CPA and Sanchez rejected tribal help in ’03.

Iraq_ethnoreligious_1992 In response to my post yesterday concerning the present participation of Sunni Arab tribes in fighting Al-Qa’ida in Iraq, I received the message below from a retired senior Army intelligence officer who served in Iraq in 2003 and 2004.  This message recounts the failure of the CPA and Joint Task Force-7 (Sanchez) to take advantage of the willingness of the same tribes to fight AQII then.  This officer was a personal participant in the effort to bring the tribes into the fight at that time.
Take note of the reference to the attitude in the CPA at that time to the effect that the "new Iraq" would not want to deal with tribes.  This is yet another instance of the Utopian nonsense that has shaped American policy in Iraq during the Bush ’43 administration.  The blue words are mine, added for clarity.  pl
  Super comments about the Anbar tribes.  Maybe the Americans working with the tribes today, if they are, appreciate the qualities of the Bedouins.  In the event anyone is interested, unfortunately, here’s what happened in DEC 2003 to mid Jan 2004:
   With help of an Arab American businessman and translator working at CPA, accumulated 19 Anbar sheiks who were willing to commit their tribes to fighting AQ.  They were going to disarm their folks, and with our authorization and assistance (AK-47’s, some money, some vehicles, and a recognition of them – a "Patch" or something), they were going to boot foreigners out, and secure their areas.  They would recognize the police, should any be out there.  They were going to recognize whatever politicians were in the province.  The only thing we offered in addition to getting the funding and equipment was that we had business lined up to come in once they were secure.  No kidding, the Arab American had businesses lined up.  The money provided by us would allow the tribal chief to start generating economy.  Each of the 19 tribal chiefs would get equivalent of $200 per man monthly, starting off with 50 men.  Our tribal Arab American businessman had a handshake with all 19 sheiks on objectives and who would do what.  No city sheiks, or what the Iraqis referred to as "the false sheiks."
  The concept was that once the 19 tribes got going, more would join in.  Once Anbar in progress, would move south of Baghdad, then north.
  Grand total for what it would have cost from Jan – Jun 04 was $3 million. No bribes – no coercion — only operating costs.
  they would have provided weekly progress reports.  They were motivated. They knew if they didn’t perform, they wouldn’t get the income for their people.  Heck, we even developed metrics for what would constitute progress (for CJTF  (Sanchez)and CPA (Bremer) consumption).
Spent 2 weeks doing circular briefings at CPA, driving the IED/sniper alley between CPA and Victory daily. First go round of the concept to one of Bremer’s deputy ambassadors sent us back with the instructions that every DIV had to concur.  OK — rapid staff work thru CJTF-7 put this out to the field. Multi-page paper and brief slides.  Brief slides also showed the areas in Anbar the tribes would cover.  Made clear to the units what this helped:  areas of roads they would secure and areas that needed to be IPB (intelligence analysis) by us and then covered down on for us to detect and act against enemies.
Got all the "concurs" back finally.  82nd was out in Anbar at the time.  they didn’t non-concur either with our lead in assessment that Anbar was broiling and AQ threat had to be stopped immediately.  AQ was using the area between Anbar and Mosul as a peninsula — freedom of movement.
Well, then the circus began.  Multiple rounds of CPA briefs.  Finally, all the pillar heads in the room, along with CIA, British intel, and some military.  Oil guys were worried that we intended to take over their security.  Went back over the concept, said these guys were not replacing infrastructure security – they were going to rid their areas of AQ, keep the MSRs (main supply routes) clear, and basically, make it a blood feud if anyone committed an act of violence in their area.
The last two holdouts, not pillar heads — ambassador types and 1 military. Comments were:
  (Sanchez’s POLAD) – "We don’t want to recognize tribes in the new Iraq.  The city folk want modern life – not tribes"  Same echo’ed by one of her diplomat buddies.
  (Military)  How can you guarantee that these sheiks won’t then oppose the political electees? 
Outcome: majority in favor.  Need to present it to Bremer.
Went thru Amb Jones (I believe my memory serves me right here) and the newly appointed "Community Outreach office head — amb guy named Schlecker (had been in Egypt and a few other places.  They said " we need to see an outline of how we would control this — what support architecture do we need?
OK — went back and drew them a picture of an office with about 10 folks, including budgetary oversight.
Back in:  answer was: we don’t have $3 million.  They had billions per supplemental but said they didn’t have money – go get it from Sanchez. I argued that this was their program.  Nope – they refused to touch it.
Here’s what they were doing: they set up a series of town hall meetings under Schlecker with the city sheiks.  Then they wanted to build some community centers out in the provinces.
Went to see the British general who was at CPA — deputy CDR for Sanchez.  Briefed him.  Came back after whatever he did to get with Sanchez – answer was "you aren’t going tog et support for this initiative. Drop it."
So, we had to go thru Anbar in APR 04, then in fall of ’04, and another couple of years of AQ in Anbar to get back to where we thought we should have been in Jan ’04.
I hope the guys there really appreciate those tribes.  They knew It was going to be extremely dangerous back in ’03.  They are putting their lives on the line.  With or without our support, they wanted to do this — they did  not want AQ in there screwing up their areas and their lives.

