“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, August 26, 2007

Maliki to Clinton and Levin: 'Come to your senses...respect democracy.'

Maliki returns fire at US critics
Nouri Maliki said the US politicians should "come to their senses"
Iraq's prime minister has hit back at senior US politicians who have called for him to be removed from office.
Nouri Maliki singled out senators Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin.

He said the Democratic senators were acting as if Iraq was "their property" and that they should "come to their senses" and "respect democracy".

Analysts say Mr Maliki is fighting to hold his government together. His words come days before a report to Congress on the US Iraq "surge" strategy.

The BBC's Mike Wooldridge, in Baghdad, says the already heated political situation inside and outside Iraq has now got even hotter.

Leaders like Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin have not experienced in their political lives the kind of differences we have in Iraq
PM Nouri Maliki

Mr Maliki has just taken part in several meetings with other political leaders in Iraq.

Afterwards, he indicated that Sunni Vice-President Tariq al Hashemi's Iraqi Islamic Party was about to join forces with the four Shia and Kurdish parties who recent established a new moderate alliance, with a joint statement imminent.

The almost total Sunni Arab withdrawal from and boycott of the cabinet at present has been at the centre of the embattled prime minister's difficulties, our correspondent says.

But senior Iraqi Islamic Party member Omar Abdul Sattar later told the BBC Mr Maliki had no right to speak on behalf of the party and there were no plans to join the new alliance.


Earlier this month, Senators Clinton and Levin both urged Iraqi politicians to choose someone else to lead Iraq's ruling coalition and seek faster national reconciliation.

A report about the military "surge" in Iraq is due in September

"I share Senator Levin's hope that the Iraqi parliament will replace Prime Minister Maliki with a less divisive and more unifying figure when it returns in a few weeks," Sen Clinton said in a statement on 22 August.

But the Iraqi prime minister hit back during a news conference in Baghdad, saying: "Leaders like Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin have not experienced in their political lives the kind of differences we have in Iraq.

"When they give their judgment they have no knowledge of what reconciliation means."

He also rebuffed French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner who, in an interview with a US news magazine, apparently also suggested Mr Maliki step down.

"... we were surprised that the minister made a statement which can't be called in any way diplomacy, when he called for replacing the government," Mr Maliki said.

The introduction of some 30,000 US troops - the "surge" strategy - was supposed to buy time for the Iraqi government to make political progress.

But, our correspondents say, far from making progress, Mr Maliki's government is visibly falling apart.

US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and US ambassador Ryan Crocker are soon expected to report to the US Congress on progress in Iraq since the surge began.

Mr Maliki said a negative report by Gen Petraeus would not cause him to change course, but he expected the general to "be supportive of the government".


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  2. The Surge, and the "Anbar Solution" have empowered the enemies of the Iraqi Government. The insurgents, the Baathist dead enders, are now US proxies.

    The Sunni are the ones that have abandoned "Reconciliation".
    The Sunni are boycotting their responsibilities.

    Mr Maliki takes the heat, from US, for the results of US tactical decisions, made over the last 6 to 9 months. The time frame of the much vaunted "Anbar Solution".
    A US-centric tactic that is contra to the policies oft stated by President Bush. Just as the 82nd Airborne 7 so aptly related.

    As predicted, the US-centric strategy has not helped the Iraqi come to terms with who has won, and who has lost.

    This was put forth in plain terms in the currently public NIE:

    Political and security trajectories in Iraq continue to be driven primarily by Shia insecurity about retaining political dominance, widespread Sunni unwillingness to accept a diminished political status ...

    When the US then grumbles about the democraticly chosen leader of their government, in the midst of a Civil War, and arms the insurgents ...

    We do not respect the Iraqi democracy we stood up, and blame them.

    Pure Hubris on our part.

    Even the most stalwart GOPer of our bunch now sides with Mr Levin and Ms Clinton, rejecting the Bush policies of democratic awakening in Iraq and the Region.

    Time to start heading for the door, the US strategic position is so convuluted as to be unexplainable.

  3. The Insurgents, have succeeded in poisoning the well, here on the homefront.

    An apt Vietnam analogy. With even the "Right" rejecting the Goals of US policy.

    Pining for another Saddam, to save our bacon from our decisions. We've made the bed, lest not search for others to blame.

    All the Iraqi actors were well known, from the git go.
    We pressed on, regardless.
    Now the Federals feign surprise, to mislead the US public, yet again.
    Covering up their past failures with indignation towards our allies.


    "This occupation, this money pit, this smorgasbord of superfluous aggression is getting more hopeless and dismal by the second. It’s maddening to think that more than a year’s worth of blood, sweat and tears will lead to little more than a pat on the back and a hideously redundant speech from someone who did none of the bleeding, sweating or crying.

    "Despite being in a meaningless situation, my life has never had this much meaning. I watch the backs of my friends and they do the same for me. I’ve killed to protect them, and they’ve killed to protect me. For friends and family, being deployed is like being pregnant or surviving a car wreck; everyone is nice to you all of a sudden. People I don’t even know send me kind words and packages from all over. They came out of the woodwork knowing my plight and shared with me heartfelt hope and luck. The fact that you’re reading this now, dear reader, is a testament to that. Would you have cared about what I thought, felt or did two years ago? This position I’m in, shared by less than one percent of the U.S. population, has given me the distinct privilege of sharing my experiences and ruminations of this war, observations undiluted by perpetually delirious officials like General Petreaus and mainstream media sirens."

