Opinion: The War as We Saw It

#1
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/opinion/19jayamaha.html

VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal.
...
As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable
...
we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric.
...
Sunnis recognize that the best guarantee they may have against Shiite militias and the Shiite-dominated government is to form their own armed bands. We arm them...
...
realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.
 
#4
Perevodchik said:
So what's your point? (BTW, I'm asking myself why I'm bothering to ask you as I type.)
Our friend Mister_Angry is absolutely right. It is a very informative and trustworthly article written by soldiers for frontline.

As for my comment then in fact I commented the article by bolding the last phrase. I agree with the authors that the only workable method to handle such a country as Iraq is using of brutal and lethal force (btw, Saddam was skilled in these matters). As for the West then this method is unacceptable. So the failure is inevitable.

I'm sure that mr.Bush should read the article. It would be more informative for him than reports of his generals.
 
#5
What struck me so much was the ability of front line troops to be able to write such a well thought out piece without official sanction. Can you imagine British troops being allowed to do this? Its strikes me as very odd that those who have more to loose, namely their lives, are gagged from giving their views by those who are not in harms way. And importantly these same politicians will let them fight and die for democracy but put bureaucratic hurdles in their way to practice it at home when on active service.
 
#6
Skynet said:
What struck me so much was the ability of front line troops to be able to write such a well thought out piece without official sanction. Can you imagine British troops being allowed to do this? Its strikes me as very odd that those who have more to loose, namely their lives, are gagged from giving their views by those who are not in harms way. And importantly these same politicians will let them fight and die for democracy but put bureaucratic hurdles in their way to practice it at home when on active service.
Point well made. I notice that these US troops caveat their comments with "Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command." For similar reasons, ARRSE constantly reminds the visitor that it is "THE unofficial British Army community website".
 
#7
That'll be the 'widespread use of lethal and brutal force' that failed to work for the Soviets in Afghanistan and for the US in Vietnam will it? How exactly do 'we' expect it to work now in Iraq?
 
#8
I'm in two minds with Arabs. They seem to thrive on chaos and brutality. They were offered the opportunity to become a democracy and in resonably short order no doubt a well run and fincnced country with all the benefits that brings. But they've rejected it in short order and when they're not killing us they're busy killing each other in brutal and horrific ways.

I don't think Iraq can be recovered without some kind of Sadam type dictator. We in the west don't subscribe to that way of doing things so this will continue to spiral out of control until we decide we've had enough and withdraw and let them get on with it. Lets be honest with the notable exceptions of probably Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar the ME is a dump with infighting all over the place.

They don't seem to want to progress and are busy hating someone all the time. When its not Israel it's the US or us or the west in general. Once they can get over hating everyone else for their own problems perhaps we can then offer our hand in friendship, right now they don't seem to want it.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
Ord_Sgt said:
I'm in two minds with Arabs. They seem to thrive on chaos and brutality. They were offered the opportunity to become a democracy and in resonably short order no doubt a well run and fincnced country with all the benefits that brings. But they've rejected it in short order and when they're not killing us they're busy killing each other in brutal and horrific ways.

I don't think Iraq can be recovered without some kind of Sadam type dictator. We in the west don't subscribe to that way of doing things so this will continue to spiral out of control until we decide we've had enough and withdraw and let them get on with it. Lets be honest with the notable exceptions of probably Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar the ME is a dump with infighting all over the place.

They don't seem to want to progress and are busy hating someone all the time. When its not Israel it's the US or us or the west in general. Once they can get over hating everyone else for their own problems perhaps we can then offer our hand in friendship, right now they don't seem to want it.
There you have it. Pull out, let the bloodbath run unabated and un-restricted until the nastiest b@stard on the block wins, quietens down (or kills) them wot disagree, and before you know it, you'll have an orderly country once more; perhaps even one you can deal with (if not, kill him). This is indeed what they expect from 'strong' gummint and leadership, the tough, leathery, big testicled leaders who can keep the bad boys at bay.

You would probably find that despite it being a despot in charge, the actual casualty rate amongst civpop for him to become such would be lower in the same time-frame than it would be if we kept trying to 'keep the peace'.

Let them massacre each other, they'll soon get tired of it, or dead.

Edited for mongness.
 
