Saturday, September 24, 2005

Softly, softly

British Tory Michael Portillo has begun to express doubts about the British 'softly-softly' approach in Iraq in the London Times.

Until last week it was possible to believe that British forces, operating far from Baghdad and the Sunni triangle, were relatively safe. We liked to believe that that was due to our soldiers’ superior mode of operations. While American forces roared through the streets of the capital in heavily armoured convoys, our soldiers’ friendly faces looked out from open-topped vehicles. Whereas GIs shot from the hip, British troops engaged the Iraqis’ hearts and minds.

Such illusions are shattered. Nearly 100 British soldiers have died since the war began. Toby Dodge of Queen Mary College, University of London, believes that the “softly, softly” approach was dictated not by tactics but military weakness. Britain simply does not have enough troops to police the vast area under our authority (even with Italian and Australian help). Our army has been forced to do something forbidden in military textbooks: to keep the peace among a population that we were unable to disarm.

Portillo believes that Iraq is a disaster, but cannot see an "easy" way out of it. He believes flight and surrender are not an answer but feels the coalition is stuck.

The anti-war group make fatuous comments today. Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats, demands an exit strategy. Well, the options are to leave on a given date or when specified goals have been achieved. The United States and Britain intend to withdraw when the constitution is in place and the Iraqis can handle their own security. The problem is not that there is no strategy, but rather that it looks unachievable.

Some of Portillo's facts are clearly inaccurate. He says, "the number of American casualties has been rising remorselessly" an indicator that progress was unachievable. The following are the casualty tables for equivalent months in 2004 and 2005. Granted, the tables only go to the 25th day of September, but the basic truth of Portillo's assertion of 'remorselessly rising' casualties is hard to sustain. The last three month's US casualties have actually appreciably dropped from an equivalent period last year and they have dropped in a period of offensive operations and in the run-up to the ratification of the Iraqi constitution, exactly when they would have been expected to rise.

2004 last 3 mos 2005 last 3 mos




February 19 February 58
March 52 March 36
April 135 April 52
May 80 May 79
June 42 June 77
July 54   July 54  
August 66   August 84  
September 81   September
to 25th


574 165

It would be foolish to draw any definite conclusions from this data, one way or the other; but that also establishes the falsity of Portillo's assertions that "the number of American casualties has been rising remorselessly". Whether or not the British are stuck the jury is still out on whether the huge American effort in building up Iraqi combat forces, campaigning against the Euphrates and Tigris river lines, and major efforts at technological and tactical innovation will come to naught. As for the British, here is how they've now reacted to events in Basra.

Defence Secretary John Reid is planning to scrap the 25,000-strong police force in southern Iraq and replace it with a new military-style unit capable of maintaining law and order. Reid ordered a root-and-branch review of security in the troubled province following last week's disastrous clashes between British troops and Iraqi police.

Those who been closely following events in Iraq will immediately remember April 2004 in the US sector, when the hands-off approach and the reliance on poorly trained Iraq civil defense forces were shown to be inadequate by the simultaneous uprisings among the Sunnis and the Shi'a. As Yogi Berra said, "it's deja vu all over again". So it is no surprise that the British are reacting in much the same way as the US did in April 2004. In some respects, the British will be starting a year and half behind the United States. 'Softly, softly' as the history of the last days of the Clinton administration and recent events in Gaza show, often means 'ouchly, ouchly' in the end. But several things will make the British recovery easier. The first is establishment of the Iraqi government and the creation of its major combat units. Secondly, the British have probably built up intelligence on the opfor, which is something they do as a pastime whenever they are not otherwise occupied. Thirdly, they don't have to fight a two-front war since the US has taken charge of the Sunni front. Lastly, the US has made the major investments in robotics, electronic warfare and supporting fires that will provide the British Army with whatever precision firepower it needs to get out of a jam. GIs rarely shoot from the hip, whatever Portillo believes, and have invested billions investing in technologies that are wholly the opposite of this cinematic approach.

Despite these advantages, domestic British politics may impose severe constraints on Tony Blair. He has sold his public on the notion of an unworkable 'softly-softly' war, which like the "phoney war" of 1940 may only have postponed rather than solved the hard problems. Now it will be hard for him to reverse course and prepare the British for the casualties inherent in confronting the militias seriously. Whether any European nation in the 21st century can endure three-figure military casualties under any circumstances is open to question. (Speculation alert) My guess is they cannot because of the nature of their politics. In the end, all that the British may do is hold the ring until the campaign against the Sunni insurgency allows the diversion of resources to tackle whole and postponed question of Iran and the Shi'ite fundamentalist militias. The US and Iraqi army may have to finish the job.


I've been looking again at Portillo's assertion that "the number of American casualties has been rising remorselessly" and realized that I had left out the wounded from the reckoning. They are casualties too. Including the wounded in the tables of casualties gives the following:

2004 Killed Wounded Killed and Wounded Last 3 months
January 47 188 235
February 19 150 169
March 52 323 375
April 135 1,214 1,349
May 80 757 837
June 42 589 631
July 54 552 606
August 66 895 961
September 81 706 787
576 5,374 5,950 2,354
January 107 496 603
February 58 409 467
March 36 364 400
April 52 590 642
May 79 385 464
June 77 501 578
July 54 473 527
August 84 451 535
September (to the 25th) 27 97 124
574 3,766 4,340 1,186

Counting the wounded as casualties means Portillo's assertion is not only unfounded, but the opposite of the truth. The reader will notice that the proportion of wounded to killed has changed from 9.3:1 in 2004 to 6.6:1 in 2005. This is consistent with the DOD briefings that there are fewer attacks, but since these may involve larger explosives in the case of IEDs, the attacks kill a larger proportion of the targeted vehicle's occupants. Still, the number of killed and wounded is 73% of last year's figures. In the last three months, the number has been 50% of the same period last year. This was quite an interesting result, considering news accounts that Iraq is 'descending into chaos' and that things are going 'from bad to worse'. Counting the wounded, the figures for September 2005 so far are lower than for any month in 2004 and 2005. Yet the mood conveyed in the press is that things are sliding into the abyss. That may be true for other reasons, but with US casualties at a quarter to a seventh of their historical values in a month full of offensives and important dates, the honest analyst must at least ask himself if something is changing on the battlefield.


Blogger ex-democrat said...

"The US may have to finish the job"
hmm, where have we heard that before?

9/24/2005 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Marlin said...

Excellent post. It always used to grate on me when the Brits would be interviewed and tell the press that the Americans had no idea what they were doing up north. I hate to say it, because I really appreciate their help and support, but it gives me more than a little pleasure to have to see them eat their words.

But God bless them, and I hope together we can solve the problem.

9/24/2005 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Eventually the UK will succumb to pressure from the Eurocrats and pull out of Iraq. This will happen whether or not Tony Blair remains in office. In the meantime, one hopes the Brits will do some cleaning up in the south of Iraq.

The US continues training Iraqi troops and other Iraqi security forces. If these forces are supported by the bulk of the Iraqi people, both Syria and Iran will be supremely disappointed at the results of all their efforts to undermine the new democratic muslim state.

9/24/2005 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew K said...

So it seems as though the plan might be to deal with the weaker front first seeing as there is not enough "Fighting troops" available to do both at once. "Fighting troops" troops meaning forces capable of sustaining casualties inherent in combat ops vs. those taken in "peacekeeping" ops. Syria is no Iran: it really only made sense to deal with the weaker front first. Maybe once that front is dealt with the US and Coalition AORs might be switched? Lets hope we're ready to switch soon.

9/24/2005 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Twenty days and a wake up.
Another Iraqi Election
Another step to Victory

Utilization of Iraqi troops has begun to turn the tide, in the North.
The gadgets and gizmos are all great, but people make the real difference. Having the Iraqis "on board" will seal the deal, every where in Iraq.

The Brits need to be able to utilize the Iraqis of the National Government. It may grate on the Brits, but the Wogs will get the country, sooner or later.
Sooner would be better.

9/24/2005 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


The Brits didn't have the money or the means to go up against the militias without taking hundreds of casualties. If taking such losses were politically possible, they could have done it. But they live in a strategic environment which is the product of forty years of European enlightenment.

In Afghanistan the NATO forces operate around Kabul and in relatively low-intensity situations because they have neither the will not the means to engage in high-intensity combat. Do a Google and you'll see that the British have been steadily reducing their military establishment since September 11 -- ancient and famous regiments disbanded forever; ships scrapped, budgets slashed etc.

The 'softly, softly' meme is reminiscent of the claimed 'superiority' of Percival's Malayan Army over Yamashita's. The British Army was terribly weak in doctrine, materiel and technology versus the Japanese, yet it was always conceded some ineffable quality which in the end could not compensate for the concrete deficiencies. The European empires in Asia were sustained by bluff. The modern assertion of 'sophistication' is the latest equivalent of the 'prestige' defense that concealed real weakness.

We ignore the obvious at our peril. British defense budgets were shrinking. Objective but ignore. But they are sophisticated. Subjective but accept. When the media looks at Iraq, they often disregard the investments in training, Iraqi force generation, operations against the enemy LOCs, new weapons, increased intelligence. This counts for nothing to them. What they often lend weight to are these little fads that are sometimes comical. Who was it who said that professionals talked logistics?

I wouldn't count out the British Army. They muddle through in the end. They retook Burma by gosh and by golly, from the Japanese. But they are different; where you "press the trigger" rather than pull it.

9/24/2005 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

"Portillo's assertion of 'remorselessly rising' casualties is "...

actually correct.

The rate of change is declining, however.


9/24/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Old Europe is increasingly less capable and unwilling to shape the world, for better or worse, having sold itself a bill of goods that intervention is ethnocentric meddling and that the world's "other peoples" should work things out for themselves... except the Palis... and except when it comes to business, when those other people and their governments, no matter how corrupt or totalitarian, are encouraged to hook up with the overcivilized, effete Europeans to make mutually beneficial deals. Euro political/military impotency is OK, as long as national corporate interests are attended to and the nanny state limps on, and it is pretend-compensated for with diplomatic soft power that may not achieve much at best and be counterproductive at worst, but which is transnationally cool: the Look of Love and sometimes the act, but no healthy surviving offspring expected, indeed even wanted.

Is Blair's alliance with Bush's America the last UK hurrah on the offensive international scene?

9/24/2005 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...


Not by any statisitcaly significant rate.

The dramatic drop in September, while a great thing, could be an aberration. The numbers for each year to date are remarkably similar.

9/24/2005 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I think the British and European weakness is an unintentional and unfortunate product of American postwar policy. The Suez Canal incident "proved" to Europeans that Europe was no longer capable of a significant conventional operation. Without their empires to defend and sheltering behind the US armed forces European came to regard small armies which they were unprepared to risk as normal, when in fact they were historical abberations.

I can't see the Europeans getting any stronger unless America weakens or they make a conscious decision to reconstitute themselves. But there is no incentive to.

9/24/2005 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Some of the cross-cultural references which are easiest to miss are the names of popular TV series. When I moved to the US from the UK, I found the set of shared cultural reference points hardest to relate to was TV series like 'Leave It To Beaver', which were never shown on TV in England.

'Softly, Softly' was the name of a BBC cop series in the 1960's.

A glance at the way the police have visibly lost control of public (dis)order in the UK since then (a raging issue in UK politics today) reveals a more skeptical aspect of Portillo's comments than may have otherwise have been apparent, due to his elusive (and as so often dysfunctional) Brit understatedness.

9/24/2005 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger epictetus said...

