“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."

Monday, January 01, 2007

Smoke 'Em Out And Get 'Em On The Run

What next for Somalia?
KISMAYU, Somalia - Islamist fighters abandoned the last major town they held early today and were seen heading south toward the Kenyan border while government forces approached slowly because of land mines, residents and a government spokesman said.
Will Ethiopian troops stay on to enforce order? If not, will the war lords return?
Islamist leaders had vowed to make a stand against Ethiopia, which has one of the largest armies in Africa, or to begin an Iraq-style guerrilla war.

"We will continue fighting the Ethiopians from everywhere until they leave Somalia," Islamist spokesman Abdirahim Ali Mudey told Reuters.

Here's a little surprise awaiting at the Kenyan border.
Kenya has reinforced its northern border, and U.S. forces are said to be in the region, including the sea, to prevent the escape of foreign militants aligned with the Islamists.
"Smoke em out. Get 'em on the run." Sound familiar? has an article by Fred Gedrich and Paul Vallely, "To Win in Iraq" echoing Habu's exhortation to go dark.


  1. At BC, Dan, a BC vet from way back:
    "Dan said...
    This guy?
    This guy is our chief strategist in some capacity?
    Because... he thinks... what - there's some sort of muddley not-too-military (i.e. killing)- oriented strategy of baksheesh and political manipulation that can be accomplished in the glare of the global media
    - who by the way feel only sympathy and fear towards our enemies?

    All I can say to this is: WTF."
    He goes on.
    Usually worth reading the whole thing.

  2. Sorry Doug, but I don't believe ANYTHING coming out of the NYT.

  3. Whit said, "'Smoke em out. Get 'em on the run.' Sound familiar?"

    Only this time they don't have a friendly country off limits to the attackers they can escape to, ala Pakistan. And Osama was so looking forward to coming out of his cave and hanging with his Islamic Courts homies.

  4. Compliments of WC and me:

  5. desert rat said...
    wu wu

    More importantly it shows that the local populations will support the victors, if given the opportunity.

    As those same populations welcomed the Mohammedans, when the Warlords left. Now that the Warlords return with Ethiopian tanks, the populaton swings in line to support them.

    It is the Strong Horse the people support.

  6. Doug said, "Now that the Warlords return with Ethiopian tanks, the populaton swings in line to support them."

    The Ethiopian tanks have an advantage over the US ones, they can shoot anyone who gets in their way without any on-camera hand-wringing from reporters.

  7. Ms T.
    It is not the reporters that wring their hands, but the Generals.

    When, in Fallujah, that Marine shot the Iraqi fiegning death, the Generals pulled him off the Line, out of the Unit and investigated, instead of saying, straight up the Marine was in the right.

  8. Then they can leave,
    without istalling a single sewer

  9. Somalia would still be a shit hole,
    but no longer would it be a threat, to Ethiopia.

  10. Bobalharb said, "UFO over O'Hare Airport? Video..Drudge Report. We may be facing an intervention of another kind. Hopefully beneficent!"

    But if not, we can all be insurgents and do an "Anbar" on our new alien overlords.

  11. Maybe they're adding in Palm Oil's expected contribution?

  12. So when will Mr Bush give his Iraqi Way Forward address?
    This week or next?
    Or will they roll it into the State of the Union?

    We assume the exodus from Iraq continues. Between the Lebanonese and the Iraqi, Syria must be near a bursting point.

    Any news on how many of the Lebanonese that went to Syria in the summer made it home for Christmas?

    Are the street of Beirut still clogged with unhappy campers?

  13. The Somali Prime Minister has offered amnesty to any remaining Islamist fighters providing they turn in their weapons by Thursday.

    He has also appealed for African Union peacekeepers to be sent to Somalia as soon as possible.


  14. sam,

    Do you think anyone has thought about how offering amnesty to serial killers would work out?

  15. This will be the triple-play against Saudi Arabia, Iran and Chavez's Venezuela:
    Never mind Flex-fuel,ethanol,fuel cells. They can come later. But this is the real thing:
    Worth reading
    Gentlemen, Start Your Plug-Ins

  16. Allen,

    Wonder if the Prime Minister is Muslim?

