“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."

Friday, January 26, 2007

Are Democrats "Yellow Cowards?"

When the President gave his speech announcing a troop surge, he said that the US and its allies would seek to interdict the insurgent support coming out of Iran. Reacting almost immediately, Senator Joe Biden threatened a "Constitutional Confrontation or crisis" if Iran was attacked.

Senator Jay Rockefeller is suddenly worried that the US shouldn't be using harsh, condemning language against Iran. He says we have weak intel and do not understand the Iranians. It reminds him of the rhetoric used in the run up to the invasion of Iraq.

Harry Reid has also warned the President not to take action against Iran without first seeking Congressional approval.

Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball shed some light on why the Democrats seem suddenly concerned about Iran:
Jan. 24, 2007 - Why is the Bush administration escalating its accusations that Iran is backing Shiite extremists inside Iraq?
One reason: mounting intelligence indicating Tehran has been supplying insurgents with electronic sensors that trigger roadside bombs used against U.S. troops.

More precisely, these passive infrared sensors will allow the insurgents to stay one step ahead of our ability to detect the deadly IED. The cheap little killing and maiming opinion maker is too valuable a tool for the enemy to guit using. The most expensive thing about an IED is the human expense of paying someone $200-$300 to bury one on a roadside. The rewards of a successful IED attack far outweigh the costs. Targets are either killed outright or severely injured. Either way, it's very costly to the US and its allies both in money or morale. The enemy gets a lot of bang for its buck. A lot of bang.

Isikoff and Hosenball write that "Some recovered bombs closely match IED designs (shaped charges) known to have been used by Hizbullah...bombmaking videos believed to have been prepared in Iran have been recovered from insurgents in Iraq... and from Hizbullah,"

A case is being made against the Iranians and the Democrats are alarmed. What would George Patton think? Yellow cowards?
ht: allen


  1. No, I think they are, most likely, wanting to perform some "Oversight".

    I recently read that there are an estimated 150 Iranian agents working in Iraq.
    I believe that if the numbers were released we'd find that the Sauds have lost many more combatants than that, in Iraq, already.

    But no one speaks to that issue.
    Of the combatants active on 9-11-01, the majority were Sauds.
    Not one Iranian in the bunch.

    In Iraq, Sauds make up 55% of the foreigners killed or captured, or at least they did back in '05.

    By Lisa Myers & the NBC Investigative Unit
    Updated: 5:39 p.m. MT June 20, 2005

    An NBC News analysis of hundreds of foreign fighters who died in Iraq over the last two years reveals that a majority came from the same country as most of the 9/11 hijackers — Saudi Arabia. ...
    "By far the nationality that comes up over and over again is Saudi Arabia," says Evan Kohlmann, an NBC News terrorism expert.

    The NBC News analysis of Web site postings found that 55 percent of foreign insurgents came from Saudi Arabia, 13 percent from Syria, 9 percent from North Africa and 3 percent from Europe. "

    Funny stuff, that we have to date the YEAR that the Iraqi data comes from. The "War" has gone on for so long.
    Again, the US is directed at Iran, while the Enemy continually operates, against US, from Saudi Arabia.

  2. The Bush Team always wants the "other" side to control borders that are the US's responsibility to secure.
    They do so in the US, why would they not do so overseas?

    This is another piece from '05. Lots of humor in these old stories.
    November 29, 2005

    The U.S. is seeing significantly fewer foreign fighters on the battlefields of Iraq, because the coalition has killed or captured scores of terrorists in recent months and is doing a better job of securing the long border with Syria.
    "We are killing them," a senior Pentagon official said yesterday, when asked about shrinking foreign-fighter numbers in Iraq.
    The trend is one reason that the Bush administration is talking more confidently about reducing the American troop presence next year to less than a base level of 138,000. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said the current 160,000 level will revert to 138,000 after the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections.

    The Web, makes for some interesting memory hole excavations.

  3. This, from General Casey, in March '05, puts US on the cusp of victory.

    "What it means to me is that they're not nearly as strong or as capable as some people thought they were prior to the elections," he said.

    "Since the elections, the Iraqi security forces have gotten more involved, and the Iraqi people have gotten more involved in giving us tips, telling us where insurgents are and where insurgent weapons storage sites and things like that are."

    But in January '07 we are still on the Course to "Slow Failure".

    wu tells us we are going to "clear, hold & build" but not occupy. Interesting in concept, but faulty in execution.

    Not enough US guys, as wu told us last thread. Same as Mr Kagan says, not enough guys, not enough time.
    Surged out by the end of summer, as per Mr Gates. Same timeline works out on the back of an envelope, unless deployments reach the 24 month duration mark.

  4. So the "Way Forward" is to replicate '04 troop levels with a tweaked "Plan".
    Plus we will not release Iranians after catching them.
    That'll make ALL the difference.

