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Iraq’s security picture: Is it really improving?
Posted by: McQ on Monday, June 19, 2006

The Department of Defense has issued it’s latest report to Congress on progress in Iraq. The report (here in pdf) covers three integrated areas which are critical to our success in Iraq. They are:
• Political: helping the Iraqi people forge a broadly supported compact for democratic government.

• Economic: assisting the Iraqi government in establishing the foundations for a sound economy with the capacity to deliver essential services.

• Security: developing the capacity of Iraqis to secure their country while carrying out a campaign to defeat the terrorists and neutralize the insurgency.
It is on those three pillars that the US strategy for the stabilization of Iraq are built. For instance, it is often charged that there is no plan for the political portion of the operation. That’s simply not true. That doesn’t mean all is well, and Gen. Barry McCaffery noted in his report that improvement was necessary. But that doesn’t mean a plan isn’t in existence. And despite our problems in that area, progress is definitely being made. If you’re still not convinced consider this graphic:

Show/Hide

As you can see, the Constitution replaced the next Transitional Administrative Law on May 20th. Now, under “The Way Ahead” you see the next significant milestones toward a completely functional governmental structure.

The report also covers the developing economic situation as well. But I’ll leave it to you to read that.

What I want to concentrate on is the security environment. As stated under the security bullet above, our mission is to help the Iraqis “secure their country while carrying out a campaign to defeat the terrorists and neutralize the insurgency”. As you’ll see, good progress is indeed being reported.

However, before we go on, do note the differentiation between “terrorists” and “insurgents” made in the report. Iraqis who fight the government (rejectionists) or the coalition are considered “insurgents”. Foreign fighters such as al Qaeda and members of known terrorist groups such as Ansar al Sunna are considered terrorists. Terrorists comprise a much smaller group than the insurgents.

Now to the security environment as reported:
The Security Environment. Anti-Iraqi forces—extremists and terrorists—continue to fail in their campaign to derail the political process, to alienate the Iraqi people from democratic governance and security institutions, and to foment civil war. They attack Iraqi civilians, officials, and Security Forces with a goal of undermining the legitimately elected Government of Iraq and the democratic process.

The February 22 bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra produced an upsurge in sectarian and militia violence but did not produce the civil war hoped for by its perpetrators. Iraqi government and religious leaders were united in condemning the attacks and in restraining sectarian unrest. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) also played a key role, operating effectively and with restraint. The performance of the ISF was critical to halting the spread of violence, keeping the perpetrators of the bombing from achieving their broader strategic goal.

Although polls indicated that a majority of Iraqis were concerned that sectarian violence could spread to become civil war, the same polls indicated that perceptions of neighborhood safety remained relatively unchanged. This view reflects data that indicate that more than 80% of terrorist attacks were concentrated in just 4 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. Twelve provinces, containing more than 50% of the population, experienced only 6% of all attacks.
There are some significant points raised in here. The anti-Iraqi forces continue to fail in their goals while the government and its forces grow stronger. And with the recent death of Zarqawi, and the subsequent roll up of hundreds of his operatives in follow-on raids, AQI has been badly if not critically hurt. That is a significant move toward our one goal, under the “Security” bullet, of “defeating the terrorists”.

Note the second paragraph of “The Security Environment” statement. This particular incident was the ISF’s first test. And it passed it. Also note in paragraph 3 that 80% of the terrorist attacks are located in 4 of Iraq’s provinces. So the violence is mostly located in a few select areas, mostly Sunni.

All of that leads into the particular area I wanted to highlight. In the area of preparing Iraq to take care of itself, where are we in terms of security? How far have we come?

The report goes into some considerable detail and provides some graphics which help illustrate that status. Because of the graphics, I’m going to go below the fold for this.

But I’ll entice you with a little evidence that perhaps it is improving dramatically and, despite the critics who claim that Iraqis aren’t doing enough, the facts presented don’t bear out that claim.
Over the first quarter of 2006, the increased responsibilities of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and heightened sectarian tension (especially in Baghdad) have led to an apparent shift between the percentage of attacks directed against Coalition forces and those targeting ISF and civilians.
Is the insurgency recognizing the emerging power of the ISF? Probably. That and the fact that it is more visible and taking more of a lead help explain the evident shift.
 
Look at this graphic on the numbers of attacks in each past period:



Now, compare that with these casualty figures.

As you can tell, by far, the larger number of casualties (and the totals include ISF figures) is among the Iraqi population, while coalition casualties are very slowly trending down.

Attacks are up, Iraqi casualties are up, coalition casualties are slightly down. That says Iraqis are stepping up.

And that is another portion of the report which is very encouraging.

Note the difference from all zeros in January of ’05 to May of ’06 where we have 2 divisions, 16 brigades and 63 battalions trained and taking the lead. That’s remarkable progress. From 0 to 30,000 square miles of responsibility.

Check the next graphic:

Here you see the numbers of Iraqi battalions, including special ops and strategic infrastructure bns in combat. Note that. These are battalions in combat. Not training. Not standing up. Fighting.

So what is the current status of the Iraqi armed forces?

Fairly impressive if you ask me. 263,400 trained and equipped ISF members.

