“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 15, 2007

I'll Fly Away - Allison Krause

Sunday Morning at the EB

ht: Elijah


  1. I decided to add "Herr" to my handle to show that I am an American with German ancestors. Many people assumed I was from China based on "Wu Wei", and I don't want to pretend to be something I am not.

  2. Damned wu, and here I thought those ducks in the video were yours, flyin' over the Great Wall.

    I was goin' to have you fix us up some Peking duck, well, never mind.

  3. Maybe some of the readers will think Lee Hamilton to be a leftist defeatist commie, but even so, his advice seems sound. Like some that has been posted here at the Bar.

    A way forward?

    If not his way, who will be on the highway?

    Reconciliation, not confrontation is needed in DC.
    Lead by example, we should.

  4. Dang, that was nice getting up to that this Sunday morning. Only thing missing, the geese didn't do that total roll over like I have seen them do here in the fall after eating fermented grain.Or maybe they are just happy. What a view the geese get!

  5. ... it would be ill-advised to cut off funds for the war effort precipitately. Most Americans want to bring the war to a conclusion, but they want to do so responsibly. They do not want a messy or sudden withdrawal to prompt an escalating humanitarian disaster, wider sectarian strife, a sustained base for terrorists, further disruption to the global energy supply or further harm to U.S. prestige

    The US is now following a path I advocated three years ago. A bit late to be effective, I'm afraid, but perhaps it can still work.

    Let's not let the grass grow under US, again.

    The next phase of the Iraqi situation should be laid out, now. So that political consensus, in Iraq and the US can be reached, before another crisis.

    To get a better hold on territory, the new counterinsurgency field manual prescribes a ratio of 25 soldiers per 1,000 residents -- or 120,000 people for security forces in Baghdad alone. But even after the 21,500 additional American troops are deployed, Petraeus will still have a security force of only 85,000 in Baghdad, and that will include Iraqi security forces, whose preparedness and allegiance are questionable. ...
    "There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq," Petraeus told a news conference last month. "Military action is necessary to help improve security ... but it is not sufficient. There needs to be a political aspect."

    This approach calls for an active "diplomatic surge," but this is not happening, Nasr said. "There is still no viable political track in Iraq," he said.
    Such strategy had a better chance of success at the beginning of the war, when Petraeus, then a major general, commanded the 101st Airborne Division in Mosul. His troops accompanied their house-to-house searches with community projects and constant negotiations with tribal chiefs. Such tactics helped the soldiers kill Saddam Hussein's sons and bring relative peace to the area.

    But if there was another lesson to be learned from that experience, it was how quickly the calm disintegrated after the 101st went home and was replaced with another unit. By the end of 2004, insurgents took over most of Mosul, burning down police stations and prompting Americans to evacuate one of their bases before U.S. troops fought to regain control of the city in November 2004. Corpses of police officers executed by insurgents lay in the streets. That year, Petraeus presided over the effort to build Iraq's security forces -- which became permeated by Shiite militias who use their status to carry out reprisal killings.

  6. > This approach calls for an active "diplomatic surge," but this is not happening, Nasr said. "There is still no viable political track in Iraq," he said.

    DR, I'm not sure what article you are quoting from, but that article seems dated. Right now everything is coming up roses as far as a political solution for Iraq. The Sunnis are ousting Al Qaeda, which also seems to mean they have given up the insurgency and want a central government. (The Sunnis were using AQ as a tool for civil war against the Shiites and to prevent the central government from functioning. If the Sunnis wanted to keep doing that, they wouldn't throw AQ out.) Sunnis have taken action to join the government, like hiring police and starting to build army units. They have begun working with Maliki.

    That has made the Shia more open to compromise, and in some of the articles I've posted here, Shia talk about how al-Sadr is no longer needed. (It is logical they would turn on him, since he's a threat to them.) Shia are also saying that religious leaders need to pull out of politics and stick to preaching. The oil law made it through the first round of negotiations.

  7. How do you expect us to believe you now, Wu, that you are german/american, tell me that. Fool me once...fool me twice...The masks of Wu, the masks of Habu, the masks of Hu Dat, the masks of T.

    Rat and Rufus are the only folks I trust:)

  8. Trivia--who was the ancient conqueror that had one blue eye and one brown eye?

  9. Your central premise is off, wu.

    While the aQ are now being targeted by some Sunni tribes, that does not lead to their support of the central government. The two do not go hand in hand and are not synanomous. If you have any links to such a finding, post them, it'd make for interesting reading.

    Your perspective is also not shared by the Sunni imams of Anbar who say
    "Our scholars will meet and issue fatwas and I am full of hope the proper resistance that does not kill fellow Iraqis will heed the views of these scholars,' said al-Samarrai. "The authentic resistance considers the blood of Iraqis as sacrosanct. But those who masquerade as resistance and for whom the lives of Iraqis are cheap – this is not resistance against the occupier, this is terror...," he added.

