“Surging to Defeat in Iraq”



This entry was posted in Current Affairs. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to “Surging to Defeat in Iraq”

  1. zanzibar says:

    Under our system of government can the President just order military forces into action at his whim? Are there no requirements for Congress to approve such action other than fund it? Is there any precedent where the President has ordered military action but Congress has said no and not funded such action? What happens in such a situation legally and in reality?
    I am trying to understand what recourse saner voices have to prevent this defeat for America the nation and its people. It is clear that the Decider and his “Rasputin” only care about the perceptions about them and not the country, so what can concerned citizens do?

  2. Propagandist says:

    Strong words in defense of your country and all those who serve. Thanks PL.

  3. John Shreffler says:

    Thank you. If we can’t change things, at least we can speak up. You tell it better than anyone. Thank Mr. Mcgovern too.

  4. MarcLord says:

    These flocking idiots. Can’t read history. Can’t read reality. Can’t accept facts. Bob Gates is no Clark Clifford. There are going to be a lot of P.O.’d vets coming back who have lost their families to “attrition,” and some of them are the world’s best snipers.

  5. ikonoklast says:

    “… once an “all or nothing” offensive like the “surge” contemplated has begun, there is no turning back.”
    Too right and too sad, as Bush, like Ahab, apparently has no intentions of turning back. Excellent piece.

  6. jamzo says:

    thank you gentlemen

  7. J says:

    what as a nation are we to do when our nation’s leadership won’t listen to sanity or reason? should we not seriously consider putting such leadership where they won’t ever hurt our nation again — as in prison cells? their criminal malfeasance of office, and our nation becomes the victim of their crimes.
    double impeachment, and criminal prosecution of bush, cheney, and the congressional leadership who were the participant accessories in their criminal malfeasance of office against our nation and our military family.

  8. Richard Whitman says:

    Two questions
    1.What happens after we win??
    2.What happens after we lose??

  9. Duncan Kinder says:

    During the Syracusan Expedition, Athens, when the Expedition first stalled, responded by committing the remainder of its resources to it.
    The result was the total rather than the partial destruction of Athens’ strength.

  10. Matthew says:

    J; Listen to reason? It’s all about spin. And not just here. After Olmert made his “slip” about nuclear weapons, a European diplomat asked Israel to “clarify” its position on nuclear weapons, i.e., go back to claiming strategic ambiguity. Maybe he thought the Muslim world wouldn’t notice. No wonder the ME is slipping away.

  11. John says:

    Great thoughts, PL. Who would have guessed the Westmorelandfication of Iraq was the key to “victory?” This tragedy is unfolding in slow motion; bloody lying act by bloody scene – though we have know the end since Rumsfeld dismantled the Army’s Pentagon office of low intensity conflict, attempted to decommission the war college office of peace operation studies, and smite General Shinseki. (Apparently Gen Keane failed to learn the lessons from his only combat tour, Vietnam – undertaken as a lieutenant.)

  12. John Howley says:

    “Only 28 percent of Americans say they approve of the way President Bush is handling Iraq,” reports CNN’s senior political analyst Bill Schneider. “Disapproval has reached 70 percent.”

  13. Jaime Gormley says:

    Given the collegial relations shared by Hizb’Allah and Jaish al Mahdi, one would expect Operation Wacht am Tigris to include many unpleasant surprises. A fitting climax to a “strategic disaster of epic proportions.” Shock and awe, indeed.
    Undoubtedly, General Pace and the Chiefs, unlike Olmert, Peretz and Halutz, have sound intelligence, considered every eventuality, planned accordingly and will do a heck of a job. I wonder if they had the foresight to include General van Riper in their deliberations? We’ll soon know for sure.

