American Style Orwellianism Spreading to Canadian Military

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orwell.jpg
Read this snippet from a Globe and Mail article yesterday:

6 Canadian soldiers and interpreter die as Taliban adopt deadly Iraqi tactics in Afghanistan
GRAEME SMITH, Globe and Mail Update, July 5, 2007 at 1:55 PM EDT
. . .Asked whether this represents an “Iraqization” of the conflict, Lieutenant-Colonel Jean Trudel, who serves as chief of staff for the Canadian headquarters in Kandahar, shook his head.
“Not particularly,” he said. “It indicates a loss of control by the insurgents.

Up is down. Down is up. Black is White. You know what I mean. . .
— Steve Clemons
Ed Note: Thanks to JP for directing this to my attention.

Comments

49 comments on “American Style Orwellianism Spreading to Canadian Military

  1. Chesire11 says:

    One other quick point…Re-reading my initial post, I realize that I did write that the Sunni insurgency is not a nationalist movement. That is incorrect. What I meant to write was that the Sunni insurgency is not an expression of Iraqi nationalism, but of Sunni nationalism; it’s object is not to advance the cause of all Iraqis, but of the Sunni community.
    I apologize for my misstatement and any resulting confusion!

    Reply

  2. Chesire11 says:

    Rich-
    I literally have only moments before I’m out the door so this will have to be exceedingly brief (for me) on my part.
    1. The point I was making about Iraq in my previous post was that Iraq is a state, not a nation – a point entirely consistent with your argument that Iraq was an artificial state invented by the British former Ottoman territories according to the time honored British practice of incorporating disparate groups into a single political entity in order to divide and rule/maintain control.
    2. Read my words. Please. Nowhere did I “presume to deny Iraq’s sovereignty” I denied that it has been able to exercise it’s sovereignty and that the current government is essentially an appendage of the American occupation.
    3. Ethnicity, language, culture and religion are fundamentals of nationhood. As a definition, it is hardly simplistic and to the best of my knowledge far from outdated. If you can refer me to some more common (preferably academic) authority that embraces a different definition I would be quite interested, but it would be quite curious for political scientist to redefine so fundamental a term in the few years since I majored in the subject at university.
    France, Germany and Italy are states that coalesced over time from smaller distinct political units. The French, German and Italian nations preceded their states. Great Britain is a nation state, but largely because the differences between it’s component groups, the English, Scots, Welsh and Irish of N. Ireland are largely superficial. Although diversity does exist within nation-states, it is usually in the form of small minority groups, often disenfranchised or marginalized from the state due to their lack of membership in the nation. The American Indian nations, the Basques and (to a lesser degree) Catalans in Spain, the Turks in Germany, Germans in Russia, Muslims in France and (again to a lesser extent) the UK, all live within the jurisdictions of nation-states, but are not part of the nation.
    Iraq, on the other hand is divided ethnically and culturally between Arabs, Kurds Turkmen, etc…religiously between Sunni and Shiite Islam (with a small and shrinking Christian community), linguistically between the Kurdish speakers and Arabic speakers. The primary loyalty of most Iraqis is to their tribe/sect.
    Finally, I did not address Trudell’s comment in the context of Iraq, I addressed it as a separate issue at the end of my post.

    Reply

  3. Kathleen says:

    One more time::: When the newly elected Iraqi gov’t proposed a peace plan which included an agreement with the Sunnis to lay down their arms, if we withdrew within two years, why did we reject it? How can you say the Sunnis are not a nationalist group when they were supporting the new gov’t? Why, in God’s name are we still fighting there? Why do we keep rejecting their proposed peace plans? It’s insanity.
    Of course the Iraqis are going to use any means available to them to get rid of their occupiers. Duh. Get real, for chist’s sake. Only a congenital bully would want their victim to fight with methods the bully is sure to win.
    Iraq was no imminent threat to us. It was a cold blooded act of aggression to invade them. It’s a crime to stay there. Yankee, get the fuck out of here, now.
    Let me ask you this, Blunt. What the hell would you do if you were an Iraqi who survived Shock and Awe? Would you be kissing some Blunt’s ass?
    And yes, I would prefer a tea party, anyday.

    Reply

  4. rich says:

    Chesire11,
    No time for a full reply now.
    (I haven’t fully read yr post above, and dashed off my note below; but note before hitting ‘submit’ you rightly recognize the current Iraqi govt has little legitimacy. Will post again soon!)
    >>”Nowhere did I “presume to ‘draw lines’ on a map,” that’s for the people of Iraq to do..”
    How wonderful of you to concede that. The upshot of your previous point, I think, was to deny Iraq’s nation-hood on specious grounds at best.
    You wrote, and I quote “[Iraq] is not, nor has it ever been anything even marginally resembling a nation state.” Sounds like you’re just drawing different boundaries than Churchill, with equally poor reference to the governmental and cultural facts on the ground.
    Denying your words–that you presume to deny Iraq’s sovereignty as a legitimate nation–won’t wash. Take responsibility for your words. Please.
    >>”Since ethnic identity (along with shared language, and distinct cultural and religious identities) is a defining characteristic of a nation .. ”
    Often, but everyone knows this is an entirely specious ground for defining a nation. The reality is more complex, as France, Germany, and Italy coalesced over time from smaller, distinct units. Ethnic and religious diversity within virtually any modern nation-state is obvious upon cursory examination. Ethnic peoples (or ‘nations’) such as the Welsh, Basque, Turkmen, Hmong, Armenian, Ojibwe, Berber, Maya–hardly disqualify France or Spain or Guatemala or Canada or Australia as modern nations.
    So your definition is remarkably simplistic. And it fell out of usage what? two, three decades ago, minimum.
    Further, Iraq shares a language (Arabic) and a religion (Islam) that transcends sectarian boundaries. Thus, Iraq fits your definition of a nation.
    That sectarian differences contribute to civil war only likens them to the English bloodshed between Christian sects. Yet no one ever said England was not a nation.
    Two other corrections: “Blunt” went into long, off-point details about Iraq, I merely replied responsively to his claims. SO IF you’re so “fully aware” of Trudel’s observation, you could apply your denial of his Orwellian words to Afghanistan–rather than officially putting other’s focus off on me.
    Second, I was hardly indiscriminate. It’s great you’re now explicitly cognizant of Iraq’s sovereignty. (So, then, you’d agree it’s time for the US to exit Iraq?) I replied as I did b/c you clearly denied Iraq’s status as a nation, decontextualizing it even from the context & consequences of recent US action. Let along from its technological modernity of the past fifty years. You’ll need to think a bit beyond the basic, simplistic, rigidly-held–and largely inapplicable definitions you’ve offered–and actually reply to the core issue raised.
    More later.

