TCS Daily


The Most Important Culture War

By James H. Joyner - October 17, 2006 12:00 AM

Next month, the Army and Marine Corps will unveil a revised counterinsurgency manual scheduled which incorporates lessons learned in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Thomas Barnett, author of two best-selling books on military strategy, summarizes its core principles:

1) The more you protect your force, the less secure you are (If military forces stay locked up in compounds, they lose touch with the people, appear to be running scared and cede the initiative to insurgents.)

2) The more force used, the less effective it is (Using substantial force increases the risk of collateral damage and mistakes, and increases the opportunity for insurgent propaganda.)

3) The more successful counterinsurgency is, the less force that can be used and the more risk that must be accepted (As the level of insurgent violence drops, the military must be used less, with stricter rules of engagement, and the police force used more.)

4) Sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction (Often an insurgent carries out a terrorist act or guerrilla raid with the primary purpose of causing a reaction that can then be exploited.)

5) The best weapons for counterinsurgency do not shoot (Often dollars and ballots have more impact than bombs and bullets.)

6) The host nation's doing something tolerably is better than our doing it well (Long-term success requires the establishment of viable indigenous leaders and institutions that can carry on without significant American support.)

7) If a tactic works this week, it might not work next week; if it works in this province, it might not work in the next (Insurgents quickly adapt to successful counterinsurgency practices. The more effective a tactic is, the faster it becomes out of date.)

8) Tactical success guarantees nothing (Military actions by themselves cannot achieve success.)

9) Most of the important decisions are not made by generals (Successful counterinsurgency relies on the competence and judgment of soldiers and marines on all levels.)

Every second lieutenant commissioned into the Army or Marine Corps in recent decades has been exposed to these concepts, much less the War College graduates comprising the military's senior ranks.

As I wrote in these pages last December, the idea that the American military doesn't understand how to fight counterinsurgency is nonsense. We've been doing it successfully since the French and Indian War. The United States Marine Corps' Small Wars Manual has been a seminal book on the subject since 1940.

The problem isn't doctrine but culture. Since at least the 1993 debacle in Somalia, it has been clear that our force was not properly configured for what we now call peace and stability operations. We lack sufficient civil affairs, special forces, military police, engineer, translator, and psychological operations assets. To his credit, Don Rumsfeld began to change this a few years ago. But the speed and scope of the change has been inadequate to the operations tempo.

Washington Monthly writer Kevin Drum, an opponent of the war who nonetheless would like to see us win, asks several interesting questions:

Is the Pentagon really serious about this, top to bottom? Or is this new doctrine the work of a small cadre of counterinsurgency acolytes, destined to be adopted reluctantly if at all by most battalion and brigade level commanders?

A manual is good, but how long will it take to actually train combat brigades to get good at this stuff? A year? Five years?

Do we have enough troops to make it work? Do we have enough time?

His skepticism on all counts is well founded.

The Iraq War has surely changed the mindset of much of the senior leadership, and almost everyone at the battalion level and below has now grown up in a military that has primarily engaged in what we once called "operations other than war." Still, there are powerful incentives institutionally and politically to prepare for big wars rather than small ones.

We can retrain our forces pretty quickly at the unit level. Indeed, I suspect it's already happened on the fly. Professional militaries adapt quickly and organically to changing threats. Given that they die while learning, the incentives are strong. The problem, again, is not that our Infantry and Armor forces can't learn counterinsurgency, but rather that we are fighting an insurgency using mostly Infantry and Armor forces.

New York Times defense correspondent Michael Gordon quotes Conrad C. Crane, the director of the military history institute at the Army War College, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and one of the principal drafters of the new doctrine: "Basically, after Vietnam, the general attitude of the American military was that we don't want to fight that kind of war again. The Army's idea was to fight the big war against the Russians and ignore these other things." Moreover, they presumed that a force that could beat the Soviet Army could surely handle a ragtag band of guerrillas.

This mindset was compounded with the post-Cold War drawdown in the 1990s. Despite it being clear to most analysts of military affairs that the model mission would look more like Operation Restore Hope in Somalia than a grand armor war with the Soviets, the generals dismissed the former as "Operations Other than War" (OOTWa) and continued to press for more nuclear subs, supersonic fighter jets, heavy artillery, and other high tech systems conceived for a war that was now incredibly unlikely.

The Army, especially, has a long historical memory. Too many times in its history, it has been sent off to fight wars with an undermanned, under-equipped, under-trained force. It was not willing to risk having that happen again by devoting its suddenly scarce resources to missions outside its core vision of itself—like OOTWa, stability operations, or whatever buzzword was currently fashionable—at the cost of the tools needed to fight a theoretical 900 pound gorilla like a suddenly potent China.

Fortunately, the combination of battalion commanders that have grown up mostly during the post-Cold War, the harsh lessons identified* in Iraq, and coffers overflowing with money has at least temporarily created an opportunity for a cultural change. The Army and Marine Corps will continue to get better at counterinsurgency. More billets will be allocated to Arab translators and fewer to tank gunners, at least for a while.

Whether these changes will stick after our withdrawal from Iraq is another matter entirely. If history is any indication, sadly, they will not.

James H. Joyner, Jr., Ph.D. writes about public policy issues at Outside the Beltway. He is a former Army officer and combat veteran of Desert Storm.

*An old joke in military circles says there are no "lessons learned," only "lessons identified," otherwise we wouldn't have to keep "learning" them again.

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64 Comments

The culture war from the other side
It's probably useful to recall that the armed forces did their job. They secured the country and defeated the Iraqi military in one month. But now the job is to occupy the country against the will of its people.

