“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, November 29, 2006

Bush, on Iraq Civil War: “all kinds of speculation.”

Yesterday at a news conference with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, Presdent Bush, characterized talk of civil war in Iraq as “all kinds of speculation.” He said he would press the Iraqi prime minister to lay out a strategy for stopping the killings. Why is Bush reluctant to us the words "civil war?"

That is obvious. A civil war would require the US to take a side or to intervene to stop it. The first choice of picking a side presents a basic dilemma. Which side would the US prefer to win? The second option is not possible at a price we would be willing to pay. How did we arrive here?

Within Iraq, the US leaned toward support for the Shiites as they suffered the most under Saddam. This carried over after the intervention with the dismantling of the Sunni controlled bureaucracy. That decision coincided with a break down in law and order and the rise of the Madi Army under al Sadir. The US underestimated Sadir, and instead chose to focus on Al Qaeda as the source of Iraqi instability.

Yesterday, President Bush still insisted there was no civil war and that Al Qaeda was behind the unrest.

Discussing his next stop in Jordan to meet with Mr. Maliki, Bush said,“My questions to him will be: ‘What do we need to do to succeed? What is your strategy in dealing with the sectarian violence?’ ” ... “I will assure him that we will continue to pursue Al Qaeda to make sure that they do not establish a safe haven in Iraq.”

Is it any wonder that Bush has lost, and continues to lose the confidence of those many conservatives and Republicans who supported and voted for him in the past?

Are we expected to participate in a denial of the obvious in order to protect our status and not be called Rinos (Republicans In Name Only) by dopes like Sean Hannity? Does looking at painful truths and facts make one guilty of having BDS (Bush Deranged Syndrome)? I have no way of knowing where this thing in Iraq is going. I can only speculate that at this time it does not look good, but if President Bush expects a Democratic Congress and a reluctant citizenry to support the continued Iraqi war, he had better base it on something other than wishful thinking and denial of the obvious.

Note: This post and the previous by my partner Whit are obviously opposing points of view. We collaborate with the administration of this blog but go our own ways in expression of belief. That is how it should be. You decide with which you agree or disagree. All expressed positions are welcome here for discussion.


  1. Deuce,

    This little number came straight from the White House, where there is derangement, to be sure. It probably has nothing new to you, but take a gander. In case he missed it, Mr. Maliki is toast.

    Imagine the White House leaking to the infamous NYT

  2. "If the military, White House, and State Department continue to avoid the word 'failure,' how can you bring about a third stage?" Gingrich said.

    Another RINO

  3. I think some strong doses of NACL are in order.

    First Newt: I admire the man but he's a politician in a presidential campaign. What he's really telling us is that he'll run "away" from Bush. These guys don't get to the top without a certain amount of cold calculation. The result of Newt's calculations are clear. I didn't read the entire article, does he offer any suggestions? I kinda doubt it.

    Bush won't say its a civil war because that's been set up as a trip wire by the disloyal opposition. We could see footage of guys in grey and blue having at each other with muzzle loaders and he won't make this admission. It's not denial, its politics. Perhaps not the best politics, but politics all the same.

    I don't think Maliki is up to this task and the challenge now is finding a way to shoulder him aside so that Iraq can move forward. I have to believe that the Iraqi constitution provides some double secret probation clause that could be employed. A declaration of martial law is also possible.

    The picture is see is this: The shia run a gamut from killers supported by Iran to revenge seekers to plain old mobsters. The sunni run a gamut from ba athists rejectionists to insurgents to Al Qaeda sympathizers to plain old mobsters.

    I understand shia blood lust. The sunnis have basically laid the ground work for their own slaughter. What I am concerned about is the fueling of this by Iran beyond the bloodletting that seems de rigeur in the ME.

    Anyone care to guess why Lebannon has fallen of the front pages lately? Is Nasrallah taking a self imposed hudna?

    Another issue that many people miss is the limits of the US military. Quelling the violence has always meant killing and incarcerating massive numbers of men. We;ve been unwilling to do that. During the Fallujah siege the Sunnis complained that we'd become an army of occupation. Well that's clearly not the case now and the net result is some of the bad guys of every sectarian stripe that should be in prison are on the streets. The sunnis didn't want an army of occupation and now they have an angry mob of shia, reacting strongly to the AQIZ efforts at triggering a civil war. They sowed, now they must reap.

    One of Bush's underlying themes is correct though. Killing Al Q assholes in Iraq is still a good, good thing.

    What if we let the iraqis slug it out, disconnect Sadr and Badr corp from the Iranian feeder nipple and continue to hunt down and kill Al Q?

    Anybody got any objections to that approach?

  4. Whit, sardonic irony made me do it.

  5. Hopefully we take him out while he is in a mosque.

  6. Come on, guys! Look at your history!

    It's obvious the "ole' South Rebels" were just an insurgency! : )
    How big does it have to be before the term "Civil War" is applied?

    Exactly right, Deuce. Bush would have to choose Shiite or Sunni, which means Iran finally would become the focus it should be and should have been!

  7. Come on, guys.
    The President and Mr Maliki will meet, they'll talk and have a joint communique at the end of the meeting.

    Mr Maliki will tell Mr Bsuh that the Sunni Insurgents back by aQ represent the real porblem in Iraq. That Mr al-Sadr represents the people, which he does.

