“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

The Military is different, and so it should remain.

A superb essay in the Telegraph, relating to the Royal Navy and the recent disgraceful performance in Iraq, is a must read. It applies elsewhere. Your comments please.

All institutions require some surrender of individuality by the people who become part of them.

They require a uniform, perhaps, or obedience to seniors, and the readiness to do something unpleasant and inconvenient. They require special loyalty. In return, they grant opportunity, dignity and support.

Institutions must have rules, and their rules may well conflict with the way things are done elsewhere. I remember my fearsome matron at school once rebuking me for putting orange peel on the table with the words: "You're not at home now - this is a civilised establishment." She was asserting the primacy of the institution.

"Human rights" reject that primacy. Anything that an institution does which goes against the general rule is considered wrong. Some derogations are grudgingly made, but essentially the institution becomes an object of suspicion.

For the Services, this is a waking, daily nightmare. The essential point of an army or a navy is for when things get really bad. So it is for matters of life and death, not as social therapy, that soldiers and sailors must be trained.

If that training can be effective only if health and safety rules are waived, then they should be. If the presence of women in the front line makes the fighting less effective, then women must not be in the front line. If a soldier's right of free speech undermines the morale of his comrades, then he should be forced to shut up.

Yet "human rights" refuses to see the point. And so the main enemy ceases to be the hostile power seeking to kill our citizens or take our territory, but the threat of litigation.

This not only hampers day-to-day work: it rots the culture. Everyone is looking over his shoulder. The person and the institution no longer fuse.


  1. I like this comment from the Telegraph comments:
    Before 'Human Rights' came along, with amazingly undesirable and ambiguous baggage in train, we used to have Morality. - Would it were still so!
    Posted by Margaret Wilde on April 14, 2007 11:36 AM

  2. 'Tis no accident that "human rights" as now pracised are inherantly anti-authority. Much of what passes for human rights is an attempt to introduce socialist politicies by fiat. When one considers the Gramscian/Frankfurt school influences prevalent in leftist politics from the 60's, and considers the subversive tactics and inherant anti-authority bias of those influences, it is clear that modern "human rights" have been deliberately framed to undermine all forms of authority (and especially the military) under the guise of good intentions.

    Consider : European Convention on Human Rights. Prime omver behind it? Former socialist politican and former Chief of the Staff of the IRA Seán MacBride. Cool huh?

    The communists were internationalistsm and were far ahead of the game when the UN was formed. The USSR was an enthusiastic supporter of human rights internationally, and paid them lip service internally, but in truth never made the slightest accomodation. Consequently, while the 1949 revisions of the Geneva convention outlawed virtually every effective means of fighting insurgents (a pretty much exclusively commie tool at the time), many UN treaties effectively enshrined communist politics under the guise of "human rights".

  3. A Jihadist group, the The Brigades of Holy War and Unity have released a statement claiming that they have beheaded the kidnapped BBC journalist, Alan Johnston.

  4. The Telegraph covers the Johnston story.

    It had been thought the kidnapping was the work of criminal elements from the Dogmush clan, a large Gazan family with scant respect for the law and a large private arsenal of weapons.

    It is possible they may have sold him on to the highest bidder, possibly a Jihadist group.

    Al-Qaeda affilitates in Palestine?

  5. That's what I kept thinking all through the British hostage incident, "Are they really in the military?"

    If no one believes in anything bigger than themselves, we all are doomed.

    However it is not only people deserting the institutions, but institutions deserting the people. In my father's time, employees who worked hard and followed the rules had jobs for life. Today, even good employees are laid off and replaced by cheaper off-shore (foreign) labor. The former CEO of GE, Jack Welch, set the tone by saying, "If I want loyalty, I'll buy a dog".

  6. a senior U.S. official says the invite to el-Katatni was "cleared" by the State Department and represented the highest-level contacts with the Brotherhood since 9/11. "This doesn't mean we are embracing the group," the official says. "It means we recognize that we have to listen to a wide range of voices." The meeting was also a "subtle, smart way toexpress concern" over a recent crackdown in which Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's government has arrested other Brotherhood leaders and charged them in secret military courts.

  7. Yes, there IS need for Concern, esp Concerning Madam Condum and Cairen Hughs.

  8. Madam Condumb Rice, that is.

  9. Tony said...
    These are the kinds of ROE that are detailed in "The 9/11 Commission Report" as reasons why we didn't attack bin Laden in Afghanistan:

    If ISAF coalition forces discover a house with two Taliban high-value targets, and four other Taliban fighters who are not on the list of ISAF approved targets, it cannot attack the house.

    The reason in the 9/11 Report: the Bad Guys might respond and then we'll get blamed for it.

    A variation of "What did we do to make them so mad at us?"

  10. Only the woman's apparent sincerity kept the prosecutors from bringing some kind of action against her for false testimony. Last week Mark Simeon, who also handles press inquiries on her behalf, told NEWSWEEK that she had just had a baby—and that her parents were "disappointed" that the case was dropped.

  11. As published last December, the Westhawk Plan predicted a Shi’ite rout of Iraq’s Sunni Arabs. The less leverage the U.S. has over the Shi’ites (as with the Collins Plan), the more likely this is to occur. But to the extent that the Sunni Arab tribes in Anbar are now working with the U.S. against al Qaeda, the U.S. has an interest in getting the Shi’ites (assuming they conquer Baghdad) and the Sunni Arab tribes in Anbar to agree on a line of demarcation. Should this occur, Iraq would then be subdivided into three autonomous regions. And the U.S. would maintain some military force, and influence, in each.

    Mr. Collins does not seem very confident that Iraqi political reconciliation will occur, at least before the U.S. domestic political clock runs out.

