“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"Cut the head off Saddam's regime, and keep the rest intact to run the country,"

The privilege of writing history is given to the victors, and at this stage there seems to be a shortage of victors in Iraq but that does not stop the pundits. The Daily Telegraph, in an opinion piece by Con Coughlin starts to deconstruct the events that led to the current Iraq debacle, and it is a debacle in every sense of the word. The highlights of the article are below and the entire piece is here. The premise is that Tony Blair and the neocons had great influence over George Bush.

Without Blair's support, it would have been very difficult for George Bush to get to the necessary level of US domestic support for the war in Iraq. Coughlin, in his piece, places a lot of blame on the neocons for their influence in steering Bush into Iraq. This is a common held view and expressed frequently over at the Belmont Club by C-4, for one. However, it is silly to think that Bush was led by the neocons. Politicians at the level of POTUS seek out advisors from people who are already in agreement with their position. That would imply that Bush was already a neocon, which would further imply, as with other neocons, that Bush had previous liberal leanings. In other words, Bush and his fellow neocons reinforced their jointly held views.

Are the neocons responsible? Is Bush a reformed liberal, therefore a neocon?

The following are out-takes from The Telegraph opinion:

  • If Blair had foiled the neocons, Iraq wouldn't be such a mess.
  • The British and American military that participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom had indeed achieved a remarkable military victory. Within the space of three weeks, they had decisively defeated the ragged remnants of Saddam's Republican Guards and taken control of the country.
  • The coalition's precision bombing tactics meant that only key military and Ba'ath party personnel and installations were targeted, so that Iraq was still a functioning state by the time coalition commanders assumed responsibility for governing the country.
  • "Cut the head off Saddam's regime, and keep the rest intact to run the country," was how one senior British intelligence officer explained his vision for the post-Saddam administration of Iraq.
  • The sad truth is that the seeds of the current mess had already been sown by the time Mr Blair became the first Western leader to visit Iraq, at the end of May 2003.
  • By then the powerful American neoconservative lobby, which had formed the vanguard of the pro-war campaign, had seized control of the Pentagon and the administration of post-war Iraq - with disastrous consequences.
  • The neocon vision was to raze every remnant of the Ba'athist regime and build its utopian vision of a Western-style democracy in Iraq as a beacon that would expose the cracks in the tired autocracies that characterise the modern Middle East.
  • Inadequate planning by the Pentagon - where leading neocons such as Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith were responsible for post-war Iraq - meant all the government buildings and ministries that had been left untouched by the bombing campaign were destroyed by gangs of looters who roamed unchecked throughout the city for weeks after hostilities had ceased.
  • The decision taken by Paul Bremer, the preposterous American-appointed governor, to undertake a wholesale de-Ba'athification of Iraq's military, security and administrative institutions created hundreds of thousands of bitterly resentful Iraqis - most of whom had no love for Saddam - became recruiting fodder for the insurgency.
  • Mr Blair was the only world leader with the power to influence events in Washington. His key foreign policy advisers on Iraq, highly experienced diplomats such as John Sawers and later Sir Jeremy Greenstock, made Downing Street well aware of their opposition to the wide-ranging de-Ba'athification programme and the wilder extremes of the neocon agenda.
  • When people do look back on this time, they will see that Mr Blair failed in his duty to the peoples of both Britain and Iraq.


  1. Sorry to throw so much out there this morning. The article by Whit follows up on what has been going on in Afghansitan and the training of the Afghan army. I wanted to juxtapose that against the Fubar brigade and I already had been thinking about the opinion piece from the Telegraph.

    That was a result of a posting at BC by C-4 and comments from Allen. A lot of related material and all that at the same time as the election coverage which is everywhere else.

    Whit and I appreciate the great feedback we get from all of you. It is often difficult to keep up with all of it, but you can be assured there is little that we miss. This has turned out to be a very interesting discussion group, with many varying opinions. I have stated this before, but it is important that all of our opinions be both challenged and appreciated. That keeps it real, and do not hesitate to help spread the word of what we are all doing here at the EB.

  2. The US Postal Service has just issued it's first stamp commemorating prostitution. The stamp costs 39 cents. 50 cents if you want to lick it.


