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Thread: Kissinger Says Victory in Iraq Is Not Possible

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    Default Kissinger Says Victory in Iraq Is Not Possible

    November 19, 2006

    By BRIAN KNOWLTON

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 — Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, who regularly advises President Bush on Iraq, said today that a full military victory was no longer possible there. He thus joined a growing number of leading conservatives openly challenging the administration’s conduct of the war and positive forecasts for it.

    “If you mean, by ‘military victory,’ an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don’t believe that is possible,” Mr. Kissinger told BBC News.

    In Washington, a leading Republican supporter of the war, Senator John McCain of Arizona, said American troops in Iraq were “fighting and dying for a failed policy.”

    But Mr. McCain continued to argue vigorously for a short-term surge in American forces, and he gained a vocal ally in Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, another influential Republican, who said, “We’re going to lose this war if we don’t adjust quickly.”

    The comments came at a sensitive time, just as the Bush administration, deeply frustrated by the persistent chaos in Iraq — where more than 50 people died in violence today — and stung by Republicans’ electoral setbacks on Nov. 7, has undertaken an intense search for new approaches to the war.

    Mr. Kissinger, in the BBC interview, said the United States must open talks with Iraq’s neighbors, pointedly including Iran, if progress is to be achieved in Iraq. Mr. Bush has said the United States is ready for such talks, but only if Iran moves to halt its nuclear enrichment work. American officials say low-level talks with Syria have produced little progress.

    But Mr. Kissinger also said that a hasty withdrawal from Iraq would have “disastrous consequences,” leaving not only Iraq but neighboring countries with large Shiite populations destabilized for years.

    He said the United States would probably have to plot a road between military victory and total withdrawal.

    The comments reflected a markedly more pessimistic view than Mr. Kissinger has expressed publicly in the past. The book “State of Denial” by Bob Woodward quotes Mr. Kissinger as saying in September 2005 that the only exit strategy for Iraq was victory.

    Analysts of the Pentagon, State Department and other agencies are working feverishly to complete a report for the White House meant to lay out American options in Iraq.

    They hope to do so before a much-awaited review from the bipartisan commission headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, which is expected by mid-December. The Baker group has sought Kissinger’s advice.

    As those projects go forward, three proposals — not necessarily mutually exclusive — have emerged, and today senior lawmakers argued them all: to quickly begin a phased troop withdrawal as a means to compel the Iraqi government to seize greater responsibilities, to temporarily increase American troop strength to bolster security before initiating a withdrawal, and to engage Iraq’s neighbors in talks aimed at halting their support for unrest in Iraq.

    Mr. McCain, a respected figure on military matters who is exploring a presidential bid in 2008, has argued before for more troops, and he made the case passionately today.

    “I believe the consequences of failure are catastrophic,” McCain told ABC News. “It will spread to the region. You will see Iran more emboldened.”

    Mr. Graham, a fellow member of the Armed Services Committee, had hinted Wednesday, when his committee questioned General John P. Abizaid, commander of American forces in the Middle East, that he backed McCain; and he made this clear today.

    “We need an overwhelming presence in Iraq for the short term,” he told CBS News.

    General Abizaid said Wednesday that while the American military could find an additional 20,000 troops for a short deployment, the nation’s ability to stay longer was “simply not something that we have right now with the size of the Army and the Marine corps.”

    Mr. Graham said he disagreed with Mr. Kissinger about the impossibility of a military victory in Iraq. But as someone who was able to visit the open-air markets of Baghdad to buy a rug on his first Iraq visit — but had to travel in a tank during his latest — Mr. Graham said that matters were “absolutely” worse.

    Mr. Kissinger said that a rapid withdrawal could have “disastrous consequences.”

    “If you withdraw all the forces without any international understanding and without any even partial solution of some of the problems, civil war in Iraq will take on even more violent forms and achieve dimensions that are probably exceeding those that brought us into Yugoslavia with military force,” he said.

    Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a Democrat who will become chairman of the Armed Services Committee when the new Congress convenes in January, has led the calls for a phased withdrawal, to begin within months, as a way to jolt Iraqi leaders into grasping greater control.

    “If you don’t do that, they’re going to continue to have the false assumption that we’re there in some kind of open-ended way,” he said today on CNN.

    But a phased withdrawal could leave Iraq perilously vulnerable, military analysts say, not just to internal violence but to its neighbors — Iran, Syria and possibly even Turkey, should it decide to send forces into the north of Iraq to pursue Kurdish guerrillas.

    A growing number of lawmakers, and reportedly the Baker commission, favor intense direct negotiations with those neighbors to ensure their cooperation.

    Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, cited Mr. Kissinger’s own negotiations with the North Vietnamese in arguing for engagement with Iran and Syria.

    “If you pursue legitimate diplomacy, the way Henry Kissinger did when he made multiple trips, night after night, day after day, twisting arms, working; if you make the effort that Jim Baker did to build a legitimate coalition, I’m confident we can do what’s necessary to get the neighborhood — and I include in that Iran and Syria — to take greater stakes,” Mr. Kerry told Fox News.

    Mr. McCain said he was not against talks with Syria and Iran, but questioned whether Iran had sufficient reason to cooperate. “Iranians are on the ascendancy if we fail” in Iraq, he said, “so it’s going to be very difficult to find common interests.”

    Several conservatives who had strongly supported the war have since fallen out with the administration.

    One of them, Kenneth Adelman, a former assistant secretary of defense, said on CNN that the management of the war “just breaks your heart.”

    Mr. Adelman, who had famously predicted that the invasion of 2003 would be a “cakewalk,” criticized the decisions that allowed widespread looting after the fall of Baghdad, as well as the dismissals of Iraqi military and civilian officials.

    He is no longer on speaking terms with Vice President **** Cheney, according to The Washington Post, which quoted him in an article today as saying: “This didn’t have to be managed this bad. It’s awful.”

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

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    I'm amazing . It was needed the lives about 3000 US soldiers in Iraq , damage of US world reputation and hence the lose the election by "war party" (Republican) to say Kissinger "victory was no longer possible there".
    Where was this "expert" 3 year befor?

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    They weren't listening to me...

    Actually, the US Genreals said Iraq could not be fully secured with less than roughly 300,000 troops. But the Neo Con a$$holes like Rumsfeld and Wolfoshitz wouldn't listen...

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...es/secure.html
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 12-10-2006 at 03:56 PM.

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    It's so strange (and depressing) that leaders never learn - history is full of examples where political leaders just cannot leave "smaller" decisions and recommandations (after declaring war) to generals.

    Another thing is that if expert is required for some task - many political leaders rather choose their relatives, old pals, political supporters for those positions.
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    "Hindsight is 20/20"

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    Kissinger's assesment is wrong. Victory is still possible.
    Release Saddam Hussain and his henchmen, give them absolute power and command of Sunni army, provide weaponry and move out.
    Saddam will make order and Iraq will be quiet in 5 to 6 month.
    Very simple...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lancer44 View Post
    Kissinger's assesment is wrong. Victory is still possible.
    Release Saddam Hussain and his henchmen, give them absolute power and command of Sunni army, provide weaponry and move out.
    Saddam will make order and Iraq will be quiet in 5 to 6 month.
    Very simple...
    Ha Ha
    There's no turning back indeed.
    If US leave Iraq right now islamic extremist will take the power immediatly.
    And neither Saddam nor somebody else couldn't stop them. So called "Iraq gov" absolutly nonviable without active US war support.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    Ha Ha
    There's no turning back indeed.
    If US leave Iraq right now islamic extremist will take the power immediatly.
    And neither Saddam nor somebody else couldn't stop them. So called "Iraq gov" absolutly nonviable without active US war support.
    Sure, you're right.
    Some people cannot understand that the same situation on a very small scale is in Chechnya. If Russian Federal forces move out, in a few month there will be an extremists enclave in which drugs and kidnappings for ransom are the only industry.

