“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

London Independent reports: "The sum of all fears"

Russian caught trying to sell enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb
By Andrew Osborn in Moscow The Independent
Published: 26 January 2007
An international nuclear smuggling scandal erupted yesterday after it was revealed that a Russian man has been caught selling weapons-grade uranium on the open market that could easily be used in a small nuclear bomb.

The man, named as 50-year-old Oleg Khinsagov, was arrested in a "sting" operation orchestrated by the FBI and the Georgian secret service last year, though details have only just become public.

The scandal raises fresh questions about the security of nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union and is embarrassing for the Kremlin, which has repeatedly claimed to have broken the illicit trade in nuclear components.

Mr Khinsagov, who has since been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison, was arrested in Georgia with 100 grams of highly enriched weapons-grade uranium casually wrapped in a plastic bag in his jacket pocket.

He believed he had found a buyer willing to pay him $1m (£500,000) for the uranium, which had probably been stolen from a military or research facility somewhere in the former USSR.

American nuclear experts have claimed that the uranium originated within Russia itself, though Russian scientists have claimed it is "impossible" to determine its origin. The buyer was in fact an undercover Georgian agent who told Mr Khinsagov that he was a Muslim working for "a serious organisation".

For Mr Khinsagov, ostensibly a trader specialising in fish and sausages, that was good enough and he had boasted that the 100 grams was merely a "sample". Back at his flat in the southern Russian region of North Ossetia, he claimed to have a further four kilos of uranium.

Such an amount would have been enough to build a small nuclear bomb: the Hiroshima bomb contained about 50 kilos of a similar grade of uranium.

Three Georgian accomplices were arrested and sentenced to up to five years in jail. Non-proliferation experts have labelled the incident as one of the most serious in recent years.

"Given the serious consequences of the detonation of an improvised nuclear explosive device, even a small number of incidents involving HEU [highly-enriched uranium] or plutonium are of very high concern," said Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Georgian Interior Minister, Ivane Merabishvili, said the case illustrated the grave risk posed by nuclear trafficking in an age of international terrorism.

The biggest danger, he said, were people "in Russia and Georgia and everywhere else, even in America, who will sell this radioactive material" for millions of dollars.

Russia has confirmed the basic details of the case but has suggested that Georgia's decision to disclose its sensational details now has more to do with politics that a genuine concern for nuclear non-proliferation. The two countries are locked in a mutually damaging row aggravated by the fact that Georgia is run by a US-educated pro-Western President, Mikhail Saakashvili, who is perceived to be anti-Russian.

Laboratories in both the US and Russia have confirmed that the substance seized was indeed highly enriched weapons-grade uranium and that it was processed about 10 years ago.

According to researchers at Stanford University, about 40 kilos of uranium and plutonium was smuggled out of research and military facilities in the former Soviet Union in the past decade. The Kremlin begs to differ. It claims that the majority of uranium stolen was not weapons-grade and that most of it has been tracked down.


  1. Weapons-grade uranium was almost sold to any potential terrorist - and Russia and Georgia are bickering as to the purity of intentions in disclosing this news?

    If the Chechen separatists get hold of it, Putin and Saakashvili will have much, much more to worry about than PR.

  2. Whit, It looks as if the Administration may be leaning forward in some other ways as well:

    Troops Authorized to Kill Iranian Operatives in Iraq
    Administration Strategy Stirs Concern Among Some Officials
    By Dafna Linzer
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, January 26, 2007; Page A01

    The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort.

    For more than a year, U.S. forces in Iraq have secretly detained dozens of suspected Iranian agents, holding them for three to four days at a time. The "catch and release" policy was designed to avoid escalating tensions with Iran and yet intimidate its emissaries. U.S. forces collected DNA samples from some of the Iranians without their knowledge, subjected others to retina scans, and fingerprinted and photographed all of them before letting them go.

  3. Some asshole blew up a pet market in Baghdad. Allah must be simply orgasmic this morning.

  4. I read the topic and it focused me of the statement below.

    The Iranian news agency Mehr reported that in light of the increasing U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf, and the continuing Iranian nuclear crisis, Iranian Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezai has said that "the Iranian nation will strike 10 slaps to the face of America, in such a way that it will no longer be able to get up on the stage."

