COLLECTIVE MADNESS


“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, December 10, 2006

Iraq.


We are facing the most critical time in our lifetimes. I have read nothing as devastating at this article. I post it for debate without further comment.

A realistic America is the silver lining of this great Iraqi darkness

Simon Jenkins The Times online

Tony Blair went to Washington last week and won the headline he craved: “US/UK split on Iraq”. The split, over the role of Iran, Syria and Israel in the West’s exit from Iraq, was meaningless since they have no role. That did not matter. In this war of imaginings, appearance is all. Blair needed the headline for home consumption and Bush gave it to him.
Blair’s trip was occasioned by the publication of the Baker/Hamilton Iraq Study Group. This report is very bad — and very good. Its relevance to the conflict tearing apart Iraq is minimal. The group visited Baghdad for just four days and never dared to leave the green zone, let alone attempt to understand the conflict on the ground. The proposal that America withdraw its troops over the next 18 months and confine them largely to self-defence describes what is already happening.



The proposal to switch “control” of the Iraqi police from the Shi’ite interior ministry to the defence ministry is mad. There is no control of the police while the defence ministry, still a residual American front operation, is run by a Sunni. As for suggesting that the leaders of Syria and Iran come to America’s rescue, Baker/Hamilton seems to inhabit a different planet.

Why should these leaders rescue an American president who seeks their downfall when they are so enjoying his discomfiture. In a gesture of pure farce, George Bush replied that Iran would be allowed to help him but only if it stopped enriching uranium. Since when has a drowning man demanded that his rescuer pay for the privilege? America withdrew from Iraq — in the sense of surrendering effective control over its destiny — when it did not reinforce its occupation two years ago. The last bid to establish authority in Baghdad, Operation Together Forward, collapsed bloodily last summer. All sentences predicated on “what we should do in Iraq” are based on a fallacy that the verb can be made active.

There is no government in Iraq, not the Americans or the British or the Iranians or the Syrians, let alone Nouri al-Maliki’s regime, which barely rules its own office. The concept of Iraq as a coherent political entity offering Washington choices of action is nonsensical. The Americans can stay squatting in 55 bases across Iraq or leave them. Those are the only options.

Iraq is in a worse state than civil war. Such a war implies armies, fronts and secured territory. While Kurdistan and some tribally cohesive provinces enjoy a measure of stability under their sheikhs or militias, the Mesopotamian heartland has begun a horrific process of ethnic cleansing way beyond the aegis of any authority. This is pure anarchy.

To tell Iraqis they are “better off” than under Saddam Hussein, when 4,000 a month are being killed and water, electricity, health, education and domestic security are incomparably worse is absurd, as Kofi Annan pointed out last month. Reports from Baghdad indicate that it is virtually cut off, road movement depending on safe corridors (or massive amounts of armour).

As the morgues fill, the professional and managerial class is fleeing Iraq at a devastating rate of more than 1,000 a week. Death squads have taken to bribing hospitals to name patients for revenge killings. Religious vigilantes are separating families into ghettos where control of the streets lies with gunmen ready to shoot anyone they do not recognise. The sight of any uniform is terrifying.

Some $9 billion of oil revenue has been stolen because pipelines are unusable and oil must be moved by truck. Another $4 billion is vanishing each year on corruption while half the $18 billion that Congress allocated to aid Iraq has reputedly not left American shores. This is not democratic evangelism but grand larceny.

The good in the Baker/Hamilton report is not about Iraq but about America. Its pious proposals are cover for a simple message, that this venture has failed and America must cut its losses and run. The report ends the pretence that the war can be won if America “stays the course” and instead struggles to throw a smokescreen round the impending retreat. Neither Bush nor Blair is ready for such reality but a start has been made. Both leaders are isolated from their political and military establishments. The retreat from Iraq will be traumatic and Baker/Hamilton is an attempt to deaden the pain.

How long it takes America to leave is relevant only to the timing of Iraq’s reconstruction. A White House spokesman last week pondered that “we might leave behind chaos and a failed state”. But Iraq is a failed state. Where anarchy reigns people seek security in the familiar, in canton, community, family and tribe. Such medievalism is not susceptible to Baker/Hamilton options and proposals. It reflects a crude survival instinct from which societies can take years to recover.

Some Shi’ite strongman may emerge from the clerical militias and drive the Sunnis into Anbar and other enclaves in the west, as Milosevic did to Bosnia.

Baghdad is already experiencing bloodthirsty ghettoisation, worse even than Beirut in the 1980s. One day some federation of regions might keep one flag flying over Iraq. But the pieces are splintering fast, as did Yugoslavia.

Baker/Hamilton refuses to discuss orderly partition, even as the disorderly version rages under its nose. Whether US and British withdrawal will mean “a worse bloodbath” is irrelevant. The withdrawal is happening anyway. Delay is only an obstacle to the resolution of internal forces that must underpin Iraq’s future. That resolution will plainly be based not on some model army — even the “retraining” option has failed — but on the militias dominant in each part of the country.

If there is a role for Iraq’s neighbours in this, it will not be seen until the Americans have gone. The US presence has fuelled militancy throughout the region. This has made every ruler feel insecure, from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. It has turned Al-Qaeda from a terrorist gang that “got lucky once” into a liberation movement. The presence has served as a recruiting sergeant to Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban and dozens of murky apostles of anti-state terror. It has been a disaster.

Indeed it is impossible to exaggerate the counter-productivity of this venture. The naive belief that US power could create a beacon of secular democracy in the Islamic world may have been confined to the salons of neocon Washington and London, to whom war seemed like an intellectual party game. Yet it captured the leaders of two world governments and led them to their doom.

The goal of the American/Israel lobby was that the invasion of Iraq would secure the borders of Israel. It has done the opposite. It has menaced Israel with a cocksure Syria, invited by Baker/Hamilton to reclaim the Golan, and a radicalised south Lebanon that delivered Israel a bloody nose earlier this year. The US presence turned Iraq into a factory of terrorism and encouraged extremists in Iran to push their government down the nuclear path. If anywhere other than Iraq is a loser in this war it is Israel.

