[lit-ideas] Re: Priorities

  • From: Andy Amago <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2005 15:09:46 -0800 (PST)

-----Original Message-----
From: Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Jan 2, 2005 10:15 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Priorities

Gad!  I remember in my younger days people told me I was so argumentative,
I'd argue with a tree stump.  When I argue with Andy, I recall those days

A.A.  I wonder why you need to preface your speeches with derogatory personal 

L.H.  The operative word, Andy is "middle."  There was a major war in Iraq but 
war-part is over.  

A.A. Nobody anywhere ever contested that we could knock the hornets nest off 
the perch.  What was never considered was what to do after the hornets nest was 
knocked down.  Never even thought about.

L.H.  We are not in the MIDDLE of it any longer.  

A.A. We lost most of our soldiers following the war in ever escalating numbers 
and ever escalating violence.  If you prefer to euphemize what's going on, by 
all means do so.   If you know where we are in this war, is it because you have 
special information unknown to everyone else, or you can simply see into the 

L.H.  What is going
on is an insurgent reaction AFTER the war.  

A.A.  No shit.  Is that what's going on?  I'll bet it took the administration 
completely by surprise too.

L.H.  Think of the French insurgency
after the Germans defeated the French in WWII (I'm sure you can look that
up).  There had been a war against the French.  It was over.  The French
were defeated, but French resistance (insurgency) fought on.  Think also of
the French war against Germany as a subset of the larger war called World
War II.  The Iraqi war along with the Afghan War are subsets of the War
against Terror.

A.A.  It's interesting that you use the French WWII model, since I recently 
heard an interview that made the point that the administration thought that our 
forces were going to be greeted by the Shiites the way the French greeted the 
Americans after WWII, i.e., as liberators.   And, you're exactly right, the 
insurgency fought on.  

L.H.  The Left-Leaning media is getting in the way of "the war."  Yes, the 
war against Terror.  This is the war we will have to continue to fight until
the Islamists give up their goal of 1) a greater Muslim Arabia as one united
ummah and 2) their conquering of the entire world for Islam (a goal voiced
by Sayyid Qutb and repeated by Osama bin Laden).

A.A. I saw Fog of War on Saturday.  McNamara has 11 lessons that he learned 
from his career.  One of the lessons is to empathize with the enemy.  In his 
opinion it is why we never had a nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis, 
because the ambassador to the Soviet Union had lived with Khrushchev and knew 
him and what it would take to get him to back off, even at the insistence of 
our military to strike.  By contrast, we couldn't get it in our heads that, 
even after meeting with Diem where he *told us in so many words* that the 
Vietnamese would never see us as anything other than colonizers, like the 
French before us, and that they would fight to the last person to rid 
themselves of us.  We wound up losing 58,000 guys, and they lost 4,300,000 to 
keep the colonizers out.  That is exactly the mistake we made with Iraq.  We 
never saw it from their point of view, that they would look at us as occupiers. 
 We (Rove et al.) saw only our own picture of being greeted by the French. 

So, now we won the war long ago, a no brainer, like everyone knew we would, 
quickly and with few casualties, but we bogged ourselves down in an unwinnable 
peace where no matter what we do, we lose. 

L.H.  The insurgency in Iraq isn't going to succeed 

A.A. See the above statement about the Vietnamese. 

L.H.  but it does provide some doubt
about how well the U.S. is doing in the minds of people who are
anti-American or don't precisely trust America.  

A.A.  In other words, it's convincing the Islamists that they're right.

L.H.  If you listen to the
insurgents, they are doing pretty well.  If you listen to the Iraqi and
American forces, it's only a matter of time before they are wiped out -- or
at least reduced to a trickle.

A.A.  What evidence are you basing this one?   In an earlier post you said we 
could turn the Kurds loose on the insurgents, but (paraphrasing) we're too 
interested in democracy so we won't.  If we turned the Kurds loose (most likely 
they wouldn't fight, but theoretically), Turkey would get in on the act, and of 
course Iran would support the Shiites.  It would be throwing fuel on the fire.  
The administration thinks along your lines, with anecdotal evidence and a lot 
of conviction.  

L.H.  Getting an Iraqi force up to speed has taken some time.  The president 
of some failures in that regard -- of some Iraqi units that ran away, but
most of the Iraqi units are learning their trade and the existence of this
force will enable the U.S. to back off at some point and let the Iraqis do
their own policing of insurgents.

A.A.  Among other reasons is because we didn't even think about a police force 
until General Petreus took over this past July, 2004, by which time the 
insurgency was very well entrenched.  Iraqi police are sitting ducks, and they 
are also infiltrated by the insurgents.

Andy Amago


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