Friday, February 09, 2007

Assigning the Strongest Armed Forces of the World to Occupation Duty

Is Committing Military Malpractice
My third epistle from the fine mind of Edward Luttwak is drawn from the current edition of Harper's Magazine. Against our experience in Iraq, his piece is a biting critique of America's evolving military doctrine as put forth in a draft field manual, FM 3-24 on counterinsurgency written by James N. Mattis (USMC) and David H. Petraeus (US Army).

Luttwak attacks as an underexamined proposition of the new doctrine that
. . .a necessary if not sufficient condition of victory is to provide what insurgents cannot: basic public services, physical reconstruction, the hope of economic development and social amelioration . . . a politics in which popular support is important or even decisive, and that such support can be won by providing better govenment.
Luttwak cites places such as North Korea, Lybia, Cuba and Syria where "government needs no popular support as long as it can secure obedience". He also cites Afghanistan and Iraq
where many people prefer indigenous and religious oppression to the freedoms offered by foreign invaders.
Such an altruistic offer is foreign to their experience:
The vast majority of Afghans and Iraqis naturally believe their religious leaders. The alternative would be to believe what is for them entirely unbelievable: that foreignors are unselfishly expending blood and treasure in order to help them. They themselves would never invade a country except to plunder it, the way Iraq invaded Kuwait, thus having made Saddam Hussein genuinely popular for a time when troops brought back their loot.
The second under-examined and facile assumption is that it is a simple matter of intelligence to distinguish 'insurgents' from the general population. A first-class, global power like ourselves tends to overrely on technology, entailing:
the use of ultra-sophistocated and very expensive F-15s and F-18s with the most advanced sensors to detect and track the man, the boy, and the donkey who may or may not be transporting an "improvised explosive device" to its intended emplacement . . . . the targets are always unstable, elusive, and low-contrast - even if identifiable as they are.
In the case of Iraq, insurgents are part-timers: part of the time they serve in our puppet government's army or police to earn some cash 'to put food on their family'; part of the time they sell their government-issued uniform and ordinance for the same reason; part of the time they place IED's, assumeably to earn security for their family. Whatever the market indicates, right?

Finally, nothing much really needs to be said about the profound deficit in human intelligence under which our occupation forces struggle, "with the astonishing linguistic incapacity" interms of Arabic- and Persian-speaking personnel. Our occupation forces have had to make do with 'sectarian-neutral' Iraqi "translators"!

So, the circumstances are piled high with these difficulties. Luttwak asks, why is the greatest fighting machine in the service of the world's greatest democracy frustrated in Mesopotamia? Especially since there is, he says, there an easy and reliable way of defeating all insurgencies everywhere:
Perfectly ordinary regular armed forces, with no counterinsurgency doctrine or training whatever, have in the past regularly defeated insurgents, by using a number of well-proven methods. It is enough to consider these methods to see why the armed forces of the United States or of any other democratic country cannot possibly use them.

The simple starting point is that insurgents are not the only ones who can intimidate or terrorize civilians . . . local notables can be compelled to surrender insurgents to the authorities under the threat of escalating punishments, all the way to mass executions.
That’s how the Turks held on to the Ottoman empire and the Romans their empire. An occasional “massacre” kept people in line for decades; killing everyone who resisted; selling those captured on the battlefield into slavery. The ancients relied on deterrence, periodically reinforced by exemplary punishment. Terrible collective reprisals allowed the Germans armed forces to cow entire populations of occupied countries with economy of force during World War II.