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42 Responses to CPA and Sanchez rejected tribal help in ’03.

  1. Alex says:

    Went to see the British general who was at CPA — deputy CDR for Sanchez. Briefed him. Came back after whatever he did to get with Sanchez – answer was “you aren’t going tog et support for this initiative. Drop it.”
    Would have been Major-General John McColl at the time. Not a good day at the office from him, it seems.

  2. zanzibar says:

    One problem that I see is that these guys on the ground did not know what their real mission was because Bush-Cheney-Rummy did not inform them after they ordered the invasion of Iraq and did not get greeted with flowers.
    They had a bunch of neocon political hacks with the right connections in Rove’s Republican party who got all the “remake a country” project positions.
    It’s apparent now that no one was given the mission to prevent AQI which did not exist prior to the invasion. The arrogance and deceit is just unbelievable!
    And will there ever be an accountability moment?? Not in DC I’m afraid – unlike in Israel. Halutz and his airpower theories is gone. The pressure on Olmert and Peretz is mounting each day. This is what is needed – those that play with peoples lives need to be held to account! The American people botched it in 2004. That was when these guys should have been dealt with. We need to take responsibility for our failure to act in Nov 2004.

  3. Linda says:

    What a shame.
    But what’s a pillar head?

  4. VietnamVet says:

    The Iraq Debacle and the 2004 re-election of George W Bush are failures of the democratic institutions within the United States caused by radical ideology and the corporate media monopoly. The White House and the Pentagon are consumed with magical thinking. The media beats the drums of war.
    The debacle wasn’t caused by the failure to sign up the Bedouin tribes or no counterinsurgency program. But, instead, from the top on down, the USA was going to kick Muslim Ass. They imposed their free market ideology on Iraqis. When the occupiers are torturing, imprisoning and bankrupting a people, human nature is to resist. Yet, the White House and the Pentagon refuse to even acknowledge there is an Iraqi Resistance.
    The Occupation is doomed. There are not enough troops on the ground. It is morally bankrupt and ignores the history of the 20th Century. The USA will withdraw from Iraq because the White House and the Pentagon lied to the American people.
    The Bush II Administration is the worst in American history because at their core the Party is more important than the State.

  5. ExBrit says:

    Absolutely we need accountably for the monumental screw-ups, but we’re not going to get it. There was an election in 2006 in which the American public made their anger clear. This cabal still rules. I’ve lost my faith in the American public to do much of anything. “Man the barricades! Oh, wait, it’s American Idol night.”

  6. anna missed says:

    Remarkable story, and another lesion on the leper CPA. When does being counterproductive actually evolve into working for the enemy?

  7. Oil guys were worried that we intended to take over their security.
    This speaks volumes and relates to my prior comment on another threat to the effect that Che Guevara type guerillas’ efforts backfire because they are not solving problems but just stirring up trouble.
    It is a subtle question, in assessing such issues, to determine just who is zooming whom. If the central government is the zoomer, then the guerillas would be responding to a complaint. If the central government is the zoomee, then the guerillas would be troublemakers.
    It makes no difference in assessing this whether we subjectively approve or disapprove of the government’s or the guerillas’ aims. For example, we may prefer the role of women to approximate that of the Modern West, but a central government that attempts to impose such a role upon an unwilling tribal society would be a zoomer, not a zoomee. This is an objective distinction; our subjective desires are irrelevant.
    According to the message Col. Lang has sent, CPA authorities were out to remake Iraq and were being influenced by Western oil interests. This suggests that they were zoomers – and this is so regardless of our subjective evaluation of the merits of their goals.

