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The Surge gets Purged

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,645
1,151
126
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080312/wl_nm/iraq_dc

"With U.S. forces already stretched by an upsurge in violence in Iraq since January, such ceasefire violations are a worrying development. U.S. commanders have credited the ceasefire with sharply reducing sectarian bloodshed that threatened civil war."

So, the gist of this is, that the 'Surge' was far less important to stabilizing Iraq than the crucial truce that held back the Mehdi Army from furthering the chaos in the country.

"Sadr renewed a six-month ceasefire last month but at the weekend issued a statement telling followers they could defend themselves if attacked. Until Tuesday's fighting, there had been no major violations of the truce."

In other words, Al Sadr and his Mehdi now are in the unfortunate hot seat. They can either stand down and lose respect/authority in their caste, or they can resume fighting outright, and continue to die in violent confrontations. Something tells me that it's unlikely that they will just let themselves be pushed into obscurity. Al Sadr's golden moment came when we invaded Iraq in the first place, he's going to be very unwilling to cast aside his demagoguery and strongman posturing for a more honorable course of peaceful action.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,521
0
76
Originally posted by: Arkaign
So, the gist of this is, that the 'Surge' was far less important to stabilizing Iraq than the crucial truce that held back the Mehdi Army from furthering the chaos in the country.
It's been known all along that several factors, including both the surge and the truce, were contributing to the decreasing violence.

So, on what basis, or facts, do you assign more credit to one factor versus another?

In any case, this certainly isn't good news...

 

Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
41,061
494
126
We had our opportunity to end this guy years ago. We simply lack the brains and brawn to do it. Lets not forget this guy is still wanted for killing a rival cleric in the chaos of finals days of Sadaam's regime.

 

jpeyton

Moderator in SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones
Moderator
Aug 23, 2003
25,375
141
116
12 US bodies in the last 3 days...4 per day...that is how messy.

I think the insurgents hit a second-wind on the home stretch to 4000.
 

homercles337

Diamond Member
Dec 29, 2004
6,345
3
71
Originally posted by: palehorse74
Originally posted by: Arkaign
So, the gist of this is, that the 'Surge' was far less important to stabilizing Iraq than the crucial truce that held back the Mehdi Army from furthering the chaos in the country.
It's been known all along that several factors, including both the surge and the truce, were contributing to the decreasing violence.

So, on what basis, or facts, do you assign more credit to one factor versus another?

In any case, this certainly isn't good news...
"Known" and "acknowledged" are not the same thing. Since "the surge" started all we have heard (from the media, the WH, and right wing politicians) is that "the surge" is working. I have never heard anyone on the right acknowledge that the truce had a major role. The truce is the reason for decreased violence--not the surge.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,645
1,151
126
Originally posted by: palehorse74
Originally posted by: Arkaign
So, the gist of this is, that the 'Surge' was far less important to stabilizing Iraq than the crucial truce that held back the Mehdi Army from furthering the chaos in the country.
It's been known all along that several factors, including both the surge and the truce, were contributing to the decreasing violence.

So, on what basis, or facts, do you assign more credit to one factor versus another?

In any case, this certainly isn't good news...
Well, the 'surge' didn't involve truly significant troop increases to begin with, in order to match Shinseki's original recommendations, so while I believe our forces are doing their valiant best, it's a tough job occupying/counterinsurgency vs. just busting heads and full-scale military invasion. If we reduced troop levels to pre-surge levels, I don't think we'd see a significant change in the rate of violent deaths. But obviously, when a group like the Mehdi decide that they want to be belligerent, they can toss gasoline on the fire in a real hurry. Hence, the Mehdi truce was probably (I qualify this as my opinion, obviously, so take with a grain of salt) more influential on reducing violence in Iraq than the 'surge' itself.

In retrospect, I should have made this topic specifically for the Mehdi/Al Sadr topic, but because of all the desk-jockey chicken-hawks out there blabbing about how great the surge is, I tied the two together for obvious reasons.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,645
1,151
126
Originally posted by: jpeyton
12 US bodies in the last 3 days...4 per day...that is how messy.