I love the Brits but lets face it, the sun has set on the British military. However, Blair's strong political support and their modest military support is much appreciated.

9/24/2005 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

"the number of American casualties has been rising remorselessly"

I noticed the same thing; that is like saying "THe total number of traffic fatalities continues to rise". Meaningless stats unless you put it in the context of casualty rate, operational tempo, insurgent losses, etc.

9/24/2005 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


Whether the British Army is over the hill is a secondary problem. The primary problem is that the West is now shown to be demonstrably weak. It has a glass jaw. Even the US is afflicted by this. Although things may change the enemy must know that the most militarily powerful nation in history with a population of 300 million can't take what are historically low casualties. As for the Europeans ...

That's the reality. The good news is that the Western aversion to war makes it fundamentally pacific, which is good in a civilization with so much scientific and material power. But the bad news is that the barbarians may adjudge it effete. Of course, the Western willigness to take losses will rise in proportion to the perceived threat. It is because America has been so successful in keeping the jihad from the cafes that the cafes are unwilling to confront the jihad.

9/24/2005 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

"I think the British and European weakness is an unintentional and unfortunate product of American postwar policy." I think you are putting the beginning of that policy too early. West Germany had very capable, and relatively large, conventional forces, throughout the COld War. France did, too, although not to the same degree. I think that attitude began with the end of the Cold War, when they no longer saw any need for them.

9/24/2005 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger epictetus said...

Your lament contains the seed of its solution, albeit a harsh one. The greater the success of violent Islamofacism, the greater the intensity on the part of red state and perhaps even purple state America. Ideally, the US can dispatch this ideology without a megaterror attack on the homefront. Unfortunately, the MSM, academia, left wing Democrats et al may require such a bitter price.

9/24/2005 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


You are probably right about the timing.

Some excerpts from a British Tory website

"The frontline fighting strength of the Royal Navy is now set to fall below that of the French fleet for the first time since the 17th century. The Government plans to decommission 3 destroyers and 3 frigates, one of them only eight years old. They are also taking out of service all the Naval Sea Harriers thus denying our aircraft carriers essential protection. ...

On Hoon's watch 4 of our great infantry battalions are to be axed and the unique strength of our regimental system which has given so much in war and peace will be eroded. We will fight this every step of the way in Parliament and in the country because it is the wrong thing to do. ... On Hoon's watch the RAF will lose all its remaining Jaguar squadrons, a squadron of air defence Tornados, and Nimrod aircraft."

There's only so much shrinkinge a force can take.

9/24/2005 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

Yes, the strengths of the Brits. Muddling through and reflexive intelligence. It didn't work for them the last time they were there either.

Their last "feat of arms" was Malaya and that was more a police operation that profited by geography and the peculiar ethnic component.

They just don't have the combat muscle anymore to engage in modern combined arms warfare.

9/24/2005 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard writes:

Now it will be hard for him to reverse course and prepare the British for the casualties inherent in confronting the militias seriously. Whether any European nation in the 21st century can endure three-figure military casualties under any circumstances is open to question. (Speculation alert) My guess is they cannot because of the nature of their politics. In the end, all that the British may do is hold the ring until the campaign against the Sunni insurgency allows the diversion of resources to tackle whole and postponed question of Iran and the Shi'ite fundamentalist militias. The US and Iraqi army may have to finish the job.

The difference is US vs. British troop strength is 140,000 to 8,000 - or 15:1. Other "Coalition of the Willing" members are phasing out or gone.

The British revealed plans to go from 8,000 to 3,000 in mid-2006 if things are stable. They said their US counterparts have plans to go to 66,000 in the same period if things are optimal.

Both the Brits and Americans face the political reality Iraq has become an unpopular war.

There will be no campaign where the Brits will lose dozens a week fighting Shiite militias on behalf of the "noble, purple-fingered, hungry for secular democracy" Iraqis, who sit passively by and expect Americans and Brits to die for a vision they themselves do not wish to risk their asses for.

Nor will the US expand troop strength and attack the Shiite militias wholesale, nor can the Shiite or Kurd Iraq Army troops be counted on to attack Shiite groups they don't see as being a threat to their own peoples as the Sunnis are.

If the US had their act together early on and had a planned post-war phase and the troops to carry out a secular democracy project, things might be different. But alas, that time has passed.

The Shiite militias filled a power vacuum. The Shiites themselves do not wish to be ruled by Iran, but find the Iranians more natural friends and partners than the Americans. Already, the Iraqi Shiites have signed a mutual defense pact with Iran. Economic ties are flourishing with joint oil, water distribution, trade, and movement of peoples pacts. Iran is building a new airport at Najaf, and all hotels in Najaf and Karbala are booked with pilgrims from Iran. A reporter, Richard Engel, writes that Farsi is ubquitous nowadays in both cities, as are Iranian intelligence agents, who mostly seem to be keeping an eye on pilgrims so they are not "infected" with western venialities.

If the Constitution is rejected by the Sunnis, then the next phase will be civil war - and hopefully the USA will be smart enough to avoid taking thousands of casualties attempting to interpose between the parties or worse, taking sides and protecting the Sunnis that butchered Kurds, Shiites, and our own American troops from Kurd and Shia forces with definite ideas about here the Sunnis end up living and what share of the oil wealth under Kurd and Shia land they are due.

In the end, the Shiite area will be a more religious than secular area of Iraq than we once hoped back when we were still listening to the neocon "illusionists".

Iran itself, with 4 times the population and 3 times the landmass of Iraq, does not look like a likely target for a "cakewalk of liberation" invasion by the USA anytime soon.

9/24/2005 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

Wretchard says:
The good news is that the Western aversion to war makes it fundamentally pacific, which is good in a civilization with so much scientific and material power.

Just one horrific, domestic terrorism incident and the US could become the Spartan state that the rest of the world thinks we already are. That worries me because the MSM, the left as presently constituted would dry up, caught in the back blast of a terrible wrath that would be fangs, muscle and shoulder to shoulder short swords.

Of course me and mine are all Scots Irish, we'd thrive. But our delicately balanced polity wouldn't.

9/24/2005 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


One of the interesting things about the Basra incident is that it gives us a glimpse into the road not taken. One of the criticisms leveled against US strategy was its failure to include the Ba'ath early on into government. For a long time the British experience was held out to illustrate the benefits of that approach. Practically every newspaper you care to pick up contrasted the British method with the American.

Now in fairness, the British sector hasn't seen anything like April, 2004, so it's a little premature to declare 'softly-softly' a complete failure.

But time has seen all the bargain-basement approaches to the problem fail. The first Bush's attempt to call upon the Kurds and Shi'ite to overthrow Saddam; the "No-Fly" zones; the sanctions; Oil-For-Food. Right after OIF, you had tourists coming to Iraq. The UN set up a mission at the Canal Street Hotel with little or no security. Then there was the CPA.

We are told that if America had a better plan and put in half a million troops (where would you get them?) and acted more like the Brits things would have been just fine. We are being told, even now, that if you let the Europeans go 'softly-softly' with Iran that things will be just fine.

But these weren't economies at all. Sometimes I wonder how the Navy could have been parked in the Persian Gulf for a decade in the expectation of achieving something. Now the latest budget move is to formulate an "exit plan" because the Iraq war is unpopular, just as all these budget plans were popular. But will they work?

9/24/2005 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...


There is more to this than meets the eye. Much more.

Force protection has been good for the Brits. But why would they not use the Military Police - this is their role.

And why is NATO going into Southern Iraq?

What is Iran's role in this?

Iran has never fought a combine arms action. Further, it lost badly to Iraq in 1988 when Iraq used Soviet OMG doctrine to retake its lost gound.

9/24/2005 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Andrew, Malaya was good work, but not he most recent feat of arms. Don't forget the Falklands, wrested back on the far side of the world from a modern armed force fighting from home base? Goose Green, where an unsupported Para unit, without any air or artillery support, attacked uphill against prepared positions and took the commanding heights from a numerically superior force, causing the white flag to run up over Port Stanley? (if I butchered a detail, that's still the thrust)

9/24/2005 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

Professor Using High Tech to Detect IEDs (AP)

I have a feeling the technology is slightly more advanced than the good professor is letting on.

9/24/2005 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Wretchard wrote:

That's the reality. The good news is that the Western aversion to war makes it fundamentally pacific, which is good in a civilization with so much scientific and material power. But the bad news is that the barbarians may adjudge it effete. Of course, the Western willingness to take losses."

Fifty thousand Amercians die each year in car accidents. Over a million have died in the last 20 years. Yet, we still drive a lot.

700 soldiers died in Iraq last year.

What is more dangerous?

Where is the logic?

I agree with Wretchard that the US can take a lot more casualties given the need and perception. One just has to look at Flight 93 to see how quickly the US can respond and how quickly decisions can be made.

And we are not currently in any state of mobilization. Imagine an Army of fifty divisions with even more advanced technologies than before.

9/24/2005 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

"I have a feeling the technology is slightly more advanced than the good professor is letting on. "

Hmm. This is just one method. I can think of several others using the basic idea but not using an emitter.

I am sure there are other teams out there trying other ideas.

Go read Hank Haney's bio for some other tricks.

9/24/2005 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Red River writes how the US "can take a lot more casualties given the need and perception".

Well, as our military intelligence now admits, the terror link with Iraq is mighty tenuous. The "foreign fighters" are only thought to be 4-8% of those killing Americans, and we have further found most of them had no past terror ties, no bone to pick with America until we invaded Iraq - then they became convinced by Mullahs and Al Jazeera that the Americans were in Iraq to destroy Islam, take Arab oil, rape Arab women, do Israel's bidding - so they joined Jihad.

I fail to see the need to die for a nation of ungrateful shitheads (outside the Kurdish areas) that can't wait to see us go or the perception anywhere outside the dwindling bands of neocons, Bush 100% loyalists, those still convinced Saddam was responsible for 9/11 - that the Iraq War was worth it if we had a "do-over" chance.

Fifty thousand Amercians die each year in car accidents. Over a million have died in the last 20 years. Yet, we still drive a lot.

700 soldiers died in Iraq last year.

What is more dangerous?


Heh. Indeed. Actually, for starters, the annual deaths from all motor vehicle accidents is 38,309 as of 2002 data. The casualty rate for many Marine squads fighting in Fallujah or Ramadi was 30%. When you look at risk, there is no comparison. 38,309 deaths a year in vehicles in a population of 285 million works out to odds of 1 in every
7,440 people being killed in a motor vehicle accident. 700 a year in a military force of 140,000 works out to 1 in every 114 dying. Add up wounded and maimed and 1 in every 12-13 will be a casualty.

Next, Red River has to accurately equate these rates to perceived danger and stress. You are exposed to vehicular danger perhaps a couple hours a day, on average. The rest of the time you are "safe" from any fatality. The stress level on many servicemembers in Iraq, at risk from getting whacked, many with no sanctuary, is more frequent and persistent. Drivers don't get PTSD. Soldiers do.

Iraq never did a Flight 93 to us. As 9/11 passes, the opinion grows that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and is not a natural follow-on of that quite justified initial US war on Al Qaeda terrorists. Iraq? We had cause to fight them in 1990. We had cause to fight them in 2002 for failure to comply with UN Sec Council Resolutions. But nowadays, with the regime that defied the US and the UN gone, we have no charter to reform them in our image. And we have a growing portion of the population questioning the casualties and cost of creating a new Iraq that will be more aligned to Iran in 5 years than to us. That is reflected in the difficulty of recruiting new soldiers, along with a perception that troops are fighting and dying not for America, but for a combination of grateful, cooperative Kurds/nasty murderous Arab Sunnis/ungrateful fence-sitting Shia Arabs that hate us but need us..

