“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 17, 2007

Why not pull the trigger on al-Sadr?


  1. Sadr raises pressure for US to withdraw

    By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
    Last Updated: 6:33am BST 17/04/2007 Telegraph

    The United States faced a fresh challenge to its presence in Iraq yesterday when supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr's radical Shia Muslim movement quit the Baghdad government to demand a deadline for withdrawal of its troops.

    By pulling out of the ruling Shia Alliance coalition, Sadr has moved a step closer to outright confrontation with the American-led military effort to stabilise Iraq.

    A Shia militiaman wears an identity card with a picture of Moqtada al-Sadr on the back

    The loss of Sadr's followers, including six cabinet ministers, does not deprive Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, of an overall majority but does reduce his scope for horse trading between competing factions.

    Sadr triggered the crisis in a letter to supporters that demanded a timetable for withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq. It said: "I pray for God Almighty to bestow on the Iraqi people a government that is independent from occupation and one that works hard in the service of its people."

    The movement holds one quarter of parliamentary seats in the Alliance which governs in coalition with Kurdish parties. The bloc's parliamentary representative, Nassar al-Rubaie, said the decision was taken after Mr Maliki rejected an ultimatum to confront the Americans.

    Behind the scenes, the split has been on the cards for months. Mr Maliki issued a statement yesterday thanking Sadr for instructing his ministers to resign, so that competent "independents" could be appointed.

  2. The danger in getting rid of Al Sadr is that he is the one most responsible for peace in Iraq, for the Sunnis' decisions to throw Al Qaeda out of Iraq, to cease fire against the Shiites, and to join the central government. He played a big role in preventing Saddam's Baathists from reclaiming power.

    From the time we liberated Iraq, the Iraqi Sunnis fought an insurgency against the government and "occupation forces", and a civil war against the Shiites. It didn't stop until the Shiites started fighting back, with Sadr's death squads and torture matching what the Sunnis had been doing for years. Al-Sadr's group "won" the war in Baghdad, taking turf from the Sunnis. That, along with the ever increasing threat from Iran, convinced lots of the Sunnis to give up their insurgency.

    It probably would be best to kill Al-Sadr now (which is why he is in hiding, many say in Iran). Before doing it we should decide if he is still needed to check the Sunnis and other Shiite groups.

  3. Allow the wet works to go forward. Take him out, send the message.

    It would appear his faction is a bit back on their heels so keep up the pressure.

    Find him and fry him. No one is untouchable.

  4. O/t

    The name of the Hokie shooter stll hasn't been released even though they know he came in on a a student visa.
    He is now being described as of asian decent, not just oriental.
    Asian covers a lot of round.

    There's really bad news they don't want the public to know .. like this wasn't just a lover's spat and the berserk behavior..this guy is dirty...I don't see how the government can get through another news cycle without disclosing his identity...surly they have found his house/apartment, car or other tags to put together.
    How long did it take for the FBI to ID Mohammad Atta

    I think they're chilling the public down so going after "asian types" doesn't get roll'in ..."asian type" my ass.

  5. ... specifically, a Chinese national.

    ... shouda, woulda, coulda doesn't count, I know, but Sadr shoulda been dead a long time ago. All we're doing now is preparing Iraq for caliphate membership with Iran .

  6. Va Tech Charles Steger has stated the guy was a student, lived in one of the dorms..
    So they have all kinds of information, a picture, probably his computer, surveillence camera footage..

    So why are they sitting on the info?
    He's dead. Any help he had has already giddy-upped.
    Curious handling ...somebody who knows these things help my thinking.

  7. The gunman who opened fire in Virginia Tech's Norris Hall, killing 30 people before turning the gun on himself, was "an Asian male who was a resident in one of our dormitories," university President Charles Steger said Tuesday.

    Steger didn't provide further details and he said he was still uncertain whether the student gunman at Norris was the same one who fatally shot two people in a dorm two hours earlier.

    He added, however, that he didn't think a second gunman was on the loose.

    One reason they are being cautious is because there is still a small chance that there is an accomplice of some sort who is still alive.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. If there were/ are accomplices, they know who they are and who the shooter was. Only by indentifying the shooter to the public would those accomplices be identified and caught.

    The public being the eyes and ears of law enforcement. All the friends of the shooter would be uncovered, if his identity were made public. Keeping it secret is not being done to aid in the investigation of "others", but to avoid unpleasent realities, at least until a suitable cover story can be produced.

