“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."

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Abizaid in Washington
"We can't do it." We might as well as admit it, Murtha was right. We blew it and according to the General, we only have four to six months before the situation is completely out of hand. I think I hear old Don Meredith practicing, "turn out the lights, the party's over."

The Army's 3rd Infantry Division, which helped lead the charge to Baghdad at the outset of the war, will return next year and become the first Army division to serve three tours in Iraq.

More than 3 1/2 years into the war, the Army and Marine Corps are straining to keep a steady flow of combat and support forces to Iraq while giving the troops sufficient time between deployments for rest and retraining.

Both services are far short of their goal of providing two years between deployments; the 3rd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry, for example, will have spent barely more than 12 months at home when it returns next year. The same is true for the division's 1st Brigade, which officials have said is scheduled to deploy again in January.

If we can't control this kind of brutality, we may as well pack it up and leave. We are not doing anyone any good.
A suicide bomber in a minivan lured day laborers to his vehicle with promises of a job Sunday morning then blew it up, killing 22 people and wounding 44 in the mainly Shiite southern city of Hillah, police said.

Crying and screaming Shiite women searched the scene for their sons. Some blamed Sunni Arab insurgents for the attack. Others said Hillah's police do not provide poor people such as day laborers with adequate security.

Setting the Stage for the Announcement
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who advised Bush on the Iraq war, said military victory is no longer possible and joined calls for the U.S. government to seek help from Iraq's regional neighbors_ including Iran.

"If you mean, by 'military victory,' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he said on the BBC's Sunday AM program.

Verily, verily, the hand is writing on the wall.

5:25 This is the handwriting that was inscribed: 'MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.'
5:26 This is the interpretation of the matter: 'MENE' (counted) - God has counted the years of your kingship and terminated it. 'TEKEL' (weighed) - you have been weighed in the scales and found wanting. 'PERES' (broken up) - your kingdom has been broken and given to Media and Persia.


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

  2. Mr Baker, Mr Biden and now Mr K.

    How special. The 41 Team plus the K miester. Deal with Iran and Syria, all we need is set the timetable, and they'll "start" to negotiate. All they have to do is stop enriching uranium.

    The the Talks can start.

    Even trade?

  3. I can't believe any of this. Iraq impasse and now the humiliation of Baker and Kissinger "saving the day" along with Iran? Has to be an alt universe glitch-phasing into this one for a short, horrible time.

  4. This is interesting. Aljazeera has this on their sit. Read the last line for insult upon injury!

    Syria seeks US pullout timetable

    Setting a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq would reduce violence, Walid Moallem, the Syrian foreign minister, has said.

    Moallem, on the first official Syrian visit to Iraq since 1982, and his Iraqi counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, said on Sunday in Baghdad they had discussed restoring diplomatic relations between the two nations.

    "We believe that a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq will help in reducing violence and preserving security," Moallem said.

    He also called on Iraqis to put aside sectarian and ethnic divisions and to end the violence that is ravaging the country.

    Moallem said: "We are exerting all our efforts and understand that Iraq's security is part of our security. We will co-operate and we have specific ideas to discuss with the brothers in Iraq in order to set up this co-operation."

    He also promised to co-operate with Iraqi authorities as they struggle to control the fighting.

    "Syria 's renews its condemnation of all acts of terrorism that are occurring in Iraq and are harming the Iraqi people. We call you to cling to your unity," he said.

    Moallem also countered US and Iraqi complaints about poor control of the long border between Iraq and Syria , saying that Washington was unable to control is border with Mexico and had resorted to constructing a wall.

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  6. Fox News just carried a story by Amy Kellogg reporting on that hundreds of Iranians have had sex change operations which are permitted in that country.

  7. Moallem also countered US and Iraqi complaints about poor control of the long border between Iraq and Syria , saying that Washington was unable to control is border with Mexico and had resorted to constructing a wall.

    Is this the last word on it? The representations of our GWOT pursuits are vulnerable to the first antithesis leveled at our ideas. Bush is a terrible president in that he can't fire right back, and speak above the rhetoric, the discourse and the dialectical materialism.

    I liked Rumsfeld because he seemed to attack those antitheses; certainly John Bolton's value in this "war of ideas" area is top-notch. His heuristics never deal in the muck; they presume theoretical value in international regimes, but stick it to the existing ones, saying they willingly and plainly fall short, evinced by their very proclamations. Its great, but its not nearly enough.

    So who else? As much as the blogosphere likes to fancy itself, it does not control the airwaves.

    The "next attack" theme is one that seems to solve this whole "mobilization" of spirit problem, as we'll have all the determination of a Keyser Soze, and won't be able to understand what it was that kept us Wilsonian for so long.

    You all do a great job of informing the like-minded but less informed. But how many people here use material here in the outside world? I've gotten in a few arguments, and know I've benefited leaps and bounds from what I've learned from dozens of minds at the BC and the EB. But each time they grow acrimonious and generally destructive. I've lost friends over this stuff.

    Do I just start building a still and work on navigation by starlight and marksmanship?

  8. Do Not build the still first, is my (hic) advish

  9. ppab,

    Don't listen to Buddy. The still's a good idea, since your knowing is too rarefied to be easily shared with a rabble not hooked on politix. You're a better man than I for trying, though :)

    I just harvested my kiwi and will ferment it for the end days to come. The worst of it will be when my bicycle generator can no longer power the PC when I'm outta juice.

  10. whit thumped:

    "...your kingdom has been broken and given to Media and Persia.

    You mean Main Stream Media and Iran.

  11. BBC Profile, Alexander Litvenenko

    It's no wonder they poisoned him. He had to have known his life was going to be a short one.

  12. One man's Mede is another man's Persian

  13. Defrocked Sister said:

    Whit thumped

    chuckle, chuckle.

  14. I think that came out wrong -

    but in a war of ideas, persuasion is pretty important, no? If you can't persuade someone, what do you do? Sometimes you just can't regardless of the "rarity" of the reasoning one's using.

