“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, April 08, 2007

Al-Sadr makes a move.

This may mean something very ominous, and is pure speculation on my part. Iran may have come to the conclusion that the US will attack Iran when the third carrier arrives in the Gulf. They could not do much to stop the air campaign, but they could make life very miserable for US troops in Iraq. Al-Sadr, tying up US ground troops in Iraq and doing Iranian bidding, would position himself to run Iraq when the Americans are forced to leave by the Democrats or next administration. This assumes al-Sadr is still alive, which he should not be.

Sadr Calls on Iraqis to End Cooperation With U.S.
The Associated Press
Sunday, April 8, 2007; 10:54 AM

BAGHDAD -- The renegade cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged the Iraqi army and police to stop cooperating with the United States and told his guerrilla fighters to concentrate on pushing American forces out of the country, according to a statement issued Sunday.

The statement, stamped with al-Sadr's official seal, was distributed in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Sunday _ a day before a large demonstration there, called for by al-Sadr, to mark the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.

A truckload of supporters of a radical anti-US cleric Muqtada al-Sadr leaves Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, April 8, 2007. al-Sadr called on his supporters to come to the holy cities of Kufa and Najaf to mark the fourth year of the US-led invasion on Monday.

"You, the Iraqi army and police forces, don't walk alongside the occupiers, because they are your archenemy," the statement said. Its authenticity could not be verified.

In the statement, al-Sadr _ who commands an enormous following among Iraq's majority Shiites and has close allies in the Shiite-dominated government _ also encouraged his followers to attack only American forces, not fellow Iraqis.

"God has ordered you to be patient in front of your enemy, and unify your efforts against them _ not against the sons of Iraq," the statement said, in an apparent reference to clashes between al-Sadr's Mahdi Army fighters and Iraqi troops in Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad. "You have to protect and build Iraq."

The U.S. military on Sunday announced the deaths of four American soldiers, killed a day earlier in an explosion near their vehicle in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad. The province has seen a spike in attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces since the start of a plan two months ago to pacify the capital. Officials believe militants have streamed out of Baghdad to invigorate the insurgency in areas just outside the city.

The full article Washington Post


  1. But Mr al-Sadr is in Iran. That in itself touted as success of the threat of US arms, earlier.

    His minions gone to ground, ordered to stand down. It seems we'll get to see the real strength, of lack there of, in the Mahdi Army's command structure.

    If the Shia do restart the violence against US troops, if they escalate it, from 15% of the attacks against US GIs, accounting for 20% of US casualties. To a level equal to the Sunni Insurgents, that would be real bad.

    The reconciliation strategy will be flamed, fer sure.

  2. This is a sign of progress. al-Sadr has decided he can't just wait it out. By doing this, al-Sadr is admitting that the surge is working.

    The danger for the Mahdi's is that the more we degrade their forces, the better chance of another Shiite group wiping them out.

  3. $5 billion in siphoned Iraqi oil will buy you lots of support.

  4. If the Coalition Forces want to suffocate these criminals, shut down their source of income and influence.

  5. rufus,

    I guess it takes one to know one.

    Former Hostage, Iran, 1979

    Semper Fi, indeed!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Proof?

    That's speculation with less than a whole loaf of info. Where is al-Sadr? How many of his followers will follow?

    This could be good news, it could be bad. It could be that with the Sunnis stretching the perimeter, the Shia will strike from the center.

    They could succeed or most likely fail. One never really knows, before hand.

    As Mr Cheney said in 1993:

    You also need to know what constitutes victory. How would you define it? How would you know when you had achieved it? And finally, how do you get out? What's the end game? How do you wrap it all up? And what's the cost in terms of American lives in that involvement? Nobody answered these questions with respect to Bosnia.

    Is there any reason to expect that an age-old conflict based on animosities that go back for hundreds of years is going to be ameliorated or ended by the temporary presence of U.S. military force? I don't think so.

    One of the reasons I voted Bush/Cheney.

  8. Do you remember Tet '68?

    You certainly can win the fight, only to lose the battle.

  9. Dems will fund the War

    Here is the best news in a long time. It looks like the Democrats caved:

    Democratic Senate Armed Services Committee Chief Pledges Continued Funding For Troops in Iraq

    Top Senate Democrats on Sunday appeared to reject their leader's suggestion that lawmakers set a date for cutting funds off for U.S. troops in Iraq, even as they prepare for a veto from President Bush on a supplemental spending bill that sets a timetable for withdrawal...

    "We're not going to vote to cut funding, period," Levin said. "But what we should do, and we're going to do, is continue to press this president to put some pressure on the Iraqi leaders to reach a political settlement."

    "Nothing -- nothing -- will stand in our way of supporting the troops in every way," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., acknowledging that President Bush is likely to veto the $122 billion legislation currently on the table.

  10. Sounds like the Congress will send up $122 Billion war Funding Bills, letting Mr Bush defund the troops, with his vetos.

    The Congress will have done their duty to the troops, according to them. It will be on Mr Bush if the funds do not flow.

    That is what Mr Shumer and Mr Levin said.
    "We're not going to vote to cut funding, period," Levin said. "But what we should do, and we're going to do, is continue to press this president to put some pressure on the Iraqi leaders to reach a political settlement."
    Benchmarks and timelines

    "Nothing -- nothing -- will stand in our way of supporting the troops in every way," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y

    "Nothing -- nothing", that'd be Mr Bush standing in the way of the troops funding.

    That'll be the play, how that tune aells will determines how long it plays.

  11. > Sounds like the Congress will send up $122 Billion war Funding Bills, letting Mr Bush defund the troops, with his vetos.

    No, when Bush vetoes the Democrats will change the bill until it passes.

    It's over at least for now. The Dems will change whatever the President wants to pass the bill and fund the troops.

    Senate Will Keep Paying

    "We can keep the benchmarks part of the bill without saying that the troops must begin to come back within four months," Levin said. "If that doesn't work and the president vetoes because of that, and he will, then that part of it is removed, because we're going to fund the troops.

  12. Vocabulary lesson (c/o Tigerhawk)

    “The words were "raghead," "bozo," "motherfucker," and "cocksucker." Limbert laughed. It warmed his heart. Someplace nearby his captors were still coping with the United States Marine Corps.”

