WikiLeaks Release of Classified Information on Iraq, Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Chockstock, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upsho...ief-says-secret-documents-reveal-truth-in-war

    What do you think? Was this necessary or will it, as Washington claims, endanger the lives of our troops? To me, it probably shouldn't have been released, at least not this early, and especially not if it really does release sensitive information. But WikiLeaks is naive for thinking that the publication of these documents will let Americans know of "the truth". Most Americans already know the "truth" and public opposition against the wars have been standing for almost a decade now. Its only that the Bush administration and now the Obama administration are not understanding why its high time to pull everything out of there and stop spending so much time and influence in the ME. Anyone else hear about the + $2 billion dollars we're forking over to Pakistan in order to "aid" them? Stupid, stupid, stupid...
     
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Ah, from the mouths of babes. It's all so simple!

    You've rattled off some pretty standard talking points of the knee-jerk barber shop crowd. So why should we just "pull everything out of there"? How does that play in the context of the greater national foreign policy?
     
  3. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Concur.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  4. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Spamming several hundred thousand documents isn't about the truth, it's about making the US/DoD look bad and WikiLeaks like some sort of intenet hero. :thumbdown:

    Next, tactical level reports do not reflect strategic issues very well.
     
  5. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Thanks :thumb:

    His remark about what the successive administrations "fail to understand" reminds me of the old adage about what a shame it is that everyone who REALLY knows how to run this country is busy driving cabs and cutting hair (and, apparently, completing their plebe year at WP).
     
  6. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    Yes, I'm a big baby.

    Actually, no, I'm not. I'm still going to bet that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are going to go down as the greatest foreign policy failures of the 21st century, if not of all time. I am really interested to know exactly what we have accomplished over there for them and ourselves. No doubt about it, Dubya lied to go to war in Iraq. Starting a war like that can never end well. And where is the end? Is our goal truly achievable? And I know someone's going to say this so I'll answer it right now. "Taking the fight over there rather than here" is just a cute little phrase that doesn't mean anything. The Christmas Day attempt one year ago and the Times Square bomb attempt are disasters that we avoided by luck rather than preparation. Shouldn't things like these have NOT happened if the policy of fighting them "over there" was successful? When we leave...or should I say IF we leave, we'll see how much of a lasting impact our presence had in either country. There are things that time and money can buy, and America is fortunate to have a lot of both, but time and money doesn't last forever. And it certainly can't be used to buy an entire country. Time and money will not solve problems that have its roots spanning back hundreds of years ago. At a time when America should be spending its resources on its own citizens, we are wasting our fortune and influence in the Middle East. I would say that the wars have severely damaged our national security...$13 trillion debt anyone? China has us by the balls on that one...
     
  7. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Don't forget how well Viet Nam turned out after we left. Valuable lessons were learned from THAT war that we supposedly were never going to repeat. Fortunately in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars we had clearly defined and attainable goals that could be met within a reasonable time frame by a conventional military force.
     
  8. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    You mean lies like these?

    "One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to
    develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them.
    That is our bottom line."
    President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.

    "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear.
    We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass
    destruction program."
    President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998.

    "Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great
    deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use
    nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the
    greatest security threat we face."
    Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998.

    "He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten
    times since 1983."
    Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

    "[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the
    U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if
    appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond
    effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of
    mass destruction programs."
    Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom
    Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998.


    "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass
    destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and
    he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
    Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998.

    "Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass
    destruction and palaces for his cronies."
    Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999.

    "There is no doubt that . Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons
    programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear
    programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In
    addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless
    using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range
    missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
    Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and
    others, Dec, 5, 2001.


    "We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a
    threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the
    mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass
    destruction and the means of delivering them."
    Sen. Carl Levin (d, MI), Sept. 19, 2002.

    "We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical
    weapons throughout his country."
    Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.

    "Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to
    deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam
    is in power."
    Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.

    "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seing and
    developing weapons of mass destruction."
    Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002.

    "The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October1998. We are
    confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and
    biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to
    build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence
    reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
    Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002.

    "I will be voting to give the President of the United States the
    authority to use force ? if necessary ? to disarm Saddam Hussein because
    I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his
    hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
    Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002.

    "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working
    aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear
    weapons within the next five years . We also should remember we have
    alway s underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of
    weapons of mass destruction."
    Sen. Jay Rockerfeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002,

    "He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years,
    every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and
    destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity.
    This he has refused to do."
    Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002.

