TCS Daily

Go Native

By Josh Manchester - November 28, 2006 12:00 AM

A super-secret group of military officers studying Iraq found its conclusions leaked to the press last week. The Washington Post reported that the group has developed three options, "Go big," "Go long," or "Go home." The group is said to be recommending "going long."

"The group has devised a hybrid plan that combines part of the first option with the second one -- 'Go Long' -- and calls for cutting the U.S. combat presence in favor of a long-term expansion of the training and advisory efforts. Under this mixture of options, which is gaining favor inside the military, the U.S. presence in Iraq, currently about 140,000 troops, would be boosted by 20,000 to 30,000 for a short period, the officials said.

"The purpose of the temporary but notable increase, they said, would be twofold: To do as much as possible to curtail sectarian violence, and also to signal to the Iraqi government and public that the shift to a 'Go Long' option that aims to eventually cut the U.S. presence is not a disguised form of withdrawal."

Here's my own contribution to these discussions. Why not go native? The constituent parts to this plan are:

1. Dramatically expand the training and advisory efforts. Expand their numbers, funding, and facilities. This doesn't differ much from "Go long," but wait there's more...

2. Create a crash program to develop a massive Arabic linguistic capability within the US military. This is the United States. We put men on the moon. Why don't we train 20,000 or more American military personnel proficient in Arabic in the next 12 months? Sure, it's a difficult language. But nobody has to be able to translate the Koran in order to lead an attack, plan a patrol, or otherwise advise an Iraqi force. Have the president sign an executive order temporarily federalizing the Arabic departments of every US university that has them. The professors will keep the same pay, but it'll be on Uncle Sam's tab and all of their students for the next two years will be military personnel. If our captains, lieutenants, sergeants and corporals have 30 days of Arabic for 12 hours a day with native speaking instructors before deploying, it will get us where we need to be.

3. Give Maliki 60 days to remove the Shi'ite militias from positions of influence in the government. If he asks for help of some kind in doing so, provide it. Give him one last chance to prove that stopping the sectarian killing is more important than satisfying those who hunger for it.

4. If he can't do it, then declare Iraq's security forces to be in receivership. What does this mean? It means that the security forces of Iraq no longer answer to the Iraqi government, they answer to the US military. The government will still exist. It will still be a democracy. But it will temporarily lose control of its military. After doing this, purge the Iraqi forces of those loyal to Shi'ite militias.

5. Create combined US-Iraqi forces. Here's where the go native part really kicks in. Forget about standing our forces down as the Iraqi forces stand up. It seems to actually be working in Anbar province, but the American public and political class don't believe it. Instead, create a situation such that the American forces and the Iraqi forces are one and the same. American forces in small numbers live, eat, sleep, fight and die with their Iraqi counterparts. It will keep the Iraqis honest about not killing each other in wanton bloodshed. And it will earn incredible benefits for the Americans in terms of intelligence gained and cultural lessons learned. This doesn't just apply to the military. It applies to the police, the border patrol, heck, even the Iraqi boy scouts if there's a local chapter.

6. Redeploy as many FOBBITS as possible. What's a Fobbit? A FOB is a forward operating base, and a fobbit is the derogatory term used by combat arms troops to refer to the support personnel who inhabit such gargantuan bases. This is not to look down upon the accomplishments of support personnel. But as much as possible, integrate the logistics of the forces that have gone native with the Iraqis with the Iraqi logistics. This should allow at least a portion of the massive numbers of support troops to come home, reducing our overall presence in the country, and showing a metric of progress to the American people.

And so, there you have it. These changes would be dramatic. It takes guts to tell a sovereign government that we're relieving it of its military. But by going native, the US can destroy or neutralize the Shi'ite militias; restore confidence in the Iraqi armed forces; increase our language and cultural proficiency, which is a huge force multiplier; and over time we can gradually cede the military back to the Iraqi government. Just for good measure, it would probably be a good idea to surge a large number of troops in to tamp down violence in Baghdad while the go native plan gets ramped up. But within 6 to 12 months, the US presence would be smaller, and more effective, violence in Baghdad will be much lower, and the insurgency will be even more beleaguered than it is now.

Iraq is too important to just leave in pieces for its neighbors to do what they will with it. The US political class is currently misreading the US election, thinking that it provides a mandate for withdrawal. Instead, it was a message of general discontent. It's time for dramatic changes. Why not go native?

