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The Real Iraq We Knew(WP)


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Friggin phoney soldiers.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/15/AR2007101500841.html

The Real Iraq We Knew

By 12 former Army captains

Tuesday, October 16, 2007; 12:00 AM

Today marks five years since the authorization of military force in Iraq, setting Operation Iraqi Freedom in motion. Five years on, the Iraq war is as undermanned and under-resourced as it was from the start. And, five years on, Iraq is in shambles.

As Army captains who served in Baghdad and beyond, we've seen the corruption and the sectarian division. We understand what it's like to be stretched too thin. And we know when it's time to get out.

What does Iraq look like on the ground? It's certainly far from being a modern, self-sustaining country. Many roads, bridges, schools and hospitals are in deplorable condition. Fewer people have access to drinking water or sewage systems than before the war. And Baghdad is averaging less than eight hours of electricity a day.

Iraq's institutional infrastructure, too, is sorely wanting. Even if the Iraqis wanted to work together and accept the national identity foisted upon them in 1920s, the ministries do not have enough trained administrators or technicians to coordinate themselves. At the local level, most communities are still controlled by the same autocratic sheiks that ruled under Saddam. There is no reliable postal system. No effective banking system. No registration system to monitor the population and its needs.

The inability to govern is exacerbated at all levels by widespread corruption. Transparency International ranks Iraq as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. And, indeed, many of us witnessed the exploitation of U.S. tax dollars by Iraqi officials and military officers. Sabotage and graft have had a particularly deleterious impact on Iraq's oil industry, which still fails to produce the revenue that Pentagon war planners hoped would pay for Iraq's reconstruction. Yet holding people accountable has proved difficult. The first commissioner of a panel charged with preventing and investigating corruption resigned last month, citing pressure from the government and threats on his life.

Against this backdrop, the U.S. military has been trying in vain to hold the country together. Even with "the surge," we simply do not have enough soldiers and marines to meet the professed goals of clearing areas from insurgent control, holding them securely and building sustainable institutions. Though temporary reinforcing operations in places like Fallujah, An Najaf, Tal Afar, and now Baghdad may brief well on PowerPoint presentations, in practice they just push insurgents to another spot on the map and often strengthen the insurgents' cause by harassing locals to a point of swayed allegiances. Millions of Iraqis correctly recognize these actions for what they are and vote with their feet -- moving within Iraq or leaving the country entirely. Still, our colonels and generals keep holding on to flawed concepts.

U.S. forces, responsible for too many objectives and too much "battle space," are vulnerable targets. The sad inevitability of a protracted draw-down is further escalation of attacks -- on U.S. troops, civilian leaders and advisory teams. They would also no doubt get caught in the crossfire of the imminent Iraqi civil war.

Iraqi security forces would not be able to salvage the situation. Even if all the Iraqi military and police were properly trained, equipped and truly committed, their 346,000 personnel would be too few. As it is, Iraqi soldiers quit at will. The police are effectively controlled by militias. And, again, corruption is debilitating. U.S. tax dollars enrich self-serving generals and support the very elements that will battle each other after we're gone.

This is Operation Iraqi Freedom and the reality we experienced. This is what we tried to communicate up the chain of command. This is either what did not get passed on to our civilian leadership or what our civilian leaders chose to ignore. While our generals pursue a strategy dependent on peace breaking out, the Iraqis prepare for their war -- and our servicemen and women, and their families, continue to suffer.

There is one way we might be able to succeed in Iraq. To continue an operation of this intensity and duration, we would have to abandon our volunteer military for compulsory service. Short of that, our best option is to leave Iraq immediately. A scaled withdrawal will not prevent a civil war, and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition.

America, it has been five years. It's time to make a choice.

This column was written by 12 former Army captains: Jason Blindauer served in Babil and Baghdad in 2003 and 2005. Elizabeth Bostwick served in Salah Ad Din and An Najaf in 2004. Jeffrey Bouldin served in Al Anbar, Baghdad and Ninevah in 2006. Jason Bugajski served in Diyala in 2004. Anton Kemps served in Babil and Baghdad in 2003 and 2005. Kristy (Luken) McCormick served in Ninevah in 2003. Luis Carlos Montalván served in Anbar, Baghdad and Nineveh in 2003 and 2005. William Murphy served in Babil and Baghdad in 2003 and 2005. Josh Rizzo served in Baghdad in 2006. William "Jamie" Ruehl served in Nineveh in 2004. Gregg Tharp served in Babil and Baghdad in 2003 and 2005. Gary Williams served in Baghdad in 2003.

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what about all the positive stuff we never hear because it dosen't fit the medias liberal agenda. as far as the power in bagdad they might not get it all day long but now the rest of the country gets power for part of the day too not just in sadams capital. and how long did it take our country to stabalize? shoot we still had problems with segregation 175 years after we set democracy in motion. and on top of that why are all of the terrorist leaders endorseing the democrats for president????? you can't "talk" to people who are going to say "umm yah we will behave if you give us stuff (ie nuclear reactors and tech)" and then blow you off and do what ever they want. you need an example look at the 14 years that sadam didn't listen to anyone in that tried to "talk" to him. we can't talk to the radicals. I have several muslim friends. but they don't support terrorism. the terrorist radicals have only one way. become a muslim or die? how is this liveing together in the world?? unfortunately the few radicals ruin it for the rest of them. just my thoughts for now. if you disagree awsome i'm all about discussion. if all you can do is name call, don't bother. there is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree.