The success of insurgencies is based upon using this same viciousness against its host population. Thus, the Viet Cong had
its enthusiasts, “fellow travelers,” and opportunistic followers, but Vietnamese who were none of the above, and not outright enemies, were compelled to collaborate actively or passively by the threat of violence so liberally used. That is exactly what the insurgents in Iraq are now doing, and this is no coincidence. All insurgencies follow the same pattern. Locals who are not sympathetic to begin with, who cannot be recruited to the cause, are compelled to collaborate by fear of violence, readily reinforced by the demonstrative killing of those who insist on refusing to help the resistance. Neutrality is not an option.
After their Indochinese debacle at Dien Bien Phu, the French tried to match the NLF with terror, torture, and massacre in Algeria; the experience was so corrupting of their army and government that the 4th Republic fell amidst the stench of fascism. Luttwak writes,
By contrast, the capacity of the American armed forces to inflict collective punishments does not extend much beyond curfews and other such restrictions, inconvenient to be sure and perhaps sufficient to impose real hardship, but obviously insufficient to out-terrorize insurgents. Needless to say, this is not a political limitation that Americans would ever want their armed forces to overcome, but it does leave the insurgents in control of the population, the real “terrain” of any insurgency.
Luttwak concludes that the
ambivalence of a United States . . . that is willing to fight wars, that is willing to start wars because of future threats, that is willing to conquer territory or even entire countries, and yet is unwilling to govern what it conquers, even for a few years. Consequently, for all of the real talent manifested in the writing of FM 3-24 DRAFT, its prescriptions are in the end of little or no use and amount to a kind of malpractice. All its best methods, all its clever tactics, all the treasure and the blood that the United States has been willing to expend, cannot overcome the crippling ambivalence of occupiers who refuse to govern, and their principled and inevitable refusal to out-terrorize the insurgents, the necessary and sufficient condition of a tranquil occupation.

47 Moderated Comments:

Blogger GetaLife-ReadUrNews said...

You can do anything with bayonets except sit on them.
--Napoleon Bonaparte

2/09/2007 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger J.C. said...

Betray-us. Political skullduggery.

2/09/2007 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Not Your Mama said...

The second under-examined and facile assumption is that it is a simple matter of intelligence to distinguish 'insurgents' from the general population.

Excellent point. It's as retarded as thinking you can distinguish "gang members" in South Central L.A. from general populations in the same areas.

Too much crossover. People who are not "officially" part of the gang but participate in it's activities to one degree or another, those who may avoid participation but sympathize, the enormous number of people who have friends and family members who are involved to one degree or another....

Environments such as exist in Iraq, or South Central for that matter, create their own surrounding and supporting cultures blurring the lines between "good guys and bad guys".

In the simplistic, far right fantasy world everyone wears either a white hat or a black hat. Reality is much more complex and most people wear gray.

I said from the start of this that we'd have been better off hiring people with expertise in dealing with gangs as advisors than the military and political wheels we have.

The military and political folks may have great stores of their chosen fields. In this situation they are in way over their heads and completely out of their sphere of knowledge.

2/10/2007 05:01:00 AM  
Blogger Messenger said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/10/2007 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger Messenger said...

I agree, N.Y.M., I agree.

As laudable as it would seem, I cringe when the quote - good news -unquote is reported: how our troops have rebuilt this school, that library, etc. What is this? This is not using 'the best fighting machine the world has ever known' for the purposes for which it was intended and the tasks for which it was trained. This is abuse of our armed forces. Pure and simple.

2/10/2007 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

The reference to Algeria and the end of France's 4th Republic interests me. Remember whose statesmanship who stopped the hemorrhaging and the drift into fascism? Was his name Charles de Gaulle? Do we have a such a figure in the White House? Do we have such a figure in the political wings?

2/10/2007 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Malfrat said...

General Wesley Clark.

2/10/2007 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Indicted Plagiarist said...

A must read is General William E. Odom's Victory Is Not an Option. The Mission Can't Be Accomplished -- It's Time for a New Strategy.

2/10/2007 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Malfrat said...

U.S. helicopter down north of Baghdad
If confirmed it would be the seventh U.S. helicopter to have come down in Iraq in the last three weeks.

