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Thread: How the Iraq War Got off on the Wrong Foot

  1. #46
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Because it WASTED lives. For the longest time, the explaination that was given to me why the US went without 4ID and 2CMBG was that summer was coming and that would created havoc with the equipment. Now, we learned that it was mere impatience that we went in that early. It was damned irresponsible to expose that few people to a very predictable insurgency.

    Nothing was ready.

    In fact, here's one of the observations I made during the beginning of the occupation. It started with this

    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/sma...ng-ak-47s.html

    Read my reaction at post #13

    Soldiers put their trust with their lives in the hands of their superiors. In turn, we promise not to abuse that trust. That trust has been betrayed.
    Sir,that thread is one piece of history.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  2. #47
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agnostic Muslim View Post
    Are you suggesting that the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions played a role in the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya?
    Yep,A-stan and Iraq played the most significant role.They exhausted the political capital for intervention in the region in a way visible for everyone.Then came Obama and spoke about a new era,bla-bla and the withdrawal/scheduled withdrawal(same thing perception wise).
    With the great Satan on his way out,the apostate/unpopular governments are an easy prey.Add a spark in a revolutionary environment and voila,you have a revolution.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  3. #48
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Because it WASTED lives. For the longest time, the explaination that was given to me why the US went without 4ID and 2CMBG was that summer was coming and that would created havoc with the equipment. Now, we learned that it was mere impatience that we went in that early. It was damned irresponsible to expose that few people to a very predictable insurgency.

    Nothing was ready.

    In fact, here's one of the observations I made during the beginning of the occupation. It started with this

    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/sma...ng-ak-47s.html

    Read my reaction at post #13

    Soldiers put their trust with their lives in the hands of their superiors. In turn, we promise not to abuse that trust. That trust has been betrayed.
    Would this this charge be more leveled at Rumsfeld who wanted to do things on the cheap ?

    That's why the shortage of supplies.

    Nobody blames him for saving resource on the invasions though.

    On this board its possible to seperate invasion from occupation, in other places the discussion begins and ends with the invasion. The bad effects of the occupation are blamed on the invasion.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 25 Jun 13, at 22:33.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    They're not in charge because as happened often in a number of countries somebody ambitious hijacked them. Nothing was done because it was the cold war and the only thing that mattered was fighting communism.

    Sacrificing thousands of soldiers was during the occupation phase. This is what most people here are upset about.
    The Shia's haven't been in charge since long before Saddam came to power. The Ottomans tended to govern through Sunni's too. After a very long time of being out of political power, people can lose their aptitude for it. I know I've certainly wondered why the people I've been trying to train have always seemed less capable then the people on the other side. It's generally because they are.

    Put that down to lessons learnt for the future.

    The Shia did fight back in Basra after GW1. What was the result ? they got slaughtered by Saddam and the figures are north of 100k.
    You're right. They did. Some of them. They comprise slightly north of 60% of the population though. That 60% were very far from united, and only a relatively small percentage of them rebelled. Even now the Shia's have serious divisions. And the fact of the matter was they didn't rise up very effectively, which falls up under the capabilities piece.

    How successful is for the future to judge.

    Iraq & Afghanistan were the first round

    Egypt, Tunisia & Yemen were the second round. Not a peep out of the west about these. Change was in the air and they let it happen and did not oppose. Why not ? its not like the Soviets are still around to exploit it.

    Libya, Mali & Syria are the third round

    Ten (!) countries in just over ten years. You see a general outline here ?

    Not saying Cheney & Wolfowitz saw all of this back in 2001, saying the actions the great powers have taken have not been inconsistent since. Those two showed that the arab order could be changed and i see no reason for this momentum to remain constrained to the middle east alone. I can see these ideas working their way through Africa too. That next region with huge growth potential if only it were more open.

    The best long term antidote for extremism is democracy which has to be sustainable. Once the political is workable the economic follows.

    Two out of ten required boots on the ground because you don't want to put boots on the ground to save somebody else's neck. In Syria's case irregulars were sent.
    And what we get out of any of these countries who knows. I have serious doubts (although I am not altogether closed to the idea) that the Arab Spring was initiated by US intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am far from certain that it is a positive result for the West in general and the United States in particular. Let's look down that list shall we.

