Sunday, August 19, 2007

I do believe an(other) “I told you so” is in order

The New York Times took a huge step toward atoning for that horrible piece of puffery that O’Hanlon and Pollack have been peddling since they returned from their choreographed tour de farce visit to Iraq, when today they published an op-ed that was group written by NCO’s from the 82nd Airborne who are nearing the end of their 15 month combat rotation. Fifteen months in the weeds trumps eight days of a totally scripted stunt. I know upon whom I choose to bestow credibility.

I would like to point out that this is the second time these Soldiers have come close to the end of this rotation. They were nearing the end when their tour was extended as part of the shell game that the Pentagon is ludicrously calling “the Surge™.” One of the soldiers credited with the piece was shot in the head (he is expected to survive) in the intervening time since he should have shipped out for home.

I am frankly sickened by the feel-good, happy-talk, clap-trap that is getting peddled in the run up to congress reconvening and getting down to debating the funding for the next fiscal year.

I am not alone. In fact, I would much prefer to be in the company of these guys than the cheerleader Michael Yon, or any of the squawking parrots running around Washington posing as “Very Serious People” and blathering on that we need another Friedman Unit.

The War as We Saw It


Published: August 19, 2007


VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias. (Click here for full op-ed)

I would point out that these reports have been readily available, and I have been blogging about similar events practically since Resident Evil scowled “bring ‘em on.” (Seriously, has anyone ever met a bigger dipshit than this guy?) In other words, this is not my first "I told you so."

The scene that these young, tough, seasoned NCO’s describe is pretty much the story I have been hearing for the last two and a half years from the returned vets I have come in contact with.

The first thing that must be done is admitting that we are an army of occupation in a hostile land. There is no military solution, nor is the requisite political progress being made.

The fact that Resident Evil drove us over a cliff in Iraq and leaves us with no good options and a broken military must also be owned up to.

Merely accepting reality has the foam-flecked loonies sharpening their knives for the stab in the back trope to be cranked out from the Mighty Wurlitzer. They are already blowing their tops about “surrendering to al Qaeda” or some such nonsense.

It has been less than a week since wingnut chickenhawk Congressman Doug Lamborn of the CO-05, who, incidentally, has never worn the uniform of his country (unless you count those little flag lapel pins) visited the war zone for one day and started the “blame the military themselves for losing an unwinnable war" meme. His stones are so big that he felt it perfectly proper that he should admonish the soldiers he met on the lone day he spent in Iraq – Soldiers who have had their tours extended to 15 months (450+ days versus one day) – by telling them they could win if they wanted to.

The last time out, it was the right that blamed the military and the Democrats, and even individual soldiers themselves, for failing to win in Vietnam. They blamed everyone but the real culprits – the warmongers and death merchants. In other words, themselves.

Because it worked before, and because it is quite frankly all they have, they will try the bullshit bait-and-switch crap again, trying to blame everyone involved except themselves. Don’t let them get away with it this time. Remind them at every turn of just how wrong they have been. Hold them accountable. They are less than three of every ten people. For the better part of three decades, they have been claiming some sort of genius strategy, when all they have really been doing is shouting down the majority and impugning the patriotism of those who have the temerity to disagree with their fun-house-mirror vision of the world.

Sweet Mother of Pearl, don’t listen to them! And for the love of Habeas Corpus, the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment, fucking fight back this time.

No comments: