Sunday, November 27, 2005

CHILDREN OF THE GRAVE. a three part series

Children of tomorrow live in the tears that fall today
Will the sunrise of tomorrow bringing peace in any way
Must the world live in the shadow of atomic fear
Can they win the fight for peace or will they disappear?
- Children of the Grave, Black Sabbath


Part 2 - Justification for "Staying the Course"

Bill W recently enumerated The Plan on which we are "Staying the Course". I suppose I heard this so often and saw things so differently that it lost its meaning. But Bill captures it completely when he states:

1. Appointed Interim govenrment, June of 2004;
2. First elections for interim government, January of 2005
3. Select delegates to draw up constitution, and draw up the constitution
4. Government ratifies in August
5. Iraqi people vote up or down in October of 2005.
6. If passed, elect first permanent government December of 2005.
7. In the meantime, train Iraqi Police, National Guard & Army (and hopefully, since you are there, you won't fall for the "well it only takes us six weeks to train recruits, what's wrong over there?" For those that have not thought it through, we send recruits through an already established program at already established bases, and then they integrate into already established armed forces, which have already established NCO staff and Officer staff and already established bases, uniforms, equipment, supply chain, etc, etc, etc.)
8. As they get better at standing up, we stand down. You yourself talked about that happening, and every day you can read about it on the milblogs.

I can't disagree at all with this, but I will express some concerns that I think need examined. Again, this is just my point of view, how I see things, how I try to compare apples to apples to make sense of my contributions during this year of my life. This is not a criticism of Bill W. I have tried to show, first hand, how 159,000 Americans are going to waste as many are sitting idle here. Maybe if we were better managed and utilized then I would have more faith in the veracity of such an Exit Plan. Most of us seem to be here to justify our own presence. We've had several FOBs that consisted of our Signal soldiers providing communications to another unit who was there simply to provide security to our signal unit. Think about that one.

In essence, the soft point is #8. Subjective evaluation of any military operation is dangerous. How safe is safe? Let me try to compare some real statistics to hopefully provoke thought and discussion. Murder rates from Camden, NJ, a city of only 80,000 people, in 2003 recorded 41 while Detroit, MI, a city of nearly a million, killed 366 of its residents. Already, between those two urban centers, over 400 Americans lost their lives. To compare, in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2115 Americans have lost their lives since the initial invasion. The population of Iraq is very roughly 1/10th that of the United States. Comparing the total murders of Americans by Americans in America, 12,658 in 2000, to a proportional 7000 American deaths in Iraq (2115 * 10 (population factor) / 3 (years)) per year, lends one to see that I am actually less likely to get killed here than if I visit an American urban center.

What scale can we accurately and ethically judge the safety of Iraqis and the security of this nation? Baghdad murder rates are lower than in American cities. Iraq murder statistics. I am not alone in thinking this a bothersome comparison.

"At some point the Iraqis will get tired of getting killed and we’ll have enough of the Iraqi security forces that they can take over responsibility for governing that country and we’ll be able to pare down the coalition security forces in the country." - Donald Rumsfeld
That is a hell of a standard, as I have stated several times before, and a hell of an evaluation methodology. Now we are supposed to believe that providing a timeline bolsters the morale of the insurgents. So. We all know that the war presented on the evening news is a facade for what really is happening. I could accept an Exit Plan or better yet, a Mission Plan, that included some real measurable final goals. The process seems to be defined somewhat but not the completion stage. I say WE set the timeframe with the milestones, then mandate that the Iraqi government fit to OUR process instead of how it currently is. We need to say that they will have this done by this time. They need to meet this standard by a certain date or our aid will dissipate and THEIR nation will fall apart. That's motivation.

As a final thought to instigate some debate, what if the Canadians saved us from ourselves by invading due to American crime statistics? Clearly we are not a "secure" country as we define security here in Iraq. Our porous borders are a flaw worse than the Syrian border. What would you do as a responsible patriotic citizen if you woke up to a Canadian tank rolling down your street one morning? Do Canadians even have tanks?

13 Comments:

Blogger rev. billy bob gisher ©2005 said...

