“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."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat-The October Surprise in Iraq

Iraqi PM lifts Sadr City cordon

"US forces have been searching for a kidnapped Iraq-born soldier
Iraq's prime minister has ordered the lifting of all US and Iraqi military checkpoints around the Shia stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad.
US forces put a security cordon around the area recently as they carried out searches for an abducted soldier.

The week-long restrictions have caused increasing resentment in the densely-populated suburb.

Nouri Maliki, the prime minister, said he was lifting the measures to allow traffic to flow around the city.

"The prime minister, in his capacity as commander in chief of the armed forces, has decided to lift the blockade of the access roads to Sadr City and other areas of Baghdad," his office said in a statement.

His announcement came shortly after radical Shia cleric, Moqtada Sadr, called for a general strike to protest against the blockade.

The district is largely controlled by the Mehdi Army, a militia led by Moqtada Sadr.

A US military spokesman said that he was not aware of the order but told the AFP news agency that any concerns of the prime minister would be addressed "at the highest command levels".

The area has seen brief clashes between US forces and the Mehdi Army since the blockade was imposed.

The Iraq-born US serviceman was seized last Monday after leaving his base inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone to visit Iraqi relatives in the city."

Comment by Desert Rat says: It is Mr Maliki's country, after all.



  1. It is Mr Maliki's country, after all.

  2. It is a demonstration of sovereignty. It is like a big city major calling the chief of police and reigning him in. It does show the place the American military finds itself. Now, the question is, how did that happen? Should it have happened and where from here? To answer Whit's post: Why would anyone else want to get involved in this?

  3. Nouri Maliki sees the handwriting on the wall.
    It's another American bug out. He's just being a smart leader.

    We had our chance to bugger up the place but good. Somebody resurrected the "Hearts and Minds" bull shit and that was the ball game.
    It'll be a cold day in hell before any US President can but together anything on the international level.Do you blame the world?
    OBL looks to have made the call ...weak horse. Of course that followed Mao's Paper Tiger which I would imagine we'll fulfill shortly as the Chinese come on like gangbusters.**

    ** # of hackneyed expressions used.
    1.handwriting on the wall
    2.hearts and minds
    3.thats the ball game
    4.cold day in hell
    5.weak horse
    6.paper tiger
    7.come on like gangbusters

    Original content or thought....0
    Original expressions ..........0
    hackneyed expressions used... -7
    TOTAL VALUE OF PIECE .........13

  4. It is a demonstration of sovereignty.

    How can Bush "stay the course" when he's being undermined by the Prime Minister of Iraq every day? Time to pull out and to hell with all of them.

  5. Transfer of authority, to the locals, comes after Victory, historicly.

    We have written new rules in this post modern world. Those rules, having no historical precedent, have failed.

    It was foreseen by some of us.

    Ain't that a shame?
    You're the one to blame

    You broke my heart
    when you said we're part
    Ain't that a shame?
    My tears fell like rain
    Ain't that a shame?
    You're the one to blame

    Farewell, goodbye, although I 'll cry
    Ain't that a shame?
    My tears fell like rain
    Ain't that a shame?
    You're the one to blame


    Women are grumpier than men in the morning, according to a new survey.

    The study found women were grumpier than men when they wake up - and stay in a bad mood for longer.

    Thirteen per cent of women are in a bad mood for up to four hours after waking, compared to a tenth of men, according to the study by the Sleep Council

  7. Thirteen per cent of women are in a bad mood for up to four hours after waking, compared to a tenth of men, according to the study by the Sleep Council


  8. Ms T,

    You mean what we say here has to have a meaning?
    I'll just have to dig deeper.
    Maybe some René Descartes:
    "Therefore, Descartes concludes that he can be certain that he exists. But in what form? He perceives his body through the use of the senses; however, these have previously been proven unreliable. So Descartes concludes that the only undoubtable knowledge is that he is a thinking thing. Thinking is his essence as it is the only thing about him that cannot be doubted. Descartes defines "thought" (cogitatio) as "what happens in me such that I am immediately conscious of it, insofar as I am conscious of it". Thinking is thus every activity of a person of which he is immediately conscious"

    There that should help a bit.

