Lieberman on Iraq

Too funny:

Last week a series of coordinated suicide bombings killed more than 170 people. . . . Unfortunately, because this slaughter took place in Baghdad, the carnage was seized upon as the latest talking point by advocates of withdrawal here in Washington. Rather than condemning the attacks and the terrorists who committed them, critics trumpeted them as proof that Gen. David Petraeus's security strategy has failed and that the war is "lost."

Um, failing to provide security in Baghdad, says Joe, is not evidence that "Gen. David Petraeus's security strategy is failing?" Well surely it is not evidence that it is working is it Joe? But it gets better:

And today, perversely, the Senate is likely to vote on a binding timeline of withdrawal from Iraq. This reaction is dangerously wrong. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of both the reality in Iraq and the nature of the enemy we are fighting there. What is needed in Iraq policy is not overheated rhetoric but a sober assessment of the progress we have made and the challenges we still face.

A sober assessment you say Joe? Like this one from November 2005?

Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do. And it is important to make it clear to the American people that the plan has not remained stubbornly still but has changed over the years. Mistakes, some of them big, were made after Saddam was removed, and no one who supports the war should hesitate to admit that; but we have learned from those mistakes and, in characteristic American fashion, from what has worked and not worked on the ground. The administration's recent use of the banner "clear, hold and build" accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week.

Very sober. Not. More like drug addled. A 12 Step Program is in order. But it gets better.

In November 2005, this was Joe Lieberman's sober assessment of the situation in Iraq:

Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.

There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraqi hands than before. All of that says the Iraqi economy is growing. And Sunni candidates are actively campaigning for seats in the National Assembly. People are working their way toward a functioning society and economy in the midst of a very brutal, inhumane, sustained terrorist war against the civilian population and the Iraqi and American military there to protect it.

. . . None of these remarkable changes would have happened without the coalition forces led by the U.S. And, I am convinced, almost all of the progress in Iraq and throughout the Middle East will be lost if those forces are withdrawn faster than the Iraqi military is capable of securing the country.

It's true. None of what is going on in Iraq would have been possible but for the Bush/Lieberman/GOP Iraq Debacle. Congratulations on your achievement Joe.

What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.

17 months laters now Joe. Are we there yet? Are we closer to the "coming victory?" What's your sober assessment?

But the best is this:

The leaders of America's military and diplomatic forces in Iraq, Gen. George Casey and Ambassador Zal Khalilzad, have a clear and compelling vision of our mission there. It is to create the environment in which Iraqi democracy, security and prosperity can take hold and the Iraqis themselves can defend their political progress against those 10,000 terrorists who would take it from them.

. . . We are now embedding a core of coalition forces in every Iraqi fighting unit, which makes each unit more effective and acts as a multiplier of our forces. Progress in "clearing" and "holding" is being made. The Sixth Infantry Division of the Iraqi Security Forces now controls and polices more than one-third of Baghdad on its own. Coalition and Iraqi forces have together cleared the previously terrorist-controlled cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Tal Afar, and most of the border with Syria. Those areas are now being "held" secure by the Iraqi military themselves. Iraqi and coalition forces are jointly carrying out a mission to clear Ramadi, now the most dangerous city in Al-Anbar province at the west end of the Sunni Triangle.

Nationwide, American military leaders estimate that about one-third of the approximately 100,000 members of the Iraqi military are able to "lead the fight" themselves with logistical support from the U.S., and that that number should double by next year. If that happens, American military forces could begin a drawdown in numbers proportional to the increasing self-sufficiency of the Iraqi forces in 2006. If all goes well, I believe we can have a much smaller American military presence there by the end of 2006 or in 2007, but it is also likely that our presence will need to be significant in Iraq or nearby for years to come.

The economic reconstruction of Iraq has gone slower than it should have, and too much money has been wasted or stolen. Ambassador Khalilzad is now implementing reform that has worked in Afghanistan--Provincial Reconstruction Teams, composed of American economic and political experts, working in partnership in each of Iraq's 18 provinces with its elected leadership, civil service and the private sector. That is the "build" part of the "clear, hold and build" strategy, and so is the work American and international teams are doing to professionalize national and provincial governmental agencies in Iraq.

These are new ideas that are working and changing the reality on the ground, which is undoubtedly why the Iraqi people are optimistic about their future--and why the American people should be, too.

Shut up Joe.

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    More than... (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by desertswine on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 09:55:00 AM EST
    5,500 have died in Baghdad in the first three months of the year.

    Clear, hold, and build.

    More like "out of control."

