“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."

Monday, May 12, 2014

"How much longer do we have to play Wounded Elephant on the Euphrates?"-Trish - Published on 1/27/07 12:42 AM

The other night, Trish posed this question. "How much longer do we have to play Wounded Elephant on the Euphrates?" Did the arrogance of the Bush Administration and a misunderstanding of American history doom the venture? Was it ignorance of Iraq and the Middle East and a naive goal? The US people were asked to support a war and I believe they would have, but what kind of war?

The mantra after 911 was the long generational conflict. If the Administration knew that to be true, then they should have known the best way to win a long war was to sequence a linear campaign of demonstrably singular wins. A Roman style destruction of one enemy after another would work just fine. WWII was an example where The US systematically crushed one Japanese held island after another. Enormous losses were tolerated because they were followed with victories. The victories offset early losses and humiliations.

“My way or the highway” pushed potential allies away and events pealed active allies away, one at a time. "Old Europe vs. New Europe" delivered with a gleeful smirk may have been fun, but it established a policy of creating division, reluctance and outright rejection from a growing community opposed to the Bush way and it escalated into outright hatred. Instead of creating forward momentum, which would have brought new allies to the front, the Administration created adversaries. The most glaring example was the dismantling of the Iraqi bureaucracy and the Iraq military.

At one time the Administration estimated that about 400,000 people, mostly military personnel, lost their jobs when Saddam's military apparatus was dissolved in May 2003.

Initial plans for the interim defense force called for bringing about 30,000 Iraqi troops back to active duty. They were drawn from regular army units. This interim defense force was used primarily with coalition joint patrols and border patrols.. In a January 2006 interview between Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor of the Council of Foreign Affairs and L. Paul Bremer we see this surprising exchange:

"In your new book, My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope, you’re quite candid about the differences you had with Secretary of Defense [Donald H.] Rumsfeld and the Pentagon leadership over troop levels in Iraq, which you felt were too low. And in May, 2004, just before you departed for home you sent a personal message to Rumsfeld, again saying the troop levels in Iraq were inadequate. The troop levels since then have been about the same and the insurgency still continues. What is the problem with getting more troops into Iraq?Well, the disagreement here is a view that I had while I was there that our primary responsibility was for law and order. In particular, in the aftermath of the invasion, we had not cracked down on the looting, which set an example on our apparent unwillingness to enforce law and order. On the other side of it, military people in our government argued that, first of all, they believed they had enough forces to accomplish their mission, and secondly, that adding more forces would, in their view, make the situation worse because you’d have more soldiers on the street and in their Abrams tanks. That’s a respectable view but I just don’t happen to agree with it. So, that was the key argument: Do the American troops actually need more troops—and by the way, I never heard a military man while I was there say he needed more troops. And the president had said and still says if they ask for more he will give it to them. So those are the two sides of it.

Since then, the insurgency has continued at the same or higher levels. Of course, now the sovereign Iraq government is in charge and the quality of the Iraqi troops, I guess, will be the deciding factor.Yes."
The declared mission understood by the Administration was "law and order", and not military victory? Why did they think Americans would accept the role of policing Iraq? That does not sound like a war. That does does not ring in my memory as the stated goal, but to the man responsible on the ground, the goal was to establish law and order. How would that have worked in WWII? The metaphor proposed by Trish may be apt.


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  3. 2164th: Did the arrogance of the Bush Administration and a misunderstanding of American history doom the venture?

    That's a two-pronged question, like "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" The first question implied by your question is "Is the venture doomed?"

    If the answer is yes it is doomed, then prolonging the agony is criminal, we're losing at least a soldier a day, and concurrently pointing fingers in a blamestorming session while they die is grotesque.

    If the answer is no it is not doomed, and there's a way to salvage the war, and that plan is being put into action, then blamestorming becomes irrelevant, because the players and strategy become completely different. In that event it does nobody any good to blame Rumsfeld or Bremer or Cheney or Wolfowitz or the 2003 force levels or the 2005 rules of engagement.

