“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, August 11, 2007

Move and Counter Move

This will be the new tactic to counter the surge. Destabilize security. Terror attacks designed to send the message that cooperation with the infidels comes at a terrible price.
Iraq Militants Target Sunni Sheik's Home
By HAMID AHMED, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD - Militants bombed the house of a prominent anti-al-Qaida Sunni cleric, seriously wounding him and killing three of his relatives in what appeared to be an increased campaign against Sunnis who have turned against the terror network.

The attack, which was followed by a fierce firefight, came after Sheik Wathiq al-Obeidi called on residents in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Azamiyah to rise up against foreign fighters, a reference to al-Qaida in Iraq, which recently has seen a surge in opposition from fellow Sunnis.

A Sunni insurgent umbrella group threatened the cleric on Tuesday, calling him a traitor and accusing him of working with the Anbar Salvation Council, an alliance of Sunni tribal leaders who are fighting al-Qaida in Iraq in the province of the same name west of Baghdad.

"The so-called Wathiq and his followers ... are a legitimate target for mujahedeen (holy warriors)," the statement said.

Followers denied the cleric, a former preacher at the Abu Hanifa mosque, was linked to the U.S.-backed Anbar group.

But he issued his own call against al-Qaida in Iraq last week during a funeral prayer for two nephews killed by militants believed to be linked to the group.

"We have to fight foreign fighters in our city," witnesses quoted him as saying. "We have to fight those linked to al-Qaida in Azamiyah."

The explosion struck al-Obeidi's house before dawn and was followed by gunfire that resounded across the predominantly Sunni neighborhood.

The cleric, a former preacher at the Abu Hanifa mosque, was seriously wounded and his brother and two female relatives were killed, according to the head of the neighborhood council Dawood al-Azami.

Azamiyah is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Baghdad and has been surrounded by a security barrier as the U.S. and Iraqi militaries try to assert control over the area.

On the political front, the largest Sunni bloc in Iraq welcomed the international community's decision to expand the U.N. role in Iraq and open the door for the world body to promote talks to ease Iraq's sectarian bloodshed.

The broader U.N. initiatives on Iraq _ which could begin next month _ were supported by Washington in an apparent bid to bring together Iraqi factions and neighboring countries under an international umbrella rather than struggling on its own to bridge the many religious, ethnic and strategic battles opened by the five-year-old war.

The resolution adopted Friday by the Security Council authorizes the United Nations _ at the request of the Iraqi government _ to promote political talks among Iraqis and a regional dialogue on issues including border security, energy and refugees as well as help tackling the country's worsening humanitarian crisis which has spilled into neighboring countries.

The United States and Britain, co-sponsors of the resolution, believe the world body should do more to use its perceived neutrality to promote dialogue on Iraq.

"The U.N. is a neutral party that can play a good role in Iraq. They have played good role previously and now, we need them to re-activate that role and expand it, so we welcome this renewed chance for them here in Iraq," said Salim Abdullah, a spokesman for the Iraqi Accordance Front, the largest Sunni political bloc in parliament.

"Finding a third party, however, does not lift the responsibility from the shoulders of the American administration," he added. "It should be clear for the political powers inside Iraq that they cannot completely rely on the U.N., which should have a complementary role."

The U.S. command here has pointed repeatedly to the Anbar group and its opposition to al-Qaida as an example for other tribes to follow elsewhere in Iraq and similar alliances have been formed among Sunnis in parts of the capital and in the volatile Diyala province to the north, putting the group on the defensive as it seeks to assert its dominance.

Separately, the U.S. military on Saturday reported the death of a Task Force Lightning soldier in a non-combat incident.

In other violence reported by police:

_ The bodies of four men abducted a week ago were found chopped into pieces in Dujail, 50 miles north of Baghdad.

_ A roadside bomb killed one civilian and wounded another while they were driving on the highway south of Baghdad.

The officials who reported the violence spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
The other side will do whatever it takes to counter our moves. If we attempt to bring security to an area, they will do the opposite. We attempt to win hearts and minds, they attempt to control those hearts and minds. We bring order, they bring chaos. Which is easier? To build or to destroy?

Without the Iraqi Army pulling their weight, we're just trying to carry water in a seive. It took us far too long to realize that "security is job one." Had we done things differently four years ago, the situation could be far different than it is today. The British have come to the realization in southern Iraq, that they don't have the manpower to dominate their ground. Basra is a catch 22 for them. If they reestablish themselves, they delay their departure. If they don't, they pay in attrition. There's no future for them in Iraq and only a little more than that for the US.