    And last month was the worst. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:26:51 AM EST
    No matter what degree of doubt the White House sprinkles into the water supply, the numbers don't lie. March sadly posted the highest number of civilian deaths in Iraq this year: 1,808. By this or any other measure, it's not working. No military effort will ever work in Iraq. Ever.
    'The Surge Is Working!' Isn't Working

    I think Jon Stewart's commentary Wednesday (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by kindness on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:15:30 AM EST
    night using Old Bush/New Bush said it well:

    "We went into Iraq to protect us from Saddam Hussein.  We're going to stay in Iraq because Iraq doesn't now have Saddam Hussein."

    Duh oh! (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by kindness on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:21:07 AM EST
    Tuesday nights....I saw it last night at 8.

    Go to Comedy Central (none / 0) (#10)
    by TexDem on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 12:18:18 PM EST
    and replay it. It's fascinating and funny to listen to the two (Bush v Bush).

    Of course... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by sphealey on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:22:21 AM EST
    Of course, the Germans were fighting a standup battle in the open (and in fact never conducted a guerrilla campaign), the Allies had 20:1 air superiority, and a substantial portion of the Allied forces spoke German and/or had a cultural affinity for the nation they were occupying as they advanced.  So the overall situation was a bit different, eh?


    This isn' France (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Che's Lounge on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:49:38 AM EST
    Was the Ardennes offensive (The Battle of the Bulge) evidence that the invasion had failed?


    Cherry picking out a battle in a war fought in completely different political and military environments to justify a failed invasion is not the way to learn from history. The B of the B was a last gasp effort by the Germans to stem an overwhelming allied advance. What we see in Iraq is a nationwide civil upheaval created by an invasion and lack of security/stability in the aftermath, for 4 years I might add. Focusing on that particular isolated military battle to make such a broad statement about the situation in Iraq is an innaccurate (yet expedient) way to twist history to defend, and dangerously prolong this military disaster.

    Actually the Battle of the Bulge (none / 0) (#11)
    by TexDem on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 12:29:30 PM EST
    may very well have aided the Germans' most feared enemy, the Russians. Causing the US and UK to retake areas already conquered and resisting more fiercely once the US and the UK got into Germany allowed the Russians time to come further than they would have had the Germans had just accepted the inevitable and surrendered in Jan or Feb of '45 instead of 7 May.

    Battle of the Bulge in Baghdad (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Peaches on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 12:32:50 PM EST
    Was the Ardennes offensive (The Battle of the Bulge) evidence that the invasion had failed?

    Quite the opposite, according to Eisenhower at the time:

    On December 19, the senior Allied commanders met in a bunker in Verdun. Eisenhower, realizing that the Allies could destroy German forces much more easily when they were out in the open and on the offensive than if they were on the defensive, told the generals, "The present situation is to be regarded as one of opportunity for us and not of disaster. There will be only cheerful faces at this table."

    I'm no military historian nor an expert on military tactics, but using the perspective DA provides it seems that the Battle of the Bulge might offer a useful comparison to the situation now in Iraq - esp. in Baghdad. It seems to me that  the Surge is analogous to the Germans desperate measure and has actually exposed our troops to even more dangers as we try and go on the offensive. I imagine it is the insurgents who are cheerful when considering a response to our tactics.

    these were but glitches (4.00 / 1) (#12)
    by cpinva on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 12:30:24 PM EST
    in an overall coherent, strategically viable plan of operations.

    Was the Ardennes offensive (The Battle of the Bulge) evidence that the invasion had failed?  Was the 1864 raid in Monocacy evidence that the siege of Petersberg had failed?

    the current "strategy" in iraq appears to be neither. it has turned into a war of attrition, similar to vietnam and the american civil war. like vietnam, we appear to be dealing with an enemy willing to sacfrifice however many lives it takes to get us to leave.

    unlike vietnam, we aren't willing to use the resources necessary to confront that strategy, in an environment much more amenable to conventional warfare; there's no jungle to hide in in iraq. the "surge" isn't it, it's just adding a few more targets, but not enough boots on the ground to actually do the job.

    Hmm (1.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jarober on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 08:57:46 AM EST
    Was the Ardennes offensive (The Battle of the Bulge) evidence that the invasion had failed?  Was the 1864 raid in Monocacy evidence that the siege of Petersberg had failed?

    Are the attacks in Baghdad an information war operation designed to give the political opponents of the war ammunition?  That doesn't mean that the terrorists and those opponents are on the "same side" - but it does mean that war opponents are busy being used, and don't realize it.

    Just because an enemy can punch doesn't mean that the enemy can take militarily significant action.

    Good point (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 10:35:21 AM EST
    The insurgents are just in their last throes. Victory is just around the corner. The next 6 months will be critical.

    Lather, rinse, repeat (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by TexDem on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 12:31:25 PM EST
    Just (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 01:12:28 PM EST
    stayin' the course

    ah ha ha ha, stayin' the course, stayin' the course
    ah ha ha ha, stayin the cooooooo-ooooo-ourse