    If we can't use persuasion, all i can think of next is the "offer he/she can't refuse" and that seems to be the one asset the West is terrified to deploy and impose on the various "rabble" we face abroad.

    The bicycle generator sounds like a good investment tho - keep up the aerobic activity cuz you can't go for a job on account of the fallout.

  15. whit said:

    Fox News just carried a story by Amy Kellogg reporting on that hundreds of Iranians have had sex change operations which are permitted in that country.

    Maybe the Imans will order a traditional clitorectomy for them as soon as they get fitted out in their new burquas, which I guess would be like finishing Da Vinci's Adoration of the Magi with a can of spray paint.

  16. Well here you go Mr K's bottom line
    "... "I think we have to redefine the course, but I don't think that the alternative is between military victory, as defined previously, or total withdrawal," he said.

    All hail Mr K, oh so tasty and so few calories.

    Neither politcal options will work. We cannot "Stay the Course" but "Cut and Run" is not viable either.

    Have to train the Iraq, loathe though the US Military has been to do that, professionally.

  17. job=jog

    tho same thing given the fallout, esp if youre presently a commuter...

  18. 2164th wrote:

    This is interesting. Aljazeera has this on their sit. Read the last line for insult upon injury!

    And issues a statement welcoming al-Jizzeera on board, getting with the program, finally!

  19. well I hope the Syrians give us a decent timetable.

  20. Bush to his friend Putin, "Hep me, hep me, hep me! Let me scratch your back while you stab mine":

    “HANOI (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush sought help from China and Russia on Sunday on thwarting the twin nuclear challenges of North Korea and Iran as security dominated his agenda at an Asia Pacific summit…

    The United States and Russia signed an agreement capping five years of work that blessed Russia's long-sought entry into the World Trade Organization. Bush was clearly looking for Putin to return the favor by helping out on Iran.

    White House spokesman Tony Snow said Bush believed he was making progress in persuading Putin to back a strong U.N. resolution on Iran…

    Asked whether the Russians were closer to cooperating after the talks, White House spokesman Tony Snow said he believed so…”

    Tony's been tippling a little vodka, maybe.


  21. Just keep repeating, OJ Simpson, Gary Condit, Playstation3, oh my, oh me.

  22. But according to more than a dozen Marine and Army officers I spoke with, since its launch approximately a year ago, the MiTT program has been dogged by bureaucratic mismanagement, inadequate training, and an astonishing shortage of equipment and supplies -- the latter a predicament I witnessed firsthand with McCollough's team. Many servicemen assigned to the MiTTs are distraught by this state of affairs. One disillusioned lieutenant I spoke with said that despite his intense love of the Marine Corps, he would be leaving the service because of what he has observed during his advisory tour. A frustrated team leader told me, "Thirty years from now, when historians are trying to figure out how we lost this war, they'll look to the MiTT program."
    "Inside the Iraqi forces fiasco" 14 Aug 06

  23. AP is reporting, in return for the Golan, 10 US Carrier Battle Groups, and a Playstation3, Syria will allow USA to stay in North America until Thanksgiving Day, Noon sharp, EST.

  24. Buddy whatever your drinking, pour me glass.

  25. The best/worst part about the mess today is that we’ve totally bypassed the pathetic Europeans on helping us out of a situation they warned us about in all their cynical self-interest and posturing, and went directly, instead, to Axis of Evil members for advice and a hand, to include Kissinger.

  26. Maybe we're gonna switch sides, and be "for" the insurgents after we were "against" the insurgents.

  27. We have to snap out of this trance. Snake charmers are fluting us to hell.

  28. Of course, in the "Brutality" link they buried this in the final two paragraphs:

    The U.S. military announced that five-days of joint operations with Iraqi forces in the region between Tikrit and Kirkuk killed nearly 50 Sunni insurgent fighters and led to the capture of 20. The announcement detailed the discovery of huge arms caches, usable portions of which were turned over to the Iraqi army to equip its soldiers. The military did not say when the operation began or ended nor precisely where it took place.

    U.S. and Iraqi forces also killed 12 insurgents, detained 11 and freed eight Iraqi hostages during raids in Baqouba and two villages near Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, police said. Iraqi forces also killed a local al-Qaida in Iraq leader and his son in a village 60 miles north of Baghdad.

  29. So, let me get this straight. 122 "People" were killed; but, 65 of the "People" were terrorists.

    Meantime the terrorists "blew up" 33 that we are told about and we are assured that they blew up another 24?

    Is that about it?

  30. Well, no, come to think of it, that other 24 could have been the Iraqi army, or police killing bad guys since Everyone is a "People."

    Seems like it would be a lot clearer if they called the insurgents something besides "people." You know, somethng to set them apart. Like, maybe, Terrorist, or Insurgent?

  31. Well, yeah, Rufus. Right there you have the antithesis. Nothing new about those ambiguities. They've been attacking the idea of our security since the Iraq Body Count website.

    Do we happily narrow the taxonomies for terrorists, insurgents etc because we so faithfully believe in the human soul?

    Or do people who believe faithfully in something else narrow that taxonomy for us?

  32. Remember a couple of days ago, when the Americans and the Iraqi Army had a 5 hr gunbattle with the insurgents, and twenty-something Iraqis were killed?

    Didn't you wonder what kind of Iraqis were killed? Do you suppose they were all "innocent" bystanders? Doesn't say much for our Marksmanship training, does it?

    Do you suppose that could have been twenty-something bad guys? Just wondering, that's all?

  33. Wretchard alluded to this idea before, Rufus, when he chided representations of Iraq as an undifferentiated mass of chaos.

    That "chaos" idea has been instrumental in undermining any notion of value or achievement in Iraq. Say it enough times and the uncertainty becomes manifest as something simpler, open to rant and adverse to articulation.

    That chaos idea was the antithesis to any idea of "progress," and chaos owned the airwaves. These representations matter, and obviously the "chaos" idea has had persuasive power at least comparable to that of the felled statue of Saddam, the dead Uday and Qusay and the dictator on death row.

