05 January, 2007


I don't have the qualifications to discuss military strategy and tactics, but the letter to President Bush by Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Reid is far more about politics and philosophy than military strategy/tactics and it was more than I can take. So, I've broken my semi-flexible rule about discussing politics here. Hence, my first fisking follows (letter excerpts in italics, followed by my "translation"):

Dear President Bush,

The start of the new Congress brings us opportunities to work together on the critical issues confronting our country.

Now that we're in power you're gonna have to do what we want you to. But we're gonna pretend to play nice for now.

No issue is more important than finding an end to the war in Iraq. December was the deadliest month of the war in over two years, pushing U.S. fatality figures over the 3,000 mark.

We don't care who wins or loses, we just need to find an end. Yes, there's an easy way to end it: we just just cut the funding. But having to stand up for our beliefs isn't nearly as much fun as using the troops and national security for political games. And the standard of winning isn't what is accomplished despite casualties, it's merely whether or not there have been "too many." We've decided 3,000 is "too many." [Wouldn't it have just been simpler if they'd all died the first month and we could've pulled out then without all the prolonged agony? /sarcasm.]

The American people demonstrated in the November elections that they do not believe your current Iraq policy will lead to success and that we need a change in direction for the sake of our troops and the Iraqi people.

The American people in their vast wisdom and military experience made a congressional election about presidential military policy [how the war was being run, not whether it should be pursued]. And they're all experts on military policy, so we'll do what they supposedly said. The standard for effectiveness of a military action is whether it's "good" for the troops. And the U.S. leaving Iraq is what is best for the Iraqi people because our military is hurting them (all those dead Iraqi women and children that we have targeted since we went there). [And there's that "success" word. I thought the goal was "finding an end to the war."]

We understand that you are completing your post-election consultations on Iraq and are preparing to make a major address on your Iraq strategy to the American people next week.Clearly this address presents you with another opportunity to make a long overdue course correction.

You have been stupidly stubborn when you could have just listened to us the first time, but fortunately you have another chance to come to your senses. See how patient we are to reason with you?

Despite the fact that our troops have been pushed to the breaking point and, in many cases, have already served multiple tours in Iraq, news reports suggest that you believe the solution to the civil war in Iraq is to require additional sacrifices from our troops and are therefore prepared to proceed with a substantial U.S. troop increase.

You see, it's not about what is necessary or needful, but what is convenient. This is a strain on the military [I agree], and so by that standard our only option is to stop. Because, you see, fighting in Iraq is very unnecessary and was just a silly bug you got in your ear all those years ago. We've given you enough time with your little game, but now it's hurting the troops too much. It's not about the objective.

Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried and that has already failed.

We are trying to patiently teach you. Don't you remember that you tried this before? [Nevermind that it wasn't simply "surging" the troops. The idea had been that the U.S. military would clear sections and Iraqis would "hold" them. Unfortunately, the clearing actions in Baghdad were hampered by Iraqi politics and the Iraqi army turned out to be not quite ready to "hold" after all. Serious miscalculation, but it's being recharacterized here for the purpose of argument. Not impressive.]

Like many current and former military leaders, we believe that trying again would be a serious mistake. They, like us, believe there is no purely military solution in Iraq. There is only a political solution.

Don't take "no purely military solution" to mean that we believe the solution has any military component at all. Rather, it's all political. It isn't necessary for the U.S. military to assist in establishing an environment that allows the political powers to operate effectively. If they all just sit down and talk, they'll all be reasonable. Just like we're trying to talk to you.

Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain.

There can be no strategic gain because we know the U.S. military is full of those poor little soldiers who were tricked into joining the military or got "stuk" there because they didn't work hard enough in school. We know they can't really accomplish anything and so we must protect the poor little dears.

And it would undermine our efforts to get the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. We are well past the point of more troops for Iraq.

Because God knows, we haven't given them any responsibility of their own, like lining up for hours to join the Iraqi army and police force, or successfully handing over entire provinces for them to run. [/sarcasm]

[Section quoting General Abizaid that I'm not qualified to argue with]

Rather than deploy additional forces to Iraq, we believe the way forward is to begin the phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months, while shifting the principal mission of our forces there from combat to training, logistics, force protection and counter-terror.

We (Pelosi and Reid) are too stupid to recognize that this has been the plan and the actions all along (with the standard for redeployment being conditions-based, not time-based).

A renewed diplomatic strategy, both within the region and beyond, is also required to help the Iraqis agree to a sustainable political settlement.

Because words mean more than action. So since Syria and Iran say they want to help Iraq, we know we can trust them.

In short, it is time to begin to move our forces out of Iraq and make the Iraqi political leadership aware that our commitment is not open ended, that we cannot resolve their sectarian problems, and that only they can find the political resolution required to stabilize Iraq.

In other words, there is no military component to the Iraqi solution. If the terrorists and the various Iraqi factions just sat down and talked, all would be resolved.

Our troops and the American people have already sacrificed a great deal for the future of Iraq. After nearly four years of combat, tens of thousands of U.S. casualties, and over $300 billion dollars, it is time to bring the war to a close.

See above, where we discussed how we have let you play at your little game long enough. Time to put away your toys and go home. Or to put it another way, it's not about the final result; it's about not feeling the pain of war anymore. It doesn't matter how close to "success" we are in light of the investment of lives and money that has come before.

We, therefore, strongly encourage you to reject any plans that call for our getting our troops any deeper into Iraq.

Once again, we don't believe the U.S. military can accomplish anything, which we've assured with our various political games and propaganda activities.

We want to do everything we can to help Iraq succeed in the future but, like many of our senior military leaders, we do not believe that adding more U.S. combat troops contributes to success.

The most important word in that sentence is "but."

We appreciate you taking these views into consideration.

Do what we want, or else. Capisce?


Harry and Nancy