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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Soldiers' View of Iraq. What do They Know?


The War as We Saw It ( Hat Tip: Desert Rat)

By BUDDHIKA JAYAMAHA, WESLEY D. SMITH, JEREMY ROEBUCK, OMAR MORA, EDWARD SANDMEIER, YANCE T. GRAY and JEREMY A. MURPHY
Published: August 19, 2007 New York Times
Baghdad

VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.

Similarly, Sunnis, who have been underrepresented in the new Iraqi armed forces, now find themselves forming militias, sometimes with our tacit support. Sunnis recognize that the best guarantee they may have against Shiite militias and the Shiite-dominated government is to form their own armed bands. We arm them to aid in our fight against Al Qaeda.

However, while creating proxies is essential in winning a counterinsurgency, it requires that the proxies are loyal to the center that we claim to support. Armed Sunni tribes have indeed become effective surrogates, but the enduring question is where their loyalties would lie in our absence. The Iraqi government finds itself working at cross purposes with us on this issue because it is justifiably fearful that Sunni militias will turn on it should the Americans leave.

In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. (In the course of writing this article, this fact became all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head during a “time-sensitive target acquisition mission” on Aug. 12; he is expected to survive and is being flown to a military hospital in the United States.) While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.

Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.

Coupling our military strategy to an insistence that the Iraqis meet political benchmarks for reconciliation is also unhelpful. The morass in the government has fueled impatience and confusion while providing no semblance of security to average Iraqis. Leaders are far from arriving at a lasting political settlement. This should not be surprising, since a lasting political solution will not be possible while the military situation remains in constant flux.

The Iraqi government is run by the main coalition partners of the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, with Kurds as minority members. The Shiite clerical establishment formed the alliance to make sure its people did not succumb to the same mistake as in 1920: rebelling against the occupying Western force (then the British) and losing what they believed was their inherent right to rule Iraq as the majority. The qualified and reluctant welcome we received from the Shiites since the invasion has to be seen in that historical context. They saw in us something useful for the moment.

Now that moment is passing, as the Shiites have achieved what they believe is rightfully theirs. Their next task is to figure out how best to consolidate the gains, because reconciliation without consolidation risks losing it all. Washington’s insistence that the Iraqis correct the three gravest mistakes we made — de-Baathification, the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and the creation of a loose federalist system of government — places us at cross purposes with the government we have committed to support.

Political reconciliation in Iraq will occur, but not at our insistence or in ways that meet our benchmarks. It will happen on Iraqi terms when the reality on the battlefield is congruent with that in the political sphere. There will be no magnanimous solutions that please every party the way we expect, and there will be winners and losers. The choice we have left is to decide which side we will take. Trying to please every party in the conflict — as we do now — will only ensure we are hated by all in the long run.

At the same time, the most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricity, telephone services and sanitation. “Lucky” Iraqis live in gated communities barricaded with concrete blast walls that provide them with a sense of communal claustrophobia rather than any sense of security we would consider normal.

In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, “We need security, not free food.”

In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.

We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.




70 comments:

  1. Hillary says the surge is working. A surprising statement.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hillary has recognized Hussein Obama as dead meat.
    Forget the Nutroots, build that majority in the General Election!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hussein's wife sounds like Hillary did at Wellsley.
    Suddenly it's 1960:
    Power to the People!

    ReplyDelete
  4. In Ghorak, I asked Ali who should be the President of Afghanistan.
    "Governor Khalili," the room replied in unison.
    "But the Pashtun and the Tajik don't want your Hazara leader as president of Afghanistan," I said. Other Afghans blame Khalili for atrocities in Kabul.
    "Ahmed Shah Masood," coughed the headman, "is the only national figure."
    They all nodded.
    "But he is dead," I muttered.
    They nodded again.
    "Well, then, who? Hamid Karzai, your current leader?"
    "Definitely not...no...a Pashtun American puppet....," the headman said.
    "Well, then, who?"
    Silence. It seemed they had never considered the issue. Perhaps they thought it wasn't up to them to choose the president or that Kabul didn't matter.
    "Please eat you meat," said the headman, half seeing the tray of rice and stale bread. There was no meat because the Taliban had taken most of the village flocks. But it was dark and the headman was too ill to notice.
    "Come on," I said, "who should be your leader?"
    "The King...," someone suggested eventually. The others looked a bit uncertain.
    "But he's eight-five."
    They all nodded.
    "If God was willing there would be no war," added Ali, "but we will in the future fight for many things against many other people."

    from "The Places in Between"(a hike in winter through the worst of Afghanistan.