9/24/2005 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

How hard would it be to program one of those drone missle thingys and blow Moqtada Sadr to his heavenly reward? I'm sure his militia would go ape-shit then, but wouldn't it be easier to deal with a bunch of capering lunatics in the streets than hunkered down in civilians houses, getting stoked up to fight to the death?

And what about the Iranians? Do we think that Sadr is getting funding and orders from the Mad Mullah's, so that if we be-headed the Iranian-funded snake, the snake's body would flail about but it would lose a lot of its direction?

I just don't see why Sadr is still alive and walking around and causing trouble -- surely he's not donned the same cloak of invisibility that bin Laden seems to have found.

9/24/2005 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Can't wait, can you, C4, for the world's free-market guarantor to have no more geopolitical presence nor power nor influence atop the world's most important petro source.

No better time than now, is there, with the global economic boom vaulting demand, for the leader of the free-world, the only military with the combination of power and principle to fairly enforce some sort of ethical order in the allocation of economic lifeblood, to be drug home by an idiotarian movement that lacks the capacity to comprehend the certainty, size, nature, and inexorability of the world war they're thereby setting in place to begin anytime in the next few years after the US military abandons the area.

Yes, right now, before we mess up your incredible vision by winning the thing, C4, let's quit while it can be cast as an unalloyed defeat for civilization. That will be the most powerful launch for every tyrant, AQ and lord knows how many pop-up-when-we-leave interested foreign national secret provocateur black-flag units.

I'm sure you really believe, C4, that loose in the most critical, volatile political/economic time and place imaginable, these forces that will fill our vacuum will be so grateful to us for our sweet surrender that we will then finally have the peace that you want in order to protect our military from any further casualties.

9/24/2005 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Or maybe you're in the horse & buggy biz, or perhaps sell subsistance-farm implements, or rural real estate with built-in defense bunkers.

9/25/2005 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"'Softly, softly' as the history of the last days of the Clinton administration and recent events in Gaza show, often means 'ouchly, ouchly' in the end."
. President Bush fired back at ex-president Clinton on Thursday , saying the weak U.S. response to terrorist attacks that took place mostly during the Clinton administration encouraged al Qaida to launch the 9/11 attacks.

"The terrorists saw our response to the hostage crisis in Iran, the bombings in the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the first World Trade Center attack, the killing of American soldiers in Somalia, the destruction of two U.S. embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole," Bush noted, after getting an update on the war on terror at the Pentagon.

"The terrorists concluded that we lacked the courage and character to defend ourselves and so they attacked us," the president added, in quotes picked up by United Press International.

Four of the six terrorist attacks cited by Bush took place on Clinton's watch, with the first two coming during the presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

9/25/2005 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

or maybe you're a writer, with a manuscript in the works, "How to Control Your Child's Hunger Pangs".

9/25/2005 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Silly Nahncee:
There are different kinds of invisibility.
Sadr's works in all environments, even in plain sight at noon.
His kind just requires a lot more pretending by us than does Osama's.

9/25/2005 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built."

"Lets have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."

Abraham Lincoln

9/25/2005 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

" How to Control Your Child's Hunger Pangs."
Call her an ungrateful, demanding, ....head?

Like we should all the worthless allies we've tied our hands with, with, from the Vietnamese, Japanese, Aussies, and etc to the purple fingered...

9/25/2005 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

with with damn lisp.

9/25/2005 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard writes:

One of the interesting things about the Basra incident is that it gives us a glimpse into the road not taken. One of the criticisms leveled against US strategy was its failure to include the Ba'ath early on into government. For a long time the British experience was held out to illustrate the benefits of that approach. Practically every newspaper you care to pick up contrasted the British method with the American.

If the British had started out trying to force a secular, Israel-friendly regime on the Shia, they would have quickly run into a Shia insurgency, necessitating several hundred thousand troops, which the Brits don't have. Their method was dictated by past experience and resources. I seem to remember the Brits were strongly against the Bremer-Cheney decision to remove all Ba'thists in the US sector. In their region, they consulted Shia leadership and retained the ones the Shia had no problem with, and have had no problem with since...and the Shia militia/Iranian infiltrator problems are still relatively modest in nature compared to the lethal fighting and bombs the US has faced.

We are told that if America had a better plan and put in half a million troops (where would you get them?) and acted more like the Brits things would have been just fine. We are being told, even now, that if you let the Europeans go 'softly-softly' with Iran that things will be just fine.

Evidence now shows the military and State said past occupations required a large number of occupying troops, excellent Humint, and a soft approach. But that would have jeopardized Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, his Administration's highest policy goal, even after 9/11. The neocons said what the Bushies wanted to hear, and the military and State lost out. That this could be war fought on the cheap with minimal "special elite troops", that Iraqis were too impressed by US power to resist, and the whole lot of the ruling class could be chucked with no consequence to us, and liberation would lead to a happy, secular democracy that loved the US and it's special friend Israel soooooo much!

It never will be known what would have happened if we had listened to the advice of people with military or ME experience.

Given our military is tied up fighting just 20% of the Iraqis, we really have no choice but the "soft-soft" approach with the 60% Shia part of Iraq or the 80 million people of Iran in a country 3X larger than Iraq.

But time has seen all the bargain-basement approaches to the problem fail.

Including Bush's "war on the cheap", Wretchard, that lacked even sufficient troop numbers to block the Borders from infiltration and exfiltration, or hold towns that we paid heavy costs in casualties to clear of insurgents. There is nothing wrong with the neocons concept of an American Imperium in the abstract. But unless you get something from it -and it is simply to help other nations you are not formally committed to with mutual defense and economic treaties - you can do it, but you squander blood and treasure in the process without commensurate benefit to your country. "What's in it for us??" - ANS: "Nothing. You are harming your nation's international standing to help a country where 70% of the people say they hate America." "Oh!" And you need a far bigger military with a Draft to lower troop costs to an acceptable level and eliminate recruitment problems when your Imperial Empire encounters a rough patch. Hard to see any long-range popular support for the "American Imperium" on those terms. Even Bush was cognizant of that with his early decision to only have a small percentage of America to sacrifice while he advised the other 98% of Americans to enjoy their tax cuts, love their neighbor, and go shopping as "doing their bit".

I do agree with you that there is an untapped reservior of willingness to accept casualties. Our greatest military mistake since 9/11 aside from the Pentagon having no post-war plan ready - was failure to commit 4,000 US troops at Tora Bora when we had Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and 700 others inc. 2 dozen other Al Qaeda high value targets bottled up - due to Gen Tommy Franks fear of too many casualties.

On the other hand, it would be nice if we could inflict casualties more freely - like simply propping any unlawful combatant we find in Iraq up against the wall and shooting them, as we did in WWII. But I think that will have to wait on another 9/11 to shake the Euroweenies, the tolerance by the public of the Far American Left and ACLU, and the continued downsizing of the American military by Bushies that put tax cuts for cronies as the 1st priority.

9/25/2005 12:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"...and the Shia militia/Iranian infiltrator problems are still relatively modest in nature compared to the lethal fighting and bombs the US has faced."
Well, you see,it might be because...
Ah hell, you're right,
we screwed up.
Big Time.

9/25/2005 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Why should I waste his time when he has all the answers?
I'll just start paying closer attention.

9/25/2005 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Federal tax recpts YTD are running 150 bb ahead of OMB's projections, due, and verified in the detail, to increased economic activity resulting from the Bush tax cuts. No supply-sider is surprised, GWB promised as much, knowing in his simple mind that a smaller cut of a bigger pie can be be bigger than a bigger cut of a smaller pie.

And you know all this, C4--anybody that can amass and distort facts as fast you do. You just choose to mislead your readers, for some tortured reason.

9/25/2005 12:27:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

sorry, not OMB, CBO.

9/25/2005 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Gee, Buddy, sounds like you are slowly assimilating a bitter lesson that reality sucks...and waving the flag, slapping your "I support the troops" magpad on your car isn't enough.

Dreams of a cost-free Imperium die hard in jingoistic fools that recoil at the idea they may actually have to sacrifice for the 3-4 more "cakewalk" wars they want the US to fight. And no golly-gee-whizz wonder weapon will make it easy.

1. Tell me you will support a Draft to add 400,000 - 500,000 soldiers.

2. Tell me you will support a substantial tax increase to fund the extra soldiers for the military adventures you want and to stop the attrition of Navy fleet, artillery, warplanes, tanks, tankers, Coast Guard fleet that Bush I started, Clinton continued, and Bush II accelerated.

If you are unwilling to sacrifice to take those steps, kindly shut up and stick your "rah-rah troops!" flag up your ass.

Bush is looking likely to follow Blair and cut troops by 50% prior to the 2006 elections as a political calculation --and to preserve his tax cuts and Great Society II programs. He has no intent of rallying America to sacrifice for your Hegemon dreams. The Republican Congress and his political advisors have told him that it is wise to cut his losses with the botched Iraq post-war, stabilze the situation, declare victory, and refocus on fighting radical Islamists and finally starting the diplomatic, strategic communications, and diplomatic facets of a war of ideas between the West, moderate Islam, and radical Islam..

We also have big domestic problems and a possible flu pandemic on the horizon. And a military tapped out between Iraq and maintaining our strategic elements elsewhere on the globe.

If you want to "take out" Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran...fine. Go for it. Grab your gun.

9/25/2005 12:45:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"Spin" would be to say that somehow the increase in federal tax rcpts is bad for the country. To say that there is a decrease in federal tax rcpts (as part of the punchy "tax cuts for the rich" idiomatic), is not spin, it's a "lie".

9/25/2005 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Sorry, we overlapped. If you could actually think for a minute, you will find that the position you ascribe to me is wholly in your own mind. I'm not "for" any of your crude characterizations. what I'm "for" is realizing that this crap we are in is deadly serious, with grave implications for the future of mankind. And that people who make shit up about everything under the sun, for domestic political reasons, are dangerous, and will get people killed wholesale, for their own personal whim and ambition.

9/25/2005 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

And, I don't have to arrive at a plan for the world as i sit here and fiddle around on the internet. All I have to do is put 2 and 2 together and vote for the candidates that don't lie and don't put party over nation--and then let them,, leaders with records of character and patriotism, make the plan that I will try to support, while knowing full well that if that plan fails, at least it was premised in the right way, and had a chance to help make a better world. Unlike the pandering plans of the other party, which has first to placate a mob of idiotarian interest groups before it can dream of trying to create better world order, or respond effectively to an existential attack from abroad.

9/25/2005 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Jeez, I coulda told Buddy to stick it up his arse!
Why didn't I think of that?

9/25/2005 01:10:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Sorry, but Buddy's arse is unidirectional, a port of exit only. I won't suggest whose repetitious references to same suggest that his own might be otherwise.

9/25/2005 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Oops, i didn't mean you, doug. ;-)

9/25/2005 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Boy, can you de-elevate a debate, Doug! Better n' anybody!

9/25/2005 01:23:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I know you've got a difference of opinion, but can we stay OT or near enough?