    Source: Mehr, Iran, January 20, 2007

  5. Islamist Orgasmists are activated by Explosives.

  6. Correction:
    Islamists are Explosive activated Orgasmists.

  7. Enough uranium for a small nuclear device, four kilos.
    The W54 reborn.

    Nah, furgit 'bout it.

    Impossible to replicate the W54, in 2007. No one else could ever figure out the technology, sixty years later.

    Not the Pakistani, NorKs or Persians, for sure. Those folk do not know how, and never will, some say. I tend to disagree, but what the hey.
    Doubt the Mohammedans will nuke my town. But I'm happy that I do not live in Haifa, cause the same cannot be said for the folk there.

    Saw that movie, about Indian Point, that the Kennedy girl did. The funniest part was when the Federal said the Enemy could not mobilize a Force capable of taking over the installation.
    Made me laugh.

    Now, imagine a place, like Indian Point, where a 1 kiloton device is detonated. The fallout multiplier would be exponential.

    But the mini nuke technology has to be discounted, because it is to disquieting to contemplate.
    The idea that the Mohammedan could field a thirty man force, in the US, has to be discounted, as well.
    Or US Homeland defense plans would, obviously, fall short.

  8. > Troops Authorized to Kill Iranian Operatives in Iraq

    Didn't President Bush say that in his Iraq speech a couple of weeks ago, then a few hours later we raided the Iranian consulate? Guess it is a slow news day so they had to rehash old news.

  9. Rat knows of which he speaks:
    Davy Crockett
    This is something to worry about, as if you needed more.

  10. The good old days, back when Davy Crockett was all on our side.
    Hell, my unit had nuke-tipped rockets for the NoKors.
    Back when BOMARCS would blow Squadrons of Bears out of the skies with Nukes long before they reached CONUS.
    Ah, well.
    Ob la de,
    and all that.

  11. I Betrayed the Revolution when they threatened me with a Retina Scan.

  12. Speaking of nukes, this just broke on MSNBC:

    > U.N. officials: Iran set to assemble thousands of uranium centrifuges.

  13. Nice that the Bush Admin is so hermetic.
    Except for the folks that supply the leaks to the MSM.
    1 Veto
    No Purges.
    Real Wiener.

  14. Wu,
    That should only take a few minutes.
    Then fire them up and see what happens.
    Distraction from the subject of the post:
    Real Potential.

  15. Elijah quoted, "...the Iranian nation will strike 10 slaps to the face of America, in such a way that it will no longer be able to get up on the stage."

    When Lady Liberty slaps back, she don't slap like a girl. Ask the Japanese.

  16. via:

    Reliable sources, including Hans Blix of the United Nation, have confirmed that bin Laden purchased several of these devices from the Chechen rebels in 1996. According to Sharif al-Masri and other al Qaeda operatives who have been taken into custody, several of these weapons have been forward deployed to the United States in preparation for al Qaeda’s next attack on American soil.

    This brings us to the mysterious case of Litvinenko.

    The neutron source or “triggers” of the suitcase nukes are composed of beryllium-9 and polonium-210. When these two elements are combined, the alpha particle is absorbed by the nucleus of the beryllium causing it to decay by emitting a neutron. Such “triggers” were a feature of early nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Soviet stockpiles.

    Polonium-210 has a half-life of 138 days, necessitating the replacement of the triggers every six months. For this reason, the suitcase nukes are far from maintenance-free. In addition, the nuclear core of these devices emit a temperature in excess of one hundred degrees Fahrenheit - - further exposing the weapons to oxidation and rust. Small wonder that al Qaeda operatives including Adnan el-Shukrijumah, who are spearheading “the American Hiroshima” have received extensive training in nuclear technology.

    Polonium-beryllium triggers are packaged in foil packs about the size of a package of sugar on a restaurant table. When the twin foil packages are crushed, the elements mix and the neutrons are emitted. A courier transporting nuclear triggers could have had a mishap causing the packages to rupture and a trail of contamination to occur.

    Litvinenko, who was born an orthodox Christian, was a convert to Islam with close ties to the Chechen rebels. His last words consisted of his desire to be buried “according to Muslim tradition.”