Josh Manchester is an officer in the US Marine reserves and a TCSDaily Contributing Writer. His blog is



I like it
That is one of the most intellegent ideas that has been put forward yet. It displays that our government like so many of our businesses are too top down in their idea gathering.
Bottom up works well because the best and the brightest are not always at the top. There is an old axiom in the hospitality business that you promote the worst ones to get them out of the way for another that will provide good customer service. Somewhat like the Peter Principle.
This young officer is aware of the reality on the front lines in Iraq and should be listened to.

I agree - good practical ideas (eom)

Good creative thinking
This article is an admirable attempt to make a palatable omelet out of the broken eggs we're now holding. But I see a snag:

3. Give Maliki 60 days to remove the Shi'ite militias from positions of influence in the government.

He can't do this. It would mean allying himself with the occupying armies as a quisling, not as a patriot. They would kill him or destroy his government if he tried to do that. He is already in the position Musharraf is in, and must portray himself as a moderate anti-=American if he is to survive.

So that leads us to

4. If he can't do it, then declare Iraq's security forces to be in receivership.

I would submit that we don't know what real trouble is until we go to that place. Those security forces would evaporate under our control. They would be murdered every morning on their way to work. Attrition would make it impossible for the most desperate job seeker to consider working directly for the occupier.

And it would make explicit the civil war. Only instead of being the Sunni versus the Shia, it would then be a war of everyone against the Americans.

Other than that objection, great idea though.

The strategy Josh outlined in his article will be effective. In two or three years, our position in Iraq will greatly improve. The Iraqi security forces will control the country. I think the transfer of Iraqi chain of command from the central government to the Pentagon is important and advantageous.

Iraqi Security Forces
On the contrary, in 12 months the Iraqi security forces will be defeating both the Suni insurgents and the poorly prganized Shiite militias.

How about a timetable for winning?
I think this author is on the right track; however, I have a hard time reconciling his suggestions with reduced U.S. troop levels. I am of the opinion that the way to win this is to ratchet-up by redeploying division-strength forces in europe to the three hostile borders of Iraq (Syria, Turkey, Iran) with the declaration that the U.S. will never leave until Iraq is pacified and democratized. Aggressively patrol these borders and hostile territories with USAF support. Integration of Iraqi troops with ours is necessary and a good move.

Your enthusiasm is magnificent. However first the Iraqi government forces will have to conduct a purge within their own ranks. You would be aware, I assume, that most death squad activity takes place from inside those same security forces?

The question would be, how to separate the nonsectarian Iraqi patriots in the police, army and security service from the Badrists, Sadrists and Dawa forces-- not to mention Sunni outfits like the Grey Wolves. To me, any such action would precipitate a civil war within those same security forces we would want to rely on.

And without a thorough purge, nothing good will happen. It's a problem. I would like to share your enthusiasm-- but this one will need to be solved before Iraq can go forward with every one of the "good guys" on the same page.

Redeploying our unused forces
A couple of questions.

First, are all these divisions just sitting around up in Europe combat ready? No one seems to think so that I've read.

Also while they're patrolling the borders, who deals with the actual issue, which is interethnic violence by Iraqis, on Iraqis, inside Iraq? The Iraqi army? They're the guys, in many cases, that form the death squads. Isn;t a thorough purge of the army, local police and Mukhabaraat going to be necessary before the US can count on the local military to oppose shadowy forces who are, in many cases, themselves?

Troop integration
I am not knowledgeable about the makeup of Iraqi troops, but integration of US and Iraqi troops seems like an open invitation for wholesale murder of US troops. I would far rather be on a battlefield than be sleeping with 50 Iraqi soldiers, just one of whom is an enemy agent.

Considering option four...
"As for the helpless Maliki... his days in power may be numbered. According to various and persistent reports, including from Western and Arab networks, a coup d'etat may be in the works in Baghdad: the US in the Green Zone may have enlisted four of Saddam's Sunni Arab generals with the mission of toppling the Shi'ite-majority Maliki government to install a regime of "national salvation". It would then restructure the Shi'ite-dominated ministries of Defense and Interior and finish off Shi'ite militias such as the Badr Organization of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Mehdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr.

Call it the return of the Ba'athists - minus Saddam. Even before rumors of a coup began circulation, one could see the so-called diplomatic strategists of Baker's ISG coming up with the idea of trying to co-opt the resistance into entering a coalition government."