    Today on FOX they announced tha aQ had training bases in and around Baghdad, as well as in Anbar. Didn't I read of cascading failures, lately?

    If Democracy is the way to the means, which is oxymoronic, but US Policy then Mr Maliki and Mr al-Sadr are the future of Iraq.
    Get use to the idea. That decision was made years ago, and Mr Bush and his team will stand by it.

    If Mr Maliki is pressured to dump Mr al-Sadr, his Government will fall. Who will replace him is definately an unknown. The assumtion that the replacement will follow US lead is misplaced. More than likely we'd get a new Prime Minister that asks US to leave. As that is the majority position of the people of Iraq.

  8. His replacement, dr, just might be al-Sadr?

  9. Could be, or back to Mr al-Jaafari, or some other name we do not know yet.
    In any case Mr al-Sadr, or in the event of his death, his replacement, will still hold the trump cards, in Iraq.
    They have the people and with them, the votes, creating the largest bloc in a System designed to promote and empower blocs and factions.

    After all, Democracy in Iraq Rules!

    Imagine, if you will, Mr Kofi going to Ottawa to meet Mr Bush, after the GOP lost the midterms, and informing Mr Bush he has to replace his Government Ministers, because the World Community is concerned that the US people have lost faith in his leadership.

    It'd go over like a lead balloon.

    The brothers at "Iraq the Model" still refuse to take up arms to defend themselves, leaving it to US, the Iraqi Government and their local militia to protect them.
    Bet they move to Jordan before much more time goes by.

    War or Retreat, the Model boys will retreat, the al-Sadr faction will choose War against those that bomb their marketplaces.
    Wouldn't you?

  10. We often read of the proportionality of Israel. A loss of life, there must be multiplied by a factor of 50, to equal a similar loss in the US.

    Well in Iraq, that factor is 12.
    So that SINGLE attack, killing 212 or so folk on Thanksgiving, when factored for proportionality, would equal 2,544 KIA in the US. Almost the number killed on 9-11-01. Proportionitly.

    The Iraqi are losing an average of 3,000 people killed each month. Overlay the factor, 12, and the US equivilent would be 36,000 dead per month after month after month.

    The US, with it's Occupation Authorization is responsible for Security, or the lack there of.
    The US volunteered the position, authority and with that, the responsibility.

  11. Mr al-Sadr has withdrawn his 30 Parlimentarians from the Iraqi Parliment.

    Who has the cajones to call for a "No Confidence Vote", now.

    Will it be the SCIRI, the Sunni or will this open window of opportunity for change pass on by?

    Perhaps Mr Maliki will return from Jordan and call for a Vote, himself.

  12. I don't agree that Sadr holds all the cards now. All he really has is an ability to focus violence. Clearly he's not the only one in town that can do that.

    further, the playbook is now clear. What happened in Lebannon last week gets repeated in Iraq this week. The Iranian moves are quite apparent and the fall of this government would actually be a good thing IMHO.

    As I recall in early US history we put a well regarded patriot in the presidency and turned him out after one term. Not everybody is up to the enormous task at hand.

    My concern would be the time between this government's parliamentary vote of no confidence and the formation of a new government.

    Much of what we face now was fomented during the interim between Allawhi and Maliki. That power vacuum was filled by the militias. The transfer of power simply took too long.

    One other question: what's really wrong with engaging Iran in Iraq right now? If Iran wasn't busy in Iraq what else would they be doing? Are Iranian resources unlimited? Can they work in both Lebannon and Iraq while their surrounding neighbors start making moves to counter them?

    I think we should avoid ascribing too much ability to the mullahs and I think we should work hard at probing their weaknesses.

  13. and I agree whit, Sadr should be a dead man. Let sistani rail and moan, he's meddled in the secular world with disastrous results, time for the non clergy to clean house.

  14. Deuce & Whit,

    Whatever the magic, keep it up!

  15. H/T once again to TigerHawk for his link to Andy McCarthy. McCarthy has joined our unhappy band of BDS lepers. With a fine scalpel McCarthy methodically flays the administration. This is not to be missed!

    Can We Talk?

    Should we negotiate with Iran (and Syria)?

    “This is a war of will. If we lose it, the historians will marvel at how mulishly we resisted understanding the one thing we needed to understand in order to win. The enemy.”

    “This may be the biggest disconnect of all time between the American people and a war government.”

    “In the wake of 9/11, the American people did not care about democratizing the Muslim world. Or, for that matter, about the Muslim world in general. They still don’t. They want Islamic terrorists and their state sponsors crushed.”

    Wow, McCarthy, like me, sees no logical connection whatsoever between 9/11 and nation building.

  16. DUBAI (Reuters) - Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Wednesday Iraq had descended into civil war and urged world leaders to accept that "reality".

    Powell's remarks came ahead of a meeting between Bush and Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki in the Jordanian capital to discuss the security developments in Iraq.

    "I would call it a civil war," Powell told a business forum in the United Arab Emirates. "I have been using it (civil war) because I like to face the reality," added Powell.

  17. or as Freidman says today in the NYT:

    "Here is the central truth about Iraq today: This country is so broken it can’t even have a proper civil war.