In percentages it breaks down like this:
As of May 15, 2006, 117,900 MOD personnel have been trained and equipped, including 116,500 in the Iraqi Army, Support Forces, and Special Operation Forces. This is 86% of MOD authorized force strength. The Iraqi Air Force now includes 600 trained and equipped personnel, which reflects 37% of authorized strength, and the Iraqi Navy is at 70% of authorized strength, with 800 trained and equipped personnel. Furthermore, 145,500 MOI personnel, including police, National Police, border forces, and other MOI personnel, have been trained and equipped, which reflects 77% of the MOI authorized end-strength. The MOD and the MOI are on track to complete initial training and equipping of 100% of their authorized end-strength by the end of December 2006, at which time the initial build-up will be completed and efforts will focus on replacing losses. The total number of Iraqi soldiers and police who have completed initial training and equipping is approximately 263,400, an increase of about 36,100 since the last report.
Ministry of Defense (MOD) is at 86% of authorized strength.
Ministry of Interior (MOI) is at 77% of authorized strength.

Both are on track to train and equip 100% of their authorized strength by Dec. ’06.

That is outstanding progress. Graphically it looks like this for the MOD:

Note again the progress that has been made in battalions capable of taking the lead since June of last year. Also note the progress on one other very critical part that we’ve been talking about here at QandO.

The logistics piece.

While half the necessary units are still not ready, note that the authorized end strength has been doubled since last year. That means that what was authorized last year has been trained and is “green”. Once that piece is completed, you’ll see more of those 40 “yellow” battalions turn “green”.

As it says in the report:
Combat support and combat service support units continue to be generated to provide critical combat enablers. Operational Regional Support Units, Motor Transport Regiments, Logistics Support Battalions, and Headquarters and Service Companies are currently supporting Iraqi personnel in the fight. Strategic Infrastructure Battalions remain focused on securing the critical oil pipelines. This quarter, the train-and-equip mission for these battalions was increased from 4 to 11 battalions to reflect the adjusted Iraqi Army authorization.
All in all the report shows a high level of progress in recruiting, training, equipping and committing ISF forces to the battle. And, to date, that progress was best displayed during the bombing of the Golden Mosque. It is now being further tested in Baghdad.

There is a wealth of information in the report and I recommend it to all who are really interested in getting a fairly in-depth look at the three critical areas in Iraq: the security, economy and political.

As mentioned, I’ve concentrated on the security because that is where my greatest interest lies. But the economic and political sections are just as informative. And you’ll not see any avoidance of bad news, at least as far as I could tell. For instance, electricity production isn’t where anyone thinks it should be although it is slightly better, apparently, that pre-war generation. And they’re still not happy with the level of oil production.

Take the time to go through the report. I think you’ll find the information it provides is useful in combating the meme which says “the US has no plan” as well as that meme which claims the Iraqis aren’t shouldering enough of the responsibility.

Given this report, and given the progress it charts concerning the ISF, and assuming progress in both the economic and political realms, I think we’ll begin to see major troop reductions in Iraq in mid 2007 to early 2008.

(Major Hat Tip to Keith Mitchell)
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Nice charts. Pretty colors.

But the best part of the post was this line:
Attacks are up, Iraqi casualties are up, coalition casualties are slightly down. That says Iraqis are stepping up.
Oh they sure are alright.

This is a link to a memo that purpotedly came from the US Embassy on June 9.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/opinions/graphics/iraqdocs_061606.pdf

Read the memo. It offers snapshots - anecdotes to be sure, but very telling and revealing about what is really going on in Iraq.

Look, if Bush cannot tell the leader of a sovereign Iraq that he is coming for a visit until just 5 minutes before he actually arrives, that should tell you more about the security situation than anything else.

It is chaotic and getting worse. That coalition casualties are slightly down and Iraqi casualties are up says two things: (1) Americans have figured out how not to get killed (largely by hunkering down) and (2) the civil war is heating up.

Any other reading of the situation is wishful thinking.

Like I said, nice charts though.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
If the best response you have is a memo that "purpotedly" came from a US Embassy and if the best that memo can offer is anecdotes, then "that should tell you more about the security situation than anything else."

Real, demonstrable progress has been made. "Any other reading of the situation is wishful thinking."

Nice try, though.
 
Written By: Laura
URL: http://www.pursuingholiness.com
If the best response you have is a memo that "purpotedly" came from a US Embassy and if the best that memo can offer is anecdotes, then "that should tell you more about the security situation than anything else."
Well gee Laura, since this wasn’t put up here in response to any memo I’m afraid the forced tie in doesn’t resonate with me. Most people call your sort of an attempt a strawman ... go figure.

Secondly where did I mention anecdotes and how would anecdotes tell us more than the representations above.

Last, why not adress this post instead of trying to change the subject ... btw, those same people call that a red herring.

Oh, and MK? That’ double for you.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ, I believe Laura’s entire comment was a response to mkultra’s above it. MK responded with a "memo" of "anecdotes" to refute your post. She was defending your position.
 
Written By: Scout
URL: http://
McQ, Scout is correct. I’m sorry that I wasn’t more clear to whom I was replying. :-)
 
Written By: Laura
URL: http://www.pursuingholiness.com
And I really appreciated the detail of this post, McQ, very informative. Thanks for putting it together.
 
Written By: Scout
URL: http://
McQ -

I read Laura’s comment as a sarcastic slap down of MK, not your post.