    Reply

  5. Chesire11 says:

    Rich-
    I must honestly say that, faced with your vehement and indiscriminate reply, I am at a somewhat of a loss. Most of your response has absolutely nothing to do with anything I wrote or believe. Most of what you wrote constituted a spirited, if disjointed, refutation of opinions projected onto me.
    1. Nowhere did I “presume to ‘draw lines’ on a map,” that’s for the people of Iraq to do I do think it’s important to have a realistic an understanding of the divisions and rivalries between various Iraqi factions, since those national “fault lines” define and constrain our options in, as well as our ability to withdraw from Iraq. I have no idea how you managed to twist some sort of neo-Chuchillian imperial impulse out of that!
    2. Since ethnic identity (along with shared language, and distinct cultural and religious identities) is a defining characteristic of a nation, it is neither presumption nor hubris, merely a matter of fact to say that by long-standing definition, Iraq is not, nor ever has been a single nation. It was never my intent to justify either the invasion, nor the occupation of Iraq, nor to be pedantic, but to correct the common, but mistaken notion that nations and states are somehow synonymous. Not to repeat “elementary-school facts,” but the nation-state is a fairly new innovation with profoundly different dynamics that multinational states like Iraq or the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. In point of fact, rather than excusing of justifying the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, the centrifugal dynamic of multinational states argues against reckless intervention by outside powers! Prior to the invasion, most area experts strongly opposed the invasion on these very grounds – grounds that were completely dismissed or downplayed by neocon predictions of victory, stability and democracy. If we are ever to replace our current, catastrophically misguided Iraq policies with more enlightened, effective ones that allow us to withdraw while minimizing the consequences to the Iraqi people, it might help for us to understand some of the fundamental dynamics at play.
    Of course, the Sunni insurgency is a nationalist movement, my argument is that it is not an expression of some imaginary Iraqi nation, but of a distinct Sunni nation. Neither do I hold any naïve notion that either the Kurds or Shiites would for a moment sublimate their national aspirations to American policy. Never did I suggest that anything more was at play than that a temporary alignment of interest existed between them and the occupying forces fighting their Sunni rivals. The fact that all Iraqi sects want the US out of Iraq does not, however, constitute a unitary Iraqi national identity, much less a movement.
    For the record, I opposed the invasion from the outset, have consistently dismissed neocon pipedreams of externally imposed, western-style liberal democracies, advocated early withdrawal of our forces and impeachment of Bush and Cheney for (among many, many other things) launching an illegal war that has shattered Iraq’s civil institutions and unleashed violence that has killed more than half a million innocent Iraqis and sent millions more into poverty and exile in neighboring countries. But don’t take my word for it, just google “Chesire11” and Iraq – you’ll get an earful (so to speak).
    3. You clearly mistake the point I was trying to make about Iraqi sovereignty. Nowhere did I suggest that the invasion of Iraq was legitimate, nor that it deprives the Iraqis of the “right to self-rule & self-organization.” I’m afraid that argument is present only in your own fevered imagination. My point was that Iraqi sovereignty has been violated since the 2003 invasion (I would suggest that the presence of something in the neighborhood of 150k soldiers with authority to arrest and detain Iraqi civilian kind of supports this claim). Similarly, the Wehrmacht put quite a dent in the exercise of French sovereignty for quite a while (the Vichy regime retained some limited sovereign power, but was also severely constrained).
    I also stand by my “priceless” contention that the Iraqi government, as it is currently constituted, is not expression of Iraqi sovereignty, but an irrelevant puppet of the US occupation and has little to no legitimacy over the peoples it claims to represent and govern. If the US weren’t there, the Iraqi government wouldn’t be an impotent fiction, it simply wouldn’t exist! The fact that the center of Iraqi government is in “the command center of an occupying army” is a significant indictment of that government’s legitimacy. The sovereign right of the Iraqi people to rule themselves is inalienable, sadly it has been and continues to be comprehensively violated and denied expression except by violent means.
    Perhaps you would care to argue otherwise?
    Regarding the matter of the importance of territorial control to the viability of a guerilla movement, I’m please to read that you seem to be in general agreement with what I wrote. I would, however, caution against completely dismissing territorial control as a measure of success since that is the insurgents’ ultimate objective.
    Finally, I am fully aware that the Lt. Colonel’s comment pertained to Afghanistan, however, this discussion on this thread has broadened considerably to include discussion of the situation in Iraq. In fact, after blunt used his experience in dealing with insurgent tactics in Iraq as a basis for interpreting Afghan guerilla tactics, I believe it was you who began discussing the war in Iraq, rather than the Afghan situation. Looking back, I should point out that you have posted almost exclusively about Iraq throughout this discussion thread in support of a somewhat too absolute assertion that guerilla movements cannot be defeated (there are some historical examples including a few that were defeated militarily). It was to you, among others, that I was replying. If you don’t want to discuss Iraq, then perhaps you shouldn’t have brought it up and you certainly shouldn’t engage in infantile jabs about not knowing my geography – THAT’s chutzpah!

