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    Tuesday 23 August 2005

Increased insurgent attacks expected in advance of October 15 vote on new constitution.

    Anticipating an increase in insurgent attacks, the United States plans to send more troops to Iraq in advance of an Oct. 15 referendum on a new Iraqi constitution, which is considered unlikely to halt the country's violence, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today.


    GOP Senator Says Iraq Looking like Vietnam
    By Douglass K. Daniel
    The Associated Press

    Sunday 21 August 2005

    Washington - A leading Republican senator and prospective presidential candidate said Sunday that the war in Iraq has destabilized the Middle East and is looking more like the Vietnam conflict from a generation ago.

    Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, who received two Purple Hearts and other military honors for his service in Vietnam, reiterated his position that the United States needs to develop a strategy to leave Iraq. Hagel scoffed at the idea that U.S. troops could be in Iraq four years from now at levels above 100,000, a contingency for which the Pentagon is preparing.

    "We should start figuring out how we get out of there," Hagel said on "This Week" on ABC. "But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur."

    Hagel said "stay the course" is not a policy. "By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq ... we're not winning," he said.

    President Bush was preparing for separate speeches this week to reaffirm his plan to help Iraq train its security forces while its leaders build a democratic government. In his weekly Saturday radio address, Bush said the fighting there protected Americans at home.

    Polls show the public growing more skeptical about Bush's handling of the war.

    In Iraq, officials continued to craft a new constitution in the face of a Monday night deadline for parliamentary approval. They missed the initial deadline last week.

    Other Republican senators appearing on Sunday news shows advocated remaining in Iraq until the mission set by Bush is completed, but they also noted that the public is becoming more and more concerned and needs to be reassured.

    Sen. George Allen, R-Va., another possible candidate for president in 2008, disagreed that the U.S. is losing in Iraq. He said a constitution guaranteeing basic freedoms would provide a rallying point for Iraqis.

    "I think this is a very crucial time for the future of Iraq," said Allen, also on ABC. "The terrorists don't have anything to win the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq. All they care to do is disrupt."

    Hagel, who was among those who advocated sending two to three times as many troops to Iraq when the war began in March 2003, said a stronger military presence by the U.S. is not the solution today.

    "We're past that stage now because now we are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam," Hagel said. "The longer we stay, the more problems we're going to have."

    Allen said that unlike the communist-guided North Vietnamese who fought the U.S., the insurgents in Iraq have no guiding political philosophy or organization. Still, Hagel argued, the similarities are growing.

    "What I think the White House does not yet understand -- and some of my colleagues -- the dam has broke on this policy," Hagel said. "The longer we stay there, the more similarities (to Vietnam) are going to come together."

    The Army's top general, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, said Saturday in an interview with The Associated Press that the Army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in Iraq -- well over 100,000 -- for four more years as part of preparations for a worst-case scenario.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said U.S. security is tied to success in Iraq, and he counseled people to be patient.

    "The worst-case scenario is not staying four years. The worst-case scenario is leaving a dysfunctional, repressive government behind that becomes part of the problem in the war on terror and not the solution," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday.

    Allen said the military would be strained at such levels in four years yet could handle that difficult assignment. Hagel described the Army contingency plan as "complete folly."

    "I don't know where he's going to get these troops," Hagel said. "There won't be any National Guard left ... no Army Reserve left ... there is no way America is going to have 100,000 troops in Iraq, nor should it, in four years."

    Hagel added: "It would bog us down, it would further destabilize the Middle East, it would give Iran more influence, it would hurt Israel, it would put our allies over there in Saudi Arabia and Jordan in a terrible position. It won't be four years. We need to be out."

    Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said the U.S. is winning in Iraq but has "a way to go" before it meets its goals there. Meanwhile, more needs to be done to lay out the strategy, Lott said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

    "I do think we, the president, all of us need to do a better job, do more," Lott said, by telling people "why we have made this commitment, what is being done now, what we do expect in the process and, yes, why it's going to take more time."


Washington's warriors insist that Iraq is not Vietnam. Any geographer would certainly agree. But imperial wars share similar characteristics - including the profound fact that the people who live in a country are more committed to it than the invaders are. This war can't be won for reasons that have everything to do with why it's wrong. The occupiers are on the lowest moral ground. No amount of fake optimism in Washington can change such realities in Iraq.


When I see President Bush with soldiers, I wish he had been one at war himself. He'd know more about where he was sending those soldiers. Just an opinion.   A. Rooney

   Vietnam Deja Vu

  Iraq 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008...


March 20, :   "George Bush Uncle Sam. Iraq will be your Vietnam," chanted 45,000 protesters winding through central London as they put down a black cardboard coffin with the slogan "100,000 dead" scrawled on the lid outside the U.S. Embassy.  Some 10,000 people marched through the center of Rome, waving anti-war banners and protesting against the Italian troop presence in Iraq. Protesters also marched in Madrid and Barcelona. The United States has some 150,000 troops in Iraq, followed by Britain with 8,600. An insurgency that uses suicide, car and roadside bombings continues to kill U.S. and allied troops and larger numbers of Iraqi civilians.

January 05   The deaths pushed the American toll above 1,400.

Unwavering in the course he has set, Bush pledged: "We'll have the troop levels necessary to complete the mission. And that mission is to enable Iraq to defend herself from terrorists - homegrown or terrorists that come in from outside of the country." He made clear that Iraq is nowhere near ready to handle its own security, and he talked about U.S. involvement over the next year.