Nice presentation, BTW. To my way of thinking, this neatly refutes the "we shouldn’t have dissolved the Iraqi Army" school of critics. Rather than play the endless "what if" game you’ve charted the measurable successes of our efforts thus far. Thank you.

And allow me to add an anectdotal buttress to your post...

The Army Reserve officer I sat next to in class last week (who, it turns out, was in Iraq in 2003 as an enlisted man, the same as me) shares your enthusiasm for Iraqi Forces recent progress. There was real delight on his face as he ran down numbers very similar to yours above!
 
Written By: Kadnine
URL: http://kadnine.blogspot.com/
If the best response you have is a memo that "purpotedly" came from a US Embassy and if the best that memo can offer is anecdotes, then "that should tell you more about the security situation than anything else."
You obviously didn’t read the thing.

Look, if the memo is what it purports to be, it is much more informative than a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers about alleged troop levels in Iraq. How many times have we heard BS numbers on troop levels in Iraq? Too many to count. The numbers are meaningless.

Attacks are up. Casualties are up. Only the wingnuts and Bush cult members would interpret a rise in attacks and casualties as an improvement in the security situation.

The reason I cited the memo is to get past the typical wingnut complaint: The information comes from a biased source. The memo is anecdotal in the sense that it lists specfic examples of general trends. The memo itself speaks to the deteriorating security situation generally; of neighborhoods run by private militias. Of the increasing meaningless of ISF forces. Of the increasing subjugation of women. Of a climate of fear and retribution and lawlesness.

Only fools and the uninformed believe that the security situation in Iraq is getting better. But hey, if a few charts make you feel better, good for you.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Prefacing an anecdotal argument with "anecdotes to be sure, but very telling and revealing" doesn’t disarm the objection that the evidence being presented is anecdotal. The reason governments and news agencies go through the considerable effort and expense of performing studies and polls using large samples is because many problems are localized and unique to a specific political environment.

To assert that a central government that has just been formed is relatively ineffective and toothless in governing at the micro level is less of an inciteful observation than a validation of common sense.

Assuming the WaPo memo is authentic, and it certainly appears to be, it is an affirmation that there are still significant problems to be overcome in some areas. You can extrapolate that this type of situation is rare or common, though I’d assume they are most likely common, at least in some provinces. The implication that while some problems are slowly being overcome, others are cropping up that didn’t exist before, is another proof of principle from my point of view. It is naive to think that, without Saddam, Iraq would revert to some universal state of civility comparable to the average suberb of Salt Lake City.

Thugs, bullies, con men and zealots don’t morph into upright citizens at first opportunity. They change only when it becomes too difficult to continue their behavior, or when the are put in the ground or behind bars. These types always capitalize on political unrest. I don’t see anyone suggesting that there isn’t political unrest in Iraq.

It will take decades for Iraq to reach anything resembling the kind of relaxed confidence Americans have in their basic rights and freedoms, assuming they choose to follow that path. Many problems will be resolved by the elimination of their root causes or by the institution of first or second-generation elected officials at the lowest levels.
 
Written By: Immolate
URL: http://
No offense, but extrapolating a trend from a single data point is closely analogous to predicting the angle of a seesaw—you only know one data point.

I disagree with your assertion that macro information is meaningless. I won’t engage you on that point though. This isn’t religious for me.
 
Written By: Immolate
URL: http://
McQ:

On this and several other sites, I tried to make some of these points, but with only my impressions as backup, and without the fine documentation you have supplied. Your post is much more persuasive than my comments because of this documentation.

Your documentation is doubly meaningful when one considers this documented progress made in Iraq after 2,500 military deaths, compared with that made in VN by 1969, a comparable period of time, by when over 17,000 of our young men had died in the country. Because of the superficial rhetorical use of VN as the bogeyman to convince us to "get out [of Iraq] now" it is worth comparing results of these two wars at a comparable time.
 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
Hmmmmmm
A memo with no clear attribution, other than what it purports to be on a WaPo websight (’sensitive’ information from the AMEMBASSY in Baghdad always being sent to the WAPO for vetting first of course) containing a collection of anecdotes with reliability nearly equivalent to "my friend’s uncle’s cousin was kidnapped by aliens"

Or a DOD report released to Congress

Hmmmmm....which do I believe, which do I believe.
Tough decision no?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
MK, the fact that you can say with no apparent irony that the numbers are meaningless but these anecdotes from what *may* be a memo sent out by an embassy prove anything at all is just breathtaking. I read the memo, and in response I say, so what?

General trends? How do the examples in the memo prove a trend of any sort? They are examples, nothing more. But since you seem to base your opinion primarily on anecdotes, you’ll be reassured and happy to know that Iraqi citizens living in Baghdad
- sense a clear atmosphere of cautious calm
- agree with Mr. Rubaie that the end of Zarqawi marked the beginning of al-Qaeda’s end in Iraq and I do believe the government has a golden opportunity to deal with al-Qeada and its allies as the death of Zarqawi left his organization and followers in a state of shock and huge suspicion that the network’s lines have been infiltrated, and I feel that most of them are behaving clumsily out of fear from being already identified and located.
-The militants are getting more and more isolated by the day and this isolation is directly related to the increasing suffering and contempt of the citizens from this useless armed opposition especially that most of the once were opposition parties have joined the political process and became an integral part of the government and they smothered their tone and making their demands through political routes.