    There are so many people killing so many other people for so many different reasons — religion, crime, politics — that all the proposals for how to settle this problem seem laughable. It was possible to settle Bosnia’s civil war by turning the country into a loose federation, because the main parties to that conflict were reasonably coherent, with leaders who could cut a deal and deliver their faction.

    But Iraq is in so many little pieces now, divided among warlords, foreign terrorists, gangs, militias, parties, the police and the army, that nobody seems able to deliver anybody. Iraq has entered a stage beyond civil war — it’s gone from breaking apart to breaking down. This is not the Arab Yugoslavia anymore. It’s Hobbes’s jungle.

    Given this, we need to face our real choices in Iraq, which are: 10 months or 10 years. Either we just get out of Iraq in a phased withdrawal over 10 months, and try to stabilize it some other way, or we accept the fact that the only way it will not be a failed state is if we start over and rebuild it from the ground up, which would take 10 years. This would require reinvading Iraq, with at least 150,000 more troops, crushing the Sunni and Shiite militias, controlling borders, and building Iraq’s institutions and political culture from scratch.

    Anyone who tells you that we can just train a few more Iraqi troops and police officers and then slip out in two or three years is either lying or a fool..."

  18. Mr Maliki cancels the meeting scheduled for today and nixs attendence at the State dinner, tonight.

    There is always tomorrow.

  19. ash,

    Sit down! Thanks for the lead.

    While I am not prepared to agree fully with the author, I find his view of a decade spent in occupation on point. If anything, the time frame is probably far too modest.

    As to having 300,000+ troops in theatre for that entire time, I don't believe that necessary. Violence, applied with surgical accuracy, over a matter of months would suffice to set the stage for a much reduced occupation force. Furthermore, if a meddlesome Syria can be factored out of the equation, say, over the next year, the US can then give its undivided attention to the Iraq/Iran front.

    Much food for thought, thanks again.

  20. DR,

    I want to be certain I understand you: did Maliki blow off the President?

  21. DR,

    I just picked up the Maliki story.

    Putting it in the nicest possible way, Mr. Maliki has just pissed on the sacrifices of the American people on behalf of his country.

    Will Mr. Bush have the intestinal fortitude to go before the cameras and tell Mr. Maliki and Mr. al-Sadr to "Bite it"?

  22. Anyone care to watch the presidential cookie crumble?

  23. The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it.

    P.J. O'Rourke

  24. Now I wonder about the timing of the leaked memo. Is Maliki responding to that?

  25. I would call Powell an asshole.
    ...but of course I always have.

  26. skipsailing,
    Iraq the Model's latest post fits in perfectly with the issue at hand.

  27. Buddy,
    So the implication is that the growth of wisdom leads a growth in mammary expectations?

  28. doug,

    Colin - asshole

    You did that on purpose, you dog!

  29. buddy,

    ;-O and ;-D

    Pearls of Wisdom

    Can I have one?

  30. I am soooo ashamed. Just when we start to get some reputable traffic through the Elephant Bar, Buddy has to start with the tits and Doug has to start with the ass.


  32. Oh, pardonnez moi; gentlemen, pray continue--

  33. Just have to pump it until it fires.

    Any odds on whether Maliki heads home tonight, while he still has a home to go to?

    The Marines Col Devlin says Anbar is lost, who'd have guessed that possible.

    The Six Enemy Tribes of Anbar, unmolested per wu wiz's Doctrine of counter insurection. They will see things our way, some day.

    In Ramadi I'll always remember reading of the Marine Captain telling his troopers that they'll get those Insurgent snipers, later.

    Well, Jarhead, tomorrow never comes and neither does later. Sorry.

    Definately up shit creek without a paddle. ash's paste is likely correct, I'd have put it at five years, 42 months ago.
    If we had had a serious Iraqization Program from the get go, we'd be near the "end of the tunnel". Instead we built Forts and infrastructure, never building a secular Iraqi base, within the Iraqi Army.

    Now the sands of time have fallen and there is no will to invest another five or ten years on a project that, if not Regionalized, will never succeed. There is absolutely no WILL to Regionalize the Conflict, never was, not from the time the Authorization was floated. That idea was shot down quicker than that girl of wisdom can pump the action

  34. Come one, come all to the greatest ME medicine show!

    Olmert's not as dumb as we thought he was - he just can't say no

    So...Condi whizzes on Olmert...Olmert whizzes on the IDF...The IDF cannot whiz on the Palis...But Maliki can whiz on the President...and Abdullah carried an umbrella.

  35. I don't get it--Anbar is where the people were--a week ago--said to be rising against the terrorists--WTF?

  36. Seems more and more like US spin doctorship to me, buddy, pure spin.
    We never would arm the other Tribes of Anbar, they were not to be trusted. Then I heard this morning we were talking of abandoning the area to the Iraqi and moving all the US troops to Baghdad.

    So the Six Enemy Tribes of Anbar get a pass. Those tribes that are allied with aQ. So we can harass Mr al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and the other 27 militias in Baghdad.

    Demo-crazy, that's what we've birthed, there in Iraq.

  37. Duncan Hunter wants to move Iraqi troops from peaceful provinces to Baghdad.
    ...but Anbar still festers.

  38. I'm not so sure it's working all that well here in the USA, either. Really, how can we fill the culture pipeline with forty years of garbage and then expect rational policy to emerge from this 'every man a king' atmosphere?