  1. From the previous thread:

    "The 'Anbar Solution' taking US further from those objectives with each passing day, as empowering the Baathists has a weakening effect on the elected central government. That government and the process of selecting it, the key to percieved success."

    - Rat

    This particular criticism has now become ubiquitous, and on these grounds alone there is reason for exercising serious skepticism of it - serious caution before buying the common evaluation.

    Now might be a good time to give your contrarian side a workout, hm?

  2. "The British have come to the realization in southern Iraq, that they don't have the manpower to dominate their ground. Basra is a catch 22 for them. If they reestablish themselves, they delay their departure. If they don't, they pay in attrition. There's no future for them in Iraq and only a little more than that for the US."

    They'll delay their departure from Iraq until the day they feel they can comfortably give up their seat at the table. No troops, no seat.

  3. The contrarian side moves towards Mr Biden's proposal of locally governed Federated Regions, all part of a "Greater Iraq". But as he said in a Charlie Rose interview, that is not in the best percieved interests of Mr Maliki and those in control, in Baghdad, now. Those chosen in the free and fair elections. It is however an option available in the Iraqi Constitution.

    There is a chance that stability could be secured under Mr Biden's proposal. Mr al-Hakim of the SCIRI favored that program, so one would assume his son will as well. The Kurds would sign on. The Sunni would have to relinquish their dreams of recovery control of Iraq, some have, some won't.

    The existing power structure of the government seems opposed as does Mr al-Sadr and his faction.

    To attempt that type of restructuring of the Iraqi political structure would first require a public realignement on Mr Bush's part, which is not likely.

    It would also pit US against a new group of enemies, which have been reasonably complacent towards US to date.

    The tactical advantages to not fighting the enemies of the Iraqi government, in fact arming them in an attempt to destroy the more radical jihadi, are short term ones. The policy does get US out of the Civil War crossfire, by no longer acting as a proxy for Baghdad, but does nothing to dampen the strife between the factions. In fact will cause the violence between those factions to be more ardent when it does erupt.

    Mr Biden carries the water for the contrarian view and supporting the 1920's is the first step in the process.

    It is still a defeat for Mr Bush's strategic vison though, which is why, if it comes, it'll be through the "back door". Perhaps using the UN as cover, or at least concealment.

  4. The Brits and the Aussies, both.

    JOHN Howard's tough-minded letter last week to his Iraqi counterpart, Nouri al-Maliki, revealed for the first time in The Weekend Australian today, bespeaks a level of real frustration at the Iraqi's inability to move the political process forward inside Iraq.
    Barry Rubin concurs. Rubin is the director of the Global Research for International Affairs Centre at Herzliya in Israel and one of the most prolific and authoritative authors on Middle East politics. He believes that the radical Islamist movements of the Middle East have reversed all the normal rules of warfare in a way that is disorienting Western policy-makers and Western public opinion. Rubin, who visited Australia this week, told me: "Historically there were certain principles of warfare. For example, the weaker power doesn't attack the stronger power. If you're suffering great losses you look for a cease-fire, and then if you're offered a decent compromise you accept it. The radical Islamists reverse all of this. The balance of forces doesn't matter to them because (in their view) they're heroic and their enemies are cowards.

    "Their casualties don't matter to them because their casualties are martyrs."

    Similarly the economy doesn't matter because they have no economic program anyway, their vision is religious, not economic. Rubin believes too many Western analysts and commentators project on to the Islamists a version of themselves, in which there are limited goals, potential trade-offs, a search for concessions. Instead, part of the Islamist power is that no matter what happens, they keep on fighting, for goals that no adversary can possibly concede.

    "It makes it very hard to understand this conflict in the West because it's so counter-intuitive," Rubin says.

    The essence of the strategy is simply to keep imposing costs on the Islamist enemies. War without end.

    War without end in the Middle East and for much of the globe. That is the Islamist strategy. But there must eventually come an end to the presence of Australian troops in Iraq. Howard's letter to Maliki is designed to hasten that process.

    First the Brits, then the Aussis.
    We won't be all that far behind.

