"I'm sure you'll forgive me from criticizing the vice president"

Yeah, general, that does tend to get one's career shit-canned with this crew, now doesn't it?

But Gen. John Abizaid's reluctance to cross Dick Cheney's "last throes" thesis on the Iraq insurgency does not bode well. The basic problem goes all the way back to Rummy's metrics memo of October 2003. If the U.S. is not, in fact, killing more insurgents than are being created, the whole operation is treading water.

Abizaid said he thinks infiltration into Iraq has increased in the last six months. This does not sound like a "last throes" situation no matter what the vice president might say.

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  • ||

    Our implacable foe, Eurasia, against whom we have always been at war, is in its last throes. Victory is at hand!

  • ||

    Hail thoreau, history's greatest military genius!

    clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap *look around* clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap *look around* clap clap clap clap clap clap clap

  • ||

    If the U.S. is not, in fact, killing more insurgents than are being created, the whole operation is treading water.

    That we haven't been doing so has been a given for a while. Basically, there are only two ways to end this thing.

    1. Find a way to get the Sunni Arab masses to fully endorse participation in the political process, thereby cutting off the active and passive local support that any insurgency needs as oxygen.

    2. Call up some hookah-hitting Shias and Kurds and get Chechyan on their asses.

    Option #2 is neither morally nor strategically advisable. Which leaves option #1 as our only hope. And given the centuries-long history of Sunni Arab dominance and the honor-shame dynamic that's evidently in play, this armchair prognosticator is somewhat pessimistic on the matter, though I don't think the situation is entierly hopeless at this point.

  • ||

    Yeah, Gen Abazaid has a lot to lose being CMDR of CENTCOM and a four star general. Worst that could happen is they could fire him, which certainly will not happen. More likely his replacement could be a yes man that only cares about getting that forth star.

    Besides all that I have said it before here and will say it again. Fighting an insurgency is a battle of political will not a conventional military struggle. We can win every battle and every fight but still lose the war. We are having trouble recruiting and the war is losing popular support...

  • ||

    I came across a quote in this week's The Economist--that's right, The Economist--and it had a statistic that struck me. Even as a guy who's probably more informed than most people, I found it...well...surprising.

    "...the past two months have seen a staggering explosion in violence, even by Iraq's standards. Over 1,000 people have been killed, mostly by some 160 suicide bombers..."

    ----The Economist, June 18-24th 2005, p. 24

    That's a lot of suicide bombers! ...recent too.

    The article later suggested that Iraqi troops and police are more susceptible to suicide bombers because they don't have the amour Americans do, hence, it was suggested, IEDs tend to cause more American casualties and suicide bombers tend to target Iraqis rather than Americans.

    ...Maybe that's why I think I've heard more about IEDs than suicide bombers, but, dude, that's a lot of suicide bombers! Does Chaney's "last throes" hypothesis include an explanation for an increasing number of suicide bombers?

  • ||

    joe-

    Thank-you, thank-you. Hey, even though I know absolutely nothing about military strategy, maybe I can be awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Whaddaya think?

  • ||

    I think that there's an excellent chance that the folks who lied us into this war don't want our government's military to leave at all, at least not for the foreseeable future. The insurgents (at least they aren't calling them all "terrorists") serve as a pretext for our government to stay in Iraq.

    There is some evidence that our government could even be supplying the insurgents. It certainly makes sense to be skeptical of everything our government says about the Iraqi elections and the occupation since the lies that justified the war are now becoming manifest:

    http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=6343

  • ||

    Ken-

    Thats a 160 more "freedom" fighters getting their 72 virgins. I had no idea it was up to that many. We should be thankful that our soldiers have body armor which prevents many more deaths on our side...

  • ||

    here is some evidence that our government could even be supplying the insurgents. It certainly makes sense to be skeptical of everything our government says about the Iraqi elections and the occupation since the lies that justified the war are now becoming manifest:

    But why? I have seen this happen before in central america read SGM Eric Haney's book on Delta force for more info on that.

  • ||

    Why does a 4-star general and commander of CentCom hate America?

  • ||

    Give. Me. A. Break.

    In fact, give me two: one free pass from defeatist nonsense, the other for clownish conspiracy theories. Am I reading HNR or am I on some bizarro conspiracy theory board?

