TCS Daily

What a Strange Way to Wage a War

By Josh Manchester - November 16, 2006 12:00 AM

I found myself seated at a meeting the other day next to a correspondent for an influential national news outlet. The discussion turned to Iraq. Having spent several years covering the Balkans in the 1990s, my counterpart voiced his concern that he sees in Iraq now many of the same actions - forced migration, for example - that proved to be the incipient signs of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the Balkans then. Then he surprised me. He stated that his fear was that should the US leave precipitously, such atrocities would become headlines rather than speculation, and the world would have no one to blame but the United States.

Nevertheless, over the abyss we happily plunge, with sober heads nodding as Sen. Carl Levin appears on a Sunday morning talk show calling for a "phased redeployment" of US forces to begin in "four to six months."

Why not now? What does the distinguished gentleman from Michigan believe will be accomplished then that isn't already? If the entire enterprise is a miserable failure, why ask our military, whom Mr. Levin will no doubt be the first to vociferously support, to stay one day longer? What magical event will occur four months hence? An optimist might wonder whether Mr. Levin was attempting a clever bit of early April Fools' Day humor, but such levity coming from Levin seems unlikely.

Rather than concerning ourselves with April 1st, 2007, or January 1st, or July 10th, or August 4th, or Saint Swithins Day, there is but one day that should be foremost in our minds during these debates, and that is the 5th of October, 1938. On this day, Winston Churchill addressed the House of Commons, beginning "by saying the most unpopular and most unwelcome thing . . . that we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat." Churchill was the wet blanket at the parliamentary party to celebrate Neville Chamberlain's efforts at the Munich Conference, where the Sudetenland had been ceded to Hitler. About Czechoslovakia, Churchill said, "All is over. Silent, mournful, abandoned, broken, [she] recedes into the darkness."

And so it will be in Iraq. When comparing the two, it is hard to know which is more ignoble: in one case, Britain bargained away a portion of another sovereign state; in our own, we are ready to cede a sovereign state to (insert here: Iran, Al Qaeda, or pure chaos), after having bought such real estate with the blood of thousands of our young.

Some Senators, mindful of the disaster a withdrawal will prove to be, warn against a precipitous exit. Yet precipitous or not, it is an exit that they seek. Yes, this is truly the problem. Having suffered decades ago from an affliction known as the Vietnam Syndrome, we seem forever destined to have periodic relapses, punctuated by someone offering a cure for our national hangover with a remedy called the Powell Doctrine.

It's an interesting brew, this one: it contains a dash of the idea that we should only fight wars that we know in advance that we'll win, even though no such creature exists; a bit of the notion that at the same time, we'll do so with every possible ally; and most importantly, a bit of whimsy called an "exit strategy," which in every other part of the world, where the inhabitants don't move every two years as we do, means that sooner or later the Americans will bail.

What a strange way to wage a war. It's almost as though everyone were promised . . . that they'd never really be waging one at all! Contrast that concoction with Marine Lieutenant General James Mattis, who related over the summer his reply to an Iraqi who asked when we would leave the country. "I said I am never going to leave. I told him I had found a little piece of property down on the Euphrates River and I was going to have a retirement home built there. I did that because I wanted to disabuse him of any sense that he could wait me out."

Iraq is dangerous. Progress is measured in weeks and inches, not minutes and miles. It is weakly governed when governed at all. But to leave too early will be to compound these seemingly intractable attributes with the most deadly of sins: a failure of willpower. The world will know that when Iraq becomes the next Taliban-like state, or the next Rwanda, that it was only because the United States, the most able, powerful, and wealthy nation in the history of the world, gave up. If that disturbs you, imagine how much it delights our adversaries.

When the "phased redeployment" begins, and the cries of "peace in our time" are shouted from the ramparts, the only important difference between now and 1938 will be that the British at least had a Churchill to tell them, "Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting."

Josh Manchester is a TCSDaily contributing writer. His blog is The Adventures of Chester (



there seems no way to stop this train wreck our feckless left is driving
Not that is was a great ride to start with but this cowardly retreat along with the coming amnesty for twenty to thirty milion illgals will destroy my country and there is nothing I can do to stop or slow it down.

the American people are governed by a party of fools and traitors on the left and out and out robber barrons on the right.
Picking the lesser of two weasals is getting old.