    The US lacks the political will to destroy the enemy infrastructure, it lacks the will to even name the enemy. So there will be no "political solution", no reconciliation. For stability to be achieved in Iraq one of the factions will have to win, the others lose. The US concept of perpetual cease-fire, as in Korea, will not play out with religiously motiivated zealots.

  5. Iowa Straw Poll: The Ron Paul Revolution
    AMES, Iowa -- A fife and drum duo dressed in colonial attire led Rep. Ron Paul's (Texas) chanting supporters into the Hilton Coliseum moments ago.

    Paul, who last ran for president in 1988 as a Libertarian, has -- without question -- the most vocal backers of any of the candidates actively participating in today's GOP straw poll.

    He came to the stage to a huge and long-lasting cheer. "Our campaign is all about freedom, prosperity and peace," Paul said by way of introduction.

    Paul urged that Roe v. Wade be overturned, proposed the elimination of the departments of Energy and Education and argued that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, "could have been prevented if we had had a lot more respect for the Second Amendment."

    Again and again, Paul received loud applause during his speech, most notably when he spoke of defending the Constitution. "The answers can be found in the return to the rule of law and strict interpretation of the Constitution," he said.

    The excitement and enthusiasm of Paul's supporters is without question. But does that translate into votes in the straw poll? We shall see.


    * Rep. Tom Tancredo delivered one heck of a stem-winder centered on his opposition to illegal immigration. "We are at war for the survival of our republic and our way of life," said Tancredo at one point. He drew HUGE applause for this description of what a Tancredo foreign policy would look like: "The only rule of engagement I am going to have in a Tancredo administration is this: We win, you lose."

    Want to bet he won't be elected?

  6. "The policy does get US out of the Civil War crossfire, by no longer acting as a proxy for Baghdad, but does nothing to dampen the strife between the factions. In fact will cause the violence between those factions to be more ardent when it does erupt."
    3 years ago, just about every sane person coming back from Iraq reported on the LACK of high level strife between Sunni and Shia.

    Sure makes General Garner's plan of an early exit look better and better everyday.
    ...the one Trish thot didn't exist, and the CIA thot would be worse than empowering Hitler, ie Chalabi.

    Doubt that even if it was his sole goal that he could have produced this level of chaos after 3 years.
    Took the greater resources of our military, and Bremmer's Brilliance to nurture so many brands of hatred for so long.

  7. (without EVER bringing the sword of Damocles down on a single one of them)
    Hard to believe just about ANY Iraqi would have been THAT "Compassionate."

  8. "The tactical advantages to not fighting the enemies of the Iraqi government, in fact arming them in an attempt to destroy the more radical jihadi, are short term ones."

    I disagree. Short term benefits it has, but I think it was undertaken with a view to the desired end state, which is a weak central government, unhappily dominated as it is by Iran and yet kept afloat by us. Concessions have to be wrung from it, and that wasn't going to be done by making the Shiite ruling class feel comfortable. And why should it? It can't keep that enterprise going without our material support, which can be withdrawn in subtle ways without withdrawing from the country itself.

    I offer this not as a definitive analysis, but one which simply rejects the conventional wisdom - which it is occasionally wise to do.

  9. Jacksonian could write a concise (15-20pgs) explanation of why I am totally F......

    ...even if true, too long for me to bother with, esp when he ends up defending Bremmer.

  10. That one sounds like we have a lot more ability to influence events now than I think we do, Trish.
    Think we had a lot more of that kind of opportunity long ago.
    Conventional Wisdom isn't ALWAYS wrong, with apologies to the librarians and hatters, of course.

  11. You can keep your Chalabi crush, Doug.

    You would have been the first one bitching about how bone-headed we were to hand the keys to an Iranian agent.

  12. Garner swears he was just ONE of the Iraqis he would back.
    2 others were Sunni guys, but forgot names.
    I just can't believe and Iraqi would have let this take place.
    If this is indeed better for the USA, then I am simply wrong.

  13. I don't give a rat's ass if Garner had 900 other Iraqis lined up for the fiefdom. Chalabi deserves a quick bullet between the eyes. Period.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. We could be attempting something like that, trish.
    It is obvious that the Sunni now feel empowered or protected enough to walk out of the government.

    I doubt that Mr Sistani will waiver in his convictions, regardless.

    There are many in the majority, the al-Sadr faction in particular, that would not be opposed to the US leaving ASAP. Those that are sucking off the US teat, they want US to stay, certainly. But not suckle their enemies.

