According to the US military, THIS is what victory in Iraq looks like

By Jeff Emanuel Posted in Comments (43) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

The above photo is from Rear Admiral Fox's office, and describes the desired "End State" situation in Iraq. I think the use of the word "state" in the title makes for a nice double entendre, and as such, helps convey the magnitude and the situation and the size of the project. Also on the card, at the bottom and out of the picture, is this final line: "An ally in the war on terror."

So this is what "victory" in Iraq looks like.

So, how realistic is it? That's a good question - the only consensus appears to be the fact that what is needed most, beyond what is being done, is more time. Unfortunately, thanks to the political cycle, this is precisely what we do not have.


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Geez dude do you listen to what the President says? He says this in almost everytime he talks about Iraq and what we need to do. I know it must seem he is not because he has become part of his standard "talking points" however he does say it consistantly and always has.

Peace through superior fire power:)

Given that both you and Victoria have jumped on that, I concede the point, and will stipulate that I must have simply woken up on the frustrated side of the bed this morning :-)

I would agree this is said often by POTUS. Nonetheless, Democrats have continually propagandized there "is and has been no plan". In fact, this has been said so often it appears a centerpiece of their public discussion.

I would therefore share your frustration Jeff in that we have not produced significant traction with a packaged, consistent public message.

The weakness here is not Executive Branch, it is Legislative Branch. They certainly have their hands full, but the consistency and regularity of our message is a challenge. It is not policy or ideas, it is a strategy which allows a lack of clarity in communication to be exploited. This needs to be corrected, less we will remain challenged by public opinion. The populace is too inundated by a partisan MSM and Democrat Representatives who continually look like a uniform, multi gender version of the "Stepford Wives"; quoting from the same set of instructions and rarely departing from their script.

The remedy to be applied aptly should follow the KISS principle. Someone needs to oversee consistent communication from our side of the aisle. Look at that one placard, we should make a wallet size copy of it and give one to every Republican member of Congress.
(footnote: that is why I love military communications, they must speak to a diverse audience with extreme clarity, I hope someone on the political side takes note. It is in this sense your observation and post is extremely valuable.)

By the way, this is not meant in any way to criticize AE or RightMom for whom I have immense respect ;-)

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"
Contributor to The Minority Report

The Iraq end state, as so succinctly stated in the poster, is the objective. It is the goal, not the plan.

Say my objective is to be a millionaire. If someone asks me: "what are you going to do to achieve that?" and I respond, "become a millionaire." They are going to look at me like I'm a dolt.

Our communication strategy needs to lay out the plan... (fighting the insurgency, buying time for political deals, etc.) instead of just repeating the objective over and over again.

We've got a plan, and it is working (we are winning!), but we can't keep explaining the objective as if it were a plan.

“Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the Democrats believe every day is April 15.”
-Ronald Reagan

You're asking the wrong question. I look at this as a long-awaited answer to my oft-placed question, "what is victory in Iraq?"

The plan has been presented and is available for all to see (irrespective of Democrat Party opines). The problem is that communicating the plan, per se, is difficult. This is due to the level of detail which inevitably lends itself to distractive diversions and explanations.

Articulating the goal is where the American people have become lost. It relatively easy to consistently answer numerous questions using the “goal” as guidance. exempli gratia asking why winning in Iraq is important, in context of this stated goal, becomes somewhat obvious.

Jeff’s response is therefore extremely relevant; what does victory look like in Iraq? This presentation better defines that for the American people by concisely including purpose, vision and end state.

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"
Contributor to The Minority Report

The real questions are "Is this a feasible goal?," "Is this a goal that can be accomplished militarily?," and "How do we get enough Iraqis to want this end goal to make it achievable?"

This goal isn't going to happen until the Iraqi people stop supporting the Sectarian religion baters.

on what

"Is this a goal that can be accomplished militarily?,"

means or why it is even a question. I think we've all known since 2003 that there isn't a military solution to Iraq, only a military component to that solution.

But as much of the engineering, civil affairs, and civic institution building in Iraq is being done by military people seconded to the State Department's Provincial Reconstruction Teams maybe there is a military solution.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

boils down to what type of military presence we should have there. Under your criteria, U.S. military civil engineers and advisors in Iraqi would constitute a military component to the Iraqi solution. I agree with the view that you present, but that's really not what the national debate is all about.

All but the loony left realize that the military would have to have some presence in Iraq in regards to training the Iraqi army, aiding with civil engineering and reconstruction, etc.
The real question is whether tens of thousands of combat troops should be in Iraq, how long they need to be in Iraq, and whether their presence there does more good than harm. When will we be able to entrust the Iraqi army to ensure Iraq's democracy? Will this be a 100+ year colonial mission in Iraq?