Therein may lie a silver lining. America has learnt what Britain learnt at Suez. The intoxicating vapour of imperial intervention soon turns sour. Henry Kissinger told the White House that “Afghanistan is not enough; they want to humiliate us; we need to humiliate them”. Bragging is not doing. Before the invasion the White House could joke to Blair’s head of MI6 that it was “fixing the facts around the policy”. But the facts tore the policy to shreds.

Strong countries can bomb and invade weak ones but not conquer them. They can sow destruction but not ordain peace. America will have humiliated only itself in this region and will not return for a long time. While its withdrawal from Europe would have been dreadful during the cold war, its withdrawal from this debacle can only be welcome.

The horror of this war may just induce the rulers of Iran, Pakistan, Syria and the Gulf states to seek common cause in guaranteeing Iraq’s integrity. They may recover their self-esteem and feel more secure in curbing their jihadist hotheads and Al-Qaeda cells — as they are not now. That is the only hope.

Over the past five years hundreds of thousands have died and tens of billions of dollars been wasted that could have done so much good in the world. The Fourth Crusade has been restaged largely at the behest of one man, Osama Bin Laden. It will end, as everything in history ends. But was there ever such a mistake?

115 comments:

  1. "The Fourth Crusade has been restaged largely at the behest of one man, Osama Bin Laden. It will end, as everything in history ends. But was there ever such a mistake?"

    [Pat] Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, told CNN in an interview Tuesday night that he urged the president to prepare the American people for the prospect of casualties before launching the war in March 2003.

    Robertson said Bush told him, "'Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties.'
    .
    .
    .
    "I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy," Robertson said. "I warned him about casualties."

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  2. In the last thread I compared Iraqi and Lebanonese civil wars, now this article does as well.

    There was a fly paper strategy employeed in Iraq. By both sides.
    By casualty counts the US killed far more flys than the Mohammedans.
    By the political outcomes to date, the US has been stuck on the strip.

    We have an outstanding fighting force in Iraq, which is poorly performing in a Police mission.

    What the President decides to do, in the nest week or so, will be much more important than the initial decision to invade Iraq.

    Will it be war or retreat?

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  3. Collosally huge clusterfuck, and no mistake. Win the war but lose the occupation. Invading was not necessarily a bad idea, but the concept for the occupation (low troop strengths, evangelical liberal democracy) turned the birth of the new Iraq into a partial birth abortion.

    Can we bring Saddam back? The next best option may be to leave, witht the intent to give them a decade to fight it out before reoccupying.

    And that is the real bitch, we can flee, but we will be back. Iraq is the geographical hinge of the whole oil bearing middle east.

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  4. Bill Roggio is over in Fallujah, Iraq, embedded with the Marines.
    In his latest post Fourth Rail

    He discusses how valuable the Navy Medics are to the Transition Teams.

    One of his commentors said:
    "... I recently returned from a year as a police advisor with the Iraqi Border Police. Our corpsman was central to our efforts out there. We found ourselves in a situation where the Iraqi government had not been able to develop their medical support system to a point where they could support their border police along the Syrian border, and our corpsmen not only provided basic medical support to the policemen, but they provided the training necessary for the IP to learn their own basic first aid. It was a huge confidence builder, and when injuies did occur, and their own "corpsman" provided the aid, it was a huge step. We created a corpsmand course, designated Iraqi corspsman, certified them, and provided them supplies. The Iraqis were willing to learn and were very proud of their corpsman status. I can't think of anything that we did that brought them closer to independent action than giving them the training and supplies necessary for thme to have the confidence that they would be cared for in the event of injury. It was easy for us, and a huge step forward for them. So, I can't agree more with your assessment of the importance of the corpsmen in the Transition Teams. It is amazing what someone will do when they know that they have medical support behind them...
    J


    As they are with the Medics the Iraqi are ready to fill all the roles, but dysfunction and a lack of experience and leadership on the US part has not filled the training needs. Well into the 43rd month of the Operation.
    Win the War, Lose the Peace, is f.p's lament, but we never won the War, just the first Battles, we never were ready for the counter siege. Have not empowered our friends, but instead, have helped our foes.

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  5. DR. The US cannot function without political consensus in either the US and the rest of the world. When the Bush Administration had the consensus, they put all the chips on the table and lost every hand. Now they are looking around for someone to stake them to stay at the table. Everyone has their eyes on the floor and is looking for the door. The smart money has already fled.

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  6. Win the War, Lose the Peace, is f.p's lament, but we never won the War, just the first Battles...

    There was a point, a week or two in, after the capture of Baghdad when anything was possible. Maybe because it was too easy the rose tinted path was chosen. Disband the army, give them democracy and brotherly love.

    Rather than pay the army, prop up some (shit ... any) dictator and leave. Coulda reinvaded at any point anyway without all the nastiness in between.

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  7. Fellow , you scare me how close we think some times.

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  8. The talk of imbedding troops is insane. It only takes 5 suicide bombers to get near one imbedded GI in five different outfits an blow themselves up. You will get a firefight between the GI's and Iraqis and that gem of an idea will end in smoke and gore.

    A good idea at the right time makes sense. Doing it three years too late makes none. It is too FUBAR to be turned around. The kindest thing we can do now is help the Iraqis that supported the US to get them and their familes out. The embassy roof is not big enough.

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  9. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

    Some General said, just the other day:
    "The US Military never lost a battle", the War being lost, let's place the blame elsewhere.
    Or so it's reported on FOX. As if that made any difference, no battles lost.

    A GOP Congressman says that it all boils down to Baghdad. If we could just win there... after all the months of Occupation, Baghdad is the key. What a revelation.

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  10. Cheerful fellow, ain't he? I see he's got all the sleep-deprived old men whining, and gnashing their teeth again.

    Wailing, and rending of garments, Oh Woe is Me, Oh Woe is Me.

    POPPYCOCK! All you depressed old codgers go back to bed. This yahoo gets paid a pretty penny to write some dreary drudge, and you all go in to psychotic depression, right on cue.

    Relax, it's over, We Won. Take a nap.

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  11. We won? I must have missed the checkered flag.

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  12. I don't know about you all, but the first thing I look for in an article like this is "Facts." - How they are treated, are they "played with," are they skirted.

