A grim view of a failed war

Iraq’s government will become more precarious in the coming months and a drawdown of US forces could increase sectarian violence, American spy agencies said in a grim report Thursday.

The new intelligence estimate also predicted that security improvements made over the past six months will erode if the US military narrows its mission to supporting the Iraqi security forces and fighting Al-Qaeda.

The US intelligence community “assesses that the Iraqi government will become more precarious over the next six to 12 months because of criticism by other members of the major Shia coalition” as well as Sunni and Kurdish parties, the new estimate warned.

The declassified judgments of the assessment were released by the office of the Director for National Intelligence Mike McConnell, and came amid mounting US frustration over the lack of political progress in Iraq.

Attempts by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki to bridge Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian divides have so far failed. Seventeen members of his 40-person cabinet have resigned, and the daily bloodshed takes a stiff toll on ordinary Iraqis.

Barring “a fundamental shift in factors driving Iraqi political and security developments,” compromises needed for “sustained security, long-term political progress, and economic development are unlikely to emerge,” the assessment said.

Iraqi leaders who are already “unable to govern effectively” will struggle to achieve national political reconciliation, it warned.

Since its January assessment there have been “measurable but uneven” improvements in Iraq’s security, the report said, adding however that the “level of overall violence, including attacks on and casualties among civilians, remains high.”

Earlier in the year US President George W. Bush ordered 30,000 more troops to Iraq — boosting US forces on the ground to 160,000 — in a bid to improve security.

Iraqi security forces have performed adequately, but have not improved enough to conduct major operations independent from US-led coalition forces, the report said.

Changing the coalition’s mission to focus on providing combat support for Iraq’s security forces and fighting Al-Qaeda “would erode security gains achieved thus far,” it warned.

The conclusions could be used by the Bush administration to justify prolonging the surge, despite growing domestic opposition to the war and calls for a troop drawdown.

Just hours after the assessment came out influential Republican Senator John Warner urged Bush to start a limited withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by Christmas.

The move would send a signal the Maliki administration and regional nations that the US commitment to Iraq is not open ended, said Warner, who returned recently from Iraq.

“Certainly in 160,000-plus (US troops in Iraq), say, 5,000 could begin to redeploy and be home to their families and loved ones no later than Christmas of this year,” he said.

The United States “simply cannot, as a nation, stand and put our troops at continuous risk of loss of life and limb without beginning to take some decisive action which will get everybody’s attention,” Warner said.

He added: “I really firmly believe the Iraqi government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Maliki, have let our troops down.”

The intelligence report said that perceptions of a US pullout “probably will encourage factions anticipating a power vacuum to seek local security solutions that could intensify sectarian violence and intra-sectarian competition.

“At the same time, fearing a coalition withdrawal, some tribal elements and Sunni groups probably will continue to seek accommodation with the coalition to strengthen themselves for a post-coalition security environment,” it said.

The White House said the assessment shows that US strategy “has improved the security environment in Iraq, but we still face very tough challenges ahead.”

Maliki has so far failed to deliver any major pieces of legislation aimed at promoting reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites.

Bush this week expressed his frustration with the lack of progress, only to reaffirm his support for Maliki the following day, calling Maliki a “good man with a difficult job.”

The update, which represents the consensus of 16 US intelligence agencies, is called “Prospects for Iraq’s Stability: Some Progress but Political Reconciliation Elusive.”

It comes just weeks before General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, and US Ambassador Ryan Crocker offer their own assessment of whether US strategy in a report due on September 15.

16 Responses to "A grim view of a failed war"

  1. SEAL  August 25, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    According to the Associated Press, The result of the surge has been to double the number of Iraqi deaths as compared to last year.

    Quote:

    In street-level terms, it means life for average Iraqis appears to be even more perilous and unpredictable.

    The AP tracking includes Iraqi civilians, government officials, police and security forces killed in attacks such as gunfights and bombings, which are frequently blamed on Sunni suicide strikes. It also includes execution-style killings — largely the work of Shiite death squads.