9/25/2005 01:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

re: Wretchard's update,
"That may be true for other reasons, but with US casualties at a quarter to a seventh of their historical values in a month full of offensives and important dates, the honest analyst must at least ask himself if something is changing on the battlefield."
Yet as ADE points out:

"Portillo's assertion of 'remorselessly rising' casualties is "...
actually correct.
And this remains true, just as my total food consumption continues to remorselessly rise, even during those days when I halve my caloric intake.
A real shame the way arithmetic works: Remorselessly.
And in the context in which he makes his assertion, Portillo's blatant misuse of the language is,
Now if we could get some remorseful numbers, that would be neat,
but I'll settle for an "analyst" capable of showing remorse.

9/25/2005 01:48:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...


Don't count the Brits out just yet. There many cross currents under the surface. RR, has some examples.

I think we are begging to micro manage/micro-project the situation without knowing all of the facts. One of the major facts is: We are winning the physical war. On the propaganda war it a different set of circumstances.

On your follow-up you demonstrate the fallacy of the MSM. And, you are quite correct. I say check and double check the facts before projecting a MSM story.

9/25/2005 02:10:00 AM  
Blogger jonewer said...

I cant understand why the author has dedicated so much text to attacking what has been said by a washed-up ex-MP with a fat nose and a fatter ego.

More to the point, why he spent so much of the article attacking Portillo's assertion that US casualties have been rising remorslessly- then posting figures to show they actually HAVE INDEED been rising remorslessly- but maybe the author doesnt really know what remorselessly means?

The British in the south do face problems but to suggest that these problems are fundamentally greater than those faced by the US further north is nonsensical. Yes, the Iraqi Police in Basra have been infiltrated but then we know that the same thing has happened further North......

Personally, I disagree with Portillo and the Author that the British approach is terminally doomed. The 'softly softly' approach is not dictated by a lack of resoucres but has been learned over 60 years of retreat from empire and peace-enforcement in Northern Ireland. It has been learned that a disproportionate response by the security services plays directly into the hands of the insurgent. Yes, the British have had 100 fatalities but this is over the course of a major combat operation and two years of peace-enforcement. The current flap is simple media-generated silly-season hype that we see whenever a journalist is fortuitous enough to get a photo of a squaddie on fire.........

9/25/2005 02:15:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The London Times has an article saying that the SAS troopers were on a mission to find an enemy cell smuggling explosive devices intended for use against British forces when they were betrayed by a local base worker.

Although the final explosion of Basra has been predicted -- nothing -- so far has really emerged. But there remains the MOD's order to replace all the local cops with a new force. The cops are not going to like that. My own guess is that the Brits are not going to be ridden out on a rail but there must be a collision. I'm guessing that these militia-cops may be less than loved -- eating off the arm, maybe, so it may be a doable proposition.

9/25/2005 03:09:00 AM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

Cedarford, Cedarford,

Your left wing rants are FAR OUTSIDE the world of reality!Please go take your medication. It is way past time.

By the way, have you EVER SERVED in th military, or been within 1000 miles of Iraq or Afghnistan? Yeah, that is what I thought.

I could use the words for people like you that my platoon sergeant does, but I am too polite on this blog. But you do not have ANY CLUES at all.

9/25/2005 03:10:00 AM  
Blogger jonewer said...


Has this MoD order to disband and replace the Basra Police actually been verified? I havent seen any links to this yet, nor can I find anything on the net.

9/25/2005 03:46:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


"Tell me you will support a Draft to add 400,000 - 500,000 soldiers.

C4, you get a hard time here, most times unfairly. But this time, I think you are wrong on the above.

No (reasonable) number of soldiers is going to fix this problem. The Arab world must learn to deal with life's biggest problem - freedom. As you are finding on this blog, giving others freedom means that they might play the man and not the ball. But we must play, otherwise we don't live.

The ME looks pretty grim right now. If things get out of hand, the conflagration could reach from Alexandria to Islamabad as the step-function of change moves through the region.

But whatever the current position, it had to be sorted out.

Otherwise, we (and I unashamedly mean the West here) cannot continue.


9/25/2005 03:56:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


See for a story on disbanding the police and it has been picked up by an Italian News agency, but no one else. It's possible that Scotland on Sunday has got it wrong. None of the majors are on it.

9/25/2005 04:54:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard, I hope I have been On Topic. Part of the point I was making in response to your 8:48 PM post is that we in America have to take a bargain basement approach after years of "spending whatever it takes to gain Republican political control of the Government" coupled with "granting as much tax cuts as our cherished wealthy benefactors desire".

Alan Greenspan calls our deficits unsustainable. They threaten to trigger inflationary pressures and recession.

Since the Republicans took control of Congress, they have used CBO to "lowball" deficits consistently except in one year. The current 10 year projection of the effects of Bush tax cuts and policies create omits tax cut extension, AMT relief, the cost of war, prescription drugs, natural disasters.

A more accurate estimate shows besides the 1.1 trillion in debt from 4 years of Bush II, more than the cumulative debt incurred in the subsequent 27 years going back to Jimmy Carter's start, projections show we will take on another 4 trillion, 120 billion in Federal debt. This is from 2004-2013.

Now some supply siders claim that great economic growth (which the Chinese and Clinton's Presidency somehow accomplished without heavy borrowing) will make America even more capable of carrying future war burdens. And some have seen Elvis.

I note that one of the 1st things FDR did when WWII loomed was raise taxed 20% so the sacrifice would raise up a great military. Subsequent Presidents and Congresses until Bush II raised taxes as necessary when Cold War readiness demanded it.

I think that the taxes, rationing, and other sacrifices FDR demanded starting in 1940 were also an excellent way for leadership to communicate to the people "This is serious! There are enemies out there. You are a part of this struggle."

They bought it. The utter seriousness of the enemy threat and the need to defend ourselves. And responded with committment and Patriotism, not thinking it was so trivial that Nazi civil rights mattered as much as defeating them in battle.

Since 9/11, in my opinion, it is not surprising that many people do not see the seriousness of the Islamic threat as long as it was played as a "no one will be inconvenienced other than airport lines" message to the public. Instead of tax increases, tax cuts and the exhortation to shop more has prevailed. And our strategic military assets - planes, ships, subs, tanks - continue to decrease in numbers.

And since the goal of Iraq has shifted from finding the WMD and stop Al Qaeda to helping the "noble Iraqi people" who mostly dislike America, only 32% of the people now think that we are doing the right thing there. And less once it is apparant that Iraq is on the verge of breakup and Civil War with the Shias and Arab Sunnis on course not to create a secular democracy but Islamic Iran-lite and KSA-lite, respectively. But "Kurdistan" might work, though we wrecked relations with Turkey's people for another 10 years over that...

The numbers of Americans wanting more wars and invasions of Iran or Syria, short of an actual or imminent attack on America probably under 10%.

Given that, people are saying that if anything has to give if Greenspan demands fiscal responsibility to prevent economic crisis - prescription drug pork, hurricane pork, Iraq, tax cut pork, agripork, transpork - Iraq tops their "cut" list.

Ironic because Bush tried fighting war on the cheap, and I think has relearned the "penny-wise and pound foolish" lesson as the projected few months of occupation costs have become several indeterminant years and doubled energy costs have sapped America more than recruiting and fielding an adequate sized occupation force with a well-thought out postwar Plan and assembling intelligence assets would have cost. And while we can point to military tactical successes - the political, counterterror, economic and USA prestige hopes we had set as goals for invading Iraq have vanished as fast as the 6 trillion dollar projected surplus Bush was left with.

Goldman Sachs, the Fed, say we have out of control spending and little margin for emergency spending that does not trigger inflationary or recession pressures if another large emergency arises (and that was said before Katrina and Bush's vision of a Great Gulf Coast Society.)

We have a country that now depends on the week-to-week willingness of foreign bankers to lend us money at non-ruinious rates to keep going. We have burned out Reservist eligibility rather than augment active duty forces in the "Defining Cause of Our Generation - Fighting Global Terror". 2006 is when we lose Reserve forces being able to go to Iraq in any appreciable numbers barring a "grave national emergency".

Now, I supported the War in Iraq, and I would be delighted if the Sunnis admit we licked them and stop killing and maiming our guys and any new Iraq gov't employee piecemeal after 2 1/2 years of desultory butchery. I would be overjoyed if the Constitution passed and they threw out the separate armies provisions and allocation of oil revenue to the Kurds and Shia clauses inserted 2 weeks ago. I would love to see Iraq give us bases in gratitude and 1st dibs on oil development and exports instead of them showing independence later by stiffing us and giving oil contracts to Iran, France, Egypt, Russia, and China. I would be thrilled if the dream of democracy fed Bush by Right Wing Zionist Anatoly Sharansky, which excepts Palestinians of course, was anything other than self-serving Zealot pap and secular democracy spread all over the Arab world and beer and go-go dancers replaced Mullahs.

But barring those things, I care little about noble Iraqi killing noble Iraqi, given we have to proffer up 150 million a day in occupation costs and the daily average of 1-3 US soldiers heads to stop one group of noble freedom-loving Iraqis from pulling triggers with their purple-stained fingers against other Iraqis. And given few foreign terrorists are there, the "kill them in Iraq so they don't kill us here" argument is a lot thinner than it was 2 years ago when we were swearing the insurgency was foreign terrorists drawn drawn into Maximum Beloved War Leader Bush's clever trap.

So it is time that even we initial war supporters THINK about the strategy of stabilizing the country, guard the Kurd and Shia oil production as best as we can, and cease day-to-day war fighting so either the Iraqis decide to live in harmony or their militias hash things out. I wouldn't give the Sunnis 6 months once the Pesh Merga and the Shiite forces have a free hand with them.

9/25/2005 05:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

You don't know what you're talking about:
Listen to this:
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
So stick it up your ...!
And you too, Mika!
...exploring human cavities all day like you do.

9/25/2005 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger jonewer said...

It seems as if there was a speculative comment in the Scotsman that hasnt been substantiated eslewhere but has been picked up by the Italians- I dont think Reid has actually mentioned it.

It therefore seems that the two principal premises that this article is built on are false................

not very good analysis really.......

9/25/2005 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I think you have valid concerns about the relationship of the US economy to the world and to intergenerational funds transfers. A lot of societies are living on borrowed time -- China, with its suicidal one-child demographics, Europe which is already there, the Islamic world with its Death Wish Cults, the Russian Republic of Vodka, and Africa, nobody forget Africa -- and all of these merry tunes are going to stop playing.

The US President doesn't have the power to alter history on this scale. Nor does the Left, for all its vanity, have any power to remake history on the scale it aspires to. The story of the world has a lot of stability. China, India, Egypt -- even Israel, and maybe America -- they all go on. But we don't. Our little existences are not similarly guaranteed. My job is to ensure that I survive, along with my family, for the next 30 years.

You might disgree, but I think the Jihadis are beaten already simply because the last four years has brought warning of them to every corner of the world. The ancient nations, the eternal bedrock of humanity, are wise to them now. Perhaps the greatest threat to the world wasn't Islam at all, but the soporific postmodern correctness that sapped the immune system of the world so badly that second rate bugs like Osama actually had a chance of becoming players. Osama was proof of how senile the West had become and the West nearly spread that senility around on the strength of its immense prestige.

And if America goes through a crisis, as you warn, it would be because it couldn't keep going in its old state. Watching the images of the antiwar march on Washingon, I'm almost sure it can't go on as it always did.

9/25/2005 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I do hope that was on topic, if not, please send suggestions to

9/25/2005 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


If Reid didn't mention it, then part of the post falls to pieces. Though I doubt it will collapse entirely because the issue of Islamic militias in police uniform will remain and the British will have to address it somehow. A few weeks ago a blogger called Stephen Vincent was killed by the Basra police and more recently a NYT stringer was murdered. This was before the SAS were thrown into the hoosegow.