Boy, those anecdotes are great, aren’t they? I feel that my position is completely vindicated.

Still want to rely so heavily on anecdotes, MK?
 
Written By: Laura
URL: http://www.pursuingholiness.com
The memo referenced by MK is interesting. I wonder what actions have been taken to deal with this information. I am confident it is not being ignored.

It sounds like the kind of thing that was going on in Northern Ireland for many, many years.

And it seems more like some of the major issues facing Islam not only in Iraq, but throughout the middle east. Much of the west is indifferent to how Islam resolves Shi’ia or Sunni? Orthodox or liberal? Sadr or Sistani?

Of course, that is at the heart of the issues that had to be resolved to formulate a coalition government.

If MK is suggesting that these problems need to be resolved, I agree with him. If he is implying we are failing in Iraq because these problems are not yet resolved, other signs of progress (like those documented in this post) should be ignored or discounted, I strongly disagree.

 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
Attacks are up. Casualties are up. Only the wingnuts and Bush cult members would interpret a rise in attacks and casualties as an improvement in the security situation.
I guess I asked for too much expecting you to actually read the report as well as look at the pretty pictures MK.

Yes attacks are up, but coalition casualties are trending down. That may be because the ISF now has the responsbility for 30,000 square miles of Iraq it previously didn’t have (to include Baghdad) and they’re conducting operations with those areas they previously weren’t conducting. It might also signify more success in finding and engaging insurgents and terrorists as well.

And the casualties are all Iraqis, which includes "insurgents".

Yes there have been more attacks. And that is explained by the slowed formation of a government on the one hand and and more aggressive ISF engagement on the other.

But hey if all you want to do is engage in name calling ... go for it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ, I believe Laura’s entire comment was a response to mkultra’s above it. MK responded with a "memo" of "anecdotes" to refute your post. She was defending your position.
Thanks Scout ... my bad, Laura. Apologies.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Y’all don’t understand. The memo has truthiness.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
hmmm... interesting way to date an official document...

R 121430Z JUN 06

What day would that be?

Intersting to that it doesn’t have any routing info on it, like who got copied on it.

Just an observation.

*****

Good job on the analysis, McQ...

What is interesting to me, is how little press the report has recieved since May 6th. You would think a report from the military to the Congress about what it states is the progress made would have made big splashy headlines.

And of course, the typical anti comment is what I expected.

The report doesn’t say all is well, it says there’s good points and bad points. Here’s the plan, here’s where we are progressing, here’s where we need work.

But I guess, when you the bias is towards a headline that says, we’re loosing, saying that we’re making steady progress is out of the question.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
121430Z JUN 06

What day would that be?
12 June 2006, 1430 hours (AKA 2:30pm) in the Zulu time zone (AKA GMT)
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
R 121430Z JUN 06
Well I see Mark already answered but they’re called "Date/Time Groups", which puts the date first and the time second, then month and year. Each will always have the time zone from which the message was sent.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Nice summary McQ. A USMC Reserve co-worker who just return after a year in Iraq tells me the morale is good. Let’s hope the trend continues and the ISF continues to step up to the plate.
 
Written By: Jason Pappas
URL: http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/
MK, the fact that you can say with no apparent irony that the numbers are meaningless but these anecdotes from what *may* be a memo sent out by an embassy prove anything at all is just breathtaking. I read the memo, and in response I say, so what?
Of course that is your response. It is the duty of all wingers to reject any personal account that conflicts with party propaganda. If multiple embassy employees report similar incidents of subjugation of women, takeover of neighborhoods by militias, electrical shortages, fuel shortages, life and death risks for embassy employees, kidnappings, and sectrian tensions, so what?

Remember, this is but a snapshot of Iraqi life from people whom the US trusts enough to employ in the Green Zone. But wingers and war supporters are simply incapable of acknowledging that there is any degree of truth to any of these accounts. Why? Because it conflicts with not with their ideology, but to Bush and the war. Again, the signifigance of the memo is that it speaks to a deteriorating security situation.

If you have other personal accounts to the contrary from Iraqis who are friendly to the US government, you would have cited them.
agree with Mr. Rubaie that the end of Zarqawi marked the beginning of al-Qaeda’s end in Iraq and I do believe the government has a golden opportunity to deal with al-Qeada and its allies as the death of Zarqawi left his organization and followers in a state of shock and huge suspicion that the network’s lines have been infiltrated
It does? Why? What empirical evidence is there of this development? None.
-The militants are getting more and more isolated by the day and this isolation is directly related to the increasing suffering and contempt of the citizens from this useless armed opposition especially that most of the once were opposition parties have joined the political process and became an integral part of the government and they smothered their tone and making their demands through political routes.
Says who? Cheney said in the beginning of 2005 we would see a decrease in violence. He said the insurgency was in its "last throes." And yet, insurgent attacks have increased, not descreased since then. And yet just today, Cheney once again said the same thing.

You have been brainwashed. There is no other way of saying it.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Yes attacks are up, but coalition casualties are trending down. That may be because the ISF now has the responsbility for 30,000 square miles of Iraq it previously didn’t have (to include Baghdad) and they’re conducting operations with those areas they previously weren’t conducting. It might also signify more success in finding and engaging insurgents and terrorists as well.
This is just a lie. No other way to say it.

