The US-Iraq War
The US occupation of Iraq refers to phase of the US-Iraq War following the invasion, after the government of Saddam Hussein was toppled and the essential infrastructure of Iraq, where still functional, was in the hands of the United States. Although the initial invasion went reasonably well and was over quickly, the occupation has turned into a goal-less never-ending war against a non-geopolitically identifiable enemy.
Nicknames: Messopotamia, The Iraqi Horror Picture Show (although this latter might better describe the Abu Ghraib abuses or the use of torture during GWB administration in general)
The Republicans largely continue to stand behind a continued presence in Iraq, a position which is now in stark disagreement with their 2000 Party Platform:
|The 2000 US Republican Party Platform says:|
When presidents fail to make hard choices, those who serve must make them instead. Soldiers must choose whether to stay with their families or to stay in the armed forces at all. Sending our military on vague, aimless, and endless missions rapidly saps morale. Even the highest morale is eventually undermined by back-to-back deployments, poor pay, shortages of spare parts and equipment, inadequate training, and rapidly declining readiness.
See also reasons the Iraq war is unpopular (to be written)
The occupation has become a quagmire both logistically and politically, and has greatly harmed the United States:
- US military readiness has plummeted to dangerous levels and US veteran medical care has become increasingly poor.
- The US economy has been dangerously weakened.
- Global opinion of America and democracy has suffered greatly.
The administration has used the occupation, and the war on terror of which it supposedly is an essential part, as an excuse to dramatically ramp up security and secrecy and as justification for suppressing dissent and removing or suspending the civil rights of US citizens, and as an excuse for anti-democratic government activity in general. This is a repeat of history, e.g. the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts passed during an undeclared war with France which is now seen historically (as well as by some contemporaries) to be a thinly-disguised and unconstitutional effort to stifle criticism of the administration.
It is often claimed that flagging support for the war within the United States is because Americans lack fortitude, but this is more likely an attempt to divert attention away from both the incredibly bad management of the war and from Bush's gradual weakening of democracy in general.
- The invasion and occupation of Iraq are part of the Bush administration's "war on terror".
- The US occupation of Iraq, with no timetable (much less a plan) for exit, is an example of an endless crisis.
- 2007-01-17 The Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act of 2007 by Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey
- 2006-12-06 report released by the Iraq Study Group
- Wikipedia: Post-invasion Iraq, 2003–2006 | 2007 in Iraq
- 2007-07-10 Iraq Fact Check: Responding to Key Myths from The White House
- Fatalities & Wounded
- Iraq Body Count: civilian fatalities
- Iraq Coalition Casualties: military fatalities & injuries
- Conservapedia debate: Is the Iraq War a success?
- 2007-08-02 video Rep. Kucinich: V.P. Dick Cheney "Fabricated" the Intel
- found 2007-07-02 The Anti-War Media Assholes "They say that we're simply losing too many soldiers and that we cannot sustain these losses. In short, they'll say it's 'not worth it'. Never mind that our soldiers are killing terrorist scumbags at a ratio of more than 100 terrorists to each man that we lose. Never mind that the 100:1 ratio is much preferable to that of 19 terrorists to 3500 New Yorkers. It will never be worth it to the left wing of this country. No ratio is good enough... EVEN WHEN IT CAN BE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT OUR SOLDIERS ARE SAFER THAN OUR CITIZENS BACK HOME."
- 2006-12-03 How Our Civilization Can Fall by Orson Scott Card: offers a reasonable-sounding argument for the US to remain in Iraq, based on historical civilization-wide crashes. The difference between this and other arguments against leaving Iraq is that it suggests a possible model for what the US should be doing there, with historical data to back it up.
- 2006-11-23 Roads, good intentions, etcetera by Charlie Stross (blog entry, with comments)
- 2006-11-16 Iraq: The War of the Imagination by Mark Danner
- 2006-10-30 The Only Issue This Election Day by Orson Scott Card explains why we are nation building in Iraq, and why it is the only worthy path.
- 2006-08-13 Lies and Catastrophes by Orson Scott Card: in defense of the Iraq war and Bush; synopsis:
- A Democratic congressman recently used the word "catastrophic" in reference to Iraq, "but catastrophe is a word that requires there be widespread sudden damage" so the congressman must mean something else (first 12 paragraphs)
- This is because "he was selling something", i.e. "He was trying to persuade the American people that the Iraq War was a dire mistake, a disaster" which can only (and must) be ended "by withdrawing our troops by the end of the year." (2 short paragraphs)
- Withdrawing our troops in that manner, however, would be a catastrophe because:
- "all the people who have taken bold action for democracy in Iraq would be left high and dry in the tribal and religious war that would certainly ensue. The citizens of Iraq would be slaughtered by local enemies who think nothing of blowing up each other's mosques, weddings, and funerals."
- "all our enemies would be greatly emboldened by such a proof of our irresolution." Our enemies would learn that "If you kill American citizens and soldiers long enough, they give you everything you want. Since they were killing Americans before we liberated Iraq, it is hard to imagine that they would stop."
