“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."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

There is Trouble in Paradise. Malaki and Petraeus Have Hard Feelings.

I can't deal with you any more. I will ask for someone else to replace you." -Nouri al-Maliki to Gen David Petraeus

Iraqi leader tells Bush: Get Gen Petraeus out

By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:44am BST 28/07/2007 Telegraph

Relations between the top United States general in Iraq and Nouri al-Maliki, the country's prime minister, are so bad that the Iraqi leader made a direct appeal for his removal to President George W Bush.

Although the call was rejected, aides to both men admit that Mr Maliki and Gen David Petraeus engage in frequent stand-up shouting matches, differing particularly over the US general's moves to arm Sunni tribesmen to fight al-Qa'eda.

One Iraqi source said Mr Maliki used a video conference with Mr Bush to call for the general's signature strategy to be scrapped. "He told Bush that if Petraeus continues, he would arm Shia militias," said the official. "Bush told Maliki to calm down."

At another meeting with Gen Petraeus, Mr Maliki said: "I can't deal with you any more. I will ask for someone else to replace you."

Gen Petraeus admitted that the relationship was stormy, saying: "We have not pulled punches with each other."

President Bush's support for Mr Maliki is deeply controversial within the US government because of the Iraqi's ties to Shia militias responsible for some of the worst sectarian violence.

The New York Times claimed yesterday that Saudi Arabia was refusing to work with Mr Maliki and has presented "evidence" that he was an Iranian intelligence agent to US officials. "Bush administration officials are voicing increasing anger at what they say has been Saudi Arabia's counterproductive role in the war," it reported.

Alongside the firm support of Mr Bush, Mr Maliki also enjoys the backing of Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador and his predecessor, Zalmay Khalilzad, now America's representative at the United Nations.

Mr Khalilzad took a swipe at Saudi Arabia in an editorial published earlier this month that was widely seen as an appeal for a larger UN role in stabilising Iraq.

Mr Crocker, who attends Mr Maliki's stormy weekly meetings with Gen Petraeus, said the Iraqi leader was a strong partner of America.

"There is no leader in the world that is under more pressure than Nouri al-Maliki, without question," he said. "Sometimes he reflects that frustration. I don't blame him. I probably would too."


  1. I think that it is possible to say that the human race took a major wrong turn many eons ago. I am not convinced of this, though it is stated in a way in every motel room across America, in the old writings, that are there in the desk , when you check in.

    What if thought itself, and the ego that grows from it, is a major mistake?

    What if Blake is right, that every bird on the tree is an eternity of delight?

    Without thought?

    What then?

    No ego, but delight?

    There may be trouble in Paradise then, whatevr the General may say.

  2. But Blake, if I read him right,would say, it is a passing thing, the ego, and the perceiver perceives to the depth that he is able to do. And it grows, forever.

    The stages are there forever, but a human being passes through, says

  3. I think, after some more thought:) that Blake would say, there is no mistake, but just a process of growth.

    To do violence is to undo creation.

  4. With even some more thought, if such a thing exists, maybe William Blake would affirm, that past thought, the 'world' will end, that is, at least, no more violence. Then we become what we already are--one--and sacred. But we have to go through the process first. Before realization.

    Does this make sense? An old English prof said it did.

  5. Damn, I wanted to get the one about resurrection but failed. Look em all over. Nite.

  6. My English Prof was a Dyke obsessed about some swan that fucked a chick, or some such.

  7. As U.S. Rebuilds, Iraq Won’t Act on Finished Work

    Iraq’s national government is refusing to take over thousands of reconstruction projects, a report shows.

    finding that of 2,797 completed projects costing $5.8 billion, Iraq’s national government had, by the spring of this year, accepted only 435 projects valued at $501 million. Few transfers to Iraqi national government control have taken place since the current Iraqi government, which is frequently criticized for inaction on matters relating to the American intervention, took office in 2006.

    The United States often promotes the number of rebuilding projects, like power plants and hospitals, that have been completed in Iraq, citing them as signs of progress in a nation otherwise fraught with violence and political stalemate. But closer examination by the inspector general’s office, headed by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., has found that a number of individual projects are crumbling, abandoned or otherwise inoperative only months after the United States declared that they had been successfully completed. The United States always intended to hand over projects to the Iraqi government when they were completed.

