Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Why they hate us?: How many Muslims has the U.S. killed in the past 30 years?

Stephen M. Walt., 30 November 2009.


Yet if you really want to know “why they hate us,” … the fact remains that the United States has killed a very large number of Arab or Muslim individuals over the past three decades.

Editor’s Comment:

And no amount of “public diplomacy” or “American narrative” will win friends when the U.S. is responsible for killing sons and daughters of people in their home land. That is a basic piece of strategic wisdom!

The Cost of War

Philip Giraldi., 26 November 2009.


Why are these wars so expensive? It goes back to Napoleon: logistics. US bases in Iraq are supplied by a 344-mile road running north from huge depots in Kuwait and by another artery running south from Turkey, both of which require convoys of trucks with armed guards dramatically raising the costs of everything being brought in. It is similar in Afghanistan but worse.

Are American Muslims A Threat?

response by Michael Brenner to question posed by James Kitfield on National Journal Expert Blog, 19 November 2009.


…all it would take to restore sanity is some slight reflection on our dismal performance everywhere we have tried our hand at manipulation in the Greater Middle East since 9/11. We have been consistently arrogant, incompetent, corrupt – in all senses, callous to the pain inflicted on the natives and ourselves alike, and abject failures.

Iraq on the Edge

Joost R. Hiltermann. New York Review of Books, 19 November 2009.


Festering unresolved for years, the Kirkuk conflict has started to contaminate Baghdad politics to the point of disabling Maliki’s government. It has already complicated efforts to create a law governing petroleum and natural gas, for example, and it may well hold up the formation of a new government in the spring. America’s legacy in Iraq could be a divided country that is left to fight over an undefined boundary with Kurdistan while a dysfunctional Baghdad government governs in name only.

Building on 2 blunders: the dubious case for counterinsurgency

Stephen M. Walt. Foreign Policy, 16 November 2009.

Editor’s Comment

Walt makes a fundamental strategic point. The Bush wars involved operational and grand strategic errors, so why institutionalize a shift in defense planning that in effect has the U.S. military prepare for more strategic errors by our leadership? Why not opt to correct the error? It is really an elemental point of strategy: Don’t compound error!

I understand how military professionals who have been ordered to take on foolish strategic missions might feel that counterinsurgency theory is an attractive way out of their tactical and operational dilemmas. But there is really no excuse for civilian leaders, including Sec Def Gates, chasing the mirage of COIN as if it were an answer for our current problems dealing with the consequences of a disastrous Bush national security strategy. Change the strategy and there will be no need for investments in COIN!

High Costs Weigh on Troop Debate for Afghan War

Christopher Drew. New York Times, 14 November 2009.


…even if Mr. Obama opts for a lower troop commitment, Afghanistan’s new costs could wash out the projected $26 billion expected to be saved in 2010 from withdrawing troops from Iraq. And the overall military budget could rise to as much as $734 billion, or 10 percent more than the peak of $667 billion under the Bush administration.

Inouye balks at war funding fix

David Rogers. Politico, 10 November 2009.


Under almost all scenarios before Obama, billions more than the contingency funds requested in his 2010 budget will be needed…

Most estimates of how much more the Pentagon may need now run in the range of $30 billion to $40 billion.

An Ugly Peace: What changed in Iraq

Nir Rosen. Boston Review, November/December 2009.


After the March 2008 Charge of the Knights, when Shias in Iraqi security forces began to fight Shia militias, there was no longer a Shia bloc. This opened up the possibility of cross-sectarian alliances between Shia and Sunni nationalists, all opposed to the occupation. Maliki’s decision to target unruly Shia militias was one of the most important factors ensuring the civil war territorial gains would hold, and the reduction in gang and militia violence would continue. Sunnis suddenly changed their minds about the Prime Minister and started supporting him.