2/11/2007 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

The weakest part of our occupation, says Luttwak, is logistics. In terms of ground transport, it's a narrow thread back to Kuwait. That's not all: in almost four years we still not have secure ground access from Baghdad Airport to Baghdad itself. For tactical response helicopters become critical. For them to suddenly become vulnerable is not a good sign. That's what turned the tide for the Soviets in Afghanistan.

2/11/2007 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Sapo said...

It's not about government, It's about enrichment.

2/11/2007 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Sapo said...

Vigilante, your "un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq" has competition.

Due in great part, directly to the lies Feith concocted and spread, lies which were used to take this country into an illegal, immoral, unnecessary, counterproductive, and thoroughly catastrophic war.


2/11/2007 11:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be totally honest with you, Vigil, this war/occupation overwhelms me. I find myself less and less able to analyse it or talk about it because it has enterd into a twilight zone.

Trying to find some corrective measures and actions to improve something that has been totally wrong from the start, just isn't doable. To start something which has no presence in reality pretty well renders the following actions useless. If everything is based on ideological myths and wishful thinking, it really doesn't matter if the execution is done to perfection, and I am not suggesting it has. House is still built on quick sand and no amount of great engineering would make a noticeable difference.

The most of us know, that the planning of this war and the consequent occupation has been pretty well a textbook case of how not to. There is a staggering number of incompetence living and working in that bizarre little America, The Green Zone, in the middle of Baghdad. Huge percentage of those have no other obvious qualifications being there than perhaps their unshakeable belief in their dear leader and his final victory and perhaps the prospect of making a lot of dough. They do not live in Iraq and that just might be an upside of the matter because they wouldn't be able to do anything useful due to their before mentioned lack of qualifications. Hardly any of them, as it turns out, knows the language or have even a rudimentary knowledge about the region, the culture, or even the religions.

This is the wrong war, in the wrong place, for the wrong reasons. This is the wrong occupation, in the wrong place by the wrong people. And there certainly is no reason to extend this excerice in futility a day longer. BUT IT WILL in the twilight zone!

2/11/2007 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Indicted Plagiarist said...

Vigilante, surely Luttwak is aware that we are already deep into 'military malpractice'.

The US military tactics of collective punishment have been used repeatedly on neighboring cities of Fallujah, Tel Afar, Ramadi, Hussabaiya etc.” Reports from the Sunni heartland are completely blacked-out in the mainstream media. Two years later, and Americans still have not seen the vast devastation from the military’s Dresden-like bombardment of Fallujah.

The ceaseless violence is creating the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of our time, already 3 million Iraqi have been displaced within the country or have been forced into nearby Syria, Jordan and Egypt.

2/11/2007 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

I appreciate all comments above. Echoing Pekka: he is not alone in being overwhelmed. I cannot think of anything more to say or post: what's up is where it's at, I guess. M.D. is right: IIUCATCW!

2/11/2007 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Kentucky Rain said...

If it were an occupation we would be in control. We would be the occupiers. We are not. Our men and women are fighting a war. They are not even close to "occupying" this country.

"Not your Mama" suggests hiring gang behavior LE advisors. This is an entirely different paradigm! As a career cop (and gang advisor)I can guarantee that the military advisors know FAR MORE about armed conflict on a local and global scale than the best of the best gang task force (and I have been there also). There is no similarity between the turf wars of LA and the political and religious motivations of the Sunnis, Shia, et al.

In conclusion, it is important that we remember that the United States is not an occupying force. If we were we would be as the Germans were in France. There was a limited French resistance, but one that was easily dealt with by the occupiers. They were in charge. They had an overwhelming force and a cooperative government shell. Maliki is anything but a puppet to the United States.

The civil insurgency in Iraq is a force that must be reckoned with. We are "dying with our trying" to reconcile the different groups. This is hardly the hallmark of an "occupation."

We are in a war there Vigil. We are not in charge. We are fighting against and side by side one enemy one day and one friend the next. This is war. This is not an occupation. We have no confidence.

