“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, July 17, 2007

All Over the Map

Pace: US Weighs Larger 'Surge' in Iraq
Jul 16 04:18 PM US/Eastern
AP Military Writer
BAGHDAD (AP) - The U.S. military is weighing new directions in Iraq, including an even bigger troop buildup if President Bush thinks his "surge" strategy needs a further boost, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace revealed that he and the chiefs of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force are developing their own assessment of the situation in Iraq, to be presented to Bush in September. That will be separate from the highly anticipated report to Congress that month by Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander for Iraq.

The Joint Chiefs are considering a range of actions, including another troop buildup, Pace said without making any predictions. He called it prudent planning to enable the services to be ready for Bush's decision.

The military must "be prepared for whatever it's going to look like two months from now," Pace said in an interview with two reporters traveling with him to Iraq from Washington.

"That way, if we need to plus up or come down" in numbers of troops in Iraq, the details will have been studied, he said.

Pace, on his first visit since U.S. commanders accelerated combat operations in mid-June, said another option under consideration is maintaining current troop levels beyond September.

There are now about 158,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, reflecting a boost of about 30,000 to carry out the new strategy Bush announced in January. The plan is focused on providing better security for Iraqis in Baghdad, but the intended effect—political reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites—has yet to be achieved, and many in Congress are clamoring to begin withdrawing troops soon.

Pace said the administration must consider not only what works best on the battlefield but also the growing stress of more than four years of war on American troops and their families.

He repeatedly mentioned his concern about soldiers and Marines doing multiple tours of duty and the decision in January to extend soldiers' Iraq deployments by three months, to 15 months.

"That has impact on families," he said in a separate Associated Press interview at a U.S. military headquarters on the outskirts of the capital after meeting with commanders and conferring by secure video teleconference with Bush.

Pace also conferred with Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the No. 2 commander in Iraq, who said he did not currently foresee requesting more troops.

"Right now I can't find an assessment where I would say I need more troops," Odierno said, adding that he is confident that by September he will be able to give Petraeus his advice on how the troop buildup is working.

"My assessment right now is, I need more time" to understand how the offensive targeting al-Qaida in Iraq is working and how it could lead to political progress, Odierno said.

"I'm seeing some progress now here in Iraq. We have really just started what the Iraqis term 'liberating' them from al-Qaida. What I've got to determine is what do I need in order to continue that progress so that the political piece can then take hold and Iraqi security forces can hold this for the long term."

Pace said he saw signs of improvement since his previous visit in April, based in part on a 30-minute aerial tour of Baghdad in a Black Hawk helicopter as well as private talks with commanders.

"The surge is having very good positive results on the streets of Baghdad," he told AP. "We have yet to see the political progress and results that you would hope to see."

All the while, the violence continues. On Monday, a suicide truck bombing followed by two smaller car bombs killed more than 80 people and wounded at least 180 in Kirkuk, about 180 miles north of Baghdad.

There are deep tensions between Kurds and Arabs in the city, and Sunni insurgents are believed to be moving north, fleeing the U.S. offensive around Baghdad and consolidating to carry out deadly bombings.

At the same time, the U.S. military said American troops launched a new offensive south of Baghdad on Monday, aiming to stop weapons and fighters from moving into the capital.

As for the U.S. troop boost, some on the Joint Chiefs had argued against it in January, in part out of concern that it could not be sustained long enough to have the desired effect and that it would put too much strain on the military.

In the AP interview, Pace made clear that he believes the soldiers and Marines in Iraq are focused on their mission. He seemed more concerned about the possibility that families eventually would grow fed up with the strain of long separations and the worry about loved ones being killed or wounded.

The chiefs for a number of weeks have been studying the timing of a possible U.S. military transition away from today's combat-oriented mission to one focused mainly on training Iraqi security forces while also protecting Iraq's borders and continuing the fight against terrorists.

Without opining on any new course of action in Iraq, Pace stressed in the interview his concern that multiple combat tours for many in the Army and Marine Corps could tear at the fabric of the military. He said that is one reason he is visiting the troops now—to hear their concerns, assess their morale and explain to them why he advocated extending Army tours from 12 months to 15.

He said he also would stop in Germany this week to meet with family members of military units that are affected by tour extensions.

