“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 24, 2006

On the road to victory in Iraq?

Bush looked into Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ soul and saw a surge strategy. He is going to be rushing more Americans into Iraq, while the smart Iraqis are leaving. We have one hundred and fifty thousand skins in the game and the Iraqis have taken one and a half million people off the table. They continue to leave Iraq at a hastening pace.

The “national unity government” formula is dead on arrival. For fifteen seconds there seemed to be a glimmer of hope for a new start but the Iraqis who are in the know are voting with their fresh new passports. The esteemed, blessed seer of seers, the revered Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf must be counting heads and is seeing that there are more Sunnis leaving than his own bicycle chain swinging Shiites. He is holding the course. No political show of unity for his anointed holiness.

An AP source reports that:
“An official close to al-Sistani, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the cleric “will not bless nor support any new bloc or front. He only supports the unity of the Shiites.”

Anyone with a brain and fifteen cents worth of street smarts should be able to see where this is going. Iran, the Sunnis and the radical militias will all want to see the US locked into a battle with the Sunnis and the Shiites. They all have an interest in seeing it going from bad to worse for the US. New American troops will be in a war with the Shia militias. To this point it has been a Sunni show. Almost all the IED’s and US casualties have come from the Sunnis. The U.S. has faced a Sunni insurgency. With Bush as weak as he is in the US, it is a strategy that makes sense for all his enemies to play against him.

If Sistani is telling you to leave the militias (Shiites) alone, smile, bow, and walk slowly backwards towards the door.


  1. As the months have dragged by ever more of the blog has swung to realize that the Iraq adventure has been, at least, mismanaged.

    Stay the Course, does not have to be spoken to be the Policy.

    Mr Maliki, the UIA, the Iraqi Army, al-Sadr, al-Halim, the Sunnni Insurgents, Syrians, Iranians and Sauds...
    All the pieces stay on the board, their colors do not change.

    No Plan, no End Game, no Victory.

    Stay the Course with steroids,
    it is hard to believe that will be the choice.

  2. desert rat said, "As the months have dragged by ever more of the blog has swung to realize that the Iraq adventure has been, at least, mismanaged."

    I think the change to the blog's thinking started to come after November 7 when the Iraq fiasco (more than even the spending or immigration crap) cost the GOP both houses of the legislature. Bush with his strategery of "To Hell Wit The Lack Of WMD Evidence, Stay the Course" is making Durham DA Mr. NiFong look like a wilting quitter.

  3. Instead of getting course corrections, we get mission corrections. When a politician sticks to his beliefs that is courage. When he continually adjusts them to explain his actions, it has a whiff of stubbornness and tannins of deceit.

  4. Rufus, just cut it and paste it to New Year's eve.

  5. Brazil is an interesting country, to be sure.
    Bought a VW Bug built there, back in '81 for $4,000 USD in Panama. Great car, very well built little car.

    Know some Germans, down in the south of Brazil, that are trying to export Jack semen, for mule breeding here in the US.

  6. It's just too damn bad for a lot of folks that there's not a roadmap or playbook they could consult daily to give comfort that a CONFLICT is going along the right timetable.

    Those same folks are the ones that want an EXIT strategy outlined BEFORE the conflict begins.

    Well ya know, in wars and conflicts it just doesn't work that way. That doesn't diminish an iota their constant bellyaching about how it should have been done this wat or that.
    Of course they have no humint,elint,ECHELON, or any other intel but the do have mouthy opionions on just what should happen.
    Like I said the other day, they're this conflicts version of the SDS,Jane Fondas,Tom Haydens who give the enemy great comfort while greatly damaging the morale of our fighting men and women.
    You will never hear a word from them on whats been accomplished just the leftest diatribe on how the USA is all f'd up in the ME
    Such is the freedom of speech they abuse, just like Jane Fonda did.
    Crap on 'em .. we'll wrap this thing us and grind it in their faces.
    Merry Christmas and to the leftests, well there's always conversion in time for the Hajj.

  7. Wretchard has taken down his most recent thread, as the religious free-for-all initiated by WC and WiO rages.

  8. rufus,

    re: religious war

    Yeah, that is hard to believe, isn't it?

  9. The war for the Horn has begun in earnest.

    Ethiopia Attacks

  10. A good deal of the time some on this here blog remind me of this bit of wisdom.

    A young, well-educated man on a business trip gets on a plane to find himself seated next to an older, weathered man in a western snap shirt, faded jeans and a cowboy hat.
    Thinking himself above the old cowboy, the young man decides to make sport of him.
    "You know," he says, "I've heard these flights go much more quickly if you strike up a conversation with a fellow passenger. So, let's talk."

    The cowboy looks at him wryly and says, "Well I s'pose that'd be all right. What'd ya like to discuss?"
    "Oh, I' don't know," says the young man with a hint of sarcasm.
    "How about nuclear proliferation?"

    "Hmm," says the cowboy, sensing the young man's attempt to belittle
    him, "that could be an interesting topic. But, let me ask you a question first.

    -- horses, cows, and deer all eat the same stuff --- grass. Yet, a deer passes little pellets, a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse makes muffins of dried poop. Why do you suppose that is?"
    Dumbfounded, the young man replies, "I haven't the slightest idea."
    "So tell me then," says the cowboy with a smile, "how is it that you feel qualified to discuss nukes when you don't know shit?"

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  12. 'Rat,
    There was a picture of a Bug in Afghanistan that I linked a while back:
    Can't think of a better vehicle for that place.
    (or german winters in '39, I guess)
    Wish I'd kept mine.
    They joy of being able to buy a few cheap Brazilian parts and fixing it myself is long gone.

  13. The Truth Remains:
    Doug said...
    Abizaid on New York Times Video could have hardly been much plainer, but I will be in hopes of piercing the Rosé a least a smidge:
    When Aid for the enemy is pouring in from all sides, and nuking the place into glass is not on the table, the Quagmire deepens.