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."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Let's give peace a chance. The Saudis can help.

Yesterday President Bush met with Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraq's vice president and a leader of the largest Sunni Muslim bloc in The Iraq parliament. A the same time the President announced a delay in the new U.S. approach in Iraq until after the start of the new year.He has scheduled other meeting gathering facts. It is hard to believe that he needs more facts. He may need more time. Perhaps the Sunnis are beginning to understand the peril they will be in if the US leaves Iraq quickly.

There is no Sunni infrastructure remaining in Iraq. Most of the Iraq Army and police is either Shiite or Kurd. A US withdrawal will force the Sunnis to go outside the country for assistance.

The Bush administration meeting with Tariq al-Hashemi is called reaching out to political moderates in Iraq. The problem with that strategy is the moderates by definition are the source of the problem. That source is the militants.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, has been trying to encourage Iraq's militant factions to do just do I don't know what. The miltants are in high gear. Why would they quit now? The US looking for help from them is just nuts.

The Iranians continue to provide support to the militant Shiites. Now according to this morning's NYT, the Saudis are considering plan "B":

Saudis Give a Grim What If Should U.S. Opt to Leave Iraq


By HELENE COOPER NYT
Published: December 13, 2006
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 — Saudi Arabia has told the Bush administration that it might provide financial backing to Iraqi Sunnis in any war against Iraq’s Shiites if the United States pulls its troops out of Iraq, according to American and Arab diplomats.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia conveyed that message to Vice President Dick Cheney two weeks ago during Mr. Cheney’s whirlwind visit to Riyadh, the officials said. During the visit, King Abdullah also expressed strong opposition to diplomatic talks between the United States and Iran, and pushed for Washington to encourage the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, senior Bush administration officials said.

The Saudi warning reflects fears among America’s Sunni Arab allies about Iran’s rising influence in Iraq, coupled with Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. King Abdullah II of Jordan has also expressed concern about rising Shiite influence, and about the prospect that the Shiite-dominated government would use Iraqi troops against the Sunni population.

The Saudis are worried about a US withdrawal and the power vacuum drawing all of Iraq's neighbors into a conflict.

The Saudis have an interesting card to play that could set down a very large marker with Iran. Iran is vulnerable with an ongoing need for money and a lot of it. Yesterday the German Chancellor, Merkel made comment expressing real concern about Iran getting the nuclear weapons it seeks. Europe will support some sanctions rather than face a US or Israeli attack on Iran. So here is the juice.

  • The US threatens all parties with a draw down in Iraq.
  • The President lets all parties know that Iran will not be permitted to develop nuclear weapons. He demands tough sanctions. The Russians will not play. Ignore them. Better yet punish them. How? Read on.
  • The US demands that the Saudis break out of any restraint on oil production. Tell them in no uncertain terms that the US is leaving. Tell them that the US is sick of the Middle East and if the Saudis do not play hardball by cranking the oil, they will have to solve their own problems. If they do not , someone else may wind up pumping their oil.
The expected results would be:
  1. Oil prices would drop.
  2. Russia would be given a hard lesson of their own making and would lose oil revenue.
  3. Iran would face tough economic sanctions and reduced oil money. Iran would be exposed to her own vulnerabilities and face lessened prestige in the Middle East.
  4. Conversely, Saudi Arabia would appear to be sending a message to Iran as to who is uncle in th Middle East.
  5. The Europeans would get economic benefits with lower oil prices during winter.
  6. China would not object to lower oil prices.
  7. The US could promise a new cooperative effort to engage the Sunnis and balance to parties in Iraq.

Bush needs to sieze the moment. This would be a chance to dust off the family jewels. This could work. It would be a chance for Bush to show he is his own man.

114 comments:

  1. Two, one two three four
    Ev'rybody's talking about
    Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
    This-ism, that-ism, is-m, is-m, is-m.

    All we are saying is give peace a chance
    All we are saying is give peace a chance


    Peace.

