Sunday, February 11, 2007

Can success come even with a defined order of battle?

The above map delineates the "Baghdad Order of Battle" for US troops courtesy of DJ Elliott, CJ Radin and Bill Roggio (article here, and map here). They note,
The Baghdad Order Of Battle is an attempt to determine which forces are deployed in each neighborhood. We believe we have determined where most of the the Iraqi Army Brigades will be deployed. Some of the U.S. Brigades/Battalions and all Iraqi National Police units have also been located with a lesser degree of certainty.

The information presented in the Baghdad Order Of Battle is based entirely on open source information, which includes Multinational Forces Iraq press releases and media reports. We believe this an accurate representation of the Baghdad Order Of Battle, and will update the map with any corrections or changes on a weekly basis.
Not that it is going to matter, at least according to William E. Odom (a retired Army lieutenant general, was the head of Army intelligence and director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, a member of the National Security Council staff under Jimmy Carter, and a West Point graduate with a PhD from Columbia) in an op/ed piece in in today's Washington Post. He states,
The new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq starkly delineates the gulf that separates President Bush's illusions from the realities of the war. Victory, as the president sees it, requires a stable liberal democracy in Iraq that is pro-American. The NIE describes a war that has no chance of producing that result. In this critical respect, the NIE, the consensus judgment of all the U.S. intelligence agencies, is a declaration of defeat.
General Odem identifies four myths in the current discussions about Iraq II:
  1. We must continue the war to prevent the terrible aftermath that will occur if our forces are withdrawn soon.
  2. We must continue the war to prevent Iran's influence from growing in Iraq.
  3. We must prevent the emergence of a new haven for al-Qaeda in Iraq.
  4. We must continue to fight in order to "support the troops."
He goes on to write
Embracing the four myths gives Congress excuses not to exercise its power of the purse to end the war and open the way for a strategy that might actually bear fruit.

The first and most critical step is to recognize that fighting on now simply prolongs our losses and blocks the way to a new strategy. Getting out of Iraq is the pre-condition for creating new strategic options. Withdrawal will take away the conditions that allow our enemies in the region to enjoy our pain. It will awaken those European states reluctant to collaborate with us in Iraq and the region.

Second, we must recognize that the United States alone cannot stabilize the Middle East.

Third, we must acknowledge that most of our policies are actually destabilizing the region. Spreading democracy, using sticks to try to prevent nuclear proliferation, threatening "regime change," using the hysterical rhetoric of the "global war on terrorism" -- all undermine the stability we so desperately need in the Middle East.

Fourth, we must redefine our purpose. It must be a stable region, not primarily a democratic Iraq. We must redirect our military operations so they enhance rather than undermine stability. We can write off the war as a "tactical draw" and make "regional stability" our measure of "victory." That single step would dramatically realign the opposing forces in the region, where most states want stability. Even many in the angry mobs of young Arabs shouting profanities against the United States want predictable order, albeit on better social and economic terms than they now have.

Meanwhile, back at the Order of Battle...

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