Author Topic: War Without End  (Read 1148 times)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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War Without End
« on: August 09, 2018, 12:26:23 »
War Without End

The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.

On one matter there can be no argument: The policies that sent these men and women abroad, with their emphasis on military action and their visions of reordering nations and cultures, have not succeeded. It is beyond honest dispute that the wars did not achieve what their organizers promised, no matter the party in power or the generals in command. Astonishingly expensive, strategically incoherent, sold by a shifting slate of senior officers and politicians and editorial-page hawks, the wars have continued in varied forms and under different rationales each and every year since passenger jets struck the World Trade Center in 2001.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/magazine/war-afghanistan-iraq-soldiers.html
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 14:45:12 »
I saw both Restrepo and Korengal; that article takes you 'there' in a different way than the documentaries did.

While the article focused on Afghanistan, the documentary below focuses on Iraq, from around the 2003 timeframe until Mosul fell to ISIS.  It shows, IMO, how the change in, or lack of, political and senior military policy and leadership created ISIS.  I never paid too much attention to Iraq, honestly, because I never thought Canada would commit forces there.  Then IMPACT happened and off we went.

Before we deployed, I was hungry for info on 'recent history' and stumbled across this one.  Bit of an eye-opener;  if what happened was half the clusterf$$k this documentary makes it out to be...well I don't know what to say about it.  It is something else to sit back and realize that US decisions over a course of years created the conditions that gave birth to ISIS which drew the US back to Iraq in '14 and beyond.

PBS Frontline - Losing Iraq

Related to your thread title - is the war in Iraq over, was it really ever  *over* and when will it be over?

‘US forces are needed here.’ After 15 years, fight in Iraq not over

Mar 20, 2018


Fifteen years after the U.S. launched Operation Iraqi Freedom, the remaining U.S. troops deployed there are still needed, the spokesman for U.S. operations in western Iraq said Tuesday.

Marine Corps Col. Seth W. B. Folsom was one of the 150,000 U.S. and coalition troops who initially crossed into Iraq 2003 and is now the commander of Task Force Lion, the continued U.S. effort in Anbar province.

“My Marines and I came to Iraq in 2003 because we thought it was the right thing to do and we served honorably,” Folsom said Tuesday at press briefing with reporters at the Pentagon.

“Unlike a lot of people out there right now, I’m not really interested in engaging in the same sort of self-loathing that a lot of people are doing today on the anniversary. The simple fact is this: the war has changed out here. It’s not even the same war anymore.”

U.S. and coalition ground forces began moving into Iraq on March 21, 2003, to oust former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and prevent his regime from providing chemical weapons to terror groups. After U.S. forces captured Hussein, the chemical weapons program was found to be abandoned.

After the invasion, the U.S. mission in Iraq lasted for eight years until troops were withdrawn in 2011.

The Iraqi government asked U.S. forces to return there in 2014. By mid-2014, large swaths of Iraq were under attack by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, which had easily defeated Iraqi security forces whose capabilities had eroded after the U.S. left.

Airstrikes on Islamic State targets began late that summer; the first U.S. soldiers returned there in fall of 2014 and launched a massive Iraqi military train, advise and equip program throughout Iraq.

Victories in Tikrit, Ramadi, Hit, Bayji, Mosul and other cities followed, and in December 2017 Iraq announced the defeat of ISIS. The U.S. still conducts regular airstrikes against pockets of ISIS fighters in Anbar province, most recently in the vicinity of the city of al Qaim, along the Syrian border.

“I do believe U.S. forces are needed here,” Folsom said. “Even though western Anbar and the entire country has been liberated. What we are trying to do with the [Iraqi Security Forces] is help them consolidate their gains. We are at a critical juncture right now,” he said. “If we don’t continue our work to professionalize them as a military, then we risk as return to the conditions as they were in 2014.”
-----------------------------------------------

More at link

* Al Qa'iam, Al Bukamal border still not secure.  I doubt the GoI really gives a crap about that whole part of Anbar...Ar Rutbah included.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 15:08:47 by Eye In The Sky »
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2018, 16:13:09 »
I wouldn't agree that either campaign was a failure as the mission was accomplished the nation building aspect has been messy at times but democracy now exists where it didn't before.At some point we need to draw the line in Afghanistan.Sink or swim time for the Afghans vs Taliban.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2018, 17:03:11 »
2003 forward, Iraq was a *success*? 
Do I love my job?  No.

But does it afford me the ability to go on lavish vacations and buy anything I want?  Also no.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2018, 17:17:12 »
2003 forward, Iraq was a *success*?