    BTW, you can get more insurgents into Iraq and still lose. Most of the guys I've talked to all say the same thing - that the foreign insurgents are finding less and less cover the more and more they alienate the guerrilla's only ally, the populace.

    How would you guys behave if a guy whose compadres had killed your friends and family wanted to hide out with you? The only thing that would make you do it would be fear. As soon as they were gone, well... I know I'd turn them in.

  • ||

    Rob:

    one free pass from defeatist nonsense

    What's defeatist is not to question our government's motivations after the wild duplicity that the neocons engaged in, in order to foist this war on us.

    the other for clownish conspiracy theories

    And what's clownish is characterizing something that you're unfamiliar with! The evidence that I was referring to comes from the conservative Washington Times.

    http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20050603-021838-6491r.htm

    Also, it's unrealistic to dismiss political conspiracy in general as out of hand.

    How would you guys behave if a guy whose compadres had killed your friends and family...

    And this is how many Iraqis feel about US government troops. Also, the vast majority of insurgents are Iraqis.

  • ||

    Here is a cut and paste summary;

    June 21, 2005: Iraqis know that the terrorist violence, and a lot of the criminal activity, is caused by Sunni Arabs. But despite all these bombings and murders, most Iraqis want the coalition forces to leave. Although that changes when you ask the Iraqi leadership, they admit that Iraqi security forces are not yet up to doing the job. It will be interesting to see what happens after the parliamentary elections later this year. The members of parliament will be under pressure to act on the desires of their constituents. But the members of parliament will also know better the capabilities, or lack thereof, of the Iraqi security forces.



    At the moment, the Kurds and Shia Arabs believe that their militias could take care of Sunni Arab terrorism, and that could only happen with the coalition troops gone. Moreover, surveys show that 68 percent of Iraqis don't believe there would be a civil war. That's based on the fact that Kurds and Shia Arabs represent 80 percent of the population, control the police and army, and would not be too upset if they were forced to deal with Sunni Arab violence in the traditional Middle Eastern way (that is, with great violence and brutality.) This is why the Sunni Arabs are making a real effort to cooperate with the government. The Sunni Arab leadership cannot deal with the Sunni Arab terrorists by themselves, and don't want to have the entire Sunni Arab community held responsible for the acts of Sunni Arab terrorists. So the Sunni Arab leadership is lining up with the government. Increasingly, Sunni Arabs are being told by their leaders to cooperate with the police. Where the local Sunni Arabs groups have enough guns, they have fought battles with Sunni Arab and al Qaeda terrorists. Where the terrorists have an edge is those regions, like along the Syrian border, where criminal gangs are particularly strong (because of smuggling). Together, the gangsters and terrorists usually have more guns than any tribal militia. This is why American marines keep finding gun battles along the border.



    The terrorists continue their self-destructive ways, launching suicide attacks against the police and civilians. Day by day the strength and effectiveness of the police and army increases. American training experts believe that it will be two years before Iraq has enough police and troops to deal with terrorism. Iraqis believe the problem will be solved more quickly than that, but being more brutal with those Sunni Arabs and foreigners who persist in their murderous ways. The United States wants to avoid this, as they will get blamed, in the world media, for the brutality of Iraqis trying to deal with their terrorist problem."

  • ||

    Rick Barton,
    Your secret spy theory about the CIA providing the insurgents in Iraq with Berretas with no serial number seems ridiculous.

    It would be a lot of effort for something that could be done easilier by other methods. No one cares about Berretas, no one cares about serial numbers. The bullet shooting weapon of the insurgent is the AK and the PKM. AK's can be bought for 100 bucks in the region. Also, I don't think that we need the insurgency to stay in Iraq.

  • ||

    kwais,

    It's not my theory; it's that of the analysts that the Washtimes quotes. It does seem plausible. A lack of an insurgency would take the best excuse for staying in Iraq away from the government.

    (tired-gotta crash)

  • ||

    Dave,
    It is not so much the body armor that gives US forces a greater chance of surviving and IED, it is more the fact that our vehicles are armored. Even an un-armored humvee handles an explosion a lot better than a nissan pikcup. Armored Hummers are almost like neo tanks.

    A few weeks back a suicide carbomber slid inside a convoy (that shouldn't have happened, the convoy guy responsible for that sector must have been asleep) and detonated. The car bomb had 5 artillery shells, 152mm I think. The guy blew himself up and did only minor damage to the vehicles and caused no injuries.

