“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, November 17, 2007

Are the Iranians Changing Tactics?

Is a decrease in Iraqi IED attacks an indication of Iranian progress in developing a nuclear weapon? The last thing that I would do if I were an Iranian leader intent on procuring nuclear weapons is to portray a bellicose profile to the West. The most obvious first step would be to rein in those that were trafficking in EFP's in Iraq.

There is little benefit to Iran in supplying weapons to Iraq. The war in Iraq is obviously unpopular and will end through political changes in the US. If Iran can succeed in appearing "responsible and helpful", there will be a lessening of diplomatic and economic pressure put upon her. After all, there are other nuclear powers who are acceptable to the World.

A sane and reasonable appearing Iran has a better chance of getting and keeping nuclear weapons than a bunch of crazed mullahs. A declining Iranian support for Iraqi violence may not be as benign as it seems.

Drop in Iran-related attacks in Iraq a puzzle

17 November 2007

WASHINGTON - Even as President George W. Bush pressed Iran on its nuclear program on Friday, US officials said the US military was puzzling over the meaning of a sharp drop in Iranian-related attacks in Iraq.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates and other senior Defence officials have said it is too soon to judge the significance of the three-month decline in the use of explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) and other Iranian made weapons.

But a deputy corps commander in Iraq, Major General James Simmons, said Thursday that Iran appears to be living up to a commitment to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki to stop the flow of the weapons into the country.

Senior Defence officials in Washington suggested that Simmons’ conclusion was overstated, but said there was little doubt that the flow of weapons from Iran to Iraq has slowed or stopped.

Armor-piercing EFPs have turned up in recently captured weapons caches in Iraq, but those are believed to pre-date a pledge Iranian leaders made to Maliki during a visit to Tehran in August, officials have said.

Attacks involving EFP’s dropped from 99 in July to 53 in October.

What remains unclear is whether the Iranians decided to stop the flow of weapons, and if so why, and whether it points to a broader change in direction by Tehran or just a temporary respite.

“We’re not there yet,” a senior US Defence official said, explaining that more time was needed to assess the development and its implications.

“We certainly hope that the Iranians have decided to fulfill their commitments to the Maliki government,” the official added.

The developments in Iraq come as the Bush administration is trying to ratchet up international pressure on Iran on the nuclear front.

At a White House meeting Friday with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Bush said international pressure “must, and will, grow” on Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program.

“The prime minister and I agree that a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten the security of the Middle East and beyond. Our two nations are united in our efforts to change the regime’s behaviour through diplomacy,” Bush said.

Senior Defence officials said the nuclear issue is the administration’s primary concern.

But a turnaround on Iraq by Tehran would be a major break for the US military, which is banking on a sustained reduction of violence in Iraq to undertake a phased drawdown of US forces.

Wary that it might be too good to be true, US officials point to what they say is Iran’s record of arming and training “special groups” of Shiite extremists that have killed US forces.

“That they have had a negative influence in the past, that they have assisted in the killing of coalition, Iraqi and American soldiers is a matter of fact,” said a senior US military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


  1. We're being played like a fiddle.

  2. Oh so true, bob, but they are playing the requests.

    Oh, an EFP is anything but an IED.

    A contradiction in anongrams, almost by definition and "explosively formed projectile", which is a shaped charge, is not an "Improvise Explosive Device". Which denotes a homemade bomb.

    But one must admit, the Iranians are acting rationally, which argues that a MAD containment would work, as well as it did with the Communists.

  3. A Confucian general goes to war for the common good, because he believes a benevolent society must impose righteousness by force. He trumpets pious names for his missions like "Operation Just Cause" or "Operation Iraqi Freedom" and broadcasts the slaughter of thousands of civilians on television news. He clobbers weakly armed and primitive enemies with overwhelming force and technology bordering on magic to the accolades of the whole world. Everyone calls him a skillful general.