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  5. Don't worry AlBob,
    The government acts as
    "A Fortunate Check" on the passions on the right and their bloodthirsty desires for Victory.

    But cooler heads have prevailed, and we continue to pay our Enemies, and Israel's as a partial payment for the
    Peace in Our Time
    that those cooler heads crave.

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  6. A symbolic visit to a Wahhabi outpost
    On Bill Bennett's Morning in America this morning, Steve Emerson added a personal note concerning the mosque at which President Bush spoke today:
    "I've gotten ten copies [of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion] there over the years," he said.
    Here is the audio clip of Emerson's interview
    concerning the underreported story of the President's visit to the Islamic Center of Washington.

    The president spoke there in honor of its fiftieth anniversary. He was returning to the mosque where he spoke on September 17, 2001, when he instructed Americans that "Islam is peace." This time around he directly addressed Muslims:
    (Karen Hughes does not toil alone in the difficult task of selling the ROP)
    Probably doesn't help much to try to mainstream Wahhabists so we can all get along.
    Powerline

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  7. Non-Congressional Leakers:

    CIA sabotage: Rowan Scarborough has the goods

    Rowan Scarborough's superb new book Sabotage lays out a boatload of evidence documenting years of serious misconduct, malfeasance and incompetence at the CIA.
    Excerpted this week at his newspaper, the Washington Examiner, Scarborough's book has plenty of news-breaking revelations that should stimulate an abundance of discussion in the ensuing days.
    ---
    Reporters are ultimately no better than their sources and arguably no reporter is better sourced in national security than Scarborough.

    The five part series begins describing the war between the CIA and the White House followed by the account of Porter Goss' stormy tenure, marked by a hostile leak campaign intended to discredit Goss and short circuit his effort to depoliticize the agency.

    The campaign enlisted the Washington Post's Walter Pincus and Dana Priest to do their dirty work planting stories along the lines of these published in early October 2004.

    There is much new material in these excerpts. He describes how Goss ordered the Agency's inspector general, John Helgerson, root out the leakers.

    According to Scarborough
    "When Goss arrived, Helgerson was finishing up an accountability review of the Sept. 11 attacks.
    The report was never made public, but apparently it placed blame on many individuals in the Agency, including aides to Tenet, and recommended disciplinary action."

    This is the first I've heard about disciplinary actions recommended for CIA employees. He couldn't fire anyone, so instead Goss pardoned everyone singled out by the IG.

    If the leaks weren't exasperating enough in part 3 , Scarborough details the CIA's aversion to doing its job in Iraq.

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  8. There is however, a great deal of other evidence that suggests just how badly the CIA lost its way under Clinton.
    This is well documented in an eerily précis cent piece from Insight Magazine written days before 9/11/2001 by J. Michael Waller titled
    "Ground Down CIA Still In the Pit ."

    In it, Waller details the near collapse of the CIA under Clinton. Bloated management staffs, crippled human intel capability, an ossified bureaucracy, excessive out-sourcing to foreign intelligence agencies, defective quality control, rampant security breaches, ill motivated leaks of classified material to the press, a high level cover up of former director John Deutch's negligent handling of classified material, and gross politicization of the agency by Clinton political appointees.

    It is difficult to imagine how the CIA could have been any more broken at 9/11.
    ---
    Good that New Tone Bush allowed the insurgency to get rid of Goss, thereby protecting the job security of Clintonite Losers and Leakers and Traitors.
    (after giving Goss his "full support" when he appointed him)
    ---
    From the pinnacle of near perfect ignorance, Woolsey further declared
    "Breast cancer is a problem of pressing national importance. Reinvention of government applies in our community as much as it does in the rest of the federal government."

