McG's thoughts for the day

Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2008 07:05 am
I noticed a lot of the speakers at the DNC mentioning that we now have a timeline for US troops leaving Iraq which means Obama was right and McCain was wrong, yet the reason for the timetable is that the surge worked. Wouldn't that mean McCain was right and Obama was wrong? (Ok, I stole that thought from O'reilly, but it is an interesting thought none the less.)

I read an interesting article about the problem a local wind farm was having. It seems that the power lines can't handle the electricity being created can't be put through the power lines due to power grid limits. Link: http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2008/08/27/wind-energy-bumps-into-power-grids-limits/
I wonder what will need to be done about this?

We also have an issue locally where a company is trying to build a new high power line from Up here to NYC but most people are against it due to the fact that it will go through a lot of back yards and a lot of us up here don't really care to see our prices rise so NYC can get more power.

The DNC was interesting. I saw many of the speeches and it was certainly a good show. I am glad Obama got the nomination. He is a good candidate for the Democrats. I don't intend on voting for him, but it is a huge step in our countries history.

I am picking up a new car today. A 2006 Honda Pilot. It has an interesting feature... while cruising, it shuts down 3 of the 6 cylinders to conserve gas. Every little bit helps. Last night I found the same vehicle for sale by a private owner for $3000 less... grrr... I haven't had any luck contacting the schmuck and I have til 5:00 to see if he still has it.

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Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2008 07:17 am
Some interesting thoughts in that head of yours.

I'm interested to hear how you like the Pilot. We are considering trading in both cars for one and are looking at mini vans and other type cars. We're about a year away from any action -- just doing research right now.
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Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2008 10:04 am
Giving the title to this "discussion," as "McG's thoughts for the day" makes me wonder if this new format can be utilized as blog space?

Also, does this "discussion" format send the poster an email when there is a reply? Any answer would be appreciated. I feel like I am at a large airport that I am not familiar with where all the terminals are.
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Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2008 10:13 am
McGentrix wrote:

I noticed a lot of the speakers at the DNC mentioning that we now have a timeline for US troops leaving Iraq which means Obama was right and McCain was wrong, yet the reason for the timetable is that the surge worked. Wouldn't that mean McCain was right and Obama was wrong? (Ok, I stole that thought from O'reilly, but it is an interesting thought none the less.)

Except the surge didn't work. Bribing insurgents not to fight is what worked, and now the Iraqi government is not going to continue the practice.
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2008 11:46 am
The surge didn't work? Really> Someone should tell the Iraqi's.

The surge was more then an increase in soldiers in Iraq. Mayhaps you didn't realize that? "Bribing" was one of the tactics employed that have lead to the drastic reduction of conflict as well as more boots on the ground, communications between parties, moving alliances around etc.

Only an idiot would think the surge didn't work, and knowing you are not an idiot, perhaps you would rethink your comments?
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2008 12:08 pm
Bribing insurgents to stop attacking is about the only one of those policies that actually reduced fighting.

"More boots on the ground" was totally useless, and is what most folks mean when they say "surge."

So, the "surge" failed, bribery is working temporarily until we get our people the hell out, and then the whole thing's gonna bust wide open.

Explain to me how the surge worked again?
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2008 12:34 pm
I will let an expert explain it to you.

How The Surge Worked

By Peter Mansoor
Sunday, August 10, 2008; Page B07

Given the divisive debate over the Iraq war, perhaps it was inevitable that the accomplishments of the recently concluded "surge" would become shrouded in the fog of 30-second sound bites. Too often we hear that the dramatic security improvement in Iraq is due not to the surge but to other, unrelated factors and that the positive developments of the past 18 months have been merely a coincidence.

To realize how misleading these assertions are, one must understand that the "surge" was more than an infusion of reinforcements into Iraq. Of greater importance was the change in the way U.S. forces were employed starting in February 2007, when Gen. David Petraeus ordered them to position themselves with Iraqi forces out in neighborhoods. This repositioning was based on newly published counterinsurgency doctrine that emphasized the protection of the population and recognized that the only way to secure people is to live among them.

To be sure, some units conducted effective counterinsurgency operations before the surge, including Col. H.R. McMaster's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Tall Afar in 2005 and Col. Sean MacFarland's 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, in Ramadi in 2006. More generally, however, the coalition approach before 2007 was focused on rapidly shifting security responsibilities to Iraqi forces. As sectarian violence spiraled out of control, it became increasingly evident that Iraqi forces were unable to prevent its spread. By the fall of 2006, it was clear that our strategy was failing, an assessment courageously stated by Gen. George Casey and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in their year-end review of the Joint Campaign Plan.

The arrival of additional U.S. forces signaled renewed resolve. Sunni tribal leaders, having glimpsed the dismal future in store for their people under a regime controlled by al-Qaeda in Iraq and fearful of abandonment, were ready to throw in their lot with the coalition. The surge did not create the first of the tribal "awakenings," but it was the catalyst for their expansion and eventual success. The tribal revolt took off after the arrival of reinforcements and as U.S. and Iraqi units fought to make the Iraqi people secure.

Over time, in areas where there were insufficient forces to provide security, U.S. commanders extended contracts to Sunni (and some Shiite) tribes that volunteered to stand up against al-Qaeda in Iraq. These payments ensured that tribesmen could feed their families until the economy recovered and services improved. Payments generally followed the commencement of tribal rebellions and were not, as some claim, their cause.

As U.S. units established smaller outposts and destroyed al-Qaeda havens, the area under Iraqi and coalition control expanded. Security improved dramatically after the last surge units arrived and the Multi-National Corps-Iraq, under Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commenced a relentless series of operations to drive insurgents out of their long-held sanctuaries.

Improved security led to greater Iraqi confidence and lessened the need for, and acceptance of, Shiite militias that for too long held sway in many neighborhoods. When the Mahdi Army instigated a gun battle in Karbala last August that forced the cancellation of a major Shiite religious observance, the resulting public pressure compelled Moqtada al-Sadr to declare a unilateral cease-fire. Without the improved security conditions created by the surge, this cease-fire would not have been declared; nor could it have been observed, because the militia would still have been needed to protect Shiite communities from terrorist attacks.

The increase in U.S. forces, moreover, was dwarfed by the concurrent expansion of Iraqi forces by more than 140,000 troops. Over time, Iraqi units grew more capable and increasingly took the lead in providing security, backed by coalition advisers, ground forces, intelligence and air power. Operations this spring in Basra, Baghdad, Mosul and elsewhere -- though not always smooth -- have demonstrated the growing effectiveness of the Iraqi army. Without the change in strategy and additional forces provided by the surge, the effort to improve the capabilities of Iraqi forces would have died stillborn, swallowed by the sectarian violence that was ripping Iraq apart by the end of 2006.

The Iraq war is not over, but our war effort is on a firmer foundation. In the end, the Iraqis, appropriately, will determine their future. The surge has created the space and time for the competition for power and resources in Iraq to play out in the political realm, with words instead of bombs. Success is not guaranteed, but such an outcome would be a fitting tribute to the sacrifices of the men and women of Multi-National Force-Iraq and their ongoing efforts, along with their Iraqi partners, to turn around a war that was nearly lost less than two years ago.

The writer served as Gen. David Petraeus's executive officer in Iraq from February 2007 to May 2008. He holds the Gen. Raymond Mason Chair of Military History at Ohio State University and is the author of the forthcoming book "Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq."

The surge did not fail except in the eyes of those that see failure in everything. I know it's bad form to think the US has done anything in Iraq positively and your liberal friends may think the same, but do you really want to be wrong just for their sake?
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