    A Taoist general goes to war only when all other avenues have failed. When she arrives on the field of battle her heart is heavy, as if she were attending a funeral. Unseen by friend or foe alike, the Taoist general arranges alliances, supplies, and the disposition of her forces in such a way that a wise enemy general will concede defeat without fighting, and a foolish enemy will be defeated before he even begins to maneuver. So the Taoist general never receives the recognition of the world, because her enemies seem to melt away without providing the spectacle of a bloody battle. "The soft overcomes the hard; the gentle overcomes the rigid. Everyone knows this is true, but few can put it into practice." (TTC 78)

  4. Musharraf raises nuclear fears to defend rule
    By Martina Smit Telegraph
    Last Updated: 12:24pm GMT 17/11/2007

    President Pervez Musharraf today claimed that the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons depended on strong military rule, as he defended his decision to impose emergency government.

    On the day he met the American deputy secretary of state to discuss the deepening political crisis in his country, Gen Musharraf warned that terrorists would exploit any weaknesses to seize Pakistan's nuclear technology.

    If elections were held in the wrong environment, the results could lead to chaos and Pakistan's weapons could become vulnerable, he told the BBC.

    "They cannot fall into the wrong hands, if we manage ourselves politically," he said, referring to his country's nuclear arsenal.

    "The military is there - as long as the military is there, nothing happens to the strategic assets, we are in charge and nobody does anything with them."

    Gen Musharraf also said he was not the one who was trying to derail democracy, insisting that he had always been committed to more open, representative government.

    "Who is trying to derail the political and democratic process? Am I? Or is it some elements in the Supreme Court - the chief justice and his coterie... and now some elements in the political field?"

    "Did I go mad? Or suddenly, my personality changed? Am I Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?" he asked in an interview with the BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

    Diplomats said John Negroponte, the senior US envoy, had a "very strong message" for Gen Musharraf to end emergency rule, hold elections on time, lift curbs on the media and release political prisoners.

    The envoy would inform the Pakistani president that America was reviewing all its assistance to Pakistan, according to sources.

    Washington has spent around $10 billion (£4.9 billion) on aid to Pakistan, much of it to the military, since Gen Musharraf sided Pakistan with America's "war on terror".

    Mr Negroponte is expected to try and revive a deal between Gen Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto, the opposition leader who was yesterday freed from three days of house arrest in Lahore.

    After his arrival in Islamabad yesterday, Mr Negroponte told Miss Bhutto over the telephone that "moderate forces" should work together in Pakistan towards democracy.

    The envoy has also met with General Ashfaq Kiyani, the deputy chief of Pakistan's army and Gen Musharraf's successor as head of the army if the president hangs up his uniform as promised.

    Despite the US demands, Gen Musharraf last night shut down ARY and Geo TV, two independent Pakistani television stations which had been broadcasting from Dubai to avoid crackdowns on the media in Pakistan.

  5. Mahdiism poses no threat, the threat is Wahhabiism.

    Although none at this site have actually provided an explanation to support the perspective.

    Next thread?

  6. The Tao thing just ain't our gig, T.

  7. Not none to all, that's not the comparisonn not the accurate summation of realities.

    The numbers of casualties the followers of Mahdi have caused, in the US?
    None, is about the number.

    The amount of material damage done to assets in the US by attacks of the Mahdi?
    Again, none.

    The Wahabbists. around 4,000 US civilians and a couple billion bucks. Achieved on their border raid of 9-11-01.

    How soon they forget.

    "“That they have had a negative influence in the past, that they have assisted in the killing of coalition, Iraqi and American soldiers is a matter of fact,” said a senior US military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity."

    You'd think he was speaking of the Sunni of Anbar and of greater Iraq, who were responsible for 85% of US casualties, in Iraq.

    Backed by the Wahabbists.

  8. The terrorists that have been arreste in England and Germany, they've trained in Pakistan, not Iran.

    Fact of life.

    But not acknowledged by the "Iran is the source of all evil" & amen crowd.

    Now the Iranians proving, evidenced by realities in Iraq, that they are not irrational, just viewing the world from a non-US centric perspective.

  9. Now the Iranians proving, evidenced by realities in Iraq, that they are not irrational, just viewing the world from a non-US centric perspective.

    oh yea, hezbollah and hamas are figments of our imagination....

    trick that out a few degrees and once again, one must not make broad statement that "iran good" arabia "bad"

    how about a different equation?

    arabia "bad" iran "bad"

  10. Desert Rat, Cheney is probably pulling his hair out right now, because the Iranians aren't giving him a casus belli. The Enhanced IEDs were supposed to be the WMDs, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the battleship Maine of the Iran War. Heck, it might even be affecting his attention to rifle safety detail on his hunting trips.