Being helpless to save your country is not a good feeling.
I'm starting to feel like Shakespear "first. kill ALL the lawyers".

No Subject
Not strange considering some of us, and the terrorists have been saying all along how the US has become soft, weak and decadent. In fact when they're so soft that not only can't they stand any casualties on their side, but wring their hands and cry like crocodiles over even killing the friggin enemy, then you know you have no business waging war anymore. It might be better to just give up like the europeans have. I've often said that the 5th column of liberals supporting the enemy have reached the critical mass. Too bad, the States was a good experiment for a couple hundred years there. The islamo-facsists can smell your fear, that's why they're at your throats.

One of the bennies of the net is finding your group without geography.
and even though you are perfectly correct about the critical mass of liberals, the web will allow those of us that care to, to continue to persuade, debate and educate.

And even though the US swing voters are mindless neadertals that get their information in thirty second sound bites one day before the elections, I dont believe they represent a trend, rather a specific demographic that will not repeat in future elections. I believe this because the number of Americans educating themselves online about politics and history is growing by the day and as more Americans retire this trend will accelorate.
The reason we didnt hold onto more senate seats is that this new demographic has not yet overtaken in numbers the swing voter cadres of oprah watching mouth breathers.
The next two years may ruin this country, or we may luck out and stop both our retreats, one from Iraq and one from our own border.

Phased Redeployment
There is a version of Phased Redeployment that may help reduce/control the violence in Iraq. The majority of coalition forces redeploy to Iraq borders and rural infrastructure. Their mission is to prevent hostiles and military ordinance from entering Iraq and/or reaching population centers. Without a supply chain of bodies and weapons, the effectiveness of the insurgents and the militias will decline, and the authority and control of the Iraq police and military will increase. In addition, reduced Coalition presence in the main population centers would likely lead to reduced coalition casualties. The Iraqi army and police would be responsible for security in Baghdad, Basra and other populated vicinities.

This type of redeployment is only one of many strategies that may improve the current situation. Congress, the President and the military should be discussing the alternatives that will lead to a secure Iraq in the short to middle term...not talking about withdrawing before the job is done.

And further...once we figure out how to secure the Iraqi borders, we can transplant those technologies and processes to the US borders!

Why Bother Anymore.
I was and am still for the effort in Iraq, however I am considering a 180 degree turn. If we give up and slink away as some would have us do, then we should admit that we don't have the resolve to fight any war at all. Then we should cut the defence budget by two thirds, return ALL military personnel to the US, including the Marine embassy guards, and prepare to absorb all the punishment the Islamists can manage to send our way.

Maybe when NY, DC, LA, and SF are smoldering craters we will finally grow up as a nation.

Why an exit strategy was needed in the first place
A favorite rhetorical device in these articles is to posit an argument easily defeated, put it into your opponent's mouth and then defeat it. One always has to formulate exit strategies when drawing up war scenarios, of course. In a properly planned war, one draws up game plans for every conceivable scenario, including what one does when things go wrong. And even, what one does when things go right.

The only problem is, they had no one with a military education making the plans. They only had the unread and inexperienced Don Rumsfeld, a man innocent of either war college or battle experience, with one plan that he had decided could not fail. So naturally no exit strategy was ever contemplated.

Another serious shortcoming was that he only had the foggiest of concepts about what happened after the war. Somehow, everyone would throw flowers at the victorious troops, and everything would sort of automatically come together, resulting in a springtime for the Middle East.

That is the reason we're groping for an exit strategy now.

Sure, there were plenty of people who warned him about how dangerously simplistic this kind of thinking was-- both the Pentagon and State were full of these people. But they were all intimidated into silence, or fired.

Here's some information, no doubt new to many of you, about the State Department's Future of Iraq Project, which was studiously ignored during the run-up to war:

Hopefully this will stir some of you to inquire more deeply into who knew what, and when.

Schrodinger's cat
The guy driving this train is George Bush. Liberals did not set Iraq on a path toward civil war. Liberals did not send too few troops to accomplish the mission.