  5. army of dude:

    "As we pulled out that evening, local Iraqis, men, women and children, danced in celebration by the massive crater where the Stryker had been."

  6. army of dude:

    Finally, one of the lowest, saddest points of the deployment came in May. One night, a helicopter spotted several men gathered in the road with a large object. Permission was asked to fire a Hellfire missile at them, as they were obvious IED emplacers. Permission was emphatically denied, but someone decided that a Stryker platoon should head out there anyway to check it out. In tow was a Russian reporter. On a road called Trash Alley, they hit a massive deep buried IED. Everyone in the truck except the driver, six Americans and one Russian, dead. And they didn’t need to be there at all. A helicopter could have killed the insurgents with breathtaking ease. Instead, those guys and the one with the detonator got away in the night. Justice was never done.

  7. Say the Curse
    Stay the Course!

    It'll just take a little more time.

    The Vets for Freedom tell US so

  8. Maybe I'm just a bloodthirsty heatless bigot, still this is not how you fight a war.

  9. But it IS how you fight a pointless nation building.

  10. Trish,

    You could have renamed Iraq to Kurdistan and let them at these animals. But Kurdistan is an israeli project, so what can I say to you?

  11. Has not been a "war" since before 2004.

    Told you all that, then.
    Based upon reports from Fallujah, from unimpeachable sources.
    Even as we "broke the back" of the Insurgency, during the assault on that 'berg, in April of that year.

    But the projectionists did not want to believe it. Now those truths are becoming selfevident, even to the most jingoistic of US.

    More time, same course.
    That's all thats needed, to hand the US to the more socialist of the Boners. JFKerry and his ilk.

    Boners to the core.

  12. Remember when our long gone amigo, habu, was touting Professor Lewis as the most knowledgable academic in the land?
    Mr Steyn also quotes the dear professor:

    Professor Bernard Lewis' dictum would be self-evident: "America is harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend."

    He must have talked with Mr Diem or the Shah, or perhaps he just got off the phone with Mr Maliki.

    Always thought Mr Maliki and his cohort were opposed to US long term strategic goals, but ...

    No one listened, then.
    The decisions were made, the Course decided. Now instead of sticking to our guns, Staying the Course, we choose to "Cut and Run", even rufus advocates stabbing Maliki and his majority in the back.

    On the government we spent 3,400 lives and untold billions USD, to stand up, we now abandon all hope.

    Choosing to back insurgents and the unelectaable, like Mr Allawi.
    I had advocated for retaining him, and Mr Chilabi, back when could have, but no ...

    Now we should have stick to the Plan, announcing success and handing off.
    As even Senator McConnell and the President say the Iraqi Government is "democratic".
    Democratic enough to satisfy the Authorization's resolve to support the emergance of a democratic government.

    More time, decades and at least 250,000 more US troops. That is what will be needed if we do not leave the combat to others, soon.

    Let's have the debate, then the vote. See who stands where, in the Congress of the US of A.
    The People's House and Senate.

    Before the '08 Elections, so the People can make a informed choice at the polls.

  13. And William Kristol has his.

    Well, Bush's speech stirred a lot of people up from all over the political map, for sure.

  14. We need to remember Casper Weinberger and his Docrine, now, more than ever. Four of his six points need to be addressed.

    2. U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.
    3. U.S. combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.
    4. The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.
    5. U.S. troops should not be committed to battle without a "reasonable assurance" of the support of U.S. public opinion and Congress.

  15. Mr Kristol makes plain the failures of Mr Bush.

    Instead of leaving on a positive note, when the Mission was Accomplished, we stayed on.
    Moving the Goal Posts, with disregard to the Weinberger Docrine.

    Goals became indistinct, like morning fog.
    Manpower were needs not reassessed.
    Combat troops not allowed the capacity to accomplish the ever evolving Mission.

    Mr Kristol is grabbing at straws.

  16. General P, the brightest and best, his Manual calls for 500,000 troops, loyal and brave.

    We have 162,000. An assessment of manpower needs that the US cannot supply, today.

    The Iraqi not to be trusted with guarding a US back. So say the paratroopers on the ground. Believe the troops that speak with the courage of their convictions.

    Number 1 on the Weinberger Coctrine
    The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.

    If it is VITAL for the US to remain, and to win, we need a draft to triple the size of the Army. That would require a cut in pay and benefits and a new era of Defense Strategy.

    Is it worth it?
    I think not, but others can disagree. But lets be clear on what it would take, under the current Doctrine, to achieve success.

    500,000 US troops, ten to twenty years.

  17. Speaking of fighting insurgency aala Vietnam, look at this video Iraq, Insurgents shooting at our Humvee get a big surprise from the air

    Cool, huh?

    Maybe there was a good reason ... but IMHO calling a fast mover air strike, in the middle of a city, on a handfull of insurgents armed with rifles, is not quite the zenith of COIN operations. Hope that was an unfriendly neighborhood already.

  18. Give the Kurds air cover and a promise that they will get to keep Iraq for themselves. That's all the nation building that you need do.

  19. Why not just give 'em some prop planes and 100 helicopters.
    That'd be enough give them tactical superiority.
    But not what the US is going to do.