    The chaos idea also subverts any meaningful way of criticizing what's going on, as you necessarily cannot understand what's happening: its chaos, that's all.

  34. And, you know, the fucking article wasn't even factually in accord with the Headline.

    It lists in the article insurgents of various and sundry non-Iraqi nationality. If my memory serves there was a Syrian, or two; ditto Saudi, an Egyptian, or two, I believe.

    So there you have it; they go from being foreign terrorists to "Iraqis." In the blinky, blink, blink of an eye. I hate fucking people who "write" for a living.

  35. How about an alternate headline:


    In other news around Iraq, today a Syrian terrorist, aided by two Saudis commits suicide and kills 22 innocent Iraqi's in the process.

  36. Meanwhile back in the States over 100 "people" were killed by gang violence, and another 75 died as a result of domestic disputes.

  37. In a related matter the Penal population in California continues to be greater than the population of Al Anbar Province.

  38. I don't know if that's true, or not, but it's probably close, and it sounded good.

  39. rufus said:

    So, let me get this straight. 122 "People" were killed; but, 65 of the "People" were terrorists.

    If six terrorists tried to blow up a queue at a movie theatre showing a Tom Cruise film, but their suicide vests all malfunctioned and they were all shot to death by police, the headline would be "Militants attack outpost of cultural imperialism for corrupting Islamic values, six people die."

  40. I guess I was inaccurate, also. I should have said, "At Least 65 were terrorists. All we know about 24 is that they're assumed not to be chimpanzees.

    There seems to be a high probablity that many, if not most, were "terrorist" humans; but we're just not sure. A possible "Cholera" outbreak has been rumored.

  41. The Cynic
    A popular conception of the intellectual characteristics is the modern sense of "cynic," implying a sneering disposition to disbelieve in the goodness of human motives and a contemptuous feeling of superiority.

    Be yourself everyone else is already taken.

  42. Does not pertain to Rufus but there are others.

  43. rufus said:

    So there you have it; they go from being foreign terrorists to "Iraqis." In the blinky, blink, blink of an eye. I hate fucking people who "write" for a living.

    They don't write for a "living" if Daddy put them through Rutgers, they write to change the world.

  44. Thanks Habu, I think

  45. rufus linked:

    ...They sent an emissary to 10 Downing Street, making it clear that the entire British-Saudi relationship hinged on getting their gold Rolls Royces supplied by British contractors, and that the entire war on terror depended on whether royals could still sun themselves on exclusive beaches....

    Innit that special!!!

  46. rufus, when your head catches on fire, as it often do, you are a force of reason & persuasion.

  47. Yeah, we got some GRRREEAAAAT "Allies!"

    How could we Possibly Lose?

  48. All we gotta giv'em is Gold Rolls Royces. Whatta deal!

    But Boeing's not competing against a "Government" Combine. uh uh

  49. Buddy, I assure you; the last time my head caught on fire I was a strong advocate of nothing but icewater.

  50. ppad is right. It can't be "war" and "chaos" both at the same time, so we had to bring in Pelosi to ease our minds.

  51. The way I'm thinking about it right now, the "Chaos" idea is the big boss challenging all comers.

    The ideas of "genocide" or even "quagmire" are easily diffused and tossed to the ash heap. But this "chaos" idea has convinced nearly everyone who can broadcast their ideas en masse.

    Its the reason we can't leave and its the reason its necessary that we do leave.

    Its the reason why our casualties are tragic and its also the reason why the deaths of the Iraqis are tragic.

    To a related point - During the Gulf War, my father would tell me all about the decisively amazing technology we had in the forms of cruise missiles and laser guided munitions and stealth planes. It was emphasized that this technology made short work of the junk aligned against us. Our destruction was decisive and awe-inspiring in its power. Science and military were united in a common endeavor, in a virtuous pursuit to ensure the best ideas have the best defense - or so my child brain thought.

    I now imagine that in some parts of the world, in Lebanon, Palestine, Paris and elsewhere, there are fathers telling their sons all about how the the brave photographers, journalists, religious leaders and activists told the world the many "truths" and so may short work of the junk ideas aligned against them - those of imperialism, globalization, inequality, alienation, exploitation, pollution - on into rape, pillage, organ theft and blood libel. It is emphasized that these brave acts of exposition, of narration and science were decisively destructive, driving the Jews from Lebanon and Gaza, driving Americans from Fallujah and Saudi Arabia etc. Now the worst ideas seem to have the best weapons.

  52. I would still like to see some good "Metrics." I know Maliki, and the Mookies, are shitheads; and, I know that Abizaid thinks he's in charge of a "police" force instead of an Army; and, I know that the idiot Iraqi voters elected religious leaders, while Our Idiot Voters elected economically and ethically-challenged socialists.

    I know that some troops are determined, and a few are frustrated. I know the Media just wants to sell some soap, and I know that Kissinger just wants one more headline, and McCain just wants to be Prez.

    But GODDAMMIT, I'd just like to see some numbers. I don't mean "cooked" numbers, just numbers.

  53. They're only good weapons because their targets cooperate. Their targets are the self-consciously "open" minds, and they've been getting opener and opener, with every injustice-carrying bit of info that flies through them and swells them into ever easier targets.

  54. I would like to know if the unemployment rate is getting significantly better. I would like to know if more businesses are opening, and if GDP is rising. What's happening with the electricity deal?

    How much money does the Iraqi Government really have in the Bank, and are they spending any of it on equipping their troops. Is the Desertion rate going up, or coming down. Is the Iraqi army rated more efficient (and capable) than it was 6 months ago? Or, NOT?

  55. Are the ob/gyns seeing more traffic? That could tell you a lot.

    Are they just not paying the police officers in Ramadi, and a couple of other places, or the entire Al Anbar Province?

  56. Pab, Great link on the Logic Times. I went ahead and linked The Flow Chart.

    I thought it was particularly good.

