“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 18, 2006

Iraqification? Memories of Another Time and Another Place

Bretbart, quoting the BBC, is reporting that James Baker was "visably shocked" when he last visited Iraq. It seems that there are few good options to end the conflict. There are no hints of a strategy to win, which would indicate it has been determined that the war is a cause without a purpose. Citing an unnamed close friend and ally of Baker, himself a top politician, the BBC said that Baker added that "there simply weren't any easy solutions".

The LA Times, is reporting that there will be a gradual phase out of US troops and a dependence on Sryia and Iran to provide some type of security role. The establishment of a democratic state seems to have evaporated. There has been enough foreshadowing of events to understand that after the election, "staying the course" will have ran the course.The growing reality is that US security is being jeopardized by its continued presence in Iraq.

The entire mission shows a real weakness in Bush. He heeded bad advice
getting in and now appears to need a crutch to admit the mission is a failure and is now desperately seeking cover to leave. Can it be that he still believes Baker will come up with an acceptable solution to staying? Not likely. I get a sick feeling of having heard this before. In a 1995 interview on PBS with Jim McNeil, Robert McNamara made the following statement:
" 'One fear [I had],' McNamara said in a 1995 NewsHour interview, "and I expressed it to President Johnson in December 1965, was that we couldn't win the war militarily. I said to him at that time -- and I quote it in the book -- there's only a one in three chance or, at best, a one in two chance to win militarily."
Does GWB need to hear it from his father's consigliari before he can make an overdue change in a failed strategy?

The latest news is more of the same.

Nine US soldiers killed in Iraq

BBC US troops are more exposed as they try to tackle sectarian strife. The United States military in Iraq says nine of its troops have been killed in Iraq, including four in a roadside bombing near Baghdad. The blast struck the soldiers' vehicle as they travelled west of the capital. Three more were killed in the restive Diyala province, north of Baghdad and two others died in separate incidents.


  1. Be here done this. 1972 redux

    There was NEVER going to be an Allied International Force to come to the aide of US, in Iraq. That was clear from the beginning.

    We always had to empower the Iraqi if Iraq was to be a success. Instead of choosing the Iraqi that would lead Iraq to a republican government, we allowed the Iraqi to choose for themselves.
    They chose poorly.

    Now the US must depend upon Syria and Iran to "secure" Iraq, our greatest Enemies in the Region.

    All hail the US Miitary, for they have marched US into this box canyon.

    Watch out for those Hezbollah terrorists, the FBI needs your help, in finding those "wahabbist" radicals
    Keep a sharp eye on the look out for them at your local Mosque.

  2. The entire mission shows a real weakness in Bush. He heeded bad advice getting in and now appears to need a crutch to admit the mission is a failure and is now desperately seeking cover to leave.

    Staying in Iraq is like hanging on to the Harriet Miers nomination, except the revolt by conservatives won't happen until after the mid-term elections.

  3. Mr Ralph Peters writing in the NYPost

    "... It's hard enough to bear the timidity of our civilian leaders - anxious to start wars but without the guts to finish them - but now military leaders have fallen prey to political correctness. Unwilling to accept that war is, by its nature, a savage act and that defeat is immoral, influential officers are arguing for a kinder, gentler approach to our enemies.

    They're going to lead us into failure, sacrificing our soldiers and Marines for nothing: Political correctness kills.

    Obsessed with low-level "tactical" morality - war's inevitable mistakes - the officers in question have lost sight of the strategic morality of winning. Our Army and Marine Corps are about to suffer the imposition of a new counterinsurgency doctrine designed for fairy-tale conflicts and utterly inappropriate for the religion-fueled, ethnicity-driven hyper-violence of our time.

    We're back to struggling to win hearts and minds that can't be won. ...

    ... Astonishingly, the doctrine ignores faith-inspired terrorism and skirts ethnic issues in favor of analyzing yesteryear's political insurgencies. It would be a terri- fic manual if we returned to Vietnam circa 1963, but its recommendations are profoundly misguided when it comes to fighting terrorists intoxicated with religious visions and the smell of blood.

    Why did the officers in question avoid the decisive question of religion? Because the answers would have been ugly.

    Wars of faith and tribe are immeasurably crueler and tougher to resolve than ideological revolts. A Maoist in Malaya could be converted. But Islamist terrorists who regard death as a promotion are not going to reject their faith any more than an ethnic warrior can - or would wish to - change his blood identity.