  11. Desert sometimes i think you are nuts. The Basij is rational? As I mentioned as far back as almost a year, It’s going to be about preemption prevention for Iran (they didn’t think we’d trace the IED’s back to them).
    The crazy in charge before they get nukes

    The crazy in charge after they get nukes

  12. "The Enhanced IEDs were supposed to be the WMDs, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the battleship Maine of the Iran War."

    Oh, pooh. They were just for decoration.

    Iran NIE up shortly.

  13. Dont worry Iran has attacked israel already (america too but some here want a balless america)

    Many seem to think that "if the glove doesnt fit, you must acquit" bullshit...

    Iran is attacking Israel & America thru proxies

    Israel will step up to defend herself in the end to what ever happens to the rest of the world too bad...

    By do not fret, Israel will not have the chance, The USA knowing full well that Israel attacking could start a much larger problem will handle Iran, just so that OUR nation interest will be protected.

    or not...

    but Iran's threat is real...

    as is pakistan

    as is china, russia & arabia...

    if we were serious we should be doing something about OIL dependence...

    are we?

  14. The Iranians have $100 oil and were instrumental in getting the process started of detaching oil pricing from the dollar. The dollar was once almighty and Iranian interests are served by a weaker dollar. Iran has every incentive to aid and assist the process to weaken America.

    In June, 2003, Russia held 64.9 billion dollars in gold and foreign currency reserves on June 1, an increase of 17.1 billion dollars since the turn of the year. In June of 2006 $406.6 billion. Iran helped that to happen. Putin must be pleased.

    Cash is king and those who hold it set the rules. In effect the holders of cash rule.

    We have been ruled by people who do not seem to appreciate the source of American strength. I continue to stare in stunned amazement.

  15. No, slimslider, not the Basij, but the actual governing reality in the country of Iran.

    Or they'd not be backing down in Iraq. That their backing down goes against the script, the preconcieved prejudices, all the more telling on both sides.

    But th Iranians DO NOT HAVE a nuclear weapon. There are 48 to 100 of them in Pakistan. But that reality does not play to the "Iran is the source of evil, Amen" chorus.

    The Mussulman threat to world stability, today, is in Pakistan. It has been in Pakistan and will remain in Pakistan until the radicals mussulmen are defeated, there.

    The Iranians easily contained, as they have been for years, contained to their reliance of acting as a sponsor for insurgents in the Levant. Nothing directly tied to the government of Iran, until just this past month.

    US Diplomacy acted, the Iranians reacted, positively from US perspective. Giving ground with the IAEA, cutting back on support to Iraq insurgent groups.

    As hoped for by the United States.

    That it is a ploy, on the part of the Iranians, an assumption based upon fear, hope and past performance.

  16. Hez and hamas may be Iran’s proxy but I am not convinced the Iran is not Europe’s proxy. All that holocaust denial by achma. How would the destruction of Israel really affect Europe? Like an ugly wart removal to them. Don’t be surprised when, by the end of this script, that a conspiracy with European origins surfaces.

  17. Tao Teh Ching--quoting 'the old boy'--Lao-tzu--

    "When a magistrate follows the Tao he has no need to resort to force of arms to strenghen the Empire, because his business methods alone will show good returns. Briars and thorns grow rank where an armey camps. But harvests are the sequence of a great war. The good ruler will be resolute, and then stop, he dare not take by force. One should be resolute, but not boastful; resolute, but not haughty, resolute, but not arrogant, resolute, but he must not resort to violence. With a resort to force, things flourish for a time, but then decay. This is not like the Tao, and that which is not Tao-like will soon cease"


    "Even sucessful arms, among all implements, are unblessed. All men come to detest them. Therefore, the one who follows the Tao does not rely on them. Arms are, of all tools, unblessed. They are not the implements of a wise man. Only as a last resort does he employ them.
    Peace and quietude are esteemed by the wise man, and even when victorious he does not rejoice, because rejoicing over a victory is the same as rejoicing over the killing of men. If he rejoices over the killing of men, do ou think he will ever really master the Empire?"

