj

Quote
The Taliban in Afghanistan has been reinvigorated, and is now fighting in batallion size units, as opposed to platoon size, a year ago...largely because we have starved them of the necessary resources.

Nelson: Would those necessary resources be poppy growing and the opium business? Incidentally we have just began a new campaign against the "batallion sized" units.

cj...Sorry, I don’t really understand what you are trying to say. I suggest you read my other essay titled “Taliban mini-rant”, wherein I give a brief history of the past several years, and outline the massive growth in the drug trade…and it is because we starved the Afghanistan conflict of the resources to prevent it from occurring. That starvation is a direct result of the diversion of resources to Iraq, if you are to believe General McCaffrey, and other Generals with first-hand experience in that arena.

Yes, I am well aware that we are responding to the new offensive in Afghanistan. I just heard from a friend yesterday…her unit had its first KIA the day before. The reason that conflict has been allowed to resurrect itself is due to our diversion of resources to Iraq. I don’t know how it could be any clearer. For those that are unaware of the designations, platoon size is considered to be 10 to 20. Battalion is considered to be 200 to 300.

For those that are mired in the details, I refer you to my original post. Please don’t be side-tracked. The war on terrorism is not the War in Iraq…never has been. Once we leave, we can refocus on the real dangers that exist in the world. cj

 
Quote
The same poll found that 47% overall, 88% of Sunni, 41% of Shia, and 16% of Kurds approve of attacks on US forces.

Nelson:
You wouldn't know this of course because you haven't been here that long, but I am very skeptical as to polls. Numbers can be shuffled to whatever the presenter wants them to show. All polls. However, I wouldn't argue too much the above numbers. For sure the Sunnis want us gone, we have ruined their way of life.

cj...Nelson, I agree that one should be skeptical about polls. I took a statistics course many ages ago that dealt with polls and how easy they are to manipulate. It is for this reason that I chose a poll that is open about the methodology employed, and the actual questions used...all of the questions, and the order in which they were asked, which is how polls are most often manipulated. Check out the link...
http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/ ... 5&lb=hmpg2
The board of advisors for this organization is very balanced, as you will see.
The stat that surprised me, was that even a portion of Kurds want to kill Americans...not just almost all of the Sunnis and half of the Shia. I can't imagine being a soldier there, and never knowing who to trust


Nelson:Did you read the methodology on that link?
They only support parts of the conclusion.
I won't list them because I believe that only you and I are debating this poll but it doesn't support your argument either. Is your argument based on the conclusion of this poll or by looking at the methodology?

cj...Yes, I read it. Here it is, for those that are interested: I'm not sure what your objection is to the methodology...it seems rather well thought out to me.
METHODOLOGY
The survey was designed and analyzed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes for WorldPublicOpinion.org. Field work was conducted through D3 Systems and its partner KA Research in Iraq. Face-to-face interviews were conducted among a national random sample of 1,000 Iraqi adults 18 years and older. An over sample of 150 Iraqi Sunni Arabs from predominantly Sunni Arab provinces (Anbar, Diyalah and Salah Al-Din) was carried out to provide additional precision with this group. The total sample thus was 1,150 Iraqi adults. The data were weighted to the following targets (Shia Arab, 55%, Sunni Arab 22%, Kurd 18%, other 5%) in order to properly represent the Iraqi ethnic/religious communities.
The sample design was a multi-stage area probability sample conducted in all 18 Iraqi provinces including Baghdad. Urban and rural areas were proportionally represented. A total of 5 sampling points (4 urban and 1 rural) of the 116 employed were replaced for security reasons with substitutes in the same province and urban/rural classification. Among all the cases drawn into the sample, a 94% contact rate and 74% completion rate were achieved.

I suppose I could have listed all twenty questions, but did not want to bore people to tears. Therefore, I only listed the two questions that had the most relevance...should the US stay and are US soldiers allies or enemies. The Iraqi response was rather clear on those two points.

Nelson:
My apology for using the term methodology when I meant the listing of the questions. It probably caused you some valuble time in researching that part.
However using your synopsis of the questions asked on the WPO poll and assuming for a moment, just a moment, I was inclined to believe the poll :

Quote
The latest WPO poll shows that 87% overall, 94% of Sunni, 90% of Shia, and 64% of Kurds want the newly elected government to set a timeline for withdrawal. The same poll found that 47% overall, 88% of Sunni, 41% of Shia, and 16% of Kurds approve of attacks on US forces. http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/ ... 5&lb=hmpg2


The first part: To set a timeline...That question was asked in two parts ie, . Would you like to newly formed Iraqi government to ask the US-led forces to withdraw within six months?