  14. dano says:

    Tomorrow – or more likely today as you read this – is the anniversary of the end of the Battle of Verdun ninety years ago. In 10 months France and Germany lost over 700,000 casualties, including nearly 250,000 dead. Germany had attacked what it perceived to be a French weak point in hopes that it could win a war of attrition. By the end a few kilometers of front were exchanged, but neither side gained an objective or even an advantage.
    I do not think there is any comparison of tactics or strategy to be made between Verdun and Iraq. But perhaps we can use the lesson of history to expose the futility of a lost cause, and the utter hopelessness of throwing more good lives after preceding deaths. But these leaders today – like those who preceded them ninety years ago – somehow are blind to what appears so obviously to so many others.
    This time though, there have been enough historical lessons of the futility of fighting a lost cause for honor and for the saving of face. The people of the democracy recognize what their leaders do not and even, perhaps, will choose to do something about it. The leaders of this impending debacle may eventually have to answer for their willfullness in defying their own people’s will and desire, and the aggregate desire of the world.
    While the world may not be able to do much to slow down or reverse the war machinations of the leaders, the people of the US have begun to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the conduct and willfullness of their leaders. The American voters spoke once during the recent election, and even the advice of les éminence grises seems to be contrary to the leaders recent directions and future intentions. The leaders seem to have only themselves and their closest vassals in agreement. They hold power, but they are isolated.
    As long as they hold power they will continue to lead down the same path that has been unsuccessful for many months. It seems an easy prediction to say that their continued failure is assured. Sadly this means more death and mayhem on both sides. Perhaps it means though, more evidence for when the people finally stand up and demand that the leaders and their vassals be condemned for their bloody defiance.
    At the end of The War To End All Wars, Verdun was simply one of the biggest yet inconclusive battles, and a useless slaughter. Similarly, the coming surge of Baghdad will likely be another bloody marker of history that serves to extend but not decisively affect the outcome of the war by America against the former country of Iraq.
    War is the extension of politics, and in this case the politics seem particularly personal for the leaders of the US. They have their reasons for clutching to the illusion that they can affect the outcome, but by now the people know that the illusion is just that – an illusion – and the intensely personal desire of the leaders does not serve the people of either side of the conflict. In this narrow sense the surge of Baghdad will be not unlike any of the stalemated battles of WWI, which served mainly the vanity, pride and “honor” of the kings and princes of the time, but did nothing to alleviate the suffering of the people. Back then the people of imperial rulers had very little recourse. Now, the people can call their leaders to account.
    18 December 2006

  15. still working it out says:

    I wonder if this surge of troops is really intended as extra backup for when the fireworks start with Iran.

  16. arbogast says:

    The theme that I hear becoming louder and louder is the a surge may result in a decisive military defeat.
    We are not up against stone-age tribesmen in Iraq. We are up against an intelligent enemy fighting on his home turf. An enemy who speaks a language all but 6 Americans in Iraq do not understand.
    There has been a coup d’état in the United States. The country is in the hands of a tiny clique of people who have betrayed their fellow citizens.
    Impeachment is necessary. Impeach Bush and Cheney now.

  17. anna missed says:

    The current “surge” in attacks against Americans, as reported by the NYT’s, up 20% over the last three months — is perhaps the veiled reason for an additional 20% increase in troop levels — either just to keep up with the current higher levels of attacks, or more ominously, to prevent a full scale breach while Bush is still in office.

  18. Ian Whitchurch says:

    I’d make one more point about this para
    ‘What Gates may not realize, but the generals should, is that once an “all or nothing” offensive like the “surge” contemplated has begun, there is no turning back. It will be “victory” over the insurgents and the Shia militias or palpable defeat, recognizable by all in Iraq and across the world.’
    The highest likelihood is for such a surge to kill some but not all of the insurgents – thus leaving a significant level of violence once the surge is over.
    As this will clearly not be victory, it will therefore be seen as defeat.
    Ian Whitchurch

  19. Nand Jagnath says:

    For Nazi Germany, the surrender at Stalingrad ultimately culminated in the fall of Berlin.
    Colonel, if your scenario is correct, it won’t be necessary to attack Iran to create an irretrievable mess.
    Worse, an ignominous U.S. defeat in Iraq will make the world and the Middle East vastly unsafer. A U.S. that is able to use its ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ power with discretion is, in my view, essential for global stability. I don’t think any other nation or grouping of nations can fill the U.S. boots for that role at present.
    If my history serves me correctly, the fall of the Roman Empire was the start of the Dark Ages in Europe. I can’t help wondering if something similar is around the corner.