  39. The founding fathers were right, concerning extending the franchise to the entire population.
    We've empowered Mob Rule with legitimacy.

    Had no Federal ever read the Federalist Papers before heading off to Iraq to be Viceroy?

  40. Everything Friedman calls for was doable.
    3 years ago.
    If W had kicked State entirely out of the process, it might have happened.

  41. Well, doug, Mr Maliki wanted Command of the balance of his Army, the 80% of it still under US command, to stabilize Baghdad and Anbar.

    The US Generals did not want to give it to him, it seems. That was what the two of them, Bush & Maliki, were to discuss. Control of the Iraqi Army, or so Mr Maliki's spokesmen have said.

  42. The problem is, mob rule is great, so long as you're with the mob, or it with you.

  43. I'd put W's biggest failings under the categories of No Vetos and No Housecleanings.

  44. Yeah Rat,
    From what I understand, Gen Garner was going to let Iraqis run things long ago.
    Got two weeks to pull it off.
    The short war.

  45. Joost Hiltermann, who follows Iraq for the nonprofit International Crisis Group from Jordan, voiced skepticism that Maliki would crack down on private militias. "He is completely beholden to the Sadrists," he said. "The notion that he could confront the power of the militias that gave him power is absurd."

    Seems I've written that, going on almost a year now. But the real "kick in the balls" is the next quote from this WaPo aricle.
    Another Federalist Papers reference, even if the newspaperman did not know it.

    "There is a problem with saying that we need to get the Iraqis to take charge of the situation," said Eliot A. Cohen, a professor of military strategy at Johns Hopkins University. "By virtue of the kind of government we helped create -- particularly one based on proportional representation -- and because the institutions of the Iraqi state are weak, even if we can get him to promise, we cannot reasonably expect him to deliver much."

  46. buddy,

    re: WTF

    For a journey with no destination, any direction will do.

  47. Meanwhile, in that Mohammedan Country that has nuclear weapons, Bill Roggio reports two things:

    1.) He needs money for his Iraq embed project and...

    2.)Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders confident; the NWFP is becoming a Taliban training and recruiting grounds; Pakistan tells NATO to appease the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    Pakistan continues its slide into darkness as the government attempts to appeases the Taliban. While the Chingai al-Qaeda training camp air stike, which killed 80 Taliban, gave some hope that the Pakistani government may change its policy of appeasement to the Taliban, the follow up suicide bombing at the Dargai Army base, which killed 45 recruits, sent a message to the Pakistani government and military. Pakistan has ceased to aggressively or passively fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the tribal areas, essentially ceding the region to the terrorists.

  48. Mr. Rumsfeld stated a truth when he opined, "You go to war with the army you have." Equally true, it may be said, "You never emerge from a war with the army you had." Think for a minute: how many generals did Mr. Lincoln send into early retirement over the course of his stewardship? Can anyone here name a single termination by Mr. Bush? There is something pathological about that.

  49. trish,

    When, in the entire history of the world, did the vanquished get to set the rules? The process was and is fundamentally nuts!

    OK, mistakes were made. So, let's make some more if necessary. Only this time let's think exclusively about American strategic interests. What do we want? What must be done to get the desired ends? Can we and will we make the tough choices to win?

  50. The Iraqi were never vanquished, allen, they were "Liberated".

    All the difference in the World.

  51. Bremer's book is a must read for those who wish to understand the current situation.

    First and foremost Bremer was a diplomat and his book reflects his mind set. In a way I feel badly for him. he worked like a dog in some tough conditions and the net result, right now, looks awful.

    If we're going to pile on here my read on the genesis of the current situation is based on a simple mistake: giving too much heed to the vocal critics too early in the game. The anti war bigots were out in full force all over the world and the decisions that were made were designed to appease them, not resolve the Iraq issue.

    The entire mindset of turning this over to the Iraqis was, in retrospect completely wrong. Many of the sunni assholes that were trying to kill us were represented in B-dad. Bremers little governing council with its various big mouth arab blowhards make life a misery for us.

    When the sunni representatives started calling Americans and army of occupation, we should have demonstrated what occupation means. Instead we took an approach that showed forebearance which these aggressive men took as weakness.

    An army of occupation would have arrrested hundreds of thousands without much concern for due process. Saddam, when found would be summarily executed and Sadr would live long enough to walk to the gallows.

    The disparity between western sensitivities and arab macho was simply too great. We worried about how the world would respond to abu grahb. Why? What are the snots in germany going to do, stop selling us cars?

    so we chose to hand this over to people who are clearly incapable of making it work. Its my guess that this government will collapse, probably within the next few days and we in America will be on the receiving end of another major attack.

    Perhaps we'd do well to emulate the Russians who have slaughtered the muslims with a vengeance and are now tight allies with a prominent Islamic republic.

    My very great fear is that we will not overcome our denial as a culture until all the half measures are exhausted and one of our cities lies in ruin.

    Even then the recriminiations from the peace weenies will be endless. As buddy so aptly asks: what can you expect after 40 years of bullshit beamed at us from every angle?

    OK, I'm done now. I'll be back to good old Mr Optimism shortly.

  52. what, trish, you say Al Caida is Al Bundy?

  53. Very good post-crash analysis of the paralysis, skipsailing.

  54. couldn't've done it without the NYT, trish.

  55. and what about Durbin in the senate well, calling the army "nazis"?

