Safer, but not Safe

by

Sep 13, 2006

Seriously, its like shooting Fish in a Barrel.

Today, we’re “safer, but we are not yet safe.” In fact, “The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad.” Its an important struggle, “In truth, it is a struggle for civilization.”

To paraphrase Jon Stewart, If the future of civilization depends on winning in Iraq, why not send just a few more troops? You know, to make sure we win and all.

Oh, right, it was supposed to be a cake-walk.

“I think there’s no question . . . that the insurgency’s gone on longer and been more difficult [than] I had anticipated,” Cheney said.

But if you were to say that, it “validates the strategy of the terrorists.

So, now we’re in real trouble (and this article is an absolute must read):

The chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq recently filed an unusual secret report concluding that the prospects for securing that country’s western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents.

One Army officer summarized it as arguing that in Anbar province, “We haven’t been defeated militarily but we have been defeated politically — and that’s where wars are won and lost.”

But what really floored me (metaphorically, since I saw this on CNN while on a treadmill at the gym):

BLITZER: Let’s go to Baghdad. Michael Ware is our reporter on the scene. He’s just been embedded with U.S. troops in the Anbar Province.

You spent a lot of time going back to the war, more than three years. How gloomy is your personal assessment now of what’s happening in Anbar, Michael?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I mean, to be honest, I’m quite stunned that people are so surprised by this report. I mean, the situation has not deteriorated. It’s been like this for over a year, perhaps even two.

I mean, it can still be reclaimed. I mean, it’s not always lost. And I think people who suggest that fail to understand the true dynamic. But certainly what the Marine general in charge of Al Anbar said tonight on the conference call is he admitted for the first time that right now, today, through the combination of the U.S. and/or Iraqi forces, he does not have enough troops to win against the al Qaeda insurgency.

His mission is to train, he said. If his mission was to change and that to be to win, then his metrics, his troop numbers would have to change.

This is not new. Al Qaeda has owned Al Anbar for quite some time. And the soldiers out there are being left out there undermanned just to hold the line. They’ve been screaming for more troops for at least a year and a half — Wolf.

But that’s OK– we’re really not trying to win anyway. The defense of civilization can be always be contracted out:

The senior Marine commander in Iraq said Tuesday that he had sufficient forces to carry out his mission but that the mission did not include defeating the insurgency.

“For what we are trying to achieve out here I think our force levels are about right,” said Maj. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer, who defined his primary mission as training the Iraqi forces who ultimately would be responsible for security in the area.

“It’s hard to be optimistic right now,” said one Army general who has served in Iraq.

–Jon.

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Dr. Peter Howard focuses on US foreign policy and international security. He studies how the implementation of foreign policy programs produces rule-based regional security regimes, conducting research in Estonia on NATO Expansion and US Military Exchange programs and South Korea on nuclear negotiations with North Korea.