Ending this war is necessary. But how we end it is of even greater importance for both our security and our troops' safety.
By Joe Sestak
There is a bipartisan "way ahead" in Iraq if viewed in terms of progress for America's security and not solely Iraq's, with a strategy that focuses on our national interests in this conflict, not just the interests of Iraqis.
There is air to breathe and water to drink. Could there be a more universally known sentence in politics today? This is the best opening can do? He just lost 70% of his readers with this "random national security sentence" generator output.Our troops have served our country courageously and brilliantly, but our engagement in Iraq has degraded our security, pushing our Army to the breaking point so that it cannot confront other pressing security concerns at home and abroad.
What, pray tell, is going on right now that is more pressing than killing terrorists and bringing stability to the Middle East?My military service as a three-star vice admiral
He just can't help himself, can he? Congressman, you, ummmm, are a retired Rear Admiral. Its OK, it is a higher pay grade than most of us will retire with. Get over it. We all understand that you are not a retired Vice Admiral because you were fired and then left Active Duty without enough time to retire as a VADM. A RADM is just fine. Stop embarrassing yourself. We won't think any less of you.– having led an aircraft carrier battle group in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and served as director of the Navy's anti-terrorism unit – convinces me that an inconclusive, open-ended involvement in Iraq is not in our security interests.
Self-love is very unattractive in an adult. Oh, did you know that Sen. Kerry (D-MA) served in Vietnam?Ending this war is necessary. But how we end it is of even greater importance for both our security and our troops' safety. These two considerations are the dual catalysts for a bipartisan discussion on this issue.
Breathing air and drinking water again.First, America's security: our Army will rapidly unravel if redeployment from Iraq does not begin before spring 2008. Today, 40 percent of all US Army equipment is in Iraq; there is no Army unit now at home in a state of readiness able to deploy anywhere another contingency might occur in the world.
That is simply an exaggeration. If 60% of your Army isn't enough to deploy to The Virgin Islands (that is anywhere) - then what have you done to correct tha but propose retreat from the front lines in the Global War?Second, the safety of our troops: redeployment from Iraq will be lengthy. Moving 160,000 troops and 50,000 civilian contractors and closing bases are logistically challenging, especially in conflict. To ensure our troops' safety, it will take at least a year – probably 15 to 24 months.
So, you believe in time based planning vice conditions (EBAO) based planning? And you have the temerity to say this about Gen Petraeus?The "long pole in the tent" is the closure or turnover of 65 Forward Operating Bases (FOBs). Conservatively, it takes 100 days to close one FOB. It will be important to balance how many to close at one time with calculations about surrounding strife. Kuwait's receiving facilities to clean and package vehicles for customs and shipment back to the United States can handle only 2 to 2½ brigade combat teams (BCTs) at a time, and that there are currently 40 BCT-equivalents in Iraq.In short, this debate should have been more about measuring American security interests and progress, and not just the Iraqis....and why we are at it - please tell me what 40% of the Iraqi population (Kurds and Sunni) would think about this thought of yours?
As an example, when General Petraeus was asked about whether the impact of Iraq in the global war on terror would be better by troops in Iraq being used elsewhere, he responded that someone else should be asked about that question. A comprehensive presentation would have not only included General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, but also key individuals involved in our nation's security, such as the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior State Department officials.
Equally disconcerting was the use of "violence counts," not dissimilar to "body counts" in Vietnam. For example, General Petraeus said 2,500 terrorists have been killed, but when asked whether the number of new terrorists have increased, he responded that the number depended on the intelligence agency he spoke with and it numbered in the thousands. Until we know and can compare trends with "static" violence counts, we would be unable to adequately discern the progress of our military.I believe that the way out of Iraq is through diplomacy with Tehran.
Hey, the 2-star (ret.) is now USCENTCOM's J4 M&T guy. Cool and all - but why do I smell a bit of hypocracy?Redeployment is the most vulnerable of military operations, particularly because this one will be down a single road, leading from Iraq to Kuwait – "Road Tampa." Such vulnerability is why, in 1993, after "Blackhawk Down" in Somalia, it took six months to extract our 6,300 troops safely, and only then after inserting another 19,000 to protect their redeployment.Freshman Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), a retired Navy admiral who was propelled into politics by the Iraq war, said Murtha could still salvage elements of his strategy, but Sestak, an outspoken war opponent, is "a bit wary" of a proposal that would influence military operations.