  8. Mr Bush, at home and abroad, chooses allies like Bubba chooses Broads:

    Standards? What Standards?
    Ethics? What Ethics?
    Laws? I don't need no stinking laws.

    ...Sort of like Trish and Kristol welcoming honorable groups like La Raza and MECHA into our political process.

    (if the President can do it, why can't we?)

    ...applies to Terror Sponsors too, of course for the Whitehouse.

  9. Actively arming and training the Enemy does piss off the Allies, that seems reasonable.

    The Turks are pissed because we arm the PKK, well our weapons get into their hands.

    The Iraqi are pissed because we are arming the Baathist Insurectionists.

    The US is pissed because the Iranians are arming and training Baathist and JAM militias in Iraq.

    The US is pissed because the Iraqi are arming and training themselves.

    Everyone is pissed at the Sauds, except for the Baathists and aQIraq operatives the Sauds support, in Iraq.

    But do not worry, US soldiers are becoming Sheiks, in Iraq. The white robes, a herd of goats and an extra wife, all for the cause of freedom!
    What an added enlistment bonus!

  10. Remind me once more. Why did we get involved in Iraq? Because junior was smarter than the old man?

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. The US states it does not supply weapons to the PKK, the Iranians deny arming militias in Iraq.

    While the weapons in the hands of terrorists proves the claims of denial by both sides to be hollow.

    The US undercutting the lawful authority of the elected Iraqi Government, each day the "Surge" progresses. Each day we provide aid and comfort to the Baathist terrorists in Iraq.

  13. Well, duece, the US entered Iraq to:
    Stop the transfer of WMD to terrorists. Done deal.

    Enforce UN Sanctoions and Resolutions. Done deal.

    Support the EMERGENCE of a democratic government in Iraq. Done deal.

    That is why the US went into Iraq, why we stay, another question, entirely. With another set of answers. Answers revolving around the mental state of Mr Bush and his denial of success.

    Mr Bush didn't read Mr Cheney's AEI interview from 1992, that seems obvious enough.

  14. I understand why Maliki, a Shia, would be upset with Petraeus for arming Sunni groups. I also understand and support Petraeus's plan to defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq. I can think of no more pressing problem for us that the on-going war with the Mohammedan thugs. If there is one thing we can and must do, it is to defeat the jihadis in Iraq. When that is done, we can say that our work in that country is done. The rest is up to the Iraqis.

    Civil war or no war, partition or not. We cannot build a nation there and our time there is limited but we must not let the jihadis be seen as having "forced us out."

    Our problem is the propaganda war with the Islamists. We must kick their asses out of Iraq, declare victory and leave with our heads high and on our terms. So, if Petraeus has to arm the Sunnis while Iran arms the Shias, that's their problem to be resolved after we leave.

  15. That story, the one about US soldiers defending terrorists that had set up an operationsal headquarters in an Iraqi school, from arrest by Iraqi soldiers, that shows just how low we've sunk, morally.

    We left that school in the hands of terrorists, we defended their "right" to appropriate that public school property for a terrorist operations command center. Typical of Baathist tactics, to use a school for arms depot and operations center.

    Then the US Commander had the audacity to say the Iraqi Army was out of control. Seems that the US has forgotten the Mission.

    Nr Maliki, the fairly elected Prime Minister, the product of a US approved Constitutional System, is "Right".
    It is his country, after all.

  16. Ahhh, but we are not leaving, whit.

    So it is our own problem that we are creating, for ourselves. In violation of our Treaty obligations to provide security in Iraq.

    Only Mr Maliki, the personification of four years of US efforts to achieve strategic success, has the moral authority that is derived from democratic elections and the peoples choice.

    The US is now supporting the Enemies of democracy, to save democracy, in Iraq.

    Burning the village to save it.

    The US has not even become engaged in the propaganda battle, let alone be on the edge of "winning" it.
    With each Baathist we arm, we step further from our Goal.

  17. "I can't deal with you any more. I will ask for someone else to replace you."

    And the obvious rejoinder to that was...something that could be thought but not stated.

    And Crocker, the good diplomat, says what a good diplomat is given to say, though there is at least one leader under more pressure than al-Maliki and everybody's glad they're not that guy.

    (Crocker should have been made the front man. It was a mistake to do otherwise, but what's one mistake more or less now?)

    We're arming up the Sauds again, yes we are. Doubling the size of their air force. Last time we did that was in the Reagan administration and first years of GHWB, in the decade before Desert Storm. Pre-placement of the Desert Storm stock, we used to joke.