"lends one to see that I am actually less likely to get killed here than if I visit an American urban center."

damn, nice work. not so sure if i want you home now. loved this piece,you smarmy devil. the canadians would invade america because of the inhumane conditions here, except that to do so would cut into their profits from drug sales. frigging global economy getting in the way of true progress again.

22:51  
Blogger Shelli said...

"What would you do as a responsible patriotic citizen if you woke up to a Canadian tank rolling down your street one morning? Do Canadians even have tanks?" More likely in my neck of the woods since I live in Minnesota. But as the rev. says, it would get in the way of us increasing their prescription drug profits.

"We've had several FOBs that consisted of our Signal soldiers providing communications to another unit who was there simply to provide security to our signal unit." I don't understand all the military terminology because I am just a SAHM (stay at home mom) with no military background other than my dad who was in the military before I was born, but if I understand what you are saying, it seems as if 3 units could be sent home. Now where is the justification to keep people in harms way when they aren't really doing anything other than supporting each other? I don't get the reasoning.

10:30  
Blogger Dorman said...

Bingo.

10:49  
Blogger brainhell said...

Canadians do have tanks. From Wikipedia:

"Today, Land Force Command (army) consists of three field-ready brigades:
1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Edmonton, Alberta,
2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in CFB Petawawa, Ontario, and
5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in CFB Valcartier, Quebec (the francophone brigade).
Each brigade contains one regiment each of artillery, armour, and combat engineers and three battalions of infantry (all scaled in the British fashion), as well as a service battalion (logistics), a headquarters/signals squadron, and several minor organizations. A tactical helicopter squadron and a field ambulance are collocated with each brigade but not part of the brigade's command structure."

Here's a cool picture of a Canadian Leopard tank. If memorty serves, the Leapord was developed by the Germans:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Leopard_tank1.jpg

12:51  
Blogger Kat said...

As a final thought to instigate some debate, what if the Canadians saved us from ourselves by invading due to American crime statistics? Clearly we are not a "secure" country as we define security here in Iraq.

I'll bite...

First, we didn't invade Iraq for their current murder rates and death is (largely) not dealt by people who's goals are to sell drugs, steal cars (though that happens but for purposes beyond selling them to chop shops for parts or using them in commission of other "crimes" like theft, robbery and straight murder), facilitate prostitution, etc.

The only problem with these statistics is that you are acting as if a car bomb killing 10's or hundreds of victims as a political and military effort is the same as a guy with a tec 9 doing a drive by, killing one or two, for a turf battle to commit other crimes, like selling drugs or pimping prostitutes.

It is different motivation, different effect and different responsibility. Where a drive by or other crime for a pure criminal intent is the responsibility of local police, acts of war have been and always are the responsibility of government and its forces.

As the invading force that dismantled the standing government and security apparatus, whether the condition of invasion is agreeable to others or not, we stand as the "government" and "its forces" until such a time as an indigenous government and "its forces" exist. And so, it is our responsibility to act against such war like aggressors.

Again, when comparing violence, there is a difference between criminal activity meant to circumvent laws and government control for individual benefit and acts of war meant to destabilize and destroy a government in order to benefit a larger constituency by giving them power that could result in even more death and destruction. Thus the use of military forces for the latter and police for the former.

Now, whether our use and distribution of forces is efficient and results in the objective of decreasing or destroying anti-government activities is another question altogether.

13:55  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

"Setting a standard"

One of the fundamental problems with public measurements is that the insurgents quickly figure out the measurements and fight to the measurements.

I.E. If they kill only one US soldier a day...the war will be getting better...2 a day...things are staying the same...3 a day...all is doomed.

Or if we measure hostile acts per/day/million population. 11 provinces are at 1 act/day or less. Another 5 are at 4 acts/day/million population. 2 provinces are problems.

I have a real simple method for setting a drawdown goal
1 battalion per hostile act/day should be the standard.

The so-called "anti occupation" resistance will get the message real fast.

14:01  
Blogger Bill W said...

Having listened to Patreus and his successor, I believe there has been a good, reasoned, long term plan (the short term try clearly did not work prior to Patreus).