    Iraq is a democracy, ruled by the Shia majority. Per the US approved and celebrated Constitution. That is where we stand, sometimes.

    Enjoy that reality.

    Even if Maliki is deposed, his replacement will come from the same pool that produced him.

    To do otherwise will require 500,000 US troops. That's the way the US plays the game.

    Like Professor Lewis said:

    "America is harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend."

    habu's premier source of truth on mussulman beliefs and perspectives.

  20. You, mat, with your affection and loyalty to Israel should recongnize the truth of Professor Lewis's remark.

    More than most, here in the US would.
    Recongnize that truth, or even admit the possibility or it.

  21. dRat,

    The Iranian encroachment can very easily be reversed. Same as it applies to the Hedjaz arabs.

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  23. Perhaps it could, if that was the desired effect, but it is not. Obviously.

    Not a single candidate for the White House, no one currently in the White House and no voice in Congress advocates that path.

    A road not to be taken, nor even discussed. Not by US at least.

    We are on a different path, a different course, upon which we will remain, until we leave Iraq.
    Sooner or later, but there will be no drastic change in the trendlines.

    It is not how we operate.

  24. dRat,

    I don't think anyone, especially in congress, really knows what path was taken. You've been off course for that long.

  25. This piece, mat, describes the depth of the US missteps. It provides a double whammy for the Federals, the speaker does not even realize it, as it applies to the Middle East and Iran. The initial subject being Hugo Chavez:

    But in terms of direct government funding, the scale of Venezuela's commitments is unprecedented for a Latin American country.

    Chavez's largesse tends to benefit left-leaning nations that support his vision of a Latin America with greater independence from the United States. But he denies the two countries are in a competition.

    "We don't want to compete with anyone. I wish the United States were 100 times above us," Chavez told the AP in a recent interview. "But no, the U.S. government views the region in a marginal way. What they offer is a pittance sometimes, and with unacceptable pressures that at times countries can't accept."

    U.S. aid tends to be low-profile, constrained by strict guidelines and often distributed through other institutions so that recipients may not know it's from the U.S. government. Venezuela offers money with few strings attached and a personal Chavez touch that aid experts say generates more good will dollar for dollar.

    Clay Lowery, the U.S. Treasury Department's acting undersecretary for international affairs, argues that the U.S. plays a larger role than reflected in its aid figures. The United States, for instance, drove Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank debt relief deals totaling $7.5 billion over the past three years in Latin America, he said.

    "Who is the biggest financier of the IDB? The United States. Who is the biggest financier of the World Bank? The United States is.
    We don't count those," Lowery said. "We're basically engaged on a multilevel, multi-prong approach."

    So, in no uncertain terms, Clay Lowery, the U.S. Treasury Department's acting undersecretary for international affairs argues that the United States is subsidizing the mullahs of Iran, through the World Bank.
    Complains we do not get enough "credit" for it.

    Iran is not the Enemy. It is no secret, in Congress, those World Bank's Iranian subsidies.

  26. For US, mat, no one else really matters, to US.

    The US economy booms, unemployment is down and there have been no further mussulman border bandit raids upon the homeland of the US.

    While the movement to harmonize, politically and economicly, the North America continent is going forward.

    Things couldn't be much better. On the margins, if we could disengage from Iraq and shift to a "soft power" stance, there, it'd be even better, but only marginally so.

    Losses there, they've been so low, for an Omnipower. The real discussion, could a portion of the $500 billion USD have been better spent, building ethanol distilleries or some other alternative to imported oil.

    Seems the collective thinking of the Federals, is no.

    It's been better to "Stay the Course" or we'd have not continued as we have.

  27. The Saudi/Kuwaiti/UAE oil is still safe; so far, the operation has been a "Success."

  28. Well then, we can all turn off the monitor.

  29. Congress passed Operation Desert Storm by TWO Vote. Can you imagagine what would have happened if he had waited a few months until he could light one off before the Kuwaiti invasion? Can you imagine what the price of oil would be today if Saddam Hussein had Nuclear weapons and 40% of the world's oil?

  30. While the Iranian oil flows to our economic allies in China, Japan and India.

    Iraqi oil flows at the same rate as it did under Saddam, not providing any greater funding to anti-US activity than it did, before.

    While the immediate Iraqi WMD threat has been eliminated, beyond any shadow of a doubt.

    The Iraqi Adventure could be portrayed as a success, if Team 43 would listen and learn.
    But instead of a solid propagandist, their "Architect" was a mail list specialist.

    Not much vision, on an intellectual level, but he had a solid grasp of polling and voter turnout. Time has run out, on hope that they'd see the light and change the spin on the storyline.

  31. Bringing Vietnam into the discussion, just another sign of inability to adequately frame the discussion.

    The more accurate analogy, for US, would have been the Shah and the subsequent events that led from abandoning him.

    Mr Bush should have maintained his distance from Vietnam, that is a poison pill.

  32. BUT, the KEY, always, gentlemen, is SAUDI ARABIA. Twelve Million Barrels/Day.

    Saudi Arabia goes off-line next week, and we're looking at mass starvation, Depression, and, quite probably War on a GLOBAL Scale.

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  34. Thus the realism of maintaining the staus que.

    Arming all sides, maintaining a balance of mutually assured destruction.