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  2. 2164th wrote, "The US demands that the Saudis break out of any restraint on oil production."

    Bad solution. It would kill the market's drive toward energy independence.

    "Bush needs to sieze the moment. This would be a chance to dust off the family jewels"

    Lately the Bush family jewels look like yellow topaz. All we are saying is give pizza chants.

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  3. WC dissents, worried about energy independence.

    In love,war and politics, momentum rules, Seizing the initiative in the short run can determine the long haul way after the reason for the change is forgotten. It will have no effect on energy independence.

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  4. Was strange today to listen to Hewitt argue with callers that Energy Independence is irrelevant, since any adversary can sell THEIR oil on the World Market.

    Seems like half the equation:

    If we were not so dependent on ME Oil, the important result would be the effect on OUR independence from them.
    Or so it seems.
    Rufus for Energy Czar.
    Franklin had his Leyden Jar.
    Rufus has his Jar of Moonshine.

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  5. Short term, Deuce is correct, and we gotta get through the short term to get to the long term.
    My nite for profound thoughts.

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  6. Indeed politics and territory abhor a vacuum. With regard to a US departure and the Sunni perplexity the word is Oreck.
    Why that little sucker'll hold onto a bowling ball so a few hundred thousand certainly could keep a cobbed together nation intact.
    Suppliment that with backpack powered leaf blowers administered by Iraqi Parks and Recreation and you've got the core makings of a genuine government subsidized at peace workforce. I mean lets face it, it's not like they don't have sand to blow around.
    Once Mohammad and Omar are pulling down regular checks and the kids are in daycare, it's time for kabob, beer and the hookah. A little burka-a-boo, I love you and momma is ready for a new day.

    Now, tenshun! Right shoulder blower! Riiiight face,Forward march!

    We're the guys from ole Baghdad
    Use ta be all hos-tile and mad
    Now we got our work ta do
    Suck'n an blow'n with power tools!

    We use to fight and blow up stuff
    Sex-u-ally we're all fucked up
    Then we got these power tools
    Now all the chicks just think we're cool.
    'toon halt!

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  7. Ethanol Fueled Leaf Blowers.
    Solar Powered Weed Whackers.
    Motivated Muslim Women Whackers.

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  8. The Adventures of Chester offers this...the site where you can see the first episode of "Sleeper Cell-American Terror."

    Sleeper Cell

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  9. All we are see-ing is Brittany sans pants
    All we are say-ing is give piece a chance.

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  10. Iowahawk as only he can be..on Kofi Talk

    el maximo funny

    Kofi Talk

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  11. I am not sure what this has to do with the post?

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  12. Apologies, I guess I got caught up in the "freewheeeling conversation" part of your banner.

    "Welcome to The Elephant. Drinks are on the house if you bring your own. Do not kick the dog. Gents please pick up the seat. Smoking permitted. If you do not inhale, please leave. We encourage freewheeling conversation, keep it civil and interesting. Thanks-2164th & Whit, proprietors."

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  13. Sometimes when you threaten to take your ball and go home the other kids say, "See ya."

    Then you're in a hell of a fix.

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  14. With all due respect the patina of a place where serious discussion takes place a la Belmont Club is creeping over you Duece. Granted it is your site and you can make all the rules you want.
    You and Whit invest serious time into producing the best take you can on the events of the day and here comes the "freewheeler" not giving the editorial it's due. It is an ego bruise hard to endure I am sure.
    However, the EB wasn't established with that intent. If your intent has changed, if you seek to become an oracle in the blogsphere to one whereby you go the direction Wretchard did that is certainly your prerogative. It didn't seem to help him.
    So far in the last two weeks "no cut and paste", "keep multiple personalities in order" and now "tow the mark on the lead theme". Is this a rule trend or are we just not as "freewheeling" as we once were?

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  15. Power tools corrupt, and absolute power tools corrupt absolutely.