    "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show
    that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological
    weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.
    He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including
    al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam
    Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and
    chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
    Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

    "We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that
    Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing
    capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.
    "[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal,
    murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a
    particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to
    miscalculation. And now he has continued deceit and his consistent grasp
    for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with
    weapons of mass destruction is real ...
    Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003.


    :rolleyes:
     
  9. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    Bush never set a timeline for the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. Besides, its a war. How predictable is a war? No one ever predicted back in 2001 that our "wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan would morph into a complex nation-building program where we are now literally trying to build a country out of thin air. Especially against an enemy that is not clearly defined at all, I don't see how making such a timeframe would be to our advantage. Many people criticized Obama when he publically announced that he would start drawing down by the end of next year. I am not sure I can call a decade a reasonable amount of time to put a country through two wars...
     
  10. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Hmmm...so you're well-versed enough in the discussion of enemy combatant forces to make that determination?



    Again, you've laid out a ton of very shallow bullet-point views on the last 9 years of conflict. Lots of bomb-throwing at "Dubya" and "Obama" (I used quotations because, as an officer, I prefer to refer to the POTUS with a bit more respect, regardless of my politics).

    You're training to become a leader. You need to be able to think deeper than the sound-byte style of analysis that the average media wonk and college kid can offer. At some point a boss will tell you "Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions." Junior officers don't show up on their commander's doorstep with problems. They show up with issues and solutions.

    So what's the alternative? It's 2001. The WTC and Pentagon have been attacked. What would your course of action be?

    Now it's 2010...you have tens of thousands of troops in a country that produces much of the world's opium and an ostensibly pro-U.S. government, which will almost certainly be toppled by the Taliban and other militant islamist forces bent on installing Sharia law of the harshest kind on the people. What do you do now? And no, "pull everyone out" isn't even remotely in the realm of immediate possibility, for foreign policy, moral, and logistical reasons.

    You've done a commendable job of pointing out the problems and those who you feel are responsible.

    In the U.S. Army in 2010, that don't pay the bills. So what's YOUR answer?
     
  11. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    No kidding...really?
    ..clearly defined and attainable goals.
    To say "no one ever predicted" doesn't address what everyone did predict. What was that? What were our clearly defined and attainable goals? Is using our conventional military forces to perform "complex nation-building program" tasks/missions an attainable goal?
    I'm sorry. I thought one of the lessons learned from the Viet Nam war was that BEFORE committing troops to combat a president and congress would determine what was supposed to be accomplished, how it was supposed to be accomplished and in what time frame it was supposed to be accomplished. Are you suggesting that our president and congress just committed U.S. troops to Afghanistan/Iraq without determining what they were supposed to accomplish and in what time frame....just send the boys (and girls) in and we'll figure it out later? Or do you think that the difficulty of trying to perform "complex nation-building" using conventional troops surprised the president and congress because it was never attempted before?

    There are those that think identifying what the problems are and who caused them is not productive. I can certainly understand the wisdom of that advice considering our current investment in Afghanistan/Iraq of US troops. We need to support our people. However, I am interested (particularly from the West Point grads) in exactly what lessons are being taught at that SA concerning Viet Nam and what lessons were supposedly learned in that war.
     
  12. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Almost like a doctrine or something. Wernberg...Weinberg...Weinberger! That rings a bell! :wink:
     
  13. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    I knew it sounded familiar! :wink:
     
  14. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Aglages...I'm not picking on you, I'm just venting a bit... :smile:

    "...I'm sorry. I thought one of the lessons learned from the Viet Nam war was that BEFORE committing troops to combat a president and congress would determine what was supposed to be accomplished, how it was supposed to be accomplished and in what time frame it was supposed to be accomplished.

    While I understand what you're saying here, I think from a practical, realistic position, trying to say "okay...we're going to war in XXXXX....but before we do, here's the timeline to accomplish the following goals/objectives. We will have to do that before date YYYY because then we're taking our toys and going home!"

    That is NOT realistic. The battlefield (modern or otherwise) is a fluid thing: contstantly moving, changing, morphing into something it was not only minutes before. To say that we will do "X" on day "Y" is just not realistic.

    A more realistic approach would be: "We are going to do XXX by using EVERY means available to our forces. Our purpose is to kill the enemy, break their "things" and then achieve victory. There will be costs to pay: ours, theirs, others. We're sorry, but that is WAR. No PC battlefields for us: war is meant to be abhorant, horrifyiing, bloody, something to be avoided at almost all costs...so lets make it that way and convince our adversaries that we are NOT one they want to take on."

