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Analysis: Only Iraqis can win the war
AP on Yahoo ^ | 6/30/07 | Robert Burns - ap

Posted on 06/30/2007 9:51:01 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

WASHINGTON - The harder President Bush has pushed to win in Iraq, the closer he has come to losing.

The question no longer is whether the U.S. military can fully stabilize Iraq. It cannot.

That was a possibility four years ago, immediately after Saddam Hussein's government fell. Before the insurgency took hold. Before U.S. occupation authorities lost any chance to avoid the sectarian strife of today's Iraq.

Now only the Iraqis can save Iraq.

They need the U.S. military's help, no doubt. But the Bush administration has made no secret of the fact that the U.S. troop buildup in Baghdad is simply buying time for the Iraqis to sort out their differences, create a government of national unity and show they can defend themselves.

So it is not whether the U.S. can win the war. It is whether the Iraqis can, which is in great doubt.

With limited sign of progress in Baghdad, U.S. officials are asking themselves how long it makes sense to tolerate an escalating rate of U.S. casualties — at least 3,576 dead since the war began in March 2003 — while the Iraqis debate and delay.

In a speech Thursday, Bush struck a notably optimistic tone about his strategy and gave no indication he was ready to give up or change approach. Yet he lowered the bar on expectations and cited Israel as a model for defining success in Iraq: a functioning democracy that nonetheless absorbs terrorist attacks.

Among the questions central to the debate in Washington over winding up the conflict without widening it are:

_How much worse might things get if U.S. troops left and the sectarian killing escalated?

_Would Turkey, Iran or other neighboring states intervene militarily?

_Would the al-Qaida terrorist organization inside Iraq secure a lasting haven from which it could launch attacks across the region? "Lighting the Middle East on fire," is how one Pentagon insider sees that outcome.

While there is no clear way out, there remains a reasonable basis for hope of escaping a collapse of the war effort.

It still is possible that the troop buildup, under way since January, will reduce sectarian violence in Baghdad enough to create the maneuvering room that Iraqi leaders need to make critical political progress.

According to Frederick Kagan, an American Enterprise Institute analyst who recently visited Baghdad and is a leading supporter of the current strategy, the truly decisive phase of the current campaign will begin in late July or early August. He predicts that phase will bring much lower levels of violence by year's end.

The trends so far, however, are not encouraging and the political tides are not favorable, either in Washington or Baghdad.

Just this past week a leading Republican voice on foreign affairs, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, broke ranks with Bush. Lugar said he had reached the conclusion that sticking with the current strategy will not serve U.S. security interests.

He also said it is almost impossible to establish a stable government in Baghdad in a reasonable time.

Other prominent Republicans, such as Sen. John Warner of Virginia, have indicated their patience is running out.

Time, indeed, seems to be working against Bush — in the political arena and on the battlefield.

The longer that U.S. forces fight, the more creative and deadly the insurgents become, the farther U.S. public support erodes and the more remote seem the chances that when troops finally leave, the outcome will look like victory.

The risk is that it may resemble defeat.

One more worry is the wear and tear on the Army and Marine Corps. The services were straining to keep up a staggering pace of troop rotations even before Bush decided to send thousands more into and around Baghdad and before the Pentagon decided that rotations would be extended from 12 months — already viewed by many as too long — to 15 months.

That is why, if Bush concludes in the months ahead that his strategy for securing Baghdad is not working fast enough, he may feel compelled to find a different approach, perhaps reducing the U.S. combat role without abandoning Iraq. He has hinted at such a transition possibly coming next year.

That could explain why Bush and other administration officials recently have cited South Korea as a possible model for the long-term U.S. military role in Iraq. The idea would be to work out an agreement with the Iraqi government to keep at least a tripwire U.S. force there to train with Iraqi troops and to act as a deterrent.

The point is that instead of completely abandoning Iraq, as the U.S. did in Vietnam in the 1970s, the U.S. would maintain a presence large enough to protect its broader interests in the Persian Gulf region.

___

EDITOR'S NOTE — Robert Burns has been covering military and national security affairs for The Associated Press since 1990.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: analysis; geopolitics; iraq; iraqis

1 posted on 06/30/2007 9:51:02 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

Analysis. Robert Burns is an idiot.


2 posted on 06/30/2007 9:52:47 PM PDT by pissant
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To: NormsRevenge
The same liberals that have denounced the war for years are now expecting the Iraqis to do in a few months what we couldn't do in four years. Amazing!