    Some $9 billion of oil revenue has been stolen because pipelines are unusable and oil must be moved by truck. Another $4 billion is vanishing each year on corruption

    We Learned yesterday that the Iraqis took in $40 Billion in oil revenue in 06'. They have so much money laying around they're going to have to give $12 Billion to the People!

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  13. fellow peacekeeper,

    We must NOT leave Iraq.

    If Iraq is of no strategic import, why do the Russians, Chinese, EU, Syrians, Iranians, Saudis, Jordanians, Hezbollah et al. want us out so badly. Well, the reason is simple: Iraq is the most important piece of real estate in the world today. Whoever controls the Iraq land bridge and the Strait, grasps the jugular of most of the rest of the world.

    Leaving will be easy enough, if the US assumes the position. Getting back in may be quite another matter entirely. Never give up strategic ground you've paid for. Instead, the US might consider what a growing number are now recommending, withdrawal into the Kurdistan redoubt and strike out whenever and wherever it is advantageous.

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  14. Look, if this guy can see no good in the Iraqi Oil program why would I think that he could be, in even any small way, objective about anything else?

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  15. This is just the sort of unrest the US should be exploiting to effect, instead of spending precious time, money, and energy attempting to broker a deal with savages.

    Peaceful Gaza Protest Ends Up in Shootout

    Link from Gateway Pundit

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  16. Good'un Deuce.

    I was the old man hiding behind the tree getting ready to steal their canes. (Beer money, you know?)

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  17. Simon Jenkins being published here under the banner of the Times has ,in the past distinguished himself in the literary world. As of late in the same manner as Karl Marx.
    Writing now for the ultra leftest Guardian, a publication that annually loses money and is supported by a leftest trust is the favorite publication of the leftest LaboR Party where some 80% rely on it for their information and formation of positions. We know this from a survey conducted by the International Socialist Party and the Communist Daily Worker.
    Mr. Jenkins in the past has defended the Lord High Mayor of London ,Ken "Red" Livingstone, a dedicated socialist/communist. Mayor Livingstone likes to entertain only those whose credentials are Marxist.
    So much for the author, now to the article.
    Paragraph one. Blair did succeed in getting his headline but he has not alterd his position that to lose Iraq would be bad for all concerned. Baker/Hamilton report is a joke..two good points for Mr. Jenkins.
    +2
    Paragraph two.ditto
    +1
    Paragraph 3/4. ditto..no effective Iraqi government.
    +1
    Paragraph 5..."pure anarchy"..well it ain't quite pure like Everclear is only 90% alcohol but it's close enough
    +1
    Paragraph 6..H20,elecrcity,health,education all worse...WRONG
    -1
    7.Managerial class fleeing...giddy-up
    +1
    8.stolen oil revenue..not really a story no matter who you're talking about in todays work...I saw a guy drive away from a fill up without paying his tariff of $35.00 just yesterday.
    +1
    9.Baker/Hamilton Report is more about America than Iraq. Well shit if you never leave the zGreen Zone then all those Iraqi's within the green zone are so many waiters and waitresses.
    +1
    10-15 no beef, or maybe just a Whopper Jr.
    +5
    16. BIG BEEF.."Us presence turned Iraq into a factory of terrorism and encouraged extremeists down the nuclear path..BULLSHIT..think chipper shredder, Uday & Kusay's animals eating live human parties etc.
    -1
    17. BULLSHIT.."The intoxicating vapor of imperial intervention soon turns sour" We got permission to go in and we're not imperialists. This is Jenkins commie colors beginning to brighten.
    -1
    18. Baloney.."Strong countries can bomb and invade weak ones but not conquer them" Hey dude, like read some histroy.
    -1
    19. Speechless
    -1
    20. Weak conclusion,very weak..
    -1

    Now the tally, Vanna do the honors please. +7 out of a possible +20.

    Jenkins makes some good points but like all leftests allows ideology to color reality.

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  18. The horror of this war may just induce the rulers of Iran, Pakistan, Syria and the Gulf states to seek common cause in guaranteeing Iraq’s integrity. They may recover their self-esteem and feel more secure in curbing their jihadist hotheads and Al-Qaeda cells — as they are not now. That is the only hope.
    Well, we're certainly going to find out.

    In my mind, the only way to win in Iraq is to start over, dissolve the government and go back to "war." Of course that isn't going to happen so the course of action will be "phased withdrawal" with our asses kicked on the way out.

    Afterwards, as we lick our wounds and brood over our bruised pride, unlike Vietnam, the Islamists will not allow us the luxury of retreating in a Carter malaise of self-pity.

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  19. This Post should get your remaining "Libertarian" brain cells excited.

    The Above Post IS NOT about alt. energy :)

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  20. In the last thread, Allen lost me when he said that Iran was the natural ally of the US in the GWOT. I was all ready to disagree with someone I usually see eye to eye with. Then he restored my confidence in his discernment when his last paragraph of the comment, he said:

    Change the government of Iran, by means fair and foul, and the equation changes instantly. The enemy of the West, contrary to the Bush administration, is Saudi Arabia. It has always been and will always be. Look to 9/11.

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  21. Iraq may be a lost cause but no matter what happens in the short term, the war is not over and the U.S. will not have been defeated in Iraq. History will record Iraq as a battle in the long war which will take a good thirty years (two generations) to play out.

    For now though, the Axis of Terror remains seated in the thrones of power. George Bush has two more years to do something about them. Is he being pounded while stuck in a corner of the ring? Or is he playing rope-a-dope while he catches his breath and clears his head? In the face of fierce world criticism, George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard have remained steadfast if not forceful enough for some of us. It is hard to believe that Blair and Bush are ready to acknowledge defeat and throw in the towel.

    Call me whatever you like, but I'm not ready to give up on the man yet.

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  22. Fox is reporting a sudden move by USA to force a vote next week on Iran sanctions. breaking....

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  23. I vote for rope-a-dope.

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  24. Sometimes you just have to let the womenfolk have a good cry.

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  25. If WC doesn't jump me in the next 20 seconds for the "sexism" of my last statement I will immediately go out and buy a powerball ticket.