    So the doctrine writers ignored today's reality.

    Al Qaeda and other terror organizations have stated explicitly and repeatedly that they're waging a global jihad to re-establish the caliphate. Yet the new manual ignores religious belief as a motivation.

    The politically correct atmosphere in Washington deems any discussion of religion as a strategic factor indelicate: Let our troops die, just don't hurt anyone's feelings.

    So the doctrine writers faked it, treating all insurgencies as political. As a result, they prescribed an excellent head-cold treatment - for a cancer patient. The text is a mush of pop-zen mantras such as "Sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction," "The best weapons do not shoot," or "The more force used, the less effective it is."

    Read it all if you have the desire, it's not 1938, no you time travelers, it's 1972.

    Remember, it's a Religion of Peace, hijacked by Radicals.
    If it were a jet airliner that had been scambled, an airliner full of UD citizens, a F16 would have splashed it by now, before it hit it's hijackers' target.

    But the Religion of Peace gets a break, we'll negotiate with it's hijackers once the Religion lands and the hijackers give US a list of demands.

  4. The new counterinsurgency doctrine is dishonest and cowardly.

    We don't face half-hearted Marxists tired of living in the jungle, but religious zealots who behead prisoners to please their god and who torture captives by probing their skulls with electric drills. We're confronted by hatreds born of blood and belief and madmen whose appetite for blood is insatiable.

    And we're afraid to fight.

    Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer.

  5. Because he is.

    It's why we are losing.

    The BCers were always behind the curve, they thought they knew the Enemy, but the President they supported often rebuked them, Publicly.

    They knew the "truth" though, the saw a "wink & a nod" and knew that Mr Bush "KNEW" too.
    Seems dispite what they all believed, Mr Bush does not really lie. He says what he believes, and acts upon it.

    Islam is a Religon of Peace.

    We will prosecute those that attacked the USS Cole, as soon as they are arrested, heard Mr Bush say so, himself.

    Not kill 'em in battle, prosecute them in Court. rah rah!

  6. That's what JFKerry wanted to do,

    It's now what GWBush would do, if they could just catch those pesky criminals.

  7. Well, rufus, who needs to show some guts?
    Jr? He enlisted out of High School in the Marines, went to Iraq and hung out. When they saw the "enemy" they were never authorized to fire at them.

    Green tracers indound, but no red outbound.
    Let's have those in the Chain of Command show some guts, you're right, rufus.

    Who sits atop that Chain?
    Who is in Command?
    Who needs a dose of guts?

  8. And now we get to watch it again, rufus.
    Who commands the Army of the Republic?
    Saddam's been gone for years. If that had been the objective of the "Mission" we'd be gone from Iraq, too.

    The mission subsequent to Saddam's fall from power has been a disaster. Politically.
    What country in the Region, which peoples wish to follow Iraq to democracy? Iraq would lead the Liberty Parade, remember.
    Iraq and Lebanon.
    If they are not out in front of a democratic movement, we've failed in the second mission, the post Saddam mission.

  9. So, the inflation rate for a soldier whose housing is subsidized is probably . . . wait for it . . . 2.2%

    Great, so the soldiers are treading water. A corporal with three years of service makes $921 (before taxes) every two weeks. This will jack that up another twenty bucks. Boy that's gonna make a dent in the 5,000 military families currently relying on food stamps.

  10. rufus said...
    DOW Blasts through 12,000.

    NOW, we're Cooking.

    And an E-5 with six years in will make a base pay in 2007 of $2,323.80. He also may be into his second or third tour in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. And the Air Force will still reduce by 40,000 its roles by 2009.

  11. rufus,

    re: We kicked Saddam's

    WWII ended on 5 May 1945

    The main defendents at Nuremberg were executed on 16 Oct 1946

    Has Saddam's trial yet ended?

    Since Iran and Syria have now been designated as regional stabilizers by the White House, is it too late to bring back Saddam?

  12. Roadtoserfdom, a very well argued position.I take the liberty of placing it on the next post.

  13. The "wink & nod" crowd always thought we were about to "roll" on Iran.
    Now it seems we'll be "rolling over" for Iran instead.

    But maybe those Carrier Battle Groups will do battle.
    Habu's time line has 22 days left.
    My window is open until April Fools of '07, but the drapes are drawn and the screen is still in the frame.