    Reply

  6. rich says:

    Chesire11 wrote:
    >>
    “The facts are squarely on [blunt’s] side.”
    Not true. Neither one of you speak to the issue raised.
    Repeating the known elementary-school facts isn’t just condescending (“The Iraqi insurgency is primarily a Sunni movement . . .”), it’s irrelevant to the basic operating principle at work here. (As you studiously identify tree species, you ignore the vast, obvious forest.)
    Sunnis are on home turf. It’s occupied turf. Conventional warfare against a determined native foe is a losing proposition. Sunnis are ALSO citizens of Iraq. Legally speaking in the current political context, as well as historically and culturally (short-term, obviously). That you don’t like that does not make it untrue.
    Using an overly narrow definition of “nationalism” does not legitimize ignoring Iraqi citizens’ resistance to occupying military forces. I’ll draw you a picture: They (Sunnis/Kurds/Shiites) live in Iraq. Iraq is a nation. Citizens of that nation, often organized along ethnic/religious lines, are resisting the American occupation. That’s a second reason Iraqi guerillas (generally) have a tactical advantage and a valid political cause. Both fit any reasonable definition of nationalism.
    Dual tribal/national identity strengthens guerilla effectiveness.
    You are naive to think Shiites or Kurds will tolerate American occupation once Sunnis are checked and Iraqi power relations recalibrated. They are not our friends. Operating under the umbrella of American forces to go after Sunnis hardly denies the Iraqi nationalist component within anti-American sentiment. Those feeling cross ethnic and sectarian lines. Local Sunnis also have a legitimate stake in their own home turf, and cannot be dismisses as interlopers.
    Three fatal errors in your post.
    1. You make the SAME mistake the British did when Churchill presided over the creation of Iraq by “drawing lines on a map.” Of course it was artificial–the point was to control it, not make it stronger. Your chutzpah in presuming to “draw lines on a map” from 12,000 miles away is just as egregious. You just draw different lines, the violation is you/we/America presume to draw those lines at all.
    2. Strong ethnic divisions are not adequate denial of Iraq’s status as a modern nation. They don’t justify CPA decisions to shatter Iraq’s national civic institutions. When Bush’s CPA (you/me/America) is responsible FOR DISMANTLING Iraq’s physical, administrative, and civic instfrastructure, you are in no position to argue that, hey, they weren’t a REAL nation anyway. That sure as hell won’t wash.
    The CPA & Bush fostered and facilitated this civil war. Iraqis of every sectarian stripe want the US out.
    By your own definition, Sunnis/Iraqis attacking American occupiers are a variant of “nationalist movements wag[ing] wars of liberation against occupiers.” That they didn’t ask your permission to wage a civil war PRIOR to expelling their American occupiers doesn’t change that. You’re a little hung up on which salad fork MUST be used when, as though such rigid rules matter, given the cirumstances. National liberation ain’t a tea party. It doesn’t matter that Sunni Iraqis are shouldering the lions’ share of the burden right now.
    3. You clearly mistake geographic control for national sovereignty: >>”Neither has {Iraq} enjoyed sovereignty since the invasion of 2003.”
    Nice try. The right to self-rule & self-organization is not something you can take away by invading. Illegitimate occupation of a sovereign nation does not legitimize the invasion that brought it about. Did France cease to be a sovereign nation once it had been defeated and occupied by Nazi Germany? Of course not.
    Further, Vichy France collaborated with the Third Reich, while the French Resistance fought the Germans. Does that mean the French Resistance was not fighting for “national movement waging a war of liberation”?? Of course not.
    This, Chesire11, is priceless:
    “The post-Hussein Iraqi government isn’t even able to exercise territorial control over the Green Zone..!”
    If the US weren’t there, this wouldn’t be a problem, would it? Occupied-but-sovereign nations like Iraq don’t generally control the command centers of their occupying armies.
    Which brings us to WHY Steve was entirely accurate in tagging Lt.-Col. Jean Trudel as Orwellian for saying new tactics in Afghanistan “indicates a loss of control by the insurgents.”
    Guerilla forces DON’T NEED to control territory. They live there and aren’t going away. WE do not control events or territory in any real or permanent sense. We lost control early on–that’s why it’s Orwellian.
    Finally: Lt.-Col. Jean Trudel’s quote was about Afghanistan–NOT Iraq! When your sectarian hair-splitting can’t even get the country right, your complaint borders on the laughable. Read up on Vietnam–you’ll learn a few things.

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  7. Sandy says:

    Thanks for your post, Chesire11. Interesting…and helpful.

    Reply

  8. Chesire11 says:

    I’m late to this discussion by a few days, but after reading the scathing exchanges here, can’t help but to toss in my own two cents.
    Unfortunately, blunt chose to end most of his posts here with personal attacks upon those who challenged him on the facts and on his qualifications, insulting them for their ignorance of military matters. That’s too bad because it was so unnecessary. The facts are squarely on his side. Whereas blunt employed unnecessary belligerence to supplement his arguments, those who differed with his employed it as a substitute for knowledge. Further, they tended to project opinions upon him deriding him for opinions he not only never expressed, but oftentimes explicitly rejected!
    The Iraqi insurgency is primarily a Sunni movement and has been for pretty much the entire duration of the war and was a product of the real and feared loss of power and position suffered by the Sunnis as well as fear of shiite retribution after the Baathist regime was toppled. It was then fueled by the disbanding of the Iraqi Army, and the de-Baathification process.
    Although the US briefly battled al Sadr’s Mahdi Army in Najaf fairly early in the occupation, the Mahdi Army, the Badr Brigades and the Shiite militias have mostly abstained from attacks on coalition forces. Their attacks have generally targeted the Sunnis in Central Iraq and rival Shiite groups in Basra and its environs. The Shiites have correctly perceived that American efforts to pacify the Sunnis and encourage democratic reforms advance their own cause. Think about it, why would any group attempt to destabilize a government they control???
    As for the foreign element, although Iraq has become a magnet and a training ground for jihadis, by any standard outside the Naval Observatory in DC, their strategic significance is negligible.
    The Kurds, on the other hand, are quite happy to watch the two largest demographic groups in the country too busy slaughtering each other to curtail the growing autonomy of Iraqi Kurdistan.
    The insurgency is quite clearly not a nationalist movement (nationalist movements wage wars of liberation against occupiers, but tend not to engage in civil wars – at least not until after the occupiers have been expelled). It is something far worse, it is a sectarian movement. This is precisely the danger that area experts most feared, but that Wolfowitz famously dismissed. Iraq was a multiethnic state held together by a brutal dictator. It is not, nor has it ever been anything even marginally resembling a nation state.
    Neither has it enjoyed sovereignty since the invasion of 2003. The post-Hussein Iraqi government isn’t even able to exercise territorial control over the Green Zone, much less exert sovereignty over the whole country!
    Finally, I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with blunt’s reaction to Steve’s original post. The Canadian Lt. Colonel was asked a question by a reporter about a specific tactical situation. The reporter printed used a single sentence of what was likely a much more detailed and nuanced response. The LT Colonel’s response wasn’t an attempt to “characterize the war in a good light” it was a correct answer to a question about a specific tactical situation. Suicide attacks, car bombs and IEDs, although effective, tend to be tactics of last resort wielded by forces incapable of securing and holding territory. They are a means of disrupting control not exerting it, they are intended to cause chaos and increase the cost and difficulty of controlling an area, not typically the sort of thing practiced by a victorious insurgency. What the success of this sort of attack tells us is that neither side is in control.