    You describe a version of the Biden proposal, which has been opposed by the President for years. It'll be the Clinton 44 action program, a repudiation of past US/Bush policies, as being naive, and a way out of Iraq for US.

    As Mr Biden pointed out, it worked in Bosnia where, he says, the strife was more pronounced, both in real and per capita terms. Worked because he and Clinton 42 had wisdom and foresight, as well as the courage of their convictions. According to him at least.

    Perpetual cease-fire. That's gonna be the plan. With the UN as the arbitrator.

  16. Democrats Say Leaving Iraq May Take Years

    Even as they call for an end to the war, Democratic presidential candidates are setting out positions that could leave the U.S. engaged in Iraq for years.

  17. Well, trish, if reocon at the BC is correct we did hand the keys to an Iranian agent.

    Mr Maliki ...the man who once operated Dawa's Jihad Office in Syria ...

    Dawa was founded and based in Iran in the early 80s and dedicated to spreading the Khomeneist revolution in Iraq. It was declared an adjunct of Iran and a terrorist organization by the REAGAN administration. Maliki ran Dawa's Jihad Office in Damascus in the mid-80s, has been very chummy with Ahmadinejad, and has stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran has a constructive, long-term role to play in Iraq.

    We'd have just handed those keys over sooner, cutting US loses. But not leaving US any worse off, we'd still have maintained a "presence", Mr Chalabi as money grubbing and corruptable as any of the rest.

  18. Maybe not up to DC Standards, tho.

  19. Deleted Tenet, replaced with Rice:
    The evidence is clear enough for me to think she went way out of her way to ignore Tenet and the "sky is falling" Richard Clarke.
    ...probly better to say the Whitehouse did.

  20. According to Mr Bremmer, he did warn Mr Bush that the Iranian influance would carry the elections, in Iraq.

    But it seems that Mr Bush believed in process over substance, as many liberals do. That the process would win supporters. Naive.

    28Jun03, the US stopped the bottom up democratic process in Iraq and began the occupation. It's been downhill ever since. We wanted to control the process, from the top down, which we did.

    But we do and did not control Iraq, regardless.

  21. Reocon's not wrong. I've pointed again and again to the INC as a tool. But you can't point to Chalabi as the once-smarvelous, wrongly rejected answer to our problems AND express righteous about Dawa and SCIRI. Unless maybe you're recocon.

  22. Op-Ed Contributor: How Did Elvis Get Turned Into a Racist?
    Nobody I know didn't know that Black Musicians deserved at least half the credit for Rock and Roll.

  23. "But it seems that Mr Bush believed in process over substance, as many liberals do. That the process would win supporters. Naive."
    I remember Wretch going to great lengths to explain why, even tho our guts all screamed the obvious, that process would prevail over all that, and Sistanni, Iran, Syria, and the Sauds, to boot.

  24. It was like explaining a chess game in the midst of a Bar Fight.

  25. "You describe a version of the Biden proposal, which has been opposed by the President for years."

    Then the President is already undertaking some version of it. Going back, I guess, to early winter 07.

  26. Looks more like Chaos to me, but then there was that BC poster that says it is part of a Master Deception.

  27. In addition to all the above, is the futility of conducting PC Non Wars.

  28. "
    The results with Iran have been so poor so far, in fact the Iranian involvement in violence has increased as statistics tell us—the American commanders here said that attacks on coalition forces by Shia militias linked to Iran represented 75 percent of total attacks in July.
    Although it's still unclear whether this rise was a result of more attacks by militias or of fewer attacks by other insurgents the overall outcome is that for some reason dialogue either failed to encourage a change in Iran's policy toward Iraq or even worse giving opposite results.

    On the other hand we have Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. Although Arabia was recently criticized by ambassador Khallilzad for not doing enough there are reasons to think that the three countries have to some extent contributed to the change in attitude among Sunni Arab tribes in Anbar; an effect that is slowly spreading to other regions around Baghdad, i.e. the Baghdad belts.

    It is true that seeds for the awakening movement in Anbar were planted prior to the Iraq Study Group recommendations-perhaps some of you remember sheik Jad'aan and his fighters from last year-but it would be rather naïve to think that the movement gained all the sudden momentum we saw from a local initiative by some good sheiks.