    The only folk left out on the limb, the Israeli. But that is where they've always been.
    So the status que remains.
    Conserving the status que, it's what Conservatives support.

    Not Radical Change, one way or the other.

    Mr Bush, in his Middle East push for Democracy, took a radical approach. Not a conservative one.

    It's why he has lost so much of his support, the way they framed the debate, more than the substance of the realities.

    The ultimate political failure, to turn a conservative success into a failure of radicalism and fracture the conservative base in the US in the process.

  35. But, if we knew they were going offline in "5" years I think we could manage it just fine.

    I don't know if you all noticed it but W supported the price of oil (and, thus, ethanol) at $50.00/barrel last fall. He's trying to manage the price of oil high enough to fulfill his "promises," and, also, to keep it from falling so low as to ruin the growth of biofuels.

    Hint: It was at fifty that he mentioned a desire to put "More" oil in the SPRO, and, also announced, completely out of left field, the possibility of an "Ethanol" Strategic Reserve.

  36. Between the higher levels of global demand and US price supports at $50, the US moves slowly to "energy independence".

    The discussion, again, the speed of the transformation.

    The Policies could be explained, support for it propped up, if the Team 43 had faith in the US public and an articulate speach writer, that believed in the "Plan", or could "see" the plan.

    The whole of the Bush Administration has been plauged by a lack of communication skill. Both father and son, really.

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  38. I sure do agree with the communications skill part. jeez, what an awful speech, though I know what he's trying to say. I had a link to an article about Jordan wanting to build some nuclear power plants to get off the oil teat, can't blame them.

  39. Iran, Lebanon and Hezzbollah.

    Relate to the Marine barracks bombing and US withdrawal from Lebanon, as the precurser to 9-11-01.

    Describe how by the US not supporting the Shah led directly to the advancement of international terrorism. The Marine Barracks bombing, the Saudi barracks bombings, aQ's attacks on US in Africa.

    Instead of referencing our current opponents, Mr Bush highlights Communists and Nationalists in an Indo-China struggle. Drawing conclusions that, as Mr Hitchens so adequately remarked, remain in dispute within the US.

    Where as no one would dispute, other that Bill Maher, the analogy to Iran and the Shah, with the subsequently bad for US results.

  40. Now this is interesting indeed:

    (CNN) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki fired back at U.S. critics Sunday as his latest detractor, Iraq's former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, accused him of fomenting sectarian violence.

    Ayad Allawi says Sunday that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is loyal to Iran and Shiite interests.

    Al-Maliki leads a government loyal to Iran and Shiite interests, Allawi said, accusing al-Maliki of "supporting militias to take the rule of law in their hands."

    Allawi said Sunday that he would not participate in a sectarian government and will return to Baghdad soon to "reverse the course in Iraq."

    Although he didn't directly respond to Allawi's statements, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki addressed recent criticism of his government waged by U.S. lawmakers.

  41. Mr Allawi, one of those that are boycotting further participation in the Iraqi Government. One of the factors creating the crisis of confidence.
    Mr Allawi has hired the DC lobbying firm of Barbour, Griffith, and Rogers to promote him in DC.

    But, how could he become PM, democraticly?

    Let's view the politics of Iraq, with the assistance of Ian Goldenberg of the Decmocracy Arsenal blog.

    Ironically, one of the more sensible pieces on this comes from Nibras Kazimi. He clearly has his own vehemently pro Shi'a agenda, having worked for Ahmed Chalabi at the Iraqi National Congress and on the de-Baathification Commission (Surprise, he is now at the Hudson Institute). To be very clear, I don't agree with much of what Kazimi says in his post, but the vote counting he does in the Iraqi Parliament seems to be on the money.

    -No one can pull-off a military coup in Iraq.

    -Parliament is out for another three weeks, so Maliki is not facing an immediate no-confidence vote.

    -Adel Abdel-Mahdi, the current Vice-President, cannot deliver SCIRI’s parliamentary votes for the Allawi camp.

    -The Sadrists won’t vote for Allawi.

    -The Da’awa Party won’t follow former PM Ibrahim Jaafari if he moves against Maliki.

    -Anyone seen as “Saudi Arabia’s guy”—as Allawi projects himself, although that may not really be the case as far as the Saudi leadership is concerned—is not likely to get Sistani & Co. to go along with this plan.

    -The Iranians won’t let this happen, and they have far more political cards to play in Iraq than the Americans—and they can play those cards smarter than O’Sullivan.

    -Why would the Kurds substitute their strong alliance with the Shiites, who are going to run the country for a very long time to come, in return for the fleeting favor of the defeated Sunnis (their rivals on Kirkuk) and a politician such as Allawi whose word really doesn’t go that far?

    -Qasim Daoud, a favorite of the Emirati leadership and another PM candidate as far as the Americans are concerned, has too many corruption scandals hovering around his head.

    -My sources tell me the following: one of the principal actors who was attempting to bring down Maliki has left Iraq for an extended vacation, telling anyone who’d listen that it can’t be done.

    I’ll say it: the Americans are irrelevant to political events in Iraq.

    I do know that the open source information available supports Mr Goldenberg.

    One of the commenters disagrees, but based upon his comments, there'd be no difference, Mr Allawi would be beholding to Mr al-Sadr.
    But, we'll see what we will see, won't we.

