Thursday, December 15, 2005

Preliminary reports on the Iraq Elections

Early reports (see these two reports from Iraqis reporting on behalf of Pajamas Media) on the Iraqi elections emphasize that much of the visible security presence wears a local face. Excerpts:

The deployment of Iraqi security forces on the streets was heavy with a noticeable absence of American forces except for their presence in the skies; there are many Apache helicopters and jet fighters as well as small surveillance planes al over Baghdad. ...

the Peshmerga, police and “Asayesh” security corps are doing a great job in providing a safe environment for the voters.

Update

There's an update. Things are still quiet, except for some back and forth about the truck of ballots from Iran, whose existence the Iraqi defense minister apparently denies.

Boring Iraq elections? Salon talks about the tedious Slate coverage by Tamara Chalabi. Elections. In Iraq. That's the kind of boredom people have been fighting for. I had forgotten that in the headline grabbing business, good news is bad news. Realistically, there's bound to be incidents. But there's nothing wrong with being grateful for small mercies.

06:04 December 15, 2005 EST. ABC news is reporting Mortar Lands Near Green Zone As Polls Open.

---

For one Kurdish writers view of the situation see Kurds should take lessons from past.  His basic take:

"The U.S. Administration is desperately searching for a magical political formula to reassemble Iraq as a unified state, and to weaken the increasing ties between Iraqi Shiites and the Iranian theocracy, which reaped the beneficial fallout of the 2003 Iraqi war. Regardless of the Administration’s rhetoric of spreading democracy in the Middle East, it wants to reassure its traditional allies that the U.S. is mindful of their concerns about the stability of their governments and that it would not embark on any radical program that would jeopardize their interests. The U.S. as well as Arab states have become increasingly wary of the close ties between Iraqi Shiites and Iranian theocracy, which they would like to weaken at all costs."

Israpundit sees America as having won the military war but as losing the peace.

"If America comes to the conclusion that their ultimate goals are not achievable, they will settle for destroying WMD and then install a Shiite regime in the south that is dependant on them and a Kurdish regime in the North that is dependant on them and whoever they can in Bagdad. Then they will get the hell out. It will all have been for naught with more negative fallout then positive benefits."

From either of these premises the "insurgency" is now a sideshow. Neither assigns much importance to troop numbers, or WMDs or anything else that the international press saw as important. The real concerns of both articles is how OIF has changed or will change regional balances.

In retrospect, almost everybody saw Iraq through their parochial prisms. Israel through the lens of its regional insecurities and the Lebanon experience. The Kurds from the viewpoint of their own national aspirations. In probably the strangest perspective of all, many Americans saw Iraq as Vietnam.

My own view is that America's position resembles Britain's vis-a-vis early 19th century Europe, when it held the balance of power on a continent racked with rivalries, switching sides to maintain the equilibrium. This is precisely what the Kurds (in the article above) now think Khalilzid is doing when he sweetalks the Sunnis. Alliance politics is a marvelous and cynical thing. I wouldn't be surprised if Saudi Arabia made nice to Israel if it were worried enough about Iran.

What OIF did was make America a direct factor in Middle East politics, not just from an offshore vantage, but on a much more direct basis. Was this good? Was there a choice?

Marine Captain Jeffrey Poole, who is the PAO says:

Though we have no official numbers, the voting in Al Anbar far surpassed our expectations. This is especially true in the Western Al Anbar cities, such as Husaybah and Barwana, which, until recently, were under al Qaeda in Iraq-led insurgents’ influence.

76 Comments:

Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

Hopefully with the Sunnis largely cooperating that should limit the threats to "only" Al Qaeda. Zarqawi is still dangerous of course, but the largely foreign citizenship of his troops mean they won't be able to approach the polls without being noticed. Attacks will probably be limited to those at range, since most IED's should have been found in the preperation of polling places.

12/15/2005 01:35:00 AM  
Blogger Eleanor © said...

Amen to the hope for a quiet election. The aftermath should be interesting and neighboring powers, more specificially Iran, have a finger in the pie and will continue to diddle. Their new leader is an interesting fellow. Time will tell if the Shi'ia, including those of Iraq, again become a regional power under his leadership.

12/15/2005 02:21:00 AM  
Blogger Eleanor © said...

Others has the same concern as I do on the fusion of Iraq and Iran.

