War in Iraq

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by 17thfabn, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    On Sunday 26 November 2006 U.S. involvement in Iraq will be longer than the time U.S. forces were in World War II. Of course World War II was going on for over two years prior to U.S. becoming involved. (longer according to some historians)

    I am amazed that as long as this conflict has been going on we have not talked about it more on the military history portion of the firearms forum.

    My feelings on this war are conflicted. Some things I am certain of, others I am less certain of.

    The things I am certain of:

    Saddam Hussein is a truly evil person. He deserved to be knocked out of power, and to die by execution. He has earned a special place in hell! There are at least a dozen leaders in the world who are just as evil.

    I want our country to do every thing posible to protect the men and women we have sent over there.

    The more terrorists that die in this conflict the better.

    Things I am uncertain of:

    The big one, is this war worth the cost to the U.S. in human life, $$, and the amount of our energy that is being concentrated there?

    In hind sight I don't think we should have went into Iraq. From the begining my worry was not defeating the Iraqi armed forces. It was what then? We easily defeated the regular Iraqi armed forces. The vast majority of our casualties have came since the Iraq armed forces fell apart. The country is a mess. I don't believe they are capable of having a successful democracy. There has never been a successful democracy in a country that is both arab, and moslem. The most shocking picture I've seen coming out of Iraq was when four security guards were killed in an ambush. Their burned bodies were strung up on a bridge. Some locals were shown WITH their smiling children dancing around the burned corpses. The kids had the gleeful look our kids here would have after winning a baseball game. The look on those kids faces was the most shocking picture I've ever seen. Worse than the most mangled corpse I've ever seen is the happy look those kids had due to the suffering of others. What kind of people are they?

    In hind sight I think we were better of with the devil we knew than the devils we have unleashed. Bad as Saddam was he was apparently no friend of the Iranians or Al-Qaeda.

    Having said I don't think we should have invaded what do we do now? We need to WIN! How we do that or what such a victory will look like? The pentagon, state department, and our intelligence agencies are all trying to find the answear to that question. We are clearly at cross roads in our involvement in Iraq. Hopefuly our government will make wise choices.

    Would three "Iraqs" make more sense than one? What once was "India" under British rule is now India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Some couples are better of divorced, some countries are better of spilt up.

    Our experiance in Vietnam is often compared to events in Iraq. I often think of our Spanish American War as a better comparision. We lost approximatly 400 killed in action in the war, compared to over 4,000 fighting rebels in the Phillipines after the war.

    As an interesting side note we had approx. 400 battle deaths in the Spanish American war versus around 2,000 non battle deaths, a large number of which were caused by malaria. In this case the mosquito was more deadly than the Spanish Mauser rifles!

    Where do we go from here. The experts in D.C. have their ideas what are yours?
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2006
  2. You've posted a most interesting point for discussion, 17th. Like you, I too have come to have major concerns about the war in Iraq, and like you, my emotions are extremely mixed. Our government has sent our brave men and women in uniform to fight a war on behalf of their nation. I supported those men and women at the beginning of this conflict, I support them now, and I shall always support them. That is unalterable. I too believe Saddam was a menace to this country, and indeed to the world. He was nothing more than a two-bit bully with delusions of Hitlerian grandeur, and had he not been stopped, those delusions might well have led him to crimes against humanity on the same scale as those of Hitler. Removing him from power was neither an unethical act, nor, for that matter, an improper application of our military power. The problem then, in my mind at least, lies elsewhere.

    I fear that if we are not very cautious indeed, we shall find ourselves faced with another endless conflict like that faced in Vietnam. A conflict in which we are too strong to be beaten, and yet not ruthless enough to win. There are all too many parallels already apparent. Just as in Vietnam, are trying to impose a democratic system of government on a people who are seemingly too corrupt politically and too unsophisticated socially to accept and benefit from that system. More importantly, we are once again trying to fight a war as if it were an excercise in politics instead of an exercise in arms. War is the application of raw force, pure and simple; it is not, and it never will be, a means of social "persuasion." If it is war, then let it be war; if it is politics then let it be politics. A soldier is not a politician or a policeman; neither is he a diplomat. It is foolish to the point of idiocy to expect him to be.