  17. Allen said, "Do you think anyone has thought about how offering amnesty to serial killers would work out?"

    I suppose it would work a lot like letting Muktada "Death Squad" al-Sadr run loose and have his people in the Iraqi government.

  18. Given Somalia's fragmented political situation, Washington, which has realized its strategic aim of eliminating the I.C.C., is unlikely to support the T.F.G. with direct financial and military contributions and will prefer to funnel any of its aid through Addis Ababa. Washington is eager to have Uganda lead a peacekeeping mission to bolster the T.F.G., but Kampala is still resisting and whether adequate funds for such a mission would be granted by donor powers and whether it would be accepted by major Somali factions is questionable.

    Everything from an Arab peacekeeping force to democratic elections is being suggested by external analysts and actors, but it is unlikely that any bold plans will gain sufficient support to overcome Somalia's political entropy, which is exacerbated by the ambitions and conflicts among the country's neighbors.

    Aborted Islamic Revolution

  19. time to start shooting..

    it's war ya know, just listen to the enemy speak

    screw hearts and minds, time to put a can of pavlov's conditioned response on their asses..

    they attack, they die....

    conditioned response

  20. whit said...
    "Over at the BC, the blogosphere's role in the GWOT is tonight's coffee table discussion."
    The Elephant in the room is scrupulously avoided by idea whores and Bush Sycophants:

    That being that wars are not won by new ideas and reinvented wheels.
    Always new ideas, never a consideration that the strategery and execution might be fatally flawed.

    So people with opinions discuss other people's opinions, ignoring all the while folks that have been there and come back screaming about Mr Roberts Rules of Order for our Warriors.
    ...or the fact that never before have multiple sanctuaries been held harmless without criticism.
    Such criticism is immediately labeled BDS by the Sycophants.
    I find Dan's emotional/intellectual outbursts to be refreshing counterpoint to the resolute blindness to History and reality that passes for enlightened commentary.

    Why we go on flagellating ourselves by bothering to visit is the more interesting question.

    In fact, I'm curious what the idea prostitute is up to, but I've forgotten his "real" name.
    He does have the excuse of getting paid for his intellectual porn.
    Far be it from me to cast aspersions like Aspergentleman about loquacious bats out of Hell, and etc., however.

  21. occupation:
    One trial learning, or some such.

  22. The 13 year old within:
    Enfant Provocateur likes to stir up trouble because...because, well...just because.
    This species of Flame Warrior is almost always young and male - it could be just a hormone thing.

  23. Tuesday, January 02nd, 2007
    No Mail Today, Do You Know Why?
    January 2, 2007

    Business relies heavily on the US Mail. Any interruption costs our economy tens of millions of dollars.

    If you are not a business owner or accountant, you will not “get this” but I will try to explain. Most firms operate their business on a calender year with their books closing on December 31. “Unfortunately,” December 31 fell on a Sunday with Monday also being a Federal Holiday.

    As a result, businesses were anticipating closing their year end books with the receipt of payments on Tuesday.

    Sadly, a man with a Harvard MBA has thrown a wrench into that:

    There will be no regular mail delivery or retail services at Post Offices Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, as the Postal Service is closing to observe the national day of mourning for former President Gerald Ford.

    The decision follows an Executive Order issued by President Bush that independent federal agencies close as a mark of respect for Ford, who died Dec. 26. Express Mail deliveries will be made Jan. 2. Regular retail and delivery service will resume Wednesday, Jan. 3.

    Soooo, the People of the United States have been able to mourn on December 26, 27, 28, 29,30, 31 January 1 and those SEVEN days are not enough!!!!

    We need another day of “mourning” that will cost American business tens of millions of dollars plus the cost of a “paid holiday” to Federal Employees!!!

    Does anyone honestly think those Federal Employees will use today as a day of mourning???

    All I know is the rest of America has gone back to work so that we can pay the tax due for an additional day of holiday to these federal workers while we are suffering insult to injury by losing interest on deposits we can not make!!!

    This idea of “compassionate conservatism” is costing a whole lot of money so federal employees get a long weekend because that is all they care about.

    President Bush, How about a “tax free day of mourning” for the rest of working America?