#10
Ord_Sgt said:
I'm in two minds with Arabs. They seem to thrive on chaos and brutality. They were offered the opportunity to become a democracy and in resonably short order no doubt a well run and fincnced country with all the benefits that brings. But they've rejected it in short order and when they're not killing us they're busy killing each other in brutal and horrific ways.

I don't think Iraq can be recovered without some kind of Sadam type dictator. We in the west don't subscribe to that way of doing things so this will continue to spiral out of control until we decide we've had enough and withdraw and let them get on with it. Lets be honest with the notable exceptions of probably Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar the ME is a dump with infighting all over the place.

They don't seem to want to progress and are busy hating someone all the time. When its not Israel it's the US or us or the west in general. Once they can get over hating everyone else for their own problems perhaps we can then offer our hand in friendship, right now they don't seem to want it.
Western, Christian armies entered Iraq without any invitations and you expect friendship?

Suppose that United Muslim armies enter the UK to save British people from brutal dictator Brown and because of danger of British WMD. British jirga is elected from RESPECT, Communists, IRA and so on. Brish prsident would be former IRA operative. Would your feelings be friendly then?
 
#11
Do grow up Sergei. The Iraqis were all over us in Basra in 03, they couldn't get enough of us. Please don't start with the old 'should have stayed at home minding your own business' stance.

Also, I'm not too sure how a united Muslim Army (yea right) would feel the need to recruit Communists and the IRA into its Jirga. Or are you just picking the biggest bogeymen you can find in a clever attempt to undermine your schoolboy view of Iraq even further?
 
#13
United Muslim armies
Is this before or after the United League of Dogs, Cats and Mice invade us? :twisted:

That aside, I'll bite. Your assumption is that the elected political leadership are our puppets, and that the current situation is due to their rejection, as we would reject an imposed RESPECT government (you'll see me in the trenches with a kitchen knife on a broom handle before that comes to pass! :censored: ). It isn't, the problem is they don't understand that democracy isn't a winner takes all sport, and as a result those elected are using both their position and private armies to try and gain absolute power.
 
#14
KGB_resident said:
Ord_Sgt said:
I'm in two minds with Arabs. They seem to thrive on chaos and brutality. They were offered the opportunity to become a democracy and in resonably short order no doubt a well run and fincnced country with all the benefits that brings. But they've rejected it in short order and when they're not killing us they're busy killing each other in brutal and horrific ways.

I don't think Iraq can be recovered without some kind of Sadam type dictator. We in the west don't subscribe to that way of doing things so this will continue to spiral out of control until we decide we've had enough and withdraw and let them get on with it. Lets be honest with the notable exceptions of probably Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar the ME is a dump with infighting all over the place.

They don't seem to want to progress and are busy hating someone all the time. When its not Israel it's the US or us or the west in general. Once they can get over hating everyone else for their own problems perhaps we can then offer our hand in friendship, right now they don't seem to want it.
Western, Christian armies entered Iraq without any invitations and you expect friendship?

Suppose that United Muslim armies enter the UK to save British people from brutal dictator Brown and because of danger of British WMD. British jirga is elected from RESPECT, Communists, IRA and so on. Brish prsident would be former IRA operative. Would your feelings be friendly then?
We'd be quite friendly if they entered Russia. That's for sure. You mention Christian army. Is the British Army officially a christian army? What makes you certain that the Iraqis see it that way?

That's what the propaganda says. Christian army in a crusade against Islam. That's what Russians do well, propaganda. Right Serg?

Wasn't the west invited, almost pleaded with to intervene on the shia behalf during the first gulf war and years beyond it? Wasn't the thought then that we let them down by not invading Baghdad?

What about the non-iraqi fighters? Are they welcome because they're muslim? Shia, Sunni, or other?

Fact of the matter is that each one of these little sects is vying for power in the region, up to and including Iran.

In one of Michael Yons reports, he stated that some American officers could run for *democratically elected* office and win by Iraqi vote.

Britain pulling out puts the locals in a precarious spot having to worry about getting blown up or shot by their brethren muslims for not following their specific views on their religion or being friendly to the British.

The deliberate pace of the attack, the systematic and thorough process of clearing the city house by house, street by street, and block by block, were factors in this; but the civilian and military casualties were also kept low by the unexpected and overwhelming cooperation of ordinary Iraqi citizens, who pointed out the enemy and many of the bombs set to ambush troops.
This isn't exactly "Unfriendly" behavior.




