Category Archives: Iraq

Success has many fathers

Posted by lex, on August 6, 2008

But failure has a better publicist.

Which is why, I suppose, Paris Hilton’s response to the John McCain celebrity ad drew more attention across the blogosphere than did the news yesterday that Moqtada al-Sadr is telling his thugs to stack arms.

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Don’t hold your breath

Posted by lex, on July 1, 2008

Waiting for this pic to show up on mass media outlets.

Doesn’t fit the narrative.

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Grail launch

Posted by lex, on May 13, 2008

An SA-7 was fired at a US Apache helicopter over Sadr City recently:

The attack, which had not been disclosed previously, represents the first time that a helicopter has come under missile attack in Sadr City since fighting erupted in the Shiite enclave in March.

The missile missed the aircraft…

The United States military has made extensive use of Apache helicopters to try to stop militias from firing rockets at the Green Zone and to protect American and Iraqi troops in Sadr City from Shiite fighters armed with small arms, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and roadside bombs.

The helicopters have taken a heavy toll on the militia fighters. In an effort to blunt the American advantage in airpower, the militias have waited until dust storms have grounded the Apaches to unleash heavy rocket attacks on the Green Zone.

But the attack on Saturday suggests that the militias may intend to make a more determined challenge to the American dominance in the air.

I wonder where the JAM came across one of those? I somehow doubt it has been lying around the Baghdad slum in a packing crate since 2003.

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Women’s rights – jihadi-style

Posted by lex, on March 20, 2008

From the Washington Times:

A female suicide bomber who blew herself up yesterday on the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion reflects an expansion of the pool of terrorist recruits and a new favorite tactic in the war in Iraq.

The bomber killed five persons and wounded two policemen in the town of Balad Ruz northeast of Baghdad, according to a statement from the U.S. military. She is the 18th female bomber since the war began, the second this week, and the seventh this year alone.

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On the limits of power

Posted by lex, on March 20, 2008

“I have failed to liberate Iraq, and transform its society into an Islamic society.”
– Moqtada al-Sadr, Asharq Al Awsat newspaper, March 8, 2008

Pity about that.

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Winning and losing

Posted by lex, on February 24, 2008

I’ve said before that the US and its coalition allies are in the rare and enviable position of deciding whether or not to win the wars they find themselves embroiled in – the social costs of wartime defeat are historically so burdensome that it is far more often imposed than chosen.

Put aside for now blood-stirring but essentially intangible Jacksonian costs such as diminished national pride and prestige, not to mention the moral price of implicitly sanctioning genocide and the imposition of soul-destroying tyrannies upon peoples imprisoned by their circumstances. From a purely pragmatic perspective, there are still those holes in the New York city skyline bearing mute witness to the fact that permitting toxic forms of repression to take root inside failed states encourages the eventual export of their barbarisms abroad. Not to mention the loss of strategic influence in a critical part of the world, nor the price of letting implacable enemies fill the vacuum left by our retreat.

But I’ve been consistent on this all along, which has probably become a bit of a tedious slog for the occasional reader. Which is why this Washington Post op-ed from Anthony Cordesman, a harsh critic of President Bush’s policies in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the non-partisan Center for Strategic and International Studies seems so useful:

No one can return from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as I recently did, without believing that these are wars that can still be won. They are also clearly wars that can still be lost, but visits to the battlefield show that these conflicts are very different from the wars being described in American political campaigns and most of the debates outside the United States…

What the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan have in common is that it will take a major and consistent U.S. effort throughout the next administration at least to win either war. Any American political debate that ignores or denies the fact that these are long wars is dishonest and will ensure defeat. There are good reasons that the briefing slides in U.S. military and aid presentations for both battlefields don’t end in 2008 or with some aid compact that expires in 2009. They go well beyond 2012 and often to 2020.

If the next president, Congress and the American people cannot face this reality, we will lose…

We either need long-term commitments, effective long-term resources and strategic patience — or we do not need enemies. We will defeat ourselves.

True enough, although it’s worth keeping in mind that we will have enemies, whether we need them or not.

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If a 20mm shell falls in the desert

Posted by lex, on February 24, 2008Does the jihadi it lands upon care what the gender was of the gunner that fired it?

A long article in the Washington Post Magazine today about women in combat, and what it all means. Very 1990’s.

Profiled is Marine Captain Katie Horner, AH-1 Super Cobra pilot and veteran of two pumps to Iraq. Asked about whether she felt any remorse at gunning down insurgents who had fired on Marine patrol on the ground, Capt Horner replies:

“My feeling is, they started it. They could have chosen to have gone about their day. But instead they shot at Marines.”

Ooh-rah.

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The jihad and Iraq

Posted by lex, on February 14, 2008

In the WaPo today, former CIA analyst Reuel Marc Gerecht makes some interesting observations:

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There’s people as call themselves “warriors”

Posted by lex, on February 20, 2008

And then there’s Gunny Sergeant “Spanky” Gibson:

Gunny Gibson lost his entire leg after an Iraqi sniper fired a round through his knee in Ramadi in 2006 – May 16, 2006 – just 19 months ago. He is the first full leg amputee to be returned to the fight – redeployed as an active marine. This Gunny had been in the marines for 18 years – that is who he is. He said all he wanted to do was get back into the fight. He said returning to Iraq was his first step back to feeling like he was a marine again. He runs half marathons with his prosthetic and it was when he swam in a race from Alcatraz and ended up at the feet of General Mattis out in California. As he emerged from the water General Mattis asked him what he could do for him – he said, “Sir, send me back to Iraq.” It was the only way he said that he would feel whole again.

Where do we find such men?

BTW, the link has the Gunny’s email, if anyone wants to render proper honors.

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Barry’s take

Posted by lex, on December 20, 2007

A little something for everyone in retired army general Barry McCAffrey’s AAR on Iraq, as hosted by Michael Yon.

Reader’s Digest version:

  1. Violence is way down. Stopping asking if it’s really true and start asking why.
  2. AQI is badly beaten but Simply. Won’t. Die. Except when we kill them. Which is lots.
  3. IA are actually surprisingly good and the IP are getting better.
  4. The central government is teh suxXor.
  5. The people are miserable, but the economy is improving.
  6. There are endemic problems that only the Iraqis will be able to solve.
  7. They’ll still need our help.
  8. Rummy was teh suxXor too but Gates Rulez!
  9. Army needs more sojers. To help us bring them home.
  10. This might actually work.
  11. On the other hand, it might not.

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