  20. Frank Durkee says:

    Questiion? does the group who published your essay have a web site? If so how does one enter it?

  21. Don Schmeling says:

    I think you people are starting to hyperventilate a little bit. The SURGE, when and if Bush orders it, will make little difference. That is because the US Army is trying to do a job (set up a US puppet country.) it is not equipped or trained for, and is almost impossible anyway.
    Now, the job of leaving Iraq, is just the type of thing this Army is good at. If the Army has to make it’s way back South it will be able to blowup anything and kill anyone in it’s way. No more trying to understand the locals.
    As for the end of the US empire, look for example to Britian, now one nation amoung many, not the worlds only Super Power. The Pound Sterling now one currency amoung many also.

  22. backsdrummer says:

    I like the comparison with Nicholas II and Rasputin.
    This article reminded me of something I read in “The Ideology of the Offensive: Military Decision Making and the Disasters of 1914”, by Jack L. Snyder.
    In Snyder’s analysis, the Russians of 1914 had a “need to see the necessary as possible.” (page 17)
    So when it became necessary for the Russians to immediately invade Germany (in order to draw away German troops attacking their overwhelmed French allies), they believed their Armies were capable of victory even though a rational analysis would indicate they did not yet have their wagons and supplies sufficiently gathered or organized to carry out such an undertaking.
    Thus the Russians advanced short on ammunition and hungry into East-Prussia, and kept right on advancing when intelligence indicated they were being surrounded, until thousands were killed and captured at Tannenberg; a disaster that could easily have been avoided if only a modest amount of common-sense had been exercised.
    I’m sure if we could ask the Russian leadership why they were embarking on such an irrational course of action, they would have listed all kinds of dire consequences for not “staying the course”.
    I think perhaps Bush and Cheny see the necessary as possible too, and they will throw in their last handful of reserves in hopes of fixing things in Iraq.
    It’s like watching a guy gamble away his family home and savings on increasingly longer-odds bets, in the hope that he can win it all back with just one more try. The only problem is, it OUR children’s lives and money Bush is gambling away. Perhaps he should talk to Gambler’s Anonymous.

  23. John Hammer says:

    “Is the Russia of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo?”
    Diplomat Brady Kiesling Feb. 24 2003

  24. JM says:

    One thing’s for sure: there will be lots of Medals of Freedom to hand out at the end of all of this (assuming it ever ends).
    Think Bush will award one to himself?

  25. Robert in SB says:

    So does the Decider get to ride the US military off a cliff? I’ve always tried to avoid phrases like Constitutional crisis,etc, but the course the White House seems to be intent on creating one. How bad it will get before the Military says enough? When they literally can’t get out? How do you get 150,000 soldiers out of a country that can and will turn on them?
    What has happened to the former country of Iraq is savage enough, but what Bush is doing to our military is Evil.

  26. semper fubar says:

    Pat — A wonderful piece by you and Ray McGovern, two people I respect tremendously.
    What are we to do here at this juncture?
    It’s not a matter of Bush & Cheney not knowing that this surge will end in failure; they don’t care. They have gone mad.
    Half of our Congress is in collusion with this war crime madness, and the other half is too weak to do anything but wimper and meekly go along with it. (Reid’s statement just makes me sick at heart.)
    The Joint Chiefs may oppose it, but what do we expect or even want them to do? I don’t think a military coup, however subtly carried out by a refusal to follow the C-in-C’s orders, will be a very good precedent for us as a nation.
    This leaves us, the citizens, to stop it. But how? The voting booth seems to have failed us. And regardless, we won’t get another shot at that until 2008.
    Now what?

