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December 07, 2006

Band together or hang separately?

We’ve got a problem on our hands. The latest election has caused some cracks to form in the US domestic coalition supporting the war. Two camps seem to be forming and both are pointing fingers that accuse the other of being dumb or worse. One can be called ‘kick their backsides until they get tired of it and quit as the path to victory in Iraq’ while the other can be considered the ‘Ack! We need to take half a loaf and take a longer view even if means cozying up to crapheads to win in the Long War!’ And we’re starting to see some real hatred form between the two.

My stance found here and of the ‘Ack’ school of thought, makes me kind of unpopular in some circles. My unpopularity is evidenced not only be the response it got in that thread but also by Lex’s dissing it in an illustrative manner to voice his displeasure of the general position here, which puts him in the ‘my leg don’t get tired of butt kicking’ school. Luckily, I’m not alone and have good company (or more like I hide in the shadow of some choice people).

(Rest is below the fold. Modified 23:50 7/12/06)

The ‘Phibian does a nice job of countering and articulating my position better than I ever could. ‘Victory by any other name is just as sweet.’ More importantly, he doesn’t suffer from verbosity, I must been cursed by gypsies or something, and IDs something the ‘I love booty kicking’ group tends to ignore.

“The Political Center of Gravity of our side of this battle is the unity of support inside our government. We can do everything else 100% right, but if the anti-American Left and their bed-fellows in the Islamist Movement succeed in taking down that CoG (which is faltering), then we lose. Period. “

Got that?

It’s not because I’m a puh–uss-ie or defeatist or terminally dumb or morally challenged that I say take half a loaf, nor why CDR Salamander says about the same thing. It’s because I accept the failings and fickleness of the American public, that CoG the ‘Phibian talks about being wobbly after being worked over with a slick campaign by the opposition, to support this being the weakest and critical link in the chain that could cost us Iraq the way it cost S. Vietnam its freedom. (After having been proven utterly wrong before. Don’t gloat, John. It doesn’t go with the Santa Claus image at all.)

Of course I don’t like the ‘talk to Iran and Syria’ bit. But as the Vietnamese general said to the American general, ‘It is both true and irrelevant.’ Pro-victory. It’s not just a phrase.

Nor are those who disagree with me lame. They have a point about the immorality and the seeming dissonance of bringing in the IRC to help stabilize the region when we putatively went there to end such types of influence. Good eggs. I just wish they’d stop stepping on gollum’s neck so hard and accept that yes, guys like the ‘Phibian have critical points too.

Ultimately we better be able to rally together and start practicing what we shouted at the anti-war jerks: argue all you want before the decision is made but then back whatever decision comes down the pipe fully. Otherwise we risk losing because of our fractiousness. If The Pres chooses the ‘Butt Kicking’ option I’ll back it. If he chooses the ‘Ack’ school of thought I’m okay with that too. Pro-Victory. One Team. One Fight.

Comments on Band together or hang separately?
John of Argghhh! briefed on December 7, 2006 05:30 AM

Hmmm. Is the CoG the "Opposition" or izzit The People?

And where's your plan for dealing with the Press, which really is your conduit to The People, blogs notwithstanding.

Trias briefed on December 7, 2006 08:18 AM

Ry is your view of proping up a new crook likely to lead to a better situation than the old crook we had?

I'm thinking those years of effort, the wounded the dead and no real progress is what your opponents are seeing. Am i missing something?

What in your idea is an improvement over the previous status quo of more Sadam? More to the point how is it going to grant victory over terrorism? Where is your half loaf?

That's a good point John about the CoG.

ry briefed on December 7, 2006 10:40 PM

AS am I Trias. If the bottom falls out of the American public support it's all been for nothing when we leave and Congress does whatever they can to make it go away. We've been down that path before. We see the same moves being made. That world is far worse than shaking hands with Saddam. We can't turn back the clock and the worst pathway now isn't a Saddam but something worse.

Take what you got. toss The People(the CoG of the political element) a bone to keep the mission going. Don't give them something and they quit and you lose it all.

Half a loaf is that the 'Vietnamization' program works. It just needs time. ARVN, and Bill can probably back me on this, wasn't real good in 1969. By 1973 John Paul Van was able to use mostly ARVN ground forces backed with US airpower to shatter an NVA offensive using more tanks than Hitler used to take Poland.

THe half loaf is keeping the enterprise going and not retreating. Retreating leads to Kosovo and not to a Saddam. We need to keep it going, and we can only do that by convincing the US public that there is an end to the tunnel. That means tangible gains in security in short order.

Talk to Iran. Make concessions to them, but not the whole hog. 2 years down the line you re-insert ground forces to do the job right when the public has moved on--- Operation Desert Fox or even Linebacker 2 style.

We can deal with the CoG that is the opposition on the ground over there. If we allow for the time necessary. We need to buy time. We need to play rope a dope just long enough for the American public to get over the negativity.

We need a breather for the populace who is now really war weary. More along the lines of Robert the Bruce negotiating his famous surrender(for over a month) than Neville Chamberline and "Peace in Our Time". Cememnt the gains you've got by at least making the motions of following this path, and get the populace back on your side by making them think you actually listen to them. Give the next admin a decent situation to work with since this isn't going to be over by the time Pres Bush leaves.