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

3 posted on 06/30/2007 9:56:05 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: NormsRevenge

American troops as moving targets in a shooting gallery - yuck.


4 posted on 06/30/2007 9:58:21 PM PDT by secretagent
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To: pissant

Yep. A Moron with a Microphone. Or, at least, a word processor...


5 posted on 06/30/2007 9:58:56 PM PDT by rlmorel (Liberals: If the Truth would help them, they would use it.)
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To: NormsRevenge

All along, hasn’t Victory been defined as when the Iraqis are able to stand on their own? Once they do, hopefully we will have an ally against terrorism.


6 posted on 06/30/2007 10:00:11 PM PDT by DakotaRed (Liberals don't rattle sabers, they wave white flags)
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To: secretagent
Its not exactly like the MSM and the Democrats are rooting for victory. They're hoping America is handed a big defeat and they've been predicting that since the election last year.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

7 posted on 06/30/2007 10:00:27 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: DakotaRed

That is how Bush has defined it since the day we toppled Saddam.


8 posted on 06/30/2007 10:05:37 PM PDT by pissant
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To: rlmorel

The Scary thing is, he’s the best the NY Tmes has.


9 posted on 06/30/2007 10:06:29 PM PDT by pissant
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To: goldstategop

He needs to factor in the possiblity that old men like Lugar and Warner will corak soon. He’s got every other negativity.


10 posted on 06/30/2007 10:07:09 PM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: secretagent

Not quite. We’ve killed 10’s of thousands of jihadis there.


11 posted on 06/30/2007 10:08:09 PM PDT by pissant
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To: NormsRevenge
Extremely stupid article. Whether the Iraqis help or not, we cannot leave before we destroy the terrorists there. However the Iraqis are helping a lot but this left wing journalist is not going to admit it.

The most important turning point of the war since the fall of Saddam in 2003 has been occurring in the last six weeks when the Sunni Arabs have begun the major rebellion against Al Qaeda all over Iraq. Al Qaeda terrorists just lost their most important line of defense which “was” the support and shelter provided by the Sunni Arabs population. Now that the terrorists do not have this anymore, it is all over for them, our troops will annihilate them at a very fast rate.

12 posted on 06/30/2007 10:08:36 PM PDT by jveritas (Support the Commander in Chief in Times of War.)
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To: pissant

Your thinking of John F. Burns


13 posted on 06/30/2007 10:16:11 PM PDT by bnelson44 (http://www.appealforcourage.org)
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To: NormsRevenge
Burns is an idiot. Along with his many colleges he does not have a balance view but portend to be experts.
"That was a possibility four years ago, immediately after Saddam Hussein's government fell. Before the insurgency took hold. Before U.S. occupation authorities lost any chance to avoid the sectarian strife of today's Iraq."
This is double talk at best. Notice he does not back it up with any valued comments as just how they US would have won the hearts and minds of Iraqi.
Saddam and other groups had plans from day one to create a long term insurgency. We know this from much that has been produced. We could have had a half million soldiers sitting around in their FOB pounding down cokes and pepsis with little clue as to where to start to conduct what later on became a well established SASO.
For those that would claim, and partly they are innocent to some extent, or how should I say well intended, there was simply no way to gauge what was taking place in many quarters of Iraq.
We could have had a million soldiers and Marines spread out just in all the vast space of al Anbar and would not have been able to put down any "early insurgent" activities as they slowly emerged. No intel to go on. Next to no interface with the IG's Minister of Defense, during the early days of the Allawi reign.
Jaffari controlled things as he wished to please the SCIRI and IDP (Islamic Dawa Party), in such a way to allow the Shia to take total control.
As AQIR develop in secret and fully supported by Saddamist such as Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri's gang, and the Saddamist Fedayeen, along with independent groups of radical Sunni cultist such as Ansar-al_Sunnah and Ansar al Islam, and Jaish-Muhammad etc., where slowly formulating various forms of the insurgency. And obviously large numbers of foreign jihadist where pouring in from primarily Syria, but also Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Kuwait.
American and British troops along with the then major Coalition partners, really only started to get an idea of what was in the wind in the later part of 2004.
So Burns and his buddies are full of crap.
Hell bells. My nephew was a Marine in G4 stationed in FOB al Mahmudiya in the early spring through early fall of 2004 on his first tour. His Battalion had little to go on as who to go for, during lets say the first half of his tour. Then as things slowly materialized, they where able to very slowly start to go after some in the triangle of death area.
His battalion had little to work with. He stayed in Karma for over a week one time and found nothing to report. Think of him and a patrol living in the town. Then just after they left we got some news reports of insurgents starting to work the people over in that town. We then started to hear about a lot of the early beheadings taking place in the various towns in the triangle of death (south of Baghdad). They used to patrol the streets of Latifya. They had one major fight where cars blew up in front of them, the local police where killed, the Marines in his battalion killed some insurgents, but then things would go quiet.
Same thing could be repeated in some ten small towns and a few villages in that area.
Meanwhile, with no hints to our forces.... this area became one of the most deadly areas in Iraq, a key center for Saddamist that where supporting the growing AQIR, and some other Sunni derivatives.
Burns knows shit.
Things early on like the looting of various government and educational institutes, and local military sites etc., happened over a few weeks. Our troops really where not equiped to act as local police, nor where they commisioned to do so under General Petrouse.
We could have had a million men on the ground and it would have done nothing of use in the big picture.
This all came about by a evoluting gradual build up of goons of various persuasions fighting for different reasons, some times uniting and aiding one another when adequately justified, and there would have been nothing we could have done about it.
The game plan was sold to us, that the majority of Iraqi, mostly Shia would so love the idea of being freed from the butcher's rule, that for the most part they would welcome the idea of free elections, a new constitution, and the spirit of cooperation in slowly rebuilding their nation to something far better then they had experienced for the past fifty some years (actually for ever).
The Iraqi dropped the ball. Only recently do we see really solid changes taking place.
So shit bird Burns can go fart in the wind as far as I am concerned. It is so easy to say we should have had more troops in place.
One can have a over staffed big city police force and yet see little impact on ridding the city of rampant drug dealing and gang warfare. Same applies to the Iraqi situtation.
14 posted on 06/30/2007 10:30:49 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle
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To: goldstategop; pissant
Burns' analysis is dead-on. The hajis don't like us, don't trust us. Therefore, there will always be a level of cooperation with the terrorists/insurgents that we will not be able to break. Only the people that live in the muhallahs will be able to cleanse them of these filth. Many won't, since the average Arab is a complete and utter coward, but some will take up arms and join with their neighbors and fight street to street and drive them out. We can't do that w/out popular support, which is something we'll never have.