  12. If there is really a cease fire in Iraq, one that sticks, the Democrats would lose the political battle.

    Right now the Democrats are saying it is a civil war, it is hopeless, and our troops are dying. If there is a cease fire between Iraqis then the first two excuses go away. Very likely US casualties would drop too, and a second deal would follow which included the US / UK.

  13. Whit: A Jihadist group, the The Brigades of Holy War and Unity have released a statement claiming that they have beheaded the kidnapped BBC journalist, Alan Johnston.

    That really shows you the lack of gratitude on the part of the Islamists. Mustafa Barghouti, Palestinian Information Minister, has described Johnston as a "friend of our people", and said that Johnston had "done a lot for our cause."

  14. I believe all these agreements are related, and there is more to come. Even though the Sunni / Shia / Kurd deal was announced last, it was probably agreed to first.

    The Sunnis wouldn't have turned against Al Qaeda unless they wanted to end the "civil war", and they wouldn't have ended the conflict with the Shia unless there was an overall deal.

    Just a few days ago Al-Sadr mysteriously told his troops to stop fighting fellow Iraqis, but to continue fighting the US. That is what has now been revealed to be the deal between all the insurgent groups, to stop fighting each other.

    Al Sadr and the rest of the Shia would never have agreed to cease fire unless the Sunnis agreed to throw Al Qaeda out of the country, and to stop suicide bombing of Shia. Al Sadr said publicly months ago that if the Sunnis wanted his death squads to stop, they needed to issue Fatwahs saying that killing Shia is forbidden, and that is one of the things which the Sunnis announced.

    As far as partitioning goes, they seem to have a partial deal, where most of the country has been divided, but there is still fighting over Baghdad, Kirkuk, and a few other places.

    Some of the Sunni groups still say they oppose the Iraqi central government, but since they have agreed not to shred Iraqi blood, that is seen as a negotiating tactic. All along the Sunnis have wanted constitutional amendments, and that gives them a bargaining chip.

    It will be interesting to see if the deal includes agreement to stop blowing up oil pipelines, electrical plants, etc. There has been a lot of talk about oil lately by the Iraqis, almost as if they know production will soon increase. Since they are agreeing to not kill fellow Iraqis, it makes sense to leave the electical and water supplies alone.

  15. Al Sadr just pulled out of the Iraqi government

    No surprise and no big loss. Other Shiite groups have recently said that Al Sadr is no longer necessary. Interestingly, Al Sadr's aides said he is leaving the government to help Maliki who is "hamstrung by political parties in his government pulling him in different directions"! Al Sadr knows he will be listened to anyway, and this lets him play the tough guy who stood up to the "occupiers".


    Two other Sadr officials confirmed the intention to pull out of the government but stressed the movement would continue to give "cautious" backing to a U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown in the capital. The Sadrists will remain in parliament...

    A senior official in Sadr's movement, Abdul-Mehdi al-Muteyri, said Sadr had also ordered the pullout, saying Maliki was hamstrung by political parties in his government pulling him in different directions.

    "We don't believe in partisan quotas. Under the direct orders of Moqtada al-Sadr we have decided we are going to leave the government in order to give the prime minister the best possible options so that he can run his government," Muteyri said.

  16. Occam, Wu:
    They have yet to agree on an oil deal, so it makes sense that they would be talking about it, since it's past due.

  17. Gore's Global Brain Trust:
    "Demonstrators want Congress to pass laws that would lead to reducing carbon emissions in the United States by 80 percent by 2050.

    "We have to take action now," said Karissa Centanni of Troy, an education coordinator with Honest Weight Food Co-op of Albany who organized Step It Up"

  18. It is time to fake discussions with Iraq & Syria

    Throughout my whole life Democrats have scored political points against Republican presidents by saying "if only we talked to our enemies, then all problems would be solved". Even worse, the (apparent) lack of communication leads Republicans like Specter and far left Democrats like Pelosi to try to do the negotiations themselves, or pretend like it.

    I reluctantly conclude that it would be better for Republican presidents to take charge of the situation by ordering the State Department to conduct fruitless talks with our enemies on a regular basis. Maybe the president should just order that we communicate with every country on earth once every six months, so there is no jousting back and forth about whether the other country forced us to talk.

    The State Department gets paid to do things like this, just going through the motions, making the talks painful for the other side, and making sure that no one thinks we are negotiating. It would be worth it to keep Pelosi at home, and never see her in a head scarf again.

  19. If all your perceptions are truth, herr wei, and the War is won, when does Mr Bush announce it to the Public?

    How does the Administration claim success if they do not admit to it.
    If they do admit it, we'll have to begin to leave soon after.

    An interesting paradox.
    Depending, of course, on the real Goal of the War and the continued US presence.

  20. If Mr Bush does not claim victory, defeat in the propaganda wars will continue.

    With Fifth Generation warfare, the violence itself is victory, for the enemy. Unless the violence is stemmed, your friends in the MSM will continue the current drum beat.

    How does Mr Bush claim success, withouut a withdrawal?

  21. You folks just don't have the right sources--Truth-- on any of the important issues of the day.

  22. I'll leave that one particular perspective of truth to you, bob.

  23. How did they confuse him w/Rosie.
    (and who is prettier?)

  24. Those guys must go to J-Fininshing School in North Korea.

  25. Jackie Robinson--used to have a bat with his name on it. I wasn't what you'd call a 'big hitter' though, in Little League.

  26. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi died weeks after our 1980 conversation in Cairo. It has taken the ayatollahs and other Islamic radicals who followed him to reveal how far backward, and forward, stretched the deeper meanings of the words he spoke, which had to be condensed into a conventional news story on that May day.

    Iran is after all a place where reality usually comes not in words but in meaningful details that underlie -- and often belie -- the words. Fooling foreigners and adversaries is an ancient Persian art form. Saying exactly what you mean is a crude and dangerous way to talk, or to negotiate.

