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Iraq War Thread #2319

mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
edited January 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
I didn't find anything in the first two pages to resurrect, and likely it wouldn't be worth it anyway. So we'll just start fresh. Mainly just wanted to stop derailing the Iran thread.

So here's the last post from there.

h3ndu wrote:
True to a point - leaving would motivate them to work a little harder on their own defense, but it would also leave a rather unprepared Iraq government and army to the hands of anyone with a little bit of will. Obviously our government is there trying to get the people they want in power stabalized, they would have already left if they were; leave now and the people we worked to put in power will be overthrown, and Iraq will more than likely move through years of civil war, ending up with another dictator.

There's no guarantee this won't happen no matter when we leave. Even apparently relatively stable governments get overthrown from time to time.
mcdermott wrote:
As for the last part...well, I saw little the government was doing from stateside that was preventing us from doing our jobs.

Excuse my writing, I meant to convey the jobs the men and women of our army are doing. I'm an 11B - Infantry soldier.

I'm an ex-19K (armor crewman) and deployed as a 31U (signal support) in an infantry battalion. Howdy. So yeah, I meant the same "us" you did, unless you were only referring to infantrymen.
Do you know the current rules of engagment? For a while they changed every day but they've more or less stabalized for now.

To put it simply we're handicapped. Completely and totally tied up, unable to perform the jobs we are meant to do, all because the polaticians on capitol hill, the people who started this war, beleive that the way it should, and needs to be fouhgt - not simply for victory, but also for the protection of our soldiers, is to barbaric and below the us.

Well, considering we aren't so much fighting a "war" (though it can be a convenient term, and Iraq is very much a warzone), but rather trying to stabilize a country. They require different tactics. The latter isn't even particularly easy to do, or a mission a military force is always well-suited to accomplish.
Take for instance MOUT (Military operation in urban terrain - ground warfare inside of buildings and in city areas). The rules for MOUT have modified and adjusted from a practical stance, one where we would be protected, where our best interest are, to a political stance - one that creates dangerous positions for ground troops. Clearing a room used to be toss in a grenade, then move in and pick off anyone still twitching; it's devolved to running head first into what may be a fortified enemy position. Have you ever run straight into the path of a firing machine gun? I'll tell you what, body arm is a gift beyond any measure, but it's not always good enough. Three rounds from a 7.62 and the plate crumbles - that's if your lucky. I had one crack when I was hit by a 5.56 - friendly fire. I've seen people cut down, men split apart, because we were unable to do our jobs the way they should be done.

The "toss in a grenade and go in to pick up the pieces" method isn't particularly helpful when you could be facing innocent civilians. Every non-insurgent you kill just creates a family full of insurgents. Yes, this means our guys end up in more danger than they need to be. Personally I'd rather see our guys gone; as it is more dead civilians isn't going to accomplish the mission.
METTTC - it used to be only METTT. It's an acronym, standing for Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops, Time available and Civilian conciderations. War is not a cilican concideration. In WWII we razed cities to the ground, civilians who were in the way got messed up, it's sad. Honestly it's a horrible thing, but the first time it happens others decide they want to get the fuck out of the way of oncoming troops. Our government is handicapping us to a point where people in Iraq simply aren't afraid of us. We show demonstrations of force with our finest weapons - the M2 .50 cal, the AT4, our howitzers, our machine guns, our tanks, they don't care anymore, we have no shocking effect because they know they can get to us, and we can't do anything.

I know the acronym. And we aren't fighting a conventional "war," we're trying to keep the peace and stabilize a country. In theory the entire point of our being there is for the benefit of the civilian populace, so it would make sense that civilian considerations be taken into account during operations. Ignoring civilian considerations makes some level of sense when you're fighting and attempting to push back an opposing military force, such as in WWII...but this is not WWII. There is no army we are fighting, no line we are trying to move back, no government we are trying to topple. Razing cities (or even less extreme "strong-arm" tactics) here just leaves dead people with angry families who now want to kill us.
Convoy's can't shoot down oncoming trucks until it's too late, our foot soldiers can't open fire on until they fire first, and they don't use conventional weapons, so that's usually to late for anyone within 20 meters. We could utterly destroy them, we could end this war in three week - three fucking weeks, if our military were simply left to it's devices.

Sure. I guess we could clear out 25 million Iraqis or so in three weeks. It'd require nukes, but we've got them. Nothing short of that will "end" this war...if we left our military to its devices, they'd just kill more people creating more insurgents and more violence. You've already pointed out that they're using nonconventional warfare...so it isn't as if there are opposing infantry regiments that we simply need to kill or capture. All you'd have left after three weeks is more dead people on both sides, along with a more pissed off populace. Yeah, some victory.
Smarter men than I most assueredly have thought over these issues, but those men haven't been there. Polaticians do not know how to wage war, they do not know what is best for the soldier; they most certainly have proven they don't have my, or my fellow soldiers, best interests in mind.

Your having been there does not make you an expert on such matters, nor does it mean suddenly you know the key strategy that all the jackasses back in Washington are missing to win this thing. A politician, or general, need not have spent one day in Iraq in order to have some insight on how best to run the occupation of Iraq.

And I'll remind you again; our goal in Iraq is not to create dead Iraqis. Trying to stabilize a nation requires more than racking up a body count, and unfortunately it seems to require putting our guys (including you and I) in more dangerous situations than good old-fashioned "kill the enemy" warfare. Again, this meme worked better in Vietnam.