    The figures are considered a minimum based on AP reporting. The actual numbers are likely higher, as many killings go unreported or uncounted. Insurgent deaths are not a part of the Iraqi count.

    The findings include:

    • Iraq is suffering about double the number of war-related deaths throughout the country compared with last year — an average daily toll of 33 in 2006, and 62 so far this year.

    • Nearly 1,000 more people have been killed in violence across Iraq in the first eight months of this year than in all of 2006. So far this year, about 14,800 people have died in war-related attacks and sectarian murders. AP reporting accounted for 13,811 deaths in 2006. The United Nations and other sources placed the toll far higher.

    • Baghdad has gone from representing 76 percent of all civilian and police war-related deaths in Iraq in January to 52 percent in July, bringing it back to the same spot it was roughly a year ago.

    _According to the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization, the number of displaced Iraqis has more than doubled since the start of the year, from 447,337 on Jan. 1 to 1.14 million on July 31.

    However, Brig. Gen. Richard Sherlock, deputy director for operational planning for the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said violence in Iraq “has continued to decline and is at the lowest level since June 2006.”

    UNquote.

    No shit Sherlock? We should believe you instead of the the public records and figures your army has given the press?

    Bear in mind that the AP figures will always be the lowest since they are based only upon the official military reports and whatever else they can corroborate (often impossible). They do not include any insurgent deaths but those are so few it wouldn’t add much to the total. The plain fact is that we do not catch or kill very many of them. They’re smart, they run and hide.

    The actual effect of the “surge” is to cause the insurgents to relocate to another neighborhood. Apparently, Sherlock doesn’t understand ‘gorilla’ warfare. When the gorillas move they don’t stop being gorillas.

    I am still amazed that Bush has found so many Military commanders willing to baldface lie about the reality of this fiasco. They are traitors to the troops and the nation they swore an oath to support and defend. I could never make outsiders understand how important honesty is in the military. It is a matter of life and death. Statements like General Sherlock’s and the other Bush lackys cause the deaths of many soldiers and Iraqi civilians. Telling the truth would sponsor changes that would save lives.

    This is not the military I served in. I’m ashamed of this one.

  2. SEAL  August 27, 2007 at 3:53 am

    SEAL says: From a film makers point of view, the Longest Day was the greatest achievement of all time. It was as accurate as was possible in those days. There were no computers to create scenes or back grounds or fill-ins. Everything you saw was actually happening and being performed by real people. Considering the magnitude of the beach invasion, that is breathtaking to comprehend. All those people performing at the same time. They actually created the invasion as it originally happened all over again and the German performers actually defended against it just as they had on D-Day.

    In watching the wide or panorama shots I was amazed at the coordination of all the actors and the expolsions, which in those days were real. No shrapnel, of course, and lots of smoke for the effect, but those were real explosives and if an actor made a mistake and missed his mark he could be seriously injured. Also, all the whatever they used for blood must have been thousands of gallons because blood was everywhere in the water. The ocean “ran red” and I remember that comment from some of the surviving vets who were there.

    The individual battles for things like bunkers were pure hollywood but very well done for the most part. I wasn’t too happy with the way they depicted the paratroopers that were slaughtered due to a couple of SNAFU’s. It was much worse that they showed. One thing that impressed me was how they kept most of the silly personal bullshit hollywood always puts in for appeal to whoever that stuff appeals to. Those of us that have been there know there is no time or inclination for that crap. You’re trying to stay alive and you don’t assault the beach with grandmas rum cake in your pack. You load up more ammo if you have extra room.

    There is much that only military insiders know about Eisenhower that contradict the image. He graduated near the bottom of his class at West Point. He was not a great tactition. In fact, he did not plan the invasion or very much of any of the war. He was a very ordinary man with a likeable personallity. However he had two talents that made him the perfect man for his job. He was an exceptional military politition and he knew who to hire. His political talent got him the job of supreme commander. That really pissed Monty off becuse he knew Ike was a lousy general when it came to commanding troops in battle (Monty knew he was the best there was).