    But another view from "The Book of the Lord Shang"

    'The country depends on agriculture and war for its peace, and likewise the ruler, for his honor...If, in a country, there are the following ten things: poetry, and history, rites and music, virtue and the cultivation thereof, benevolence and integrity, sophistry and intelligence, then the ruler has no one whom he can employ for defence and warfare....But if a country banishes these ten things, enemies will not dare to approach, and even if they should, they would be driven back......A country that loves strength makes assaults with what is difficult and thus it will be successful. A country that loves sophistry makes assaults with what is easy and thus it will be in danger....When a country is in peril and the ruler in anxiety, it is of no avail to the settling of this danger, for professional talkers to form battalions. The reason why a country is in danger and its ruler in anxiety lies in some strong enemy or in another big state."

    "A country where the virtuous govern the wicked will suffer from disorder, so that it will be dismembered; but a country where the wicked govern the virtuous will be orderly, so that it will become strong.
    If penalties are made heavy and rewards light, the ruler loves his people and they will die for him; but if rewards are made heavy and penalties light, the ruler does not love his people, not will they die for him."

    "If things are done that the enemy would be ashamed to do, there is an advantage."

    These gentlemen don't quite see things the same way.

  18. "The Iranians easily contained, as they have been for years"

    Another generalizaion desert rat, and not accurate...

    Perhaps Pakistan's nukes are part of an Iranian containment strategy?

    What has been the contribution of General Musharraf to "Sunni containment" of Shia Iran?

    General Musharraf visited Saudi Arabia and select Muslim countries (while pointedly excluding Iran and Syria). His efforts were followed by the emergence of a new grouping of Sunni Muslim States comprising Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia. The Foreign Ministers of these countries met in Islamabad just prior to an unexpected Cheny visit, in which he was accompanied by the CIA's counter-terrorism head Stephen Kappes. The Iranians have referred to this initiative as an attempt at "marginalisation of Iran and Syria". Cheney's visit was followed by a visit to Pakistan by British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.

    Just preceding these developments, a Pakistan-based Sunni terrorist group, Jundullah, attacked the Iranian city of Zahedan close to the Iran-Balochistan border, killing 13 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. On February 27, four policemen were killed in the Iranian province of Sistan-Balochistan by terrorists who fled back to Pakistan. Pakistan's Ambassador was duly summoned to Iran's Foreign office and on March 2 Iranian leader Hojatoleslam Ahmed Khatami said: "Though Pakistan is our neighbour, little by little it is losing its neighbourly manners. Pakistan has become a haven for terrorists who kill people in Zahedan.”

    Earlier, the semi-official Tehran Times accused Pakistan of providing "logistical and political support" to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Tehran is now constructing a 700-km, 10-ft high wall on its border with Pakistan. Interestingly, all these developments followed some American think-tanks showing an unusual interest in ethnic fault-lines in Iran, by bringing together Baloch, Kurdish, Azeri and Turkmen minorities in Iran on a common anti-clerical platform. In these circumstances, General Musharraf is proving that he is a useful ally of the United States in the Islamic world.

    Whether he succeeds remains to be seen.

    but containment is easy...right?

  19. ledger said...
    "Does Vin Diesel get to play Richard Armitage?"



    Mr. T should play Joe Wilson’s able body guard on his trip to Nigeria.

    We have the start of big movie.


    In August 2005 Mr. T, Vin Diesel and Chuck Norris went shark fishing 845 miles east of Bermuda and 1,139 miles west of the Azores Islands. After finishing off 10 kegs of Milwaukees Best and 2 barbequed tiger sharks Mr.T asked Vin Diesel to pull his finger. At the exact moment that Vin Diesel pulled Mr. T's finger Chuck Norris round house kicked Mr. T in the stomach "for fun". The resulting flatulence refered to by most as "Hurricane Katrina" has cost over $1.13 billion so far and almost destroyed New Orleans. To help aliviate his conscious Chuck will provide free "Roundhouse Kick" seminars to the hurricane victims. As for Mr. T he will simply pity the fools.

    see: Mr T

  20. Never said easy ...

    Said it was possible.

    Have been advocating for using both the Baloch, Kurdish groups to stir turmoil, in Iran, for years.