  57. Oops, I just reposted your link. Oh well, great minds, and all that, Right?

  58. it's maddening, the wonderland of expectations that aren't being met.

  59. What I find maddening, Buddy, is that in the "information" age we can't get any reliable information.

    I blame "Everyone."

  60. and "we" are actively interested in the damn stuff. What if you aren't?

  61. then "ah,screw it' is a reasonable reaction, to the flow of contradictory "chaos" info.

  62. Rufus & Buddy,

    I've come to accept the criticisms leveled by DR and 2164th, having previously believed in the "poker playing" and the "Master Plan"

    But considering the points made in the Logic times, specifically that the the post-war is at least as difficult as the war itself isnt it true that to expect otherwise is, well, uninformed?

    So given this difficulty, I want to ask, how can one differentiate between great difficulty and great hopelessness? How can we tell one from another?

    I guess this returns to the EB ethos on "do not despair," and it must be noted that this despair is equally an "occupation of our minds" by enemy ideas as it is an opportunity for us to adapt.

    How can we spiritedly emphasize the latter and disregard the former?

  63. Exactly, Buddy; I try to inform myself as much as possible, and, I don't have a freak'in clue. And, there's, absolutely, no one I trust to inform me.

    The average Joe's just got to say, "screwit!"

  64. You got me, Pab. We (our minds) are up against some mighty strong enemies.

    I've always taken refuge in numbers, if I can get them; but, I'm having a hard time finding accurate ones for this deal.

  65. Rufus & Buddy -

    You know us humans have never had 100% reliable information. Thankfully we have reason and it has gotten us this far, which speaks to its value.

    I guess what's weird is that now information itself seems to take on behavior, with humans and their reason as ecological niches, their idiosyncracies feedstock (to make a biofuel metaphor ;-D ).

    But never has democracy been a more appropriate system for resolving the inevitable conflicts between the differently-informed, right?

    The other option is some unstable "tolerance," based upon the assumption that each side is non-envious.

    And then of course there are the "offers one cannot refuse" - the Keyser Soze contingency, where reason, morals and ethics no longer impose the game, and winning is predicated only on survival, not popularity, not mandates and not turnout.

    I hope that comes off as optimistic...

  66. I'm still left with this uneasy feeling that we're getting ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but I can't really prove it.

  67. well, I'm tempted to ask, "what's the point?", ppab. you, and rufus, and plenty of others can know, do know, perfectly well the broad outline of the problem, but we are specks of flotsam, caught in the current created by national leaders lying vehemently and continually.

    And no, GWB is not, in my estimation, the one doing the lying.

    Both the last two elections, 04 and 06, have done great damage to the war effort.

    I keep wondering if our basic system isn't what will change first, as this coming loss cascades into more and more "4th generation warfare".

  68. People,

    As you no doubt know critics are a dime a dozen, architects more rare, and for the most part more valuable.
    One who is all knowing of the Master Plan I place as a critic with no answer but to snipe at those in the arena. And as TR said it is the man in the arena that counts not the critic.
    Those with the cadence and intensity of the critic should perhaps follow the lead of John Kerry and toss their decorations over the WH fence, for it is a disservice to those troops still believing in the mission to daily carp about the impotence of our attempts to win.
    It is a shame.

  69. Yeah - my sentiment of those currents is that they are so many and you see them every day.

    Is this part of the "constitutional change" that Phillip Bobbitt theorized?

    If so, what are we changing into? What the heck is good about it and where will the change stabilize?

  70. The Media is relentless, and Incredibly powerful.

    Prior to the election all the polls showed Americans (80%) saying their "Personal" Financial situation as Being Very Good.

    But, 50% thought we were in a Recession. Think about that.

    How powerful does the Media have to be to convince a whole country that's doing extremely well (meaning, their friends and family are also doing extremely well) that they are in "Recession?"

    It's, actually, Awe-Inspiring!

  71. What if its more than critics and architects, habu?

  72. You know, i wonder if the issue is not the distribution or access to information. Its also the quality of information.

    Rufus alludes to not only an access problem but a quality problem: how do we interface with those numbers? You could look at alot of spreadsheets from Centcom, from globalsecurity etc but its hardly an efficient way of figuring out a trend (for a group of people that is) - especially given capabilities of software to render well-crafted visualizations.

    Consider the Pentagon "Chaos" graph and the information displayed there.

    The information of the Logic Times, that would seem at least partly critical of the conclusions derived from the Chaos graph, is crappily designed, not aesthetically pleasing and not visually interesting. This might sound like snobbery but I just want to point out the production values behind information that may matter more than one considers.

    If you can look at a color gradient and see how the arrow pointing at the dark "good times & progress" shade, you get a much better idea of whats going on than listening to a comment thread, a rant or even a Belmont Club post - in theory.

    Anyone ever seen the Gates of Vienna "Bloody Borders" visualization? We may need more of that sorta thing, rather than just more number aggregation.

  73. democracy, freedom, individual autonomy, as self-evident ideals, are all on the defense, and quite suddenly.

  74. Make no mistake; it infuriates me to see my Marines used the way they're used in Ramadi.

    I think Abizaid's been there too long. Maliki, and the Mookies are shitheads.

    But, I'm still not convinced that we can't prevail in this; and, I really believe that it's of the Greatest Importance that we do.


    IT'S GOTTA BE "HIM!" No One else Can Do It.

    And, Tomorrow wouldn't be a Day Too Soon.

  75. Is it even possible to start some activist project that just advocates for more killing of our enemies?

    How can you cure an unhealthy civilization? How can you lobby against ROE?

  76. Pab, about that "Chaos" Chart. It was convenient that they didn't pick on from last month, or the month before. It just happened to be for the period right after The Golden Mosque Bombing.

    The Pentagon said that the one for the next month looked a Lot Better; BUT, THEY DIDN'T PUT IT OUT! Sheesh

  77. It might be hopeless; but, an examination of today's numbers wouldn't lead me to that conclusion, even if the Headline might.

