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April 03, 2008

Thank God for "Realism"

Intrepid trivet-ducker BillT, doing the work NY Times and WaPo reporters won't do:

Hussan (not his real name, for a very good reason) had just finished a couple of bumpy trips around the traffic pattern (okay, they call it a “circuit” -- ‘nother Brit legacy) and I was quizzing him about what the winds were doing at 2,000 feet. After about five minutes, the topic shifted to flying in general, then to combat flying in particular. Then it took a turn I hadn’t expected.

“There is a mosque in [town name redacted], the mosque is Wahabi. One day, there is a sniper in the minaret with a Dragunov -- you know this rifle?”

“Yeah -- Russian sniper rifle. The VC had Sov advisors and they used it on us in Vietnam.”

“Yes, the Russian rifle. The sniper in the minaret, he is a good shot, a very good shot with the Dragunov. He begins shooting at people in the street, not hitting, just shooting. A police car drives up in front of the mosque and the two policemen get out. The sniper shoots the driver *bip* in the head, and the driver falls down. The other policeman goes to his friend to pull him behind the car and the sniper shoots him *bip* in the head also. So two policemen are dead in the street.

[snip]

“Suddenly, there are some American soldiers running around the corner toward the mosque. They run to the door with a shotgun, they shoot the hinges and kick the door in, then they run inside, then some of the policemen stop shooting and run inside with them. The other policemen stop shooting at where the sniper hides in the minaret, but they keep aiming up there. Then one gets a call on his cell phone, and he tells the others to stop aiming, and some go over to the dead policemen and some go into the mosque.

“I saw this, it was in my town. My little brother -- not *smaller-than-I-am* little, *younger-than-I-am* little -- he was with me and saw this, too. I am already in the Army, on leave from Army cadet school. My little brother now joins the police.

“When the soldiers and the police go into the mosque, there is a fight. When it is over, they search the mosque and find IEDs, mortars, RPGs. The Wahabis are two Afghans, one Syrian, three Saudis. No Iraqis.

“So, why do the CNN reporters say this is *Iraqi* insurgency?”

Indeed. Accurate intelligence is essential during wartime. Without it, might fall prey to disinformation campaigns from those who don't have America's best interests at heart:

A lengthy email from a Colonel in Baghdad provides some more background:

...The unclassified, open-source, bottom line is this: The insurgent attacks did not happen "in spite of" the surge. Insurgents attacked in Basrah where foreign military influence is fanning the flames of discontent over the lack of essential services. People in Basrah are upset because they don't have access to clean water, sewage, trash removal, or fuel for cooking and transportation. They know who to blame, but they don't know who to turn to to fix the problems. They lashed out, Maliki's government moved to squelch it, and the Coalition stayed largely on the sidelines. OK, we provided targets. And maybe we helped a little, if you count helicopter gunships and Predator UAVs. But essentially, this was an internal Iraqi affair.

I wish you could have heard General Petraeus' steady response as the situation unfolded: very deliberate, yet calming. It was quite dramatic here, and a lesser leader might have over-reacted. I anticipate that some members of our own society will use this spate of violence to claim the surge failed and call for our immediate withdrawal. That would be a terrible decision based on a tragic misreading of what just happened.

But for God's sake, the last thing we want at this pivotal point in Iraq's history is calm. The last thing we want is common sense.

The last thing we want to point out is what I would think would be obvious to anyone who has ever raised a teenager and watched him take his first halting steps towards adulthood: that we all walk before we can run; that few of us got where we are now without making our share of mistakes along the way; that no parent suddenly lets go of a child completely and says, in effect, "You're on your own", expecting he will magically transition from a protected childhood to adult self-sufficiency in an instant.

Usually, it's one step forward and one step back, with most of the lessons learned only by being allowed to make mistakes and correct them:


What is happening in Basra is what all of us, from the anti-war side to the side of the war supporters, have said we want to see happen - Iraq standing up and taking charge of it's own security and defense. So, I'm a bit amused a the sniping and the foretelling of doom and gloom I see going on among many on both sides of the issue.

Let's consider the ground reality there, ok? The shia militias in Basra are indigenous to the area and are on defense. The ISF is conducting offensive operations. Any idea which is harder to coordinate and execute?

We have the ISF conducting it's first attempt at a large scale offensive operations. Of course there are going to be problems ... many problems, screw-ups and snafus.

You need to understand that when you see comments like this ...

Because this is the end result of the U.S. advisory effort to date — which has focused on creating well-trained and equipped units at the tactical level, but has basically failed at the national, strategic level. The leaders of the Iraqi security forces at the ministry level are as bad as they ever were. And the national government is about as bad. Training and advising Iraqi units at the brigade level and below is well and good. But if you fail to properly shape the national command structure, you're handing those units over to leaders who will misuse them.

...and take them with a grain of salt. You don't conduct good joint, corps, or even division ops if you've never functioned in combat at those levels. That's not to say that there may not be some truth to the comment, but it is just as valid to say that the lessons learned from this operation will go much further toward properly shaping the future national command structure than all the plans, CPXs and Battle Staff training anyone could devise. There is no better trainer than actual experience - if you survive it.

It took us years - literally - to figure out the correct application of force in Iraq, and we have the best military on earth, bar none.

What on earth makes us expect immediate perfection from the Iraqis?

Oh. The media and their constant demands for some "realism" in Iraq.