Now that Democrats will blamed for failure, too,
it is amazing the number of stories that are being written about how to win in Iraq instead of how Bush and Rumsfeld are screwing it up.

Republicans wanted to win WWII and cooperated with FDR. Too bad the Democrats couldn't do the same in 2003.

But that's all Democrats know is power and coercion. Take the draft for example. Carter wanted it, Reagan did not. Rangle, a democrats wants it. The implication being when democrats want something, they requisition it. Need more money, raise taxes. Need more soldiers, conscript them. (They're just being good socialists, I know.)

The ONLY option...
is to make a ballot issue out of it. Put it to a vote. If the Iraqi people wish for the US to stay, which Roy is quite fond of saying they do not, then that is confirmation that the Iraqi people themselves wish for the US to help them find their feet. If they do not wish for the US to stay then we can begin to pull out our troops with honor. I would suggest making it a two-thirds majority just to ensure a proven mandate. Anything less than 66% and we begin our pull-out.

The whole point of remaining was to establish democracy. If the Iraqi people exercise that right to tell us to leave then we should do just that.

What happens afterward would be the result of the Iraqi people's choice made freely.

Democrat Waffling - Lacking a core value on the draft
I find it most amusing that in '04, Kerry ran on the idea Bush would reinstate the draft, indeed that he already did through stealth-but now it's members of Kerry's own party proposing it.

So? where is Kerry standing tall and saying I ran against this idea in 2004, now that we're in power, I'll not stand (insert disgusting nasal noise here) for it from members of my own party- if the issue of conscription comes up, I will fight the idea and will utilize every parliamentary tool available to me in defeating enabling legislation.

I'm not holding my breath. Like much of the hyperbolic indignation of the left, opposition to the draft was merely a transient sound bite, attempting to inflame transient public fear but to be abandoned once the campaign was over.

Of course a more conspiratorial view would be that when the public failed to cohere around draft fearmongering, the D's decided that there was no public opposition. Kerry's rhetoric was just a testing of the waters. Its not like the D's mind conscription-its a natural extension of their idea that the citizenry exists to serve their looney plans in pursuit of utopia.

A perfect example of a party long schooled in saying one thing but doing another and then claiming a monopoly on truth.

Orwell must be rolling over in his grave.

Agree with this...
...or something similar. The occupation of Iraq for the purpose of implementing a democratic republic is a political problem that needs a political solution. The military can't solve the issues of insurgency and a disaffected population (in the U.S. and Iraq) unless it institutes a policy of wholesale slaughter in the Sunni Arab and Shia regions, and that is unacceptable for a number of reasons.
Either a direct vote to pull out troops or the dissolution of Iraq into three separate states seem to be the only viable solutions right now. Manchester's ideas, while well meaning and clearly well thought out, are too little, too late. They should have been implemented from the get-go.

Guerrilla and insurgent warfare a US conundrum
Even though our country grew out of insurgent or guerilla warfare we have had a problem fighting such wars ever since. Our single biggest issue appears to be patience. We run on two year election cycles while our enemies functions on decadel or generational timelines. [Suggest reading the modern Islamists lexicon. There is lots of it dating to at least the beginning of the 20th Century. Most of their leaders don't plan to be around when there is final victory. That certainly doesn't mean they would love a complete early victory.]

Our second problem is that we have since WWII placed far too many restrictions on our troops in the field. I know we are striving for the moral high ground, but we seldom if ever succeed in doing so in world opinion. For example leaving certain Iraq Shiite militia leaders in place turns out to be a huge mistake. By our not being "ruthless" enough our enemies have distinct and profound advantages. All of our enemies have functioned from one single perspective, they understand force and the ruthless use of force. That was the only way we could win in WWI or WWII and it is how we could have won in Korea and should have won in Vietnam. There are only two outcomes in war, winning or losing. Ties, truces and the like only postpone the inevitable.

It is odd that one of our greatest victories in Vietnam, the Tet Offensive, which all but eliminated the Vietcong as a a fighting force, was the beginning of our final defeat. That is a lesson we all must learn and remember.

The final issue is that we cannot underestimate our enemies. Many of our politicians and certainly the mainstream media have done just that. There were many years between each Islamists planned attack on USA interest. It would be wonderful to believe that the Bush Administration strategy has prevent another attack, but I know they are not betting on it and neither should we.