  8. MarcLord says:

    Apparently watching “Lawrence of Arabia” was banned by the Bush Administration.
    That seems to be so. pl

  9. Charles says:

    An intimate account of a CPA Governor who did work with the tribes in Anbar very intimately and for the most part successfully is given by the wiser-than-his-30-years-of-age Rory Stewart in The Prince of the Marshes, his account of one year’s dedicated service to the Iraqi people. Anyone without direct experience would greatly expand their knowledge and horizons by reading this very straightforward yet detailed account. It relates in intimate detail a year spent struggling with the Marsh Arab tribes to reconcile their many disparate interests(mostly defeating their rivals by guile and force to establish their own primacy) to promote inclusive, effective governance, security, and economic revival notwithstanding the gibberish coming out of Bremer’s CPA.
    His last day out, he was kissed on both cheeks by a Sheik with whom he’d valiantly attempted to engage all year. The Sheik had just spent the preceding 24 hours leading his militia in an all out assault on the local CPA compound, where Stewart, his colleagues and some military huddled as mortars were walked up to the front door, waiting in vain for the feckless Italians tasked with security to engage the mob, the mortars and snipers. Eventually, they were evacuated to the airport and Italian base in Italian APC’s, their tours over.
    It is a gripping travelogue and non-judgmental account of attempting to work with things as they are on the ground, whilst CPA muckety-mucks from the Emerald City shuffled paper and presented powerpoint briefings of how Oz saw things. A real treat, and much more informative with regard to the perils of ignoring tribal realities than my other on-the-ground, but by a nonparticipant favourite to date, George Packer’s “The Assassin’s Gate”.
    Sarah Chayes’s, a former NPR reporter who went native and opened her own NGO, account of working with the tribes in Kandahar in Afghanistan, “The Punishment of Virtue” is of equal quality, and highly recommended as well.

  10. W. Patrick Lang says:

    You old cynic! Still in your barrel, I see.
    Seriously, it has been a while since I looked at all the claims and counter-claims about accounting and inspections so I have no idea what you are talking about. 6,000 what? pl

  11. Frank Durkee says:

    One is left with the profound impression that the top leadership was not deeply serious about their own ideology. It begins to take on the ‘feel’ of an impulsive and ego driven set of assumptions and actions, to be done because 9-11 provided a handy rationale.

  12. wasabi says:

    I remember reading about 8 months ago in the NY Times an article about Anbar province and the status of AQ. It mentioned there were about 25 sheiks that wanted to rid their area of AQ. (I had previously heard that Saddam didn’t spend time there because of tribal issues) At the time I thought that was great news. Let the Iraqis kick out the unwelcome foreigners. It’s not like we can tell who’s who there.
    For some reason it never got any news play. Now it is being touted as a major success in this latest surge plan.
    P.S. I found the article:
    Published: September 18, 2006

  13. pbrownlee says:

    Reread this just last night (accidentally):
    “It is curious to find how many of the Bagdad notables are tribesmen, often only settled in the town for the last generation or two. Some sheikh builds himself a town house, sends his sons to school and starts them in a learned profession leading to Government employment. And at once they settle down into citizens. But the tribal links are unbroken. Any sheikh with business in the town looks by right to his kinsman’s house for entertainment in the matter of daily meals — a pretty expensive duty it is — and if a member of the town family gets into trouble he will seek sanctuary with the tribe, safe in the assurance that he would never be given up. Several men I know fled to their tribe during the year before the Occupation, when the Ottoman hand was heavy on the Arabs of Bagdad. Most of these are now in our service and their tribal connection makes them all the more useful. We have a few really first-class Arab officials, just as we have found a few really first-class sheikhs who will assume responsibility and preserve order. There are not many of them, but such as there are, are invaluable. And we in our turn have an immense responsibility towards them… We are pledged here. It would be an unthinkable crime to abandon those who have loyally served us.”
    (February 8th, 1918)
    I’d put my money on Gertie Bell well ahead of any of the Kagans and the rest of the blind camels.