    "My vote against this nominee is my statement that this administration's lies must stop now," Dayton said in opposing Rice's nomination on the Senate floor.

    Politicians rarely use the word "lie," preferring some of the milder terms other Democrats used Tuesday.

    "There was no reason to go to war in Iraq when we did, the way we did and for the false reasons we were given," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

[I remember H. Kissinger {liar} as Sec of State...]


George W. Bush is now trapped as tightly in Iraq as Johnson was in Vietnam. The war is going badly. The president's own intelligence estimates are pessimistic. There is no plan to actually win the war in Iraq, and no willingness to concede defeat.  This Is Bush's Vietnam

Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President... by Max Cleland, former U.S. senator, was head of the Veterans Administration in the Carter administration. He teaches at American University in Washington.

We're at the beginning, says Rumsfeld

We're Winning:  http://lunaville.org/warcasualties/Summary.aspx Casualty Count

Many more are wounded: News on this from England. U.S. press not covering.  "...the administration may be hiding the true human cost of the war."
http://www.channel4.com/news/2004/02/week_2/10_iraq2.html

Iraq War Will Be Long and Costly, Admits Rumsfeld  21 Nov 2003
"The road ahead will not be easy," said Donald Rumsfeld. "There will be successes, to be sure, but there will also be setbacks and, regrettably, a price to be paid in lives and treasure."  [Won't be anyone he knows who pays with their life, or has their life on the line]

Nearly 300 American military personnel have been killed in Iraq in hostile incidents, and more than 2,000 have been wounded. More than half of the U.S. deaths have occurred since the end of major combat operations was declared last May.

American official touts 'solid plan' for Iraq [Nov 9, 03] 
BAGHDAD --  A senior U.S. official insisted yesterday that the U.S. military has the upper hand in the escalating war in Iraq, on a day when two paratroopers died in a roadside ambush and the International Red Cross said it was closing two main offices due to deteriorating security.

U.S. official says Iraq outlook good [Nov 9, 03]
Los Angeles Times 
BAGHDAD, IRAQ--Visiting Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage said Saturday that American officials have been sobered by a mounting toll of casualties in Iraq but insisted that the United States will press forward and  "We're going to take this fight to the enemy."

U.S. sinking in Iraq quagmire  August 29, 2003  BY ANDREW GREELEY

Cost of the Present War in Iraq
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Military or historical comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq are indeed silly. Two vastly different countries, different peoples, different eras. But it is sillier still to suggest that no comparisons at all apply simply because some comparisons don't. There are serious, fundamental similarities, not between Vietnam and Iraq, but between American presumption in the 1960s and American presumption today, between President Johnson's imperial conceit then ("We can turn the Mekong into a Tennessee Valley") and Bush's messianic hubris now ("Operation Infinite Justice," "Operation Iraqi Freedom").   Link

Agent Orange?  How about Depleted Uranium? 

 

Even though major fighting has ended, Rumsfeld cautioned "we're still in a war." He also said American forces - now totaling about 150,000 - will likely remain in Iraq for the "foreseeable future."

"We have said we don't know what it will cost; we have said it's not knowable how long it will last," he said.

March 27, 2003
Bush Says War to Last However Long It Takes
Reuters Thursday,; 12:01 PM By Randall Mikkelsen

CAMP DAVID, Md. (Reuters) - Faced with new fears the Iraq war could go on for months, President Bush said on Thursday the conflict will last "however long it takes to win" with the removal of Saddam Hussein as leader.

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"Bring em on" ...What an ignorant, miserable, and disgraceful thing to say.  http://www.awolbush.com/

 

VIET NAM/IRAQ LINKAGES  from : http://truthout.org/docs_04/013004C.shtml

     In "The Fog of War," McNamara never makes the connection overtly between Vietnam and Iraq. But the chronology and details of his story permit us to forge some links.

     The same tunnel-vision syndrome was repeated, to a large extent, when Bush originally was contemplating his war with Iraq; he paid no attention to those civilian and military and intelligence officers who urged the Administration not to attack Iraq, that it was the wrong war at the wrong time (especially because the U.S. still had unfinished business with al-Qaida), and that "preventive" war was a risky, possibly self-destructive policy in the long run. Bush and his advisors had mentally switched over from "communists" to "terrorists," and thus they didn't feel they had to gave much thought to any of those objections or to the reality of Arab nationalism and tribal/sect loyalties.

    LESSONS NOT LEARNED

     As Daniel Ellsberg noted in his memoirs "Secrets," presidents too often believe they can force victory by their sheer will, determination, and the technological superiority they command, and thus they downplay the wise counsel offered by their own military and intelligence officials to reconsider before making a bad mistake. The tragedies that result -- the millions killed and wounded, the depletion of the treasury, the loss of respect internationally, the political civil wars that accompany dissent -- degrade our culture, shred our Constitutional protections, wreck the economy, place American national interests in great jeopardy.

     One would have thought that America would have remembered at least some of the lessons of Vietnam. But, no; thirty or forty years go by, the last war's catastrophes are forgotten, and we're at it again, making the same mistakes, with even more disastrous consequences. McNamara thinks this pattern is the inevitable result of the "fog of war," where everything is moving in chaotic warp speed where nothing is clear and mistakes are so easy to make. But, even if that were true, in a Bush Administration possessed with a far different agenda, the fault line runs much deeper than that, and we all are paying an enormous, agonizing price for our leaders' bullheaded imperial-like obstinacy in the face of infinitely complex political realities on the ground.