Saturday, October 01, 2005

Credibility Chasm

To dovetail with my previous post, President Bush said the following on Saturday in his weekly radio address:
I'm encouraged by the increasing size and capability of the Iraqi security forces. Today they have more than 100 battalions operating throughout the country, and our commanders report that the Iraqi forces are serving with increasing effectiveness.
Now here's the AP report on what "our commanders" actually said this week:
Only one Iraqi army battalion seems capable of fighting without U.S. help, a senior American general told Congress on Thursday, leaving some lawmakers worried about worsening conditions there despite his assurances that the overall military strategy is working.

Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the number of Iraqi army battalions rated by U.S. officers as capable of fighting without U.S. help had dropped from three to one.

Casey said 75 percent of the U.S.-trained Iraqi army was at least capable of engaging in combat, albeit with U.S. troops providing support in most cases. He declined to give an exact breakdown of Iraqi combat readiness, which he said was classified as secret, but he said more than 30 battalions are judged capable of taking the lead in an offensive, with U.S. support. Only one can operate entirely on its own.
A battalion consists of 300-1,000 troops; it is my understanding that a battalion in the Iraqi army generally consists of about 800 men. And after all the blood, treasure and years we've poured into training it, the entire Iraqi army contains exactly one viable battalion? No wonder those pesky details are "classified as secret."

The holy grail of our exit strategy---the ultimate standard that will determine how many thousands more American troops will die in Iraq and when the rest will come home---is supposed to be Iraqi combat readiness. This should be the first question asked every single day of Scott McClellan. The names of Iraq's most senior military officers---and the status of the divisions and brigades they command---should be part of our national discourse. Bush should address the nation once every few months with progress reports and hard figures. Or are we well on the way to abandoning the pretense that the training of Iraqi forces has anything at all to do with when we're leaving? What do these comments by Rumsfeld and Myers tell us?

If the progress we're making is "classified as secret" at least this administration has done nothing in the past to make us doubt that we'll be kept fully and truthfully informed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The United States currently has the equivalent of 140 battalions on the ground over there, most probably better armed and armored than the Iraqis with a significant support structure. Iraq has 1 battalion (down from 3), and nobody knows if they will disappear when the civil war gets into full swing.

I think they are doomed no matter when we pull out. Our presence is prolonging the inevitable and probably exacerbating it.

The Islamic State and some form of theocracy is a lock whether this Constitution passes or not. Iran gets more out of this deal than either Iraq or the United States. We can pull back into the Green Zone and Nuke anybody who comes near us, which leaves the rest of Iraq outside the wall.

Bottom Line: George Bush volunteered us for a war that cannot be won by any reasonable standard of winning, NO MATTER WHAT. Everybody loses, it was all for nothing. What leadership. What a legacy. (also posted in comments at Political Animal)

10/01/2005 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure "everybody" loses. Look at Iran .. sitting mighty pretty! AND, all that oil!
Of course, if you are thinking of the U.S. as the "everybody" .. well then, it's a stink hole. Down the road we will pay even more dearly than we are at present.

10/01/2005 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the neo's are involved in an exercise in screwing the pooch....

and they have screwed it to death.

"is everybody happy?!"

this is what all the neos wanted, isn't it?

have fun!


10/02/2005 1:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"fully and truthfully informed" - Ha, ha!

Pick a topic, and have they ever kept us fully and truthfully informed; more like the antithesis.

How many of the Republican leadership are currently indicted - "culture of corruption" and unfortunately our service people got caught in the x-hairs of the radical right (i.e., Delay).

If you listen to Reuters someone is blocking the truth. One has to shake their head in disgust when you think of all the hopla over embedded journalists, and the joys of a short and victorious shock and awe war battle, and years later where are these reporters telling us the story. I find it really sad when you see these hawks on talk shows and all they can say is, "we didn't anticipate"...

Great; our kids are suffering because they "didn't anticipate".

10/02/2005 11:31 AM  
Blogger Lymond said...

Speaking of "didn't anticipate," I caught Gen. Abizaid on Face the Nation this AM. He did a dance job around most of Schieffer's questions, but most especially when asked what would happen if the Constitution fails to pass Iraqi (Sunni) muster in a couple of weeks.

After a deer-in-the-headlights look he started babbling about how the Iraqis want a constitution, blah, blah, blah. Is the solution to "planning" around a possible setback one of "believing" it won't happen and, therefor, it can't?

10/02/2005 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, our soldiers are suffering. As far as Bush is consernd - so what. These do not come from his friends family or his social class. Again so what.

He is concerned about them as much as he is concerned about the poor.

We have a unethical, corrupt and immoral president and congress leading this country and for 40% of this country that is just fine and dandy.

Problem is that the rest of the world thinks different. I wonder when we will use our nuclear weapons to blackmail the rest of the world.