American soldiers just watched, but during one of the impromptu stops, an Iraqi man who might have been 30 years old came up and said that he’d been beaten up by soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army. He had the marks on his face to lend initial credence. But most striking was that he hadn’t gone to the Iraqi leaders, nor did he come to the man with the camera and note pad. He did what I see Iraqis increasingly doing: he went to the local sheik of “al Ameriki tribe.” In this case, the sheik was LTC Fred Johnson. (Note: I have not heard anyone calling the American commanders sheiks, but during meetings around Iraq, American officers often preside like sheiks and with sheiks.)

More and more Iraqis put their trust in Americans as arbiters of justice. The man said he was afraid to complain to Iraqi officials because he might get killed, but he wanted to tell LTC Johnson, who listened carefully. When the man pleaded for anonymity, Johnson said he needed written statements from witnesses. The man pointed to some witnesses, and then disappeared and came back with statements, and I can say from my own eyes that Johnson was careful with those statements, guarding them until he could get alone with an Iraqi general later on 05 July.
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/baqubah-update-05-july-2007.htm
 
#15
Perevodchik said:
Do grow up Sergei. The Iraqis were all over us in Basra in 03, they couldn't get enough of us. Please don't start with the old 'should have stayed at home minding your own business' stance.

Also, I'm not too sure how a united Muslim Army (yea right) would feel the need to recruit Communists and the IRA into its Jirga.
Indeed why? My scenario is mirroring current American actions in Iraq. The Americans cooperated with Iraqi communist. And current Iraqi president is a leader of separatists.

Perevodchik said:
Or are you just picking the biggest bogeymen you can find in a clever attempt to undermine your schoolboy view of Iraq even further?
I see, you would cooperate with Muslim invadors (in my imaginary scenario) and help them to build new British Islamic republic under sharia Law... No? You would not? But why? From point of view of the Muslims their style of life and their laws are the best possible.
 
#16
parapauk said:
United Muslim armies
Is this before or after the United League of Dogs, Cats and Mice invade us? :twisted:

That aside, I'll bite. Your assumption is that the elected political leadership are our puppets, and that the current situation is due to their rejection, as we would reject an imposed RESPECT government (you'll see me in the trenches with a kitchen knife on a broom handle before that comes to pass! :censored: ). It isn't, the problem is they don't understand that democracy isn't a winner takes all sport, and as a result those elected are using both their position and private armies to try and gain absolute power.
Democracy and dictatorship are two sides on a medal that is called Power. You see one side and many Iraqis another one.
 
#17
Sorry mate, but that is just wrong. I'll guarantee you that 95% of Iraqis have no doubt what form of government is better for them. Just like everywhere else which is run by a bunch of violent mouthpieces for the ultra Islamic nazis, they just don't get the opportunity to express that opinion without the threat of death or worse.
 
#18
ghost_us said:
KGB_resident said:
Ord_Sgt said:
I'm in two minds with Arabs. They seem to thrive on chaos and brutality. They were offered the opportunity to become a democracy and in resonably short order no doubt a well run and fincnced country with all the benefits that brings. But they've rejected it in short order and when they're not killing us they're busy killing each other in brutal and horrific ways.

I don't think Iraq can be recovered without some kind of Sadam type dictator. We in the west don't subscribe to that way of doing things so this will continue to spiral out of control until we decide we've had enough and withdraw and let them get on with it. Lets be honest with the notable exceptions of probably Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar the ME is a dump with infighting all over the place.

They don't seem to want to progress and are busy hating someone all the time. When its not Israel it's the US or us or the west in general. Once they can get over hating everyone else for their own problems perhaps we can then offer our hand in friendship, right now they don't seem to want it.
Western, Christian armies entered Iraq without any invitations and you expect friendship?