    In my opinion the Arab countries I mentioned have redirected much of the support they had been giving al-Qaeda and its allied tribes to the awakening sheiks and their fighters. And why wouldn't Arab countries do this!?

    First Arab countries fear that Iran would control much of Iraq and they have come to realize that the only way to prevent this from happening is by allowing Iraq to become a stable state with which they can build good relations. Second their relations with America are already much better than Iran's which is seen as a common threat to them and to Iraq's stability. Add this to recent pledges with military aid in the billions and-I assume-guarantees that democracy in Iraq is not going to be a threat to their interests and we have a good package of incentives and disincentives.
    This must have convinced them that they will lose if they keep putting their money on the insurgency as a way to stop the Iranian expansion.
    This doesn't mean Saudi Arabia is doing all they can. After all it's the ideology they teach in their schools and mosques that keeps breeding terrorism and until they do something about that Saudi Arabia will always be responsible for creating new generations of terrorists who could strike in Iraq and elsewhere.

  29. Trish,
    I guess you have read this?
    Westhawk's latest article at TCS Daily describes the history of America's balance-of-power approach in the Persian Gulf and why future U.S. presidents are compelled to continue it.
    What remains to be seen is whether Iraq is doomed to become a perpetual battleground.

  30. 'Rat said,
    The 15 year old girl, the one that the two hard workers at jobs Americans won't do tried to rape and then killed, she was really a looker, a real parental pride and joy, I'm sure.

    Smiles and happiness just exude from her picture. More than just a pretty face, but she certainly had one. Damned shame.

    Pitiful job the Federals are doing.
    Worse than bad

    here, see for yourselves.

  31. As 15 year old Dani Countryman struggled beneath Gilberto Arellano Gamboa, pinned to the floor with her pants down, he called on his cousin to help subdue the girl.
    Alejandro Rivera Gamboa responded by stepping on Countryman’s throat until she stopped moving.

    That’s how investigators described Countryman’s death in a court document released Tuesday.

    Evidence outlined in the document included statements by the defendants and a bloody shoe that matched an imprint on Countryman’s chest.

    Gilberto Javier “Gabe” Arellano Gamboa, 23, who is also known as Rivera Gamboa, and Alejandro Emeterio “Alex” Rivera Gamboa, 24, were arraigned Tuesday in Clackamas County Circuit Court on charges of aggravated murder. Through a Spanish-speaking interpreter, they acknowledged the charges against them and asked for warmer jail clothes.

    New rule: When importing savages make sure to have plenty of sweaters on hand. The poor dears might catch a chill
    Compassionate George, and his works.
    Ash will call for outlawing hard-soled shoes.

  32. Haven't read it yet, Doug. Thanks for the link.

  33. dRat,

    Triple checked to the head?

    "What I DO want to mention is my highly personal experience of killing 4 men at extremely close range, with an M-16. The Doctors examining Pat Tillman stated there was "an extremely close shot group ".... (and they added "fired from less than 10 yards" away).
    I'm an expert marksman, and I killed 4 men who ran right up on my point position, AFTER an ambush began, them not realizing I was so far removed from the other 28 men in my platoon.

    These men were about 3 to 4 yards away, and I had excellent cover... I had probably killed all 4 of them with just my first 6 shots from the expended 19 round magazine... and I went through their pockets, afterwards, while they were still warm.
    There was NOTHING CLOSE to a "Shot group" on any of these men. Their wounds reflected their flailing & flying bodies as I blew them away.

    A "Shot group" on Pat Tillman's forehead indicates ONE shot killed him, and then he was "double checked", then "triple checked" at POINT BLANK range, to make sure he was dead. ( 3 shots = "Shot Group" )
    When the 1st shot hits something like a head or arm, it swings wildly BEFORE the 2nd or 3rd shot can hit it. A "Shot group" indicates the head was up against something ( like the ground ), and the shots were fired on "semi-auto", NOT full automatic.

    If there were a "fog of war" or an actual ambush, everybody would be on "auto", and you wouldn't EVER find "shot groups." Our After Action Report of our particular firefight indicated 56 KIA, and, believe me, there wasn't a "Shot Group" on any of them."

  34. I had originally read that he'd been doubled to the forehead, some months, maybe a year ago.

    Supposedly at a couple of hundred yards, uphill, with M16s or M4's, not by a M21, that nomenclature dates my service, but it is still highly unprobable.