The critique of Portillo's remarks, I think, is on much firmer ground. He didn't say much except he wanted to bolt Iraq but felt he couldn't decently do so. But at no point did he seem to know how to measure progress nor even what goal to aspire to.

9/25/2005 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

" but the soporific postmodern correctness that sapped the immune system of the world so badly that second rate bugs like Osama actually had a chance of becoming players. "
But the soporific postmodern correctness that sapped the immune system of the world so badly that second rate bugs like Osama and Bill Clinton actually had a chance of becoming players.
When Limbaugh was in Hollywood, he marveled to his buddies there how most of Hollywood could be so completely enamored of this low life liar from Hot Springs.

Not complex said they:
He's all about Bill Clinton.
Just like the Glitterati of Weirdsville are all about them.
--- is Osama.
And if anyone wants to add C4, remember ANYONE can post a comment to Blogger.
Not so for second raters like bin and Bill.
Even they excel in their fields.

9/25/2005 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Fairly put, imo, ADE.

9/25/2005 05:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

" As you are finding on this blog, giving others freedom means that they might play the man and not the ball."
Sometimes the "man" deserves it.

9/25/2005 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Like them Iraqi ....heads.

9/25/2005 06:04:00 AM  
Blogger jonewer said...


The overall tone of the article was one of "nah-nanny-poo-poos we got it right and you got it wrong all-along and we were right and you are just a bunch of silly British bumpkins who will now have to rely on us to bail you out just like in dubya-dubya-two"

But the this is all built on false premises.

Firstly the rate at which the US casualties are mounting appears to be fairly constant and the author faisl to take into account attacks on civillians- which are now worse than ever and are now the main focus of the insurgency.

Secondly there is no evidence to indicate that the the Iraqi security forces in the south have been any more comprehensively infiltrated that those in the US controlled areas.

Thridly the supposed statement by Reid is highly dubious and probably false. There does not appear to be any evidence that the British are going to adopting the US's way of doing things whatsoever.

Fourthly there is no evidence to suggest that the Brits are in need of these rather nebulous new technologies the author mentioned but failed to substantiate or elaborate on.

The entire article is very suspect.

9/25/2005 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sure hope someone doesn't challenge
jonewer to a duel between US and the Brits.
I care so much about my family.
...I'd give up anything.

9/25/2005 06:14:00 AM  
Blogger Michael B said...

For some contrast, this CT post, First Signs of Daylight in Battle with Zarqawi in Iraq, undoubtably represents some good news, and perhaps some pivotally good news at that.

9/25/2005 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


For a couple of years now the British press has been full of "nah-nanny-poo-poos we got it right and you got it wrong all-along". I don't think this post argues that the British approach should be written off, but that there are questions, well there are questions.

With respect to US casualties. They are no different from last year to this point.

No one has argued that that infiltration in the south is greater than infiltration in the north unless you would like to be the first to make it.

The statement attributed to Reid was published in a British newspaper. If correct it represents a change in policy.

All the weapons described are in in actual deployment and are not nearly as nebulous as the British regiments which are slated for disbandment. Their use will never be forced on anyone who wishes to do without.

It would be better to wait on events and see how things turn out.

9/25/2005 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I've said this several times before, but it cannot be repeated too often imo.
After 9-11, I did a lot of reading, including quite a bit in the British Press.
Almost to a man, they had a condescending attitude toward the American simpletons trying to beat their way out of this terrorist bag with both eyes wide shut.

Scared me a bit:
CIA destroyed: True.
Take 20 years to rebuild: True.
Nobody willing or able to be Lawrence of Arabia: True.

Maybe they're right, maybe we're screwed, said I.

But I really didn't believe it, 'cause when my son (16) came home from work, citing very learned and intelligent men saying there was not much we could really do about Afghanistan, simple minded me, said, NO!


I lived and served through Vietnam.
If we have to we'll Nuke the damn place til every hole is sealed!
Son looked at me like I was nuts.

Not nuts, just not sufficiently aware of the immense power and goodness of American Knowhow/Ingenuity.

Next thing I see is all these cool pictures of cool guys in Chevy Tahoes wearing Ray Bans and Full Beards.
20 years of Brit BS up in smoke!
Let's Roll!

9/25/2005 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger jonewer said...

Nothing of the kind wretchard, and I fully accept that the British media have been full of nah-nanny stuff.

As to Reid- be very carefull of what you read in British newspapers. They are not above completely fabricating entire stories let along making huge leaps of (il)logic. If it makes for a good story they dont care much for something as mundane as the truth.

As to these robots.. where? what? I aint seem 'em yet?

9/25/2005 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

You ain't supposed to see them!
My son has video of them saved on his computer!

9/25/2005 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


There are about 750 UAVs and aerostats now operating over Iraq and more important, the comm infrastructure needed to net them in. There's been a minor revolution in providing fire support, the foundation of which has been training a lot of air observers in regular infantry units then matching that up with appropriate aerial targeting pods, new munitions etc. Plus a lot of changes to artillery, including guided MLRS, just used in Tal-Afar.

Then there's been the EW war against IEDs. Thousands of jammers, some of them described as hand-held. Then there are the robots, at first for EOD, now for creeping up into houses.

There's lots more. Some of it is probably gold-plated nonsense, but the law of averages will produce some really revolutionary stuff.

9/25/2005 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Also doing top secret work, even though he's never been to ONE DAY of School, much less 8 yrs at Cambridge.

9/25/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If we go back in time, looking for the cause of our invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, we need go no further then the Authorization of Use of Force.

It outlines, amongst the Whereas's, all the concerns US had about Iraq.
WMD, support for aQ, UN violations, etc. etc.

We succeeded in every Goal that was established. Iraq no longer fields WMD nor is it capable of immediate redevelopment and/ or deployment. The Iraqi State does not support aQ, UN Resolutions are complied with, there is a republican democracy emerging.

Last August, a retired Army General was posted here as saying we had killed or detained over 50,000 Insurgents. Out of an estimated 25,000 man insurgency... It would seem that the Insurgent Force most be much larger then had previously been estimated.
The number of nonIraqis captured or killed is quite low, under 2,000, by my cumulative count.
4% of the total enemy force killed or detained.
They are an Iraqi Criminal, not Military matter.

The US is not engaged in either a "Clash of Civilizations" nor a War on Islam. Mohammedans ARE NOT the target of US aggression, or defense. Bush has said as much any number of times.

There is only one major Goal left in the War on Terror.

Why not Osama?

9/25/2005 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Too much money?

9/25/2005 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Just ask Papa.

9/25/2005 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

...he follows the money.

9/25/2005 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Whatever happened to that crazy Guy/Rule that said our special forces in Afghanistan had to shave up to meet proper military dress codes?

9/25/2005 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Although every death is a tragedy, the real wonder is that aren't many more American and British deaths. There are about 8,500 British troops in Iraq and 3,500 in surrounding countries. Since OIF they've suffered 96 deaths. The US has 114K in Iraq, a force about 13.5 bigger than the British contingent and on a pro-rata basis and ceteris paribus, there should have been 1,300 US deaths at the British rate. The actual number of US deaths is 1,913 -- higher than pro rata -- but not vastly higher when you consider that most of the big battles are in the west, center and northwest.

If the Kurdish area, also part of the US AO, were used as the benchmark American "quiet sector" for comparison, Portillo's characterization of GIs who generate conflict by shooting from the hip doesn't look so valid. It's the Sunni insurgency that is primarily the issue.

Objectively speaking both the British and US forces, despite mistakes, have done remarkably well. There's not even an appropriate historical comparison to their performance. Whether it will be enough, time will tell.

9/25/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Even a young man, that had never been to school, would know it would cost less to kill Osama than continueing in Iraq, at present levels, until the end of Bush's term.

We HAVE succeeded in Iraq.
Our Goals achieved.

Moving Goal Posts and continued meddling in heir internal politics will not make US more secure.

Our "Favorite", Mr Chilabi has benn in, out and back in "Favor".
Lied to and about, but key to US success.

Time to fight the REAL War on Terror, or give up on it entirely. Like we have on securing our borders from unarmed invasion.

9/25/2005 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Ray said...

As Wretchard says "the honest analyst must at least ask himself if something is changing on the battlefield.", but of course the dishonest one will not. And some are so dishonest in thier desire for American defeat that they will argue up an down that THEY are the honest ones and thier stories are "innacruate but true,"

9/25/2005 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"or give up on it entirely. Like we have on securing our borders from unarmed invasion."
It hurts so bad.
Can't make a joke.
Maybe it's not true?

9/25/2005 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

doug says re brit press - "Almost to a man, they had a condescending attitude toward the American simpletons trying to beat their way out of this terrorist bag with both eyes wide shut."
as one born a brit and chosen to be american, i wholeheartedly concur. we are siblings and must stick together of course. but Jonewer illustrates all too clearly the essential brit version of anti-americanism (not the raving loony galloway-type, of course, which is still the fringe i think).
it's just plain old sibling rivalry.
the good news is, its still possible that basra won't 'go off' and that the methods of both siblings will be shown to have contributed in their different ways in the different situations.

oh, and ade: evidently you've never played rugby.

9/25/2005 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Does anyone else get the feeling that those math geniuses at Google keep upping the ante on those Turing Pedals,tm-carridine, and that sooner or later only people smarter than us will be able to post?

9/25/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Now that was NICE:

9/25/2005 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Followed by what appeared to be:
...but I failed.
At least I won't have to fly to Vegas.

9/25/2005 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Can't believe we got off to a rocky start, ex-dem.
...but like 'Rat says,
I am
Pity on the Disabled!
Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar!
And as Algore says:
"You ain't seen nothin Yet!"

9/25/2005 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"-- higher than pro rata -- but not vastly higher when you consider that most of the big battles are in the west, center and northwest."
I thought that was OUR Fault!
See C4:
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah blah,
blah blah blah blah.
Blah blah.

9/25/2005 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If you do not think there is an invasion. of Us, currently underway, just come to Phoenix. On any given day the invaders are standing on the street corners, in hordes, looking for their daily bread.

Go to the town of Douglas, and watch the Felons as they come across. Go to Naco and watch the buses drive up from the south and disgorge their cargo, hundreds of soon to be Felons, walking across the US border into a life of criminality. Felons and Federal fugitives, the moment they cross the line.

Before the Syrian border with Iraq became an US responsibility, the US border with Mexico and Canada already were.
The Federals have FAILED their primary Constituional responsibility, what would make a person think they'd succeed in any optional, overseas, ones?

9/25/2005 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Cederfard: There will be no campaign where the Brits will lose dozens a week fighting Shiite militias on behalf of the "noble, purple-fingered, hungry for secular democracy" Iraqis, who sit passively by and expect Americans and Brits to die for a vision they themselves do not wish to risk their asses for.

It took Moses 40 years to turn the Israelites from a psychology of bondage, fear and slavery to that of free man. He did that by waiting for the old generation to die off and the new generation to take over. That option is not available in Iraq.

9/25/2005 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

What would YOU know? just live there.

9/25/2005 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Directed to 'Rat, not the cavity explorer.

9/25/2005 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey, I just figured out a Hack!
(helps for old geezers to have young kids.)
When you get 30 nonsense letters in a row, kinda like C4,
Just type in nonsense,
Wait for a sane question,
...and answer it.
...Just like C4.