    As to Mr al-Sadr, he provides a counter weight to Mr al-Hakim, within the Iraqi Shia community. Mr al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution Iraq, has been a long time proxy for Iran. Even more so than Mr al-Sadr.

    Mr Maliki has long said that al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army are not a threat to the Iraqi Government. By killing al-Sadr that faction of the Shia communinty, the majority in Baghdad, could destabilize itself and the Government.

    By having his Ministers resign, but not his MPs, al-Sadr will still heavily impact who is appointed to those now empty positions. Politics at its' best, another US Goal achieved.

    Learn to love it. It's part of the Approved Program. The cart is still put before the horse, but that's just par for the course.

  10. Iraq's Interior Ministry said Iraqi troops killed 25 insurgents in a gun battle south of Baghdad on Tuesday.

    A source told Kuwait's KUNA news agency that Iraqis, backed by coalition troops, raided hideouts in Al-Samra in the province of Waset. The report said "huge amounts" of weapons and bomb-making material were also seized.

    Similar raids in the same area earlier this month resulted in 40 insurgent deaths and more than 100 arrests, the source said.

  11. Rat, I'm not convinced we're doing what's needed to keep the Shia/Sunni balance intact.

    Iran (like N. Korea) has grown stronger according to the "plan". Hopefully, we have a keen eye on them, as part of the "plan", and will react if needed.

    ...just don't have confidence, I guess!

  12. Desert Rat

    The public being the eyes and ears of law enforcement. All the friends of the shooter would be uncovered, if his identity were made public. Keeping it secret is not being done to aid in the investigation of "others", but to avoid unpleasent realities, at least until a suitable cover story can be produced.

    until a suitable cover story can be produced

    We'd be wise to listen to Desert Rat

  13. Mr Gates likes the funding debate over timelines, benchmarks and what nots, he just wants the Administrations' position to prevail.

    Mr al-Sadrs' motives for his political behaviour remains a mystery to Mr Gates, but he hopes for the best.

    "I think the impact ... that these resignations have will depend, in some measure on who is selected to replace these ministers and their capabilities, and whether those vacancies are used in a way that can perhaps further advance the reconciliation process," said Gates. "There is the opportunity to turn what might seem like a negative potentially into a positive development."

    Noting that the six ministers are remaining as members of the council of representatives and therefore not walking away from the process, Gates said it is still not clear what Sadr's motives are for the split.

    "In the intelligence business we divided all the information that we wanted to know into two categories _ secrets and mysteries," said Gates, a former director of the CIA. "I think that his motives right now, at least for me, are a mystery not a secret."

    Gates said that broadening the representation in the cabinet of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's could help advance the reconciliation process.

    Sadr has said the reason for the resignations is the lack of a timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq _ a move that Gates and the Bush administration have opposed.

    But Gates again said Tuesday that the ongoing push for a timetable by the Democratically-controlled Congress has been helpful in showing the Iraqis that American patience is limited.

    "I've been pretty clear that I think the enactment of specific deadlines would be a bad mistake. but I think the debate itself, and I think the strong feelings expressed in the Congress about the timetable ...probably has had a positive impact _ at least I hope it has in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that this is not an open-ended commitment," he said.

  14. It sounds like one other reason for delay is they are waiting for ballistics test to confirm he was the killer.

  15. The killer's name is Sueng-Hui Cho. Don't know what is the value of knowing the name, but that is it.

  16. Virginia gunman ID'd as Korean Cho Seung-Hui; one gun in both shootings

    headline at

  17. So... according to Gates the Bush administration has adopted the Dems argument (somewhat), get out as soon as feasible.

    "not an open-ended commitment"

    As soon as we leave the caliphate will be enlarged.

    ... now they're saying the shooter was South Korean.

  18. oops! You beat me to it Wu Wei!

  19. The killer was from South Korea, a friendly country. Nuke them? If he had been from an Islamic country there might have been theories that all Muslims are out to get us so we need to get them first.

  20. I agree with DR on the cover up of unpleasantries.

    Does anyone know who has the lead on the investigation? How deeply is Homeland Security involved? FBI running the investigation?
    If they are why? Certainly Virginia can ask for their assistence but this happened within the borders of one state. The state should be leading the investigation.
    But do we know any of this?

    I understand the serial numbers were filed off the weapons. That doesn't sound like a crime of a jilted lover, nor does it take mutiple clips to kill one woman and her new lover.

    Sounds like the Religion of Peace our President touts.