    See, breast cancer is a national security issue, Director Woolsey says so.
    In June of 1995, Clinton couldn't pass up this chance to rile up the female voters, announcing the CIA settlement of a Class Action Suit brought by female CIA case officers .
    This was great for Clinton, a twofer: the trial lawyers and the gals.
    I wonder if that world famous spy, Valerie Plame got in on this action.?
    In December the CIA announced a technology sharing agreement with Navajo Indian Nation .
    This was after the election, perhaps it was a payback by Clinton for a tribal campaign contribution.

    Needless to say, this hardly enhanced national security.
    It did distract from the mission .

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  9. (Gee, the CIA links no longer work, maybe that Navajo deal was Top Secret?)

    ReplyDelete
  10. The one from Insight still works, so I guess the problem with all the CIA ones did not result from the Author's inability to construct a link.
    Very Curious.

    ReplyDelete
  11. As Ken Hamblin says:
    "What Cats do in the Litterbox"

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  12. stated: In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.


    Now this is an example of a retard writing...

    we robbed them of their "self respect"?

    now the only way to gain it is to "fight" the occupation...

    what arab ass kissing drivel...

    if these retards had any "self respect" they would have fought Saddam... but now that they have a non-genocidal enemy they can gain their manhood back against the US..

    Just like the brave Palios, who by day accept fuel, food and medicine, shoot at the israelis at night, only to beg to go to israeli hospitals when they blow themselves up making bombs or getting shot...

    arab self respect?

    dont make me puke...

    arabs are still pissed that europe beat them at the gates of vienna....

    if you go to AA you learn you must hit rock bottom 1st before you an turn it around..

    the arab world has been saved time and time again from hitting bottom, maybe if they want self respect they need to hit bottom, then EARN their way to self respect by BUILDING a country...

    but to me? "arab and self respect" are an oxymoronic concepts never to be realized.

    give the arab world 1/2 the world's oil supply what do they do?

    nothing.....

    yawn

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  13. The telling line of the story is not at the end. It's about two-thirds of the way through the first page.

    While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.

    So US troops continue to die, as their equipment fails, another 14 just today. For what?

    To arrest some 65 radical Iraqis on Monday and Tuesday?

    As Col Bay reports, success ofr failure in Iraq will have the same effect, the jihad will expand, regardless of US and our actions in Iraq.

    If the jihadi win, President Bush assures US that Iraq will serve as a base for them. Col Bay reports the same effect, if they lose.

    Fighting a global war, on a limited geopgraphic area is bound to fail, has failed and will continue to.

    The UN has declared peace with Iran, it's all gonna be good.

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  14. Reconcilitation, the US's newest Goal in Iraq, it requires more prisoner releases, as one of the benchmarks of success.

    So why detain ever more "radicals" only to release them?

    How does that advance the "Global War" in Anbar?

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  15. "Fighting a global war, on a limited geopgraphic area is bound to fail, has failed and will continue to."
    ---
    As I have mentioned before, General Abizaid said as much when he was in Baghdad.
    ...Bush chose to ignore this, just as he ignores Maliki's and Sistanni's obvious intent.

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  16. Bush's Domestic Legacy is that None of the rooms that needed cleaning got cleaned on his watch.

    Similarly, things that had to be done to be victorius in Iraq were left undone, and remain undone to this day.

    ReplyDelete
  17. we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force."

    So US troops continue to die, as their equipment fails, another 14 just today. For what?
    ---
    Whenever I complained about that tradeoff at BC, Wretch would defend the policy.
    Never did pass the
    "What if it was my son"
    test with me.

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  18. Bishop Matthew Simpson at Lincoln's Funeral
    "There are moments which involve in themselves eternities. There are instants which seem to contain germs which shall develop and bloom forever. Such a moment came in the tides of the time to our land when a question must be settled, affecting all the powers of the earth.

    "The contest is for human freedom. Not for this republic merely, not for the union simply, but to decide whether the people, as a people, in their majesty, were destined to be the governments or whether they were to be subject to tyrants or aristocrats, or to a class rule of any kind.

    "This is the great question for which we have been fighting, and its decision is at hand, the result of this contest will affect the ages to come.
    If successful, republics will spread in spite of monarchs all over this earth."

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  19. I am a zealot...

    I support the concept of when attacked shoot to kill...

    Until the west, (usa & israel) start to understand the enemy as I think I do we will not win.

