Friday, December 23, 2005

The drawdowns (see update)

Michael Lopez Calderon describes the debate between Daniel Pipes and Reuel Marc Gerecht of the American Enterprise Institute -- neither of them men of the Left -- on the subject of whether the United States should support Islamists. Gerecht argued that the process was foremost, and if democracy meant that the side you didn't like occasionally won, well it was a feature, not a bug. Pipes retorted that it was insane to let radical Islamists play in a game they wanted, above all to abolish; against "democratic elections in which the result could be 'one person, one vote, one time.'" Of course, both Pipes and Gerecht might as well have been debating the problem of bringing democracy to Iraq, where election in a Shi'a majority country could be expected to produce a Shi'a dominated result.

In that election, the Sunnis and the secularist parties are bound to be unhappy with the result. And perhaps rightly so. The last post argued that accusations of cheating had to be addressed in such a way that all parties -- the Kurds, Sunni and Shi'a -- felt that their interests could be protected within a nonviolent electoral system.

The US will be probably be relied upon by all parties, to keep the level of cheating down to where results are acceptable. That probably means that the vote count itself will only be one source of input in a hybrid system that will eventually be (in my view) be a negotiated electoral result. The balance will be correct when nobody rushes out to restart hostilities.

Could this be done? One proxy indicator of its feasibility was provided by two key events: the arrival of Tony Blair on the one hand; and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumselfeld on the other hand, in Iraq. Tony Blair strongly hinted that he would soon be drawing down British troop strength in southern Iraq. The War in Context, quoted the London Times as suggesting that preparations were already under way.

"Senior defence sources said that the 800 British troops in Maysan province and 300 in Muthana province had switched to a 'tactical overwatch'; role -- remaining in their barracks and only going out on patrol with the Iraqi security forces when they asked for help. This is the first stage in withdrawing altogether from the provinces, following a similar pattern adopted in Northern Ireland.

Donald Rumsfeld announced that President Bush authorized a drawdown, not only of the additional troops sent to augment security forces for the election period, but two brigades below the base level.

Addressing U.S. troops at this former insurgent stronghold, Rumsfeld did not reveal the exact size of the troop cut, but Pentagon officials have said it could be as much as 7,000 combat troops. Two army brigades that had been scheduled for combat tours one from Fort Riley, Kan., the other now in Kuwait will no longer deploy to Iraq. That will reduce the number of combat brigades in Iraq from 17 to 15.

An American Forces Press Service press release says that not only will American numbers go down, but their role will change. Iraqi forces will take center stage and the American troops will begin to fade into the background. "U. S. forces will shift from a focus on combat operations to a focus on supporting the Iraqis as they take the lead in operations ... more U. S. engineer and logistics units will deploy instead of combat units to help the Iraqi units function." Nor was this a spur-of-the-moment decision. The US Army Ranger Association weblog carries what are described as notes from a speech by General John Abizaid at the Naval War College, at which Abizaid said: '2006 will be a transition year in Iraq and that will see the Iraqi forces take much more of the mission from the US forces. This is necessary to bring stability to Iraq. We need to be fewer in numbers and less in the midst of the people for the moderate Iraqi government to succeed.'


This is not necessarily the correct response to post-election Iraq, but the troop drawdowns, both hinted and announced reflect a confidence in the way events are likely to transpire. Of course, not everyone is convinced. Blogger Norman Solomon believes this is another Bush lie.

"Three days before Christmas, the Bush administration launched a new salvo of bright spinning lies about the Iraq war ... the Bush administration will strive to put any real or imagined reduction of U.S. occupation troop levels in the media spotlight. Meanwhile, the Pentagon will use massive air power in Iraq. ... independent journalist Dahr Jamail -- who worked on the ground in Iraq for more than eight months of the U.S. occupation -- pointed out in a mid-December article titled 'An Increasingly Aerial Occupation.'"

Simple Life   says "Bring them all home & NOW!" And maybe they'll turn out to be right. Maybe Patrick Cockburn of the Independent is correct when he says, "Iraq is disintegrating". But if actions speak louder than words, the drawdowns suggest that both Blair and Bush think they can afford to ease off. The difficult process of building lasting and fair post-Saddam government in Iraq remains ahead. The Sunni and secular political parties should receive their due share of the seats. But certain things are already in the past, and one of them, maybe, is Vietnam.


Austin Bay links to a news article indicating that the Shi'ite parties are willing to enter into coalition negotiations with the Sunnis. Iraq the Model has details on how this is happening. Key line from Iraq the Model: "So far, the rival parties are using dialogue and peaceful demonstration and no one has resorted to violence and this is a positive sign that makes us think we still have the chance to resolve the dispute through negotiations."


Blogger panther33 said...

Presumably the U.S. feels that the Iraqi forces are far enough along that a few Spec Ops guys with radios can tip the balance decisively in the Iraqi gov't's favor. If this is correct, the American "quagmire" in Iraq starts to look strategically favorable. That's when Iran and Syria will start to sweat. Time will tell.

12/23/2005 03:39:00 AM  
Blogger tomder55 said...

That's when Iran and Syria will start to sweat.

12/23/2005 04:03:00 AM  
Blogger tomder55 said...

That's when Iran and Syria will start to sweat.

yes they have to wonder the exit strategy route.

12/23/2005 04:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/23/2005 04:12:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The next question marks, since a free Iraq will soon belong to the Iraqis, are Iran and Syria.

From Dan Darling (quoting Cumhurriyet):

[CIA Director] Goss also asked Ankara to be ready for a possible US air operation against Iran and Syria.

2006 will indeed be a transition year. For everybody.

12/23/2005 04:23:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Fleming said...

Warm 'n Fuzzy Conserva-Puppies have an interesting post on the provisional results of the Iraqi elections.

Maybe, the signs of potential fraud are not so clear

(the comments provide additional insight)

12/23/2005 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

According to president hater/ blogger Mr. Soloman, in an attempt to negatively preempt any future US accomplishments in Iraq, he says:"...Meanwhile, the Pentagon will use massive air power in Iraq..."

Iraqi Freedom has ALWAYS been heavy on US air. Take a look at this excerpt from an article in November's AF Magazine (The AF Sharpens Its Edge):

"... the Air Force has been fighting the war on terror “for 1,438 days straight.” He (the new AF Chief) worried that, with the global terror campaign already more than four years old, attention might begin to wander. A lackadaisical attitude could prove to be deadly.

Taking up the theme was Acting Air Force Secretary Pete Geren. There is a widespread perception, said Geren, that the war in Iraq is a land-force affair, and this is not helpful. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the application of US airpower has been so effective that it is largely unseen. Most observers erroneously view the wars as Army and Marine Corps (ONLY) operations."

American forces don't fight WITHOUT air power, it is a constant in the planning of ANY engagement, and although we CAN successfully win WITHOUT US ground forces in extent, consider Kosovo for one, that is NOT the ideal.

Our most effective campaigns involve the whole package, The Air-Ground Team. It seems to me that this Soloman fellow is the ONE spinning events, not GWB.

In spite of the spiteful opposition's insistence that there is no PLAN, things seem to be progressing pretty much exactly the way the president's PLANNERS PLANNED. I love it when a PLAN comes together, don't you?

12/23/2005 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger EddieP said...

Massive airpower? Bunches of Army/USMC helicopters, some A-10s, F15s/16/18s, assorted other special mission aircraft.

What about B-1s, B-2s, B-52's, Cruise Missles, etc. Oh yeah, they were all retired when the major combat operation phase of the "Mission was Accomplished"

The Air Force is just chiming in to make sure thay aren't overlooked at budget time.

12/23/2005 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

Yes, the plan does seem to be coming together. Many, particularly those on the left don't see it, though.

One could guess that the reason for so much hand wringing by those proponents of this mission is it's critical nature.

IMHO history will mark the events we see unfolding as a major turning point in the direction of ME geopolitics.

Assad has tremendous pressure to reform. That may be the next domino.

Iran is controlled by Immams who now are raising their eyebrows at their own recently elected political leader's comments.

Interesting times.

12/23/2005 06:01:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

One thing that will be interesting to see is that as U.S. troops decrease in number and keep to the background, will the MSM lose interest?
Or .... in a desperate attempt to prove they were right after all, 20 years from now will we be hearing reports that some Sunni kids knocked over some mailboxes in a Baghdad suburb last night? Or that angry Shiite teenagers egged a Sunni Mosque on Halloween?
I have seen both reactions. Annually NPR reminds us that some American nuns were killed in Central America in the 70's - and that while the U.S. did not help in the slayings we probably knew who did it.
On the other hand, on final results of our invasion of Hati and that we still have troops in Yugoslavia, mums the word.
As I have said before it is how people feeellll about a particular episode in history is what seems to drive things, not facts.
It is emabarssing for some to consider that the Iran-Contra "scandal" proved to be a brilliant success. Or that, as Wretchard has pointed out, South Vietnam did not fall to a hearty band of patriots equipped with only black pajamas and AK's.
Perhaps the main effect of forums such as this is that the feeellllings will not be universal.

12/23/2005 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well it has dawned on the decision makers that while the Military can win a War and defend the Peace, it cannot win the Peace. That is not a Miliary Occupation, but a Civilian one.
That was a lesson thw Army taught long ago, but that was when the Military trained for counter Insurgency work, not apparently in the Army of One, though.

Yes, it seems democracy has brought Shia rule to Iraq.