  13. Right,wu, they'll keep sending up Bills, Mr Bush keeps vetoing.

    It will isolate Mr Bush, further each time a Bill is vetoed.

    How many Bills does Mr Levin promise? He's already expecting a second veto, of the first "compromise". How many rounds do they go?

    Obama already floated the idea of funding for shorter durations. Four months, six, instead of 12.

  14. A lot depends on the feedback the various Congressmen and Senators get while on Spring Break, how the Funding deal plays out, towards the buzzer.

    May go into overtime, if the Dems are feeling cocky, heady with euphoria, as they normally are in the Spring.

  15. SCHUMER: Look, the president's view is the only way you can support the troops is do exactly what he wants, to rubber-stamp what he wants. That is not what we will do.

    Should he veto this bill, which means he will be vetoing the money for the troops, we will try to come up with a way, by talking with the White House, trying to compromise with the White House, that both supports the troops and yet changes the strategy in Iraq, which we feel is misguided.
    SCHUMER: Well, I think you have to read the Reid-Feingold bill. First, it doesn't call for the pullout of all the troops.

    It calls for continued funding even after March of 2008, which is a year from now, for three missions: Counterterrorism, which is what the original mission was to always be, protecting our forces, and retraining Iraqis.

    And second, we are not going to leave the troops high and dry, plain and simple. Senator Reid has said that. I've said that. Every leader of the Democratic Party has said that.

    But we are not going to abandon our quest to force the president basically to change his strategy. We should not be policing a civil war. We should be fighting counterterrorism.

    If Al Qaida is setting up camps in Iraq, we're the first to say we should go take out those camps so what happened with Al Qaida camps in Afghanistan can't be repeated in Iraq.
    And that's going to -- you know, whether we stay with more troops three months or three years, as soon as we leave, the Sunnis and Shiites are going to be fighting with one another.

    And, Newt, you and I agree. I mean, your book and my book are similar on that strong need to fight terrorism. But that doesn't mean we go police every single civil war that's going on in the world. We don't have the resources and it's not our job to do that.

    That's what we're doing in Iraq. The mission has changed without a broad discussion of policy for six years. We're doing that now in the Congress, and we're going to continue to do it.

    Then look again to what Mr Cheney said, when he was in opposition, there could be an echo in the Capital, reverberating over decades

  16. Dick Cheney, 1993, in opposition

    Is there any reason to expect that an age-old conflict based on animosities that go back for hundreds of years is going to be ameliorated or ended by the temporary presence of U.S. military force? I don't think so.

  17. DR, There is no round 2.

    > "We're not going to vote to cut funding, period,

    Whatever causes the veto will be removed from the bill, and sent to the President for his signature:

    > "If that doesn't work and the president vetoes because of that, and he will, then that part of it is removed, because we're going to fund the troops.

    Bush won. The war is going to be fought his way.

  18. Maybe, maybe not.
    To make that claim based on flexible statements by Mr Schumer and Levin, couragous or foolish.

    When it is the House where funding begins. Ms Pelosi has the wheel, and, as I said, how her Spring Break adventure played to the Base, that is going to be telling.

    Mr Testor, of Montana, is not feeling any proWar funding pressure, or so it's reported.

  19. Maybe the Democrats told their ally, al-Sadr, that the Democrats were giving up on blocking the war, and that's why "Al-Sadr made a move".

    Lots of terrorists will sleep badly tonight. Bin Laden will toss and turn in his cave with nightmares of US Special Forces and of losing Iraq like his lost Afghanistan. The leaders of Iran and Syria will stop laughing about the British hostage incident.

    It sounds like someone leaked word to Cindy Sheehan too. There are pictures of her crying and saying the Democrats let her down.

  20. GINGRICH: You know, one of the weaknesses of this administration is that when it has a clear performance failure -- FEMA in New Orleans would be an example -- that it is not aggressive enough and direct enough with holding people accountable.

    Let me draw this into two boxes. The president has every right to have the U.S. attorneys he wants. It is not a prerogative of the Senate or anyone else to question if he says he no longer pleases me, they're supposed to resign, period.

    This is the most mishandled, artificial, self-created mess that I can remember in the years I've been active in public life. And it has to -- you know, the buck has to stop somewhere, and I'm assuming it's the attorney general and his immediate team.

    And I think it is amazing that there's any doubt about the fact that they have totally mishandled this.

    WALLACE: Now, you called this a performance failure.

    GINGRICH: Absolutely.

    WALLACE: By the attorney general?

    GINGRICH: He's in charge of the department. I mean, whether it -- you know, how could you have so totally mishandled what was a slam dunk? All they had to say was the president has concluded he wants new people.

    President Clinton replaced 93 U.S. attorneys in one decisive moment. Nobody jumped up and said he doesn't have the right to do it. They said it wasn't good policy, but nobody said, "Oh, this is a procedural problem." He replaced every single one. He reappointed only one of them.

    WALLACE: All right. The obvious question: Should the attorney general step down?

    GINGRICH: I cannot imagine how he is going to be effective for the rest of this administration. And they're now going to be involved -- thanks to our good friends in the Senate side, they're going to be involved in endless hearings, which is going to take up an immense amount of time and effort.

    I think the country, in fact, would be much better served to have a new team at the Justice Department, across the board.

  21. The Truth was Massacred: A Clear-Eyed View of Haditha

    “It’s also not surprising that the Corps brought charges. Failure to do so would have resulted in a media and congressional firestorm. There would have been extensive hearings about the military’s fitness to police itself. Heads would have rolled. Easier all round to unleash the NCIS and take the Marines to Article 32s.”

    So, the fine fellows at Victory Caucus are strongly implying that some unspecified, but clearly substantial, number of officers within the Navy and Marine Corps decided to commit several felonies (including, but not limited to: false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and perjury) in order to find a politically expedient exit.

    If the Victory Caucus believes this drivel is supportive of the Marine Corps, I’d hate to see their lack of support, hey, Brutus.

    About the only thing reliably said by Mr. David Allender is that Courts Martial will determine fact.