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  26. whit said:
    Iraq may be a lost cause but no matter what happens in the short term, the war is not over and the U.S. will not have been defeated in Iraq.

    I meant that in the context of WWII was not lost when the U.S. was thoroughly humiliated at Pearl Harbor or when MacArthur was driven out of the Phillipines or when the British were driven out of Europe at Dunkirk.

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  27. Rufus said, "If WC doesn't jump me in the next 20 seconds for the "sexism" of my last statement I will immediately go out and buy a powerball ticket."

    I was too busy crying.

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  28. “Carter, not unlike God, has long been disproportionately interested in the sins of the Chosen People.”

    “There are differences, however, between Carter's understanding of Jewish sin and God's. God, according to the Jewish Bible, tends to forgive the Jews their sins. And God, unlike Carter, does not manufacture sins to hang around the necks of Jews when no sins have actually been committed.”

    “Carter seems to mean for this book to convince American evangelicals to reconsider their support for Israel.”
    What Would Jimmy Do?

    Link to Power Line

    How did the President fail to put Mr. Carter on the ISG?

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  29. O/T However..

    One of the mosy absurd MSM driven stories in many a year is the idea that Barack Hussein Obama has a chance to be elected President of the United States.
    What this is a a subterfuge by the MSM to raise the conscienceness of redneck America, or as referred to in NY nad LA, "the great flyover".
    Yes the guy is glib, a minimum requirement for a successful politician, but he is also in his FIRST TERM as a Senator and has NO foreign policy experience. Yes it may count to his constituency that he's a former drug dealing crack head whose now seen the light but that won't play in Peroria.
    Illinois has a large Muslim population, is home of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam from which he drew great support.
    Like this country is gonna turn over the presidency to a man with such thin experience at this time in our history is make up hokum.
    It's easily the equal of the Baker/Hamilton Report in terms of reality.

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  30. I think Mr. Carter was originally on the panel but missed the airplane while he was peeing on the tarmack.

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  31. This should make us feel a "Little" bit better.





    Back to Hugh. Hugh Hewitt asked what Brownback thought about the ISG report -- I'm paraphrasing from memory, but this is the gist -- 'claiming a right of return' of Palestinians to Israel.

    Fortunately, the ISG report says no such thing.

    Here is the relevant section, the only time the term "right of return" is mentioned:

    RECOMMENDATION 17: Concerning the Palestinian issue, elements of that negotiated peace should include....

    Sustainable negotiations leading to a final peace settlement along the lines of President Bush’s two-state solution, which would address the key final status issues of borders, settlements, Jerusalem, the right of return, and the end of conflict.


    Big Lizards.

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  32. Don't get me wrong, I still consider James Baker a Deranged, Dangerous old Asshole; but, at least, that part wasn't quite as bad as we had been led to believe.

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  33. Whit,

    In my opinion, American foreign policy is Saudi foreign policy. Just last week the Vice-President was there to get a lecture from Abdullah.

    Why hasn't the US been aggressively arming and supporting any of the various groups in Iran opposed to current regime? Why isn't the US doing that as this is written. After all, there has been a law on the books for ten years giving any US administration nearly carte blanche.

    A dynamic, Western oriented Persia would be a threat to the jihadist Wahhbi Sunnis, chief of which would be Saudi Arabia. Consequently, the Saudis have zero interest in seeing a revived Persia.

    Can the US afford to allow the present Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons? No. However, any action against Iran must also have a complementary adjunct directed at Saudi Arabia. The present American elite are unlikely to ever permit this. And, I mean that in a completely bipartisan way.

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  34. Wonder if Jimmy the C gonna speak @ King Xerxes' li'l Holocaust Denial Conference?

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  35. Lets take a look at backing up and voiding the election results by one of any number of ways. Coup,David Copperfield, Polonium 210, whatever.
    We continue to control the oil and the territory. We decide that killing is ok so we have special butt-up ass-ass-ins who attack while the muzzies are nose down.
    We bomb the real bad areas, Sadr City and the Halal Goat-Meat Drive through.
    Admitting that installing democracy doesn't mean we must abandon policies that are vital for the security of the free world, ie, control of the ME oil in some fashion, and a baase from which to launch attacks against Iran's nuclear facilities.
    The problem now is that we're trying to satisfy all factions when clearly that cannot be done. So pick a partner and kick some butt.
    We'll all feel better for it.

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  36. The dthing about KSA that keeps bamboozling us armchairmen, is, the royal family contains about 5,000 high-rank princes, and all but a few of them are western allied, with the rest being secret AQ. But all are to a greater or lesser degree anti-Israel.

    Now add to that that KSA is by far the power of OPEC, not just the world's swing producer, but more important than the rest of OPEC combined, and able to control OPEC policy, price, dollarization of profits, and country of investment.

    So, when you say, "KSA money influences USA policy" it's more than just some smelly backroom deal, it's the warp and woof of global energy.

    As inviting as it is to deride our pussillanimous straddle viz Israel vs KSA, it has in a way been a successful straddle, as far as global economic growth and the rise of Israel's economic power and security.

    Only lately, under the pressure of the money flow into the Caspian Axis, has the slow inch-by-inch progress, within the constraints of the straddle, turned retrograde.

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  37. And, the rise of the Asian demand for oil has been the catalyst--not the friggin Palistinians, who are only patsies.

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  38. You're right, Buddy; This oil thing ain't no small backroom deal. In it is tied to our very existence, at least, in the short/medium run.

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  39. much haboonian wisdom, time to 'pick a partner'--

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  40. If the "Palestinians" didn't exist the Saudis would have to hire David Copperfield to "Invent" them.

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  41. I know for a fact that sticking with Israel is worth another economic depression, as letting a friend drown because we're too busy enjoying dinner will surely rot us out, terminally, from the inside. we've got to get back to the frontier spirit, where when you side with someone, you side with 'em. Break that, and why bother anymore, let's just butt-up now and get it over with.

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  42. Mark Steyn should not be missed on his take of the ISG.

    ISG by Steyn

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  43. time to 'pick a partner'--

    We done "done it." We came down on the side of "truth and justice." We Irritate the Sunnis, and Shia, equally.

    We're Equal Opportunity "Scrooer-uppers."