2/12/2007 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger J.C. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/12/2007 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Mad Mike, we have fought this issue before in my Midnight Epiphany, when I offered my clinical definitions of war and occupation. [Please take a moment to review, if you don't remember.] I maintain the 'war' ended sometime between Mayday 2003 (when Bush declared major combat operations were over, against the backdrop of his 'mission accomplished' banner) and - at the very latest - by 15-Dec 2003 (when regime change was completed with Saddam's capture).

Surely by then, coalition forces could go anywhere in Iraq, even if they found it unadvisable to stay there. The fact that the occupation was inadequately planned and provisioned and unexpectedly resisted does not make it any less an occupation.

At the time I posted Midnight Epiphany, you were maintaining that, in your words:

It is still a war Vigilante. While I agree in a sense, calling it an occupation dishonors the soldiers fighting there . . . . I am nit-picking, but for some reason it is a sore point.

To which I responded by,

Calling it for what it is . . . is not what dishonors our soldiers. Asking our soldiers to maintain an occupation is what is dishonoring and demeaning - of us as a nation.

I am disappointed that you haven't escaped the official Bush-Cheney framing of this as a continuing war which has to be either 'won' or 'lost'. The more accurate frame is that our Anglo-American coalition is currently an occupation force, and occupations are never 'won' or 'lost'; they are merely ended. As long as the American people have to look at this this situation in Iraq through the opaque lenses prescribed by quack doctors Bush & Cheney, they will never see the situation for what it is: an occupation whose termination time has arrived.

You need to see an optometrist to get a new prescription.

Thank you, Mike, for your contribution. This discussion exactly addresses - if it doesn't confirm - Luttwak's thesis at the head of this thread:

Occupation of an hostile population amounts to military malpractice and is an ignoble use of the world's greatest armed forces by the world greatest democratic people.

2/12/2007 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger J.C. said...

The 'worlds greatest Democratic people'
You must be joking right.?
Ha Ha.
Special Interest runs the U.S.A.
It was captured a long time ago by a variety of groups.
All groups such as those, deprive others of their rights and privileges. That is the nature of special interest groups.

2/12/2007 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Not Your Mama said...

There is no similarity between the turf wars of LA and the political and religious motivations of the Sunnis, Shia, et al.

The particulars are different, the dynamics are not. If you can't see it...well, probably explains much about why we have not made a great deal of progress in dealing with these type of issues on the home front either.

Of course the military is better at fighting armed conflicts, that's their expertise. The point is had anyone with the first clue about human behaviour been involved in the matter we would likely not be in the situtaion in the first place.

The civil insurgency in Iraq is a force that must be reckoned with.

Must it? Why? So Iran won't "take over"? So "terrorists" won't rule the day? So terrible things won't happen to innocent civilians? Seems like all of the above has already happened to one degree or the other. Did anyone miss that memo?

Send in more troops. Ok, fine, good luck with that. Let me know how it works out. On second thought, don't, it's too predictable.

The whole mess was predictable years ago, I'm tired and I'm with Pekka...overwhelmed by the overwhelming stupidity of my people.

2/13/2007 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

N.Y. Mama, It's a given that when we withdraw from Iraq - as we must sooner or later - there will be an up-tick in violence. That's what happened when we finally left Vietnam, right? What's at issue is how much cumulative slaughter will happen along the way, until we leave. That's what we can still control by our actions now. We must remember what's at the root of this civil war and insurgency, and that's our illegitimate presence in Iraq.

2/13/2007 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger E said...

Where are you Vigilante?!! I need my daily vigil!

2/13/2007 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Kentucky Rain said...

I do not support the Bush-Cheney-McCain-Lieberman doctrine of "win at all costs." Anyone who has followed my blog would know that I am anything but a fan of the fools. I am making one point and one point only:

If we are fighting for turf in Iraq that means we are not occupying it. That means we are trying to occupy it. The fact that we are fighting for it means we are not occupiers but soldiers impressed into a senseless war by irresponsible prevaricators and ne'er do wells.