Suppose that United Muslim armies enter the UK to save British people from brutal dictator Brown and because of danger of British WMD. British jirga is elected from RESPECT, Communists, IRA and so on. Brish prsident would be former IRA operative. Would your feelings be friendly then?
We'd be quite friendly if they entered Russia. That's for sure. You mention Christian army. Is the British Army officially a christian army? What makes you certain that the Iraqis see it that way?
For Muslim World I believe British, American and other NATO armies (except Turkish) are Christian armies. It's my opinion.

ghost_us said:
That's what the propaganda says. Christian army in a crusade against Islam. That's what Russians do well, propaganda. Right Serg?
Chechen separatists actively used flag of Islam, ideas of Jihad and so on. For Chechne separatists Russian army was namely Christian army. Call it propaganda or not in Iraq and Afghanistan Islamic factor is one of the most important. In both countries insurgents actively use flag of Islam.

ghost_us said:
Wasn't the west invited, almost pleaded with to intervene on the shia behalf during the first gulf war and years beyond it? Wasn't the thought then that we let them down by not invading Baghdad?
Maybe, but it's irrelevant. In 2003 no one Iraqi organisation, party, group asked USA to invade Iraq. No one had invited the coalition.

ghost_us said:
What about the non-iraqi fighters? Are they welcome because they're muslim? Shia, Sunni, or other?
Non-Iraqi fighters. Their number is so insignificant that we can not take it into account. Have you any numbers about non-Iraqi fighters?

ghost_us said:
Fact of the matter is that each one of these little sects is vying for power in the region, up to and including Iran.
It is their country btw. It is possible that later or sooner new strongman, new edition of Saddam would pacify the country.

ghost_us said:
In one of Michael Yons reports, he stated that some American officers could run for *democratically elected* office and win by Iraqi vote.
No doubt. Why not to elect new Iraqi parliament from American soldiers?

ghost_us said:
Britain pulling out puts the locals in a precarious spot having to worry about getting blown up or shot by their brethren muslims for not following their specific views on their religion or being friendly to the British.

The deliberate pace of the attack, the systematic and thorough process of clearing the city house by house, street by street, and block by block, were factors in this; but the civilian and military casualties were also kept low by the unexpected and overwhelming cooperation of ordinary Iraqi citizens, who pointed out the enemy and many of the bombs set to ambush troops.
This isn't exactly "Unfriendly" behavior.

American soldiers just watched, but during one of the impromptu stops, an Iraqi man who might have been 30 years old came up and said that he’d been beaten up by soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army. He had the marks on his face to lend initial credence. But most striking was that he hadn’t gone to the Iraqi leaders, nor did he come to the man with the camera and note pad. He did what I see Iraqis increasingly doing: he went to the local sheik of “al Ameriki tribe.” In this case, the sheik was LTC Fred Johnson. (Note: I have not heard anyone calling the American commanders sheiks, but during meetings around Iraq, American officers often preside like sheiks and with sheiks.)

More and more Iraqis put their trust in Americans as arbiters of justice. The man said he was afraid to complain to Iraqi officials because he might get killed, but he wanted to tell LTC Johnson, who listened carefully. When the man pleaded for anonymity, Johnson said he needed written statements from witnesses. The man pointed to some witnesses, and then disappeared and came back with statements, and I can say from my own eyes that Johnson was careful with those statements, guarding them until he could get alone with an Iraqi general later on 05 July.
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/baqubah-update-05-july-2007.htm
American army is strong. It is a real powerfull force. Iraqis, Arabs respect force. It is not a big surprise. But those who admire you could kill you next day without any hesitation. For them you are allien, infidel.
 
#19
Perevodchik said:
Sorry mate, but that is just wrong. I'll guarantee you that 95% of Iraqis have no doubt what form of government is better for them. Just like everywhere else which is run by a bunch of violent mouthpieces for the ultra Islamic nazis, they just don't get the opportunity to express that opinion without the threat of death or worse.
Dear friend, your 95% recalled me Soviet times then the whole Soviet people with a deep satisfaction wholeheartedly supports wise policy of central comittee of Communist party and personally dear comrade Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev. Applauses! Everybody stands up.

Be a realist. There are no one political party in Iraq that declares Western democratic values as its own. Under umbrella of American military might it was possible. But... but apparently too few in Iraq support Western democratic values.
 
#20
KGB_resident said:
Perevodchik said:
Sorry mate, but that is just wrong. I'll guarantee you that 95% of Iraqis have no doubt what form of government is better for them. Just like everywhere else which is run by a bunch of violent mouthpieces for the ultra Islamic nazis, they just don't get the opportunity to express that opinion without the threat of death or worse.
Dear friend, your 95% recalled me Soviet times then the whole Soviet people with a deep satisfaction wholeheartedly supports wise policy of central comittee of Communist party and personally dear comrade Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev. Applauses! Everybody stands up.
Exactly my point mate. Did you prefer zasloj, or was an alternative on offer?
 

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