    Read the whole story at at Roggio's
    "Islamic Army of Iraq splits from Al-Qaeda"

    Resistance to the occupier and the proxy Iranian Government in Baghdad will continue, without targeting Sunni Iraqi. Or so they say, today.

  10. > If you have any links to such a finding, post them, it'd make for interesting reading.

    I did. I posted the article about Maliki's visit to Anbar some time back.

    Also, the article that you quoted proves my point. It says that the Sunnis will continue resisting only against the US. The part you quoted says that "proper resistance that does not kill fellow Iraqis". Proper resistance does not kill fellow Iraqis. No attack on the central government.

    The article also says that one of the reasons Iraqi Sunnis are revolting against AQ is "Al-Qaeda in Iraq is intentionally targeting members of the Iraqi Army and police forces, who al-Jabouri and other insurgents believe are acting in the best interest of Iraqis.". So the Sunni insurgents want police and an army, part of an Iraqi government.

  11. Some people claim that the Iraqis want Sharia law, that they want a Caliphate. Yet in the article DR linked to, the Sunni Insurgency says:

    we definitely don't recognise their [AQ] establishment of an Islamic state - we consider it invalid

  12. This means that the so-called Iraqi civil war is over. That article DR quoted was the largest Sunni resistance group in Iraq renouncing violence against other Iraqis.

    The suicide bombings going on in Iraq are just the foreign invaders, Al Qaeda.

  13. Iraqi resistance groups coordinate

    Here is a fresh article about peace breaking out in Iraq, IOW about Iraqi groups agreeing to cease fire on each other (but not the US). Nine groups have agreed, along with four secret ones to be announced at a later date. This is said to include Shiite and Kurd groups as well as Sunnis.

    All of them declare Al Qaeda to be an enemy, and say they oppose the caliphate it is trying to establish.


    I wondered if the attack on the Iraq parliament would be their 9/11, something that unites them, and it looks like it is.

    This is not just Anbar Sunnis opposing Al Qaeda any more. Religious scholars, resistance groups, and political organizations in Iraq are renouncing Al Qaeda, saying they reject the Islamic state / caliphate it is trying to create, and they are declaring a cease fire with & on each other!

    This is said to include Shiites and Kurds as well as Sunnis. One of the articles below lists nine resistance groups which have agreed to this, and says that four other groups which have signed will be announced at a later date.

    IMPORTANT The insurgents specifically say they are not ceasing fire on "occupation" forces, even though they say the "Iranian occupation" is the bigger problem. Peace amongst the Iraqis would eventually lead to a cease fire for us, but we aren't there yet.

    Iraqi group 'splits' from al-Qaeda

    Iraqi Sunnis set up fatwa body to combat al Qaeda

    Iraqi groups establish "moderate" resistance coordination bureau

    Islamic Army of Iraq splits from Al-Qaeda

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. HUGH mentions the turning against the alQ.

  17. Very good, gentlemens. Thank you. Lovely way to start a Sunday morning. The Elvis, also. Thanks.

  18. read this by Boyd before and saw it again the other day in one link below, we should all remember it -

    The term "expert" is akin to "half-wit" since expertise in a rapidly evolving field of knowledge is only valid on the first day it is attained. After that, you become a dogmatist unless you are constantly engaged in the synthesis necessary for updating your ideas.

    wu wei and DR, u may find these interesting


    WAR'S NEW EQUILIBRIUM and Mao's formulation

  19. Good links, Elijah.

    One Thing HASN'T CHANGED. Somebody's got to pay for the bullets and bombs. This go-around it's Saudi Arabia (Our Buds.)

  20. Iraq the Model has some interesting comments.
    Iraq The Model

    At around noon firefights erupted in the area and the sound of heavy machineguns was heard and from my rooftop I could see Apache helicopters engage at least one target with 30mm canon fire and perhaps small rockets, I couldn't be sure because the sounds were overlapping but zooming in through the finder of my camera I saw lines of smoke behind the patrolling Apaches and seconds later I could hear the sounds...

    Speaking of the Sadrists' pitiful demonstrations. His aides were hoping to gather a million marchers for yesterday but all they could manage were less than ten thousands, that's even when they bussed people from Baghdad and Basra...

    Replacing partisan sectarian banners with the national flag was likely inspired from Hezbollah's rallies in Lebanon. Both movements desperately try to show themselves as patriotic movements because they realize the others see them as Iran's tools...

    This morning Baghdad lost one of its historic icons when the terrorists blew up the Sarrafiya Bridge. This was an attack on both a vital infrastructure of the city and our morale, let alone the innocent lives that were lost in this vicious attack. What we lost today was not just a bridge, it was a piece of the Baghdad history.