    The enemy MUST be destroyed, their families, villages, and tribes SCATTERED. They must be decimated.

    Look to the arabs themselves to see what they fear most... To point to an example use "hama" as one..

    I am still waiting for the tipping point to come when in eurabia, ops, europe the majority population looses it's mind and goes on a rampage against islam.

    It will happen, the arab/islamic model for ethnic cleansing of arab/islamic lands WILL be the model for the west when the insanity hits...

    But we should be warned, it is war...

    wake up...

    We SHOULD start talking about international seizure of the oil supplies..

    This will help...

    We need to start a global humiliate a retarded moslem leader a week series...

    lethal force and absolute ridicule....

    good starting point...

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  20. Aha,
    The Exact Opposite of the Bush ROP way.

    I too have more faith in the Euros coming to their senses before we do.
    ...as we have seen here, many in the Government have bought the ROP line, hook, line, and sinker.
    As long as that pertains,
    We're Sunk.

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  21. (The Pilots are jumping out of the Cockpit just as the second engine explodes!)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hey guys, don't know if you've noticed this yet...

    Jerome Corsi wrote a terrific article for Human Events about the NAFTA Superhighway, et al.

    Last night Brit Hume showed El Bush crapping on our concerns and didn't even take the time to deny it's existence.

    Anyway... Jeromes article has many links to government and private web sites talking openly about this subject -

    ALL OF THEM HAVE BEEN TAKEN DOWN!

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  23. Ahh!!!

    Most of them are back up now!

    It's amazing what a few emails will accomplish!

    For a long time all the sites mentioned in the article were, 404, site not found!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Dan:
    "You say that the "pro-American Arabs of Anbar" are "easy to read these days." Why are they easy to read and Sadr not? What makes them easy to read?"

    I will get to this in several upcoming articles.

    "Is it because they have been bought by the Americans?"

    They definitely haven't been bought.
    Let's not discuss now, though.
    Wait until I write about them in detail.

    Posted by: Michael J. Totten

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  25. Tiger,
    Right!
    Don't think it was Corsi, but someone on the Rick James show said they used nothing but GOVERNMENT websites to link to in order to point out the planned Highway to Oblivion.
    Borders Ain't Us tm

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  26. DAMASCUS, Syria (Associated Press) -- Iraq's prime minister lashed out Wednesday at U.S. criticism, saying no one has the right to impose timetables on his elected government and that his country "can find friends elsewhere."
    ...
    Al-Maliki, on a trip to Syria, reacted harshly when asked about the recent comments from U.S. officials.

    "No one has the right to place timetables on the Iraq government. It was elected by its people," he said at a news conference in Damascus at the end of the three-day visit to Syria.

    "Those who make such statements are bothered by our visit to Syria. We will pay no attention. We care for our people and our constitution and can find friends elsewhere," al-Maliki said.

    Without naming any American official, al-Maliki said some of the criticism of him and his government had been "discourteous."


    Discourteous, well that is certainly true. As to finding alternate friends, the Iraqis certainly are capable of that, the French are back in the play, Mr Putin could be, as well. Especially based upon what the Russians are doing in Syria.

    The backstabbing of local, foreign politicians by the US is legend in the latter half of the 20th Century. Around the globe, those we once supported we abandoned or had killed. Mr Diem and the Shah of Iran come easiest to the mind.

    In neither of those most famous of examples were the long term interests of the US advanced by it's actions.

    As to siezing the oil fields, comic relief in the morning, that's always a pleasure.

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  27. Great article, Tiger!

    Whata sick, boner, elitist "W" really is at heart.
    (heartless would be more accurate)
    ---
    A good reason Bush does not want to secure the border with Mexico may be that the administration is trying to create express lanes for Mexican trucks to bring containers with cheap Far East goods into the heart of the U.S.,
    all without the involvement of any U.S. union workers on the docks or in the trucks.
    ---
    Makes you want to cheer they Unions to action!

    Sadly, their bosses seem to be on the take, just like W's big donors.

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  28. Yeah, Jorge had the opportunity to state what he's planning when Bret Baier asked him in Canada. Instead he decided to once again crap on the base.

    And, so much for Brit Hume's journalistic integrity!