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  44. the Iraq Surrender Gran'pas

    Great Link, Habu; Great Find

    Steyn is a lot easeir to take when he's in his Sardonic mode.

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  45. It's not back room dealing to which I refer; if I seemed to imply that, sorry. No, Saudi effrontery is out in the open, just look at the Vice-President's agenda last week.

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  46. Jeez, Another Great Article,

    Thanks, Buddy.

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  47. Buddy,
    A great link to the Am. Thinker...

    A great fallacy enjoyed by many Americans is that all dissent is good, theraputic and clarifying, when in reality much of the lefts ideology is inimical to freedom and representative democracy and is simply flack for their crypto-Marxist agenda.

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  48. If, as I say, American foreign policy has become Saudi foreign policy, where does that leave the American citizen? If both parties are equally affected, then, Americanism is a convenient, albeit anachronistic, myth.

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  49. Just last week the Vice-President was there to get a lecture from Abdullah.

    I don't think it was really THAT BAD; Do you Allen?

    We're wanting something from Saudi Arabia; and, they're going to negotiate for their "own" agenda. I have no idea of the "upshot" of that meeting, but I'm sure it will become evident as we go along.

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  50. allen, that was joe Klein in Time Magazine, IIRC, who floated the "Cheney Summons" story. Klein is a well-known exploiter of any and all anti-administration 'gray areas'.

    just sayin', on the basis that KSA/USA policy may be nearing a point-cohesion, re the Persian nuke threat.

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  51. right on, habu--that's a strong meme the article should've mentioned, the glorification of dissent, as a stand-alone positive regardless of content. The effect is polarization, of course, rather than the advertised "uncovering of nefarious machinations".

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  52. I'll tell you where it leaves the "American" citizen, Allen. If Israel ceases to exist very few people in Mississippi will notice.

    But, if 10 Million Barrels/day of Saudi oil goes away, a loaf of bread will be equal to a day's pay, If you can find a day's work.

    Everybody Here is engaged in a very delicate balancing act, and unconsidered movements are not a good idea when you're working without a net.

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  53. a straddle covers a wide area, but knock a leg loose and the whole structure collapses.

    We're in this straddle because we have idiotic energy policy. I think the watermelons are the problem.

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  54. It is highly likely that President Bush knew when he appointed the ISG what their thinking would be. They were, after all well known political people with fully developed philosophies and positions.
    With this in mind, and knowing he was not going to abandon his committment perhaps he knew their product, the first study to arrive, would be absurd. As it has turned out the derision the ISG has received is well earned. Only those looking to cut and run (Democrats) are believing the ISG report.
    One thing about adversaries,you never, ever, ever prevail upon those who have a vested interest in your demise such as Syria and Iran do for help. It would be like asking the Confederacy to help the slaves end that “bondage thing.”
    (stolen lines from Alan Nathan)
    Bush now has the public reaction needed to go forward with the militaries report. He may have filled an inside straight.

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  55. And we just bought a whole truckload of new watermelons, on Nov 07. Hopefully, the 08 exigency will hold them in check.

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  56. Habu, I was thinking something remarkably similar just a few hours, ago. It's not like these guys were "unknown quantities."

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  57. rufus,

    re: not that bad

    Look at the world around you and tell me.

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  58. No Buddy, Watermelons are the "Solution!" Haven't you been payin attenshun, at all?

    :)

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  59. It looks pretty good to me. I don't see anything that's got my panties particularly bunched.

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  60. there is a pretty metaphor, rufus with twisted knickers.

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  61. My family's doing okay; the beer's cold at the E Bar (and at Ruf's house.) Iraq's messy, but it'll work out. The economy's going to do a little downtime, but eventually Ben will lower the FF, and we'll get back on track, again.

    Israel is threatened, but, then again, Israel has always been, and always will be, threatened. Recent, and, soon to be arriving, advances in missile defense technology will help out.

    The Arabs are forcing us to do some much needed work on our energy policy.

    Yeah, it'll be Okay.

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  62. I am being purposefully restrained in expressing my opinion of the Saudi influence on American foreign policy. Time will tell.

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  63. Buddy, 2:22: and following.

    Excellent summary and analysis.

    Allen: Do we know for a fact that Cheney got called on the Royal carpet? Could it be that Cheney was briefing the Sauds on Iraq Study Group Report before it was released? Not that I am excusing the Saudis. I read Dore Gold's book, Hatred's Kingdom plus I've watched that part of the world intently for all of my adult life plus (and here's the thin ice) everyone that I have talked to that had any dealings with Arabs has a pretty low opinion of them.

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  64. rufus,

    re: If Israel ceases to exist

    Before that happens, Rufus, even the good folk of Mississippi will not fail to notice.

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  65. That's fine, allen, but you'll make more progress taking the next step, and asking "why".

    It's like being 'anti' one of the three dimensions, like "ok, i like two of 'em, but not that third one."

    As long as KSA has something we need, in for a penny, in for a pound.

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  66. Man who straddles fence will be closed to proctoscopy.

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  67. To a Mississippian it would be like a firecracker going off, Allen. He would notice the bang, and flash, but would condider it of little "Import."

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  68. These things work out over time, tho, and it has only been a couple of years that Americans have understood the SUV/KSA link. And already it is savaging their sales. Yes, gas price, but also, we are starting to savvy the whole complex. Takes time, tho. Britney, you know.

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  69. Speaking of Cave-Dwellers; has anyone received a post card, or anything, from Osama-baby recently?

    You reckon the Dear Boy is Alright?

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  70. whatever came of that death report, a few months ago?

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  71. I don't know. Did he ever Deny it?

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  72. never heard--it just went 'poof' in the media avalanch over that f**king Bush failing to bomb that funeral.

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  73. BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani rejected the Iraq Study Group's report Sunday, calling it "very dangerous" to Iraq's sovereignty and constitution.

    "We can smell in it the attitude of James Baker," Talabani said, referring to the report's co-chair who served as secretary of state under President George H. W. Bush during the 1991 Iraq war.

    Talabani blamed Baker for leaving then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in power after that conflict, which ousted Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

    He also criticized the report for recommending a law that would allow thousands of former officials from Hussein's ousted Baath party to serve in Iraqi government posts.