How that plays out in the long term remains to be seen.

reocon's objection to Mr Sadr's involvement led me to think about US after the Civil War, how giving Amnesty to so many Insurgents, that had killed so many Federals, rankled and was seen as unjust by many.
That is part of the healing process, after a Civil War, US or Iraqi. The question remains, however, is the Iraqi Civil War over?

12/23/2005 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

The Sunnis know that they will end up losing big time if this turns into a civil war. (That applies to them as a whole; there are obviously Sunni factions that would love to see a civil war break out.) So I think that they will pursue peaceful means to vent their dissatisfaction. Anything else would be suicidal for them.

12/23/2005 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

Oh Ed, don't be silly. As the battlespace requirements change, the missions change. We don't need B52s and B2s to fight insurgents, although believe it or not, they CAN be. Iraqi Freedom has had two phases so far: 1)defeating the Iraqi army ("Mission Accomplished!"), and 2)fighting the insurgents, while we train up the new Iraqi army and police. Who knows, maybe there will be a third phase? So be it! We'll compensate, adapt, and overcome, just like we always have.

Your USMC past betrays you Marine! I did both, 5 in green and 22 in blue, so maybe I have a more balanced view concerning the two services. I "stayed a marine" the whole 22 years I served in the AF, it's impossible NOT too. But I can remember when I was still IN the Marines--I had plenty of snide things to say about the other services too, especially the Navy! As you probably remember, Marine Drill Instructors purposely train that attitude into every recruit.

Take a look at the AF magazine with an OPEN mind, and maybe you'll open your heart to the great job our airmen are doing over there. When Marines and Soldiers need some CAS or some intelligence based on air surveillance, they are NOT averse to getting it from Airmen. By the way, I still get Leatherneck Magazine too! AuuRah!

My last 4 years in service was in operational testing, and I can tell you that one of our (AF) primary goals is just trying to maintain the capablities we already have. It's not happening-- we are slowly losing ground as the budgets shrink and our weapons systems age and are not replaced. But that's okay, we are getting smarter, and doing more with fewer people and less aircraft. And Ed, ALL the services "make their case" when it comes time to get "their share" of the defense budget pie, even the USMC.
Semper Fi Marine!

12/23/2005 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

While many Sunni Iraqis do not want a Civil War in Iraq, Sunni Saudis and Syrians may not feel the same way.

To date the Iraqi Insurgency has been aimed at US. As we draw down there could well be large sums of money available to fund an insurgency aimed instead against the Iraqi Federals.

Without a US presence within the Iraqi Army, these troops could easily be used in a "razing" strategy against the Sunni Insurgents, paying back old scores as well.
In a timeframe of starting about eighteen months from today, when most of US combat force has been redeployed.

Whether this would lead to incursions by pro Sunni foreigners remains to be seen. But would US Airpower fire upon Jordanian or KSA tanks that were protecting Sunnis in Ar Rutmah from the ISF or Badr Brigade militiamen?

How about Turkish Army elements moving on the PKK operating out of Iraq, today? The Turks are bideing their time, but are justifiably annoyed at US and Iraq for not controlling the PKK or allowing the Turkish Army to strike back.
Without 100,000+ US troops in Iraq will Turkey remain the victim?

12/23/2005 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

exhelo - i think among the many problems the Sunni community faces is its apparent wide-spread conviction that the Sunnis are in fact not a minority in Iraq. moreover, having dominated so long and so directly, and being, probably to a man, apostles of the Arab-Islamo machismo that seems to make up the essence of its culture, i doubt they feel that they can give up anything and suffer anything less than a defeat that must be avenged. this is why i disagree with rat and anyone else who wants to pull out substantial troops before a political settlement has not only been reached but allowed to mature into at least a preliminary normalcy: the political process is only a grudging adjunct of force. Thus there is little good faith negotations - partly because Sunnis have nothing to offer but peace. They have no oil, they have only 20% of the population. Alternatively, they do have IEDs, willing urchins, regional tribal relations, a sudden victim status useful as a rhetorical weapon in contemporary diplomatic discussions, and the prime smuggling routes from Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. If we can draw down symbolically now, fine; but make no mistake that we must squeeze the political forces on the ground into a more stable mold before we can begin to substantially reduce the numbers we have. If that number can be 60,000, as rat said in another post, then that's fine; the number doesn't matter as much as the capability to herd these tribalists and mafisiosi former fascists into a new order that evidently does not fit almost any of their natural habits. Right now I don't think Iraq is disintigrating any more than it did under Saddam or immediate post-war period, but now the ethnicity and confessional differences can actually be used to political effect, and so we're witnessing the actual faultlines emerge - not something we created, merely the reality there. And now the Shia, as everyone knew upon considering the general demography of Iraq, are winning. Obviously: they have 60% of the population. Let's not get too jumpy, within a week of the first governmental elections, that we have a proto-Iran on our hands. But by all means, let us not leave it completely to chance, either. There is a manner of Islamic politics that must be more diluted than Iran's Shia revolution.

12/23/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


The Middle East, Iraq in particular, is a place far from the sympathys of most of US.
In the analogy to post WWII, much more like Japan then Germany or Italy.

The optimum solution for US would be to have about 45,000 troops in the deserts, at airbases, guarding equipment for a 250,000 man Army.
Another 15,000 US troops would be embedded within the ISF.

The idea that we will maintain and garrison, in Iraq, an independent force capacity large enough to control the landscape, while allowing for the political sitiuation to mature would be nice, but not politically possible. Only 8 Republican Senators voted to "stay the course", the rest voted for "2006 a year of transition".

We needed 150,000 to fight the 20% of Iraq that is Sunni, we did not gain victory until the Iraqi Army matched US in numbers.
If we were to fight an Insurgency against 60% of Iraq, how many troops will we need?
Where will they come from?
Not, I think, the Iraqi Army.
Who would be the Cavalry next time, we'd be down to just the Kurds.
Unless there is another WAR, but the Iraqi War's been won. We are not ready for the Peace, it does not suit the taste of many of US.

12/23/2005 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Merv said...

Any US drawdown is the result of decisions by Gen. Casey and Gen Abizaid that the troops are no longer needed. Too often the Generals' strategy has been attributed to the President and the Secretary of defense, but if you listen to Bush and Rumsfeld, they have both said that the number of troops in Iraq is determined by what the military says it needs. I think one reason that the focus has been on Bush and Rumsfeld is that the critics want to mask their criticism of the strategy chosen by Casey and Abizaid.

Even the "take and hold" strategy is not a change in strategy but a culination of a strategy to put the Iraqis in a position to do that very thing. One has to only look at the popularity of Laurence's Pillars of Wisdom" among leaders of forces in Iraq to understand why the military did not ask for more troops earlier and why Iraqis were trained to meet the force to space needs of thwarting the "insurgency." If more US forces were used to effect the take and hold strategy, it would have been an "occupation" army and would have prevoked more resistance. It is unfortunate that the generals did not do a better job of explaining this strategy.

Now that it is in place, it is not surprising that they are ready to start reducing the US footprint. It would be a serious mistake for critic of the war effort to think that the reduction was cased by their caterwalling.

12/23/2005 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Brett L said...

Two questions for the uber-smart guys in the comments sections:

1) Doesn't the Reserve make up the lion's share of logistics/support units in the US Armed Forces? Will the drawdown be aimed at using the active duty units in the same capacity?

2) What would a 30%+ drawdown do in favor of troop rotation in combat units? Would the strategy be towards getting the Reserve units out of the rotation, or towards allowing more rest, refit, retrain time for active duty units?

The reason I ask (as if it ain't clear) is that if the troop reduction is geared towards reducing the number of Reservists serving, that might indicate that the Bush Administration has decided that Iraq weighs far more in their eyes military action towards Syria/Iran. Or vice-versa if the reduction gives active duty troops long spaces between deployments.

12/23/2005 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Putting aside the continuing lunacy of the left, I have confidence in the Military's decisions about troop strength.

The debate of Pipes v. Gerecht highlights an issue that concerns/interests me more than a war in Iraq that is essentially decided. This issue of how we respond to freely elected representatives of Muslim countries could be a minefield and I have little confidence in the US State Department.

Pipes has no tolerance for the idea of one man, one vote, one time. I also find that scenario repugnant but the alternative is what? Algeria, the Palestinians?
Gerecht argues that we should prepare to accept whatever election results come our way in the optimistic expectation that eventually the Muslim world will choose the high road. I tend to side with Pipe's argument and worry that Gerechts laissez-faire could lead to a bigger conflagration after appeasement.

I'm glad that I don't have to make these kind of foreign policy decisions but if I did, I might opt for a flexible policy that would allow me to treat each country and each election independently. In the meantime, I would redouble public relations efforts aimed at tilting the Arab and Muslim world away from Islamists. Behind the scenes, I would be doing everything within my power to hinder, discredit, overthrow or "neutralize" the Islamists.

12/23/2005 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger sbw said...

Focus on the long-term goal. Democracy is not one election, but a continuous opportunity to decide that there may be a better way of doing things. We believe a permanent process of peaceful change over the long haul has advantages that outweigh occasional wrong turns.

If the process of change becomes unfair, we need to encourage a United Nations that becomes willing to intervene to reset it. We obviously have a lot more work to do.

12/23/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Brett L said...

About a week ago Michael Totten posted about his visit w/ Egyptian blogger Big Pharaoh.