  14. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Presume we must know each other.
    IMO chemical weapons are not strategic in nature. Maybe this was an admin error. After all, the 3rd world is where nothing works well.
    This does not seem like a good reason to go to war. pl

  15. pbrownlee says:

    Seen this?
    “Army Squeezes Soldier Blogs, Maybe to Death
    “Noah Shachtman
    “05.02.07 | 2:00 AM
    “The U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer, Wired News has learned. The directive, issued April 19, is the sharpest restriction on troops’ online activities since the start of the Iraq war. And it could mean the end of military blogs, observers say.
    “Military officials have been wrestling for years with how to handle troops who publish blogs. Officers have weighed the need for wartime discretion against the opportunities for the public to personally connect with some of the most effective advocates for the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq — the troops themselves. The secret-keepers have generally won the argument, and the once-permissive atmosphere has slowly grown more tightly regulated. Soldier-bloggers have dropped offline as a result.”

  16. pbrownlee says:

    Or this:
    “Rumsfeld to Receive Statesmanship Award at 2007 Churchill Dinner”

  17. Will says:

    Anbar-the granary. the province until 72′ used to be called Ramadi after its capital.
    US Army Captain Travis Patriquin presentation, “How to win in Al-Anbar”

  18. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Christian Science Monitor is on the story:
    “Like dominoes, tribes reeling from a campaign of killing and intimidation by Al Qaeda have been joining, one by one, the US-led fight against Al Qaeda in Iraq in this Sunni Arab province. Last month, US Gen. David Petraeus told Congress that violence was down significantly here and that the tribes were key to the transformation….”

  19. Tim G says:

    Sanchez’s POLAD was a East European expert. Army still hasn’t broken the code on this; look at the latest issue of Military Review where DOS wants to become the provider for tactical POLAD. What are FAOs for? Schlicher, not Schlecker, was charged with Sunni outreach and faced DC-imposed hurdles from the beginning. Hindsight is 20/20, but we should recall that certain Sunni tribes were the bulwark of Saddam’s regime and Schlicher’s instinct that this dynamic needed to be controlled was spot on. Who knows that would Sunni sheiks would do what we actually wanted them to once they got their weapons? We continiously underestimate the ability of local actors to manipulate their super power patrons.

  20. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Tim G
    “Hope is not a plan,” but neither is timidity. pl

  21. Tim G says:

    I would argue that this administration is anything but timid.
    Thinking through second and third order of effects is not being timid, it shows due dilligence and forethought, which are the very themes you have been pressing on this blog.

  22. fasteddiez says:

    Captain Patriquin USA, and Major Rachel McLung USMC were both Killed by an IED, while escorting press in Anbar (one of whom was Ollie North, of all people).

  23. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Tim G.
    Ah, yes, but you must be bold AND “get it right.” A”good try” is not good enough.
    A good military thnker does think through the “down stream” effects of what is contemplated. The trick is to avoid being paralysed by fear of the possibilities once the “thinking through” has been done. What is the Harrison Ford quote? “Never tell me the odds!” what is meant by that is “Don’t keep telling me the odds once I have decided that I am going to do something risky, in spite of the 2nd or 3rd order possibilities.” “Who dares, wins.” pl

  24. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    More coveraqe:
    “A group of Sunni tribal leaders in beleaguered Al Anbar province said Thursday that it intended to form a national party to oppose insurgents such as Al Qaeda in Iraq and reengage with Iraq’s political process.
    The announcement came after 200 sheiks said to represent 50 tribes met here and agreed to form a provincial sheiks council and hold the first convention in May of their new party, called Iraq Awakening. Sheiks from three other provinces will attend, organizers said.
    The driving force behind the new party, Sheik Abdul-Sattar abu Risha, said in an interview that the tribal leaders would be pushing a slate of candidates in Al Anbar provincial elections later this year, as well as in the next round of national parliamentary balloting, scheduled for 2009…..
    “Vali Nasr, a Middle East expert at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., said the “most important result may not be in the battlefield but in producing new Sunni voices that Shiites and Kurds can negotiate with.” LATimes at,0,3931359.story?coll=la-home-headlines
    On the ground:
    “But Lt. Col. Miciotto Johnson and Sheik Ahmed al-Rishawi have learned to rely on each other to quell the insurgency in this part of the city. Though no one will openly admit it, it’s believed that the Anbar sheiks lent tacit support to insurgents operating in the restive province just west of Baghdad. But now Johnson, commander of the Army’s Task Force 1-77 Armor, makes himself at home on the sheik’s property.
    A burly man in a tan Army fire-retardant jumper, Johnson plops down on an oversized couch in an upstairs office in al-Rishawi’s vast compound, as much at ease here as he is in his battalion headquarters down the road at Camp Ramadi.
    That’s because last September, al-Rishawi’s younger brother, Sheik Sattar al-Rishawi, launched the “Anbar Awakening,” a movement to stop the extreme violence here. Since then, the al-Rishawi tribe has been America’s ally in the attempt to break al-Qaida’s firm grip.
    This afternoon, the elder al-Rishawi greets his American friend.
    “We are brothers,” al-Rishawi says. “We fight as one hand.” [note photo]: Atlanta Journal Constitution at