    Such a telling detail lay beneath the shah's descriptions to me of how, in his opinion, the British and American governments deliberately helped Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini bring down his regime in 1979. His bitter Anglophobia came to mind again the other day as I watched film of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blustering his way through the histrionic release of 15 British military captives and then, in the days that followed, defying the world anew over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

    The detail was that the shah blamed London much more than he blamed Washington for his fate. The Americans had been children playing at complicated games of power and espionage, while imperial Britain purposely mounted the plot to win favor with the ayatollahs. Or so the shah asserted.
    Every discussion I have had with Iranian officials on the nuclear program has included a pointed reminder that it was the shah -- with American and French encouragement -- who started the nuclear energy program that Ahmadinejad and the ayatollahs are carrying forward. These officials leave hanging unspoken this political fact of Iranian life: Their giving up control of the enrichment of uranium would open them to charges of being less nationalistic than was the shah.

    The historical force of past intervention in Iran's affairs is obviously no justification for kidnapping British sailors and marines; for pursuing nuclear weapons; or for supporting terrorism in Iraq, Israel and elsewhere. But it is important for Americans to recognize how deep is the imprint of the past and how demagogues exploit it when they are in trouble. It will take broad and sustained campaigns of political and economic pressures to force change in the behavior of any Iranian regime.
    ... the financial and diplomatic pressures orchestrated by the Treasury and State departments are taking their toll on Ahmadinejad's regime. They should be continued and intensified where possible. Among those voting against Tehran on the latest Security Council censure were South Africa, which often breaks with the West on political issues to bolster its nonaligned credentials, and Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.

    Those votes were body blows to Tehran's pretense that the nuclear dispute reflects a continuing victimization of Third World peoples and resources by the rapacious British and other Westerners. ...
    The diplomatic effort to assemble a united international front against Iran is paying off. One sign: President Bush displays no sense of urgency about having to decide on military action, recent visitors to the White House report. History, ancient and recent, shows that his best option is to continue on the high road of multilateral, peaceful pressures.

  27. State Dept is too busy talking to Muslim Bro, CAIR, PA, Hamas, etc to have time for COUNTRIES, Wu.

  28. (CBS/AP) President Bush heaped praise Thursday on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and said prospects for Palestinians gaining a state seem better than ever before.

    "President Abbas is a man devoted to peace and to his people's aspiration for a state of their own," Mr. Bush said. "And today, the Palestinian people are closer to realizing their aspirations."
    The suicide terror attack that killed seven Israelis in Jerusalem's French Hill, is in a part of Jerusalem that the Palestinian Authority claims, and therefore is within the legitimate target area, according to his recent statements in Arabic.
    The Palestinian Authority's chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, is the latest PA official to demonstrate that PA leaders send one message to their people in Arabic and an entirely different message to the world media in English.

    Upon hearing that three Palestinian children, aged 13, 14 and 16, were caught by Israel on the way to a suicide mission, Erekat was quick to create the impression for the English media that the PA opposes such actions.

    "That's absolutely unacceptable," Erekat told the Associated Press. "Our children should have hope and a future and should not be suicide bombers. We want them to be doctors and engineers."

    The great hypocrisy of Erekat's statement is that he and the PA leadership have been the driving force indoctrinating PA children to aspire to Shahada - death for Allah.

  29. William F Buckley commenting about Imus:
    Standing inches away from the president that night in 1996, Imus said, "Mr. President" -- he was parodying the questions asked at presidential news conferences -- "we all know you're a pot-smoking weasel, that you once ate an apple fritter the size of a baby's head, and that you actually run a 12-minute mile. Could you therefore tell the American people why that thing on your lip looks like a Milk Dud? And if it is a Milk Dud, then I'd like a follow-up."

    And of course Clinton was not the only target that night. "The president (nowadays) gets treated better by Rush Limbaugh (than by the White House press corps). Rush may not, as Al Franken suggests, be a 'big, fat idiot,' but I'm sick of him. The radio show, the television show, the stupid books, and now men's ties -- bold, vibrant, colorful, and all designed to look great with a brown shirt." This brought laughter. But anything -- anything -- will bring laughter to a crowd far gone in booze and impiety.

    A huge commotion followed, though not until three days later, when Imus' speech was broadcast on C-SPAN; the association's celebratory evening was not interrupted. Imus was quoted as saying that the look he saw in Clinton's eye convinced him that if the president had had a gun, he'd have aimed it at the speaker and shot. A strong metaphor, but when the cocked guns began to go off on Thursday, it gave some satisfaction that there are reserves of decency in the land that sometimes assert themselves.

    Imus Dead

  30. Bull Roggio reports:
    Under the readership of Abu Ayyub al-Masri Al Qaeda in Iraq is proving agile in its ability to switch targets in Baghdad while continuing to strike at sectarian fault lines outside the capital. Prior to this week, al Qaeda's last major bombing inside Baghdad was in a Shia market on March 29. With security ramping up inside Baghdad, markets appear to have become tougher targets. The attack on the bridges will at the least increase the security, and may force the closure their closure.

    As al Qaeda continues its suicide campaign in an attempt to break the Coalition. "Citing 'reliable sources from a number of factions of the Iraqi national resistance, al-Hayat reports that the new coordinating office is aimed at isolating the Islamic State of Iraq and 'all hard-line factions that trade in the blood of Muslims.'" This follows the Islamic Army in Iraq's announcement that it was severing ties with al Qaeda. It should be noted that insurgent groups are fracturing over this issue, with the more extreme elements being absorbed by al Qaeda.

  31. Bubba brought decency and BJ's to America's Schoolchildren.
    Can't wait til I become senile.

  32. Abu Ayyub al-Masri's Terrorism Primer.

  33. Iraq Militants Dominate City, and Attacks Surge

    Baquba has emerged as a magnet for insurgents and, perhaps, the next major headache for the U.S. military.

