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Reported on Saturday's regional security conference in Baghdad a few days ago at Mudville.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Sunday that countries invited to the Baghdad meeting of Iraq's neighbors, including Iran, as well as the US and other UN Security Council permanent members plus Egypt and Bahrain, will attend the regional and international meeting on Iraq.The story hasn't gotten much attention in the U.S. (it's one of those non-military signs of progress that would make certain members of congress look rather, ahem, obstructionist in their current actions.)
But the NY Times found a way to spin the story and declare failure today:
U.S. and Iran May Steal the Show at Iraq’s Security MeetingSo they'll be able to excoriate the administration should the two countries fail to kiss and make up.
WASHINGTON, March 8 — On Saturday, Iraq will convene its “neighbors” meeting in Baghdad, which is supposed to be about Iraqi security.
But the big question everyone is asking is this: Will the United States and Iran finally end more than a quarter century of communicating primarily through emissaries, and talk directly to each other?
“If we are approached over orange juice by the Syrians or the Iranians to discuss an Iraq-related issue that is germane to this topic — a stable, secure, peaceful, democratic Iraq — we are not going to turn and walk away,” David Satterfield, the State Department’s special adviser on Iraq, said Thursday.
Critics of the administration say that given the grave issues at stake, that stance may be too aloof. “How immature is it that we have to pretend for American domestic political reasons that we’re going to get cooties from the Iranians unless they go to the bathroom first and wash their hands?” said an exasperated George Perkovich, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Are we a major power or not?”
Trouble is, Iran has already said "no"...
"Meeting with Americans on the sidelines of the Baghdad conference is not on the agenda of Iran, for the time being," said Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, in his weekly news briefing.That's not in the NY Times report, of course. It was in the first link above.
Speaking on the eve of an unprecedented Baghdad conference, Abdul Azziz al-Hakim, one of Iraq's most powerful leaders, said the meeting should boost the transition to elected government.Meanwhile, the LA Times says
"We call on the regional and international countries to support Iraq because we believe it will reflect positively on international and regional peace," Hakim told tens of thousands of black-clad Shi'ite pilgrims in the holy city of Kerbala.
"We want every country participating in this meeting to enhance the achievements made in Iraq in the last four years."
Persistent violence has marred efforts to establish a stable and democratic government since U.S.-led troops invaded Iraq in March 2003 and toppled Saddam Hussein.
U.S. And Iran Have Been Talking, QuietlyAll done!
The White House insists that the United States won't talk directly with Iran until Tehran suspends its nuclear program. But U.S. officials have been discreetly meeting their Iranian counterparts one-on-one for more than a decade, often under the auspices of the United Nations.
Looks like they listened to Soldier's Mom, too:
President Bush today named seven people, including two wounded veterans of the Iraq war and the wife of another, to serve on a bipartisan presidential commission charged with investigating the treatment of wounded service members in the wake of a scandal over outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Marc Giammatteo, a former Army captain whose leg was severely injured in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq in 2004. He has undergone more than 30 surgeries at Walter Reed and was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. From 2004 to 2006, he served as an unofficial patient advocate at Walter Reed. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he is now a student at Harvard Business School.
· Jose Ramos, a former Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class in the U.S. Navy who lost an arm in combat during his second tour of duty in Iraq in 2004. He also served one tour in Afghanistan. He is now a student at George Mason University, where he is majoring in international studies and minoring in Islamic studies and Arabic.
· Tammy Edwards, the wife of Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Edwards, who was severely burned in Iraq when a 500-pound bomb exploded under his vehicle in 2005. Since her husband's injury, she has provided support for family members of wounded veterans in her community of Cibolo, Tex. She is currently a research assistant at the Geneva Foundation.
· Kenneth Fisher, senior partner of Fisher Brothers and chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization that constructs "comfort homes" for families of hospitalized military personnel and veterans. Fisher Houses serve 8,500 families every year at little to no cost.
That makes twice this week they've caught him! I'm glad, but unless they catch him three times next week the press will declare failure.
BAGHDAD - The leader of the al-Qaida-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, has been captured in a raid west of Baghdad, an Iraqi military spokesman said Friday.
U.S. officials had no confirmation of the statement by Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, spokesman of the Baghdad security operation.
Al-Moussawi said al-Baghdadi was captured Friday in a raid in Abu Ghraib on the western outskirts of Baghdad.
"One of the terrorists who was arrested with him confessed that the one in our hands is al-Baghdadi," al-Moussawi said.
A prominent Iraqi Shiite close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also said al-Baghdadi had been captured. But he spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not supposed to release the information.
Okay, mebbe not. Probably not. Almost certainly not. But great minds think alike, right?