  5. Bush will start a tussle in Iran, and the worst the Dummocrats will do is pass a non-binding resolution criticizing Bush for committing troops into a new front in Iran, but they won't deny him a single penny, because they have given him everything he's asked for since 2003. So are Dummocrats yellow cowards? The short answer is yes.

  6. Trish,

    The connection between Iranian made electronics and explosives making their way into the hands of Jihadis killing Americans in Iraq has nothing to do with poor Iraqi border control.

    Neither does the connection between Polonium-210 triggers for suitcase nukes in hands of Jihadis in Britain has anything to do with poor British border control.

  7. Now here is another piece, from the CSM in sep '05.
    Funny, funny stuff.

    "... The CSIS study also disputes media reports that Saudis comprise the largest group of foreign fighters. CSIS says "Algerians are the largest group (20 percent), followed by Syrians (18 percent), Yemenis (17 percent), Sudanese (15 percent), Egyptians (13 percent), Saudis (12 percent) and those from other states (5 percent)." CSIS gathered the information for its study from intelligence sources in the Gulf region.

    The CSIS report says: "The vast majority of Saudi militants who have entered Iraq were not terrorist sympathizers before the war; and were radicalized almost exclusively by the coalition invasion."
    Meanwhile, The Boston Globe reports that President Bush, ... ... said his top military commanders in Iraq have told him that they are making progress against the insurgents and "in establishing a politically viable state."
    Newly trained Iraqi forces are taking the lead in many security operations, the president said, including a recent offensive in the insurgent stronghold of Tal Afar along the Syrian border – a key transit point for foreign fighters and supplies.
    "Iraqi forces are showing the vital difference they can make," Bush said. '"They are now in control of more parts of Iraq than at any time in the past two years. Significant areas of Baghdad and Mosul, once violent and volatile, are now more stable because Iraqi forces are helping to keep the peace."

    September '05, funny if not so sad, because today, Jan '07, news is:

    "... On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shi'ite mosque on the outskirts of Mosul, killing seven and wounding 17 more after prayers, a police source said. ..."

  8. d'Rat,

    If that suicide bomber in Mosul was a twelve year old, you know you got them on the ropes. :)

  9. "Are Democrats Yellow Cowards?"

    More like puppets on a string...

    Politics and Policy

    What Clausewitz understood in the 19th Century is that all warfare has a political dimension. It is not solely about the force on force military confrontation. There must be an end state to be achieved in any conflict for there to be a successful outcome for one side. This end state has to be more than the destruction of the opposing military force because war is a continuation of policy by other means. It is the political object that must be understood and embraced. The key is to understand the political object and “the influence it can exert upon the forces it is meant to move.” The critical word in this construct is influence; every action, whether political or military must be executed with the understanding that it will influence someone, some population, some military force, or some government. This is the moral domain of war. Napoleon said it best: the moral is to the physical as three is to one. In today’s networked, information age environment where every action has the potential for a strategic effect, Napoleon’s dictum needs to be modified to highlight the fundamental importance of political considerations: In the 21st Century the political is to the military as ten is to one.

    Most strategists envision operations being executed on the physical battlefield. What is lost on most is that the real fight takes place on the “battlefield of human terrain.” Warfare today is more idea based than ever before and often the key to success or failure lies in the will of the people.

    One of the main reasons the U.S. was defeated in the Vietnam War was because the American people lost the will to continue to fight. The successful execution of Dau Tranh, or the “struggle”, led to the famous exchange between the late Colonel Harry Summers and North Vietnamese Colonel Tu:

    “You know you never defeated us on the battlefield” said the American Colonel. To which the North Vietnamese Colonel replied, “That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.”

    Warfare today is not radically different than in the 20th Century. Although there are vast technological changes, the nature of war remains fundamentally about influencing people and organizations thus making it a complex political and military problem; not solely a correlation of military force construct. It is a test of wills; an act of forcing one’s will on another. Regardless of the type of conflict, from large scale conventional war to insurgency and revolutionary war, this concept holds true. Furthermore, war has always had a political dimension; however with rise of the information age; the political aspect is more important than ever particularly when the nature of the conflict involves counter-insurgency and nation-building.

    - Colonel David S. Maxwell, U.S. Army, is a Special Forces officer with command and staff assignments in Korea, Japan, Germany, the Philippines, and CONUS, and is a graduate of the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth and the National War College, National Defense University.

  10. harrison's link has this little tidbit, funny if not so sad. If it was a movie plot, it'd be a comedy of errors.
    Peter Sellers in the lead.

    "There were no costs for the Iranians," said one senior administration official. "They are hurting our mission in Iraq, and we were bending over backwards not to fight back."