Three weeks ago the Program on International Policy Attitudes conducted a nationwide survey in Iraq on attitudes toward the occupation. Here are their key findings:

**

1. Views of US-led forces in Iraq

Seven in ten Iraqis want US forces to commit to withdraw within a year. An overwhelming majority believes the US presence in Iraq is provoking more conflict than it is preventing. More broadly, most feel the US is having a predominantly negative is having a predominantly negative influence in Iraq and have little or no confidence in the US military. If the US made a commitment to withdraw, a majority believes that this would strengthen the Iraqi government. Majorities believe that the withdrawal of US troops would lead to a reduction in the amount of inter-ethnic violence and improvement in the day-to-day security of Iraqis. A modest majority, including a large majority of Shia, now believes that in the near future Iraqi security forces will be strong enough to deal with their security challenges without foreign forces. There is little interest in replacing US-led forces with an international peace keeping force.

2. Attacks on US-led forces

Support for attacks on US-led forces has grown to a majority position-- now six in ten. Support appears to be related to widespread perception, held by all ethnic groups, that the US government plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq and would not withdraw its forces from Iraq even if the Iraqi government asked it to. If the US were to commit to withdraw, more than half of those who approve of attacks on US troops say that their support for attacks would diminish.

3.Views of Al Qaeda

Growing approval for attacks on US-led forceshas not been accompanied by any significant support for Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda and Bin Laden are rejected by overwhelming majorities of Shias and Kurds and large majorities of Sunnis.

**

Etcetera. I strongly suggest it will be useful to anyone pronouncing their opinion on the US presence in this country, against the will of a majority of its people, to read and carefully consider the implications of this document. The pdf version can be found at

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/sep06/Iraq_Sep06_rpt.pdf

Or you can view a summary of findings here:

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/home_page/249.php?nid=&id=&pnt=249&lb=hmpg

New course, not course correction
This post is a minor variant of the completely discredited: "stay the course, we're winning". It's "we would win with a simple minor course correction". I doubt the US debacle in Iraq can be reversed by anything as cheap as hiring more translators or giving soldiers more candy to give kids. There's a civil war going on there and the US troops are just in the way.

culture & real war not same same
It's all very well to discuss all that stuff, but he didn't mention the 'rules of engagement' which is what always hinders the US forces. I mean lately that is. Presuably when they sent the marines(200 years of history untrameled by progress) to sort out the Barbary Pirates, it was different, also when beat the filipino uprising. But even I agree with Roy above who says the US forces shouldn't even be trying to occupy a country. Military forces should be used sparingly for what their real puropose is; breaking things and killing people. I've never heard of anything so stupid as handing out candy to kids, or directing traffic, or painting school houses.

An interesting read...
to be sure.

But excuse me if I don't believe that 1,150 Iraqis speak for 25+ million. The sample is spread out which is well and good. All in all a good poll. A poll that ultimately means nothing significant outside the views and opinions of 1,150 Iraqis.

But let us look into this poll, since you put so much stock in it, and see what it says outside of your spin:

The poll shows that al Qaeda and Osama are rejected by overwhelming majorities of Shias and Kurds and large majorities of Sunnis and by far larger percentages than the distrust/dislike of Coalition forces.

It also points out that Shias have mildly positive views of Iran and its President, while Kurds and Sunnis have strongly negative views. Shias and Kurds have mostly negative views of Syria, while Sunnis are mildly positive. Shias have overwhelmingly positive views of Hezbollah, while Kurds and Sunnis have negative views.

This pretty much breaks down along lines one would expect. Taken as a whole this provides a dynamic of counterbalance for a government that a majority, according to this poll, supports and has confidence in.

As for our troops in Iraq your poll claims 53 percent say that they "will be strong enough to deal with the security challenges Iraq will face" while 46 percent say they "will still need the help of military forces from other countries."

When those 46 percent were asked how much longer they thought this help would be needed, 9 percent said one year, 21 percent two years and 16 percent three years. Thus 62 percent overall believe that Iraqi security forces will be able to stand on their own in one year.

This is great news so I don't see why you would believe this supports your "unjust occupation" stupidity. They want us out and we want to get out. The motivation is there on both sides and a great majority of Iraqis are starting to believe they are ready to go it alone. Good news all around.

>"But now the job is to occupy the country against the will of its people."

This is pretty idiotic considering that the US presense is fully endorsed by the government of Iraq that has the confidence and support of the majority of the population.

This poll by which you judge the US presence shows exactly what we want to see: a government supported by the people, a government able to protect itself and its citizens, and a population interested in keeping their national identity. Your focus on one set of numbers while disregarding the rest speaks volumes of the liberal/anti-American slant you apply to all such issues.

The purpose of our military presense is almost complete and this poll does nothing but confirm that. That some are angry with foreign troops on there soil is only natural. We will remove that irritant soon enough since we are not the evil, imperialistic empire you wish to portray us as.

The goal is to make sure they are not a target for those with REAL imperialistic ideas, such as Iran. Thank you for providing ample evidence of progress in Iraq.

Finishing the Job in Iraq
"Military forces should be used sparingly for what their real puropose is; breaking things and killing people."

Military forces should be used to defeat hostiles and secure territory. Specially trained "Peacekeepers" should be used to maintain the peace, rebuild infrastructure and facilitate institutional rebuilding.

While we defeated the hostiles in Iraq in a month, we failed to complete the job of territorial security…by disarming non-security populace and controlling the Iraq borders. The Roman legions secured territory by killing/enslaving most of the populace, and stealing/destroying most of the infrastructure. Since we wish to win AND be humane, our best option is major weapons disarmament and border control.

At this point, the Iraqi government must initiate and/or be committed to the necessary effort to secure Iraqi territory. If the Iraqi government chooses to disarm now, this can be accomplished, starting with Baghdad, in a short period of time. Until the guns and explosives are removed and stay removed, the killing will continue in an uncontrolled and unpredictable manner.

The absence of security in Iraq is OUR fault. But it can be fixed. We should attempt to convince the Iraqi government that it must be done…that now is better than never. If we do not secure Iraq, we eventually will end up withdrawing from an Iraq in a state of indeterminate war, which could then expand into a broader Middle East war.

Colin Powell said something like...if you break it, you own it. We unsecured Iraq and have failed to re-secure it. We have an obligation to finish the job.

The biggest benefits of the war in Iraq, are the lessons learned.
Only engagement is capable of changing the military culture, permanently and completely.

roy and his delusions
We are not occupying Iraq against the will of the people.
Every survey done shows that the people do not want our forces to leave before the job is done.