    If we are, good going for US. Using insurgents to destabilize unfriendly governments. Tit for tat.

    Using proxies is a historicly prudent route, as part of a containment policy.
    Eventually the proxies may just prevail, as they did in Poland circa 1989.

  21. Iran a piece of Cake compared to Pakistan.

  22. BDS WaPo story, I would have been satisfied with WHATEVER Mushie had done, had he taken on the Taliban.
    Mushie and Bushie

    Administration officials say Musharraf has little question where Bush stands on key issues, though they do acknowledge that the "tough" talk is often delivered by the president's subordinates.

    Dormandy lamented what she described as years of ambiguous messages from the United States to Musharraf. "If we truly expected Musharraf not to call a state of emergency, if we truly expected Musharraf to be strongly urged to pursue democratic objectives, then we would have been more clear about how important it was to us," she said. "We left him the impression that if he moved on other priorities, he would probably be okay."


    Tribune, nOV. 17, 2007

    Federal agents raided the headquarters of a group that produces illegal currency and puts it in circulation, seizing gold, silver and two tons of copper coins featuring Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

    Agents also took records, computers and froze the bank accounts at the "Liberty Dollar" headquarters during the Thursday raid, Bernard von Nothaus, founder of the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act & Internal Revenue Code, said in an intgerview.

    The Spokesman-Review in Spokane reported that FBI agents also seized records and dies for casting the coins at three locations Thursday in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.


    Hang on to your 'Ron Paul Dollars' folks, they are rising in value, soon will outvalue unca sam's own funny money. :)

  24. Call a Freaking State of War if you Nuke Waziristan!

  25. You're a Radical Outlaw, Albob:
    Like Trish!

  26. Where is *Bliss* Idehoe, and can you send me some?

  27. "Never said easy ..."

    No desert rat, that is exactly what you wrote on this thread -

    "The Iranians...easily contained,... as they have been for years, contained to their reliance of acting as a sponsor for insurgents in the Levant. Nothing directly tied to the government of Iran, until just this past month."

    Moreover, the statement -

    "contained to their reliance of acting as a sponsor for insurgents in the Levant. Nothing directly tied to the government of Iran, until just this past month"

    is also inaccurate.

    They’ve been killing Americans for years. Perhaps you simply haven’t noticed.

    IRGC Threat: New 'Punch' Same As The Old 'Punch'

    Iranian State Sponsorship of Terror

  28. We left that impression, doug, because that's what those in charge thought.

    That after promoting a policy of "Democracy First" for six years, that the US public would accept foreign despotism, when the opponents are not jihadi, but lawyers, judges and politicians.

    Opposed to the despotic General.

    Hard spin to have the US swallow, after all these years of "Democracy First".
    But it looks like the members of Team43 and the State professionals never believed the rhetoric, so to them it didn't matter.

    But for the rest of US, a cornerstone of US foreign policy, cannot be easily discarded.

    My Country right or wrong, but my country.

    Democracy First!

    That's where we stand, right or wrong!

  29. Past tense, there, amigo.
    Going forward, harder or easier, who's to say, with the new attitude emenating from Iran.

    Seems I was off, by 3 points.
    EFP’s accounted for 18%

    Where as I put the Sunni caused casualties at 85%, seems that should be 82%.

    But then the planters of those EFP munitions, not likely to have been Iranians, but Iraqi.

    Is the US responsible for the Israeli use of US built F15s in Syrian air space?

    Or is Colt Firearms responsible for use of weapons it has manufactured when those weapons are used in crimes?

    The US has finally recongnized that the Iranian Government supports and sponsors terrorists, that it is Iranian State Policy.

    So does Pakistan's ISI, but that is not yet recongnized by the public to the extent that Iran has become widely seen.

    Let's see which the Congress declares war against. As there is no immediate military threat, from either, to act as a casus belli for war.

    The Iranians are moving in the opposite direction, now.
    As a result of the success of US soft power pressures

  30. Mr Levitt's testimony from 2005, not taking into account the recent US success utilizing financial sanctions to move the Iranians off center, towards US desired results.

    That is what we are seeing, perhaps in an "Another Awakening" amongst Iraqi Shia and their sponsors in Iran.

