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    What to do, what to do?

    Bush Faces a Battery of Ugly Choices on War

    By DAVID E. SANGER and DAVID S. CLOUD
    Published: October 20, 2006


    WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 — The acknowledgment by the United States Army spokesman in Iraq that the latest plan to secure Baghdad has faltered leaves President Bush with some of the ugliest choices he has yet faced in the war.

    He can once again order a rearrangement of American forces inside the country, as he did in August, when American commanders declared that newly trained Iraqi forces would “clear and hold” neighborhoods with backup support from redeployed American forces. That strategy collapsed within a month, frequently forcing the Americans to take the lead, making them prime targets.

    There is no assurance, though, that another redeployment of those forces will reduce the casualty rate, which has been unusually high in recent weeks, senior military and administration officials say. The toll comes just before midterm elections, in which even many of his own party have given up arguing that progress is being made or that the killing will soon slow.

    Or Mr. Bush can reassess the strategy itself, perhaps listening to those advisers — including some members of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, the advisory commission charged with coming up with new strategies for Iraq — who say that he needs to redefine the “victory” that he again on Thursday declared was his goal.

    One official providing advice to the president noted on Thursday that while Mr. Bush still insists his goal is an Iraq that “can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself,” he has already dropped most references to creating a flourishing democracy in the heart of the Middle East.

    Or, he could take the advice of Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is expected to run to replace him in two years, who argues in favor of pouring more troops into Iraq, an option one senior administration official said recently might make sense but could “cause the bottom to fall out” of public support.

    But whatever choices he makes — probably not until after the Nov. 7 election, and perhaps not until the bipartisan group issues its report — they will be forced by a series of events, in Iraq and at home, that now seems largely out of Mr. Bush’s control, in Iraq and at home.

    Every day, administration and Pentagon officials fume — privately, to avoid the ire of the White House — about frustrations with Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, for not confronting the country’s Shiite militias, meaning that there is no end to the daily cycle of attack and reprisals. Mr. Bush finds himself increasingly unable to make a convincing argument that, behind the daily toll in American lives, the Maliki government is making measurable progress, or even that the problems in Iraq are subject to a military solution.

    It is a vexing quandary that military experts say they doubt that any study group — even the blue-ribbon group assembled under former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Representative Lee H. Hamilton of Indiana — can cut its way through.

    At the Pentagon, several examinations of the current approach in Iraq are under way, including an effort ordered by Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has asked the Army and the other services to identify officers who have recently returned from Iraq and to ask them to offer their views to the joint staff about whether adjustments in tactics or strategy are necessary, two military officials said.

    “We are not able to project sufficient coalition and Iraqi forces to properly execute the strategy” of clearing, holding and rebuilding Baghdad and other areas of insurgents and hostile militias, said another veteran, retired Gen. Jack Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff. “General Pace is doing the right thing by reassessing our entire strategy.”

    Mr. Bush says his resolve to win is unshaken. But a few of his aides were wondering aloud why Mr. Bush, asked to respond to a column by Thomas L. Friedman in The New York Times that compared the Ramadan attacks in Iraq to the 1968 Tet offensive, said the comparison “could be right.”

    “There’s certainly a stepped up level of violence, and we’re heading into an election,” he told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News on Wednesday. “George, my gut tells me that they have all along been trying to inflict enough damage that we would leave.”

    For now there is no talk of leaving. But there is plenty of talk about pulling back.

    “The Iraq situation is not winnable in any real sense of the word ‘winnable,’ ” Richard N. Haass, the former chief of the policy planning operations in the State Department during Mr. Bush’s first term, told reporters on Thursday. Privately, Pentagon strategists and some administration officials note that President Bush has talked often in recent months of changing his tactics, but not his strategy.

    “Tactics are something you can turn on a dime,” said Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state, and an Army veteran with close ties to the military. “Strategy takes time, and that’s the question. Do we have time for a new strategy?”

    While members of the Iraq Strategy Group are cagey about the recommendations they are drafting, several say that Mr. Baker — who is in regular contact with Mr. Bush — is seeking to move away from Mr. Bush’s strategy of withdrawing Americans when the Iraqis are ready to replace them and toward one that sets a schedule.