    According to nuclear expert David Morgan, killing a spy or political dissident with a grain or two of polonium-210 is as ludicrous as shooting a rat with a howitzer.

    [more on shooting a rat with a howitzer]

  17. 16,000 what, rufus?

    If that is the Enemy death toll, it's just a 5 to 1 ration
    We lose the War at that rate of exchange.
    Slow Failure, as per Mr Bush.

  18. Pelosi to meet with al-Maliki in quick visit to Iraq
    Chronicle Washington Bureau
    Friday, January 26, 2007

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has traveled to Iraq for a quick fact-finding visit that will include a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

    The congressional delegation traveling with the Democratic speaker from San Francisco includes Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who more than a year ago urged President Bush to withdraw American forces from Iraq and is chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the military budget.

    The delegation is scheduled to return to Washington on Monday.

  19. Rufus,

    You better have the skinned tails to prove it, cause I doubt its even that. But like de rat said, this number needs to be an order of magnitude or two larger. If the US is unwilling to get ruthless with the Jihadi enemy, then the US should finance the means for those that will.

  20. 16,000 (now 17,000+) is the number of signatures on the pledge to not support Senators who vote against the surge.

    The new Bush / Maliki security plan is winning the war, according to Oliver North:

    A few hours after this odious exchange, an officer with whom I had spent many months in Iraq called me. "Do these people know what they are doing?" he inquired, clearly agitated.

    "Which people?" I asked.

    "These politicians who think we can win a war by committee. Do they even know that in the last two weeks we have set AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) and the Mahdi Army both back on their heels?" he answered. I was silent, so he continued, "Is there anyone in Washington who understands what this means? AQI terrorists are running like rats out of Ramadi. And the Mahdi Army is being cleaned out of Baghdad.

    That's probably the reason why al-Sadr is caving in at negotiations:

    U.S. officials said they were surprised by the sudden cooperation of the Iraqi movement led by radical anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada Sadr.
    Abdul-Hussein Kaabai, local council leader of the Shiite-dominated Sadr City neighborhood in Baghdad, said Thursday Sadr and his followers plan to cooperate with U.S. President George Bush's new Iraq security plan, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
    "We will fully cooperate with the government to make the plan successful," Kaabai said. "If it is an Iraqi plan done by the government, we will cooperate."
    Sadr's group in recent weeks has also ceased threats to quit the Iraqi government and representatives of the group have met with U.S. officials.

    General Petraeus has been confirmed too, and is on the way to Iraq. The President met with him today.

  21. Where are they "running" to?
    Why are they not dying, enroute to those undisclosed locations?

    17,000, less than 2.5% of one Congressional District's population, estimated at 690,000.

    Now half of that generic 690,000 are not qualified to vote,
    Down to 345,000 voters per District. That means 5% of one District's voters have spoken.
    Across the Nation.

    That'll send a shiver down Mr Warner's back. Terrify Mr Hagel and send Mr Coleman back to studying the UN's corruption.

    17,000, less than the number of Sunni insurgents estimated to be in Iraq. Less then the Mahdi Army can field in a call to prayer.

    Mr Cheney said the Insurgents were on their last legs, 18 months ago.

    Mr Bush said we were winning, before he said we were losing.

    Now Uncle Ollie says we are winning, again. Good to know.
    To bad that optimisum cannot be deposited in a GOP account at the House Bank.

    Mr Kagan, amongst others, warned that the Enemy would take flight, rather than fight a pitched battle, per their SOP. Into Sanctuaries across unsecured borders or into internal Iraqi sancturaies, as per the PKK.

    Where are the dead bodys?
    That's the only evidence that counts.

  22. 17,000 divided by 435.
    Just shy of 40, per District.

    That is no Tsunami of discontent, not even surfable beach break.

  23. Rufus,

    That's a good start. Let's keep the snowball rolling.

  24. d'Rat,

    Agreed. Those Jihadi "fighters" should not be running. They should be dead.

  25. 17,000 divided by 50
    340 voters per State.

    340 votes would not have saved JD Hayworth. Let alone a Senator.

    In my experience, if you are not a voter, from the Senator's State, they do not give a shit about you.
    If you are from the Senator's State, you'll get a form letter response.

    340 voters per State, not even a good spectator turnout for a High School football game.

