“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."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Another day in paradise and an exploding chador.

Iraq Female Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 15 in Diyala Province

The woman has been reported to be totally dressed and covered in black, the pious holy cloak called a chador, because she was a very devout, modest Islamic woman, doing the bidding of allah the most merciful. She will always be warmly remembered for her piety in the service of the religion of peace. There was some collateral damage on her stairway to heaven.

April 10 (Bloomberg) -- A female suicide bomber killed at least 15 people when she blew herself up in a crowd of police recruits in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala.

The bomber targeted the recruits at a police station in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, state television said. About 20 people were injured in the attack, the Associated Press reported.

A civil conflict largely between rival Shiite and Sunni Muslim groups rages in Iraq four years after the March 2003 U.S.- led ousting of Saddam Hussein.

Four U.S. soldiers died and another was hurt yesterday, the military said today in e-mailed statements.

Three of the soldiers were killed and one was wounded by two roadside bombs while on patrol in the southeast of Baghdad. The fourth soldier died in action in the western province of al- Anbar. Two U.S. helicopters came under attack from small-arms fire today over central Baghdad and both safely returned to base, the military said.

Since February, as many as 30,000 additional U.S. soldiers have been conducting a crackdown with Iraqi units in Baghdad and al-Anbar. The third of five U.S. brigades to be deployed as part of Operation Fardh al-Qanoon, Arabic for ``imposing law,'' arrived in the capital April 8, the military said.

``While there have been substantial accomplishments in Iraq since 2003, the past four years have also been disappointing, frustrating and increasingly dangerous in many parts of Iraq,'' a U.S. military spokesman, Rear Admiral Mark Fox, said at a news conference televised from Iraq yesterday.


  1. I think there is more reason for optimism now than since the first Iraqi election, and really, since the initial liberation.

    THE ENEMY - Pathetic, disgusting failures. After four years of fighting the strongest military response they can come up with is sending a woman wearing explosives into a crowd of unarmed civilians. They also plant bombs, not daring to face soldiers face to face. The only thing close to a real military response in that article was shooting at helicopters with small arms.

    MAJOR CHANGE - Sunnis turning against Al Qaeda. This could be the break that totally turns the war around. Since the beginning the Sunnis have been the problem, the insurgency and the ones who wouldn't participate in the government and society at all.

    However, as the Baathists have been destroyed, and Saddam killed, the goals of the Iraqi Sunnis are now different from Al Qaeda. AQ wants to create chaos (as the Baathists originally did) and civil war, but the Iraqi Sunnis are starting to realize they might not win that civil war, and if they and AQ continue to bomb Iraq into the stone age, with no police, electricity, etc., that their own people suffer. It's like poking a hole in the row boat they all are in.

    The Iraqi Sunnis also got a taste of AQ's Islamic dictatorship, and they don't like it. So the Sunnis in Anbar have turned against AQ, driving them out of a lot of the cities. Those Sunnis have started joining the police force and negotiating the oil treaty and to be part of the central government.

    It also appears to mean that the Iraqi Sunnis have decided to stop the suicide bombings of and deaths squads against the Shiites which Al Qaeda was doing for them. At the least they may be willing to negotiate down, if the Shiites stop the death squads, so will the Sunnis.

    That would remove the excuse for the other main irritant causing civil war, al-Sadr's group. If the Sunni death squads stop, there is no excuse for the Mahdi Militia to kill civilians.

    In many ways this really started before the surge, and is independent of it. So the surge is even more reason for optimism. The third of five divisions just got into Iraq, and the enemy is already in retreat or hiding in much of the country. Violence is way down in many areas.

    Another important change during the past four years is that the Baathist terror groups have been degraded to the point where they can't take the country over again, and the other groups each have their own militias which are capable of standing up to the other, for at least awhile.

    The turf boundaries between the factions have been partially agreed to. Each has its own undisputed territory, while fighting continues for a few contested areas like parts of Baghdad. Many of the decisions for a peaceful Iraq have already been made, even if not in writing.