The intent of your remark, Not your Mama, is not lost on me. I will admit that I may not know everything about human behavior, or, for that matter, gang behavior. I did write a thesis on it at the master's level, and a dissertation on it at the doctorate level, all following a lifelong career in law enforcement, but I am sure you would know best.

The civil insurgency in Iraq must be dealt with as long as we are there, primarily for our own protection, not necessarily that of the indigent population. They need to fight their own battles.

I do not now nor have I ever supported sending in more troops, except at the beginning. I was with Colin Powell and others who urged a stronger entry force.

Finally, and to Vigilante, I see quite well thank you. I actually think we both see the same thing, but in different ways. I don't think I will get my prescription checked anytime soon.

In closing:

Impeach Bush! Troops home NOW!!


2/13/2007 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Etzel Pangloss said...

All I can say is I agree.

2/13/2007 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

I have to agree with Mike in that what is going on is a war in the sense we are not in control. The only terrain we control is the dirt under our troops boots. Rummy's going to war on the cheap defeated us as soon as Baghdad fell because we had no where near the number of troops to secure the now fallen capital much less the countryside. As soon as the Sunni and Shia noticed the power vacuum both sides saw the chance to get revenge which began as a low simmer and has now reached a boil because no one in our leadership could see the hand writing on the wall and correct the shortcomings in American plans. That is if anyone would have listened!

As best as I can understand Luttwak he is correct in that no matter how many arm chair commandos sitting safely here in this country might talk about doing it, actually gunning down families and villagers to maintain control is something we generally can't do. Yes, there are horrible exceptions to that rule but the average American soldier or Marine just could not in cold blood kill civilians. I believe our answer to such insurgent terror we are seeing now in Iraq is generally an overwhelming troop presence that does not allow the freedom of movement the insurgents need to accomplish their mission. But, again, that leads back to the fact that we needed well over 300,000 troops to secure the country to allow the social programs and economic development projects to work. But if the stories I have been reading are any indication that part of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" was just as big a bust as the military plan. But that brings in the question of whether no matter how well our intentions might have been the Iraqi and American cultures are so far apart as to have been unbridgeable given the Muslim/Christian history of conflict among other things.

Like pekka this whole affair for me has entered the Twilight Zone with a republican congressman today still talking about a military victory along with talk that a THIRD carrier group will soon be heading for the Persian Gulf to join the other two facing off against Iran. Bush's unstable, to say the least, mental state along with what must be a demon possessed Cheney have shown they can not govern and their leadership has this country facing a huge strategic defeat that will emboldening every enemy of this country around the world. They very much need to be impeached and kicked out of office. Sorry vigil this far too long.

2/13/2007 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger J.C. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/13/2007 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...


You can't get your 'daily vigil' from me. Your daily vigil is your responsibility. I post every time and everyday I have something to share from within. Right now, my front page is full with what I feel contains and brackets the central issue of our times: are we going to hold our traitorous fellow citizens - who have betrayed our once-great nation's birthright and traditions of non-aggression in foreign policy and constitutionalism in domestic governance - accountable? Or are we going to let them bleed our country dry pursuing their illegitimate militaristic foolishness in Iraq? That is my Vigil, and every day I am here as well as on other sites, maintaining it. Every damned day.

2/13/2007 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Beach, even your thoughtful and articulate response doesn't convince me. You say,

The only terrain we control is the dirt under our troops boots.

I say coalition forces can put their boots on any dirt inside Iraq. It's just that they won't necessarily find it expeditious to stay every where they can go, which is - everywhere. (I'm saying that on any given day our troops can search & toss any given house, even in Anbar province.) The so-called 'no-go' areas or Red Zone pertains to where civilians aren't safe without a military escort, and that's everywhere outside the Green Zone.