    Then the entire "cover up" ensued.

    Looks like that friendly fire incident was really murder.
    I've thought so ever since I read the reports of two rounds to the forehead. But those reports, ah well ...
    That and the journal he kept, it went missing. Other evidence destroyed, burnt.

    It wouldn't be "supporting the troops" to dwell on it. Or so the Army brass decided.

    If the shooters had been Marines, and Tillman an Afghan, well, the Army would have prosecuted, for sure.

    Sometimes you win,
    sometimes you lose.

  35. That Pat Tillman story gets curiouser and curiouser.

    As to al-Maliki's government, let it fall. They're useless anyway. This country if it is to be one will have to be built from the bottom up. Those Iraqi parliamentarians like most Iraqi bureaucrats know little or nothing about running a country and haven't been in any mood for reconciliation. As far as arming the Sunnis, it's having an the desired effect on al-Qaeda and could bring the Shias to the table.

    In any case, the security situation had gotten so bad that something had to be done. Obviously, the priority (and the low hanging fruit) is al-Qaeda. Forget about the Sunni insurgency and the losses we took, we've got to move ahead and if that means we suck it up and soldier on, that's what we do.

    Lastly, I heard some interesting news that Ahmadinejad is about as unpopular in Iran as W. is here. His situation is tenuous and the thought is that the succeeding government will be much more reasonable. Also, the chief mullah died recently and it's thought that his replacement is much more moderate.

    We're just playing for time. Trying to keep a lid on it 'til we can get some cooperation from the UN and Iraq's neighbors.

    Petraeus is doing a good job and even the Democrats are forced to admit it but the question remains, how long will we stick with it?

  36. Not long enough.
    Not the decade or more that'd it take. Two generations, really, to change the mindsets, if we took active control of their society.

    The people here at home won't go for it. I don't think. It is not 1946 or 1954. The mood is totally different, the people here not going to sacrifice for Iraqis.

    It won't be a garrison operation, like Germany or Korea, but a ongoing low intensity conflict, war without end. The "Long War"
    We won't go for that.
    Never would.
    Long occupation, that could be sold. But not a long war. As that Barry Rubin fellow said
    ... part of the Islamist power is that no matter what happens, they keep on fighting, for goals that no adversary can possibly concede.

    "It makes it very hard to understand this conflict in the West because it's so counter-intuitive," Rubin says.

    The essence of the strategy is simply to keep imposing costs on the Islamist enemies. War without end.

    War without end in the Middle East and for much of the globe. That is the Islamist strategy. But there must eventually come an end to the presence of Australian (US) troops in Iraq.

    We will try to maintain a "balance" between all the players, no one wins, no one loses.

    It won't play in Baghdad or Peoria, for long.

    Maliki and his crew won't collapse, they've been at it for twenty maybe thirty years, a long road that is, for them, going good.

    If he takes a hit, his replacement will be more of the same. He does represent the majority's position. That is the crux of the matter. He is not "out of the mainstream", but solidly in the center.

  37. "Maliki and his crew won't collapse, they've been at it for twenty maybe thirty years..."

    Been at what?

  38. dRat,

    If this is truly a frag, I'm having a hard time believing an Army Ranger could be that stupid as to go about it this way. This doesn't make sense.

  39. Islamic Revolution and terror management, trish.

    Why I never beat a drum about Sp4 Tillman, mat. If it was not a sad and regretable "friendly fire" incident, then it was murder and cover up. Ongoing even now.

    They "sanction" a retired General. No big deal for him, just another day at the beach.
    Someone in authority forced the first investigator to rewrite his reports, or so I've read.

    The published reports do not put any enemy near the site of the incident. The idea that he'd stand up and shout "Don't fire, I'm Tillman!" to paraphrase, instead of staying down while the incoming was buzzing overhead, well ...

    I am far away from Afghanistan and don't really know from nothin', but what I've read in the papers. It is curiously suspicious.

    Had an E-5 who was sure either I or my friend were going to cap him during a live fire excercise, he just knew it. The smell of fear was in the air, in the truck on the way to the range. Could have, maybe, projected a mental message that we would, but really just thought his fears were funny. Just another example of his incompetent behaviour.

    One wonders what Tillman's attitude was like, amongst the troops. He was special, after all. Better educated than most of the other EMs, big money in the bank at home. A poster boy to say the least.