  14. rufus,

    re: COLA

    We did not discuss the/a COLA previously. COLA has nothing to do with base pay. However, I would be happy to argue that service members are also being screwed in terms of COLA, if you really want to go there.

  15. And an E-5 with six years in will make a base pay in 2007 of $2,323.80

    That would be $14.51 per hour if he worked 40 hours per week, little better than my immigrant girlfriend makes. And in the military you put in a lot of unpaid overtime.

  16. Saddam's regime said the vote, (11,445,638 ballots cast) widely dismissed outside Iraq, showed Iraq's people were standing with their leader against any U.S. attack.

    "If there is aggression, the Americans will face these people who said 'yes' to Saddam Hussein," Izzat Ibrahim, vice chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council and Saddam's right-hand man, told reporters at Parliament.
    "If the U.S. administration makes a mistake and attacks Iraq, we will fight them," Ibrahim said. "If they come, we will fight them in every village, and every house. Every house will be a front, and every Iraqi will have a role in the war.

    This Izzat Ibrahim fellow, was more accurate in describing the situation than Baghdad Bob, George Tenent, Dick Cheney or General Casey.

    Guess it comes down to defining "we"

    Women were voting prior to Saddam's fall, in the Baathist elections.
    This is exemplified by a series of numbers.
    The first, Saddam's referrendum, he recieved all of the 11,445,638 ballots cast.
    The Iraqi Constitution was approved, under US security measures that were lauded at the time, but only 9.8 million votes were cast.
    Women had to have participated in both sets of ballots, to reach those numbers in a country of 26 million, of which 10.4 million are under 14 years of age.
    There are less than 7.5 million Iraqi males, 15-67 years of age.

  17. Anyone who wants to do a post on military pay, please send it so me and i will post it. It is a worthy subject for discussion.

  18. rts
    we are all now aware of a widespread, orchestrated, pervasive evangelical movement of anti-Western Islamofascists that are bound and determined to end the prosperity of the West. That is now undeniable.

    It is denied DAILY, by the US Government. It is denied in US ARMY Doctrine, new Doctrine. It is denied in Palistine where the US is arming Fatah with M16s, it is denied in Iraq where the Islamo-fascists of SCIRI and Dawa have been empowered by US.

    That is the whole point. We see it, Mr Bush and his Administration deny it. Not rhetoricly but in reality.

  19. Women were voting prior to Saddam's fall, in the Baathist elections.

    Oh, you mean the ones where Saddam got 99.9 percent of the votes? (/me rolls her eyes)

  20. Yep, that's the one, Ms T.
    The women were voting, the slates available to vote for, that's another matter entirely.

  21. But not one we question in the KSA or Kuwait. There the fact that women get the franchise is the thing, not the options available to them.
    We must remain consistent in our approach. Voting is good, that is a given.

    Voting for Baathists or SCIRI, the results differ but only by degrees.
    Both were happy, in their turn, to recieve US funding. That funding did not, and will not change their basic core believes.

  22. James Baker was "visible shocked".
    The LA Times, is reporting that there will be a gradual phase out of US troops and a dependence on Sryia and Iran to provide some type of security role. The establishment of a democratic state seems to have evaporated. There has been enough foreshadowing of events to understand that after the election, "staying the course" will have ran the course.

    So I would suggest that each and every one of you stock up on ammo and MRE's becuase if you believe that they (Iran,Iraq,Syria) and the other 1.3 billion Muslims are going to cease their drive for the new Caliphate you're dream'n.
    Of course the US Generals don't know how to fight to win, to kill unmercifully. They've been learning how to integrate women,gays, and 75 IQ'er into the armed forces. Sensitivity classes. Diplomacy classes. They know the battlefield decisions will come from the WH in this age of instant communication..anything but kill the enemy, Islam,men ,women,chidren.
    We never levelled one village with artillery or B-52 strikes. We never DOMINATED, we negotiated.
    This is the third time in 50 years we've failed to use our might to WIN. Our next battlefield will be within our own borders.
    Iran and Syrian to provide some type of security role. That's rich.
    James Baker vs. Henry Kissinger.
    Kissinger said just last week it would be catastrophic if we left. It will force Israel to use the BOMB. When England stood ALONE Churchill said he would never give in, that he would rather see London in ashes.
    Every military and diplomatic mind has stated on the record that this is a 25-50 year war. Looks like we're gonna be fighting a long time in Texas,New Jersey,Michegan,California, etc.
    One thing is for sure, your grandchildren will look back in anger at why we had no will to win.
    Compared to other wars our casualties are paltry and yet we recoil from battle. We look for ways to not engage. It makes me sick.
    It is not our philosophy that is wrong, it is our civilization gone soft and beyond ripe to rotten. A gutless muticultural,sensitive,feminized,
    shadow of the men of Valley Forge,Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, and countless other battles where the breaks were beating the boys but they prevailed.
    So rest you weary heads on your soft pillows and hope you die before Islam is here in force. Leave that for your grandkids.