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  9. Blunt says:

    [[..So far, all you’ve brought is personal attacks while continuing to evade the point: a guerilla argument. Posted by rich at July 9, 2007 06:40 AM]]
    I brought a lot more than that, it’s certain you haven’t read the counter-insurgency manual I linked. It’s better than expected.
    No one would deny counter-insurgencies are tough or that the points you made in the last post aren’t valid.
    But we’re stuck fighting there and we’ve got to use the models that have worked in some successful counter-insurgencies in the past–not all have been failures; Brits in Malaysia, Mau-Mau Rebellion, Philippines Insurrection, etc–as well as some common sense while wading the culture seas.
    Bush put us there when we should have been focusing on Afghanistan. Then Bremer who brought an ideological crew to run the country and made decisions basically set the stage for the next few years of insurgency; disbands the Army, stops subsidies to hundreds of state owned companies throwing thousands of men out of work, refused to honor local commitments by Marine and Army commanders to hold local elections, etc.
    We’re stuck having to deal with it and use the best tools and resources we have.
    These maps illuminate the geographical/cultural aspects of the war:
    http://www.obleek.com/iraq/index.html
    Keep in mind where the location religious sects are at:
    http://tinyurl.com/yuhhkl
    And the population density of Iraq:
    http://tinyurl.com/yqeja4
    Studying these three maps may bring quite a different perspective of the War for those here at home.

    Reply

  10. rich says:

    Blunt:
    I never said ethnic/sectarian didn’t matter. Your critics are way off-base for that reason.
    As for hearts and minds, if the Brits or Russkies passed out free bread and health care while occupying the Eastern Seaboard or, say the swath of states from Texas to Georgia, I doubt you’d be persuaded they were good guys or their politics were well-motivated.
    We have a 4th Amendment b/c King George III quartered British troops in our homes in 1776. Yet, we raid Iraqi homes (violating a cultural taboo), and it’s the same damn thing as burning hooches in Vietnam.
    Sorry, that’s a fantastic way to lose the political battle that violates every American value every kid was raised to hold sacred. Militarily, winning every military/conventional battle will still lose you the war.
    So far, all you’ve brought is personal attacks while continuing to evade the point: a guerilla argument.

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  11. rich says:

    Blunt:
    I never said ethnic/sectarian didn’t matter. Your critics are way off-base for that reason.
    As for hearts and minds, if the Brits or Russkies passed out free bread and health care while occupying the Eastern Seaboard or, say the swath of states from Texas to Georgia, I doubt you’d be persuaded they were good guys or their politics were well-motivated.
    We have a 4th Amendment b/c King George III quartered British troops in our homes in 1776. Yet, we raid Iraqi homes (violating a cultural taboo), and it’s the same damn thing as burning hooches in Vietnam.
    Sorry, that’s a fantastic way to lose the political battle that violates every American value every kid was raised to hold sacred. Militarily, winning every military/conventional battle will still lose you the war.
    So far, all you’ve brought is personal attacks while continuing to evade the point: a guerilla argument.

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  12. ... says:

    blunt, i am talking about characterizations of the war in a favourable light, when an honest portrayal of it is just the opposite.. as for saying it has to continue, i think that is what some were saying during vietnam too… eventually it stopped.. this one will too, and i am not looking for a tea party either, just some honesty.. bush and company have tried to put a postive spin on this war from the getgo.. it has been and continues to be just the opposite.. i think that is what steve and some posters here find repulsive about trudels comments. if you find steves take on it repulsive, so be it. thanks for your response.

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  13. Blunt says:

    Not the sharpest tack in the box are you PissedOnAmerican? Bad day in the food service industry perhaps?
    You’re just like a Bushie; if you aren’t with us you’re against us. So much for discourse…or intelligent thought.
    [[Don’t worry about it folks, the insurgency is contained geographically, and its just a few Sunnis.]]
    Are you cognitively challenged? I wouldn’t call a few million ‘just a few’. Is my definition of ‘festering sore’ not enough?
    See maps below.
    [[(And Sadr’s HUGE Shia following is irrelevant)]]
    It’s ‘HUGE’ in East Baghdad neighborhoods, far less so in the south where different Shia clans and tribes predominate. Sadr’s militia has engaged the us less often than they have Sunnis. You wouldn’t know that though, sitting there in Ft Living Room.
    [[This guy Blunt is so full of sh-t that it ain’t even funny anymore.]]
    And yet still smarter than you. ,-)
    Not being intelligent isn’t your fault, genetics and environment being what they are, but try, just try not showing it off by posting…or moving your lips when reading.
    Educate yourself, Einstein. These maps ought to go far in illuminating the Iraq situation culturally and militarily…well for most people…
    Casualty map (or ‘porn’ as PissedOnAmerican views it):
    When looking at the casualty map at:
    http://www.obleek.com/iraq/index.html
    Keep in mind where the location religious sects are at:
    http://tinyurl.com/yuhhkl
    And the population density of Iraq:
    http://tinyurl.com/yqeja4
    Studying these three maps may bring quite a different perspective of the War for those here at home. Well not for POA, but most others perhaps.

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  14. Blunt says:

    [[blunt, do you think it is a bit odd to suggest things in a positive light on the ground when many soldiers and innocent citizens are getting murdered daily? i think that is what steve and a few posters here find orwellian..Posted by … at July 9, 2007 12:44 AM]]
    Missions, patrols, etc., have to continue. Not to be cold but it’s a war, people die and you still have to measure failure, success and so on. I’m not sure what else you want it to be, a tea party?

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  15. PissedOffCitizen says:

    Blunt is as phoney as a six dollar bill.

