“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, February 18, 2007

Supporting the Troops and Having to do Something.

All the talk about supporting the troops is nonsense. It is just another vacuous version of "have a nice day." Pay your taxes and you support the troops. It all comes down to being for war or against it, or does it?

Being for or against war, says about as much as saying you like nice things or hate being in a hospital. Who is not against war, for nice things and hating to be in a hospital?

Wars are about miscalculation, breakdowns in diplomacy, misinterpretation, political weakness and getting overrun by events. They occur when someone says these words:"Someone has to do something."

Having to do something is usually when wars happen.

That something can be a blatant provocation like crashing airplanes into buildings, someone shooting your arch-duke or sinking a few of your ships.

The only thing keeping Iraq from a complete meltdown are 150,000 US and allied troops. How they got there is meaningless. They are there now and the question is what happens when they are pulled?

Pull them precipitously and here is my dismal prediction:

Violence that will kill thousands in a day. Millions of people in cars trucks and tractors fleeing for their lives. Fires, explosions and mayhem. Threats and counter-threats from neighboring countries. Oil pipelines burning. Historic buildings in ruin. Iconic photos on every channel, maybe more coverage than Anna Nichole, and oh yes, someone saying, "Someone has to do something."


  1. BAGHDAD (Reuters) - On any given day in Baghdad, Iraqi police can be expected to report finding up to 50 bodies shot, tortured and dumped in the streets of the capital, but on Saturday only five were found, police said on Sunday.

    It was the most dramatic sign yet that a stepped-up military offensive by more than 110,000 Iraqi and U.S security forces is, at least for now, curbing the sectarian violence that has turned the city's streets into killing fields.

    There has been a relative lull in sectarian attacks since Operation Imposing Law, seen as a last-ditch attempt to avert all-out civil war, began a few days ago.

  2. When Congress Checks Out

    When I read the above article, I was flabbergasted at the decrepit, corruptible state of affairs at this ailing institution, now being resurrected by festering zombie-like Democrats for their own vested interests.

    Profiteering at its dirtiest and most treasonous, Congress has shown itself to be utterly incapable of providing the moral, institutional and financial support necessary for our troops to survive and win wars - not only abroad, but when the fight comes (as it inevitably will) to our shores, at home as well. Wallowed up in its greed and partisanship, it is an enemy of the Constitution and of the people by extension.

    Absolutely hypocritical and repulsive - that's what I feel about them when I hear they don't have enough money to support our troops.

  3. I like the new look:
    Keep up the great work.

  4. doug,

    re: climate change

    "Climate meltdown sounds more ominous"? Is this a blatant disregard for scientific research or what? Is this a blatant attempt at panic-mongering?

    Global warming sounds cozy and comfortable.

    But "climate meltdown" sounds even more enticing a meme than "global warming", now that we're on to them.

  5. Thomas Sowell has a 3-part series debunking the global warming meme over at Townhall.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Iraq the Model
    Attacks in Baghdad down by 80%
    Since the multiple bombings in Shroja market district on the 12th, Baghdad hasn’t seen any major attacks and there’s a tangible decrease in all kinds of attacks.

    Not only official statements say so (Defense ministry officials said today that attacks are down by 80% in Baghdad). It’s a reality I live in nowadays, at least in my neighborhood and its surroundings. It is also what I hear from friends and relatives in other parts of the city.
    We are hearing fewer explosions and less gunfire now than two weeks ago and that, in Baghdad, qualifies as quiet.

    I agree with what some experts say about this lull in violence being the result of militants keeping their heads down for a while. It is also possibly the result of the flight of the commanders of militant groups. Grunts left without planners, money or leaders wouldn’t want to do much on their own.

    During my tour in Baghdad today I had to pull over to be searched at several checkpoints — something that has rarely happened to me before. When you are searched soldiers or policemen check the identity cards of passengers, and the registration papers of the vehicle along with a thorough physical search. Checkpoints deal even more strictly with large vans and cargo trucks.

    The interesting thing about new checkpoints is the constant shifting of their location. One hour the checkpoint would be here and two hours later it would relocate to another position within the area. I think this helps security forces avoid becoming targets instead of hunters.
    In addition to soldiers and policemen, most checkpoints have one or more traffic policemen reportedly being equipped with laptops that enable them to flag suspected vehicles by offering instant access to vehicle-registration databases.

    Side by side with new security efforts is a campaign to clean and redecorate many streets, circles and parks in Baghdad. New trees are planted and damaged street medians and sidewalks are being refurbished. This offers a small yet much needed breeze of hope and normalcy to the traumatized city.