Pace, who will be replaced soon by Adm. Michael Mullen as Joint Chiefs chairman, was asked whether he feels political pressure amid a heated and prolonged Iraq debate in Congress and the approach of the 2008 elections.

"I don't feel any pressure" of that sort, he said.
Although the headline emphasizes that Pace is considering additional troops on top of the 30,000 committed to the surge, Odierno said that he's not asking for them. The issue of a tired Army looms in the background of any discussion of Iraq these days. To some outside the U.S. military in Iraq who claim to be kicking al-Qaeda ass in al-Anbar, we have bitten off more of the Jihadi jerky than we can chew. I don't suppose we will ever really know the answer to that question but to all the world, it will appear to be so.

Pace and Odierno were discussing a number of things related to Iraq. What's not clear at least from this article, is the direction we're going. The Generals were quoted on a number of topics but are actually playing it close the vest right now. To be fair, so are the politicians. The lack of Statesmanship coming from Washington D.C. is appalling. Is there a man in Washington who can lead or is everyone so tied to the pork strings that he dares not engage the public with the hard, cold facts. It seems that every politician has one finger in the wind and is sitting on his other thumb. The papers are of no use in sorting things out, instead, dullards like me are forced to read the tea leaves. Well, says here in the bottom of my cup that our military may be a bit light for the heavy task of occupying Iraq and Afghanistan. That's bad news because we're only five years into the new Thirty Years War. Since there has been a deafening silence about a draft, I assume that the idea was always to get in and get out of Musselmanistan. Somehow, we got detained along the way. It appears that Nation building was not in the "peace dividend military's" job description which had been long on humanitarian relief operations short of the Somalia sort.

American patience, we're told, has all but run out on Iraq. We've also been told that the Iraqi government sucks and is primarily concerned with the oil revenue. CBS just reported that the Saudis send 60 to 80 jihadis per month through Damascus into Iraq. Our government doesn't make a peep about it and leaves it to the Iraqi National Security Adviser to complain to the Saudis and Syria. We're told by our Generals that Iran is training people who then cross the border to kill us in Iraq and what do we do about it? This is no way to wage a war and if there is no way to wage this war, then we need to get the hell out. This situation is so FUBAR that the only thing to do now is give General Petraeus the time he needs (through January 2008), declare "mission accomplished" and hand it over to our new best friends, the Iraqis.

Damn the consequences, we'll have to deal with whatever comes our way but when the graphic images of the genocide and carnage are plastered all over the world's media, just remind the left of their wonderful understanding and cooperation every step of the way. And when the Republicans are being hunted down and prosecuted by the Dems, just remind them how they treated their base. And when the fundamentalists knock off Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Israel and the Sauds are turned out in Arabia, well, just ignore it and console yourself that pedaling that bicycle will make you a healthier man.


  1. Reality is setting in. The fracture lines are so obvious within Iraq that all the groups other than al Qaeda are getting concerned at the thought of a US withdrawal.

    The Peace Dividend was more like a second and third mortgage. It is getting time to pay the price for a military too small and a mission too grand.

    Iraqi democracy was always a fool's mission. The present Malilki government is part of the problem. The Iraqi people would accept a Tito style martial law and a military rule that would provide stability. Where is the CIA?

    We should wink and let a military leader take charge . It may just possibly work. It may not. Roll the dice.

  2. "And when the Republicans are being hunted down and prosecuted by the Dems, just remind them how they treated their base."
    ...and the military:
    Check out the Video of Wives and Moms reactions to Multiple tours.

    (about half way down the front page, last of 4 video offerings.
    Videos work well on front page, I always wait forever, buffering away and often don't see videos at all once they put them in the archives, ie check it out NOW!)

    Halve the size of the Army, then quintuple the mission in a long non-war.

    Used to give more deference to 'Nam Vets saying Buck Up!
    ...but draftees only had to serve one tour, at least.
    Really doubt if it was part of the plan to redeploy National Gaurd Units 3 and 4 times so you'll have enough dough for contractors and prescription drugs for the old folks.

  3. Who do reccomend duece, Col Pinkerton for Dictator?

    When the news breaks that Iraqi Security Forces and US troops have a firefight ...

    From the reports I've read, we've been close to it more than a couple of times. One itchy finger trigger, or a patriotic Iraqi that disapproves of US arming murderers.

    That's all it could take.