  • ||

    ...I should say: "A lack of an insurgency killing Iraqis would take the best excuse for staying in Iraq away from the government.

    Actually, I think that the best argument against the theory might be that that there would be violent resistance to occupation troops and allied Iraqis anyway and supplying the insurgency is unnecessary.

    But something weird is going on with U.S. intelligence officers reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using those recent-model Beretta 92 pistols that have come off a production line without any serial numbers.

  • ||

    ...Oh yeah, note that the analysts quoted in the article "speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA."

    So, if it's the Mossad, that would make sense since the Israeli government certainly wants our military to stay in Iraq.

  • ||

    I think we are staying anyways, we have Iran and Syria in the area. I don't really know about the Mossad either. It seems to me that for the Mossad to supply Berretas withoug serial numbers to insurgents in Iraq, would be to over engineer a problem. The fact that the Berretas have no serial numbers mean that they are infact tracable, as I assume that Berreta does not make many guns without serial numbers.

    It would be simpler to just get Berretas and file the numbers off. Better yet to get the pistols from some shady arms dealer who doesn't care who he sell weapons to, then someone can trace the serial numbers all day long to no avail. They could have one of their infiltrees buy weapons from the Syrian govt.

    But mostly, Berretas are not much use to insurgents. I am sure they have some and they like them, and some have been captured. But they are not really a tool of insurgency.

    It would make more sense for a Mossad agent to give the insurgents AKs bomb making materials PKM's and such. And then to tell them; "if you really want you own pistol, go get yourself one,you fucker, they are not hard to get in Iraq."

  • ||

    Can any of the historians here tell me, has an insurgency ever been ended by "crushing" since, say, the end of WWII?

    I know the Brits did some nasty shit to end rebellions in India and Africa before then, but honestly, is it really possible to kill each and every last one these days?

  • ||

    The Brits won in Malaysia, and apparently in Northern Ireland. The Spaniards have won in Vasque country. The Chineese have won in Nepal. Saddam won in Shia country, and anywhere not protected by US air power. That is off the top of my head.

    How about the DEA winning in CA?

  • ||

    Once again, no one appreciates how lucky we are that the world's jihadists are going to Iraq to fulfil their mission. No, we're not creating more insurgents, unless lemon glazed chicken, and our extra strict rules of engagement are pissing them off. Iraqi Sunni's are soon going to kill Zarkawi themselves, because they know their country will be unlivable before long. The Shiites aren't going to puss out this time and there's going to be hell to pay, and it isn't going to be the Algerian Imams that have to pay it.

  • ||

    Rick:

    I'm not so sure the Iraqis would violently resist a U.S. occupation if we were't suppyling them with arms and training. If opposition to the war continues to grow, watch for another "terrorist" attack on our soil.

  • ||

    Hey Dan, you need to watch for another attack over here regardless of how Iraq goes. Didn't you hear the security analysts tell the Senate that a chemical, nuclear, biological or radiological attack on our soil is 50% over the next five years. I doubt they were including self-inflicted attacks in their estimations.

  • ||

    A sampling of kwais' misunderstandings:

    Even an un-armored humvee handles an explosion a lot better than a nissan pikcup.

    But not much better, otherwise we wouldn't have over 1700 dead and thousands more injured, would we?

    Armored Hummers are almost like neo tanks.

    Sure, except 1) there is still a gross shortage of armored Hummers in the field, after two years and 2) up-armored Hummers are breaking down far faster than normal scheduled wear and tear due to the excessive weight placed on the suspension. Standard Hummers were not designed to carry makeshift armor.

    Northern Ireland

    Not really. Support is waning, but the British govt. hasn't sealed the deal yet--certainly not by military force.

    Vasque country

    I think you may be referring to "Basque country" here. No, the ETA is still strong enough to bomb the central railway station in Madrid, in case you missed that.

    Chineese have won in Nepal

    Huh? Did I miss something? Nepal is a sovereign state. China has no troops there.

    Saddam won in Shia country

    You mean Kurdish, of course, after Bush I gave them the signal to revolt, then decided against aiding them.

    That is off the top of my head.

    Apparently.