  3. Cut off it's head and let the body live is hardly a viable "Plan".

    The exile Corps that'd been authorized but never trained. That was a part of the Plan that was vital, but discarded

    The refusal to utilize Chalabi INC militia, nor the Badr Brigades for local Security, from the get go. Should have been part of the Plan from day one.

    Saddam's Army was made of draftees, Shia draftees, that went home. The Insurgency was sparked by Sunni and Baathist Iraqi, mid level Commanders in the Army. They would not have remained in the Army, commanded by Shia. This is evident now, as the Sunni are not joining the ISF, despite high unemployment in their Region. Also, part of the Iraqi Battle Plan was to fallinto an Insurgency mode, nationalist Sunni were, post invasion, and are still at War with US

    The number of foreign aQ terrorists in Iraq never was reported to be more than 5,000 men. Less operatives than MS-13 has here in the States.

    The good results that Mr Allawi, Mr Talabani & Mr Chilabi were achieving, early on, were discounted. Mr Allawi and Chilabi both were undercut by the US, in the mad dash to empower the Islamo-fascists through the ballot box.

    The Election results being a foregone conclusion, as reported to Mr Bush by Mr Bremmer.

    I'll never forget the first time Mr Maliki was mentioned as the PM prospect.
    Googled his name, not many entries at all. There was a brief description of "possible" PM candidates. Mr Maliki amongst those, but the descrption was short. Not worthy of the author's time, as the consensus was... Mr Maliki, to extreme a Sectarian to really be considered for the Post.

    And after all he was the previous PM's spokesperson. Like deciding Mr Bush had to go, replacing him with Tony Snow and expecting major improvement.
    In the end though Mr Maliki was acceptable, he fit into the US plan.

  4. rufus,

    Check out my 7:32AM and my 8:51AM on the previous thread.

  5. Hey, habu, found me a new hat.

    Tell tator' his cousin's not comin' home.
    Not this time.

  6. In the US News & World Report they is a piece by Michael Barone the looks at the House races.

    He thinks 16 seats move to the Dems. Two of those seats FL16 & NY26, are Foley fallout pickups.

    If it goes the way Mr Barone calls it, the Foley follies will have been a Master Stroke of politcal infighting.
    Worthy of Rome.
    Two for the price of one, and swing control. But split so close, if the Republicans maintain discipline, every member, every vote, required of both sides.
    Take a lot of the fun out of being a Congressman.

  7. DR,
    If PossumTater lost another relative he'd never know it. He's dumb as a brink and smart as a fox. Please don't tell me it was his new sqeeze Mz. Possum"Tighter"Tater...oh well hell I 'd just lie to him anyway


    1415 : Battle of Agincourt on this day in history.

  8. Hell, habu, I don't know, they all look alike to me.
    Better put it away tho, hate to make him feel bad, his main squeeze keepin me warm, stead of him

  9. rufus,

    As I wrote earlier, not only do our guys have to deal with unreliable shitheads, so do our adversaries. It is true: you cannot make a silk purse of a sow's ear; neither can you make an army of morons. With rare exceptions, I cannot see either the Iraqis or Afghanis rising to a competent operational level. They need adult supervision, as the Brits learned years ago.

  10. Deuce,

    Things have become quiet on the Ash front. What are the odds of getting straight answers?

  11. rufus,

    re: pet rabbit

    And that, Rufus, is why these dildos will never rule the world. I sleep better at night knowing this is the best the liberals can muster.

  12. The Greenies were just stocking up for the Apocalypso.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. Rabbit, they end up stealing a poor defensless rabbit and breaking a little girls heart?

    Do not see why the Greenies wouldn't put tiger in their tank, nor grab one by the tail.

  16. It's the timing of the "next" raid, Maliki said there will not be another.

    We'll see whose reality wins.

    'tween the elections and the 31 Dec 06 UN Authorization deadline.

  17. That's two days of operations 6 enemy KIA and 13 detaineed. The "target" escaped.

    No damage to the Mahdi Army and a PR plus for al-Sadr. Allows both he a Maliki to "stand up" to US.

    It's a battle for the Command of the ISF, as much as anything else.
    Maliki is used to being a "front man" the "spokesman" for al-Sadr's previous main man PM, Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Perhaps that's why he got the job.