    Good news, treated as bad ...

    Support US Policies, especially when the seem to be taking US towards the stated goals

    Don't be like Ms Pelosi and Mr Reed, in denial of success!

  31. Iran, Iran.

    Unlike Pakistan, the next Iranian goverment is unlikely to be any loonier than the current. Too hard to say the same about the US, yet.

    Fabius Maximus on Iran. They have their own problems, I had no idea the demographics were so damn dramatic.

    Interesting times.

  32. The US funds the Kurdish peshmerga to obtain weaponry, for use locally and in Iraqi Army units.
    The Kurds purchase Warsaw Pact weaponry, from Hungary and Czech Rep.

    Some of those weapons find their way to the PKK and are used in Turkey to attack that NATO ally of the US.

    Is the US responsible for those attacks, because we provided for some of the weaponry?

    That the Iranians work closely with the Badr Brigades and the Mahdi Army, they did even while Mr al-Hakim was visiting the White House.

    Those ties will remain as part of and well after US success is claimed, even during the US presence, as is the case today.

    The Iranians a soft powered to the hilt in Iraq, while we stay hard, as we begin to withdraw.

  33. "The US funds the Kurdish peshmerga to obtain weaponry, for use locally and in Iraqi Army units. The Kurds purchase Warsaw Pact weaponry, from Hungary and Czech Rep. Some of those weapons find their way to the PKK and are used in Turkey to attack that NATO ally of the US."

    And you proclaimed Desert Rat that the Turks were justified in taking action inside Iraq Kurdistan in response to PKK attacks.

    Yet..."That the Iranians work closely with the Badr Brigades and the Mahdi Army, they did even while Mr al-Hakim was visiting the White House."

    So the Americans therefore, like the Turks are justified to conduct cross border raids into Iran?

    Right Rat.

    Or is American boold cheaper than that of the Turks.

  34. In Depth Report about the 'Ron Paul Dollar' bust.

    These dollars are made out of copper, folks :)

  35. We'll mint our own money, pay no taxes and Nirvana will soon arrive!

  36. The 'Albobal Dollar', soon to hit the market, backed by alfalfa and potatoes, from Ideehoo.

  37. If the US Congress passes a Declaration, as did the Turkish Parliment and the Iranians did not change course, then yes, the US could be justified in taking cross border actions against armed provocation from and sanctuary provided to the terrorists.

    But short of that, Ambassador Crocker met with an Iranian representative on the EFP subject, Mr Maliki went to Tehran to plead the case of non-intervention.

    The Iranians have responded in a positive manner to those discussions. Attacks that are sponsored by Iranian arms routings are down.

    Without any US cross border action.

    If the Kurds acted in a manner similar to the Iranians/JAM relationship, regarding the PKK, the Turks may stand down, too.

    Sanctions and negotiations, combined with some sabre-rattling has modified Iranian actions.

    Hooray Hooray!!!

    To bad a similar situation has not prevailed in Pakistan sanctuaries and supports, vis a vie Afghanistan and the NATO forces there.

    Pakistan being used as a staging area by both sides of the Afghan War.

  38. Or is American boold cheaper than that of the Turks.

    Let us see Mr. E.. The Turks went apeshit after a crossborder attack killed a mere 10 men and threaten invasion and fire and sword, while the US dithers and hesitates to so much as name the devil after several hundred EFP casualties. Which of the two countries is serious, and values the blood of its soldiers?

  39. Thank you. Point made.

    There is an Iranian threat; and the threat can be defined as narrowly as the killing of soldiers, by proxies (whether it be the PKK, the mahdi army, etc).

    "Which of the two countries is serious and values the blood of its soldiers"

    Following the logic then, by not directly addressing Iran, America is not taking the Iranian actions and threats seriously.

    How many U.S. soldiers killed by EFPs from Iran?

    Or do attacks only vcount on U.S. soil?

    So there is an Iranian threat peacekeeper?

  40. The US Government has chosen it's course. One can support the United States and it's policies or protest them.

    Advocate for a change of policy.

    I did for years.
    Now we are 15 to 22 months from the Iraqi Security Forces reaching "Stand Alone" capacity, per General Jones's report in Aug07.
    A sustanable time line to withdrawal.