  9. The Government of Iraq leads the Insurgency, rufus.

    Or at least the Shia Militia portion of the Insurgency.
    The Shia militias are one of the faces of the Iraaqi Government. Mr Maliki fronts for the militias, not US. That is clear.

    Time to go, or stay under new rules. If not the Pubs will lose the '08 Campaign, guarenteed.

  10. Maliki himself is a bad egg - not a good choice in these times.

    al Sadr should have been dead already, a mistake we made earlier.

    Habu says, "handwriting ..."; he's exactly right. After the intial victory in Iraq, we took out the general and replaced him with Paul Bremer - the rest is PC history.

  11. DR has been on the beam since I started blogging here.

    I tried throwing up wishes, he threw up facts.

    Did we screw the pooch DR or what?

    Good job throughout. I think this says more about our nation than we care to face. In fact I don't think we'll face it.....until it's in our face. Then we'll get a facial.

    If I'm a national leader someplace on this planet I'm dialing China and Russia's number. USA is in the back of the roladex.

  12. The further we have moved from supporting Mr Allawi and Mr Chilabi, the worse it has become, in Iraq.

    Ain't that a shame?

  13. Come gather 'round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You'll be drenched to the bone.
    If your time to you
    Is worth savin'
    Then you better start swimmin'
    Or you'll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin'

  14. Catherine on the Chirac Korea Post:

    Catherine, Obviously you are correct, If North Korea has nuclear weapons for sale they will be delivered. The objective with China is pragmatic in that any blow back from N. Korea affects them. The US finds itself in a position where this is about as good as it can get for where we are now. Not happy, but better than nothing and the appearance that there is nothing more we can do.

  15. Russia Led Arms Sales to Developing World in ’05

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 — Russia surpassed the United States in 2005 as the leader in weapons deals with the developing world, and its new agreements included selling $700 million in surface-to-air missiles to Iran and eight new aerial refueling tankers to China, according to a new Congressional study.

    Russia Top Sales

  16. DR,

    re: Mr Allawi and Mr Chilabi

    But...but...but...They were untrustworthy according to Messrs. Powell and Armitage, with the concurrence of Madame Rice. They can't all be wrong, can they?

    The names change, but policy remains the same in the Naked City.

  17. rufus, you're right about Osama.
    He is alive, somewhere.

    As to what he thinks, what difference does it make. He is not the objective in TWAT. He once was, but that Goal post has moved when his capture became impossible.

    Remember "Dead or Alive"?
    I sure do.
    Remember that a nuclear Iran or NorK being "unacceptable"?
    I sure do.
    Remember Mr Cheney's 1% Doctrine?
    I sure do.

    Iran is nuclear capable, mini nukes delivered from their Axis Allies, NorK & one step removed Pakistan. More than a 1% probability of that.

  18. Rufus,
    They had an election in Germany too....elected a guy name a you gotta respect that cause it was an election.

    1960: Nixon walked away in defeat rather than challenge all the ghosts that voted in Mayor Daley's Cooke County. Kennedy beat him by .1% and it came from Cooke County. Nixon thought it would be too divisive to the country to challenge the irregularities. Kennedy won, drug use and all.
    Sometimes elections don't mean crap. Sometimes it's just window dressing.

  19. No, rufus, we went to Iraq to disarm Saddam and enforce UN Resolutions, as per US Law. The Authorization for Use of Force in Iraq.

    We decided on the post Invasion solution. We allowed the current Constitiution to be drafted as it was. We allowed for factionalism within the Country.
    Seems we did not have State Dept advisors read the Federalist Papers, nor have them translated into Arabic.
    Cite any country that migrated from anarchy to direct democracy without an Authoritve phase.
    SouK, Greece, Chile, Germany, Japan, Mexico, etc. All moved to democracy over time, decades in some cases. Why or how could Iraq be expected to migrate in a 18 months?

    There were no timelines, excempt those that were selfimposed, by US.

    The fault for a mismanaged Occupation does not lay with those that were occupied, but the Occupiers.

    Authority can be delegated, Responsibility cannot.