This is not to say that the boys in Washington have had our best interests in mind; I agree with you there. I think there are many decisions along the line that could have been made to save life and limb of our soldiers. I also happen to be of the opinion that our continued presence there in general is not in the best interests of our soldiers, since the chance of a favorable outcome is slim and the price is high...though I'm guessing we disagree on that one.


EDIT: Unfortunately, I may also be popping in and out...homework to do.

mcdermott on

Posts

  • h3nduh3ndu Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Clean slate, yes?

    A governmental overthrown would be far less likely to occure from a stabalized democracy - one wer're trying, and in my opinion succeeding, to create. If we were to pull out any time in the close future the results would be abyzmal. Their functionality is nothing even close to what is considered competent, and their military is still unstructured and underdeveloped. When they are truly ready their military should and would be able to quel any sort of take overs. There's obviously no true guarantee that everything would go hunky dorey, but I feel confident that a truly prepared government and army would be able to topple minor hostile takeovers. The kind of revolutionary events you seem to have in mind are things that no government would be able to truly deal with.

    I didn't mean to single infantrymen - every man and women in the army is infantry at heart - especially over in Iraq, I just get to wear a fancy gay colored blue cord, and you something different. If you don't mind me asking, what Battalion?

    I find the idea that you don't think this is a war to be incredible. We are at war, in the belly of the beast. It's true our main objective is to stabalize Iraq, but in order to do that we first have to have conrol over it. This is the war we fight; a war for control, for marshal law. Without it we will continue to sustain undue casualties.

    Innocent civilians don't belong on a field of battle; friends of mine would go so far as to say theire's no such thing as an innocent civilian on the battlefield, but I don't share their sentiment. It's true that lobbing a grenade makes a mess out of civilians, but that's war. I would rather see my squad safe, than have men killed because someone decided they were going to tough it out and stay in an area about to be over-run by soldiers.

    Seeing our soldiers out of danger would be a treat, but hey - those aren't the cards we drew.

    Once more our arguments stems from our different views of what Iraq is. I think it's a war, and "strong arm" tactics are war.

    I say three weeks because I honestly think that's how long it would take us to lock down the country. We'd need to suck in a shit ton more troops, but that's easily done. As soon as martial law is in place and we have control, governmental stability will rise.

    You're correct that it doesn't make me an expert, and I claim to be no visionary. I have an idea of how it should be done, just because it's my idea doesn't make it right - but I rather like it. Once more they don't need to be there to know how to run occupation, but they do need to be there to know how to fight them - something we're still doing, and something not decided by the poeple doing the fighting.

    I never said that was our goal(killing Iraq citizens), but it's most certainly a by product - just as our dead brothers and sisters are, weather we like it or not.

    I think our presence there is not something to go away for long after my children are dead. It will be just as Germany, or just as Japan. To many people see this as something other than a war. It is a war, and it takes time; it won't just go away if we leave, it won't disapear like a fart in the wind - it will haunt us. It will come back to us. We cannot leave until our job is one hundred and ten percent completed, and that won't be for a long, long time.

    A war is a massacre - a bloody mess that knows no right or wrong; people die for nothing and everything - for what they beleive, that's just a fact. I neither embrace war or hate it because it's merely a thing, it's my job - something I wake up and go to work to enact; those who participate in it I can understand, those who decide to make it happen I can't possibly fathom the, though I can see why war is neccessary, I couldn't make the choice. Iraq is a war. It's a thing we use to try and set something right again. We're getting there, but far to many people are abandoning the cause. Once you make a decision you need to back it. There is no wisshy washy one way or another, especially with decisions like these. What of the men who have already died for this cause? What of their sacrafice for freedom in Iraq? You would leave them behind so calously? A commitment has been made, and people of true charachter fulfill their obligations. If I had a chance to speak before congress those would be my sentiments. I'd like to see how they respond.

    h3ndu on
    Lo Que Sea, Cuando Sea, Donde Sea.
  • ALockslyALocksly Registered User
    edited January 2007
    h3ndu wrote:
    Clean slate, yes?

    I find the idea that you don't think this is a war to be incredible. We are at war, in the belly of the beast. It's true our main objective is to stabalize Iraq, but in order to do that we first have to have conrol over it. This is the war we fight; a war for control, for marshal law. Without it we will continue to sustain undue casualties.

    Innocent civilians don't belong on a field of battle; friends of mine would go so far as to say theire's no such thing as an innocent civilian on the battlefield, but I don't share their sentiment. It's true that lobbing a grenade makes a mess out of civilians, but that's war. I would rather see my squad safe, than have men killed because someone decided they were going to tough it out and stay in an area about to be over-run by soldiers.

    You have to admit though, when a young Iraqi who was previously ambivilant about the US is told that his family was blown up during a building sweep, it would be pretty hard to convince him it was for his own good and please don't go join the insurgency.

    Then extrapolate that to all the family and friends of innocent civilian casualties.

    In the short term, yes, the grenade toss is the safest way to clear a room (for those doing the clearing) but when each civilian casualty potentialy creates dozens of new enemy combatants with a gruge against the US then the fight only ends when everyoneon the Iraqi side is dead; particularly when dealing with groups that glorify sucide attacks.