  18. rufus,

    You have to admit, this is the strangest war in modern history.

    Our guys capture bad guys (Only G-d knows why) and Maliki demands release. Our military brass and ambassador comply with the "request".

    So, now we have launched an operation (earlier referenced by Tiger), to what end? As is the routine, will this bad guy also be freed upon demand?

    Now, I am thoroughly confused. What would I think as a participant in this theatre of the absurd? I would be asking, "Who has the tickets out of this shithole?"

    If there is humor to be found in this FUBAR it is with an administration that cannot grasp why a confused public would be displeased with such theatrics.

    Rufus, if this war had been and/or was being conducted earnestly, instead of for sound bites, this president could have a 70% approval rating and the Republicans would remain undefeated by Peripatetic Pelosi.

  19. Cut the sign of this stampede, oh abut a 18 months ago, now.
    Tried to warn the Trail Boss, but that Texican Yankee is single minded.
    Stay the Course he demanded, stead of takin takin' the low road, he decided to try Donner Pass, now it's almost November, we've lost part of the herd, and its' snowin'.

  20. tckurd said...
    I must be at the wrong site. This morning I woke up to see Wretchard post that he's worried about Western tyranny through the misuse of
    'defending the population,"

    but even worse, he's started using that new Hippy Math as it relates to the cult of environmentalism. (And you thought Greenpeace was just a fun activities club.)


    What have you people done with Wretchard?

  21. re: Maliki the Magnificent

    One other little thing, this business in Iraq has a floating cast of characters and more plot twists than any soap opera. Will the production be a tragedy or farce, and for whom?

  22. DR,

    I don't know if you have seen it, but Wretchard has up a thread which, in my opinion, askes all the wrong questions for all the wrong reasons. Excuse the obvious hyperbole.

    Thinking about our yesterdays today

  23. Well, allen, we've gone from being the director to an actor, but they forgot to tell the invstors in the show, US.

    Maliki is demanding control of the ISF, the US is demanding he tone down al-Sadr, first.

    HB gave up 50% of it's frontline force in Lebanon, the Mahdi Army is larger and has lost only a few dozen fighters, and no Leaders.

    These "operations" only strengthen al-Sadr, politically, and have not caused the over all death toll or violence in Baghdad to diminish.

    It's "Operation Eye Wash"

  24. Deuce,

    Looks like the dastardly Ash has abandoned me to my statistics. I say again,

    "As they say: You can have your own opinions, but you can't have your own facts.
    Unless you're a lunatic. If so, have a party."
    ___Ace of Spades

    Buddy says tribute is due the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, RIP

  25. No, absolutely wrong, rufus.
    The people of Ramadi ARE the Insurgents. Until they are defeated or destroyed the Insurgency will thrive.

    For some reason you believe that these people will "see the light" and surrender to a Federal Iraq.

    They have not and will not. It is an indiginous Insurgency, not a foreign one. Read the Westhawk piece, Peace has and is being offered to the Sunni, they reject it out of hand.

    The Mahdi Army exists to defend al-Sadr's Shia contingent because the US & ISF cannot contrl the Sunni attacks. Mini Z was successful in lighting the fuze.

    The US could not stamp out the Sunni Insurgency, now it is trying to put a damper on the emerging civil Iraqi answer, the armed militia, citizens armed in the defense of their homes and hearths. Hard men willing to take on their peoples' enemies.

    The US objects, says that they should be disarmed targets, instead.
    What some foresee for US, here at home.

  26. Betcha those Chicoms did not spend $1 Million USD per mile.

  27. Anyone know what happened to Doug?

  28. Betcha those Chicoms did not spend $1 Million USD per mile.

    It's amazing how much labor you can get out of a former Chinese blogger with a whip.

  29. Yep, Ms T, they put those bloggers in Army uniforms and drive 'em like slaves.
    Same as when they built the "Great Wall". The Governess of China always will sacrifice it's people in it's defense.
    Historicly, though, bribed locals open the gates for the invaders.

    But as to Chinese bloggers, they should not break the Law, in China.
    They take up the pen, instead of the gun. Simple fools, expecting the benefits of freedom, without suffering the costs.