'I asked Big Pharaoh what he thought would happen if Egypt held a legitimate free and fair election instead of this bullshit staged by Mubarak.

“The Muslim Brotherhood would win,” he said. “They would beat Mubarak and the liberals.”

I was afraid he was going to say that.

“I’ve had this theory for a while now,” I said. “It looks like some, if not most, Middle East countries are going to have to live under an Islamic state for a while and get it out of their system.”

Big Pharaoh laughed grimly.

“Sorry,” I said. “That’s just how it looks.”'

Link: Here

I guess it all comes back to: Is the US committed to democracy even if the Commies, Islamists, or Socialists win?

I think the answer should be YES so long as there is nothing extraconstitutional about the way they run their government. If they want to amend their constitution via the process to change to a Sharia theocracy, they can do so. But following the process stops that.(Usually.)

Commit to the system, not the actors.

12/23/2005 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Parliment in Iraq is there for the next four years, are we going to garrison in Iraq to guarentee their "Rights" 'til the next election and betond? Is that part of Complete Victory? Or is Mr Sistani's definition of US Victory the one we will have to accept.

If the newly elected Government of Iraq says they do not need the UN sanctioned Occupation reauthorized, due Jan '07, the US Game will be over, in Iraq.
Unless we are going to fight the Iraqi Army, too.

12/23/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Brett L said:

"I guess it all comes back to: Is the US committed to democracy even if the Commies, Islamists, or Socialists win? I think the answer should be YES so long as there is nothing extraconstitutional about the way they run their government."

I generally agree with Brett. However there are a couple of obvious problems with democracy in the Middle East:

One problem is that a politically naive population could vote in populist Islamic radicals, who would then institute sharia and immediately abolish democracy (this almost happened in Algeria).

The other problem is that many Middle Eastern countries have significant non-Moslem minorities, e.g. the Copts in Egypt. Mubarak of Egypt is a dictator and Egyptian democracy is a sham. However if true democracy were established in Egypt and then devolved into Islamic theocracy, it's not clear the Copts (the original Egyptians) would survive.

Despite these counter arguments, it is my humble opinion that the people of the Middle East need to be given the chance to learn about democracy and evolve politically. Some societies in the Middle East maybe incapable of embracing democracy (their whole culture has been poisoned by hate and religious fanaticism). However even that outcome is useful since such a pathological society would have shown its true colors and could then be treated appropriately by the rest of the world.

12/23/2005 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

eggplant, "However even that outcome is useful since such a pathological society would have shown its true colors and could then be treated appropriately by the rest of the world.
10:22 AM "

The rest of the world? You mean those like the EU? Scandinavia? Russia?
We need to sure of those things that we count on.

12/23/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Mannning said...

The question remains: "What is the appropriate level of US troop, naval and air power in Iraq for the long haul?" This will be driven by the missions the military and the Iraqi government perceives for our forces, and that we agree to in DC. A few of the missions are quite clear:
1. Provide a counterforce to the new Iraqi army to prevent them from engineering a coup.
2. Provide a Balance and last resort for the three parties in Iraq to keep them from waging civil war.
3. Training the Iraqi army in the finer details of combat and logistics, as well as continuing to identify and promote the better men to higher positions of authority.
4. Maintaining a presence in Iraq for any contingencies in the ME, for instance Iran, Syria, or whomever, deciding to make a move.
5. Indirectly, assuring the American People that our investment in Iraq does not go down the tubes the minute the bulk of our forces go home.

A few large bases should be maintained and defended in Iraq, but perhaps somewhat removed from daily contact with the populace.

12/23/2005 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Mike H. said...

"The rest of the world? You mean those like the EU? Scandinavia? Russia? We need to sure of those things that we count on."

Maybe I should have said: "the rest of the world that matters..."

12/23/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Mannning said...

I fond it hard to suggest less than 60,000 to 80,000 troops permanently assigned, together with air support and offshore support.

12/23/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger nonomous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/23/2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Mannning said...

I believe that one of the first priorities of the US after the elections is to negotiate a deal with the Iraqi government for leases on several bases, probably in South Iraq near resupply ports.

Lacking Iraqi agreement, I believe we should get very snotty with them, and proceed to build and occupy the bases anyway. That is one payback for our sacrifices in Iraq that the Iraqi must honor.

12/23/2005 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Only if the Iraqis say yes, manning.
That is one of the differences with Germany, post war, the speed of "legitimatation" of the indig Government. But that is now water under the Bridge.
No matter the percieved cost, or value, if the Iraqi Government says," it's time to go, now'.
We either comply or we'll be in conflict with the Iraqi majority.

If their needs and perceptions are not the same as US, they now own the table & the Casino, we're just there as hired help, now.

The lack of Clear Goals from the beginning is now coming back to haunt the Administration and US.
Even today there is not a clear enunciation of US Goals or how to obtain them.
Sec Rumsfeld denied responsibility for the Propaganda War, just who does hold Responsibility for that Portfolio?

12/23/2005 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger nonomous said...

It's hard for me to connect the two themes of Wrechard's essay. The first theme of "how to encourage self-sustaining democracy in a majority muslim population" isn't obviously connected with "Are troop reductions in 2006 wise".

The second question is of immediate interest, but most tend to see the issues in terms of Viet Nam rather than Post-WWII Germany/Japan. Those that think there is a 'front' and it is 'over there' (as in Viet Nam), can discuss withdrawal plan. If there is no front, 'withdrawal' is meaningless.

The first question is more important since it implicitly asks 'where is the front'? It isn't just an Iraqi issue. It should bring to mind the issue of muslim votes in western elections of 2006 and forward, not just the Dec 2005 election in Iraq. If one argues that the US should honor the election of an Iraqi shia dictatorship (should that come to pass), does the same hold for Bosnia, Lebanon or France? If California votes to abandon the states, and join Mexico, does Washington wish its citizens 'good luck'? If Vermont votes to adopt Sharia law, does the US supreme court roll over and play dead?

12/23/2005 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

They must honor? are you nuts, manning, they hold no debt to US, except in your mind.

If anything we STILL owe them for '91, and what we did not do.

Besides we are not a Country to speak of Honor

Ask President Diem.
or the Shah
or the Montengard
or the Humong
ask any of them of the value of US promises

We will abandon anyone if it suits our purpose, the Hungarians and the Czechs certainly learned that lesson. Even Saddam and Mr Noriega must have learned that lesson by now.

Our enemies have little to fear, long term, our embrace of Mr Sadr in Iraq is proof enough of that.

Where oh where is Osama?
Shall we treat with him tomorrow, or wait 'til he has all of Pakistan?

12/23/2005 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Icepilot said...

The troop withdrawals show confidence - and also provide a club for the administration to beat the Dems and MSM over the head with. 130K down to 100K gives Bush six more opportunities to announce 5K withdrawals between now and the next elections - almost once a month.

As for the results of the election - the concerns about the ascendence of Shia theocrats has to have been considered. No word from Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

Perhaps Bush should invite him to the U.S.

Perhaps - and this is what I hope - those channels have been nurtured. If opening a channel to Sistani hasn't been one of the State Department's highest priorities since about four years ago, someone should be fired.

12/23/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

but nonomous
Iraq is NOT a State of the Union
It's people are not US citizens
It ain't our place.
Never will be, unless we kill the majority of the current inhabitants and ship in immigrants, by the millions.

That is the real deal. The Iraqis have never been subjugated, their Army was defeated, their people were not, they are now Sovereign.

We either accept the Sovereignty we provided Iraqis or we go to War with them. Only instead of fighting jst 20% of Iraq, we'll be fighting 80% of it.

If it is that important to pick their leaders, as well as design their System, bring back the draft and raise taxes, cause the EASY part's over.

12/23/2005 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Eggplant: (10:22) said:
However if true democracy were established in Egypt and then devolved into Islamic theocracy, it's not clear the Copts (the original Egyptians) would survive.

I'm inclined to argue that if Egypt devolved into an Islamist theocracy it's clear that the Copts would not survive. Look at what's happening in Lebanon and Jerusalem. The Christian population is dwindling. As we recently learned many of these Lebanese Christians fled to Australia. The $64,000 two part question is "Will the Salafists get the upper hand and if they do, how will the US react?" Forget the rest of the 'dhimmis in-waiting' world.

12/23/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Sistani has yet to meet with an American, any American.
If it is important for Mr Bush to see him, Mr Bush will have to be the one visiting. Even then Mr Sistani may not be recieving visitors.

Mr Bush should go to Baghdad, regardless and congratulate the Victors.
If it really is important.

January '07, the UN Sanction will no longer be needed. The Iraqis said so at the Cairo Summit, and doug, those are the guys who won this Election.
Victory will be "Complete" by then. Just read the 'road map'.

Is the US really ready for a

12/23/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And to think, we got everyone to compromise, now it is much easiler to Admend the Iraqi Constitution.

The Law of Unintended Consequences
strikes again.
Now it will be easier for WHOM to change the Iraqi Constitution?

12/23/2005 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

Well, Rat, there is something to be said for negotiating NOW, or very soon, for the bases. While we have 160,000 soldiers in country and the Iraqi government is not all that secure in their own minds.

If things go badly later on for this government, are we going to stand by and let it disintegrate or would we go back in to prop the whole thing up once more? I have no idea, but the US public would not be very favorable for a new invasion, nor would they be favorable to stand pat and let things happen. Catch 22. The median course is to be hard-nosed, yet clever, about bases.