  42. Ilan Goldenberg is the Executive Director of the National Security Network where he leads the organization's policy activities. He previously worked as head of research and deputy staff director for the Foreign Policy Leadership Council and also served on the homeland security task force of the Kerry-Edwards campaign. Prior to that, Ilan worked for the U.S.-Middle East Project at the Council on Foreign Relations. Ilan began his career as an investment banker at Salomon Smith Barney. Goldenberg is a regular contributor to Democracy Arsenal - a foreign policy blog. He holds a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University and a B.A. and B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of Business and College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. He speaks Arabic and Hebrew.

  43. Only the self-hating idiots of the left can compare Christians and Jews as equivalent to Muslims. Onward Chris✝ian Soldiers.

  44. Bob's utube clip is worthy of a view.

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  46. 15 minutes ago, breaking news on FOX and the Guardian

    Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, and fellow leaders in the country have reached consensus on key areas of national reconciliation, under mounting American pressure to demonstrate political progress on the eve of a key report to Congress on the Baghdad security "surge".
    The Shia prime minister appeared on television flanked by Jalal Talabani, the country's Kurdish president, and by the Sunni vice-president, Tareq al-Hashemi, to announce a deal on easing restrictions on former members of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party joining the civil service and military.

    Easing de-Ba'athification laws passed after the 2003 US invasion has long been seen as a vital step if disenchanted Sunnis, who formed the backbone of Saddam Hussein's regime and, since its fall, of the insurgency, are to be persuaded to take part in Iraqi political life.

    Agreement was also reported on holding provincial elections and releasing detainees held without charge across the country, two more of the "benchmarks" set by the Bush administration for political movement it hopes will stave off mounting congressional demands for a withdrawal from Iraq.

    It was not immediately clear how, or when, these moves would be implemented and how far they would go to reversing the almost total Sunni boycott of the cabinet - the centre of Mr Maliki's difficulties.

  47. Well, it would sure be great if they could get the government to work just a little bit.

    I'm sure I speak for more than a few when I say I'll just wait and see, and Hope.

  48. Maliki thought the visit by Kouchner was a success until he read an interview with the minister in Newsweek. “Recently we received the French minister.

    We were happy with him. We were optimistic that his visit would start a new relationship,” Maliki said.

    Maliki accused France of siding with supporters of the former Iraqi government. “In the past you backed the former regime.

    French Call for Change

  49. "The ultimate political failure, to turn a conservative success into a failure of radicalism and fracture the conservative base in the US in the process."

    That was extremely well put, Rat.

  50. Robert Spencer, the guy in the UTube clip above, is, you quessed it, dealing with numerous threats to his person.

  51. Recognizing that it is a new French government, still I think it might be just as well if the French just butt out.

  52. The goals of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week are:

    · TO EXPLAIN WHO THE ENEMY IS --not “terror,” but a fanatical religious movement associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and the sponsors of the Muslim Student Association; it is a movement including al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades

    · TO COUNTER THE LEFT’S BIG LIE --that “George Bush created the war on terror,” and to do this by means of campus demonstrations, guest speakers, and documentary films. The speakers will include former Senator Rick Santorum, Robert Spencer, Christopher Hitchens, Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, Steve Emerson, Frank Gaffney, Cliff May, Phyllis Chessler and Ibn Warraq.

    · TO PROTEST THE VIOLENT OPPRESSION OF WOMEN IN ISLAM --the “honor killings,” arranged marriages, child brides, and second-class citizenship of Muslim women.


  53. The Obama Doctrine which is, let them kill each other--everywhere.

    Senator Joe Biden wants to send the Marines to Darfur.

  54. Sam, one of the two big universities here is taking part in Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week, but I can't recall which. I'll find out, and if there are some good speakers, try to go, and give a report.

  55. If there is a global war against the Islamo fascists, Darfur is as good a place to roll them back, as any. Better in many respects.

    But if the goal is to retain the status que of refugee camps, just stopping the genocide, not rolling the janjaweed and their supporters back to Khartoum, it'd not be worth the effort.

  56. I think Biden's idea is just to stop the genocide, but don't know for sure.

    This Guy says we are winning, but folks just don't know it yet.

  57. That sounds interesting, Bob. I look forward to reading that report if you end up making it.

  58. Against aQ Iraq, which we may well be. But there were, according to Brookings, only ever 2,500 of that group.

    Less than the number of MS-13 members known to be in the US data bases.

    A small problem, really. Militarily insignifigent, though politically potent.

    Just the tip of the Iraqi challenge, aQ.

  59. From his childhood bedroom in a treeless industrial suburb of Wilmington, Del., Joe Biden looked out on Archmere, an Italianate mansion and Catholic boys high school that he called "the object of my deepest desire, my Oz."


    Biden says he grew up feeling at home in the church. In the Irish neighborhoods in Scranton, Pa., where he spent most of his weekends, a majority of the kids were Catholic.


    Biden was one of the first Catholic politicians of the Vatican II generation. From 1962 to 1965, the Vatican Council II produced documents that opened the door to ecumenical dialogue, freedom of religion and conscience, and greater involvement of the laity in affairs of the church, including saying the mass in English and more emphasis on individual Bible study.