    Three officials said that about 150 Iranian intelligence officers, plus members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Command, are believed to be active inside Iraq at any given time. There is no evidence the Iranians have directly attacked U.S. troops in Iraq, intelligence officials said.

    But, for three years, the Iranians have operated an embedding program there, offering operational training, intelligence and weaponry to several Shiite militias connected to the Iraqi government, to the insurgency and to the violence against Sunni factions. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the CIA, told the Senate recently that the amount of Iranian-supplied materiel used against U.S. troops in Iraq "has been quite striking."

    Three years of "Catch & Release" for Iranian combatants in Iraq, but take heart, we took DNA swabs before we let them go.

    mat, a couple, three years or so ago thought we'd sieze Iranian oilfields, habu thought we'd nuke 'em before 6 Nov 06.

    The reality is we would not even detain their agents, captured in Iraq. To provocative an action.

  11. dr, the tragic irony is that the next time we'll actually be using those DNA swabs again is when forensics are working at the scene of the crime - "ah, so it was that guy who blew up this time."

    Covert Iranian agents means undocumented operatives. But undocumented also means that nobody will know a thing if we keep it hush-hush.

  12. The object is to let EVERYONE know, harrison. As the WaPo said, it's a political action, another part of the "shake up" in Iraq.

    Just shows how much of a "slow failure" War we've been fighting. What a waste of good Americans soldiers.
    Heads should have be rolling two years ago. When the failures were readily evident.

  13. "Why is the Bush administration escalating its accusations that Iran is backing Shiite extremists inside Iraq?"

    Not just Shiite; and not just inside Iraq?...

    Bush's backdoor attack: Iran via Hizbullah

    New policy authorizing attacks on Iranian agents in Iraq also allows for covert ops against Iran-backed terror groups all across ME, including Hizbullah

    President Bush has authorized an aggressive program aimed at impeding Iran's influence all around the Middle East, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

    Friday, the Washington Post reported Bush's authorization of a new, more intensive policy that allows for more stringent measures against Iran. This includes, primarily, the authority to capture or kill Iranian agents active in Iraq, a story Bush and other US officials did not deny. However, the new policy extends far beyond Iraq.

    The Post reported that the new plan is part of a wider US strategy aimed at destroying Iranian influence from Afghanistan to Lebanon, as well as to hinder Iran's nuclear program. In this context, the plan addresses known terrorist entities within the sphere of Iran's influence, such as Hizbullah.

    According the Post, during the Lebanon war, senior US officials concluded on the importance of exposing the connection between Iran's nuclear plan and its extensive assistance in arming, training and funding terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Hizbullah and insurgent militias in Iraq.

    As part of the new plan, US intelligence has now begun covert operations against Hizbullah. It is also focused on weakening Tehran's funding chain to Hizbullah and to various Palestinian terror organizations.

    In his State of the Union Address Tuesday, Bush mentioned Hizbullah, referring to it as "second only to al-Qaeda in the amount of American lives it has taken" and condemning its attempts to sow turmoil and undermine the existing Lebanese government.

    Meanwhile, back to the politicians...
    Friday, January 26, 2007
    Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Congress against handcuffing military leaders in Iraq as lawmakers pushed toward a vote next week that would rebuke the president's Iraq war policy.

    Speaking with reporters Friday afternoon, Gates took aim at any resolution that would hinder military leaders and give the message to the enemy that U.S. troops will be in the battlefield without the proper support to succeed.

    "It's pretty clear that a resolution that in effect says, 'the general going out to take command of the arena shouldn't have the resources he needs to be successful,' certainly emboldens the enemy and our adversaries," Gates said. "Any indication of flagging will in the United States gives encouragement to those folks. I'm sure that's not the intent of the resolutions but I think it might be the effect."

  14. Oh please... spare me all the hand wringing. The top of any organization, especially elected governments, merely reflects the mood at the base.

    And if the dems are yellow cowards, that's because about half of the US voting populace is as well.

    You guys say push for a harder line on Iraq, saner ROEs, detention and processing of prisoners. Wouldn't the administration, the military, have done that if they had ample support from the voters?

    They didn't, so either

    1. They misread the base mood.


    2. The base, apathetic and indulgent of their own comforts, couldn't give a damn and relied on the media to shape their views.

    I always felt the 2004 election and Bush's victory as a guarded mandate for the war and the direction it was taking, and enough of the swing voters cared enough about the 'rights' of the 'freedom fighters', or something like that. They sure as heck would not want another war with Iran so soon after Iraq. Maybe Bush didn't dare try harder ROE stances because it would have cost him the election.

    It was a medium term gain, at the expense of the long term. But note that if Bush had did everything you guys suggested, he might not even be in the White House today, and it would be occupied by Kerry.

    Face it, you guys are outnumbered. You want to make a difference, start educating people.