Perhaps the negotiations could vague up the process of withdrawal sufficiently to extend our presence and bases for a number of years, under the cover of an "agreed withdrawal" plan. A plan that happens to take longer than it might otherwise, and would not preclude rotations from the States. Big units go now, but the process starts trickling later, etc.

Your history of our unreliability in such situations is well-taken, but our more recent history and current efforts in Iraq itself are very well understood by the new Iraqi government, never mind what Sistani is saying. There is room to maneuver here, I believe, for clever and strong-minded people. Problem is, who is that? Rice?

12/23/2005 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

Personally, I would never suggest that the President of the United States go hat-in-hand to anyone, most especially if the probable outcome is a resounding NO!

Nor would I suggest that the President go to Iraq, ever, except under the protection of US forces as he had for his last visit.

Of the many faliures of our strategy and tactics in Iraq, is the one of not making a truly concerted effort to disarm the entire population. So the number of AK-47s sprinkled around is about one per man, plus caches here and there.

Iraqi terrorists, therefore, will always represent a deadly threat to anyone they do not like, probably for the next century or so.

12/23/2005 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Manning, Rat:
If I could butt in. I'm optimistic about Iraq on one hand and pessimistic about the whole damn region on the other. It it were only Iraq we were dealing with they would be easy enough. But the wildcards are Iran and the Salafists. If Iran gets the bomb and the Ayatollas continue in their pathology (as I suspect they will) all bets are off. Try containing them then. The whole Islamist world could be so foolishly emboldened that we will be forced to either retreat into isolationism or turn the whole mid-east into glass. The ideal is that we strengthen Iraq so that it can contain Iran, we then concentrate on Al-Qaeda and Syria, propping up Hussein in Jordan, and watching Israels back.

12/23/2005 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

Well, there are two wild cards in this situation! Iran and Israel. Imagine both of them with sufficient operational nukes with delivery systems and both believing that their only solution is to bomb the other one out of existence. Both have stated this recently, which some have ignored as mere posturing.

I would NEVER ignore what the Israelis threaten to do; they have this disconcerting way of doing just what they say they will do.

12/23/2005 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

One of the major modes of Middle Eastern politicking has been through shadow groups. Syria, with a regular army far inferior to Israels, exerts influence through it's official terror network, I mean secret service, in Lebanon and elsewhere. People form political parties as we know them in the West. But in some parts of the world they form secret societies. It's a whole different art form.

The real strategic prize in Iraq was the Iraqi people themselves, not physical airbases or seaports in especial, though those are useful too. From one point of view, OIF was aimed at transforming conventional military power into shadow power. There are now tens of thousands of Americans with extensive experience in the Middle East. Some in uniform and an increasing number in private employ. Probably tens of thousands of Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish contacts. Now these represent a threat too, because intelligence channels are a two way street. Recall Michael Yon's run in with "Jeff", a mole interpreter. But hey, that's the game.

My own guess is from 2006 and onward, all these "senior" American embeds in Iraqi national or regional armed groups, plus the rise of a sovereign Iraq in itself, will transform the power calculus in the Middle East. It can't help but not. My own guess is that the principle Brit benefit from OIF is networks into Iran based in southern Iraq. Just a guess, but I think it's a good one.

Recently Porter Goss went to Turkey, which is antagonistic to Iran, ostensibly to warn them (in the newspapers no less) about an Iranian nuclear threat and to ask for bases to support a strike. Maybe. But my guess is that the trip was more about sending a signal that Washington is well pleased with its strategic gains so far and is now a greater, rather than a lesser threat, to Iran.

My own feeling is that the Left has misread this whole thing. Far from America being defeated in Iraq, the principle danger is that America has grown powerful in ways that the public has not yet understood. Just as the America of the 1950s had not yet come to terms with the USA's rise to global power, the implications of America becoming a shadow superpower in the Middle East is not yet appreciated.

12/23/2005 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Brett L said...

I'm with Rat on this one. The best long-term thing to come out of the Iraq Project would be a return to pre-Korea integrity levels by the US Govt. That is, when the USG says that it is going to do something, it happens. And not in half measures.

Rat's point is one that I was touching on in my 2nd post. Is the American government committed to democracy as self-determination of sovereign entities, or democracy as a code word for "a government friendly to the US"?

If it is the latter, than be prepared for the ME to look like South America in the 70s and 80s. The US will set up in Kurdistan, managing to piss off the Turks and the Iraqis, and return to being hated as a feckless tyrannical force throughout the region. It allows for some ruthless, Machiavellian operations to destabilize Assad and Iran, but would cost any chance for stability in Iraq, Jordan, Saudi, and quite possibly Turkey and the Muslim FSRs (the -stans).

If the USG is dedicated (as Pres. Bush claims) to giving sovereign people self-determination, well, the US needs to have a contingency plan for the Islamization of Iraqi government, and the possibility that Iraqi soil will not be staging point for future military operations in the ME.

In coming back to the question of which troops are we drawing down, I still believe that if the priority seems to be on deactivating Reserve units, then the DOD is signalling that it does not regard "democratizing" Syria and Iran as a priority. The idea will be garrisoning a defensible position. If the priority is towards freeing up forward combat units, the strategy may be of the "clear and hold" variety only on the multi-national level.

12/23/2005 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Brett said:
...Is the American government committed to democracy as self-determination of sovereign entities, or democracy as a code word for "a government friendly to the US"?

I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.

An un-educated guess: Don't expect a large drawdown anytime soon as there's too much unfinished and unsettled business in the area.

12/23/2005 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I agree, the prize is the Iraqi people. The icing on the cake is the country. Could one ask for a better site in the whole area? Strategically located in the heart of the Arab world, a short flight from anywhere and with huge reserves of fuel.

I've been thinking that if Iraq goes sour, we might need to find a way to get back into Saudi Arabia. This may not be out of the realm of possibilities if the Royals make the calculus that their future lies with the US.

12/23/2005 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I read your post again and I think you're on to something. The war to depose is over. The next phase could well be exactly what you suggest, a shadow war ala Afghanistan versus the Soviets. Only this time in support of real freedom fighters, not Islamist jihadis. Is that just wishful neo-con thinking?

12/23/2005 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

what you and most others here are failing to see is that it is not for US to decide how long we stay in Iraq. We are no longer driving the events in Iraq. The War is over, we Won. The Iraqis are now driving events in Iraq and they will determine the length of the US stay, to our advantage or not.

Recent events have shown conclusively that 160,000 US troops cannot clear and hold Iraq, cannot even clear and hold 20% of Iraq. Heck, we could not clear and hold the Capital, without Iraqi assistance. The story of Route Irish is proof enough of that.

Death from above, that we can bring, but Peace on the ground, that's never been the mission of the Army of One.

Said so a year ago and was pooh pawed by many. The Army says so now, but that is a story still unheard by most.
The ME Regional Conflict is a form of Insurgency, and the US don't study that kind of war no mo'.

The Powell Generation has left US ill prepared for the current war.

They say Generals are always preparing to fight the 'last' war, in the US we prepare to fight an Armoured War against nonexistent enemies, while our true enemies cannot hardly afford to buy a tank.
They buy tickets on airliners,
or Elections in Venezuela and Iraq, Palistine and Bolivia.

The Israelis will cancel, in Jerusulem, the Palistinian Elections because Hamas will win. That tactic will not weaken Hamas, nor would it weaken the Shia in Iraq.

The US is still not at War with Iran, or Shia, or Sunni or any buddy but Saddam. The Iraqi Democracy is emerging, read the Authorization, we are getting what we wanted.

That sour taste in our mouth, just takes some getting used to.

12/23/2005 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Rat -

While Iraq is sovereign, there are lines which if the "noble, purple-fingered freedom-loving democrats" cross, signal we lost the war and the Iraqis are ingrates.

1. If we are told we are the enemy occupier that can now go home so they can clean up the mess we made, and those that capped "American imperialists" are openly celebrated in the media.

2. If we get no base agreements, or the Shia majority sides with Iran and says no use of bases if all Iran does is build enough A-bombs to wipe out the "vile Zionist entity". Noble freedom-loving purple-fingered and so on Iraqis hate Israel, too, you know.

3. Finally, if Iraq says that they are in no way beholden to us for the 230 billion we spent and the 18,000 casualties we took "liberating them" and decide their best way to assert independence is give all the oil contracts to Egypt, China, France, and their old pals the USSR...

4. The Shias dominate, go Islamist, impose the Shiite version of Sharia on their chunk of Iraq...

If any of the 4 things happens, it's a war we ended up losing.

Manning: I fond it hard to suggest less than 60,000 to 80,000 troops permanently assigned, together with air support and offshore support.

Two flaws. First, it's not America's call anymore on how many we station. Second, your suggestion is made without thought for the massive piles of money borrowed from China and Japan we've burned through or the tremendous hardships this unplanned major insurgency has imposed on our soldiers. Perpetuating that heavy footprint as a committment would be a huge fiscal drain, weaken the military's effort to upgrade equipment, add to stockpile, and prepare for the next war. And face it, being stationed in a hostile Muslim country is hardship duty that does little for recruitment if it means you are stationed in a 110 DEG desert with no contact with the locals unless it comes down to hostilities against some of them. NOT skiing in Germany with comely frauleins or being on Okinawa and having your kids play with the Japanese kids next door.

Better a very light footprint with special ops and civil affairs soldiers, some logistics, but basically letting the noble freedom loving Iraqis kill or talk to one another as needed...and maintaining low profile bases if needed in the future for Iran-smashing.