  56. and Newsweek's Gitmo Toilet Koran?

    Out and out lies, lies, lies.

  57. So much disrespect for the Rules, did those US troopers have.
    Of all the photos that I saw, the most telling was of a placard on the wall.

    No Cameras allowed.
    Photos strictly forbidden.

    No one in the Chain of Command enforced the Rule. The US suffered greatly. The problem went far higher than the Corporals and a PFCs, although those responsible for the lack of disipline in that facility, they moved on to other assignments.

  58. The fact that those photos even existed is the fault of the facility Commander, not the NYTimes.

    They ran a loose ship, as evidenced by the results.

  59. Well, that CO was singularly unimpressive, in the few interviews I saw of her. She was not of military frame of mind--more like a civilian manager, and a "temp" at that.

  60. November 29, 2006 -- Billionaire insurance titan Maurice "Hank" Greenberg has begun buying huge blocks of New York Times stock to break the Sulzberger family's stranglehold on the media empire, The Post has learned.

    Sources confirmed that the famously combative Greenberg has been buying hundreds of thousands of Times shares, but did not disclose the exact number or the size of the stake he wants to own.

    Greenberg has both the assets - Forbes estimated his net worth at $3.2 billion - and the temperament to jump into a fight over the future of the stumbling newspaper giant.

    A major stock position would put Greenberg in league with already angry Times' shareholders, such as Morgan Stanley Investment Management, to battle the board over whether the founding Ochs-Sulzberger family should hold a powerful class of stock that accounts for a majority of the voting power at the company.

  61. As I understand events, President Maliki may meet with Bush tomorrow. Bush will appear and grovel dutifully. Disgraceful. The President of the United States, stood up by to fat Iraqi turds.

  62. trish and rat,

    With all due respect and appreciating where you are coming from retrospectively, the Iraqi armed forces were defeated during three weeks in March. The President of Iraq and his entire entourage fled before the American advance. In fact, the progeny of said president were killed and Saddam will hang.

  63. Well there you go, buddy, our quality Military at work. Not warriors nor even adequate managers, paper pushing Reservist desk pilots.

    I do recall, from my Military experience, that the "Best and the Brightest" of the enlisted folk got out as soon as they could.

    Those that stayed, in the mid '80s are all "senior" now. Little wonder we're all screwed up, if the enlisted boys that reupped in my day are Command Sergeant Majors, today and the LTs, are now Generals.

  64. trish,

    re: tough choices

    Trish, I was hoping to start a conversation speaking to that issue. I will begin by asking whether Iraq can ever be stabilized to the advantage of the US without first neutralizing Iran and Syria? While I understand many do not share my view that the US must maintain a robust ground presence in Iraq indefinitely to guarantee transit through the Strait and the unimpeded flow of petroleum products, I would appreciate alternative scenarios able to attain the same end.

  65. I was saying it at the time, allen, or damned close to it, in real time.

    Go back and read Mr Bush's statements, you are right, the War was against Saddam and his sons, not Iraq or Iraqis. They were liberated from a tyrant, not the enablers of tyranny.

    Whether they lived in Basra or Fallujah. Empowered by Liberty.

    Read the Authorization for Use of Force. It was Saddam, not Iraq we went to War against.

  66. Hank Greenberg is solid gold. I think he's a decorated WWII/Pacific combat veteran (IIRC), and the unfair shit he has gotten from DC insurance-regulators has made the old man angry. If he got hold of NYT it could change the world.

  67. I second buddy on skip's anaysis.

  68. buddy larsen,

    re: She was not of military frame of mind

    Buddy! What then must be said about the frame of mind of the board that promoted her to Brigadier.

    Hell's bells, she would appear in Hustler if she thought it would get her another fifteen minutes of "fame". She would do a twosome with Sheehan for another ten minutes.

    But again, Buddy, how in the name of the Almighty did this ... gain entrance, much less rank, in the USA?

    Sorry buddy and trish. The humiliation of the United States at the hands of Maliki and al-Sadr have my blood pressure vaporizing the mercury.

  69. Trish, I completely disagree. The Iraqis themselves were quite inured to much, much worse depravity in that very same building.

    What they did was use our own sense of guilt against us. The arabs didn't much care about panties on the head, they're glad they still have a head. But our enemies knew that we'd respond to any damage to our international standing.

    My position remains: the russians don't give a good goddamn what the world thinks of the way they mangled chechnaya. Grozny's a ruin and Iran relies on Putin to help in the UN.

    We weaken ourselves with our overbearing concern about the international community. As I said earlier, what would the Germans do, stop selling us cars? The french? the finns? Why do we care? But we do and so we are open to manipulation. When we get over our guilt we'll get this done.

    allen, I see a realpolitik approach that simply pits the sunnis against the shias against kurds against the turks and on and on and on.

    the only problem with this approach long term, well I have two problems. First it is deeply immoral. Next, how to keep nukes off the table.

    Can Iraq be stabilized without Iran and Syria?

    Hmmm, yes and no.

    yes, if we are patient enough to let Iran spend it's people's money fighting us in B-dad instead of providing basic services.

    No, if we have a time line mentality.

    Ledeen would say, no. No peace is possible as long as the mullahs rule Iran. I think that he's ultimately right. The question is how best to get from here to there.