Look at the last five months:

US soldiers killed in Iraq:

1/2006: 62
2/2006: 55
3/2006: 31
4/2006: 76
5/2006: 69

How in the world can you say that coalition casualties are trending down when more US soldiers were kiiled in each of the two most recent months than were killed in any of the first three months of the year? Trending down? Are you high? Are you seriously that far gone?
Yes there have been more attacks. And that is explained by the slowed formation of a government on the one hand and and more aggressive ISF engagement on the other
Really? And you know this because?

The ISF are dominated by Shia militias. They are killing Sunnis. Suniis, in turn, are killing Shia. But you have yet to explain - of course - how in the world an uptick in Iraqi violence and an uptick in US dead over the last five months shows that security is increasing.

So tell us, McQ, how does an increase in US deaths over the last two months show US casualties are trending down?


 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
So tell us, McQ, how does an increase in US deaths over the last two months show US casualties are trending down?
By looking at the chart and understanding how the caualties are broken out.

They’re broken out by particular periods. And the latest period has average daily casualties lower than the period before.

That’s how.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
They’re broken out by particular periods. And the latest period has average daily casualties lower than the period before.
Passive voice:

"They’re broken out by ..."

plus, vague terminology:

"particular periods ..."

add up to a meaningless conclusion:

"And the latest period has average daily causualties lower than the period before."

Not only is this conclusion meaningless, it is wrong in several ways.

Let’s look at the last two particular periods, the last two weeks, covering June 1-7, and June 8-14. Here are the numbers:
June 1-7:

Wounded - Returned to Duty - 52
Wounded - 50

June 8-14:

Wounded - Returned to Duty - 69
Wounded - 65
The average of wounded over the particular period of last week went up over the number of wounded over the particular period of the week before, by about 30%. Now, these are simply the last two weeks. But that’s just the point, isn’t it? There is no trend one way or the other when it comes to our casualties. And Iraqi csualties have gone up.

So again, how in the world can you assert that the security situation has improved? Seriously. Do you have any real evidence, besides numbers from the DoD?
Hmmmmmm
A memo with no clear attribution, other than what it purports to be on a WaPo websight (’sensitive’ information from the AMEMBASSY in Baghdad always being sent to the WAPO for vetting first of course) containing a collection of anecdotes with reliability nearly equivalent to "my friend’s uncle’s cousin was kidnapped by aliens"

Or a DOD report released to Congress
And not that it matters, the Washington Post today reports that the DoD still classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder. Seriously. The DoD says, today, that being gay is the same thing as being mentally retarded or having a personality disorder.

I, for one, am becoming skeptical of the DoD. I don’t really think that gay people are mentally retarded, or suffer from a personality disorder, or that they are mentally disordered. The DoD thinks otherwise. Call me crazy. And color me a little skeptical, as a result, of any other claim made by the DoD.

OTOH, if you believe that gay people are retarded, and, by the same token, that the IDF forces have made real progrsss, well, then, who am I to disagree.







 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Now, these are simply the last two weeks. But that’s just the point, isn’t it? There is no trend one way or the other when it comes to our casualties. And Iraqi csualties have gone up.
You really can’t be this obtuse, can you?

The word is "trend". Look it up. Study it, before you look more foolish than you already do.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
As usual, the opposition commenter neglects operational activities. We’re engaged in offensives at the moment, which nearly always result in a casualty uptick (heck, even in air-only operations, if you fly more sorties you increase the risk that someone will crash). I was just wondering, over on Belmont Club, how long it’d be before somebody pointed to that almost inevitable uptick as "evidence" of - oh, pick your term: quagmire, failure, defeat...

As for your "damning" memo, gosh, it was a hoot. No doubt there are many people in Baghdad who are in terrible straits - but those who work for the US Embassy? Yes, they run special risks as relatively public US-sympathizers, but back in the mid-’80s when my family was stationed in England, my dad was instructed not to wear his uniform off-base because it was off-putting and potentially "threatening" to the locals. Big whoop.

A woman is upset becasue she can’t talk politics with her mother. Neighbors of differing political/religious backgrounds are squabbling. A man was kidnapped, which led to a lot of "mental anguish" in his family - but he was released. ("She turned me into a newt!" [up-and-down look from observer] "Well, I got better...") The power supply is bad - but people have found a (libertarian) workaround by paying neighbors with big generators for extra power. The unsubsidized gasoline price is 25% higher than the subsidized one. Women are advised by friends to alter their mode of dress when going through some areas, and US employees are advised to "blend in" when they travel outside the Green Zone (see my last paragraph). For heaven’s sake. mk, this isn’t evidence, this is a meeting of the vaguely disgruntled.

I absolutely will not denigrate the real hardships Iraqis actually do face in this difficult but hopeful time in order to provide undue credence to these mostly paltry complaints.

mk, your non-sequitur is a tiny bit interesting - but still a non-sequitur. If you read the entire article, you might note that the "document" in question, which you say indicates that the DoD today said that gayness was "the same thing as being mentally retarded or having a personality disorder," was never sourced, dated, or even quoted in the article. I wonder how long the WaPo reporter had to search to find it. Oh, and "the same as" seems to mean something a little different to the DoD than you appear to take it to mean, since the "document" had to do with benefits to retired and discharged military members rather than fitness for service.
 