This reminds me of the Schrondinger's cat paradox.'s_cat

The cat in Iraq already is dead. If Democrats are the first to open the box and say so, are they to blame? Stay-the-course Republicans have no plan to win, no stomach for the sacrifices involved. They just want to postpone admitting defeat as long as possible.

The War in Iraq is long over and we won.
The nation building is not, over but how much should we be involved is the question. Maybe the Shia and Sunni factions need to learn the hard way that war is not good.

Safe borders
Your plan presupposes that all the baddies are now residing outside Iraq, and if we can only patrol those desert borders as well as we are currently patrolling Arizona and Texas, we can keep them from coming in.

If that's the case, how come a hundred fresh bodies are turning up each morning?

Isn't it the case that most of the death squads are operating openly from the Shiite militias entrenched inside government armed services, police and security forces? And that many others are ex-Baathists living right in town? And that even that small number of Al Qaeda in Iraq members are already in place in-country?

They don't need to stash their weapons over in Syria someplace. We never secured the weapons depots inside the country when we took over, in April 2003. Saddam's weapons are still in Iraq.

I'm for a phased withdrawal...
... over a fifty year period. There is a proven way. I think the solution is based on ratcheting up security by training up and deploying three more Stryker divisions, integrating the Iraqi Army into the U.S. Army, partnering with Iraq by entering into fifty year leases on three large tracts (one each on the Turkish, Syrian and Iranian borders) in order to construct large, permanent bases, thereby enabling a withdrawal from the center of Baghdad, and finally letting our regional enemies know that we are staying for a long, long time. We need to get the U.S Air Force more involved. As in Germany, South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, and Thailand, we move in heavy bombers and missile batteries pointed east and west and we inform the mad mullahs and the Baathists that we will not tolerate any border incursions nor threats and that they must prevent same from foreign jihadis on their side of the line. As long as commerce and the business of governments is carried out to the benefits of the citizens of Iraq, there is prosperity. I think it would be a big help to urge the Iraqi parliament to adopt the sense of citizen ownership in their primary resource (oil) by instituting a permanent fund and dividend, like we have in Alaska. This promotes stronger interest in the matters of government and an incentive for citizen involvement in securing the resource. Our trump card is that if there is any terrorist attack on the U.S. that can be traced back to agents of the governments of Iran or Syria (or Saudi Arabia for that matter), we will make giant holes where Capitols used to be and take their country away. This is real hardball and any weakness on our part will be used against us in violent form. If we're not willing to go all the way, then we must hang our heads in shame and abandon the region quickly to the chaos and death that will surely follow. The U.S. will suffer another generation of psychologically damaged losers like the Baby Boomers (as Obama Barrack surprisingly and correctly pointed out in his Meet the Press interview - Yay Obama!). History will remember this as "Bush's War" or "Bush's Folly" or whatever, but I propose that if the democrats force a retreat that it be known, heretofor, as "The Murtha Retreat".

the cats not dead yet liberalG
And thats your problem, a disfunctional level of pessimism.

dont suppose you'd listen to the Iraqis on this one?

You know, the people that are there and have an even greater interest in this then we do.

BTW, most of us dont need the paradox explaned to us.

I like it & about time they took Iran & syria's interference seriously.

without their meddling this would be all over by now. Iran has cost us much blood & treasure this time & I'd like to see them pay hard.

would certainly blue the votes up
"Maybe when NY, DC, LA, and SF are smoldering craters we will finally grow up as a nation."

nothing like have one of your enemies toast another of your enemies.

rough way to go though, I'd prefer not.
Maybe LA or SF though, MIGHT be OK.

Well said
This is not a war anymore..

Its an occupation. I vietnam its time they solved their own problems.

Selective Amnesia
If he were only as skeptical about the prospects for success in the "war on poverty", or as I prefer to call it-the modern feudalism. Decades, not years, Trillions, not Billions...

But don't you know rivenberg, anybody who disagrees with the left presents an automatic presumption of ignorance to them.

"We never secured the weapons depots inside the country when we took over.."