  34. > How does Mr Bush claim success, withouut a withdrawal?

    The same way we did it in Afghanistan. Our troops are still there, even though we liberated it years before Iraq.

  35. I think W should claim he can run a 3 Minute Mile.
    Scare the Dickens out of them Ragheads.

  36. Hell, doug, if accurate that story would give lie to herr wei claims of "Victory". It is in the NYTimes, though, so we can discount it.

    “They were firing from every direction, trying to get us to concentrate on one spot while the other guys were maneuvering,” said Cpl. Bill McGrath, who said the M-240 barrels glowed cherry red and had to be swapped out a half-dozen times. “These were well-trained military types, not like the guys who shoot tanks with AK-47s. A lot of these guys we never saw. We’d just see muzzle flashes.”

    The tactics reflect the skill and resolve of the insurgency here, soldiers say. “To say the guys we are fighting are any less smarter than me, that would be crazy,” said Lt. Col. Morris Goins, commander of the 1-12 Combined Arms Battalion.

    The Sunni groups seem to be cooperating like mob families, with ever-shifting alliances. Colonel Goins likens it to the HBO series “The Sopranos.” “We’ll work together today, but when they are no longer of any value,” he said, they part company.
    There are many reasons for the mayhem. Diyala and Baquba had significant Shiite and Sunni populations. Shiite-dominated security forces in the city inflamed tensions by persecuting Sunnis, but remain ill prepared to fight the insurgents without support of American forces. Basic government services like food and fuel deliveries have collapsed.

    So, it seems the idea that the Iraqi insurgents are just "ragheads" and that it'd all be over in a moment, if only they'd just "bring it on", are misplaced. It'll take a real campaign to clean 'em out. Same number of Insurgents as were in Fallujah, it says.

    Unless of course Lt. Col. Morris Goins is not to smart, which is doubtful, but ...

  37. Mr Bush said we needed to go on Offense there this Spring, wu, there is no success in Afghanistan.

    If there were no more NATO troops would be needed and 20 US Marines would not be being investigated for homicide, today.

  38. Re: NY Times.
    Much more can be learned reading the theories and musings of the "New Media" of the blogosphere, whether Levi or PJ Clad.
    Insight From a Magic Box.

  39. "The Iraqi soldiers fretted that the insurgents had better equipment compared with their two clips and rickety Kalashnikov rifles. Like Baquba’s residents, they are intimidated. An Iraqi, Sgt. Raad Rashid, said his countrymen would flee if Americans abandoned the outpost. “Twenty minutes later we’d be gone,” he said. “They would surround this place and kill us.”

    The insurgency’s remarkable ability to terrorize residents, killing those who help Americans while coercing others, is undeniably one of its biggest weapons. It appears to be well financed, too.

    “Some guys will give you $300 to put this in a hole in the ground and attach a wire,” said John M. Jones, head of the provincial reconstruction team in Diyala, explaining how insurgents recruit bomb emplacers. “Where are the other incentives?”

    With the combination of threats and money, Mr. Jones said, the insurgents’ offers are hard for residents to refuse. “You might not agree with the philosophy of what he’s saying, but he’s got the big guns, and they live in the same neighborhood. It’s you, your wife and kids. What can you do?”

    Such intimidation makes progress impossible. “We are not able to make even baby steps,” he said. “I hope we’re laying the framework for future baby steps. Right now, I’d say we are pretty much frustrated.”

  40. Mal said...
    "An army of rabbits led by a lion will defeat an army of lions led by a rabbit." - - Napoleon Bonaparte

  41. Even Mr Bush has admitted that Afghanistan is not yet a success, while in Europe on 30 Nov 06 while looking for more NATO troops:

    "For Nato to succeed, its commanders must have the resources and flexibility they need," Mr Bush said.

    "For Nato to succeed" means they have not succeeded, to date.

    Mr Bush and Tony Blair both echoed the same sentiment to the NATO representitives at the meeting

    Mr Bush said only by "standing together" would a clear message be sent to the extremists who threatened global security.

    "This alliance was founded on a clear principle: an attack on one is an attack on all. That principle holds true whether the attack is on our home soil or on our forces deployed on a Nato mission abroad," he said.

    "Afghanistan is Nato's most important military operation and, by standing together, we will protect our people, defend our freedom and send a clear message to the extremists."

    Mr Blair said Nato's "credibility" was at stake. "If we don't succeed in Afghanistan the whole of the world will be less secure," he said.

    Again, Mr Blair is speaking of success, some time in the future, not past tense.

    As in Iraq, we may have obtained a Goal, but not the primary Goal.

    Actually to read the story of the War in Afghanistan, by the man first tasked with it, former CIA officer Gary Berntsen, the objective was never met.
    War with the Taliban could have been avoided if it had been. Afghanistan was all about Osama, in the beginning.
    No success there with putting his head on a pike.

  42. Given enough time and experience them Rabbits get well-trained, regardless of their "leaders."

  43. Forgot about PBUH,
    From the Good Old ROP.
    Then there's that Alla Akbar stuff.

  44. Mr Bush and Mr Blair are now up to speed to where Yon was goin on 2 years ago.

  45. That Pike Idea is a Pipe Dream, 'Rat.
    Must conform with ROE's:
    "If ISAF coalition forces discover a house with two Taliban high-value targets, and four other Taliban fighters who are not on the list of ISAF approved targets, it cannot attack the house."
    See "Tony" above.

  46. I read that eariler, doug, but hate to mention it and sound defeatist.

    Pass me some kimchee and fill my soju glass, will you?

  47. The New York Times has the same old defeatist crap about the terrorists being 10 feet tall, and the Iraqi people scared rabbits. Problem is that it is one-sided fiction. The same situation was true all over Anbar six months ago, but now the Iraqis have taken over, and Al Qaeda is running with their tails between their legs.

