“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."

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Give Iraq a Timetable

Iraq insists on withdrawal timetable for US troops

Jul 8 10:02 AM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

Iraqi Prime Minister Calls for Date of Withdrawal for US Troops

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's national security adviser said Tuesday his country will not accept any security deal with the United States unless it contains specific dates for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces.
The comments by Mouwaffak al-Rubaie were the strongest yet by an Iraqi official about the deal now under negotiation with U.S. officials. It came a day after Iraq's prime minister first said publicly that he expects the pending troop deal with the United States to have some type of timetable for withdrawal.

President Bush has said he opposes a timetable. The White House said Monday it did not believe al-Maliki was proposing a rigid timeline for U.S. troop withdrawals.

U.S. officials had no immediate comment Tuesday on al-Rubaie's statement.

Al-Rubaie spoke to reporters after briefing Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf on the progress of the government's security efforts, and the talks.

"Our stance in the negotiations underway with the American side will be strong ... We will not accept any memorandum of understanding that doesn't have specific dates to withdraw foreign forces from Iraq," al-Rubaie said.

Some type of agreement between the United States and Iraq is needed to keep U.S. troops in Iraq after a U.N. mandate expires at year's end.

Iraq's government has felt increasingly confident in recent weeks about its authority and the country's improved stability, and Iraqi officials have sharpened their public stance in the negotiations considerably in just the last few days.

Violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level in four years. The change has been driven by the 2007 buildup of American forces, the Sunni tribal revolt against al-Qaida in Iraq and crackdowns against Shiite militias and Sunni extremists.


  1. Excellent...

    The neo-con plan (read Jew controlled) of Bush to create a stable non-fascist functioning democratic arab country (the 1st in the history of the world has happened

    Now of course Iraq will be thankful for America's help by repaying us the 1 trillion dollars we spent to rebuild Iraq?

  2. T Boone Pickens things at a minimum we should get a put on their oil.

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  5. I quess I'm not saying Emerson is right, just that he's comforting.

  6. We should have the right to buy AT MARKET PRICES Iraqi oil 1st...

    otherwise we will set another country like Arabia, to say thanks for saving us, but now china wants our oil...

    ANY country that has it's ass SAVED by the USA OWES the Americans LOYALTY.

    It amazes me that countries like France, Arabia and others can accept American help but are NO WHERE to be found to lend a hand to us...

    If we give you aid, rescue your starving people, free you from dictators or just lend a hand in teaching your people how to use soap you better not be ungrateful...

  7. Adi fucking os, Amigos.

    Have a super-scrumptious, deliocious day!

  8. I guess I should have said, "Adi fucking os, Eye Raqios!

    Or, maybe, just, have "adios ragheads."

  9. In other words, "We be gone, now."

    I could see a couple of heavy armor brigades sitting out in the Kuwaiti desert. A blocking force, just in case, and a fond fare thee well to the donkey-loving sonsabitches.

  10. I go against the grain, I quess. I say it's time to make those back room deals, let Chevron in there to drill, get cozy. Work the bazaar. Settle in for the long haul.

  11. What did we go to all this trouble for, if there's not to be a payoff at the end?

    I say stay and work with them to get some oil out.

  12. We bailed out Mexico and Kuwait, saved the Sauds from Saddam and now Iraq. The Chinese are drilling off Cuba and making deals with Venezuela. We are paying $700 billion annually for oil from few of my favorite people.

    That does not include the cost of US military in the Middle East and on the shipping lanes. Throw in a trillion or so for the Iraq war and you can come to a quick conclusion that we are led by fools.

  13. The purple fingers say we must go when they say we go.

  14. and just to keep it interesting:

    Russia warns over US-Czech shield

    Russia's foreign ministry has said it will be forced to react with military means if a US-Czech agreement over a missile defence shield is ratified.
    The statement comes hours after the US signed an initial deal to base part of Washington's controversial missile defence system in the Czech Republic.

    It said Russia would respond "not with diplomatic, but with military-technical methods" if the system was deployed.

    Moscow says siting the system near its borders could weaken its own defence.

    It has previously threatened to aim its own missiles at any eventual base in Poland or the Czech Republic.

  15. It seems like a heck of a waste of money, not to mention lives, if we just hike on out now. And, without us, those noble purple fingered voters will lapse back to their old ways. I quess I don't much care about that, if they don't threaten us, but it seems we ought to get a few barrels of oil out of the deal.

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  17. Bobal, your "George the Decider" link answers, in the negative, a question I've had in my mind for some time, which is whether Iraq is a sovereign nation. It turns out it is really just an occupied colony of the US. Obama says he wants out in sixteen months after he takes office. McCain says, "I'm sorry to say it, but there will be more wars, my friends." So this election will be about whether the US will have a Middle-East Empire or not.