    All the more, now that US Commanders would rather stand shoulder to shoulder with detainees in Abu Ghraib than with the Iraqi Army.

    There is no Iraqi General that would accept what the US is dishing out, now. Caca that Mr Maliki swallows whole turd.

    Mr Sistani would still have the ball, he & Mr al-Hakim and Mr al-Sadr. That's the reality.

    Anbar has become a fools game, that the Federals are playing to spin the US public with deceit and half-truths.

    It is only that the public does not know the score, being mushrooms to the System.
    The 1920 Brigades, the bearers of "Peace". Now that they've won the Civil War, in Anbar.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. No, the only way out, is to do what we said we would do. To fulfill the promises made to the US public.
    Eliminate the WMD threat, enforce the UN mandates, support the emergance of a democratic government. All of which are done.

    Assist the elected Iraqi government in gaining control of the country, or leave it to them to do, themselves, to their Standard.

    De facto partition with or without US troops on the ground.

  6. Report Cites Continued Qaeda Threat
    The U.S. faces “a persistent and evolving terrorist threat” from Al Qaeda, according to the nation’s intelligence agencies.
    FBI: Iraqis Being Smuggled Across the Rio Grande

    We in Texas have known about this for more than a year; its been on our LOCAL TV and LOCAL radio news reports.
    Last year, if I remember correctly, the executive branch tried to make the story "softly go away."
    Posted by: Ken Jul 17, 2007 3:38:39 PM

  7. Would you be conflicted, Deuce, if a bomber hit the American Bar Association?:)

  8. Pakistani.Lawyers?


    Not enough of Them? The Meeting was "Too Small?"

  9. But another lawyer close to Chaudhry said he believed the chief justice had been targeted by state intelligence agencies.

    "It was a direct attack on the chief justice by the agencies. They wanted to get rid of him," Munir A Malik, a member of Mr Chaudhry's legal team, said.

    The Supreme Court is expected to deliver a ruling on the merits of the government case against Mr Chaudhry in days.

    Justice's Meeting

  10. Bombing the democratic opposition to the General President.
    Wonder, was it the ISI, the Paki Army or the Insurgents that set off that bomb?

  11. Look like, as sam reports, others in Pakistan wonder, too.

  12. There's not a lot of talk about Jeffersonian democracy in This article. Things are murky and mostly out of our control, the author thinks.

  13. If you can fight off your BDS long enough you might want to hear what this guy, Rock of the Marne!
    John W. Charlton
    COL, Infantry Commanding Camp
    Ar Ramadi, Iraq

    has to say.

  14. Romney has established a substantial lead over the other Republican candidates in the latest polls for the New Hampshire primary. Poll

  15. ironic sarcasm your bar bills

  16. 2164th wrote:

    "We should wink and let a military leader take charge . It may just possibly work. It may not. Roll the dice."

    Why this paternalism? Why do you feel we should decide what happens in Iraq? Why bother? Is it worth your life? Is it worth all this blood and gold? For what...OIL? And we can't even execute that portion of the strategy....

  17. Ash, thanks for reminding me of my many faults

  18. Huh, Charlton's report reads rather optimistically.

  19. The British committee report said, "According to this record, Mr. Galloway made remarks which implied that some of his activities in support of the Iraqi regime may have been financed through an oil-related mechanism."

    Although Galloway challenged the transcript's authenticity, maintaining no one was present at the meeting to record it, the committee concluded that it was authentic.

    Last month, a charity watchdog, the Charity Commission, said the Mariam Appeal received money diverted by Saddam, taking in at least $376,000 in improper donations. Galloway said the commission's findings were false.

    Dealings with Saddam

  20. Here is the crux of that link, rufus.

    Our biggest challenge with the Iraqi police is getting them fully equipped, paid, and consolidated in police stations.
    The support system that begins with the MOI [Ministry of the Interior], and extends through the provincial police chief, is still a work in progress. As a result, the Iraqi police still rely heavily on coalition logistics and support

    The MoI will not support the police in Anbar, not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
    Not while the native tribes of Anbar are the police.
    So they will continue to depend upon US for logistics and support, not the Iraqi Government.

    So says General Lynch, so says the 1920 Brigader that Mr Yon interviewed, so says Colonel John Charlton, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division,

    They all tell the same tale a bit differently, but it is the same tale.
    Wonder why?