    Iraq Report III

    Anyone sincerely interested can read in great detail about how Ramadi was turned around, going from a terrorist haven where the government didn't even dare to go, and where, like the story above, the Iraqi police would be killed instantly if the US left, into a town controlled by the government, with AQ thrown out.

  48. Glick and the New York Times trade fantasies, Wu.
    Samo Samo.

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. Any where the US and it's myriad of allies concentrate their forces and attention, wu, we succeed.
    That has always been the case.
    In Iraq or anywhere, for that matter.

    It is what happens when we leave, as in Tal Afar, that is telling.

    As Mr Cheney said, the temporary presence of US troops will not end the long term conflict in Bosnia, nor anywhere else with long held animosities, not even Haiti.

    How does Mr Bush claim success without a withdrawal?

    Your first answer, comparing Iraq to Afghanistan, has proven faulty.

  51. It's outrageous that the NYT would make Baquba sound so hopeless, without even mentioning that the US and Iraq cleaned up a similar situation in Ramadi months ago.

    The NYT could have used the same tactics while WWII was being fought. Instead of reporting the tremendous US victory at Iwo Jima, the NYT would have gone to another island still under Japanese control to report that Japan was unbeatable and resistance was futile. They wouldn't have even mentioned Iwo, like they didn't mention Ramadi in this article.

  52. Wu might consider the tools the Iraquis have vs ours.
    ...but he probly won't.
    Doesn't fit his template.
    (None dare call it fantasy)
    As the insurgent ranks have swelled, attacks on American troops have soared. The 5,000-member brigade that patrols Diyala Province has had 44 soldiers killed in five months, more than twice the number who died in the preceding year

  53. Just another Good Natured Wrestling Match.
    - Jimmy Buffet

  54. Perhaps calling it a good natured wrestling match is a bit outrageous?

  55. The Iraqis are successfully defending themselves in Ramadi. In fact they are successfully defending themselves over almost all of Iraq including Shiite territory and Kurdish territory. If all Iraqis are so weak, and all foreign terrorists are invincible, then will Al Qaeda soon take over Kurdistan?

    Some of the insurgents are Iraqs. Some of the defenders are Iraqi insurgents who switched sides. Are the Iraqis better equipped than the Iraqis? Did those insurgents who switched sides and now support the government become weaker and less well equipped by switching?

  56. Convert or Die For Christians in Iraq

    Everyone knew it would come to this sooner or later. These are some of the ones I really feel for.

  57. It did not sound hopeless.
    It sounded under manned.
    Like the US Army needed more guys, boots & guns.

    But back to Tal Afar and the success there, or Basra and success there.

    Pick an Iraqi locale, where the MNF has declared "success" and look at the status 6 months or a year after. Not while success is being gained by the temporary presence of US troops.

    That is the Cheney Standard.
    We've yet to meet it.
    As he correctly forecast, in 1993.

  58. The Senate bill would require a U.S. troop exit in Iraq to begin within 120 days, with a completion goal of March 31, 2008. The House bill would order all combat troops out by Sept. 1, 2008.

    Most Republicans stand with Bush on grounds that a timetable is a dangerous war policy.

    "Now is the time to pour it on politically, economically and militarily, and build on this momentum," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who recently visited Iraq. "We're not going to let car bombers define the fate of Iraq."

    Iraq Bill

  59. Yes, wu, the Shia of Basra are succefully defending themselves from British Forces, Mr Yon told the tale of that, quite well I thought, right here

    He describes British squaddies using flash bang grenades prior to entering doorways, bet the Marines in Haditha, November '05 wish they were issued those, now.

  60. If you want to read some serious science kicking Global Warming's Ass, Here T'is.

    Pack a Lunch!

  61. In the mean-time, it looks like a mixture of native grasses will produce up to 238% more ethanol per acre than Switchgrass, alone.

  62. Wow, have we been busy over the past few weeks (March 7-22). When our counterparts, members of the 8th National Police Brigade, were assigned duties in the part of Baghdad referred to as Sadr City, we were at first not allowed to enter the area due to the very high sensitivity of this area.

    As previously mentioned, Sadr City is an area where Americans have not entered for almost three years. This area has been a stronghold of the Shiite cleric Muqtadar al-Sadr and his militia we refer to as the JAM, or Jaysh al-Madhi militia.

    Part of the new Baghdad Security Plan is that ALL areas of Baghdad would be cleared of militia influence whether they are Sunni or Shia. Therefore, Sadr City could no longer be an exception.

    Sadr City

  63. Never did like that Monoculture, Rufus.
    Can you throw in Alfalfa and other legumes?
    That would be cool.

  64. Them Haditha Guys Shoulda brought their own, 'Rat.
    You KNOW they Coulda.
    (haven't seen Allen here in a while, that would light him up. ...somehow my inclination is to support the troops not the Corps JAG Toadies.)

  65. WALLACE: Senator Levin, you know, because he's said it over and over, that the president will veto any bill that attaches a timetable for withdrawal, so what are Democrats, either before or after the veto, going to send him that he can actually sign?

    SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: Well, we're going to send him, first of all, hopefully, a very strong bill which would say that we're going to begin to reduce troops in four months as a way of telling the Iraqi leadership that the open-ended commitment is over, not just rhetorically but, in fact, to try to force them to take responsibility for their own country.


    WALLACE: Senator Levin, there's also been some talk among Democrats about sending him a smaller spending bill -- what Senator Obama says -- giving him a shorter leash so he would have to come back to Congress more often. What do you think about that idea?

    LEVIN: Well, I think that's a possibility, but less likely because it's a fairly short period that this supplemental lasts. It only lasts through the end of September.


    WALLACE: But bottom line, Senator Levin, before I bring in Senator Graham, the Democrats will not allow money to run out for the troops.