  26. wu gives US a quote, in the last thread, that indicated that Mr Bush is not implementing the ISG reccomendations.
    When in fact, they are implementing most of the reccomendations.

    Mr Bush and his team are much like "The Gang that couldn't shoot straight"

  27. > When in fact, they are implementing most of the [Iraq Study Group] reccomendations.

    Would that be a bad thing, to implement most of the ISG recommendations? I am talking about the real ISG report, not the lies the MSM told about it. One of those recommendations was to have a surge. Another recommendation was to stay in Iraq, because pulling out immediately like the Democrats wanted would be a disaster. Half of the ISG was Republican.

  28. > Where are they "running" to?
    Why are they not dying, enroute to those undisclosed locations?

    Some of them are, dying and being captured, and this is reported in the newspapers every day.

    > Mr Kagan, amongst others, warned that the Enemy would take flight, rather than fight a pitched battle, per their SOP.

    He didn't "warn", he expected it, and we also plan on winning in spite of that.

    Isn't a retreat by the enemy a good thing? When they surrender territory and run with their tail between their legs?

    The objection seems to be based on the incorrect idea that we know where each and every terrorist is in Iraq, and we just don't want to kill them. The reality is that one of the difficulties with fighting guerrillas is that they blend in with the population and are spread out across the country, so it takes time to kill them.

    Anyone can disagree with the Kagan / Patraeus strategy, but it doesn't make sense to say it is a failure when everything is going according to plan. If someone is against the plan, they could say that things are going according to plan, but their opinion is that it will fail because the plan is flawed.

    We are seeing in Iraq the same thing as in the recent successful operation in Somalia. The Ethiopians did kill insurgents every step of the way as they chased those insurgents out of each section of Somalia one by one. However the highest kill count didn't come until the end, when the insurgents were trapped in a small killing zone right at the border.

    As far as the pledges go, the most important thing is that the conservative media like talk show hosts are behind it. That's what scares politicians. If Foxnews, Rush Limbaugh, etc. push something, it can catch the eye of millions of voters, enough to swing an election.

  29. > Those Jihadi "fighters" should not be running. They should be dead.

    Was that true when Israel was fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon? Israel knew where each and every Hezbollah guerrilla and rocket launcher was, but they chose not kill them? Or is it true that sometimes the good guys don't know where the enemy is?

  30. Wu Wei,

    Hezbollah was using Christian villages and homes as cover. Are you suggesting Israel should have leveled those homes?

  31. > Hezbollah was using Christian villages and homes as cover. Are you suggesting Israel should have leveled those homes?

    No. The Iraqi insurgents also hide amongst the population - is anyone suggesting that we should have killed tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians to try and eliminate the insurgents? If so, then shouldn't Israel have done the same thing to Hezbollah? Should the Ethiopians have done the same thing in Somalia, slaughter tens of thousands of civilians to try and kill the insurgents in the North part of the country, instead of chasing & killing them all the way to the Southern border?

    Or in Afghanistan - the Northern Alliance and Northern tribes were helping us kill & drive the Taliban out of their territory, with the enemy either dying or taking off their uniforms and retreating South. Should we have killed thousands of our allies, civilians, in order to try and kill the insurgents faster?

  32. The Iraqi insurgents also hide amongst the population - is anyone suggesting that we should have killed tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians to try and eliminate the insurgents?

    Yes, I am. And I said as much in the other thread when d'Rat brought up the issue of 3000 policemen colluding with the Sunni Jihadis. And if you don't understand and don't believe that the population is colluding with the Sunni Jihadis, then you have ZERO understanding of the area and people that live there.

  33. As for Afghanistan, you don't have 150,000 troops in Afghanistan. You do in Iraq. Start using them, goddamnit!

  34. > And if you don't understand and don't believe that the population is colluding with the Sunni Jihadis,

    But the Lebanese population was not colluding with Hezbollah?

    I don't see why the US is expected to fight in a way that no other army on earth does.

    > if you don't understand and don't believe that the population is colluding with the Sunni Jihadis

    Some Sunni tribes and Sheiks have declared war on Al Qaeda as foreign invaders, and are fighting side by side with the US Marines in order to destroy Al Qaeda.