9/25/2005 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

the CAT is back! offense, Wretchard.

9/25/2005 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Doug, you almost make it sound dirty. :P

9/25/2005 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


Moses was one of the people, they choose to follow him, or not, depending on when in the travels of the Jewish folk we speak.
We are not of Iraq nor are they all choosing to follow US.
Iraq is no longer a threat to US, they are now a threat to themselves.
They have not become our 51st State. We have accomplished our Goals. If we need to establish "new" Goals, then the debate should commence. Votes in Congress taken. The added clarity could not hurt the US position.
If it turns out the the US Public is not convinced that we should "Stay the Course", well, that is the American Way.
Better the debate today then in October '06.

9/25/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Cavity?

9/25/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"If we need to establish "new" Goals, then the debate should commence. "
.Miller/Honore 08!

9/25/2005 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Desert Rat,
Do we want the Iraqis to go back and worship Baal? Cause that's exactly what will happen if we leave them to the devices of the Jihadis.

9/25/2005 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I meant the cavity exploration. But I suppose the exploration depends on the cavity being what it is. :P

9/25/2005 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Today, I'd vote for them.

Greatly disappointed by the Republicans. Where did the Reagan Republicans go off to? Did they all retire at once, leaving the Government in the hands of Sailors on Leave?
Even with expanding revenues, spending is out of control. Reagan could blame a Democratic Congress, Bush & Company can only look in the mirror

9/25/2005 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger jonewer said...

The French! They're the fellows we should be fighting next!

9/25/2005 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"But the Miller of old is long gone.
Nowadays Miller sounds like some kind of right-wing beat poet. Of Democratic values he says:

"If this is a national party, sushi is our national dish.
If this is a national party, surfboarding has become our national pastime."
Of John Kerry:
"You can't make a chicken swim, and you can't make John Kerry anything but an out-of-touch ultraliberal from Taxachussetts."

National Democrats are "being cannibalized, eaten alive by the special-interest groups with their single-issue constituents who care about their own narrow agenda." "

9/25/2005 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


9/25/2005 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Freedom of Religion is a corner stone of US internal and external policies.
Baal, Zeus, Odin, Allah, Christ or Jehovah makes little difference to US.
We ARE NOT fighting a "religious war" unless, of course Bush is a liar, and I do not believe that.

9/25/2005 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

It's taught K-12, here, Mika,
You should know,
but then,
You are one of them.

9/25/2005 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Them s.... eyes have Zen.
We got Zell.

9/25/2005 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If the Iraqi National Government cannot, with upwards of 200,000 Army & Police cannot secure Iraq, no practical amount of US Force, using our present tactics, will.
There HAS to be a hand off, sooner or later.
The Iraqis will put that date off for as long as they can.

Loving life on the US teat.

Why take risks and fight for yourself, when others will do it for you?
Better to give them the responsibility sooner, they'll handle it just fine.

9/25/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Desert Rat,
Is the deficit relative to GNP increasing or decreasing? What's the ratio today relative to the Reagan years? The US economy is huge. I'm just wondering, if we factor in a 3 to 4 percent growth, is this deficit still increasing? (If it is indeed increasing as you seem to imply).

9/25/2005 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Just one more day on the teat?
Gaawd I've been a liar for a long time.

9/25/2005 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

That Jew shoulda been an accoutant,
not a Dentast.

9/25/2005 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Desert Rat,
It's never about Baal, Zeus, Odin, Allah, Christ or Jehovah, etc., but about who else you can recruit to worship and into your tribal clique.

9/25/2005 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Cat Clique,
That's us.
Who says all Cat lovers are liberals?

9/25/2005 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'specially when they drink
Bud Light.

9/25/2005 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Wretchard, I apologize for the contentiousness, and am embarrassed to've prompted a warning. The hour was late, is my only excuse, as C4 was no more particularly mendacious than usual.

However, I have to observe that even his last post, wherein he resolves his position via backup from the fed chairman, is glaringly dishonest, as he ascribes doom deficit forecasting from our most august institutions as referring specifically to OIF costs, when in fact that entire body of commentary emerged during several recent Greenspan congressional testimonies on the suibject of Social Security reform. In particular, the actuarials as projected into the mid-term future.

As a matter of fact, the Social Security and Medicare programs are indeed as dangerous as a jihad, similarly out of control and entirely unsustainable, and I commend C4 for making mention of the fact--even though he did it to support an unrelated notion.

That said, the same post makes a position change as the dude slips in an okay to maintain allied forces in the mideast, if only to guard the oil industry. Now, he and I have less disagreement.

The sine-qua-non of world peace is that we do not allow the global scarcity of vital natural resources to be bifurcated into closed and open markets, and thus push one or another part of the globe into the position of having both a powerful military and an economy whose extraction costs per BTU are far out-of-line to another powerful military, whose people will soon enough feel the pinch, and clamor that fairness can be restored if only this or that geopolitical map could be adjusted, even if by force (fooey, war is better than depression and revolution--the one ya can't win, the other ya maybe can, and with nothing to lose, what the hell).

Wrt to the Iraqi, and the Arab, and the downtrodden of the world in general, the religious or spiritual encomium to be our brother's keeper is only tangentially part of the equation before us, and I don't argue with C4's sneer in that direction, tho I do believe that history demonstrates that compassiopn is good for the soul--of an individual or a culture--so long as it doesn't let down its guard while bending over to help.

To automatically denigrate the return of goodwill is to ignore the general principles of human-nature in favor of snarling over the particular, and is to discount the vast run of history, wherein the fact of alliance is equal to the fact of enemy.

Cut-and-run thinkers--the patriotic hard-right as well as the hard-left's ubiquitous incarnations of pacifists, reds, one-worlders, fashion-seekers, and plain fools, all must envision a fortress America, locked down against a madding world and self-sufficient in a make-do-or-do-without economy.

Of course, with an SSBN fleet, a nation could do just that.

Many Democrats--including the recent presidential candidate--find that idea appealing, on the basis that this rowdy, bottom-up, poor-folk-lifting, consumer-empowering globalism is cooking the statist goose, and making that halcyon dream of power through controlling the citizenry's meal-ticket from Government House in Capital City, into ever-receding ephemera.

Fortress America, of course, is also an interim goal of the jihad. This fact cries havoc, and lets slip some dogs of war which freed, have no traditionally recognizable master.

Some folks are conservatives on the idea that, in times of flux and chaos, when it may be impossible to know what to do today to prepare for tomorrow, the odds are in favor of returning to the fundamentals that in the past have gotten us if not where we want to be, at least out of the frying pan-or-fire where either way we're toast.

One of these fundamentals is the Leadership Principle, where doing the wrong thing is survivable, but doing nothing (the goal of anarchy, and the drive behind the unprecedented act-outs of personal contempt for this president) probably isn't.

Of course the very notion of "survivable" implies support for an old order that--as you say--may be changing on its own, reacting perhaps to the surface conditions of the planet, a sort of weather front of the human condition.

Such things happen on the long wave, which recent ones have names like Dark Age, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Reformation, Counter-Reformation, etcetera.

9/25/2005 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Bud Light is for the cat. The Corona is for me. :D

9/25/2005 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
A Perfect Lake Powell Companion.

9/25/2005 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I do not have the figures you ask about readily available.
I do have anadotal references from Peggy Noonan. They reperesent the philosophical response, if not the financial specifics.

"... Republicans have grown alarmed at federal spending. It has come to a head not only because of Katrina but because of the huge pork-filled highway bill the president signed last month, which comes with its own poster child for bad behavior, the Bridge to Nowhere. The famous bridge in Alaska that costs $223 million and that connects one little place with two penguins and a bear with another little place with two bears and a penguin. The Bridge to Nowhere sounds, to conservative ears, like a metaphor for where endless careless spending leaves you. From the Bridge to the 21st Century to the Bridge to Nowhere: It doesn't feel like progress.
A lot of Bush supporters assumed the president would get serious about spending in his second term. With the highway bill he showed we misread his intentions.

The administration, in answering charges of profligate spending, has taken, interestingly, to slighting old conservative hero Ronald Reagan. This week it was the e-mail of a high White House aide informing us that Ronald Reagan spent tons of money bailing out the banks in the savings-and-loan scandal. This was startling information to Reaganites who remembered it was a fellow named George H.W. Bush who did that. Last month it was the president who blandly seemed to suggest that Reagan cut and ran after the attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon.

Poor Reagan. If only he'd been strong he could have been a good president. ..."

She goes on to say

"... The Republican (as opposed to conservative) default position when faced with criticism of the Bush administration is: But Kerry would have been worse! The Democrats are worse! All too true. ..."

Then talk about cock sure and stupid

"... The administration knows that Republicans are becoming alarmed. Its attitude is: "We're having some trouble with part of the base but"--smile--"we can weather that."

Well, they probably can, short term.

Long term, they've had bad history with weather. It can change. ..."

Ms. Noonan

The President SHOULD remember Mr. Perot. Cost his Daddy his job as President. A new player could cost the Republicans even more, in '08.

9/25/2005 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"as C4 was no more particularly mendacious than usual."
And what's a little dishonesty, now and then?
...depending on the meaning of then, of course.
Or now.

9/25/2005 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

or doug, who.

9/25/2005 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Don't Defend Scum.

9/25/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


9/25/2005 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sounds like Mika.

9/25/2005 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

One man's scum is another's bath soap.

Perspective is important.
It shapes the picture in the mind
Warping reality to fit the picture, until the picure is real.

9/25/2005 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Desert Rat,
Here's a real life anecdote. Twenty years ago my parents took a 20 thousand dollar mortgage on an 30 thousand apartment. Today their apartment is worth 10 times that, and their salary increased just as proportionally. The money needed to pay this 20 thousand dollar debt is bordering the inconsequential today. I hope you're following me. The alternative, would have been to take the pessimistic view, and just rent a cheap apartment for a fraction of the money, and hope the economy and with it the housing market collapses or goes nowhere. The moral of the story: it pays to be an optimist.

9/25/2005 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Buddy and Doug, tsk-tsk…(shaking head)

You know that C4 has that, ahem, learning disability and can’t play well with yamulka-wearing others.

Anyways, softly-softly doesn’t work because it resolves effectively nothing; it presumes a civil society in which soft-soft debate, political minding, et al can actually effect changes. In a civil society, elections, debates, public flops and fops, all resolve the issue one way or another just like battles do for uncivil societies; things are pretty much well and decided when one side is dead, captured, enslaved and wounded and the other, isn’t.

The British, and Europeans, leftists, all screw up the data entry. There is NO civil society in Iraq, it must be built, therefore ‘softly, softly’ does not work (its’ medium simply does not exist) at the outset (nor does diplomacy with tyrants). Our problem is that even on the war side of it, there is precious little circumstance to force decisive action militarily.

As the civil and the military represent two faces, one the inner and the latter the outer, of the state/culture, you have a place where nothing shy of violence is likely to change the status quo and that violence is continuous, tribal, and blood-feudist. Precisely the opposite of what you need and would expect from a rational, peaceful receptive population.

9/25/2005 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

it pays to be an optomotrist, you see.

9/25/2005 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Scum is Scum.

9/25/2005 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Stay outta my eye hole!

9/25/2005 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Verce! You old dawg--how was your 3-day summer, up on the peninsula?

9/25/2005 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


9/25/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

....head Jews
....head Nips
....head Flips
....head Wasps
Scum is Scum.

9/25/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The problem that the US is facing is that the number of people that think we are doing poorly is growing. Not all who think so are liars and sophists. Some are remarkably articulate.