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  16. ... says:

    blunt, you opted to not answer my question 1:45am post… i am still curious on your thoughts, or is arguing here all you want to do?

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  17. Blunt says:

    You completely misunderstood my explanation of the LTC’s comments as some sort of overall explanation of strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan and proceeded on an amateurish soapbox drivel spewing.
    [[Blunt:
    You offer no new information (thanks for condescending), but try to evade my point.]]
    I informed you of some issues of importance when running a counter-insurgency such as the importance of the make up of the cultural terrain. That’s important–though you don’t know that.
    [[You wrote:
    “If you’re successful in stopping or negating conventional ambushes or attacks from the enemy, they then resort to suicide attacks or IEDs in lieu of those failures.”]]
    Conventional warfare won’t work against an indigenous, local guerilla force. (Didja GET that Blunt? –INDIGENOUS. Native. Local.) And yes, nationalist. That they’re Sunni isn’t news, but it is irrelevant. ]]
    You think Sunni, Shia, Kurd or Christian IS NOT relevant in Iraq or has not bearing on how each is approached or how their areas are handled? You are a piece of work, step away from the bong please.
    Of course conventional warfare will work on certain activities, but by itself it won’t win the war. No one has said otherwise.
    Understanding Iraq as more than a conventional operation began about 2004 or so. Units conduct PSYOP in every AO they operate in. They get the ‘pulse’ of the town as much as they can, find the key communicators (clan leaders, mayors, police chiefs, local bigwigs), etc. Determine what the issues are, how we can diminish tensions if possible, we build schools, fix radio stations, delivered clean water to neighborhoods, delivered medicine to local clinics and a variety of hearts and minds efforts. We stopped one clan from revenge attacks against another and had them sit down and discuss differences. The list goes on and on. You’re a bit behind the times.
    http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24fd.pdf
    My old commander:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/15/AR2006021502586_pf.html
    [[It’s their country, their turf; it belongs to them ALONG WITH all the other Iraqi ethnic groups. They’re fighting an occupation army. Sounds like you’re trying to deny they’re a sovereign nation. Tough to do as the occupier.]]
    No one’s denying anything by describing the cultural differences within Iraq. Your viewpoint of their culture is terribly simplistic and naive.
    [[POINT IS, you can’t solve a political issue, that was bungled politically, with military force. Answer THAT.]]
    Of course not, military force isn’t the only option or even the most effective option when conduction a counter-insurgency, nevertheless that doesn’t do anything to change my explanation of the LTC’s comment. You are very much behind the tactical/operation power-curve as the Army conducts it today there Budd:

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  18. rich says:

    Blunt:
    You offer no new information (thanks for condescending), but try to evade my point.
    You wrote:
    “If you’re successful in stopping or negating conventional ambushes or attacks from the enemy, they then resort to suicide attacks or IEDs in lieu of those failures.”
    Conventional warfare won’t work against an indigenous, local guerilla force. (Didja GET that Blunt? –INDIGENOUS. Native. Local.) And yes, nationalist. That they’re Sunni isn’t news, but it is irrelevant.
    It’s their country, their turf; it belongs to them ALONG WITH all the other Iraqi ethnic groups. They’re fighting an occupation army. Sounds like you’re trying to deny they’re a sovereign nation. Tough to do as the occupier.
    You shouldn’t be even slightly surprised they’ll use any tactic available. YOU would to, had a foreign nation occupied Arizona or Georgia. Whining about it isn’t a justification for the occupation, nor for pretending not to understand what’s being done and why Iraqis hate Americans for it.
    POINT IS, you can’t solve a political issue, that was bungled politically, with military force. Answer THAT.
    The use of the Salvador Option / Phoenix Program, unfortunately, is tantamount to genocide. It’s a betrayal of everything this country stands for. Germany used it. But that doesn’t give the US the right to use death squads; certainly not to compensate for the political bungling and anti-American traits that get us into such wars–on the wrong side.

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  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “While the Iraqi insurgency is a ‘movement’ it’s not ‘national’ it’s a sub-group of Iraqi Sunnis (Sadr’s militia being an exception). Not the majority of Shia nor Kurds who comprise 75% of the populace. Neither is it engulfing all of Iraq, it’s–mostly–limited to the Baghdad and Sunni Triangles. Not a literal engulfment of Iraq but a dreadful festering sore.”
    Yep. Our “moderate Democrat” extends the right’s party line on Iraq in explaining his position.
    Don’t worry about it folks, the insurgency is contained geographically, and its just a few Sunnis.
    (And Sadr’s HUGE Shia following is irrelevant)
    This guy Blunt is so full of shit that it ain’t even funny anymore.

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  20. Blunt says:

    [[“Blunt”
    Iraqi nationals, like George Washington, use guerilla tactics. So what? It’s called war, and Iraqis will win it.]]
    You meant–of course–Iraqi Sunnis (25% of the populace), who except for Sadr’s Shia followers, comprise the majority of the insurgents.
    [[“Conventional” war–contrary to your distinction–uses any & all tactics, including so-called guerilla tactics. Ain’t no difference. IEDs are just bombs. The military uses bombs all the time.]]
    You aren’t arguing with me, you’re arguing with a theory of warfare that makes a distinction between conventional and unconventional. There’s a large difference between two national governments battling it out with front lines, national economies on both sides cranking out production, organized military structures, etc. and insurgencies.
    [[Military people sacrifice their lives all the time; no different than “suicide” attacks. HOW can it possibly be unfair or unreasonable for ‘civilians’ to carry out suicide attacks? Isn’t it FAR more unfair when military personnel attack civilians?]]
    Be that as it may I made no argument regarding fairness or justification for suicide attacks. Are you arguing with someone else and got mixed up?
    [[Point is, conventional military force cannot succeed against a nationalist guerilla movement; you cannot win a political battle by military means. You can switch to covert ops and/or the Phoenix Program / Salvador Option–but then, that’s antithetical for everything the US purports to stand for. ]]
    You’ve just contradicted your own use of ‘conventional’.
    While the Iraqi insurgency is a ‘movement’ it’s not ‘national’ it’s a sub-group of Iraqi Sunnis (Sadr’s militia being an exception). Not the majority of Shia nor Kurds who comprise 75% of the populace. Neither is it engulfing all of Iraq, it’s–mostly–limited to the Baghdad and Sunni Triangles. Not a literal engulfment of Iraq but a dreadful festering sore. Granted not much better a diagnosis.
    Is there some sort of internet feed to a halfway-house for dyslexics somewhere carrying this blog? All I’ve done is try to interprete what some soldier on the ground said from his POV. Suddenly I’m Rummy.
    [[Good luck. Blunt, I’d advise some]]
    I’ll take training and experience, they tend to generate percentages far superior to luck.