  20. rufus,

    re: Rome

    Sorry, but America is an empire. 19th Century Americans understood this, and by means fair and foul acquired territories from Spain, France, England, Russia, Mexico, and innumerable Native American federations. Americans met the challenge of "manifest destiny." Indeed, absent bad luck and poor generaling, the US would have some number of formerly Canadian states. Additionally, had it not been for shortsightedness and bigotry, Mexican states would now be part of the United States.

    During the 20th Century, the US became an international empire, by exerting military/political influence in Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, the Pacific and points beyond. At various times in both the 19th and 20th Centuries, the US held sway over parts China. The American Empire puts to shame anything the Romans had in mind.

    During the past five decades, American administrations have attempted to abandon imperialism. The result has been shameful, unnecessary defeats and humiliation, uncontrolled invasion by unlawful aliens, and the growth of Islamofascism, to name but a few.

    Even a cursory look at a map of the ME would show the strategic importance of Iraq to the control of petroleum production and distribution. Whoever controls the Strait of Hormuz controls the jugular of the present world economy. To abandon Iraq is to acquiesce to gradual subjugation to other world powers, e.g. the Soviet and China, who are not reluctant to assume the role of hegemon.

    Rufus, you may be sure, were either China or Russia holding Iraqi real estate, Mr. Maliki would be passé. While not unique, the failure of the Bush administration to whatever must be done to consolidate American gains places every American at risk.

  21. No surprise here. A hajji's gotta do what a hajji's gotta do.

    [Score my hackneyed expression, habu1].

    My son catches his hop on a freedom bird outa the sand on or about 15 November. Can't wait. Shitty tour for him: those turds in the sand can't even comprehend free love same same souvenir.

    Hajji can only sniff ahead as far as the next tribal asshole in his hierarchy.

    I sincerely hope the next time we do this our policy is "we break it, you fix it" ...and if you don't fix it right, we'll break it again.

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

  23. rufus,

    re: Russia & China

    Eleven time-zones isn't bad. As Habu pointed out this morning, the Russians are taking a strategic pause that refreshes. They give every indication of planning a comeback.

    China has been willing to sally out of the Middle Kingdom as its actions against India and Tibet, to name two, make clear. As this is written the Chinese are working their plan to exercise hegemony over the western Pacific. There is no need to have the mess of conquering South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Japan when intimidation by economic and/or military means will suffice.

  24. rufus, you missed the NorK test that has led to the Sanctions at the UN. It was just a couple of weeks ago.
    A nuclear test, acknowledged by US in the 1 to 5 kiloton range.
    Perhaps a misfire, perhaps not.

    More than a 1% chance that it was a designed blast, using technology the US had in 1954. Quite possible, more than 50/50, considering that NorK engineers were in Pakistan when they detonated a similar blast, in the Paki testing cycle, in May 1998.

    If the NorKs have the capacity then their Axis partners can be assumed to have it, as well.
    Or is there no Axis of Evil

    You disagree with Mr Bush when he says we are at War, do you also believe the Axis of Evil is pure rhetoric as well?

    The most Republican of Bar patrons, you seem to disagree with Mr Bush's articulated positions more than any of the rest of us.

    Regarding the micro nukes, I'll help you get up to speed

    Pakistani claims concerning the number and yields of their underground tests cannot be independently confirmed by seismic means, and several sources, such as the Southern Arizona Seismic Observatory have reported lower yields than those claimed by Pakistan. Indian sources have also suggested that as few as two weapons were actually detonated, each with yields considerably lower than claimed by Pakistan. However, seismic data showed at least two and possibly a third, much smaller, test in the initial round of tests at the Ras Koh range. The single test on 30 May provided a clear seismic signal.

    The Indians believe that Paki has both subkiloton and 4 to 6 kiloton devices. Fed of American Scientists

    As to Pakistani and NorK collaberation, Dr Kahn visited NorK more then a dozen times., Prior to 2000.