In this piece from NRO by Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, who is the author of "The War Against the Terror Masters". He is resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.

In a piece about Iran and it's perspective on US policies he says quite a bit, quite well. I'll give his summation, but the entire article is worthy of the time.

"...Lacking any defined policy, we can only judge the president and his aides by their actions, and there aren’t any, aside from the occasional speech or offhand remark at a press conference. The mullahs see that, and treat it with the contempt it deserves. We are currently indistinguishable from the Europeans, who run whenever the Iranians snarl at them.

This is not a war on terror, it is paralysis at best, and appeasement at worst. The hell of it is that it is costing thousands of lives, and will cost many more until the terror masters are destroyed, or we surrender. Those words were inconceivable for many years, but it is a sign of our present fecklessness that they are now entirely appropriate. We can still lose this war. And we cannot win it so long as we are blinded by our potentially fatal failure of strategic vision: we are in a regional war, but we have limited our actions to a single theater. Our most potent weapons are political and ideological, but our actions have been almost exclusively military.

Our main enemy, the single greatest engine in support of the terror war against us, whether Sunni or Shiite, jihadi, or secular, Arab or British or Italian or Spaniard, is Iran. There is no escape from this fact. The only questions are how long it will take us to face it, how effective we will be when we finally decide to act, and how terrible the price will be for our long delay. ..."

Iran Bubbles Over

Insightful piece

9/25/2005 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

...and don't ferget them Purple Fingered Iraqi ....heads.

9/25/2005 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

9:42 AM 'Rat,
Sounds like the Neocon ....head Jew, Ledeen!

9/25/2005 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Right is right, doug. No matter the source.
Unless the perspective is WAY OFF.

But he agrees with me, more than most, that what US is doing is halfed assed.

I've had my Iraqi veteran debriefing, time to reassess our Policy and definition of success.
If we stay with our law, the 'Authorization', we can bring most of our Force home, from Iraq, in the Spring.

9/25/2005 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I never read Cedarford because his posts are simply too long -- always. What in other circumstances would be called a "rant".

However, I also find it extremely disingenuous of Buddy Larsen to apologize to the moderator for derailing the thread, pleading the lateness of the hour, and *THEN* to post another long maundering response/reply on exactly the same topic. When you've been rebuked for hijacking a thread and being verbose, just salute, and say, "yes, sir" and SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Jonewer says that the "softly softly approach" "has been learned over 60 years of retreat from empire and peace-enforcement in Northern Ireland." I wonder why our current administration and military would want to support an approach used for RETREAT? And it seems to me, further, that Northern Ireland is *not* something you'd want to hold up as an example of a successful strategy since they are still, to this very day, blowing each other up.

Doubtless as a dumb, un-nuanced American, though, there's something to be said for a strategy of retreat that hasn't worked that I'm simply not seeing. And I'm sure from his tone, Jonewer will be happy to explain to me why, as a strategy, it's preferrable to pressing forward, killing the enemy, and WINNING.

9/25/2005 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Expressing or arousing desire: a sultry look; a sultry dance."
What the h... is wrong w/me anyways?
I'm too old for this ....!

9/25/2005 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Gaawdammit, Nahncee,
This is high falutin Intercourse,
Shut the F... UP!

9/25/2005 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Rat, oddly enough, Karen Hughes--the administrations soft-power specialist--has just yesterday been dispatched to the theater, for a long round of town-hallish meetings with Arab women's groups, to explain the national policy on the mideast face-to-face.

Hughes is GWB's treasured secret weapon, the designer of his launching victory over Governor Ann Richards--a magic feat here in Texas, as Richards was a loved icon. Hughes is something special.

Better late than never, hey? Lets try to be optomotrists.

9/25/2005 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Desert Rat,
Re: Ledeen. I've said it before and I'll say it again. You can't move forward on Iran until you control Iraq. And you can't move forward on Saudia until you have control over Iraq and Iran. It a delicate operation. You need to keep the supply of oil moving, while you wrestle its control from the Jihadis.

9/25/2005 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Nahncee, shoot, i was proud of that post, and thought it was on-thread. now I'm all shriveled up and puny. okay, no more long posts. This reminds me of a story, tho, ...:-)

9/25/2005 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I am all in favor of Mrs. Hughes's mission and hope for her success.
But, day late, dollar short.
Where is our Inet streaming video?
Where is Radio and TV Free Arabia?
Where is our mass communication expertise?
No where to be seen.

The basis of the American Revolution, the inalienable & indivisible rights of man, given by God, is a strong card to play.
We leave it in our hand.

This conflict is as much ideological as military, perhaps even more so.
We are hardly on the field.

Better late than never.

9/25/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sultry, huh?

9/25/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Good, Buddy, yours?

Oh, and two things.

This empathsis on popularity is quite silly. The people in aggragate do not possess any greater wisdom than any one man; history is replete with examples, from Alexander to Einstein, single men triumphing over a civilization, Persia and science technocrats respectively.

The will of the people serves as a check on the will of any one person or group in government, economics and is a good thing. But it is not the only thing. This insistence on popularity is one part anarchism and one part insufferable consensus-seeking and no part avails itself of the real world or our political systems.

Two, you must always preserve the base opinion. It is good to have a majority, but if you cannot even muster a minority to your side, you're done. In other words, seeking popularity for political gain can make for dramatic unpopular political losses. So let's be done with politics by poll.

9/25/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Meby I'll repost that N.O. Webcam Link.

9/25/2005 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Mika, Rat, the news sez that both the UN and India (culturally very influential in Iran) stepped up to the plate against the Iran Bomb, over the last day or two. The sort of signals that portend a coming squeeze. Karen Hughes of course is aiming herself at Iranian women, and the pro-west Iranians in general. This is shaping into an attempt at a masterful finesse of the problem of "Bush thinks we Iranians can't be trusted with the Bomb" problem. All is not lost...we're trying the back door.

9/25/2005 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

10:13 AM Back Door.
You and that Jew Dentast.

9/25/2005 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Fox just ran a crawler saying that the Pakistani Gov't has just announced that OBL is hiding out in the border region between Pakistan & Afghanistan, and is with a small group of "mainly Arab" supporters, and that "his communication network has been destroyed".

9/25/2005 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


Fund the Iranian Kurdish Insurrection, if there is not one, start it.
Fund Radio Free Farsi
Supply the citizens of Iran with satellite phones and pistols
Run snatch and grab raids in Iran against terrorist ideologues and operatives.
Do not allow known terrorists Visas to the US, no matter their Current job, or who they plan on speaking to.

We control Iraq, today and have for the past 2.5 years. We have no current plans for further conquest. If that had been the plan, we'd have kept rollin', in 2003. The US public would have supported the program, then, and the Administrative challenges of occupation would have been handled about the same, through out the Region.
Regional conquest is not now, nor has it ever been US Policy. The idea of Regional conflict was offered up in the first draft of the Authorization for Use of Force, but was stricken from the language of the Law, quickly. Leaving as official US Policy no desire to engage in Regional War, by design.

The US is not a Nation that is governed by winks & nods, but rather, by Laws.

9/25/2005 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

His head on a pole, or nothing at all...

9/25/2005 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat will believe them when he sees him.
Frying and Crying.

9/25/2005 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: soft-touch fails.

Ties back to the SecDef's "must fight with the military you have" comment. In a democracy, all these government creations suffer the soft corruption of complacency and constituency. Such is our system in a time when merit is valued less than the politically correct and facile. Bleeding hearts mean we will bleed even more tomorrow than otherwise.

And wrt Nato, Europe had better not offend their Turkish guest workers, because Ankara could march to the channel without opposition, save from color guards.

We are fortunate we survive as a free people, but the jury is still out. Would one of the hundred million communism and our our decision to contain (v. defeat) sacrificed have saved us from the certain future natural or human catastrophe? The Greeks taught us that the sins of omission are more fatal than commission.

re: Brits down south.

I haven't heard much about IEDs and suicide bombings in that area (ditto for Israel). Is it actually more peaceful or are the Brits waging a better Electronic War?

9/25/2005 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Amen, Verce. he is said to be "...only a symbol"...that's like, "Other than THAT, Mrs. Lincoln, how'd you enjoy the play?"

9/25/2005 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/25/2005 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The thing about Iran is that other than Saudia I don't see who is there as a hostile. Is the Iranian conventional force that decrepit that they feel they need nuclear weapons as a deterrent against the Saudis?

9/25/2005 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

They're faking it.
With a different enemy.

9/25/2005 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Take out Osama, Elections in Iraq.
Victory in the Spring, everywhere.
Republicans hold the Congress in '06.

Vercingetorix, I do not speak of governing by poll, but by Congressional vote. We do live in a Republic, and the Congress, the peoples voice, is co-equal to the Executive.
The Congress did set the Goals for achievement in Iraq and they are now fulfilled. If we need to stay on in Iraq, the Congress should soon establish new Goals for the Executive to meet. Having done a good job on fulfilling the last set of Goals set forth.

9/25/2005 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

What about US?

9/25/2005 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The problem, Mika, is to simultaneously court pro-western Iranians, while ostentatiously insulting their national pride. Like it or not, Bomb possession is a certain rite of passage for senior players on the world stage. Genie long out of that bottle.

9/25/2005 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Desert Rat,
You don't control Iraq. Not yet. When I see the US Army in Isfahan, I'll grant you that you have control over Iraq. :)

9/25/2005 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The US is hostile to the Rulers of Iran, has been since before they came to power. Especially so since they took our Embassy. One of the leaders of the hostage takers now being the President of Iran.
The Iranians need to counter US and Pakistani, as well as Russian, Indian, Israeli and Chinese nuclear threats, real or percieved.

9/25/2005 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We control it militarily, if we wanted to go to Isfahan we could, no one could stop US, by force of arms.
We choose, for political reasons, not to go. Your perspective having even less weight than mine, in the minds of US leaders.

9/25/2005 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Bomb the US with atomic weapons? Is anybody is that stupid?

9/25/2005 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

nuke threats in the region, don't forget the force-de-frappe, which is a little worrisome to anti-frogites.

9/25/2005 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

Let me clarify my thoughts on the British situation in Southern Iraq (I was being constantly interrupted during my last post).

With the tempo increasing in Iraqi due to the looming constitutional vote and the odd situation of 2 SAS guys being arrested we are making snap judgments on the British (and their total ability to wage war).

One poster mention the Falklands Conflict where I understood approximately 250 Brits were killed and approximately 750 wounded. Given that less than 100 Brits have been killed in OIF. I would certainly not count the Brits out.

I am not exactly sure where Wretchard stands on the Brits fighting capability or on their handling of the South (Softly Softly) - but I would bet they will prevail in the end. RR makes the point that there is probably a lot of information we are not aware of. So were are drawing conclusions without all of the facts.

Sure, thing could have been handled better (as all endeavors). And sure, some new leadership may need to be brought in and new energy injected - but, that can be done. I say let's step back and take a look at the facts before judging the British operations an "EuroFranco-style" failure.

9/25/2005 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Desert Rat,
The problem, is NOT going to Isfahan. The problem, is staying in Isfahan. Israel's gaza experience comes to mind.

9/25/2005 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger david bennett said...

He said the number not the rate. And yes they have been rising at a fairly steady rate when averaged over months. And it does add up since people are not percieving success.

An analogy is flood waters rising at a foot per hour. One can say they are rising remorselessly.