    Only if the war is not doomed to fail, but there is no plan to salvage victory, or there is a victory plan but no motivation or leadership to put it into place, are we at liberty to assign blame. And that blame would rest squarely on the president if he did not present a plan to the American people. He knows all these calculations, and he has crafted a plan. But the majority of the American people believe option A is the case, and that the war is already lost.
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  5. barry, your point is well taken.In 2004 after the election Bush responded to a question from a reporter.

    "Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That's what happened in the -- after the 2000 election, I earned some capital. I've earned capital in this election -- and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on, which is -- you've heard the agenda: Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror."

    The same thing applies to credibility.He probably spent most of it and even a good plan may be held hostage to that sad political fact of life.

    Welcome to the elephant.
  6. You all know that I had my little hissy fit a few weeks, back, so I have to be careful, here; But, I think things are turning around, somewhat.

    It may just be a head-fake that Maliki is doing all the right things all of a sudden, and Moqtada, almost definitely, is engaging in "Hudna," and, obviously, Some of the Iraqi troops still aren't worth killing: however, some pretty smart people with knowledge on the ground are saying the we "just might" pull it off.

    Some of the Iraqi troops do seem to be performing pretty well, and we have kicked some pretty serious ass in some battles, recently, and the rules of engagement do seem to be being improved. Witnesses say that many "Insurgents" are deserting the "cover" of Baghdad and running for the hills. They WILL be easier to identify and kill in the less populated areas.

    Mookie's boys really do seem to be laying low. The Marines do report getting more help from the local Sheiks. Bush is, finally (why he took so long is unfathomable,) starting to stand up to the Iranians.

    I don't know; it seems like Americans just have to put themselves into a "Crisis" in order to function. I'm not saying this is "Valley Forge," and we just crossed the Delaware, but, just, maybe, this isn't a good time to be immobilized by despair, either.

    We should know more in a few weeks. If Maliki maintains his new-found resolve, and the Iraqi Army "Shows Up" we might be in for a better 07' than we had, 06'.

    Here's Hoping.
  7. A few things :

    - This attack wearing US uniforms and english speak terrs really is a worrying indicator. The terrs would have got far more mileage keeping the captured soliders alive and parading them, but in any case it makes day to day operations that much more diffcult as it rachets up the paranoia/security hassle factor across the whole theatre. Well organized, clever, daring, ruthless, disciplined, sophisticated while conceptually simple - reminiscent of some of Shamil Basayev's better coups against Russia in the late 90's. Not good oponents to have. Like Israel against Hezbollah the longer the war drags on the more we train the enemy.

    - Another bad sign : Busting those guys for offing civilians under Colonel Michael Steele orders indicates quite strongly that a Roman solution is not in the offing. One of the most agressive, effective and unorthodox commanders was apparently tending towards Roman style ruthless kill-em-all operations. The leadership can stomach bombing a wedding party and killing a bunch of complete innocents along with a possible couple bad guys (After watching some of the AC-130 gun camera videos you gotta wonder), but going in with rifles and killing less innocents but more probable terrs is apparently not acceptable.

    Kinder, gentler warfare, where the nominally evil are bloodlessly pulverized by pushbutton but bayonetting the probably guilty is considered barbaric.

    No good will come of it all. Flee.
  8. It is possible that the Senate Resolution may give the Iraqis some old time religion. They have to start thinking that if the Americans leave it will fall on them anyway.

    Maliki may have been sobered by the video of Saddam hanging. He has to stay on top to avoid a similar fate. Winning one neighborhood of a time may work. Sort of a virtual Katrina. Send them all to Houston.
  9. Maliki may well be motivated - but is it to maneauver himself for stabbing us in the back? Keep the f***er where you can see his hands.
  10. That was pretty much a one-off, Peacekeeper. They'll have a real hard time doing another one of those.