    What should we do? I, like many others I expect, have my own views on this question, and to some, those views may seem extreme. I say apply the military force necessary to defeat the armed threat. Do it quickly and do it overwhelmingly. We have that capability. Use it, even if it means making parts of Iraq look like the surface of the moon. When that threat has been destroyed, get the military out of Iraq. If the Iraqi people want another Saddam, then so be it, but with one provisio made abundantly clear: We will not tolerate another threat such as that Saddam attempted. Such an attempt will result not in invasion, but in utter and complete destruction of Iraq through conventional, and if necessary, nuclear bombardment.
  3. VegasTech702

    VegasTech702 New Member

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    I totally agree with that statement. We have waisted too many precious resources of this country to help a country that does not want the help. Like the saying goes, "You cannot help someone who is not willing to help himself." That being said, I am tired of seeing our tax dollars being spent on weapons and technology that sit around while our heros are killed in action. After 9/11 I was rooting for military action as much as anyone, this is not what I had in my mind. If we had just wiped them out in the first place, we would not still be there. Some say that is inhumane, I say what this country is going through is inhumane. It is all a matter of perspective I suppose.

    I also believe that the old "cut and run" plan is not what is needed. We need to finish what we started. Quickly and efficiently. We need to quit worrying about what France or anyone else thinks. We need to make a point that this terrorist activity will not be stood for.
  4. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Against whom? Afghanistan, sure. Al Queda was there and the Taliban were protecting them.

    But Iraq? Saddam and Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11! Bush & Company lied us into a war using fictional WMDs as an excuse.....and then screwed the whole thing up by trying to wage "war on the cheap".

    Invade Iraq because "Saddam was a bad guy"? Hell, the world is full of "bad guys". What're we going to do, invade every country where we disagree with the leadership? North Korea, Myanmar, Libya....and many others?

    More than 22,000 U.S. casualties......and for what?
  5. You may well be right on that, X. The problem is, we ARE involved in Iraq, whether going there in the first place was wise or not. The same arguments you make were relevant to the Vietnam situation we faced in the '60s. The only pertinent question then, is what do we do about it NOW? It seems to me that there are basically only three choices:

    1. Pull out all the troops; i.e., we simply leave and say "to hell with it."
    2. Finish the job using the overwhelming military force at our disposal then impose a military government on Iraq, an option not dissimilar to what we did after the defeat of Germany in 1945.
    3. Continue as we are now, a policy which seems doomed to failure.

    Frankly, I don't like any of the options very much because none offers any real assurance of success. Option 1 would be a clear indication to Islamic radicals that the way to destroy the U.S. is the use of terrorism. Option 2 would make us an athema in the eyes of the world and generate even more hatred against us among Islamics worldwide, quite likely engendering even more use of radical militant tactics against U.S. targets. Option 3 obviously has not worked, and the American people will not support it much longer in any event. The outlook is grim at this stage; we are damned if we do, and damned if we don't. I think, as I did during the Vietnam conflict, that the only hope--and it a small one--is Option 2 or some variation of it. If you will remember, it was the Xmas bombings of N. Vietnam in December 1972 that finally brought the North Vietnamese to the negotiating table and ended that futile conflict. Something like that might well work here, at least in the short term, though I think the long-term outlook for Iraq as a stable Middle Eastern state is doomed. Iraq will end up a theocratic Islamic state inimical to the interests of the U.S. no matter what we do short of making a glass-covered, self-lighting parking lot out of the place.
  6. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    Pistolen, after the Christmas bombing we had some one to negotiate with. Who would we negotiate with in Iraq?