    “Jim’s problem is that he wants a way to make clear to Maliki that we’re leaving, but without signaling to the Shia and the Sunni that if they bide their time, they can battle it out for Iraq,” said one longtime national security expert who recently testified in front of the study group. “How do you do that? Got me.”

    Then there is the recurring question whether a new strategy requires the exit of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

    Privately some Republicans say that the combination of a poor showing in next month’s midterm elections and the worsening violence could ultimately force Mr. Rumsfeld’s departure. Pentagon aides say Mr. Rumsfeld is not planning on going anywhere. “He serves at the pleasure of the president and has no intention to step down,” said Eric Ruff, the Pentagon press secretary. And, officially, the White House says it has no intention of changing its strategy, either. Only its tactics.

    .

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    Re: What to do, what to do?

    [/QUOTE]“There’s certainly a stepped up level of violence, and we’re heading into an election,” he told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News on Wednesday. “George, my gut tells me that they have all along been trying to inflict enough damage that we would leave.”[QUOTE]


    Ya think? We are in their country after all. That has to be one of the most stupid things I've heard him say. No matter what the reasons for going to war (if they were justifiable or not) the other country is going to fight to get you out! If someone invaded us I guess we probably would be trying to inflict enough damage so that they would leave. Isn't that everys countries strategy?

    I will say this. There is a definate advantage to living in such a BIG country because if anybody really wanted to start a war with us and win, they'd have to blow up the whole damn country to succeed.

  3. #3
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    Re: What to do, what to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Button
    I will say this. There is a definate advantage to living in such a BIG country because if anybody really wanted to start a war with us and win, they'd have to blow up the whole damn country to succeed.
    We were outnumbered and outgunned when the British invaded. A small group of revolutionaries defeated the British in the Revolutionary War and they might not have been able to do that if the French hadn't finally shown up. We trash the French all the time, but if they hadn't helped us when they did, we wouldn't be an independent country now.

    It doesn't take great numbers to win a war, the terrorists are proving that. It just takes better strategy. Bush thinks like a British commander, thinking he can outnumber and outgun and win a war by sheer might. The cells fighting in Iraq think like revolutionaries. And they have better allies. Should they actually do what Saddham told them to do and put their differences aside, band together and fight as as one, we're cooked. But even not doing that, their strategy is proving far superior to ours.

    Lady Mod
    Last edited by sojustask; 10-20-2006 at 06:32 PM.

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    Re: What to do, what to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    It doesn't take great numbers to win a war, the terrorists are proving that. It just takes better strategy. Bush thinks like a British commander, thinking he can outnumber and outgun and win a war by sheer might. The cells fighting in Iraq think like revolutionaries. And they have better allies. Should they actually do what Saddham told them to do and put their differences aside, band together and fight as as one, we're cooked. But even not doing that, their strategy is proving far superior to ours.

    You're right. If either group wants to run the country they've first got to get us out and then they can fight it out. If they banded together they probably would get us out. This war was not thought out very well and it's showing. Short of blowing the whole country up, I don't think democracy is ever going to fly there because they would just end up electing these militant groups again. Of course if we blew the whole country up we wouldn't have really liberated anyone and we'd really have a war on our hands from the other nations of the world.

    Democracy is a great idea but it just doesn't fly in all cultures and we can't make it. When we try we just create enemies and I'd say we have more enemies now than we did when the planes struck the towers. We've definately smoked them out of their holes allright but they ain't dead and there's more of them. We really needed to concentrate on securing our country but it took this long to get a port security bill though. Where are our priorities?

  5. #5
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    Re: What to do, what to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    Bush Faces a Battery of Ugly Choices on War

    By DAVID E. SANGER and DAVID S. CLOUD
    Published: October 20, 2006


    WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 — The acknowledgment by the United States Army spokesman in Iraq that the latest plan to secure Baghdad has faltered leaves President Bush with some of the ugliest choices he has yet faced in the war.

    He can once again order a rearrangement of American forces inside the country, as he did in August, when American commanders declared that newly trained Iraqi forces would “clear and hold” neighborhoods with backup support from redeployed American forces. That strategy collapsed within a month, frequently forcing the Americans to take the lead, making them prime targets.