    Give peas such ants.

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  16. And right wing extremists lurking on the fringes and waiting for their chance to bring back slavery. They're the real enemy. In fact, I believe there are no Muslims at all. They do not actually exist. They have been invented by the government in order to keep us in a permanent state of fear and excuse permanent war. The so called left wing bias of the MSM is really just a clever UN world government double bluff to blind us to the truth that there is no Iraq to have a war in (Ha! thats why nobody can find Jamil Hussein! DO YOU SEE?). Yes, the entire Iraq war coverage is a fake, filmed in Patagonia with mexican extras playing the muzzlims. Everybody knows the entire population of the original Iraq was impaled on stakes by the British empire before it withdrew.

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  17. The Australians helped--they used "stikes".

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  18. You can be free wheeling as you like. Like all things in life there are degrees and levels. I asked a legitimate question. I don't make any money doing this and am not an oracle. I enjoy doing it and find that in many of the free wheeling conversations, ideas come up unexpectedly and are welcome.

    The cut and paste was boring. I can see by the participation and site visits what is of interest and what is not. If i have any criticism, Imake it. You can accept it or not. I did not see what your posts were about. Its no big deal.

    I will think about your comment about the Belmont Club. Maybe I am C-4. I'll report back.

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  19. Do you have to get advertising?

    Is it sweeps week?

    What awards are out there singing their Sirens song?

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  20. Habu said, "So far in the last two weeks 'no cut and paste', 'keep multiple personalities in order' and now 'tow the mark on the lead theme'. Is this a rule trend or are we just not as "freewheeling" as we once were?"

    Sometimes the Belmont Club is slower'n molasses in January, and that's when the addicted come back to EB for another fix.

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  21. Westhawk doesn't get the traffic he deserves fo the quality of his product .. hmmm

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  22. C4, your top o the colyum comment, posing as 2164, set a freewheeling, Dadaesque, theater-of-the-absurdist, Salvadorian Dali folly mood, which some of the more prone-to-that (h*a*b*u*) fell right in line wif.

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  23. All we are saying...
    Is have another piece.

    The Sauds can help?
    The Sauds are the keystone of the Wahhabist enemy. The finacial core.

    Who is the Enemy?
    The Wahabists, the Mullahs of Iran, radical extremists, which in the Middle East means democrats?

    There are no real US enemies, in this Global War, or Mr Bush would not need another month to determine who "they" are.

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  24. 2164,

    "I can see by the participation and site visits what is of interest and what is not."

    I look at the numbers and there are days when 200+ comments are made. But "inside the numbers" it is badinage that carries the day. I have rarely seen a 200+ day carried by the theme set down, or for that matter serious comments in the 20-50 bracket out of 200+ would be unusual.

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  25. Buddy re:9:35 yep ..it was hunting me in a baited field. I was easy to get.

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  26. Westhawk never has, and barely interfaces with those that do utilize the posting service.

    There is more to stream of visits than are indicated by the number of posts.
    Numbers of visits, numbers of page views, length of visits, are just some of the elements in the stream of consciousness matrix.

    Just have another piece
    Give it a chance.

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  27. Yes, we have to remember that "rectitude" is the formal manner often adopted by doctors of proctology.

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  28. Pardon me, but I'm from Mississippi. My state ranks dead last in all intellectual categories. I'm just not smart enough to keep up with some of the heavy thinkin stuff, but I kin follow possumtater pretty good.

    Thing is, if I have to talk about all that intellektual stuff all the time I just cain't do it. I'd have to go somewhere else where they had more pikturs of Brittney's Coochie, and stuff.

    Just sayin

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  29. whose motto is often
    "give cheese some pants"

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  30. I think Louisiana busts you out of last place in some o those categories, rufus. I wouldn't go get all high horsed if i wuz you.

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  31. If I had a Hammer...
    I'd be Mickey Spillane

    These are the times that try mens souls.