If This War Is Win-able Why Aren't You Over There Dieing For It Josh??? Easy Answer To That, eh?
You won't risk your own life to "win the war" will you Josh? No, and I'll bet you anything you have no children over there dead and dieing do you? No, of course not, armchair racists don't join the military do they Josh? No, and don't give me that crap about being "too old"; you could get a job feeding the troops or driving a truck for Haliburton, but you're too afraid to even do that, aren't you? C'mon Mr. Brave NeoCon (NOT!!)admit the truth, you like this racist war just like the NeoCons of the day liked the racist war they sent me and few other dumb and naive racist Americans to fight in Vietnam. This is a war of liberation from occupiers that the local Iraqi's are fighting. We will lose, we've already lost. And all you coward NeoCons clamoring for the blood of 655,000 innocent Iraqi people are just full of sickness and dis-ease. That's what racism is, and you all are racists.

One point...
>"All of our enemies have functioned from one single perspective, they understand force and the ruthless use of force."

Actually, they understand the use of force and deception and how to present it to the media. They know the true weakness lies within the liberal establishment and the media that is controled by them.

We are not being beaten by Islamofascists, we are being beaten by the anti-Americanism within our own society.

How many times...
can an idiot cram the word "racist" into a single, incoherent paragraph? Do tell, how is the Iraq war "racist"?

One can only make fun of such a rant. You can almost see this "peaceful" leftist jabbing his finger in poor Josh's chest as he foams at the mouth.

After you are done with your tirade, consider that it is the anti-war Democrats who want to bring back the draft. The same draft the Democrats used before to send people to war. The Republicans in this administration understand that an all-volunteer military is the only effective military.

Army? or Police
Roy, what I keep hearing is that most of the infiltration / death squads are in the Iraqi national police force (think FBI in the Tommy Gun toting Hoover era), which has been getting trained with less of an American Army involvement. The Army, OTOH, has been trained by Americans.

As for the "thorough purge", that's "relatively easy": I see that you've got troops dead and wounded and equipment missing that we can't account for. OK, the officers of this unit "become shot" and the troops get a decimation followed by a discharge, and they're ineligible to run for office, work for the government, etc. Make them fear us more than al-Sadr.

How Many Times Can Racists Provoke Wars They Won't Fight In?
and you Mr/Mrs Tlaloc; how many wars have you fought in? None.

Why is that Mr/Mrs Tlaloc, if you are so gung-ho to support this racist war in Iraq, why aren't you there?

No answer Mr/Mrs Tlaloc??

Yeh, I thought so.

You are the one who needs to explain how this war isn't racist. Can't do it, can you Mr/Mrs Racist?

C'mon man
This is just obnoxious. It takes a really penetrating intellect to stifle debate by yelling "Racist!" dozens of times...

Now that democracy is restored in America, all leaders will get blame for failure

"it is amazing the number of stories that are being written about how to win in Iraq instead of how Bush and Rumsfeld are screwing it up."

Doesn't that make you happy? We're talking about how to win instead of just scorching Bush and Rumsfeld for their failures. What a nice change since Democrats are back in power, don't you agree?

"Republicans wanted to win WWII and cooperated with FDR. Too bad the Democrats couldn't do the same in 2003."

Seriously, you're comparing WWII with America's 2003 invasion of Iraq? What a joke. Anyway, how is it the Dems didn't cooperate in 2003? I know, its their fault our troops didn't have fully armored humvees and body armor. Oh wait, I guess that was Rumsfeld again. Well, I'm sure its the Democrats fault Rumsfeld did that to our troops.

When Republicans want something, how do they get it? Need more money, borrow it from China. Need more soldiers, lower recruiting standards.

Your logic is wanting, marjon. But thats common among delusionally partisan hacks. Is that really all you think about is how to blame others for all problems? Republicans taught you well.

This will never work, here is why...
We were not at war with Iraq. We went in there to change the regime. We were at war with Saddam Hussein. The fundamental social conditions in Iraq that led to Saddam Hussein still exist. A democracy where the minority accepts being ruled by the majority is not going to work in Iraq.

This was not World War II. Neither was it Korea nor was it Vietnam. This was Iraq.

If we went in and took possession, created a US colony, moved in our own American governor, employed a hateful, brutal police force staffed with cops from Iraq's nastiest tribe...In short if we turned Iraq into a US possession and made everyone understand that we were there to stay forever and that anyone who opposed us in any little way would be arrested for spitting on the sidewalk and possibly executed while resisting arrest...if we made them believe we were serious about their country because we wanted to live there with them and share our lives with theirs, bring our wives with us, retire there and marry a local girl, raise our children with their children, open a business and hire workers. Make them a State. Make them 3 States! Then they would accept us and subordinate themselves to us.