    Then you are left with an empty country, even more hatred and mistrust of the US and all of our soldiers who died because even the widows and orphans of dead civilians are turning themselves into bombs just out of spite and revenge.

    edit: many folks have compared Iraq to a bees nest that we're trying to take out with a BB gun, the more we poke it the more angry bees there are, but its more than that.

    Iraq is a bees nest surrounded by other bees nests. Even if we were to upgrade to the 10 guage we would still set off all the other nests.

    ALocksly on
    Yes,... yes, I agree. It's totally unfair that sober you gets into trouble for things that drunk you did.
  • h3nduh3ndu Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    ALocksly wrote:
    h3ndu wrote:
    Clean slate, yes?

    I find the idea that you don't think this is a war to be incredible. We are at war, in the belly of the beast. It's true our main objective is to stabalize Iraq, but in order to do that we first have to have conrol over it. This is the war we fight; a war for control, for marshal law. Without it we will continue to sustain undue casualties.

    Innocent civilians don't belong on a field of battle; friends of mine would go so far as to say theire's no such thing as an innocent civilian on the battlefield, but I don't share their sentiment. It's true that lobbing a grenade makes a mess out of civilians, but that's war. I would rather see my squad safe, than have men killed because someone decided they were going to tough it out and stay in an area about to be over-run by soldiers.

    You have to admit though, when a young Iraqi who was previously ambivilant about the US is told that his family was blown up during a building sweep, it would be pretty hard to convince him it was for his own good and please don't go join the insurgency.

    Then extrapolate that to all the family and friends of innocent civilian casualties.

    In the short term, yes, the grenade toss is the safest way to clear a room (for those doing the clearing) but when each civilian casualty potentialy creates dozens of new enemy combatants with a gruge against the US then the fight only ends when everyoneon the Iraqi side is dead; particularly when dealing with groups that glorify sucide attacks.

    Then you are left with an empty country, even more hatred and mistrust of the US and all of our soldiers who died because even the widows and orphans of dead civilians are turning themselves into bombs just out of spite and revenge.

    I say again, I would rather see my squad safe. If I found out my family were killed, you bet my ass I'd try and hunt down the bastard who did it and fuck him up as much as humanly possible before killing him; but this is just a side effect of war.

    Sucks don't it?

    edit: this is why war with Iran is inevitable.

    h3ndu on
    Lo Que Sea, Cuando Sea, Donde Sea.
  • TDLTDL ClubPA, __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2007
    h3ndu wrote:
    I say again, I would rather see my squad safe. If I found out my family were killed, you bet my ass I'd try and hunt down the bastard who did it and fuck him up as much as humanly possible before killing him; but this is just a side effect of war.

    You are thinking short term. What you need to be doing is thinking long term.

    You are correct, casualties are an unfortunate but necessary part of war. However, while you believe you should kill civilians wholesale to prevent the immediate death of American troops, that will only lead to more deaths in the future.

    It is better to do everything in our power to avoid civilian deaths now, in the hopes of fostering a more friendly, stable Iraq which would lead to less American deaths in the long run.

    TDL on
    Meet me on my vast veranda
    My sweet, untouched Miranda
    And while the seagulls are crying
    We fall but our souls are flying
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    TDL wrote:
    h3ndu wrote:
    I say again, I would rather see my squad safe. If I found out my family were killed, you bet my ass I'd try and hunt down the bastard who did it and fuck him up as much as humanly possible before killing him; but this is just a side effect of war.

    You are thinking short term. What you need to be doing is thinking long term.

    You are correct, casualties are an unfortunate but necessary part of war. However, while you believe you should kill civilians wholesale to prevent the immediate death of American troops, that will only lead to more deaths in the future.

    It is better to do everything in our power to avoid civilian deaths now, in the hopes of fostering a more friendly, stable Iraq which would lead to less American deaths in the long run.

    Giant robots are an excellent solution.

    Loren Michael on
    2ezikn6.jpg
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    The fighting in Iraq is not the fighting of a war. We won the war years ago, I can dig up the USS Lincoln picture if you'd like, and that has only been solidified with the hanging of Saddam Hussein. No, the fighting in Iraq is the fighting of peace, and we lost that peace years ago as well.

    The military didn't learn its lessons from Vietnam. Hell, it seems the only lesson they learned is that drafting middle class kids to die halfway 'round the world tends to piss off a lot of voters. That and try to control the imagery and media that gets out of the warzone. The Pentagon needs massive reforms in tactics etc. to address the current paradigm of war and peacekeeping if they ever want to be effective. The idea of leading tank columns (or jets, or cruise missiles, or what have you) into a field in order to mow down enemy tank columns or infantry seems to make as much sense in this modern era as dressing your soldiers in bright red suits, having them stand in a group, and then taking turns shooting each other, or having calvary charging towards machine gun nests then wondering in amazement at the losses.

    moniker on
  • ALockslyALocksly Registered User
    edited January 2007
    So the only way to win is to go scorched eath in Iraq... and then Iran.... and then possibly North Korea. Pissing off the rest of world and convincing ever more folks who live in places like London or Paris or Denver that the US really is an evil empire that should be punished by some random act of violence.

    and that won't cost more soldiers life and limb?

    and that promotes Americas intrests how?