I believe the coalition made an effort to secure weapons depots. Unfortunately, they failed to fully complete this task, just as they failed to secure the Iraq borders and transportation infrastructure. The result…Iraq was not demilitarized and violent factions have tools of their trade readily available.

Another strategic change available to the coalition at this time is to demilitarize troubled area's...starting with Baghdad. This will require the full support of the Iraqi government...which could be a stopper.

Of course
The elephant in the living room is centuries of Islam. For some reason, ok we know that its founder was a mililtant individual, personally leading several campaigns and authorizing many more, they just don't play well with others or each other, haven't ab ovo. We need to acknowledge that it casts a shadow of the prospects for a civil situation.

standard weaponry #1 of the left, snobbery.
Their presumption of superiority IS very religion-like isnt it?
I'm coming around to the point of view that many on the left HAVE traded the old time religion for Marx's version & are too stupid or ignorent or careless to know or admit it if they DID know.

this is distressing to me since I'm a hard core Darwinist who sees no conflict between religion & evolution if you get away from the bishop of canterbury's begat counting.

they simply were not ground down enough to remove islams stain
from their souls.
Like the Japanese had bushido removed from theirs by two nukes.
this aspect is played cown because it's currently civicaly unacceptable (not PC).

Kenneth, what's the frequency?
Here are a couple of timely documents from the period when we should have been planning:

Desert Crossing

The 51st State

The best laid plans...
"I believe the coalition made an effort to secure weapons depots."

Actually no, they didn't. Not enough troops. What they did during their rapid advance was to note the locations of those arms caches they happened to find, reporting them back to base so later other troops could come up to guard them. But there weren't enough troops, so no one ever came back to them.

"Another strategic change available to the coalition at this time is to demilitarize troubled area's...starting with Baghdad."

I suppose we could go on a house to house search (of a city with 4-1/2 million inhabitants) and confiscate all their electric drills and baling wire. Those are the weapons they're using now.

And we could use the Iraq military. Of course they're some of the guys who are doing the killing now.

So where was the elephant plan pre-invasion??
I mean, when the administration was saying we had to invade Iraq now, right away, no matter what, why wasn't that elephant on the screen? Where was the elephant plan?

Give me that new fangled religion.
I'm coming around to the point of view that many on the left HAVE traded the old time religion for Marx's version & are too stupid or ignorent or careless to know or admit it if they DID know.

Liberalism IS a religion. It has a canon (Das Kapital, The Affluent Society), saints (Marx, Veblen, Galbraith) a clerisy (any elected Democrat and a too many but fewer Republicans), a hierarchy (the episocapasy of Clinton, Pelosi, etc.) and a whole series of articles of faith (progressive taxation, social welfare spending by the government all of which serve the the unfulfilled promise of peace and harmony on earth.

The old time religions were realist (life sucks, then you die, you'll be there a whole lot longer than here) and imperfection and discomfort are part of this life, but it'll be better there. You might not believe the life after death stuff.

it was smothered in #$^ liberal style political correctness
that states "thou shalt not mention any other religion besides Christianity in a bad light".

The repubs are almost as infected with it as you lemmings of the left.

No, it was not "smothered." It was ignored. As for PC - remember Boykin??
And as far as political correctness goes, the message didn't seem to get to Gen. William G. Boykin. Who was Boykin?? Only deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and warfighting support. For some reason he didn't get the PC message: Highlights are below.
The only thing Boykin didn't have was a plan.

"Preaching in his military uniform before a religious congregation in Oregon , General Boykin proclaimed, "we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian. Did I say Judeo-Christian? Yes. Judeo-Christian."

"He continued, "The enemy that has come against our nation is a spiritual enemy. His name is Satan. And if you do not believe that Satan is real, you are ignoring the same Bible that tells you about God."

"To that same congregation, still in military uniform, General Boykin said of George W. Bush that, "He was appointed by God" to be leader of the United States.

