Saturday, December 17, 2005

Defining Victory ... Down

Bush, on TV, Says Iraq Vote Won't End Violence
President Bush acknowledged that the elections in Iraq were "not going to stop violence" there, and that "we're behind" on the training of capable Iraqi police forces.

"I think if we have a policy of zero violence, it won't be met," Mr. Bush said in the PBS interview.

Asked if defining victory in terms that allowed violence to continue was an unusual definition of winning wars, he answered, "Yes."

"The elections won't say, O.K., the security situation has, you know, changed dramatically, because there are still people out there that are going to try to affect the political outcome, the political debate, with violence," he said.

"More Iraqis are in the lead on operations, more territory is controlled by the Iraqis," he said. "However, as General Casey said, we're behind when it comes to training the police forces, and one of the real challenges is to make sure that the police force does not become a haven for militia" controlled by political parties. Gen. George W. Casey Jr. of the Army is the American commander in Iraq.

"I think if we have a policy of zero violence, it won't be met," Mr. Bush said in the PBS interview.

Asked if defining victory in terms that allowed violence to continue was an unusual definition of winning wars, he answered, "Yes."

Published: December 18, 2005

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 - The Fourth Infantry Division returns to Iraq next month for a complex, yearlong tour that illustrates the risks and goals of the American military's postelection mission across Iraq.

The more than 20,000 troops in the division, about 15 percent of the 138,000-strong American commitment scheduled to remain in Iraq at least through the early part of the year, will be responsible for security across a swath of central and south-central Iraq that is much larger than previous commands have tried to cover there.
So remember … War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength…


The expanded mission includes more than a hope, but a requirement, that Iraqi security forces take over the security mission in larger areas of their own country. The planning is also driven by a cold reality that many of the allied troops - including Ukraine, Bulgaria, Italy and possibly even Poland - seem likely to leave Iraq over coming months.

So, like American troops all across Iraq, the Fourth Infantry Division, from its headquarters in Baghdad, will have no choice but to rely on increasing numbers of Iraqi troops, testing as never before the American and Iraqi forces - and the new government to be assembled after Thursday's vote.

The Americans are planning to turn over bases to Iraqis, and more significantly plan to turn over a much larger share of the battle space to Iraqis, with the goal to minimize a visible American presence that alienates many Iraqis and provides a target for the insurgency. When possible, the American military will remain in a stand-back role, available to rush in if Iraqi forces need assistance.

American commanders make it no secret that the coming Iraqi government, with its sovereign stature and a full, four-year tenure, means they will be operating in new political terrain. Mounting pressures in the United States - and a new Iraqi government all but certain to assert its authority in coming months - will require that the American military demonstrate some kind of success and then withdraw as many troops as quickly and as safely as possible.

The goal is to make Iraqi patrols the norm, with stability no longer dependent on the large foreign force that has so constantly enraged Iraqis. That goal has become every bit as important as quelling the insurgency, if not more so. The new mission for the Fourth Infantry Division is planned around that new goal.

"It is very much a laboratory for the overall mission, linked not just to the development of the Iraqi armed forces but to efforts to make the special security forces act like national police forces," and not loyal only to local religious or ethnic leaders, said Anthony H. Cordesman, a military specialist with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"How much of the battle space can the Iraqi forces take over, and who is actually doing the fighting - those are the key measurements," Mr. Cordesman said.

"The measure cannot be the elimination of the insurgency, as desirable as that would be," he said. "You cannot eliminate all of the bombings."

In a strong indication of the tenor of the coming months, several of the incoming commanders are also returning veterans of the Iraq mission, and come from a school of thought that balances both the rebuilding of Iraq's economy and civil institutions and the contest of arms against the insurgents.

Still, the American reliance on overwhelming firepower will remain central.”
con·cept: Defining Victory ... Down