Neo-Imperialism carries a heavy burden:

The Perils of (and for) an Imperial America

In their public discourse, Americans have come to the point where it is hard to find a foreign policy address by any prominent figure in either party that does not make constant reference to the United States as the indispensable nation, the sole superpower, the uniquely responsible state, or the lone conscience of the
world. William Kristol and Robert Kagan, editors at the conservative Weekly Standard, have unabashedly called upon the United States to take the lead in establishing a “benevolent global hegemony”- though how benevolent it would be is unclear since they propose to attain it through a massive increase in U.S. defense spending.

http://www1.udel.edu/globalagenda/2005/student/readings/maynes-rothkopf.pdf
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2018, 18:26:57 »
From a warfighting position it was a success.We had to bring troops,support and equipment where we had little in place. The officers that were junior officers have become senior officers.A few brigade and battalion commanders have become general officers. Our capabilities on the battlefield are awesome and were a wake up call for our potential enemies.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2018, 19:30:26 »
Have a watch of that PBS documentary.  Let me know what you think if you don't mind...
Do I love my job?  No.

But does it afford me the ability to go on lavish vacations and buy anything I want?  Also no.

Offline FJAG

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2018, 19:49:11 »
From a warfighting position it was a success.We had to bring troops,support and equipment where we had little in place. The officers that were junior officers have become senior officers.A few brigade and battalion commanders have become general officers. Our capabilities on the battlefield are awesome and were a wake up call for our potential enemies.

4,424 US KIA, 31,952 WIA in Iraq;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War

2,372 US KIA, 20,320 US WIA in Afghanistan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_in_the_War_in_Afghanistan

Bit of a steep price for some career progression in the officer corps. I doubt that your enemies learned anything other than that the world's mightiest army can be beaten to a standstill by a bunch of determined religious fanatics and drug lords using nothing bigger than RPGs and IEDs and a determination to play the long game.

Sorry. I don't want to appear crass, but your way of measuring success is a bit skewed.  :2c:

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2018, 20:46:20 »
I was one of the senior planners for both ops,so I stand by my comments and due to OPSEC issues I will not discuss this any further,Sorry.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2018, 09:29:57 »
The most senior (political and military) leadership seemed to have lacked a clear end state, or that end state shifted if it was known.  The change in policy from the POTUS level when Obama went in seemed to really create the conditions for Iraq to begin the backwards slide.  Al-Maliki started to drop the hammer, the White House went hands off and eventually, ISIS came out of the Badlands and started their push. 

Not directed at you, or your plans, but overall, I think the US policy was unclear, folks like Bremer made some major mistakes early on - now U.S. forces are again back there and fighting.  All things considered, Iraq could be 'a war without end'. 



Do I love my job?  No.

But does it afford me the ability to go on lavish vacations and buy anything I want?  Also no.

Offline Colin P

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2018, 10:18:43 »
Friend of mine was a bodyguard for Paul Bremer, who I blamed for a lot of the decisions. My friend says that he felt that Bremer was given his marching orders from higher up and he was a bit of a fall guy for someone higher up, likely Rumfeld. The invasion was a remarkable feat of arms, doing in a short period what Iran failed to do in a decade. However post invasion there was 2 critical failures, the disbandment of the army and the rapid de-baathfication of the government. 

Offline winnipegoo7

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2018, 10:22:42 »
I was one of the senior planners for both ops,so I stand by my comments and due to OPSEC issues I will not discuss this any further,Sorry.

Why did you join the thread if you aren’t able to discuss the topic?

I ask because I find it strange when people make bold claims / statements, but when they are challenged they claim “OPSEC” and tell us to just trust them.

 Pet peeve of mine. Sorry.


Offline tomahawk6

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2018, 11:32:30 »
I see where the thread is heading.While all of this is history and open source I will discuss as long as we can remain in that arena.The President wanted options and obviously the goal was regime change and how to accomplish that. Regime change was accomplished.

Offline Colin P

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2018, 12:14:26 »
The international opposition to ousting Saddam, showed just how little the international community cares what a dictator does, about the only thing he didn't do is nuke one of his neighbours and likely he would have if given time to build that capacity. 

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2018, 13:50:43 »
Actually there was a coalition of 30 nations I wish there had been more,I notice Canada was not on the list. Maybe Canada joined later,I know several countries did.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-boasts-big-coalition-for-iraq-war/

The State Department's list of 30 countries that are members of a "Coalition for the Immediate Disarmament of Iraq'':
Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Japan (post conflict), Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan.

Offline FJAG

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2018, 14:06:52 »
Actually there was a coalition of 30 nations I wish there had been more,I notice Canada was not on the list. Maybe Canada joined later,I know several countries did.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-boasts-big-coalition-for-iraq-war/

The State Department's list of 30 countries that are members of a "Coalition for the Immediate Disarmament of Iraq'':
Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Japan (post conflict), Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan.

Canada was in Iraq in 1991 and subsequently was in Afghanistan after 9/11 where we had significant numbers of troops. We did not buy into the rationale for going into Iraq and declined to go unless there was a UN resolution to that effect. Since one never came we did not officially go.

On the other hand, some 100 Canadian personnel on exchange with US formations and units were allowed to deploy with their units and did go as did some people on peripheral operations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_and_the_Iraq_War

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: War Without End
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2018, 14:38:26 »
Thanks for refreshing my old memory. ;)