Thursday, March 16, 2006

Air assault in Iraq, assault of hot air from the Blogosphere warriors

There is a substantial air assault action near Samarra in Iraq right now. CNN reports:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. and Iraqi forces on Thursday launched the largest air assault operation since the invasion of Iraq nearly three years ago, the U.S. military said.

More than 50 aircraft are involved in Operation Swarmer, supporting more than 1,500 Iraqi and U.S. troops near Samarra, about 75 miles (121 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

The aircraft also delivered troops from the Iraq and U.S. Army to "multiple objectives."
Retired USAF General George Harrison stated on CNN that this sort of operation indicates a proficient and highly trained Iraqi force.

Pentagon reporter Barbara Starr, also on CNN, insinuated (at the least) that this attack was a response to U.S. military concerns that the nature of the conflict in Iraq was shifting to a more troubling sectarian conflict.

(UPDATE 1230 EST: Major Tom Bryant of the 101st Airborne said on CNN that this attack was driven by Iraqi gathered intelligence. He also said that the 1st Brigade, 4th Division was the Iraqi unit participating. The Iraqi Army Wikipedia lists one Battalion of that division as air assault ready. The AP story details the units involved, including that battalion.)

Iraq is, of course, a major issue in the Blogosphere. Greg says his mea culpa will soon be forthcoming. (Andrew Sullivan and some NeoCons have apologized as well.) Greg's post (in part):
But with a Secretary of Defense who thinks the Iraqi Army is currently handling Sadr City adequately, what can we do? Hope Abizaid and Zalmay Khalilzad persuade POTUS to bulk up back to 150,000 or so, and go and show the flag in places like Sadr City? Or continue to piss along bullshitting ourselves that the momentum is on our side, hoping that events move in our direction in the face of massive sectarian hatred, a determined insurgency, growing militia strength, the status of Kirkuk still so problematic, and so on.

In good time, I will write my personal mea culpa in this tragic affair. I had greater faith in this Administration, and they have let us down time and again. But it's too easy to say it would all have been OK but for the dumbies who effed up the show. People who supported the war, and there were many of us (on both sides of the aisle, lest we forget), had to keep in mind the abilities of those charged with prosecuting it, and the resources that would be brought to bear. We knew the Powell Doctrine had been shunted aside in favor of utopic transformationalist nostrums, and we knew that some who were listened to in the leading counsels of power had memorably declared the effort would be a cakewalk. We should have smelled the danger signals better, and we deserve the scorn of those who were against this effort from the get-go, at least those who honestly believed we were doing the wrong thing rather than just opposing anything the horrible Bushies would bring to the plate.
Greg forsees 80,000 troops in Iraq in 2008/2009. An executive officer in an Iraqi formation agreed with him in today's San Francisco Chronicle.

There is, however, a major problem with Greg's and the X.O's plan: our military is undermanned and underequipped. That means a draft and deficit spending.

Make no mistake about that.

Comparing the Powell Doctrine vs. Transformation is all fine and wonderful for us Bloggers who've read one too many Janes' publications. It's a nice narrative. But it does not address the situation in Iraq and the capabilities of our military. Rep. Jack Murtha has addressed those issues, which you must acknowledge even if you don't agree with his plan.

The Cunning Realist notes that David Frum is swooning for Bush because he's some sort of 21st Century U.S. Grant. Bush is more Cold Harbor than Shilo, though. But, the comparison has a wonderful backstory to it when you think about the drinking and inept presidential leadership.

But, I digress. Frum says that Bush "Fights" -- and he most certainly does. Just like Greg and Andrew "Fight". Just like Greg and Andrew and David want us to keep "Fighting" even though we don't have a large enough military (what are we looking at now, 30,000 psych casualties?).

Brave, resolute men fighting at the keypad.


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