    The most significant and encouraging development is certainly this report from al-Sabah:
    Brigadier Qasim Ata, an authorized Baghdad Operation spokesman, told al-Sabah that for the 3rd day in a row dozens of displaced families are returning to their homes. 35 families returned in Madain, 7 in hay al-I’ilam and small numbers of families in various districts of Baghdad.
    Later reports in the local media indicate that the total number of families that returned home is as high as 130 families across the city, including several families in the, until recently, hopelessly violent district of Hay al-Adl.

    The report adds that Maliki ordered that the Bab al-Muadam and al-Shuhada bridges on the Tigris be reopened to traffic next week. This decision came in response to the “notable increase in traffic activity which in turn is a result of the growing feeling of safety”.
    Confirming what we said earlier about the recovery of civilian activity, the spokesman said “most stores in the Alawi al-Hilla districts have reopened after times when this area was a scene for repeated terrorist attacks”.

    As the effort continues in Baghdad, four other provinces are launching simultaneous plans to support operation ‘Imposing the Law’. Officials in the provinces of Diwaniya, Salahaddin, Wasit and Babil announced that the security forces are implementing a security plan to support and empower the ongoing operation in Baghdad, and to deal with the threat of possible infiltration by terrorists coming from Baghdad.

    The progress made so far invites hope and optimism, but it’s still too early to celebrate. Terrorists will keep trying to carry out attacks similar to those in Sadriya or Shorja. They want sow as much death and destruction as they can in order to shake the people’s confidence in the security plan. Such criminals attacks are still quite possible in Baghdad, but even if happen we must not let that stop us from pursuing the objectives of our efforts to stop the death and deterioration, to turn the tide and make progress.

  8. The panic is knowing they will lose their Iraq war political battering ram once the US completely hands over security of the country to the Iraqi government. I hope the Republicans will then be smart enough offer an accelerated drive for an alternative energy economy, as the central plank of their political agenda for 2008. Higher crop prices might hopefully also keep Mexicans working on their own farms back in Mexico. But if not, economic relations with Mexico will have to be reexamined. And that will include an embargo on Mexican oil, tourism, and manufactured goods.

  9. Those 17 GOP Congressmen did not seem paniced, yesterday. Not at all.

    That the US Army can lock down Baghdad was never in doubt. That locking it down can make a "Long Term" difference, ending in Victory, is.

    Even is successful, the reality on the ground in Iraq, is a political defeat for US. Mr Maliki and the UIA Government are the Enemy, perhaps the "lesser" Enemy, but they are the Enemies of the secular progressive liberal democratic Government we set out to install in Iraq in the refined definition of Victory, for a fact.

    So what does "Supporting the Troops" mean. If military victory ushers in political defeat.

    It is the subject Mr Bush avoids, Ms Rice skirted the point, yesterday in Baghdad. The UIA Shiite have played US, looks like she realized it, yesterday.

  10. For those with an extra fifteen minutes, read this most cogent rebuff of moral equivalency to come down the pike in many a day. It is equally applicable to Islam or Global Warming.

    For example, consider this gem:
    “This is one of the incidental rewards of cultural equivalence; it blunts the critical senses and levels all values until people who know nothing about any given subject feel entitled to assert things about that subject with great confidence and a whiff of righteousness. One can, as Ian Stewart warned, believe whatever one wants.”

    Blunting the Senses in the Name of Fairness

    H/T LGF

  11. david thompson's article is a must-read.

  12. Is the United States more secure today than when Saddam was in power?

  13. If military victory ushers in political defeat..

    I disagree. Saddam's Sunnis are being taught a lesson. A lesson that the Shiia will do well to learn. The contracts are signed. If the Shiia renege, then their share of the oil fields will just be incorporated into greater Kurdistan, that's all.

  14. While it is not unheard for a tactical victory to lead to a strategic defeat, at the least Mr. Bush will buy time with the Surge. What he does with that time will prove or disprove DR's assessment.

    Mr. Bush's past performance does not inspire confidence. However, the tendency of Islamists to overplay a pair of deuces may yet give Mr. Bush the hand, despite himself.

  15. A mellowing as you go public, duece?
    Becoming a man of all seasons. Less intensely focused on the Religion of Peace. Good for you.

    Not a brick off course

  16. Mətušélaḥ said: If the Shiia renege, then their share of the oil fields will just be incorporated into greater Kurdistan, that's all.

    The oil profits will be distributed based on the demographics of the various sects. The Kurds are sitting safe up there in the north having babies. The Shi'ites are replying to the al-Qaeda market-bombings by methodically driving the Sunnis out, by the hundreds of thousands, to Egypt, Jordan, and Syria before the oil-sharing deal is made. The more bombs go off, the worse it will be for the Sunnis. They are, of course, students of the Palestinian school of porking themselves.

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