    Can Iraq become a slow bleed for Iran? Can Lebannon become a slow bleed for syria?

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

  71. Now I like to read Mr Roggio and often quote him. I will again, from whit's link.

    '... Al-Qaeda in Iraq has become far more effective in Anbar and Iraq because it replaced Zarqawi, who was alienating the Sunnis, with Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who is an effective leader and has close connections to al-Qaeda Command (specifically Ayman al-Zawahiri). The Coalition would do well to eliminate al-Masri and his senior leadership.

    Now this has occurred with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza.
    Rest assured that Mr al-Sadr is not the brightest bulb in the Mahdi bunch, but had his fathers name, to start.

    Now, if al-Sadr is whacked, by US, the next generation of Mahdi Leadership, will be, like aQ's much better.

  72. DR,

    Hey, I really am not trying to be combative and, as you know, I take your point. I am simply trying to salvage some sense of honor from this cluster. Our kids deserve that.

    This slap to the face of my country by a two-bit Shi'a whore and the docility of Bush have me ready to blow a gasket.

  73. Allen, please!
    Just admit it:
    It's that fantasy of the Brigadier and Sheehan getting it on that has your blood pressure rising.
    Obsessions are obvious to the observer.

  74. Re: Iraq.

    Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, are interrelated. One way to tackle the problem, is to allow the Kurds a new border at the expense of the Iran and Syria.

  75. skipsailing,

    Thanks for your thoughtful response.

  76. If rufus was still around, givin odds, wonder what he'd bet that Maliki skips town before the meeting, tomorrow?

  77. As if mine wasn't "thoughtful."

  78. doug,

    Gag me with a Buick! The picture you conjure brings to mind chemical fire retardant.

  79. Ruf would be betting on SuperGeorge pulling a SuperRoboMilitary Rabbit out of a hat to make it all go away.

  80. Mat,

    I'm with you on the use of the Kurds. How do you think the Turks would take that? How much territory and where are you talking about in Syria?

  81. doug,

    When I think of you, thoughtful first comes to mind.

  82. Trish,
    You do know alot:
    Got any theories about how that gal made Brigadier?

  83. Allen,

    How much territory and how far into Syria? All the way to Aleppo.

    Sell the Kurds anti tank and anti aircraft weapons, and let out the dogs of war

  84. Condi says we gotta get a few dozen UN Resolutions first Mat.

  85. No, whit, only that stomping on individual roaches will never clear the building of the vermin infestation.

    Kill 'em all, or leave 'em alone.
    Half measures only improve the roaches DNA.

  86. Spray just the red hornets near the buildings for about 20 years, and you'll start noticing every new crop is a little bigger, meaner, and tougher.

  87. Interesting idea that you make the replacements smarter by culling the existing leadership. How do you deal with that?

  88. Doug,

    It's a win win. Kurdish oil delivered to a Mediterranean port. Syria and Iran split in half. A paid contract for 10,000 Javelin CLUs, and they get to be operationally tested. What's not to like?

  89. mat,

    Hot damn! Now you're cookin with gas. Did you see the map of Lebanon I linked last night?

  90. Mat,

    GIVE the Kurds whatever they need to hold their own against the Turks.

  91. By dicarding the Post Modern theory of War, duece.

    Return to modern or pre modern styles of warfare, eliminate the breeding stock across the board.

    Have not heard much from American Indigs, lately, have we?
    Their "Best and Brightest" died, along with the second and third tier warriors and leaders.

    What was left, submitted to reality.

  92. DR,

    re: Half measures only improve the roaches DNA.

    You stealing larsen's thunder?

  93. It is the problem that effects Europe today, the residual effect of losing the "best stock" in WWI, and then again in WWII.

    Only the slackers survived to breed, enmass.

  94. Thought I said it first, allen, but if I'm stealin' from buddy, it's just cause doug is broke after the earthquake.

    I hear they are building new Polo fields in Hawaii, doug. Maybe I'll get to come visit.
    Bring a couple of good AZ horses out there to the Islands to play and sell.

  95. Don't get no better than this

    A lawyer the FBI wrongly arrested after the 2004 Madrid terrorist bombings because of a misidentified fingerprint has settled part of his lawsuit against the U.S. government for $2 million.
    Brandon Mayfield, who was detained for two weeks in 2004, maintained that he was arrested because of his Muslim faith.

    "Not only does my detention as a material witness in the Madrid bombing underscore the fallacy that fingerprint identification is reliable, I hope the public will remember that the U.S. government also targeted me and my family because of our Muslim religion," he said in a statement Wednesday.

    The FBI says it is proud of it's work product in the case, outside of the fingerprint foul up, of course.

  96. Killing the "Evil doers" in ones and twos will not get it done.

    Kill enough of them to debilitate or eradicate their organization or leave them alone.

    Kill tens or hundreds of thousands of them as required.

    So debate if the benefits are worth the costs and come to a decision.
    War or Retreat.

  97. Allen,

    What are you, a god damn Commie? You SELL weapons. You GIVE political cover, if it favors your interests.

  98. trish, logic would contend that it's a bell-curve. We're maybe on the crappy front side, re the guerrillas.

    Allen, rat said it foist, i wuz amplifying his point. That 5 o'clock cocktail nailed ya, didn't it?