Those of us right wing Iraq war critics are getting impatient with the Iraqis. If the vast majority of Iraqis really want to end the violence and have a peaceful, representative government, then they should be giving their full support to the U.S. efforts. Terrorist cells and violent sectarian extremists would have a very difficult time surviving in Iraq without the support of a significant percentage of the Iraqi population. If large numbers of the Iraqis really truly want civil war, then our efforts there are futile and the mission statement is just a wish list.

you posed as being critical. I think your question was at best ill-informed and at worst disingenuous because no one who supports the war has ever intimated there was a military solution. We've known since day one that governance and infrastructure were key but that we need to keep killing some people until that happens.

As to your second para, I think the answer is on the sign.

Personally, I don't think anyone has a right to be impatient with the Iraqis when the time horizon you are impatient with is hardly 4 years.

Fear and a lack of civic institutions allows terrorists and insurgents to operate. Not acquiescence. If the government can't protect you and the terrorists can kill you then you keep your head down and mouth shut. I'd submit that at the epicenter of the Klan activity during the Civil Rights era that you saw the same behavior among a lot of Southern whites and blacks.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

simply isn't true. The claim

-no one who supports the war has ever intimated there was a military solution-

Is patently false. Any opposition position to the Iraq war is being framed as "cut and run" and "surrendering to the terrorists." That clearly implies that military force is the key to this situation and that victory is assured if we outlast the terrorist militarily. The nuances that you introduced are generally ignored in this rhetoric.

What I'm saying is that there's a possibility that that's not the case. Maybe the "cut and run" rhetoric is inapplicable, because the key to the solution doesn't lie in fighting and combat. If there isn't Iraqi popular support for the effort, then it's going to fail regardless of whether our combat force stays or leaves.

-Personally, I don't think anyone has a right to be impatient with the Iraqis when the time horizon you are impatient with is hardly 4 years.

Fear and a lack of civic institutions allows terrorists and insurgents to operate. Not acquiescence. If the government can't protect you and the terrorists can kill you then you keep your head down and mouth shut.-

Someone has to be supporting the terrorists, insurgents, and sectarians. They can't exist in a vaccuum. If they had no popular support, then they simply could not function. People wouldn't have to fear reprisals, because the violent actors wouldn't have the power to coerce them. There is at least some significant percentage of the Iraqi population actively supporting the violence. If there wasn't, then there's be at least a modestly strong civil society and a reasonably reliable police force and military in Iraq right now. After 4 years, a population that was overwhelmingly dedicated to peace, civil liberty, and democracy could generate at least that much.

In this regard, the question is how broad the Iraqi support is for the violent actors. If it is relatively small, then we have stand a good chance of succeeding, and giving up on Iraq now would be stupid. If the popular support is deep-seated and wide spread, then our mission is a fantasy.

The war supporters who demonize others who are skeptical about the Iraq war as being cowards and traitors don't seem to recognize this. They assume away the situation in which the majority of Iraqis don't want what we want, insisting that continued force presence will guarantee the goals listed on that poster. That's why my question was fair; those types of war supporters think that the presence of combat troops will inevitably lead to success in Iraq. Maybe you don't think on those terms, but some people certainly do.

That being said, I'm not claiming to know what the level of Iraqi support is. I don't know, and neither does Harry Reid. If support is high and if most Iraqis want what we want, then we can win. If they don't, if the majority of Iraqis support sectartian violence and theocracy, then a million U.S. combat troops in Iraq couldn't achieve the goals on that poster.

but it isn't an ad hominem when it is true. Your comment is either profoundly silly or dishonest. I'll leave it to others to choose.

I note that I'm supposed to take your

Is patently false. Any opposition position to the Iraq war is being framed as "cut and run" and "surrendering to the terrorists." That clearly implies that military force is the key to this situation and that victory is assured if we outlast the terrorist militarily. The nuances that you introduced are generally ignored in this rhetoric.

as substantive since it leads with an obvious fib and doesn't bother to include a single bit of evidence. Military force is key. But that is different from a military solution. The difference isn't nuance the difference is reading comprehension.

Your next para simply runs contrary to everything known about guerilla war since Napoleon invaded Spain. I don't have time to argue with someone who contradicts Mao on the subject.

The war supporters who demonize others who are skeptical about the Iraq war as being cowards and traitors don't seem to recognize this.

And like ad hominems, it isn't demonization if it is true. Though I prefer "knaves and poltroons" to "cowards and traitors" myself.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

the last refuge of the defeated.