    Wait...can't do that...it's not PC and doesn't make for good political soundbytes.

    I thank God every day that I'm now "too senior" to be flying CAP over ground forces in Afghanistan. I don't know how I'd react if I had the correct weapons load, heard that there were troops in contact, they needed air in a hurry, but the "PC ROE" says I can't drop because of the potential of collateral damage to "whatever" is there.

    I'm sorry...I'm a trained warrior...to save an American soldier/sailer/marine/airman, I'll gladly dump my entire load on the enemy...and if it takes out their home, building, place of worship, etc., you know...I saved my troops. I will sleep well that night.

    Yep...good thing I'm gonna hang in up in 2011.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  15. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Well- there are certainly plenty of military professionals who will tell you that there are some fundamental issues with the Weinberger/Powell Doctrine. Weinberger argued that we should only go to war for Vital National Interests and seemed to envision vital National interests in narrow terms- essentially the defense of US National territory and NATO & Japan. But are our interests really that narrow? Who determines what is a vital national interest? Is Oil? Economic Stability? Preventing Genocide? Preventing the spread of nuclear weapons? Promoting regional stability? Preventing a country from being used as a virtual safe haven for the enemies of the US? On those and a dozen other scenarios, good competing arguments can be made that they either are or are not vital US National interests. Similarly, he also postulated that we should only go into a conflict with Clear cut national support . But in the US- what does that mean? On 9/11 I guarantee you that there was OVERWHELMING national support to go into anywhere in the Middle East or AFPAC region. As far as clearly defined objectives- while unconditional surrender and total occupation of the enemy territory ala WW2 are pretty easy to define, they are pretty unique in history. If we were constrained by scenarios like that- we would not have a South Korea today because we would not have ever intervened there.

    As far as Overwhelming force- well it's hard to argue with that - but the devil is once again in the details. there is a difference between pursuing a conventional operation against a conventional enemy and pursuing a counterinsurgency in which there is a fine line between pouring force in to defeat an enemy and pouring in so much force that it turns the population against the government we are trying to assist.

    I certainly can and do fault the previous administration for the strategy that it followed in Iraq until 2007 as well as the neglect that it showed in Afghanistan- but those spewing talking points about "it's their war" (Well it was South Korea's war too - would be a sad thing today if we had listened to the folks saying the same thing in 1950) or "we should be using our resources here at home" (talk about blowing money- the "War on Poverty" has been waged since I was 9 years old and we have as much poverty today as we did in 1965 -how many more resources do we devote on that one? ) really know very little about history or the world IMO.
    As far as the real lessons we should have gotten from Vietnam- well- I'm not sure, but we expended 58,000 soldiers in that effort- that seems like pretty overwhelming resourcing to me, but maybe we just had a really lousy strategic and operational approach and wasted American soldiers lives with misguided strategy and tactics until the American public finally grew sick of all of those casualties so that by the time we did adopt a sustainable and supportable approach (which I think that Gen Abrams brought about in conjunction with "vietnamization") the US public was no longer willing to support any level of effort and we lost in a straight forward convention invasion from the North. So from my perspective the lesson should have been DO THE JOB Right and don't apply a strategic/Operational/Tactical template that doesn't fit the circumstances. Gen Petraeous (and Gen Matis as Centcom Cdr) seems to me to have a solid appreciation of what needs to be done and how to do it- certainly much better than those parroting a few politicians talking points.