    -- Oak Leaf

  24. Hey, we're compassionate w/our enemies abroad, why not federal "workers?"

  25. " Their downfall came when they surrounded the base of Somalia’s transitional government in Baidoa on December 20, provoking Ethiopian intervention. Since then they have been forced towards the Indian Ocean by the military might of Ethiopia, a vastly superior force backed by tanks and MiG fighter jets.

    Ethiopia accuses the SCIC of terrorist links and has taken the side of the weak Somali government."
    Maybe we should use the F-22 money for a bunch of Mig 15's that we actually USE?

  26. Frum:
    "Still, there is somthing weird about the fact that a Google search for "Richard Perle" and "Iraq war" pulls up 281,000 entries - while a similar search for "Meghan O'Sullivan" and "Iraq war" pulls up 180.

    Meghan O'Sullivan, for those of you who don't know, is the National Security Council senior director with responsibility for Iraq and Afghanistan.

    How is it that so many in the media show so much more interest in a group that supported the war than they do in the group that actually ran the war?"

  27. Frum, continued:

    e) Therefore: American security requires the US to help defeat tyranny and promote freedom in other lands.

    Maybe this was good reasoning, maybe it was bad. But good or bad: you would suppose it had been deeply considered. Having declared war on tyranny, it hardly makes sense to expect the help and ccooperation of the tyrants in question. Right? And yet, the foreign policy of the Bush administration has been founded on the assumption that the military regime in Pakistan wishes the US to succeed in Afghanistan and that the authoritarian regimes of the Persian Gulf wish the US to succeed in Iraq.

    When I complained of the president speaking words but not grasping ideas, this was what I meant. When a president commits himself to the spread of democracy in the Middle East and Islamic world, he is committing himself to policies that many in the region will find profoundly uncongenial, if not threatening. His calculations have to take into account the likelihood that those who object to his policies will try to thwart and sabotage them.

    But no such calculation seems to have occurred. The administration signed up for a war on Middle Eastern tyranny on the happy assumption that it could count on the tyrants to aid in their undoing. It promised a revolution and expected the revolution's targets to unlock the gates of their own Winter Palaces.

    Well, "expect" may be the wrong word here, because in fact there was no real revolution in the offing. The US alliance with the Saudi monarchy has flourished through the Bush years - indeed Robin Wright reports in her most recent article for the Washington Post that it was Saudi opposition (and not the protests of the supposedly omnipotent neocons) that deep-sixed James Baker's call for direct US-Iran talks:

    The Sunni kingdom sees Iran as a threat because of Tehran's alleged nuclear weapons program. The kingdom also fears the shifting balance of power — under Iran's tutelage — between minority Shiites and majority Sunnis, who have dominated Middle East politics for almost 14 centuries. The monarchy faces its own restive Shiite minority in the main oil-producing province.

    The kingdom grew particularly alarmed as the report of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group began to leak out last month, with recommendations that the administration talk to both Iran and Syria, say U.S. officials and sources close to the royal family. Even before the report was released, Abdullah summoned Cheney to again warn about Iran and the regional implications of its growing influence — and offer Saudi assistance and discuss joint U.S.-Saudi efforts.

    Such actions are not easily squared with the president's words - and that difficulty reconciling words and actions inspired my doubts how much the words had ever really meant.
    Faith, Dude:
    Look into his eyes and read his soul.

  28. My cynical view early on is that the admin rummaged through various "explanations" for staying the course, and GWB settled on Democracy, since it feels/sounds compassionate, and that, my friends is the ultimate aim of the appeasing husband in cheif.

  29. Doug said, "Hey, we're compassionate w/our enemies abroad, why not federal 'workers?'"

    What this means, of course, is I get to sit here all day and chill wit my EB homies. Whip Indolence Now!

  30. Trish said, "I'll stick with the Incomparably Grumpy Old Men and One Pithy Lesbian. And Rufus..."

    It's like Mark Twain said, "Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company."

  31. Maybe Dan is 13 and can be exused. As I recall he never had much more to say than "Kill them all." Which would not even make him an especially bright 13-year-old.

    No? In my book it would make him a fscking genius.