If it's a war and not an occupation, as you and MadMike maintain, then I submit that either or both of you could come up with a current map depicting the front lines of this war.

Until you guys, whom I respect greatly, can thus cartographically convince me, I say we are in occupation mode, however ineffectually.

(And no fair using that old dodge, asymmetrical warfare, either.)

2/13/2007 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Occupation images.

2/13/2007 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Our guys coping with a sniper attack.

2/13/2007 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Agree with some commentors here: World's strongest armed forces - US - aren't and can't fulfill Occupation duty because they haven't come close to occupying Iraq.

The US will not be able to occupy Iraq no more than I could go to the moon today; I reckon, to occupy will require that US pour half a million troops on the ground in one go.

If the US could do that, there's just a chance, the US may end the mess.

The problem is to field half a million troops will mean 1.5 million troops rotating.

On balance, Bush is better off leaving the Iraqis to fend for themselves - set up quarantine all around and hope the mess doesn't extend to the surrounding countries.

Or, go back to the UN and see whether NATO member nations could help come to the rescue (Ugh! NATO are stretched thin too...)

General Sir Rupert Smith who's just published The Utility of Force, is asking "What are the US forces in Iraq doing?"

Looks like Iraq is gonna be another Vietnam for America.

2/14/2007 03:41:00 AM  
Blogger Recidivist said...

The only war in Iraq, right now, is the civil war, the ethnic cleansing war, or the sectarian war. Whatever you want to call it. There is an insurgency or insurgencies against foreign occupation forces (that's us, folks) which are insufficient to their assignment.

2/14/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Recidivist said...

I say right now, because it looks like Cheney wants to restore our over-taxed troops to war footing - this time against Iran - which is more marketable as a respectable military mission.

2/14/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Kentucky Rain said...

Asymetrical war??? :-) :-) That works for me. There are not always clearly definable front lines. There are places you can go without being shot, probably, and places you can go where you will probably be shot. That makes it no less a conflict. Thanks BB!

2/14/2007 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Keller said...

I'm enjoying this conversation, although I'm not sure the most recent posts abut the nature of our adventure in Iraq are nearly as important as Vigilante's original post about the potential outcome of an immediate withdrawal.

Still, let me say I believe that the current chapter in Buffalo Bush's Big Adventure is an occupation, not a war.

But, madmike's (and others) points are well taken. We do not control the population and we do not hold much ground and our "puppet government" doesn't behave well.

So, at the very least, we need to admit that, while this may be an occupation, it's an extremely poorly run occupation.

the Wizard...........

2/14/2007 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Thanks, Wizard, for trying to herd us cats back on topic. I would rise and take up the cause, but Valentine's Day is meant to be devoted to pursuits other than politics.

2/14/2007 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger GetaLife-ReadUrNews said...

We've been fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here? But now we're getting 7,000 boat people from Iraq-nam?

2/14/2007 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Recidivist said...

Get used to it. When and as we leave Bush's Mess-o-Potamia, we'll have to take our puppets and their families out with us. Part of what we owe them. A small part to be sure. Look at it as part of paying reparations.

2/15/2007 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Keller said...

I apologize for this shamless plug, but this morning I stumbled across one of the best written and most on-target analysis of the tough decisions the U.S. MUST MAKE IMMEDIATELY.

I invite you over to my house to take a look.... the WIZARD, fkap

I believe this really ties into vigilante's article here. And, of course, you can return here to The Vigil continue the conversation if you prefer.

2/15/2007 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

After moving on from blaming Clinton for 9-11, Wizard's parsed essayist says,
I say to you that whether you believe this war to be moral or immoral. . .
Skimming ahead, I found no case stated for finding the war to be moral. I only found Democrats castigated for not unanimously demanding immediate withdrawal, and nothing about Republicans for not demanding immediate withdrawal.

Wizard's still dodging back into narrow partisanship to avoid coming to terms with his party's President's manifest war crimes.