    A few months later, A.Q. Khan made the first of what would be about 13 trips to North Korea, as part of a Pakistani delegation to Pyongyang, composed of both scientists and military officers. At that time Musharraf was Waheed’s director general for military operations. While there, he is said to have helped N. Korea with the design and equipping of facilities focused on the enrichment of uranium in exchange for North Korean assistance in the area of missile technology. Khan confessed to helping North Korea with the knowledge and approval of senior military commanders, among which two army chiefs and Musharraff. Waheed was subsequently replaced in January 1996 by Gen. Karamat who secretely travelled to North Korea in December 1997.

    Khan has claimed that Karamat was also aware of the terms of the barter deal between N. Korea and Pakistan, since Pakistan successfully test-fired a Ghauri missile in April 1998. Implicit are claims that Musharraf must have been aware of the Pakistani-North Korean agreement given that after becoming army chief of staff in October 1998, Musharraf also took over the Ghauri program. (Global

    They've got W54's or equivilent, bet the farm, amigo.

  25. Bring in his head, allen.

    Oaxaca, Mexico, the Revolution has begun. Slowly and small to be sure, but the fuse is already lit.

    Tick Tock

  26. DR,

    re: bring in his head

    I would be happy to, except no one has seen his head since Tora Bora.

  27. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

  28. 1%, rufus, that the Cheney Standard.
    The Pakis tested one, the NorKs have tested one.

    1% chance, that's all that is required for proof positive.
    Enough to invade a country.
    Cause the deaths of 2,800 US citizens the wounding of 20,000 US soldiers and the deaths of at least 50,000 Iraqi.
    1% is the Republican Standard.
    The NorKs have achieved more than a 1% probability, as shown by their test.

    There is an Axis of Evil, or not.
    The President says there is.
    If there is an Axis of Evil then they reinforce themselves, as per Mr Woolsey conversation related in the JPost.

    Or be in denial.

  29. Both the NorKs and the Iranians are beyond buying "yellow cake" in Niger.

    Either could be selling "yellow cake" if they wished.

  30. Mis-information, rufus.
    That's why they'd mislead the Russians, to mislead US.

    Simple as pie.
    1% chance, that's the Standard.

  31. You'd bet your life, rufus, that it was a 4 kiloton "fizzle"

  32. To have handed Iraq and 325,000 US trained troops to Shia Islamofascists, that is the "lost" rufus.

    Until you can convince me that SCIRI, Dawa, and the Mahdi Army are not Islamo-fascists, we've lost.

  33. How many Koreans have you known, rufus?

    They think differently then "Westerners", to be sure.

    You project your thinking onto them, that is the error. They are not reflections of US.
    When the 2 kiloton device goes off in Haifa, Basra or Baghdad who do you blame?
    None of our Enemies but Russia or China could be blamed. No retaliation, per the rufus Standard of proof.

    That's why the Repubs will lose, even the most loyal of Republicans do not believe the rhetoric.

  34. How many people would blame Israel, if a device detonated in, say, Amman, Jordan or Basra, Iraq?

    You still do not appreciate how the Mohammedans are fighting fight an asyemetric war.

  35. DR,

    re: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

    So true, but until there SOME evidence of life, I will have to take the myth of OBL as I would so many others. That said, the myth of OBL is a convenient fiction.

  36. DR:

    re: That's why they'd mislead the Russians, to mislead US.

    You could be giving the Russians too much credit.

  37. rufus,

    re: Being in a "State of Denial" in not a winning strategy, but neither is a constant state of hysteria.

    The closest thing to hysteria having happened recently is Dr. Rice's speeches and interviews, holding out the brotherhood of man as a universal truth. I'd prefer to call it delusional, as have so many, but I won't quibble.

    Unless and until a leadership team is fielded which is serious, instead of seriously deranged, the reality of Iraq will continue as the norm. Call that hysterical if you please. But if you do, explain why Iraq is less secure than it was at the end of March 2003. Why is Iran thumbing its nose at the President? Why do the Syrians continue to get away with aiding our enemies? Why hasn't anything been said about the Russian armed, Iranian trained snipers who are becoming growingly proficient at knocking off our guys?

  38. Well then, rufus, you know better than I that Koreans think differently then nonKorean Westerners.

    No one is speaking of the number of seats the Republicans will be picking up, rufus.
    If the Repubs don't lose the Senate or House will not mean they've won. If the Pubs lose 10 seats, which they will, they'll have lost.
    Perhaps not a great defeat, but no way could it be spun to a Republican win, not being routed.