    Joe Biden

  60. Joe Biden--once a Catholic, always a Catholic. I admire that.

  61. Maybe if they can get rid of the yeast of al Qaida, the dough of the insurgency won't rise so much. Whatever their numbers, they seem to have been responsible for a lot of the attacks.

  62. Actor/activist TIM ROBBINS lost his cool on U.S. TV during an appearance on REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER on Friday night (24Aug07) when he attacked the "experts" who took America to war with Iraq.
    The Shawshank Redemption star, who has been an outspoken critic of the conflict in the Middle East, was among a panel discussing the Iraq war on the HBO political discussion show when he claimed the military and strategic officials who decided war in Iraq would be a good idea should no longer be considered experts.

    Robbins raged, "Before we got into this war, there were countless military experts, intelligence analysts that told us this was a good idea, we had to do it.
    "They presented their information and were so terribly wrong.

    These people are still affecting public policy and they're still considered experts.
    "I'm sorry, shouldn't there be rule or a law that says if you f**ked things up so badly, you can no longer be considered an expert.

    TV Rant

  63. Well, sam, shouldn't the performance of those "experts" count?
    Should not their knowledge and analysis be greatly superior to mine, yours or rufus's, to be considered experts, what other criteria should be judged, for them be considered experts, if not performance?

    If an architects building falls down, ab engineer's bridge collapses, would they still be held in high public and professional esteem?

    I think not.

    So why should foreign policy, miltary and intel experts still be considered experts, after their edifice built upon misjudgements collapses?

  64. "If there is a global war against the Islamo fascists, Darfur is as good a place to roll them back, as any. Better in many respects."

    Rat, as a practical matter, as a matter of concrete limits, the military part of this war has gone as far as its going to go for awhile. (I allow exceptions for crises, but if it can't be done from the air, it's not gonna be done.) That was true the day we stepped over the border into Iraq. (Africacom is the sole and marginal excpetion.) It's truer now.

    You've got the UN and its contracts, you've got real and potential proxies in maybe a few (like three) places for limited objectives. But you don't have anything else at your disposal for quite awhile.

    In the meantime it'll take State ten years to get the juice we'd like it to have now. The army is blown apart and it'll be a long recovery. The Agency, well, it has its own house to put in order in difficult circumstances, though it's growing.

    The next guy's strategy is going to have to take into account all these things. And they ought to be taken into account here.

  65. "The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop."

    We can dream, can't we?

  66. I forgot to add to the list of tools available the trainer/advisers. And they're everywhere.

  67. ``Senator Warner is a great patriot and a student of history, and he's clearly sending a signal to the Iraqis that our patience is not unlimited, and that's correct,'' said Cornyn, a fellow member of Senate Armed Services Committee. ``But I don't think it's in our best interest to put so much pressure on the new Iraqi government that it absolutely collapses.''

    ``We don't want to allow that to happen, because it would make us less safe here at home,'' he said. e believed even stronger pressure was needed to reduce bloodshed and force political compromise in Iraq, regardless of what top military advisers say in their progress report next month.

    Every defense funding bill Congress sends to Bush should set a timetable for Iraq, and Democrats should be willing to filibuster if necessary to force action, he said.

    Bill on Withdrawal

  68. There are always options, trish.

    The US can do what it wishes, when and where it wishes.
    A Brigade here or there and air support, against the janjaweed. It may not be a cake walk, but it is not urban warfare, either. Reproportion the force, moving out of Iraq, onto another front.

    If there was the political will to do it.
    Which I do not see manifested in the public or the politicos.

    The AU forces could stop the genocide, no need for US military presence to do that.

    But, if there is to be no more "War" with the Islamo fascists, that position should be made clear to the US public.

    Many would be shocked to discover the lack of capacity in the US military.
    Even now, over at the BC, they are assessing the possibility of a coup de etat or a civil war, the military against the civilian government.
    Those folk would be shocked and chagrined to know that the military was not prepared for, nor capable of, such a battle.

    Doubt they'd believe that Jr's AZ National Guard unit only has one personal weapon for every three Guardsmen when they go to the range, either.

  69. "The US can do what it wishes, when and where it wishes."

    No, it can't. There are finite resources and concurrent commitments. There are places we will never be invited in the manner in which you are thinking, and places we do not wish to be in the manner you are thinking. Lack of action has consequences; this is readily understood. That every action has consequences, many unintended, is less well understood.

    Of course there are always options. (Many more ways to skin a cat than we readily allow, if skinning the cat is desired.) And we will have to become much more inventive in our selection (and creation) of those options.

    To cavalierly assert that we can do whatever, wherever, is appropriate only in another universe. You work within real world every day, don't you?

    My own opinion is that the jihadist challenge is best and primarily met with stealth and guile. It's not our preferred way of doing it; straightforward military challenges are what we know and like best. It's just not for the most part that kind of challenge.

    And we're just plain worn out, Rat.

    That's what the Chiefs were saying.

  70. As the American left celebrated from New York to Hollywood, in Phnom Penh former Cambodian prime minister Sirik Matak wrote to John Gunther Dean, the American ambassador, turning down his offer of evacuation:

    Dear Excellency and Friend:

    I thank you very sincerely for your letter and for your offer to transport me towards freedom. I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion.

    As for you, and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection, and we can do nothing about it.