Point 8 is the weak point, but this was just a high level recap of the plan. Having listened to Patreus and his successor, I believe there has been a good, reasoned, long term plan (the short term try clearly did not work prior to Patreus). And although I don't think I have seen the detailed measurements of when we turn over things back to the Iraqi's, I believe I see the evidence. As I think you mentioned, certain AO's are being turned over to the Iraqi's, with MNF providing backup. There are whole provinces that could and will be turned over, but we don't want to rush it or we will regret it - we cannot leave a weak area. Part of why we are not rushing is because we know that the whole political system (all of the Ministry heads and thus their top organizations will turn over again after the December elections. The two months following June of '04 and the Jan '05 elections were pretty chaotic for the Iraqi government, and they will not be effective fighting the war & policing while they are setting up the government.

Actually, I am glad to hear that you are so bored and we actually have excess troop levels there - not that I want people put needlessly at risk, but I would rather have you bored and feeling useless vs. in the fight - it shows that your areas are relatively quiet.

I have been around large projects and large organizations for most of my working life, and know that sometimes, during the day to day execution you lose touch with what the overall plan and get aggravated & pissed at the bureacracy and politics. You have to stand back once in a while and make a list of what has been accomplished and you realize, hey - this is going better than I thought. I know that I would be hooted down by the media (who lack ANY experience in matters of project execution, program management, leadership, the politics of making large organizational changes, technology, etc, etc (yet think they have achieved diversity)) but I am amazed at what has been accomplished in Iraq so far. I just wish most Americans could see it (most are blocked by the media) and have the patience that is necessary.

20:45  
Blogger rev. billy bob gisher ©2005 said...

"Now, whether our use and distribution of forces is efficient and results in the objective of decreasing or destroying anti-government activities is another question altogether"

nice, close but you also said:

"First, we didn't invade Iraq for their current murder rates and death is (largely) not dealt by people who's goals are to sell drugs, steal cars (though that happens but for purposes beyond selling them to chop shops for parts or using them in commission of other "crimes" like theft, robbery and straight murder), facilitate prostitution, etc."

after the wmd and the terror excuses for the invasion played themselves out, we were left with stopping the slaughter of innocent victims as our primary motivation. it is a good cause to try and stop that anywhere in the world. death is death and murder is murder. did we have the right to zip in there without trying other tactics, and waiting long enough to see if they worked? I would hope the canadians tried other tactics with us first, but under these rules, they have as much justification sending tanks in here, (actually more because we are right on their border not thousands of miles away) than we did going into Iraq. What in the hell are you actually arguing for here Kat?

If we have the right to say someone is not doing enough to stop killing within their borders, why should the canadians not have that right?

09:24  
Blogger brainhell said...

> " For those that have not thought it through, we send recruits through an already established program at already established bases, and then they integrate into already established armed forces, which have already established NCO staff and Officer staff and already established bases, uniforms, equipment, supply chain, etc, etc, etc.)"

...This may be a No Blame Zone, but I ask: Who do we have to thank for dissolving that pre-existing Iraqi military?

11:31  
Blogger Dorman said...

several point.

1. Bangladesh today. Who woulda thought that suicide bombers would be trying to "impose Islamic Law" It is a peaceful religion after all. Guess they rae just the "fringe". LOL

2. 212,000 reported IA troops. 500,000 total US Army troops. How much is enough in comparison?

3. Iraqis are "killed" by coalition forces while Coalition forces "lose their lives"

15:38  
Blogger InterstellarLass said...

It doesn't matter what's been done so far. The fatalist in me knows without a doubt that as soon as we leave, the Iraqis will fall apart. Everything that we've 'accomplished' (and I use the term loosely) will be dropped, and civil war will ensue. That's just they way those people operate. You've got to spill your neighbor's blood to get anything done.

I'm sure our Great Leader knows this too, and we'll end up with soldiers permanently entrenched in Iraq, just as they are in Germany, Japan, Korea, and Bosnia.

09:45  
Blogger SnotSucker said...

National Strategy for Victory in Iraq

10:41  
Blogger anotherPointOfView said...

IL,
>>
... that's just the way those people are ...
<<

In your countries own civil war your own country men killed 620,000 of it's own brothers and sisters.

I world war two 61 million people died.

Before you start pointing that hypocritical finger take a look in the mirror of western "civilisation".

"That's just the way those westerners are."

23:31  

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