    The goal in any conflict of this sort is to reduce the number of your enemies. If killing one civilian creates ten or twenty new enemies you have a net gain of enemies. This is not an effective strategy.


    Iraq, to avoid the above scenario, must be handled delicately. Delicately is hard. It means occasionaly biting your tongue and checking your fist. It is not nearly as satisfying as hauling off and decking the bastard but there are fewer bloody lips in the long run.

    ALocksly on
    Yes,... yes, I agree. It's totally unfair that sober you gets into trouble for things that drunk you did.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    h3ndu wrote:
    I didn't mean to single infantrymen - every man and women in the army is infantry at heart - especially over in Iraq, I just get to wear a fancy gay colored blue cord, and you something different. If you don't mind me asking, what Battalion?

    1st of the 163rd Infantry, National Guard. My active duty time was with the 1st of the 13th Armor.

    And I do feel that combat-arms soldiers (who are basically all used as infantry over there) stick their necks out a little further over there. I know I had it quite a bit easier than most of the guys in line companies/platoons.
    I find the idea that you don't think this is a war to be incredible. We are at war, in the belly of the beast. It's true our main objective is to stabalize Iraq, but in order to do that we first have to have conrol over it. This is the war we fight; a war for control, for marshal law. Without it we will continue to sustain undue casualties.

    It hasn't been a war since 2003. As soon as we no longer had a visible enemy to attack with our troops, it ceased being a war. Now, that's not to say it isn't a warzone...and when you're in it the two can certainly look much the same. But martial law and a struggle for control for the country (with the desired endstate being a stable gov't and peace) are not the same as an "actual war", and can't be fought in the same way. Not if you want any chance of success, at least.
    Innocent civilians don't belong on a field of battle; friends of mine would go so far as to say theire's no such thing as an innocent civilian on the battlefield, but I don't share their sentiment. It's true that lobbing a grenade makes a mess out of civilians, but that's war. I would rather see my squad safe, than have men killed because someone decided they were going to tough it out and stay in an area about to be over-run by soldiers.

    When you make every neighborhood and every street the battlefield, civilians (even the innocent kind) are bound to be there, whether or not they want to be. I think this is something Americans have no way of truly understanding, since the last time a war was fought on our soil was over 150 years ago.
    I say three weeks because I honestly think that's how long it would take us to lock down the country. We'd need to suck in a shit ton more troops, but that's easily done. As soon as martial law is in place and we have control, governmental stability will rise.

    True. But that doesn't mean that two weeks (or two months) after that shit-ton of troops leave governmental stability won't just fall again. You talk about the lackluster organization and capabilities of the Iraqi Army...we've got 150,000 of the best-equipped and best-trained soldiers in the world there, and we can't secure the place. Having seen the quality of the average Iraqi soldier I can't say I'm confident that even 500,000 of them could manage to do so.
    I never said that was our goal(killing Iraq citizens), but it's most certainly a by product - just as our dead brothers and sisters are, weather we like it or not.

    Of course anytime you put an army in a foreign country people on both sides are likely to get killed. However, since our goal is the safety and prosperity of the Iraqi people then part of that goal is minimizing the number of them that get killed for no good reason. Something your plan fails at horribly.
    I think our presence there is not something to go away for long after my children are dead. It will be just as Germany, or just as Japan. To many people see this as something other than a war. It is a war, and it takes time; it won't just go away if we leave, it won't disapear like a fart in the wind - it will haunt us. It will come back to us. We cannot leave until our job is one hundred and ten percent completed, and that won't be for a long, long time.

    Oh good lord, I hope not. If my children (should they choose to serve) are still getting deployed to Iraq that will be a sad state indeed. As far as coming back to haunt us...well, of course unstable conditions in countries across the world can come back to haunt us. As can unfavorable governments that take control because of those conditions. The question is whether our continued presence in Iraq results in a net positive or negative when compared to the results of our leaving Iraq. Neither one looks like it's going to end well, so it's a matter of deciding which is worse.
    A war is a massacre - a bloody mess that knows no right or wrong; people die for nothing and everything - for what they beleive, that's just a fact. I neither embrace war or hate it because it's merely a thing, it's my job - something I wake up and go to work to enact; those who participate in it I can understand, those who decide to make it happen I can't possibly fathom the, though I can see why war is neccessary, I couldn't make the choice. Iraq is a war. It's a thing we use to try and set something right again. We're getting there, but far to many people are abandoning the cause. Once you make a decision you need to back it. There is no wisshy washy one way or another, especially with decisions like these. What of the men who have already died for this cause? What of their sacrafice for freedom in Iraq? You would leave them behind so calously? A commitment has been made, and people of true charachter fulfill their obligations. If I had a chance to speak before congress those would be my sentiments. I'd like to see how they respond.

    First, I'll address the men who've already died for this cause. Go look up "sunk cost." It's an economic term usually used to refer to money, but I'd say human lives should be treated as being even more valuable than dollars. Those who've already died should never be used to justify our future action...we can't get them back; any rational decision to proceed would take into account only future costs weighed against the future benefits.

    As for obligations; well, I don't think we're really obligated to "keep troops in Iraq indefinitely for as long as it could possibly take for them to get things together." Eventually the Iraqis have to shit or get off the pot. Yeah, maybe four or five years is a bit short to accomplish such a thing...then again, from what I saw of how Iraq works I don't think twenty years would be enough. At least not as long as we're around.