    If and when we pull out I believe their will be a civil war. I don't see the Kurds taking a lot of punishment laying down. In many areas that were mostly Kurdish, Saddam drove out Kurds, and replaced them with Shite Arab Iraqis. The Kurds want these areas back, especialy since many of these areas have rich oil fields.
  7. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    I don't think that's a viable option, PS.

    Our "overwhelming military force" is lies primarily in a technological superiority......not in the number of troops available. In an urban setting, what we need are feet on the ground.....and we just don't have enough troops available to cover all of the cities and towns in Iraq.

    In WWII we had 13,000,000 in the military. More than enough to occupy both Germany and Japan. We have a much, much smaller force today, and it's being strained nearly to the breaking point to keep 150,000 troops in Iraq.

    We're reduced to playing "Whack-a-Mole".....we send a concentration of forces into Baghdad and the insurgents melt away and start trouble in Falluja....we send a bunch of forces there, and they go to Ramadi....or Kirkuk....or Takrit....or Karbala.....or you name it.

    As Colin Powell told Bush prior to the invasion, "You break it, you've bought it"........and we've bought ourselves a helluva lot of trouble.

    If we pull out, there'll be a civil war between the Sunnis and Shi'ites

    If we stay, we'll just keep bleeding troops and casualties......

    If we partition the country (Kurds in the North, Sunnis in the Middle, Shi'ites in South), the south will become a satellite of Iran and (as 17th says) there'll probably be a war between the Sunnis and Kurds over the major oil fields in the North.

    It looks like a lose-lose situation to me.....and I just don't see any good options.

  8. As usual, X, you raise a very good point, and it's one I can't really fault. We simply don't have the ground forces available to us to do an effective job of pacification. We could, theoretically, simply blow the hell out of Iraqi cities with conventional bombs or tactical nukes, but the long-term effect of such action would likely be worse than the present situation. Partitioning is an open invitation to civil war, much exacerbated by religious fanaticism, and ultimately one side would emerge the victor with the same horrific "ethnic clensing" result we saw in the Balkans under Clinton. It may well be that we will be forced to "declare victory" like we did in Vietnam and let them fight it out themselves. We did remove Saddam--something I still say was worth doing--but truly winning this war is a goal that may well be unattainable, for us or anyone else.
  9. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

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    Just an overall observation - - -

    Dating back to Biblical Times, the area was and is no more stable than it was then. History repeating and repeating itself.

    That's just the way it is and forever will be......
  10. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    I guess the only thing we can do is hope and pray that the Baker-Hamilton Commission can pull a rabbit out of the hat, or find some sort of Magic Bullet that will solve this whole mess....but I sincerely doubt that they will.

    Unfortunately, we may have to do as PS says.....privately admit defeat, publically declare "Victory", and boogie out as we did in Vietnam.
  11. Absolutely true, Marlin. I've studied, I've taught, and I've even done an MA thesis on the the ancient history and religions of that region. Historically, it has always been diverse, both politically and religiously. We most commonly think of the "religions of the book"--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--when we think of the Levant, but countless other religions have also influenced the area and still leave their mark--the worship of Baal, Zoroastrianism, and the Greco-Roman pantheon to mention just a few. The Romans found Palestine a most difficult region to govern, as the Bible and many other sources mention. To the western mind the actual situation existing there is difficult to understand. What most Americans do not grasp is the intense intertwining of politics and religion of the region, mostly because of our long tradition of separating church and state. In the Levant, religion has ALWAYS been in integral part of politics. As Kipling said, "O East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet." What irks me is that we should have taken that into account before committing troops to a ground war in the region.
  12. Mark

    Mark New Member

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    I have some opinions on this.