What roy is upset about is that we are killing his jihadist friends.

It's only discredited in the solon's of the far left.
Of course they believed that the war was lost before the first troop was committed.

Heck, they don't believe it is possible, or even desireable for the US to ever win.

Your response just as interesting
I would tend to trust the results of this poll. A, it is consistent with other poll results taken in the country. B, most polling experts are of the opinion that 1,150 responses are statistically extremely unlikely to vary widely from the actual opinions of the total population.

If we look for bias, we might assume that the samples were taken from relatively safe areas of the country. Many neighborhoods would be too dangerous to enter, and so would not be represented. That is an assumption.

Further, Baghdad is under-represented relative to the rest of the country. That is stated in the report.

I love your take on the results. 61% of the respondents approve of violence against US-led troops, and you say "That some are angry with foreign troops on there soil is only natural." Are you sure you've accurately gauged the mood of the people?

58% believe the withdrawal of troops within six months would lead to a decrease in inter-ethnic violence. Only 21% believe the US presence is a stabilizing force. And all you can say is "Thank you for providing ample evidence of progress in Iraq."

I think your preconceptions are so well defended as to be immune from alteration by any evidence. But, speaking of evidence, please show me some regarding the "real imperialistic ideas" of Iran.

In return I will show you ample evidence of the construction of a number of permanent US bases in Iraq, as feared and assumed by the Iraqi public.

Your basic premis is wrong.
you wrote:” While we defeated the hostiles in Iraq in a month, we failed to complete the job of territorial security"

We certainly did NOT defeat the hostiles in Iraq at ANY time in THIS war.

That is the problem. Do you remember the moment the MSM reported in glowing, orgasmic terms " the republican guard is just melting away" like that means we won with no contest?

In those seconds of that little moronic speech, I held my head in my hands and cried for the people we would lose in the next years.

If we HAD won the initial contest in the same way we won it in 93, there would be NO Sunni insurgency. We should have flown the B52's over the Republican guard units, sadr city & Tikrit.

If we had this war would have gone mostly the way wolfowitz and company envisioned.

Instead the infection of political correctness in the White House allowed our enemies to 1, go un-identified, 2 go unpunished for repeated attacks against the US forces, 3 destabilize Iraq and tie American troops down in a useless and stupid insurgency this administration doesn’t have the gonads to quell.


The facts are glaring in this case, a conquering army in modern times has a short period of active warfare to kill as many enemies as possibly (without legal or political backlash) before politicians get involved and make killing our enemies a crime.

the general prohibition against land wars in Asia are predicated on the supposition that Asians can out crazy westerners and force us to retreat from the horror, the truth is European descendant Americans are perfectly capable of supplying more horror then ANY population is capable of adsorbing. All we have to do is remove the pansies from the process and let the military do its job.

I HATE to get on the lefts bandwagon, but Iraq HAS become another Vietnam due to this administrations tepid and PC soaked, politician heavy decisions concerning this war.

What the politicians in the west must get into their solid heads is: their positions in the east are NOT as exalted as their positions in the west. In the east, war leaders are respected FAR more then politicians are, here in the west this is reversed.
The very culture of the east makes this so: we in the western, Greek traditions of government treat war as an extension of politics by other means, in the east, politics is an extension of war by other means, in other words, politics in the east is simply a stalling tactic at best & a trap at worst.

French and Indian War
Joyner mentions the French and Indian War as an example of how the American military does CI. However, there are a few problems with this, the first being that there was no American military -- or a United States of America -- during that war.
Secondly, "our" forces in the French and Indian War were the British army regulars, Native American allies and an irregular colonial militia, who were up against French army regulars, Native American allies and an irregular colonial militia (though fewer of this last group in the case of the French). It was a far more symmetrical conflict than Iraq is today.
Thirdly, our aim (or more accurately, the aim of the British) in the French and Indian War was not to bring freedom and democracy to the natives while fighting a shadowy and decentralized network of enemies during a protracted occupation, but rather to defeat a clearly defined enemy to achieve clearly defined objectives.
The best example in the American past of how we fight CI warfare -- and the one Joyner should have focused on much more -- is in the Philippines after the Spanish-American war. Interestingly, though, very few people like to talk about how we won that one...

Interesting AND based in reality!
>"I would tend to trust the results of this poll. A, it is consistent with other poll results taken in the country. B, most polling experts are of the opinion that 1,150 responses are statistically extremely unlikely to vary widely from the actual opinions of the total population."

Your love of polls is noted. Having seen too many of them fail to predict actual outcomes I do not.

As for other sources of bias, consider that native Iraqis were employed to do the polling. What were their opinions and did those opinions project themselves on the results? Also consider that these people are being approached and being asked to give their opinions on the presense of American troops. How do these people know they are not being interviewed by insurgent forces? Safety might have played a role in this poll.

>"I love your take on the results. 61% of the respondents approve of violence against US-led troops, and you say "That some are angry with foreign troops on there soil is only natural." Are you sure you've accurately gauged the mood of the people?"

Absolutely. Who loves a foreign military on their native soil? No sane person does. However, the Iraqis understand the alternative which was Saddam's continued presense and tyranny. The Iraqis know we are leaving.

>"58% believe the withdrawal of troops within six months would lead to a decrease in inter-ethnic violence. Only 21% believe the US presence is a stabilizing force. And all you can say is "Thank you for providing ample evidence of progress in Iraq."

Considering the majority of support for the Iraqi government and the majority dislike of foreign Islamofascist forces I would say this poll, although highly dubious in accurracy, would be evidence that the Iraqis have been able to build a government that rules through the support of its citizens and not foreign powers, including us. That is what we set out to do.

And need I remind you, and it seems that I do, that the Iraqi government, largely supported by the people, requests our continued presense as a stabilizing force. It is interesting that you refuse to admit that little fact.

>"I think your preconceptions are so well defended as to be immune from alteration by any evidence."