And keeping China, Russia, and France out.

Better to spend money here at home developing a translator corps of American citizenry and military adept at interacting with populace & exploiting information now sitting in dozens of warehouses and unexamined intercept tapes in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Indonesian, Malay, and especially Chinese....

That we lack the people to exploit intel from 50,000 boxes of Iraqi state intelligence files we seized while we have 2 friggin' million Arabic speakers in the USA simply because some idiots classified everything a foreign nation did that fell into our hands as "Top Secret" and thus anyone is barred who has not gotten an expensively obtained corporate or military "Top Secret Clearance" barred from looking at the stuff sitting now 2 1/2 years unexamined?? It is another near-crime of the oft-incompetent Bushies and Rummy Pentagon. Why Top Secret? What are they worried about, that a file from 1992 will show James Baker III made a call to Saddam lauding him for boosting oil production???? And the idiocy that only one corporation that Viceroy Bremer assigned is able to embed a translator with troops is another monstrosity that has cost American troops lives and goodwill. Because the corporation given the work was short of people and so stiffed the Army and Marines and last in line, in priority, reconstruction people not related to Oil - even though there were Shia and Kurds that would have given their left nut to make 200 a week as a translator despite the danger..My nephew in Ramadi said that no one in his squad going door to door searching or on patrol had any access to a translator in their interactions with Iraqi people in his first 2003 tour. And believes he lost friends purely because no communications were possible with the Iraqi people he encountered. When people screamed at them, they had no clue as to why....Next week, 2 IEDs in the same neighborhood took out 4 in a Humvee and the next one blew out his left eardrum and 6 Iraqis at a checkpoint...His 2nd tour in 2004-2005 was better because it was Baghdad and he was guarding static garrison positions and political VIPs doing the obligatory "showing they care" visit who worshipped him as a behind the lines "hero". Claims he got a blowjob from a hot blonde lawyer on Barbara Boxer's staff....But all things considered, believes Iraq duty is not a recruiting incentive....He is currently notified that his unit is being short-cycled yet again, this time to Afghanistan or training at Ft Ord starting in March 2006. His bet is Afghanistan, and he thinks it will suck, but less than Iraq does..

12/23/2005 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger hank_F_M said...

Until about a year ago the policy for establishing a Iraqi Army was to through money at it, provide a few advisors mostly contactors, and rely on osmosis from the proximity of US troops. I suspect there was an understandable desire for the new Iraqi army to be seen as independent of the US.

Then the policy changed. The deployments included Army reserve training units to work with the Iraqi’s. Some regular Army units were reconfigured as training teams. Bringing Iraqi units on line became a major priority. The Army, without of course announcing a time table made it clear to the troops that the way home to train the Iraqi’s. For example my post from last February.

The US Army takes five to six months to move a combat battalion for a collection of several hundred soldiers to a fully ready combat unit. The new privates had three months of training prior to reporting to the battalion. So, assuming optimum conditions it would take eight to nine months to train up an Iraqi battalion from scratch. Conditions are not optimum.

Observant readers of the Belmont Club and other sources will note that for the last two or three months the number of Iraqi battalions involved in military operations has been increasing. To be expected as units finish training cycles. The Iraqi’s are planning to train a hundred battalions, twice the US force in Iraq. Even without a one for one substitution there will be enough trained an operational battalions for a noticeable withdrawal of US combat forces by the 2006 election and most of the rest during 2007. (God willing and the creek don’t rise!)

It appears that those who are clamoring for a withdrawal in eighteen months are making a safe bet. It appears that the administration plan is to be down to an assistance and support mission by that time with at the most a small combat force as a back up. Undoubtedly they will claim that the Bush administration took their advice.

12/23/2005 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I was never really worried when the newspapers were yelling "defeat!" in the past because the US is good at defeating guys with guns. Even Vietnam was lost when the US had been gone three years. But it is far less dominant at the game of 'winning the peace'. The principal tools for that are diplomats, intelligence agents and international development folks, and while not the worst, these agencies are not head and shoulders over the opposition. Now I'm starting to worry, because the game is more even.

So when the US begins to switch modes in Iraq, as I think it will begin to do, many of its comparative technical advantages will vanish. In retrospect, however, the last two years in Iraq have inadvertently broken the stranglehold on "foreign knowledge" that used to be the province of diplomats, intel guys and aid workers, in that it broadened the base of people who could claim some passing familiarity with the area. But that familiarity is evanescent and its important, I think, to find some way of broadening the discourse so that we don't wind up with the standard State Department solutions which have not been entirely successful in the past.

12/23/2005 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I understand that we will stay at the pleasure of the Iraqis. I think they'll want us to stay a while longer though. Just as we want to maintain a presence there a while longer.

12/23/2005 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Whit, Manning, Nonomous... and others, put forward otherwise well-reasoned arguments that ignore, or are ignorant of or are willfully blind to the COMING of Baha'u'llah, One Whose very existence is being kept from the people of Iran and Iraq, by their 'leaders'.

Whether by design or inadvertently, His coming (and His fulfillment of Islamic, Christian, Judaic, Buddhist and other prophecies and traditions) will be discussed publicly, and will spark the imaginations and hopes of hundreds of millions, then billions!

Is it not better to consciously ignite this public dialogue than to wait in suffering?

We can continue to discuss items in these threads as if Baha'u'llah has not come, OR we can inform ourselves of His impact on Iran, Iraq and Israel as well as the world.

Such information would do much for alleviating the apparent ignorance of a matter SO CENTRAL to issues of Islamo-fascism and freedom!

12/23/2005 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

See the update on the main post which links to news and commentary that the Shi'ites and Sunnis are in coalition talks. This is what I hoped would happen.

I further argued, about a couple of posts back, that no one would really ask the US to leave, even the Shi'ites. Without the US around, all the parties will have to resort to a military solution to gain their ends. No one is so dominant on the ground that they can confidently do that. If the US were to go, neither the Kurds nor the Sunnis would get a night's sleep. Even the Shia could not relish the prospect of trying to do what the US Army had just done: defeat the Sunni insurgency. And even if they did, they could probably not maintain their hold over the Sunnis forever without bringing in Syria and Saudi Arabia against them.

So for a variety of reasons, though they may make threatening noises, and even let off a bomb or two, my guess is that they will talk. The reason talks aren't futile is because of the 800 pound gorilla referee that's sitting at the end of the table. That's how things are for now, but one hopes the 800 pound gorilla can eventually go home to his happy jungle.

12/23/2005 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Authorization from the UN runs out in Jan'07, the Iraqis have already indicated they do not need and will not seek an extension.
Given that it will take US at least 6 months to withdraw, you have an 18 month timeline, moree or less.
Notice there is no Public discussion, nor debate on the subject of a 'stay behind' force.
This has always been part of the wink & nod governing style of Mr Bush.
While I think C4 is right about conditions that should be fulfulled, they are part of the Peace Plan, not the War Plan. The intial War was won, the Insurgency seems to be dampen politically, the terrorists are being hunted by Iraqis. The Counter Insurgencu seems to be doing well, now.
If C4's conditions are not met it is because we lost the Peace, not the War.

Let US put the Responsibility for those Negotiations where it belongs.

Accountability in that Portfolio is needed, along with whomever is in charge of the Propaganda War.

I'm just not sure who that is, Mrs Hughes?

12/23/2005 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Are you going to be here when Baha'u'llah gets here?
My thoughts exactly, the various parties over there may be stupid but they're not dumb. They know that if things get out of hand, not only are they killing each other but the 800 pounder is killing everybody.

12/23/2005 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In Iraq it is in everyones best interest for US to stay.
It is also in their best interest for US to go.

By Jan '07 the Iraqis will have their 500 or so Soviet tanks, their US trained Urban Assualt Force, their native Border Scouts, all amongst their 300,000 man Security Force.
Mini Z's 5,000 foreign fighters will be no match, to seriously suggest it, comical.

The PKK is a problem that must be addressed quickly so Turkey's just complaints are taken care of.

Here is a case where a NATO ally is being attacked by a terrorist group, from territory the US has responsibility for. Yet we stand by, while terrorists with International reach use Iraq as a staging area for their attacks upon a NATO member.

12/23/2005 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...


Ms Hughes is Public Relations. The President's liasion to the various Islamic Ladies Rotisseries.

Apparently propaganda is black ops and no one will ever know or hear about their work.

When I was a child at the height of the cold war, every Sunday morning I got my weekly dose from a program called "The Big Picture" which trumpeted the latest in American Military Industrial Technology. I don't know if the purpose was to calm domestic or heighten Soviet fears but they knew how to do propaganda in those days.

12/23/2005 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

Never did forget that there is a bunch of statements to the effect that "we will go if the Iraqi tell us to go!" I am suggesting that we step up to the problem of ensuring a significant force and basing in Iraq for the next ten or more years, guided by the missions I suggested earlier, and we should have the (perhaps grudging) blessing of the new government. Indeed, we should insist on it, forcefully if necessary. I agree that the current government of Iraq will most likely not ask us to leave soon, but we should press for a longer term situation quickly.

I am not at all convinced by Wrechard's ploy that we can hold Iraq with some kind of shadow force made up of contractors, "knowledgable ex-soldiers" and perhaps special forces, however many there are, they would not be sufficiently powerful to prevent Iraqi and Islamic muscle men from moving in and taking over. In fact, they would be a liability; so many targets for kidnapping.