    The report, released Wednesday, makes 79 recommendations. Among them: Most U.S. combat troops should be withdrawn by early 2008, Iraq's vast oil wealth should be more centralized and the U.S. should launch a diplomatic offensive that would include seeking help from Iran and Syria.

    "As a whole, I reject this report," Talabani said.

    "I think that Baker-Hamilton is not fair, is not just, and it contains some very dangerous articles which undermine the sovereignty of Iraq and the constitution," Talabani said.

    Gunmen storm Shiite houses

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  74. Speaking of which; that whole UAV thing is a Winner. They need to really ramp up a lot on that deal. A Whole Lot more Predators, and smaller craft, and more Global Hawks, too. They're not utilizing those things as well as they could be.

    With today's technology it should be impossible for an insurgent to pull off an attack and "disappear" in the streets of Baghdad, or Ramadi.

    Also, they ought to be able to have a Hellfire on the way 3 seconds after a mortar round leaves the tube. They need to get on the ball, here.

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  75. Talabani had better keep his mouth shut. He's one of the few people in the world that can make James Baker look good. Him and a few (24 million) other Iraqis, to be specific.

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  76. "As they are with the Medics the Iraqi are ready to fill all the roles, but dysfunction and a lack of experience and leadership on the US part has not filled the training needs. Well into the 43rd month of the Operation."
    ---
    Sorry, much better to say IRAQIS are F....., than to admit imperfection in the
    Infallible Compassionate Christian Cowboy.
    ---
    Talk about a pathetic display denial and dishonesty by those who STILL see through Rose Colored Glasses.

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  77. Wrote that before seeing yours, Rufus!
    No Offense, of course!

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  78. Perhaps, so, Bob :)

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  79. Pistols or Rapiers, Doug?

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  80. Well, I didn't read any of the later ones before writing that.
    ...don't know if I will, since 'Rat has been consistently right and...
    Oh, well, who says Performance Matters?
    Certainly not the Bush Lovers Brigade.
    Tell that to families destroyed by illegals, or Iraqis vaporized by a kid glove policy of compassion for the enemy, at home and abroad.

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  81. Doug, you make me want to vomit, all due respect.

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  82. I guess someone will EXPLAIN to us unenlightened why it is just FINE that THOUSANDS are killed every year by unlicensed, uninsured, ILLEGALS.

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  83. Oh yeah, George did it, so it MUST be fine.

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  84. Up is down for your Bud, so it falls right back on your mug!

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  85. Snide, bitter, ugly, mocking, sneering sarcasm, is all you have to offer, to anybody who doesn't engage in the same useless thread-shitting-on.

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  86. Well, you can have it, you make the whole exercise far too repulsive for me.

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  87. Doug said...
    I agree w/Allen, and of course Northstar 'Rat.
    Trish thinks Ledeen is a Maroon, but he has argued long before TWAT that we ignored the obvious opportunities in Iran for 3 decades at our peril.

    Sun Dec 10, 03:13:15 PM EST
    Doug said...
    The Bush family will all go to their graves still harboring some warm fuzzies for the Saudi Royals, from Barbara to the little "Texas" (Ivy League) Debs.
    ---
    The rest will all continue to go the bank with their wads of Saudi Cash.
    ---
    ...and as our esteemed duo point out:
    THE TROOPS PAY, DEARLY.
    as do the civies at home for the Crooks from south of the border that Honest George welcomes with open arms.
    ---
    Saudi Crooks, Mexican Crooks, and Honest George, the Compassionate, Patriotic Christian.
    ---
    My Ass.

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  88. I second that; I think I'll take a break, too.

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  89. You fucking idiots have insured now that a third of the electorate will be auto democrat, and you didn't even get your fence. Stupid, ignorant, loud-mouthed, vulgar hate-spewers, who got utterly rejected by the electorate, almost 100%.

    All you did was help the enemy, you ignorant, loud-mouthed stupid fool.

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  90. Reality Counts.
    Except in The Touchy Feely Compassionate Socialist World of Bush Love.
    ...nice of him to trash conservatives from the bully pulpit.
    And punish CITIZENS trying to protect this country from invasion that he supports.
    ...still haven't seen the explanation of why it is just fine that thousands die each year because of the Criminal Enemies Among Us.

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  91. At Some point it might be constructive to ask yourself a few things.
    Would you eat a meal prepared by a cynic?
    Would you drive a car built by a cynic?
    Would you live in a house built by a cynic?
    Would you follow the leadership of a cynic?

    Psychiatric help is available if you answered yes to any of the above.

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  92. Exactly!
    GEORGE didn't cause any trouble refusing to carry out his oath and then blaming the law abiding citizens for the result!

    Ditto for allying with the Dems and then trashing Conservatives for trying to stand for a principle here and there.

    GEORGE didn't immediately encourage use of INCLUSIVE language like
    Nativist
    Exclusionist
    Vigilante
    Racist
    Xenophobe

    Definitely words that brought us together in harmonius victory in the fight to preserve the Union.

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  93. That was in answer to Bud, AGAIN blaming conservatives to defend infallible GWB.

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  94. Mississippi

    SAT ranking 2005 50.5*

    ACT ranking 2005 50

    On the SAT, Mississippi tied with DC for last place, hence 50.5.

    On the ACT, only DC scored lower, which seems fitting given US foreign policy is formulated there.

    "Import" is in the eye of the beholder.

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  95. Doug,

    George isn't infallible. But today you don't seem to be in the best of moods.
    It'll be OK.
    We're all going to die.
    If we live long enough we'll all become incontinent,lose our sight and hearing, our muscles will atrophy and we'll be in chairwheels, so buck up mate and enjoy a good erection while you can.

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  96. Most people refer to them as wheelchairs. I haven't the foggiest idea what a chairwheel is but one day I may. maybe it'll be an autowiper for the incontinent.