Perhaps if you ever offered any to defend against we could test out your little hypothesis.

It is also interesting to note that you immediately threw out the polls that showed that a majority of Iraqis were optimistic about the future of their country and were thankful for the Coalition for ridding them of Saddam.

Instead you find a single poll that has a point in it that you believe justifies your position. But alas, those of us who actually look at the entire poll see that it does not paint the grim picture you claim. As usual, you rely on the laziness of others instead changing your views to fit the reality.

>"But, speaking of evidence, please show me some regarding the "real imperialistic ideas" of Iran."

For someone who thinks they know so much about Iran you are woefully undereducated about the musings of their President and ruling Mullahs. Understandable considering your complete misread on those wonderful Hezbollah fellows.

>"In return I will show you ample evidence of the construction of a number of permanent US bases in Iraq, as feared and assumed by the Iraqi public."

Perhaps you could open your little mind for a moment and realize that such structures, which can be used by Iraqi security just as easily as Coalition forces, provide a source of propaganda on our part that we are willing to stay until the job is done.

But please, do provide these sources that prove that the US is going to stay in Iraq permanently. Do you believe this is a sign that we are going to keep Iraq as a vassal state? This I have to read for myself. I eagerly await your response.

Isn't that an urban legend
?

?
Huh?

Are you talking about Black Jack Pershing
?

You haven't actually read the manual, have you.
The US policy in Iraq is to create a free nation that is sufficiently united to maintain itself. Given the pathologic regime that preceded the current freely elected one, a period of nation building was necessary. It was also necessary for a great deal of magical thinking to die. That process is ongoing. It could have been much further along had we not had the detour of the Powell doctrine with its in and out interventions that solve nothing over the long term.

You're missing the fundamental problem
The technological sophistication and ill will required to do the US serious harm remains a near constant value. The technological sophistication available to your average 3rd world middle class family is on a positive slope and ill will is being supplied by the barrel all over the 3rd world irrespective of our policies because *envy keeps 3rd world dictatorships stable*. The consequences are that larger and larger numbers of people who hate us will gain the ability to hurt us, if only because we can't guard our trash heaps and they'll trash pick (or equivalent).

The last time it was envelopes with anthrax, the time before it was box cutters and planes crashing through buildings. I could list a dozen ways that low tech opponents of middling sophistication could create grievous harm to us and ours. This is not something that a "kill people and break things" military can fix, except after the fact when the damage is already done. Hardening our society is not a practical option either.

The experts are turning to Barnett's "shrink the Gap" strategy and reworking the small wars manual to take into account progress of the last 50 years. We should support those efforts because they have a good shot at fixing the fundamental long-term security crisis afflicting us (and the rest of the rich world). No other approach even comes close.

Doctines
The Powell doctrine is "overwhelming force" and "consensus at home based on honest planning". Instead Rumsfeld/Cheney gave high tech/minimal force and zero planning/zero consensus for the long term.

"The US policy in Iraq is to create a free nation...", and my policy is to run 3 hour marathons. Well, stating a policy doesn't make it happen (my PR is 3:36). Committing resources does. If they aren't going to do something serious to actually win, and they show no signs of that, they should go home now rather than later.

By the way, my preference would be for truly overwhelming force: 400,000 troops, full international participation (Iran, Turkey, Syria, Europe), real infrastructure rebuilding. But I guess that makes me a "tax and spend" Democrat. Who am I to say that freedom (for Iraq) isn't free.

you just trashed your cred AGAIN
you wrote:"my preference would be for truly overwhelming force: 400,000 troops, full international participation (Iran, Turkey, Syria, Europe),"


I'm just wondering why you didnt include elvis & the easterbunny in that list since they are just as likely to show up as the enemies, freaks, loosers and bozos on your list.

DO you masterbate while having these fantasies?

no its NOT, it happened.
but most in control of the media would like to pretend otherwise since it shows their prefered methods will fail and harsher ones are PROVEN to work.

No
If that story is true -- and I'm not sure anyone can say with absolute certainty whether it is or it isn't -- it was still just a small-time affair in a very, very bloody war and occupation. The U.S. Army razed villages, burned crops and put the civilians they didn't kill into concentration camps. Out of a nation of around nine million, we killed more than a million of them over the span of about a decade. That's horrible, but it's CI warfare.
In Iraq, a similar ratio would be something like 2.5 - 3 million dead.

It also would have been further along
if our domestic enemies hadn't been giving the Baathist holdouts and the AQ types encourgment by promising to pull US troops out everytime somebody broke a fingernail.

Thanks for responding . . .
I looked it up at Snopes.com and it said "Undetermined."

In LG's world, nothing is legitimate until the UN waves hands over it.
...

I see LG hasn't read anything beyond the DNC playbook.
If you would bother to talk to someone besides your naval, you would find out that there was lots of planning. Did all of the plans work out? Of course not. No military plan has ever been perfect.

Several hundred thousand troops invaded Iraq. Most people capable of independant thought don't dismiss troops of that number as "minimal force". But then most people who are capable of independant thought don't wind up being liberals.
As to consensus, were there generals who disagreed with the plan? Of course. Were there generals who agreed with it? Of course. There were a lot more who bought into the plan than objected to it.

As to international. Every nation that wanted to contribute forces is there. There was no way Europe was going to contribute forces, their politicians were making too much in kickbacks from Saddam. Turkey? They had a chance, but pulled out at the last minute, destroying some of the plans that had been laid. Syria? You've got to be kidding. Syria is Baathist, they are also one of the major contributors to terrorism in the region, especially in Iraq.

Is this is what you call planning, then it's no wonder that you can't recognize plans when they're put together by people with way more brain cells than you have.

So ALL that prostitution at turtle bay is legit now?
......

Safe areas and method of interview.
In a new development for the forum, roy has acknowledged a major problem with the results. He has not called it a major problem, but he has admitted that it exists. The "safe areas" question is entirely lefitimate, as a bunch of grad students from Maryland simply could not go in to the vast majority of Iraq. This means that the areas that are really facing danger are likely to be underrepresented, while the nice, cushy areas where people can afford to be blaise about the American presence are likely to be overrepresented.

