Friday, October 08, 2004

The Empty Rifle: Kerry's War Strategy

Senator John "Hanoi" Kerry displayed the lack of direction, purpose and focus that has made him infamous in his recent Colorado press conference. Despite all of the help that the liberal press can muster, his bounce from the first debate has clearly not been enough and is waning.

More ominously, his policy alternatives are going up in smoke. First, the French and Germans clarified that no amount of Kerry rhetoric was going to change their policies. Kerry has been forced to admit that foreign governments wil not send troops to replace Americans. That being said, what will he do differently? A simple question that has never been clearly answered.

In hindsight, Kerry suggested that he would have allowed sanctions to continue. We know that the Fench, Germans, Russian and Chinese were all pushing to end sanctions. It is not clear that sanctions would have passed Kerry's "global test." This presumes that sanctions were effective or would have been indefinitely effective. Neither assumption seems warranted with the release of the CIA's survey this week. Saddam had clearly mastered doing whatever he wanted to do regardless of the sanctions. Had they remained "in place" with their corrupt administration, it is no leap of logic to assume that he could have reconstituted his WMD programs in any event. One consistent violation of sanctions was acquiring dual purpose technologies afterall.

So we are prospectively left with nothing but a "secret plan" about how he would "win" in Iraq, while presumably spending less money and using fewer U.S. forces for a shorter time. Retrospectively, we are left with Kerry's fantasy that UN sanctions would have done something to stop Saddam over the long haul. This is perhaps the most damaging item to come out of his Colorado answers and Edwards' debate responses. After all of the information is known, this is the best that John Kerry can come up with. At least Monday morning quarterbacks always win the game.

Randy Mott





Tuesday, October 05, 2004

An Unfiltered Look at Today's Iraq

John "Pierre" Kerry blasted Prime Minister Allawi's speech [am I the only one that thinks he looks likes Tony Soprano?] to Congress as overly optimistic. The AP has just run a gloomy article that reflects the spin from Newsweek and other liberal media sources in the U.S. "There are two Iraqs at the moment; both equally real and consequential. The Iraq of never ending strife - the insurgency, terrorism, crime, and all too slow pace of reconstruction makes for interesting news stories and exciting footage. The Iraq of steady recovery, returning normalcy and a dash of hope rarely does."
http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2004/09/good-news-from-iraq-part-11_27.html


No critic on the current situations discusses any particulars. I have just seen a study of the location of the terrorist attacks by region, for example, that clearly
shows a few urban pockets of fighting. The plan to attack these pockets had to await the training of the Iraqi forces to support it. It was clear in the early summer that they were not ready and seems clearer now that they probably are. The few cities that are still unstable and used as bases for terrorist strike will be flushed of insurgents by the US-Iraqi and other allied troops and then Iraqi security forces will keep order assisted by coalition "rapid response" units and patrols. The 1st Infantry Division assisted by 2000 Iraqis retook Samarra with one U.S. fatality, killing about 100 terrorists and capturing another 100. This is incredibly stuff for urban warfare and illustrates how much U.S. and Iraqi forces have improved their tactics.

Those airstrikes in the news are being spotted - in all likelihood- by special ops forces on the ground, painting the targets with lasers - the accuracy of the airstrike is under one meter, plus or minus.

By the election, Fallujah and other remaining pockets of terrorist resistance will be eliminated. A significant percent of the fighters are foreigners, there is no
insurgency and certainly no threatened civil war. Local leaders in Samarra worked with the central government and U.S. forces to get the terrorists removed from their
community and start reconstruction. See Iran the Model for a solid Iraqi blog: http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com.

The classic mistake is to view the number of bombings by the terrorists as a measure of their success or support. As their numbers shrink and the places that they can hide decline, they increase the attacks to get exactly the type of press coverage AP is providing. The press coverage is their weapon, not the bombs themselves. The killing of civilians is hurting them badly in Iraq - with more tribal leaders and religious figures condemning them every week. But it still makes big news in the U.S. and Europe and achieves their objective of reducing the will to support the Iraqi Government.

