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Joe Biden: The Surge Is A Failure

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Joe Biden: The Surge Is A Failure A leading Democrat on Saturday declared last year's troop buildup in Iraq a failure. Sen. Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the military push didn't succeed because U.S. troops remain committed there in large numbers and political reconciliation has not been achieved.

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stephley stephley 9 years
I've read that as far back as the 1860's, American military men have warned that unless the U.S. gets its head around the idea that the Middle East is different from Europe and adjusts to that different way of looking at things, we're always going to have problems there. From what I've read, you may be being generous in Reason #1 in that if Saddam was bluffing, some people were willfully misinterpreting that as an excuse for invading... some of our intelligence was incorrect some wasn't - I believe that the problem was again that people chose to believe what fed their plan. I agree completely with you on 3 and 4.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
stephley, I agree that we got into a lot more than we bargained for. I think there are several reasons for that (and freely admit that I am not as well informed as I would like, so corrections of fact are welcome). (1) We interpreted Hussein's reluctance to allow UN inspections as an admission that he had WMDs. It seems now that he was largely bluffing all along, but didn't want anyone to know that, and felt unable to allow inspections which would prove it. (2) Our initial intelligence--both our own and that we got from allies--was incorrect. (3) Our intelligence agencies do not work well together. (I hope that has improved in the last five years.) (4) Our intelligence agencies are woefully unprepared for the 21st century. We do not have enough people with good language skills or cultural knowledge. I think this was a major contributor to our misjudgment of the achievability of any mission in the Mideast. Personally, I am not convinced that democracy is the best form of government for all people in all parts of the world. That seems a bit narrow-minded, to me. As long as it works for the people who live with it, who am I to complain?
stephley stephley 9 years
Biden and the citizens of this country were told this war would last less than six months and pay for itself; we also were told that the surge would get things on track. The surge in troop strength began last January. If the Administration needs more time after five years of war and a year of the surge, then we have every right to question whether we should give them more time or more money. The claimed objective of the war has changed several times, and there are too many excuses for why the Iraqis haven't gotten organized yet.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Patience is a virtue. :oy: What did Biden expect, that everything would be peachy in a week or two? Or even within a year? It will take time for the people to learn to step up and take responsibility for their own security. As long as we're there to be their safety net, I can understand why police would not show up for work when there are flare-ups. This is not a simple situation, or even a self-contained one. A quick pullout will just leave us with more serious, and more long-term, problems.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
40% of the Iraqi police in eastern Bagdad stopped coming to work when there was the eruption of violence last week. In some areas, it was a greater percentage than that. I think he is right because there has not been political progress, and that was the point of the surge. The solution to Iraq won't be military, it will be political.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
That would be very nice.
stephley stephley 9 years
I hope someday we can agree on a movie or something pleasant. That doesn't make Biden an idiot or suggest the surge isn't a failure.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
It also took the Americans 15 years to get their political situation correct, and I would argue that it has gotten way out of whack once again. The bottom line is this: We need to do everything we can to give the Iraqi government all the help we can, and show the Iraqi people that we aren't there to make their life more difficult. In the end, they will have a say in what their government does with their money, and can protest without fear of being killed.
stephley stephley 9 years
General Petraeus told Congress last year that the surge would give the Iraqis time to train their people and come to some political arrangements. Violence was temporarily reduced but there have been recent outbreaks in Baghdad and Basra; and there's steady violence in Mosul. There are signs that the Iraqi political situation is more fragmented, not less. Reports that more than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen refused to fight or abandoned their posts in Basra last week don't sound promising. If they're not trained and ready now, then the surge failed and in order to get to where you say Iraq is now, we'd actually need another surge.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
What an idiot. The surge has enable the military to reduce the number of enemy combatants and allowed the Iraqi military and police forces fully train their men. As soon as the Iraqi forces are trained and able to take care of themselves, we can drastically reduce our presence there.
stephley stephley 9 years
I hope whoever gets elected makes Biden Secretary of State. As much as he doesn't like the idea, he was born for the job. He's smart, he can be diplomatic or tough as the situation demands, he's experienced. And he's easy on the eyes.
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