“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, September 08, 2007

Iraq - The Beginning of the End

In April of this year, it was announced that all active duty soldiers currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan would see their one-year tours extended to 15 months.

Affecting more than 100,000 soldiers, it was the longest combat tour since World War II and it meant that soldiers would spend more time deployed than at home with their families.

While some say the surge has worked militarily with Sunni tribes turning on al-Qaeda and a decrease of suicide bombings in Baghdad, others say that it will ultimately make no difference in the Sunni v Shia struggle which is by no means settled.

An independent report issued this week said that "Significant reductions, consolidations and realignments would appear to be possible and prudent," General James Jones said that the Iraqi security forces need another 12 to 18 months before they are able to take control of their country. It will also take two years to make the Iraqis self sufficient with regard to logistics and supply. The 20-member panel comprised mostly of retired senior military and police officers, said the massive deployment of U.S. forces and sprawl of U.S.-run facilities in and around Baghdad has given Iraqis the impression that Americans are an occupying, permanent force. The committee also recommended that the Iraqi police force should be scrapped and rebuilt (a fact the EB regulars already knew).

General Petraeus is expected to report that the surge strategy is working and given "enough time" could bring a relative peace. The problem is, no one knows how much time is needed and what the end state will look like.

In any case, the surge cannot be extended beyond next spring without extending tours to eighteen months. So, ready or not, it looks like the drawdown will begin next spring with the Iraqis assuming more responsibilities while the US provides training, support and logistics. As we reduce our presence, once again we will face the problem of force protection. Like the British in Basra palace, the malcontents will concentrate on our supply units with the aim of driving us out of the country. When that happens, it will be the British turn at schadenfreude as our troops become the sitting ducks we so recently mocked.


  1. Arizona Lifestyles:

    Boys Cast Out by Polygamists Find Help

    ST. GEORGE, Utah — Woodrow Johnson was 15, and by the rules of the polygamous sect in which his family lived, he had a vice that could condemn them to hell: He liked to watch movies.

    When his parents discovered his secret stash of DVDs, including the “Die Hard” series and comedies, they burned them and gave him an ultimatum. Stop watching movies, they said, or leave the family and church for good.

    With television and the Internet also banned as wicked, along with short-sleeve shirts — a sign of immodesty — and staring at girls, let alone dating them, Woodrow made the wrenching decision to go. And so 10 months ago, with only a seventh-grade education and a suitcase of clothes, he was thrown into an unfamiliar world he had been taught to fear.

    Over the last six years, hundreds of teenage boys have been expelled or felt compelled to leave the polygamous settlement that straddles Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.

  2. The surge in Baghdad and the Anbar Solution turning into another case of "Whack a Mussulman", the overall violence levels, across the breadth of Iraq, remaining pretty constant, with the majority of the violence moving into the outskirts of the country.
    The 500 dead civilians in a single episodic event in Kurdistan exempliflying that fact.

    The "solution" according to the new COIN Doctrine, 500,000 troops, ten years.

    The testament of the 82nd Seven makes General Jone's estimate of 12 to 18 months seem quite optimistic, especially as it is a song we've all heard before.
    The 82nd Seven, NCOs all, can be better believed than the Captains and Majors, that type officers that constantly tried to get rufus killed, or Generals returning from short field trips to Baghdad, to study the problems.

    Mr Totten reports the Iraqi Army to be full of sectarian divisions and in some cases infiltrated by insurgent militia members of both sects. Totally Believable.

    Ten years, 500,000 troops.
    Or develop another Doctrine.
    Or leave the countryside to the Iraqi.

    That should be the basis of the debate.
    Believe the Generals when they say that aQ is not their major concern.
    Believe them when they say Basra is a success.

    Basra exemplifies the end state.

    There is a democratic government, it has emerged.
    There is no WMD threat emanating from Iraq, nor will there be.
    No more so than there is from Algeria, Sudan, Somalia, England or Germany. Much less so than the WMD threat emanating from Pakistan.

    We are right where we were projected to be, in discussions here at the Bar, last December and January. The US military controls where it stands, it is standing in more places in Baghdad, providing a peacekeeping presence.

    But the miscreants have moved on, to where the US has no presence.
    The result, 500 civilians killed in a single attack, outside of Baghdad.

    There is no move towards actual reconciliation by any of the parties, though some lip service is being provided for spin purposes.

    To secure the country, to provide stability, 500,000 US troops would be required, for ten more years, per current Doctrine.
    The tactical Doctrine that the Administration is touting as a success.
    The actual requirements of fulfilling that Doctrine across Iraq:
    Not even being discussed.
    Not on the table.

    The real question is, how to disengage and have it appear to be a success?

    Disrespecting Mr Maliki and his Government, the fruits of four and half years of US effort, blood and treasure, is not the way.

    Mr Maliki should be embraced, smothered in love.

  3. A whole other world, up there in Mormon land, doug.

    If Mr Romney appears to be gaining traction, that world will see the light of day. The lights will become glaring in their intensity.