    And someday someone at the drivers license agency will tell you you can't drive any more.
    it's all good so far...and if you want to just hit cap locks and write everything el grande..because

    When a problem comes along
    You must whip it
    Before the cream sits out too long
    You must whip it
    When somethings going wrong
    You must whip it

    Now whip it
    Into shape
    Shape it up
    Get straight
    Go forward
    Move ahead
    Try to detect it
    Its not too late
    To whip it
    Whip it good

    When a good time turns around
    You must whip it
    You will never live it down
    Unless you whip it
    No one gets away
    Until they whip it

    I say whip it
    Whip it good
    I say whip it
    Whip it good

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  97. re: fireworks and global thermonuclear war

    Although I have it on good authority that Mississippi would view a nuclear war in the ME as little more than a 4th of July fireworks exhibition, I'm going to go way out on a limb and say that such a war would most definitely have a negative impact on global bourses. Why, I can see the petroleum market, if one exists in such an eventuality, being is flux. Any semblance of order in commodities exchanges would be likewise chaotic. For several hundred thousand years, things might be less than optimal to the day trader. For those who trade long, well, "long" will have a whole new context.

    Oh, well, as long as things are copacetic in Mississippi, life is good.

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  98. hello everyone...

    i think most people MISS something on a few points:

    Israel has learned that she MUST not hold back and actually seek destruction of her self declared HONEST enemies.

    IF the arab world is going to call israel child murderers and mass killers then NO MORE leaflets warning people to evacuate, just hit all military targets, NO WARNING.

    Peace with iran/syria/hamas/hezbollah/alqueda et al is not possible

    So let tell israel to issue a threat to lebanon, "return the 2 solders by 12 noon, if not the IDF will bomb lebanon."

    Period.

    No more of this PUSSY fighting...

    #1 the airport will be destroyed
    #2 ALL power generators, substations and transformers will be HIT
    #3 ALL lebonese governmental building INCLUDING the Goverment Palace are HIT
    #4 ALL water and sewage treatment plants will be destroyed as well as ALL INDUSTRIAL factories, warehouse and and "valuable asset"
    #4 Bombing will start in the south and DRIVE the population NORTH, creating DEAD ZONES and MASSES of MILLIONS of people fleeing...

    If Hezbollah/Hamas/Fatah/islamic jihad/iran/syria (or anyone in that inbred camel humping group) shoots ANY ROCKETS at civilian targets, 100 fold number of rockets shall be shot BACK a CIVILIANS.

    This is WAR.. Real war.... Not bullshit.

    Once southern Lebanon (or gaza) is depopulated it shall be cluster bombed and napalmed. (salt the earth if needed)

    Thus not seeking doing things the ass backward way the USA is leading us, go destroy infrastructure and then spend 400 billion to rebuild said infrastructure and create "friends" but rather, destroy it and let the masses of arabs do what migrating hoards of people have done for thousands of years...

    run away or die

    let's try that to a few hundred hotbeds of islamic nutcases 1st, then talk about a regional "sit-down "

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  99. trish,

    re: arming Kurds

    I was referring to Iran's Kurds, Trish. Additionally, I spoke of the failure to arm any of the numerous factions within Iran, who would like to see the regime overthrown. The student activists come immediately to mind, if for no other reason than their having been brutally suppressed last week, when they took to the streets. Since all who seek change in Iran are defeated in short order by the well armed Iranian authorities, I must assume the lack of armed resistance must have its origin in a lack of arms.

    Historically, the Persians have had a cordial relationship with both the US and Israel. The Shi'a have had an historically strained relationship with the Sunni. Should the present Iranian regime be displaced and replaced by the pro-Western government preferred by the secular Iranian intelligentsia, that would automatically place an impediment in the way of the hegemonic Sunni Wahhbists, the creation of Saudi Arabia.

    Trish, if and when Iran is rendered harmless, the attention of the American public would be turned to the unhealthy relationship of the House of Saud and America's elite, generally. Were that to happen, I am sure the public would come to see the Saudis for what they are.

    As to my ability to give an answer for the American government, I am afraid I cannot. If asked to give a spontaneous answer today for the lack of support given to Iran's dissidents, government officials would probably have all manner of excuses. Should a scandal develop, these folk will sing from the same page. I am unable to predict what the party line might be.

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  100. If hypocracy is the compliment that vice pays to virtue then certainly, as Will Rogers said, “Diplomacy is the art of saying "Nice doggie" until you can find a rock.”

    W I "Occupation" delivers on the essential truth of what we have been invovled in for the past four years and I associate myself with his formulation. I do believe it is way past time to find a bigger rock.
    All of the countries of the earth are incapable of crafting,treaties,alliances,organizations that endure the ceaseless search that man has for dominion. That search always involves at some point war, and the search for dominion ends only with total victory.
    In this manner the dialectic is confirmed as we go from war to ephemeral peace to war, always for a new reason even if the reason is the hypocracy that diplomacy pays to war.

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  101. trish,

    re: questions of loyalty

    I am uncertain of your meaning. The protests of the students, certain workers groups, religious dissidents, and ethnic/tribal adversaries have been vociferously anti-regime. Loyalty to the Iranian government in these instances is absent. The brutal suppression of any opposition to the status quo by the government would indicate a mutuality of antipathy.

    Now, I have no doubt that an attack on the Iranian authority by outsiders would stimulate patriotism. But, an indigenous revolt or coordinated regional rebellions would not have nearly the same effect. If the Iranian government found itself embroiled in putting down an ongoing rebellion, its ability to project itself into Iraq and elsewhere would be curtailed. Moreover, should the regime fall from within, the "imperialists" could not be blamed. Finally, should the regime collapse, where would it be offered sanctuary?

    Unless Iran falls from within, it will have to be destroyed from outside. This will mean reducing Iran by conventional and possibly tactical nuclear weaponry. This would leave a mortally wounded Iran, incapable of putting pressure on the surrounding Sunni. Furthermore, once the shooting starts, the law of unintended consequences comes into play.

    In conclusion, for my money, I would much prefer an internal collapse of the Iranian regime. The rationale for the absence of vigorous US action to this end continues to escape me; although, I appreciate the Saudi pleasure with the status quo.

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  102. trish,

    There are known unknowns and unknown unknowns...
    ;-)

    While I make no pretense to knowing the machinations ongoing and prefer that remain the case, the inability of Iranian dissidents to physically harm the regime suggests a paucity of that sort of support.