Written By: Jamie
URL: http://thelipstickrepublican.blogspot.com
To clarify: my dad’s orders not to wear his uniform off-base in ’84 or so were to protect him and our family, not to keep from offending the British; it was during an upswing in Middle East terrorism just before the Marine barracks bombing, and at one of several high points in IRA terrorist activity locally, and a US military officer and his family were considered to be potential targets for terrorists even back then. A potential terrorist, "threatened" by the "occupying" American wandering around the streets of Ipswich, might, you know, bomb something.

Almost ten years later, my husband missed being blown up in the City of London by an hour or so, when an IRA bomber’s bomb went off in an own-goal a block from the shop where he worked but JUST after closing time, and I missed being blown up on the Tube by one train. If I’d contributed to an Embassy discussion of the dangers of working in London that month...
 
Written By: Jamie
URL: http://thelipstickrepublican.blogspot.com
MK, my point was that you can find anecdotes to prove anything at all. Anecdotes are interesting, but ultimately prove nothing.

I, for one, am becoming skeptical of the DoD.
Becoming?? Oh please... don’t try to act as if your mind was not firmly made up long ago. You just rejected actual numbers submitted to Congress, based on no evidence whatsoever - just vague allegations that the DoD is lying ("How many times have we heard BS numbers on troop levels in Iraq? Too many to count. The numbers are meaningless."), a charge for which you present no proof at all. Do you really think the DoD is lying to Congress about troop numbers, deaths, etc.? Can you prove it or back it up in any way at all? Or is it just because Kos and Atrios told you so?

Your best possible evidence that things are going badly is an unsubstantiated memo with a handful of unsubstantiated stories. Even if the memo is completely truthful and accurate, it proves nothing. Individual stories are meaningless. Now if you could come up with something like two surveys, taken some time apart, where a group of people report that they’ve been harrassed because of their dress, and in the second survey the number of people reporting it was higher, then that would prove something. That would be objective and factual.

I’ll give you an example with this snapshot of New Orleans life: There are an estimated 30,000 illegal aliens in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. A woman was murdered a couple of blocks from my house by one. Consequently, I conclude that all illegal aliens are violent felons.

Except that’s not true. As a group, they are breaking our immigration, labor, and tax laws, but in general, it is not accurate to say that illegal aliens are rapists and murderers.

I can troll the Iraqi blogs all day, and dredge up examples that support the case that life in Iraq is better now than under Saddam, and better now than a year ago. Or I can troll them and find the opposite. This is why anecdotes are meaningless.

If you have any kind of a case at all, you need to come up with better, objective, factual evidence.
 
Written By: Laura
URL: http://www.pursuingholiness.com
If you have any kind of a case at all, you need to come up with better, objective, factual evidence.
He did - the DOD is lying to Congress because some memo from someplace in the DOD (as well attributed as the memo cited by WaPo for Iraq by the way) considers homosexuality to be a form of mental defect.

See, all facts, ordered in perfectly logical fashion to refute any argument you might have about trusting a DOD report to Congress.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker - that’s true. I guess I just wasn’t thinking clearly. Mea maxima culpa. ;-)
 
Written By: Laura
URL: http://www.pursuingholiness.com
And not that it matters, the Washington Post today reports that the DoD still classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder. Seriously. The DoD says, today, that being gay is the same thing as being mentally retarded or having a personality disorder.

I, for one, am becoming skeptical of the DoD. I don’t really think that gay people are mentally retarded, or suffer from a personality disorder, or that they are mentally disordered. The DoD thinks otherwise. Call me crazy. And color me a little skeptical, as a result, of any other claim made by the DoD.
The leopard finally shows its stripes. Nice try, though. "Not that it matters," but you sounded borderline rational there for a few posts.

 
Written By: cheeseplease
URL: http://
Someone needs to draw a graph and include the major ops being conducted to correspond to the American casualties on the ground over the duration of the war.

The troops have been busy around Baghdad over the last few months.

During June and July 2003 the 4th ID carried out major ops across the "Sunni Triangle," removing plenty of terrorists and weapons from the streets of Iraq, with the help of locals.

Over 10,000 Soldiers were involved.

CENTCOM put out daily details of missions accomplished, the vast majority without any casualties.

Since the operations took place with so many troops across a vast, deadly area, a dozen or so US Soldiers were killed, the most over any period since major ops ended in May.

The press hyped those deaths around July 4th so much they drove public opinion down.

At around the same time in the American MidWest, a porch collapsed during a party and more American civilians were killed in a few minutes than American troops died while on those deadly missions in Iraq.

Odd that American reporters take the word of the official PR agents of tyrants and terrorists around the world, and ignore the daily, detailed, fact-filled press releases from CENTCOM, from the men and women who defend their homeland, their freedom, the free world.
 
