Monday, September 17, 2007

Petraeus's Chart Undermines War Effort

Citing General David Petraeus, George W. Bush, in his so-called "way forward in Iraq" speech , declared on Thursday night,

The Iraqi army is becoming more capable.

For days, I've been carrying around with me page 13 of the 14-page slideshow Petraeus showed during his multiple appearances on Capitol Hill. (That's how nerdy I am!) And to anyone unfortunate to get stuck in an elevator with me, I've flashed this chart to show that according to Petraeus' own numbers , there has been no progress in the past year in fielding Iraqi security forces that can function on their own. Yes, I said no progress.

The chart--titled "Iraqi Security Forces Capabilities"--divides Iraqi troops into four groups: units that are fully independent (Level I); that can stage operations with support of U.S. forces (Level II); that can fight side by side with U.S. forces (Level III); that are still forming (Level IV). If you look at September 2006, you will see that there were 11,000 Level I troops and 86,000 Level II troops. Fast forward to September 2007, and the numbers are, Level I, 12,000 and Level II, 84,000. That's a slight drop in capabilities, if you combine Levels I and II.

So how can Bush--or anyone else--say that Iraqi troops are becoming more capable? For all the money and effort spent during the last year--when the Bush administration was claiming that the training of Iraqi troops was a top priority (remember, they stand up, we leave?)--there's been little, if any, return on the investment. By the way, the chart includes the national police--a force so rife with corruption and sectarianism that the Jones Commission recently recommended it be disbanded. Petraeus's chart is further evidence that the administration gameplan isn't working.

CAN'T ASK THESE 20-SOMETHINGS. Political posturing--it's inescapable, particularly during a presidential election. And Fred Thompson engaged in an especially odious instance of this last week. Attempting to feed the dogs of war--days after Petraeus appeared on Capitol Hill--Thompson issued a statement backing the war and blasting Democrats. In it, he said,

Every day, our troops in Iraq demonstrate a heroic resolve to win. I wish Democrats in Washington would dedicate as much time and energy to winning as they do on how to surrender the fight. The average 20 year-old serving in Iraq apparently knows more about national security than many of the 20 year-political veterans serving in Congress.

This is a cheap shot. I commend to the lawmaker-turned-actor the August 19 New York Times op-ed written by seven active-duty GIs in Iraq that noted,

To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched.

The article, as I pointed out in a posting a few days ago, argued for withdrawal and described the war as the "pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends." Last week two of the authors were killed in Iraq: Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance Gray. Thompson should know that both men were in their 20s.

Posted by David Corn at September 17, 2007 11:29 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

You are just all caught up in the facts and accurate numbers. Those things don't matter as much on this side of the looking glass.



capt said...

PS - "That's how nerdy I am!"

Nerds rule!



capt said...

Maybe We Should Try Coddling The Terrorists

I want to make myself clear, right from the get-go: I hate terrorism. Those of you who follow the Factor know that I have never been a fan. Never will be either. I think what they do, particularly to children, violence-wise, is unforgivable.

That said, I'm beginning to suspect that we've been going about this War on Terror all wrong. Before, I said we should treat the terrorists like the vile dogs that they are. But even vile dogs respond well to getting patted once in a while. So perhaps the best way to stop these jihadists from destroying our way of life is to do what the liberals have been proposing all along: start coddling them.

The "blame America first" crowd wants to invite these crazed Islamic extremists to visit Main Street USA, and I say let's give it a shot. Let's invite them into our homes, put them up in the guest bedroom with the good linens, and fluff up their pillows real nice. But let's not stop there. Let's take those heartless murderers out to our finest restaurants, order them appetizers and wine and dessert and then pick up the tab.

Look, folks, we don't really have a lot of options left. We've spent six long years fighting this war, and I don't feel any more safe than I did when we began. So why not call up this Muqtada al-Sadr fellow and tell him that the whole Iraqi shooting match is his for the taking?

Now, I haven't gone soft. I've never taken the easy road and I'm not about to start. Make no mistake, terrorists are no better than cockroaches. But as with cockroaches, if you see one, that means there are dozens more, and the more you kill them, the more there seem to be. We've tried isolating these bloodthirsty killers, bombing them, waterboarding them, locking them away in secret prisons, and still they hang on. But you know what we haven't tried? Rolling out the red carpet and treating them like royalty.

Take Osama bin Laden, for example. He's still a sworn foe of mine, but trying to smoke him out of his hole hasn't been working too well. We can't seem to find this guy through violence and intimidation, so let's send him a fruit basket instead. Let's pamper him and the rest of his evil band of freedom haters.

I know I've been saying for years that we're fighting them in Baghdad so we don't have to fight them in Boston. That hasn't been working out so well, and maybe it was the wrong strategy all along. Perhaps we can book them a few flights into town, make them the guests of honor at a fancy-schmancy tea party, and ask them what we did wrong to make them hate us so much in the first place. We'll eagerly listen to their demands, and immediately cave in to them. I don't care how outlandish those demands are, just give these folks what they want. We're a rich nation; we can afford it.

Folks, here's the bottom line: I don't want to die.