  35. Yes, if there is a War, those civilians must be controlled or killed.

    If they are not under Federal Iraqi control, then give aid and comfort to the Enemy Insurgents, they should die.
    Set up refugee camps and declare those districts and cities under Enemy control free fire zones.

  36. And no, wu, a retreating Insurgent is not a "good thing". It makes most all the previous "Intel" gathered worthless. It allows them to fight another day.

    A retreating Enemy is not a defeated Enemy.
    Look to Warizistan for proof of that. aQ is as vibrant in southwest Asia and Europe as ever.

    Playing whack a Mohammed, by ones and twos, will not get it done.

  37. In 3 years how many AQ did they kill? Nada. And they all know exactly who is who and who is what. Don't you understand you're being played.

    As for the Lebanese Christians, they are pathetic dhimmis. What more can be said.

  38. After four years, the US will no longer release Iranian combatants, captured in Iraq.
    Four Years of "Catch & Release" for Iranians, in Iraq. The Policy continues for Iraqi.
    Catch 'em, turn 'em loose in a couple of months. We've been doing it for years.
    It is a feckless policy. When it stops, then progress could be made.

  39. wu rejects the idea we are being played. Said so somewhere, earilier.

    Now that al-Sadr and his minions have rejoined the Government, how can they be targeted?
    In a word, they cannot.
    Played for fools, we are.

  40. The US Military "surpirsed" by al-Sadr's actions.
    Dumber than dumb, those fellows must be.

  41. It's that fscking taqiyya General, d'Rat, I'm telling you.

  42. It is deeper than that, mat.
    A much much deeper problem than that.

  43. Then set up base in Kurdistan and let them carve these SOBs all the way to Basra

  44. So it seems like this is Fantasy War, just like some people play Fantasy Baseball with imaginary teams.

    The US Army is expected to do things no other army in history has ever done, which is possible because we imagine it has an infinite number of troops, and has perfect intelligence information, knowing where each insurgent is at every moment in time.

    This also pretends that the 2007 War in Iraq is an isolated game, one in which slaughtering civilians and no making alliances could never hurt the US in the future.


  45. You are fighting a Fantasy War, wu.
    I'm so glad you have come to realize it.

    Civilian population relocation has been used, successfully, in counter insurgency during the 19th & 20th centuries.

    Where has postmodern COIN been implemented successfully?
    Other then in fantasys and classrooms?

  46. Alliances with whom?!

    With the Albanian jihadis against the Christian Serbs? With the Pakistani jihadis against India? With China against Christian Russiandom?

    Is it Saudia that's running US foreign policy, or you have a US foreign policy independent of the Saudis?

  47. "Mr Kagan, amongst others, warned that the Enemy would take flight, rather than fight a pitched battle, per their SOP. Into Sanctuaries across unsecured borders or into internal Iraqi sancturaies, as per the PKK.

    Where are the dead bodys?
    That's the only evidence that counts.
    We didn't bring our whacked Mole Counter to record what the Sponge Mallet has wrought.

  48. In the Early Days of OIF, thousands COULD have been killed easily W/O killing many Civilians.

    Fewer, but many still COULD BE now.

    We shoulda, wish that we woulda.

  49. coud uh,
    but I ain't holding my breath.

  50. Good thing, not holding your breath, hate to see you turn blue, doug.

  51. > We didn't bring our whacked Mole Counter

    No more whacked mole because we are holding territory now, giving up on the failed technique of running around Iraq trying to kill the enemy. The counterinsurgency tactic is to hold territory first, kill the enemy second.

    > Alliances with whom?!

    Well, right now we have a pretty good alliance with the Iraqi Kurds. Some Arab countries allow us to base troops on this soil, something which is vitally important to the security of the United States, as well as allowing us to fight the Iraq War. Some Arab countries save lives by giving US intelligence about terrorists. Others combat Iran within Arab conferences. Some Arab states allowed US Special Operations troops on their soil in the months before wars, reducing risks to both the US and Israel.

    The Northern Alliance in Afgahanistan was helpful to us in winning the war there, and is an ally now. Some warlords there give us intelligence information.

    > Civilian population relocation has been used

    In the real world we don't have the hundreds of thousands of troops to do this. We also aren't interested in occupying and pacifying Iraq with hundreds of thousands of US troops, because it is not in our national interest and would increase our risk of terrorism in the long term. Turning Iraq into the 51st state would be the ultimate example of the US being used.