In all likelihood, they hired locals to do the polling. In that case, people have to worry about what they say being reported to unfriendlies in the area. Pollsters in this country face a real problem when it comes to ensuring that people say what they really feel rather than say what they think the interviewer wants to hear. Respondents do this because they want to seem like nice people to the pollsters. In Iraq, we have this factor combined with the fact that if you say the wrong thing to the wrong pollster, people might kill your family. This creates a strong incentive to lie, and say what will keep the Islamofascists from knocking on your door at night.

Finally, there is the way in which the poll was coducted. We know days and numbers, but not the actual method. Was the poll conducted by phone? How many Iraqis even have working phones, and how much richer are they than the rest? Was it conducted in person? If so, where? How did they pick the people who would get visits? What was the response rate? This is all basic data that the pollsters did not include, making this extremely suspect in my mind.

sacrifice
Bush and the neocons talk about sacrifice but all they offer is sound bites and tax cuts. Without real resources Iraq is going to melt into a killing zone. Real resources means real money, real troop strength, real international participation. If you make fun of that and don't propose a pullout, you're asleep at the wheel.

missing....
Points taken, but still there is more to it than that. I did mean that in addition to normal forces, there must also be additional sides like intelligence, etc. But we see that even in the US, liberals do not even want the security forces to listen in on messages between terrorits overseas and their counterparts in the US. Or like that stupid woman who was just charged for carrying messages between terrorists in US prisions to guys on the outside. I would have hung the terrorist in the first place, and then also any fifth columnists who might help enemies in any way.

to taBonfils re Romans
That's a false analogy re the Romans. Those guys really did want to colonize the places, as they did in Britain, Spain, etc. Because of that motivation and since their rules of engagement were effective, they could ensure capitulation, then occupy. But the Americans like in Iraq and afghan, and somalia etc. , no matter what american liberals say, do not want to colonize those places. So for example in the case of Iraq, they could have just toppled Sadam, then retreated and let some other have a chance. If the next turned out the same as, or worse, then take him out too. No need to hang around. Americans are not at all like the Romans.

re Pershing
I do talk about him. In fact I've referred to that conflict several times on this forum. That was still in the days when the marines didn't have to fight with one arm tied behind their backs. I like those guys....'two hundred years of history, untrammeled by progress".

The survey methodology
We can detect an obvious bias in your attempt to discredit the survey through the exclusive means of unsupported speculations.

Easily at hand, if you sincerely wanted to look into the methodology, was the link labeled "Questionnaire/ Methodology". There you would find the following:

"The survey was designed and analyzed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes for WorldPublicOpinion.org. Field work was conducted by D3 Systems and its partner KA Research in Iraq. Face-to-face interviews were conducted among a national random sample of 1,000 Iraqi adults 18 years and older. An over sample of 150 Iraqi Sunni Arabs from predominantly Sunni Arab provinces (Anbar, Diyalah and Salah Al-Din) was carried out to provide additional precision with this group. The total sample thus was 1,150 Iraqi adults. The data were weighted to the following targets (Shia Arab 55%, Sunni Arab 22%, Kurd 18%, other 5%) in order to properly represent the Iraqi ethnic/religious communities.

"The sample design was a multi-stage area probability sample conducted in all 18 Iraqi provinces including Baghdad. Urban and rural areas were proportionally represented. Only one rural sampling point of the 115 employed were [was] replaced for security reasons with substitutes in the same province and urban/rural classification. Among all the cases drawn into the sample, a 93% contact rate and a 72% completion rate were achieved."

In addition, note that D3 Systems are professionals in conducting such surveys, with survey teams on five continents. Your speculations that "a bunch of grad students from Maryland" went out going from door to door is speculative and ridiculous. A basic element of conducting a proper survey is not to use people who might make the respondent give a false answer-- such as an American. Another would be to not use people less than fluent in the language.

Read more on D3 Systems:

http://www.d3systems.com/researchservices.htm

So you see, we do know whether they just made some phone calls out of the Baghdad book and then called it a day. Your problem is that you just don't want to accept the results of an accurate and properly conducted survey. Because the actual results disagree with your ideological preconceptions. In a word, you have decided that the data are not "fair and balanced" enough to suit you. And you have not troubled to look up the easily accessible data describing the way the survey was conducted.

As for any presumptive undersampling in unsecure neighborhoods, I think you would find it far less likely that inhabitants there would give frank and open responses. If they did, I doubt they would run contrary to the general survey results, which offer a bleak picture of the realities on the ground today.

And I think you are grasping at straws when you look at the results pictured, and claim that the interviewees were just trying to "say what they think the interviewer wants to hear".

Please keep in mind that your "islamofascists" do not exist in a vacuum. We are talking about a large proportion of the population who shares the view that the Americans must be forced out of their country, by violence if necessary. 61% of the public, in fact. Are they all just saying what these nice international pollsters want to hear? The poll gives this Iraqi majority a voice we can finally hear.

In response to your concerns
This poll was not "designed to predict actual outcomes". You may be thinking of political polls, which are supposed to be predictive election results. This is an opinion poll, and reflects opinions.

Professionals employed by D3 Systems performed the actual interviews. If you think they use politically biased interviewers, read about the company:

http://www.d3systems.com/researchservices.htm

Is anyone likely to think such people are insurgents in disguise? I don't think so. Note that the number of respondents refusing to give answers was extremely low. In response to a typical politically sensitive question, "How much of the violence directed against ethnic groups has the purpose of driving them from their neighborhoods so that an armed group can solidify its power there", we find the following result: None, 10%. Just a little, 24%. Some, 39%. Most, 28%. Don't know/refused, 1%.

No matter what the evidence, for you the answer has been determined in advance: we must stay until the "job" is done. Only we no longer even have an accurate grasp of what the job is.

The job, as reflected in these results, seems clear. US forces need to train Iraqi forces as quickly as possible before heading to the exits. Our presence only prolongs the agony, and increases the level of violence. And in fact advance word coming down from James Baker seems to be that we do exactly that.