    Jisr al-Hadeed (“the iron bridge”), as many Baghdadis like to call it, was the first fixed bridge to be built over the Tigris as a gift from the British to the Iraqi people back in the 1940s...

  21. Here's one more Iraq The Model quote:

    Everyone I talked to today was more saddened by the bridge attack than the explosion at the parliament building that killed two of its members. They all seemed to agree that if there’s anyone to blamed for that it’s the members of parliament themselves. Parliament members are famous for complaining about ‘security measures’ in the Green Zone being “insulting” to them and to Iraq’s sovereignty. They didn’t want their vehicles and guards to be searched. This is the result.

    The incident was no surprise to me, when we often hear that bombs, explosive vests and illegal weapons have been found in buildings inside the International Zone. You just knew that one day something bad was going to happen. The MPs know very well that there are bad elements among their guards, yet they didn’t move to tighten security measures in the area nor done anything to identify and remove corrupt guards.

  22. Bobal: How do you expect us to believe you now, Wu, that you are german/american, tell me that. Fool me once...fool me twice...The masks of Wu, the masks of Habu, the masks of Hu Dat, the masks of T. Rat and Rufus are the only folks I trust:)

    So she put me up a snack, and says:

    "Say, when a cow's laying down, which end of her gets up first? Answer up prompt now -- don't stop
    to study over it. Which end gets up first?"

    "The hind end, mum."

    "Well, then, a horse?"

    "The for'rard end, mum."

    "Which side of a tree does the moss grow on?"

    "North side."

    "If fifteen cows is browsing on a hillside, how many of them eats with their heads pointed the same

    "The whole fifteen, mum."

    "Well, I reckon you HAVE lived in the country. I thought maybe you was trying to hocus me again. What's your real name, now?"

    "George Peters, mum."

  23. This Washington Post article gives more detail on the Sunni - Al Qaeda split. One interesting part is the Sunnis sending a message to bin Laden asking him to stop Al Qaeda from killing Iraqis. The Post, in typical defeatist fashion, points out that not all Sunnis have turned against AQ yet. More have turned since their article was written.


    Last weekend, the Islamic Army posted on insurgent Web sites a nine-page letter urging bin Laden to stop those killing in his name. "He should rise up for his faith and assume religious and organizational responsibility for al-Qaeda and search for the truth," the letter said. "It is not enough to disown those actions, but it is imperative to correct the path."...

    "They have realized that those people [AQ] are not working for Iraq's interests," said Alaa Makki, a Sunni member of parliament with close ties to the insurgents. "They realized that their operations might destroy Iraq altogether."...

    Insurgent leaders, in interviews in person or by telephone, offered different explanations for their split. Many said their link to the al-Qaeda groups was tainting their image as a nationalist resistance force. Others said they no longer wanted to be tools of the foreign fighters who lead al-Qaeda. Their war, they insist, is against only the U.S. forces, to pressure them to depart Iraq.

    "We do not want to kill the Sunni people nor displace the innocent Shia, and what the al-Qaeda organization is doing is contradictory to Islam," said Abu Marwan, a religious leader of the Mujaheddin Army in Baqubah, northeast of Baghdad. "We will strike whoever violates the boundaries of God, whether al-Qaeda or the Americans."...

    "Al-Qaeda has killed more Iraqi Sunnis in Anbar province during the past month than the soldiers of the American occupation have killed within three months. People are tired of the torture," said Abu Mohammad al-Salmani, an Islamic Army commander, who said the group had written the letter to bin Laden. "We cannot keep silent anymore."

    The letter accuses the al-Qaeda group of "killing innocent people with gases like chlorine," referring to recent chlorine bomb attacks in Baghdad and Anbar. It acknowledged that its leaders were killed because "they expressed their willingness to negotiate with the Americans for their exit from Iraq." In some areas, it said, the al-Qaeda fighters were imposing "Taliban-like" Islamic codes, referring to edicts by the strict former rulers of Afghanistan. By opening a front against the Shiites, the letter said, "the only losers will be the Sunnis who have nothing to do with al-Qaeda."...

    Now, local insurgent groups have united to fight them [AQ], erecting checkpoints and patrolling Baqubah and nearby towns, said Abu Jasim, a leader of the Mujaheddin Army. More than 100 al-Qaeda fighters were captured in the towns of Buhriz and Tahrir, the core areas controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq in Diyala, he said...

    His Iraqi Islamic Party is serving as a liaison between the Shiite-led government and the Sunni insurgents, including, he said, the Islamic Army, the 1920 Revolution Brigades and other main groups...

  24. You can't pull that one on me, T, I know who that is.