    LEVIN: That is absolutely correct. We've made that clear.

    Levin/Graham/Sharpton Roundtable

  66. That's right. We need a good crop that's a legume that you can make fuel out of. Why alfalfa wouldn't work, I don't know. Maybe it would. We're planting some alfalfa this year. I'll try to look into alfalfa's possibilities that way. Keep from pouring all that fertilizer on. A big viny pea might be good.

  67. Whatever is going on, the stratosphere seems to be getting colder. Reason I've read is the longer wave length light reflected back from the earth is being absorbed by the atmosphere before reaching the stratosphere to a greater degree than in the past.

  68. Bobal,
    Rosie says Bush and Cheney are having Halliburton do it so they can continue to make millions in Big Carbon.

  69. Wine and fuel what could be better.

    The seas seem to be getting a little more acidic too, boding ill for the crustaceans at the bottom of the food chain, is what I read somewhere.

    What's true, what's not true?

  70. Add Rosie to your hit list, would you, Doug.

  71. From Rosie the Riveter to Rosie McDonald, all in a single generation, as they say.

  72. Rosie the Riveting Train Wreck.

  73. "Everybody knows Fire Won't Melt Steel."

  74. Herr Wu's Tea Party:
    "Some insurgents have moved into Baquba to escape the escalation in Baghdad. But the city has been attracting insurgents for years, particularly after American officials in Baghdad proclaimed it and surrounding Diyala Province relatively pacified over a year ago and drew down their troop presence."
    What would Fellow Peacekeeper, know, eh, Wu?
    Probly a fantasist Lefty Defeatist.

  75. “Some guys will give you $300 to put this in a hole in the ground and attach a wire,” said John M. Jones, head of the provincial reconstruction team in Diyala, explaining how insurgents recruit bomb emplacers. “Where are the other incentives?”

    With the combination of threats and money, Mr. Jones said, the insurgents’ offers are hard for residents to refuse. “You might not agree with the philosophy of what he’s saying, but he’s got the big guns, and they live in the same neighborhood.

    It’s you, your wife and kids. What can you do?”

    Overshadowing City

  76. Sam:
    Sun Apr 15, 10:18:00 PM EDT
    Sun Apr 15, 11:02:00 PM EDT ;-)

    The news from Anbar is the most promising .
    Only last fall, the Marines' leading intelligence officer there concluded that the United States had essentially lost the fight to al-Qaeda.

    Yet just this week, the Marine commandant, Gen. James Conway, returned from a four-day visit to the province and reported that we "have turned the corner."
    Because, as Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, the Australian counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, has written, 14 of the 18 tribal leaders in Anbar have turned against al-Qaeda.

    As a result, thousands of Sunni recruits are turning up at police stations where none could be seen before.
    For the first time, former insurgent strongholds such as Ramadi have a Sunni police force fighting essentially on our side.

  77. Template for future post re,
    Presidente Jorge:
    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.
    (replace "insulting" w/
    "Bad for Business")

    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.

    Apart from who’s to blame for it, the parliament bombing will reflect in a bad way on its performance. I suspect reaching quorum in future sessions, which is necessary to vote on any law, will now be even more difficult.

    Omar Fadhil

  78. For Trish
    ...but as your buddy Larry Johnson assured us before 9-11:
    Taint nuthin!

    MEDIA MATTERS (sucks)

    In fact, unknown to Imus, one of his most loyal listeners in Washington, D.C., was watching, and taping, the show every day for just that reason: to make a record of everything Imus said. But 26-year-old Ryan Chiachiere wasn't a fan, and he wasn't tuning in to be entertained. Chiachiere is one of a handful of young activists who spend their days wading through hours of radio and cable shows for
    Media Matters for America, a liberal group whose sole purpose is rooting out and "correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media."
    Wired on coffee, Chiachiere was watching a recording of Imus's show when he noticed the "hos" remark.

  80. "bobalharb said...
    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:)
    Hey, Farmer Bobal:
    I Been Doug before 'Rat and Ruf were here!

  81. bobalharb said...
    Trivia--who was the ancient conqueror that had one blue eye and one brown eye?
    An Australian Sheepdog?

  82. Herr Wu on CRACK!

    Herr Wu Wei said...
    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.

  83. Gordon Lightfoot on the turntable is what first put my ex and me in the mood for whatever that was.
    #9 buddy larsen on 2007-04-07 22:26

  84. Tax Returns Rise for Immigrants in U.S. Illegally
    Many illegal immigrants filing returns say they hope to create a paper trail that could lead to citizenship one day.

  85. Clinton: Israel can make "peace" with all all enemies in 35 minutes

    Of course Israel can make "peace" with all all enemies in 35 minutes give into their demands and that is how to get a Clinton or a Carter type peace deal which will allow an American President to bask in the "glory" of a peace deal.

    But puts Israel at risk.
    I can do Clinton one better Israel can achieve "peace" for all time in the Middle East in less than 60 seconds.The IDF issues every father a rifle and ammo and at the stroke of midnight he lines his whole family up in the living room kills his whole family and turns the rifle on himself.

    "Peace" is less than 60 seconds.
    Israel needs leadership that rejects the word peace, too many Jews have been murdered because of peace, too much land that was won with blood has been given to the enemies of the Jewish people.
    One word must reign supreme in the language of the leaders of Israel to give Israel a future and that word is VICTORY.
    We must fight to achieve victory over our enemies.

    Posted by Yoni Tidi at 04:41 PM

  86. ConDumb Rice, cont:
    Grapes of Wrath: America's Recipe for al-Qaeda's Victory
    The US State Department Supports All But Somalis in Somalia

    Why can’t the United States (read: State Department) ‘vow to support’ the Somali Transitional Federal Government who, unlike other theaters in the Long War, has wanted to both install a representative secular democratic system of government and fight al-Qaeda on their own soil? As one will clearly see, we choose instead to let the willing and almost able wither on the vine like forgotten grapes in a vineyard that sees too few of them to begin with.