"The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea."- Mao

Insurgents need popular support to live, just as the fish need water to breathe. If the Iraqi violent actors have widespread popular support, our military presence is not going to change their alliegences.

(I'm not sure that you want to compare the Spanish resistance to Napoleon to the Iraqi resistance to the U.S. It doesn't seem to fit very well, and it has disasterous implications for us if it does.)

Socialism doesn't work. It looks nice on paper, but it's been tried and it's failed miserably every time (usually accompanied by widespread death and suffering).
Proud member of the V.R.W.C.

That’s a legitimate question since responses here seem to lack judgment and lead one to believe you may have been intentionally deceived or mislead at some point in your "education".

Here is a quote;

our own political will is steadfast and will allow America to keep troops in Iraq -- to fight terrorists while training and mentoring Iraqi forces -- until the mission is done, increasing or decreasing troop levels only as conditions warrant.

Now here is the homework; read the whole document, all the associated updates to date. Then look at all the progress that has been made to date, get an idea of the infrastructure that has been rebuilt, get a sense outside the MSM of what percent of Iraq is safe and perhaps talk to a few soldiers who have done multiple tours to see what they think about progress.

Why? Because you appear not only misinformed on current events and history, but somewhat willing to put incredulous views up to intellectual scrutiny. That appears to be turning out very badly.

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"
Contributor to The Minority Report

failed efforts to engage someone who simply has so little respect for English that he refuses to acknowledge words have meaning.

I'm glad you were able to find out who Mao was. It is sort of strange that you managed to ignore his revolutionary warfare doctrine and to presume that the "sea" actually likes the fish swimming in it. In fact, your statements on the subject when read in English, I know that is a bad assumption on my part, say that terrorism doesn't work, that people simply can't be terrorized into acquiescence. Maybe on Mars, but not here.

I am quite comfortable talking about Spanish guerillas and their methods of operations against Napoleon's armies and how those methods, which included extensive use of extrajudicial killings and terror, were successful in converting a population which had been neutral/accepting of the French into one that allowed the Spanish guerillas to operate fairly freely. The Spanish Ulcer was not a venereal disease.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

but it isn't an ad hominem when it is true.

This is a bickering point of a correction, but an ad hominem argument can certainly be true. For example:

"Streiff said it was important to stay in Iraq until the job was done."
"Yeah, but he's a Republican."

(I'm assuming you're a Republican for the sake of this example.)

Perhaps you're thinking of "it's not libel if it's true"?

I'll chime in anyway; his analogy to the Civil Rights Era South is apt. Current day revisionism notwithstanding, the overwhelming majority of White Southerners accepted and expected the world of Jim Crow in the same way they accepted their next breath. As the Civil Rights Movement and the federal government began to attack the institutions of segregation, the vast majority of White Southerners hated every word, every action, and every actor. George Wallace's "Segregation Now, segregation forever" and Lester Maddox's axe handles resonated in the very souls of the White South. It is cast as a great and univeral tragedy today, but there were few tears shed in The South over JFK. Like the rest of America, it was thought worthy news to interrupt my 8th Grade Geography class to announce his assassination, but not so worthy as to cause the cancellation of the Christmas Parade in a nearby town that my HS Band played in that night, nor did it dampen the celebratory Christmas mood.

To Streiff's point about the Klan, there was only a miniscule minority of Whites that would resort to acts of true violence and overt intimidation, but most knew who they were, and while if pressed might say the right things about disapproving the violent tactics, nobody was turning them in to the feds either. Few were willing to use violence themselves, but few, a very, very few, disapproved of the Klan's objectives, which most saw simply as maintaining the status quo of racial segregation. Only time, and the unrelenting pressure of law enforcement and, from time to time, the military changed the political sensibilities of The South so that one could actually get elected to office by NOT being a virulent segregationist and those who aspired to office did not have to fear, either physically or electorally, the more violent and strident opponents of de-segregation.

The military must do in Iraq what the FBI and the military did in The South of the 1950s and '60s; allow time for a government and its attendent law enforcement and military power to establish a new paradigm. Today's Iraqi policeman or soldier is in much the same place as a Southern sheriff in the early sixties; he must be pursuaded that he must cast his lot with the new government and that he does not need to fear those who oppose that government or who simply seek to sew disorder and fear.

I assure you that the beliefs that underlay the disorder in The South in the mid-20th Century are still not far below the surface there, but with each succeeding day and each succeeding generation there is both less likelihood of acceptance and less likelihood of success should someone once again stand up and say "Segregation Forever." It has been almost fifty years since the US decided that it would stamp out Jim Crow and still a significant federal presence is required, and, yes, I do believe that it is still required, Southern protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. I know first hand what kinds of converstions you can have still in the South when everyone is sure nobody is listening, and it is only the fact of sure and certain action by law enforcement that keeps those converstions from translating into action.