    Yesterday's tongue-in-cheek (Arm the Sunnis!) become today's headlines, making The Onion the greatest open source available.

  18. Crocker vs General P, trish, just another example of The Bush Administration not seeing Iraq as a political problem, but a continuing military one, even after the military says it cannot win the war.

    Totally ass-backwards

  19. "We must kick their asses out of Iraq..."

    Hell, whit, the vast majority of jihadists in Iraq are Iraqis. Where you wanna kick 'em to?

    McNamara said that the greatest error we made in Vietnam was conceptual, mistaking a civil war for a war of Communist aggression against the US.

    It's the conceptual errors that do us in and those are the errors that are made early on. And are the most difficult to try and correct.

  20. "Totally ass-backwards"


  21. An analogy can be made to the Federals supporting the "bloods & crips", with ammo, cash and training, in South Central LA. While limiting operations of the LAPD and Sheriffs Department there, while telling the "Governator" to mellow out and go with the flow, that if surrender is required to spin a win, then surrender we will.
    That is the Anbar model.

    Give up the streets to the Gangs, which is "popular" with the thugs on the street.

  22. No Rat, I disagree with your pessimism about the strategy in Anbar. The best way out of the FUBAR is get every body working with us instead of against us. Anbar is tribal, so you must work with the tribes. If all of Los Angeles were either bloods or crips, your analogy would be appropriate.

    Besides, what's done is done. We must move forward. You say we're not leaving and I hear a lot of other people including a number of talking heads say the same thing. I think we'll be out of there sooner rather than later. There's no real upside in staying, only never ending heartburn and grief. The American people will not put up with that.

  23. No, whit, not "with us"
    Who the hell are we, there, especially if and when "us" is leaving.

    Iraq is not about "us" it is about Iraq and the Region. The US refuses to admit that, so Iraq, Afghanistan and any other battlespace must be judged on that basis, as local Civil Wars, as per the Hamdan Decision.

    If aQIraq is defined as the 2,500 "foreigners", then we'll never leave. As there have been that many moving in and out of the country since 2004. It is such a small number, that it is not a military problem, just a criminal gang.
    It is a police problem, a border patrol problem, an internal security problem.

    The Goal of the United States was described last 5 Dec 06.

    Q Is the President contemplating a way out of Iraq?

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

    Arming Insurgents in Anbar will not create
    '... an example to the region that democracy can succeed ..."

    Far from it. It shows, flat out, that democracy cannot succeed, if we do not support the elected Government in its' fight with the Baathist remnents of Saddam's regime. To announce, now, after four years that only aQ matters dishonors those that died to secure a democratic Iraq, for US and the security of the free world.

    The fact that the US does not like the outcomes dictated by the democraticly elected Government, all the more reason for US to declare success and leave.

  24. We just can't get them to work for the people we need them to be working for: their own damn government.

  25. If aQ Iraq is the forigners AND their Iraqi allies, then it is a Civil War.
    One in which the Insurgents must be defeated, before there is "... an Iraq that can sustain, govern, and defend itself ..."

    The 1920 Brigades will not reconcile in a unified Iraq. They stand in the way of US strategic goals.
    We stand with Maaliki or we've lost.

  26. That last was in response to whit: "The best way out of the FUBAR is get every body working with us instead of against us."

    Though understanding why the Anbar policy was pursued and recognizing its benefit, working for US doesn't really matter when the goal is a politically unified and stable Iraq.

    They've gotta work for Baghdad.

  27. "...Sort of like Trish and Kristol welcoming honorable groups like La Raza and MECHA into our political process."

    Whoa there, Doug. Don't confuse me with Kristol and the Weekly Standard pet, La Raza. I got nuthin' for either. I just happened to notice they got something for one another.

  28. "They've gotta work for Baghdad."

    The reason for the "Petraeus surge" was the "unacceptable" everyday violence. Believe me, working for Washington D.C. would be the last thing on my mind if I had more pressing "existential" concerns locally.

    The fact is, it's freaking mess, no matter which way you turn or what you do, someone is going to be working at cross purposes. It will take years and years to straighten out (if that can ever be done). The best we can hope for is to restore some semblance of security, declare
    "Mission Accomplished" and move on. At the same time, we simply cannot allow Iraq to be seen as a US defeat.