    As for decisions; not everybody decided to go to war with Iraq. A good portion of Americans thought it was a bad idea from the start...even some of us who've served over there. I didn't believe in it when I went, and what I saw while I was there didn't convince me. I went because I was obligated to, and because the guys in my section needed me. Aside from that, I'm pretty sure it's just a year of my life flushed down the toilet.
    ALocksly wrote:
    So the only way to win is to go scorched eath in Iraq... and then Iran.... and then possibly North Korea. Pissing off the rest of world and convincing ever more folks who live in places like London or Paris or Denver that the US really is an evil empire that should be punished by some random act of violence.

    and that won't cost more soldiers life and limb?

    and that promotes Americas intrests how?


    The goal in any conflict of this sort is to reduce the number of your enemies. If killing one civilian creates ten or twenty new enemies you have a net gain of enemies. This is not an effective strategy.


    Iraq, to avoid the above scenario, must be handled delicately. Delicately is hard. It means occasionaly biting your tongue and checking your fist. It is not nearly as satisfying as hauling off and decking the bastard but there are fewer bloody lips in the long run.

    I get the impression that h3ndu is a God at Whack-a-Mole.

    mcdermott on
  • JinniganJinnigan Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    is the military trained for policing duties?

    Jinnigan on
    whatifihadnofriendsshortenedsiggy2.jpg
  • ALockslyALocksly Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Jinnigan wrote:
    is the military trained for policing duties?

    some of us are/were

    edit: I'd be really surprised if soldiers scheduled to be deployed weren't getting at least basic policing training.

    ALocksly on
    Yes,... yes, I agree. It's totally unfair that sober you gets into trouble for things that drunk you did.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Jinnigan wrote:
    is the military trained for policing duties?

    Pretty much everybody is given some level of training for quasi-police duties before deployment, and from what I understand it's a pretty regular part of training while not deployed nowadays. I wouldn't be surprised if it's making its way into basic training nowadays.

    Still, most soldiers (combat-arms or no) are not going to be particularly "proficient" at it. They'll be soldiers first and cops second, which is as it should be. We don't grab random police officers and expect them to perform as infantrymen, why would we expect the inverse. It's just something that should be taken into consideration when determining one's chances of success at a protracted "peacekeeping" operation among a hostile populace.

    mcdermott on
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited January 2007
    moniker wrote:
    The military didn't learn its lessons from Vietnam. Hell, it seems the only lesson they learned is that drafting middle class kids to die halfway 'round the world tends to piss off a lot of voters. That and try to control the imagery and media that gets out of the warzone.
    No, they also seemed to have learned the lesson of blaming "politicians in Washington" for tying their hands, rather than blaming the president for launching them into a conflict in which the actual victory conditions are unattainable by soldiers.

    It's a stupid, crummy lesson.

    Irond Will on
    Wqdwp8l.png
  • TDLTDL ClubPA, __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2007
    ALocksly wrote:
    Jinnigan wrote:
    is the military trained for policing duties?

    some of us are/were

    edit: I'd be really surprised if soldiers scheduled to be deployed weren't getting at least basic policing training.

    I was part of the big train up the 2nd HBCT got before deploying from Korea to Iraq... and the training was a joke. What little of it they got did not prepare them at all for what they ran into. Which is why I was not surprised when they had one of the highest casualty rates of any brigade so far.

    TDL on
    Meet me on my vast veranda
    My sweet, untouched Miranda
    And while the seagulls are crying
    We fall but our souls are flying
  • h3nduh3ndu Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Irond Will wrote:
    moniker wrote:
    The military didn't learn its lessons from Vietnam. Hell, it seems the only lesson they learned is that drafting middle class kids to die halfway 'round the world tends to piss off a lot of voters. That and try to control the imagery and media that gets out of the warzone.
    No, they also seemed to have learned the lesson of blaming "politicians in Washington" for tying their hands, rather than blaming the president for launching them into a conflict in which the actual victory conditions are unattainable by soldiers.

    It's a stupid, crummy lesson.

    It's our job to get sent to crummy wars, not to be sent to crummy wars and be told we can't fight effectivley. That said I have no love for mister Bush. He's what you get when groups of polaticians decide they want power instead of looking out for their country.

    That part is very much true though.

    I'm going to bed. Debate with you all in the morning. Can't be late for PT tommorow.

    edit : as a final word - ALocksly, there's a reason I ended up infantry. I carry heavy things and beat the shit out of people. Not much else is needed for the job description.

    h3ndu on
    Lo Que Sea, Cuando Sea, Donde Sea.
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    h3ndu wrote:
    edit : as a final word - ALocksly, there's a reason I ended up infantry. I carry heavy things and beat the shit out of people. Not much else is needed for the job description.

    That may have been true half a century ago. Not so much today.

    moniker on
  • ALockslyALocksly Registered User
    edited January 2007
    h3ndu wrote:
    edit : as a final word - ALocksly, there's a reason I ended up infantry. I carry heavy things and beat the shit out of people. Not much else is needed for the job description.

    Then by this statement you disqualify yourself from being intelligent enough to comment on international policy.