"I was recently in the military, and I have to speak from that experience," Sestak said.
Read: "redeployment" as "retreat under fire." That is what he is talking about. Call it a ham sandwich if you want - but there it is.And what of Iraqi stability in the aftermath of our redeployment, which affects the region and thus our security? Because a redeployment of troops will take a long time, we can have a bipartisan approach to Iraq's security. To do this, the Democratic leadership must turn from pure opposition to this war and an immediate withdrawal, and begin to help author a comprehensive regional security plan that accepts the necessity of a deliberate redeployment. In turn, the Republican leadership must accept that the US government must also work diplomatically with Iran and Syria during this deliberate redeployment.
AKA "self-directed defeat."While these two countries are currently involved destructively in this war, according to our intelligence community, these nations want stability in Iraq after our departure and, therefore, can play a constructive role.
Syria. Iran. Constructive. Discuss amongst yourselves.I have consistently argued that a planned end to our military engagement in Iraq is necessary, and that such a "date certain" deadline will force Iraqi leaders to assume responsibility,
The enemy gets a vote Shipmate - what "Effect" will a "date certain" or "goal" have on them and their planning?providing Iran and Syria the incentive to prevent violence
How will they "prevent?" What history do they have to tell you that? What control do you have to make that happen? What do you do if they don't?otherwise caused by our departure.
Our troops could either return home or deploy to areas (such as Afghanistan) where terrorists pose a threat to our security,
Are there terrorists in Iraq that will threaten our security?while others remain at our existing bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and on aircraft carrier and amphibious groups, to ensure our interests in the region (as we did prior to invading Iraq).
By doing what? After our retreat and credibility thrown away, what fool in that region of the world would in their right mind count on the USA for anything or put anything on the line for such an unreliable ally we would have proven to be?Because our Army must either start a lengthy redeployment or risk unraveling, we have the catalysts for a bipartisan agreement to end this war with a stable Iraq, if we also work with Iran and Syria to meet this goal. However, this opportunity for a bipartisan congressional approach – to convince the president to use diplomacy to bring about a stable accommodation in Iraq once our troops redeploy – will undoubtedly require an initial redeployment deadline that is a "goal" instead of a "date certain."
Therefore, despite my continuing belief that a "date certain" is the best leverage to change Iraqis' and regional nations' behavior, when faced with the otherwise assured consequences of a partisan stalemate on resolving the tragic misadventure in Iraq, this compromise is needed for America's security.
I don't know Congressman; it sounds to me like you are trying to fudge some to give yourself a chance to ride the tide of battle if it goes the other way. As was always the plan, as the security situation improves and Iraqi forces take over, we will go home but by bit. It is going to happen; however if you want to get on board, you have to move away from "date certain" and your thoughts from Meet the Press last spring. Being that you use the same Security Risk (Sandy Berger) that Sen. Clinton (D-NY) does - perhaps you are also trying to get on the same page as she is without giving your supporters whiplash. Ah, ha. I think we may have it there.
Well hey, it just isn't me - even some of your supporters are starting to see your head-fake from even a little while ago.
...and they are coming after you.Rep. Joe Sestak (D., Pa.) . . . said Democratic leaders should set aside their demands for immediate withdrawal "and begin to help author a comprehensive regional security plan that accepts the necessity for a deliberate redeployment."
. . . Sestak has been among those Democrats who think that setting a "date certain" for withdrawal is the best way to force Iraqis to assume more responsibility.But he now believes the length of time needed to redeploy, and the potential for the entire Army to "unravel" unless troops are redeployed, require a compromise.
Good bargaining there Admiral. So are we going to support primarying Sestak? The Netroots/activist strategy on Iraq in 2007 has been an abject failure.
Congressman Sestak, we are all allowed to change our minds as facts on the ground change - but it is the how and why that matters. If I may be so bold as to offer some advice, be humble. Be your own man. Stop telling everyone that you were once a Navy Admiral; Vice, Rear of otherwise. And stop chewing up young men and woment who are trying to do a good job for you.
One last shot - check out the picture on the right from your site.
1. You are a Shoe; what is it with the Aviator jacket? Where is the Shoe pride?
2. Pointing Left. Very nice. Stop making it so easy out there for those who may or may not send money to your campaign.
Hat tip DadManly via MTH.