Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We are about to lose the war on terror

Here is what the president had to say last night, via the Los Angeles Times:
We are training Iraqi troops so they can defend their nation. We are helping Iraq's unity government grow in strength and serve its people. We will not leave until this work is done. Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone. They will not leave us alone. They will follow us. The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad.
Michael Gordon of the New York Times has additional information on a Washington Post report of a Marine's analysis of al Anbar province:
Without the deployment of an additional division, “there is nothing MNF-W can do to influence the motivation of the Sunni to wage an insurgency,” the report states, according to a military officer familiar with it. MNF-W stands for Multinational Force-West, the formal name of the Marine command. A division numbers about 16,000 troops. The limited number of troops, however, is just one problem in countering the insurgency there, the report says. The assessment describes Anbar as a region marked by violence and criminality. Except for a few relatively bright spots, like the towns of Falluja and Qaim, the region generally lacks functional governments and a respect for the rule of law.
This would increase our force in the province from 30,000 to about 46,000.

Generals William Kristol and Rich Lowry call for more troops in Baghdad:
The bottom line is this: More U.S. troops in Iraq would improve our chances of winning a decisive battle at a decisive moment. This means the ability to succeed in Iraq is, to some significant degree, within our control. The president should therefore order a substantial surge in overall troop levels in Iraq, with the additional forces focused on securing Baghdad.
The Los Angeles Times notes that the militias are splintering into radicalized elements ignoring their own command and control, "Iraqi Militias Seen as Spinning Out of Control".

Note this battle plan, reported in the Washington Post:
NAJAF, Iraq -- In a shabby but spotless living room in the holy city of Najaf, a top deputy of Shiite Muslim leader Moqtada al-Sadr quietly sketched out his vision of the Iraq to come, after the Americans withdraw.

First, "there will be a civil war," said the aide, Mustafa Yaqoubi, as his three young children wandered in and out of the room. The rising violence and rivalries under the American occupation make a shaking-out all but inevitable once foreign forces go, Yaqoubi said. "I expect it."

"No matter the number of people who would lose their lives, it is better than now," he added. "It would be better than the Americans staying."

When the tumult ends, the Sadr aide said, Iraq's Shiite majority will finally be able to claim its due, long resisted by the Americans -- freedom to usher in a Shiite religious government that Yaqoubi said would be moderate and perhaps comparable in some ways to Iran's. The bespectacled, bearded cleric's mild tone buffered his talk of the blood that would have to be spilled to achieve this goal. No matter when the Americans withdraw, "the first year of transition, it will be worse," Yaqoubi warned. "After that, it will gradually improve."
Then there is this news from Afganistan, as reported in the Times of London:
Thirty-three British soldiers have been killed in the southern province of Helmand since June, but The Times revealed this morning that Nato member states had ignored a plea from the alliance's top military commander for reinforcements.

General James Jones, the American Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said last week that Nato needed 2,500 more troops to fight alongside American, British, Canadian and Dutch soldiers.

Despite his appeal, the newspaper said, the 26-nation alliance has not volunteered a single extra combat soldier.

Turkey, Germany, Spain and Italy have all effectively ruled out sending more troops. France has not committed itself either way, but military sources in Kabul said that there were no expectations that the French would contribute to a new battlegroup, especially now that they were providing a substantial force to police the UN-monitored ceasefire in Lebanon.

The urgent plea was renewed today by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the Nato Secretary-General, who complained that certain countries were "carrying more of the burden than others". Britain has 5,500 troops in Afghanistan, most of them in the lawless Helmand province.
We could see the effective end of NATO in this idle display. That is not hyperbole. What is the point of a military alliance if you can't muster one brigade in a crucial moment of a war?

As I see it, there are only two options: either we remove ourselves from Iraq or we deploy more forces to prevent the (complete, country-wide, political) defeat of the forces in the field. By the way, we don't have those forces at the moment. We would have to insitute a draft. If it comes to that, then George W. Bush ought to follow the precedent of another Texas president and resign from office. That is the only resignation that would suffice for acountability in this disaster.


Post a Comment

<< Home