35% yes
Kurds 13%
Shia 22%
Sunni 83%

2. Gradually withdraw according to a 2 year timetable?
35 percent Yes
Kurds 28%
Shia 49%
Sunni 11%

You combined the two questions to get your numbers. Thus giving the impression (at least to me) that the majority wanted us out, well yes they do but it appears after two years which I believe right now is consensus of opinion of when we will leave.

The second part: Approval of atacks on US forces, another two part question in which you combined numbers.

The question was asked if strongly approve or somewhat approved. You combined those two also.

But what you didn't say was about some of the other questions that were asked and what I say doesn't support the poll or your argument.

They are:
1. Do you think Iraq today is generally headed in the right direction?
64% Yes

2. Do you think recent parliamentary elections were fair?
66% yes

3. Do you think that the government to be established by the newly-elected parliament will be ligitimate representatives of the Iraq people?
68% Yes

4. Thinking about any hardships you might have suffered since the US-Britain invasion, do you personaly think that ousting Saddam was worth it?
77% Yes

5. The presence of US forces attracts more violent attacks and makes things worse?
11% Yes

6. I do not like the way US forces have treated Iraqi civilians.
2% Yes

I think that the above 6 question show how invalid the rest of the poll showed. Also, the first three would have never had a chance to be asked if not for the US invasion.
Let me say also, that in no way do I think you skewed the figures to make your point but it does show how figures on polls can be misleading.

cj...Fair enough, Nelson. I am somewhat surprised that you think combining the two questions to demonstrate a timeline for US withdrawal is desired by the Iraqis, is misleading. I also find it interesting that because 33% want us out within 6 months, and an additional 35% want us out by the end of two years, that you "combine" this to state "they do but it appears after two years"...kinda ignoring that an equal amount want us out now, basically. Seems like a bit of an inconguous argument, once you did that.

Next, "two years which I believe right now is consensus of opinion of when we will leave"...if only it were so. However, as demonstrated in the House debate (which was what this thread was originally about), no timeline is wanted by the Republicans. In fact, many, many Republicans, and almost all of their neocon philosophers have suggested that we will be there for ten to twenty years, and some very influential people have suggested a permanent presence. Hmm, if China established a permanent military presence in, let's say, Canada and Mexico (to analogize what Iran is experiencing with our presence in ALL of the countries bordering them), do you think we might be a tad worried and upset, and getting ready to develop nuclear weapons (if we didn't have them)? Ok, I think I'll form another thread to expound upon that particular concept.

Next, half of the Iraqi populace think it is just dandy to be attacking American troops, and yet you want to parse this into "somewhat approve" and "strongly approve"? oy vey. Let me analogize once again; if half of America thought it was cool to shoot policemen, would you be as sanguine? Nelson, can you possibly remember what this was all about, and recognize that 3 1/2 years after launching this disaster, we still have a disaster on our hands? 90 attacks per day, 360% of what they averaged in 2004. Let's keep in mind that my digging for statistics was in response to your claim that the Iraqis are “glad we are there”. Hmm, I guess Cheney was analogizing too, when he suggested flowers would be thrown...he must have been using code for bullets and bombs.

Next, Iraqis are happy Saddam is gone, and have hope that the new government will succeed...what exactly is that supposed to prove? Hell yeah, the Shia and Kurds are happy that a brutal dictator is out of the picture. They have hope for their new government. They're not crazy. Those questions did not ask anything about American involvement...they still want us out, and they still want us dead. I can't see how that proves they are "glad we are there". I sure hope you aren't happy with your neighbors in the same way, or we might be reading about you in the Courier any day now.  

Lastly, only 2% do not like the way our military has treated civilians. I LOVE this stat. I am ex-military, and with all of the stories surrounding Haditha of late, I only hope the populace continues to feel this way. I think it is proof that our soldiers act with respect as individuals, and try extemely hard to be goodwill ambassadors. Apparently, the Iraqis are able to distinguish between the "occupiers" and the soldiers and Marines...but they still want us out, and they still want us dead.

Folly, pure folly.


Nelson:
cj. we can agree to disagree on this matter.

Ok, I guess I failed to convince Nelson...but I am including this here, as it had some additional info that might be of interest.

oh yeah, I am cj, in case you did not figure that out. ;)

 :ninja:
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Anonymous »