"To another religious group in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, General Boykin declared that the true enemy in George W. Bush's wars "is the principalities of darkness. It is a demonic presence in that city that God revealed to me as the enemy."

professional Darwinists (biologists) have hypothosiized a religion gene
that pre-disposes the aflicted with the need for a giant hand holding theirs on into adulthood. They consider this a positive mutation as it motivates sociaties to obey a system of laws that are for the common good. Thus a religion gene is a beneficial thing when considered in the light of advanced Darwinism (applied to groups and whole societies instead of kindergarten Darwinism that deals with the law of the jungle)

If the aflicted can't swollow the stuff that has elevated/captivated/freed/imprisoned/inspired/oppressed their ancestors, in modern times they have the religion of Marx to turn to for their personal salvation.

I personaly see no reason the two systems should be mutualy exclusive of each other. It's starting to look like Marx is making HEAVY inroads in the catholic church in America. Similar phylosophies concerning the poor. scares me to death, thats all we need is a completely socialist Catholic church in America.

Personaly I DO believe in life after death, but not a rigid format if you know what I mean. Since nobody has been RELIABLY known to come back, what REALLY happens is still mystery & those that claim to know different are truly whistling past the graveyard.

so one generals off the hook, it doesnt paint anyone else with the same brush
I'm NOT a republican lemuel, nor am I a Christian.

so in many of these discussions I dont have a dog in the fight besides my version of what a healthy America should look like.

At least many of you liberals have come to the conclusion Islam is worse then Christianity (in modern times). It took you long efukingnuff to see it though.

Face it, just like Bush cannot TODAY say "we are at war with Islam" because of the perception of domestic trouble it would cause, he could not say to his generals in 2003 "Islam will not accept democracy". In this country attacking any religion is verboden for national leaders.

Now what I want to hear from you is your take on how the mechanics of Islamic society make Democratising Iraq impossible. Or am I missreading your take?

now thats funny
It was "the swing voter cadres of oprah watching mouth breathers" that gave Bush a second term in 2004. Remember the terms "soccer moms" and "security moms"?

The bases are a putrid lot too small to determine an election either way, the middle IS America. Has been for every election I can remember (12 years or so), and will be for the forseeable future.

But you're right they are "mindless neadertals that get their information in thirty second sound bites one day before the elections". I've been saying that all along, especially when they gave Bush 2 terms.

The next 2 years may ruin this country? Well, we got a real nice head start with the last 6. Bush has 2 more years to finish us off.

so the robber barrons suck, Kerry the traitor would have been worse
and YOU know it.
Only serious whackos in denial still think the MUZI arent on the war path of their own volition.

I'm NOT a repub though I did vote for Bush, I'm a conservitive Libartarian & would have prefered somebody NOT representing mostly the ultra wealthy like both bush & kerry.

I cried when I saw my choices for pres both of the last two elections, bush at least didnt try to suck jihadi dork in appeasment that kerry would have and probably WILL before its all over.
You cannot stop this war by getting our troops out of Iraq, that call is only made by the other side.

7th Commandment
"What does the seventh Commandment command?

It commands respect for the goods and possessions of others and for their right to private property. It demands the practice of Justice and Charity in the administration of earthly goods and the fruits of labour, and the right to a just wage. It calls for respect for the goods and resources of the earth.

What does the seventh Commandment forbid?

It forbids theft, or the taking or using another’s goods or property unjustly. It forbids all forms of fraud and cheating. It forbids all acts which for commercial or totalitarian purposes lead to the enslavement of human beings or their being bought, sold or exchanged like merchandise."

At least the Catholics in UK are on the right track. There is some wiggle room I suppose on a just wage (who defines just).

Life after death
Watch the Ghost Hunters on SF channel. They are now roaming around Ireland and England.

Liberty is no longer worth defending. BOHICA

We have lost?
Once again I see the mantra of defeat. I think all liberals are invested in defeat. Have we failed? How do you define faulure? Because we are still there? How have you and the left contributed to this failure by your constant carping and whining from the first moments? Do you think perhaps the endless dribble influences the enemy and demoralizes our troops?

It seems for you defeat was an inevitude? Do you think Germany was easy after 1945? Did they welcome us with open arms?

The issue is not can we win but will we win? Victory is achieved by doing that which is necessary to win irrespective of political correctness. Until we, meaning you, have the stomach to win we will continue to suffer humiliations like Vietnam, Somolia, Iran and 9-11.