  30. If the Chinese government said they wanted the equivalent of a new six lane Highway from Washington DC to Philadelphia and it had to be done in eighteen months, it would be done.

  31. rufus,

    The war against Islam may be a "Hundred Years' War". Whether 30 or 100, the public needs something to hold to. In 1415, as Habu has said, the English crushed the cream of French chivalry. British morale was kept up by the occasional notorious victory, none of which changed the ultimate outcome.

    Just as the Kings of England had to finance their wars through levies and funds approved by Parliament, American presidents must and will have to do likewise. Something has got to give or the public will become so discouraged that international withdrawals will the rule. If that happens, eventually we will have to fight on our home turf under conditions not to our liking.

    Consequently, I would ask the President to demand of his brass an Agincourt, and anywhere in the world will do nicely.

  32. In the US "outing" Mr Foley is "hardhitting" politics.

    In Iraq they'd have put a bullet in his head.

    There the people vote "Party" or sub-sectarian faction, works out about the same.

    The new Sunni "militias" in Anbar, first thing they wanted was more guns, to battle aQ sympathizers.

    Then whom?

  33. A short, worthy read is available thanks to Thomas P. M. Barnett, which addresses the topics we have been discussing here.
    Birthing Pains of the SysAdmin

  34. Mr. Bush a neocon? Mr. Bush conservative?

    I don't think Mr. Bush is a card carrying anything, neocon or conservative. Here I'll use the Wolfowitz model for my neocon and Ronald Reagan (hushed tones, name spoken with great reverence).

    If anything I think W is one of them thar new kinder gentler conservatives attuned to the importance of big government,as Big Daddy and a New World Order Member al la his daddy.
    This wowah popped on him so he had to move it to the top of the agenda see'ns how protect'in the country from planes bombing buildings is in the "spirit" of the constitution. It really don't mention "planes" per se. So he sets out to straighten out what's way warped..Islam
    Now since He's gonna do that and he's done with booz'in and is a good Christian he figures he'll just take'm all on. I mean he's been read'n fer years how we can fight a three theater war without com'in close to runn'n out of MRE's.
    The Intel:
    Well it all said Saddam had 'em..them WMD's and I believe 'em to this day. The Brits,French,CIA, the mait're de at the Russian Tea Room all said yup, he got'em. But the Ruskies moved 'em to Syrian..but that's another here we go (begine music, Over There,Over There, send the word ,send the word Over There, Yanks are ...)
    The BIG problem:
    No habla nuth'in. Can't tell good from bad, can't read what looks like a psycho pastry chef's wedding cake freak piece, so we just go in and then stand around. Don't shoot at mosques, ya might blow up the ammo. Well, after the statue went over that was it.
    "Ok we win, right Mr Secretary?"
    "Right, just a ltlle soap behind the ears and we're done, oh and Mr. President we won't allow any of our people to kill any of theirs,honest"
    Neocon,no. Conservative,no. He's a Glo-Metro-Neo fly fisherman who slip on a river rock and got his hip waders full of water and is still try'in to stand back up without losing the fish or drowning.
    One thing the man can do..spend money.
    Stay the course..well that's like eighteen holes of golf. It's not linear. Ever now and then a dang dog leg shot comes up, or ya hit a sandtrap. Ya gotta switch out clubs, he just ain't learned all the clubs in the bag yet.

    SUMMATION: We got us a global-metrosensitive-neo fly fish'in golfer whose drowning in a sandtrap.

  35. Senator Talent is getting professional help. If you ride a bull, you will be stomped. Missouri is not Hollywood.

    The Unconscionable Claims of Michael J. Fox

  36. North Korea should not be backed into a corner over its nuclear test if the global community wants to resolve the crisis over the North’s atomic ambitions, Russian President Vladimir Putin quoted by Reuters said on Wednesday.

    His comments come as Asia-Pacific powers sought to pin down the details of UN sanctions imposed on North Korea for its October 9 test that Pyongyang blamed on Wednesday on U.S. “double standards” when it came to nuclear issues.

    Putin, referring to six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, said one of the reasons Pyongyang had resorted to conducting the test was that “not all participants in negotiations were able to find the correct tone...”