    Ike had a great instinct for who to place in command and where. He did not plan the invasion for D-Day. He surrounded himself with the best military planners in the theater and let them plan it. He only approved it and kept the polititions from interferring. Actually, Monty would have been the worst for the job because he did not listen to others. He knew it all. And most of the invasion was his plans. Patton was another very valuable asset that only Ike seemed to be able to more or less control him even though Patton considered Ike a joke as a “war” commander. But when they got close in to Belin and Ike told him he had to wait for the Russians no one could shut Patton up and Ike had to fire him. (transfer)

    Eisenhower’s rule and orders was very simple. “Gentlemen – fight the war.” Because of his position as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces he got all the credit. He was a damn good man but as war time generals go, he sucked. He was a human resource director. That’s what made him perfect for the position.

  3. SEAL  August 27, 2007 at 4:01 am

    SEAL says: I can believe I mispelled Tactician. Damn drugs.

  4. Klaus Hergeschimmer  August 27, 2007 at 7:38 am

    Seal, did you ever see the Harry Saltzman produced version of Battle of Britain made in 1969?
    I thought it was excellent in its broad scope of depicting the principal phases of the air battle in 1940.

    And it stuck to a documentary style of portraying the historical events. Adolf Galland, who was promoted to Jagdflieger of the German Fighter forces in 1941 advised the films German sequences.

    Hugh Dowding, head of the British fighter forces, was portrayed by Laurence Olivier, who actually met the real Hugh Dowding during the production of the movie.

    Dowding was a strong proponent to develop the Spifire & Hurricane, and the radar chain around England and hounded the the British military heirarchies to implement all this.

    I think what I liked most is that
    Olivier depicted him accurately, Dowding was a very calm , reserved personality which Oliver got perfect.
    Churchill didn’t like Dowding because he thought he didn’t exude confidence when in reality, he was
    very pragmatic and just wasn’t into propgandistic grandizing, he got the job done. Churchill transfered him to the pacific theater of war after the major threat during 1940 was over with.

    The aerial sequences are absoulutely astounding, and without digital special effects.
    The production had rounded up all authentic aircraft, a number of Spitfires, Hurricanes, Messerschmitt 109’s, and Heinkel 111 bombers. No Stukas existed so they had to film large 1/16th scale radio controlled flying model replicas for a dive bombing attack on a British radar tower, they were very convincingly shot against the real sky.

    The drama in Battle of Britan was kept within a historical vein, they didn’t engage in cutsey krap like the Pearl Harbor film did when a P-40 Pilot takes his girlfriend for a moonlight ride in the sky. That kind of fluff just makes me want to Ralf. I have not seen Pearl Harbor nor do I want to, everyone has told me its Gone with the wind meets WW-II.

    I still think the definitive film of Pearl Harbor is
    Tora Tora Tora, which did not have digital special effects. The aerial sequeces in Tora Tora Tora & Battle of Britain are among the best and most realistic looking ever filmed.

    There was one scene in particular in Battle of Britain where Goring is berating Adolf Galland for the high losses of aircraft, and Goring asks Galland
    what he can do to help, and Galland replies, “get me a squadron of Spitfires” which Galland actually said to Goring.

    Seal, If you never have seen the 1969 movie Battle of Britain, check it out, it’s exceptional.

  5. Doreen  August 25, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    To be blaming Maliki and his government for the failures in Iraq is just absurd. The failures fall to this complicit Congress and illegal criminal Administration!!! Remember too, that the Iraqi people elected this government and they and they alone will make changes, of course until King George rules otherwise.

    Calls for Maliki’s removal from both sides (or as I prefer to call them the one-sided corporatists) just proves that he has become the scapegoat for all the failures in Iraq, as the Patreous report will be sure to point out. Of course it has nothing to do with this ongoing Occupation as we wait for the Iraqi gov to sign the oil law giving the US and UK control. Thereby setting the stage for the continued presence in the multi-billion dollar bases and embassy being built, which by the way you never hear talk of. Maybe that is where all the Iraqi oil money and missing US billions are going??