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I wonder what these 12 "heroes" would think about the easiest and quickest solution to the issues in Iraq... you know, the one we should have used from the start; the one that would have meant none of their friends would have been killed or injured and they wouldn't have had to spend time away from their families.....

CARPET NUKE THE ENTIRE ARABIAN SUB-CONTINENT.

These people signed up Voluntarily for the military knowing that they might be required to fight in a war they didn't like and didn't want. To them I say... T.S. Elliott.

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what about all the positive stuff we never hear because it dosen't fit the medias liberal agenda. as far as the power in bagdad they might not get it all day long but now the rest of the country gets power for part of the day too not just in sadams capital. and how long did it take our country to stabalize? shoot we still had problems with segregation 175 years after we set democracy in motion. and on top of that why are all of the terrorist leaders endorseing the democrats for president????? you can't "talk" to people who are going to say "umm yah we will behave if you give us stuff (ie nuclear reactors and tech)" and then blow you off and do what ever they want. you need an example look at the 14 years that sadam didn't listen to anyone in that tried to "talk" to him. we can't talk to the radicals. I have several muslim friends. but they don't support terrorism. the terrorist radicals have only one way. become a muslim or die? how is this liveing together in the world?? unfortunately the few radicals ruin it for the rest of them. just my thoughts for now. if you disagree awsome i'm all about discussion. if all you can do is name call, don't bother. there is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree.

The media is not as biased as the as some claim...

The media did infact report the following positive news:

1. The media reported the successful invasion

2. The media reported the Capture of the saddam Family

3. The media reported the capture of all of the Iraqi most wanted

4. The media reported Bush's mission accomplished speech

Their are plenty of small victories that go unreported Iraq but the overall strategic mission of rebuilding the country is a massive failure. To clarify that statement the troops are suceeding, but it is the mission itself that is flawed. Even if the troops eliminate all opposition in Iraq the country is still so religiously and politically fragmented that our presence or absence will not make a difference. The use of force with zero diplomacy is the failure of the Bush administration and you cannot blame the media for that.

For Example:

Although republicans want to make the surge seem like a huge success, the fact is it only suceeded in spreading out the terrorists. The Surge only works in the places the US forces are and Iraq remains a very violent and hostile country.

To truly make progress in Iraq the US has to do one of the following:

1. Increase the troops so they can secure all of Iraq

2. Actually make some progress in the diplomacy area (which has not happened to date)

What you see is not a vast left wing conspiracy. It is an honest lack of good news on the occupation front. To blame that on the media is just plain politics or a geniune lack of understanding.

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NEWS ALERT: The Washington Post finds 12 Military leaders who agree with them and writes a story as if their opinion is the status quo. Consequently the hundreds who dont agree with them find themselves shockingly, without anything close to a proportionate voice in the U.S. media.

I read the post every day and marvel at the bias, it is TRANSPARENT to anyone who actually looks for it.

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If I remember correctly a bunch of retired generals some of which served in Iraq voiced their disagreement with Bush policy as well. The GOP has Fox News in their pocket so that is their outlet to whine on.

The fact remains that when you do not have much good news to report that does not make everything a vast liberal media conspiracy.

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If I remember correctly a bunch of retired generals some of which served in Iraq voiced their disagreement with Bush policy as well. The GOP has Fox News in their pocket so that is their outlet to whine on.

The fact remains that when you do not have much good news to report that does not make everything a vast liberal media conspiracy.

Its not a conspiracy buddy, that would imply some sort of cover up. It is blatant in your face bias, and you are just in denial. You can cherry pick stories or facts all you want, I get it delivered to my doorstep everyday because of the sports section, and there is without a doubt an agenda.

Remember this. The media does not just report news, they try to affect change. They are not ignorant of their power, and such, use it to try and help the populace see the world the way they belive it should be seen through their "more elite and experienced" eyes.

If you felt as passionate as they do, how could you not use your power to "HELP" the world :laugh:

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NEWS ALERT: The Washington Post finds 12 Military leaders who agree with them and writes a story as if their opinion is the status quo. Consequently the hundreds who dont agree with them find themselves shockingly, without anything close to a proportionate voice in the U.S. media.

I read the post every day and marvel at the bias, it is TRANSPARENT to anyone who actually looks for it.

Whatever you say, Chief.

http://www.extremeskins.com/forums/showthread.php?t=216703

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lol you cant really be serious. Here let me link you to every paper they have ever put out in which they clearly were bias. Oh wait cant do that because its all of them. You actually think because they print a positive story ever so often that they arent bias?

Please dont be that ignorant. I am not stupid enough to sit here and claim that fox news and the wash times arent bias. I think you just like your agreeable info spoonfed to you.