  87. Scandanavian Treat
    (I'm Scotch, Bobal!)

    Ri1ma2Na3 (18 hours ago)
    the best performance ever of this song!! Love his voice, love him!!!
    thewho6507 (21 hours ago)
    americans know he didnt and americans hate bush he started the war to save his dad.and the terrorists are the ones who destroyed the world trade center on9/11 not bush
    thewho6507 (21 hours ago)
    because that was before he fucked everything up and the other choice was john kerry an american traitor,and he would'nt done shit for white people only the blacks and illegals.

  88. Sure you can throw some alfalfa in the mix. Or, Giant Soy Beans. If it was ever green, or ever "drew a breath" you can make go-juice out of it.

  89. Things keep improving in Iraq. More and more insurgent groups are laying down arms, negotiating with Maliki's government, and working with the government to hunt down Al Qaeda.

    Iraqi militants hunting al-Qaida

    Report: Iraqi militants hunting al-Qaida

    BAGHDAD, April 16, 2007 (UPI) -- Armed militants in Iraq have sought the Baghdad government's permission to hunt down members of al-Qaida, the country's official newspaper reported.

    "Negotiations have taken place between the government and armed groups as part of the reconciliation process. Positive outcome is near," the al-Sabah newspaper reported Monday.

    At least three groups were reportedly in negotiations with the government and Iraqi military, a correspondent for Kuwait's KUNA news agency reported. The report said they included Islamic Army in Iraq, the 1920s Revolution Brigades, al-Fatah Brigades and the al-Rashedeen Army.

    Earlier, Iraqi president Jalal Talabani said five other armed groups had expressed willingness to lay down arms and get involved in the political process, the report said.

  90. He should have had his husband come out and drive it.

  91. French "knew in 2001 al Qaeda was planning hijack"

    PARIS (Reuters) - French secret services produced nine reports between September 2000 and August 2001 looking at the al Qaeda threat to the United States, and knew it planned to hijack an aircraft, the French daily Le Monde said on Monday.

    The newspaper said it had obtained 328 pages of classified documents that showed foreign agents had infiltrated Osama bin Laden's network and were carefully tracking its moves.

    One document prepared in January 2001 was entitled "Plan to hijack an aircraft by Islamic radicals", and said the operation had been discussed in Kabul at the start of 2000 by al Qaeda, Taliban and Chechen militants.

  92. I agree with many points contained within the Telegraph's article. However, there is not a monolithic Western military culture, and it is intersting to note how the American military is faring in an environment of a sustained, unpopular war.

    I believe there is a thinly veiled (if at all) contempt on the left side of American politics for the military as an institution, if not as an instrument of national power.
    A few weeks ago the Wapo Arkin column labeled America's all volunteer American military force as "mercenaries" (as opposed to a military comprised of draftees), and of course, there is frequent tension between American universities and on campus recruiting/ROTC.

    But the American Army still possesses a strong identity and a healthy culture that, despite being involved in a war that is less than popular and though it is at times assailed by the far left. And the strength and nature of that culture is more apparent the closer one gets to the tip of the spear (ie combat arms units).

    As I have stated in other comments and postings, I have no doubt that my grandfather (a Naval corpsman in the Pacific during WWII who landed on Pelelieu and Okinawa) would have no problem identifying with the Infantryman, scouts, and Special Forces soldiers manning firebases in Iraq or Afghanistan, and that is a compliment to BOTH generations.

    The military is still different, a part of America, and yet by requirement apart from it, on the walls and manning the towers, watching the coasts.

    Let us hope that our society grows wiser about the importance of the military, and that political debate focuses on how and where to employ it and in what form, rather than debating its existence altogether.

  93. The day-to-day work of the White House implementation manager overseeing Iraq and Afghanistan would require a great deal of emotional and intellectual energy resolving critical resource issues in a bureaucracy that, to date, has not functioned well. Activities such as the current surge operations should fit into an overall strategic framework. There has to be linkage between short-term operations and strategic objectives that represent long-term U.S. and regional interests, such as assured access to energy resources and support for stable, Western-oriented countries. These interests will require a serious dialogue and partnership with countries that live in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood. We cannot "shorthand" this issue with concepts such as the "democratization of the region" or the constant refrain by a small but powerful group that we are going to "win," even as "victory" is not defined or is frequently redefined.

    It would have been a great honor to serve this nation again. But after thoughtful discussions with people both in and outside of this administration, I concluded that the current Washington decision-making process lacks a linkage to a broader view of the region and how the parts fit together strategically. We got it right during the early days of Afghanistan -- and then lost focus. We have never gotten it right in Iraq. For these reasons, I asked not to be considered for this important White House position. These huge shortcomings are not going to be resolved by the assignment of an additional individual to the White House staff. They need to be addressed before an implementation manager is brought on board.

    The writer is a retired Marine Corps general, Johm J Sheehan

    "... the constant refrain by a small but powerful group that we are going to "win," even as "victory" is not defined or is frequently redefined. ..."

    Guess this four star Marine does not realize the "9-11 Changed everything".
    Perhaps he still knows that victory has to be defined to be achieved.

    That snippets of "good news" do not add up to winning, but are just ink sprayed on to garbage.

  94. rufus said...
    He should have had his husband come out and drive it.
    No can do.
    Mess up the Mustache.

  95. "ink sprayed on to garbage."
    Highly Intellectual Garbage However.

  96. The AP story about the aQ and the French had a bit different lead:
    PARIS (Associated Press) -- A French intelligence service learned as early as January 2001 that al-Qaida was working on a plot to hijack U.S. airliners, and it passed the information on to the CIA, a news report said Monday.