    Yes, there is Turkey. The US has been given due notice of Turkey's reliability. If Turkey were to find itself having to rely upon infantry alone in an offensive into Kurdistan, the slaughter of Turkish troops would be reminiscent of WWI. Turkey could thus be neutralized and defanged through judiciously, selectively arming Iraq's Kurds. The same, of course, could be said for Iran. As a bonus, the Kurds might pull it off by themselves. Wouldn't that be a dainty dish?

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  103. Talks under way to replace Iraq PM

    BAGHDAD, Iraq - Major partners in Iraq's governing coalition are in behind-the-scenes talks to oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki amid discontent over his failure to quell raging violence, according to lawmakers involved.

    The talks are aimed at forming a new parliamentary bloc that would seek to replace the current government and that would likely exclude supporters of the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who is a vehement opponent of the U.S. military presence.

    The new alliance would be led by senior Shiite politician Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who met with President Bush last week. Al-Hakim, however, was not expected to be the next prime minister because he prefers the role of powerbroker, staying above the grinding day-to-day running of the country.

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  104. Taliban and Allies Tighten Grip in North of Pakistan

    PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Islamic militants are using a recent peace deal with the government to consolidate their hold in northern Pakistan, vastly expanding their training of suicide bombers and other recruits and fortifying alliances with Al Qaeda and foreign fighters, diplomats and intelligence officials from several nations say. The result, they say, is virtually a Taliban mini-state.

    A market in Peshawar, a border town, was bombed in October.
    The militants, the officials say, are openly flouting the terms of the September accord in North Waziristan, under which they agreed to end cross-border help for the Taliban insurgency that revived in Afghanistan with new force this year.

    The area is becoming a magnet for an influx of foreign fighters, who not only challenge government authority in the area, but are even wresting control from local tribes and spreading their influence to neighboring areas, according to several American and NATO officials and Pakistani and Afghan intelligence officials.

    This year more than 100 local leaders, government sympathizers or accused “American spies” have been killed, several of them in beheadings, as the militants have used a reign of terror to impose what President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan calls a creeping “Talibanization.” Last year, at least 100 others were also killed.
    ---
    Everyone once agreed it was a really bad thing for Clinton to leave the Taliban Training Camps untouched except for some cruise strikes, BEFORE 9-11.

    Now, of course, leaving Taliban Training Camps untouched in Pakistan AFTER 9-11, is no big deal.
    But then neither are IED factories there, in Iran, nor staging grounds there and in Syria.
    Times do change, and it IS a Post 9-11 World, after all.

    What would Michael Yon know anyway, when he warned we might lose both wars?
    Definitely a case of BDS.
    ...and of course, his info is dated since he and Walt are DENIED ENTRY by our Command.

    But the gutless world of blogging has mounted no meaningful campaign, to my knowledge, to protest the exclusion of probably the finest reporter of this War.

    ...only "approved" campaigns against Dan Rather and the like get traction.
    Might be abused and accused of having BDS if you stood up for principle on both sides of the partisan divide.
    Can't have that.

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  105. "The question of confidence in this government must be reconsidered," Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, a Sunni Arab, told legislators Sunday.
    "Why should we continue to support it? For its failure?"
    "
    ---
    Stupid Iraqi!
    He could avoid the MDS label, if he had any brains, but those suffering from Maliki Derrangement Syndrome can't use the brains they have.

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  106. Trish:
    Wow,
    It recently occured to me that if we had flooded Pakistan with half the money and effort that's been flushed in Iraq, who knows where we'd be?
    ---
    Will your husband be "downtown?"

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  107. " who got utterly rejected by the electorate, almost 100%."
    ---
    Completely unsupported by actual RESULTS, but who worries about that?

    Sad fact is, GWB and company left the field wide open for the Dems to slide RIGHT just long enough to put the far lefties back in charge.

    Incidentally, this was all played out 15 years ago in Calif, and mainstream REPUBLICANS as well as eager Democrats have repeated the myth (that folks standing on principle were entirely responsible for defeat) so many times it is now regarded as true.

    In reality, of course, Bush supporting "moderates" like Spector, and Libs like Chaffee, over Conservatives each and every time he had the chance, did not exactly energize and unify the base.

    ...but of course that will be completely ignored and written off in the name of building the Meuth of victimized George.

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  108. Trish:
    Thought he might be at a stage in his career when romantic Peshawar might be the site of his office!

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  109. Deuce,
    The kid headed off for Mississippi East this evening.
    Last time he checked out the Air and Space Museum.
    Any suggestions for this time.
    Plans on some more Smithsonian trips.

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  110. allen, agreed.

    We have to elucidate on how exactly to deal with an Iran hell-bent on destabilising Iraq through sectarianism and secessionism (Turkish-Iranian cooperation to infiltrate into Kurdish Iraq to off PKK militants) by handing them a taste of their own bitter medicine.

    Edward Luttwak's emphasis on the extent of public opprobrium against the political will of the elite:

    a)only Persian-language teaching is allowed, condemning all non-Persians to illiteracy in their own languages

    b)dissident groups from the Kurds (inspired by neighbouring kin in Iraq), Azeris (inspired by Azerbaijan's independence from the Soviet Union), Arabs and the Baluch have become more vocal in their calls for autonomy


    With a Persian-centric area bordered by ethnic minorities, why stop at arming the Kurds? If it does foment precursory tensions to civil war, Iran would have to deal with hostile secessionist movements within and outside its borders.

    It won't be easy to dissolve the mullahs' sovereignty of the regime; after all, it is still mainly a Persian-centric majority that will be left standing (but for how long, I cannot ascertain as of now). That's why we should give Iranian Kurds, Azeris, Baluchs a sample of autonomy and independence from Iranian dominionhood; that will serve us well in inspiring the Persian community itself to bring about a revolution - because that's where the real revolutionary power lies.

    Internal disintegration definitely seems like a more viable option, considering the defanged impotence of the administration to act decisively and wage "war" again, where "victory" must be complete, not allow Shiites to get away with an armistice/ceasefire while preserving their dependence on their death squads, Iranian funding and anarchy.

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  111. trish,

    Your husband will be in our thoughts and prayers.

    ReplyDelete