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From the Gonzo

. . . somewhere near the event horizon.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Victory strategy in Iraq

I'm reading the Presidents strategy for victory in Iraq it was released Nov. 30. I'm only on page 8 (of 38) and already questions are festering in my brain.

A safer you
For instance, the strategy says that America will benefit from this victory in a number of ways including by becoming:

"Safer, by removing Saddam Hussein, a destabilizing force in a vital region, a
ruthless dictatorwho had a history of pursuing and even using weapons of mass
destruction, was a statesponsor of terror, had invaded his neighbors, and who
was violently opposed to America; by depriving terrorists of a safe haven from
which they could plan and launch attacksagainst the United States and American
interests; by delivering a strategic setback to the terrorists and keeping them
on the run; by delivering a decisive blow to the ideology that fuels
international terrorism, proving thatthe power of freedom is stronger than a
perverse vision of violence, hatred, and oppression."

State sponsor of terrorism? A safe haven for terrorists?

There are more threatening state sponsors of terrorism in the world than Iraq ever was. And I can't recall one incident planned and launched against the United States from Iraq.

The three track plan
This whole thing is pretty basic. The strategy doesn't layout anything really. There is an integrated three track path to victory, the political track, the economic track and the security track.

Each track is punctuated with catchy little words to describe its goals.

The political track-Isolate, Engage, Build
The economic track-Restore, Reform, Build (a lot of building to do)
The security track-Clear, Hold, Build

I wonder if commanders walk around saying things like "We need to IEB the locals for track one of the great plan for victory."

Most of the stuff under these categories could have been lifted straight from the pages of "Duh!" magazine.

Such as, "Restore Iraq’s neglected infrastructure so it can meet increasing demand and the needs of a growing economy." That's the actual text for the Restore portion of the economic track. Are these people really paid to come up with this nonsense?

Or, "Clear areas of enemy control by remaining on the offensive, killing and capturing enemy fighters and denying them safe-haven." The Clear entry for the security track of the strategy.

Clear areas of enemy control . . . what? This is also stupid. It's a freakin' war, do we really need to write out that the enemy should be defeated. That's not a plan for victory; I am not sure what it is.

The more detailed explanation to the Security track is further on in the document (18-22; in the document). It seemed like a glorified "defeat the enemy" line with a "let's train some Iraqis and leave it to them" thrown in for an out.

There are a couple really interesting things said here and there as well.

Iraqi force readiness

There are some numbers provided on Iraqi force readiness:

"Iraqi forces are growing in number. As of November 2005, there were more than
212,000 trained and equipped Iraqi Security Forces, compared with 96,000 in
September of last year. In August 2004, there were five Iraqi army battalions in
the fight; now more than 120 Iraqi army and police battalions are in the fight.
Of these battalions, more than 80 are fighting side-by-side with Coalition
forces and more than 40 others are taking the lead in the fight. More battalions
are being recruited, trained, and fielded. In July 2004 there were no
operational Iraqi brigade or division headquarters; now there are seven division
and more than 30 brigade headquarters in the Iraqi army. In June 2004, there
were no Iraqi combat support or service support battalions; now there are a half
dozen operational battalions supporting fielded Iraqi units."

That's under the Progress on the security track section (20).

What I want to know is where they got that 96,000 number at for September of last year. And 40 battalions are taking the lead.

What about this summer's coverage here, there were only 3 of 107 battalions Level One (Level One means units are able to plan, execute and sustain independent counterinsurgency operations--sounds suspiciously like taking the lead) ready in July, now there are 40? That story got even better in September. Do they think we are all stupid or maybe that we don't read or can't?

Blanket statements
Other interesting things I read in the strategy included two references to Syria and Iran.

"The neighborhood is inhospitable. Iran and Syria have failed to provide support to Iraq’s new government and have in many ways actively undermined it. The region, while including some cooperative actors, has only recently mobilized to support the emergence of a democratic and stable Iraq."

and

"Neutralizing the actions of countries like Syria and Iran, which provide comfort and/or support to terrorists and the enemies of democracy in Iraq;"

Good word, neutralizing. Leaves open a world of possibilities. Kind of like this broadly over reaching blanket statement.

"The war on terrorism is the defining challenge of our generation, just as the
struggle against communism and fascism were
challenges of the generations before. As with those earlier struggles, the
United States is fully committed to meeting this challenge. We will do
everything it takes to win."

Not only does this allow the government to say later, "hey we told you we will do everything it takes to win" (hmm, like conscript civilians) but it also gets a token reference to communism and fascism in. Why is it when an anti-war person compares Iraq to Vietnam the hawks always dismiss it as rubbish? All the while they are comparing the Iraq War to the world's most destructive conflict and one of the world's most oppressive regimes in modern times at the same time?

Word choice
The word choice is suspect in more than one place, kind of like the original moniker for Operation Enduring Freedom--Infinite Justice (which I hear only God can bring, so that thusly alienated about, oh, 5 billion people).

Take the use of the word engage in the political track to victory.

"Engage those outside the political process and invite in those willing to turn away from violence through ever-expanding avenues of peaceful participation."

Seems perfectly nice, except the way I think of the word engage in terms of during a war usually conjures up scenes of intense combat. Maybe not the best word in the world to use there.

I thought that seemed stupid but the next thing I noticed about word choice made me wonder what PR knucklehead had been paid to write this garbage. Page 25-Organization for Victory stated, "The 8 Strategic Pillars," absolutely brilliant I must say.

What are the eight strategic pillars you ask.

Well, besides being the single worst use of the English language that I have seen in a number of years, they are:

"To organize these efforts, we have broken down our political/security/economic
strategy intoeight pillars or strategic objectives:
1. Defeat the Terrorists
and Neutralize the Insurgency
2. Transition Iraq to Security Self-Reliance
3 . Help Iraqis Form a National Compact for Democratic Government
4.
Help Iraq Build Government Capacity and Provide Essential Services
5. Help
Iraq Strengthen its Economy
6. Help Iraq Strengthen the Rule of Law and
Promote Civil Rights
7. Increase International Support for Iraq
8.
Strengthen Public Understanding of Coalition Efforts and Public Isolation of
theInsurgents" (24-25)

There they are, the eight strategically insulting pillars. Interesting word choice that is. This is all followed by an eight page appendix explaining and outlining each of the strategic pillars, those pages even have nifty American flag-Iraqi flag graphics at the top of each one.

I don't know about this strategy for victory.

3 Comments:

Blogger Glock21 said...

Could it be that so many of the plan's obvious points are obvious because the plan isn't that complicated?

Maybe it is obvious because it should be obvious to anyone reading it.

Seems a bit odd to attack something for being obvious yet insinuate that it doesn't make any sense.

It seems pretty obvious to me too, but for some reason that doesn't confuse me. Gee whiz.

12/19/2005 2:37 AM  
Blogger A Mc said...

Funny how this so "obvious" plan took almost 3 years to come up with. But, of course, this is what the president always articulated, right. Sham, joke, lie. ;)

12/19/2005 2:43 AM  
Anonymous pheromone cologne said...

can i get more info?

1/21/2006 2:32 AM  

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