I submit that real force is the long-term answer for the US, in country, and in sufficient numbers to dissuade anyone from messing around. We did this in Korea, did this in Europe, are doing it in Bosnia, and should do it in Iraq.
As for the expense, reduce the force in Europe to zero. Zero! (we have paid our dues to Europe, and should put them to the question.)

Soft diplomacy is not effective against terrorists, and not effective against a determined enemy. I would not hang my hat on a naked Iraq anytime soon, and that goes for their so-called army too--it is a peacekeeping army, not a war-fighting army.

12/23/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

UN authorization? So what? This isn't a "may I" game.

12/23/2005 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


There's another 800 pound gorrilla in the room. It's called Islam, and it's the one we are really defending ourselves from.

We need to ensure that the forthcoming peace reinforces a pre-existing trend - the implosion of political Islam.


12/23/2005 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

propaganda no one ever hears is worth every cent not spent.

Propaganda is not a 'black op'
It is as Public as Public can be.
Or it is not Propaganda.

Granted portions of funding for the Program should be secret,
but the Shah Jr's weekly world update on satellite TV could be cool, return to Constitutional Monarchy a possible political fault line in Iran.
US subsidized Satellite Television & Radio Free Iran as well as Arabia. The US should at least match the UAE expeditures on El Jazzerra. Just subsidize a Murdock venture into the Region.
Maybe an US Blogging Service in Farsi might be among spme interesting options.

If the Propaganda Wars were happening we'd read about it, the Iranians are connected to the net.

12/23/2005 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is with ourselves, manning.
Senator Biden says the Authorization for Force is the same as a Declaration of War. He says it defines US Goals and gives the President War Powers. Some others disagree, I have in the past.

But Mr Biden is clear when he says the Goals are Clear. It is ALL about the UN, that is what OIF WAS ALL ABOUT.
Enforcing the UN Resolutions.
The New World Order, manning, that is why we are in Iraq, don't doubt it for a moment.
Take the time to READ the where as's in the Authorization, the Goals have been fulfilled.
The War is over, the New World Order is who has won.

In the Congo today, Nepalize troops led the Congo Army in an assualt against militiamen.
The Gurhkas are from Nepal, perhaps some more Belmont Club advise taken to heart by the Powers That Be.

12/23/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

The Authorization from the UN runs out in Jan'07, the Iraqis have already indicated they do not need and will not seek an extension.

They will change their mind. Even if they don't they will authorize a few Large American bases for years to come. Yea, they will be small "American cities" with a cross section of what is in the Green zone now plus other assets that we deem necessary. Airbases with huge storage, underground fuel storage, you name it and it will be there. The Iraqi bases will make the one's in Germany look like Boy Scout camps.

The hired guns will be there three fold, protecting pols, assets and those that are building Iraq. The influx of business from the world is going to be something to be seen.

It ain't nearly over, its just starting off in a hundred different directions.

Oh, there is no "Political Islam". Islam is a way of life, from religion, politics, economics, down to which hand to wipe your butt with. It can't be split up or off. It's the worlds most evil cult.

And don't forget it.

Papa Ray
West Texas

12/23/2005 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

I am just a poor country boy totally dazzled by this here UN and Mr. Biden, and Mrs. Pelosi, and Mr. Moore. Why they have said all kinds of nasty things about the US, and Mr. Bush. Now he's President, right? He's gonna say we should stick around in Iraq I bet. For a few more years, anyway, jus ta make sure of things...

Now a New World Order is way beyon my ken! They's the US, that is us, and they's the rest of the world, headed up by this here UN.
That is the way it is, and I don see it changing. Don need em, an don want em. We is better that that, aren we?

12/23/2005 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

Iffen you think Mr Biden can cut off the war funds from Mr Bush, you may be right. But Mr. Bush, he is President, right? Till January 2009? So he can keep things running for some time yet, and he do have a few fellows in Congress that votes with him, don he? We is in Iraq for years to come.

12/23/2005 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

They maybe drawing down US forces but they will still be vary close by. The draw down is less than what meets the eye. Sure, the combat brigades IN Iraq will drop from 17 to 15 but there will be combat brigade sitting right on the boarder waiting for action. It that light it seem to be a very modest draw down (17 to 16 in the immediate area).

Multinational Force press release]:

The 1/1 ID, based out of Fort Riley, Kansas, was originally scheduled to deploy in December to central Iraq to replace the 29th Brigade Combat Team while the Baumholder, Germany, based 2/1 AD was to deploy to Eastern Diyala Province of Iraq in November and replace the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. The 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division will remain in Kuwait to serve as a "call forward force" and be ready to deploy into Iraq if required based on the security conditions in Iraq.

The decision to not deploy both units was based on the cumulative impact of the Iraqi security forces across their areas of responsibility, and the significantly increased capabilities of the ISF, especially at the Iraqi Army battalion level, as demonstrated during their professional performance in support of the Iraqi constitutional referendum in October and the recently completed Iraqi elections. It is through close partnerships in training and operations that allow a reduction in Coalition Forces presence to occur.
To date, there are more than 216,000 trained and equipped Iraqi Security Forces. The decision affects [ed. -- note the word "affects"] approximately 7,000 U.S. active duty soldiers. An improved security situation in many areas of Iraq and increased capabilities of the ISF will allow Coalition Forces to move increasingly to a supporting role.

In a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Minister of the Interior, US Ambassador Khalilzad, and General George Casey, Commander, Multi-National Force-Iraq, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld Dec. 23 announced the decision to not deploy to Iraq Soldiers assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division as well as Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division.

SECDEF announces plans for troop reductions in Iraq

12/23/2005 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

For a good discussion on the December 15 parliamentary election results for Iraq, check the blog entry and comments page here:

Crunching the Numbers.


12/23/2005 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger dannykim said...

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12/24/2005 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Gentlemen, let us not be too clever by three-quarters and miss what Wretchard is saying, or for that matter, what Desert Rat is saying – sometimes.
Had we won a final and irrevocable victory in Vietnam the resultant nation would hardly have been a superior example of the democratic process. But even when we “lost” in Vietnam, the result was that Communism in the area was so weakened that the dominoes never fell. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Pacific nations were left free to go to Hell in their own way; that’s democracy.
Today, even the Vietnamese say that the U.S. won the War in which Vietnam was but a battle.
Iraq is not going to meet the standards of Howard Dean’s Vermont. In fact, since Governor Dean took office, Vermont probably does not meet the standards of Howard Dean’s Vermont.
But we have planted a seed, a bunch of seeds. In the Kurdish north, teenaged girls dressed like Brittany Spears sit and eat ice cream in a setting that could be Van Nuys (okay, probably less violent than Van Nuys). The southeast, the Marsh Arabs think the US Army Corps of Engineers a gift from God. All over the country people such as the operators of Iraq the Model and The Mesopotamian strive for real, secular democracy.
In my way of thinking our final, irrevocable victory in Vietnam was won only two years ago, when I bought my Mom a new printer and discovered it was made there.
On to the War!

12/24/2005 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

" in a setting that could be Van Nuys (okay, probably less violent than Van Nuys). "
Jeez, in college, my best friend's folks lived there.
He was a McDonald Douglas VP.
Nice Place.
Did we lose the war in SOCAL?

12/24/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

to clever by half, yeah, sometimes.

It is still Winter, Spring '06 is when we'll start moving to the exits. Those that commented on the lack of a "real" drawdown in the announcement today are correct. But it begins the mindset of phased Victory. Four months to the real drawdown with most Combat troops gone in 18-24 months.

In the end some of the troops will stay behind to guard our stuff, but there will not be as many as we think there will be, today.

Read Mr Bush's UN speach, the one prior to the invasion, it tells US why we are in Iraq, today.

Yes, in most of the ways that are important the UN is US, always been that way. We thought of it, fund it, fight for it, died for it.
That silly Blue Flag. The Banner that rallied Freedom in Korea, that ill defends the Sudanese in Darfur and monitored the Genocide in Rawanda and Bosnia.
Just one of the tools in our kit.

12/24/2005 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

From the Border all the way to Santa Cruz.
AZ and NM are in "States of Emergency"

Nothing to see, though, just move on

12/24/2005 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I'd heard of 'white flight' in connection to urban areas and busing and what not.

Here in Arizona we are witnessing "US Citizen flight" from California. All types of Americans are fleeing California, I've never seen the like, before.

12/24/2005 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger JohnnyCanuck said...

But we have planted a seed, a bunch of seeds. In the Kurdish north, teenaged girls dressed like Brittany Spears sit and eat ice cream

So teenage girls dressing like sluts is a good thing?

12/24/2005 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

OT folks, but I just heard - on FNC no less - that one of my high school teachers passed away on Wednesday.
He was the bombadier in Plane no. 10 on 18 April 1942 when they took off from the USS Hornet:
Lt Col Horace E. Crouch, USAF (Ret).
Thanks for everything, Colonel!

12/24/2005 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger JohnnyCanuck said...

Here in Arizona we are witnessing "US Citizen flight" from California. All types of Americans are fleeing California, I've never seen the like, before.

That's one reason I can't understand why you are in Iraq. I mean, if your own country is being invaded and your own citizens displaced by foreigners shouldn't you be more concerned about that than some Arab country of little significance? Clearly the neocons and Bush aren't interested in what happens to Americans.

