Iraq : three years on - it's now civil war



stevebaby

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Jun 22, 2004
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roadhog said:
If you are interested in evidence that we have shifting and varying strategies to win the "hearts and minds" as you say, read this letter from the mayor of Tal Afar recently. The letter is authentic, and corroborated by multiple sources if you want to skip the web research. Of course this doesn't mean we're "winning" or even that things are going "very, very well" as someone recently said. But it is evidence that we're trying to do good, which you seem to be skeptical of.

In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful


To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’ Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.

To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.

To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.

Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zumar and Avgani finally destroyed them.

I have met many soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment; they are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism.

The leaders of this Regiment; COL McMaster, COL Armstrong, LTC Hickey, LTC Gibson, and LTC Reilly embody courage, strength, vision and wisdom. Officers and soldiers alike bristle with the confidence and character of knights in a bygone era. The mission they have accomplished, by means of a unique military operation, stands among the finest military feats to date in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and truly deserves to be studied in military science. This military operation was clean, with little collateral damage, despite the ferocity of the enemy. With the skill and precision of surgeons they dealt with the terrorist cancers in the city without causing unnecessary damage.

God bless this brave Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget. To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.

Finally, no matter how much I write or speak about this brave Regiment, I haven’t the words to describe the courage of its officers and soldiers. I pray to God to grant happiness and health to these legendary heroes and their brave families.

NAJIM ABDULLAH ABID AL-JIBOURI
Mayor of Tall ‘Afar, Ninewa, Iraq
While I don't doubt the authenticity of the letter,I can't help but wonder at the sentiment of it!After all,his city is occupied by armed men with the ability to shackle and blindfold him and fly him to a secret prison anywhere in the world,torture him and imprison him without trial for as long as they like and without any sort of accountability.It would hardly be prudent to be critical of anyone with that sort of power,would it?
What sort of letter would the mayor have written to al-zarqawi or saddam hussein?I rather suspect,a very similar one.
When singapore fell to the japanese in WWll,a number of allied prisoners were paraded in front of the cameras by their captors,the intention being to allay any criticism of their treatment.The prisoners praised the japanese in such absurdly fulsome terms that their friends and relatives were left in no doubt that they were indeed being treated very badly.Of course the japanese ,unused to the vagaries of the english language,had no idea what was happening and stood in front of the cameras beaming at the praise.
All this proves is that a small town mayor will say anything to preserve his position,or his town,or both.
 

roadhog

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Feb 13, 2005
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stevebaby said:
While I don't doubt the authenticity of the letter,I can't help but wonder at the sentiment of it!After all,his city is occupied by armed men with the ability to shackle and blindfold him and fly him to a secret prison anywhere in the world,torture him and imprison him without trial for as long as they like and without any sort of accountability.It would hardly be prudent to be critical of anyone with that sort of power,would it?
What sort of letter would the mayor have written to al-zarqawi or saddam hussein?I rather suspect,a very similar one.
When singapore fell to the japanese in WWll,a number of allied prisoners were paraded in front of the cameras by their captors,the intention being to allay any criticism of their treatment.The prisoners praised the japanese in such absurdly fulsome terms that their friends and relatives were left in no doubt that they were indeed being treated very badly.Of course the japanese ,unused to the vagaries of the english language,had no idea what was happening and stood in front of the cameras beaming at the praise.
All this proves is that a small town mayor will say anything to preserve his position,or his town,or both.
And therein lies one of the true travesties of the inexcusable torture behavior and unwillingness to aggressively address it. Because the behavior you mention is certainly not the way 3rd ACR has conducted itself in Tal Afar, though I cannot and do not fault you or anyone else from being skeptical because of what I mention. I can't expect you to take my word for it. But in fact, the 3rd ACR has approached the situation in Tal Afar in a novel fashion, and been largely successful. Who knows if it would work elsewhere and how long it will even work in Tal Afar. But it is starkly different from past efforts and indicative of our attempts to modify strategy to achieve more desirable results for all involved. That was my point more than anything. But I appreciate your point given the perceptions that abound.
 

roadhog

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Feb 13, 2005
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stevebaby said:
While I don't doubt the authenticity of the letter,I can't help but wonder at the sentiment of it!After all,his city is occupied by armed men with the ability to shackle and blindfold him and fly him to a secret prison anywhere in the world,torture him and imprison him without trial for as long as they like and without any sort of accountability.It would hardly be prudent to be critical of anyone with that sort of power,would it?.
Also worthy of note is that this letter is drawn from a larger letter the mayor sent to Gen Casey which was actually quite angry in tone about the fact that the 3rd ACR was about to reach the end of their year deployment (for the 2nd time) and return to the states. He was angry that the regiment would not be required to stay longer because of their success and was in fact pleading with Gen Casey to make them stay. I can assure you the last thing the ACR wanted was to stay beyond their year-mark, so this overall letter is not really as much of an appeasement to the regiment as the snippet I pasted conveys - and in fact even openly critical of Gen Casey's judgment in regards to the unit's rotation home.

But I don't want the letter to become the topic of the thread. Perhaps I shouldn't have posted it. I was merely trying to convey that we are trying quite a few different things in order to affect more peaceable results.
 