    “You must never push one of the participants in talks into a corner and place it in a situation from which it can find no way out other than boosting tension,”
    he said answering questions on live television.

    The UN Security Council voted on October 14 to impose financial and arms sanctions on North Korea ...

    Luxury goods were banned by the resolution, as was most trade, travel and financial transactions related to the arms trade. Interdiction — stopping ships or trucks to and from North Korea for inspection — was voluntary and still under discussion.

    Japan’s Defense Ministry could not confirm media reports that Tokyo was considering deploying several destroyers and patrol aircraft to its western and southern coasts to conduct warning and surveillance activities.

    Japan’s defense minister, Fumio Kyuma, indicated it all depended on the United States.

    “How far is America planning to go with regard to shipping? I don’t think it has decided that checks on the open seas would be carried out by military vessels,”
    Kyuma told a news conference.

    “Japan must keep a close eye on what America decides to do and if it goes ahead must cooperate in various ways or carry out activities of its own.”

    North Korea blamed the United States for creating the crisis.

    China voted in favor of the sanctions but both Beijing and Seoul fear that if they squeeze the impoverished North too tightly it could ruin ties and risk the North’s collapse, sending waves of refugees into China and threatening regional turmoil.

    China clarified on Tuesday that Kim Jong-il did not apologize for his nuclear test when he met Tang, as media had reported.

    Kim also said he had no plans for a second test but wanted to leave his options open in case the crisis escalates.

  37. Habu

    re: SUMMATION: We got us a global-metrosensitive-neo fly fish'in golfer whose drowning in a sandtrap.


    Hastings-- 16 October 1066
    Agincourt--25 October 1415


  38. Muslim leader blames women for sex attacks

    I mean this in the nicest possible way: this sum-bitch needs killin…right after Teresita kicks the living shit out of the puny little, misogynist putz.

    Yes, I know: that is no way to win hearts and minds. Does anyone think this Uranusian asshole has either?

    You go girl; I’ve got the gun.

  39. I read the yesterday today post over at BC and see that C-4 had a relapse.

  40. Iran may have Khan nuke gear: Pakistan

    Pakistan may have done us more damage than the Russians ever will.

  41. Deuce,

    re: C4

    Recently even Jamie Irons was loosing patience.

  42. Speakin of teresita, I think I need a few days off, I had a dream about her last night, she was helping me get on the right train at some station some where. She was very kind and nice company. I would appreciate no further comments about this, if that is possible.

  43. TheUnconscionable Claims of Michael J. Fox

    Senator Talent gets professional help. As that great Missourian Harry Truman said, “If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”

  44. Warfare skills eroding as Army fights insurgents.

    This headline with appended article just makes me wonder who said it,when they said it, and in what tongue they were speaking when they claimed the US could fight a three theater problem....right

    Eroded War Fighting Ability

  45. Yoni is carrying the opinions of Israeli experts who see a major Arab/Iranian/a’Q/Hamas – Israeli War close at hand. Mr. Bush may be forced into action, like it or not.

    Expert: Prepare for war

  46. habu_1,

    re: the optimistic General Cody

    “Senior Army leaders are quick to stress that while the problem keeps them awake at night, the nation is not in immediate peril.

    ‘Just remember, this is the United States Army, units [that] can beat any army in the world we have to put them up against," Cody said. "I am very confident that we have the capacity and the capability to deal with these threats.’"

    I guess it depends on what “immediate” means. Yes, it is the Army; the same Army about whom the experts have, herein, expressed concern. Some never understand how foolish looking vacillation is, General Cody.

    Habu, the President said this very day that his military leaders are adjusting and will adjust to changing situations. Oh, and mistakes have been made, not to worry.

    Hey, great link.

  47. Deuce,

    re: a person who shall go unnamed lest I be forced to double my blood pressure medication as I cast my research pearls before swine…Grrrr!!!

    There are fools determined to walk to the chopping block while chattering PC inanities. A mind is a terrible thing never to have had.

  48. I heard this, from General Casey, and it was Vietnam redux, for me.

    "But they should also know that the men and women of the armed forces here have never lost a battle in over three years of war.

    Yep, the Military never lost a battle, but the US manages to lose the War. Or in the Iraq case, not win.

    Been there, done that.