    PATIENCE - IEDs and suicide bombings can't defeat us in the military sense, weaken us to the point where the enemy could overpower our forces in face to face combat. All these tactics could do, along with propaganda stunts like rallies in which they step on US flags, is convince us to give up for political reasons. It is mostly psychological warfare.

    It seems important to realize that IEDs and especially suicide bombing is nearly impossible to totally prevent. Proof is that the Sunni Iraqis who have been the insurgency since day 1 are now themselves victims of AQ suicide bombings. Even the insurgency takes time to wipe a rival faction out. A human wearing explosives is probably the hardest thing to stop.

    Part of the problem is that the President hasn't been able to overcome the disloyal opposition in order to prove that we need to fight in Iraq, that winning the war is important to us.

    If we decide Iraq is worth fighting for though, I don't think America can afford to give up just because suicide bombings continue. Because a determined enemy can continue suicide bombings in any war for many years. It would mean that we always lose.

    Which is what bin Laden and the others believe. They don't need to win the war in the military sense, just outlast us. Based on past experiences they know the Democrats and others will try to force us to end the war just because there are frequent suicide bombings and IEDs, even if there is progress and a reason to think we are winning. The terrorist also believe, based on past experience, that if they drag bodies through the streets, burn and step on our flag, or launch some mass bombing which kills hundreds of US troops at once, that we will pull out.

    Instead of going day by day, just by feel, and then all of a sudden thinking "I'm sick of this. We're out of here.", I think America needs to look at the big picture and decide whether they want to be patient and win wars like this. Otherwise we can't afford to get in them in the first place.

  2. That terrorist that killed those 4 GIs, how is he being stopped from coming to the US?

    What's his name?
    His City, His Tribe, his Clan?

    What terrorist group of "International Reach" did he belong to?

    Same in regards the female bomber

    Or is/was he just a local Iraqi pissed off that foreign troops are in his space?

    When does the Mexican Army move north, to protect Mexican citizens from vigilante justice in the US?
    Even Mr Bush public claims of US vigilantism along the border will support the Mexicans case, at the UN, when they move to intervene.

  3. We can't give up just because the enemy is shooting at us.

  4. What Enemy?
    Who is it that threatens US, from Iraq?

  5. Wu wei, you make some very good points and posts. We encourage participation above the fold as well. if you are interested in posting above the bar, go to the top right and email us and we will set you up to post some of your work.

  6. The four deaths came from IEDs and action in Anbar. All of which could be Al Qaeda, a group of global reach.

    Iran, through its satellite groups like Hezbollah and al-Sadr's group, also has global reach.

  7. Your perspective is so far different from the bombers', wu.

    The examples you claim as signs of failure, they see a moral superiority.
    Percieved Goals. There again, not on the same page. You believe the 500 rotating foreign aQ operatives are in Iraq to take control of the country.
    They believe they are there to bleed the US of blood, treasure and resolve. They are doin a good job. In 1999 or so the aQ Battle Plan was published on the net, so far everything has gone as planned, double plus, for the aQ.
    They wanted a "Long War", they got two for their money and effort, little enough of both, comparitively.

  8. "Could" be aQ
    "Could" also be Baathists
    "Could" also be any of the three tribes that won't stand down.
    "Could" be Iranians
    "Could" be just about any of the actors.

  9. I agree with the principle that we should only fight for self-defense. But it isn't easy to know what that means, and in fact the argument is ancient, through all American history. Do we just sit at home playing defense, bringing all the troops home and hoping everyone will leave us alone or homeland defense will prevent the rest? Or do we sometimes need to fight overseas? Does winning some wars hurt us more than it helps because too much money is spent? Once we've started a war, do we need to finish it, win it, to prevent attacks because of weakness?

    I don't know all the answers, which may be different from case to case.

  10. What stops that now trained and blooded veteran terrorist from exfiltrating Iraq?

    To Europe, Asia, Africa or the Americas?

    Not loyalty to the Iraqi people, that's obvious.

  11. Boycott Target Stores.

    Semper Fi

  12. I do have one conclusion: if we choose not to fight and defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq at this moment, then I think we have chosen to play defense, to bring all our troops home and wait for attacks. Because if we don't fight AQ in Iraq now, I can't imagine what overseas war we would ever fight.

