I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Standing up and standing down

John McCain may be a political hack with dreams of living in the White House controlling everything he thinks and says but he's not dumb. He knows that Iraq is a lost cause. He has been calling for additional troops in Iraq knowing full well there are simply not enough troops available to make any difference. It now appears that the Bush administration and the Pentagon may crush his presidential hopes by giving him what he wants - more troops.
Why Military Calls to Raise Iraq Effort Grow
WASHINGTON -- As demands mount to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq, a growing number of senior military officials are arguing that the only way to salvage the situation is to add more U.S. forces and more U.S. money.

Outside the military, most of the debate is focused on a U.S. troop withdrawal. But inside the Pentagon, the recent dismissal of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has given some new life to arguments by military officers who say the U.S. must pour more troops and money into the country to expand the Iraqi army -- the one institution in Iraq that has shown some promise -- and stabilize the capital.

Right now there are about 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Though there are no firm plans for an increase, some military officials said that as many as 30,000 more troops could be needed. Most of the U.S. troops would be focused on patrolling Baghdad and training the Iraqi Army.
Now very few think that 170,000 troops will be able to do what 140,000 troops couldn't do. And as for training the Iraqi Army.....
'Fear took over' in Baghdad raid
BURSTS of AK-47 fire hissed past them from several directions at once, showering the U.S. and Iraqi soldiers with pulverized cement and slapping spider-web fractures into their Humvees' bullet-resistant glass turret-guards.

The joint security forces, undertaking what officials described as a major counterinsurgency operation, were in pursuit of 70 "high-value targets" in Baghdad's crowded Fadhil quarter, a Sunni Arab neighborhood of multistory tenements along the east bank of the Tigris River.

Instead, the soldiers of the Iraqi army's 9th Mechanized Division and their American trainers had walked into a deadly ambush Friday. From upper-story apartments, insurgents stopped the soldiers' advance with grenades and shoulder-fired rockets. Others launched coordinated mortar strikes, hitting one of two nearby Iraqi field posts.

By the time the 11-hour battle was over, one Iraqi soldier had been killed and six others wounded, including one who shot himself in the foot. A U.S. soldier was also wounded and, according to American troops interviewed, additional casualties were averted only because U.S. Apache attack helicopters were called in and American trainers shot their way out of the ambush.

Fear took over" among the Iraqis, Staff Sgt. Michael Baxter said.

"They refused to move. We were yelling at them to move," he said. "I grabbed one guy and shoved him into a building. I was saying, 'God get me out of this, because these guys are going to get me killed.' "

The offensive was initially billed by U.S. officials in Baghdad as an Iraqi-led success and a case study in support of the Pentagon's increasing reliance on using American troops as military advisors as a way to shift security responsibilities to Iraqi soldiers.
So much for the Iraqi Army.

But there is an even greater danger. Over at The Huffington Post this past weekend Cenk Uygur had a piece, The Republicans Lost Iraq. Although the primary subject is the inevitable attempt to blame everyone who was not responsible for the inevitable loss he makes an even more serious point.
Furthermore, training the Iraqi army is a complete waste of time. Everyone on the ground knows that they are not going to stay together and magically enforce a democracy in Iraq after we leave. All we're doing is training one or more sides in an internal fight. In a best case scenario, we're wasting our time. In a worst case scenario, we are training people to kill each other better.

And as I have pointed out before, if you think we won't have to one day fight the Iraqi army we are now training, you haven't paid any attention to our history in the Middle East. Simple logic dictates that in a country where an overwhelming majority of people believe it is appropriate to attack our troops, the army of that country will naturally be hostile to us one day. And our big plan is to make sure that army is trained before we leave? That's an awful plan.
I have been saying that here for a long time. When the Iraqi Army "stands up" it will stand up against the US forces that trained and equipped it. That will be the "helicopters on the roof" moment.

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