    Deuce, he (Maliki) found "Jesus" somewhere along the line. It might have woke him up when we showed him evidence that Iran was not only helping the Shi'ites, but was helping the Sunni, and AQ.

    And, you're right, He might have finally realized that he was about to be "on his own," and not ready for the experience.

    Or, maybe it's just "hudna."
  11. Hard to keep track of their hands with those damned robes.
  12. That was pretty much a one-off 

    Oh, I agree, but in the same way that Budyonnovsk was pretty much a one off (later attempts to do it again failed miserably). Like Basayev, vicious inventive guys with nerves of steel, you gotta be afraid what they will come up with next time, and the times after that. They really didn't exist previously - we are inadvertently making them.
  13. My largest misgiving right now is, "can Maliki produce the troops in Baghdad?"
  14. I believe that was an Iranian Quds operation. It was too slick for Iraqis. Kind of like the Samarra Mosque.

    I'll bet it turns out to be a "phyrric" victory. A lot of the people involved may not Work again.
  15. Rufus, OT but you may have missed this on Iranian oil investment fx
  16. Rufus, the fingerprints may be Iranian, but it also brings to mind another Arab opponent we managed to train to a frightening level of competence : Hezzbolah.
  17. I will remind everyone that Fellow peacekeeper also keeps an occasional blog. We need to poke into activity.
  18. Yes, uncle Deuce. The blog will be back in circulation this spring.
  19. Deuce, Iran has been a bit dismayed, recently to find that we have (with their help) managed to pretty much destroy any hope they had of getting Internatiional Bank financing for their oil field development. It's the kind of stuff that doesn't make the evening news, but it's an impressive "Victory," none the less.

    By the way, you might have noticed this line:

    And the US is a leading market for enhanced oil recovery techniques, including carbon dioxide floods and pumps

    Carbon Dioxide? When you refine a bushel of corn you get 1/3 back in Carbon Dioxide, which you can then use to produceMore Oil. Something that the "energy balance" talkers don't seem to ever take into consideration.
  20. Let's face it O' Peaceable One, Bush WAS right about at least ONE thing. It WILL BE a LONG War.

    It will last as long as the OIL lasts.

    But, hardly a day, more.
  21. Well, it's back to bed time, ladies. Have a Good Night (What's left of it, anyway.)

    Oh, throw some bud light in the cooler before you leave, okay?

  22. National Public Radio just reported that while thousands of anti-war protestors are on the National mall in Washington, Nancy Pelosi is "fact-finding" in the Green Zone. Nouri al-Maliki told her that he would like to see 50,000 US troops withdrawn from his country by the end of the year. He thinks it could happen sooner if the US would speed up training and equipping of the Iraqi army.
  23. Rufus: Iran has been a bit dismayed, recently to find that we have (with their help) managed to pretty much destroy any hope they had of getting Internatiional Bank financing for their oil field development.

    Naturally this gives Iran all the cover they need to go full steam ahead on nuclear power. Ahmadinejad can even say he's doing it for the children.

    When you refine a bushel of corn you get 1/3 back in Carbon Dioxide, which you can then use to produce More Oil

    They are playing around with this in Alberta.
    but in that process, the CO2 is produced from an on-site coal plant and is used to squeeze methane out of another part of the local coal seam. Your idea would need a new corn refinery built at each depleted oil field, or an infrastructure of pipes to deliver the CO2 from a remote location. This may be too costly to justify.
  24. Barry, CO2 can, I'm pretty sure be moved by truck, or rail. If I'm not mistaken they are using some of this CO2 in Kansas oil fields, and probably some others. I have to be careful, here, because I really haven't researched this but I'll try to find out something about it.


  1. Yep, that's the internet; every dumbass thought that you ever had is preserved for posterity - For f'n Ever. :)

  2. Well, the lying, thieving sonsabitches got me to support That elective war. I bet the bastards don't ever get me to support another one.

  3. Preserved in eternity - just like our words, deeds.....even thoughts......all preserved before God Almighty.

    Grrrr.....we are all so screwed..........