They would like it because any of them who did not like it would not survive the process. This is what we did in our own country and this is the way we continue to police our own citizens, here. Indeed, the kill ratio of American citizens executed on the street by American cops to police officers murdered by civilians is similar to the kill rate enjoyed by our military in a foreign war. Look for the actual number. You won't find it. We can expect that business to continue.

But we are not going to make a colony of Iraq, are we? Josh, what you suggest is that we make exactly the same mistake we made in Vietnam, in a very different war with a very different purpose. We put 500,000 people in country. We integrated our special forces completely into ARVAN units. We established immense fortified bases. We killed somewhere between 1 million and 2 million Vietnamese and they never stopped fighting. Because they knew we would leave and then whoever had the upper hand would take over. If we were still there today under the same circumstances the Vietnamese people would still be fighting. They would never have stopped.

When you "go native" you "become them". And you stay. We are not going to go native. We are going to leave. You can kill all you want...they will make more. You can stay 100 years...500 years and they will keep fighting until you "move in", take over and run the show.

"Going long" means to let them have their own country and to let them solve their own problems the way they have for thousands of years. We need to find some quiet places like Okinawa (up north near the Kurds and in an empty corner of Afghanistan) to set up permanent military bases and, indeed, stay over there indefinitely so the region knows we are never going to be completely gone.

However, this policing of civilians business is pointless. Stop now. No timeline. No warning to give the bad guys time to prepare. No announcement. Just, in fact, stop. Move our people into these permanent bivouacs and make certain that all the players over there respect each other's sovereignty.

Iraq is not our nation. We don't want Iraq to be our nation. They know that. We did not even conquer Iraq. We did not beat them. We liberated the people from Saddam Hussein. So they could now go back to the very same behavior that gave them Saddam Hussein and that gave Iran its Mullahs.

If you decide to stay there like this then go ahead and kill them all you like. They'll keep fighting. You will never kill enough to make them stop. When you finally do leave after countless hundreds of thousands have died (and they have continued slaughtering each other waiting for you to go) they will throw rocks after you and say that they ran you off. Then you will say: "Well...America lost." And it simply will not matter who is in the White House when that time comes.

We Are Already Beaten, As An Occupying Racist Force
I am a Vietnam Veteran who's heard all these same lies when my country was trying to kill me and get me to kill innocent Vietnamese. We killed 4 MILLION INNOCENT VIETNAMESE AND 2 MILLION LAOTIANS AND CAMBODIANS FOR NOTHING BUT RACISM.

Just like it is now in Iraq.

You racists show you don't like admitting who and what you are, do you? You are racists, not patriots. 99% of you warmongers are too coward to ever have served in the military and yet now you waste the lives of our children in your insane racist war.

You are not heroes; not patriots, just cheap dime-a-dozen racists and if you grow tired of hearing other people tell you what you are; then get in therapy and grow enough to become a full human being for the first time in your miserable lives.

Deal with it!!

If it was a racist war...
...then why did you participate in it? Why would you be a party to something you thought was wrong?
Muhammed Ali said as much, but went to jail rather than serve in the military. Whatever his other faults were, his actions were consistent with his beliefs.

So combative...
for someone who claims to like "peace" so much.

>"and you Mr/Mrs Tlaloc; how many wars have you fought in? None."

Not that you know much of anything but you really don't know what wars I have fought in. For the record, none. Tried to join the military but was unable to get past the legal blindness and nerve deafness. But fortunately the Constitution does not prohibit my freedom of speech and my right to my opinion due to those disqualifying conditions.

Thanks for your service to this country. I really do appreciate those who serve in the military. I do not, however, appreciate those who believe their military service somehow gives them rights not due other American citizens. So please, quit embarrassing yourself.

>"Why is that Mr/Mrs Tlaloc, if you are so gung-ho to support this racist war in Iraq, why aren't you there?"

I wouldn't call a war that frees 25 million (50 million including Afghanistan) non-whites and provides at least a chance at democracy a "racist" war. I am very gung-ho about allowing people, any people, the right to guide their own destiny.

If you believe the people of Iraq are being oppressed by the US then why are you not over there working for some NGO or the UN? Why are you not trying to ease their pain and suffering?

>"No answer Mr/Mrs Tlaloc??"