Unfortunately, the day is approaching when millions shall perish because liberals, like yourself, would rather bury your head in the sand then face the music.

Exit stategy?
Name me one conflict in history that had a exit stategy? Just one...

How long did Rome rule Judea? What about the 100 year war? Do you suppose the "people" got tired of that one?

I think it was Eisenhower that stated "When the armies meet the plan goes out the window".

Define what a exit stategy is? Are we still not in Japan and Germany? Whats the rush eh?

Why is the left in such a hurry? You in a hurry to say I told you so?

I have yet to have one single critic tell me what if we succeed? Why must we fail? Was failure automatic?

Now I don't know who you're arguing against?
Here was your question:

>Now what I want to hear from you is your take on how the mechanics of Islamic society make Democratising Iraq impossible. Or am I missreading your take?

My answer is, I haven't said it would be impossible. What I have said was Bush went into Iraq without a clue about the situatioon was, with regard to religion and much else, and without a coherent (or indeed, even an incoherent) plant to achieve democratization. Years later, there's still no plan. And blaming the lack of planning on concerns about " political correctness" seems to me not just off the wall, but out of the building.

Exit strategy for WWII
We had a perfectly coherent strategy in WWII. The goals were:
Surrender of Germany, achieved VE day
surrender of Japan, achieve VJ day.

as far as an "exit plan," we instead had the Marshall Plan, conceived during the war. Important figure:
US casualites following VE and VJ day: during occupation of nations essentially zero, even before creation of new democratic governments.

>I have yet to have one single critic tell me what if we succeed?

That'd be great. What's the plan? Just hang on and hope things get better even though all the signs show they're getting worse?

ok, one example, but you probably wont like it either.
THE biggest problem with sunni is that we allowed the republican guards to "melt away" instead of destroying them, this was a blatant example of the stupidity that PC brings.
It's an example of PC because it was assumed that they wre leaving for peacefull reasons instead of the pragmatic reason, to fight another day.

I dont think I'm making the best case & I dont have the time right now, I can address this later though, in more detail.

tag team moronics
You guys are not impressing anyone with your tag team moronics. Do you know how to stay on a subject? Do you know what it means to offer evidence?

Nobody, not even Rumsfeld, thinks things are going well in Iraq. The violence has been rising steadily for years. Measure number of Iraqi deaths per day, or oil production, or electricity production, they all are going in the wrong direction.

Someone familiar with the first 10 the bible never would say the 7-th commandment forbids slavery, or that it forbids buying and selling slaves. There's lots of discussion, for example, of how someone can sell themselves into slavery, but that such a slave must be freed after 7 years.

I'm working on something that may interest you
I'm working on a body of theory that compares the results of advanced Darwinism to the ten commandments.
I believe they come to the exact same point when examined like the jews did with producing the Talmud from the Torah.

A doctrain uniting these two desparate creeds would be a REALLY welcome thing in this America. It would lead to increased respect for each other.

Winston=Bush, Neville=Democrats and Most Voters?
This is a fantastically horrible editorial. I think he's comparing the Bush Administration with Winston Churchill. If only I could resurrect Winston to see what kind of a thrashing he'd give the author. Wars of necessity don't need exit strategies. The exit strategy for the Americans in WWII was the total defeat of the Germans and Japan--and Italy. Nothing else would have been tolerable. Wars of whim like Iraq shouldn't be fought at all and if they're fought, well then you should actually have an exit strategy. We couldn't afford to lose WWII and we can't afford to "win" in Iraq. Our presence is not bringing anything resembling stability and is only encouraging our enemies--but the author is willing to spill the blood of untold thousands so that he can appear strong. He's backed the wrong ideology and needs to suck up the bitter truth.

What it takes to win.
It isn't a question of who wants to win, but who wants to do what it takes to win. What we are doing now is not enough. 20,000 more troops are not enough. Bush has dug a very deep hole. Unless we force ourselves to roll up our sleeves and do something serious (double troop strength, bring back the draft, huge tax hikes to pay for it all), we're not serious.

Wishing to win is not enough, any more than wishing to run a marathon is enough. It takes sacrifice. Nobody on tcsdaily seems willing to do this. Certainly Bush isn't.