Posted by Cassandra at April 3, 2008 08:39 AM

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Comments

Patience, as ever, is a virtue. In our society of instant gratification and 30 minute sitcoms with plots that resolve themselves between commercial breaks, patience is not encouraged or rewarded.

It takes integrity to watch your child grow giving appropriate corrections and encouragement as the need arises. Where a lack of accountability reigns supreme in our culture, it is disengenuous for these same folks to expect the exact opposite from our government trying to change authoritarian regimes.

Remember the old adage; a journey of one mile or a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Or words to that effect.

Posted by: vet66 at April 3, 2008 10:55 AM

Very good reading this am Cass, BillT, Kat, and FBL. Thank you one and all.

Patience in our society is in short supply while the gullibility position in the western progressive's market of ideas takes a long position...

Take the Al-Zawahiri says al Qaeda does not kill innocent people Zawahiri press release... Yeah right. But how many, not just in the areas of the planet where free and open access to information is readily available but here in the west, will believe this demonstrable nonsense?

Hmmm, I wonder what the local school board would say to the idea of an extra-curriculum MILblogs reading/discussion course for middle & high schoolers?

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Posted by: bthun at April 3, 2008 11:47 AM

Sheesh... Yet more proof that I need a proofreader. In my comment above I intended to type "where free and open access to information is" not "readily available". Wound you believe, that I missed it by ' ' that much?

I think that I should back away from the keyboard now...

Posted by: bthun at April 3, 2008 01:19 PM

Dagnabit!

Posted by: bthun at April 3, 2008 01:21 PM

realism in Iraq? That wouldn't have anything to do with the TRUTH, would it?

I sent my Guardian Angel this blog as a link in his email.

More on that later.

Posted by: Cricket at April 3, 2008 01:22 PM

Cass, I think you'll like this Shrinkwrapped post about people not seeing what is in front of them.

It makes great sense when it comes to delusions and denial.

There was also an interesting blog war that went on concerning Jimbo and some comments made about Iraq by a Vet for Peace. My name-link has the post I did covering that issue from my side of things.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2008 05:55 PM

In direct reply to the issues, I tend to think the Left expects everyone to be adults since every adult to such people are simply children.

Yet they hold our view of Iraqis as "children" on the same level as how whites viewed blacks as inferior or white man's burden.

I think the differences are very easily explained. When people such as we speak of "children", we do not speak of the "Eternal Child" that feminists seek to create in some sort of Frankenstein/Chucky hybrid. When we speak of raising and protecting children, we speak of preserving future generations by giving them what they need to grow and learn so that they can take care of themselves.

The heartless idiots, for want of a better phrase, believe that the Vietnamese were better left to themselves because so long as America was there, the Vietnamese couldn't become self-determined.

My interpretation of that little viewpoint is very simple. America is seen as holding people back because American wants people to make choices for themselves. Our enemies, however, want to force people into doing what they want.

Neither Democrats or Islamofascists believe in free will. Neither believe that individuals have the best chance for deciding what is best for them and their families. Both believe that the state, shariah, or Allah has a better claim on owning people's ability to choose.

When people see children as never changing, then obviously if that child is being motivated to "grow" and become independent by Americans, the original peeps will believe that the child is being "held" back. Held back from the eternal childlike state which is the utopian pleasure world of the Left or the 72 Virgins of Shariah.

It is a great big farce for big government and totalitarian system advocates to be talking about "indigenous cultures and self-determination".

It is not quite a lie, you see. What some people see as self-determination would be seen by us as slavery. After all, if blacks were as inferior as the Democrats, plantation owners, and some white abolitionists believed, wouldn't "black self-determination" run along a course that is wholly predictable and sub-standard? And wouldn't anyone else trying to raise blacks up beyond Democrat slavery, be "oppressing" those blacks and forcing blacks to choose a fate and destiny beyond what they themselves could have "determined for themselves"?

If the logic doesn't make sense to you, it is okay. For the only thing that matters is whether Leftists use it, not whether people comprehend it.

I was talking to seven seas on my blog post's comment section concerning proxy usage during the Cold War compared to the Iraq War's status.

I couldn't help but arrive at the conclusion that, regardless of your political allegiances, your basic response to Iraq will be based upon just what you think is just and right in this world. If you believe crushing infants underfoot for your personal benefit is a good thing, then I'm not sure whether it matters if you call yourself Democrat, Republican, Paleo-conservative, or a Ron Paul supporter.

If you believe the Iraqis should not be treated as children, but adults, in a world where adults just mean "cogs in the Democrat welfare machine", does it really matter what such folks think they are doing with Iraq?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2008 06:06 PM

Ah yes, the media. One of radical Islam's best weapons...

Posted by: camojack at April 4, 2008 01:46 AM

What on earth makes us expect immediate perfection from the Iraqis?

The mindset that all of us dwellers on the surface of the Big, Blue Marble have the exact same cultural, educational and environmental frames of reference. I know very nice folks who think Iraq, Pakistan and Burma share a common border and that Iran is only a stone's throw from Tibet -- and they can't grasp the concept that a huge percentage of the inhabitants of those countries will text each other 20 hours a day but don't have access to potable water...

Posted by: BillT at April 4, 2008 04:24 AM

Intrepid? Moi?!? I only took this gig to get out of raking leaves, fuhgoonessake...

Posted by: BillT at April 4, 2008 04:26 AM

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