  18. al-Bob or T:
    I really would appreciate that home remedy for Hives.
    Something about Cranberries, right?

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  20. Cherry juice for gout.

    Well T., now you're the President. What would you do?

    Remember, nature abhors a vacuum.

  21. Remember too, there are worse things than being 'a US colony'.

    I'm for staying. And backing out real slow. After all this.
    And I wasn't particularily in favor of going in in the first place.

    These things are a hard call, and it's up for debate what the best course of action is.

  22. Gout must suck.
    My problem is my skin has totally dried out in the last year.
    Brain's probly shrunk even more too.
    Damn low fat diet.
    (couldn't be age)

  23. "And I wasn't particularily in favor of going in in the first place."
    You and Barry.
    Guy that knew best was 41,
    but far be it for the shrub to listen to pops.

  24. What with what's going on in Pakistan/Afghanistan, seems rather clear we should have made that the focus.
    Flypaper woulda worked there too, if that means anything.
    ...but Ruf says it's all about oil.
    There were other ways for that.

  25. Doug, have you been sucked into a full fruit diet? Maybe you need some meat, or fish. Seriously.

    I don't buy all these diets one hears about. Eat hearty, and get exercise, is the best thing, I think.

    Really, a Big Mac doesn't hurt once in a while, either.

  26. Brian said...
    Hiroshima and the Firebombing of Tokoyo

    "Yamagishi then told us about his life during the war. He had been drafted in 1944, at the age of forty, and sent to Osaka to guard the emperor’s forest. Then the Americans took Saipan and the B-29s came. “The Americans burned the forest with incendiary bombs, so it was not necessary to guard it any longer,” he said. “I became a firefighter. The Americans would drop incendiary bombs to set the city on fire, and when we went to fight the fires they would wait until we were very busy and then they would come over with other B-29s and drop antipersonnel bombs and kill the firemen.

    I thought, ‘The Americans are very clever.’ Then, after the whole city had been destroyed, a single B-29 flew over Osaka and dropped not bombs but hundreds of little parachutes. When these parachutes landed we saw that a gift was tied to each—a mirror, a harmonica, a fountain pen. The Japanese people had lost nearly everything in the bombing and they were very glad to have these gifts from the Americans. They ran to get them, and when they touched them they exploded in their hands, blowing off fingers and blinding people. I thought, ‘The Americans are not only clever; they are ruthless. We have lost the war.
    (Anybody hear of that before?)

    Yamagishi said, “Thank you. Thank you for defeating Japan. If you Americans had not done so, this village would be as it always was. The militarists would never have let us have democracy"

  27. No, just eat a loss less fat.
    Used to notice the dried up appearance of some health food freaks.
    If I'd never got a computer, I'd probly be a lot healthier.
    ...none of our friends could believe our physical condition when we had the farm!

  28. We could eliminate the left by repeating those tricks:
    Their heads would explode!

  29. If I'd never got a computer, I'd probly be a lot healthier.


    Damned computers will be the death of us all.

  30. I can't get worked up about al-Maliki's remarks or those of his Sec Adv.

    I would think that now is the time to reassure the Iraqi public and counter Iranian claims that we indeed to occupy Iraq forever. I'm not sure whether the dates should be made public just yet but I find the news encouraging.

  31. Then, after the whole city had been destroyed, a single B-29 flew over Osaka and dropped not bombs but hundreds of little parachutes. When these parachutes landed we saw that a gift was tied to each—a mirror, a harmonica, a fountain pen. The Japanese people had lost nearly everything in the bombing and they were very glad to have these gifts from the Americans. They ran to get them, and when they touched them they exploded in their hands, blowing off fingers and blinding people

    I don't know what to make of that. I have never heard of anything like that before. My hunch is that's bs, but I don't know.

  32. The Iraqi government, such as it is, has to say, 'We want the Americans out', even though many of them might not want that at all. Their positions being beholden to us. So, it's a kind of a dance going on, and manuevering around. The Kurds, whom seem to have gone totally silent, surely have benefited from all this. So, that's a good part of the country right there. If I were a Sunni, I think I'd want the Americans around, to help protect me from the Shias. And the Shias have been big winners. Some kind of long term deal with mutual benefit ought to be gotten out of this. The koran is one thing, but it's hot in Iraq, and that oil money looks pretty good. I think there is a lot of posturing going on here.