    Nothing about the invasion of Iraq has ever been about success or creating a “Democracy.” It’s about the failure of the US $$$$, Oil, and Hegemony.

    If you are as fed up, sick and tired and mad as hell about this slow and steady destruction as I am, I suggest you turn off your computers, get mobilized and get to Washington on Sept 15, for what I hope will be the biggest protest yet. We are a country of over 300 million and I know millions are fed up and angry. So come on now, let’s remind this government of why this country was founded and what we were trying to get away from. Let’s see the Tom Paine that’s in all of us. Don’t give up. Power to the People. We must stand united before we can’t and it’s too late.

    Go to http://answer.pephost.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ANS_homepage for more details. We can’t just give in and give up, we just can’t.

    There is also a call for a general strike on 9/11/07. Here’s one of the many links talking about it.

    http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2007/08/89590.html

    Here are some recommended films too:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18236.htm John Pilger’s new film War on Democracy. A must see for all, especially Americans who are so clueless regarding US foreign policy.

    http://video.google.ca/ videohost…=occupation+101

    http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/index.html

    Doreen

  6. Helen Rainier  August 26, 2007 at 5:55 am

    SEAL,

    You are so correct in your comments and observations.

    Funny thing, I woke up earlier this evening (around 2200) and discovered “The Longest Day” was on, so I watched it yet again (for probably the umpteenth time). I couldn’t help but think that what this country needs now is more generals along the lines of the Bradleys, Roosevelts, Eisenhowers, and the Pattons.

    Almost the entire of genre of Army commanders from the WW II era were true leaders of men and were right there out in front leading their troops as real commanders are supposed to do.

    But, of course, to be fair, the entire context of the WW II era must be considered and the fact that the world was truly at war and the lines of demaracation were very clearly drawn. Most of the “free” world had been overrun and occupied by either Germany or Japan.

    My dad often told me that World War II brought out not only the worst of mankind, but also the best of mankind. It took me a while to fully comprehend what he meant, but I’m beginning to understand it now.

    Each time I watch “The Longest Day” I am even more amazed by what a massive undertaking it was — from the amphibious assault across the English Channel, the total faking out of the Germans as to where the Invasion was really going to take place, the amazing Rangers who defied the odds and scaled the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, the 82d and the 101st jumping in behind enemy lines the night before — and it really boggles the mind.

    It is much easier intellectually to justify World War II as being a “moral” war than anything we have lived through since then that has actually involved the deployment of American troops on foreign shores and soil. It seems to me that those operations since then were basically for the wrong reasons — particularly this War on Iraq.

    At least with Korea, Viet Nam and Bosnia, a legal argument could be made that we participated due to our being signatories of a treaty (SEATO) or as a part of NATO. But this Bush War — a totally different animal. For this administration to keep trying to make comparisons to WW II — well, it’s just intellectually dishonest and perverted since there are no similarities to begin making a comparison.

  7. Klaus Hergeschimmer  August 27, 2007 at 6:41 am

    Helen, The Longest Day is an awesome movie, very historically correct with some minor dramatic license taken such as the scene on Omaha beach where the German blockhouse is destroyed and all the G.I.s got up at once and ran through the breech (it didn’t happen that fast). The film really paints broad strokes on all various parts of the beachead showing what was going on, its a very well done film.
    The Pegasus bridge assault was depicted very accurately & nicely done.

    The one part in the begining of the film where Rommel is shown on the Atlantic Wall defense scolding his generals for not installing enough mines in the beach is classic where he says: “For all our troops as well as the Allies, it will be die langste tag -die langste tagen!” (the longest day).

    Your points about the current crop of generals compared to Eisenhower, Bradley & Patton are on the mark.

    Eisenhowers son once commented that his father would not recognize the Republican party today and how it has been hi-jacked by the disciples of the Leo Strauss Neo-Conites (Neo-Termites sounds better).

    The film, Battle of Britan, produced in 1969 has very good depictions of Hugh Dowding, played by Laurence Laurence Olivier the head of the British Fighter defence who was a calm collected man who some would say singlehandedly got the Brits through the roughest patch in its WW-II history. This film like, LD, paints a broad overview of the various points of that battle in 1940.