    By subverting the locals, as I'd advocated for years. That or by destroying the insurgent infrastructure, relocating hundreds of thousands of people into camps and secured areas.

    Those are the only real options.
    We turned the Iraqi Insurgents on the aQ elements. westhawk reports we've organized 70,000 Sunni into localized militias.

    Those Sunni that were responsible for 82% of US casualties in Iraq.

    Now US allies, in a localized part of the country. Elections coming in late '09, in Iraq. About the same time the military is scheduled to be self-sufficent.

  41. But turning the Sunni, the "Anbar Awakening" was political in nature, not military.

    The Tribes never defeated, as was the original US goal. Tribes not to be a part of the "new Iraq".

    Put them in their place, we were to do.
    And failed.

    Now the US is tribal-centric, in Iraq, to the dismay of the country's elected leaders.

  42. we've organized 70,000 Sunni into localized militias...

    Sounds like a proxy.

  43. PK's links to Tony Blankley's (Spengler ar Asia Times) writings are good reads.

    He seems to consider Iran a threat, even more so due to their declining demographics.

    Chan Akya at Asia Times is a good read as well...

    PART 1

    PART 2

  44. we've organized 70,000 Sunni into localized militias...

    Sounds like a proxy.

    Hell yes, but whose?

    While the shiites are fairly natural Iranian proxy (albeit with internal tensions), and the Sunnis are natural proxies for al Qaida, Saudi, Jordan or take your pick, the natural (as opposed to temporary and opportunistic) proxies of the west thereabout are the Christans/Assyrians, and partially the Kurds.

    We have already thrown the Christians to the lions, and are about the chuck the Kurds to the Turkey.

    So many choices, which ally do we stab now? Fail to choose and loose both.

    Is Iran a danger to itself and others? I believe so, but what are we the feckless west going to do about it, when the worthless Iraq is too much of a challenge?

  45. Exactlamente, PK, Exactlamente!

    Whose proxies?

    But those with the coin to pay, the Wahabbist King, that self-same Kingdom that funded the Insurgency.

    The US changing course, from full support of the democraticly elected government, to undermining it regionally as in Anbar.

    If the Iranians are changing course, as well. Time to adapt...

    What is the Goal for the US, or better...
    what are the Goals for the US and how should we rank them, across the mussulman arc?

  46. I have said it before.

    We used to back Saddam for a reason.

    He was our sunni proxy.

    Fight Iran, keep the Kurds from inflaming Turkey, keep the shiite Arabs down, keep the oil flowing and keep Saudi influence at bay. A most excellent dictator, too bad he and we got our wires and priorities crossed back in the 90's.

  47. "Tao'ism" is a bunch of shit. The Europeans tried to stop hitler with bountiful harvests, and it got their butts' shot off. Ditto, China to Japan.

  48. Tao would have had a Nuclear-armed Saddam in charge of 40% of the world's oil, by now.

    You think $3.00 gasoline is Bad?

  49. Geez Ruf,lose your football picks?

  50. We used to back Saddam for a reason.

    He was our sunni proxy.

    Fight Iran, keep the Kurds from inflaming Turkey, keep the shiite Arabs down, keep the oil flowing and keep Saudi influence at bay...

    Sat Nov 17, 04:57:00 PM EST

    Sucks when you've gotta do all those things yourself.

    "Tao'ism" is a bunch of shit."

    Of course it is, oak leaf.

  51. Naw, I'm in a mellow mood. It's just that "Tao'ism" is a bunch of shit. When it comes to "Crazies," and "Murderers," it just gets you dead.

    Look, it's great for high school junior girls, but grown-ups know that it's a dangerous World, and you have to fight, sometimes.

  52. In fact, MU is ranked 5th; I just found out.

  53. Boise State 58--Idaho 14

    Only one more humiliating loss to endure, this season.

  54. Article about the problems in securing nuclear weapons.

    Coyote, the Trickster, is surely on the loose in the world.

  55. from Belmont Club--------------Peter Grynch said...
    James Lewis at The American Thinker observes:
    Hitler's Last Act had to fit the Wagnerian story line. Indeed, some years before, psychologists employed by the Allies predicted that he would commit suicide rather than surrender.