    I just don't really know what happening in Afghanistan... NATO forces are moving in. What they want to achieve? Win unwinnable war?
    Soviets had more troops and their rules of engagement were much more realistic. Could they win war in Afghanistan?
    I doubt. Soviet Spetznaz was as good as any SF in US and UK if not better.

    I'm interested what is your opinion...?
    Poland is sending strenghtened battalion - 1000 men... + some choppers...

    Cheers,

    Lancer44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lancer44 View Post
    I just don't really know what happening in Afghanistan... NATO forces are moving in. What they want to achieve? Win unwinnable war?
    Soviets had more troops and their rules of engagement were much more realistic. Could they win war in Afghanistan?
    I doubt. Soviet Spetznaz was as good as any SF in US and UK if not better.
    Well in general things arent much better than they were under the Taliban. At least in the south for sure. Ive meet a few Afgans that have recently moved to Norway. Thats there take on it. Somehow the Taliban are getting fueled with weapons again. Im sure we all have our ideas on where thats coming from.

    The worst part about both of these scenarios is what happens if we lose. In Iraq we lose if we pull out now and the country goes worst than before. In this case its the US and the UK that will look bad. Mostly the US. However if the same happens in Afganistan then its a double wammy. Not just to the US but to NATO. Then you have a problem. You have the world's most powerful military and the world's most powerful alliance looking as if they cant deal with "peasents with pitchforks". (meant to illustrate the point not being derogatory)

    I think the best is to partition Iraq into 3 parts. Kurds, Sunnis and Shias. Think its about the only way to save face. In Afganistan stay in there and hope for the best. In any case letting the insugents gain the initiative will be a disaster.

    Plus any country that was worried about invasion if they started a nuclear program(Libya for instance) might now go for it. There are plenty of ppl out there willing to make money on fueling countries with nukes or the process of making them. There arguement with these ppl is "is why does the US get all the nukes". Fine but do what the hell does the world need with more of them. Are we just reaffirming ourselves the we actually can blow the human race of the face of the earth? More nukes just equal more chance of nuclear war.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lancer44 View Post
    I'm interested what is your opinion...?
    Poland is sending strenghtened battalion - 1000 men... + some choppers...
    I know it mate. Polish battalion has its own "zone of responsibility" in the Iraq.
    I think from the polish point it was purely political desigion despite of all this operation was very adventure. And now the poles must be ready for the unpleasant consequences.
    Poland took active part in coalition. But one battalion is practically nothing in the scale of all coalition.
    There're a lot af state who sended a symbolic quantity of troops to the Iraq. This look like political friendly action for the Bush nothing more. For instance can you explane why it was needed for Poland to send the battalion in Iraq.I don't think the Saddam was the enemy of Poland.
    Instead of honestly asked the Bush - "Why you do it?" they simply want to be the "friends" ( there is nothing more cynical in politic that to be the friends) and sended to the Iraq a little troops. This made illusion of "strong coalition" (watch "Farengate911") although all the other world knew this is war US against personaly Saddam.
    Now i will not surprise if those "members of coalition" will bring down the fault to the Bush. Typical politic, nothing more...

    Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gen. Sandworm View Post
    I think the best is to partition Iraq into 3 parts. Kurds, Sunnis and Shias.
    Just curious, how would you split the oil-areas? If one group gets most of them, then there will trouble in the future for sure.

