Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A new strategy

President Bush is set to reveal his new strategy for Iraq. Except that it's not new at all - rather its the same "strategy" of playing whack-a-mole with insurgents they're using at the moment, only with a few thousand extra troops in the line of fire. This isn't enough to make a difference (that would require more than doubling the number of US troops in Iraq), and there's no real idea of what those troops would actually do other than provide more targets for the resistance; instead lives will be squandered and people maimed simply so Bush can give the impression that he is Doing Something and put off the painful day when he is forced to admit defeat for another few months.

As reasons to die go, protecting the President's ego is a pretty piss-poor one. Isn't it time US troops finally stood up and said so,a nd refused to play along in the charade any more?


This isn't enough to make a difference (that would require more than doubling the number of US troops in Iraq)

So ... what would be your response if Bush had ordered a doubling of the troop numbers in Iraq, combined with an aggressive holistic strategy, instead of the whack-a-mole approach they're taking now?

This cartoon sums up the current situation nicely :-(

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 1/03/2007 08:58:00 AM

While I disagree with the whole war, that would at least have been doing something remotely likely to succeed (though I suspect the US is about to learn the hard lesson, steadfastly ignored by the US right after Vietnam, that you cannot beat an insurgency militarily; only bleed while people work towards a political solution).

As for the cartoon, as in Vietnam, the US wins every engagement it fights. And as in Vietnam, it doesn't matter. You kill someone, someone else takes their place. The only way the Romans were able to occupy territory was by enslaving the population and sending all the rowdy young men away - and I think that that sort of "solution" is simply not politically acceptable in the modern world. The rabids will call this "tying the army's hands behind it back", and promulgate their dolchstosslegende, but this is simply their way of avoiding taking responsibility for their own mistakes. If they can't fight a war in a manner acceptable to their people (both in terms of aims and means), then they shouldn't bloody well start them.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/03/2007 11:27:00 AM

Have you heard what they're describing this as in the States? They're calling it a 'Troop Surge'. Presumably they have to surge in to beat the insurgents, which will only lead to more casualties (and thus, the need for more surgeons). Nevertheless, the surge-in's urgent.

Crap puns aside, there is no expectation of success for this. It's all about candidates positioning themselves for the 2008 presidency. The calls for the troop surge first came from Republicans sounding out their candicacy in the wake of the defeat in November -- it's about being seen to do something, not actually doing something.

That said, did you hear what Democratic candidate Tom Vilsack said on the Daily Show? He basically said that this whole mess was the Iraqis' fault, that if they wanted to stop killing each other they would, and that the US should just leave if the Iraqis don't want their help. Jon Stewart was gobsacked.

I can't find the video on YouTube, but it's mentioned on wikipedia's Tom Vilsack article.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/03/2007 02:19:00 PM

"gobsacked" - yeah sorry I know it's a typo & we all make 'em, but it's a nice image of someone metaphorically choking on their own nuts.

Re. I/S's observation on the modern unacceptability of slavery - perhaps it's more that slavery's just plain obsolete. In the Roman era, the most efficient way to get a cheap kilowatt of energy was from a slave. These days, we toss troops into the meat grinder and get our kilowatts from oil.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/03/2007 05:00:00 PM

the most efficient way to get oil is to buy it on the market, the most efficient way to conquor an oil rich nation is to bomb it into submission from the air and send in the troups when there is no one with any fight left in them.

The US on the other hand sends troups into the country destroys their ability to produce oil, tries to hand power to many of the same people who want them to 'piss off and die' and wastes billions in the process.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/03/2007 06:47:00 PM

US troops are not going to be refusing any orders, and this is a good thing. What is more likely to happen is that all sorts of equipment is going to start becoming inoperable due to parts being missing or catastrophic failure caused by objects finding their way into gearboxes etc. Troops will then be unable to leave base.

Duncan, if Bush had ordered a doubling of the troop numbers in Iraq, combined with an aggressive holistic strategy, I would laugh my arse off and ask him where he has these 130 000 spare troops. I would then ask him to be a bit more specific about what he means by 'holistic' and how that differs in reality from his strategy so far. I mean all along he's been painting schools and winning hearts and minds the best he knows how, so I'm guessing he means to focus more on the 'aggressive'.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/03/2007 09:10:00 PM

Yep, the largest most powerful military in the world should refuse orders it doesn't like.

Why does that NOT sound like a good idea?

(Hint: think Fiji)

Posted by Anonymous : 1/05/2007 02:51:00 PM

Check out David Rose's interviews with neocons on why their Iraq strategy failed, published in the January 2007 issue of Vanity Fair. A great read, with several memorable quotes such as:

"The policy can be absolutely right, and noble, beneficial, but if you can't execute it, it's useless, just useless."

Kenneth Adelman, who famously predicted a "cakewalk" in Iraq.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/06/2007 08:15:00 PM