    Reply

  21. rich says:

    “Blunt”
    Iraqi nationals, like George Washington, use guerilla tactics. So what? It’s called war, and Iraqis will win it.
    “Conventional” war–contrary to your distinction–uses any & all tactics, including so-called guerilla tactics. Ain’t no difference. IEDs are just bombs. The military uses bombs all the time.
    Military people sacrifice their lives all the time; no different than “suicide” attacks. HOW can it possibly be unfair or unreasonable for ‘civilians’ to carry out suicide attacks? Isn’t it FAR more unfair when military personnel attack civilians?
    Point is, conventional military force cannot succeed against a nationalist guerilla movement; you cannot win a political battle by military means. You can switch to covert ops and/or the Phoenix Program / Salvador Option–but then, that’s antithetical for everything the US purports to stand for. Good luck.
    Blunt, I’d advise some

    Reply

  22. ... says:

    hey, this is an excellent article that i just read and while it is not directly related, i thought i would share it here –
    http://www.antiwar.com/orig/ellsberg.php?articleid=11251

    Reply

  23. ... says:

    blunt, do you think it is a bit odd to suggest things in a positive light on the ground when many soldiers and innocent citizens are getting murdered daily? i think that is what steve and a few posters here find orwellian..
    maybe a better analogy would be the cancer patient who shows some promise temporarily is being told something positive by the doctor, all the while the cancer isn’t going away and the trajectory is on a clear downhill slope. i think that is where the doctor, or in this particular instance the officer is not addressing the bigger pic.. it seems dishonest, but that is just my 2cs. i think i understand your point.

    Reply

  24. Blunt says:

    [[…I said that you’re no soldier.Posted by PissedOffAmerican]]
    *shrug*
    In Iraq my soldiers and officers disagreed with you and backed it. I’ll take their opinions over yours.
    [[And are you denying that you put the Zythum comment up? I hope not, because that would be a pretty transparent lie.
    Posted by PissedOffAmerican at July 7, 2007 10:37 PM]]
    You’ve already loaded the question with a bad faith assumption. The only honest answer is that I didn’t put the Zythum comment up, don’t know who he/she is nor have ever heard of them. Perhaps you can ask the Blog owners to compare the IP addresses if they will–won’t bother me.
    [[Like I said earlier…sincerity and honesty don’t need deception as an advocate.Posted by PissedOffAmerican]]
    Indeed, I stand by my comments.

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    First, I didn’t say you were never in the army. I said that you’re no soldier.
    And are you denying that you put the Zythum comment up? I hope not, because that would be a pretty transparent lie.
    Like I said earlier…sincerity and honesty don’t need deception as an advocate.

    Reply

  26. Blunt says:

    Your belligerence and bellicosity appear to be all that is left of the Dark Side now that reason has been so thoroughly trampled into dust by your depraved leaders and their apologists.
    Please take a break from this and go fishing. We will all be the better for it.
    Peace.
    Posted by arthurdecco at July 7, 2007 09:36 PM

    You couldn’t be more off the mark arthurdeco. I merely posted–again for the fourth or fifth time–my ‘take’ as a vet of Iraq of what the commander intended to say from his specific viewpoint in country.
    When I was in Al Hillah/Najaf/Karbala area using some updated SOPs we put a major stop to most ambushes and cleared out–at least by day–insurgent control of many areas. That was a limited tactical ‘success’, probably what this soldier meant from his viewpoint on the ground and now taken far out of context.
    POA mocked/attacked me and accused me of never having been in Iraq (or the Army!), being one or two other individuals (!) and so on. I saw little insightful or informed about his commentary vis-a-vis my own in-country experience. I attacked back. Tough.
    I dislike this administration intensely and am/was an avid Bill Clinton fan, something I was constantly razed for in the Army. I despise Bush’s decision to invade Iraq instead of focusing on Afghanistan, am a registered democrat of moderate/conservative bent and am going to work for Hillary Clinton’s campaign as long as she steer towards the middle. Can’t stand the right-wing or the extreme left for that matter.
    Try again.

    Reply

  27. arthurdecco says:

    Mr. Blunt, I may indeed be an “idiot”, because after all, idiots are usually the last to know they’re idiots, aren’t they? But I can assure you that I’m not a hypocrite, nor dishonest, nor am I a cloaked version of POA – (our web host could confirm that for you with a quick glance at my IP address.) I’m merely an outsider tired of your adolescent responses to criticism by a regular poster of what is usually insightful and informed commentary.
    Your belligerence and bellicosity appear to be all that is left of the Dark Side now that reason has been so thoroughly trampled into dust by your depraved leaders and their apologists.
    Please take a break from this and go fishing. We will all be the better for it.
    Peace.

    Reply

  28. Blunt says:

    Posted by arthurdecco at July 7, 2007 07:55 PM
    Moral cowardice as advice is rare, even on the internet, but I guess there’s a first for everything congrats.
    Pity your post tells more about you than anything else. When posting an opinion based on experience you encourage fleeing if attacked and accused of posting on a different issue.
    You allow attacks on me to go unanswered–POA’s mocking first post which you seem to ignore, calling me a liar, never in Iraq and wild accusations that I’m someone else. He/she’s chasing something, though I’m not sure how stable he/she is.
    Are you a hypocrite, an idiot or just dishonest (or POA)? ‘Cheap-shot-trickster’? You’re soaking in it.

    Reply

  29. arthurdecco says:

    Mr. Blunt, I have read the exchange between you and POA and I see you for the insecure, cheap-shot-trickster you are.
    When shutting up could have served you, you chose instead to continue with your adolescent attacks on someone who called you on your dishonesty.
    Why not try shutting up now?
    You stated your case – can’t you leave it rest there? Or is bullying and belligerence all you brought home with you from your alleged tours of duty?
    Pity.