    The Left Shudders

  71. Don't we need a department of due diligence here at the Bar?

    Every proposal for action has to have an account of both known, likely, and potential benefits as well as known, likely, and potential costs. It isn't meant to be paralyzing, but simply to keep us from stepping into the shit pile too often. Don't need any more of those right now.

  72. Due diligence officer--good idea, Trish, as long as we take into the consideration the benefits and costs of inaction as well. I'm not the guy for the job though as I can't even get real clear about Iraq. It's those unknown unknowns that keep me awake.

  73. Lord, save America from a fate such as This

  74. "Due diligence officer--good idea, Trish, as long as we take into the consideration the benefits and costs of inaction as well."

    Of course.

    And as long as we also in that process take into account the FIVE elements of national power. Every nation's got 'em. Every nation uses 'em in pursuit of their own interests.

  75. FOUR.

    FOUR elements of national power.

    Trish CAN count. Before midnight anyway.

  76. "It's those unknown unknowns that keep me awake."

    Rumsfled was good for a few things. One of those things was Rumsfeldisms.

  77. trish,
    the US can destroy anywhere in the world, on command. Anywhere, anytime. Burn it to the ground.

    We can, if desired, as in WWII, put tens of thousands into uniform and in the field, in months.

    That we choose not to, well that is one of the options.

    But to draft every veteran under the age of fifty or sixty, we could do. We could take your young son into the military, for the sake of a vital national interest.

    That we choose not to,
    does not mean we cannot.

    Does not mean that we should, either, only that we could.
    We have in the past, in the history of the Americas, sent school boys and old men into battle, to be slaughtered by the score.

    I certainly do not advocate it, because there is no need for it.
    The threat of the mussulmen is not existental to the US, it is not even major, really. not militarily anyway.

    But break the force, what of it. That is what it is for, to be used, abused and replaced.
    A function money, more so than time. Hire and fire, draft and expend. If there is a need to.

    That the President does not wish to field an adequate force, that the Generals are not stumping for a doubling of capacity means they do not see the need.

    But uniforms are not in charge of the military, civilians are and will remain so. Not a single General Officer resigned in protest to Iraq and the operations there. They'll break the Army, sacrifice it, if ordered to.
    The Generals have in past wars.
    As you say, they are already on that course, in Iraq.

  78. Not one careerist General has resigned in protest, not a one.

    They'll march on, on command.
    Or their replacements will.

    The Generals could all be replaced, they were in WWII. General Marshall deciding the majority of the Generals were not fit to cammand in combat.
    From the results in Iraq, they are not fit today, either.

  79. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) considers Taiwan to be a renegade province. As such, this paper builds off of two assumptions.

    First, China’s desired end state for Taiwan is complete and total submission to the
    authority of the Chinese government. Because of the complex circumstances which make up the China-Taiwan relationship, a peaceful solution is highly improbable.

    Over the past decade China has modernized its military to
    accomplish the national strategic objective of forcing Taiwan into submission for the purpose of attaining thisdesired end state. The second assumption is that the PRC identifies Taiwan’s center of gravity to be U.S. support.

    Based on these two assumptions, this paper suggests that China would likely create a strategic diversion aimed at
    achieving internal chaos within the United States prior to an invasion on Taiwan in an attempt to prevent U.S. military intervention.

    A-ha! China created AQ! I knew it!

    National Power

  80. "the US can destroy anywhere in the world, on command. Anywhere, anytime. Burn it to the ground."

    But that's not what you said, Rat. What you said is that we can do whatever, whenever, that we wish. Which is something else entirely. Sure, we can destroy any damn thing. That's of limited use, as all things are. (Though it keeps those defense dollars rolling in. In my house, the Easy Button is called the Boom Button.)

    It was a long time ago now (or just feels that way) that I urged the acknowledgment of the fact that war has changed. The way we fight has changed. WWII isn't coming back. This is something that has to be taken into account by every commentator. Or commenter. It may be enormously frustrating. It's just another fact to be taken into consideration. You go to war with the limits, often severe, always challenging, that the internationally sensitive civilian leadership, your own society, and your own laws place upon you. The laws, the society, the leadership aren't what they were even 20 years ago. It gets harder all the time.

    "But break the force, what of it. That is what it is for, to be used, abused and replaced."

    Sure. And what that means is that you can't keep up any campaign indefinitely.

    Do you know why those captains and majors and lieutenant colonels have left?

  81. Almost every single one of those mid-level people left in the sure knowledge of promotion. If you've got a pulse, you'll be promoted.

  82. "We could take your young son into the military, for the sake of a vital national interest."

    My son would like nothing better. Beats the gray drudgery and seeming meaninglessness of school any day.

    On the lack of resignations, I've attempted to explain before. There's a specific psychology involved that's not all bad. By any means.

    Maybe tomorrow.

  83. Give Taiwan nukes. Now.

    Good nukes make good neighbors.

  84. Possibly, Trish. Maybe they already have them? Still reading that Feb '06 paper. Interesting reading.

  85. "Maybe they already have them?"

    China would know.

  86. re: Nukes make good neighbors:

    But then again we didn't become too neighborly with Russian nukes in Cuba.

  87. Fuckin' Jimmy was going to sell Taiwan out. Didn't know about that one. Too young back then. Huh, I done learn-ed sumthin' today.

  88. Yes, trish, I understand why the Generals don't resign, I understand why the Captains opt out.

    The Generals have created a culture where resigning is considered an inappropriate response. Disloyal.