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C'mon, folks. It's obvious the media are liberally biased.

That's why they never once covered the investigation, prosecution, and impeachment of Bill Clinton. Covered the whole thing up.

They never print anything that make Democrats look bad.

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we are of a generation of which most don't remember what a sacrifice is in a time of war. our countrys enemys know this, and they will use the media and the publics squermisness against us. if you look back at any war prior to this one, the battle field count at times was in the tens of thousand in one day and it gets higher every war you go back in history. How can you say that we are loosing??? oh yah you don't hear how many of the armed terrorists that we kill every day. you only hear about our own deaths. and they aren't portrayed as the heros that they are. we (most in our generations) don't realize the sacrifice that all of those choose to put there lives on the line for FREEDOM are makeing because they forget that these people attacked us on our own soil. how can the media say that its too soon to be reminded of what happened only a couple of years ago (they won't show 9/11 tapes) but will talk negatively about the fight that we as americans are putting up daily because of what happend on that tragic day? young men and women go out daily and fight to maintain our freedom. are people really so close minded to realize this??? so what if you don't agree with the fight. thay keep you able to say that you don't like it. How many of these countrys that we are fighting in would you be able to talk out against the government in public and live? what do you think happened to protesters in iraq when sadam was in power? come on take your head out of the sand. that less that one percent of the population that fights for you keeps you FREE!!!

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we are of a generation of which most don't remember what a sacrifice is in a time of war. out countrys enemys know this. and they will use the media and the publics squermisness against us. if you look back at any war prior to this one, the battle field count at times was in the tens of thousand in one day and it gets higher every war you go back in history. How can you say that we are loosing??? oh yah you don't hear how many of the armed terrorists that we kill every day. you only hear about our own deaths. and they aren't portrayed as the heros that they are. we (most in our generations) don't realize the sacrifice that all of those choose to put there lives on the line for FREEDOM are makeing because they forget that these people attacked us on our own soil. how can the media say that its too soon to be reminded of what happened only a couple of years ago (they won't show 9/11 tapes) but will talk negatively about the fight that we as americans are putting up daily because of what happend on that tragic day? young men and women go out daily and fight to maintain our freedom. are people really so close minded to realize this??? so what if you don't agree with the fight. thay keep you able to say that you don't like it. How many of these countrys that we are fighting in would you be able to talk out against the government in public and live? what do you think happened to protesters in iraq when sadam was in power? come on take your head out of the sand. that less that one percent of the population that fights for you keeps you FREE!!!

you be a very inteligant poster. I listen to you speak!!!!

:dunce:

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While those jr officers have a right to their opinion, I don't view their opinions with much weight. Officers of that rank don't have enough information to make valid statements on policy. I would also like to know what their MOSes were. It would have some impact on the validity of their opinions as well.

In hindsight, The Iraq War was a mistake to get into but I understand the logic behind the choice.

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They are entitled to their opinions, but everyone who writes on this has some tunnel vision, including them.

I used to dislike reading your posts for some reason. I'm beginning to respect them and see you as one of the more "honest minded" individuals in the tailgate.

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C'mon, folks. It's obvious the media are liberally biased.

That's why they never once covered the investigation, prosecution, and impeachment of Bill Clinton. Covered the whole thing up.

They never print anything that make Democrats look bad.

Seriously. Anyone who watched the media coverage of the last two presidential elections and still claims liberal bias is either fos or too ignorant to argue with.

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I think the soldier/author summed up my feelings on the war and surge:

I just don't see how a surge or military fighting really gets us closer to securing the country. At some point, we are going to begin withdrawing troops, and without real diplomatic gains, the war will be worse as ever.

It's not the military that is going to secure peace in the long haul. It MAY help in the short run, but ultimately, the surge, the war, or military strategies just do not address the problem that needs to be fixed.

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you be a very inteligant poster. I listen to you speak!!!!

:dunce:

dude, whats with the dunce? gee, how insitefull, aside from your usual "YAH, what he said" coments your capability to present your side of the discussion resorted to the fact that I can't spell, and my grammer sux and you stoop to name calling. wow. you think I don't know that. what do you want me to do, write a paper? don't think so. thats like saying because I don't write in paragraph form I can't have an opinion. At least I have an opinion. reminds me of all the libs that say if you did'nt serve in the military you can't talk about the war. yet we still have to listen to hillary, bill, obama, edwards ect. talk about it. so what, I can't have a thought about the war that disagrees with yours? Cheers.:cheers:

and if I misunderstood your what seemed to be an underhanded comment, :cheers: cheers!

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I used to dislike reading your posts for some reason. I'm beginning to respect them and see you as one of the more "honest minded" individuals in the tailgate.

Don't worry, I'll say something you disagree with tomorrow and you will realize that my honesty is an empty facade. :)

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Yeah, some times Predicto can drop the liberal-speak and make an honest statement. Must be that Michigan influence ;) :laugh:

Nah. Michigan was where I became a liberal. I was conservative at the University of Chicago. I even voted for Reagan and Bush I. :silly:

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