  27. Jaime Gormley says:

    Looks like the JCS has determined that the national interest and our soldiers’ well being of takes precedence over the delusional whims of aWol, Five Deferments and the armchair maccabees. We live in interesting times.
    “…the Joint Chiefs think the White House…still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military…”
    White House, Joint Chiefs At Odds on Adding Troops
    by Robin Wright and Peter Baker, Washington Post, Tues., Dec. 19, 2006
    Requiring the Cabal to define the mission? Oh, ho, ho, ho! These guys have some nerve and are finally showing it. After getting a defined mission, it wouldn’t be surprising if Pace told them, “Nuts.” I hope the chiefs are the kind who hold grudges too.
    When told of the JCS decision, Cheney was heard to mutter, “Nuts? Nuts? What does that mean?”

  28. Michael says:

    Sorry, forgive the neophyte question here but a ‘surge’ of troops will ensure a victory over what exactly? Are they hoping to vanquish an Iraqi insurgency that only started after US troops entered the country?
    Terrorism isn’t country specific – its not “just” in Iraq, or Iran, or Syria.. its a belief. As such, how can you ever expect to declare victory over a belief?
    Adding more feet on the ground in Iraq will only push more moderate muslims towards extremism in other areas.. and only work to exacerbate the situation.
    But that’s just my thoughts on the matter.. what do I know?
    Col Lang, thank you as always for your thoughtful articles, I greatly appreciate you sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us.
    Happy Holidays to all of you.

  29. Frank Durkee says:

    After reading this the ancient Greek, I think, dictum came to mind: “Those whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad”. there is also an apropo scriptural verse: “With what judgement ye judge; so also shall ye be judged”

  30. linda says:

    i have long thought that the only way the united states can even begin to make amends to the world community for its behavior is to impeach bush and cheney. now i pray that the american people have the wisdom to understand and the will to turn bush/cheney/gonzalez/yoo over to the hague for trial on crimes against humanity.

  31. pbrownlee says:

    What we may be witnessing is some kind of “Revenge of the Oxymorons” — the “thoughts” and accumulated resentments of the guys who never topped the class or scored the winning points or got the girl — or even came close. And these guys have a lifetime of experience in hiding from their mistakes to draw upon. A few adults will have quite a mess to clean up pretty soon.
    Did you see Uri Avnery’s piece “Back to the Scene of the Crime” at http://www.avnery-news.co.il/english/index.html ?
    “WHEN THE Israeli government decided, in the space of a few hours, to start the Second Lebanon War, it did not have any plan.
    “When the Chief-of-Staff urged the cabinet to start the war, he did not submit any plan.
    “This was disclosed this week by a military investigation committee.
    “That is shocking.
    “A plan is not an optional extra, something nice you can do without. A war without a plan is like a human body without a spinal column. Would anyone think of building a house without a plan? To put up a bridge? To produce a car? To hold a conference? After all, unlike a house, a bridge, a car or a conference, a war is supposed to kill people. Its very essence is killing and destroying.
    “Almost in every case, to initiate a war is a crime. To start such a war without a plan and proper preparation is totally irresponsible – heaping crime upon crime.
    “WHEN A STATE starts a war, the sequence is – in simplistic terms – as follows:
    1- The government adopts a clear political aim.
    2- The government deliberates whether this aim can be achieved by war – after it comes to the conclusion that it cannot be achieved by other means.
    From this point on, the emphasis moves from the political to the military leadership. Its duty is:
    3- To draw up a strategic plan for attaining the aim decided upon by the government.
    4- To translate the strategic plan into a tactical plan. Among others: to decide what forces are needed, which forces will be employed, what is the target of each force and within which time it must achieve it, as well as to foresee possible moves by the other side.
    5- To prepare the forces for their tasks, in accordance with their training and equipment.
    “A wise government will also think about the situation it would like to have after the war, and will instruct the military to take this into consideration while planning their operations.”
    Somehow, this sounds rather familiar.
    Meanwhile Tony Blair is setting himself up for total humiliation in the ME when even he eventually discovers that the only Palestinians acceptable to Israel are Zionists (of which there are not many).
    After Iraq and Suez, the Brits may be wise hereafter to avoid smugly self-infatuated PMs named Anthony.
    And, anyway, the Dark Ages weren’t so bad — if you think they may be in some remote future, turn on a TV or read a newspaper.