The Iraqi people have reflected strong sentiments in favor of the new government (66% approval rating, more than Clinton's anytime in his tenure) and strongly support the
elections, almost 80%. See http://iri.org/09-07-04- IraqPoll.asp for current polling info. Allawi is a Suni and various Suni religious and tribal leaders have been urging participation in the new political process instead of street fighting.

If you read Zarqawi's captured memo from March, you understand that the terrorist strategy of pitting Sunis against Shias and delaying the creation of a viable Iraqi
government is not working. The public is increasingly alienated by the tactics of killing Iraqis civilians. The Sunis and Shias in the main are working together with the Kurds to hold together their country and have real elections.

"Four tribes' chiefs promised to declare a threat to the militants in Fallujah that they should turn themselves to the authorities peacefully or the tribes will fight them. At the same time many citizens in Fallujah stated that they are willing to participate in the upcoming elections. Meanwhile Ayad Allawi gave a statement about a military action in Fallujah to be taken soon." Iran the Model, blog site. "Same sources pointed out that thousands of armed men from these tribes are ready to sweep the city of Fallujah, and that they have received letters from many respectable figures in Fallujah including some clerics that plead to the Iraqi tribes to save the citizens of Fallujah from the deteriorating condition under the rule of armed gangs and terrorists." http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com.

Commentators who are panicking at the casualty counts from suicide attacks and roadside bonds are missing the real event, just as they missed it entirely during the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam. Both actions are the acts of a desperate enemy that has badly miscalculated the military situation on the ground and can only win by political means, especially the use of "useful idiots" who unknowingly collaborate their strategy (Stalin's term for Westerners sympathetic or apologetic for Soviet excesses).

The consequences of a failure in Iraq would be severe and unacceptable to the United States and its real allies:

"...the consequences of abandoning even that minimalist
objective could be severe. Leaving Iraq under the pressure
of terrorist attacks would be viewed as a strategic defeat
of historic proportions for the United States. The message
sent around the world would be that enough roadside bombs,
suicide attacks and beheadings of civilians can succeed in
forcing the United States (and by extension, any
government) to abandon its goals. Success in driving out
the American superpower would go down in terrorist lore as
a great "victory," inspiring new campaigns on new battle
fronts all around the world." Gaining The Iraqis' Toleration
The Washington Post, May 28, 2004, Philip H. Gordon, Senior
Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies,James Dobbins, Director, International
Security and Defense Policy Center, Rand Corporation.

None of the following news has appeared on the alphabet news networks in the U.S. or in the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, or Time magazine. It conflicts with the pictures of defeat and suffering that they choose to project about Iraq. These items help explain the huge gap between the U.S. news and the Iraqi public opinion polls.

51% of Iraqis think that their country is headed in the right direction and the percent who think it's going the wrong way has declined to 31%. 58% think that Iraqi-style democracy will succeed. In the polling, 64% of Iraqis preferred "modern" candidates to only 18% "traditional." Support for a "theocracy" like Iran remains in the single digits.

"In oil news, Iraq is planning to lift its output to 3.25 million barrels per day at the end of next year, from 2.8 million currently achieved. This would bring the oil production to the levels not seen since the outbreak of the first Gulf War in 1990. Overall, according to the Oil Ministry, the authorities are planning "oil infrastructure projects worth $20 billion to boost production and exports... The projects include developing the Basra and Khor Al Amaya oil terminals." http://www.iraqdirectory.com/files/articles/article140.htm
[Iraqi business web-site].

I choose to believe the Iraqi people and their leaders with some vision for their country. I choose to believe every credible report from military observers on the ground that I have seen about the status of the "war." I choose to reject the speculation of some leftist Western journalists, writing reports from the hotel lobby in Bagdad to editors that already have their "quagmire" story-line written and are
just looking for text.

I think that I am the realist and they are the dreamers.

Randy Mott