Next, you offer this gem in response to my request for evidence of Iran's imperial intentions:

"For someone who thinks they know so much about Iran you are woefully undereducated about the musings of their President and ruling Mullahs. Understandable considering your complete misread on those wonderful Hezbollah fellows."

Do you misunderstand the meaning of the word "evidence"? Yes, there are an army of pundits out there making a living by pronouncing their distrust of the Iranians. That is rhetoric, not evidence. But my contention is that (a) there is virtually no involvement in Iraq of any Iranian clandestine activities, and that (b) Iranian intentions are soundly distrusted in Iraq, even by the Iraqi Shia. There's nothing going on there. If you think there is, find some ev-i-dence.

On the other hand we do find Spec Fours conducting missions inside Khuzestan, and the USG backing innumerable Iranian expat organizations.

You would like sources on America's permanent bases under construction in Iraq. As they have been building them for the past three years, and as at least four of them are the size of medium sized American cities, it is a testament to your information sources that you have somehow missed all the news.

Google up "permanent bases iraq", and read the first ten or twenty articles you find. That will give you the general flavor. Here are a few:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2004/040323-enduring-bases.htm

http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0930/p17s02-cogn.html

http://www.fcnl.org/iraq/bases.htm

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/224055_iraqbases.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11072377/

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/02/15/tomengelhardt/

Etcetera ad infinitum.





The lost year in Iraq
The only actual plan they ever had to rebuild the nation was the one developed by the State Department. For reasons of bureaucratic infighting, that one was thrown out, and instead the policy adopted was to provide zero security to Iraqi government offices, after the fall of Saddam. As a result, government was disbanded and the premises used by government (with the exceptions of the Oil Ministry and the Interior Ministry) were thrown to the crowds of looters. Thus was government in Iraq destroyed.

The local police forces were also thrown out of work. The army was disbanded and sent home armed with their weapons, to face a deliberately lawless environment in which unemployment suddenly spiralled to seventy percent of the public. Chaos reigned, under our direction.

Under Paul Bremer nothing of note happened. He actually appears to have come up with a plan and timetable for introducing democratic systems into Iraq. But this plan was rescinded by the DoD, and was never implemented.

Not suprisingly, Iraq today has a weak and floundering government. Security forces are riddled with militia members, who have run them by default in an atmosphere explicitly factional. The US may publicly state their intention as being to create democratic institutions, but all their actions say otherwise.

Is this by design? Or is it from pure incompetence? A good overview can be found here:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/yeariniraq/

Rome, History and Security
"Americans are not at all like the Romans."

I did imply that the US was NOT like the Romans. I used the Roman example to illustrate the difficulty of establishing security in occupied territory. The Romans inflicted total defeat, as did the allies on Germany in WWII. We did not inflict total defeat on Iraq...which implies that maintaining security will likely be more difficult. Despite thousands of years of history, we somehow did not recognize the problem.

Once again...
you fail to see the evidence in your own sources.

>"Professionals employed by D3 Systems performed the actual interviews. If you think they use politically biased interviewers, read about the company:"

Which I did. I found this interesting tidbit:

>"D3 has conducted more than 40 nation-wide quantitative surveys in Iraq and hundreds of focus groups. D3 has worked with a regional firm to create a unique nationwide team of Shia Arab, Sunni Arab, Kurdish, and other interviewers, both male and female."

So these ARE locals hired by D3 to conduct the interviews. The fear and fraud dynamic, which you seem to dismiss, remains.

This is similar to the problem of Western journalists and photographers giving over the collection of data and photos to natives of the area who go out and fabricate stories and evidence. Without the ability to spot-check and place controls on your employees you are basically employing the "honor" system which has not served the media very well.

>"Is anyone likely to think such people are insurgents in disguise? I don't think so."

It is nice that you don't think so but it would also be nice for you to consider that instead of refusal to answer questions that many just decided to speak against the Coalition presense just to make sure no one would consider them pro-American. Being anti-American is not as dangerous.

This next part is funny. Sad but funny.

>"No matter what the evidence, for you the answer has been determined in advance: we must stay until the "job" is done. Only we no longer even have an accurate grasp of what the job is."

We don't?

>"The job, as reflected in these results, seems clear. US forces need to train Iraqi forces as quickly as possible before heading to the exits."

You just answered what the job is. The very same explanation of our job that the Bush administration has explained over and over. Stabilize and train the Iraqi defense force and get out. Funny that you believe yourself informed when you have no idea what the game plan is.

>"Do you misunderstand the meaning of the word "evidence"?"

If by evidence you mean the usual conjecture and liberal soundbites you base most of your decisions on then yes, I misunderstand your take on the meaning of evidence.

If, however, you mean facts, based in reality, that back up a statement then I absolutely understand. For instance, James Baker's opinion is not evidence for anything.

>"Yes, there are an army of pundits out there making a living by pronouncing their distrust of the Iranians. That is rhetoric, not evidence."

Nice diversion. Never said anything about "pundits". I am talking about the statements of various members of the Iranian government that speak of a Divine Islamic Empire with Tehran as its center. Not to mention their funding and expansion into Lebanon and Iraq, the absolute fear that the other Arab states have of Iran's growing power, and their seeking nuclear armaments to herald in the glorious birth of there divine Empire.

That's all. But don't listen to their actual words Roy. I am sure they just talk and act like that to raise eyebrows.

>"But my contention is that (a) there is virtually no involvement in Iraq of any Iranian clandestine activities,"

I suppose the finanical backing of Iraqi "political" groups such as al-Sadr and others does not constitute involvement. How about those great IEDs that Iran was sending over the border? I am also sure that the capture of Iranian intelligence agents in Baghdad was just a freak of nature. Perhaps they took a left instead of a right. Damn that mapquest!

You say you like evidence yet you don't seem to be able to recognize what it looks like.

>"and that (b) Iranian intentions are soundly distrusted in Iraq, even by the Iraqi Shia. There's nothing going on there. If you think there is, find some ev-i-dence."