I have answers if you are patient enough. Not all of us have all day in their trailers to write angry messages about the government.

>"Yeh, I thought so."

Although it is funny that you ask a question and then expect a response before you even post it, it is even more hilarious that you believe actual thought went into your post.

>"You are the one who needs to explain how this war isn't racist. Can't do it, can you Mr/Mrs Racist?"

Actually, no. You are the one who makes the statement and that means you are the one who should explain it. I have explained above how the term racist does not apply. You simply can't back up your words and your statement is proof of that.

So what do you say about that Mr./Mrs. Idiot?

No answer?

Yeh. I thought so.

Typical Troll...
performing the typical Troll dance.

Without even elaborating you sir are a nut.

Sounds like a plan
It is worth a try. I keep asking what if we succeed. I have yet to get a answer. Only tales of doom and failure. It is nice to read a plan that is positive.

Great ideas meet with violent opposition from meager minds.

Albert Einstein

Oh sorry, did you actually say something?

"What a nice change since Democrats are back in power, don't you agree?"
1. Democrats are not in power. They have control of one branch of government.

2. What is good about it is that conservative Democrats can speak out and conservative Republicans will re-invigorate.

3. And liberals will make the mistake they have a mandate, show their true colors and get voted out again in two years.

Chester's post
This is a great idea. Is someone passing it along to Baker/Hamilton, Gen. Peter Pace and the President? Someone should.

This guy is full of krap. Anyone who served there or is curious enough to research the U.S. involvement in the Viet Nam war knows that we did not kill 6M innocent people. This is pure hogwash. Yes, too many innocent always die, but many were not so innocent. I've come across a few VV ranting lunatics at my VFW Post (usually, they are phonies looking for freebies), but the vast majority that I served with or came to know later feel that the mission was honourable and that, if allowed to, could have creamed the NVA and prevented the holocaust that followed. It's the same story with our fighting forces in Iraq, today.

No, they are not just sitting around. They are soldiers first and can be combat ready in 6 to 12 weeks. Most soldiers deployed to Iraq are not combat infantry or Stryker forces, anyway. Most are in support services. As in Viet Nam, the vast majority who served a tour there never saw combat nor the enemy.

Most of the Iraqi Army do not compose the death squads and honestly believe in a free and democratic Iraq. This is where integration comes in. Where this has been implemented it has worked quite well. There is, however, a lag of months or more in getting them trained up to the point where they are effective as part of a team. This is why I say that to win this, we must declare that we will be there for a long, long time... let's say till the year 2051. If we engage the Democrat's plan to panic and bug-out, there is zero incentive for an Iraqi to support the elected government or be associated with its principles. It is far safer for kith and kin to grow a beard, don a burqa, and turn your neighbor in.

I think I agree
I can't recall the last time I agreed with you on something... but your idea for an Iraqi ballot initiative sounds good at first glance. I think we'd want to think it through pretty carefully before deciding on it.

One consequence of a "get out now" outcome, for instance, would be that we would be honor bound to offer those Iraqis who wanted us to stay an emigration option. Remember the Vietnamese boat people? I don't think we'd just tell the pro-American minority tough luck, you guessed wrong. So we'd have to get used to having a lot of new Iraqis in our lives. At least many of them would come over speaking English.

And the consequence of a "please stay and help us solve our problems" outcome would be that we remain exactly where we are today. Stuck in something that shows no sign yet of turning any corner. But at that point I think at least the country would gather around the view that we needed to beef up the effort and try harder.

Point of order
You say "consider that it is the anti-war Democrats who want to bring back the draft."

Is there a second Democrat besides Rangel asking for the draft? I don't think so.

I can't imagine what Rangel is thinking. He says this would put everyone's sons and daughters in the same boat, requiring them to serve. Doesn't he remember Vietnam? The children of the rich and powerful were able to get easy deferments. Just look at our politicians of that generation who never served. Nearly all of them Republicans, I believe. Like Cheney.

speaking of crap
Somewhere between 1 & 2 million Vietnamese died, ncluding nearly 50K americans. As for "if allowed to..." - we dropped more bombs on Vietnam than we dropped on Japan and Germany combined. We had a target assassination program (Phoenix); we stayed there for much longer than WWII lasted. Bottom line: It wasn't our war to win: it was the S. Vietnamese. They didn't.