12/24/2005 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Mannning said...

"Our" UN is no longer ours, but rather belongs to a ragtag coalition of third world states and a few ex-colonial powers that are far more interested in denouncing the US, and "constraining its power" than in constructive efforts.

John Bolton may make some difference, but the rot on the river can be smelled around the world.

That many people believe we must obtain UN acceptance of our actions regardless of the Charter, is a sign of creeping power grabs by Internationalists: consider the ICC, which we have steadfastly refused to acknowledge.

When it comes to the War on Terror, I am hard pressed to find any really constructive moves by that august body. No, the WOT is being fought dominantly around, over, and under the UN and its flacks, and necessarily so, since a bloc of Arab states can hinder many steps, as can the French, Chinese and Russians in the Security Council.

In the not too far future, there must be a reckoning regarding the UN and their reach for more power and more money from the US.

I would favor downgrading the UN to a debating society, and creating a coalition of democratic states to do what must be done in an international sense, and most certainly without impinging on the sovereignty of member states.

Meanwhile, we are fighting a war of global proportions, and should not let considerations of the UN to interfere.

12/24/2005 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Whit- Sir, Yessir!

He was here, with us, from 1853 to 1892 (Micah 7:15), and He is here today in the institutions He formally, explicitly created, namely the world-community that bears His name (and, to date, the ONLY world-community); and the Universal House of Justice.

I don't WAIT for Him, and I do not deny His coming, either explicitly or by implication.

What I want to emphasise is the VERY POWERFUL effect on the Muslim ummah all around the world (whether Shiite or Sunni or others) His coming will have WHEN PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO KNOW of His coming.

Will I be here when the clergy stop their 'damnable heresy' of 'scoffing and denying'? II Peter 2:1 warns clergy AGAINST such scoffing and denial, but hey! the clergy just remain lukewarm, ignore the passage in the Holy Gospel, and continue to let people die for want of hope and guidance.

I have no use for the outdated institution of ecclesiastics. Their net effect, in this day, is negative.

12/24/2005 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Johnny C: Iraq is a little country in the HEART of Islamic country, and is peopled with courageous, well-educated people.

For those reasons alone, it is a country of GREAT STRATEGIC WORTH, whether Mexicans are invading California or not.

Iraq, by virtue of its shared borders and growing, vibrant economy, applies TREMENDOUS pressure on Iran, Syria and Lebanon and Sandi Arabia, pressure to give their people some of the benefits hard-won by the Iraqis!

12/24/2005 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

A few comments:

The poster who referenced Totten's interview with Big Pharoah left out the part most pertinent to our discussion. Totten specifically alludes to Gerecht's theory, and Big Pharoah acknowledged the validity of it. Big Pharoah's complaint was that he didn't have the time to wait for the evolutionary process to select against Islamism. We do. We have all the time in the world. If we can only stay in the region long enough to ensure the continuing integrity of the system, eventually sanity and competency will win out, if not decency.

I am unconvinced that Islam in the Middle East is as big a problem as Islam in the West. It seems to me that Islam's biggest problem lies in its tolerance at playing second fiddle. There is much more sanity in Islam the religion when it controls its own territory. The interesting thing about radical Islam is that it is, more than anything, reactionary. It's entire ethos is dependent on the West. It feeds off of it. It's defined as a negation.

Islam concerned with itself is a priori less radical than Islam concerned with the West. The genious of our democracy agenda is removing the West from the perceived cause and effect dynamic of Islamic territory, giving it a chance to evolve on its own without the idea of the West being predominant in the minds of its people.

Osama's goal was to scare the West away so Islamism could topple the secular governments in the Middle East. We've given Islamism another way to accomplish its goal while bypassing the necessity of its condition precedent (attacking Americans). Like a champion Chess player, we've given it an easy and open path to declare check on our King. But it's all a trap: once it's sprung, the outcome of the game is inevitable. Islamofascists never dreamed that Islamism would be accountable once it took over. By buying into Iraq, bin Ladenism and Islamism have set in motion the events that will lead to their ultimate defeat.

Communism was defeated when it was forced to compete on the one playing field it was inherently ill-equipped for: economics.

Islamism's kryptonite is the secret ballot, and we are its Lex Luthor.

12/24/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...


Re: White flight

As you know, I just spent some time in Cali. There, I looked up the real estate market. I was struck by how expensive it is relative to our own. A decent house near the ocean will set you back at least a mil. Who's buying all that expensive real estate? The mexicans?

12/24/2005 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...


I think the goal of this 800lb gorilla is the same type of goal that all organisms have: more 800lb gorillas.

And fewer 800lb T-Rex's running around trying to kill your lady friend. And fewer giant bats, and fewer...

12/24/2005 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Osma Bin Laden's niece, who refuses to use her real last name any more recently posed for racy pictures for GQ magazine.
She is a lawyer in New York.
Don't know what the lady looks like but I rather doubt she would have been able to pose for a magazine if she were not related to OBL.
So yes, they have our attention now, and the results are increasingly distressing to them, in more ways than one.

12/24/2005 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I'm not really sure, as I don't travel there often. Possibily Asian investors or immigrants, perhaps people working at Wal Mart, but I doubt it.

Housing prices in California have sky rocketed over the past few years. In part that is what is fueling the exodus I see. Folk cashing out and moving on, or East.

In Phoenix we have been the same curve, just a bit further behind. The standing joke is we'd sell out, but would have to move to Texas.

Lots of ethnic Mexicans are moving into the northern areas of Phoenix, the were illegals operating a Drug Ring servicing the High School next to the Mayo Clinic, in Scottsdale. Where they were living while cruising Sottsdale and making their sales, I'm not sure.

12/24/2005 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Sardonic said...

Personally I hesitate to be optimistic when dealing with pathological-morons of the 93rd degree - a cult of hideous decepticonic monsters devoted to one anti-glorious teaching: "Death to Everyone Else", least I be disappointed in case of a "Failure of Bush".

I prefer to advocate the sober and sensible view: whatever transpires our President is doing the best that can be reasonably expected under the circumstances, as will the next President, and the one after that, to deter the frightfully stupid and brutish enemy, and aid the Nation as a whole, and the world where possible. This would keep our expectations on earth, where they belong. If thing go well, we can smile later and be at peace and have a nice hot toddy like civilized people. If things go badly we would not have to eat our words, or endure the insufferable ten thousand years worth of "see-see?!", and suffer a loss of spirit when we may be in need of it. I don't think it is foolish to feel some optimism at this time, but I lean against crowing about it.

12/24/2005 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

It's been a while, but last time I was there, people on the coast mostly just seemed to pretend all the great developments 'Rat describes weren't happening, and carried on accordingly.
In the last riots they were burning commercial buildings 2 blocks away from my sister's condo.
She said there was a guy that lived there guarding the place with an AK.
She's still Anti Gun!

12/24/2005 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sure good for Democrats at Election Time.

12/24/2005 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I like your 10:09 AM post a lot, but how do SA, Iran, Pakistan, and etc fit into that picture?

12/24/2005 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Another WWII story you know about.
Humvee Realities - "The Ultimate Betrayal" .

My reporter friends who talked about "criminal negligence" and "betrayal," pointed to World War II and America's rapid aircraft industry as a basis for their argument. After all, we were thrust into the war in December 1941. We went on the offensive in 1942, and by late 1945 some 12,700 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses had been built.

Fine. But what they don't realize is the B-17 made its first flight as a prototype in the summer of 1935, six years before it was ready for deployment, which just happened to be the same time we entered the war.
Once deployed, losses were horrible.
Thousands of B-17's were shot down or crashed in training over the course of the war. In the summer of 1944 alone, nearly 1,000 B-17s were lost and nearly 10,000 B-17 airmen were killed over Europe.

12/24/2005 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Capitol's Pariah on Immigration Is Now a Power

12/24/2005 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Doug: Yes, I read that as well. And it is worse than that. When the B-17 first came out it was a very fine airplane indeed, but not much good as a bomber. First they added turbosuperchargers, then a complete redesign that upped the defensive armament a great deal and made it more suitable for operating at high altitudes (using copies of Luftwaffe oxygen systems). Then they added more fuel capacity. Then more defensive armament and the crews added still more on their own initiative.
But worse of all the for the role it was first touted for - destroying enemy ships by high altitude bombing - it was an all but utter failure - and as an unescorted daylight bomber, another virtual failure. All those "mistakes" cost a lot of lives.
At that, it was still a better bomber than anything the Axis or our allies built.
In the final analysis daylight strategic bombing's main value was probably that it prevented the Luftwaffe from being able to provide other than occasional and token support of their ground forces. Honor demanded that they defend their cities, and because of that we bled their Air Force to death.
All in all, pretty piss poor planning. And we won.

12/24/2005 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"What kind of guy is this," Mr. Tancredo said of Mr. Bush, "who picks and chooses the laws he enforces?"

"This is a gesture to the xenophobic wing of the party, and that is alarming," said Cecilia Muñoz, a vice president at the National Council of La Raza. "It threatens extraordinary harm to people."

Mr. Tancredo fears that moderate Republicans, allied with the White House, business leaders and immigration advocates, may derail his efforts by sinking the bill. And so he is considering taking extraordinary measures, including running for president in 2008.

"We just took one more island in the chain leading to Tokyo,"
Mr. Tancredo said, using World War II imagery to describe the battle to pass the House immigration bill.
"But there are still a lot of bloody battles to fight."

