"Thousands of U.S. combat troops will remain at a handful of bases in Baghdad and on the outskirts of other restive cities, such as Mosul and Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, past the June 30 deadline. But U.S. troops say their ability to respond quickly to thwart attacks could erode significantly because Iraqi officials will have unprecedented authority over their mobility and missions in urban areas.
"We won't be providing the same level of security for ourselves and Iraqis," said 2nd Lt. Jason Henke, a military police platoon leader who will remain at one of the few inner-city bases in Baghdad. "With only a small window of time that we are allowed to operate in, it's going to be easier to target U.S. forces when we are outside the wire."
Henke's concerns were heightened this week by a string of powerful roadside bombings near his base, Joint Security Station Loyalty, in central Baghdad.
On Tuesday, one of his squadrons was attacked with an armor-piercing bomb that struck the passenger side of a mine-resistant armored vehicle, igniting the fuel line. His platoon lost another truck Thursday in a similar attack." Washpost
The most important component of the policy package shorthanded as "The Surge" was not the increased US combat presence, however helpful that was. The most important thing was the successful effort to woo Sunni insurgents away from active or tacit support of the takfiri jihadis and into the "friendly" category. We did that, and well. They were not wholeheartedly converted "born again" friends of Brother Dave Petraeus? What a surprise! We used money to bring them to our side? How terrible! Does that mean that their hearts were not pure!! Ah, the world is a sad place and this kind of work is always like herding cats.
Now the Americans are clearly leaving. Power is steadily shifting towards the Shia dominated government that the Americans created. That Shia government does not seem inclined to honor the variety of overt and implied "promises" that the Americans made to the "Sons of Iraq," etc. The government's actions toward their Sunni "brothers" surely indicate that this is true.
In that situation it is to be expected that Sunni Arab hostility to the takfiri jihadis will wane and it is waning. That is why it is possible for there to be more and more suicide bombings. Get the message?
There are two ways to avoid further difficulty – 1. The government should understand that bloody minded oppression of the Sunni Arabs will mean unending low level warfare in Iraq, and 2. Someone should keep paying off the Sunnis sub rosa. pl
Surely your post is a simple statement that “the Surge” was basically a method of bribing the Iraqi Sunnis into passivity.
A strategy which I thought at the the time to be neither sustainable ( America wasn’t willing to shovel hundreds of millions per quarter into the maw of their enemies, and the Iraqi government simply don’t have the money to do so even if they wished it)
In fact General Petreaus “surge” was a short term tactic designed to buy time for a failed Bush presidency and has done nothing whatsoever (Except to further weaken America’s long term economic, political, and military strength), to resolve the Iraq “Problem”
That apppearantly Sunni perpetrated suicide bombing is on the rise indicates that General Petreus’ surge was a sham, for it was based on overt and covert bribing of one more factions in Iraq, to appear as a workable end to the occupaion/bloodshed.
Neither bribery nor divide and conquor as tactics [to replace the failed strategy of invasion’s backlash] is condusive to solving the problem.
It does not appear that General Potreus has learned this lesson in Iraq, for he is trying the same in Pakistan and Afganistan.
Is the USA political leadership incabable to understand that occupation is an unwinnible strategy, especially when it is based on false pretences [Iraq and Palestine] or dated pretences [revenge for 9/11].
Finally whom do you, Sir, presume has the cash for sub rosa payments? not the USA [is bankrupt for all intents and purposes] not China [escept if one wants to cede the oil exploration to Synopec or other such enteties], Not Iraq, they have to rebuild their infrastructure, Not the Saudis, living standards are falling for all but the elites. So who is left?
We don’t have the money. The Saudi’s have the money.
We aren’t even trying to eradicate the drug trade in Afghanistan.
Putting the military foot forward first always fails. Always.
Some of you people are so self satisfied and full of your ignorance as to be laughable.
You should try “bribing” people like the Sunnis in Iraq. We would see how well you do. “He laughs at scars who ne’er has felt a wound.” pl
The Middle East seems, to me, to be filled with, to varying degrees, deranged “leaders” with military delusions.
Sadaam Hussein invaded Iran and Kuwait. The Israeli leadership attacks other countries with completely disproportionate force on a regular basis. Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into Israel. However you spell his name in Iran talks the talk something fierce, but, so far, has yet to walk the walk.
I sincerely think, in my ignorance but without any self satisfaction whatsoever, that joining these loonies is nuts. China doesn’t take sides in this nonsense. I think they are right.
I’ll try describe it as I understand it.
The US didn’t bribe the Sunni. Bribing means people being for sale (like votes in Lebanese elections). The Sunni fighters of the awakening groups aren’t rented out by tribal warlords. They’re fighting for their tribal interests. That their salaries were paid for with US money, and equalling that with bribe, would suggest that every US citizen in some sort of employ is bribed and thus corrupt. The use of the word ‘bribe’ in this context is silly.
The US gave the awakening groups money because what the awakening groups did for the US costs money and would thus be impossible without money. The US used the awakening groups to mutual benefit against the Tafkiri. That was a US objective and the Sunni were quite useful for that purpose, and for US domestic policy as well (calm; less US casualties). At the same time the US held off the Iraqi government.
When the US eventually started supporting the Sunni, the Sunni were losing. The US support not only saved them from losing worse, it gave them a prospect to gain leverage to exact concessions from the Iraqi government, and rid themselves of the Tafkiri who turned from useful tool to deadly nuisance.
The Sunni these days aren’t getting any concessions from the Iraqi government, and with US gradually withdrawing, and the Iraqi government cracking down slowly, they are back to their old means to pursue their ends – forcing an unwilling Shiite dominated Iraqi government to accommodate the Sunni majority.