That night, we get them a room at the finest hotel in New York, preferably the bridal suite. Then we tuck them into bed, read them a bedtime story, and tiptoe quietly out of the room so as not to disturb their sweet slumber. Bright and early the next morning, we give the terrorists a good old-fashioned ticker-tape parade right there in lower Manhattan.

You don't have ticker tape? Not a problem. Just go to my website,, and you can get some great Factor gear, including some brand-new "Let's pamper the terrorists" ticker tape. Makes a great back-to-school gift, and remember, all proceeds go to a terrorist-coddling charity.


capt said...

It is the death of history

2,000-year-old Sumerian cities torn apart and plundered by robbers. The very walls of the mighty Ur of the Chaldees cracking under the strain of massive troop movements, the privatisation of looting as landlords buy up the remaining sites of ancient Mesopotamia to strip them of their artefacts and wealth. The near total destruction of Iraq's historic past – the very cradle of human civilisation – has emerged as one of the most shameful symbols of our disastrous occupation.

Evidence amassed by archaeologists shows that even those Iraqis who trained as archaeological workers in Saddam Hussein's regime are now using their knowledge to join the looters in digging through the ancient cities, destroying thousands of priceless jars, bottles and other artefacts in their search for gold and other treasures.

In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, armies of looters moved in on the desert cities of southern Iraq and at least 13 Iraqi museums were plundered. Today, almost every archaeological site in southern Iraq is under the control of looters.

In a long and devastating appraisal to be published in December, Lebanese archaeologist Joanne Farchakh says that armies of looters have not spared "one metre of these Sumerian capitals that have been buried under the sand for thousands of years.

"They systematically destroyed the remains of this civilisation in their tireless search for sellable artefacts: ancient cities, covering an estimated surface area of 20 square kilometres, which – if properly excavated – could have provided extensive new information concerning the development of the human race.

"Humankind is losing its past for a cuneiform tablet or a sculpture or piece of jewellery that the dealer buys and pays for in cash in a country devastated by war. Humankind is losing its history for the pleasure of private collectors living safely in their luxurious houses and ordering specific objects for their collection."

Ms Farchakh, who helped with the original investigation into stolen treasures from the Baghdad Archaeological Museum in the immediate aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, says Iraq may soon end up with no history.

"There are 10,000 archaeological sites in the country. In the Nassariyah area alone, there are about 840 Sumerian sites; they have all been systematically looted. Even when Alexander the Great destroyed a city, he would always build another. But now the robbers are destroying everything because they are going down to bedrock. What's new is that the looters are becoming more and more organised with, apparently, lots of money.

"Quite apart from this, military operations are damaging these sites forever. There's been a US base in Ur for five years and the walls are cracking because of the weight of military vehicles. It's like putting an archaeological site under a continuous earthquake."

Of all the ancient cities of present-day Iraq, Ur is regarded as the most important in the history of man-kind. Mentioned in the Old Testament – and believed by many to be the home of the Prophet Abraham – it also features in the works of Arab historians and geographers where its name is Qamirnah, The City of the Moon.


*****end of clip*****

War is all about death and destruction.


capt said...

ABQ Reservists expect deployment

U.S. Army Reserves in Albuquerque expect to be deployed to Iraq soon: Soldiers of the 156th could be called to duty within the next few months.

Most members of the outfit have already been sent to Iraq once. Staff Sergeant Michael Montoya, who spent six months in Iraq in 2001, says that he depends on his wife to keep his family together while he’s gone: “She’s a military wife and she knows what can happen.”

Captain Jerry Brown says “we want to secure our nation and that’s why we do this. For a lot of my soldiers, this is a secondary, voluntary job.”

When called up, the soldiers will have 90 days to pack and prepare.

The Albuquerque U.S. Army Reserves specialize in petroleum operations – including the dangerous job of escorting convoys at night.


*****end of clip*****

escorting convoys at night

I don’t know how they do it (especially NG and reserves).


capt said...

ABQ Reservists expect deploymentRussian nuclear fuel for Iran: Mottaki

DUBAI: After months of wrangling, Russia is set to ship nuclear fuel to Iran’s Bushehr facility, Iranian official media said.

Iran state television quoted Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying, “Nuclear fuel for this power plant, inspected and sealed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, is ready.” He added that cooperation between Russia and Iran for the Bushehr power plant is now “moving.”

Russia is Iran’s key partner in the construction of the Bushehr atomic power plant. But there has been a delay in fuel shipments, after Moscow cited that Iran had defaulted on payments. Analysts, however, point out that it was likely that Russia had held up fuel shipments because Iran had defied the U.N Security Council’s demand that it should halt all domestic uranium enrichment.

Iran continues to produce small quantities of enriched uranium on its own. Mr. Mottaki made the announcement during his visit to Russia. In a related development, Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has offered to work together with Saudi Arabia in the nuclear field.


*****end of clip*****

I wonder how our government will react to a nuclear Saudi Arabia? If we are going to nuke any country that wants nuclear technology - we will be very busy.


David B. Benson said...

Blackwater USA

already mentions the withdrawal of the (apparently not-yet-issued) license. So no change...

David B. Benson said...

Today is Constitution Day.

capt said...

New Thread