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    02 December 2005

    I find this troubling

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    In regards to the Israelis, they have excellent intelligence. Far exceeding ours in the Middle East for sure. They knew about 9/11 (or at least it has been rumored), they were warned of the recent attacks in Jordan and they have been dealing in and with terrorism since the early 1900s. Last week two separate stories came to my attention, neither has a good prognosis for the Middle East region. The first is a report from a meeting between US and Israeli officials. The backbone of this meeting was 'back off the democracy based war mongering in the Middle East or else!..'
    Israel laid out for the United States three scenarios if Bashar Assad [Syria] is toppled: chaos, an Islamist regime or another strongman from Assad's minority Alawite sect. Israel fears all those options, saying Assad provides a measure of stability.

    So, IMHO, if the Israelis are against it then it isn't a good idea for the region. I think the threat of Syria is severly overrated. Assad is easily comparable to the strong man in Egypt for example. It is all deflection when the military fingers Syria for all its problems. IMO.

    Next, and more troubling, is the account of noted scholar, Martin van Creveld. He is an brilliant military thinker out of Israel who currently is the only foerign author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers. I've used his works extensivly in my reasearch here at the CofC and elsewhere. Research which has focused on the state of Israel and Palestine. He is a man I have a termendous amount of respect for, and his opinion should be noted. This is my edit but do read the entire peice. This is what I'm talking about
    What had to come, has come. The question is no longer if American forces will be withdrawn, but how soon - and at what cost.

    ...simply abandoning equipment or handing it over to the Iraqis, as was done in Vietnam, is simply not an option.
    ...
    Handing over their [the US] bases or demolishing them if necessary, American forces will have to fall back on Baghdad. From Baghdad they will have to make their way to the southern port city of Basra, and from there back to Kuwait, where the whole misguided adventure began. When Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled Israel out of Lebanon in 2000, the military was able to carry out the operation in a single night without incurring any casualties. That, however, is not how things will happen in Iraq.

    Not only are American forces perhaps 30 times larger, but so is the country they have to traverse. A withdrawal probably will require several months and incur a sizable number of casualties. As the pullout proceeds, Iraq almost certainly will sink into an all-out civil war from which it will take the country a long time to emerge — if, indeed, it can do so at all. All this is inevitable and will take place whether George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice like it or not.

    but, and we all know this, this is what this was all about,
    ...a complete American withdrawal is not an option; the region, with its vast oil reserves, is simply too important for that. A continued military presence, made up of air, sea and a moderate number of ground forces, will be needed.

    They will be need to fend off the Iranians who, as van Creveld writes... "Tehran is certain to emerge as the biggest winner from the war. (...) Now that Iraq is gone, it is hard to see how anybody except the United States can keep the Gulf States, and their oil, out of the mullahs' clutches."

    van Creveld continues, stating that the US must stay to ensure that the 'hornets' nest' that will develop in the Iraqi vacume won't "spread all over the Middle East, conducting acts of sabotage and seeking to overthrow governments in Allah's name."

    van Creveld concludes...
    Maintaining an American security presence in the region, not to mention withdrawing forces from Iraq, will involve many complicated problems, military as well as political. Such an endeavor, one would hope, will be handled by a team different from -— and more competent than - the one presently in charge of the White House and Pentagon.

    For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.

    This is required reading for the US military scholars, he has been required rerading in several of my calsses.

    Now I've been against the calls from the Republicans for immediate withdrawl and against (to a lesser extent) the call for withdrawl from Rep. Murtha. However, I don't know what to do in the alternative. How does this end?

    Posted by Geoff

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