    ReplyDelete
  29. At the Weekly Standard there is a piece about some of the Iraqis alternative friends
    Russian weapons, organized crime, and the Iraqi government.

    They are waiting in the wings to help the elected government, while the fickle and feckless US begins to support the Insurgents.

    Meanwhile, in Turkey
    Turkish voters have just re-elected, with a substantially increased majority, an avowedly Islamist party that threatens to roll back the boundaries of the secularist society that Turkey has enjoyed for three quarters of a century. The election victory in fact places the Justice and Peace Party (AKP) directly on a collision course with the military, the institution that has traditionally regarded itself as the principal protector of that secularism.
    ...
    Though the AKP has controlled parliament for the last five years, it has not captured the presidency, a post with significant political and legal powers over the Turkish state. When a vacancy arose for the top job, the AKP therefore quickly seized the opportunity to nominate the foreign minister, Abdullah Gul. Mr Gul is seen as something of a moderate within the AKP. but he is guilty of the cardinal sin of being married to a woman who insists on wearing the Moslem headscarf in public - a symbol of religious piety that has long been neuralgic to Turkey's secularist vigilantes.

    When Mr Gul's candidacy emerged, senior members of the military instantly made it clear that his election would be unacceptable - and Turkey seemed headed for yet another of the periodic coups that have so damaged the nation's reputation as a stable democracy over the last 40 years.

    But the president is elected by the parliament, and while it enjoyed a majority, the AKP did not have enough votes to force the issue - requiring two-thirds of the members to approve the presidential pick. To break the impasse, and set up a possible showdown with the military, elections were held, and this time the AKP secured a large enough majority to ensure - with help from its allies - that it could get its candidate elected.

    The only question was whether the government would stick to its guns - as it were - in the face of the imminent military threat, and re-nominate Mr Gul, and if it did, whether the generals would move.

    Sure enough, last week Mr Gul was nominated again and the nation is holding its collective breath.
    ...
    The last thing Washington wants is an avowedly Islamist government in full control in Ankara. Not only would it represent a serious setback to the aim of weakening radical Islamist opinion in the world. It might also have very unpleasant immediate and medium-term diplomatic consequences. The prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has already made warm diplomatic overtures to Teheran, Damascus, and the Hamas leadership in Gaza, and since the Iraq war began across its border four years ago, Turkish-US relations have deteriorated sharply.


    Gerard Baker is US Editor and Assistant Editor of The Times of London. One of Mr Murdock's men, so how biased could he be?

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  30. Peace, it's breaking out all over the Islamic Arc.
    Peace is at hand.

    Turkey to Build 3 Power Plants in Iran


    TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Turkey has said that as part of its new deals with Iran it will build three natural gas transformation power plants of 2,000 megawatts in the Islamic republic.





    "Electricity connections have a great importance within the European electricity network. Turkey has an outstanding geographical position as a passageway regarding natural gas, oil and electricity as well. All the recent developments make Turkey a key energy player in the world," Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler said Monday.

    The comments, reported by the Anatolia news agency, came after Guler returned from Iran.

    During the two-day visit, the two countries agreed to improve electricity transmission lines. He said with the new lines being set up, it was possible to transfer nearly 3 billion to 6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.


    Turkey will not abide by a US sanctions regime. No in deed.

    But other news from Abracadbra reflects a similar pattern

    Iran is the safest place on earth, said visiting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran on Tuesday referring to increasing requests for making investments in the country.


    In a meeting with the Azerbaijan-based Iranians, the president who arrived here Tuesday on a two-day official visit, said, "The volume of Iran's contracts with the world countries is rising."
    "Some (countries) are ready to invest in Iran up to six billion dollars and some people in Malaysia, China and Spain are interested to make investments in our country arguing that ill-wishers cannot take any measures against Iran," stressed the president.


    Peace through "soft power" it's just fabulously successful.
    The Axis of Evil down to a single point, in Iraq. No longer part of an Axis, it's a local conflict, not part of a larger conflagation, per the SCOTUS in Hamdan vs Rumsfeld.

    We've seen the light!

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  31. As Michael Vick plummets from celebrity to our national symbol of animal cruelty, there is an unsettling question unanswered in all of the press coverage. Was he uniquely brutal or merely a spectacular outlier for canine atrocities we allow every day?

