Sunday, October 07, 2007

If Nellie Bly can go around the world in 72 days, can we get out out of Iraq in __?

100,000 U.S. troops could leave soon: Iraq president

By Susan Cornwell | October 7, 2007

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At least 100,000 U.S. troops could return home from Iraq by the end of 2008, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said in an interview aired on Sunday, although he proposed that several American military bases stay in Iraq.

Speaking on CNN television, Talabani envisioned faster U.S. troop reductions than U.S. commanders have discussed in public. But he stressed that the pace of withdrawal was up to those commanders and did not explain w hy he foresaw a faster pullout.

Probably the Kurds just want us out of there [Talabani is Kurdish] because they are gearing up to start pumping and [more importantly] selling oil. They've already signed several prodution sharing agreements, and expect to sign more of them shortly. The rest of Iraq has been recalcitrant about signing onto the BushCheney Oil Law -- PSAs for All! -- but the Kurds, who are living on top of about 40% of Iraq's oil, are gung ho on them. Perhaps the Bush administration is counting on a Kurdish President, one whose province is [soon to be] making money hand over fist, to sucker the rest of the Iraqis into following suit.

It would certainly help the Republican Party in the 2008 elections if all that happened.


Of course, the part that I hate is that my little project of the past week has now been scooped [but you get to hear about it anyway].

Just how fast could we leave Iraq?

Not so long ago, the Democratic candidates were all tripping over each other to be the one who was least precipitous. Three months! No, six months! No, a year! No, two years! We can't possibly move 150,000 troops in anything less than a [pick one] time frame.

I call horsefeathers. Some nice round numbers for ya: we have 160,000 troops in Iraq, we can move 4000 troops/day [3000-3500 regularly, nearly 5000 if we try harder] = 40 days. And that's bringing a few hundred tons of cargo along for the ride each time too.

According to all those daily airpower summaries, Air Force C-17s [of which there are 150 total] and C-130s [314 total] have been doing all the heavy lifting [!], but the Air Force has also got 111 C-5s. That's 575 big fat aircraft, each of which can carry, give or take, 100 troops at a time. Plus, the Navy's got some C-130s, though they're not saying how many. That's 57,500+ people in one swell foop.

So, if we really got in a hurry, if we decided to cut and run and leave a lot of stuff behind, if we pressed each one of those aircraft into service, and if each one flew once every 24 hours, we could be out of there in 2-3 days.

I'm just sayin'.


And just in case you were wondering: the Multi-National Force - Iraq has an official website.

8 comments:

Bryan said...

It will take six months because the US no longer has the transport capability it had as recently as the first Gulf War.

A lot of this equipment can only be moved by ship, and there aren't that many cargo ships available anymore.

Troops are flying out of Kuwait on charters, because we don't have the long distant transport aircraft necessary.

Rumsfeld really screwed things up.

hipparchia said...

6 months? really?

66 americans died in september, not to mention untold iraqis. another 400 american deaths and a few more thousand iraqi deaths to bring back equipment?

much as it looks like it, i'm not advocating a panicked run for the hills, those can be deadly too. i am advocating cutting our losses, and i'd like to stop measuring those losses in human lives.

leave the equipment behind. blow it up first, if necessary, to keep it out of enemy hands. plus, if we do that, we can't use it to invade iran.

also, by "getting out of iraq [and afghanistan] in short order" i didn't necessarily mean we'd get everybody home that fast. although my next suggestion would be conscripting all our civilian airliners to start bringing people out of kuwait [or wherever else].

i had a family reunion that i was planning to fly to for christmas, but i'd give that up if it meant that we'd stop killing people. we've already fixed it so that thousands and thousands of people will never go to another family reunion.

granted, the 2-3 days is fall-of-saigon stuff, and 40 days is pretty much predicated on everything running like clockwork [and leaving most equipment behind] with no extra snafus, but 6 months is too long. what would you do to speed it up?

Steve Bates said...

hipparchia, WADR, aren't you possibly falling into the trap that F. P. Brooks, Jr. described in The Mythical Man-Month about four (?) decades ago? The usual humorous explanation of Brooks's primary thesis is that "if one woman can deliver a baby in nine months, nine women can deliver a baby in..." nine months, of course, and no miraculous technology or management procedure can make it otherwise.

I know nothing of military logistics, and not as much as I'd like about the situation on the ground in Iraq. (Guess who prevents that.) But I find it implausible that a nice linear process of n soldiers a month is achievable.