    Someday, soon, Mr Bush will be able ti tell US who the enemy is. He'll decide, soon. When he does, why then there will be a "new" way foreward.

    Much like Chesty at the Chosen. When surronded and cut off, anyway you go is forward.

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  32. "give cheese some pants"

    ROTFLMAO

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  33. rat, did you catch that tidbit, that John Milius is making a "Chosin" film?

    The mind boggles--

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  34. The AP says Mr Bush has made up his mind, the Decision is made.

    Back to the Future. Train Iraqis.

    "... Military commanders who met Tuesday with Bush sought more advisers to train the Iraqis, not more U.S. combat troops in Iraq. They also urged the administration to pour significantly more funding into equipment for Iraqi security forces, according to a defense specialist familiar with the meetings.

    Gen. John Abizaid, top U.S. commander in the Middle East, and Gen. George Casey, the top general in Iraq, want more armored vehicles, body armor and other critical equipment for the Iraqis, said the defense specialist, who requested anonymity because the discussions were private.

    Abizaid has told the Senate Armed Services Committee that troop levels in Iraq need to stay fairly stable and the use of military adviser teams expanded. About 140,000 U.S. troops and about 5,000 advisers are in Iraq.

    The message to Bush, the defense specialist said, is that the U.S. cannot withdraw a substantial number of combat troops by early 2008, as suggested in the Iraq Study Group report, because the Iraqis will not be ready to assume control of their country. Bush is delaying making public his new Iraq policy plan in part to allow officials to work out the funding, he said. ..."


    At this point, embedded training with the Iraqis will take well over a year, just to get good trainers, with language skills, trained. As per the General at Fort Riley.

    Mr Bush is dusting off a three year old proposal, years late. The US Public will string the GOP up for this, in 23 months.

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  35. like it or not, the film biz influences the culture big time--Eastwood's flick is packin' 'em in Tokyo, according to my son, just back from over there--he watched it *in* Tokyo, and said the only sound the audience made was 'gasps' at the Iwo Jima battle scenes.

    A film about the Chosin might remind a big slice of the young demographic that there was a war there, an investment that "made" the big powerful nation of South Korea.

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  36. Appears the ISG Report has accomplished...what?

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  37. I believe Bush is having to come to the conclusion that he went about this nation building thing all wrong. It takes awhile for some really dedicated people to abandon an idea or method.
    I also think he's probably received some bad intel and bad advice. He's now alone, where Abe Lincoln was in the Civil War. Abe's entire cabinet was against him. The press openly called him a babboon. He pressed on knowing that the decisions were his and his alone to make.
    So we stand outside, with NO intel, no advice but punditry and pols with contra agendas dealing with a divided country half who believe Bush is an illegitimate President and that the USA had a hand in the WTC plane crashes.
    So now it's beyond fubar. We sit and wait to see if he will go bigger, which is the current line, or will he supersize that with a regime change..that's the extra time he's now banking. It'll take til 2007 to kill off the current leadership either metaphorically or in reality.
    One thing for sure. He ain't leav'in that place until his term is up.

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  38. Money grants folks the ability to manipulate. So some folks will make statments that they are getting ready to start manipulating and some dont make statements but still manipulate. Way I see it.

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  39. Gives a piece of chance.

    Forces the Iraqi to believe that the US will bug out. Regardless of US rhetoric, or because of it.

    From the Military's and the Administrations point of view, it's all about the Iraqi. Our Iraqi. The only part of their Society we interact with is their Army. The only part we can influence is their Army.

    That we have not been "FULLY" engaged in that aspect of the "War" is almost criminally negligent.

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  40. This is an "Excellent" post about Iraqi Democracy.

    Must Read.

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  41. Well, rufus, if the Turkish model is the "one", then the Iraqi Army is and has been the "KEY", all along.

    The Army "is" Iraq.
    or there is no Iraq, at all.