> and prevented the holocaust that followed

Not in Vietnam. People tried to leave, mostly for economic not political reasons. People did wind up sent to camps, but were not killed. Cambodia was a different story. But the Vietnamese ended the killing in Cambodia - after which we allied with Pol Pot.

>It's the same story with our fighting forces in Iraq, today.

Unfortunately, parallels exist and this is not good news for us.

I hope you're ready to raise taxes
Thats what it would take if we're going to stay in Iraq until, say, 2051. We've already sold out our kids to pay for the war, are we going to mortgage out grandkids too for Iraq?

"If we engage the Democrat's plan to panic and bug-out, there is zero incentive for an Iraqi to support the elected government or be associated with its principles."

Is there incentive now for an Iraqi to support the elected government? I mean, your argument is "stay the course". I hate use the buzz words, unlike Republican morons, but it IS what you're arguing. Keep doing what we're doing, but do it more. To what degree do you think our presence in Iraq foments violence? Its obviously not causing all the violence, but what if America pulling out of the country puts a lull on the violence enough that the Iraqis can establish security? I saw an interview with John Murtha and he argued this point. It made me think he might be onto something. Not that I now support Murtha's idea, but its worth discussion and consideration, even if morons are going to call it "cut and run" or "panic and bug-out". Worthless I say.

Whatever you have tell yourself to feel better marjon

Democrats ARE in power. Not total control, but power nonetheless. Bush's autocratic rule has ended, we should celebrate a break in the dark clouds that is the Bush Administration.

You're confused on #2. Centrist Democrats can speak out. Conservative Republicans will cower. Extremists are on notice. Fiscal conservatives, social liberals are America.

I agree with you on #3. Purge the liberals and neo-cons. The extremists. Democrats have a mandate, not liberals. Lets hope the centrists gain control in the intra-party rivalries that come with change. For both parties. Its not shaping out that way for Republicans so far, they're sticking with the losers. Democrats are leaning slightly liberal so far, but its not determined yet...

"Centrist Democrats can speak out.", Unless they support the President.
Democrats dumped Lieberman overboard.

Sounds just like....
a page from the history of the Roman Empire. Is this what America is supposed to be--an empire with occuping forces spread around the world?
Remember it was at the hands of relatively primitive barbarians that the Romans fell. Historically, occupying forces lose the will to die in foreign lands--isn't that what happened in Vietnam? I think Manchester is the one that has misread the election.
I wonder how he would feel if he had lived in 1783 and if the French, after aiding our revolution, had decided to stay in America? All for our own good of course.

The Troll Is The Racist Who Can't Admit He/She Never Served Our Country
...not to mention cannot give any reasons to rebut the obvious truth: Iraq is a racist war, and people who support it; uniformly are racists.

1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.
[Origin: 1865–70;
—Related forms
racist, noun, adjective

rac·ism (rszm) Pronunciation Key Audio pronunciation of "racist" [P]

1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

racist adj. & n.

I would rather support someone who stands on principles than someone who compromises for popularity.

If you stand in the center, you get run over.

I Was 19 and Naive and Yes I Served In The Military As A Bonafide Racist Like TCS Posters on Average
yeh, I was a racist. And a war criminal too. I don't deny my mistakes. I am ashamed to have ever took part; just like many troops coming home from Iraq are ashamed of their service their too.

I don't hide from my racist mistakes. Why do the "proud racists" on TCS hide from theirs? Denying you hate brown people and muslims as you cheer their deaths for this racist war is ample proof of what hypocritical racists you prove it as you do it.

Meanwhile, as we were all contemplating this magnificent plan to win the occupation, today Moqtada al-Sadr became the most powerful man in Iraq.

How? Because he told Maliki if he met with Bush in Jordan he would quit the coalition keeping Maliki in power. And Maliki is now meeting with Bush in Jordan. So tomorrow, when he gets back home, al-Sadr will tell him whether he still has a job or not.

Things change fast in this kind of a world.

"People did wind up sent to camps, but were not killed." It was a socialist paradise!
"Besides the constant fatigue, my father remembers being very hungry. "We ate very little. Every day, we ate a portion of rice as small as a quit (small fruit, like an orange) and some salt water. They didn't give us much because they feared that people would hoard food and escape... We ate just enough to survive." Pain punctuates his narrative. "Since we lacked food and medicine many people died. Sometimes I'd lie awake at night, not knowing when my turn would come, because a friend had died just two days ago, and a week after I would bury another friend in the fields. I'd bring another friend to the hospital, only to have him die. So I didn't know when my turn would come..." Even with his positive temperament, my father was miserable and constantly fearful of death. He speaks with resentment about the lack of food. "I was very weak when I came home (from the labor camp in 1982). During the time I served for the South Vietnamese army, I weighed 53 kg. But after two years in the camp, I weighed only 39 kg!"