I think the insurgents hit a second-wind on the home stretch to 4000.
Uncalled for.

This is not a baseball game. I'm lowering my head in remembrance of the fallen. Though I distinctly and vehemently oppose the politicians that enabled this Iraqi debacle, I bear no grudge, indeed I am honored that our country is served by so many brave men and women.



 

dphantom

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2005
4,511
140
106
Originally posted by: jpeyton
12 US bodies in the last 3 days...4 per day...that is how messy.

I think the insurgents hit a second-wind on the home stretch to 4000.
You can disagree with the politics, but do not denigrate or make light of the men and women who have died. An ignorant comment.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,521
0
76
Originally posted by: homercles337
Originally posted by: palehorse74
Originally posted by: Arkaign
So, the gist of this is, that the 'Surge' was far less important to stabilizing Iraq than the crucial truce that held back the Mehdi Army from furthering the chaos in the country.
It's been known all along that several factors, including both the surge and the truce, were contributing to the decreasing violence.

So, on what basis, or facts, do you assign more credit to one factor versus another?

In any case, this certainly isn't good news...
"Known" and "acknowledged" are not the same thing. Since "the surge" started all we have heard (from the media, the WH, and right wing politicians) is that "the surge" is working. I have never heard anyone on the right acknowledge that the truce had a major role.
That's odd.. Over the last eight months, I've seen "experts" from every Party, speaking on nearly every channel, and proclaiming in nearly every newspaper, that there are many contributing factors to the noteable decrease in violence during 2007... maybe you just tuned them out? :confused:

The truce is the reason for decreased violence--not the surge.
How the hell can you, Joe Sixpack, speak so definitively!? Is your last name Patreus? Clapper? Hayden?

Your bias is tangible...

"Tastes great!".... "No, Less filling!"... :|

Originally posted by: Arkaign
Well, the 'surge' didn't involve truly significant troop increases to begin with, in order to match Shinseki's original recommendations, so while I believe our forces are doing their valiant best, it's a tough job occupying/counterinsurgency vs. just busting heads and full-scale military invasion. If we reduced troop levels to pre-surge levels, I don't think we'd see a significant change in the rate of violent deaths. But obviously, when a group like the Mehdi decide that they want to be belligerent, they can toss gasoline on the fire in a real hurry. Hence, the Mehdi truce was probably (I qualify this as my opinion, obviously, so take with a grain of salt) more influential on reducing violence in Iraq than the 'surge' itself.

In retrospect, I should have made this topic specifically for the Mehdi/Al Sadr topic, but because of all the desk-jockey chicken-hawks out there blabbing about how great the surge is, I tied the two together for obvious reasons.
I hope you realize that what the media and WH refer to as "The Surge" actually encompasses much more than a simple increase in troop strength... Believe it or not, on the ground, "The Surge" accounts for a complete change in direction, both strategic and tactical, by all coalition forces in Iraq. Not only did our numbers increase slightly, our entire approach to the security of various regions changed dramatically as well.

but, whatever... as usual, the Bush admin lost the PR War when they let the MSM reduce all of our efforts to another misinterpreted soundbite... shocker.

Thank you, though, for respecting the troops (me). :thumbsup:
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,645
1,151
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I know that the tactics changed, and that's all well and good. But I can't really correlate the 'surge' troop changes and tactic adjustments to the death tolls, for a couple of reasons :

(1) Deaths were falling before the plan began execution

(2) Mehdi truce. Now that the truce is crumbling, deaths are climbing again, WITH the new tactics / troop levels in place.

 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
2
0
Lets make it unanimous, this is not good news for the USA. And if Al-Sadr has a role in re energizing the Shia insurgencies, all bets may well be off. Because if nothing else, its likely to lead to a resumption of Shia led Ethnic cleansing against the Sunnis minority. And the Sunnis will be forced to resume their violence.