- People who favor withdrawal from Iraq only do so because "they think we are somehow the cause of the war. We were bad, and so they hate us; if we become good, then they will be nice to us." (straw man argument –Woozle) This is not at all true; they hate us because we are prosperous.
- The rest seems to be devoted to exploring the meaning of "lying" with regard to Bill Clinton vs. George W. Bush; further fisking needed.
...as opposed to "staying the course" without clear goals, much less a plan.
- 2007-01-17 The Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act of 2007 by Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey
- 2007-05-31 A spreading terror by Georgie Anne Geyer: "Iraq, where we were supposed to be "containing terrorism," is now clearly exporting insurgents to other regions – to Lebanon, to Syria, to Gaza, to Bangladesh, to Kurdistan."
- 2006-10-12 'Huge rise' in Iraqi death tolls: "An estimated 655,000 Iraqis have died since 2003 who might still be alive but for the US-led invasion, according to a survey by a US university."
- 2006-03-20 Top Ten Catastrophes of the Third Year of American Iraq
- 2007-08-06 190,000 weapons 'missing in Iraq': "The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the Pentagon cannot track about 30% of the weapons distributed in Iraq over the past three years."
- 2007-05-27 U.S. Security Contractors Open Fire in Baghdad: "Employees of Blackwater USA, a private security firm under contract to the State Department, opened fire on the streets of Baghdad twice in two days last week, and one of the incidents provoked a standoff between the security contractors and Iraqi forces, U.S. and Iraqi officials said."
- 2007-05-09 Retired Generals Challenge GOP in Ads: "Three retired generals challenged a dozen members of Congress in a new ad campaign Wednesday, saying the politicians can't expect to win re-election if they support President Bush's policies in Iraq." The generals in question are Maj. Gen. John Batiste (ret.), Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton (ret.), and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark (ret.); the ads were created by VoteVets.org.
- 2007-05-04 Bush-Congress bickering limits options in Iraq by Leonard Pitts Jr.: "In a way, it all comes down to a question of which imperative you want to betray. It is, after all, imperative that we supply our soldiers while they stand in harm's way. It is also imperative that we not keep them uselessly in harm's way. It is imperative that we not sacrifice our troops to an open-ended, ill-defined mission. It is also imperative that we not leave Iraq a lawless incubator for terrorist strikes."
- 2007-05 A failure in generalship by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling: comparison with Vietnam; analysis of the situation
- 2007-04-22 Iraqi PM criticises Baghdad wall "Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has asked for construction to end on a concrete wall around a Sunni enclave in the capital, Baghdad."
- 2007-04-21 Latest US solution to Iraq's civil war: a three-mile wall to encircle an isolated Sunni district on the otherwise Shia bank of the Tigris river
- Pentagon Can Pay for War Through June
- Training Iraqi troops no longer driving force in U.S. policy by Nancy A. Youssef: "Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces."
- Pentagon Confirms President Misstating Funding Facts In Iraq by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
- 2007-04-06 US Defense Secretary evaluates Iraq and the political climate
- 2007-03-07 Beyond Quagmire: A panel of experts convened by Rolling Stone agree that the war in Iraq is lost. The only question now is: How bad will the coming explosion be? (Experts: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard A. Clarke, Nir Rosen, Gen. Tony McPeak (retired), Bob Graham, Chas Freeman, Paul Pillar, Michael Scheuer, Juan Cole)
- 2007-02-16 The Single Darkest Day in the History of the US: strongly anti-withdrawal blog entry. Seems to make some strange equivalences, but perhaps this could be useful in understanding the pro-Bush mindset?
- 2007-02-21 UK and Denmark announce troop withdrawals from Iraq
- 2007-02-19 Leaving Iraq: Apocalypse Not by Robert Dreyfuss: "Much of Washington assumes that withdrawing from Iraq will lead to a bigger bloodbath. We need to question that assumption."
- 2007-01-15 Today's Must Read: Bush officials are finally, maybe, easing gently out of denial regarding the ghastly mistakes made in Iraq in 2003.
- 2007-01-14 Shock and oil: Iraq's billions & the White House connection
- 2007-01-13 'The jihad now is against the Shias, not the Americans' "As 20,000 more US troops head for Iraq, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, the only correspondent reporting regularly from behind the country's sectarian battle lines, reveals how the Sunni insurgency has changed."
- 2006-12-07 ISG Report: Bush Administration ‘Significantly Underreporting The Violence In Iraq’: the Bush administration has actually been filtering out the bad news in Iraq by underreporting violence "in order to suit the Bush administration’s policy goals."
- 2006-12-06 Iraq Study Group Report: Iraq could be on a slide towards chaos
- 2006-12-04 Kofi Annan: Iraq situation much worse than civil war
- 2006-12-03 Rumsfeld memo recognizes need for 'major adjustment' in Iraq
- 2006-11-04 War simulation in 1999 pointed out Iraq invasion problems
- Hawker Hurricane  said:
- Quoting Stefan Jones:
- "Oh . . . I get it. 1999. That was a Clinton era war game, yielding lessons only of use by an administration mired in old-fashioned reality-based thinking."