    We took the "BEST" trained trainers off the job, to conduct "smash and grab" raids, early on. Leaving the training of the Iraqis to "others", less qualified.

    As the now infamous Mr Rumsfeld said, "We have all the wrong skillsets, in Iraq". He said that, early on, then did not "rebuild" the Military to suit the task. Only opening the Fort Riley training operations in the past few months.

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  42. One good sign, if it's really happening, is the more and more Dems coming out with serious attitudes about the whole war. Looks to me like the monkey, having shifted on Nov 7 to partly on their backs too, is causing a few folks in DC to 'serious up'. It could be that the huge split in this country has been the bad guy's best weapon all along. As far as keeping their own 'will' up.

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  43. I think you're right, Buddy. I think a few Jihadists are going to be dismayed when they realize it was all about "getting elected."

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  44. See, guys, I told you the Republic would not suddenly go belly up.
    Just because Mr Chafee and Mr Allen weree voted out of their jobs.

    The Sauds, though, they see the 800,000 Iraqi in Syria and the 400,000 that have migrated to Jordan. 1.2 Million Iraqis have made the exodus, 100,000 a month are said to be following them.

    3,000 a month are being killed, on the US watch. As bad as Saddam?
    Worse, perhaps, for the Iraqi.

    Which would not be a bad thing, if it was the "Plan", but no one will admit that it is, so it must not be. In fact the reality is so far from the "public plan" that it constitutes defeat.

    Perhaps, though, the Ship of State is really a train, the only control is SPEED, not direction.

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  45. and the ISG Report, coalescing and distilling all the 'get out asap' arguments, was going to shield the pres if the country was 'really' wanting to bail asap. Last week was pivotal, showing that some folks are really looking at the stakes, now the election is over and they can afford top, publicly.

    IOW, where is the groundswell to 'implement ISG'?

    Nowhere, it looks to me like.

    Achmadeinejad helped mightily, with his 'Holocaust Conference". He's either stupid or the whole fabric of reality is a giant conspiracy to keep everybody from dozing off and letting Martians take over.

    Pay attention to Angela Merkel. She can cover Blair, and the twin insults of the Polonium mess + the Holocaust conference has her saddled up and ready to ride.

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  46. The train is a nice analogy--it means we can all just go fishin', the tracks lead where the tracks lead.

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  47. metaphor, not alalogy. shit, i gits me concepts all mixed up sometimes

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  48. Rufus,
    A dandy article.
    The last several generations are hard wired, actually now wire-less to get results, NOW.
    In political and sociolgical environments the pace is usually glacial. That slow motion is magnified in our eyes by the almost complete lack of understanding other cultures and how THEY incorporate change.
    The Iraqi's are giving it a good go.
    The various pugnacious factions keep a good roil going but then when you consider that it took us from 1775 to 1787 to get the Revolution and Constitution in place, well they're not do'in too bad...to slow for our click the channel set but the're going.
    Hell, most historians agree that when this country was established (at the height of the Enlightenment) we had some of the most intelligent people this countries ever had working the problems....for decades...and we were at that time an almost totally homogeneous population.
    Iraq has no such advantages but they have a head of steam and need our help to keep the boilers lit and the wheels go'in 'round.
    Iraq's biggest problem is the decay of our own countries belief in anything other than "self"
    What have you done for "me" in the last half hour syndrome. It's a civilization killer.

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  49. That is why we is here at the Bar, buddy. Not cocktailing with the sophists at the Club.
    Can't hardly spell, let alone use the spell check.

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  50. Yes, Rat, it WAS a good metaphor, or analigy (what's my ass got to do with anything?)

    Probably, old Dubya should get a couple of bottle of Jack Daniels and take Tony out to a Deer Camp for a couple of weeks. They're both looking "frazzled."

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  51. Maybe, fatigued would be a better adjective. (see, I know some big wurds, too.)