Hopefully its more bluff than fact, but only time will tell. Sadly the assassination of Al-Sadr would likely ignite his followers into a war of succession as his various lieutenants squabble over the pieces of his empire.
 
Sep 12, 2004
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Good. Iraq is finally going after the Mehdi army. If we're lucky maybe they'll take out fat-ass Mookie while they're at it.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,521
0
76
Originally posted by: Arkaign
I know that the tactics changed, and that's all well and good. But I can't really correlate the 'surge' troop changes and tactic adjustments to the death tolls, for a couple of reasons :

(1) Deaths were falling before the plan began execution
When do YOU think "the plan" was initially executed?

(2) Mehdi truce. Now that the truce is crumbling, deaths are climbing again, WITH the new tactics / troop levels in place.
I believe that we'll need to see what happens in the next few months before we can speak definitively. If I know my Army, at all, we're already adapting to the changes.

So we'll see.

I simply hope you're wrong... as always, I'm the eternal optimist. :D

 

TallBill

Lifer
Apr 29, 2001
46,044
62
91
Originally posted by: dphantom
Originally posted by: jpeyton
12 US bodies in the last 3 days...4 per day...that is how messy.

I think the insurgents hit a second-wind on the home stretch to 4000.
You can disagree with the politics, but do not denigrate or make light of the men and women who have died. An ignorant comment.
They are more then just "bodies".
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,645
1,151
126
Originally posted by: palehorse74
Originally posted by: Arkaign
I know that the tactics changed, and that's all well and good. But I can't really correlate the 'surge' troop changes and tactic adjustments to the death tolls, for a couple of reasons :

(1) Deaths were falling before the plan began execution
When do YOU think "the plan" was initially executed?

(2) Mehdi truce. Now that the truce is crumbling, deaths are climbing again, WITH the new tactics / troop levels in place.
I believe that we'll need to see what happens in the next few months before we can speak definitively. If I know my Army, at all, we're already adapting to the changes.

So we'll see.

I simply hope you're wrong... as always, I'm the eternal optimist. :D
I think the plans initial stages started to go into play in very early '07?

I hope I'm wrong too, and there's more than a glimmer of hope that the Mehdi will back down on this deal.

I agree that we need more time to evaluate what the trends are showing us.
 

cwjerome

Diamond Member
Sep 30, 2004
4,345
24
81
Originally posted by: Arkaign
Originally posted by: jpeyton
12 US bodies in the last 3 days...4 per day...that is how messy.

I think the insurgents hit a second-wind on the home stretch to 4000.
Uncalled for.

This is not a baseball game. I'm lowering my head in remembrance of the fallen. Though I distinctly and vehemently oppose the politicians that enabled this Iraqi debacle, I bear no grudge, indeed I am honored that our country is served by so many brave men and women.
Uncalled for? :confused: Do you not know jpeyton?

This kid has been posting anti-military venom for years... and it's all very well documented. He actually disappeared for a good while on P&N after some especially disgusting hate comments. He has re-emerged, spamming the forum the past few months... I guess it's his second wind.

I will say he has toned down the hate rhetoric slightly though to merely distasteful.
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
2
0
Its a myth that the USA can simply invent another slogan for stay the course without political progress. Not only does it bleed us dry meanwhile, but sooner or later some event or another will start resolving the state of anarchy. Maybe the US will dodge another bullet this time, but its almost inevitable that something will reignite the violence.

The various Iraqi insurgencies are better armed than ever, they have had time to rest and regroup, and they too are making no progress in advancing their agendas. The mutual distrusts are as bad as they have always been, and everyone has their own version of a worse case scenario that must be prevented.

Paradoxically and historically, the time most likely to produce revolution is after some progress is made and then that progress stalls. Its easy to be optimistic, but it strains credulity to assume we have the luxury of infinite time. Especially when the occupation force is something on the order of 1 in 300 in the general population.
 

datalink7

Lifer
Jan 23, 2001
16,765
6
81
Originally posted by: jpeyton
12 US bodies in the last 3 days...4 per day...that is how messy.