  • ||

    Didn't you hear the security analysts tell the Senate that a chemical, nuclear, biological or radiological attack on our soil is 50% over the next five years. I doubt they were including self-inflicted attacks in their estimations.

    LOL. The irony is, I'm betting they were.

  • ||

    "You mean Kurdish, of course,"

    To be fair, he does mean Shi'a. There was an uprising in southern Iraq after the Gulf War which Hussein successfully suppressed.

  • ||

    Ask who benefits most from this war. I wouldn't be surprised if the U.S. was training Iraqi insurgents in Israel.

  • ||

    Dan, At least you can admit that we are going to benefit from this war. However, I have a hard time believing we could train anyone to commit suicide for their cause, it's just not in us.

  • ||

    Many of the foreign fighters are militant fundamentalist Saudi's from the poorer provinces.

    There is aparently a significant recruitment/training network running out of the mosques servicing those men.

    Some of the men considering going to Iraq were interviewed by some newspaper a year ago (I think it was the Wash. Post) and a few of them thought that the Saudi Govt. was encouraging these recruitment efforts to get potential fighters against the monarchy out of the country and have the U.S. kill them. Oddly enough, they didn't care and said they were going to go anyway.

    Of course, this is the mid-east, and one can find a group of people believing any cockamamie conspiracy theory that one can generate. Unlike we in the U.S.

    BTW did you know that Lee Harvey Oswald was actually trying to stop the CIA's assasination of Kennedy? It's true- I saw it on the history Channel ;)

  • ||

    Dan, when you say "another" "terrorist" attack, which previous "terrorist" attack are you suggesting was self-inflicted? 911, Murray building, olympic bombing, Stark, Cole?

  • ||

  • ||

    Better they come to us for their well deserved deaths, as opposed of making us go into Saudi Arabia to get them. I'd rather not see oil at $200.00 a barrel this year. Maybe we invade when we get a few more reactors online, but not yet.

  • ||

    "as opposed TO". Should have previewed again.

  • ||

    cdunlea,

    Let me address your assesment of my misunderstandings.

    On the hummer deal. Yep we have had a number die in humvees, not the number you quote, for that would mean that everyone that has died here died in a humvee. Not so. Still, people can and do die in armored and unarmored humvees. And yet still they are a better platform than a nissan or toyota pickup.

    Your other statements about hummers may or may not be true, and I may or may not have missunderstandings about them. But you did not state any missunderstanding of mine expressed in what I wrote.

    Basque, and Northern Ireland appear to be in the bag to me.

    SR succesfully mentioned to you the Shia thing.

    And now I appologize. I meant Tibet not Nepal.

  • ||

    James, we really can't invade Saudi Arabia. Iraq is not really stirring up a hornets nest. Saudi Arabia would be. We really would be in the 3rd world war. It'd make good news I suppose.

  • ||

    James-

    I've got a great idea! Let's pay money to the family of any asshole who goes to Iraq and dies in the insurgency! The more of these assholes we can persuade to die fighting our troops, the fewer there are to imperil the Homeland.

    Who's with me?

  • ||

    I hadn't heard that the Saudi and North African Jihadist's families were getting paid. I thought they were doing it for religious purposes. If money's the thing, we should pay families to not raise fundamentalist children. And Kwais, invading Saudi Arabia would only come years after dirty bombing Meca and Medina.

  • ||

    "invading Saudi Arabia would only come years after dirty bombing Meca and Medina."

    Now that would be interesting. I wonder what would happen if you could make Mecca uninhabitable. Going to Mecca is one of the pillars of Islam. If no one could go to Mecca, that would leave only four pillars, the whole religion would change. I think that would have to precipitate the return of the Mahdi, or Jesus, if Islam is the one true religion.

    Then it would be pretty obvios, and the guesswork, and faith would be taken out of the math problem.

    Well, I guess if that were to happen, it would be because it has been written so, and was always meant to happen.

  • ||

    James-

    I don't know if they're getting paid to die in Iraq, but families of suicide bombers in Israel frequently get cash payments. Supposedly Saddam Hussein mailed some of those checks back in the day.

    Anyway, shouldn't we be doing everything possible to persuade young Arab men to go to Iraq and die fighting in the insurgency? Let's take up donations to fund the insurgency!

  • ||

    Suicide Bombers: They're not a bug, they're a feature!