    This is not an apology for Mr. Vick and his accomplices in his dogfighting ring. The act of hanging, drowning, electrocuting, and shooting pit bulls, just because they did not win, easily calls for prison, penance, and other impoverishment, not to mention many therapists.

    But the national outrage rings a bit hollow. ...
    ...
    The California-based Greyhound Protection League estimates that in the two decades from 1986-2005, 606,633 dogs from the industry were killed: 184,604 puppies judged to be inferior for racing and 421,129 after their "careers" ended, usually by 4 years old.

    Things are nowhere as bad as they once were. In its worst years, critics said greyhound racing was death row for dogs. The website of the Greyhound Racing Association of America says that the peak year for the sport was 1992, when $3.5 billion was bet at more than 50 tracks. That year happened to come right at the end of a frenzied era in which, according to the Greyhound Protection League, between 42,000 and 58,000 dogs were killed in the search for winners.
    ...
    The Greyhound Racing Association and industry defenders deny there was ever any mass abuse. They say that 90 percent of greyhounds are either adopted or kept alive for breeding. But over the years, there have been dreadful stories, such as the man in Alabama who was arrested in 2002 for slaughtering up to 3,000 used-up or losing dogs from the Florida tracks over a 10-year span.

    Throughout the 1990s, there were several news reports of mass killings, dog abandonments, and squalid kennel conditions. One trainer said that alleged dog electrocutions at one Idaho track were akin to Auschwitz.

    Those reports include the 1,200 over-the-hill greyhounds that were dumped on a Pittsfield shelter from 1986 to 1991. In 2000, the Globe quoted John Perrault, the shelter manager for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, on the conditions at Pittsfield. "I saw wounds, gashes, infections, broken legs that were left untreated. I saw dehydration, starvation, infestation of parasites," Perrault said. ". . . Owners made it clear they wanted the dogs killed."

    There is no difference between this and what Vick did, other than that dogfighting is illegal and greyhound racing remains legal in many states. For his depraved hobby, Vick will be shamed with prison stripes. Greyhound racing, despite its primitive exploitation of dogs, remains a $2 billion business even today.

    Derrick Z. Jackson's column appears regularly in the Globe


    Mr Jeremy Jacobs, Delaware North Corp, is on the Forbes 400 list, I've done contract work for his horseshow interests in the past, a decade or so ago. His firm owns the track in Dayrona Beach, FL.

    Delaware North Companies of Buffalo, New York is one of the largest privately held companies in the world, operating in the food service, retail and hospitality industries in the United States, Canada, The United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.Source[1] It currently has over 40,000 employees worldwide, with half a billion customers and $2 billion US Dollars in revenue. Its family of companies is in industries ranging from global sports stadia and arenas, national and state parks, global airports, worldwide visitor attractions, gaming and entertainment destinations, and destination restaurants and retail locations. Its family of companies includes Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment, Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International, TD Banknorth Garden, and American Park N Swap. The company is owned by Jeremy Jacobs, one of the most influential people in the sports industry, and owner of the Boston Bruins and the arena in which the team plays, the TD Banknorth Garden.

    Today, Delaware North owns five greyhound tracks, but nary a word about cruelty to animals in that industry makes it onto the MSM.

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  32. Adopt a greyhound. They make a heck of a good pet. But only if you live out in the country somewhere. They need to get some exercise once in a while. You have about six weeks to do so before it's zap, for them. Around here you can call Couer d' Alene Grey hound Park, or your local humane society. No cruelty in this, bred to run, and die. It's ok, as the state gets tax receipts from the deal, and Mr. Hagedone profits too.(he's the owner of the track)

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  33. They used to just zap them immediately. But now we are humane, and give them a few weeks grace, in case anyone wants to take one home.

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  34. Papa!

    jeez, the chinese have a better idea...

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  35. jeez, the old boy married his eldest son's wife, after he died. ah, multiculturalism.

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  36. Rat, that 'Auschwitz for Greyhounds' your article mentions, that was the track here I'm talking about. It's actually at Post Falls not Couer d'Alene. I remember the stories in the papers at the time.