  29. The reason for the "Petraeus surge" was the "unacceptable" everyday violence.

    - whit

    The violence is a symptom, not a cause. The surge attempts to treat a symptom. It cannot treat the cause - the freaking mess, as you put it, which is political.

    We are holding that place together with duct tape and baling wire. Good as they are, they're not THAT good.

  30. "The best we can hope for is to restore some semblance of security, declare
    'Mission Accomplished' and move on. At the same time, we simply cannot allow Iraq to be seen as a US defeat."

    I think the Russians were hoping for the same thing in Afghanistan. I re-read a couple of weeks ago the June 1985 National Geographic cover story on just that subject. I highly recommend it.

  31. Whit wrote:

    "...we simply cannot allow Iraq to be seen as a US defeat. "


    The best you can hope for would be to, as DR has so often pointed out, declare mission accomplished and leave. Will anyone believe it?

    Other then that how would you prevent defeat?

  32. "declare mission accomplished and leave."

    Somebody's gotta set their mind on leaving. And that's the hard part.

  33. yep....dang that chinese finger trap anyway!

  34. I wish I had the certainty of Trish or Ash, about Iraq. They may be right. The same argument is made by
    Fitzgerald, at Jihad Watch.

    But they may be wrong. Which is why I don't dis the Pres about that issue.

    I respect Trish, she is thoughtful, compassionate, not given to glee over an American defeat, like some others.

    Bomb Iran. Habu is right, we are in a war, we just don't(most of us) know it yet.

  35. hmmmm, you are feeling uncertain so you want to widen the war...

    That is a horrible reason to attack another nation and, interestingly enough, is the same reason why Iraq was attacked - we felt 'uncertain'.

    with no imminent threat it is a war crime.

  36. One thing for certain, Iran will not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons, whether Ash agrees or disagrees.

  37. Bob,

    I don't know if you read that sentimental syrup in that last thread. I just want to say that someone spiked my drink, cause I'm never giving up me ram's horns. :D

  38. Mat--if you ever want to come to America--I am your sponsor--I got a Jewish lawyer here, a man I love--we will help you out, if you need it, no shit....

  39. Bob,

    Thank you, again. And you know you always have an open invitation to my home in Haifa. Israel is small, but we have everything here. Even wild leopard wrestling, wearing underwear only!


  40. Good Grief, Mat, and I thought we here were supposed to be, 'the men that conquered the mountains'. I'll take a teaching.

    Going to spray the eternal weeds now,thistles, damn them!

  41. I be practicing me rain dance. :)

  42. Iraq is about ever-increasing tightness of oil supplies. That's all it was ever about.

  43. You got Questions? I Got ANSWERS.

  44. Thanks for the kind words, bob.

    "Bomb Iran. Habu is right, we are in a war, we just don't(most of us) know it yet."


    I don't know who most of us at the EB are, bob, but here at my house we've been at war (grant me a liberal understanding) since, oh, 1995. And you know what, bob, it's gotten a mite tiresome. There are other elements of national power, bob, and you're going to have to acquaint yourself with them.



    If you wanted to do Iran, it had to be done - from Afghanistan - years ago. It can't be done now. Not the way you're thinking.

  45. I can understand PM Malaki's frustration. The Shiia are in a bind. They can't turn to Iran, they will lose their oil revenues to Iran. They can't turn on the Americans, because then they lose their patronage, and have to deal with the Sunnis directly and without US protection.

  46. Mostly, though, they just want us to look the other way so they can steal the oil money.

  47. Oh come on Trish. Don't be so uptight. Everybody should have some nuclear bombs. Nicaragua, too, to keep the damned yanks away. Everyone should have nuclear bombs. That is what we say around here at our house. Give them out, like an Idaho hunting license, pay the fee, and promise to be good.

  48. 'other elements of national power'--yessirree--condi's talk, our dominance of the seas, stuff like that, our ability so far to continue paying for shit from China, all those elements of our national power.

  49. One cannot steal what one owns, rufus.

    And possession is 9/10ths of the Law. The Iraqi Government, that we installed, owns the Iraqi oil, how they dispose of it and how they disperse the revenues recieved, that's up to them. Not US.

  50. Very True, but you don't want to see a huge "Nuclear-Armed" Iraqi/Iranian Army heading South, either.

  51. The Iraqi Security Forces, with its' 350,000 men, is reportedly on the verge of falling to aQ, all 2,500 of them, the minute the US were to leave Iraq.