  33. Bouts showing men kissing draw suspicion -

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Crowds in Arkansas came for the lure of cage fighting and $1 beer, but police say what they got instead was men ripping each others' clothes off and kissing —

  34. stolen from Belmont Club--

    “A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.”
    - Sir Winston S. Churchill, 1952. (The Observer)

  35. Doug, that picture was disgusting. Madonna and what's her name, that is another thing....


    This ultralight supercar, built largely of carbon fiber, is the work of Christian von Koenigsegg, a designer and investor from a wealthy Swedish family. Mr. Koenigsegg, 36, has said that his inspiration came when he was 5 years old and his father took him to see a Norwegian puppet movie about a bicycle repairman who invents the world’s greatest sports car.

  37. An elaborate array of mounted and handheld video cameras caught the crowd of 1,600's reaction as the two men "went right up to the line" of the city's morality laws, Holland said. The two men stripped down to their underwear, kissed and rubbed on each other, the sergeant said.

    The audience, as well as local fighters drawn to take part in the show, became enraged. "It set the crowd off lobbing beers," Holland said. "They had beers in plastic cups. Those things can get some distance on them actually."

    Holland said it took officers about 45 minutes to clear the convention center, as the two actors sprinted away through a specially set-aside tunnel.

  38. Well, amigos, it is well known the many times and way that Team43 disrespedcted Mr Maliki.
    Leaked memos, missed meetings, the US President visiting Iraq, but not stopping by.

    Has kept Maliki and his base, on pins and needles, changing policies every 120 days or so.

    So now, Mr Maliki can get his.
    Mr Maliki wants a diminishing US presence promised. Mr Bush won't promise a promise for withdrawal, Maverick promises a long occupation and Obama promises to deliver.

    The stage is set.

    The only folks that a US occupation of Iraq empowers are the folks we give cash to, and the Iranians.

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  40. Our clients want a smaller US footprint, that is their definition of "Success".

    It's well past time to deliver Iraq to the Iraqi.

    When you splurge at the Club, bob, don't expect the hired help to pick up our tab.
    If one speculates on oil futures, in Iraq, sometimes it does not pay off.

    Just like houses and the Dow Jones Inndustrials. Sometimes investments in pipedreams are just that, a fleeting high.
    Better to save the next thousand US casualties for some cause more deserving than Iraq.

    We'll still be a major influence in the place, just not have 130,000 troops there.

    Reality will stabalize the number around 45,000, max. But cash will continue to be our first line of influence.

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  42. Republicans are attempting to put Mr. Obama in the political equivalent of a double bind: trying to paint him as impervious to the changing reality on the ground if he sticks to his plan, and as a flip-flopper if he alters it to reflect changing circumstances.

    “There is nothing wrong with changing your mind when the facts on the ground dictate it,” said a McCain campaign spokesman, Brian Rogers. “Indeed, the facts have changed because of the success of the surge that John McCain advocated for years and Barack Obama opposed in a position that put politics ahead of country.”

    Mr. Obama said that had not changed his mind at all. So far has dealt with the evolving situation in Iraq by welcoming the news that violence is down in there, but cautioning that those gains have not been accompanied by the long-term political reconciliation that the new strategy was designed to facilitate.

    Iraq Policy

  43. Thanks for the heads up, Whit, I got carried away in the heat of the moment.

  44. Bobal: Doug, that picture was disgusting.

    Indeed. Here, wash your mind out with an antidote.

  45. Bobal: Well T., now you're the President. What would you do? Remember, nature abhors a vacuum.

    That's true, but Iraqis aslo abhor foreigners, be they US or Iranian. So for every brigade that deploys to Iraq, you stand down two brigades if violence is down like it is today, or stand down one brigade if violence returns, or maybe stand down a brigade and a number of battalions if violence is somewhere in between. No firm timeline, but an understanding that the withdrawal will be sped along if things are quiet. This gives Maliki incentive to deploy his own forces to fill in the gap.

    And, uh, no more Don't Ask Don't Tell bullshit, by Presidential edict. Homosexuals of both genders are precisely the sort of people who are drawn to military service. Straight chicks get pregnant on the carrier so they can be flown stateside, but it's dyke aircraft mechanic "Rebbecca" who gets booted after a locker inspection finds perfumed love letters from a "Katerina". She gets drummed out of the service for harming "unit cohesion". Pshaw!

  46. Analysts pointed out that serious efforts at reconciliation are running parallel to bouts of sectarian violence in Iraq. An inter-tribal dialogue involving Sunnis and Shias has now begun to acquire some attraction in parts of Iraq.

    The Arabic daily, Al Hayat, has reported tribal and religious leaders met earlier this month in Karbala. The meeting resulted in 192 local leaders belonging to the Salahuddin and Karbala provinces signing a “national commitment document” renouncing violence and promoting dialogue.