Do the Iranians have to be "trusted" in order to cause unrest and send jihadists and resources over the border? I assume that you believe Iran conducts its policy by looking a polls and asking permission? I am sure you do considering how you view other situations in the Middle East.

>"On the other hand we do find Spec Fours conducting missions inside Khuzestan, and the USG backing innumerable Iranian expat organizations."

Always nice when you throw in some equivalency. I have tried to explain the need to counter Islamofascism but such arguments are lost on those of your ideological bent.

>"You would like sources on America's permanent bases under construction in Iraq. As they have been building them for the past three years, and as at least four of them are the size of medium sized American cities, it is a testament to your information sources that you have somehow missed all the news."

Didn't miss them at all. What you seem to be missing, and what is pointed out in several of your sources, is that the US military is in the business of preparing for any eventuality. This includes a long(er) stay and it also includes a continued presense in the region as long as the Iraqi government allows it.

Would you say that our bases in Europe constitute an "occupation" of Europe? Most likely you would.

I think it is great psychological warfare to show the insurgents, along with Syria and Iran, that the US military is preparing for the long haul. Not to mention an excellent leak of the DoD's contingency plans to stay in Iraq for the next 10 years.

We will hand over these bases to the Iraqi military when we leave. While you believe this to be a big deal it is really a non-issue. A permanent base is a structure, not policy.

It is fun, however, to investigate the workings of a paranoid, delusion mind. So you can clutch hold of your opinion polls and continue to tell yourself that Iran has no interest in Iraq. It is interesting what factual information you choose to throw away and what you choose to believe.

No way!
PBS do a show about the evils of American policy in Iraq? I am shocked... shocked!

Perhaps this explains why much of what you write is identical to the opinions of Bill Moyers. I always knew you preferred your news from the leftist echo-chamber.

I admit that I watch it to but I have the intelligence to detect their extreme left-wing slant.

Leaving Iraq . . .
The Iraqis know we are leaving.

I would like to agree with you on this matter, but with 100+ American bases still operating worldwide, I find it unlikely that we will leave Iraq. Having bases in Iraq provides us with a staging area for future military engagements in the Middle East.

Thank you for the clarification . . .
History is not my strong suit; however, I am in the process of trying to correct that.

The difference here...
is that Roy equates a permanent base with the "occupation" of a country. Yet, as you say, we have such bases all over the world in countries that can hardly be said to be under US "occupation".

The Iraqis do know that we are leaving. That does not mean that the government of Iraq would not allow us to have bases on their soil. As I said, we have such agreements with countries all over the world.

Way to go misstating the Powell doctrine
Try reading it first before you start spouting off an incomplete version. Yes, overwhelming force and consensus at home are two elements but they are not the problem. It's the "wham bam, thank you m'am" nature of the doctrine. That just doesn't solve the problem.

Frankly, we had overwhelming force. That's why we didn't have 10k casualties on the front end, contrary to defeatist predictions. We also had plenty of planning to handle lots of scenarios that didn't happen. The enemy gets to vote on that sort of thing, you know.

The real major foulup of the Powell doctrine with respect to Iraq is that Powell never considered that the international community could be bought off so cheaply. We know now that significant elements such as France, Germany, Russia were bribed to oppose us in Iraq. They signed on to be Saddam's bitches. This means that any dictator with a checkbook is immune from action under the Powell doctrine. Do you really want to be supporting that?

Let me be clear, the Bush administration has made plenty of mistakes, even avoidable, foreseeable ones. But that's true of all our wars and it needs to be taken into context. The context is that war is a series of catastrophes even if you win. That's why we have to win in Iraq otherwise we'll be back for yet another round later.

In partial defense of international participation
I think that it's a reasonable goal to have international participation. I don't think that Iran was ever going to be in the cards and the Turks are the successors to the Ottoman Caliphate and inviting in former colonial masters to intervene is always tricky. The blood feud between the two halves of the Baath party make Syria problematic as well.

But there could have been others. India, handled right might be up for power projection next time, Russia and the PRC as well. And given developments on the Korean Peninsula, Japan may be available in the medium term.

International buy in is nice if we can get it. We shouldn't spurn help or even compromise reasonably for it.

Iraqis are actors, not lumps of clay
Iraqis, in the end, are going to decide whether to step back from the abyss or turn their country "into a killing zone". By not infantilizing them, the neocons/Bush administration have done them the favor of recognizing that reality.

The Iraqis are standing up. Our allies are already standing down and, like the lone superpower we are, we're the last to leave. The Italians are going home because in their area, they weren't needed too much anymore but that progress is invisible to liberals. Maybe if we elect Democrats, they'll start seeing good news again. Nah, not worth it.

As for the tax cuts, the money's pouring in to the treasury, to they mystification of liberal propagandists. Bush hoped in 2003 that we'd be at 250M deficits in 2009, not 2006 which is where we ended up at. A few more years of this and we'll be at surplus again, but with a sustainable economy, not some giant unsustainable bubble like Clinton provided.

define reasonable.
We have bent over backward for international help, usualy with NO effect, allies are as alies does, nothing else makes ANY sense unless your one of those that think the effort is more important then the results.

I'm currently reading a piece by George Friedman at stratfor that discribes the limits of multilateralism.

Insisting on allies helping when these same allies have NO stratigic or tactical interest in our point of view is stupid and possibly suicidal.

having allies like modern Americans have a dog (something doglike in the backyard, untrained and untrainable mut, useless & distructive, but thay can SAY "I have a dog")

and we can say "we have allies" even if those allies are useless or traitorus.

In this light what IS your point?

which one of this list seems to share stratigic or tactical goals with the USA?

The poll
You seem to think that the use of native Iraqi interviewers is proof of bias. Could you spell that out for me? Is there something innate in the Iraqi character that makes them incapable of acting professionally?

Would the use of American interviewers also have been evidence of bias? Why, or why not?

This line of argument not only relies on ethnic chauvinism of the most obnoxious sort, it's grasping at straws. The poll results are quite consistent with other polls of the Iraqi population, taken by other entities. The results are on their face, as accurate as any poll is likely to be. You twist and squirm.