    We, as a culture, don't understand the people of Iraq. I listened to Rumsfeld as he exclaimed, "There will be no civil war. The people of Iraq can't possibly want a civil war." Well, there is certainly something going on between the Shiites and Suunis. Now there is diplomatic movement from Iran.
    We are western infidels. We are hated all over the world. How can we ever expect to bring peace and stability to a people that have only known dictatorship for generations? We are confusing to them. They have no idea what democracy is, and because it comes from us, they certainly don't want it.

    I'm not so sure Bush lied to the American people about WMD. True, there haven't been any found, but look at how well hidden Osama is. Look at how long Saddam was able to hide. Look also at the nuclear program in Iran, it seems to me this thing took off pretty quick. In my minds eye, I can see a bunch of equipment skittering across the sand from Iraq into Iran. Yes, I know, they are enemies, but they are Shiites, they both hate the west, and now there is diplomatic movement.
    Maybe we're just easily duped.

    The terrorists are fighting the same type of war that was waged against us in Viet Nam. It seems to me, the US has a hard time waging war against the man in the shadows. Our forces sure do have good ordinance, but it's not real effective against an enemy that hits, then disappears. If only they would just stand and fight, but they won't.
    Then there's the religious aspect of suicide bombers. It's pretty hard to fight against that. We did experience that with Japan, with the planes and torpedoes they might be seen coming. Unfortunately the human bombs are about as effective as they were 60 years ago.

    The news media isn't helping our outlook on the war either. They are quick to point out supposed attrocities commited by our forces, quick to report "human rights" violations at Gitmo, and quick to publish numbers of US forces killed.
    Terrorists have always been able to manipulate the news media, they were VERY successful in Viet Nam. (I speak of the Viet Cong terrorists.)

    My solution to this mess would be to get ALL the politicos out of the US forces way. Let the Army and Marines do what they do best. We have nuclear weapons, let our forces use them. We also will have collateral damage. We must accept that. Our enemies use everything that is at their disposal, why is it wrong for us to use everything at ours?
    I admit this doesn't sound palatable, but Americans aren't real happy with what is going on right now. The current mess is unpalatable also.

    Our only other "ace in the hole" would be to let Clinton broker a peace. Didn't he do this for the Israelies a few years back in under 40 hours?
    Mark
  13. Light Coat

    Light Coat New Member

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    After a few tours in that region I have some wicked enlightenment. The only way to make the terrorists stop is to stomp the civil population to submission. As submissives the population will give up any information on terrorists; it's the same system Saddam used. Punitive expiditions and pre-emptive strikes on the civil population (as we used against the Germans) are another way of breaking the backs of the grass roots. IF Tikrit had been fire bombed 3 years ago; we likely would be dealing with a whole different situation.

    All of these ideas are against conventions and civil warfare. To the misfortune of the educated and civilized; war is a matter of instinct only aided by intellect not ruled by it. We have renderred ourselves ehtically incapable of fighting a war to win. The French have perfected war; they use non-citizen professional soldiers (mercenaries) and do just fine terrorizing enemies. Maybe we should hire our own Hessians.
  14. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    I posted this subject with some trepidation, but I am glad to see that in typical "thefirearmsforum" that all are debating this subject in a civil manner!

    I like Pistlenshutze's line "to strong to be beaten, not ruthless enough to win". I don't think we are willing to fight the way we must to win this type of war. The fact that we let that fat turd Al Sadar run around stiring up trouble is example one. He should be in the next life seeing if he is going to get his 77 virgins, or smelling sulfur and brimstone, and meeting his true master!

    I think the biggest problem in Iraq is finding "good guys" you want to win. Of the three major groups, Shiite, Sunni, & Kurd, I think the Kurds have the best strategy. Their area is relativly peaceful. They are slowly driving Sunni Arabs out of their areas, training their forces, and keeping their powder dry. They appear to be reading themselves for a civil war. They will probable try and sit back and watch the Sunnis and Shiites bash each other.
  15. SKYDIVER386

    SKYDIVER386 New Member

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    There is one way to win this war. There is also one central reason that we are not currently winning this war and that is because we are not following our own doctrine on unconventional warfare.