  22. Gingrich was absolutely correct in saying this:

    The president has every right to have the U.S. attorneys he wants. It is not a prerogative of the Senate or anyone else to question. If he says he no longer pleases me, they're supposed to resign, period.

    But that means the President's only mistake was being politically weak and naive. Instead of trying to be bipartisan and compromise, he simply should have told the Senate to truck off because it is none of their business. He should have refused all subponeas for documents, and all aides should either give the 5th amendment or not show up if there are Congressional hearings.

    US Attorneys, like Bush's cabinet, serve "at the pleasure of the President". He can fire them whenever he wants, for any reason he wants, and doesn't need to say publicly why he did it.

  23. That is totally accurate, wu.
    But then Mr Gonzo and his team couldn't stick to the story.

    It seems Gonzo did not even read the playbook, to know what the story was.

  24. > It seems Gonzo did not even read the playbook,

    Nope. Bush doesn't do politics anymore. His Administration gave that up years ago, which is the root cause of their problems.

  25. That's a demeaning characature of Sheik al.

    For good taste's sake, remove it!

  26. I support the Corps,
    ...but not the Troops.
    Works for me.

  27. The Institution before the men, doug. The Socialist way.

    General P speaks
    "... This is what makes ‘victory’ in Iraq so difficult. But when asked, General Petraeus said this: “The real challenge is to create something that is sustainable. We could cut a deal with the Mahdi Army, for example. We could bargain for six or nine months of peace with them but that serves no purpose.”


    “Hopefully, we can create a window for opportunity for the Iraqi leaders so that they can bridge some of the differences [and] achieve true national reconciliation. And if they can’t, then we gotta look each other in the eye and say it's not gonna happen and say we need a Plan B.”

    When I asked the general about the current political situation in America, he made it quite clear that his job was to remain focused on the mission in Iraq. Then he went on to say: “I think that a soldier should understand the mission he has been given and make sure he and his boss have discussed it and they are both clear on it and then ask for what he needs and then do the best he can with what he gets. And, inform people of the risk if he doesn’t get what he asks for. And, if it’s sufficiently less than what is judged to be needed, then he has to go back and say I can’t accomplish the mission, lets change the mission. That’s the approach you have to take.

    “I cannot make my recommendations based on what I think the pain is back there for the military services or the White House or Capitol Hill or anything else. All we can do is do our mission to the best of our ability and retain integrity as we do that. And, be willing to note that if it’s not going to happen. I’ve gotta say that. I owe that to 150,000 young Americans and anther 10,000 coalition partners.

    The good General P, he does understand who defines the Mission, and that it's not the Military.
    It's the folk with the money.

  28. Cartoon

    This is a good cartoon about Bush being so passive.

  29. Hysterically throwing around slanders hardly shows support for either the Corps or the troops. Try to consider the possibility, no matter how remote to you, that there might actually be some men and women of honor serving in the Corps.

  30. I do, I assume those two E3s from Haditaha did serve with honor, obeying the orders of those appointed above them.

    I think the Corps abandoned them to the jaws of Political Correctness.

    The Public Affairs Officer, when first asked about this incident said it was a typical Insurgent Media blitz, their usual misinformation work. They sure got their mission accomplished, thanks to the Marines, those currently in the service and retired ones.

    Immediately after the incident "Core Values Training" became the byword. All the best Marine Generals toured Iraq, touting "Core Values".

    "Kill the Hadji", is the core value the Corps embedded in the Marines I've met.

  31. Talk about biasing the jury pool:

    May 31, 2006 — Members of the U.S. military in Iraq will receive core values training beginning Thursday, as a result of the incident in Haditha in which American troops allegedly murdered 24 Iraqi civilians.

    The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, will announce the new directive Thursday, assigning the training to all 130,000 U.S. troops over the next 30 days.

    All service members will view a slide presentation with vignettes that highlight the importance of adhering to legal, moral and ethical standards on the battlefield.

    The directive emphasizes professional military values, the importance of disciplined professional conduct in combat and an explanation of what to expect of Iraqi culture.

    Soldiers will also be reminded of the outcome if they act contrary to professional military values.

    The directive comes on the heels of the first comments from President Bush regarding the November 2005 incident in which Marines are accused of raiding a home in the Iraqi town of Haditha.

    "I am troubled by the initial news stories," Bush said. "I am mindful that there is a thorough investigation going on. If, in fact, the laws were broken, there will be punishment."

    Officials familiar with the investigation say Sgt. Frank Wuterich was the top-ranked Marine who entered the houses where the civilians were killed, and is a focus of the investigation.

    In an interview with "Good Morning America," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said there are now two investigations into the killings.

    "One is to find out what happened. The other is to find out why did it take us so long to find out what happened?" said Gen. Peter Pace.

    "Something broke down here in the sense that no investigation was conducted immediately," said Gen. Jack Keane. "Therefore, people most likely in the chain of command who had knowledge and should have taken action appropriately did no, and they will be under investigation for the failure to do that."

    They did not investigate an enemy disinformation campaign, according to the first Marine reports, then the story changed, as the Media blitz continued.

    An entire training campaign, for 130,000 troops, because of what the Haditha Marines were accussed of. For following their training, those E3s. As for the SSgt. he seems smoked, from here.

    Bet, as such a young E6, that fellow thought he was on the fast track. Instead, at his first enemy contact, it all went to shit.

  32. trish,

    re: Passover

    With a strong hand, the LORD rescued me from Egypt.

  33. re: biased jury pool

    The officers and NCOs who sit at Court Martial will be unbiased as to guilt. Indeed, if anything, they will bend over backward to mitigate in favor of the accused. The government's case(s) will not be a slam dunk. For their part, the accused should resist the temptation to try to "OJ" or "60 Minutes" the Court; military justice is not civilian justice; the old salts on the jury are not easily amused.

    Of course, the experience of others here with military justice may lead to other, more treacherous, conclusions. For those having informed or considered opinions, the UCMJ works well.

    One thing uncommented, thus far, is the refusal of the Iraqis to permit autopsies. This may prove telling at trial.

  34. Allen,
    I have no doubt (much) they will not be acquited.
    So What?
    In the meantime and perhaps forever, their lives are FUCKED.
    In San Diego, the guys were in manacles for weeks.
    So 20th Century.

