“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, February 26, 2007

De-escalating the Iraq Mission.

“We are not trying to dominate (Iraq), nor do we intend to stay here for ever. We also know that we will never be able to reduce violence completely – but we are committed to try and turn around the situation for the better before we leave.” -Major-General William B. Caldwell, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Effects and spokesman for the multi-national coalition force in Iraq

Attack on Iran? No way, says US General
By Anand Sagar (Assistant Editor)

26 February 2007

DUBAI — Contrary to growing regional and international concerns, the US has “no intention of getting into any conflict” in Iran, according to a high-ranking US general serving in Iraq.

However, Major-General William B. Caldwell, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Effects and spokesman for the multi-national coalition force in Iraq, said here yesterday there was evidence to suggest cross-border smuggling of “weapons and ammunition” from Iran into Iraq to arm Shia militia groups there. General Caldwell was in Dubai yesterday to meet senior editors and journalists and also visited Khaleej Times.

Commenting on the ground realities in Iraq, he added, one “major shift” in the scenario is, for the first time “we have the full political commitment most needed to secure and stabilise the internal situation in Iraq.”

Under the new Iraqi-led Operation “Fard Al Qanoon” (Enforcement of Law and Order), effectively supported by the coalition forces, Baghdad has been divided into 10 districts to better combat continuing sectarian violence and restore some semblance of normalcy.

Moreover, General Caldwell added, as far as this new security plan is concerned, Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki has given a “carte blanche” in pursuit of this joint objective and “no area and no person is now off limits.”

In response to a question by this reporter regarding the viability of a military solution as opposed to a political one in this context, he said, “Of course, the political process is the key. And the Iraqi government also needs to demonstrate that it has no sectarian bias.”

Following a series of new initiatives, he said, “We are most hopeful we can change the dynamics in Baghdad.”

Questioned about whether how soon the US troops might begin a gradual reduction or withdrawal, as has already been announced by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, he said: “We too desire to begin withdrawing our forces. But we will not do it and we will not leave, until we feel the Iraqi government has the capability to ensure the country’s safety and security.”

General Caldwell said categorically: “We are not trying to dominate (the country), nor do we intend to stay here for ever. We also know that we will never be able to reduce violence completely – but we are committed to try and turn around the situation for the better before we leave.”


  1. The De-escalation supports Whit's whine (last entry).

    Wanna take bets on how fast Iran invades? Or, more likely, they'll run Iraq through proxy.

    This will be another massive defeat for America if it goes this way (as it appears to be doing).

  2. The de-escalation described:

    It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,

    To puff and look important and to say:

    —“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.

    We will therefore pay you cash to go away.” And that is called paying the Dane-geld;

    But we’ve proved it again and again,That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld

    You never get rid of the Dane.

    Rupyard Kipling

  3. Also applies to Kim Jong Il and pretty much our Foreign Policy in total.

  4. As Mr Cheney said, it's all to be a success, soon, just like Basra.

    Can you imagine, the VP and Sec of State claiming Basra as a Victory Standard. Well, there you go!
    We WUN!!!

    elijah tells US deception is the at heart of war, perhaps we've all been decieved. Could it be that Mr Cheney is a lying, when he says Basra is a SUCCESS? Could he be decieving US?
    Nah, Mr Cheney is many things, but no Warrior. Never was, never will be. Actually he is not to be trusted with a firearm.
    Based upon past performance.

    How many more US troops die, to secure Mr Maliki and Mr al-Hakim place in the sun?

  5. A blast at an Iraqi ministry building killed six people and slightly injured the Vice-President, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, during a ceremony this morning.

    The Shia leader was taken to hospital for routine checks after suffering a minor wound and bruising when he was knocked down by the force of the blast at the Public Works Ministry building in central Baghdad.

    Meanwhile, President Talabani was in a Jordanian hospital recuperating after treatment for extreme exhaustion and pulmonary inflammation.

    Police said it was not yet known what caused the blast inside the ministry building and whether it was an attempt on Mr Abdul-Mahdi's life. At least six people were killed and another 31 injured.

    Now imagine a bomb going off and wounding Mr Cheney, and the question becoming " whether it was an attempt on Mr Cheney's life"

    Insanity reins in Iraq, deception indeed. Was it an assinassion attempt, get a grip. Of course it was.

  6. BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press) -- Iraq's Sunni vice president said Monday the Baghdad security plan has so far failed to respect human rights and treat all groups equally, which he described as flaws that doomed the two major crackdowns in the capital last year.

    Tariq al-Hashemi also told The Associated Press that the publicity that preceded the operation cost the authorities the element of surprise.
    Although sectarian death squad killings appear to have fallen sharply, violence remains high. A female suicide bomber killed at least 41 people Sunday at a mostly Shiite college in eastern Baghdad.
    During an interview in his Green Zone headquarters, al-Hashemi said he had not expected a marked improvement in security in the capital "simply because the requirements of the plan are not in place."

    "Up to now, legal procedures have not been observed,"
    he said. "The human rights of Iraqis have not been respected as they should be. In this regard, this plan is being implemented in the same way the previous ones were. This is surely regrettable."
    "The problem is will the plan be implemented equally on all Iraqis? Will it respect human rights," al-Hashemi asked.

    He also said the weeks before Bush's announcement and the arrival of the first new U.S. and Iraqi units had given extremists time to prepare.

    "I was hoping that the security plan would be announced along with all the requirements for success," he said. "One of those requirements for success is the element of surprise, that the plan should start without advance notice so that justice can reach militia leaders, terrorists, death squads and those involved in organized crime."