    I want to ask the members of this forum an honest question. Can anyone here tell me where to find the tactics techniques and doctrine on unconventional warfare and counter guerrilla operations?

    I know what our doctrine is and where to find it, as I have copies of it on my bookshelf, but my point is that most Americans and even experienced military people have no idea of how to fight insurgents because they have still not read our own doctrine on the subject. Even after 5 years of fighting a guerrilla war, most of the people responsible for the conduct of this war still refuse to study our doctrine for effectively fighting them. This is the primary cause of the situation we face in Iraq.

    You cannot defeat guerrilla forces with conventional infantry, artillery and armor, our own doctrine even states this clearly. Why is it that everyone is calling for a massive buildup of these conventional forces when they have already proven not to work? Why dont we return to the methods that have proven successful in the past?

    Read a copy of our old FM 31-21 and ask yourself why these teqniques are being violated on a daily basis.
  16. You raise a very interesting point, 17th, and I think you encapsulate the underlying problem rather succinctly . We talk and act as if Iraq were a single nation with a single identity, when in fact it is not. As you point out, we are dealing with three discrete "nations" within one geographic country--the Shites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds--yet we persist in assuming they are in fact one. What exacerbates the situation even more is that the three nations that do exist are not based upon ethnicity, but on religious belief. Religious belief is a powerful force indeed, and as a motivater of zealotry it has no equal. Ultimately, I think, only one of two outcomes is possible: either some agreement is reached that will allow a true sharing of power (and I think this unlikely), or one and only one faction will emerge as the ruling force, with the other two either destroyed or essentially enslaved. Either way, it means civil war and bloodshed on a scale we have only begun to see.
  17. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    A slight "beg to differ" here PS.

    While the Iraqi Sunnis and Shi'ites are Arabs, the Kurds are not. The Kurds are of their own ethnic group and range from Turkey, thru Iraq, and into Iran.

    And while the Kurds are also Muslim, they tend to be far more moderate in their religion than either the Sunnis or Shi'ites.

    However, I do agree with most of what you say about this whole mess.
  18. You are, of course, quite correct in an ethno-demographic sense, X. What I intended to emphasize in my comment, however, was that much of the difference between the three groups is based largely on nuances of Islamic theological belief rather than existing as a pure ethnic conflict. This is certainly true with regard to the Sunni/Shi'ite conflict, but perhaps only to a somewhat lesser extent true with regard to the Kurds. In many ways, the Kurds remind me of the Scotts in their long struggle with the English. The Kurds are a people who speak a language (Kurdish) that is not Arabic based and they have a very long history of seeking to govern themselves independently. It is worthy of note, I think, that the Kurds have not been heavily involved in the strife we see going on in Iraq right now. They seem content to sit back and await developments for the time being. I strongly suspect, however, that any attempt to reimpose control on northern Iraq by either the Sunni or Shi'ite factions would result in a very different and far more violent reaction.
  19. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk New Member

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    I think one problem is this country was founded in diversity and our leaders seem to think is not a problem. when we started out it was a case of "have to" because no one group could get job done.
    This won't work else where because their not in a "have to" situation. Each group thinks they can do it themselves and don't need or want the other groups interferance.
    I see this beginning to happen here as our country in splitting along lines of political and ethnic differances. I hope I'm wrong, but I am becoming a pessimist.
  20. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Absolutely, PS. And, if whomever prevails in the Southern portion of Iraq, either Sunni or Shi'ite, should attempt to bring the Kurds into their sphere by force.....they'll get their heads handed to them on a platter.

    The Kurds don't have a milita......they have an army. A cohesive force that's been arming itself and training since long before the current conflict.....since Bush (the 1st) imposed the "No Fly Zone" on Saddam.

    I think "Kurdistan" would be a very tough nut to crack.

    And Nighthawk.....an astute observation, and I agree completely.
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