  35. "For those having informed or considered opinions, the UCMJ works well"
    Must be swell, even when you are wrong, like the Logan Act.

  36. That training should be called:
    "How to serve and die while policing the World."
    ...triple check before firing, W might become "troubled."

  37. LOS ANGELES – A driver arrested after the crash that killed “A Christmas Story” director Bob Clark and his son pleaded not guilty Friday to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
    Prosecutors say Hector Velazquez-Nava, a 24-year-old Mexican national, was drunk when he steered his sport utility vehicle into the wrong lane of Pacific Coast Highway early Wednesday, and struck Clark's sedan. Clark, 67 and his son, Ariel Hanrath-Clark, 22, died at the scene.

    AdvertisementVelazquez-Nava had a blood-alcohol level of 0.24 percent, three times the legal limit, authorities said. Both he and his passenger were treated for minor injuries.
    “The family of Velazquez-Nava ... are very much hurt and they want to offer their deepest condolences to the family, to the Clark family,” said defense attorney John Borges
    W won't be troubled, since they care so much, according to attorney John Bogus.

  38. doug,

    re: Logan Act

    Who has been successfully prosecuted under the Act?

  39. Is this Grammar School Civics Class?

  40. Who has been busted for hiring illegals?
    Damned Few.
    What does that say about the LAW?

  41. (Except that the reverend W refuses to enforce it)
    ...or prosecute Bergler, et al.

  42. > You are either going to quiescently accept the conflict as we have it, or you are going to holler to high heaven that it's an awful pretense of some kind.

    If that is a question for me, I believe that our military is fighting heroically according to our laws and their orders. That is what they have always done.

  43. Libby and Wuterich must hang for our sins!

  44. I believe the tooth fairy is going to make me fabulously wealthy.

  45. In the previous thread, Wu, I pointed out that the ROE's that Rat posted
    the same as WWII.
    Catch 22 notwithstanding.

  46. “We keep hoping it’s not real and that at any moment we will wake from this nightmare.”

  47. trish,

    Muslims lie. They are trained from birth to lie. Why would I holler about that? It is a fact.

    Under the laws of the United States, even an obvious lie must be examined when presented as a legal complaint. This is true both here and abroad. Al Sharpton has turned the manufacture of frivolous complaints into a lucrative cottage industry.

    Would you name a Truth Czar to determine a priori what cases are legitimate and which are not? Of course, you would not. For better or worse, our cumbersome system has served us well. It will continue to do so, demagoguery notwithstanding.

    Unless you or anyone else can present facts to prove that American troops are being prosecuted and imprisoned, based upon Muslim lies, I have trouble being troubled. As you should well appreciate, officers and NCOs serving on Courts Martial are not trained seals or whores. They are honorable people, upholding an honorable tradition. They are not going to rubber stamp agitprop.

    I have expressed no personal opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the Haditha Marines. Truth be told, no one at this point knows. Since at trial rules of evidence, discovery, examination, cross-examination, etc. will apply, the truth will be known. Unless someone has another, better way of ascertaining fact, we are stuck with the current system. But for anyone to imply that fair trail demonstrates malice on the part of the Marine Corps is unpatriotic, in that it attacks and attempts to undermine due process by the government in the form of the Marine Corps. Interestingly, those most shrill are just that, shrill; offering no alternative jurisprudential process that would meet the Constitutional standards for which the Marine Corps serves.

  48. I'm making some progress on the illegal alien murder story. Ann Coulter cited to Geraldo the stat I've been posting on FR about the how 95% of the perps wanted for murder in LA are illegals.

  49. > But now again they're getting their asses kicked, year in and year out.

    Our military seems to win every battle they fight. If anyone loses, it is Iraqis fighting Iraqis. Lots of the Iraqi groups fight dirty and lose.

    > the ROE's that Rat posted
    ARE NOT the same as WWII.

    That is good, because we it is a different kind of war. There is no enemy government to surrender. There is no enemy army to destroy.

    Any World War II-like strategy which depends on killing the enemy's uniformed soldiers and making the government surrender is doomed to fail because there are no uniformed enemy soldiers and no enemy government.

  50. "Interestingly, those most shrill are just that, shrill; offering no alternative jurisprudential process that would meet the Constitutional standards for which the Marine Corps serves."
    Here's an idea:
    Same system, but w/a leader that defends the troops, not his sorry ass.

  51. One way the troops could be defended, Wu, would be to take out Iranian IED Factories.
    But the time for that option passed long ago.
    (ie, traditional WWII warfighting operation)

  52. Syria and Iran are our friends, the Govts, at least.
    Saudis et al also.
    Tra la la.

  53. As 'Rat has pointed out many times, the way to have done it was the way W said he would in 2002.
    Long ago and far away, to be sure.

  54. "Terrorists and states that harbor them and lend them support."

  55. (Frum is a better writer than I)

  56. There is no easy way to win a counter insurgency battle. The terrorists are in the village holding guns to people's heads, which will rule them by a greater fear than any bombing we could do.

    That was how Saddam's Baathists worked, enforcers in every village, and enforcers in the military to shoot anyone who tried to surrender or disobey.

    The terrorists saw how the Taliban were cut to pieces when they tried to stand against us, so they don't repeat the same mistake of trying to hold ground with conventional tactics.

  57. If we had an army big enough to open a second front against Iran, we probably wouldn't need it because we would have already won the Iraq War.

  58. No comment on Sanctuaries held harmless.
    ...or the govts that harbor them.

  59. The Army is not our only asset.

  60. Someone pointed out that Iran let us use their beach to land when they were convinced we were really pissed, back in the day.

  61. doug,

    re: someone other than Bush

    You will get no argument from me on that.

    Were I serving in the Congress, as the matter of conscience, I would introduce a bill of impeachment. In particular, I would address the failure of this administration to forcefully and effectively deal with foreign policy and cite its misuse and abuse of the military. Moreover, I would make clear my support for substantially EXPANDING both the DoD budget for the sole purpose of building a larger "line" force and the RoE to take in such obvious criminals as Iran and Syria. Saudi interference and undo influence in the foreign policy of the US would be writ large.