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  52. "it's a civilization killer"

    That's a mouthful--

    (rufus--i get the grins over 'analogy' too--it should mean, the study of...oh well, why say it)

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  53. Deuce, the Cap'n has a good post that fits in with your Most Excellent Post:)

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  54. Resolved--"Pace", or "speed", or "velocity" is itself a direction, only in the fourth dimension ('Time'), as opposed to the standard three 'material' dimensions.

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  55. The Sunnis have punctuated their message, last week, via the Pakis testing a ballistic nuke-capable missile, and OPEC (KSA-led) dropping their Dollar trades from 67% to 65%.

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  56. If the Wahabbi clerics can be reined in, now, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

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  57. KSA royals should start a little wet work

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  58. would love to know the story behind their ambassador's resignation (was it yesterday?).

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  59. good guess is that it means "a change is taking place".

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  60. Lotta shit goin on in the Kingdom, all of a sudden, eh?

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  61. Oil markets haven't "spiked." The King probably isn't dead. Probably the Foreign Minister; he's been pretty sick.

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  62. Their Ambassador was a "newbie". The old Ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, left not long ago.

    BBC Middle East analyst Roger Hardy says there are two possible reasons for his sudden resignation.

    His elder brother, Prince Saud al-Faisal - his country's foreign minister for over 30 years - has been unwell for some time, and there's speculation that Prince Turki might succeed him.

    However, a different and perhaps more plausible theory is that, as ambassador in Washington, Prince Turki felt he had not been getting sufficient support back home in Riyadh.

    In particular, our correspondent says, it has been reported that he resented continuing interference from his predecessor in the post, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

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  63. I'm going back to my sleeper cell.
    Later.

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  64. Hmm...so, the resignation likely means that Bandar has been running the show all along--that was almost a 'given'. jeez--what an inscrutable bunch.

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  65. This, just published in the WaPo, from one of the latest to meet with Mr Bush.

    Beyond Baker-Hamilton
    One Approach to a Last Try at Stability in Iraq

    By Barry R. McCaffrey
    Wednesday, December 13, 2006


    Seems the General thinks it is to late for embedded trainers, that the Iraqi want US gone, not as role models.

    We must not entertain the shallow, partisan notion of rapidly withdrawing most organized Marine and Army fighting units by early 2008 and substituting for them a much larger number of U.S. advisers -- a 400 percent increase -- as a way to avoid a difficult debate for both parties in the New Hampshire primaries.

    This would leave some 40,000 U.S. logistics and adviser troops spread out and vulnerable, all over Iraq. It would decrease our leverage with Iraq's neighbors. It would not get at the problem of a continuing civil war. In fact, significantly increasing the number of U.S. advisers in each company and battalion of the Iraqi army and police -- to act as role models -- is itself a bad idea. We are foreigners. They want us gone.

    But it was printed in the WaPo so who knows....

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  66. I don't know why the Iraq man on the street would be any less conflicted than the USA counterpart, re "stay/leave".

    Most of us seem to hold both ideas simultaneously, reacting to them as we do red & green traffic lights. Alas.

    of course, maybe it's the situation. of course, maybe *we're* the situation.

    1864 lite, said the Lizard guy.

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  67. It wasn't just Gettysburg that turned the war--the 1864 election swung off Billy Sherman's results. Had he got smacked down on the way to Atlanta--the peace party--Gen McClelland--would likely have won the election. And we would be probably be not two but two dozen countries by now.

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  68. WC, check out "Conan, the Literary" link

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  69. Deuce,

    What would happen to oil futures if the President were to say, "We are staying for years to come; live with it."

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  70. For all the right reasons, Americans are sick of the ME. On the positive side of the ledger, the up-close and personal American contact with the Islamic way may spell the end of universally acclaimed multiculturalism. In this case, familiarity has bred contempt.