Written By: b
URL: http://
Anyone interested can view the WEEKLY briefings covering Iraq reconstruction online at: http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/rpt/iraqstatus/2006/c16536.htm. If someone was REALLY interested and had a lot of time on their hands, they could chart the progress week by week in a dozen areas over the last 18 months. Also, it’s worth remembering that American democracy was an iffy thing for the first 100 years. It’s still an iffy thing today when the people who are supposed to care and work at it, don’t.-CP
 
Written By: cold pizza
URL: http://
MkUltra Said:

Look, if the memo is what it purports to be, it is much more informative than a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers

’much more informative’ - are you serious?
Maybe they are ’much more informative’ because they talk about individuals, but they are not ’much more informative’ about the entire situation, because they are LACKING ’a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers.’

If you want to show how well 100,000+ people are doing their jobs, you don’t ask for anecdotes from each of them! You generally have to gather data and produce ’a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers’!

Geez, didn’t you ever take Probability and Statistics?

And Another Thing about your selective Logic:

Let me answer YOUR quotes with YOUR other quotes and see if you are being consistent...

MkUltra Quote #1:

Read the memo. It offers snapshots - anecdotes to be sure, but very telling and revealing about what is really going on in Iraq.

MkUltra Response to a similar assertion:

It does? Why? What empirical evidence is there of this development? None.

Do you see how you have defeated your own evidence?

Let me put it this way:

If we cannot trust information that does not contain ’empirical evidence’ then guess what? WE CANNOT TRUST INFORMATION THAT DOES NOT CONTAIN ’EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE’ — Like your ’Memo.’


Another inanity by MkUltra:
Attacks are up. Casualties are up. Only the wingnuts and Bush cult members would interpret a rise in attacks and casualties as an improvement in the security situation.


Uh... You forgot to add ’Students of History’ to your list. Ask the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki whether casualties rose just before the war ended (which some would call an ’improvement in the security situation’). Or ask the residents of Berlin.
The point: Attacks go up when we kill bad guys. The security situation improves when we kill bad guys. It is obvious to those of us who do not suffer from BDS.


Another one:
Only fools and the uninformed believe that the security situation in Iraq is getting better.

Hey MkUltra, would I be wrong in assuming that you believe that people should not ’Judge’ others?
Your comments on the Pentagon’s ’statement’ on homosexuals seems to indicate that.
If so, could you please refrain from judging people who are ’other’ than you as Fools and Uninformed.’ Because you are really ’Harshing My Mello’ with all that Negative Energy. Can’t we all just get along?

Oh, and just in case you DO believe that Judging others is OK, Shut Up already about the Pentagon/homosexuality thing, they are allowed to Judge!

Seriously, two sentences apart you say
"Remember, this is but a snapshot ... But..."

AND THEN YOU SAY:

It does? Why? What empirical evidence is there of this development? None.

Do you really not see the double standard? How does the second statement NOT APPLY to the first statement?

Too much to wade through...


 
Written By: Curious Visitor
URL: http://
MkUltra Said:

Look, if the memo is what it purports to be, it is much more informative than a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers

’much more informative’ - are you serious?
Maybe they are ’much more informative’ because they talk about individuals, but they are not ’much more informative’ about the entire situation, because they are LACKING ’a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers.’

If you want to show how well 100,000+ people are doing their jobs, you don’t ask for anecdotes from each of them! You generally have to gather data and produce ’a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers’!

Geez, didn’t you ever take Probability and Statistics?

And Another Thing about your selective Logic:

Let me answer YOUR quotes with YOUR other quotes and see if you are being consistent...

MkUltra Quote #1:

Read the memo. It offers snapshots - anecdotes to be sure, but very telling and revealing about what is really going on in Iraq.

MkUltra Response to a similar assertion:

It does? Why? What empirical evidence is there of this development? None.

Do you see how you have defeated your own evidence?

Let me put it this way:

If we cannot trust information that does not contain ’empirical evidence’ then guess what? WE CANNOT TRUST INFORMATION THAT DOES NOT CONTAIN ’EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE’ — Like your ’Memo.’


Another inanity by MkUltra:
Attacks are up. Casualties are up. Only the wingnuts and Bush cult members would interpret a rise in attacks and casualties as an improvement in the security situation.


Uh... You forgot to add ’Students of History’ to your list. Ask the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki whether casualties rose just before the war ended (which some would call an ’improvement in the security situation’). Or ask the residents of Berlin.
The point: Attacks go up when we kill bad guys. The security situation improves when we kill bad guys. It is obvious to those of us who do not suffer from BDS.


Another one:
Only fools and the uninformed believe that the security situation in Iraq is getting better.

Hey MkUltra, would I be wrong in assuming that you believe that people should not ’Judge’ others?
Your comments on the Pentagon’s ’statement’ on homosexuals seems to indicate that.
If so, could you please refrain from judging people who are ’other’ than you as Fools and Uninformed.’ Because you are really ’Harshing My Mello’ with all that Negative Energy. Can’t we all just get along?

Oh, and just in case you DO believe that Judging others is OK, Shut Up already about the Pentagon/homosexuality thing, they are allowed to Judge!

Seriously, two sentences apart you say
"Remember, this is but a snapshot ... But..."

AND THEN YOU SAY:

It does? Why? What empirical evidence is there of this development? None.

Do you really not see the double standard? How does the second statement NOT APPLY to the first statement?

Too much to wade through...