I see no one else has commented on this. Why does it take me to do it? Am I right, or am I right?

2/15/2007 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Keller said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/15/2007 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Keller said...

Vigilante..... The Republicans are playing a game of "chicken" with the funding of the troops.

If the Democrats blink now they will not only betray the voters who elected them, they will end up as "road kill."

2/15/2007 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Keller said...

I cross linked the Moran article on your site because I felt that it bolstered your argument, your position (and Luttwak's) for the immediate withdrawal from Iraq (even if that wasn't Moran's intent).

Moran wrote: "the fact of the matter is we either fight to win – and win as quickly as circumstances allow – or we admit defeat and leave, accepting the consequences of our folly while holding harmless the young men and women who sacrificed much in service to the government and the people."

Is this not exactly what Luttwik has been saying in his professorial tone in your three posts?

Luttwik wrote: "the ambivalence of a United States . . . that is willing to fight wars, that is willing to start wars because of future threats, that is willing to conquer territory or even entire countries, and yet is unwilling to govern what it conquers, even for a few years. Consequently, for all of the real talent manifested in the writing of FM 3-24 DRAFT, its prescriptions are in the end of little or no use and amount to a kind of malpractice. All its best methods, all its clever tactics, all the treasure and the blood that the United States has been willing to expend, cannot overcome the crippling ambivalence of occupiers who refuse to govern, and their principled and inevitable refusal to out-terrorize the insurgents, the necessary and sufficient condition of a tranquil occupation."

I clearly identified Moran as a "right wing firebrand." You can quibble with his obvious Republican prejudices, but he and Luttwak make essentially the same point.

2/15/2007 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

We have not lost; we have accomplished all of the objectives - specious though they were - of the original Congressional Authorization of force against Iraq (Oct '02). We were not authorized to occupy Iraq. Our continued presence is not authorized by the 2002 vote. Occupation without the consent of the occupied is not the role for a democracy that aspires to be the leader of the free world. We should leave. Now.

2/16/2007 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Keller said...

messenger, I agree with you 100% about the occupation. You make an excellent point that I hadn't thoroughly considered. Congress NEVER AUTHORIZED OCCUPATION.

2/16/2007 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Recidivist said...

Well, it looks like the forces of light won big in the House of Reps today. Non-binding, but a defining moment. The turning of the worm, the changing of the seas. Wizard is right: these kinds of thing cannot stay the same: the course cannot be stayed. We are leaving, one political stroke after political stroke, the onion will be pealed. Next comes trimming the Iraq budget: not another dime for Iraqi use of our troops for the killing of each other. Pull them back, leave by truck, car, Humvees, helicopters, whatever.

This useless vendetta bloodletting of Bush's was DOA four years ago. Nothing has changed, and nothing will be changed by the 'new stratergy' or the next new stratergy. This fucking shit pile of worms is so brain-dead, Terry Shaivo had a better chance to recuperate and regenerate.

But Bush will keep his crack-head project on life-support until he leaves office. THAT's his fucking strategy, buck-o's. That's what this is all about. We can drown in the patriotic bull shit that the GOP-ers dished out this past week in the aisles of the People's House. But that's what it's all about.

2/16/2007 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Following Petty Larseny's link to a Rumsfeld-Woodward interview, I read Rummy speaking about occupation as a double-edged sword:

"And I always felt that foreign troops are an anomaly in a country, that eventually they're unnatural and not welcomed really. I think I used the characterization of a broken bone. If you don't set it, everything grows around the brake and you end up with that abnormality."

That's the problem, isn't it? Bush's legacy will not tolerate leaving an 'abnormality' behind in Iraq. To him, leaving behind unresolved civil strife (worse case scenario) or separate sectarian militia strong men (best case scenario) would be an intolerable mutation of 'his mission'. That is why he thinks we must 'stay the course'.

2/19/2007 07:11:00 AM  

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