To me, the most important thing is that we start RIGHT NOW arranging the removal of everyone from Iraq. How long it actually takes in a best-case scenario is a matter to be determined by people more expert than I am. But the important thing... and this is not a political matter for me, though it surely has political implications for the GOP... is that the Bushists must be disabused of the notion that the Iraq war can continue in its current disastrous state until Bush is out of office. I hope someone in Congress (Obey, maybe?) is recalcitrant enough to begin Bush's education in the matter of when the war must begin to end... i.e., right now.

hipparchia said...

if a momcat can have 4 kittens in the spring and 6 kittens in the summer and.... but i digress.

agreed. i've never met a logistics problem that i would ever describe as linear, but surely [wadr back at ya] you're not falling into the trap of assuming that just because i'm a girl, i've never met a logistics problem. :)

i don't care two figs for the bushists. i have no desire to spend any more time attempting to disabuse the bushists of anything. they can do, say, believe what they damn well want.

the democrats, otoh, may not be any more salvageable, but i'm still willing to try. among the many notions that it looks like they need to be disabused of is that it will take ages to pull out of iraq.

off the top of my head, without thinking too much about it, i'd have guessed 6 months, but i heard one of the democratic candidates [i don't remember who] say that it would only take 3 months.

but the point of the exercise is not to devise a fully-operational plan, figured out down to the last detail, to be handed to general petraeus, but to come up with a doable timeline and some solid general reasons why that timeline is doable. they are having a little trouble in congress with timelines in their funding bills these days and that's something i want to call them on.

Steve Bates said...

"... but surely [wadr back at ya] you're not falling into the trap of assuming that just because i'm a girl, i've never met a logistics problem. :)" - h

Ouch! If I am, it means I have somehow lost my memories of all the capable women managers I've worked for over the years. I know I suffer from CRS, but I don't think it's progressed that far.

I am at exactly the same point w.r.t. the two major parties. I don't bother with GOPers, and I can only hope Dems are educable.

"but i heard one of the democratic candidates [i don't remember who] say that it would only take 3 months." - h

I believe that was Bill Richardson. Richardson has many areas of expertise, and I don't know if this is one of them. I'm not just being picky for the sake of arguing (though I've been known to do that occasionally :) )... I believe it actually requires some domain-specific knowledge to answer that question in the context of Iraq.

"but the point of the exercise is not to devise a fully-operational plan, figured out down to the last detail, to be handed to general petraeus, ..." - h

IMHO the details are Petraeus's job, or the job of someone like him. Bryan can tell us how that should happen. One way or another, though, Bush is going to have to be convinced, persuaded, browbeaten into something better than "make a miracle happen, but not too soon." I don't see anything in Article II about the Deciderer's also being a miracle worker.

hipparchia said...

ha! actually, i don't mind arguing for the sake of arguing [as long as i win :)] so fire away. also, i didn't think it was the grrrl thing you were worried about.

i do, however, refuse to be cowed by my lack of domain-specific knowledge, and i think part of the problem is that congress is. so is the citizenry, which is even worse. they're under the spell of the military mystique, convinced that it's a blackbox world they can never fathom. or question. or give orders to.

and it doesn't help that bush has got both god and cheney on his side.

Bryan said...

An orderly military withdrawal is like leap frog - you prepare a defensible position behind the front and then move the front back.

The first thing is to get as many people as possible out of Kuwait, as that is the last defensible position, and you need the room.

The UK has been going at this and is consolidated at the airport and is moving its people out from there to Kuwait. Airports are good because they allow for close air support, and emergency pull outs.

If we could go North and well as South, we could really reduce the time required, but relations with Turkey are so screwed up, that isn't possible anymore, so we are forced to come South.

The continuing loss of bridges is forcing movement to be restricted to specific routes, which also slows the withdrawal.

Some of the troops should be transferred laterally to Afghanistan which will quiet things there and bring down the casualty figures, as well as, making reconstruction possible.

The problems with a big airlift are the availability of fuel and the proper runways. C5s and C17s need lots of fuel and long runways. We have the runways, but how do we supply the fuel?

Fuel supply is another limit on withdrawal.

While we are talking about supplies, Rumsfeld has out-sourced military trucking, so we are going to need civilian drivers and vehicle in the withdrawal plan, as well as a plan to get all of the damn contractors out.

This is why you don't use contractors in war zones. You have to get the contractors out, and figure out how to supply the troops without contractors.

The quickest way of reducing casualties would be to announce that you are withdrawing. The majority of the bad guys will just let you go.

hipparchia said...

The quickest way of reducing casualties would be to announce that you are withdrawing. The majority of the bad guys will just let you go.

that was my first thought.

This is why you don't use contractors in war zones. You have to get the contractors out, and figure out how to supply the troops without contractors.

well, actually, this was my first thought. beyond all the logistical and other real-world problems... sending troops off to battle with paid nannies to look after them?! what's up with that?

fuel. the c-130s/17s are flying 150+ sorties/day and have been for several weeks, if not longer [i didn't look further back than midsummer]. they're getting fuel from somewhere. not that i found [or really looked for] information on distances flown, or where the fuel sources are.

damn, i'd forgotten the bridges. what, rumsfeld didn't get us chitty chitty bang bang tanks?

turkey. this isn't the first time talabani has issued assurances that the iraqi kurds aren't looking to split off into an independent kurdistan. if he means it and can clamp down on the separatists, turkey might decide to help us out, if only to get rid of us sooner. or not. of course if talabani is either bluffing or lying, then that's out.


oh look! that one little part of western iraq is really close to israel! they're are allies! we could go there! :twiated:


srsly tho, thanks for the input.