“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."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Americans United For Victory. That Was Then. Today, Iraqi Entrepreneurship Rules.

Almost five years to the day, a battle took place in the town of Tarin Kowt in Southern Afghanistan. In less than three weeks, the successful outcome of the battle in the capital of Uruzgan province led to the fall of the Taliban regime in the entire region right up to Afghanistan's second largest city, Kandahar. Just eleven US 'Green Berets' with air support; a few dozen Afghan guerrilla fighters and an assorted group of local inhabitants from the town fought off a massive onslaught of some 1000 Taliban fighters.

So begins a fascinating story over at Radio Netherlands. Do not miss the group picture. How things have changed. Was it inevitable that the US consensus on WOT would end? Would a President Kerry have made a difference. That was the Choice! Read the article and send your reaction to RN. They provide an interesting English Language service.

Whit, ever on the lookout for something interesting found this little gem. Is there a story here?

From the New York Times.
US Find Iraq Insurgency Has Funds To sustain Itself.
BAGHDAD, Nov. 25 — The insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, corrupt charities and other crimes that the Iraqi government and its American patrons have been largely unable to prevent, a classified United States government report has concluded.
I heard somewhere this week that of the 3000 tanker trucks used to transport oil to Turkey, 2000 are involved in smuggling. Googling Iraqi Oil smuggling shows that if there's anything the Iraqis can do well, it's smuggle oil. They have years of experience during the "embargo."


  1. Smuggling, that means Borders. The US demands that others secure the borders of Countries for which the US has responsibility.
    The United States and Iraq.

    In the US on it's Southern Frontier the Bush Administration wants Mexico to stop the flow north across the Border. It does not see the US Government as having any responsibility with upwards of 5,000 infiltrators per day crossing the desert frontier.

    In Iraq, the US says that Syria does not do enough to stop smugglers from leaving Syria and crossing the desert frontier into Iraq. Syria must do more to help secure US in Iraq!

  2. While noting that the report appeared to reflect a major effort by the administration to learn more about the murky world of insurgent financing in Iraq, the experts said the seven-page document appeared to be speculative, at least in its estimates of the funds available to the insurgent and terror groups. They noted the wide spread of the estimates, particularly the $70 million to $200 million figure for overall financing, the report’s failure to specify which groups the estimates covered and the absence of documentation of how authors arrived at their estimates.

    While such data may have been omitted to protect the group’s clandestine sources and methods — the document has a bold heading on the front page saying “secret,” and a warning that it is not to be shared with foreign governments — several security and intelligence consultants said in telephone interviews that the vagueness of the estimates reflected how little American intelligence agencies knew about the opaque and complex world of Iraq’s militant groups.

    “They’re just guessing,” said W. Patrick Lang, a former chief of Middle East intelligence at the Defense Intelligence Agency, who now runs a security and intelligence consultancy. “They really have no idea.” He added, “They’ve been very unsuccessful in penetrating these organizations.”

    Mr. Lang said that he was equally skeptical about the report’s assertion that the insurgent and militant groups may have surpluses to finance terrorism outside Iraq. “That’s another guess,” he said.

    “A judgment like that, coming from an N.S.C.-generated document,” is not an analytical assessment as much as it is a political statement to support the administration’s contention that Iraq is a central front in the war on terrorism, he said. “It’s a statement put in there to support a policy judgment.”

    from the report.

  3. BTW, that "report" was from June. I'll wait for the other shoe to drop.

    If we know about oil smuggling, I can't believe we won't/haven't do/done something to stop it. I realize it's making somebody/everybody(?) in Maliki's government rich, but I still don't believe we'll let it go on.

  4. I never hear about Iraqi oil production, but Debka was reporting on the oil smuggling months ago. So what's the American cut?

  5. I'll bet it's Cheney, and HALLIBURTON!

  6. desert rat wrote:

    In the US on it's Southern Frontier the Bush Administration wants Mexico to stop the flow north across the Border. It does not see the US Government as having any responsibility with upwards of 5,000 infiltrators per day crossing the desert frontier.

    In other words, the US expects Mexico to construct a Berlin Wall to keep their own citizens IN, while refusing to even pay for a fence 700 miles long to keep illegals OUT.

  7. that picture looks like Hoss Cartwright after a three week meth run.

  8. Al Sadr's so tuff, i'd like to see him deal with THIS.

  9. Where are the comedic stylings of habu and his multiple shizoidisms?

  10. I think he and Allen had a duel; and, they both lost.

  11. Habu and Allen were fighting to probe the depths of resonable discourse. They were exploring new territory. I always try and attack the message, although I fell off the edge with Peter boston, whoever and wherever he is.