… minority, that is.
This is not surprising at all. Our goal now is to leave while trying to keep a lid on the violence as much as possible, and let the Iraqis decide how they want power distributed in their own country. If violence is the route they take, then they will fight it out until some equilibrium is met.
Call me a callous, heartless bastard – but when forced to choose between bringing our troops home and letting the Iraqis fight each other, I say let the Iraqis do what they want and bring our men and women home where they belong. Maybe I would feel differently and support more intervention to tamp down the violence if I personally witnessed the death and mayhem over there. But I don’t.
I have always read your posts with interest as examples of well-informed and thoughtful posts.
But in the above example you are talking complete Bollocks.
The Sunni’s ( Who effectively ruled Iraq until overthrown by the Invasion ) number just one third of Iraq’s population, the huge majority are Shiite.
The Middle East (Israel incl.) : A wide crescent of extremist loonies.
Call it what you want.
But the USA is leaving Iraq, and the people who cooperated with the invaders are going to face pay back time.
Will it be like France after WWII, or nastier like Vietnam?
This ill advised, costly, nonproductive war hasn’t finished producing all it’s sad results.
And the destruction is going both ways, as the USA enters a serious depression caused by overspending and malinvestment.
I see Col. Lang likes the direction, Pres. Obama is taking on foreign policy. I hope Mr. Obama is also able to focus the USA on a realistic economic path.
Bushies did a heckuva job, no?
Nearly 3000 people were murdered in the horrific attacks of 9/11.
Supposedly, to prevent a second attack Bush then deposed SH.
Afterwards, exiled Iraqi Shia extremists with long close ties to Shia extremists in Iran were overwhelmingly elected instead of Bush’s man in Iraq Chalabi.
Now, after the US has spent countless billions of dollars on that pro-mullah government and after the US has spent countless billions on training, equipping, etc. the armed forces of that pro-mullah government, the pro-mullah government is going to hold “feast and festivals”
Premier Casting U.S. Withdrawal as Iraq Victory
BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has taken to calling the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq’s cities by next Tuesday a “great victory,” a repulsion of foreign occupiers he compares to the rebellion against British troops in 1920.
I wonder if people understand Colonel Lang correctly. I am not sure I do myself.
But strictly the way the Bush administration handled Iraq after “mission accomplished” triggered a very specific chain of associations for this German nitwit.
It somehow reminded me of my early complaints that the US and/or the Allied forces had allowed pretty much continuity in Germany concerning the Nazi period. That was before I understood how complex the situation on the ground was. Maybe because of the neocons constant use of Saddam = Hitler, I wondered if they in fact wanted to use exactly the approach I demanded in my angry teens and as a young adult. That is a complete new start from bottom up, no differentiation between minor or major involvement. Or all the difficulties to define this in each and every case …
First problem, it seems the Sunnis were not only the militarily and administratively elites and thus more influential under Saddam but much longer going back to the Ottomans. So the Sunnis had been the military elites for centuries.
What may be on Patrick Lang’s mind is that you shouldn’t really make a functioning military plus the whole administrative elites your enemies or the enemies of your new favorites. To leave aside the issue of the legality of the war.
Ok, next time I proofread before sending:
The big problem in Iraq, as I see it, the Sunnis hadn’t been the military and administrative elites or more influential group under Saddam but much longer, possiby going back to the Ottomans
As the old lady, the daughter of a socialist who had survived the concentration camps once told me.
My father’s fight of the Nazis didn’t get him a good pension nor good health.
And concerning the continuity of the pre- and post war system and administrative and academic elites:
Who else had proofed leadership but the Nazis elites?
Highly cynical, but true.
Could the recent rise in violence have to do with the disposition of Iraq’s booty?
After all, it’s about the only thing worth fighting over in Iraq.
Is there an element in any of the thinking of the full spectrum of Iraqi populace that if we just stop blowing up Americans they might withdraw? Then of course we can settle scores!
General Petreaus “surge” was a short term tactic designed to buy time for a failed Bush presidency and has done nothing whatsoever (Except to further weaken America’s long term economic, political, and military strength), to resolve the Iraq “Problem”
If we had any sort of “investigative” journalism in this country, enterprising reporters would be examining the military’s documentary record to understand that indeed, The Surge(TM) was SOLELY about preventing a US withdrawal ahead of 1/21/2009.
Nothing more and nothing less.
Moreover, The Surge(TM) was a product of retired general Jack Keane, the Brothers Kagan and the gang at the Heritage Foundation. It did not spring from the military planning – operations establishment. Indeed, they were all focused on the Casey Plan of wrapping up and leaving under the cover of internal civil war (much easier that way). And to be out of there BEFORE November 2008.
General Dave was simply the saaviest active duty politician to pick up on the Keane/Kagan Plan and run with it. Not surprising since Keane cribbed his plan from General Dave’s experience with 101AB in Mosul in 2003. (How’s that working out now BTW?)
Some HARD HARD questions should be asked of Gates, Mullen and Petreaus. But, they won’t be. These guys are part of the same gang of POLITICIANS in the Executive and Legislative Branches whose sole job is to protect each other. Its like the Omerta.
We might have witnessed the last honest military moment when Shinseki have the cahones to tell the truth to Congress – as was his duty.
I mistyped, and corrected that. Thanks for the ‘well-informed and thoughtful’.
LOL….. I should have waited, should have guessed it was some sort of Typo…
I probably agree with 70 per cent of your posts, and the other thirty are usually so well argued and often bring information to the table I wasn’t aware of that it makes me rethink my assumptions.
Which is why I was so disappointed with what was a very significant error if left uncorrected.
Please accept my apologies.
Good fortune to you
Accepted, and thanks.