    However, it would be the height of folly to take our ball and go home. Whatever else the President may do, he must firmly, convincingly convey to one and all that the American presence in the ME is perpetual. He must give notice that America controls the petroleum tap, ready to reward friends and punish adversaries - no warm fuzzy stuff, just in your face real politick. Hmmm...One can dream.

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  71. If "years" are measured as 23 months, Mr Bush can make that committment, beyond that it becomes a "Shah of Iran" crapshoot.
    The current Iraq & Middle East Policy not guarenteed to survive the Spring of '09.

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  72. That fact, right there, does more to keep the world standing on one foot, than any other single thing.

    And there is no solution except the American people knowing the facts, and not being lied to by their leaders--either party--as one party can't do it if the other is lying--it just makes for murky stuckness.

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  73. “If the Taliban and Al Qaeda wish to smudge out the Durand Line separating Pakistan and Afghanistan, the line should be smudged out for both sides.”

    “Smudge out”…a delightful euphamism

    Attack the Taliban sanctuaries

    And, accidents can happen. When those include 2,000 lb JDAMS, well, it can get most regrettably nasty. But, as JF’n Kerry suggested, the military is not all that bright, so, what can be said other than “Sorry.”

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  74. DR,

    Mr. Eisenhower first supplied aid and advisers in Vietnam, shortly after the fall of the French. The US was, thereby, locked in place for nearly two decades. It is a whole lot easier getting in than out. Foreign policy doesn't turn on a dime. If Mr. Bush commits the United States, the United States will be committed, if for no other reason than the law of inertia.

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  75. We will see, allen, what we will see.

    Some of US have seen the Pakistani Border Regions as two of the major challenge points of the Global War.
    The Enemy has developed a civic infrastructure in both Regions and has fought the Paki Army to a negotiated settlement, in Warizistan, that favors the Talabani.

    Perhaps the line will become smudged, for US, perhaps not.
    So far the trend lines all point "not"

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  76. allen is right insofar as there was 8 or 9 years between Tet and the embassy roof chopper scene. But, in the end, there WAS an embassy roof chopper scene.

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  77. Wonder if Hugo has nailed Publius--i can't get a connection--something about the server down.

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  78. Not at all, allen.
    As General McCaffery says, the US "could" be gone in 6 months. Just pack up and leave. That will always be an option, the Iraqi will factor that in.

    Since the "ruling" Iraqi will be Shia of one sort or another, they will recall '91. Everyone in the Region remembers how fast the Shah was abandoned.

    If Mr Bush reenforces with a surge of the troops and steps up the Operation Tempo, while at the same time committing to a build up in the Embed Program, he covers most of the bases.

    That gives the 4 to 6 month window of opportunity a good run. Hammer the Six Tribes with the majority Sunni supporting the push, tribal politics overcoming religious bonds.

    Does the exodus continue, that is the most telling indicator of social stability. 5% of the Iraqi population has left for greener pastures.
    14% of Mexico's workforce has as well. Exodus, a leading indicator of Societal Dysfunction.

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  79. They are back to the "G Team", as the best option for the GOP.

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  80. Love to see the G team break out early--either end of it, as i can't see a 1-2 deal with those guys. the brains are all saying, forget it, it's McCain.

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  81. That would be a major tragedy, for the GOP and the Country.
    Whether he won or lost.

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  82. It seems to me, Buddy, that, come spring-time, Abizaid and Casey have to be gone. I wouldn't hesitate to lay 3 or 4 to one on it.

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  83. Westhawk:

    "If the Taliban and Al Qaeda wish to smudge out the Durand Line separating Pakistan and Afghanistan, the line should be smudged out for both sides. The Afghan and U.S. governments should consider offensive operations into Pakistan’s tribal areas. Such operations could be particularly effective. They would demoralize the Taliban by removing its safe haven and would put the movement on the defensive, thwarting its ability to go on the attack in Afghanistan.