The notion that we'll achieve complete victory here is more or less a dream. We will be able to show our eventual withdrawal as a "we just don't give a damn about a country that doesn't give a damn about itself." That isn't a loss, it's a "screw you guys, we're going home." That's pretty much the most we can hope for. Anyone who thinks differently hasn't spent much time outside the wire over here.

15 posted on 06/30/2007 10:35:25 PM PDT by Future Snake Eater (Mosul, Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf, Sadr City...'round and 'round we go...)
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To: NormsRevenge

"In war the only sure defense is offense, and the efficiency of the offense depends on the warlike souls of those conducting it." - Patton

16 posted on 06/30/2007 10:36:50 PM PDT by VRWC For Truth (RINO cleaner - the backbone restorer)
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To: NormsRevenge
Analysis: another war article from one more ignoramus who doesn’t understand the concept of war.

We are fully capable of winning the war in Iraq whenever we decide that it would be proper to do so. Unfortunately, modern democratic nations such as ours and our allies have developed the idea that to use “overwhelming force” to defeat an enemy is barbaric and must be avoided at all costs. The operational objective now is to always use a “proportionate response” and keep the absence of collateral damage as the highest priority. The result of this thinking is that we’ve been fighting a war where every time the enemy is reduced in capacity by any amount and goes into a retreating mode our forces ease pressure and go into “patrol” mode. It should be obvious that the inevitable outcome of this policy is a perpetual stalemate.

If our military were allowed to exercise proper war strategy and aggressively pursue the enemy neighborhood by neighborhood and capture or kill them (and not let them go back to hiding among the general population in their safe-houses), then we would have all of Iraq under complete and permanent control in a matter of months.

17 posted on 06/30/2007 10:42:49 PM PDT by spinestein (The answer is 42.)
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To: spinestein

If our military were allowed to exercise proper war strategy and aggressively pursue the enemy neighborhood by neighborhood and capture or kill them (and not let them go back to hiding among the general population in their safe-houses), then we would have all of Iraq under complete and permanent control in a matter of months.”
__________________________
Oh so true! But too little is too late in this PC war.


18 posted on 06/30/2007 11:13:37 PM PDT by cowdog77 (" Are there any brave men left in Washington, or are they all cowards?")
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To: NormsRevenge

Iraq can stabilize after the war with Iran and Syria are done, IMO.