    But, more than just dislike, it'd take a lot of hate to pop him in the head more than once, from 20 or 30 feet. Then have, what, ten or so Rangers involved conspire to tell a tale?
    That's a streach for me to believe, too.
    To many tongues that could wag, way to nervy, to think that none of those there would crack, eventually.

    If he was done, purposefully, they have gotten away with murder so far, regardless.

  40. But the only fellow who was there, who was not a Ranger, but an Afghani, died too.

    They would have never trusted him to stick to the story.
    Not a chance of that.

    A lot of pieces to a story that does not spin well.

  41. I surely can't understand why anyone in Tillman's group would want to kill the guy. What's the argument, what's the point?

  42. To call these situations Fluid is a heck of an understatement.

  43. Maybe we need one day set off each week--optimists day--where if you don't have anything upbeat to say, you are not allowed to say anything. Might quiet the place down, or, open up new vistas of creative optimistic thought. Both optimism and pessimism can be contagious I read somewhere.

  44. Musharraf controls the loyalty of the commanders and senior officials in charge of the nuclear program, but those loyalties could shift at any point, officials say.

    The United States is not certain who might start controlling nuclear launch codes and weapons if that shift in power were to happen.

    There is also a growing understanding according to the U.S. analysis that Musharraf's control over the military remains limited to certain top commanders and units, raising worries about whether he can maintain control over the long term.

    The U.S. officials also say one of the key problems for the U.S. military is what restrictions on U.S.-Pakistani military cooperation could be imposed if Musharraf were to impose heavy security restrictions in his country.

    rufus will think you're being negative, bob.
    Put on a happy face!

    But the key questions, officials say, are what would happen and who would control the weapons in the hours after any change in government in case Musharraf were killed or overthrown.

    General Gul? He is popular amongst many in the Pakistani Army and Intel circles. Could easily be the next General President, as the current one dismissed him, but left him at large.

    So much so that he is in the ranks of the anti Musharraf protestors

    On March 12, 2007, Gul marched shoulder-to-shoulder with activists from the liberal democratic parties and retired former senior military officers against General Pervez Musharraf. General Gul faced down riot police when they tried to arrest him at a rally outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad protesting against attempts to dismiss Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

    Ready to be large and in charge, stands General Gul. His opinions and past staements, like Mr Maliki's were, no secret.

    On America
    "We are not afraid of the Americans; they can't fight on the ground. We are only concerned about their high-altitude bombers."
    "I turned against America because they betrayed the Afghan nation." ( Feb 2004)
    "God will destroy America." (Daily Times, Pakistan, August 30, 2003)

    [edit] On Israel and 9/11
    "Mossad and its accomplices [are the 9/11 culprits]. The U.S. spends $40 billion a year on its 11 intelligence agencies. That's $400 billion in 10 years. Yet the Bush Administration says it was taken by surprise. I don't believe it. Within 10 minutes of the second twin tower being hit in the World Trade Center CNN said Osama bin Laden had done it. That was a planned piece of disinformation by the real perpetrators." (UPI United Press International, Sep. 26, 2001).

  45. Optimisum and pessimisum are perspectives, bob.

    Like revolutionaries and terrorists. Patriots or traitors.

    Old habu, he thought that George McGovern was worthy of traitor status. JFKerry, too.
    George Marshall, also, if I recall correctly.

    George Marshall, patriot or traitor, a matter of perspective?

    Mr Bush, for that matter. Impeach him or support him? Many here have called for his impeachment, I didn't but others have.

    Is that a pessimistic or optimistic view? Depends upon where one stands, doesn't it?

    Housing prices falling, interest rates raising, good or bad?
    Depends on if one is buying or selling, has cash or needs subprime credit.

    Which is the optimistic view?

  46. Habu might have been right about Marshall.
    Certainly a traitor to the Nationalist Chinese.

  47. Marshall's (and Truman's) legacy:

    "From 1949 to 1954, Mao undertook an aggressive campaign against all his political opponents around the country.

    Mao claimed to have executed some 800,000 individuals described as "class enemies," but Western historians put the figure at several times that amount.

    He established forced-labor camps, numerous prisons, and massive "re-education" and "self-criticism" programs in order to weed out counter-revolutionary political ideas.

    ...and today's Chicom Govt.

  48. Bush rightly should have been impeached for refusing to secure our borders and enforce our laws.