EoinC

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Feb 9, 2004
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roadhog said:
I agree with your beliefs about the merits of an international force, but I also know that it will *never* happen for several reasons. As has become a cliche saying, "you break it, you own it." We broke it. Now we own it, and we can't expect anyone else to jump at the chance to share ownership...
I would beg to differ on that, RH. I think it is more a case of "if you don't ask for it, you're not going to get it". At least on the outside, the Coalition Governments are still intent on proclaiming this as a winnable situation. There may be efforts happening behind closed doors, but we're not publically seeing signs of any intention to pass custody to others. If I were more cynical, I might think that there are people in the Coalition Corridors of Power who don't want a solution, and are enjoying the status quo of 'being at war'. The feeling of puffing up one's chest can be addictive.
I take your point on the risks associated with engaging neighbours, harbouring ulterior motives, to come into a vacuum, but there should be some degree of involvement. The Coalition Governments sought to drive a wedge into OPEC and have, in doing so, cracked the levee. Rather than try to hide the crack, they need to alert the rest of the village. There are also plenty of Nations outside of the region, who should be able to provide the resources for establishing a peace-keeping authority.
Even though the UN has taken a lot of flak over the last few years (and deservedly so with their self-serving, non-effective, bureaucratic lethargy), it is still the best medium for allaying the image of 'invader'. One of the UN's problems (aside from their strange attachments to burning money whilst having a good time) is that peace-keeping is pretty non-sensationalist when it comes to news value. Successes are not splurged across the front-pages of newspapers.
 

roadhog

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EoinC said:
I would beg to differ on that, RH. ..(snip).
Perhaps (and hopefully) you are right. There certainly does seem to be an heir of stubborn denial of certain things among the current coalition leadership entities which would support your theory. I tend to believe there have been a lot of discussions on this behind closed doors though. I have assumed we, for example, have not gone public with those discussions be could it would be quite embarrassing for us to say something like "we can't convince anybody to join our casue". But like I said, hopefully you are more correct than me.

And I agree on your points on the U.N. (to include the part about money and good times). Particularly the point about the non-sensationalism of successful peacekeeping is excellent I think.
 

EoinC

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roadhog said:
...I was merely trying to convey that we are trying quite a few different things in order to affect more peaceable results.
Point taken, RH, but to me, the snippet of the Mayor's letter read very similar to many of the references from within our Company that are attached to the applications for employment that I see - "X is a top bloke. One of the best. You really should give him a job here". The Mayor may well be genuine in his grattitude, and the units may well be derving of the praise being heaped upon them, but the Mayor seems to want to have a military town bodyguard stay there ad infinitum. I can't blame him for that - His town appears to have suffered atrociously, the Cavalry came and secured the town in a very effective manner and he wants the Cavalry to stay - it makes sense, but it is not a solution.
As the focus changes from military engagement to peace-keeping, the shift needs to be visibly distinguishable. A soldier in battle fatigues does not look like a peace-keeper - he / she looks like a soldier and is, presumably, carrying out the work of a soldier (which, in this case, appears as occupation).
 

EoinC

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roadhog said:
...I have assumed we, for example, have not gone public with those discussions be could it would be quite embarrassing for us to say something like "we can't convince anybody to join our casue"...
Another reason why such discussions, if they existed, would not be publicised is that, until it is a done deal, it would be disturbing / demoralising for the personnel who are in Iraq. Telling troops "We are talking about pulling out" is a different thing to telling them "We are pulling out on the 20th of June". The first statement has them thinking "What if..." whilst the second statement allows them to get on with their job at hand, buoyed by the knowledge that they will soon be heading home.
 

roadhog

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EoinC said:
A soldier in battle fatigues does not look like a peace-keeper - he / she looks like a soldier and is, presumably, carrying out the work of a soldier (which, in this case, appears as occupation).
Completely agree. I understand the issues you and stevebaby have brought up about the letter. I don't even pretend to refute them. It was a poor way for me to convey what I was trying to convey - which actually has nothing to do with the valid points you have both raised.
 

limerickman

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Jan 5, 2004
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I don't want to focus on the letter and let it (the letter) become the central part of the discussion.
I am certain that there are a lot of American troops who do act with responsibility in Iraq, and are there to do the very best that they can.
I don't doubt the authenticity of the letter or what it's says.

The issue for me is more a political issue with respect.
The military have no choice but to obey the direction given by their political bosses.
 

darkboong

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Mar 2, 2004
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IdahoohadI said:
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

1. Why don't you ask the Kurds

No need, ask the CIA. They reckoned that the Iranians gassed Halabja, or have you convieniently forgotten that report already ? ;)
 

ptlwp

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Oct 6, 2005
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This is very clever; almost as clever as the Nazi's telling their people that the everything was going as planned, nothing bad was happening, and having to eat it or go off to a concentration camp.....but they, citizenry of the USA, voted him in, now they are gonna have to lie in bed with these thieves and murderers for another 2.5 years at least.....the best laid plans of man and mouse...

Oh my, there we go again, this Nazi analogy, but for chissakes, how stupid DO THEY THINK WE ARE?

Fool us once, shame on you, fool us twice, shame on me.

PS I never voted for the Republicrats anyway....I've got no sins other than not speaking out loud enough to our elected officials that war is NOT the answer.
 

Virenque

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Sep 6, 2004
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I can`t agree with you limerickman. Did Americans assasinated VP`s sister? No! The extremists did and that`s a big difference. Coalition forces are not killing innocent civilians but they`re trying to secure them. Terrorists and extremists are killing innocent fellow citizens and that`s something that can`t be tolerated.
If you`re interested, check this blog: http://realisethetruth.blogspot.com/