  23. But the US Army leads the way in Social Experimentation:
    Don't they get credit for that?
    Critics assess U.S. military's role in 'gender wars'
    Too much certainty expressed here:
    How can we really know?
    "My only observation is that Iraq is never quite the same place over time. While there are elements about it which endure, the character of the conflict has changed in so many respects that the correct frame of reference (it seems to me) is not back towards some archaic policy expectation expressed in a 2003 or 2004 document but in identifying the drivers of the dynamic and attempting to influence it in ways that only become apparent as you go along. Our goals are something we will have to discover. I know this sounds awfully wooly and unspecific, so let me try it explaining the thought in this way. Nonlinear dynamic systems like unstable societies are very sensitive to initial conditions. Arbitrarily small perturbations can lead to significantly different effects in the future; hence their behavior can't be predicted confidently very far into the future. You can't treat them in a linear manner. The only way to handle them in by shortening your reaction cycle to manage and so, hope to influence where the system will converge given enough time."
    I think he's taking lessons from Aristedes!
    My conclusion reached over time is that the driving force of many there has always been to describe "reality" w/o holding Bush accountable.
    As the reality got worse,
    So have the explanations!

  24. Does anyone here believe that military members get free housing? They do not. They do get housing allowances. Try finding housing near DC or San Fran or anywhere I have ever been at the government housing rate. Don't hold your breath. Oh, this is not just my opinion, fixing the housing gap was another of Mr. Bush's unkept promises to the military family.

    In its infinite wisdom, the USAF has decided to rebuild the cesspool called Kessler AFB, Mississippi. The unit cost will be in the neighborhood of $270,000. For this, the government will get about 1100 sq. ft. and a one car garage. Most of the units will be duplexes and quardraplexes. The excuse for the high unit cost is land and infrastructure. Think about that.

    In my neck of the woods (mid-Georgia, in a boomtown, off base), for $270,000, one can buy a single family dwelling on 1/3 - 1/2 acre, including land and infrastructure. The unit will have duel HVAC, alarm system, irrigation, sod, landscaping, 2-4 car garage with comparable parking pad/driveway, 3-4 bedrooms with a comparable number of baths, architectural shingles, thermal windows, at least one fireplace, separate dining, modern kitchen with all amenities, central vac, etc, etc, etc.

    Here's a clue for the Air Force brass: convince FEMA to release those tens of thousands of trailers sitting unused in Hope, Arkansas. They are temporary, to be sure, but given Kessler's history of hurricane inundation, so what?

  25. Just admit it Allen:
    Armed services are overpaid and underworked.
    We need that money for Viagra, Immigrant Health Care, and Teddy's NEA.

  26. Doug,

    OK, you got me you curly haired devil. The Vigara did it.

  27. doug,

    Mark this: during the 2008 presidential race, the same folk who cannot admit to the gutting of the military by this administration will be the loudest in decrying the danger of electing Hillary, given the need of a major Reaganesque rebuilding of a demoralized military. Suddenly, they will discover the need for a 600 ship navy, a fully funded and manned Air Force and at least six additional combat divisions. No, sir, such a task cannot be trusted to the Dems. Of course, none will see the irony or hypocrisy.

  28. Bill was worried about Allied casualties in Kosovo.
    The Bush Admin has been obsessed with enemy casualties, and now there are no more enemies, just evil-doers that
    "Will be brought to Justice." 28 months for Treason.

    How will we use Female AF personnel to pull gaurd duty after that 40k cut?
    Talk about All Hat!
    All wrong is more like it:
    Warriors misled by bean counters and compassionate spin meisters.

    I always did want to go back to Sept 10th, anyhow.