  • ||

    Thoreau, You must think that the bombers are mad about Iraq, but I disagree. They hated us long before we invaded, and if not blowing themselves up in Iraq, the'd be doing it in Kenya, Bali, you name it. THEY WE"RE NOT GOING AWAY! You have no fucking ideas on how to eliminate the threat. At least I see progress in our enemies blowing THEMSELVES to smitherines, with relatively few American soldiers and nearly no American civilian deaths. The WOT is going to be faught somewhere, how about offering suggestions on where we should be fighting it.

  • ||

    Should read FOUGHT, and I even previewed! Maybe I am an idiot, and thus wrong about the whole thing.

  • ||

    "WERE not going away", I must be hungry.

  • ||

    I also failed to mention that thanks to us, Saddam isn't paying Isreal bombers anymore, is he?

  • R C Dean||

    While there are precious few examples of guerrilla insurgencies being obliterated by military force, there aren't very many examples of guerrilla insurgencies actually winning and taking over the government, either.

    The vast, vast majority of these things kind of tick along in the hinterlands, killing folks and whatnot when they can, but ultimately failing in their mission of throwing out the current government and taking its place.

    The Iraqi insurgency has failed to achieve a single political or strategic milestone. It has no geographic safe haven. It has no putative government-in-waiting. Its base of popular support is shrinking.

    In what way is it on a trajectory to succeed?

  • ||

    Am I reading HNR or am I on some bizarro conspiracy theory board?

    Why can't it be both?

  • ||

    Ever notice how every time American soldiers get killed in Iraq, a story about some missing kid hits the news, so the dead American soldiers get less news time? Who controls the news?

  • ||

    "Why can't it be both?"

    Apparently, it can't not be both.

  • ||

    there aren't very many examples of guerrilla insurgencies actually winning and taking over the government

    RC-
    Taliban in Afghanistan after they got rid of the Soviets and Mao in China who took over in a big way after a 20+ year insurgency. Its important to realize that the insurgents in Iraq are a diverse group of people former regime members, terrorists, sunni's, and fundamentalists who are united to get us out of there. After we leave they will remember their differences civil war will develop and they will carve up the country.

  • ||

    I don't know, thoreau. You may be history's greatest genius, but when you put that up against, say, a George Tenent...

  • ||

    "After we leave they will remember their differences civil war will develop and they will carve up the country."

    And this demonstrates the utter futility of waging a war of so-called liberation.

  • ||

    Kwais:

    My point was, has an insurgency been ended, finally and completely ended, solely by use of military force? I.e., has one ever been
    "crushed", which is what Rummy et al seem to think we need to do in Iraq.

    In most of the examples you give, the insurgency was ended by political accomodation. Except for the Chinese in Tibet, any insurgency I can think of was either ended by political action or is still going on. And I don't think the US has either the stomach or the ability to do to Iraq what the Chinese did to Tibet (which included flooding the country with ethnic Chinese, as well as broad-scale brutality.)

    I think Rummy's dreaming if he thinks we can "crush" the Iraqi insurgency/resistance out of existence.

  • ||

    Read the quote carefully. The general said that the number of terrorists (sorry, "insurgents") coming in from other nations is increasing, but the total number of terrorists in the country is likely staying level. This points to two things: 1) Iraqis will likely become more and more united against foreign infiltration and influence, thereby dooming (in the long run) the organized efforts by Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabian Islamofascists to take over Iraq, and 2) Iraqis are buying into the new democratic model, want to be part of it.

    It's not about what America wants. In the long run, it's about Iraqis buying into their own government and taking responsibility for themselves. As usual, the media miss the real story by hammering day after day the message that people are dying. Last year at this time, barely 5% of military troops in Iraq were made up of Iraqis. Now that number if 40%, and it's growing all the time. By this time next year, there will be an Iraqi constitution, a newly elected government, and Iraqi military forces will be conducting potentially the majority of operations against terrorists. Let's only hope by then the western press will begin to call terrorists terrorists.

  • ||

    What endorphine said, inshallah

  • ||

    Barry:
    Sure, all the time

    Mau-Mau (1950s)
    Greece (1940s)
    Iraq (1920s)
    Phillipines (1910s and 1940s)
    Malaysia (1940s)
    Waco (1990s)

    to name a few.

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