  32. Walrus says:

    Col. Lang I have to violently disagree with you on one point – It won’t take a generation to live a “surge” down, it will take ten generations, if that is, America survives at all. As for the rest of your excellent article, I agree with it, and would make a couple of observations.
    Abizaid and Casey are narcissists, its a prevailing desease these days and very capable narcissisists can rise very high – and do considerable damage to institutions because they have no souls or ability to empathise with anyone. They are the quintessential “yes men” always managing “up” but never down.
    By contrast, for an example of a General who had high empathy skills – an “anti narcissist”, I recommend Norman Schwarzkopf’s autobiography. He always put his troops best interests first, reasoning that they would fight better that way.
    I also note today that CBS is reporting (according to Drudge) that America is beginning a naval build up in the Persian Gulf
    “CBS added, “Military officers say the buildup would take place after the first of the year, not to actually attack Iran but to discourage its leaders from spreading their Shiite revolution.” So it now seems that the NeoCons are characterising Shia Islam as a disease, and criminalising all Shia muslims – shades of Hitler.
    I also note that Drudge is reporting without attribution or confirmation that Bush is sending more troops to Iraq.
    I also note that David Zucker is comparing Baker to Neville Chamberlain and repeating the Likudnik/NeoCon “1938” line yet again.
    I therefore now believe that an attack on Iran is imminent. My guess is that an attempt is going to be made to destroy the Shia neighbourhoods of Baghdad, with the maximum of televised death and destruction, as a proxy attack on Iran itself.
    At some point either the Iranians will respond or a false flag operation will be pretext for bombing Iran.
    These events will trigger the destruction of the U.S. army in Iraq, followed by the American economy, NATO, and a host of other institutions.
    If America is lucky, the turmoil will not result in its balkanisation, although that might be seen by the rest of the world as a good solution to the excesses of American unilateralism.
    It seems that America is going to have to learn the hard way – as France and Germany eventualy did, that Jaw Jaw is better than War War, and that constructing and running a system of Government that allows stupid, malicious, undemocratic, felonius, biggotted, shallow and corrupt persons into positions of authority is not a good idea.

  33. Matthew says:

    What will be the real price of defeat in Iraq? In order to justify the “surge” shouldn’t we discuss the cost of the alternative–leaving? (I don’t presume to know the answer.)

  34. Share says:

    Dear General Pace;
    I agree with your assessment of the Escalation of Iraqnam – It must not take place
    I have been following Col. Pat Lang’s articles and the result of bush’s PNAC/AEI plan would be the destruction of our armed forces. This must not happen. I urge The Joint Chiefs of Staff to resign en masse rather than commit this violation of your oath the preserve and protect The Constitution not a power grab from an out-of-control Executive Branch.
    Thank you for speaking up against this abuse and misuse of our military
    We need to flood the Joint Chiefs…offices with the biggest damned “surge” they’ve ever seen~!
    Dear Joint Chiefs of Staff:
    We hear you loud and clear.
    We have friends and family in uniform, and we understand the risks that go with the job. We also understand that the present administration has done grave harm to America’s defenses.
    We have been listening to America’s warriors all along, and we took it to the voting booth in November.
    As soon as the new Congress is seated, the investigations will begin, and the time will soon come when prudent policy is again the norm. Hang in there just a little bit longer, help is on the way.
    With deepest respect-
    -the citizens of these United States.

  35. James Pratt says:

    I haven’t seen it mentioned yet, but wouldn’t doubling the number of combat troops active in Baghdad require an increase in close air support? Doesn’t more arial bomb created rubble
    amidst a hostile population mean more material for barricades and bunkers? The Stalingrad analogy is more than apt.

  36. Matthew says:

    blownlee: The only Palestinian acceptable to Israel is Benny Hinn. And he lives in America.

Comments are closed.