Many people couldn't take the inhumane camp conditions and hoarded their rice rations and attempted to flee at night. Unfortunately, communist guards usually caught prisoners as they climbed the fence that surrounded the camps. "I never tried to leave. I had friends who tried to escape, who were shot dead." If they survived, the punishment was severe. Five to six soldiers beat prisoners who were brought back. "I had a friend who was beaten until he vomited blood... (there were) welts all over his body." Afterwards, guards jailed him in a small box for three to four months.

My father helped his friend survive. Everyday, his duty included bringing rice to those imprisoned in the boxes, so he used this opportunity to feed his friend. "Before I brought my friend his portion, I would pack a lot of rice really tightly into the bowl and sprinkle a little rice on top of it. When the soldiers inspected the portion, it would look small and they would allow me to bring the food to my friend."

"My friend went through that and survived. During the war, he served as a Vietnamese SEAL, so he was very strong. That's how he withstood the camp conditions. He lives in the US today." My father continues to correspond with his friend through letters and more recently, e-mail.

Occasionally, the prisoners were allowed to communicate with loved ones. "Every three to five months, we got permission to write home." However, my father did not trust the Communist postal services. "I was never sure that your mother received all the information because sometimes they would send the letters, sometimes they wouldn't. Many times, the Communists did not send the letter to Saigon but kept it at the reeducation camp. I know because a Communist man asked me why I bothered to write; then he showed me the pile of letters.""

"165,000 people died in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's re-education camps, according to published academic studies in the United States and Europe."

Gee, those ingrateful bas*ards who fled Vietnam for economic reasons. Look what they missed.

If he follows through.
You believe what every terrorists says?

Of course you do. You believe the Palestinians.

another idea
If the US no longer has the stomach to really fight in the manner it takes to win, then it would be better to not engage in such practices anymore. Let me see if I've got this straight as a foreigner; the US not longer wants to take casualities amongst its own forces, neither do they like to even inflict casualities amongst the enemy(because their human shields might get killed, or maybe they're not really enemies but just friends who are misunderstood). Now I'm staring to notice that the US is hand-wringing that even if it pulls out, then they will even agonize over the results massive deaths that they would have nothing to do with! Such people better give up fighting overseas.

Our big mistake. Sadr should have been eliminated as a player from day one. I still fail to comprehend why we left him alone.

I suspect things may have been far different.

While The Commie Viet Govt Are No Angels, They Are Still 1000's Of Times Better Than U.S. Dictators
I looked at the so-called "evidence" of the given number "165,000" killed in the Vietnamese "Re-education Camps" after the fall of Saigon; and guess what??? No links to any reputable studies such as claimed, and guess what? no links at all. The "165,000" is nothing more than anti-commie propaganda. If you have something more reputable to support the claim, post it, otherwise, I think you've been duped and are a puppet for racist propaganda.

The citizens of Vietnam are 1000's of times better off under their own government, commie or not, than they ever were under our brutal genocidal hand. We killed 4 million Vietnamese (2 million innocent civilians and 2 million combatants) plus another 2 MILLION Cambodians and Laotians; out of racist hate. Not for freedom, not for democracy.

I saw photo evidence of tens of thousands of atrocities committed by U.S. in my job sorting through the personal property of K.I.A.'s in Vietnam. Tens of thousands. I saw hundreds of mass graves dug by U.S. soldiers using Cat 8's and 9's and they were mostly full of women and children. Men learned to haul ass when we were about to napalm or mortar or bomb or dump Agent Orange on another village full of innocent civilians. We knew we were killing women and children and went ahead and did it anyway. So you fake "patriots" are less than human for not coming to know that your own government did this; the same style government doing the same racist genocide in Iraq, today.

The same thing is happening in the racist war in Iraq. The whole world knows about it, except for dumb redneck Americans. Racist, redneck Americans, that is; whether they are brainwashed descendants of Vietnamese who fled here to find "the good life" (greediness) or your average hate-filled white racist American.

It's sad and pitiful that the lies about Vietnam continue even 40 years later.....

~I am A Vietnam Veteran who served the year the most American's were killed (1968-69)

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