  25. anna missed says:

    Big mistake to assume the apparent fragmentation of the resistance and their attacks on AQ — is the result of U.S. policy, or is even the beneficiary of it. AQ has been in a struggle with the resistance for control of the agenda. Its quite possible that AQ has developed into more of an irritant to the local population as opposed to becoming a model for it. And has in effect “soured the barrel” for base sympathies for the Sunni resistance itself. Getting rid of the AQ influence may then allow greater consolidation and trust to develop between the various indigenous resistance groups and their base. What may appear to effective influence (by the U.S.) may turn out, in the end, to be more indicative of a growth of resistance, as opposed to its fragmentation. That would have developed naturally anyway, without any participation by the U.S. at all.
    Just when the U.S.celebrates a significant blow against AQ, they may find that in doing so, they have removed a ball and chain from the resistance.

  26. Tim G says:

    “who dares wins.”
    Sometimes. But you know that always isn’t always the case: Lee at Gettysburg, Custer at Little Big Horn, Hitler at the Bulge; the list of exceptions to your maxim is long.
    I prefer the corollary: who miscalculates (either the most or badly) loses.

  27. jon says:

    These clowns should never have been trusted with planning a rotary picnic in Iowa, or was that a street fair in Indiana?
    There was a brief moment as the invasion wrapped up when order might have held and a civil government transition occur. But we blew it big time. Insufficient personnel and utopian daydreams didn’t help any, either.
    The State Departments extensive plans were shitcanned immediately. CPA decided that everyone would line up and embrace a PTA/civics textbook governance structure.
    There was zero understanding of the basis of the prior military dictatorship/fascist/decayed socialism structure that had just been obliterated, not to mention the social, tribe and religious identities and loyalties – structures that have persisted for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
    Now Saddam had methodically undercut the power of the tribes, because he didn’t need any other power bases competing with his. He had a point. Iraqi politics have always been contentious – they were under the Ottomans, and worse under the British.
    The US squandered its’ moment to weld the country together. As a result, everyone’s been choosing up to fight, establishing defensive perimeters, and trying to grab as much as they can.
    Since the primary focus of the US seems to have been rolling up the oil infrastructure and constructing enormous fire bases you could say that the Iraqis were just following the example of their betters.
    I’m sure the tribes are happy to work with the US to tamp down foreign insurgents – it build their own power and consolidates their authority. But don’t confuse that with a shared vision for the future or the establishment of a trustworthy ally.
    The Iraqis can also the US playing a game of divide and conquer. But when push comes to shove, the US is just visiting. We have no true alignment of interests with any of the players. We have no history of trust to reassure our allies. They can see how we used and then discarded Saddam when it was convenient. (OK, he made it easy.)
    Our best option for an ally is the Kurds. But they can never govern the entire country on their own. If they form a republic, it will destabilize Iran and Turkey – talk about fun!
    The Shiite have no use for us, except to make their control over the entire country or the largest possible fraction far easier. I’m sure the Muqtada will thank us as we leave.
    We could potentially choose up with the Sunnis. They proved to have the people, the ruthlessness and the managerial ability to keep the country together. If we do that, there are 2 options for how it unfolds.
    First option is to have the tribes run the show, with their Sunni religious outlook underpinned by Saudi support. Welcome to Madrassaville.
    Second option it to give it all back to the Baath, or their lightly rinsed and spun dry successors. They’ll change their name to make it better, maybe to SLORC.
    They’re secular, they respect women’s rights, and Baghdad used to be the center of islamic publishing. They have a few scores to settle, but they’ve proven they can run a tight ship. Saddam took his money and kept his mouth shut, nearly till the end. They’ll appreciate the redoubts we’ve built for them in Sadr City too.
    And being a minority, they will rely on US support. At least until they figure out their new helicopter gunships and uparmored Humvees. It’s blue skies and painted schools from there on.
    All of this is of course idiocy of the first order. But something has to, and will happen. We should be having deadly serious discussions about how to rescue the least worse options before there’s nothing left. The only rational approach is damage control and strategic disengagement, because more of the same won’t cut, and we can’t bring the needed resources to bear, even if we wanted to.
    I really hope there’s progress being made in Anbar. I hope the government start to actually work and accomplish something (insert government here). But hope doesn’t cut it.
    We could be at the beginning of generations of civil war – there’s enough to fight over, and enough folks wanting to finance it. I’m not sure that’s in the best interests of the US, but it could be all there is.