  39. Rufus,
    You are indeed correct. Hitler was appointed. He lost not one but two elections, losing over 2 million votes in the second election over what he had in the first.
    I stand corrected.

  40. Stavros, how long has your son been in the military, what branch?

  41. It's an Omen

    Truck Spills 2 Tons of Pig Heads on Road
    BERLIN - A truck spilled two tons of pigs' heads on a road in western Germany, giving passing drivers a shock on the night before Halloween, police said Tuesday.

    The accident happened Monday night after the truck turned off a highway in Herne, in the Ruhr region, police in Bochum said.

    As the driver accelerated away from a traffic light, the door of his trailer opened, spilling the severed heads onto the road.

    It took the fire service, helped by a fork-lift truck, an hour-and-a-half to load the heads back onto the truck.

    A service of the Associated Press(AP

  42. Now the Iraqi will be needing another 100,000 troopers and police.
    425,000 men under arms in a Iraqi Federal Force. You'd think the US would try to improve the training and quality of troops they've already got, before the US funded even more Iraqi troopers.

  43. Maybe if Bob Hope was still around we coulda done better. But then he was in Nam and it turned rancid so go figure.

    Why Bob gave us Hope


  44. Pigs heads. Germany. Autobahn. Yes, that's an omen, alright. I mean, if there's such a thing as an omen at all.

  45. Well, rufus, in the Hermit Kingdom there is not much "World experience" available.

    In all my experience, in the world, Korea was the only place where indebtured sex slaves were available to the US Army troops, on an institutional basis.

    Different thinking, to take $5,000 USD for a daughter, in the normal course of events, from any culture I've known, before or since.

    The Nationalistic thinking that I experienced, from the KATUSA troops, was different than any I have met in other places, around the world.

    Culture influences thinking and processes. The Hermit Kingdom is a closed culture, with thought processes that are not equivalent to US.
    The Rangoon assassination attempts exemplify the differences in thinking, 'tween them and US.

  46. rufus,
    Koreans that are "Westernized", residing outside of Korea are not Korean, any more. Folks of Korean ethnicity, born in the US are Americans not Korean at all.

    No more than I am Italian or Irish, though that is my ethnic background.

  47. Chesty was in North Korea, before the Chinese came and asked him to leave. After some discussion, Chesty agreed to depart the AO.

  48. trish,

    re: That's one long, sad game of "Who's Your Buddy?"

    In that single sentence you may have captured the problem. Everybody had a buddy. A lot of thought was not given, it seems, to whose buddy could deliver the goods.

    What might have been the goods?
    1) A relentless, ruthless crackdown on every Tom, Dick, and Harry causing trouble.
    2) A securing of Iraq’s borders, with swift, ruthless, punishing cross border raids into Syria and Iran for every single infraction.
    3) The arrest, trial and summary execution of every religious and political leader found guilty of attempting to undermine the coalition’s work.
    4) The summary execution of every unlawful combatant.
    5) The slow, methodical search of every outgoing and in bound ship through the Strait. When the pinch started to be felt by the Chinese and the EU, greater cooperation would have been forthcoming.

    All that and much more, whether Jesus would have done so or not.

    There will be a “finish.” At some point down the road, it will be discovered if that “finish” finished Iraq exclusively.

    I would hope an alliance could be made with the Kurds, who need US support to survive in a bad neighborhood. But State would not cotton to such a sensible proposal, I am sure. Unquestionably, Madame Rice would insist on the universality of philadelphian longings in the bosom of every mother with child.

  49. Deuce,

    Have you noticed that the Ash has not responded to the simple question posed, to wit:

    “Obviously, you have forgotten that on 9/11 and in the days immediately following, Muslims elites were informing their publics that the attack was fomented by the Mossad and/or CIA to justify an attack on the Arab nation for the purpose of monopolizing petroleum product and distribution. Oh, and those conniving Jews working at the WTC were given a heads up and did not appear for work on 9/11. Ash, do you share these beliefs?”