    My concern, for some time, has been a growing tendency to focus complaints upon institutions and persons without the authority to change policy. The Marine Corps and its Marines must work within whatever system of Constitutional authority is tasking them. Any complaints resulting from systemic faults should be directed to the appropriate originating authority.

    Returning to Haditha, if the government shows up at trial trying to sell the court a bill of goods about nebulous, irrational, and hazardous RoE under the conditions appertaining on that day, the government's case will be booted faster that Berger can stuff documents into his BVDs. The government cannot make its case based upon convoluted technicalities; rather, the government must prove "murder", if it expects to get more than some minor technical reprimands.

    Should trail demonstrate that the Haditha Marines should never have been arrested and detained under the circumstances, then, bloggers en masse should settle for nothing less than the keel-hauling of those responsible for abuse of authority. Indeed, everyday, the President's desk should be filled with thousands of petitions demanding justice by way of the removal of the offending convening officers. Ditto the Congress.

    Should Mr. Bush go to ground, hoping to ignore the storm of public discontent, bills of impeachment should become the incessant topic.

  62. Allen:
    Wretch quotes your favorite Blogger!
    Sunday, April 08, 2007
    Sadr Three Years On

    This month is the third anniversary of the 2004 Madhi Army uprising. Is Sadr now winning or losing?

    Captain Ed notes that Moqtada al-Sadr now openly admits he is losing steam. "In a missive to his forces ... Sadr told his minions to focus their attacks on American forces where possible in order to keep from losing all political standing in Iraq". A few days ago, AP reported that two Iraqi cabinet ministers belonging to Moqtada al-Sadr's party have supported a proposal to turn Kirkuk over to Kurdish control causing Sadr to call for the suspension of the ministers. They switched sides on him.


    Sadr has attempted to play both the political and insurgent game simultaneously. However, recent events may be forcing him to choose sides. It seems he can no longer give the politics equal weight with fighting. His recent call to attack US troops and avoid hurting Iraq troops is an attempt to play a kind of armed politics. It remains to be seen if his call will be heeded. If the Iraqi Government/US coalition does not break up, then Sadr may have no other option than to completely thrown in with the Iranians and declare open war not only on the US, but the government in Baghdad.
    posted by wretchard

  63. Allen,
    He let the troops and the citizens down at the giddyup when he left all the Clintonista Traitors in Justice and other Depts.
    We've paid dearly for that one FU.
    Over and over.

  64. The Generals all said 4 to 6 months, in November. General P said 6 months, over a month ago.

    Well there are encouraging signs, the Reconciliation is not moving foreward, the Laws are not being passed.

    Now General P says his Mission is to: " “Hopefully, we can create a window for opportunity for the Iraqi leaders so that they can bridge some of the differences [and] achieve true national reconciliation.

    That is not the kind of Mission that Mr Cheney thought was practicle, in 1993. Actually he thought that kind of Mission quite out of line: "... But if you say, "Go in and stop the bloodshed in Bosnia (Iraq)," that's not sufficiently clear to build a mission around. ..."

    Then General P says
    And if they can’t, then we gotta look each other in the eye and say it's not gonna happen and say we need a Plan B.”

    Which again echoes Mr Cheney, in 1993:
    You also need to know what constitutes victory.
    How would you define it?
    How would you know when you had achieved it?
    And finally, how do you get out?
    What's the end game?
    How do you wrap it all up?
    And what's the cost in terms of American lives in that involvement?
    Nobody answered these questions with respect to Bosnia

  65. 'Rat,
    At about the same time Cheney gave a lot of the same reasons for why they didn't drive to Baghdad in Desert Storm.
    Did a hell of a job of predicting where we are right now.

  66. allen said...


    re: someone other than Bush

    You will get no argument from me on that.

    Were I serving in the Congress, as the matter of conscience, I would introduce a bill of impeachment.
    two years ago the Bush began to acclerate the internal disintegration of the USA by pushing for a North American Union in covert talks with Mexico and Canada.

    I think that in service of the NAU the justice department deliberately went out and gave hard time to people like the border patrol agents who shot the narco trafficer in the butt. That case just really jumped the shark with everyone. That wasn’t the only case; there were others that didn’t make national headlines.

    I think that gonzalez is being abandoned by republicans because he served that an embarrassing degree.

    and he is the fall guy for the policy as rumsfeld was the fall guy for the iraq policy

  67. Allen, I think, and I believe Cheney would have prosecuted the War with appropriate vigor.
    Instead, we got compassion.

  68. I knew there was a reason I liked Dick Cheny, in 2000.

    There he was, right on target for the criteria needed prior to commencing military adventures, way back in 1993.

  69. No big stories about the families bankrupted and homeless trying to defend their breadwinners, the Border agents, in the MSM, huh, Charles!
    ...even tho they are Hispanic.

  70. "Bush began to accelerate the internal disintegration of the USA"
    But True.

  71. How does he do it, Trish?
    Maybe if I had a Harvard Phd I could figure it out?

  72. As regards al-Sadr, seems he was set-up as the frontman of the antiUS Shia. While Mr al-Hakim and the SCIRI fit the "moderate" image. All the while al-Sadr has been the Iraqi Nationalist, and al-Hakim his Badr Brigade and the SCIRI have been in Iran's long employ.

    Played like a fiddle, young al-Sadr and US, both novices in the desert political games.
    I'd bet al-Sadr's learning curve does not mirror Mr Bush's.

    What would Tet look like in Baghdad, how long would the Green Zone have to be afire?
    An hour or two?

  73. Trish,
    I was refering to his perfect record that you point out.

  74. DR,

    re: What would Tet look like in Baghdad,

    These guys haven't the troops, the reserves and the leadership to pull off anything even remotely on the scale of TET. Additionally, as they seem to have learned, when they stand to fight, they die in droves. The NVA was a professional army, with all that implies. These ragheads are spastic potential martyrs.

    No snark intended.

  75. doug,

    re: Cheney

    In my opinion, Cheney was always the better man. He just lacked the pedigree. And the dynasitic myth got great play in 2000 as you will recall.

  76. Yeah, "spastic" really ain't acceptable here in the bar.

  77. (probly break McGovern's record)

  78. No, none taken.

    Granted they can't do Hue City, while Fallujah II shows we still can.