    The War in Anbar, against US, may be over, but send in the Iraqi Army. Oh wait, without Col Pinkerton's Marines and gunships threatening them, they'd have gone and arrested the Sunni militia murderers of Anbar.

    They will try and try again. They will succeed the moment we are not there to stop them.

    Nothing to do with Mr Bush, per se.

  21. That is also the complaint of the Iraqi Government, rufus, that the Anbar battalions are under the control of the local US commanders, not directed from Baghdad.
    It is a justifiable complaint.
    That we aare arming murdering terrorist, which we are, per Mr Yon's report.

    The US military can do what it wishes, can go where they please.
    But they cannot reconcile the factions, not today, tomorrow or by September, either in 2007, 2010 or 2017.

    2017, that General P's latest estimate of a timeline to success.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. I guess we'll have to work that problem next, right?

  24. 2017 or the Iraqi Civil War?

    Mr Biden's idea of partition, that could fix it, or not.

    But it is not OUR problem to work through, well it won't be after the Democrats control the US Government, in 2009.

    Their solution is being debated now, they'll win in '09 if Mr Bush stays the course.

    As General P said, it's a decade long solution, edgy even at that.
    Why not leave it to the owners of the problem??

  25. The choice in September, a Decade or a Year, the Congress will decide.

    Honestly, which way do you think the Federals will go?

    Even if Mr Bush plays domestic political defense, as Bill Kristol now calls success, his policies will still lose in the '08 election.

    Only he'll have delivered the US to the Democrats, Iraq to allah knows whom and the War on Terror to the trash bin of history.

    aQ will still be in Pakistan and Iraq, England, France, Germany and Holland. Not to mention the other half-dozen countries they operate in.

    Declare political victory, long term agreement with Maliki on basing and training. Turn the tables, sieze the inititive.

    Who Dares Wins

  26. What do we do when Iran moves in, and the Iraqi "Persians" let them?

  27. ..and the Iraqi "Persians" let them?

    Let them what? Share in the oil revenue?

  28. The only losers in the partition of Iraq are Saddam's arab Nazi/Baathist. As well they should be. I don't even worry about the Turks coming in. They'll get a bloody nose and an economy plunged into deep recession. Not to mention the end of their membership in NATO and the European Union.

  29. The Iraqi can do with Iraq what they will, rufus?

    What are "we" going to do about riots in Oaxaca, Mexico.
    What will "we" do when the British have another bombing, When Mr Putin ...

    The US is not at war with Iran, if the Iraqi need our help, they'll call. Then we'll respond, as per the Treaty that we'd have written with Mr Maliki.

  30. Only the Saudi, wahabbist faction loses, with partition, mat is right.

    Let the Baathists burn.

    Keep our word to the Iraqi, those purpled fingered Iraqi that have made their electoral choices. Support their government and its independence, logistically, with training and air support.

  31. Iran is Iran, it is not Iraq.
    If the Iraqi want to combine the two, well that is up to them, really.

    If after 5 years with US, if the Iraqi freely choose to ally with the Iranians, we've really screwed the pooch.

  32. I don't think so, dRat. The whole of the Iraqi government is involved in one giant oil skimming scam. There's no way they'll give that up to the Iranian Mullahs. No way.

  33. I do not, either, mat.
    But the decision is theirs to make, not ours to make, for them.

    Say what we'll do
    Then do what we say.

    Or our word ain't worth a turd.

    We said they'd be liberated,
    we said they'd have elections,
    we said their elected government was soveriegn, we said we had not desire to stay, we were not there for oil or for a colony.

    Which was the lie?

    If none were, we should BEGIN to leave.

  34. The US needs to make some decisions as well. For example:

    1/ Relocate the bases in Turkey to Kurdistan.
    2/ Recognize Kurdistan. Including the parts in Syria, Turkey, Iran.
    3/ Support the Kurds the exercise of full sovereignty over their territory. I.e., US military aid.

  35. Well it's a hell of a situation is all I got to say. After all this time I still don't know what I'd do if I was boss, and I'm glad I'm not. They're not getting along and it may well be a fools game to think they ever will. Religious hatred, oil money, ethnicity, a recipe for a really badly baked cake. Throw in aQ. The oven explodes.

  36. The U.N. Secretary-General is for Staying Or rather, for us staying.

  37. A lot of people will be glad to see This