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  37. Toll Rises Above 500 in Attack
    In a few days, 10,000 of our men will be ready to protect our areas,” said Kheder Aziz, who was sobbing on a street in Kirkuk. “All the Sunni Arab tribes living around us are responsible, either because they helped with the attack or knew what would happen.”

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  38. Hmm, Methinks there's a future politician in this group.

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  39. Using the Standard of Open Borders of
    "If it's good for Business,
    It's good with Us!
    "

    It would seem 2 Billion Dollars would easily cover those "unfortunate aspects."

    Like the cheap labor here more than covers that unfortunate side effect of 40,000 dead civilians.

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  40. If there's a politician in this group, it ain't me as the last time I took the charisma test the meter didn't register.

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  41. I read that the reason Thompson is holding off declaring to the last moment is, probably among other things, that when declared, under the election laws, the monies from those tv shows get cut off, so he's doing himself and some of the other actors a favor by hanging back. I have no idea whether this is true or not.

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  42. Michael Totten Comments on the Article:
    ---
    ""There are some very good points in that article.

    I'm negotiating with a newspaper editor right now as we speak about writing an op-ed on the surge. I am insisting on having an ambiguous answer about whether or not it is working or not. He strongly wants me to come down on one side or another, but I refuse. The situation is too complicated, and I'm in no mood to arrogantly pontificate on it.

    We'll see if ambiguity sells in the media. He is resistant, but I am still trying. "

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  43. I think it is true, BobAl, but don't know if that is his reason for holding off.
    I tend to doubt it.

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  44. Rufus thinks you discussing the Greyhound Underworld is akin to
    John (poor boy) Edwards
    pontificating on
    "Two Americas"

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  45. If Mr Thompson announces he gains nothing and loses any ambiguity, he'd have to participate in the cattle call debates, to no positive effect.
    All the while his characters on tv are campaigning for him, presenting a positive image of him to millions of voters each week.

    Character advertising that debit his accounts not credit them.

    Historicly it is still very early to announce, the first Primary not even scheduled yet.

    He is playing to his strengths, though his resume is thin, at least he is not stupid.

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  46. Snatching defeat from the Jaws of Victory:
    (Just like we did when they sent General Garner Home years ago0
    ...he wanted to start where we are now, but without 3 years of destruction and escalating hatred.
    Ah well.
    ---
    "Now that moment is passing, as the Shiites have achieved what they believe is rightfully theirs.
    Their next task is to figure out how best to consolidate the gains, because reconciliation without consolidation risks losing it all.

    Washington’s insistence that the Iraqis correct the three gravest mistakes we made

    — de-Baathification,
    the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and
    the creation of a loose federalist system of government —

    places us at cross purposes with the government we have committed to support.
    "

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  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  48. I find it interesting that the football player is villified for killing a dozen or so dogs, while the billionare business man is rewarded for running an industry that kill thousands of them.

    Add the words "black" and "jewish" to the descriptions and the double standards become even more glaring.

    It's the faux outrage from the MSM that interests me most

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  49. The Secret Army

    POSTSCRIPT
    Today, the U.S. Defense Department announced that it is closing the Talon intelligence database program, which was designed “to collect and evaluate information about possible threats to U.S. servicemembers and defense civilians at stateside and overseas military installations.”
    ---
    To read some press accounts, one would get the impression that Talon's mission was to gather info on US Citizens for Karl Rove's personal use.

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  50. "Fighting a global war, on a limited geopgraphic area is bound to fail, has failed and will continue to."

    - Rat

    Who you gonna vote for?

    I got the Long Global Struggle pitch again today, from an old friend of Jerry Bremer's. And I guarantee that the basic outline will remain the same for the next administration, one of the chief tasks of which will be to reduce the prominence of the US military's role within it.

    Islam is nowhere mentioned in that outline. Neither is war. Neither is victory.

    And Axis of Evil, well, I can't remember the last time I heard that from an administration official, can you?

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  51. And yes, Doug, the agency AND DOD can be understood as checks on the Little Green Footballs/Free Republic crowd. One of the few satisfactions I derive from the war.

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  52. NO Pullout

    Bush needs a new speech writer. It's just too--confusing--quoting from Graham Greene's "The Quiet American".

    'I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused...'

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  53. Who am I going to vote for depends upon whom is on the ballot, when the Election is held.