12/24/2005 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Buddy Larsen's Dad's Story points to some of the problems they faced!
YARGB - Flares into Darkness ,
At 12:59 PM, December 23, 2005, Buddy Larsen said...

Luther, he lost an engine to flack, and then blew another one trying to keep up with formation, and had to drop back. the 110s were out there just for stragglers, they were 'zerstroyers' armed with multiple cannon.
They made a few firing passes and dad found that if he jinked--evasive action--his own gunners couldn't shoot, and if he held steady so the gunners could shoot, the outranging 110s would hang back and shoot at leisure. When a third engine was hit & started giving up, and all four 110s were lining up wingtip-to-wingtip behind him, intent to stay outta his 50 cal. range but inside their 20mm, and do him in with a salvo, he did a head-check and still had not a man wounded.
At that point he figured the war was over for his 10 guys, so he dropped gear, set the ship on auto, and gave the bail-out order.

Landed in a schoolyard in Memmigen, and was yakking with the boys--the girls were busy cutting up the parachute for silk--when the soldiers pulled, and hauled him off.

The B-17E, "Mr. Five-by-Five", crashed into a paper mill--one more blow for the Allies. Dad and his crew ended up in Barth, the Stalag Luft on the North Sea, and were liberated by the Red Army.

A few years later, contemplating his household full of terrorist tots, I imagine he sometimes wished he hadn't pulled that rip cord!

12/24/2005 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

The interesting thing about radical Islam is that it is, more than anything, reactionary. It's entire ethos is dependent on the West. It feeds off of it. It's defined as a negation.

Human interaction is driven by conflict. I think the present conflict is the last of its kind - ideological or belief-driven. Conflicts of the future will be territorial or economic.

12/24/2005 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...


Maybe Johnny Canuckistani could explain it.

12/24/2005 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mika, ;-)
He wishes us a scary CAIRy Christmas.

12/24/2005 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

"it is, more than anything, reactionary. It's entire ethos is dependent on the West. It feeds off of it. It's defined as a negation.

You captured the spirit of Islamism, the left in the US, and the cadre of tin-pot diplomats residing in the UN - not to mention the 'old' EU.

It is this that we will be fighting long after the peace comes to Iraq.

It is the common denominator of them all.

12/24/2005 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"It is a victory because the results were the opposite of what the Americans were seeking."
Freedom and Jihad .
Little wonder, then, that something approaching jubilation is the reaction in Tehran. "We share this victory with the Iraqi nation because we paid a price for its preparation, said Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president of Iran, making reference to the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). Usually described as Iran's "pragmatic conservative" in the Western media (not necessarily saying much), Mr. Rafsanjani continued: "It is a victory because the results were the opposite of what the Americans were seeking."
Dianna West:
"All of which is why I beg to differ when the president says, "the terrorists know that democracy is their enemy." From the PA, where sharia-supporting terrorists are winning primaries, to Egypt, where sharia-supporting terror-ideologues are being elected, to Iraq, where sharia-supporting terror-state-allies are being elected, democracy is not their enemy. It is vox populi.
And just because the people have spoken doesn't mean we should applaud what they say."

12/24/2005 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/24/2005 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I would predict conflicts of the future will be territorial, economic, and ideological. But many a future conflict will largely be related to one issue. Islam.

Islam is a territorial religion in that Muslims sacralize the ground they conquer as dar al islam. To have others later reassert their sovereignty on that ground is unacceptable to Muslims.

Under Islamic conquest, many peoples were forcibly robed in the clothing of Arab nationalism, ethnicity, culture, history, language, religion, etc. As the failed Islamic Empire and archetype further loses strength, it will begin to disintegrate. As it does, people will start to seek and reassert their original identity, or seek a new identity. When they do, it will be for any, or all the reasons listed above. But that's the general trend I see evolving.

Them Christian bigots! Happy Festivus! ;)

12/24/2005 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...


A static analysis of those nations could lead one to be a pessimist about democracy. If they were to open up, Islamism would be the instant and inevitable winner. If realism and stability then supplanted our democracy agenda, we truly would have handed the world to our enemies on a silver platter. This is the core of Pipe's argument. At the end of the day, he doesn't trust democracy because he doesn't trust us to see it through.

If, however, we maintain the support beams long enough for democracy to survive permanently, then I think we would see a movement, over time, towards competent and open government.

The swings early on may scare us half to death, but our presence and our power should conform the system to certain parameters of behavior. Over time, these boundaries will solidify like well-used neurological pathways, creating a kind of self-correcting systemic memory. Once that happens, it would be quite unlikely that any particular event would reach the dreaded escape velocity that would cause the whole enterprise to spiral off into chaos. Tearing down the temple would become unthinkable, and that which is unthinkable is simply not done.

But we have to be willing to enforce and protect these stabilizing parameters, these ethics of behavior, if we are to see such a day. Most of all, we have to be willing to begin.

12/24/2005 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


Your post of 10:09 AM. Very insightful, particulary Islam is "defined as a negation".

As for the Pipes/Gerecht debate, and what we should do?

Bringing up children, we all face the same dilemma - what to do with freedom? Give them a sip of alcohol at 1 year old, or ban it until they are 21?

The greatest triumph of the West???

How to live with freedom. Hard to do, but just look at the benefits (counterbalanced, of course, by the druggies, thuggies, leftists that fall to the wayside). But draw up the balance sheet, and freedom wins.

So, we should let Iraq try its own thing. As with children, they'll fall over from time to time, so we'll need to be ready to pick them up, maybe a little clip on the ear from time to time. But if their hearts are in the right place, we'll get there in 150 years.

Just about enough time for Islam to implode.


12/24/2005 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Desert rat: ...Spring '06 is when we'll start moving to the exits. Those that commented on the lack of a "real" drawdown in the announcement today are correct. But it begins the mindset of phased Victory. Four months to the real drawdown with most Combat troops gone in 18-24 months.


I'd heard of 'white flight' in connection to urban areas [of SoCal] and busing and what not.

Here in Arizona we are witnessing "US Citizen flight" from California. All types of Americans are fleeing California, I've never seen the like, before.

I agree with desert rat on the first part. But, I think many people took my post the wrong way.

The gradual draw down is a prudent thing. There still is some pockets of thugs that will need to be cleaned out. But, as desert rat notes it creates the mind-set that Victory has come. That is a good thing! Let's be certain not to pull the rug out from underneath the new Iraqi government. Or as Aristides says, ...If, however, we maintain the support beams long enough for democracy to survive permanently, then I think we would see a movement, over time, towards competent and open government. Hence, I think Bush and his men are making the correct moves.

Now to the exodus of SoCal residents. Just look at the mayor of Los Angeles (and the city council). The city of LA is a waste land. Take a look at the LA County board of directors. The LA County is a mess. High crime, the jails full of illegal aliens and gangsters (Tookie's funeral showed the extend of number of loyal gangsters in the area) certainly drive people out. Add to that, high taxes and outrageous traffic delays, one can see why people are leaving. It leave it at that for now.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to all!

12/25/2005 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"But we have to be willing to enforce and protect these stabilizing parameters, these ethics of behavior, if we are to see such a day. Most of all, we have to be willing to begin."
W's next post is on a great Kaplan piece that describes how willing and able our young soldiers are to enable the begining.
Maintaining the homefront is the iffy part, and as your post describes, they feed on the weakness of the left.
Our enemies always have.

12/25/2005 05:03:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

RE: the nature of future conflict.

My view is that Fukuyama's End of History thesis remains essentially valid, but with a twist, and undoubtedly premature.

Some form of self governance that protects individual liberties and supports the institutional mechanisms that provide long-term 'sustainability' of the collective is a de facto requirement of being human. Democracy/federalism, without going nto the details of the structural variations, will evolve and spread. The ideological conflicts over governance should calm down.

It is interesting in reading Fukuyama's post-9/11 writing. My opinion, of course, and without misrepresenting his position, but he appears to stumble over the Islam phenomenon. He cannot define a logical integration for radical Islam within his theoretical end of history matrix - because one doesn't exist.

The 'why' has been repeatedly discussed and analyzed so I will not reopen the subject but my abbreviated view is that radical Islam (quite possibly Islam itself - another question) represents the last death rattle of an unsustainable religious-inspired ideology that can never fully satisfy the needs and desires of a large group of humans. Bit of a loaded statement but the long-term historical vision was well articulated above. Entrenchment of a non-viable set of institutions leads to inevitable rebellion/revolution and instability until the systems settle into something more responsive.

I look at it as a Nash Equilibrium, which is currently being used to describe the state of stable disequilibrium in the global markets. It is not hard - for me - to see Fukuyama's democratic institutions as a collection of goernments that can be described as existing in a state of Nash Equilibrium where strategies are fully optimized for all stakeholders. Islam and radical ideologies will never satisfy this equilibrium.

The twist, where I differ from Fukuyama, is that future conflicts will remain strong. The power game will never just go away, but will be pursued through economic avenues with some territorialism thrown in for those cultures that retain connections to their physical land.

Of course, the final twist, not to presume a crystal ball, will be conflicts between the difference forms of sentient life that are part human and part artifical. Given that we somehow manage to escape an avian flu pandemic or another massive ice age :)

May 2006 be better for all.

12/25/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger exguru said...

If Patrick Cockburn did NOT say "Iraq is disintegrating," or any other Cockburn, for that matter, it would be time to worry.

12/25/2005 11:25:00 AM  

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