“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."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Getting it Together in Iraq.

"Pass me some more  duct tape."

Iraqis to Pay China $100 Million for Weapons for Police

Washington Post

Iraq has ordered $100 million worth of light military equipment from China for its police force, contending that the United States was unable to provide the materiel and is too slow to deliver arms shipments, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said yesterday.

The China deal, not previously made public, has alarmed military analysts who note that Iraq's security forces already are unable to account for more than 190,000 weapons supplied by the United States, many of which are believed to be in the hands of Shiite and Sunni militias, insurgents and other forces seeking to destabilize Iraq and target U.S. troops.

"The problem is that the Iraqi government doesn't have -- as yet -- a clear plan for making sure that weapons are distributed, that they are properly monitored and repeatedly checked," said Rachel Stohl of the Center for Defense Information, an independent think tank. "The end-use monitoring will be left in the hands of a government and military in Iraq that is not yet ready for it. And there's not a way for the U.S. to mandate them to do it if they're not U.S. weapons."...

..."We haven't converted toaster factories to produce carbines and we're working hard just to supply our own troops," said an administration official involved with Iraq policy. "Our factories are working for our own troops. So it's true we don't have the ability to provide these rifles and other equipment they're looking for."

In 2004 and 2005, the United States bought 185,000 AK-47s from an Eastern European country -- after Iraqis rejected U.S.-made M-16 assault rifles -- as part of a $2.8 billion program to deliver military equipment to Iraq. But a recent Government Accountability Office report found that 110,000 of them were unaccounted for, with about 30 percent of all arms distributed to Iraqi forces by the United States since 2004 missing.

Nevertheless, Odierno said, recent improvements in Iraq's security since the U.S. troop buildup have exceeded his expectations, with attacks down in September to the lowest level since January 2006 and U.S. troop casualties declining since June. A major factor has been U.S. operations against al-Qaeda in Iraq, whose sanctuaries have been reduced by 60 to 70 percent since January, he said. He warned, however, that the group can regenerate.

Another factor has been the unexpected willingness of Sunni tribes to cooperate with U.S. and Iraqi forces, he said. But Odierno said he remains concerned over recent statements from Iraq's Shiite ruling faction demanding that the U.S. military stop recruiting Sunni tribesmen to Iraq's police force.

"That's uncomfortable to them, and I think that's part of why it's so important. This is about reconciliation," Odierno said. "We have to continue to move forward."

He said the U.S. military is shifting more of its resources to targeting Shiite militias, including what Odierno called "surrogates" who are trained, armed and funded by Iran, as well as "special groups" affiliated with the Mahdi Army of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

"We are starting to see at low levels a split between those [Shiite militias] who have some relationship with Iran . . . and those who do not," Odierno said. He said the significance of the "fissures" is not yet clear
...more if you can stand it


  1. I wonder where the $100 million dollars is going to come from? The US taxpayer? And to compound the problem, where's it going? China!

    I think I'll go into the Arms business, anyone want to join me? We can take orders from all over the world. All we have to do is walk around with a picture book of our lines. The customer can simply point at the weapon he wants, we write up the order, he pays 50% down and off the order goes to our manufacturing associates in China, the US or wherever.

    The premium for such a transaction doesn't have to be enormous. 10% of $100 million.

    The point is, the US government could have taken the damn order for AK's or whatever it is the Iraqis wanted. I doubt that the problem is US manufacturing capacity.

  2. Personally, I like the company name "Rockola," but it's still in use.

  3. Wonderful news!

    Iraq is standing up!

    Cutting those US apron strings

    Hoorah! hoorah!

    4,700 Coalition troops
    Home for Christmnass

    30,000 Home for the Fourth of July!!