    There is no assurance, though, that another redeployment of those forces will reduce the casualty rate, which has been unusually high in recent weeks, senior military and administration officials say. The toll comes just before midterm elections, in which even many of his own party have given up arguing that progress is being made or that the killing will soon slow.

    Or Mr. Bush can reassess the strategy itself, perhaps listening to those advisers — including some members of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, the advisory commission charged with coming up with new strategies for Iraq — who say that he needs to redefine the “victory” that he again on Thursday declared was his goal.

    One official providing advice to the president noted on Thursday that while Mr. Bush still insists his goal is an Iraq that “can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself,” he has already dropped most references to creating a flourishing democracy in the heart of the Middle East.

    Or, he could take the advice of Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is expected to run to replace him in two years, who argues in favor of pouring more troops into Iraq, an option one senior administration official said recently might make sense but could “cause the bottom to fall out” of public support.

    But whatever choices he makes — probably not until after the Nov. 7 election, and perhaps not until the bipartisan group issues its report — they will be forced by a series of events, in Iraq and at home, that now seems largely out of Mr. Bush’s control, in Iraq and at home.

    Every day, administration and Pentagon officials fume — privately, to avoid the ire of the White House — about frustrations with Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, for not confronting the country’s Shiite militias, meaning that there is no end to the daily cycle of attack and reprisals. Mr. Bush finds himself increasingly unable to make a convincing argument that, behind the daily toll in American lives, the Maliki government is making measurable progress, or even that the problems in Iraq are subject to a military solution.

    It is a vexing quandary that military experts say they doubt that any study group — even the blue-ribbon group assembled under former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Representative Lee H. Hamilton of Indiana — can cut its way through.

    At the Pentagon, several examinations of the current approach in Iraq are under way, including an effort ordered by Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has asked the Army and the other services to identify officers who have recently returned from Iraq and to ask them to offer their views to the joint staff about whether adjustments in tactics or strategy are necessary, two military officials said.

    “We are not able to project sufficient coalition and Iraqi forces to properly execute the strategy” of clearing, holding and rebuilding Baghdad and other areas of insurgents and hostile militias, said another veteran, retired Gen. Jack Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff. “General Pace is doing the right thing by reassessing our entire strategy.”

    Mr. Bush says his resolve to win is unshaken. But a few of his aides were wondering aloud why Mr. Bush, asked to respond to a column by Thomas L. Friedman in The New York Times that compared the Ramadan attacks in Iraq to the 1968 Tet offensive, said the comparison “could be right.”

    “There’s certainly a stepped up level of violence, and we’re heading into an election,” he told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News on Wednesday. “George, my gut tells me that they have all along been trying to inflict enough damage that we would leave.”

    For now there is no talk of leaving. But there is plenty of talk about pulling back.

    “The Iraq situation is not winnable in any real sense of the word ‘winnable,’ ” Richard N. Haass, the former chief of the policy planning operations in the State Department during Mr. Bush’s first term, told reporters on Thursday. Privately, Pentagon strategists and some administration officials note that President Bush has talked often in recent months of changing his tactics, but not his strategy.

    “Tactics are something you can turn on a dime,” said Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state, and an Army veteran with close ties to the military. “Strategy takes time, and that’s the question. Do we have time for a new strategy?”

    While members of the Iraq Strategy Group are cagey about the recommendations they are drafting, several say that Mr. Baker — who is in regular contact with Mr. Bush — is seeking to move away from Mr. Bush’s strategy of withdrawing Americans when the Iraqis are ready to replace them and toward one that sets a schedule.

    “Jim’s problem is that he wants a way to make clear to Maliki that we’re leaving, but without signaling to the Shia and the Sunni that if they bide their time, they can battle it out for Iraq,” said one longtime national security expert who recently testified in front of the study group. “How do you do that? Got me.”

    Then there is the recurring question whether a new strategy requires the exit of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

    Privately some Republicans say that the combination of a poor showing in next month’s midterm elections and the worsening violence could ultimately force Mr. Rumsfeld’s departure. Pentagon aides say Mr. Rumsfeld is not planning on going anywhere. “He serves at the pleasure of the president and has no intention to step down,” said Eric Ruff, the Pentagon press secretary. And, officially, the White House says it has no intention of changing its strategy, either. Only its tactics.