I think the insurgents hit a second-wind on the home stretch to 4000.
5 of the dead Soldiers were killed in the Mansour. Last time I checked, this was a Sunni district. That means it had nothing to do with Al-Sadr and the ceacefire or lack thereof.

As for the rest of the deaths, I'm not sure how many were Shia or Sunni originated.

The situation is far more complicated than your simplistic view makes it out to be.

As for the overall assessment, this will most certainly mean more fighting and US/Iraqi deaths. Al-Sadr probably doesn't realize that he essentially totally ended the cease fire as JAM is full of simple people who will now take any slight against them as cause to "defend themselves." A slight such as a simple patrol even.

Now I can't speak to the whole of the country but this isn't doomsday. In my sector we will continue with buisness as usual, though with heightened alterness. The local Iraqis are fed up with violence and if people start it up again we will have the cooperation of most of the locals to stamp it out. We are currently deep into peace talks between the Shia and the Sunni. We (my unit) arrived before there was the first Al-Sadr truce and we were winning then. If it totally disolves now we will continue to pressure the bad guys and now we are in an even stronger position than we were before.
 

jpeyton

Moderator in SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones
Moderator
Aug 23, 2003
25,375
141
116
The insurgent strategy isn't to defeat the US military. They're not stupid.

Their goal is to inflict as much cost as possible (in lives and money) to the US, so a war-weary public will re-evaluate their [bad] decision to invade Iraq and pull out.
 

datalink7

Lifer
Jan 23, 2001
16,765
6
81
Originally posted by: jpeyton
The insurgent strategy isn't to defeat the US military. They're not stupid.

Their goal is to inflict as much cost as possible (in lives and money) to the US, so a war-weary public will re-evaluate their [bad] decision to invade Iraq and pull out.
Again, not quite that simple.

There is no overall "insurgent strategy." There are so many fractured groups and special interest groups that all have their own goals you can't categorize them as one. Some of them are very stupid, such as the group of 3 guys who decided it was a good idea to stand and engage 4 of our M1A1 Abrams with AK-47's.

I would say your assessment of the insurgent strategy is a fair one for specific groups, but not everyone. Not even most. Most of the "insurgents" are simply low life thugs who don't strategize so much as flex their muscles and engage in territory wars (essentially gang warfare).
 
Sep 12, 2004
16,852
59
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Originally posted by: datalink7
Originally posted by: jpeyton
12 US bodies in the last 3 days...4 per day...that is how messy.

I think the insurgents hit a second-wind on the home stretch to 4000.
5 of the dead Soldiers were killed in the Mansour. Last time I checked, this was a Sunni district. That means it had nothing to do with Al-Sadr and the ceacefire or lack thereof.

As for the rest of the deaths, I'm not sure how many were Shia or Sunni originated.

The situation is far more complicated than your simplistic view makes it out to be.

As for the overall assessment, this will most certainly mean more fighting and US/Iraqi deaths. Al-Sadr probably doesn't realize that he essentially totally ended the cease fire as JAM is full of simple people who will now take any slight against them as cause to "defend themselves." A slight such as a simple patrol even.

Now I can't speak to the whole of the country but this isn't doomsday. In my sector we will continue with buisness as usual, though with heightened alterness. The local Iraqis are fed up with violence and if people start it up again we will have the cooperation of most of the locals to stamp it out. We are currently deep into peace talks between the Shia and the Sunni. We (my unit) arrived before there was the first Al-Sadr truce and we were winning then. If it totally disolves now we will continue to pressure the bad guys and now we are in an even stronger position than we were before.
Thanks for your input and for your service to this country.

Plus your information on the realities in Iraq tends to temper the desk-jockey chicken-doves in this forum. ;)
 

GrGr

Diamond Member
Sep 25, 2003
3,204
0
76
Originally posted by: datalink7
Originally posted by: jpeyton
12 US bodies in the last 3 days...4 per day...that is how messy.