  13. There is a wide spread between 0 and 150,000.

    Target a Novenmber or December security mission handover, pick a date and go for it. The politics of it, at home would be great, it'd play even better in Iraq.

    Or was Mr Cheney off base when he said:
    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 ..."

  14. What's up with Target, habu, their check-out help policies?

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. The US has been wasting time money equipment and men maintaining a superficial entity. What's the purpose of keeping Iraq intact? Please explain, Wu.

  17. 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.

    And for all of those reasons, I was, and still am, very reluctant to see us rely on U.S. forces to solve Bosnia's
    (IRAQ's) problems.

    I am afraid we would have an ill-defined mission, we would take significant casualties, and would get involved without knowing how we were going to get out.

    Dick Cheney

  18. Btw Wu, the same applies to Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Saudia, Jordan, Egypt, Afghanistan,..

  19. DR, you said

    "What's his name?
    His City, His Tribe, his Clan?"

    What's your overall thesis regarding the United States roll in world affairs? Do you think we should be islolationist?


    Defenders of that part of humanity that is unable to defend itself from warlords?

    I have read enought of your posts to know you have a dark outlook on something. It would seem US policy but I don't want to place you where you can place yourself.

    As far as the above question from one of your posts on this thread goes, when have we ever had that kind of information on an ememy? Most all other enemies we have had have worn uniforms and are identifiable.

    Seems there are the quick and the dead in this engagement since the bad guys and gals and children don't wear uniforms.

    You ask, "What Enemy?
    Who is it that threatens US, from Iraq?"

    The simple answer is those who are shooting at us and blowing us up.
    You can't disregard intel even though it makes for great laughs at times but I assume our intel is getting better after four years and that we know al Sadr with the help of the Iranians is directing from Iran is minions in Iraq. I believe we've captured some terrorists from many nations, mostly all Islamic.

    You said,"Your perspective is so far different from the bombers', wu.
    The examples you claim as signs of failure, they see a moral superiority."

    Are you here making a moral equivalent of how Islam conducts war verses the US?

    At the end of the days,months, and years it seems that you have taken on an extremely anti US tone in favor of clouding the clarity that Islam and Christianity are, as I have said before, immisible. They brought the fight to us, not the other way around.

    One can read in your writing a lilt and lightness when you refer to Panama and Central America. That area seems to manufacture immediate endorphines that wash over you.

    But when you write of our involvement in retaliating against those who profess desire to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, as well as the Great Satan, your mood appears to take on an adversarial role against the United States, that we are somehow wrong in protecting our international and national interests, that we are imperialistic,jingoistic warmongers bent on world hegemony by force of arms.
    I have seen this behavior before during 1968-1975. The same anti US
    rhetotic. The lawyers phrasology,"Ok, USA just when did you stop killing babies and eating them" no win question.

    What has made your world so anti USA?

  20. DR,

    Target...they kicked out of one of their stores yesterday two US Marines that had gone by to see a old buddy that they knoew in high school.

    They have a "no solicitation " policy which doesn't allow the Salvation Army at Christmas outside thier doors etc. The ass't manager thought the Marine were recruiting but didn't inquire, just booted them out.

    Now of course they are sensitive to their Islamic employees not forcing them to check out any pork items, so I guess one has to choose a Pork-NoPork check out line.
    Semper Fi

  21. DR,

    Using a 1993 Dick Cheney quote is not working for me. Why? 9-11-01..

    Of course I could drive that back to 11-4-79 but the scale and scope of the Islamic press against the Great Satan wasn't as sharply deined as it was on that crystal clear day in September of 2001.

    The world changed that day.

  22. The simple answer is hardly ever the right answer, habu.

    Well, Mr Cheney was right in '93 as to the defining the Military Mission. That Standard remains the same, regardless of some spectacular cross border raids into the US, the steady drip of infiltration and murder, by foreigners in the US, had been going on for years before that.

    We certainly are not chasing the 9-11 perps in Iraq.

    The US has wasted blood & treasure on a mission that has creeped into a quagmire. All because Mr Cheney would not answer to his own standard of mission requirements.

