Monday, October 01, 2007
First let me say that I am a strong supporter of the war on terror but I have great concerns about what is going on in Iraq. My concerns stem from the fact that we have no idea what is going on in Iraq and never have. Ever since the pacification started there have never been established metrics that measure all facets of our and our Iraqi allies efforts to rebuild their country. Instead of getting a detailed measurable account of all the activities what we have continually been bombarded with is anectdotals both good and bad. How many reports have we listened to in the last six months? We had the blue ribbon report, we've had dozens of congressional delegations and their reports we get monthly updates from General Patraeus, we had the general accountability office report, we had the national intelligence estimate and now we have heard the long awaited September report from General Patraeus and Ambassador Crocker. What do we know? Does anyone believe they have an in-depth understanding of what's going on?
Let's look at it from another direction. Put yourself in the place of a CEO listening to the status reports of your vice presidents. If they presented what you've heard over the last six months is they’re any of you that wouldn't fire them all. In no area do we have a complete picture of our success or failure when compared to realistic metrics. And they give you some examples.
We hear of success in Anbar province. So what? What we should be hearing is how many provinces there are in Iraq and what is the status of each province. Have you heard that? Never.
We hear reports of reduce violence against Americans as well as Iraqi citizens. What is that mean? It is the same as saying that we have fewer murders in Los Angeles compared to last year. Those statistics alone are meaningless unless we know the reason why. Are there fewer insurgents? Does anybody even though how many insurgents there are? Does anybody know how many there were last year or the year before? Did they just go home? Is that why violence is down? What about Al Qaeda? We hear that we have driven them out of Baghdad and Anbar. Did they go home? Or did they move to areas that are easy pickings because there are no Americans in that area. Based on what we've heard does anyone have a clue?
We heard General Patraeus talk about the success of the Iraqi army he told us that battalions were now fighting against whom? He didn't tell us that. There are 350,000 in the Iraqi army. We heard about battalions. What about the rest of them? We heard him say there are some problems in manning and unit effectiveness. What does that tell us? Nothing. What we should've heard was how many Iraqi units there are and the status and reliability of each of those units. Why didn't we hear that? What about the national police? We heard from him that there are some unreliable units that need to be disbanded. Is that a meaningful report? Tell me how many units there are and the status and reliability of each of those units. Does anybody know this?
What about local police units? Same questions? How many of us are aware that there are 150,000 protective service personnel that protect the Iraqi government. Why aren't they involved in protecting their country?
The Iraqi government. They were given goals and failed to meet all but three. But we heard from Ambassador Crocker that he believes great progress will be made in the near future. Why should anyone believe him? Whose side is Iraqi government on anyway? We should know that.
Of all the billions that we send to the Iraqi government for reconstruction of their country do we know for each of these dollars went? How many millions or billions have the Iraqi government stolen from us? Don't you think that should be measured and reported? We know that the Iraqi government is totally ineffective. We know that Iraq has three major sectarian groups. Do we know the progress of each of these groups with regard to supporting their government? Has anybody asked? We also know that the real power in Iraq are the local tribal leaders. How many are there? How many support us? How many support the Iraqi government? We don't have a clue because nobody tells us.
What of our ability to seal the borders with Syria, Jordan Saudi Arabia and Iran? Is anybody telling us how many are being stopped and how many are getting through? What about materials? We heard General Patraeus say that he expects the number of IED's and EFPs going to the Shiites to increase. Why don't we fire our border leaders? What is going on with the Shiites? They used to be on our side and now they are more and more killing Americans. Do we know how many? Do we know whom? Do we know why? No. We did not hear any of this.
These are about a few examples. In every case if we heard what we have heard in the last six months from our vice presidents we would fire them all. Not because they're not fighting hard but because they can't provide even a half decent report of what's going on. You have to ask why? General Patraeus would never accept these half measured reports from his lieutenants. Why do we Americans have to be fed such crap?
Liberty or Death
Most of you probably don't read the Washington Post. It is not normally worth reading but today there was an excellent three-page article on the history of IED use in Iraq from 2003 until today. This time period is marked with moves and countermoves but the bottom line is still the same a handful (26 cells) of guys are causing two thirds of all the casualties in Iraq. This is not counting the greater number of Iraqi casualties. You can read the whole article at the following URL
Be patient is not easy to navigate this article. You should find a number of videos talking about IED's. The one that impressed me the most was narrated by a sergeant who is in a JERV a 26 ton truck built to withstand IED's. He was describing how 100 pound bomb went off directly underneath his truck creating a 7 foot deep crater that was 14 feet wide. It blew the truck 4 feet into the air at its slammed back down more or less intact in with nobody inside injured.
I've included here a few of the quotes that provide the statistics of how we are doing it is not good.
more than 81,000 IED attacks have occurred in Iraq, including 25,000 so far this year, according to U.S. military sources.
IEDs have caused nearly two-thirds of the 3,100 American combat deaths in Iraq, and an even higher proportion of battle wounds. This year alone, through mid-July, they have also resulted in an estimated 11,000 Iraqi civilian casualties and more than 600 deaths among Iraqi security forces. To the extent that the United States is not winning militarily in Iraq, the roadside bomb, which as of Sept. 22 had killed or wounded 21,200 Americans,
Yet bombs continued to detonate, and soldiers kept dying. The 100 or so daily IED "events" -- bombs that blow up, as well as those discovered before they detonate -- have doubled since the 50 per day typical in January 2006. The 3,229 IEDs recorded in March of this year put the monthly total in Iraq above 3,000 for the first time, a threshold also exceeded in May and June.
Two particularly deadly IEDs now account for about 70 percent of U.S. bombing deaths in Iraq: the explosively formed penetrator, an armor-killing device first seen in May 2004, and linked by the U.S. government to Iran, and the "deep buried," or underbelly, bomb that first became prominent in August 2005.
Our government has not been sitting still, they are developing vehicles with improved armor that can withstand in roadside bombs. The cougar at 12 tons is the lightest of the class and the Buffalo at 24 tons is obviously more substantial. The two URLs below give you more detailed information on this new class of vehicles including the cougar in the Buffalo. I could not find any reference to the JERV on the net. It must be too new. What is sad is that these vehicles will not get there in quantity before this war is over. Our guys are in the continued to die due to relatively small bombs.
Note. Since their deployment to Iraq in 2003 the Cougar and Buffalo vehicles employed with explosive ordnance disposal teams and engineers units have taken about 1,000 IED hits without a loss of life, said Wayne Phillips, a company vice president in charge of Marine Corps programs.
Liberty or Death