    Not only who is leading the investigation but who ends up with each piece of evidence, each lead. Who is putting the pieces together, or not puting the pieces together.
    How long did it take the government, a government taken by surprise to ID Mohammad Atta?
    My memory is a bit fuzzy but it wasn't too damn long and he was blown into teeny tiny pieces and didn't live in a dorm room on a college campus.
    Why haven't we had interviews with others on his dorm floor, the resident assistant etc....

    So many questions that by now we should have answers and access to.

    Yeah DR has smelled it out .. the construction of a cover story. But sadly since this kid lived in a dorm some things were observed about him by others and the story will never hold.

  21. The President has always said that, tiger.
    "We'll leave when the job is done"

    Numerous times. Making the debate about what the "job" is, and the definition of "done".

    Takes us back to the original Authorization.

    Mr Bush has said in a news conference, before the November '06 election that he desires no long term presence in Iraq, that if there is to be one, his replacement will negotiate it.

    A position I think is faulty, but ...

  22. > But do we know any of this?

    1) The government said so.
    2) Conspiracy theorists haven't proved otherwise.

    Those are my rules. If someone wants to convince me their alternate reality is true, then they need to prove it.

  23. Not just a faulty position! I would call it reckless!

  24. gotta ru!

    You guys keep your guns close, OK?

    Just in case any NaziFascistIslamicIllegalorLegalVisaAlienMcVeigh shows up!

  25. Guess you've never worked for the Government, in a clandestine mode, aye wu.

    Those of us that have, know better than to believe "everything" unless "proven" otherwise.

    Mr Cheney said it best.
    A 1% possibility is a 100% probability and requires action.

    “The One Percent Doctrine”
    'If there's a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It's not about our analysis . . . It's about our response.'

    No proof required.

  26. I think that the University president needs to update his resume.

    We have an opening at the club I work at.

  27. It's not a question of trusting the government, but trusting a conspiracy theory which has no evidence behind it. If anyone can prove their conspiracy theory, then I'll believe it.

  28. We now know the identity of the killer at Virginia Tech.

    He is Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old resident alien of the United States, as first reported by ABC News.

    Cho is a South Korean national, a Virginia Tech senior majoring in English and the man who killed 33 people — inlcuding himself — on the Virginia Tech campus Monday.

    Sources tell ABC News that Cho killed two people in a dorm room, returned to his own dorm room where he re-armed and left a "disturbing note" before entering a classroom building on the other side of campus to continue his rampage.

    Cho's identity has been confirmed with a positive fingerprint match on the guns used in the rampage and with immigration materials.

    "Lab results confirm that one of the two weapons seized in Norris Hall was used in both shootings," Virigina Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said at a press conference Tuesday morning.

    At this time, police are not looking for a second shooter, however, they did not rule out the possibility that an accomplice may have been involved. Sources say Cho was carrying a backpack that contained receipts for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol. Witnesses had also told authorities that the shooter was carrying a backpack. Police also Cho had a .22 caliber pistol. Sections of chain similar to those used to lock the main doors at Norris Hall, the site of the second shooting that left 31 dead, were also found inside a Virginia Tech dormitory, sources confirmed to ABC News.

  29. Mr. Desert Rat,

    can you show me the clandestine position so I'll know it when I get in it?

    Is it hard to learn?

    I like your writing. Powerful and manly and right. My friends call me Swallow.

  30. One weapon. Well, if you have enough clips, it only takes a second or two.

  31. No, deb, not hard at all, often one does not even know it, even when they're deeply involved.

    That's what makes it clandestine.

    Mr North knew, but others of us did not. Suspect it, you bet, but prove it ...

    Couldn't have done that, even while in the midst of it. No "direct payroll deposits" on paydays. No chain of custody to the cash. Deniable and unprovable.

    As Major General Smedley Butler USMC, twice awarded the Medal of Honor, said in 1933:

    "War is just a racket."
    Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

    The General was an overt, nonclandestine operator, at that.

  32. Pelosi's approval rating is at 53%.

    Gingrich, in his day, topped out at 41.

  33. Did I actually read Rat and Habu agreeing on something?

    Deb--Rat doesn't really look anything like his picture, I think you should know that.

  34. Proof positive that 53% of our people are idiots, Trish.

  35. We are finding Planets all over out there, and you folks scoff at ET.

  36. "Proof positive that 53% of our people are idiots, Trish."

    But we need to bring a lot of those idiots back over to our side, don't we, bob?

    And how to do that?

  37. I know:

    There's a secret plan to "dial back" in Iraq before the end of the year, thus saving the GOP much discomfort heading into 08.