    Let's provide answers to Mr Cheney's questions, as they impact mission in Iraq. The attitude of the US and Iraqi publics would improve if we did answer those questions, publicly.

    The 9-11 perps, those that you think "changed the world" are in Pakistan, in a terrorist sanctuary.
    Like the living finding sanctuary in an Afghani graveyard. Over 100 of the "enemy" in standing formation in a "No Fire Zone" within Afghanistan.

    We certainly did not give the Catholic religion the respect we pay to the Islamoids and theirs.

    The abbey of Monte Cassino is picture proof of that.

    Wasting young Americans blood pisses me off. I do not blame the usual suspects, I put it on the chain of command, in all three branches of the government, right up to the Commander in Chief.

  23. Hello. Been away tending to business. Took the time to engage in a nice exchange at Guardian. Some of you may be interested.

    Making new friends, but perhaps not Arab ones

    Had the 3 articles on taqiyah before entering the thread, caught my friend in a nice big fat lie about the topic.

    Also, the Muslim Brotherhood chant:

    Our aim [target/that-upon-which-we-always-focus] is Allah
    We want to reach [be-in-unity/always-act-in-accordance] with [the purposes/wishes of] Allah
    [In all this] The Prophet is the leader
    Everything [all the time] we do [make efforts in] is in accordance with the Qur'an
    Our way is struggle in the way of Allah [jihad]
    To die in the way of Allah is our greatest wish
    Allah is the greatest

    Whit, even shared our verse from Genesis.

    It was a really enjoyable exchange.

    Some of the material will be familiar to fellow EBers, some is new

  24. Here is the Mission Goal, habu:

    MR. SNOW: The way out of Iraq is to have an Iraq that can sustain, govern, and defend itself, to be an ally in the war on terror and also an example to the region that democracy can succeed. So that is the way out.

    Let's go to the source, Dick Cheney:
    Before you commit U.S. forces, there are certain questions you need to be able to answer. You need an objective that you can define in military terms.

    I have no argument with that, do you?

    You also need to know what constitutes victory. How would you define it?
    I agree with that. How about you?

    How would you know when you had achieved it?
    I think we've met the success Standard of an emergent Iraqi deomcracy. What Standard to you propose?
    And finally, how do you get out? What's the end game? How do you wrap it all up?
    I've made my proposal, let's hear yours, I'm interested, really.

    And what's the cost in terms of American lives in that involvement?
    4,000 US KIA in Iraq 'tween civilian and military. 25,000 or more US wounded to some degree or another. We've paid that much already, how much more should we spend? To achieve the answers to the questions, above.

    Mr Cheney then asks the next important question, ones' whose relevence is unchanged by the events of 9-11-01:
    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?

    Mr Cheney said no, he thought not, I agree. How about you, habu?

  25. The real question of Iraq is how do we create the perception that the US disengagement of combat troops and their withdrawal from Iraq is a success, not a failure.

    The troops will be withdrawing, Down from 150,000 before years end.
    The people voted, they have their Government, give them their country. The final hand off in December, announce it today.

    It'd aid in reconciliation, having a target date for real Iraqi Sovereignty.

  26. A "Plan" to draw down to a garrison of 25-40,000 air wing, ready reaction, logistical, at one or two mega Bases and 15,000 trainers and aides out with the Army or Police.

    Have that targetd for December 2010.

    It'd look like success, from a lot of perspectives.

  27. > 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? <

    The area he was talking about, former Yugoslavia, is at peace now.

    Groups can't and won't keep fighting forever. They don't need "reconciliation", they just need a cease fire.

    The answer to the question Cheney asked is sometimes "yes". Peace keepers of various kinds have helped ground come to cease fire terms.

    The US right now is preventing foreign countries from invading Iraq. We are helping repel the foreign Al Qaeda invaders. We are training the Iraqis and their army. We are helping create a partial cease fire which might break the cycle of violence.

    The bottom line is that most of the Iraqis want us there, because they see us as being helpful. Maliki said just today that he wants us there with no time table. The Sunni Sheiks have asked for our help to throw out Al Qaeda. The Kurds would like for us to stay there permanently, in bases.