    A'jad has been drilled in the martyrdom creed by Ayatollah Khomeini himself, and passed it on to thousands of others. To understand A'jad, look at Hamas TV for children, which indoctrinates innocent toddlers into the glories of martyrdom for Allah. Chances are that A'jad is also looking for Götterdammerung, just like the Rev. Jim Jones and David Koresh, General Tojo and the Omshinrikyo sarin cult in Tokyo. He's looking for a final victory over the infidels, or magnificent personal martyrdom culminating in the coming of the Mahdi.

    But as part of that narrative, Tehran must be attacked by the infidels, even though it's perfectly innocent of any crime. So A'jad wants war, but he also wants it to arouse the final Muslim jihad against all the infidels. It's Armageddon, but on his terms. That is why he needs to threaten the West again and again in public. He will provoke and provoke again, and escalate his rhetoric, until he can either explode his own nuke bomb or die.

    Ahmadi-Nejad is not a normal, rational politician. He lives in a different world. Call it honor, or pride, or an inverted inferiority complex. Call it a Wagnerian opera. A'jad is Saddam with a martyrdom complex. Westerners will try and try to explain him in rational terms. But it's the wrong template.

    When you see A'jad, think Jim Jones or David Koresh. Think Tojo or Hitler, or Ayatollah Khomeini. Here is a man who is ready to die and kill for his creed, as mad as it is. He doesn't go for carrots and sticks. His provocations are designed primarily to maneuver the West into his own psychodrama. If he were standing on a ledge on the Empire State Building we could let him jump. But he's clever enough to realize that we cannot ignore nukes in the hands of a martyrdom fanatic. Like Saddam, he has a kind of suicidal streak. He's willing to go if he takes others with him. It's his lack of rationality (by our standards) that makes him so dangerous.

    11/17/2007 02:49:00 PM

  56. The nuclear weapons, just as secure as the Government is, in Pakistan.

  57. The nuclear program did not start with the Abracadbra ascendency, it will not end when he is replaced.

  58. Las Vegas NM is near Taos, Rufus:
    Great Place if you ask me.

  59. Prince Saud Al-Faisal is looking out for unca sam. Time for Bush to kiss the king again.

    The most famous case of nuclear idea sharing involves France. Starting in the early 1970s, the United States government began a series of highly secretive discussions with French scientists to help them improve the country’s warheads.

    A potential impediment to such sharing was the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which bars cooperation between nations on weapons technology.

    To get around such legal prohibitions, Washington came up with a system of “negative guidance,” sometimes called “20 questions,” as detailed in a 1989 article in Foreign Policy. The system let United States scientists listen to French descriptions of warhead approaches and give guidance about whether the French were on the right track.
    (They got the idea from Trish's blogging style.)

  61. Rufus: Tao would have had a Nuclear-armed Saddam in charge of 40% of the world's oil, by now.

    What does that mean, "In charge". Does it mean he can set prices? What would make the other 60% of the world's oil want to follow suit?

  62. Federal agents raided the headquarters of a group that produces illegal currency and puts it in circulation, seizing gold, silver and two tons of copper coins featuring Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

    "Control the coinage and the courts; let the rabble have the rest." -- Shaddam VI, Padishah Emperor (from Frank Herbert's Dune)

  63. Multi-culture, multi-currencies, there's the ticket, every man his own Federal Reserve Bank. :)

  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

  65. A Little Bit of Country and Politics with Trace Adkins
    Bill Bennett
    Bill takes a look at the world from a country music star's point of view, with Trace Adkins, author, A Personal Stand, Observations and Opinions from a Freethinking Roughneck.
    (side note: folks are always telling me his voice sounds just like mine)

  66. You sound like Bill Bennet? argh

    or Bill Bennet sounds like you....

    no wonder Sonia left...

  67. It's a slow night at the Bar, Doug. I was thinking of heading over to Belmont and agreeing with everything Whiskey_199 says - hell, everything Whiskey_199 ever has said - while aiming a tsk-tsk at Wretchard's relative circumspection.

    Maybe just a brief comment: We had better gather our fucking courage and nuke something tout de suite or we're all going to die of mother fucking boredom. *You know it's true.* These shitty little wars ain't cuttin' it for no one.