    And what about Kurds and Turkey? Kurds are pretty much attacking Turkey to capture the Turkish "kurds-area". And Turkey wants to attack Kurdish-region of Iraq to stop them messing with inner stability of Turkey. Until now U.S. has managed to stop the full military invasion by Turkey. If U.S. does nothing, sooner or later the border conflict will spread to full scale war. If U.S. doesn't stop Kurds from harassing Turkey, Turkey may slip in the inner chaos and/or stop supporting U.S. and Nato. If U.S. wants to please Turkey, U.S. must either let Turkey invade Iraq or beat the hell out of Kurds. For U.S. it's lose-lose situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gen. Sandworm View Post
    I think the best is to partition Iraq into 3 parts. Kurds, Sunnis and Shias. Think its about the only way to save face. In Afganistan stay in there and hope for the best. In any case letting the insugents gain the initiative will be a disaster.
    Are you sure those 3 part will be friendly for each other. Today there are a excellent conditions for the bloody Civil and Religions war in former Iraq's territory. I think the neighbour state like Iran, Siria or Turkey will involved in this war.
    Plus any country that was worried about invasion if they started a nuclear program(Libya for instance) might now go for it. There are plenty of ppl out there willing to make money on fueling countries with nukes or the process of making them. There arguement with these ppl is "is why does the US get all the nukes". Fine but do what the hell does the world need with more of them. Are we just reaffirming ourselves the we actually can blow the human race of the face of the earth? More nukes just equal more chance of nuclear war.
    That's true ..

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    Quote Originally Posted by alephh View Post
    And what about Kurds and Turkey? Kurds are pretty much attacking Turkey to capture the Turkish "kurds-area". And Turkey wants to attack Kurdish-region of Iraq to stop them messing with inner stability of Turkey. Until now U.S. has managed to stop the full military invasion by Turkey. If U.S. does nothing, sooner or later the border conflict will spread to full scale war. If U.S. doesn't stop Kurds from harassing Turkey, Turkey may slip in the inner chaos and/or stop supporting U.S. and Nato. If U.S. wants to please Turkey, U.S. must either let Turkey invade Iraq or beat the hell out of Kurds. For U.S. it's lose-lose situation.

    _
    That's what i exactly mean, thanks alephh
    Already today Turkey make some problems for NATO.

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    Well there is no doubt is a difficult situation.......partitioning would be hard. But the fact is that the hate the US-coalition forces and they hate each other. All situation are pretty bleak. I just thought that was maybe the best of all the crappy ideas ive heard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    I know it mate. Polish battalion has its own "zone of responsibility" in the Iraq.
    I think from the polish point it was purely political desigion despite of all this operation was very adventure. And now the poles must be ready for the unpleasant consequences.
    Poland took active part in coalition. But one battalion is practically nothing in the scale of all coalition.
    The story is a bit more complicated.
    Poland at first sent just Special Forces - GROM and FORMOZA + one logistic support ship. They participated in invasion. Took port Um Quasar and some drilling platforms and secured one vital dam.
    When Baghdad was taken and Bush trumpeted victory, some Hague Convention was recalled and Polish government learned suddenly that "invading country" must take responsibility for the occupation ...

    They were caught with their pants down and declared what they could afford.
    2,500 soldiers and international division command.
    They also sent a few Mi-24s, Mi-8, Sokol and Huzar helicopters.
    Since then, International Division shrunk and Polish contingent is currently 900 soldiers.

    But to Afghanistan another battalion is going soon, as part of NATO forces.
    They are also taking Mi-24s + new "Rosomak" AFVs.
    Obviously one cannot be in a military treaty such as NATO and just expect that other members will defend if need arise.
    So they had to agree to send fully fledged battalion not only some sappers and SF.

    I just cannot understand what NATO plans are????
    From various sources coming indications that there is no plan at all...

    They are just going there.
    In Iraq at least they had interpreters and part of the forces were directed to help Iraqi civilians. Futile effort but at least some. Perhaps comparable with soviet "International Help" in 80's in Afghanistan.

    And now? No NATO plan for Afghanistan expedition..
    Something is going wrong.

    (And just between us. If Soviet Union would ask Poland to send a company of troops to "help in Afghanistan" in 80's... Can you imagine the outcry????)

    Cheers,

    Lancer44

    P.S.

    alephh in an excellent way made a conclusion about Turkey and Kurds. Thanks a lot! Excellent assessment!

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    --Fr. George Tyrell, about Jesuits ca. 1900

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