    The accord also advocated that institutional mechanisms, allowing tribal structures to play a role, are established in order to promote national unity. The meeting was organised by the Al Husseini Foundation, whose secretary general, Abdul Mahdi Al Karabalai represents Iraq’s top cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

    Ties with U.S.

  47. I'll take good news wherever I can find it. Dow ends up 152 on decline in oil.

  48. I guess we have a Virgo lurking.

  49. Hell, I haven't read much lately.

  50. He continued: "Now, assuming that I take office in January, then that means that we would still have our troops there for about two more years from now. There's nothing rushed about that.

    When I hear John McCain saying we can't surrender, we can't wave the white flag -- nobody's talking about surrender. We're talking about common sense."

    Obama said: "I am going to bring this war to an end."

    Changing Iraq

  51. Teresita's idea of getting out of Iraq pretty much matches mine, a slow, calm, controlled exit that can be adjusted, if need be.

  52. (Bobal agreed with me, and now I'm channeling Fred Sanford)

    "Oh, this is the big one! You hear that, Elizabeth?! I'm coming to join you, honey!"

  53. I hope that's not a prediction.

  54. For the heart attack, I mean.

  55. And, the Fed chief favors looking into an idea — raised by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson — to create formal procedures to make sure that if an investment firm fails it won't wreak havoc on the broader economy. Such procedures, which allow for a more orderly liquidation, are in place for banks.

    The housing, credit and financial crises have bruised the economy. Growth has slowed and employers have cut jobs every month so far this year.

    Bernanke said that "it is unrealistic to hope" that financial crises can be entirely eliminated, while maintaining an innovative financial system. "Nonetheless, recent experience has illustrated once again that financial instability can have serious economic costs," he said.

    Home Lending Practices

  56. Whit, :0) you got to understand what I am fighting here. This video is public property, so I am not violating any rules here. Linda Pall Thank God the farm boys finally voted her out.

  57. "The Little Red Book Of Everyday Heroes"

    Shit, no wonder I'm crazy. What a waste of electricity.

  58. People complain about governmental gridlock. But what often obstructs constructive change is public opinion.

    The stalemates on immigration and retirement spending are typical. We avoid messy problems; we embrace inconsistent and unrealistic ambitions.

    We want more health care and lower health costs; cheap energy and less dependence on foreign energy; more government spending and lower taxes. The more unattainable our goals, the more we blame "special interests," "lobbyists" and other easy scapegoats.

    Sounds of Silence

    Not sure about the more government spending bit.

  59. bob:
    It looks to me like the politicians of little Moscow are conducting themselves as if they were in San Francisco or some other multi-million person metropolis.

    Very slick, packaged, earnestly concerned about the things liberals are generally concerned about.

    It's the same way in my city. Big spending, bleeding heart, liberal arts idiots who don't seem to give a damn about where the tax dollars actually come from. They just want to be able to spend them.

  60. Looking at Moscow on wikipedia, I see the population (2000 census) listed at 21,291.

    Geez, those are awfully fancy council chambers for such a town. And the video is pretty high tech but actually may not be that costly.

    No doubt, the University influence is is a little too rich for the citizenry.

    The old fashioned terms are "high falutin' and puttin on airs."

  61. Two other things of note about Moscow.

    1. Wiki features the 2007 Police ambush. (I think I would try to downplay that.)
    2. The town of 21,000 has seventeen parks. That's typical of an overspending council.

    Parks and Recreation Department run amok. Nothing more populist than recreating.

  62. Whit,Parks and Rec is run amok. Ever since they passed a law saying the developer has to fork over, I can't remember what it is, 5% or something. Cash or land, your choice. At the time, the head of Parks and Rec was actually against the bill! I got more than I can handle now, he honestly said.

    That council chambers is the old Federal Courthouse for our area, converted over.

    Moscow is a nice town, don't get me wrong. But, until this new council got elected, it's been the same story for years. Anybody that wants to do anything has to go through a ringer, and, if the University wants something, it's A-OK. Like The Palouse Empire Mall for instance, which is on University land. That's ok.

  63. Another thing of note is, the old boys at the coffee counter, until now, have had a heck of a time recruiting anybody to run, it's such a pain in the backside, taking them on. You have to sit through all those endless meetings, so it has ended up, only the brain dead are left to run for the most part, process of elimination.

    The guy way over on the left in the video for instance is a guy from high school, and when he got elected, I called him up and said, "John, I'm calling to commiserate with you, not congratulate you." He laughed.

  64. One thing that has happened is the public bus, which had zero ridership, I mean zero, and is mostly funded by Unca Sam, has actually had a rider or two, with the gas prices. So, we are still burning the people's money like drunken sailors, but not quite as much per mile.