Hanging on?
OK, then lets pull out. Go for it. I mean, you have the plan...

Seems like a major issue is Iran and Syria interfering. In the 1940's you think we would have tolerated that? My stategy would be to tell them to back off or else but that would once again incite the howls of protest.

As to the Marshall plan, we didn't use that in Japan. We installed McArthur as essentially the provincial leader there and he essentially govered until things were settled.
Maybe we should try that? How about a US interem leader in Iraq? I can imagine the howls of protest.
It is amazing.

I am
I am. I think we should have gone in and taken absolute control like we did in Japan in WW2 and goverened it until we had stability.

To achieve stability would have required the harse application of force to violence. I am not advocating a authoritarian rule either. However, Sadr for instance should have been eliminated as a threat. Iran and Syria should have borders sealed and we should have threatened the use of force to get them to back off (and used ti if they refused).

Part of the issue is that these people were literally ruled for generations. They are used to having everything told to them. It is a culteral thing and change is gradual. Everyone hates change.

since when do you care about howls of protest?
you whine about PC, but you're a tool of it yourself.

I whine about PC too, I'm a tool of it sometimes too, but I recongnize it and stop myself when its ludicrous. You should try the same, if you can see reality through your ideology-tainted vision.

Iran and Syria aren't afraid of America these days. They would laugh in our faces if we tell them to back off or else.

all I can say is…

Winning Strategies
"...we can't afford to "win" in Iraq"

We have hardly exhausted plausible "winning" stratagies in Iraq. As far as I can see, we have yet to deploy even ONE winning strategy.

Your conclusion that "we can't afford to win" is premature...since the effort has yet to be made.

there is no such thing as an exit strategy from this
In an occupation there are only a few options:

1. Give up and let the various factions fight it out. This will be bloody and ungly and all but guarantee another dictatorship will emerge.

2. Pull back, retaining some presence, but let the present government do more to quell the violence. Good luck with this one. If the present Iraqi security forces can keep the present elected officials alive long enough it has a chance; but a very small one. Chances are we will either be forces to option 1 or have to go back in full force in less than 6 months.

3. Keep the status quo. Try to continue to train and arm the Iraqi forces, giving them more and more of the security duties as you go while maintaining a strong presence.

4. Go on the offensive. Search and destroy, take it to the enemy.

In the end, none of these options will save Iraqi lives in the long run. People are going to die, innocents are going to get in the line of fire and (except in the first case) more Americans are going to die. Four is the shortest route but will involve the most casualities per operations day initially. four is also the most sure route to stability and to give the elected government a chance to gain support and legitmacy among all factions.

How would we have done that? And what did PC have to do with this?
OK, the Republican guards surrendered to our forces. Was the idea that we execute them all after they surrendered? If not, what was the idea? Put them in prison camps? OK, who'd guard the camps?

We did in fact disband them, and the there's been criticism because they could have maintainted order and then have been brought under the control of another government. But it wasn't PC sentiment that did this: it was just pure lack of planning.

You whine about PC, but you're a tool of it yourself.

I am, on what do you base this assertion?

I agree they would but why? It is because they know we won't follow through?

What if we did, as we should?

Problem is, we've made so many mistakes we've made it hard to plan.
And as far as the other stuff:

>Seems like a major issue is Iran and Syria interfering. In the 1940's you think we would have tolerated that?

Whac can we do about it, with our troops tied down in Iraq? Invade Iran and Syria? Seriously. That's a huge problem that came out of the invasion: other countries in the world can tell us to kiss off, and we essentially don't have a military option, other than bombing. And if we try bombing in this case == say against the Iranians -- the straits of hormuz are shut and we're looking at $10 a gallon gas.

>s to the Marshall plan, we didn't use that in Japan. We installed McArthur as essentially the provincial leader there and he essentially govered until things were settled. Maybe we should try that? How about a US interem leader in Iraq? I can imagine the howls of protest

You don't seem to have followed the history. We tried that. His name was Bremer. It was a total and absolute disaster. He came in with a bunch of kids who were relatives of administration appointees and heritage fund intens. There have been lots of reports on what happned. Look it up.

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