  78. I heard a 22 yr old recently ask "what's so bad about a dictator, if everyone gets free health care?"

    Health care? A concern for a 22 yr old?

    But, yes, the presentation--and the presenter--is more than ever more important than the info itself. McCluhan saw it coming, so did the real JFK, who said, 'perception is reality'. This is a bitch to contend--it's almost an acclamation by the masses to drop the growing burden of assessing info, in favor of charisma and cult. expect another Fuhrer soon enough.

  79. Are you serious? WTF was their effing point?

    I can't think of a fitting analogy....

  80. Critics and architects both make up only a tiny but disproportionalley influential group.

    The conundrum has already been pointed out by Rufus. In the age of the most information ever available we fight to find the "truth" against a sea of apathy among the populous.

    We are a solipsistic nation awash in apathy.
    We also have the challenge of active factions who have no intent of allowing the democratic republic to function as well as Aristotle said it could. Which is to say it is a perilous and precious form, fragile and easily undermined from within (Federalist #10)
    But in war only victory counts for security in the future and there can be no Faustian bargain with an implacable foe.
    Of course as good as these forums are they are subject to distortion by compression of time and word.

  81. I'm still fascinated by the sharp decline of attacks on the OIL pipelines. It makes the whole thing look more like a "Political Negotiation" than anything else - with both sides being careful not to blow up the "Prize."

  82. It is at thjat stage right now. It's like Korea, where after two years in which each side took almost all of each other's territory, they were both back at the 38th parallel, where they were at the beginning.

  83. ppab asks the question, tho--what do we advocate for? "Stay the course" has been ridiculed into the hopper, when it is probably precisely the place to be, since we can't go forward or backward without losing either the home front or the war front.

  84. night and fog--assassinate 1000 jihadi clerics?

  85. a mysterious band of counter-jihadi crusaders, said to operate from Antartica?

  86. I just remembered; the Brookings Institution publishes an Iraq Index. I've seen some of their work before, and it was good; however, when I got over there this time my computer died, so I'm going to post this if I can, and go to bed.

    Maybe, Dubya will take out Iran's nukes on the way out of town; that would be "something," right?

  87. and you came to Night and Fog by way of?

    I think 1000 jihadi clerics would be a start

  88. Buddy,

    If you think about it, decapitation strikes will only work when you hit the head of the beast. Those madrassas and clerics seem like great assets and we've never touched them.

    If you read the Looming Tower, its full of stories of Imams & prestigious clerics who are essential to a given wave of Jihad by sanctioning this and that act of terrorism. Their barbarity has a weird bureaucracy to it in that way. But those guys are essential to how they project their intellectual power in much of the world. That intellectual power goes hand in hand with their violence. I know it sounds like retarded middle-men but that seems to be a recurrent aspect to their fights. We make fun of those Fatwas but those are their ever-adapting ROE. What's our latest marching order? That SOB Rangel's draft?

    To another point:

    I guess the prudent question is, what is it about Islamist power in America that makes it different from Sudan, Egypt, Australia, London and Nigeria? CAIR seems much more "evolved" than the rape-sheik.

  89. I would as you might surmise torture them first.
    I believe you must be as ruthless as your enemy or you are giving an advantage that need not be given.

  90. well, i never worked for the company, but i've been where hard eyed sonsabitches thought i wuz. Big ole Americans can never fade out of sight in the population, and not in love with suicide, will have a hard time getting close to the guys who need to go to allah.

  91. Well heres a conundrum, Habu

    How do we deal with CAIR and the beasts within our borders? We need to be ruthless but in a way that likely excludes torture. Afterall, they are different beasts than active suicide-bomb cadres. The repercussions of being so ruthless to subversive bureaucrats, activists and academics could dissuade Americans that would otherwise support the expulsion or elimination of the beast. We want the beasts gone but the public would not support nailing them to their desks and defenestrating them aflame onto the pavement many stories below.

    If we want to take on the beast before it gets so mighty that only ruthless torture and barbarity can fight it tit for tat, then what do we do? How do you fight Islamic ideas and drive them away? With ruthless ridicule? With debates? With burqa bans?

    Maybe there is hope that were taking on these internal beasts, come to think of it. But where exactly is our advantage against them and where do we keep hitting?

  92. You don't go far enough, Habu. It says in one of the ancient Chinese works on war 'if you do that which the enemy is ashamed of doing, there is an advantage.' ;)

  93. ppab

    If you have read and re-read, then studied the Federalist #10 (which you may have) then you will recognise that we have so little homogeneity remaining in this country through the unassimilated and uninterested in America immigrants and illegals that we are at peril. The Islamists are now in the vanguard as were the Black Panthers, the SDS, and others in the 1960's.
    The dominant difference is that they are global and far more numerous than the groups in the 60's, many of whom were funded by the KGB.
    As a consequence some of our politicians, such as the Congressional Black Caucus, reflect the views of the Islams which they often times represent. And representing the views of Islam is to be inimical to foundations of this country. One can not represent Islam and the concepts of freedom we codify.

  94. They don't need a regime change, they need a religion change. Maybe someone could do a calculation showing that in view of the greatest good for the greatest number, severity now would pay dividends in the long run for the later coming many. This gets into a really touchy ethical question though. Gets into that exterminate the brutes issue which I shy from confronting. Read an article today about how bad life is in Afghanistan for the women there, even without the Taliban, that put me in this mood.

  95. Well, look into Clinton's use of the IRS against his political enemies. That was just a little start, a testing. A good ruthless administration could hound the jihad out of the country pretty quickly. That's what i meant earlier, about us having to change our ways. What a precedent, tho. A secret police, in the USA. ACLU & NYT might have to be intimidated, brownshirt style. There, I said it.

  96. So its now: Go Big, Go Long or Go Home

    Has a ring to it, a better ring than Chaos.

    None of these mention any new ROE.