  28. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Per Iraqi Resistance Movement, dated but interesting.
    Anyone have a more recent overview?

  29. anna missed says:

    This Guy has been following some of the AQ/resistance interactions.

  30. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “the area around Fallujah, where the insurgency remains strong among the tribes there….The struggle among tribes for power in Ramadi – which threatens to undo much of the US success – can be seen being played out throughout the city.”
    Christian Science Monitor,
    On AQ generally, a new piece from Bruce Reidel in the Establishment’s “Foreign Affairs”:
    “Summary: By rushing into Iraq instead of finishing off the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Washington has unwittingly helped its enemies: al Qaeda has more bases, more partners, and more followers today than it did on the eve of 9/11. Now the group is working to set up networks in the Middle East and Africa — and may even try to lure the United States into a war with Iran. Washington must focus on attacking al Qaeda’s leaders and ideas and altering the local conditions in which they thrive.”
    Not a few were making this point around town in the summer and fall of 2002 but Establishment extremists had other plans back then.

  31. Got A Watch says:

    “UK and US must admit defeat and leave Iraq, says British general”,,2072171,00.html
    ” Julian Borger
    Friday May 4, 2007
    The Guardian
    A retired British army general says Iraq’s insurgents are justified in opposing the occupation, arguing that the US and its allies should “admit defeat” and leave Iraq before more soldiers are killed.
    General Sir Michael Rose told the BBC’s Newsnight programme: “It is the soldiers who have been telling me from the frontline that the war they have been fighting is a hopeless war, that they cannot possibly win it and the sooner we start talking politics and not military solutions, the sooner they will come home and their lives will be preserved.”
    Asked if that meant admitting defeat, the general replied: “Of course we have to admit defeat. The British admitted defeat in north America and the catastrophes that were predicted at the time never happened.
    “The catastrophes that were predicted after Vietnam never happened. The same thing will occur after we leave Iraq.”
    General Rose is a former SAS commander and head of UN forces in Bosnia. Last year, he called for Tony Blair to be impeached for going to war on “false pretences”. He has written a book, entitled Washington’s War, which compares the Iraqi rebels to George Washington’s irregular forces in the American war of independence.
    When he was asked if he thought the Iraqi insurgents were right to try to force the US-led coalition out, he replied: “Yes I do. As Lord Chatham [the politician William Pitt, the Elder, who, in the second half of the 18th century called for a cessation of hostilities in the colonies and favoured American resistance to the British Stamp Act] said, ‘if I was an American – as I am an Englishman – as long as one Englishman remained on American native soil, I would never, never, never lay down my arms’. The Iraqi insurgents feel exactly the same way. I don’t excuse them for some of the terrible things they do, but I do understand why they are resisting the Americans.”
    It appears the Iraqi tribes have their own way of settling disputes. Let them get on with it. If there are no foreign troops in Iraq A-Q loses much of its reason to be there and most of whatever popular support it has had. An added bonus – no more troops will be killed or wounded fighting this pointless war.
    I am certain the Iraqi’s will make their own way to a future peace, after the civil war has exhausted militants on all sides.

  32. A good military thnker does think through the “down stream” effects of what is contemplated. The trick is to avoid being paralysed by fear of the possibilities once the “thinking through” has been done. What is the Harrison Ford quote? “Never tell me the odds!” what is meant by that is “Don’t keep telling me the odds once I have decided that I am going to do something risky, in spite of the 2nd or 3rd order possibilities.” “Who dares, wins.” pl
    Compare Hamlet with Othello.
    What is the question in both plays: Has adultery been committed?
    In Hamlet the answer is “yes,” but Hamlet does not act.
    In Othello the aswer is “no,” but he does.
    The result in both plays: dead bodies splattered all over the scene during the fifth act.
    “Fortune favors the brave.”