    The US has stayed in many countries for decades, getting benefits from having bases and allies there. No one has given any reasons why we need to leave Iraq entirely. I don't see a reason why.

  28. Then extend involvement for even longer, if need be, adding an Iraqi air wing, naval capacity etc., as they stayed the US course.

  29. I don't see the benefit in announcing a date, since we can do the same thing just by withdrawing our troops from an area. In fact that is exactly what has already been done. As a province is strong enough to stand on its own feet, we pull out.

    If we set a date it should be a minimum, not a maximum. Like saying we won't pull out for at least three years, even there are suicide bombings every day. That still might lead terrorist to think they could just wait out the three years though. Or the Iraqis might depend on us until the three years are nearly over. We would be letting them know they don't have to make the tough decisions until years from now.

  30. It's at "Peace" now because it's occupied by NATO Forces, still.

    Not because of reconciliation.

    Or the NATO troops, US included, could leave. But they do not.
    Because there is no "Peace". When the "temporay" foreign troop presence leaves, the old animosities remain.

  31. Congress has talked about setting individual bench marks. But that would mean any group in Iraq could force us out of the country just by preventing one or two things from happening.

  32. The thousands in the streets of Iraq would appreciate it.
    The Democrats in the Congress would have their legs cut out from underneath them.
    The US could declare success.

    Moving around a force that is not engaged with the enemy is silly.
    You often tout the only way out is when the Iraqi step up, give them a deadline, they work well under pressure and poorly without.

    Answer Mr Cheney's question, wu.
    If you can, if you cannot, the military cannot succeed.

  33. You hand over the decisions to Mr Maliki. Everywhere in Iraq.

    His Generals have command.
    We begin to leave.

    What Mission from the Authorization for Use of Force Iraqq, are we still trying to accomplish?

    The battle of aQ? Thaat's the only possible answer. There are alternate ways to fight aQ Iraq, then with a conventional US Army.

  34. We hand off Authority, regardless of benchmarks, Maliki gets the game, regardless. As he said he wanted. Be careful what you ask for. We comply, we win.

    He needs help, it's new deal.

    We can decide on funding based on our own, internal benchmarks. No need to publish them, humiliating our "allies", when they fall short. That's not the way.

  35. Elijah:

    That was a terrific exchange at the Guardian. You certainly went into the Lion's den there.

    Tijani, a convert, seemed more interested in squelching any criticism of the Koran than acknowledging the fact that the Koran is being used by the fundamentalists to justify radicalism around the globe. Until Islam acknowledges that nearly 100% of today's terror is committed in the name of Allah, we will have a problem. Tijani seems fall back on the argument that the Koran must be interpreted from the Arabic. Admittedly, it is useful to interpret the New Testament from the original Greek but seldom does that alter the meaning.

    In any case, although I wish to get along, I am not particularly interested in ecumenicism. I think of Islam as a cult and if others think of Christianity as a cult, that's their prerogative.

  36. Remember that the situation in Basra, where those four Brits were ambushed, is what a successful Iraq looks like.

    The Iraqi 8th Army Division, rated "excellent", in charge.

    Who else has a "Plan"?
    That answers Mr Cheney's questions.

    That completes the Mission Authorized on 2 Oct '02 by Dec '10
    Eight years ought be enough for combat in Iraq. We can stay on small forever, if need be.
    "Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq".

    Time to admit success
    Time for a new "Mission Statement".

  37. whit wrote:

    "Tijani, a convert, seemed more interested in squelching any criticism of the Koran than acknowledging the fact that the Koran is being used by the fundamentalists to justify radicalism around the globe."

    I think you are mischaracterizing Tijani's comments regarding Elijah's thesis. There was little comment from Tijani on extremism, rather he took issue with Elijah's interpretation of the Koranic verses cited by Elijah. He seemed to do a pretty good job of it as well. I'm not sure why Elijah is feeling so proud. Tijani refuted his arguments from a theological perspective and Lenny Stone took apart his arguments from a political perspective. A thread was an interesting read.

  38. Of course they did.

    Whit, why is that thing still allowed to post here? Before the clean up of the world should start, should not we do a clean up at home front?