    Very few things in the world are black and white and US national interest is definitely not- and it certainly is not easily reduced to a political bumper sticker. In 2001/2002 the US had plenty of support WORLD WIDE as well as support at home to pursue this course in Afghanistan- the fact that some politicians and the professionally short sighted now argue that the change in public support shows otherwise not withstanding. Personally I think the US is obligated to pursue a course that will leave Afghanistan a stable and reasonably functioning government able to exert a fair amount of control over its borders and internal territories (although undoubtedly it will be one that is not as pure as the driven snow. But if that was a requirement we would have abandoned Detroit and Washington DC municipal Government long ago.)
    Finally- Chockstock you need to be asking yourself- if you clearly believe that the country is on the wrong track fighting the wars it is in today, then are you in the right place right now?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  16. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Not at all. I think before we committed ground troops to either Afghanistan or Iraq, we (the President/Congress/Military) should have agreed on first what we planned to accomplish AND then what number of conventional ground troops were going to be required to accomplish that mission and approximately how long it was going to take. Ignoring the first two issues (which I'm also not certain were considered sufficiently...if at all), and dealing with just the time frame issue: Did anyone consider that it might take 10+ years to accomplish a "complex nation-building program"? Is it / was it realistic to expect ground troops to accomplish in less than 10 years what our soldiers/marines are expected to accomplish? Should US ground troops even be engaged in complex nation-building programs? With our investment in technology and our abhorrence at the loss of American life, is an extended ground war in a mission of this type a realistic approach to protecting our "national interest"...when those national interest are "preventing a country from being used as a virtual safe haven for the enemies of the US"? If so when does the bombing/invasion of Iran begin?
    Exactly right! While many may call this approach simplistic, it is exactly the lesson I thought we learned from a previous debacle. If we are going to fight (and sometime we need to), then it will be an all out effort to accomplish attainable goals. Not another politically correct attempt to use American lives to fight a PC war while using our soldiers as policemen or "security forces".
     
  17. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Thanks!

    Just a friendly not of Thanks to everyone so far for keeping this debate fairly civil.

    Obviously this is a "hot topic" and one that usually leads to a great host of emotions on either side of the topic. Please continue to keep this as friendly and civil as possible as you have so far.

    That is all, carry on :thumb:
     
  18. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Should our ground troops be used to support a foreign government by entering in an extended war with insurgents? How do you define victory? Should ANY restriction be put on how many casualties justify the accomplishment of the mission? Is our military just a tool to be used for whatever purpose the President and Congress chooses?
    Not exactly correct. There was OVERWHELMING national support to kick the sh*t out of any country in the Middle East or AFPAC region, but not to "go into" that area with ground troops. If you asked the military or the American people in 2001, 2005 or 2010 if they wanted to commit ground troops in a protracted security force action for 10+ years...the answer would have been a very definite NO. The choice would have been clearly to use out technological superiority to bomb the he*l out of any country that helped the 9/11 terrorists or harbored their leaders and to minimize our US casualties in the process.

    Could we have propped up the government in Afghanistan or Iraq without ground troops? Probably not...but 3000+ lives later and we're are still there without any certainty that those governments are going to be bastions of democracy in the Middle East...after we leave.

    I understand that my attitude is simplistic. No doubt I am a simple man without any high level training in the military or governmental affairs. That said, a lesson I thought was learned in the 60s and early 70s about the value of American military lives, and the best way to use out military seems to have been either forgotten or ignored. Let me be clear; I support our troops 100%. They are all heroes to me and deserve every American's support and prayers. I don't however agree with how or why their lives are being risked. Just my simplistic opinion...
     
  19. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Chockstock, try reading On Strategy and Fiasco. They are not the entire story, but they do provide a fairly solid basis for discussion.

    It is very true that war is no simple matter. There are various pros and cons to the Powell doctrine and more hawkish views. "National Interest" can be defined in many ways.
     
  20. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Getting back to the original topic (the Wiki leaks), what bothers me about the leaks more than the content is that the leaking website claims to have the "truth" about the war.

    Truth is the complete collection of facts about and event. What Wikileaks has is some data that is carefully filtered to have a clear bias towards items that would be considered damaging to our image as a nation seeking a workable and fair situation that protects the larger interests of the world.

    The perpetrators of these leaks seek to use partial information to win over the weak-minded (those who do want to believe in perfect black vs. white in all conflicts) individuals who have not learned to think critically (consider the source and motive of the presenter as well as the data presented). Unfortunately, we do not do a good job of teaching our children patience in pursuing the entire truth and the basic structures of logical analysis. This is why we (and all societies that I can think of) have a "mushy middle" that can be swayed to support very poor choices (remember Hitler did get elected).

    I can't remember who said it first or best, but I'm of the opinion of given a choice of Democracy or Rule of Law, I'll choose the latter. I don't trust the intellectual capacity of the people 100% of the time (although generally they don't get the nation too far off course). All it take is someone who can dominate the media coverage with a strong persuasive bent and I believe we can led down a very dark path (that America is wrong because it makes mistakes mentality).

    While I don't think the Wikileaks folks are that much of a threat in this regard, their data is ripe for use by those who have that persuasive bent that can sell people on a trip down that dark path.
     

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