The Army did do something many of us recommended - including Army doctors. Sent a combat arms general to Walter Reed.
A combat-arms brigadier general from Fort Knox will take over as deputy commanding general of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a move that Army officials said yesterday will allow medical commanders to focus on health care while battle-hardened field officers work to regain the trust of wounded soldiers.
Gen. Richard A. Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff, announced that Brig. Gen. Michael S. Tucker will come to Washington as part of a leadership restructuring at Walter Reed that will include the creation of a brigade focused on helping wounded outpatients navigate a treacherous bureaucracy. Cody, speaking to reporters at Walter Reed, said the changes are designed to attack problems and lapses exposed in a series of Washington Post articles and to ensure that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan receive the care and respect they deserve.
Cody said he believes that new leadership is key to fixing problems that let outpatient soldiers fall through the cracks.
"I'm glad you like the tiger, son - but I have to go now, and put the News up!"
(That is me at the Charikar orphanage in early 2005, heh)
Day by Day creator Chris Muir recently went to Iraq, and reports back at Bill Roggio's. Chris apologizes for being a better cartoonist then photographer:
I take crappy photos, but no photographers (except Eric Bowers) would leave the media building to tour Iraq. They were all typing stories from their terminals inside.So you'll have to make do with the photos he took, and the stories he tells.
In which we examine the anti-war movement of a previous war, and discover that Iraq isn't like Vietnam on the homefront, either.
Started out as another "Re" post here, but grew much too long.
With all due respect to Ronald Reagan.
The living memory of the brutality the Russians suffered in WWII had to die before a "true peace" could even been contemplated(not sure a true peace has yet to be achieved). The Russians don't live much past 60...so the living memory of WWII had mostly died by 1986.
The living memory of Saddam and the Iran-Iraq war must die in the Middle East before there is a "true" peace.
1988 + 40 years = 2028, or 2003 + 40 years = 2043
With any luck...5 or 6 brigades will be enough to suppress the impulses of the living memory. The idea that zero peace keepers will be required beyond 2008 is insane.
It's been a common mistake ever since the Romans turned their noses up at the Vandals. Curt comments on a Stratfor article noting that in our impatience to get it over with and lose the overseas campaign of the Long War, we might just be doing it again:
(A study of al Qaeda philosophy) is an indicator that a U.S. withdrawal from Muslim lands is not al Qaeda’s ultimate requirement for ending attacks against the United States or American interests abroad.
Long before the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Osama bin Laden clearly stated that, in the jihadists’ opinion, the United States was not prepared to fight a war of attrition.
"Shouldn't we be focusing on getting out of another quagmire first?"
President Clinton adressed that when he was still ponderin' whether or not to commit troops following the bombing campaign. (Here , in his own words.) But Clinton sent us in, just prior to Christmas, '95, with a promise that we'd be home by Christmas, '96.
Perhaps had GWB simply announed, pre-invasion, that he was concerned about Iraq becoming a quagmire, he couldn't be accused of ignorance of the possibility.
There's a goldmine of "gotchas" in the history of the Bosnia/Kosovo debate. Some congressional Republicans opposed the deployment:
Of equal concern is how long U.S. troops will remain in Bosnia. According to a press report. the "exit strategy" currently being discussed among Administration officials and NATO allies is to begin withdrawing some troops six to eight months after their original deployment. But what about the rest of the troops? And how many are some?If that sounds like the Democratic playbook for arguing against Iraq, that's because it is. And if you think the Iraq response isn't "payback" you're naive. (And if you think the troops deserve better, you're right.)
Before U.S. troops are committed to Bosnia, the Administration must deternine the mission and specific objectives to be achieved. In a war, the mission and objective is clear: to fight and win with the smallest number of casualties. However, in a "peacekeeping" mission such as the one envisioned for Bosnia, the missions and objectives could range from deterring and defending againstfany re-initiation of hostilities, to providing humanitarian and refugee assistance. Each mission carries equal risk for a soldier. A specific, defined and limited objective is absolutely necessary to avoid dreaded "mission creep."
These should sound familiar too:
Bosnia raises a number of significant issues for Congressional consideration, which include:Like I said, a goldmine of "gotchas".
* Identifying the U.S. national security interests that are at stake;
* Determining the number of troops to be deployed, how long they will stay and conditions for withdrawal;
* Defining the mission, rules of engagement, and command structure;
* Allowing Russian participation in the peacekeeping operation;
* Understanding how such deployment will impact the U.S. military's ability to fulfill other national security objectives (e.g., the ability to fight two nearlysimultaneous major regional conflicts, as identified by the Clinton Administration);
* Analyzing the implications of troop deployment upon current policies toward Bosnia, (including: U.S. participation in enforcing No-Fly Zone; impact on the Administration's arms embargo policy);
* Paying for the military operation; and,
* Ensuring Congressional participation (e.g., from consultation to authorization).