    .
    The oil minister of Iraq says they can take over defense of their country....
    but he said we should stay till the end of next year! Oh please, its time
    for them to stand up and defnd themselves or forget the whole thing..
    We can supply equipment & arms but get our kids out of there. They
    have the definite advantage of knowing who belongs in their neighborhoods
    where we do not and dont seem to be getting the help to single out the
    insurgents before they blow up another American.

    If we had real "defense" we would again be so strong no one would dare
    bother us and we could take care of business here in our own country
    which is what should come first before anything on the face of the earth.
    We have no defense. Our rescources are scattered all over the place and
    we should not be defending anyone we dont have a treaty with. Winning
    hearts and minds is a pipe dream and is costing us way too much in more
    ways than one....its an unrealistic idea with too high a price tag.

    McCain will never be elected and is IMO a joke. The fact that he survived
    a terrible ordeal in the service of our country only goes so far, as in with
    Kerry its not enough to be a leader and should not be the foundation for a
    president.

    I dont understand about military tactics but I can recognize a lost cause
    when I see one. Its got to stop.

    We need those billions of dollars over here. We need to be drilling in the
    wasteland of Alaska, the continental shelf, the gulf and whereever we need
    to so we can tell OPEC to go ***** themselves. Tell Kennedy to do the
    same and put windmills up whever we want to. I live in the country in a
    beautiful place referred to people from all over TN as "Gods Country" but I
    wouldnt have a problem with looking at windmills...they would be actually
    neat I think, knowing that they symbolize our independence...but then, Im
    a lowly, middle class citizen and dont matter as much as the elite from
    Marthas Vineyard...they are too good to sacrifice anything for the good
    of the country :rolleyes:

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    Re: What to do, what to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by goodwitchofthesouth

    We need those billions of dollars over here. We need to be drilling in the
    wasteland of Alaska, the continental shelf, the gulf and whereever we need
    to so we can tell OPEC to go ***** themselves. Tell Kennedy to do the
    same and put windmills up whever we want to. I live in the country in a
    beautiful place referred to people from all over TN as "Gods Country" but I
    wouldnt have a problem with looking at windmills...they would be actually
    neat I think, knowing that they symbolize our independence...but then, Im
    a lowly, middle class citizen and dont matter as much as the elite from
    Marthas Vineyard...they are too good to sacrifice anything for the good
    of the country :rolleyes:

    You're right. I'm all for helping the environment but we're putting lot's of pressure on the enviroment with all this procreating and driving we're doing. :D

    Drilling in Alaska is not going to ruin the whole state. This country needs to become less dependent on foreign materials and labor. Pretty soon we're going to be the laughing stock of the world because we will not longer be a self supporting nation. If we want oil then we ought to be able to get it in our own country. Now I'm not advocating destroying all of Alaska but it is a big area and we need to utilitze it.

    Windmills would be a great idea. Much better on the enviroment than the coal burning plants in my area. The soot accumliates on the window seals and as of recently I learned that my area is some of the dirtyest in the state because of the coal in the air.

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    Re: What to do, what to do?

    I guess we can always depend on you people to kick this country when its down

    good post Lady Mod

    way to "support" the troops
    Originally posted by Americanadian
    Palin: Omit the "i" and you're left with "Pain".

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    Re: What to do, what to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by franKg
    I guess we can always depend on you people to kick this country when its down

    good post Lady Mod

    way to "support" the troops
    How is talking about possible solutions in Iraq kicking this country when it's is down? Fact is Bush has some hard decisions to make and there aren't any real right or wrong solutions right now. Both choices have dire consequences.

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    Re: What to do, what to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by franKg
    I guess we can always depend on you people to kick this country when its down

    good post Lady Mod

    way to "support" the troops
    frankie, if you ever "catch a clue" we will all be surprised into silence.

    When you start a war on false pretenses, and then act as if your deceptions are justified because you are doing God's will, and that your critics are either unpatriotic or lacking in faith, there are some of us who have given our lives to teaching and preaching the faith who believe that this is not only not moral, but immoral.

    When you live in a country that has established international rules for waging a just war, build the United Nations on your own soil to enforce them, and then arrogantly break the very rules you set down for the rest of the world, you are doing something immoral.