19 posted on 06/30/2007 11:32:37 PM PDT by familyop (cbt. engr. (cbt.)--has-been)
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To: NormsRevenge
"That was a possibility [winning - producing a secure and democratic Iraqi government - simply and completely on U.S. military strength alone] four years ago, immediately after Saddam Hussein's government fell. Before the insurgency took hold. Before U.S. occupation authorities lost any chance to avoid the sectarian strife of today's Iraq."

"The insurgency" was not a result of how the U.S. invasion went, or how "security issues" were handled after Saddam was deposed. THE INSURGENCY WAS GOING TO OCCUR NOT MATTER WHAT THE U.S. DID. SADDAM PLANNED ON IT, AL QUEDA PLANNED ON IT AND IRAN PLANNED ON IT. To think that no matter what the U.S. did that Saddam (and those with him) and Al Queda, and Iran were NOT resourceful enough to adapt to whatever military measures we took, so that they could still mount an insurgency of some sort is sheer stupidity and lunacy.

The insurgency was going to occur, no matter what. It could not have been prevented from occurring four years ago or even two years ago. That said, the real question is what counter-insurgency measures work, IN THE IRAQ CONTEXT, and how to implement them. If Bush had fired generals faster he may have found his Patraeus sooner BUT HE WOULD NOT HAVE PREVENTED THE INSURGENCY FROM OCCURRING. That does not mean that the insurgency CANNOT be prevented from succeeding - it can. It takes a superior force most of one thing alone to succeed against an insurgency - constant, dogged perseverance. It took the British ten years in Malaysia, and given the cost, they could have become disgruntled and left anytime. In the end who won? The British. Why? They didn't quit trying.

"The trends so far, however, are not encouraging and the political tides are not favorable, either in Washington or Baghdad.

More stupidity. The "trends" with regard to whether or not the Iraqi people and their police and military will gain the experience to secure the government are not found in body counts, bombing counts, U.S. policies or U.S. bloviating Senators. The trends that show the real strength that Iraqis will have against the insurgency are ALL trends inside Iraq and ALL related to the active assistance, including fighting assistance from the Iraqi people who are NOT in uniform and NOT in the Iraqi government. Those trends, particularly among the Sunni and Shia tribal leaders, are improving constantly. It is clear to the Irqaqi civilians that they are the targets of the insurgency and they would be the first victims of a victorious insurgency, just as they are its major victims now. The Iraqi civilians see clearly that the insurgents attacks against the U.S. is only to make it more possible for the subjugation of the civilians by the insurgents (because they - the insurgents - already reveal that goal to the people).

Wars are one by one guy - every time - the guy who DOES NOT DECIDE TO QUIT.

20 posted on 07/01/2007 5:25:51 AM PDT by Wuli
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To: Future Snake Eater
Burns' analysis is dead-on.

Burns analysis is a stringing togehter of the usual never been anything Talk Radio host slogans and Democrat Campaign propaganda, it demonstrates a complete ignorance of all ground truth in Iraq. Rather the mindlessly cling to their basically racist, Neo Isolationist dogmas, how about the Know Nothings actually try LEARNING something about Iraq? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_Iraq http://icasualties.org/oif/

21 posted on 07/01/2007 5:34:09 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (If you will try being smarter, I will try being nicer.)
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To: goldstategop

Remember too that in 2005 many Democrats were saying we needed more troops. Now that more troops are there, they say they’re against the surge. And nearly all Democrats until recently were in favor of a smaller army. Under Clinton, the army lost 10 divisions, which would double the army if present today.


22 posted on 07/01/2007 7:33:48 AM PDT by elhombrelibre (Democrats even want foreign terrorists to be treated like US citizens.)
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To: bnelson44

I stand corrected. Thanks


23 posted on 07/01/2007 8:08:29 AM PDT by pissant
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To: cowdog77
“Are there any brave men left in Washington, or are they all cowards?”

I think it’s accurate to say that the brave and bold in this country (in Washington AND among the population) have dwindled to a relatively insignificant minority to be replaced by those who hold moral relativism and moderatism as the highest ideals.

Perhaps it’s because we’ve had it so cushy in America for so long that a sense on lazy entitlement has taken hold, or perhaps it’s some other reason, but I’m pretty certain it will take a long term disruption in our nationwide feeling of comfort and security to begin to reverse the trend. In any event, our present course isn’t sustainable for too many more years.

24 posted on 07/01/2007 12:38:41 PM PDT by spinestein (The answer is 42.)
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