  33. fasteddiez says:

    Will, the other KIA was Megan (not Rachel) McClung, I did not spell correctly.

  34. Will says:

    if we as Anericans don’t have it within us to admit defeat and w/draw from Irak-here is an alternative scenario. Declare victory and leave.
    Here is an alternative mind-set. We got rid of Saddam. Gave them democracy- time now to leave.
    The sticking point for P.M. and acting President General Michel Aoun in 1991 with the Taif Accord for Lebanon is that there was no mechanism for a firm Syrian withdrawal. He refused to sign and had to be bombed out of the Baabda palace. The Syrians continued to occupy Lebanon for another 15 years. Similar to the Assads, Bush-Cheney refuses to commit to a withdrawl timetable. The occupation is what fuels the insurgency. A withdrawl schedule would do much to take the wind out of the sail of the resistance.
    It is time to get out.
    From the Asia Times- Sadrists want an American Time Table for Withdrawl
    “Roubaie [the Sadrist parliamentary leader] had just come from a meeting where a motion signed by 134 Parliament members was being introduced demanding a timetable for US withdrawal. “It’s not only us – the parties from Kurdistan, the Sunni parties, are all united.” This was a reference to the Kurdistan alliance and the powerful, 44-seat-strong Tawafuq Front Sunni bloc, which groups three parties. Roubaie left implicit that the key religious parties in government, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and Da’wa, are against the timetable.”

  35. W. Patrick Lang says:

    To quote another great work of literature, the most recent Bond movie, the girl asks Bond if it bothers him to kill people, to which he replies, “I wouldn’t be very good at my job if it did.” pl

  36. W. Patrick Lang says:

    You won’t see your rather old fashioned remarks here unless you give me a valid e-mail address, pl

  37. zanzibar says:

    I think the frame of “won” or “lost” is wrong. As Will above points out declare victory on the primary military mission of regime change. We should not have a significant role in the “fight” between all the militias and groups to determine who “runs” Iraq. They’ll figure it out at some point I suppose.
    Then we can figure out how we deal with AQI with the help of the Iraqi tribes. That’s the enemy and we can have local allies in that fight who could provide meaningful assistance.

  38. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Anna, thanks for the site reference.
    Here’s Pepe Escobar’s data, using a telephone interview out to Anbar:
    “Abu Risha swore that the Iraqi Army and US forces now control Ramadi. Fallujah is a very different story – according to Iraqi journalists who have been to the front line. They say the outskirts of west Baghdad are safe up to Abu Ghraib, but not Fallujah, which has been an Islamic State of Iraq stronghold. According to the sheikh, al-Qaeda in Iraq is particularly active in al-Rahwa (a big city near the Syrian border), Tilal Himrin (a village also near Syria), the village of Elbu Baly, and the big city of Balad.”
    Will, on the withdrawal issue, it seems to me that we need to assess where we are diplomatically after Sharm. How we make adjustments would depend on the regional situation and international consensus. However, whether this Administration is capable of serious diplomacy in our national interest has not yet been demonstrated as the entire world has seen.
    But I think it is still possible to make a necessary change in regional policy using the ISG report as a pivot. Thereby, a phased military withdrawal and reduction of the massive damage done to our international position by this unnecessary war could be managed. However, all this has to be linked to an overall regional policy that addresses the central Palestine Question in a decisive manner.
    Is the necessary policy change possible with the Zionist Lobby dominating Washington? If there is no change, I suppose the American public will eventually connect the dots as other peoples and nations have done in the past.

  39. npbeachfun says:

    I diaried about Capt. Travis Patriquin in the above link. He Died in Iraq. I got a link to a pdf he wrote about this
    Using Occam’s Razor to connect the dots: the Ba’ath party and the insurgency in Tal Afar.
    Very interesting it is so sad that we lost this guy.

  40. Another Forged Document Fools A Lefty

    Larry Johnson, that ViPer with a serious case of the BDS, is at it again peddling a forged document: (h/t Ace of Spades HQ) Some brave soul in the U.S. military sent Pat Lang a memo issued Monday that shows…

  41. I’m new here, just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.

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