    Aside from that what you described above is a thug, you are a soldier as I'm sure you've heard from many an NCO before. This implies a certain degree of professionalism. Mindless bomb sponges are what the other side uses.

    edit: hmmm bastards went and changed the creed on me, "professional" and "disciplined" are still in there though.

    edit 2: I liked the old version better:
    I am an American Soldier.
    I am a member of the United States Army -- a protector of the greatest nation on earth.
    Because I am proud of the uniform I wear, I will always act in ways creditable to the military service and the nation it is sworn to guard.
    I am proud of my own organization. I will do all I can to make it the finest unit in the Army.
    I will be loyal to those under whom I serve. I will do my full part to carry out orders and instructions given to me or my unit.
    As a soldier, I realize that I am a member of a time-honored profession--that I am doing my share to keep alive the principles of freedom for which my country stands.
    No matter what the situation I am in, I will never do anything, for pleasure, profit, or personal safety, which will disgrace my uniform, my unit, or my country.
    I will use every means I have, even beyond the line of duty, to restrain my Army comrades from actions disgraceful to themselves and to the uniform.

    I am proud of my country and its flag.
    I will try to make the people of this nation proud of the service I represent, for I am an American Soldier.

    ALocksly on
    Yes,... yes, I agree. It's totally unfair that sober you gets into trouble for things that drunk you did.
  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I agree with h3ndu that the insurgency could probobly be defeated were America to deploy its full force against Iraq, I even agree that in the short term there might be a pacifying effect in the region out of a newfound horrifying fear of the US.

    However peace through fear is no peace at all, and would not last.

    h3ndu is right, with the tactics used at the moment and with the weapons America has the war against the insurgency is close to unwinnable. The solution to this is not to change tactics to a cruel and brutal slaughter of civilians, but instead what is needed is new weapons and armour.

    We've seen the beginnings of this with the unmanned drone vehicles, remove the risk to life and suddenly suicide bombers lose their efficiency. Someone joked about giant robots, but highly effective combat armour is probobly the solution. With something like that you could just walk up to your terrorist, pull the AK47 out of his hands and handcuff him, even under heavy fire. Then you have people in jail and being tried rather than being martyred. Then you can beat a civilian insurgency.

    Problem is of course that such armour doesnt exist. Until it does we shall just have to hope that the slaughter carried out by the insurgents eventually turns the civilian population against them to an extent where they can no longer operate in secret.

    tbloxham on
    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Whilst using police drones or their equivalent would reduce the death toll of soldiers in Iraq, I'm not sure it would actually do any good as far as stabilisation goes. I was under the impression that the biggest threats to soldiers were more conventional bombs and explosives and that suicide bombers were used more against rival civilian groups.

    I think it would be a lot easier to encourage someone to take up arms and sabotage a robot than to shoot someone.

    Tastyfish on
  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2007
    h3ndu wrote:
    ALocksly wrote:
    h3ndu wrote:
    Clean slate, yes?

    I find the idea that you don't think this is a war to be incredible. We are at war, in the belly of the beast. It's true our main objective is to stabalize Iraq, but in order to do that we first have to have conrol over it. This is the war we fight; a war for control, for marshal law. Without it we will continue to sustain undue casualties.

    Innocent civilians don't belong on a field of battle; friends of mine would go so far as to say theire's no such thing as an innocent civilian on the battlefield, but I don't share their sentiment. It's true that lobbing a grenade makes a mess out of civilians, but that's war. I would rather see my squad safe, than have men killed because someone decided they were going to tough it out and stay in an area about to be over-run by soldiers.

    You have to admit though, when a young Iraqi who was previously ambivilant about the US is told that his family was blown up during a building sweep, it would be pretty hard to convince him it was for his own good and please don't go join the insurgency.

    Then extrapolate that to all the family and friends of innocent civilian casualties.

    In the short term, yes, the grenade toss is the safest way to clear a room (for those doing the clearing) but when each civilian casualty potentialy creates dozens of new enemy combatants with a gruge against the US then the fight only ends when everyoneon the Iraqi side is dead; particularly when dealing with groups that glorify sucide attacks.

    Then you are left with an empty country, even more hatred and mistrust of the US and all of our soldiers who died because even the widows and orphans of dead civilians are turning themselves into bombs just out of spite and revenge.

    I say again, I would rather see my squad safe. If I found out my family were killed, you bet my ass I'd try and hunt down the bastard who did it and fuck him up as much as humanly possible before killing him; but this is just a side effect of war.

    Sucks don't it?

    It seems to me you're saying the safety of your squad is more important the the success of the mission.

    Shinto on
  • arod_77arod_77 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2007
    Sorry, but this quasi-"politics don't matter"- soldier's attitude cannot really help you when you are trying to debate foreign policy and actually winning the war .

    arod_77 on
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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Shinto wrote:
    It seems to me you're saying the safety of your squad is more important the the success of the mission.

    Yeah, that's what I was hearing too. Understandable, considering the viewpoint he's coming from...but ultimately counterproductive.

    EDIT: Also, I think it's important to understand that any strategy used in an attempt to "win" has to take into account h3ndu's attitude...if you're going to pump thousands of extra soldiers into an area, you have to remember that a majority of those soldiers think just like he does and are going to put their lives and the lives of their fellow soldiers above the lives of some random Iraqi. Or dozens of random Iraqis. I don't think the guys in Washington planning these things always take this into account.