    That Deacon Warren S. Jeffs, or what ever his self-promoted title is, just the tip of the iceberg of statutory rape, polygamy, incest and other perversions that abound in that area, religious fanatics. Tribal in their ways.

    ST. GEORGE - Attorneys for Warren S. Jeffs have 70 potential witnesses prepared to testify in defense of the polygamous sect leader. The defense witness list includes the former husband, mother and other relatives of Jane Doe, the state's key witness in two rape-as-an-accomplice

    Wierd sons a bucks, no doubt.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. If you dheck out the links on the wierdness story, Mr Jeffs is not a Deacon, my error, he is a Prophet.

    Sorry for the misinformation

    Prophet Warren S Jeffs, I would not want to disrespect his standing in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as to being a prophet of God.

  6. In polygamist Moose limb countries they deal with the excess male problem by getting them to become manned land mines. And now a little wildcatter company has struck oil in Central Utah.

  7. Further from home than Arizona City, but closer than Iraq

    CALI, Colombia (Associated Press) -- The Red Cross said Saturday it has recovered all 11 bodies presumed to be lawmakers who were killed in a shootout while held hostage by leftist rebels.

    The still-unidentified cadavers were found in an undisclosed area whose coordinates were provided by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement.

    The corpses were to be transported Sunday by helicopter to the southern city of Cali, where forensic experts supervised by the Organization of American States will try to untangle the confused events surrounding the hostages' deaths.

    In late June, the FARC announced the lawmakers had been killed when an unidentified military group attacked the jungle camp where they were being held.

    The government denied attempting a military rescue and initially accused the rebels of executing the hostages. It later said they died in a mistaken clash between two guerrilla fronts.

    Hostages' family members were optimistic they will soon see an end to their ordeal, five years after guerrillas disguised as soldiers nabbed the lawmakers during a raid on the state legislature in Cali.

    Where trish and the Lifer will soon be watching the activities, up close and personal.

  8. You mean they are going to give boys the shaft by drooping them down it?

  9. Would computerized Facial Recognition be able to determine
    Who's Hsu?

    Norman Hsu SHOCKED That He Was Being Picked On!

    When The Wall Street Journal sought to interview him in August, he responded with an email saying he was
    "shocked, sad and angry that you have chosen to pick on me for NO reason."
    He said that he simply wanted to pay back some of the opportunities he received in America, while maintaining a private life.

    But he didn't rip his clothes off, feeling like he was coming out of his skin, until he dozed off and awoke in the midst of a terrifying dream about Fort Marcy Park.

  10. Don't know if you saw my post on Dhriere's trip down there, Trish:
    He's impressed by Uribe.
    Going down again, in pursuit of Free Trade Agreement.
    Hope he's not going down for any other reason.

  11. "Disrespecting Mr Maliki and his Government, the fruits of four and half years of US effort, blood and treasure, is not the way.

    "Mr Maliki should be embraced, smothered in love."

    And given his good goddamn distance.

    A mile more than Karzai.

    He won't survive otherwise.

  12. When they help the boys, why can't they get someone to bust the "parents," 'Rat?

  13. It was Mr Craig that was drooping, doug, it had to do with his wide stance being busted.

  14. It was President Wilfred Woodruff, who in 1890 became convinced in vision that the Mormon Church should bow to the rule of man, issued the edict against polygamy in the Mormon Church, but for the worldly good of the church, so as to protect its continued existence on earth, and not from a fundamental change of heart on the issue.

    Wilfred's Revelation

    The Lord seems to grant openings to Mormon Presidents when the secular need arises, and is acute.

    I personally think any man that would want more than one wife is masochistic, and a glutton for punishment.

  15. That whole country up there, doug, is really another world. The police are infiltrated, the DA and the Superintendent of Schools.

    The legal actions are being taken by State officials, not County. It is a long way from Phoeinx, or Salt Lake City. The long arm of the law, not reaching much further than under an airport bathroom stall

  16. "Hope he's not going down for any other reason."

    Such as?

  17. Hasn't the long arm of the law been trying to bust up the polygamists by alleging unfit parenthood, child abuse, welfare fraud, stuff like that? Seems like I read an article some months back to that effect.

  18. Lets face it. The only effective way to have more than one wife, girl, mistress is to be wealthy. Then you might have a fighting chance in all venues.

  19. Not to much effect, bob.

    Check out that wierd link, the Salt Lake City Trib.

    Follow the stories, all whole lot of nothin' being done.

    The focus is on the Prophet, they've had him in custody for a year. The "Community" coming to his defense, not scattering in the whirlwind.

    They walk with god.
    As fanatical as any Shia or Sunni.
    As rightous, as well.

    Beyond bizarre, for the USA.

  20. These folk are soaking the welfare system, bob. The State funds them.

    Then the Prophet get the tithe.
    Owns most of the businesses in the town.