    Reply

  30. Blunt says:

    Posted by: PissedOffAmerican at July 7, 2007 03:24 PM
    I’ve no idea who or what you’re talking about. My Army unit spent 03/04 with the Marines. I was in the first Gulf War with 2d ACR. Spent 10 years on Ft. Bragg, if you know the surrounding area and units go ahead and quizz me on them. You seem to have some ongoing dispute with others on this site that I’ve no involvement in.
    It’s apparent that undergrad isn’t in your future. Unless of course it’s at a state supported school the encompasses some sort of geographical direction in its title.
    You have taken my comment made to clarify a soldier’s POV from tactical viewpoint and gone off on some sort of tangeant in order to scratch whatever psychic itch you seem to have. Let’s hope the meds kick in for you soon.
    I’d suggest a neurologist but thought better of it and suggest a palm reader instead. I’m sure you have a palm.

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    You’re no soldier. I suspect, by your semantics, punctuation, and choice of terms, a character by the name of Sail Free who swims in Tabor’s cesspool over at TCV. Or maybe that Wyatt buffoon. In either case, your first mistake was inventing Zythum to buttress your original comment. Sincerity and honesty do not require deception as an advocate.

    Reply

  32. Blunt says:

    “Having done two tours in Iraq let me explain; If you’re successful in stopping or negating conventional ambushes or attacks from the enemy, they then resort to suicide attacks or IEDs in lieu of those failures. We saw it time and again.”……..Blunt
    Well, both of these statements are so patently ridiculous,Posted by PissedOffAmerican at July 7, 2007 12:39 PM
    An idiotic President who appointed ideologues like Bremer to lose Iraq on one side and dim-bulb nut-cases like you who call soldiers names, distort and ignore what they tell you on the other. Great country, really.
    Isn’t there a Marine, sailor or soldier funeral somewhere near you where you can masturbate alongside Fred Phelps as the coffin rolls?

    Reply

  33. Blunt says:

    [i]When was the “insurgency” in Iraq, (or Afghanistan), employing anything other than “guerilla tactics”? Blunt points to the current absence of “conventional ambushes or attacks”. Well, with exception of the remarkable short lived military “shock and awe” phase of this debacle, when whave we been fighting a “conventional” army in Iraq? Den Valdron at July 7, 2007 11:12 AM [/i]
    I specifically mentioned ‘conventional ambushes’, which insurgents have used hundreds of times as well as quite a few conventional attacks in 04/05 which failed. They then resorted to IEDs and suicide bombers. I may have mis-used conventional in the strictest sense but my intent was fairly obvious. You being dishonest.
    [i]The so called “insurgency” has been employing “guerilla tactics” since the beginning. And in Aghanistan, since before we got there, as the Russian’s would attest, if asked.Posted by: Den Valdron at July 7, 2007 11:12 AM [/i]
    But not IEDs or suicide attacks which of course was the point of my comments.
    [i]Blunt and Zythum’s real point is that America is losing and losing badly in Iraq, and that the disaster is spreading to Afghanistan.
    Posted by: Den Valdron at July 7, 2007 11:12 AM [/i]
    Are you PissOnAmerican? And are you always this bizarrely semi-literate? Quite the testament to a failed educational system ain’t ya?
    My point was a comment from a commander who sees things from a tactical POV that gets taken out of context really isn’t Orwellian. Put the bong down, re-read the intent of my first post and read it to yourself out loud and s-l-o-w-l-y.

    Reply

  34. Blunt says:

    My only point was highlighting the comment by the commander on the ground vis a vis the tactical situation and my own experience in the Bagdhad/Najaf/Karbala AO in Iraq.
    “Never mind the resurgence of the Taliban. Never mind the large pockets of people living under localized institution of Sharia law. Never mind the threefold bumper crop of Opium poppies. Never mind the Karzai circus is falling apart at the seams.” Posted by: PissedOffAmerican at July 7, 2007 09:16 AM
    Indeed Pissonmyself, NATO’s understaffed the Pashtun area–where the Taliban gets its support (you didn’t know that of course)–and instead of going after Osama Bush got us stuck in Iraq.
    “But gee, we’re winning. What you said was horseshit. No different than that ass Cheney saying “the insurgency is in its last throes”.
    No one said “we’re winning”. I made a comment about the commander specific POV in his own area of operations, not a strategic judgment.
    I didn’t count on the chemically induced estrogen moodiness of a pre-op trannie like PissOnMyself’s inability to understand that.
    Shouldn’t you be out yelling at traffic on a street corner somewhere?

    Reply

  35. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Having done two tours in Iraq let me explain; If you’re successful in stopping or negating conventional ambushes or attacks from the enemy, they then resort to suicide attacks or IEDs in lieu of those failures. We saw it time and again.”……..Blunt
    “Insurgents are losing control on an operational level so they resort to guerilla tactics”…Zythum
    Well, both of these statements are so patently ridiculous, you have to wonder at the intelligence of the buffoon that made them. When was the “insurgency” in Iraq, (or Afghanistan), employing anything other than “guerilla tactics”? Blunt points to the current absence of “conventional ambushes or attacks”. Well, with exception of the remarkable short lived military “shock and awe” phase of this debacle, when whave we been fighting a “conventional” army in Iraq? The so called “insurgency” has been employing “guerilla tactics” since the beginning. And in Aghanistan, since before we got there, as the Russian’s would attest, if asked.
    Blunt is no soldier, and, as Den needlessly pointed out, a poster playing games under a couple of different personnas. But I gotta disagree with Den about the “elaborate” nature of Blunt’s game. There’s nothing “elaborate” about it. Its just ignorant horseshit.