  97. " I concluded that the current Washington decision-making process lacks a linkage to a broader view of the region and how the parts fit together strategically.
    We got it right during the early days of Afghanistan -- and then lost focus. We have never gotten it right in Iraq. For these reasons, I asked not to be considered for this important White House position.

    These huge shortcomings are not going to be resolved by the assignment of an additional individual to the White House staff."
    Even the despised Lebanese 4 Star knew that.

  98. I've had lots and lots of ink sprayed, over the past 25 years, doug. Supplied at least my share of landfill content.

    Nothing all that "intellectual" to it. Just have to understand the "process". The next phase of publishing will not even have ink or garbage involved in the product.

    Unless one thinks that the intellectual content is garbage, rather than the paper itself.

  99. Desert Rat has many times said:
    How does Mr Bush claim success without a withdrawal?

    Didn't we do this in Japan and Germany after World War II? Have success without withdrawing ?

    It would also seem after reading him for many months that he wants definitive definitions of progress in the one human endeavor that is, and always has been, in the greatest of flux, war.

    If we left Iraq those international players who are in the shadows would only fill the void we left with a hopelessness they have established in their own countries. That does not seem quite proper for a superpower to do.

  100. General Sheehan wants to cut & run from Iraq, so it isn't surprising that he doesn't fit in the Bush Administration. (Is the General related to Cindy Sheehan? Probably just a coincidence.)

    "Sheehan said he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq. 'So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, "No, thanks." ' "

  101. > Didn't we do this in Japan and Germany after World War II?

    Yes, and the same situation we have in Iraq now could have happened in Japan or Germany during WWII, or any time we overthrow the government of a country. We automatically have a mission in that situation, so there is no reason to ask what it is. In the name of self defense, we need to do our best to make sure that our old enemy or a new enemy doesn't take over.

    It is the same mission we agreed to in a UN resolution, and one of the two authorizations of force in the original US Congress Iraq resolution was to enforce UN resolutions in Iraq.

  102. WOW,

    That's an INCREDIBLE PICTURE, Bob.

    Simply Amazin

  103. Situation in flux.

    It seems to me there is no greater human endeavor than war and battle that fits the above statement.

    Can some one explain to me how some argue that absolute precision in planning and a bulletproof withdrawl plan an be drawn up prior to the start of hostilities and survive the first engagement with the enemy?
    I believe I heard no exit strategy mentioned so many times I want to throw up. The most rudimentary rule is you get in it to win it, not retreat because your original plans did not work to perfection. Adapt ,inprovise, overcome, until what you set out for, VICTORY is achieved.

  104. The argument may be that if we withdraw then Iraq will collapse. Since they have no army it is clearly true that if we totally left Iraq, then Iraq could occupy at least part of it. That's why we can't leave at the end of the year.

    The good news I am talking about is that the Iraqis are ceasing fire with each other, and with the help of the US are building themselves to the point where they can throw Al Qaeda out and police their own country.

  105. I meant

    > then IRAN could occupy...

  106. The Bush Stategy,

    Wait until four months before you leave office and bomb Iran.

  107. Study: Hospitals would be 'overloaded' by nuclear attack on U.S.

    USA Today

    WOW really?

  108. It's not so much an "exit strategy" as a definition of victory that is lacking.

    That is what General Sheehan says is lacking and what Mr Cheney said was required:
    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...
    You also need to know what constitutes victory.
    How would you define it?
    How would you know when you had achieved it?

    That is, Mr Cheney said was required whenever US troops are deployeed to do battle.
    That is a requirement that comes before an Exit Strategy, a defined Victory Strategy.

    Muddling through is no such Strategy, or General Sheehan would have taken the job.

  109. Don Ho, 76, Entertainer Who Defined the Hawaiian Image, Is Dead

    Don Ho, an entertainer who defined popular perceptions of Hawaiian music in the 1960s and held fast to that image as a peerless Waikiki nightclub attraction, died Saturday in Honolulu. He was 76.

    Could Don Imus have reported this news?

  110. Wasn't the exit strategy that we stand up an Iraqi government, a democratic republic, and once they are capable of defending themselves, leave? We seem to be on track to doing that, and it was always the goal. The problem, it seems, was getting there.

  111. "You also need to know what constitutes victory.
    How would you define it?
    How would you know when you had achieved it?"
    Thats crap.. we muddle through two world wars. The interim ojective, kill the enemy in large numbers and destroy his war making capabilities.
    The ultimate objective , victory

    And you know what constitutes victory? When your enemy surrenders or you have eliminated him.

    How would you know when you've achieved it...pleeese DR don't continue to be obtuse it just makes you look achieve it when the enemy gives up.

  112. Desert Rat,

    I too have noticed what Habu has pointed out in his not so diplomatic manner. You are far too obtuse and often times misleading to be a voice for much other than defeatism. You seem to be quite leftest.

  113. Which enemy, habu?
    The Shia Islamoids of the SCIRI
    The Sunni Islamoids of Saudi Arabia

    Who is the enemy?

    Do not be obtuse, yourself.

    Follow the President and his rhetoric.
    It denies the expertise of Bernard Lewis.
    It denies the expertise of Dick Cheney, circa 1993.
    It denies the expertise of Marine Corps and Army Generals

    Just as your rhetoric has denied the expertise of Mr Bush and his Team, both the rhetoric and the policies, in the present case.

    habu said:
    "... Complicating the solution with a million scenarios doesn't address the single biggest issue of killing them by the hundreds of millions.
    Save you breath and don't tell me it can't be done. I know it can be done.
    Takes guts and leadership of the sheeple to do what needs doing...killing those whose entire life on this earth is now dedicated to f*cking up everyone who lives outside Islam.
    BC @ 2/26/2007 05:53:00 PM

    Mr Bush does not share your view of victory, that much is obvious to all