I think the insurgents hit a second-wind on the home stretch to 4000.
5 of the dead Soldiers were killed in the Mansour. Last time I checked, this was a Sunni district. That means it had nothing to do with Al-Sadr and the ceacefire or lack thereof.

As for the rest of the deaths, I'm not sure how many were Shia or Sunni originated.

The situation is far more complicated than your simplistic view makes it out to be.

As for the overall assessment, this will most certainly mean more fighting and US/Iraqi deaths. Al-Sadr probably doesn't realize that he essentially totally ended the cease fire as JAM is full of simple people who will now take any slight against them as cause to "defend themselves." A slight such as a simple patrol even.

Now I can't speak to the whole of the country but this isn't doomsday. In my sector we will continue with buisness as usual, though with heightened alterness. The local Iraqis are fed up with violence and if people start it up again we will have the cooperation of most of the locals to stamp it out. We are currently deep into peace talks between the Shia and the Sunni. We (my unit) arrived before there was the first Al-Sadr truce and we were winning then. If it totally disolves now we will continue to pressure the bad guys and now we are in an even stronger position than we were before.
Can you define "winning" pls?

 

datalink7

Lifer
Jan 23, 2001
16,765
6
81
Originally posted by: TastesLikeChicken

Thanks for your input and for your service to this country.

Plus your information on the realities in Iraq tends to temper the desk-jockey chicken-doves in this forum. ;)
You're welcome :)

I usually just try to shed some of my experiences so people can get a viewpoint from someone who is in the middle of it all. Something you can't get from the media 99% of the time as they mostly stay in the Green Zone. I've been here about 14 months and we've had three or four media visits total to our sector.
 

ayabe

Diamond Member
Aug 10, 2005
7,449
0
0
I would very much like to think that he has been marginalized at this point. If the Iraqi's have by and large really grown tired of the sectarianism then this may have a minimal effect.

If he manages to outmaneuver us again politically and succeeds in rousing the rabble, then we will certainly see a huge violence spike in Baghdad.
 

datalink7

Lifer
Jan 23, 2001
16,765
6
81
Originally posted by: GrGr

Can you define "winning" pls?
Certainly.

When we first entered our sector over a year ago, we established our COP (Coalition Out Post, a small base) inside one of our neighborhoods. At that time, we were right in the middle of the worst cases of sectarian violence in just about the whole country. Before we came there was very little US presence because of manpower issues and the Police were thoroughly corrupt.

Firefights were a constant occurance. However, this was mostly between Shia and Sunni. The Shia were trying to exterminate or drive out the Sunni populous. We started conducting non-stop patrols and raids to arrest the worst purpetrators of violence and murder. Some of the groups got angry and began to attack us whenever we went out. This faired badly for them most of the time, though we did take casualties (I lost one of my soldiers).

We started to make headway. Firefights dropped dramatically as the perpetrators began to feel scared about being hunted down and arrested by us. We began to fix a lot of the local problems (sewage, electrical, etc.) to show people that there was another way to go to get stuff besides violence. We set up local elections so that people could choose local leadership to represent them on a council to discuss issues. And then we brought the seperate councils together (Sunni and Shia) to talk peace. These people, who just months before had been at each others throats, now sat at the same table. At first, not much productive went on as they mostly just yelled at the other side. So we mediated. Now, they conduct meetings without our presence or guidance.

We've established a hospital and local clinics. Renovated schools. We have got Iraqi contractors to begin rebuilding infrastructure (we now have a fairly big street almost fully lighted, something that didn't even exist before the war for this area (it's pretty much the slums of baghdad).

I could go on and on, but in short summery:

A multitude of bad guys killed or arrested = winning
Peace accord between embattled communities = winning
Infrastructure buildup = winning
Ability for locals to actually recieve health care = winning

At least in my mind.
 

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