    Wouldnt new ROE mean existing forces could be more helpfully destructive?

    I'm trying to find the document this stuff is from, but these terms are not from the Baker group - these are DoD terms trying to setup the debate. That may be a good move, especially given the laments that the American people just roll over at any antithetical barb.

  97. You identify Islam for what it is, an ideology rather than a religion. Then you proceed to remove their tax free funding. This in itself is not going to stop them however.
    Islam DEMANDS obeisance or death.
    At a time and place there will be a blood letting in this country as civilizations clash. It can only be avoided if we give into their dictates.

  98. The left will say, rightly, that the terrorists have a moral victory, driving us toward that sort of internal control. They would be right. But, a moral victory is what you have when the other side has the 'actual' victory.

  99. Well, I'll take your advice and read it right now -

    The way you put it with all the radicals, its like we need a conflagration, something comparable to Jack Straw or the Mohammad cartoons so that the airwaves can dissemble these radical ideas and the islamists can no longer benefit from our ambiguities that are presently a great vulnerability.

  100. I had a girlfriend once brag to me about the EU's moral power and I asked her what in the world that was. She just sorta sat there as if I'd asked why Javier Solana knows best.

    Moral power - like it was some F****** carrier battle group

    But, honestly, was it moral power that won the day for Hezbollah or was that all Olmert?

  101. If it's not one thing, it's another. Am listening to a radio program describing all the cattle mutulated in Montana, very surgically, by the aliens presumably. Take care, Habu.!

  102. Look at the Spanish Civil war. The good guys got the moral victory, Guernica, Picasso, Hemingway, a thousand poets and novelists, the Lincoln Brigade, etcetera. but WWII happened anyway, and Franco died happy, many years later, of natural causes, in office.

  103. Now the program is saying there is evidence we got our smart gene from interbreeding with the Neanderthalers long time ago. Enough for me tonight.

  104. The challenge in Iraq, the whole TWAT, is that the public has grown disenchanted. Neither Victory nor Defeat, but endless grind, the fist of Headline writers everywhere.

    Some of US do not like our Press, it makes little difference in the scheme of things. Some want to reject the news they dislike, the sources that are disagreeable. And well they can, but then they're limited in input, input that drives the elections and the realities. Makes their perception a "Slam Dunk" when it is not, at all.

    Identify the Enemy in Iraq, it is our Ally in Saudi Arabia. Identify our ally in Iraq, it is our foe in Iran. The challenge in a nutshell.

    Where are the calls to fight the Wahabbis, those evil doers of 9-11, the funders of terror, those Saud Princes. Mr K has silenced that wing of TWAT.
    No the Shia of Iran are the enemy, but not their proxies inIraq, those are our Allies.

    Send more troops, remove more troops, makes no differecne. Not if the Enemy is never identified.

    Because, buddy, you are right. We were against those insurgents, before we were for them. And we were for the democratic Iraqi before we were against them.

    Who is the Enemy, who can the military target, tomorrow?

    After 46 months of combat, the enemy capital remains occupied but unsecure, no wait, it is not the enemy capital, it is a liberated city.

    There is the problem, and whomever said that only Mr Bush can bring focus to it was correct.

  105. i gotta crash, too--but bobal, how many cattle? details, please. Nite all. Nigh tall.

  106. Federalist #10--will read, tomorrow asap.

  107. Great art comes from suffering, Buddy, don't ya know. Makes it all worthwhile. Not. Goodnight.

  108. Many cattle. Hundreds. All in Habu's area, too.

  109. I'd just like to say that you're last few posts have been great. Don't agree with all of it, but interesting topics and smart analysis.

  110. Buddy,
    I do not see how to avoid an eventual showdown with Islam. It has and is too bellicose. Also if were leave Iraq as it appears we are getting prepared to do you can put as much lipstick on the pig as you want but it will be a huge defeat for the civilized world.
    Islam will be so emboldened that they will be at us here on our turf as they have already done.
    We tried to fight them over there. Now we will fight them here and it will be chaos because our police cannot handle what will be thrown at then. Detroit will be Ramadi.
    But slowly every mosque will burn and every muslim killed because there are too many like me who will do the necessary job. It will after all be chaos, not civilization.
    VDH believes in this as do others so I am not encouraged that it can be avoided, and that is not good.

  111. bobalharb,
    I feel bad for the cattle folks. It's heartbreaking. It is also bedtime.
    Have a great night and a wonderful day.

  112. rat--that's the way to put it, as of now.

    Now, what's the way to ask the question of what's next?

    "what's next?" offers little except "how the hell should we (usa) know?"

    There's a missing question somewhere--a cognitive cut-out. Something that doesn't add up. What the hell is it?

  113. Cutler,
    We try. Nite and a good tomorrow

  114. Just remember, habu, as you draw a bead on the National Guardsman guarding that Dearborn Mosque, it's all for the Republic.

    That'll make it feel better.

    Where have those three Carriers gotten to, any way?

    Team 41... fuck yeah!

  115. We--usa--are gonna keep screwing around with letting mental giants like Pelosi arrange our future, til one bright morning the Joint Chiefs of Staff might announce, "Here's what we have decided to do".

    Then what, will we send the capitol hill swat team over there to arrest the JCS?

  116. Islam is irrefutably the enemy.

  117. the order of the day has been, beat the bad ideologies on their own ground, with better ideology. What happens when the bad ideology is so bad that everyone knows it's bad, but the damn thing keeps coming anyway?

  118. well, losing faith in our own institutions leads to dark places and bad dreams. So we can't, really.

  119. World politics getting you down at the moment? Tired of the insanity that people actually support, follow and believe in maniacs such as like Bush, Blair, Bin Laden and Ahmadinejad?

    Worried about General Abizaid banging on about the conflict in Iraq metastasising into a third world war? Well, fear not, help is at hand...

    We're Doomed

  120. sam, nobody gets outta this alive, anyway.