    One wonders how the Lord can handle such a load of shit......


  4. Add this to the load -

    Ambassador Stevens wasn't murdered in Benghazi --- he died of smoke inhalation.

    Eleanor Clift(brain)

    There's nothing dumber than an Obama supporter.......


  5. Police Report -

    Citizen X didn't die of a gunshot wound.......he died of shock and loss of blood....

  6. So, the pubs are all-time, always worried about the "deficit," eh? So, how did the last Republican Administration do on That front?

    Clinton's last budget year saw Outlays of $1,702,942,000.00

    Dubya's last budget year saw Outlays of $3,521,734,000.00

    For an Increase in Outlays of $1,818,792,000.00

    or, 106.8%

    Bunch of Brainiacs, those assholes were.

  7. And, those wild n' crazy, fiscally irresponsible Democrats, how are They doing? How much have they jacked up spending?

    Oh, wait . . . . . . .

    Last year budget outlays were $3,454,253,000.00

    Outlays have Declined by $67,481,000.00?

  8. I wonder what the "Belmont Bunch" have to say about That?

  9. Let's have a show of hands from all of the republicans that want me to compare the "Ronnie of the Ray Gun, and Pappy Bush Administrations" to Bill Clinton's.

    Hint: you ain't gonna like it. :)

  10. Now that 11 Million People, according to Rand, Kaiser, and Gallup, have obtained insurance through Obamacare, and Medicaid Expansion (a part of O'Care,) the pubs are going to try and ride that poor, old, tired benghaaaaaziiii horsey on into the midterms.

    The already-lame nag isn't going to make it. The distance is too far, and the legs just aren't there.

  11. 2/3 of the folks think Obama is lying through his horses behind about Benghazi.............

    >>>>>>President Barack Obama has lost the trust of most Americans: a new poll shows that about six in 10 voters think he lies on important issues some or most of the time.

    The Fox News poll found that 37 percent think the president lies "most of the time." Another 24 percent say he lies "some of the time."

    Twenty percent say Obama lies "only now and then," and 15 percent say he "never" lies, the survey found.

    Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

    The results are about in line with a Fox News poll in November that asked voters whether they thought the president knowingly lied about Obamacare when he said that "if you like your healthcare plan you can keep it. Period."

    In that poll, 50 percent thought Obama knew he was lying, and 40 percent thought he didn't know people would lose their plans.

    Also, 59 percent thought the Obama administration knew ahead of time that people would lose their insurance, while 55 percent thought the White House "tried to deceive" people about it.

    In the latest survey, among those who said the president lies most of the time were Democrats (13 percent) and other key Obama supporters: blacks (12 percent), liberals (16 percent), unmarried women (31 percent) and people under 30 (34 percent), results showed.

    Hillary Clinton did far better, the survey found: 54 percent of voters say the former first lady and secretary of state is honest and trustworthy. Forty-nine percent say the same of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, while 41 percent think New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is honest and trustworthy, the poll found.

    The survey also found that Obama's job approval rating stands at 42 percent, with 51 percent disapproving.

    Last month, the president was in negative territory in a Fox News poll, with a 54 percent disapproval rating.

    The latest poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points

    Read Latest Breaking News from
    Urgent: Should Obamacare Be Repealed? Vote Here Now!<<<<<<<

    Saddle Up !!!!!



  12. unmarried women (31 percent).....said they thought the President lies most of the time.....

    Whoa !!

    These gals have 'been ridden' before, and they know a two-timing cowboy when they see one.

    Take that to the midterms.


  13. Rasmussen Poll of Likely Voters - Today

    Approve 50%

    Disapprove 49%

  14. I don't like that poll. I only like polls that agree with me.


  15. My God Hillary Clinton has gotten FAT.

    She looks like she's 8 months gone with twins.



  16. May 12, 2014
    All of a sudden, Hillary's not feeling the love from Democrats
    City Guides (Celebritychef)
    Thomas Lifson
    It’s almost as if Democrats are starting to realize that Benghazi is going to take down their formerly presumptive 2016 nominee.

