“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, March 05, 2007

The Rumble in Iraq, more Rope-a-Dope.

One of the great all time fights was dubbed "The Rumble in the Jungle" between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman held in Zaire, Africa on October 30, 1974. It is the most famous and most heavily depicted heavyweight fight in history. Two former Olympic Gold Medal winners, heavily favored Foreman against the underdog, Ali.

Prior to the fight, George Foreman was undefeated but Ali defeated Foreman in the 8th round. Ali allowed Foreman to punch himself out as Ali performed his famous "Rope-A-Dope" technique. This BBC story details a couple of incidents that hints at a new Rope-a-Dope.

Iraqi PM condemns 'illegal' raid
Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 06:11 GMT BBC

The facility was entered because of information gained in earlier raids
Iraq's prime minister has called for an investigation into Sunday's raid by Iraqi and British forces in Basra on an intelligence agency detention centre.
Nouri Maliki issued a statement calling for those behind the "illegal and irresponsible act" to be punished.

The British military said the raid was part of an operation led by Iraqi counter-terrorist forces who were seeking a "known death squad leader".

It said evidence of torture had been found at the southern Iraqi facility.

"The prime minister has ordered a prompt investigation into the incident of breaking into the security complex headquarters in Basra," a statement released by Mr Maliki's office said.

During the operation, Iraqi forces discovered around 30 prisoners, many of whom showed signs of torture and abuse
British military statement

The British military responded with a statement saying the National Iraqi Intelligence Agency headquarters was not deliberately targeted and was only entered because of information gained in preceding raids.

"During the operation, Iraqi forces discovered around 30 prisoners, including a woman and two children, who were being held, and many of whom showed signs of torture and abuse," the statement said.

It went on to say that Iraqi forces broke down locked doors, which led to the escape of a number of prisoners but rejected reports Iraqi forces deliberately released the prisoners.

Earlier in Basra, five people were held on suspicion of involvement in roadside bomb attacks against the multinational forces and Iraqi civilians, as well as kidnaps, torture and murder.

'Political consensus'

Earlier on Sunday more than 1,100 Iraqi and US troops carried out an operation in Baghdad's Shia stronghold of Sadr City, the US military said.

It said no weapons cache had been found or suspected militant arrested.

The raids came as the Iraqi prime minister said he was offering an olive branch to insurgents who accepted the language of reconciliation and dialogue.

Those who did not would fall foul of a security crackdown which would "cover every inch of Iraq", he said.

He did not specify whether insurgents who stopped fighting would be given an amnesty.

Mr Maliki has said he will reshuffle his cabinet within the next two weeks.

No details have been given, but reports quote unnamed officials as saying he is expected to dismiss all six ministers loyal to the Shia cleric, Moqtada Sadr, who has been criticised by the United States.

Mr Maliki said political consensus could only be achieved in Iraq once the country was stable.


  1. "Rope-a-Dope" indeed!

    It seems the purple finger celebration long ago was premature. To continue your sports analogy, we would have to wrestle governmental control back from the Iraqis to repair this debacle.

    This won't happen, of course!

  2. This is cool!
    The Iraqi and US Administrations are locked in a mortal
    "Who can bend reality/language the furthest"
    Contest to the death.
    (of us citizen/taxpayers on this end)

  3. Its over! The American public has decided that the Iraqis simply are not worth our blood and toil. The constant drip of negative US media stories has undermined faith in ordinary Iraqis and the war effort.

    Of course, there are stories of brave, heroic, altruistic Iraqis but they are too few and too infrequent to make a difference.

    Unless someone in this Administration wakes up and "mans up," its only a matter of time before the public, having no where else to turn, embraces the Democrat's redeployment plan.

    "And its 1-2-3 What are we fightin' for?
    Don't ask me...I don't give a damn."

  4. The sum of all fears as regards Iraq have been achieved.

    Now all there is to see is if the Iraqi War, in all it's hubris, saps the Will for US to continue the War on Terror. Since Mr Bush and Company have done their level best to join the two at the hip.

    Funny stuff, if one does not take it to seriously. Heartbreaking if one does.

    What will be even more funny, if the Iranians do not even show up at the Neighbor's Conference.
    Just Ms Rice, standing there, with no one of import but Mr Rogers to talk to.

    It'd be about par for this course.

  5. And when the dust had lifted,
    and men saw what had occurred,
    there was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

    Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
    it rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;

    it pounded through on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat;
    for Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

    There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place,
    there was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile lit Casey's face.

    And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
    no stranger in the crowd could doubt t'was Casey at the bat.

    Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt.
    Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.

    Then, while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
    defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

    And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
    and Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.

    Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped --
    "That ain't my style," said Casey.

    "Strike one!" the umpire said.
    From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
    like the beating of the storm waves on a stern and distant shore.

    "Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand,
    and it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

    With a smile of Christian charity, great Casey's visage shone,
    he stilled the rising tumult, he bade the game go on.

    He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew,
    but Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two!"

    "Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"
    But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.

    They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
    and they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

    The sneer has fled from Casey's lip, the teeth are clenched in hate.
    He pounds, with cruel violence, his bat upon the plate.

    And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
    and now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

    Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright.
    The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
    And, somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout,

    but there is no joy in Mudville --
    mighty Casey has struck out.