Admiral Leighton Smith, NATO Commander in Southern Europe, had concerns, too:
What we all fear is that we'll get in there and suddenly the mission will change. Then you get into a whole new ball of wax where, sorry, guys, we're not going to be home for Christmas [of 1996]. Maybe Easter."
He needn't have worried about that.
But Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. John Shalikashvili demonstrated solidarity and resolve:
But he made clear the determination to keep U.S. troops in Bosnia "until mission is done, period," regardless of casualties.And former President George H.W. Bush did too:
"We need to be very clear that when we go into an operation like this, we must not fall into trap of saying after certain number of casualties we will leave, because that will just invite those who wish us harm or those who want us out of there to take us on as targets," he said.
The White House welcomed support for Clinton's Bosnia policy on two fronts. Former President George Bush urged Congress to support the deployment of U.S. troops even though Bush said he had questions about "what our troops are expected to accomplish, and about when they can get out and come home." In a statement issued by his office in Houston, Texas, Bush said, "What is clear, however, is that it is in our national interest to maintain the integrity of the United States' credibility in the world."Although months later some "progressives" would express outrage...
White House press secretary Mike McCurry said Clinton understands that Bush has some concerns about the deployment, but "the president is grateful that his predecessor has issued a statement expressing support for our troops and for American efforts in Bosnia."
...Clinton made the facile claim that we must send troops to Bosnia "because problems that start beyond our borders can quickly become problems within them." Among these problems, he cited "the spread of organized crime and weapons of mass destruction and drug trafficking."...he didn't need it. And off we went, in early December, '95.
He made the commitment without Congressional approval.
"We had Christmas last night," said Army Capt. Tom Salo, a company commander in the 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion who expects to be in Bosnia for the next year. "My wife and children, we sat down and exchanged gifts, had Christmas dinner. We didn't have much time."And though polls said "Most in U.S. oppose
Calling them "heroes for peace" Clinton got a roar of approval from the 11,000 troops at Smith Barracks when he told them they "may respond immediately and with decisive force" if they are even threatened with attack in the Balkans.
TUZLA, Bosnia--A cold wind from the hills blows through this war-ravaged city. Snow and ice are on their way, and for U.S. troops in this remote corner of Europe, so is another lonely winter far from home.Three years after that, Kosovo:
That wasn't supposed to be. When President Clinton sent U.S. troops to Bosnia last year, he said they would be home by this Christmas. But in a televised statement from the White House last month, the president said U.S. troops would be staying for at least one more year.
"Bosnia," said the president, "still reaps a bitter harvest of hatred" so the United States must stay to keep Bosnians from slaughtering one another once again.
Are we back in Vietnam?Now it's eight years later, and Clinton's promise is every bit as good as it was then. All done!
Saturday, May 15, 1999
By Dennis Roddy
WASHINGTON, May 15 -- The Pentagon announced yesterday that 12,000 American ground troops will be deployed to strife-torn Kosovo as part of a NATO peacekeeping force.
A Defense spokesman said the 14,000 troops would be home by July 4.
"There's no reason to keep 16,000 Americans away from our shores any later than Labor Day," said the spokesman.
President Clinton yesterday said the deployment of the 17,000 troops is "strictly temporary."
The president also announced plans to join the troops for dinner on Thanksgiving.
While many of the soldiers already are stationed at U.S. bases in Germany and in Bosnia, the balance of the 25,000 will likely deploy from Dover Air Force base in Delaware and will return from Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia by Christmas.
The administration also renewed its pledge to withdraw remaining American troops in Bosnia by the end of this year. Originally, they were to be home by Christmas 1995, but an unforeseeable spread in the Yugoslav conflict from Bosnia to Kosovo complicated plans, the Pentagon said.
"With their own defenses now weakened and weapons supplies choked off, the Serbs would never take on 65,000 U.S. forces," Cohen said. "Clearly, a further widening of the Yugoslav conflict has been prevented because the administration has shown, once again, that it can keep its word."
llinois Sen. Barack Obama, a candidate for the White House, told reporters the measure includes some of the key provisions of a bill he introduced earlier this year setting a March 31, 2008, target for withdrawal. "It expresses the central insight that we can't have our troops policing a civil war,"
I seem to remember 250+ thousands troops in Europe policing a civil war between Western Europeans and Eastern Europeans...and then there are all those troops in Korea...policing a civil war there. We also still have troops in Kosovo, policing a civil war there.
I think what Senator Obama meant to say is that we can't police a civil war involving brown people.
Does this mean I have to go to a rehabilitation center to get my mind right?