 
Written By: Curious Visitor
URL: http://
MkUltra Said:

Look, if the memo is what it purports to be, it is much more informative than a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers

’much more informative’ - are you serious?
Maybe they are ’much more informative’ because they talk about individuals, but they are not ’much more informative’ about the entire situation, because they are LACKING ’a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers.’

If you want to show how well 100,000+ people are doing their jobs, you don’t ask for anecdotes from each of them! You generally have to gather data and produce ’a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers’!

Geez, didn’t you ever take Probability and Statistics?

And Another Thing about your selective Logic:

Let me answer YOUR quotes with YOUR other quotes and see if you are being consistent...

MkUltra Quote #1:

Read the memo. It offers snapshots - anecdotes to be sure, but very telling and revealing about what is really going on in Iraq.

MkUltra Response to a similar assertion:

It does? Why? What empirical evidence is there of this development? None.

Do you see how you have defeated your own evidence?

Let me put it this way:

If we cannot trust information that does not contain ’empirical evidence’ then guess what? WE CANNOT TRUST INFORMATION THAT DOES NOT CONTAIN ’EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE’ — Like your ’Memo.’


Another inanity by MkUltra:
Attacks are up. Casualties are up. Only the wingnuts and Bush cult members would interpret a rise in attacks and casualties as an improvement in the security situation.


Uh... You forgot to add ’Students of History’ to your list. Ask the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki whether casualties rose just before the war ended (which some would call an ’improvement in the security situation’). Or ask the residents of Berlin.
The point: Attacks go up when we kill bad guys. The security situation improves when we kill bad guys. It is obvious to those of us who do not suffer from BDS.


Another one:
Only fools and the uninformed believe that the security situation in Iraq is getting better.

Hey MkUltra, would I be wrong in assuming that you believe that people should not ’Judge’ others?
Your comments on the Pentagon’s ’statement’ on homosexuals seems to indicate that.
If so, could you please refrain from judging people who are ’other’ than you as Fools and Uninformed.’ Because you are really ’Harshing My Mello’ with all that Negative Energy. Can’t we all just get along?

Oh, and just in case you DO believe that Judging others is OK, Shut Up already about the Pentagon/homosexuality thing, they are allowed to Judge!

Seriously, two sentences apart you say
"Remember, this is but a snapshot ... But..."

AND THEN YOU SAY:

It does? Why? What empirical evidence is there of this development? None.

Do you really not see the double standard? How does the second statement NOT APPLY to the first statement?

Too much to wade through...


 
Written By: Curious Visitor
URL: http://
MkUltra Said:

Look, if the memo is what it purports to be, it is much more informative than a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers

’much more informative’ - are you serious?
Maybe they are ’much more informative’ because they talk about individuals, but they are not ’much more informative’ about the entire situation, because they are LACKING ’a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers.’

If you want to show how well 100,000+ people are doing their jobs, you don’t ask for anecdotes from each of them! You generally have to gather data and produce ’a bunch of charts showing a bunch of numbers’!

Geez, didn’t you ever take Probability and Statistics?

And Another Thing about your selective Logic:

Let me answer YOUR quotes with YOUR other quotes and see if you are being consistent...

MkUltra Quote #1:

Read the memo. It offers snapshots - anecdotes to be sure, but very telling and revealing about what is really going on in Iraq.

MkUltra Response to a similar assertion:

It does? Why? What empirical evidence is there of this development? None.

Do you see how you have defeated your own evidence?

Let me put it this way:

If we cannot trust information that does not contain ’empirical evidence’ then guess what? WE CANNOT TRUST INFORMATION THAT DOES NOT CONTAIN ’EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE’ — Like your ’Memo.’


Another inanity by MkUltra:
Attacks are up. Casualties are up. Only the wingnuts and Bush cult members would interpret a rise in attacks and casualties as an improvement in the security situation.


Uh... You forgot to add ’Students of History’ to your list. Ask the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki whether casualties rose just before the war ended (which some would call an ’improvement in the security situation’). Or ask the residents of Berlin.
The point: Attacks go up when we kill bad guys. The security situation improves when we kill bad guys. It is obvious to those of us who do not suffer from BDS.


Another one:
Only fools and the uninformed believe that the security situation in Iraq is getting better.

Hey MkUltra, would I be wrong in assuming that you believe that people should not ’Judge’ others?
Your comments on the Pentagon’s ’statement’ on homosexuals seems to indicate that.
If so, could you please refrain from judging people who are ’other’ than you as Fools and Uninformed.’ Because you are really ’Harshing My Mello’ with all that Negative Energy. Can’t we all just get along?

Oh, and just in case you DO believe that Judging others is OK, Shut Up already about the Pentagon/homosexuality thing, they are allowed to Judge!

Seriously, two sentences apart you say
"Remember, this is but a snapshot ... But..."

AND THEN YOU SAY:

It does? Why? What empirical evidence is there of this development? None.

Do you really not see the double standard? How does the second statement NOT APPLY to the first statement?

Too much to wade through...


 
Written By: Curious Visitor
URL: http://
McQ?

Why is the post appearing to repeat several times? I previewed it twice and posted it once.

Curious Visitor.

Or could it be that the server (which is based on LOGIC) agrees with my refutation of MkUltra and keeps repeating it?
 
Written By: Curious Visitor
URL: http://

 
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