  38. Re-education camps is all I can think of, Trish, but that doesn't have a constitutional ring to it.

  39. Podhoretz this morning at The Corner:

    "Going into the general election, where I think we can all concede the Democrats appear to have a natural edge, the Republican hope is for a candidate who can appeal to independent voters — and who can take advantage of natural Democratic weaknesses should they manifest themselves (especially on national security and economic issues, I would think) and use them to change the dynamic in the weeks before the election.

    "The best Republican candidate would be a candidate who could do that. I think Rudy could do that, and the fact that you can't rule him out winning (say) New Jersey by peeling off swing voters there is an indicator that he presents a specific strategic possibility for the GOP. Republicans are going to have to consider this very seriously, since it seems more than possible Ohio is gone for the GOP next time."

    "In the weeks before the election..." Hey, that's a plan.

  40. Agree to hand over the Security Mission" to the Iraqi. Put them in the lead, in November or December of '07.

    Finalize a Status of Forces agreement, or current venacular for the same, with the Iraqi through 2010.

    With a planned residual force of around 40,000 to 50,000 in Iraq at that time.

    Change the narrative from a withdrawal under fire to the US showing long term resolve.
    Mr Bush signs the agreement, then REALLY let the Dems argue for defeat.

    Do it quickly and change the debate, the tone and the narrative.

  41. DR, your plan wouldn't stop the violence nor ensure that the elected government in Iraq remained in power thus it wouldn't necessarily improve the 'optics' very much.

  42. With respect to the taking out of Sadr it certainly would look hypocritical to use such undemocratic means to silence a critic and it also wouldn't do much to quell the desire and aspirations of the movement he leads. It would more probably martyr him, a new leader would fill his shoes, and the movement would be strengthened and become more militant.

  43. The BBC is reporting:
    Police confirmed that two handguns - 9mm and 22mm weapons - were recovered at the scene of the second shooting, and that one of them was also used in the first incident.

    22mm? Yep that would take your face off.

  44. "Agree to hand over the Security Mission" to the Iraqi. Put them in the lead, in November or December of '07."

    Put them in the lead nominally or put them in the lead actually?

  45. There won't be a SOFA, Rat.

    Status of Mission is it.

  46. Debbie, to back up what DR said in citing Gen. Butler, who knew a thing or two about war here's an eye opener from ,as DR pointed out a TWO time Medal of Honor winner. Plus Marines are known for their veracity, often crude and rude but magnum cum veritas!

    "In “Time of Peace,” Common Sense, Nov. 1935, Butler said:

    "There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its ‘finger men’ (to point out enemies), its ‘muscle men’ (to destroy enemies), its ‘brain men’ (to plan war preparations), and a “Big Boss” (super-nationalistic capitalism).

    It may seem odd for a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to.

    I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups.

    I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras “right” for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested....

    General Butler was perfectly sane and in full control of all his faculties when he wrote those words. They do carry weight.

  47. Trish,

    If they're idiots can't we entice them with candy and pony rides? you think we could work a deal for a guest worker program with Cuban sugar cane cutters? The old switch from having our disenchanted Marxist youth going to Cuba back in the 1960's..we could promise to play Ricky Martin songs and have a big screen of Shakira shak'n booty.

  48. Ok, less'n not be fogett'n da value of small clean nuclar bobs being dropped on Teeran.

    They be still making headway and there's no Jack "Secret-Tater Bauer in sight.

    Watch out for tonight. Nappy Nubian Moon phase.

  49. Probably not, aquarium.

    Rat, I know you see a significant withdrawal coming, but the only cover (speaking of covers) for one is in the hands of Petraeus, and only if he should be so bold as to suggest a change of mission. To Congress.

    That's why I don't anticipate a significant drawdown.

  50. According to a psychiatrist I was listening to last night who does a lot of brain scan work with this type of shooter, almost all these shooter or killer types have some type of brain injury or abnormaility. Watch out for your left temporal lobe. That Whitman(sp) from Texas years ago had a brain tumour. The prosecutors are always tryiing to keep this type of evidence away from the jury, as is logical from thier point of view. Takes some kind of provocation(from the shooter's subjective point of view) to usually touch it off, he said. What's next, preventative scans? In England, they have been screening the youth going into the school systems for all sorts of things, I've read. That pesky constitution.

  51. da poleece brot in a anagram maker who have be a lead iff'n you anagram his nam it can be


    Tater's inner ci say he mad about Imus firing he turned into
    SUCH HOE GUN I and don did dirty.

  52. This Fellow misses the one cause the psychiatrist spoke of--most all are brain damaged to some degree.