    Egypt: Military in conjunction with street protests removes Mubarak (who, breaking from the tradition of having a military man in charge was trying to establish succession for his own son) along with his security apparatus. The end result is a position where the Muslim Brotherhood takes power in conjunction with the military (who was present all along). The Salafist Party Al-Nour (who believes in a strict implementation of Sharia law) has entered the scene as the second most powerful political power and third most powerful force in the nation (behind the military and the Muslim Brotherhood), and the political element most likely to be able to move into the void if the Muslim Brotherhood stumbles. In the meantime, the liberal pieces of society who took to the streets and who the military used as a pretext to oust Mubarak are a political spoiler at best, irrelevant at worst. Throughout all this protests from the smaller excluded political parties destabilize society and the nation teeters on the verge of bankruptcy. Hardly an ideal outcome.

    Tunisia: Lacks the unifying force of the military as a respected institution to oversee transition. The result? Political stalemate. This is just as dangerous for Tunisia as it is for Egypt, as Tunisia as well is heavily dependent upon borrowed foreign money that the IMF is increasingly hesitant to give without some kind of coherent force giving that nation direction.

    Yemen: Still in the middle of a three cornered civil war. Still very similar factions. The only thing that changed here is the guy at the top of one of those factions. Not much of a revolution.

    Libya: Bloody civil war followed by chaos as what little central authority that existed broke down. Now a potential new base for Jihadists and warlords. The potential for bloody sectarian violence remains high.

    Mali: A coup d'tat executed by the military that barely was capable of controlling the capital, and resulted in the military abandoning almost half the country. Tauregs came down from the conclusion of Libya's civil war and seized half the country, launching a civil war. The French led a counterattack, but didn't really stick around long enough to facilitate control over that half of the country. And the government is still a shadow of its former self going forward. The only positive outcome for this country is that the attention this has brought may bring outside money.

    Syria: In the middle of a bloody civil war and a cockpit for the broader contest of Iran's attempts to expand its influence throughout the Middle East and Saudi Arabia's (and to a lesser extent the US) attempt to stop them. With the Alawites better organized, more capable and receiving substantial and open support from Hezbollah and Iran but comprising only 10% of the population, this conflict shows no sign of ending any time soon. However, even if the Sunni's win, they will win only after a long and bloody struggle that will radicalize much of the population. The resulting government will be heavily dominated by militant Islamists and no friend to the West (and that is regardless of whether we provide them with assistance).

    So there we stand. It's a result (in some cases). Is it better than what was there before? Not for the West, and in most cases not for their own people either.

  5. #50
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm View Post
    So why didn't all of the stuff in bold happen in Bahrain? The situation wasn't too different from Syria in the early stages. The king belongs to the ethnic minority and there were demonstrations by the majority calling for an end to his rule. The king ordered his own troops against the protesters and even openly obtained the services of foreign (GCC) troops against the protesters. Human rights organizations have documented numerous cases of torture and brutality by the police and the foreign troops.

    Why didn't the Bahraini king come in for the same treatment as Gaddafi or Assad?
    One reason might be the "King" or Emir and ruling familyAl Khalifa have ruled Bahrain since about 1820 and were recognized by the Brits as their rightful rulers. Its a Constitutional Monarchy, they have pretty much molded the complete culture for almost two centuries in Bahrain. Im not defending their human rights record.

    Assads family has ran Syria since 1971. He is only a President and not a Monarch and his father took power by military coup as many dictators have including Daffy and Saddam to be President.

    *And you surely dont see what is happening in Syria and being comparible to Bahrains protests.
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  6. #51
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwarmonger View Post
    And what we get out of any of these countries who knows. I have serious doubts (although I am not altogether closed to the idea) that the Arab Spring was initiated by US intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    It means that we are more open to the idea that arab leaders can be toppled, by external or internal means. Whereas in the past they had to be propped up. That is the difference.

    Saddam was the one that started the ball rolling.

    Quote Originally Posted by lwarmonger View Post
    I am far from certain that it is a positive result for the West in general and the United States in particular.
    As i'm uncertain that its a negative.

    Quote Originally Posted by lwarmonger View Post
    So there we stand. It's a result (in some cases). Is it better than what was there before? Not for the West, and in most cases not for their own people either.
    My point is simply how much time do we allocate before we are in a position to say whether its better than it was before ?

    Have no objections with what you've said about those countries but the time frames are too short

    Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria - 2 years
    Mali & Libya < 1 year

    Nobody could have predicted what was going to happen two years ago, i have no idea how things are going to be in the next two.

    Why'd you leave out Iraq & Afghanistan ?

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Why'd you leave out Iraq & Afghanistan ?
    Probably a little too close to those two to be objective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    It means that we are more open to the idea that arab leaders can be toppled, by external or internal means. Whereas in the past they had to be propped up. That is the difference.