    The Captains are worn out and have little respect for the Generals and their decisions. They are not reenlisting, rather than resigning, as resigning is "bad".
    Not reenlisting is "okay" while resigning is "bad".

    All part of a dysfuctional military culture the US has developed since WWII.
    The culture of a bureaucratic system, the permanent standing Army, that has not won a war since the establishment of the Department of Defense.

    All part of the cult of expertise, the Pentagon, an alter that we sacrificed success upon.
    A culture, the senior members of which tell US, that is both dysfunctional and unchallengeable because of those dysfuntions.

    War has changed because the warriors are no longer warriors, but bureaucratics, the objective no longer victory, but "effective battle space management".

    Retire most all of the Generals, replace them with Majors, create a sea change in the military. As what we have now, has failed.
    Has a history of failure going back 40 years now.
    All the way back to the poison pill of Vietnam.

  89. As related, trish, by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling in a piece titled “A Failure in Generalship.”

    The Lt. Col. tell US something, which goes back to sam's pasted piece on expertise.

    “If the general remains silent while the statesman commits a nation to war with insufficient means, he shares culpability for the results.”
    “As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

    In Iraq, early success was seen in Tal Afar, by the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, commanded by Col. H. R. McMaster. The same H.R McMaster that authored a book called “Dereliction of Duty.”.

    Published in published in 1997, Gen. Hugh Shelton, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs, ordered all commanders to read it.
    But Col McMaster rocked the boat, he won't be making the General promotion list.

    The System is broken, perhaps you cannot see the forest, for the trees.

  90. "Retire most all of the Generals, replace them with Majors, create a sea change in the military."

    Oh, that'd create a sea change alright.

    First of all, what you've done is conducted a wholesale purge. Purges are bad ideas. Just ask the Soviets. They did it to their upper ranks, too. Just before the War for the Motherland. All that talent, all that experience, gone when they needed it. The Germans, during the war, went through generals like nobody's business. Rommel, for instance, was replaced by some raving lunatic and all round incompetent. Purges are witch hunts. And witch hunts are irrational. Mindless. Destructive in the worst way.

    The military has for a long time been risk averse. This is in large part due to the zero defect mentality. Purges do not encourage any movement away from that mentality. They reinforce it with a vengeance.

    Those newly promoted majors are still going to be fighting the same war. Still carrying out the same policies. Still executing the same war-fighting strategy. Still bound by the same limits upon action. Firing all the generals in Vietnam and replacing them with majors would not have fixed Vietnam.

    There's a reason why there are all those years in between O3 and, say, O8. I don't think I need to tell you why. You put a major in as CENTCOM commander and that guy's gonna drown. Guaranteed.

    So much of this is emotion-driven. You called not long ago for the firing of Perry Wiggins when he had the temerity to convey policy to the press. Which is his job. One of the most gifted officers you'd ever know.

  91. In Iraq, early success was seen in Tal Afar, by the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, commanded by Col. H. R. McMaster. The same H.R McMaster that authored a book called “Dereliction of Duty.”.

    - Rat

    The same guy you castigated for his dirt berm perimeter?

  92. Wow, wish I hadn't been outside of internet range and missed this thread.

    "It was a long time ago now (or just feels that way) that I urged the acknowledgment of the fact that war has changed. The way we fight has changed. WWII isn't coming back. This is something that has to be taken into account by every commentator. Or commenter. It may be enormously frustrating. It's just another fact to be taken into consideration. You go to war with the limits, often severe, always challenging, that the internationally sensitive civilian leadership, your own society, and your own laws place upon you. The laws, the society, the leadership aren't what they were even 20 years ago. It gets harder all the time."

    And this is why I have such an intense dislike for the Powell/Weinberger doctrine, a wish-list that will never, and probably never has ever been fully fulfilled.

  93. Yep, if it was the same fellow.

    The dirt berm town, some where on the rat line to Syria, wasn't it?

    Dirt, not an effective substitue for boots on the ground, in the town. Leaving the enemy in charge of the city, but encapsulated, surrounded, as it were, by the dirt of the desert.

    Should have cleared the town then held it, or put the population in camps and razed it.

  94. At the risk of telling people things they already know, FWIW, McMaster was also in command (loosely applied, due to the nature of the battle) at 73 Easting.

  95. "Should have cleared the town then held it, or put the population in camps and razed it."

    The latter were once called "strategic hamlets" or, in their more brutal versions, concentration camps.

    Today we can't even build a barrier between Sunni and Shi'ite communities without being read the riot act by NGOs, "humanitarian organizations," and those we are trying to protect.

  96. Lest I be accused of giving our own government a pass, I'll add to the list the numerous lawyers and officials up and down the US government, intricately educated in enemy rights' and high-sounding legal theory, who resultingly, firmly have their head up their asses, and even worse ours.

  97. Bebincio Lliaban, 83, of Rolla, also known as Ben, is one veteran who in addition to joining the military during World War II, witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor at the age of 17 while at a 2,000-acre pineapple plantation nearby.

    “I could see the black smoke,” Lliaban said. “It was a strange day.

    There wasn’t TV in those days. The radio was silent for awhile and then it came on, and we were told we had been attacked by a foreign power.”

    Pearl Harbor