    But they can match the imagery of an Embassey grab, which is what made Tet a success. In the US.

    They would not have to penetrate the wire for long, to achieve a victory while losing the fight.

    What would it take to destroy any chance of Iraqi Reconciliation? More than the 2,000 dead each month.

    Golden MosqueII and an attack on the Green Zone. Punture the wire, it'd play REALLY bad, here.

    If they cannot do that, we do not have to stay, as they are not a real threat, as you say.

  79. Hey, I finally got garbage cans again. I can write something REALLY outrageous!

  80. More panties would play really bad here.
    ...and just about everything else.

  81. Dangerous Memories
    The BBC has refused to air a show dramatizatizing how Private Johnson Beharry won the Victoria Cross in Iraq because "it was too positive" and "feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq", according to the Telegraph.
    A short description of Beharry's exploit is in Wikipedia.

  82. No Holocaust, No Victoria's Cross, are we there yet?
    Dhimmified to be sure.

  83. But the BBC is not unique in its sensibilities. In Littleton, Colorado a group of parents are opposing "a soldier memorial located near three schools and two playgrounds should be relocated because the design showing a Navy SEAL clutching an automatic rifle glorifies violence," according to CBS.

  84. > Either way, you have to go to where the bad guys are. No substitute for it.

    > And in Anbar, a good bombing is long overdue.

    Bombing is not going to the enemy. It is the exact opposite, dropping some bombs then flying home to the same central base, while the enemy stays in the villages, in control of the territory. That has already been tried and failed.

    Even if there is some fear of the bombs, the fear of the Baathists and Al Qaeda agents holding guns to the villagers heads wins.

    The enemy is not concentrated like in World War II. They are spread out among the population and there are no factories to bomb.

    The Marines have made great progress in Anbar not by random bombing, but by getting some Iraqis to fight on their side. That is what counter insurgency is all about, getting most of the population to change sides, and they kill the remainder who won't. Taking and holding ground with infantry is much more difficult than bombing, but it is the only way to beat an insurgency.

  85. If al-Sadr has decided to come out and play soldier, I think he is either desperate or working from the confidence of Iranian cadre leadership and logistics. If the Iranians have thrown in with al-Sadr to such a degree, they must believe themselves able to whether the firestorm that will erupt once Iranian officers begin to be killed and captured, with material of unmistakable Iranian provenance. Possibly, the Iranians are reading much too much into the humiliation of the UK.

    If al-Sadr wants a fight, he will get one. This escalation on his may prove his bridge too far. Any usefulness he might have had as a political stabilizer is over. In short, al-Sadr is a dead man, who will be grievously mourned but little missed by his fellow Shi’a power brokers.

  86. According to General McCaffery we've killed over 20,000 of the Sunni insurgents, he says it didn't slow them down.

    The Shia, though perhaps not the Mahdi, can absorb those kind of casualties, too.
    But it took four years to kill that many. Even if we killed 5,000 Mahdi, they could absorb it, or so it seems. The numbers needed to kill them into submission would make reconciliation difficult.

    But kickin al-Sadrs' ass could be the key to a reconciliation through strength.

    Still could go any which way.

  87. DR,

    I didn't say they weren't a threat. The threat they pose is much as it has been, destabilization and bad PR for the MNF (whatever that is at this late date). It is my opinion that they are doing the best they can right now. We are fighting against their "A" team. Should they decide to use their best fighters to make the very limited point of attacking the Green Zone, they will lose those fighters on the gamble of causing sufficient damage to the image of the US and IA to make it worthwhile. Personally, I wish they would try. Film of these noble warriors being gunned down like dogs won't help their recruiting efforts and will set them back elsewhere in the country as well. I'm sure their leadership has weighed the costs and benefits, which may explain why no such attack has been forthcoming. Now, if Iranian hubris from the recent humiliation of the UK caused the ranks to be filled with Iranians, that would certainly change everything; but that is not something I would expect to see.

  88. Reconciliation = a peace treaty is exactly what is needed at the end of this. There can be no peace without an end to fighting, no peace without peace.

    That was one of the big problems early in the war, thinking there could be a purely military solution, and not including enough negotiations.

    Some seemed to have a fantasy that if we killed enough people, and brutually enough, that the rest of the population would become Christian, and do what we wanted forever and ever, even after the troops pulled out. Yet years of the Iraqis torturing each other to death didn't bring the country closer to peace, and none of the sides gave in.

  89. According to the AEI plan, al-Sadr was already significantly weakened by the past US destruction of his forces, and he hopes to just sit the surge out, because if his forces are weakened any further then other Shiite groups will destroy him.

    In fact that was part of the reports recently, that there was Shiite on Shiite violence, and it is significant that al-Sadr told his forces not to attack other Iraqis. He was already attacking the US, so that may not be a change, but they are close to a Shiite on Shiite turf battle, and his is trying to stop that.

  90. I certainly know what reconciliation is, wu.

    No Secret, there.

    Who governs Iraq is an Iraqi issue. They've had their elections, they have their Army, we can still help them to improve.

    But how empowered do we make the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution Iraq?

    How many US trained Divisions do we provide them?

    Why not let the Iraqi take control of Iraq?
    If the reason is because there are 500 aQ foreigners there, in Iraq, that is awfully thin reasoning to continue to field 150,000 GIs.

    The oil will reach the market.

  91. Yeah, cause if the Mahdi Army models the Sunni insurgency, US casualties will double and we'll be no more effective than against the Sunni IED planters. They've supplied 80% of US casualties. The Shia have not targeted US since Najaf, what, three years ago? That was more of a stand up fight then a series of IED ambushes. Just as the Brits were hit with IEDs in Basra, Iranian supplied to Iraqi Interior Ministry Officer led terrorists.

    Bet the Mahdi have learned, too.

  92. > Why not let the Iraqi take control of Iraq?

    We aren't stopping them. We aren't making them fight.

    We are there because most of the Iraqis want us. Al Sadr is one of the few leaders who wants us to leave, and that is because he has one of the most powerful groups and thinks his best chance for control is for us to leave ASAP.