    Saddam was the one that started the ball rolling.
    I guess the question I would posit to you is how come it took 8 years? Seems like an awfully delayed trigger. One could say that the color revolutions in the former Soviet states in the 2000's gave a better example of "people power".

    As i'm uncertain that its a negative.


    My point is simply how much time do we allocate before we are in a position to say whether its better than it was before ?
    I guess that if you consider what the middle east calls democracy to be favorable to the west, than there is room for a positive outcome. Personally, I don't think that democracy will ever be the result. And if it is, you will see a heavily islamist electorate creating broad based governments extremely hostile to western ideals and far more capable of acting on that than the tottering dictatorships they replaced.

    Have no objections with what you've said about those countries but the time frames are too short

    Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria - 2 years
    Mali & Libya < 1 year

    Nobody could have predicted what was going to happen two years ago, i have no idea how things are going to be in the next two.
    True, but as I tried to show above, the indications for these nations are not good from a Western perspective.

    Why'd you leave out Iraq & Afghanistan ?
    And what I mean by "too close" in the post above is that is that talking about how Afghanistan is turning out... not my place. I still know a lot of guys there right now. Iraq... I feel that our war there was for Iran's benefit in a geopolitical sense. Unintended consequences. I can talk about the how's of being there no problem. How it turned out I am still pretty angry about.

  9. #54
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwarmonger View Post
    I guess the question I would posit to you is how come it took 8 years?
    Don't follow what took 8 years ?

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Don't follow what took 8 years ?
    If Saddam got the ball rolling, how come it took 8 years until the next Middle Eastern autocracy came tumbling down? I think that a lot of the revolutions in the former Soviet Union had more to do with showing the vulnerability of hollow autocratic states than Iraq or Afghanistan. Any Arab state regardless of how broad based they are can be destroyed if the US decides to commit 100,000 troops to doing it. The colored revolutions showed how autocracies could be vulnerable to large scale popular protests.

  11. #56
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Large scale protests?

    I have a feeling that every government can be toppled if you can keep ~5% of the masses on the streets for a while.
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  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Would this this charge be more leveled at Rumsfeld who wanted to do things on the cheap ?

    That's why the shortage of supplies.

    Nobody blames him for saving resource on the invasions though.

    On this board its possible to seperate invasion from occupation, in other places the discussion begins and ends with the invasion. The bad effects of the occupation are blamed on the invasion.
    Nobody prepared for the counter-attack, ie the insurgency. Everything after Op THUNDERRUN was adhoc, including battalion commanders stripping AK47s from enemy arsenals. You left troops exposed to very predictable threats without the training, equipment, and without warning.

  13. #58
    Senior Contributor Agnostic Muslim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    My point is simply how much time do we allocate before we are in a position to say whether its better than it was before ?
    The context of the thread would suggest that implicit in your question is the statement that the 'revolutions' in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria etc. are a result of US interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that particular claim is far from established yet.

    Western intervention in Libya certainly helped tip the scales against Gaddafi, but Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen were, as far as I can tell, indigenous revolutions brought about by mass protests due to immense dissatisfaction with the existing autocratic rulers. The case of Egypt especially does not support the argument of 'Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan caused the Arab spring' because the US did not 'break' with Mubarak publicly until well into the 'revolution'. So if anything, the Egyptian revolution was a rejection of a US supported dictator, much as one could argue the mass protests in Pakistan against Musharraf (perceived domestically in Pakistan as a US puppet dictator) led to the dilution of his powers and eventual removal from office.
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  14. #59
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwarmonger View Post
    If Saddam got the ball rolling, how come it took 8 years until the next Middle Eastern autocracy came tumbling down?
    Still don't follow.

    Saddam walked into Kuwait in Aug 1990.

    Eight years later is 1998. Which middle eastern autocracy tumbled in 1998 ?

    Hmm, i think you mean 2003 and then 2011 for Mubarak.

    The point is the US did not oppose it. An ally for 30 years and its not a problem. This is what scared the other leaders especially the ones in the gulf.

    By invading Kuwait, Saddam broke with Sykes-Picot which held for eighty years. GW1 and Bush the elder says we will not go into Iraq. Just push them back. Then the idea was borders as well as leaders still mattered.

    Then we get to 2003 and its ok to topple an arab leader and so on where changing leaders either externally or internally is no longer a problem. That is the change in thinking i'm referring to. Cheney & Wolfowitz started this change from the western pov. Their actions set the stage for what we've seen in the other countries mentioned.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 27 Jun 13, at 16:16.

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    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Saddam fell 2003. Ali (Tunisia) fell 2011. 8 years
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

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