    Axis of Evil, no can't remember the last time I heard someone use the phrase. Another part of the forgotten "Never Forget" rhetoric.

    The phrase has been been retired, but not forgotten. Now that the NorKs are no longer a supporter of terrorists, and with the Iranians coming to terms with the UN's IAEA, it should be. The Axis is no more, all done with soft power, it's a grand diplomatic achievement. But again, Mr Bush will not admit it, claiming there is need for more sanctions on Iran, when the UN's experts are satisfied that the Iranians are making good on their international nuclear responsibilities.

    Should we do more with soft power, of course. Been advocating that since before I can remember.

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  54. Hey, Dumb shits, I was referring to that group of 8 soldiers. Why would I accuse Bob of having political ambitions just because he's fond of dogs. That's plumb silly.

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  55. Well, bob, this'll only be the tenth time he's said it. Doesn't take much to scrape together a speech does it?

    Wonder who's telling him that the best thing al Maliki could be doing is bowing and scraping to us?

    I'd like to meet that guy.

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  56. Soon as Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, who was shot in the head during a “time-sensitive target acquisition mission” on Aug. 12 recovers and runs for office, I'd vote for him.

    I'd have voted for that female chopper pilot that lost her legs, too, given the chance.

    Better either of those patriots than Mr Kolbe or Mr Foley.

    As for the others, I'd likely vote for them too, given the opportunity, everything else being equal.
    Not a chickenhawk amongst 'em.

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  57. I've not heard of SSG Murphy. The chopper pilot I know of.

    Time sensitive target acquisition missions. Those I'm familiar with.

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  58. Dummies that Shit together stick together, Rufus.

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  59. Yon or Totten recently told his story, Trish.
    ---
    "I think Captain Tammy Duckworth, Army veteran and candidate for Congress said it best :

    "Instead of a plan or a strategy, we get shallow slogans like 'mission accomplished' and 'stay the course.'"
    Tao of Politics

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  60. Rat:
    You seem to ignore the particularly heinous ways Vick reportedly used to dispatch his animals. Electrocution, hanging, drowning...plus you equate Greyhound racing with dog fighting. I don't know if you're serious or not, it's hard to tell. But Doug has already pointed out the outrageous aspects to you and yet, you seem to discount them.

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  61. Twasn't me, Doug.



    Shallow Slogans R Us.

    Those shallow slogans got a goodly portion of the country through the first four years. Among your more ardent administration supporters, they still suffice.

    The rest of us need new shallow slogans. That'll have to wait for the next guy. Or gal.

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  62. No, I do not discount them.

    But the greyhound industry has destroyed dogs, by the thousands, for years, inhumanely in many cases.

    Mr Vick's misdeeds no worse then many others, especially in the greyhound business.

    That Mr Vick exhibited some extreme rage and vicousness, I accept. That he will be held accountable, assured.

    But the hysteria that surronds his case, misplaced. While so many others have done worse, on a massive scale.

    The Florida case, 3,000 dogs were dispatched.
    In Massachusetts:

    John Perrault, the shelter manager for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, on the conditions at Pittsfield. "I saw wounds, gashes, infections, broken legs that were left untreated. I saw dehydration, starvation, infestation of parasites," Perrault said. ". . . Owners made it clear they wanted the dogs killed."

    Sounds like tortured dogs, to me.

    If Mr Vick had taken his dogs to the pound, they'd been killed.
    No doubt of that.

    On the scale of animal cruelty, Mr Vick is small potataos, but for his personal fame, we'd never have heard of it. Because of his fame it is blown out of proportion.

    His crime being the cruelty was not institutionalized, nor a revenue source for the State.

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  63. SSG Murphy, trish, one of the authors of the NTYimes piece.

    westhawk thinksthey'll be testifying, in Sept, before the Congress.

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  64. There's nothing wrong with dog racing per se--the two times I went seemed to me the dogs were having a good time, lots of wagging tails, etc. I remember this one puppy didn't seem to take the race too seriously, stopped, took a piss, and finished last. But if many of the dogs are destroyed afterwards, it isn't worth it. It's a kind of juvenal pursuit anyway though harmless in itself. If it's economical to have dog races, and provide for the dogs, fine, otherwise, outlaw it.

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