    The Sunni insurgency used to publicly say they want us to go, yet lots of Sunni Sheiks in Anbar are now openly fighting on our side and being trained by us. Other Sunni groups are secretly telling us to stay, because the tide has turned and they are now afraid that the Shiites will destroy them if we leave.

    It has been widely reported that the Kurds are offering us bases, and would love for us to stay in at least one of them.

    So I would answer the question with a question, why leave Iraq now? Why is there such a hurry to leave, and the idea that either we totally leave or stay fighting exactly the way we are now? Why not maintain bases there for 20 or 40 years?

  93. The other thing is that Al Qaeda is a clear and present danger to the US, IMO. We shouldn't pull any troops out unless we are absolutely sure that won't increase Al Qaeda's chances of controlling part of Iraq.

  94. > Wu, if you've gotta tack the IMO at the end of a statement, don't bother making the statement.

    It was courtesy since some people I was discussing with seem to disagree, about AQ in Iraq.

  95. Well, wu, while I see the benefits of a long term US force projection in Iraq, Mr Bush does not.
    Mr Cheney does not, Ms Rices does not. All claim US Policy is to depart "When the job is done"

    There is not one Democratic that has called for long term basing, nor any Republican that I know of.

    Mr Bush said at a news conference that his replacement would handle that, the Long Term agreements.

    Some pundits have called for garrisoning Kurdistan, where we have built no bases.

    I know of no Iraqi politician that has embraced a long term US garrison, there in Iraq.

  96. wu, you continue to tout the benefits of using Iraqi to fight aQ. Local vs foreigner.
    Local vs local.

    You have said that is the only way forward, that can work.

    If that is so, why maintain the large footprint, when the Iraqi have to put their boots on the ground to capture or kill those 500 aQ foreigners.

    Unless General McCaffery's publicly published report is a deception by the Government. But you'd think "they'd" want a higher number, than 500 foreign aQ operatives in Iraq.

  97. DR,

    re: Sunni v. Shi'a and IEDs

    While strictly anecdotal, I see the Shi'a as far less disciplined than the Sunni, not having years of service in Saddam's various formations. They seem more prone to fighting in the old Arab way: into the streets with AKs and rocket launchers.

    If they have learned to adapt as you very reasonably posit, then, the US can certainly expect more casualties from IEDs and EEDs. Presumably, someone up the chain has considered this possibility. If not, well, they now have fair warning to do due diligence.

    For my money, I would like to see al-Sadr and about 6 of his immediate entourage taken out; even it that means an undiplomatic trip into Iran to do the deed. Although leaders are always found, initially, the replacements tend to fall well below the abilities of the predecessors. The time gained through such disruption might appear trite, but every little bit helps.

  98. Patterns of War Shift Amid U.S. Force Buildup

    One American private in the First Battalion, Fifth Cavalry, who was working the overnight shift at a new garrison in western Baghdad, described the Americans’ fight this way: “The insurgents, they see what we’re doing and we see what they’re doing. Then we get ahead, then they figure out what we’ve done and they get ahead.

    “It’s like a game of cat and mouse. It’s just a really, really smart mouse.”

  99. Someone, anyone, the peacekeeper link?

    wu needs to read about the 8th Division, the Iraqi's "Best".

    How, while rated "excellent" they cannot stop the nightly mortoring of the MNF encampment in the town.

    What then makes them excellent, if they cannot secure the town?

  100. Just go ahead and say it, Allen!
    They're Spastics!

  101. Peacekeeper

  102. DR,

    re: Kurdish bases

    The Kurds have been busy constructing airports and fields. At least one is capable of handling relatively large volumes of international traffic.

    While names escape me at this late hour, Kurdish leaders, including Talabani as I recall, have made very clear their desire to see a large US presence in Kurdistan. And although their motives are far less than selfless, if it works, it works.

  103. doug,

    re: spastics

    I didn't want to be redundant.

  104. Sunni militias have been active in Baghdad, too. The number of bodies of their presumed victims that turn up, tortured and shot, appears to have declined, but not halted, in recent weeks. In the past three weeks in some mostly Sunni neighborhoods of western Baghdad, Shiites bringing supplies to displaced families — even displaced Sunni families — have been kidnapped and killed, their bodies left in corner lots.

    “We used to see sometimes eight bodies a day,” said Sgt. Michael Brosch, of the First Battalion, Fifth Cavalry. “Sometimes they were all beheaded. Then right at the beginning of the security plan, we didn’t see any. Now we’re seeing them again.”

    At the same time, deaths and injuries nationwide from vehicle bombs, which are typically associated with Sunni insurgents, particularly Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, have continued at a rapid pace.

  105. I tend to disagree about the newly installed falling below their predecessors.

    That has not been the case in Lebanon and the HB wunderkid. He seems to have elevated their game.

    Depends on the depth of the group, with regard al-Sadr, no one else has his name and family tree. So it could solidify al-Hakims control of the Shia Bloc and accelerate the partioning of Iraq he desires.

    Without the Reconciliation Laws, oil revenue etc. he'd rule the roost. He'd have the roost even with the Laws.

    Many a slip, 'tween cup and lip.
    When it comes to socialized oil revenues.

  106. The Afghans didn't immediately take over their defense. In fact we, as part of NATO, still have lots of forces in Afghanistan. So why is there a hurry to pull out of Iraq, doing it more quickly than Afghanistan?

    Again, I don't see any reason for pulling out of Iraq. Clearly we shouldn't and won't keep more troops there than are necessary. But right now no one is sure how many are needed. They are in the middle of switching to the Petraeus approach.

    I also don't see any meaning to a "500" number for foreign AQ in Iraq. Everyone admits that they are entering and leaving Iraq all the time. Whatever number that general gave months ago isn't today's number and won't be the number six months from now.

  107. Who says the US can't get it done Iraq? All it takes is some Huffin & Puffin!!

  108. Just didn't want you to miss wu's priceless post.

  109. Dan almost always makes me feel better:
    Dan said...

    For the last time, it is not a question of troop numbers. It is a question of intelligence and aggression (ROE), but more it is a question of the basic irascible bastardy of Arabs. Period. We can make great symbolic victories that result in significant quiescence if we will just do things like Kill Sadr.

