Monday, August 06, 2007
Report on the American War Dead in Iraq and Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, 12 Americans dies--5 were killed by IEDs and 5 by small arms. One was killed by indirect fire and 1 in what was described merely as combat operations. That sounds like a real, but very small war. Karzai has announced that the Taliban is defeated and it is merely a matter of time before they are eradicated. Sounds plausible to me.
In Iraq, as usual, the IED has killed the most--this period it was 33. That is way, way down from early Summer. Good. Thirteen were killed in combat operations, but they were not all Marines and not only in al Anbar. Seven were killed by small arms including grenades and rocket propelled grenades. Three died in accidents and 7 were dead from non combat causes. One was killed by mortar fire and one was killed by indirect fire. It really bugs me that I do not grasp the distinction between those two. One was killed by a land mine, one died from a non hostile cause and one from an unknown cause. A colonel was killed and two majors and two first lieutenants. I did nor see a single woman's name. That's good too. So the total was 68, which is about half of what the figure was in July and June (122 and 120) and nearly a third less than the figures in May and April (98 and 96).
I would not expect that more aggressive tactics would result in less battle deaths, not immediately, at least. The surge tactics involve, in set piece attacks, take and hold as opposed to take and abandon. That change in itself doesn't seem actually more aggressive. Still, our casualties were up since Petraeus took over. But there is a hidden side of this sort of war; the special forces who target and kill, target and kill in small, well planned attacks. Apparently those guys have been unleashed and are wreaking havoc in the al Qaeda middle management. So with no big increase in our casualties, were sending the Jihad types on to Paradise at an increasing rate. And we're being joined by ever better Iraqi forces and also sick-of-al-Qaeda Iraqi citizens, not only in al Anbar but in Diyala and even Salah ad-Din provinces as well.
Getting tougher and tougher to say the new tactics have failed.
B/f I get to my comment, some of us do not view Mr. Kristol as a credible source of reality, confused as he remains by filtering any and all facts through his ideology. The legal term of asrt for this process is "Drinking your own bathwater."
I recommend "Getting Iraq Wrong" by Michael Ignatieff which appeared in the magazine section of last Sunday's NYT.
certainly our new tactics are succeeding in the short run and it is probable that al Qaeda in Mesopotamia or The Righteous Starburst of Heaven at 3:15 p.m. on January 21st or whatever they are calling themselves will sooner or later be expelled in all but the most remote areas where thay can be resupplied from outside Iraq.
It appears that the Iraqis who welcomed al Qaeda at first, under the belief that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, now realize that the only things al Qaeda offers are endless violence and destruction at the expense of everything owned by their hosts including daughters of marriageable age. The Iraqis finally recognize al Qaeda as the locusts they are.
That said, I think we should be cautious and recognize the real possibility that once al Qaeda is expelled, the Iraqis will resume killing one another and any of our troops that get in the way. We should also recognize that al Qaeda is only responsible for a relatively small precentage of the violence in Iraq.
But I digress. I really wanted your opinion regarding the Taliban. Is the Taliban like smallpox that can be erradicated? Or is it something like polio that can be contained and rendered no threat, so long as you vaccinate against it?
"And on this issue of the Shia in Iraq, I think there's been a certain amount of, frankly, Terry, a kind of pop sociology in America that, you know, somehow the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq's always been very secular."
And this new government they elect, "as time to vote rolls around" are there going to be both
Sunnis and Shi'ites and other tribes in it, tribes who have hated each other for hundres of years, and are they suddenly going to get along? And I supose we're going to continue surging while we wait for this new election and this reconcilliation to take place.
Doesn't matter...they'll say it anyway. My favorite sources for Iraq reality checks are Michael Yon and Michael Totten. It may be a micro view at times, but it seems to be increasingly indicative of the improving situation in Iraq.
Which Iraqis are you talking about?
You have sumed up the entire problem with Kristol's analyis-- he ignores the fact that there are numerous factions that make up the the Iraqis that hate each other, a fact which makes political reconciliation pretty much impossible no matter how much money or how many lives we pour into that country. aND i can quote many experts "back from Iraq" who feel that way.
See previous posts. Take the under on the democratically elected government in Iraq. Prepare for Plan B.
While I realize there are some Einsteins over at Anti-Idotarian Rotweiller who constantly crow about wanting to blow away a few liberals, I don't think comparing the factionalism in Iraq with that in america, is a very strong argument.