  99. mat, allen, y'all are forgetting that Turkey is a Nato ally, whom we are currently lobbying to beef up the Taliban war. We're already blind-eyeing PKK--let's be keerful, here, hey?

  100. Bud
    6:20 PM, November 29, 2006
    Mr. DeNile rides again:
    EVERYBODY know it's breedin with them WASPS comin up from the border thats causin all the violent behavior!

  101. You think the FRONTSIDE of a GoRilla is Crappy!

  102. okay, doug, tell me about the *backside* of a Gorilla, then--

  103. Timetest...
    I'm bettin that was a thread stopper, or at least threadus interruptus.

  104. Well, you sure put a damper on the discussion, Larsen!

  105. Buddy,

    I don't know about that. I think we will do very well if we were to sanction Turkey for any disproportionate response. :)

  106. Doug said...

    threadus interruptus.


  107. This will REALLY Bouy your Boat:
    AND ANOTHER THING . . . Baker's Folly: According to the New York Sun: "An expert adviser to the Baker-Hamilton commission expects the 10-person panel to recommend that the Bush administration pressure Israel to make concessions in a gambit to entice Syria and . . . Go

  108. Baker is Pat Buchanan in a $3,000 suit.

  109. Anyway, the Kurds could make it very expensive for Iran, Syria, Turkey, to keep those territories. I don't see how that's to our disadvantage.

  110. DR wrote:

    "So debate if the benefits are worth the costs and come to a decision.
    War or Retreat. "

    and the answer to that question is becoming painfully obvious to most. Retreat!

  111. Ash, riddle: How far can you walk into a forest?

  112. Mat,

    This map of Lebanon can be greatly enlarged, although it may take several attempts.


  113. buddy, do you really think it is possible to not retreat, to muster the forces necessary to dominate the region?

  114. yep--if we had the will. That's what the soldiers are saying, in the main.

    But, if I were convinced that nothing all that important is at stake, then such an effort would be foolish.

    So, really, the question should be, do we have enough at stake to justify a greater, or longer-term, commitment?

    The riddle answer is "halfway, because after that you're walking out of the forest".

  115. Half the journey has been 'out', but the whole journey has seemed to be further and further 'in'.

    But you never know that until the end.

    I know--dumb story. But, it's content!

  116. will is one part of the equation and the politics of it, the national sentiment, given the reaction to Abu Gharib and all, is definitely no, we do not have the will to wage the type of war required to dominate the region with our military. There is no way the US public, especially in the face of the international outcry that would ensue, has the will to reinstate the draft (or enlist in numbers great enough) to wage a brutal war of occupation in a number of countries in the middle east without the rallying cry used throughout our past wars of 'freedom and democracy'. So, the answer is no, the will does not currently exist.

    As far as 'enough of a stake',well, no there isn't enough of that at stake to rally the will either. Very few will undertake such a brutal war for oil and the fear of the Islamic hordes forcing US to submit to their will is absurd to posit as an existential threat to our existence.

    Retreat unless you can demonstrate otherwise.

  117. buddy,

    Ash might benefit from a review of your "demoralization" link at the BC.

    No, Ash, it is not a trick. There are a limited number of options available to the West. Retreat will prove disasterous in ways the link will make crystal clear.

  118. ahhh, the secret link with all the answer. Where art thou such a link to clarity?

  119. Not for oil, for food.

    Your faraway ancestors didn't fight for their side of the river, they fought for the future food that the land would produce.

    You're using the word "brutal" as a weapon. No fair. There aren't any easy answers, Ash. The globe is finally coming out of a condition of want and scarcity, and to hold the progress made, the international system of commerce must be defended.

    I could do the same to your argument as you do to mine, and ask you why you want to condemn the emerging world to fall back into hopelessness.

    What have you got against poor people who are trying to rise above life on the very edge of existence, Ash?

  120. Mat,

    re: Am I a Communist?

    According to Professor C4, all Jews are Communists or fellow travelers.

  121. I have nothing against the poor but I do not think that using the military to invade and occupy is an effective means of relieving poverty.

    I use the word 'brutal' because that seems to be the consensus view of what war entails. In other words, we have not properly waged war in our Iraq adventure, a few cities need be fried, maybe a fallujah on all cities with resistence. This is what I refer to when I say the American public lacks the will to wage war of this nature, the stake just aren't that high. We have engaged in war by choice and we still can exit by choice. Pretty luxurious position as the history of wars would suggest.

  122. Ash, vastly oversimplified, our business relations with OPEC causes most petrodollars to recycle through the USA financial mkts. This helps keep our interest rates low enough that we can grow, provide jobs, throw off enormous charitable contributions, fund an enormous and generous safety net for our most vulnerable citizens, and afford to be the world's policeman--which then protects and defends the international sea lanes and trade system which is growing the global economy at 4 or 5%, and lifting a couple billion people out of poverty.

    Do you think we have no enemy, or that we do, but that enemy does not know that OPEC is the fuel that operates the system? Do you understand how close the worst, and most capable of our enemies, near and far, proximate and underlying, are to the levers of OPEC operations? Closer to home, do you have any idea what will happen to your grocery store shelves if we run into major extortion, blackmail, or shut-off of OPEC oil? And what about the doubling of oil prices that the jihad wants to effect, what about all that revenue put toward war against a weakened west?

    Do you ever look an inch beyond the next 5 minutes of your emotions?