    "Such an offensive by Afghanistan and the U.S. would not have to be overt. It could be a stealthy affair, carried out by Afghan tribes and assisted by clandestine U.S. personnel and support. There would be no need to change the relationship with President Musharraf."

    I think it's a safe bet that we've BEEN doing that, though they might not be Afghans. I also think it's a safe bet that it's slow work and probably not enough. I'm not inclined to be optimistic, but things are bound to change. A certain amount of constraint has been removed, in the person of Mr. Rumsfeld.

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  84. Just that 'smudging' might have been part of Musharref's (and MNF/NATO) idea from the get-go. USA/NATO was far too silent, it was far too much of a trial-balloon-less sudden announcement. It didn't add up, unless it was just as Westhawk is postulating.

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  85. Great post, thanks. Don't know if you've seen this David Letterman clip with Our Fearless Leader in it, but its pretty funny--
    www.minor-ripper.blogspot.com

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  86. If Musharraf could appear to wash his hands of the situation ("Look, I did what I could to keep the Americans out of your hair.") then it COULD be a good time to be in South Asia.

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  87. Waziristan, north & south, amount to 4,500 sq miles, or about half the size of New Jersey. Of course, ironed out flat it's considerably larger.

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  88. Of course, when you're dropping things from the air, the relief of the topography doesn't matter that much--everything is a two-dimensional grid from the air. Theoretically that is. The falling item just hits ground a little sooner on the higher elevations than it does on the lower elevations.

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  89. buddy, are you trying to taint our opinion of Wazistan by comparing it to NJ?

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  90. anything to implement a plan...you are a bit more subtle than the AP..I'll give you that...but hey it worked on me. I say send in the SF find the rats and bomb the hell out of the place.

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  91. Ironed out flat, this'd be a whole 'nother ballgame.

    Every deployment cycle's the same: They start out cautious and, God bless 'em, near the end are pushing everything they have (and some things they don't) to get themselves into Waziristan.

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  92. Trish...remember how the other day you and buddy were saying how nice the Shenandoah Valley was? "Was" is the key word.. as of the late the once lovely river of the same name is no longer fit for fish

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  93. Maybe we could make a deal with Putin, get him to troll the old-folks homes for the USSR's old "yellow rain" specialists.

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  94. Seem the Democratic Senator from South Dakota has had a stroke.
    If he is incapacitated, does not the Governor appoint a new Senator.
    Mr Mike Rounds, a Republican, is Governor of SD.

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  95. "The recent discovery of so-called "intersex" fish - male smallmouth bass unnaturally producing eggs - adds to the mystery still surrounding the past two year's massive fish kills on the Shenandoah River's North and South Fork."
    ---
    Fish Faggots.

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  96. "As the now infamous Mr Rumsfeld said, "
    We have all the wrong skillsets, in Iraq".
    He said that, early on, then did not "rebuild" the Military to suit the task.
    Only opening the Fort Riley training operations in the past few months.
    "
    ---
    You fight a War with the Army the Footdraggers Leave in Place.

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  97. "Perhaps, though, the Ship of State is really a train, the only control is SPEED, not direction."
    ---
    "Piece Train"

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  98. Buddy Larsen makes me feel like Poopie.
    He's the reason Rosie O'Donnell has a TV Show.
    If he doesn't shut his big trap,
    David Duke's going to be named Mr. Universe.

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  99. "...as of the late the once lovely river of the same name is no longer fit for fish"

    Makes for good canoeing and kayaking, though.

    Still.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    "Peter Pace's Piece Train"

    Perfect Peter!

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  100. desert rat said, "Seem the Democratic Senator from South Dakota has had a stroke. If he is incapacitated, does not the Governor appoint a new Senator. Mr Mike Rounds, a Republican, is Governor of SD."

    If he picks a Republican, of course, the Democrats will cry foul, unlike the time when Jeffords jumped horses midstream and threw the Senate over to the Donks.

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  103. Peter Pace pickeg a peck of peace peckers.

    ReplyDelete