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Monday, April 07, 2008

102

I had a scathing introduction about hubris, incompetent people talking about that which they comprend not. Ya know. I decided this guy didn't deserve it, compared to most of the idiots pontificating.

"At best, during the past year he [Petraeus] has helped to piece together a stalemate of heavily armed, bloodstained, conspiracy-minded, ambiguously motivated Iraqi militias."

No, he's killed them all. That's not a solution, inasmuch as 4G warfare is perpetuated by socioeconomics rather than more concrete centers of gravity, but it's quite different from a "stalemate."

"an obvious failure—Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s ill-prepared raid on rival Shiite gangs in Basra, which was aborted after mass desertions within Maliki’s own ranks"

They killed people. They proved the superiority of their logistics. The command structure of the Mahdi's military arm is, to coin a term, shambalic. Maliki has issued terms.

"the Army is running on fumes, but Petraeus and his fellow surge advocates are driving flat out in Iraq"

That's one of the basic principles of war. It's so basic I don't even know what it's called, but it's comparable to net present value in some ways. The effectiveness of a force is proportional to the square of its size under ideal conditions.

"It hardly matters whether Petraeus would recommend keeping a hundred and thirty thousand or more combat troops in Iraq for a hundred years, or only ten. Neither scenario is plausible—at least, not without a draft or a radical change in incentives for volunteers."

Fascinating that he mentions the (stupid, infeasible) idea of a draft before he mentions the pay increase. However, since the Army is at its target size, it could be possible to hire more people with no pay increase or a moderate one.

Of course the target size should have been increased years ago, but that wasn't politically possible.

"Last month, Admiral William J. Fallon, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, announced his early retirement, under pressure from the White House, after he argued privately for a faster drawdown from Iraq, to bolster efforts in Afghanistan and to restore a more balanced global military posture."

I've actually heard negative things about Fallon, but there's an Esquire piece where he comes off well. There've been rumors that he'd be retiring, since he hit the 40 year mark a year or so ago. At any rate, his departure is interesting. Too bad the punditer didn't write a whole piece about Fallon.

"To implement such a strategy, it would not be necessary to rashly abandon Iraq to its fate, but it would be essential, at a minimum, to reduce American troop levels to well below a hundred thousand as soon as possible."

omfg, he's right. Huh.

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