    If we had enough troops to set up camps, we wouldn't need them because we would have stopped the Insurgency by occupation.

  52. Iraqis, wu, Iraqis set up the camps, for their brothers.

    Does not take much to set up 10,000 GP mediums inside a fenced perimeter. It really does not. Hire the Iraqis to do it, lower their unemployment rate.

    Those 3,000 Sunni Police you tout often, that's more than enough to provide Security in a secured area.

    It is not very difficult, labor intense or expensive, not when one is spending over $1 Billion USD per week, already.

  53. But again, you, wu, dodge the question.
    Where has the post modern doctrine been successful?

  54. I vote straight Red, 'Rat.

    Whabbists in the Whitehouse,

    Terrorista scurrying like moles to safety in Iraq.

    New Wahhabist Mosques still being built in the good ol USA,

    Free Pass at the So. Borders for everybody,
    (but we're working on that slow war, too)

    That's my kind of leadership!!!

  55. Back to the future w/Curtis LeMay!

  56. > wu rejects the idea we are being played.

    I have said many times that I don't know what is best for Iraq, because the negotiations go on in private.

    I think we should let the Iraqis fight their own fights as much as possible, and use local players as surrogates to get our work done. Both are part of counterinsurgency strategy.

    Since I don't know what the Iraqi players are saying in private, I'd say we should follow our own rules and say that the elected government is the good guy, that they have the right to use force to put down any rebellion and to defend themselves. The Sunnis have led a rebellion since day 1, refuse to participate in the army & police force, and trash the economy, along with killing civilians, so they are the bad guy.

    Since the Shiites have a right to self-defense, it would be wrong for the US to disarm them now. (And that is even true for the Sunnis, since they are under attack, ethnic cleansing, as well.)

    So I would let Maliki go ahead with his original plan to pacify Baghdad, which was for his troops to move alone into Baghdad while we sat on the outer edges. If there is ethnic cleansing of Sunnis during that operation, then we can send flowers.

    If the Sunnis come to us and want to talk peace, or they say the Iraqi government is ethnic cleansing them, then we should listen, because that's our own rule, to listen in a case like that. The State Department would help the Iraqis negotiate a peace deal.

    I don't see any reason for US troops to be involved in the Sunni - Shiite fighting. We would do it only if some sort of deal were struck, where all the big players agreed to cease fire, including against us, and we were peace keepers and trainers, with the Iraqi Army doing most of the fighting.

    IMO, the Iraq War is over and its time to admit it. We won, and now Iraq is in the same state as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and to some extent, Palestine: an Islamic democracy which we are interested in. It is time to give up the war meme in Iraq. Just like Pakistan, we have time there. We would invade Pakistan under certain circumstances, now or years down the road, and the same thing is true for Iraq.

  57. Tony said...

    Here's a long, encouraging post from Donald Sensing's One Hand Clapping blog:
    “Killing is the sine qua non of war.”

    Let's face it, even if Iraq turns out okay, it will always be referred to by the MSM and Dems and libs as "Bush's Failed War" and "The Next Vietnam."

  58. > Those 3,000 Sunni Police you tout often, that's more than enough to provide Security in a secured area.

    So 3000 Sunni police could pacify all of Iraq, even though 140,000+ US troops, British troops, and all the current Iraqi troops can't do it now? Let's recruit those guys.

  59. We could have that right after OIF, Wu, w/o 3k troops dying.
    Expensive way to "win."

    ...then there's that Trillion.

    Original est was $200 billion.
    Supposedly one military plan was to leave almost immediately.

    State Dept doesn't fight wars that way:
    Cracked Vases and all, ya know.

    Postmodern, as 'Rat says.

  60. If there is ethnic cleansing of Sunnis during that operation, then we can send flowers.

    NO. We should make them sign a 50 year contract. With a clause that stipulates that should they nationalize the oil, it would mean to be an act of war against the United States. That's the deal. And I think that's pretty much what's being worked out.

  61. refering to your post before last.

  62. > Here's a long, encouraging post from Donald Sensing's One Hand Clapping blog:
    “Killing is the sine qua non of war.”