9/25/2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Rat, I was mostly baiting C4. I was also waxing on the role of the ‘softer-softer’ politics, ‘strategy,’ and all; the sophomoric pursuit of popularity at the expense of decisively defining reality. My pet-peeve on OIF incidentally isn’t the disbanding of the Iraqi Army (they were thoroughly incompetent, corrupt, blood-soaked, and had already disbanded themselves) or troop numbers because though we could have used more, we were never going to use them in the first place. We never entered the Sunni Triangle in force because we did not seek to enter into a counter-insurgency situation…which is what we got. Triple the number of troops but keep that deference to fear, and you’ll have the same thing all over again.

Another thing is the war between the media and the military. Things have changed in the world, during the cold war. The media more or less defeated the US in Vietnam, I’d argue that American soft-power toppled the USSR while under the containment regime, and it is currently in play between the US/Iraq, Israel/Palestinians.

I’d use the example of Fallujah I, where despite the slow, methodical advance of US forces, the politics exploded away into ‘Atrocity! Atrocity! Atrocity!’ and Fallujah II, which was a rapid advance, faster than the media cycle; changed the reality on the ground before the media could define it. Stasis is vulnerable to soft power, dynanism is not; softly-softly doesn’t work without soft power on the basis of hard reality.

9/25/2005 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But we are not colonizers, we will not be setting up Green houses, we do not want to stay.
We want stability and republican federalism for Iraqis in Iraq. The framework of which will be complete in 20 days & a wake up.
That is a major difference between Iraq and the Israeli experience in Gaza, the desired Goals to be achieved by Use of Force.

9/25/2005 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Israelis would never fight for Palistinian liberty and elections. They would not shed their blood and treasure to help the million Gaza residents now held at bay by Hamas.
They may eventually wipe out Hamas in Gaza, sending a million civilians fleeing to Egypt, but thet'll do it for their own reasons, not to assist or free the Palistinian masses.

The US, having acomplished it's primary mission, stays on in Iraq trying to provide an umbrella of protection to a newly formed Republic.

9/25/2005 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger William Woody said...

It's possible by "rising remorsely" the author means that the total number of casualties as counted from the start of the war is constantly increasing. That is, he's counting the total, not just the rate (or the number per month), though the way it's phrased it does give the impression the rate constantly increases as well.

I've seen this trick used elsewhere, where the author is refering to the totals, not to the rate--but uses in a way that implies the rate is also increasing.

In this way, even if the rate were to drop to one casualty every three months, the total would still be "rising remorsely", even though the rate is nearly zero.

9/25/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Being a trip-wire sucks,but our cold-war Berlin and 38th Parallel units achieved those so-successful-nobody-noticed victories over temptation and impulse. We'd sure benefit in the present by taking all the uncertainty out of whether or not we're going to maintain a base in Iraq. Be nice if the Dems would pop up and say yes on that. When they won't say, in order to keep the option open for those polls Verce decries, it effectively organizes the enemy propaganda machine to exploit yet another 'issue' fault-line in American politics. But, with no presence at all, look for 70s style assassinations of local politicians to rise to the top of enemy priority lists.

9/25/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I partially agree with you Desert Rat. Unlike Israel in Gaza, America does not have a territorial dispute with Iraq. In that the two are different. However, you do have an ideological dispute. And where there is an ideological incompatibility with the locals, you don't get to stay, at least not without the use of force. Territorial dispute, or not.

9/25/2005 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

If the rate is increasing, decreasing, or staying the same, other things matter much more to the strategic outlook than the number of dead/wounded.

Consider if we lost a carrier (take your pick of boogeymen), and instantly tripled the number of dead from OIF. Its a massive jump, but carrier aviation is less important than other matters to the ground. (Note, such an imaginary tragedy could create a moral bonus to the 'insurgency' and draw resources so it would not be insignificant).

Point is, casualty counts, killed, missing, wounded, have some relationship to success, just not a proportional one.

9/25/2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

A tremendous amount of investment is pouring into north american oil shale and tar sand operations. stocks of companies involved have doubled and tripled in 2005. Northwestern Colorado alone has three times the Saudi reserves in oil shale, extraction is profitable at less than the spot crude NYMEX price right now--50 bucks i think is the magic number--and there are ten different new projects in the pre-operational stage right now--including several majors, Shell Oil most prominently. Point--just from the guard-the-temptation perspective, we shouldn't have to play hall monitor in perpetuity. A decade oughtta do it.

9/25/2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

8.5 million Iraqis voted in their last Election, this October 15th the number may be even higher. This represents the "majority" in Iraq. With them there seems to be no Ideological dispute. There are those Iraqis that would favor a return to Baathist Rule. Mostly Baathists.
That is an internal battle for the Iraqis to settle, themselves. With US help it will be settled politically, not by force of arms. The coming Election and the one in December are weather vanes in that regard.
In any case the new Republic of Iraq will take shape. For Bush's Policy of Freedom and Democracy to succeed the US HAS to become a much smaller player, within the country. Without the Iraqis being seen as independent of US interference the push for liberty will not advance within the Region.

We have to withdraw from day to day civil life in Iraq for Bush's Policy to win.

The assassinations will not begin, they will continue apace.
Personal Security will be thick in the new Iraq for quite a while.
Assassins being native to the Region.

9/25/2005 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

From where I'm standing you'd think China already has first dibs on Canada. It's a sea of Chinaman here.

9/25/2005 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Verce, can you imagine the shocks we endured repeatedly in '42 and '43, when successibvely we lost our great carriers, Wasp, Hornet, Saratoga, three or four others, at Midway, Coral Sea, and operations off Guadalcanal? All this long before we knew that Midway had been the "turning point" of the war? Wonder why today we intuitively feel that such losses would make us quit, when then, such losses made us re-double to win?

9/25/2005 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

They all have visas, I'd bet you.
The Canuks sticklers for formality, no "illegals" there.

9/25/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Mika, the more proftable investment the PRC makes in the Americas, the safer the world becomes from a Taiwan balloon going up. Bring it on, let's all do business.

9/25/2005 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Desert Rat,
Democracy in the process not the goal. The Nazis party was democratically elected in Germany. That's not something we want a repeat of in Iraq.

9/25/2005 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Amen! Hope you like rice.

9/25/2005 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Because today, buddy, we are not serious. We know we are omnipotent. If it can be proven not so, many think we'll fold.

It is at the heart of Osama's stategy.

What ever happens, when impotence is exposed, we lose.

We have such faith in US percieved strength, that when shown to be less than omnipotent, we percieve it as failure, ourselves.
Never a failure in the System but in the managers and operators.

9/25/2005 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Mika, that nazi thing is a misleading canard, in a way. the party that was elected was a far different animal than it turned out tio be, later, after the evil one had maneuvered the gov't into that enabling act that made the party then invulnerable to democracy's full process--the part where it throws a party out of office.

9/25/2005 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

You know, Buddy, casualty rates are quite probably inversely related to success; the unpopularity of the war to being the light casualties as enough to sting but not enough to provoke a stronger battery of emotions.

Nobody contends that Afghanistan was a wrong war (Galloway, and possibly Kerry, excluded) because of 9-11. 1000/year killed is over such a long time that indeed it is like a traffic statistic; enough to hurt, not enough to do anything about. Casualties in OIF are 'friction' not pretexts and certainly not portents.

This again is emblematic of the stasis of Iraq...without decisive actions there is no success. Decisive actions are, by definition, not a softer-softer approach.

Its the same microscale problem that Iraq presented geopolitically...keep a stable, but rotten, environment where problems fester, or engage strategically to defeat the status quo. I think my opinion on that point has been well documented.

9/25/2005 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

FWIW, I just want to point out that I don't respond to Cedarford's posts anymore, even if he responds to mine.

Its not worth my time.

9/25/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Mika, LOL, yes i DO like rice. The chinese have a 50% household savings rate. Why, I don't know, but yes, we will be having a bit of rice in the future. which brings me to rat's post on the brittleness of omnipotence. I couldn't agree more, rat. A sort of sloppy slide into downscale hubris characterizes so much of modern America, which doesn't take anything at all seriously. We're too arrogant by half, and will be the better for it as globalization continues to free up the talents of the rest of the world.

9/25/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I think there's a very real parallel between the two, particularly when taking your point into account. I have a very bad feeling about Sistani and his party. And I think the parallels of ceding power to Hitler's Nazi party of the early 30's are there.

9/25/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As to that Fox News scroll about Osama

"There have been no fresh clues to bin Laden's whereabouts, but he generally is believed to be in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"In our opinion, the reports on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden are more speculative stories rather than based on accurate intelligence," said Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, chief spokesman for Pakistan's army.

Pakistan has deployed some 80,000 troops to its rugged border regions running along Afghanistan, fighting intense battles with al-Qaida-linked militants.

CBS' "60 Minutes" will report Sunday that Pakistani officials believe bin Laden may be hiding in Afghanistan, where he is protected by a very small number of people to keep a low profile.

A Pakistani intelligence official in the northwestern city of Peshawar, near the Afghan border, said bin Laden probably is accompanied by "dozens" of mainly Arab supporters. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the secretive nature of his job.

Security officials in Pakistan - Washington's front-line Muslim ally in the war on terrorism - also believe bin Laden's communications network has been destroyed.

"For a very long time there are no intercepts about Osama bin Laden giving instructions to his regional commanders, either through radio, telephone, satellite phone or the Internet," a senior security official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject. ..."

Pakistan says bin Laden is isolated

An AP wire story

Why not Osama?
It is well past time.

9/25/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The other side of that national nonchalence is, of course, that having left a lot of ground uncovered, we can hop to and cover a lot of ground mighty fast, once stirred out of the torpor of distraction.

9/25/2005 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Rat, last thing and I'm out.
Osama wanted to crush us in Afghanistan like 'he' did the Soviets. While the theatre shift to Iraq, plus the toppling of the Taliban, have made this plan all but obsolete, there is precious little doubt, with the active presence of international jihadis in Iraq, that a withdrawal/defeat from Iraq would shift resources back to Afghanistan.

A withdrawal would shift the theatre back to a potential Afghanistan campaign (with moral and international capital), which we could very well lose.

Afghanistan is all but forgotten in discussion of Iraq, but Afghanistan in the Soviet-Afghan war shares much the same patrons and combatants as Iraq insurgents do nowadays. Whether or not 9-11 sprung from Saddam's, Zarqawi's, or UBL's noggin fully formed, it doesn't matter one bit when you consider how similiar both enemies are in two separate locations. There is a linkage in existence now that is undeniable and must be crushed like fat guy on Kate Moss.

9/25/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The story discusses how Osama is now using couriers to send messages.

It is a technique that worked well for Ceasar, human couriers.
What once was old is new again.

Why not Osama?

9/25/2005 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...


I cannot reconcile the numbers you present with those on strategy page.

9/25/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Mika, i think sistani probably has a realpolitik attitude about his western allies. It's easy to note that he needs us against the Sunnies ergo will likely double-cross when that situation is resolved. But, on the other hand, that attitude on our is surely self-defeating, whereas to accept him at face-value holds open a prospect of a long-term alliance.

Remember what you said about optimism.

9/25/2005 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

Below is a typical demonstration of Troll Logic and intelligence. Marines understand what to do with Trolls. ....... Ignore them. It really pisses them off when they finally understand no one cares what they say or write.
Bye! Bye!

Doug said...
You don't know what you're talking about:
Listen to this:
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
So stick it up your ...!
And you too, Mika!
...exploring human cavities all day like you do.

9/25/2005 12:22:00 PM  

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