- Best comment so far on the surge.
- Why do solutions of the second kind not work?
- A case study of power and politics today in America
- “Invisible Wounds of War“, RAND (April 2008)
- “Choosing War: The Decision to Invade Iraq and Its Aftermath“, Joseph J. Collins, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University (April 2008)
Here they are…
I. Comment by Reality man to “Surging to Success“, Matthew Yglesias, blogging at The Atlantic (16 April 2008) — Excerpt:
Yglesias: “We can start taking them out, that is, if progress is made on such minor issues as ‘Basra and the south,’ ‘Local and national elections,’ ‘Refugee return,’ ‘Kirkuk,’ ‘A national oil law,’ and the state of Iraqi Security Forces. In essence, thanks to the super-duper success of the surge, all we need now is several years of additional war and for all of Iraq’s problems to solve themselves. Mission accomplished!”
Reality man: “I wonder if there were Japanese generals in August 1945 trying to convince the Emperor that they could continue fighting once they managed to de-nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
II. By now it is obvious why solutions fo the first kind (new hardware) do not work. But why do solutions of the second king (ideas about tactics and strategy) not work? It is not just in military affairs that new ideas alone are not enough…
“Economic Survey: Italy“, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 18 May 2007 — Excerpt, page 37:
There is no lack of ideas, institutional capacity, or good legislation in support of economic reforms in Italy. A main problem is one of implementation, the most common failure in the past.
III. Power and politics in America: “Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear“, Vanity Fair (May 2008) — “Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers –- is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.”
IV. “Invisible Wounds of War“, RAND (April 2008) — Excerpt:
One In Five Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Suffer from PTSD or Major Depression. Nearly 20 percent of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan — 300,000 in all — report symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder or major depression, yet only slightly more than half have sought treatment.
As of October 31, 2007, 1,638,817 service members have been deployed to the theaters of operation for Afghanistan (OEF) or Iraq (OIF) since the hostilities began. Of these, approximately, 1.2 million were active component, with 455,009 from the reserve forces … To provide some perspective on the scope of current military operations, we give statistics on the Vietnam War: Approximately 3.4 million servicemembers, about onethird of them drafted, were deployed to Southeast Asia in support of that war (Department of Veterans Affairs, Public Affairs)
V. “Choosing War: The Decision to Invade Iraq and Its Aftermath“, Joseph J. Collins, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University (April 2008) — Excerpt:
Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle. As of fall 2007, this conflict has cost the United States over 3,800 dead and over 28,000 wounded. Allied casualties accounted for another 300 dead. Iraqi civilian deaths—mostly at the hands of other Iraqis—may number as high as 82,000. Over 7,500 Iraqi soldiers and police officers have also been killed. Fifteen percent of the Iraqi population has become refugees or displaced persons. The Congressional Research Service estimates that the United States now spends over $10 billion per month on the war, and that the total, direct U.S. costs from March 2003 to July 2007 have exceeded $450 billion, all of which has been covered by deficit spending.1 No one as yet has calculated the costs of long-term veterans’ benefits or the total impact on Service personnel and materiel.
The war’s political impact also has been great. Globally, U.S. standing among friends and allies has fallen.2 Our status as a moral leader has been damaged by the war, the subsequent occupation of a Muslim nation, and various issues concerning the treatment of detainees. At the same time, operations in Iraq have had a negative impact on all other efforts in the war on terror, which must bow to the priority of Iraq when it comes to manpower, materiel, and the attention of decisionmakers. Our Armed Forces— especially the Army and Marine Corps—have been severely strained by the war in Iraq. Compounding all of these problems, our efforts there were designed to enhance U.S. national security, but they have become, at least temporarily, an incubator for terrorism and have emboldened Iran to expand its influence throughout the Middle East.
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