    When you claim that Jesus is the Lord of your life, and yet fail to acknowledge that your policies ignore his essential teaching, or turn them on their head (you know, Sermon on the Mount stuff like that we must never return violence for violence and that those who live by the sword will die by the sword), you are doing something immoral.

    When you act as if the lives of Iraqi civilians are not as important as the lives of American soldiers, and refuse to even count them, you are doing something immoral.

    When you find a way to avoid combat in Vietnam, and then question the patriotism of someone who volunteered to fight, and came home a hero, you are doing something immoral.

    When you ignore the fundamental teachings of the gospel, which says that the way the strong treat the weak is the ultimate ethical test, by giving tax breaks to the wealthiest among us so the strong will get stronger and the weak will get weaker, you are doing something immoral.

    When you wink at the torture of prisoners, and deprive so-called "enemy combatants" of the rules of the Geneva Convention, which your own country helped to establish and insists that other countries follow, you are doing something immoral.

    When you claim that the world can be divided up into the good guys and the evil doers, slice up your own nation into those who are with you, or with the terrorists—and then launch a war which enriches your own friends and seizes control of the oil to which we are addicted, instead of helping us to kick the habit, you are doing something immoral.

    When you fail to veto a single spending bill, but ask us to pay for a war with no exit strategy and no end in sight, creating an enormous deficit that hangs like a great millstone around the necks of our children, you are doing something immoral.

    When you cause most of the rest of the world to hate a country that was once the most loved country in the world, and act like it doesn't matter what others think of us, only what God thinks of you, you have done something immoral.

    When you use hatred of homosexuals as a wedge issue to turn out record numbers of evangelical voters, and use the Constitution as a tool of discrimination, you are doing something immoral.

    When you favor the death penalty, and yet claim to be a follower of Jesus, who said an eye for an eye was the old way, not the way of the kingdom, you are doing something immoral.

    When you dismantle countless environmental laws designed to protect the earth which is God's gift to us all, so that the corporations that bought you and paid for your favors will make higher profits while our children breathe dirty air and live in a toxic world, you have done something immoral. The earth belongs to the Lord, not Halliburton.

    When you claim that our God is bigger than their God, and that our killing is righteous, while theirs is evil, we have begun to resemble the enemy we claim to be fighting, and that is immoral. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.

    When you tell people that you intend to run and govern as a "compassionate conservative," using the word which is the essence of all religious faith-compassion, and then show no compassion for anyone who disagrees with you, and no patience with those who cry to you for help, you are doing something immoral.

    When you talk about Jesus constantly, who was a healer of the sick, but do nothing to make sure that anyone who is sick can go to see a doctor, even if she doesn't have a penny in her pocket, you are doing something immoral.

    When you put judges on the bench who are racist, and will set women back a hundred years, and when you surround yourself with preachers who say gays ought to be killed, you are doing something immoral. I'm tired of people thinking that because I'm a Christian, I must be a supporter of President Bush, or that because I favor civil rights and gay rights I must not be a person of faith.



    I'm tired of people saying that I can't support the troops but oppose the war.

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    Re: What to do, what to do?

    Lady Mod

    Its obvious from that editorial that the authors are revelling the in the fact that things are tough in Iraq right now and you posting that crap just confirms my belief that you support them

    Revelling in thier misery for your own twisted politcal beliefs is NOT supporting the troops
    Last edited by franKg; 10-20-2006 at 08:24 PM.
    Originally posted by Americanadian
    Palin: Omit the "i" and you're left with "Pain".

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    Re: What to do, what to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by franKg
    Lady Mod

    Its obvious from that editorial that the authors are revelling the in the fact that things are tough in Iraq right now and you posting that crap just confirms my belief that you support them

    Revelling in thier misery for your own twisted politcal beliefs is NOT supporting the troops
    And sending them unto WAR is? Frankie, I'm surprised you can even read much less comprehend anything you read.

    I posted an article and responded to a person's post. I have no twisted political beliefs, I think all the dems and repugs should be replaced and we should start over with a new batch.

    And most of AMERICA must be twisted considering most of AMERICA wants our troops out of this war. You are in the minority frankie, in more instances than one.

    Lady Mod

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