    That's pretty much the only strategy we haven't tried yet. This Clear and Hold thing is crap; obviously we can't clear and hold forever against 25 million Iraqis, a huge percentage of which seem to be pieces of shit.

    Yeah, you're not supposed to say that, but I watch the news, and I say it. It is so. Embrace the suck, and start blowing these would-be caliphs and sheikhs and demogagues to hell. It would cost a Lot less than the current strategy, for those of you who think money is in limited supply in the USA.

  110. W:
    "A lot has been said about the mistakes the US has made in Iraq. And doubtless much of it is true. But honestly, look at all the counterinsurgency campaigns of the last 50 years, including the French in Algeria and the US in Vietnam and ask yourself if anybody has accomplished as much with so little brutality. Whether it will be enough is another question. "
    That's still a good thing?

    Certainly not if you're killed by a releasee.

  111. When Israel went into Lebanon to get at Arafat's Sunni Fatah force, it allied with the Shiia. These Shiia are now better known as Hezzbbollah.

  112. Bob,

    That gal? You better leave your heterosexual sicko prejudices behind!

  113. Trish,

    So why keep them as allies of the US?

  114. The one supposedly wearing a chastity belt?

  115. Bombing is not needed in Anbar because counter insurgency has won the province back from Al Qaeda. The report below says it all.

    "Al Qaeda terrorism provoked many of Anbar's sheiks actively to cooperate with U.S. Forces, oppose all terrorists in the province, support the Iraqi Police and Army... The hostility of the local population changed Ramadi from an al Qaeda stronghold into an area effectively contested by U.S. and Iraqi forces... The presence of U.S. forces conducting counterinsurgency missions to secure the population made the local rejection of al Qaeda possible and effective... As a result of their efforts, especially in late 2006 and early 2007, al Qaeda no longer controlled Ramadi or Fallujah... ".

    Iran Report III

    For Americans, the war's most important events from August to December 2006 occurred in Baghdad. For al Qaeda and other Sunni Islamic extremist enemies in Iraq, equally important events in that same period occurred in Ramadi, the capital city of Anbar Province. Al Qaeda terrorism provoked many of Anbar's sheiks actively to cooperate with U.S. Forces, oppose all terrorists in the province, support the Iraqi Police and Army, form an effective city government and strengthen the provincial council. The sheiks called their movement "The Awakening." The hostility of the local population changed Ramadi from an al Qaeda stronghold into an area effectively contested by U.S. and Iraqi forces.

    The presence of U.S. forces conducting counterinsurgency missions to secure the population made the local rejection of al Qaeda possible and effective. The leadership and example of the sheiks of Ramadi inspired other sheiks in neighboring cities to cooperate with U.S. and Iraqi
    forces. As a result of their efforts, especially in late 2006 and early 2007, al Qaeda no longer controlled Ramadi or Fallujah. By February 2007, U.S. and Iraqi forces were pushing the enemy from the other cities in the province. U.S. forces conducted deliberate counterinsurgency operations to secure the population from terrorism. Together with the Iraqi Security Forces, they cleared, controlled, and retained cities in the Euphrates River Valley. U.S. forces exploited opportunities created by the enemy and by the local population.

  116. There is lots of other great news in that report too. Maliki and the Anbar Sunnis agreed to work together. Joining the Sunnis to the central government is a big step towards a free and peaceful Iraq.


    Promoting ties between central, provincial, and local governments is a major objective of state building and counterinsurgency operations. This is especially a problem for Anbar province, which is nearly all Sunni. The ties between the central government in Baghdad, the ministries, and the provincial government in Anbar were exceptionally weak in 2006. De-Baathification laws and policies prevented many Sunnis from participating in government and military service. Because Sunni leaders boycotted the 2005 elections, they did not obtain strong political representation in Parliament. As sectarian violence spiraled, some ministries in Baghdad ignored the province's needs further, and could not deliver funds or services.

    On March 13, Prime Minister Maliki made his first personal, official visit to Ramadi. He had last traveled to Anbar province in 1976, when he worked there as a teacher before fleeing Saddam Hussein's regime. Sheiks and other leaders came from all parts of Anbar to meet with him. The Anbar provincial governor and other officials met him on the tarmac. The meetings were civil, but argumentative and voluble.

    "At a news conference, Mr. Maliki praised the tenaciousness of the province's residents and thanked those tribal leaders who opposed the creeping influence of Al Qaeda. He assured them that the central government would not ignore their demands for improved public services, development aid and support for the security forces here. He promised to open factories, deliver food to the needy and hold provincial elections as soon as possible."

  117. I'm waiting for the time when Maliki promises the Sunnis their own nuclear plant. Then I'll know it's time for the US to leave.

  118. So.. transcendency of time is a hobby of mine all year round.

  119. Trish,

    Maybe this will help. It's one thing to virtualize memory to the point of actual experience, but quite another to make real an event that lies in the future.

  120. Now go and read up on Passover, before you keep asking more of the same stupid question.

  121. Post score:

    Doug (imagine that) - 53
    DR - 27

    Only 50% between the two of them in this thread. I'm just curious - do you think Doug's PC is stuck on automatic fire, or does he just like seeing his words in print?

    Trish (rather talkative in this thread) - 22
    Wu Wei - 21
    Allen - 16
    Rufus - 6
    Mat - 6
    Bobalharb - 5
    Charles - 2
    missed - 1

    Add Trish and WW to this "official" viewpoint of the EB that GWB is stupid, crazy and the worst president in history and all is doomed, and you have 120+ out of 159 posts; i.e., over 75% of the posts represent a single perspective. Anybody hear an echo?

  122. j Willie:
    Now do a word count:
    I'll feel better not leading the way, waiting for an IEB to hit me in the head.
    (beer bottle)

  123. He thinks we get along too well together, Trish!

  124. Will La Raza let us post pictures of a US Presidente by then?

  125. Mebe if he's the right Raza.
    W tries.

  126. Trish,

    You tried to be smart in your own stupid way; I tried to explain why that wont work.

    We all have the capability to be self-fulfilling prophets..

  127. Now, now, no more echos like that, Mat!

  128. It's the supersonic speed of my cranial neurons.
    This turned into an amazing thread no echos there to speak of.
    "Third Anniversary of the Madhi Uprising"