    Ben Wolfgang, Washington Times:

    Progressive darling Sen. Elizabeth Warren repeated her Shermanesque pledge Sunday and vowed not to run for president in 2016, but she declined to endorse her party’s clear frontrunner, Hillary Clinton.

    Rick Moran, AT:

    It looks like Vice President Joe Biden is dead serious about running for president in 2016. During a closed door speech before wealthy Democrats in South Carolina, Biden took a shot at the Clinton administration's economic policies in what was described as an "Elizabeth Warren-type" address. (snip)

    Biden, a potential 2016 candidate, said the unraveling of middle-class financial security began in "the later years of the Clinton administration," not under George W. Bush, CNN reported Saturday.

    On CNN panel yesterday, there was this interesting comparison on Biden’s remarks (via Noah Rothman, Mediaite):

    “This is sort of the case that then Senator Barack Obama made against Hillary Clinton back in ’08,”The Atlantic’s Molly Ball said.

    We all remember how that worked out.

    While I do not discount Hillary’s lust for power, the plain fact is that she is not an attractive candidate. She has none of the charm of her husband, and has accomplished nothing positive in her Senatorial or State Department careers. Benghazi is an open sore, and it could well get badly infected

  17. Karl Rove stunned a conference when he suggested Hillary Clinton might have brain damage.
    Onstage with Robert Gibbs and CBS correspondent and “Spies Against Armageddon” co-author Dan Raviv, Rove said Republicans should keep the Benghazi issue alive.
    He said if Clinton runs for president, voters must be told what happened when she suffered a fall in December 2012.
    The official diagnosis was a blood clot. Rove told the conference near LA Thursday, “Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what’s up with that.”
    Rove repeated the claim a number of times to the audience. Clinton’s rep said, “Please assure Dr. Rove she’s 100 percent.”

  18. Highlights
    The NFIB small business optimism index rose a sizable 1.8 points to 95.2 for the best level of the recovery, since 2007. Gains are broad with 7 components up, 1 unchanged, and 2 down. Hiring is up for a 7th month in a row for the longest winning streak since 2006. Unfilled jobs are also up as are sales which are at their best level since 2012.

    A break-out for this index would be a good sign.

    NFIB Index

  19. This horse is coming out of the corral like a bucking bronco -

    May 13, 2014
    My guess is that Rep. Gowdy took the job because he believes that there is something there
    Bad News for Testosterone Boosters (Ignite)
    Silvio Canto, Jr.
    The Benghazi hearings carry political risks and rewards for both sides:

    1) The GOP has to put new facts on the table, as Charles Krauthammer indicated. The hearings will get old very fast unless there are new revelations about what happened that night; and,

    2) The Democrats cannot minimize that 4 Americans, including the first US Ambassador since 1979, were killed.

    Rep. Gowdy's selection confirms my suspicions that there is "something there". I don't think that he would have accepted the job unless he felt that there was something to investigate.

    Under Rep. Gowdy's leadership, the committee will subpoena people who will answer under oath some of the questions still unanswered, especially about then-Ambassador Rice and the video.

    As a citizen, I would like to hear answers to these questions:

    -Why weren't we more prepared on another anniversary of Sept. 11? What were we doing in Benghazi anyway?

    -Why didn't we try to rescue fellow citizens under fire on foreign soil for hours? Wasn't there an aircraft carrier under alert on the anniversary of September 11th?

    -Why didn't the President Obama tell us what happened? He never addressed the nation and avoided the issue altogether until he was confronted.

    Maybe I'm wrong but I'm betting that Rep Gowdy will get to the bottom of this and the findings won't be pretty.

    P. S. You can hear my chat with Richard Baehr of American Thinker & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.


  20. And the smart democrats know it, and don't want any part of that rodeo.


  21. Carl Rove has been accused of "smearing" Hillary Clinton.


    How can one "smear" a grease ball?