Thursday, February 08, 2007

Two More Helicopters Shot Down In Iraq

Reuters says 6 American helicopters have been shot down and/or crashed in Iraq in the last 3 weeks.

Yesterday a Sea Knight transport helicopter crashed in Anbar province amid gunfire, killing all 7 military personnel aboard.

Today United States officials announced that a helicopter operated by a private security firm was downed on January 31st. No one was killed in that crash. One military official said he had heard that copter was brought down by gunfire.

In total, 6 American aircraft have been downed in three weeks (killing 28 Americans) and American officials are worried that the Iraqi insurgency has changed tactics and learned better methods to take down helicopters.

Given how riddled the Iraqi roads are with bombs and potential danger, the American military has to use aircraft to transport personnel around the country.

If the skies start becoming as dangerous as the roads, the United States is really in trouble.

And 21,500 additional combat troops in Baghdad sure isn't going to solve this trend.

I thought the headline - Iraq changes tactics, targets the air - was priceless.
As usual the coalition are slow to pick up on the realities.
You got that right, cartledge - the administration denied the existence of an insurgency (remember Rummy and his dead-enders?), denied the existence of Shiite death squads working out of the defense and interior ministries, denied things were getting worse in Iraq. In each case, they were slow to pick up on the new realities. It looks like the same here.
What amazed me about this story is that it took - what, a week or more? - for the US to admit these helicopters were shot down. Reminds me of Baghdad Bob.
Yes! Exactly like Baghdad Bob! Or John Gibson over at FOX...or Steve Doocy over at FOX...or Shep Smith...geez, the propagandists willing to sell the admin's point of view is pretty long even these days w/ the preznut solidly polling at 30%-32%

I have been thinking much about the situation in Iraq. There is no point in discussing the gross error of invading that country as we, we in the sense of the United States, are there and there is no putting the toothpaste back in the tube.

I have also come to believe that not all of the world thinks as I do or you do. What I mean is, some countries are impressed by results. I suppose the point I am trying to make is that we, the U.S., will be judged by what occurs in Iraq after we leave.

I have therefore concluded that we should not exit Iraq until either one of two scenarios unfold. 1. The duly elected governement of Iraq says: "Thanks alot, adios, voya con Dios." Or, we determine that the government of Iraq is stable enough to exist, at least for a while, after we exit or redeploy.

I have no doubt that apres nous, le deluge. Nevertheless, I hope that the when the situation we leave behind descends into chaos, world perception will be: "Well, the United States did the Iraqi people a favor by deposing a vile tyrant and the Iraqis simply could not get their shit in one sock."

I find these alternatives preferable to: "Well as usual, the United Staes displayed classic Clint Eastwood diplomacy. It showed up, sshot the hell of everything, then rode off leaving a mess."

Unfortunately, my two suggestions will necessarily involve the deaths of more U.S, troops, more innocent Iraq civilians, and the expediture of billions of dollars in excess of what we have spent already.

Let us examine the alternatives to Mr. Bush's planned "surge."

1. Stay the course. Even Mr. Bush has abandoned that strategy. Had he fired Donald Rumsfeld and changed strategy a year or even eight months ago, probably the Republicans would not have lost control of Congress, however, no one has ever accused George W. Bush of even being one of the sharper pencils in the box.

2. We could exit or redeploy in which case it is likely that Iraq would descend into chaos immediately and the resulting possibities of that are myriad, none of them good for anyone, except Al Qaeda and maybe the Kurds, at least in the short run, although, we will stop the bleed- ing of Americans and the hemorrhaging of dollars.

Will the "surge" succceed? I don't know. If anything, I think the proposed number of troops is too small. I think Gen. Shinseki had it right and that is what Gen. Abizaid told the Congress in November, 2006.

The election of George W. Bush was at best unfortunate. At this point, however, I suggest a reasoned discussion of our alternatives.
Kid, you're absolutely right in much of what you say. I have never advocated immediate withdrawal because I worry about what will happen after - i.e., sectarian violence bleeding out of Iraq, Iraq a genocidal playground, etc.

That being said, the administration and administration-allies rhetoric on the troop surge plan is absolute horseshit. They KNOW it is going to fail. 21,500 troops are not NEARLY enough to handle the security crackdown and the Iraqi security forces are too incompetent and/or too corrupt to help quell the sectarian violence and insurgency. It drives me batshit that few people are willing to say the obvious, which is:

a) the troop surge plan is going to fail (see above for why)

b) the administration does not have the guts to REALLY try and win in Iraq (start a draft and add 400,000 troops to Iraq for the next 5 years)

c) because the surge plan is "too little, too late" and has little to no chance for success and the administration does not have a real plan for success in Iraq, defeat and ensuing chaos is inevitable so we may as well start laying the groundwork for how to contain the damage that this preznut and the neocons so obliviously created

One more thing: I disagree that talking about HOW the administration got us into this mess is pointless, given the replay we're getting on Iran. They're using the exact same propaganda/intel manipulation techniques to sucker Americans into thinking an Iran attack is necessary and proper. Reminding Americans just how the admin lied and manipulated to start the Iraq war is crucial to heading off an attack on Iran
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