  121. This one by SEYMOUR M. HERSH is up to his usual standard of anonymous quotes and fictioanlized scenes, but each character is played to a stereotypical perfection.

    Then our old friend VDH asks the question "Will the West Stumble?"
    He seems to think so, regardless of our material advantages over the Mohammedan, or perhaps because of those advantages.

    Read what you want, drink deep from the chosen kool-aid. Or just sip it for flavor.

    Smack down the Sunni Insurgency, rubble Ramadi, declare Victory and draw down to a Force Protection mode at Camp Anaconda.
    Or take on the Iraqi Government, the Iraqi Army and try to clear and hold Sadr City, instead.

    Do neither and wait for the GOP to lose big in '08.

  122. Not so, Buddy. I'm moving to Antarctica.

  123. And DR,
    Keep in mind that those Guardsman are sworn to unhold the Constitution of the United States from all enemies domestic and foreign.
    Islam is,as of now basically a foreign enemy but it has domestic roost deeply within our country. And remember well that they have already attacked this country on more than one occasion. Should they pursue their philosophy of killing all infidels then those Guardsman are obligated to disregard that order as illegal. They MAY NOT follow an illegal order, which would be to defend a sworn and fighting enemy of the United States. Your only duty is to follow legal orders and any order given to defend an enemy would not be legal.

  124. So my aim would be true to my oath and to my target.

  125. DR,
    You are getting more and more lost in the fog of '08, while you remain obtuse about enemy identification and how to deal with an enemy.
    You paint the United States as diaphanous and pusillanemous and damn those who are engaged in an undertaking few of us could tolerate.
    Your constant obfuscaton is a veil for defeat not a shield for battle. I guess life is too dear and peace too sweet for you.

  126. The magnetic poles have shifted, in the past. More than a couple of times, according to a Discovey Channel program. Seems that metallic fragments in lava act like mini compasses, and can substantiate the past shifts.

    The earths' magnetic field is showing some wierdness, but it may always have.
    As in global warming, the Detroit Glacier is long gone. Not due to the burning of fossil fuels in interal combustion engines, either.

    The foreign Armies have begun to gather, north of the Plains of Armegeddan. Italians, German, Russians, Turks, Iranians and more

    The Maya tell us 2012 is the End Time, as does Nostradomous and Edgar Cayce, maybe.

    Remember the Presidental mantra, as you sip your morning coffee, Islam, the Religion of Peace.

    Repeat five times slowly, ten for you, habu.

    Then remember
    Vote Republican.

    When even Congressman Kolbe would not.

  127. DR,
    There's that haughty sarcasm, your hallmark of faux illuminati.

  128. I am not in Command, dear habu.
    Nor likely to be.

    The Commander commands the Army follows. To where, now that is the question for Mr Bush to answer.

    As the US, you and I, fund Hamas in Palistine, remember it's a Religion of Peace. So says the President. So says the Sec of State, Ms Rice.

    Why do you not get on board the Peace Train, habu? With the President and the Joint Chiefs.

    You speak of treason, from those with whom you disagree. But for the most part those chosen for disdain are without authority or responsibility, while those that have both get a habu pass for fecklessness.

    Where is the US's velvet gloved iron fist. Not in the War Zone. Damn, there just ain't a War Zone, just a Police Call.
    Well, let's police up those butts

    Your old boss Mr K and his clients, the Sauds, have called in Daddy's marker.
    Team 41 ... Fuck yeah!

  129. "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
    -- Thomas Jefferson
    DR, Are ya just using the old tree for shade these days. You talk the talk of a mocking defeatest.

  130. You speak of treason, from those with whom you disagree. But for the most part those chosen for disdain are without authority or responsibility, while those that have both get a habu pass for fecklessness.

    Those who have created the greatest treasons are those who undermine the intent and object pursued by those in command. Were you not a civilian you would be insubordinate but since you are a civilian you are just a noisy, curmudgeoned critic.

    (we do this thrust and parry just find but it's 3 am here..gotta sleep)

  131. Well, habu, I've seen the writing on the wall, fo a while.
    I can also read sign, and know where the trail ends.

    My hope had been that with some "Shock & Awe" and a little side order of kick ass, the US could have sidetracked this Jihadi frieght train.
    We have been, as they say, post-modern in our approach. We are being defeated. Day by day, by Mr Maliki, Mr al-Sadr, Abracadbra, the Hezbollah fellow and all the rest.

    Even Eygpt will fall after the old man dies, more likely than not. The transition to a young Pharoah will fall victim to Mohammedan madness.

    All that stands between Victory and Defeat is Will.
    A Will that is lacking in the Commanders, on almost every level of Policymaking. That is self evident.
    We will fail in the President's democracy project.
    So many many more people will die, people that did not have to.

    That is defeat, habu, like it or not.

  132. Why Iraq Is Crumbling
    By Charles Krauthammer

    I have my own theories. In retrospect, I think we made several serious mistakes -- not shooting looters, not installing an Iraqi exile government right away, and not taking out Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army in its infancy in 2004 -- that greatly compromised the occupation. Nonetheless, the root problem lies with Iraqis and their political culture.

    Last month American soldiers captured a Mahdi Army death squad leader in Baghdad -- only to be forced to turn him loose on order of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Two weeks ago, we were ordered, again by Maliki, to take down the barricades we had established around Sadr City in search of another notorious death squad leader and a missing American soldier.

    This is no way to conduct a war. The Maliki government is a failure. It is beholden to a coalition dominated by two Shiite religious parties, each armed and ambitious, at odds with each other and with the ultimate aim of a stable, modern, democratic regime.

    One can tinker with American tactics or troop levels from today until doomsday. But unless the Iraqis can put together a government of unitary purpose and resolute action, the simple objective of this war -- to leave behind a self-sustaining democratic government -- is not attainable.
    No matter how many times GWB calls our enemies our friends, that does not make it so.
    At home, abroad, or for the criminals pouring across our border.