- That is pretty close to the truth. Politically, they couldn't afford to send 400,000 troops to Iraq for the 2-5 years it would take to do the mission... So, they decided that it wouldn't take that many troops or that long. The decision wasn't based on new facts or better stratergy, it was based on what was politically feasible. "The Truimph of the Will" covers it as a concept. And now the NeoCons who said it could be done that way are blaming BushCo for failing...
- Quoting Stefan Jones:
- Hawker Hurricane  said:
- 2006-11-03 Congress Tells Auditor in Iraq to Close Office: Stuart Bowen has apparently done his job too well.
- 2006-10-18 Baker: No 'magic bullet' for Iraq
- 2006-10-17 Iraq reality check: The cost in lives lost
- 2006-09-28 Heralded Iraq police academy a 'disaster' by Amit R. Paley, The Washington Post
- 2006-09-17 Ties to GOP Trumped Know-How Among Staff Sent to Rebuild Iraq by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post Staff Writer
- 2006-07-17 Iraq's Reconstruction a Boondoggle by Design by Joshua Holland, AlterNet
- 2006-06-07 Officer says he won’t fight in ‘unlawful’ Iraq war
- 2005-11-17 Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania calls for a change of direction
- 2005-09-19 $1 billion missing from Iraq's defence ministry
- 2007-05-28 A soldier in Iraq asks in despair: Why are we here? by Donald Hudson Jr.: "I have been serving our country’s military actively for the last three years. I am currently deployed to Baghdad on Forward Operating Base Loyalty, where I have been for the last four and a half months."
- 2004-09-29 Wall Street Journal reporter Farnaz Fassihi reports from Baghdad
- 2007-07-27 What Are the Democratic Candidates Really Saying about Iraq? by Ira Chernus: how to decipher the doublespeak (related: 2008 US presidential race)
- 2007-07-03 Winds of War by Joshua Muravchik (American Enterprise Institute): "Islamist radicals in the Middle East increasingly see the United States and Israel as weak, retreating powers. Twentieth-century history tells us that wars often erupt when the enemies of democratic nations view those nations as soft and passive. Consequently, the United States and Israel are perhaps as close as they have ever been to full-scale war with the likes of Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah."
- Orderly Humiliation by Thomas Donnelly (American Enterprise Institute): "Operation Phantom Thunder, the first real effect of the Iraq troop surge of the past six months, is improving the battlefield situation in Baghdad and the surrounding towns. But in Washington, those who believe the war is already lost--call it the Clinton-Lugar axis--are mounting a surge of their own. Ground won in Iraq becomes ground lost at home." Discusses the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), which is apparently the dems' answer to the neocon Project for a New American Century.
- The New Strategy in Iraq by Frederick W. Kagan, Kimberly Kagan (American Enterprise Institute): "The new strategy for Iraq has entered its second phase. Now that all of the additional combat forces have arrived in theater, Generals David Petraeus and Ray Odierno have begun Operation Phantom Thunder, a vast and complex effort to disrupt al Qaeda and Shiite militia bases all around Baghdad in advance of the major clear-and-hold operations that will follow. The deployment of forces and preparations for this operation have gone better than expected..."
- 2006-08-10 The Guns Of August by Richard Holbrooke
- 2006-07-23 In Iraq, Military Forgot Lessons of Vietnam: also makes some comparisons with the Balkans
From http://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html :
- Over a thousand Americans lost, with more dying almost daily and no end in sight.
- Uncounted (and secret) numbers of Iraqi civilian deaths.
- Scandals; poorly supervised thugs ruining our reputation for decent behavior.
- A Western Alliance in shambles.
- Relentless lies; intervention justified by fabricated evidence reminiscent of Tonkin Gulf.
- Plummeting readiness levels — our military is being used-up.
- Utterly divisive of American public (possibly a desired goal), repeating the social effects of Vietnam (Editor's note: further enhancing Bush's existing divisiveness)
- Clever incarceration tricks overused as bludgeons, wrecking credibility and undermining due process.
- Incompetent preparation and handling of the aftermath, featuring rapid deterioration of political, economic and social life in Iraq
- Worldwide acceptance of US moral leadership plummeting.
- And the fundamental strategic outcome — provoking a radicalized Islam, further stirred by Saudi-funded Al Jazeera Network and Saudi-funded religious schools, from Morocco to Mindanao, threatening a pan-Islamic coalescence into Jihad mentality for the first time in a thousand years.
|from The New Yorker:|
Ron Suskind, in his book The One Percent Doctrine, claims that analysts at the C.I.A. watched a similar video, released in 2004, and concluded that "bin Laden’s message was clearly designed to assist the President’s reëlection." Bin Laden shrewdly created an implicit association between Al Qaeda and the Democratic Party, for he had come to feel that Bush’s strategy in the war on terror was sustaining his own global importance.