  39. Ash,

    I don't know how anybody could possibly tolerate you. But just so you know, I'd disassemble your face from your body if given half a chance. The time will soon come when people's patience with you and your kind will run out.

  40. "Or was Mr Cheney off base when he said:
    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 ..."

    Yes, Mr. Cheney was off-base, no matter how happy a thought it is.

    Although it is a nice happy thought that spawned the Powell Doctrine, no war is a matter of adding up the collumns beforehand. You can have an initial plan, but it almost always come down to a matter of improvisation.

    And every war must be judged on that basis - not the fantasy of predetermined outcomes.

  41. Iraq has become a bad war, but it is not because it lacked certainty. No war has certainty - demanding it means never chancing a fight.

  42. The problem with fighting Islamic fundamentalists over the -true- nature of Islam is that they have the source material to fall back on. Although many schools of Islamic thought have deviated from it (as do most religions as they deal with modernity), they can fall back on the unmodified original text that created in the 8th century admist war and Islamic expansion. The Koran isn't a moderate document.

    It also means that the fundamentalists aren't faux Muslims, but those who haven't watered down their own texts. Similar to the Protestant Reformation it is an atttempted return to the very basic religious texts as an attempt to explain the ossification of their civilization. So we and other Muslims can scream all we like about Islam being a religion of piece, but the fundamentalists can just point to the actual texts when looking for converts.

  43. *bah... sorry for typos and quick-paced errors. i.e. *peace

  44. thanks whit

    and thank you ash -

    "I'm not sure why Elijah is feeling so proud."

    From the thread, as LennyStone said, "There you go mindreading again."

    "Tijani refuted his arguments from a theological perspective."

    Perhaps your grasp of English is superior to mine Ash, how was he spot on with regards to taqiyah; and i did not write the 3 articles provided which directly demonstrated that he was peddling in untruths.

    Also, do you agree with him that
    - To die in the way of Allah is our greatest wish (it would be the prayer of...ANY DEVOUT MUSLIM"

    That would seem to contradict your previous writings on this site that Islam is no more violent than other religions. So which is it?

    LennyStone was enjoyable to read, especialy toward the bottom of the thread were he states -

    "Is it wrong for an oppressed people to rise against their oppressors?"

    Sounds like folk marxism to me Ash.

    and as he later states to Amaros,

    "You've swallowed it hook, line and sinker, which is a shame, because you're very sincere."

    i wonder if he is also speaking to you Ash, with regards to folk marxism?

    DR -

    i am not quite sure i understand what your proposal is yet, is it reconciliation for the region, or killing what you define as the enemy at ratios of 1:100?

    Although the west is facing difficulties, it is even a gloomier scenario for the peoples of the region.

    Leaving Iraq: Three Scenarios and The Grim Truth

  45. Well, cutler, there is some excusable mission creep, but there is also a time to say we succeeded, it's time for the next phase to begin.

    How to go forward from where we are, not lamenting how we got here.

    Two weeks or so until the Nimitz is on station, Did the Ike really sail off, or is it still out there, lurking in the fog of the Gulf of Oman?

    Bet the Iranians would love to know.

  46. It would become a defacto partition, as outlined in the Iraqi Constitution.

    Each side would leave the other alone, more or less.
    Divy the oil money or direct the new drilling in those suspected Anbar deposits. That's only cash, and not that much, in aid payments from the Sauds, if needed.

    Each faction polices itself, with the US standing by as a "ready reaction" force if need be.

    Starting at 150,000 in November '07 and declining to a range of 25 to 40,000 troops. Composing an air wing, logistical support, ready reaction force, intel and strike teams.
    Another 15,000 or so GI as trainers and aides to the Iraqi forces.

    Mr al-Hakim will go for it.
    The Kurds are in favor.
    The Sunni distrustful and against
    Mr al-Sadr is opposed.

  47. Reach those targeted force levels by December 2010.

    A schedule that the Iraqi and US both agree to, now.

    With the long term "Stay Behind" deal penciled, for the next Presidents' signature, but we'd reaffirm the Mission and claim success to date, now, then again in November, to start the political primary season which begins in Feb '08, now.