  123. Trish,
    Would appreciate your comments on Chester's TCS post and Westhawks latest.
    I'd give Chester's a Snowball's chance.

  124. That is interesting that Maliki may just ask us to leave. Can we be that lucky?

  125. Who ever said anyhing about occupying?
    That is a construct out of thin air. It has very little at all to do with the discussion.

    If Ramadi was destroyed, there would be no need to occupy it.
    Same with any number of towns or cities. Abandon the Powell Pottery Barn Policy. Commence with "We broke it, have fun.

    Sherman marched through Georgia to the Sea, he did not inhabit it.
    The Pueblos of the American West, no gringo moved into those.

    The US has no use for Ramadi, if those that live there do, then they play by the rules or they die.

    If what we wish to protect is not worth the lives of 100,000 Arabs, it's not worth the life of one GI.

    Now, ash, you may not think that Freedom from Religion, freedom of speach, freedom of movement, freedom from tyrany is worth 100,000 lives. I value it more than 20 million lives or more.

    Stalin killed well over 20 million people in an attempt to enslave the World. I'd kill 20 million to maintain the freedoms we enjoy.

    You may think that price to high.
    I do not.
    But many of my fellow citizens agree with you, today, so I'll go along with the majority, whatever they decide. But believe me, when whatever it is that you hold dearest, is about to be destroyed, you'll see the light.
    Or not.

    Me, I've got more than a few options for when things go south, most folk don't.

  126. I've been amazed and dismayed since day 1 at BC by all the comments showing no appreciation whatsoever of DR's perspective.
    Blinded by some notion of humanity and our present state of moral purity that would prevent us from ever taking the decisive actions we have repeatedly taken in the past to preserve our freedoms.

    Feminized Nation.

  127. ...then there was the famous torture post which I put in moonbat territory.
    Better dead than mean.

  128. Go native, that may have worked three years ago, I championed the idea. But now, snowball is right.

  129. It's got to be a simple failure of the imagination--a result of long safety and abundance--but it is inexcusable due to the great volumes of recent evidence of what happens when the system order law fails and we have to adapt to a chaotic subsystem.

    These adaptations bear the names of wars and depressions, and too many of us apparently see them as malign events that seem to occur from out of nowhere, or as a result of comets, maybe, or spells and curses, or alien visitations from outer space.

    As anything but failures of our own actions.

  130. This is the most ridiculous thing that has come up recently imo:

    "Bush administration officials consider Mr. Sadr to be one of the most vexing problems facing Mr. Maliki. Though American commanders have been urging the prime minister to turn against Mr. Sadr and his militia, Mr. Maliki has found it impossible to betray his Shiite compatriot. That task grows exponentially more difficult each time a car bombing by Sunni Arabs wipes out dozens of Shiites in a marketplace or mosque, spurring the Shiites to turn to the Sadr militia, called the Mahdi Army, for revenge and protection."
    After WE didn't do it for 3 years,
    HE should!

  131. DR wrote:

    "But believe me, when whatever it is that you hold dearest, is about to be destroyed, you'll see the light."

    Sure, but we are in no way close to that point. Ironically the actions we've taken in Iraq have moved us closer to that which you fear so. Taking out whole cities at at time won't lessen the threat you fear either, it would increase it. Ramadi pooof, Baghdad pooof Pakis still have nukes (NK, India ect. do to) and hordes of seethingly angry folks will still exist and just one can create 'terror' - no nuke required. No DR, what you fear can not be slain by ever increasing force.

    Buddy, oil is the linchpin and we should address that issue because it will only continue to get worse no matter how many countries we subvert to supply our insatiable appetite. We've got to address our appetite, one easy way is to just let it run out and the price to rise - free mkts and all that but to fight to take it...naw.

  132. The clue to answer that, trish, for me, is in the language. IOW, the dialectical.

    "Fragile" is the word describing a thing under threat.

    Most fragile things, like beauty, love, a rose, childhood innocence, liberty, what-not, are beautiful partly because they are fragile.

    And "evil" is the word for the negating power that makes the reciprocal: that things are fragile partly because they are beautiful.

    There's no reason that something should be fragile because it is beautiful, but there it is, because there is evil.

    20 million dead, for truth and beauty? What a choice. But, what if you have no choice but to choose? If we can't choose, we'll be Muslim soon enough, praying in chanting rows 5 times a day under giant half-turnips.

  133. "one easy way"
    Yeah, Bud:
    Let's take THAT easy way out!

  134. Ash, of course has "options" for living in the USA w/o oil!

  135. Wait'll the Taliban take over the museums.

  136. what if it's really true, Ash, that the choice being forced upon us--or our kids--is a decision box with any "either-or" combination of "kill", "be killed", "convert" & "be converted"?

  137. Maybe that's the trick--to have a soft top, and be a convertible.

  138. I really liked that '62 Chevy ragtop, mainly because I had a very eventful youth in one.

  139. buddy, we need to base our actions on more then "what if". If you really believe that we are at serious risk of being forced to convert and the nation and its institutions are at risk of defeat you better build a strong case for it. I certainly feel little pressure, much less a knife at my throat or bombs going off all around me compelling me toward Islam.

  140. Got to "read sign", Ash, if you want to have time to help steer events.

    Actually, I guess everybody steers events, one way or the other.