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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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"Lan astaslem."
I will not submit. I will not surrender.
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Friday, October 07, 2005

Compare and contrast

Perhaps some of you have seen the following as "reported" by the MSM:

"WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of Iraqi battalions capable of combat without U.S. support has dropped from three to one, the top American commander in Iraq told Congress Thursday, prompting Republicans to question whether U.S. troops will be able to withdraw next year..."

Notice the AP headline: "Top U.S. General Says Number of Capable Iraqi Battalions Drops to One"

Take the time and read the entire news "report" here

Now, take the time to read a much deeper analysis provided by The Belmont Club that also links to the entire briefing.

Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and General George Casey gave a press briefing on September 30 focusing on the 'quantity of men' issue, a status report on the process of rebuilding the Iraqi Army.

First the raw numbers. Secretary Rumsfeld reports there are "technically 194,000 Iraqis" in the security forces. In terms of what may properly be referred to as the Iraqi army, General Casey said there were 100 battalions in all. These were divided, in terms of their capability into three categories: Category 1, 2 and 3 -- with Category 1 being the most capable.

Category Number of battalions
1 1 (as per leak in Congressional testimony)
2 classified
3 classified
Total 100

The widely circulated report in the press that of 3 Iraqi battalions that were formerly combat ready, only one is currently rated in that status is an example of how the 'quantity of men' issue has been misunderstood. That number turns out to be the number of Iraqi battalions in Category 1, which as we shall see later, is not the critical category at all. Here is the exchange that...

I've seen the AP "report" used to criticize how the Bush administration is doing in Iraq. The claim being that we are now going backward. It's easy to see how someone can come to that conclusion based on the ommissions and implications that the article intended. But it is also obvious that the context and facts are not as their headline or cherry picked quotes imply.

The AP "report" helps support some who have compared Iraq to Vietnam. This is ridiculous for a number of reasons and there is actually a quite a bit of contrast to the Vietnam experience. But there are several things that do compare. Like Vietnam, we have certain media organizations once again pushing their agenda to undermine the war effort of an administration they don't like or for some, a dislike for anything the United States happens to be doing. Like Vietnam, if they succeed and we leave before Iraq is ready, then it will be even more like Vietnam, where we abandoned an ally to certain defeat. Only this time, it will be much worse.

Our military and some politicians learned the correct lessons from Vietnam. But in contrast, it appears that some in the press and other groups learned exactly the wrong lessons. Do they not care how many will needlessly die or suffer this time?
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