What would make anyone think that a whole new social order would just materialize in Iraq in four years. We had years of "long, hot summers" in The South after 1964, each more deadly violent than the one before. Only the sure and certain prospect that the government would hunt you down and actually convict you stopped it. That is the way I see the role of the US military in Iraq today. If our military were to stand down in Iraq, there would be a bloodbath, just as there would have been in The South should the US have decided to sheath its sword in the face of the violence there in the late sixties and as there was when the US withdrew from The South in the 1870s.

In Vino Veritas

As much of the American experience has been very unique. I don't know enough about Iraq to say its not the same but you are starting out on shaky ground when making comparisons.

By the end of the war Jeff Davis had lost credibility as a leader in the south by doing nothing but fleeing. The northern spinmeisters of the day had done a masterful job of playing up the fact that he fled Richmond wearing womens clothing. (not so but close enough for government work)

The real leaders of the south, the generals in the field were overwhelmingly bent toward not carrying on the fight. The union generals were cutting surrender deals that contained very little if any punitive measures. Most of the soldiers were allowed to keep weapons because they would need them in their fields.

There was a willingness on both sides to put the nightmare behind. It was demonstrated by the leadership and the rank and file. There were of course exceptions, but they became outlaws not resistance. The james gang, bloody bill and several other outlaw gangs were leftovers from Quantrill's raiders.

The south prior to the war and afterward it continued to make a disproportionate contribution to our military. I point this out that the south had and has a true spirit of nationalism. They felt they were and are part of America.

Are these same feelings present in Iraq ? I don't know. I don't think anyone will know for awhile.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

whether the "better angels" really are there. As you say, time will tell. I do know that if there are better angels, they haven't a prayer against the bad guys unless there is someone to protect them and give them time.

This has always been the source of my misgivings about the Iraq War. It is going to take a very, very long time to extirpate the revenge codes and the tribalism and install something vaguely resembling a democracy. I'm no Powell fan, but he was right when he said "you break it, you buy it." What if the Iraqis cannot stand up a government that can on its own maintain civil order? We cannot afford, politically, numerically, or monetarily, to be the only source of civil order indefinitely. How long and at what price are we willing to do what the Iraqis cannot or will not do for themselves?

In Vino Veritas

Its a great poster and a fantastic rebuttal to our friends on the left
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

I snapped it during our interview with the Admiral, and it's the best angle I could get from where I was sitting. As much as I'd love to go back and get another one, getting back into the Adm.'s office wouldn't be the easiest of tasks.

for Victoria

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

...she's actually working on it right now. It helps that, right after we walked out of the interview with Adm. Fox, General Caldwell, the MNF-I's top PA guy, walked up and offered us an interview with...Adm. Fox.

:-)

Couldn't hurt to ask. I'll probably retype it and maybe clip out the insignia. Its just too good not to use.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

from a talk by Eric Edelmann, December 2005.

It re-states goals that have been laid out by the administration, and it is also a reminder that these goals haven't been met.

It also begs this question which has been asked often by the majority who oppose our continued presence in Iraq:

Suppose the Iraqis can't (or won't) muster the security forces necessary to maintain domestic order? If Iraq does indeed need to stand up before we can stand down, what does that mean with respect to troop levels over time. In other words, we are told that a) we will stay as long as is necessary to achieve victory; b) the ability to achive victory is not completely within our control; and c) our commitment is not open-ended. But don't dare ask how long any of this should take.

It states the goals clearly and concisely.
The left has been deliberately recharacterizing and muddying the waters on the issue.
This cuts off that tactic.

You can go into can or won't as legitimate questions. The left will try to set benchmarks they know are either unachievable or vague enough that they can't be claimed as met. Its a different argument though.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

1. It is a rebuttal to the standard line that "I don't know what victory looks like." It is clearly a rebuttal to that.

2. No one has said "don't dare ask." What has been said is that you can't attached a date certain to these things happening.

3. Predicating a fairly reasonable a) and b) with a tendentious c) and a predicate (Suppose the Iraqis can't (or won't) muster the security forces) that flies in the face of Maslow's Heirarchy makes this somewhat less than serious.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

when will it (Sistine Chapel) be done, Heston replied "When it's finished!"

This against a backdrop of war and civil unrest in Italy.

All in all, not a bad analogy- another case of art imitating life.

OK so the Dumbocrats are wrong, but is the President right, do we have an open ended commitment to the Iraqis?