    Purchases Yukons for cash. Jeffs was busted because the temp plate on the new Yukon had fallen off, a STATE Trooper in Utah pulled them over.

  21. Here is a way to have a mistress----from 'Becoming Shakespeare'

    The Protestant Whore

    (Charlie the Second reopened the play houses after the Puritans were booted out)The most famous--or infamous--of the new actresses was Eleanor Gwyn. Hard facts about her early life are hard to come by, though rumors, legends and scandalous gossip are plentiful. She was probably born around 1650, making her only ten years old when Charles II returned to England and the theatres were reopened. Pepys records a story that she was "brought up in a bawdy-house to fill strong water to the guests." Beginning in 1663, though, when she was around twelve years old, she worked in the theatre--not, at first, as an actress but as an 'orange girl' selling refreshments to the audience. Within two years she had somehow managed to find her way from the pit to the stage, taking bit parts in plays around the age of fourteen. Before long she was among the most popular actresses in London. John Doran captured something of her charm. "For tragedy she was unfitted. But when she assumed comic characters, stamped the smallest foot in England on the boards, and laughed with that peculiar laugh she fairly carried away the whole town, and enslaved the hearts of the city and court."

    The first heart she enslaved was...When that didn't work out, she returned to London and this time caught the eye of King Charles II himself. Pepys reported that in January 1668 "the King did send several times for Nelly." Not long afterward she became a royal mistress, living in lavish houses and receiving extravagant payments--4000lbs a year beginning in 1674. A sinecure post as Lady of the Privy Chamber came in 1675. All the while she continued acting....

    Her behavior was oftgen considered shocking in aristocratic circles--not because mistresses were unusual but because her origins were far from the court, and her manners retained a rough edge. Doran noted "she could curse pretty strongly". But Charles was smitten. The King loved her more for her wit than for the attractions of her person. It was difficult to remain long in her company without sharing her gaity. Her only frustration was that Charles had more than a dozen mistresses. When the King asked Gwyn's advice on how to deal with Parliament on a French question she told him a good place to begin would be to "hang up the French bitch" a reference to his French mistress.

    According to another story when an angry mob surrounded Gwyn's coach, thinking she was the French mistress, she told the crowd, "Pray good people be silent, I am the Protestant whore." Her down to earth wit was enough to save her from the mob.

    The King remained committed to her until the very end. According to legend, as Charles lay dying, he asked his brother, the Duke of York, soon to be King James II, "Let not poor Nelly Gwyn starve."

    She did not long outlive her royal lover, dying two years later.

  22. The Prophet gets the tithe. Yup, that's the it is lots of places. The Prophet keeps the profit, crucified on a cross of gold, as they say.

  23. "Going Down" was part of a trashy joke, me having learned while checking Dave out, that it is widely known he is Gay, and is close to his well-paid ($161 K) Congressional aide.

    Gays are like Blacks in Dems eyes, it turns out:
    They are expected to all think the same thoughts, or they are traitors to their race or sexual preference.

    In Dave's case he is a sell-out self loathing hater because he votes against gay marriage and hate crime legislation.

    Thus, he is considered fair game for Outing and Demeaning.
    All's fair, and all that.

  24. Damn, Doug, I didn't even think about it in that way.

    The gay thing passes me by.

    I could give a shit.

  25. Congratulations, you're not a liberal!

  26. Passed me by in all the years I've listened to him on Hewitt, and now on Miller, cause for some odd reason nobody thought it worth mentioning, having nothing to do with the matter at hand.

  27. Fight Global Warming--Don't Argue!!--Queen of the Fairies

  28. For Trish and 'Rat:
    NahnCee said...
    I really don't care if the Mullah's are overthrown or not. I think we have the capability to take out their nuclear building test facilities, and that's what I think needs to be done. Now.

    If the Iranians want to overthrow their government, fine. Let them. We tried bringing a better life to Iraq but evidently Muslims and Arabs enjoy being sat upon and tortured, so I'm not in favor of trying to overthrow an evil government in Iran, on the assmption that the Iranians will be any better at being normal human beings than the Iraqi's have been.

    But good - yes, bomb their nuclear facilities, and the bigger a bomb the better. I suppose they'll need to use some sort of burrowing underground explosive, but it's been a while since humanity has seen a full-blown mushroom cloud, so maybe we need to trot one of them out again, just to remind jihadists,
    "You think that IED is a bomb?
    THIS is a bomb."

  29. Mali’s Farmers Tap a Weed’s Potential Power

    Long used by farmers as a guard against pests and erosion, a plant called jatropha is now being hailed by scientists and policy makers as a potentially ideal source of biofuel.

  30. Bobalharb: I personally think any man that would want more than one wife is masochistic, and a glutton for punishment.

    The penalty for polygamy is built right in: multiple mothers-in-law.

  31. Ms. T--I'm one of the few--I liked my mother-in-law!

  32. But then, maybe the problem would arise of squabbling mothers-in-law.