The next guy/gal will have to bring a strategy to deal with the press. I cannot fathom one.

Granting access exclusively to guys like Roggio and Mike Yon just strengthens the 'lap dog of the Army and Administration' argument. I'm not sure ANYTHING can be done about the press with its negativity and hostility. I haven't a sol'n to this one John, and I do recognize that this particular could be the deal breaker from word go from now on. If it is we're farked, but I haven't a clue how to deal with it. I'm only gollum working on my lonesome.

Masochists. ;)

Trias briefed on December 8, 2006 07:53 AM

Ry you say toss the people a bone. What exactly is this bone comprised of? What is this half loaf? Then show me how the people of America are going to have this breather as a result.

ry briefed on December 9, 2006 12:15 AM

Jeesus Trias. Are you wearing your obstinate hat today? ;)
We draw down (but not withdraw) and thereby reduce casualties. The people get the benefit of not worrying about as many loved ones. As Barnett says, 'We don't really care about non-American deaths anyways.' And he's got good historical precedent, old and recent, to back that up. That's the bone/breather pt 1. Got it?

And this is prediction Trias. In a social science domain. There is no calculating to 6 decimals, no reducing down to prime factors to see cause and effect(unlike core sciences you can't really id most of the factors much less control for one). Besides, you can't prove causation unless you do the test, and it seems you're saying I have to prove causation before you'll be willing to let me try. A bit circular, no?

Troops come back. People get the impression we're in the final stages. We're leaving and soon. Casualties drop. Iraq get calmer as we let Iran have some of what they want and call off their militias. Things look better. We're leaving and things are getting better. we're sustaining fewer casualties and there looks to be an end to the whole damn thing. That's the breather/bone pt2. Got that?

The half a loaf is that we haven't left and are still bumping heads both inside and outside of Iraq fighting for the optimum sol'n. We still have something on the ground making a difference. We have the ability to go utterly kinetic again at a time of our choosing with a better idea of how to do the second half of the war right(the reconstruction part). That's the half a loaf. Got it?

Trias briefed on December 9, 2006 04:01 AM

Of course i'm obstinate. It's paid off too you finally wrote something tangible.

pt1 it sounds workable but there are significant political forces pushing for total withdrawal not a drawdown. And how will this not be viewed as a US defeat?

no not 'prove' rather argue for it.

pt2 fair enough except... the Iran part. Iran adores the US floundering. They will link any agreement to US allowing them nukes and that will block diplomacy. I'm really not sure what the US will offer that Iran will get sufficiently excited about. It's not like Iran sings yankee doodle is it?

Utterly kinetic after a drawdown? I don't think so.

I dunno Ry that's a very mouldy half you have there and while you've got the US eating it places like Iran and NK will be full steam ahead. All the same the reality appears to be that the whole loaf is beyond US political and citizen will now.

How depressing.

ry briefed on December 10, 2006 12:50 AM

Your way, it would seem, has us working a linear instead of convergent synthesis. Step by step.

YOu sound ChemE so I'm assuming you know how inefficient linear is compared to convergent.

I'm proposing to eat that mouldy half of bread because it works in a convergent manner to deal with multiple problems. We currently don't have the manpower to do anything about Syria, Iran, NorKor, Somalia and AFrican excursions by terrorists to establish bases there, ...... We aren't goig to have the manpower to do anything by staying on the same path either(while Iran and DPRK steam full ahead). We have X problems and we're only dealing with X-Iraq and Afghanistan. That isn't good enough.

I'm not jesting about going Kinetic either. Confidence in Coalition forces was highest when they were out smashing group after group. The mistake was in stopping that and allowing a 4th/5th gen opponent develope. Pull back. Let them become confident. Coalesce into something bigger. Stomp it flat, including the IRanian supported militias when we go back. It has a lot of downsides. But it's better than the downside of leaving altogher because domestic support evaporated.

Iran is very complicated Trias. THe threat from outside brings people who would otherwise be opposed to the IRC to side with them. Solidarity. THey have major domestic problems that threaten to fracture the country---in part why we wanted millions to fund opposition groups in Iran. The feeling of increasing IRaqi strength was the reason why much of the ME sided with us in Desert Storm. That also can be played here, particularly when we can point to the various gov'ts that we were just following their desires in pulling out(all those statements they'd written, all the op-eds in all the state run media). Of course, we'd be willing to come back and deal with the increasing Iranian power if they'd, you know, look the other way while we did it or signed on to help a little bit like when we went in 1991.

Saudi is already saying that they're going to support the Sunni in Iraq over exactly those fears Trias---Shia Iran becoming more powerful. It isn't so binary as Iran gets their wishes/Iran doesn't get their wishes. Iran getting their wishes unites the region against them to some degree, and that's something we can use so long as we don't actually bail outta Iraq and ruin or reputation. It's a yin-yang world: destruction is also a part of creation. I may not be able to articulate it but I have thought long and hard on this Trias.

"All the same the reality appears to be that the whole loaf is beyond US political and citizen will now." Which is why I'm proposing bastardy. A misdirection play if you will. Give them something that looks like what they want, but isn't. IT builds faith in the masses you can then exploit when needed. I may not like being an SOB but I play the role well.

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