    Also, I thought I'd take the time now that we have a gen-purpose Iraq thread sitting here to bring up just how much that recent attack in Karbala worries me. Our whole strategy that we're moving forward with is supposedly to embed our soldiers within Iraqi units; but of course at some point this is likely to mean depending on Iraq elements for some portion of our security. We've seen just how well that works, with Iraqi guards hanging around and watching while that attack in Karbala went down. I know this has always been a concern, too...I knew guys who were helping train Iraqis who would occasionally bring up just how "safe" they felt with the Iraqi's watching their backs.

    I especially like the claim I read, at least in one of the initial reports, that the Iraqis claimed they thought it was just US on US violence and they didn't want to get involved. As if there's any history or precedent for groups of US troops attacking other US troops. It's bullshit, and I think the simple fact is that most of the Iraqi forces are barely willing (if at all) to stick their neck out for their own countrymen...they certainly aren't going to do it for our guys. I think they knew exactly what was going on, but weren't excited about the idea of dying for a bunch of Americans...which makes Americans dying for a bunch of Iraqis that much more senseless to me.

    mcdermott on
  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2007
    Are they actually going ahead with the imbed program? I read about it in the Baker-Hamilton report but I didn't know that was one of the recommendations that had been adopted.

    Shinto on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Shinto wrote:
    Are they actually going ahead with the imbed program? I read about it in the Baker-Hamilton report but I didn't know that was one of the recommendations that had been adopted.

    I thought they were...I thought it was either part of the "surge" or intended to happen immediately after. And, as I said, embedding troops in Iraqi units isn't entirely new; more for training than operations, to be sure, but my battalion had a platoon-sized element sitting inside an Iraqi compound every day almost two years ago. I believe they actually conducted some operations with them as well.

    mcdermott on
  • s3rial ones3rial one Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Irond Will wrote:
    moniker wrote:
    The military didn't learn its lessons from Vietnam. Hell, it seems the only lesson they learned is that drafting middle class kids to die halfway 'round the world tends to piss off a lot of voters. That and try to control the imagery and media that gets out of the warzone.
    No, they also seemed to have learned the lesson of blaming "politicians in Washington" for tying their hands, rather than blaming the president for launching them into a conflict in which the actual victory conditions are unattainable by soldiers.

    It's a stupid, crummy lesson.
    We did learn a lesson from the Vietnam War. That's what lead to the Abrams reforms. That's what lead to the Powell Doctrine. That's what lead to the exponential increase in our special forces. That's also what - at least in part - lead the decisive ass-whooping we gave Iraq in Desert Storm.

    This administration doesn't want to have any of that, though. Vietnam was a war by numbers, and it didn't work, because most of the numbers were faked, and you don't fight a war based on body counts, tons of supplies destroyed, and square miles bombed. You certainly don't gauge the success of a war on those metrics when your field commanders know that you're looking for numbers.

    Slow build-ups don't work. You need swift, decisive action with overwhelming power.

    That is what we learned from Vietnam.

    But this administration has relapsed... there's none of the aggressiveness of the Maxwell/Macnamarra supporters left. At least not in any position of real power. Instead, we've got a bunch of old farts running the show; the kind who don't seem to realize that infantrymen aren't cops, and our technological advantages are nearly impossible to leverage against an enemy hiding in a populace that we're unwilling to kill.

    s3rial one on
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited January 2007
    s3rial one wrote:
    Irond Will wrote:
    moniker wrote:
    The military didn't learn its lessons from Vietnam. Hell, it seems the only lesson they learned is that drafting middle class kids to die halfway 'round the world tends to piss off a lot of voters. That and try to control the imagery and media that gets out of the warzone.
    No, they also seemed to have learned the lesson of blaming "politicians in Washington" for tying their hands, rather than blaming the president for launching them into a conflict in which the actual victory conditions are unattainable by soldiers.

    It's a stupid, crummy lesson.
    We did learn a lesson from the Vietnam War. That's what lead to the Abrams reforms. That's what lead to the Powell Doctrine. That's what lead to the exponential increase in our special forces. That's also what - at least in part - lead the decisive ass-whooping we gave Iraq in Desert Storm.

    This administration doesn't want to have any of that, though. Vietnam was a war by numbers, and it didn't work, because most of the numbers were faked, and you don't fight a war based on body counts, tons of supplies destroyed, and square miles bombed. You certainly don't gauge the success of a war on those metrics when your field commanders know that you're looking for numbers.

    Slow build-ups don't work. You need swift, decisive action with overwhelming power.

    That is what we learned from Vietnam.

    But this administration has relapsed... there's none of the aggressiveness of the Maxwell/Macnamarra supporters left. At least not in any position of real power. Instead, we've got a bunch of old farts running the show; the kind who don't seem to realize that infantrymen aren't cops, and our technological advantages are nearly impossible to leverage against an enemy hiding in a populace that we're unwilling to kill.
    I'm no big supporter of the current Pentagon or DoD, but I think they took the "overwhelming force" thing pretty much as far as it could go. I mean - the Iraqi military was soundly defeated in a matter of days, and this was pretty much the end of the "job of a soldier" as h3ndu sees it. How would something like the Powell Doctrine even apply at this point? We've defined victory conditions ("stabilize the region," "establish Iraqi democracy") that soldiers can't really play a part of except in an ancillary policing or training role. I mean, I'm totally on board with the criticism that we've set goalposts that are really outside our ability to accomplish. What I don't agree with is the concept that somehow increasing military force - through relaxing civilian restrictions or somehow trying to define some target that we can unleash upon - would do anything to accomplish our current goals.