With this administration and congress ANYTHING is possible and probable.

The country I grew up with and felt proud and happy with (I knew there were poblems and many actions that were downright imoral and/or unethical) is dead and gone and what we now have makes a sewer plant smell like a bed of roses.

Now I am ashamed, unhappy and dread the coming reconning.
We have had it. I wonder how long it will take before we end up a third rate country with a huge nuclear arsenal, 90% living in poverty 5% middle class and the rest swimming in money?
What a grand country then we will be and any liberal who dares to say so will be send for re-education to the gulags.

10/02/2005 12:08 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

My hunch is battalions have degraded because of high desertion rates.

10/02/2005 2:48 PM  
Anonymous me said...

I wonder how many battalions on planet earth pass the test for readiness using USA standards?

10/02/2005 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

you forgot the good news though: three new schools were painted white last week, 100 metres of water pipe were fixed, and the peole of Iraq are free from mindless violence and sadistic killers... er sort of...

10/02/2005 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I wonder how many battalions on planet earth pass the test for readiness using USA standards?"

Since nobody is talking about battalions that match the capabilities of U.S. units, the numbers you're asking for is literally in the thousands. Just limited to the mideast, the Saudis, Jordanians, Syrians, Egyptians, etc. all have units capable of carrying out operations in the field without U.S. support.

10/02/2005 5:34 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Anonymous just above this post, so do the Iranians!

10/02/2005 10:03 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/02/2005 10:04 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

The Coalition Provisional Authority was charged with managing $9 billion in cash of Iraqi pre-war oil revenue that was supposed to fund the Iraqi ministries.

Stuart Bowen, Bush's inspector general for the reconstruction of Iraq, said the $9 billion was embezzled.

Paul Bremer and George Tenet were awarded Medals of Freedom. I doesn't take a rocket scientist to put two and two together.

Until this war becomes unprofitable for certain Americans, it won't end.

10/03/2005 1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you catch Andy Rooney on the news Sunday night?

"Last year Japan spent $42 billion. Italy spent $28 billion, Russia spent only $19 billion. The United States spent $455 billion. We have 10,000 nuclear weapons!

We are spending $5.6 billion a month for a war which hasn't made us safer, weakened our position in the world, and has basically turned Iraq into a civil war. The Shiites and the Kurds are fighting now.

I've read a lot about the Pentagon and our military establishment headed by civilians like Richard Perle. On the one hand they put us in a war, and on the other they are selling us dry and reaping profits and power for themselves.

I think we have a lot more problems than will the troops come home or not... I think this talk is just busy talk, and solves nothing. We are in a terrible situation in Iraq, and we have the most corrupt administration in decades!

Is the avian flu or similar a bigger threat than terrorism? And are we as unprepared as FEMA was with Katrina?

10/03/2005 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous just above this post, so do the Iranians!"

They're covered by the "etc."

10/03/2005 2:43 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

The Daily Show just had this juxtaposition:

On October 1, the Prezident said:

Good morning. This week I met with the generals who are overseeing our efforts in Iraq -- Generals Abizaid and Casey -- to discuss our strategy for victory. They updated me on the operations in Baghdad last weekend in which Iraqi and coalition forces tracked down and killed the second most wanted al Qaeda leader in Iraq....

Now the increasing number of more capable Iraqi troops has allowed us to keep a better hold on the cities we have taken from the terrorists.

On September 29, the Brass:

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: General Abizaid, there was a report sent over, I think last June, that three of the hundred Iraqi battalions were fully trained and equipped, capable of operating independently. What is that number now?

GEN. JOHN ABIZAID: The number now is, if you're talking about level-one trained --



SEN. JOHN McCAIN: At one battalion?


10/03/2005 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Checkout The Daily Show snippet:

Bush Sat Radio Address: Optimistic with Iraq; more Iraqi troops are capable of operating independently. Talks to Generals but I guess not about Iraq. To bad the Armed Services Committee was told the exact opposite of what the President said.

General Abizaid: How many Iraqi battalions fully trained? Was 3, now 1.

VP Cheney: In May, "Last throws of the insurgencies".

General Casey: Average insurgency in 20th century has lasted 9 years and should expect no less in Iraq.

General Myers: Complex situation that can't be understood by those who fought in Vietnam (slap at McCain).

McCain: General Myers assumes things are going well in Iraq; General Myers assumes everything has gone fine; everything is NOT fine, things have not gone as General Myers has told us. (slap back!)

Fantastic! Go for it Senator McCain.

Rumsfeld: Answer to your question is in two parts... There isn't an answer to your question.

Al-Qaeda insurgency isn't like IBM, a centralized monolith, it is like McDonalds, a franchise.

This show is awesom! I wish the "real" news was as put together, sharp, and as real.

10/04/2005 12:34 PM  
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