    Reply

  36. Den Valdron says:

    No one is stupid as blunt and zythum pretend to be. My guess is its the same guy, and he’s playing an elaborate game.
    His real point is that insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan are constantly shifting tactics, looking for weak places in the enemy forces. Where the enemy shows strength in one area, they shift away from that area and adjust their tactics. Where the enemy shows weakness in an area, they concentrate on it. In essence, the Guerillas and Insurgents play elaborate games of Whack-A-Mole for which the occupying power has no real answer.
    Blunt and Zythum’s real point is that America is losing and losing badly in Iraq, and that the disaster is spreading to Afghanistan.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yeah, right Blunt. You’re about as “soldier” as Captain Kangaroo was.
    Never mind the resurgence of the Taliban. Never mind the large pockets of people living under localized institution of Sharia law. Never mind the threefold bumper crop of Opium poppies. Never mind the Karzai circus is falling apart at the seams.
    But gee, we’re winning. What you said was horseshit. No different than that ass Cheney saying “the insurgency is in its last throes”.

    Reply

  38. Blunt says:

    ‘PissedOffsemiliterateAmerican’ not sure what your ‘issues’ seem to be over my comments, they were fairly straightforward, non-political and reflected my own experience during two tours in Iraq. Why attack me for sharing my insight into the LTC’s comments?
    Why the bile, your soldier dump you? Wouldn’t be much of a surprise…considering.
    Next time I’ll use crayons and hand puppets, it’ll be easier on ya and leave you time to grapple with, well whatever shadows you seem to be grappling with.

    Reply

  39. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Perhaps the Canadians can take the lead from Bush/Cheney and just redefine death.
    “Don’t say these soldiers died. Say they’ve been given eternal life. Isn’t that better?
    Face it. If it weren’t for the Iraq war these soldiers would’ve probably gone another 40-50 years without seeing heaven!
    See how simple that was?
    All they are saying is give war a chance…”
    Posted by karenk
    I’m pissed that they gifted the Islamists with the 9,684 virgins in heaven thing. Dang it, if they’d promise me just ONE, I’d enlist in a hot minute.

    Reply

  40. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Geez, Blunts a real friggin’ genius, isn’t he? So is his “coincidentally just like Blunt never seen before” butt buddy, Zythum. Just two GI’s, passing in the night.
    Who woulda guessed it, golly gee, howdy doodee Aghastican has gorillas, and its all because we’re winnin’, yep howdy hallelujah and the red white and blue.
    Never mind the resurgence of the Taliban. Never mind the large pockets of people living under localized institution of Sharia law. Never mind the threefold bumper crop of Opium poppies. Never mind the Karzai circus is falling apart at the seams.

    Reply

  41. lisainvan says:

    Steve,
    There’s an interesting backstory in today’s Globe and Mail. More info than I’ve seen in any US paper.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070706.wafghanmain06/BNStory/Afghanistan/home

    Reply

  42. karenk says:

    Perhaps the Canadians can take the lead from Bush/Cheney and just redefine death.
    Don’t say these soldiers died. Say they’ve been given eternal life. Isn’t that better?
    Face it. If it weren’t for the Iraq war these soldiers would’ve probably gone another 40-50 years without seeing heaven!
    See how simple that was?
    All they are saying is give war a chance…

    Reply

  43. Sandy says:

    Agree with Carroll, it IS all Orwellian.
    But I do have to wonder….Steve…
    (Of course Steve never has replied to these questions/posted of mine yet…so I don’t expect one now….)
    What is it that makes posts like these of yours about the Canadian soldiers strike you as more worthy of a serious discussion on….
    …Bush and Cheney’s plans to bomb Iran?
    Shouldn’t we be talking about THAT? Don’t you want to?
    Yes, I know, it is YOUR blog, and as someone said if you want to talk about some of this stuff start your own #&$%^ blog.
    Still….
    I know you had a long one about Cheney acting like Caesar ….
    but how about what Cheney REALLY intends ….wants to….do next? Completely unimpeded as he is now by the Democrats.
    Along those lines — although this is a very long read — it is, I think, well worth reading:
    July 6, 2007
    Spotlight on the Dark Side
    The Cracks in Cheney’s World
    http://www.counterpunch.com/leupp07062007.html

    Reply

  44. ... says:

    us canucks are a stupid bunch for following the idiot in cheif down south into this.. most canucks that i know are dead opposed to being in afgan. things like this do nothing to encourage a continued presence, but we have to wait til the bootlicker we have in office has a lightbulb go off so that he can stop being a bootlicker.
    >>- Stephen Harper indicating that, if elected, Canada will join the US occupation of Iraq, Hansard, January 29th 2003.
    “I don’t know all the facts on Iraq, but I think we should work closely with the Americans.”<, idiot.

    Reply

  45. Carroll says:

    Oh please fellars, let’s not get our knickers in a twist over what is Orwellian and what is not.
    It’s all Orwellian…every soldier on the ground is living in a Orwellian world courtesy of Orwellian USA.
    “so they resort to guerilla tactics”…??????
    Well hell they are guerillas, what do you expect them to attack you with?..helicopters and tanks?
    If guerilla sucide attacks are losing control then our bombing of mixed targets of insurgents and civilians says we can’t control them on the ground either.
    It’s ALL Orwellian….accept it.
    And I don’t want to hear about “sucide” and martyrs cultures and blah,blah,blah……D-Day was the largest sucide mission in history.

    Reply

  46. zythum says:

    gotta agree with Blunt, Insurgents are losing control on an operational level so they resort to guerilla tactics,
    Steve, you know better than this than to distort this stuff or posting this stuff and passing it off as fact
    There is nothing orwellian about this and you know it, smarten up or you will lose credibility

    Reply

  47. zythum says:

    gotta agree with Blunt, Insurgents are losing control on an operational level so they resort to guerilla tactics,
    Steve, you know better than this than to distort this stuff or posting this stuff and passing it off as fact
    There is nothing orwellian about this and you know it, smarten up or you will lose credibility

    Reply

  48. Blunt says:

    For Christ’s sake, nothing like taking the comments of a soldier on the ground whose troops are engaged in combat ops and who views things through a vastly different spectrum and twisting them so you can have a clever posting on your blog.
    Having done two tours in Iraq let me explain; If you’re successful in stopping or negating conventional ambushes or attacks from the enemy, they then resort to suicide attacks or IEDs in lieu of those failures. We saw it time and again. That’s simply what the soldier on the ground is saying.
    Thanks for distorting it out of context for a cheap post. Have another doughnut civvie.

    Reply

  49. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Afghanistan, yet another Bush “mission accomplished”.
    Well, at least it drove the street price of heroin down. The junkies love him.

    Reply

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