    No one is against killing the enemy, so what's to argue?

  63. Your Fri Jan 26, 04:47:39 PM EST

  64. I told you the price did not have to be that high.
    OUR lives count,
    So do our dollars.

  65. Too bad we didn't get out 30 days after we "surged" across the Kuwait line!

  66. Doug,

    Too bad you did get a Joooish accountant to run the war.

  67. Sensing,
    The Washington-initiated “surge” will speed-up the ongoing process of defeating the insurgency.
    But one should not consider the surge responsible for the turnaround.

    The lesson to be learned is to keep killing the killers until they realize their fate.

    For some reason, this is a lesson that the US seems to have to learn anew every war.

  68. The reason why the COIN strategy of holding territory is needed for fighting counterinsurgency is because it is the most violent one, so therefore it wins.

    The problem comes if assuming that world war II (conventional warfare) tactics must be the best ones for all battles. However there are strong reasons why guerrilla fighting must be different. It has nothing to do with "hearts & minds", but the need to apply the maximum force in each case.

    In conventional warfare the armies are highly trained, and have large weapons. That means it is difficult to replace soldiers, that the armies move slow, and that they can only physically occupy a small part of the countries at war.

    Also in conventional warfare the armies are sponsored by a government which controls the local people. So defeating the enemies army leads to total surrender and victory in the war.

    So in conventional warfare focusing on killing the enemy, their army, makes perfect sense. There are a limited number of soliders, they are tough to replace, their equipment takes time to replace, they move in large groups. That means it is possible to kill enough of the enemy that there is a clean win in the war.

    In insurgencies, the insurgents often have very little training, often just a citizen who agrees to plant an IED for money. Their weapons are so primitive they are easy to replace. They are spread across the country, only a few in each location, so it is impossible to locate and kill all of them. Indeed, citizens become insurgents and insurgents go back to being citizens (or even switch to the other side) every day. The leadership and "reserves" of the insurgency may be in another country which is not directly fighting in the war, making them even harder to kill.

    Since there is no government to surrender, and the insurgency has no capital there is no clean way to end the insurgency forever. (Even if all the Taliban were dead or outside of Aghanistan at one point, they could always come back or new ones could join.)

    The most important weapon insurgents have that regular armies don't usually have is being able to spread over much of the country, and terrorize it. Insurgents only need a few people in each town, if those insurgents can call in others for support if needed.

    If the regular army comes and goes, then the carrots & sticks it offers the villagers will lose compared to the gun which the insurgent is holding against the villager's head today. Knowing that the Army, which is 100 miles away, massacred a town last week, and will offer jobs next week, won't matter if Al Qaeda lives next door today and is ready to torture the villager's family to death at the first sign of disloyalty. Next week when the army visits, the villager might smile and say he supports them, but doesn't dare do anything else when the army will leave in a few hours but Al Qaeda is watching and waiting.

    Nothing else matters. Who ever occupies the town, holding a gun to the villager's head, wins. Hezbollah doesn't play "hearts and minds" with their people. They just provide basic government services like safety, law & order, and food & water & electricity.

  69. I don't see anything against killing in my 04:47:39 PM EST
    post. If I said something wasn't our fight, then I believe that. It has nothing to do with not killing.

    As far as not calling it a "war", I believe that too. The US is playing mind games with itself, doing things in Iraq that it wouldn't do anywhere else, because of the attitude that we are in a war and that we must win it.

    I don't see how Iraq is much different from Afghanistan. We won the war, there are still terrorists there, we will need to keep troops there for a long time, and we provide protection for the government. We still have troops in Korea and Japan, and those ended a long time ago.

    I don't want US soldiers to die trying to stop Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis from killing each other, but that's only opposition to the US being killed, not the Iraqis.

  70. Anybody else not get their email confirmation from NZ Bear?

  71. TP,

    The vast majority of Hezzbbollah rockets were fired from Christian areas. Let me understand, are you disputing this?

  72. I got mine!
    Starting to love Google Mail.

  73. London Independent reports, elephant.
    Doug Pledge.

  74. Opps, that was sposed to be the title for favorite!

  75. TP,

    Sure. I never said otherwise. In fact, I provided pictures. See my Fri Jan 26, 02:22:59 PM EST post above.