    DR apprehends reality, GWB seems to believe he can define it as he pleases.
    Mr Roger's admonition to children carried away in fantasy bears repeating:

  133. It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it -- Douglas MacArthur

  134. During the beginning of the war when some of us called an insurgency an insurgency, our patriotism was questioned.
    Is there any question now?
    Are those just a few “dead-enders” that we are “mopping up”?

    When I called a civil war a civil war a full year ahead of the media, out came the dogs.
    “Unpatriotic” was among the more charitable names hurled my way.

  135. DR Tooting his horn?
    "When I predicted success in Mosul even while the guns were hot, many mainstream journalists thought I was hallucinating.
    But there was tremendous progress in Iraq in 2005, and I reported it, all while warning about the growing civil war that could undermine everything.
    I reported extensively on a unit that was getting it right, and I was mostly alone as a reporter in Mosul. "

  136. "In retrospect, I think we made several serious mistakes -- not shooting looters, not installing an Iraqi exile government right away, and not taking out Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army in its infancy in 2004 -- that greatly compromised the occupation. Nonetheless, the root problem lies with Iraqis and their political culture.


    "This is no way to conduct a war. The Maliki government is a failure. It is beholden to a coalition dominated by two Shiite religious parties, each armed and ambitious, at odds with each other and with the ultimate aim of a stable, modern, democratic regime."

    Who were the exiles that we were supposed to install? The Iraqi National Congress, every dimwit's favorite, was an Iranian vehicle - created by us in the early 90's, then infiltrated and under the direct influence of Teheran. The same was likely the case with the Iraqi National Accord, which we turned to in the mid-90's. As it happened the two most powerful INC groups, SCIRI and al Dawa, though not installed by us, have staked their claim to Shiite leadership in the new and democratic Reupblic of Iraq. "Armed and ambitious" doesn't begin to describe.

    We do this to ourselves time and time again.

  137. Mr Yon, reporting in, aye doug?

    When the Mission becomes a failure, the Democracy Project, in particular, defeat has occurred.

    There a way forward, but it is not more of the same.

  138. doug said:

    When I called a civil war a civil war a full year ahead of the media, out came the dogs.
    "Unpatriotic" was among the more charitable names hurled my way.

    "The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next." - Helen Keller

  139. D. Rat-"All that stands between Victory and Defeat is Will.
    A Will that is lacking in the Commanders, on almost every level of Policymaking. That is self evident."

    That extends all the way to the voting populace. So stop whining and try to convince more people! If enough people come around to your point of view, if they can find the Will to see this through, then policymaking will follow suit. The way the world works now, the top-down approach is unsustainable. You have to go bottom-up.

  140. I don't see where habu and rat differ on any material point. You two agree on everything important. You're just arguing over the question of what is the best psychological reaction to the fact set.

    I stick my nose in because the discussion is a perfect example of the dissension we're seeing break out everywhere, amongst like-minded natural allies.

    The problem is the lack of any practical solution. There's too many lefties in USA for USA to fight this war the right way. That's the fact. Rat makes much of the early 60% approval for OIF, but it evaporated so fast that it never was real approval--it was contingent on everything going just right, short, not too costly, and with a definite end. Didn't work out that way, so pffft.

    Blame? Blame Bush, or blame Bush's weak political support, neither is wrong, they feed each other. Or blame the enemy, wherever he is found, whatever language he speaks.

    The folks who heard the early assessment of a probable 10 yr--or longer--limited war, are wondering how such a critical meme got so completely eaten up by the domestic political wars.

    Our system, our civilization, has created a nemesis, or an antithesis, is the only rational explanation, and it itself is rather worthless as a practical guide.

    Only being in the hands of fate, or vengeful, or just plain old mean, larger forces can explain how such bad ideologies as Islamism and DCism are so escaping their own consequences.

  141. Nope, that idea of Mr Crittenden while practical, technically, is not going to fly, politically.

    Embargos, selected bombing, escalating until the Iranians surrender.
    But we are not at War with Iran.
    Major stumbling block in a Representitive Republic.

    We have to escalate in those areas of operation we are already in. Regain the US publics' confidence and then create a provocation by the Iranians or Syrians, as desired tactically.

    But that is not the Course we are on. Mr K and Team 41 have the charts, now. They wish to avoid further conflict, regardless of my perception of reality.

    Just announced Mr al-Assad, Mr Abracadbra and our Kurdish friend and Iraqi President, Mr Talabani will be holding a Summitt. Without US. It's great now that the Iraqi are standing up for themselves.

    Playing in tune with Mr Baker's desire to negotiate with both Iran and Syria, Mr Talabani blazes the trail.
    Team 41 "Peace in our Time" fuck yeah!

  142. Well, that'll be the two guys who can stop the insurgency, together at the table, in view of the world. Something will move, likely.

  143. "To see victory as a curse and defeat as moral purification and salvation is to combine the ancient idea of hubris with the Christian virtue of humility, catharsis with apocalypse. That such a concept should have its greatest resonance among the intelligentsia can be explained in part by the intellectual's classical training but also by his inherently ambivalent stance toward power."

  144. Rumsfeld was calling for retribution for Syria in 03, 04, and 05, according to Steyn.
    (NOT GROUND FORCES! - As Steyn says, Baby Doc would not have even lodged a public outcry over the humiliation of having holes in his Mansions and war toys.)
    W let State Prevail... again.

    To say that public opinion is not influenced by a CIC who is manifestly NOT a leader in Wartime is to take yet more strokes down the River DeNile.
    ...also influences the outcome of the REAL WAR when fecklessness stands in place of the aggressive use of force.

    ...but everyone who has insisted on Bush's lack of responsibility has been consistently wrong, and DR and Trish have been more right than wrong for 2 years or so.

    Gerald Ford had more personal accomplishments when he arrived in office than Gore, Kerry, and W combined, but some still regard this man who REFUSES to carry out his responsibilities of office and the laws of this country as either a victim or a misunderstood superman/poker player.

  145. No matter how you slice it Buddy, it's still baloney.