    So the idea of that Iraqi Army driving south, against a US air bombardment is laughable, an equal fear to their failing to secure the Iraqi government, in Iraq, aginst aQ.

  52. Dint you notice? I said, "A Nuclear-Armed" (that means they have had time to turn their Iraqi AND Iranian - you know, that OTHER Shiite Nation next door that some of them want to hook up with so badly - Oil money into Nukes.

    The question not being whether we can go back in and protect the KSA/Kuwaiti/UAE oil fields, but do we really want a conflagration in the Heart of 40% of the world's oil.

  53. "So the idea of that Iraqi Army driving south, against a US air bombardment is laughable"

    Who suggested they'd do it?

  54. Never mind. I missed rufus' comment.

    I guess, bob, all we need is the M in DIME. Got a problem? You've got M. Got an interest to pursue? You've got M. Got a conflict to resolve? You've got M. Need time or favors? M is there to fetch them. Need information? There's one number to call.

    I'm not uptight, bob.

    I'm AM amazed, though.

  55. Yeah, we just ain't done enuff of that diplomacy, stuff.

  56. "do we really want a conflagration in the Heart of 40% of the world's oil."

    Rat has been proposing this for quite some time. He IS a wider war advocate.

    Aren't you, Rat?

  57. And, them Cia guys are, always, right on top of things. Weren't they the ones that stated in 88' that the Soviet Economy was the "Equal," if not Greater than our own?

    Yep, we'll get us some more of that "Intelligence."

    Economy? The Dumb-ass motherforevermoretrucking religion won't even allow them to charge/pay Interest. How's that economy deal work when you don't have banking? What, we don't know? The "Civilized" world has had banking ever since there's been a "Civilized" World?

    I'll be damned. Now, what do we do?

  58. I take your sarcasm and gather that what you believe is that we just haven't done enough of that military stuff.

    Well, I'm going to let you gentlemen plan your way out of the fix we're in. Using all the elements of national power, which is one.

    Don't disappoint me.

  59. Well, I have completely misrepresented myself, then; because I don't have the slightest idea what in the hell we should do.

  60. I'm Glad we invaded. I think he Would have gotten a nuke, eventually (and, probably only a few years.) I think if he got a Nuke all of the oil in the ME would have been his. We just barely got enough votes to stop him the first time he invaded Kuwait. If he'd had nukes the Gold would have been his.

    So, I'm as ignorant as Dubya. I had no idea those assholes were as worthless as they are. I guess that makes me the biggest asshole of all. Well, there you go.

    I think Whit's on the right track. But, Mat's right, also. Ahmacahmadingdong CANNOT ever be allowed to have a Nuke. And, we DO have to keep the oil safe for another twenty years, or so.

    Yep, it's a mess; and, I'm an Asshole. A really, really dumb asshole. It's NOT a Lonely feeling, though.

  61. A wider war or no war at all, trish.

    Wider both militarily and using those other, softer, facets of US power.

    I thought that we should have toppled baby doc Assad, back in '03 & 04. Destroyed his armored capacity, at least.
    But we did not.

    I thought we should have cleared and destroyed most of the terrorist communities in Anbar, increasing the internally displaced and the refugees in Syria and Jordan.

    I thought we should have had capacity to hold the 100,000 criminals that Saddam released, prior to his down fall. More than 2.5 times the capacity to hold criminals now, only 40,000.
    Texas holds 125,000 criminals in jails, with a smaller population base, 21 million or so.

    But by not doing any of those things, we have ceded the inititive and created a de facto status que that fails to achieve US Goals.

    We should begin to disengage our military from the internal Iraqi disputes, leaving the bulk of the water hauling to the elected Government we have helped to installed and the Security Forces we've spent four years training.

  62. dRat,

    Re: 40,000 criminal cases.

    Why isn't Islamic law being applied? That should solve the problem chop-chop.

  63. "But by not doing any of those things, we have ceded the inititive and created a de facto status que that fails to achieve US Goals."

    I thought US Goals already had been achieved - without toppling baby Doc.

    If Syria was a problem for us on the ground, however, it was a problem because we occupied Iraq. Absent that, Syria was a problem for the Iraqis. Ditto every other neighboring country.

    Taking out Assad's tanks would not have prevented Syrian territory from being used as a Sunni conveyor. Nor, as you suggested last summer, been an antidote for Lebanon.