"I am talking about the statements of various members of the Iranian government that speak of a Divine Islamic Empire with Tehran as its center. Not to mention their funding and expansion into Lebanon and Iraq, the absolute fear that the other Arab states have of Iran's growing power, and their seeking nuclear armaments to herald in the glorious birth of there divine Empire."

Citations, please. Give me some official statement describing their "Divine Islamic Empire" that describes its expansion beyond the borders of Iran.

Their maintenance of close relations with Syria and with Hezbollah merely go to the fact that they have a foreign policy. And when last I heard, nations do have a right to have a foreign policy, and to offer aid to their friends. Not so any more?

Also you could give me any evidence you've come across that they are meddling in Iraqi politics. I know this is a very common feeling among Iraqi Sunnis, and even some Shiites. They really REALLY don't like the Iranians. So what have you seen proving the presence of an Iranian hand stirring the Iraqi pot?

Al-Sadr? I'm sure the Iranians would like to influence him. They may even have given him money back in the Saddam days. But he's certainly not their stooge. You need to realize that pre-invasion, ALL the anti-Saddam parties were present in Iran, just as the anti-clerical Iranian forces had a presence in Iraq. Sistani was even living in Iran for a number of years, and comes from an Iranian family. So what?

IED's coming in from Iran would be a big deal-- if they existed and, more importantly, had been coming from the government. I haven't seen that that is so. But Iranian spies in Baghdad? Come on. Everyone has spies in every country. I'm sure the Canadians have spies in Washington.

You seem to find the reverse okay, and don't bat an eyelash over Spec Four missions inside Iran. It's okay for us but not for them?

And then you say "So you can clutch hold of your opinion polls and continue to tell yourself that Iran has no interest in Iraq." No. I never said Iran has no interest in Iraq. They have an immense interest in Iraq. Let's not deflect my initial message, which was how the Iraqi people thought of the American occupation. They want us out and they are convinced that we plan to establish a permanent presence there. On this last point I agree with them.

The size of the planned permanent presence in Iraq, now under construction, is immense. No one, not even our profligate president, would spend such sums if there was no intent to occupy these military cities ourselves. It's preposterous to assert that we are just planning to hand these bases over to the Iraqi military and bow out when our work is done. So I would say that popular opinion in Iraq was consistent with the facts on the ground.

It all depends...
...on what you mean by "occupation".

We do have bases all over the world, and some are for our convenience because of their proximity to the wars we want to engage in. But most are to extend our presence, and to exert political control over countries we'd like to keep under our thumb. Iraq is certainly on our "must have" list, for its political volatility, its oil wealth and its centrality in this strategically sensitive region of the world.

So both you and I know we ain't going nowhere any time soon-- unless we are forced out by the Iraqi government, and haven't the political will to conquer Iraq once again.

The issue is, and I think you should agree, that we equate the "stability" of Iraq with the notion of their having a pro-American and investment-friendly government. If their government decides to become anti-American, or even more importantly decides they don't want Western investors picking off their national treasures, then we would intend to respond militarily. We would consider such an Iraq to be politically unstable, and in need of our armed forces once again.

So to preclude that happening and to be on the safe side, our plan is obviously never to really leave-- to keep a huge permanent mission there so the lid can be kept screwed down tightly. And this effort begins with the construction of the largest embassy in human history.

The Lost Year in Iraq
If you watched the program you could not have failed to note that it was made up entirely of testimony by the key players in the Iraq team in 1983. People like Paul Bremer aren't credible because of their leftist slant? Come on, these were the guys who were running the show. They all blamed each other and the political climate at the White House and DoD for the debacle. No one was saying everything went fine. They all said it was a mess, and a lost opportunity to get things right.

Perhaps you should see it again. It's in streaming video.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/yeariniraq/

roy, you almost had me convinced you could carry on a real argument!
First, of course I am biased. I am a rabid right-wing nutjob and proud of it. You are a commie who cozies up to terrorists and dictators, and you are clearly proud of that. We are both biased, let us revel in it!

Second, you accuse me of laziness and disingenuousness. You are wrong on both counts. You described the first link as the full report, and the second link as a summary. I naturally read the full report. Nowhere in that document is the methodology discussed. I skipped the summary because I had already covered the full report. I did not skip over anything through negligence or lack of concern, but because I took you at your word.

Third, you totally miss the real point of my argument. The key elements of my argument are:
1) The survey takers had to use locals.
2) Because they used locals, people are likely to lie to them to avoid looking like jerks or saying anything that might make them a target.

Address these points if you want to have a discussion. My next post will deal with what the data actually show.

What do your data REALLY show?
If you only take a look at the overall numbers, the data certainly do look grim for America. However, if you dig a little deeper, you find that the Sunni minority is what is consistently distorting these numbers.

Q1. Right/Wrong Direction?
Kurd Right Dir. 64%
Shia Right Dir. 59%
Sunni Right Dir. 6%

Given that Kurds and Shia together make up 73% of the population, I would say that these are pretty good numbers. The statistic that throws it all off are the Sunnis, who are angry because they are out of power and not likely to regain control.

We see the same pattern repeated in question 4a, the attacks on Americans question. Only a majority of Sunnis supports attacks against us. For all groups, a minority would change their support for attacks on Americans if we set a deadline to leave. Even if we set a date, it will not make much difference according to these data.

Finally, moth Iraqis who are not Sunnis believe that all the hardships they have suffered since the invasion have been worth it.

Consistently one factor stands out and makes the data look unfavorable: the Sunni minority. Congratulations, your survey proves that Sunnis are mad that they lost power, and that the system in place protects the rights of the other groups as well as their own. Big friggin surprise.

to taBonfils re rome
OK, maybe didn't understand you right, im foreigner. So yes, the americans didn't achieve complete capitulation they way they should have, thus the problems. Now tho, either get tough or get out. They see americans no more as the 'strong horse' and those more primitive peoples only admire strenth.

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