Do, or rather can the people in Iraqi people have what it takes to achieve those goals? They sure has heck are doing a good job of not acting the part right now.

In my book this is not a binary issue, it's not the Dumbocrats are right or support the President, where is the "Light at the End of the Tunnel"?

By the way, I saw Biden talking after the debate last night, is his three little Iraqs the political answer? Maybe it's time for the discussion to be a bit more far reaching than either Harry "Retreat" Reid or the "Decider in Chief" have been giving us.

_______________________________
Dennis Miller for President...no more wimps!

or 40 years at a minimum. The best case comparison scenario is S. Korea. You've got nothing resembling a civil society prepared to live under a representative government, you've got neighbors uninterested in peace, and you've got no tradition of respectiving civil rights.

All that takes time, a lot of time. What you do have is ordinary Iraqis, who probably like ordinary people everywhere, want nothing more than a reasonable level of security, food on the table and a roof over the head, and a reasonable expectations that the future (at least for their children) will be better than the past.

That of course doesn't mean 100-150k troops in combat for all that time. I would say in at a minimum 3-5 years time the mission of the US would be limited to protected the rights of the Kurds and preventing Iran from meddling with Iraq. 40k troops ought to be enough to do the job.

Again, this scenario is an optimistic one.

Korea has been under US protection for 52 years this August. It only emerged from military rule in 1987 or 1992 depending on how one defines it.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

I believe (and there's a ton of empirical evidence to support this) that one big problem to overcome in Iraq is the ready availability of valuable natural resource--oil.

If the Iraqis did not have oil to fight over, and realized that they would have to rely on their own industriousness, they'd probably have a better chance. It's an odd paradox, and their are exceptions (Britain, US, Canada) but natural resources have often been an obstacle to the development of civil society.

1- Read the plan and listen to explanations. The commitment is not, nor has it ever been open ended. It is based on benchmarks which have been articulated.

2- Do they have what it takes? I will leave that to the Iraqi people, however as I read the stories from real Iraqi’s (including students), watch the army/police recruitment and watch the democratically elected government grow Iraq sure look as though it has potential to become one of the more competent places in the region.

3- Biden’s idea is a ridiculous farce and would probably lead to further, lasting conflicts. He is not called the dumbest man in the Senate for no reason at all. The options have been explored and the best chance for Iraq is a democratic collection of states. To think otherwise is foolish.

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"
Contributor to The Minority Report

The short-answer to that question: It is unknown. Sorry.

That said, a US military presence in Iraq will be required for the foreseeable future. The stabilization of Iraq requires the successful resolution of issues in the region that are not under Iraqi control, nor do the Iraqis have the ability to control.

Whatever your thoughts about the Strategy for Success in Iraq, the strategy is working. The MNF-I has transferred control of four provinces to Provincial Iraqi Control, and three of the provinces under Kurdish control are awaiting transfer. Another ten are partially ready for transfer.

Provisional Security Transition Assessment
(click for full image)

Progress has been made in many different areas and to varying degrees throughout Iraq. The March 2007 Report To Congress is very informative and a relatively short 47 pages. Much of the detail you seek can be found in the report. It's well worth the time to read in its entirety.

Note: The full pdf version of the report can be found at defenselink, here.

***

“Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so.” – Ronald Reagan

The President is responisble as CiC and POTUS for leading the war in every way.
He was responsible for selling this war.
He still is.
He tolerated the dhimmies to run around posturing with sincere looks about how they care.
There was something like a period of over a year where nobody in the Administration talked about victory. It was always 'stay the course'.
'Stay the course' is pretty much hot air.
The only thing worth talking about in a war is winning. The terrorists understand this. The dhimmies do as well.
They simply chose to win the war against America.
That is their sole focus. They get away with this because they were not called out and their poultroonery was not contrasted with VICTORY. Instead it was not supporting the troops, cutting and running, etc.
It should have been from day one to now all about victory.
Then we could see Reid and the rest of the DNC in the clear light of thier seditious feckless corruption.

the CiC is responsible. We disagree... he didn't sell to anybody but his base. That is and will be forever (and no history 100 years hence) his legacy. But today is the future; you could change it; so could he.

We don't see eye-to-eye on courage.

Perhaps with different moves and inspired leadership we would have found ourselves in a different spot.

Very unfortunately, we find ourselves where we are now.

This poster is a pipedream (a nice one, at that) and appears to be unobtainable at this time, due directly to our own actions and inactions. Point the finger anywhere you want, from the POTUS on down; I'm a big believer in that notion that the "fish rots from the head"

______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

 
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