    Dick Cheney would be the equivelent Herman Göring.
    Like Göring, Cheney is a pompous ass, that has totally miscalculated Iraq, just like Göring who had little comprehension tactically in fighting the air defenses of Britain.

  8. adamrussell  August 24, 2007 at 9:57 am

    I think that behind the scenes WH plans are to remove Maliki. Covertly or overtly.

  9. Sandra Price  August 24, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Maybe we can learn how to do it and try it on our own Pres….

  10. Wayne K Dolik  August 24, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    I watched the press conference with old “blood and guts” yesterday. Suggesting we relocate only 5,000 troops seems to me like kick the can when we have 160,00 troops in this hopeless quagmire. Republicans need to do much more than merely posture in hopes of re-election in 2008. We are on to this scam. It won’t play anymore.

    I have many neighbors that are in the Marine Corps and Army. Many are being redeployed to Iraq. I cringe every time one or their wives tell me, that they have to go again. It seems it’s all about old white guys sending our kids off to die. Well, that hasn’t changed since Viet Nam.

  11. MomCat  August 24, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    Amen, Sandra!

  12. douin  August 24, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    I agree, Sandra. The only end that is possible in this so-called War of Terror is the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. It is plain that this administration has no plans to leave Iraq Until there is a Signed, Sealed and Delivered Contract that essentially leaves the Iraqis Government ( Maliki ) no sayso whatsoever in the disposition of their only resource…their Oil. That is what is holding up the removal of our troops…not any desire to Save the Iraqis from a ‘blood bath.’ What do you think is going on Now ? A walk in the rose garden ?

    Bush has made it clear that until there is a Signed Contract that essentially takes away the Iraqis right to control their only Resource..their Oil..that there will be no money released for Reconstruction. Blackmail..pure and simple. That is why this so-called Civil War will continue. It is a stalemate..and one that the Iraqis have no choice but to win. Their only hope at this point is to Hold on and pray that the American people will demand an end to this Trumped up war to steal their oil.

  13. JoyfulC  August 24, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    What about all the investment in foreign-specific infrastructure in Iraq — embassy and permanent bases — is any American government going to walk away from that and turn over the keys to whoever emerges victorious in Iraq?

    I don’t think so.

    Stupider things have been done by our government before, and my guess is that they’re not ready to concede defeat on this one yet.

  14. Klaus Hergeschimmer  August 24, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Democrats are co-starring in the Chimps Road Movie to Baghdad, and our troops and Iraqi citizens pay for the tickets in BLOOD!

  15. gene  August 25, 2007 at 8:32 am

    This government of/by the people and supposely (for) the people has become and enemy destroying what little justice was left in this nation.

    It has become evil beyond my ability to even comprehend anymore and it will not change. This world is ruled by evil men such as Bush and Cheney. The deceptions, lies and death of innocent humans will only increase daily.

    Their is little humanity left in this world of greed and hatred. The horror show has begun in ways that were alien only a few decades ago.

    “Intel estimates show failure in Iraq”…WOW!!! such breaking news though it hasn’t been obvious from the start. Now it should be clear who our “real” emenies are but again, so many not even paying attention.

    Can anything be done? Sure but will it be enough and will it change this evil world into something good and sensible. I leave that for you to decide. I have already drawn my conclusion on this global issue.

  16. Rob Kezelis  August 25, 2007 at 9:19 am

    remove Maliki? Didn’t we do that in Viet Nam, too? with disasterous results?
    The clan structure in VietNam was something that the french knew, but deliberately ignored, but the American leadership did not even know about. There were more “Family” structures that created tensions between northern and southern Viet Nam than some idiological battle between commies and western loving capitalists. Once we left, the made their own peace, and now they prosper.

    The sunni-shia fights have gone on, cold, luke warm, and hot, for centuries. And our military leaders and political bosses ignored State experts who warned about sectarian violence. What we have is a mess that we created. It is as though Bush dug up an old play book from southeast asia, and he wants to follow it.

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