    Wins all around.
    Success for the Bush Team
    Success for the Maliki Team

    Bad news for criminals in each Region.

  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

  49. It's political solutions that are needed, not military ones.

    Political victories, those can be created, whole cloth.

    Perceptions are more important, than bullets in political and cultural campaigns. That is what General P has been saying. How does the US jump start, or force a reconciliation of sorts, but by forcing it upon them, politically.

  50. > Answer Mr Cheney's question, wu.

    I did, at 01:01:00

    > Moving around a force that is not engaged with the enemy is silly.

    > There are alternate ways to fight aQ Iraq, then with a conventional US Army.

    The counter insurgency against AQ has been extremely effective, The Awakening" as the Sunnis call it, driving Al Qaeda out of Anbar. Why would we give up something so successful?

  51. It seems to me that now that we are "making progress" against AQ in Anbar, the Shia are becoming distrustful and restive. When we were making progress with the Shia, the Sunni were a problem.

    Can we ever win or is the chasm between these two sects just too wide? It's just our luck that Iraq lies along the fault line.

  52. We would not abandon that, wu.
    We'd continue it, develop it, make it the front line.

    We'd pull MPs out of Camp Anaconda.

    Extend the positive, keep on keepin' on. Intensify the efforts to meet the target date.

    Silence Ms Pelosi and Mr Reid.
    We'd have just what the did not want.

  53. I looked at part of the Rolling Stone article, the "Three Scenarios". As some of the ads on the web page hinted, it is political and as such is not reality.

    For example:

    > There is no best-case scenario for Iraq. It’s complete anarchy now.

    That is absurd. Most of Iraq is at peace. Polls show over 3/4% of the Iraqi citizens want to live in a unified country.

  54. I don't know what sort of date you are talking about, DR. A date at which funding is cut off by Congress? A date to push the Iraqis, to motivate them? Setting date for the Iraqis is fine, and they have already set benchmarks, but it seems dangerous to tie our own hands.

  55. A target date of November to hand over the Security Mission from the US to the Iraqi, across the Country.

    That was the timeframe Mr Maliki promised when he took office.

    We'd be full strength until then.
    December '07, then begin to draw down to a target of from 40,000 to 55,000 US troops in varied mission within Iraq by December 2010.

    The Congress will have them out by then if there is no "Plan".

  56. "Well, cutler, there is some excusable mission creep, but there is also a time to say we succeeded, it's time for the next phase to begin."

    I agree with this, but I also think it is much bigger than mission creep. We entered both World Wars, and the majority of our other wars with almost no gameplan to begin with. The reason they spent the 3 years up to D-Day planning for the occupation of Germany was that it was a complete disaster the first time. Unconditional Surrender, as well, wasn't established until Janurary of 1943.

    Most of American wars have come out of the blue, comparatively speaking, having time to actually plan ahead of time is the odd situation.

  57. "Mr al-Hakim will go for it.
    The Kurds are in favor.
    The Sunni distrustful and against
    Mr al-Sadr is opposed."

    Theoretically, I'd say it makes sense.

    Then again, I'd say that many nations, such as Pakistan, should never have been nations - or at least need hundreds of years of bloodshed to truly become them.

    Practically speaking, however, I don't know if it simplifies things. The Kurds would like it. The Sunnis wouldn't. The Shi'as are complicated. Sadr wouldn't. Badr Corps and SCIRI might be happy with Basra, but might not. The war will continue anyway.

    And none of the neighbors want it and thus will probably get involved in both Iraq and with each other.

    If partition's the plan, we should get the heck out of the way and just hope it doesn't get too chaotic (but I expect it might).

    On the good side, I expect Iran to get bogged down themselves. The Shi'a are both divided, and more importantly Arabs, who have a history of opposing their open conquest.

  58. Worst of all, a trilateral partition requires our participation, which will be just as messy and complicated as a straight up COIN. If we leave, groups like SCIRI will just continue to do what they're doing to cleanse the Sunnis. Which bothers me because it threatens to bring in the neighbors even more so.

  59. time to shoot to kill any women NOT wearing a bikini...