    Irond Will on
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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Irond Will wrote:
    How would something like the Powell Doctrine even apply at this point?

    It doesn't. From what I understand, and what wiki tells me, the Powell Doctrine is something to mainly be considered before we enter into a war. Looking at the eight points listed, we didn't do so hot:
    Wikipedia wrote:
    1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
    2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
    3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
    4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
    5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
    6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
    7. Is the action supported by the American people?
    8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

    *crickets chirping*

    Seriously, looking back to 2003 I think we could honestly only say yes to two of those. Maybe not even that.

    It's arguable that a national security interest was threatened...possibly a vital one. Go ahead and check that yes. Number two...well, somebody obviously thought it was attainable but anybody with half a brain didn't. Number three..."fully" maybe but "frankly" no. "Frankly" means that people who say it's going to be more costly than you'd like it to be aren't shuffled into retirement. Nonviolent policy means were hardly attempted, let alone exhausted (in fairness, they probably would have failed anyway...but I'm still calling that a no). Exit strategy? You mean other than, "We win! The job is done! YAY!" Nope. Consequences? I'd hope not, because if the consequences were considered and we still got into this then the people running the show are evil rather than just incompetent. Supported by the people? Oops. Gotta check yes on that one. Lastly, broad international support....*crickets chirping some more*...you'd have to define "broad" pretty loosely.

    So, we scored a 25% on our Powell Doctrine exam. I'm thinking that's an "F." Maybe an "F-."

    mcdermott on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    You can apply the Powell Doctrine now; it's not so much a statement of policy as it is a means of getting you thinking.

    1) Still arguably yes, in that we want strategic influence in the region.
    2) Clear, but not attainable.
    3) At this point, I'd say probably yes.
    4) Hah. Hah. Although there aren't really a lot of them left.
    5) Nope.
    6) Again, probably yes.
    7) No.
    8) No.

    The question is, what does that mean for us in terms of policy? Pull out? Redeployment?

    I remember reading somewhere that when the British occupied and pacified Iraq way back in the day, the ratio British troops to Iraqis was something like 1:23. Today, we're at roughly 173 Iraqis for every American soldier. Which is just a fancy way of saying that we don't have enough people to watch enough places at the same time to guarantee security. And it doesn't seem like our ability to do it is increasing in any meaningful way.

    Even if we could provide enough security to get Iraqis to vote for a popular government, though, I don't that there's a lot of chance that it'd be a government we like (or at least, a government of the kind we claimed we wanted to create.)

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Dyscord wrote:
    I remember reading somewhere that when the British occupied and pacified Iraq way back in the day, the ratio British troops to Iraqis was something like 1:23. Today, we're at roughly 173 Iraqis for every American soldier. Which is just a fancy way of saying that we don't have enough people to watch enough places at the same time to guarantee security. And it doesn't seem like our ability to do it is increasing in any meaningful way.

    I thought I remembered reading recently that the new Army (or maybe it was DoD) publication covering such operations recommends an actual ratio of troops to civilians; I forget what it is (something like 1:50, I think), but I'm pretty sure they pointed out that even adding Iraqi forces to our own we still don't meet the required number. And that's making the assumption that Iraqi forces are reliable, which from my experience they are not.

    And that fact that, even three years later, we're still failing four out of eight points is pretty sad. That's still an "F." Especially since we're failing what I consider to be the two more important ones; clear attainable goal and an exit strategy should we fail to achieve that goal, or should that goal become unattainable. Disregarding those two seems to be the best way to end up killing and maiming a lot of people for no good reason.

    mcdermott on
  • siliconenhancedsiliconenhanced __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2007
    h3ndu, I have the joy of being one of the few fortunates able to fight in both theatres. That being said, I'll chime in when I say there's a difference between fighting a war and fighting an insurgency. All the blather about what "War" is means nothing to someone who just lost his mother because a PL decided to do a hard breech and blow away the woman who was coming to answer the door.

    I don't know what your experience is, but going "I'm an 11B!" just isn't going to cut it. I was an 11C in an airborne unit, but I was also a detention guard, vehicle commander, 240B gunner, RTO, fire team member and the list goes on. However, if I came on here going "clear with an AT-4 olol" that's wrong no matter how you cover it.

    Saying "oh I'm infantry so I carry heavy loads and hit things" is a bullshit attitude. Its because you're infantry that you're supposed to be better than that. Trying to play to the stereotype of dumb grunt is lazy and dosen't speak well for you man. The lives of your squad dosen't give you an excuse to dishonor your profession, otherwise you might as well just go join the fucks who caused Abu Gharib.

    siliconenhanced on
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited January 2007
    mcdermott wrote:
    Shinto wrote:
    It seems to me you're saying the safety of your squad is more important the the success of the mission.
    Yeah, that's what I was hearing too. Understandable, considering the viewpoint he's coming from...but ultimately counterproductive.
    Well, if all that's important to him is the safety of his squad, then a pull-out should probably be his highest preference. No sense in staying in, if the mission doesn't matter.

    Elki on
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