    He added: "This very regretfully did not happen."

  7. Seymour Hersh does not even have to make the stuff up, whole cloth.
    Not any more, reality has caught up to Seymour. There is still some Seymour spin, but the truth is there, as well.

    The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat. They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations.

    The new strategy “is a major shift in American policy—it’s a sea change,” a U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel said. The Sunni states “were petrified of a Shiite resurgence, and there was growing resentment with our gambling on the moderate Shiites in Iraq,” he said. “We cannot reverse the Shiite gain in Iraq, but we can contain it.”

    “It seems there has been a debate inside the government over what’s the biggest danger—Iran or Sunni radicals,” Vali Nasr, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has written widely on Shiites, Iran, and Iraq, told me. “The Saudis and some in the Administration have been arguing that the biggest threat is Iran and the Sunni radicals are the lesser enemies. This is a victory for the Saudi line.”

    Martin Indyk, a senior State Department official in the Clinton Administration who also served as Ambassador to Israel, said that “the Middle East is heading into a serious Sunni-Shiite Cold War.” Indyk, who is the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, added that, in his opinion, it was not clear whether the White House was fully aware of the strategic implications of its new policy. “The White House is not just doubling the bet in Iraq,” he said. “It’s doubling the bet across the region. This could get very complicated. Everything is upside down.”

  8. That the Wahabbists have gotten away, while the Administration fixates on Iran seems clear enough.

    Where is Mullah Omar, Doc Z or even that iconic Mohammedan myth, Osama?

    In the heartland of the Wahabbist ISI's Taliban, Pakistan, perhaps.

    Not in Tehran, that's for sure.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Here is an argument suggesting that Bush really is planning on attacking Iran:

    "The Bush administration has already decided on a military attack on Iran, though the world will have to wait through several months of soap opera at the United Nations and world capitals before this happens. A clear indication of Bush's intention is found in his recent public statements, which amount to a three-point list of justifications for going to war."

    Three US reasons to attack Iran

    Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?
    Posted 2007-02-25

    "Among other concerns, war games have shown that the carriers could be vulnerable to swarming tactics involving large numbers of small boats, a technique that the Iranians have practiced in the past; carriers have limited maneuverability in the narrow Strait of Hormuz, off Iran’s southern coast."

    Unbelieveable -
    ...Iran could launch successive waves of explosives-packed boats against U.S. warships in the Gulf, piloted by "Ashura" or suicide bombers. The first wave can draw on more than 1,000 small fast-attack boats operated by the Revolutionary Guards navy, equipped with rocket launchers, heavy machine-guns and possibly Sagger anti-tank missiles. In recent years, the Iranians have used these small boats to practice "swarming" raids on commercial vessels and U.S. warships patrolling the Persian Gulf.

    A second wave of suicide attacks could be carried out by "suicide submarines" and semi-submersible boats, before Iran deploys its Russian-built Kilo-class submarines and Chinese-built Huodong missile boats to attack U.S. warships. The 114-foot Chinese boats are equipped with advanced radar-guided C-802s, a sea-skimming cruise-missile with a 60-mile range.

    Iran's naval strategists believe the U.S. will attempt to land ground forces to the east of Bandar Abbas. Their plans call for extensive use of ground-launched tactical missiles, coastal artillery, as swell as strategic missiles aimed at Saudi Arabia and Israel tipped with chemical, biological and possibly nuclear warheads. The Iranians also plan to lay huge minefields across the Persian Gulf inside the Strait of Hormuz, effectively trapping ships that manage to cross the Strait before they can enter the Gulf, where they can be destroyed by coastal artillery and land based "Silkworm" missile batteries.

    Today, Iran has sophisticated EM-53 bottom-tethered mines, which it purchased from China in the 1990s. The EM-53 presents a serious threat to major U.S. surface vessels, since its rocket-propelled charge is capable of hitting the hull of its target at speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour. Some analysts believe it can knock out a U.S. aircraft carrier.

    "I think it would be problematic for any navy to face a combination of mines, small boats, anti-ship cruise missiles, torpedoes, coastal artillery, and Silkworms," said retired Navy Commander Joseph Tenaglia, CEO of Tactical Defense Concepts, a maritime security company. "This is a credible threat."

    BC - 1/15/2007 09:24:00 PM

  12. Al, Al, where for art thou, Al?

    Talk about potential, the first President to have won an Oscar.
    Annoitted by Hollywood.

    Reagan may well have been a better actor, but he and Oscar never met.

    With Hollywood's David Geffen playing strawman for a Chitown Stalking Horse.

    Mr Gore arrives to save the day, not on horseback, but in a Hybrid.

  13. 18 Ways to be a Good Liberal:

    1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.

    2. You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity.

    3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are more of a threat than Nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Iran or Chinese and North Korean communists.

    Rest of List

  14. I have a post all ready to go on Rev. Gore Goes to Hollywood.

  15. Caldwell told reporters last week that he believes the current plan will succeed where others have failed.

    "One key difference between (the current plan) and previous iterations of the Baghdad security plan is that this time we intend to build Iraqi institutions and invest in neighborhoods, even as we conduct security operations," he said.

    But interviews indicate that that portion of the plan remains vague, with few signs of any concrete steps to deliver services to any of the capital's neighborhoods.

    Resurgence of Deaths

  16. Remeber wu wei told of the Zen of the "New Doctrine".

    Well what wold Master Yoda think of...
    "... we are committed to try ...:

    Do not try, grasshopper,
    Do, or do not.