    Have I, at long last, discovered the true Ash? These guys are so easy. All that is necessary is to ask the simplest questions, always referencing the Jews, and their carpets fall in flames. “Moderate” Muslims my patoot!

    I think I shall not again attempt debate with Ash.

  50. I came to a similar decision with C-4. At crunch time he is very doctrinaire, nothing to learn and nothing to teach. He makes some interesting observations
    , but is flat footed going toe to toe. Not a good counter-puncher and I suspect a glass jaw and a bleeder.

  51. Deuce,

    re: but is flat footed going toe to toe. Not a good counter-puncher and I suspect a glass jaw and a bleeder.

    Right on!

  52. Deuce,

    re: C4 and Ash

    When pressed, both take to the rabbit hole for tea. Dealing with reality is difficult enough.

  53. allen, what a load of shit. I responded to you when you originally made the post yet here you are, for a third time, trying to impress with your analytic skills. As if there was grand insight contained in that paragraph.

    As I replied before, many arabs, the Palestinian leader Yassar Arafat in particular) have a tendancy to say one thing in Arabic to an Arabic audience and quite another in English to and english audience. So? In fact, you will find many politicians of all stripes saying quite different things to different audiences pandering for thier votes.

    allen, you constantly argue from the particular to the general and you regularily conflate arabs and muslilms. Let me try to help you our again - not all Arabs are Muslims, not all Muslims are Arabs. Tough concept for you? It seems so. Let me try an analogy in a form you might comprehend - not all Jews are Israeli, not all Israelis are Jews. Does that help?

  54. Ash,

    Your righteous indignation is truely impressive. You will, however, have to excuse my rudeness when I ask you to answer the questions posed by the following:

    “Obviously, you have forgotten that on 9/11 and in the days immediately following, Muslims elites were informing their publics that the attack was fomented by the Mossad and/or CIA to justify an attack on the Arab nation for the purpose of monopolizing petroleum product and distribution. Oh, and those conniving Jews working at the WTC were given a heads up and did not appear for work on 9/11. Ash, do you share these beliefs?”

    This will be the third asking; so, what’s your hold-up?

  55. Not all Muslims are Arabs and not all Israelis are Jews.

    Thanks, Ash, for clearing that up. I didn't know.

    Oh, last year approximately 95% of all terrorist attacks were done by Muslims. I hope that helps you.

  56. What? Do I share the belief that Jews were given a heads up? Of course not, why do you?

  57. Ash,

    Let me make it as simple as possible.


    1) Was the attack on the WTC carried out by the Mossad and/or the CIA?

    2) Were Jews employed by businesses within the WTC given a warning not to appear for work on 9/11?

  58. Hey brilliant guy, give us a definition of terrorist attack.

  59. Ash,

    Let me try to be clear.


    ___Was the attack on the WTC the handiwork of the Mossad and/or the CIA?

  60. allen, dude, you are all messed up.

    To the best of my knowledge neither the CIA nor the Mossad had anything to do with the WTC attacks. Nor do I have any knowledge of Jews being given a 'heads up'.

    Does that make you feel better? Do you feel as if you are making headway in your rhetorical game?

  61. Ash,

    You have answered my question.

  62. Ash,

    re: allen, dude, you are all messed up.

    Well, if I am "messed up" for asking the questions, what do you have to say about the Muslims who made such claims, initiating the questions?

  63. I'd suggest they should offer up some evidence. Similarily I ask of you to define terrorist attack and then support your contention that 95% of them have been done by muslims.

  64. Allen, you are running away. Please, tell us, what is your defintion of a "terrorist" attack and then we can move on to an evaluation of your factual assertion. Come on chickenshit, stand up and be a man.

  65. Ash,

    Let us answer questions by order, please.

    For instance, I asked,

    "Well, if I am "messed up" for asking the questions, what do you have to say about the Muslims who made such claims, initiating the questions?"

    Your answer is?

  66. Allen,

    Do you have reading comprehension problems? I refer you to my answer posted promptly after your asking, at 6:03 pm. In fact my answer was the following post in the thread.

    "I'd suggest they should offer up some evidence. Similarily I ask of you to define terrorist attack and then support your contention that 95% of them have been done by muslims."