12/15/2005 02:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Not pleasant reading.
Nor are the Church attacks in Australia.
Brave New World, indeed.

12/15/2005 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

What happened to the Arab/Persian dichotomy argument?

12/15/2005 04:15:00 AM  
Blogger stavr0s said...

I just watched Matt Lauer on the NBC Today Show put a negative spin on the elections and the outcome. He was pushing the ideas that most Americans are against the war and the outcome of the election will not be to our liking.

No matter the outcome, the MSM will put a negative spin on it.

12/15/2005 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

Must be quiet in Baghdad. The BBC has thrown up an interactive guide to "Counting the Dead: Civilian Deaths in Iraq." They wouldn't have bothered in there was anything other than smooth sailing to report.

12/15/2005 04:22:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

stavr0s,

One thing both articles I linked to have in common is the perception that the Sunni insurgency really doesn't matter. If anything the worry is that the Sunnis have been beaten down too far. Nor do either assign much weight to WMDs, found or not. What concerns them both is the how OIF will affect their particular national existences.

The collapse of the Sunni boycott and their participation in the elections to counter the Shi'ites is about as eloquent an act of surrender as I've ever seen. That's not to say that there won't be any more car bombs or killings. But the idea that the US Army can be driven out by Sunni insurgents led by Zarqawi or Osama Bin Laden is as dead as a doornail, and the Sunni's trooping to the poll booths suggests that.

For some time now, I've been suggesting that the military question is essentially settled and it was time to turn attention to post-Saddam Iraq. A lot of reasonable people would disagree with that. But one of the reasons we post on blogs is to argue the points. I don't know any more than you guys. But that's how I see it.

12/15/2005 04:28:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Look at the photo of Khalilzid hamming it up at a polling booth at this story written by one of Iraq the Model's correspondents (Pajamas too, BTW). While there are going to be car bombs, mortars and whatever for the forseeable future, I get the feeling that phase, for want of a better word, is no longer primary.

12/15/2005 04:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

stavr0s said...
"I just watched Matt Lauer on the NBC Today Show put a negative spin on the elections and the outcome."
---
Was he sporting the Dem Cabal Support Club Yellow Finger?

12/15/2005 04:33:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

One of the things the EU is discussing at their current summit is how they should respond to Ahmadinejad's comments about how 'fake' the Holocaust was. I don't think this is driven by their concern for Israel as much as by the realization of their impotence. The EU is a highly respectable organization and the Iranian President is acting like they aren't.

The German foreign minister said: "I say again: the government in Tehran must understand that the patience of the international community is not endless". And if Teheran doesn't comply he'll say it again, more loudly next time.

Better to have levers than not to have levers.

12/15/2005 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

I'm hoping attention turns to the various elected officials, their stated policies & goals, etc.

I haven't been monitoring the Iraq blogs & they have, most likely, been reviewing just those issues.

The political situation needs more press, the military - less.

Seems to me, the nature of the new political leaders in Iraq, their effectiveness, will have a huge impact on our continued involvement there.

12/15/2005 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

"The EU is a highly respectable organization"

I assume that was meant sarcastically.

12/15/2005 05:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey, don't knock it, ex_helo:
It provided Schroeder a lucrative new job with Gazprom.

12/15/2005 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Reuters is reporting that Germany is considering imposing travel restrictions on the Iranian president. Like Mugabe's I guess. It's a touching gesture, the sort of gesture which without OIF and operations like it, the US would have found its quiver of arrows supplied with. Now as matters stand, the US is in physical occupation of a large part of the Shi'ite polity, not to mention having an alliance with the Kurds, with the balance of power alarm clock ringing in Sunni ears. None of this means war or force. But it means a lot of points of engagement with Iran, which possibly is a somewhat better position to be in than the European resort to throwing a piece of paper at Ahmadinejad.

12/15/2005 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger stavr0s said...

wretchard -

I agree. There's no doubt in my mind that our military has won and the Sunnis are scrambling to get a place at the table.

It would be great if Iraq proves to be a stable democracy in the long run, but I don't much care if Iraq ends up being one country or three countries. We have such high expectations for the Iraqis, wanting them to make great changes in a short time.

Regardless of the outcome, what we will have is a presence in the Middle East and a track record of deposing a nasty dictator.

12/15/2005 05:50:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Matt Lauer, who is he and who cares?

Well now, it seems the Sunni rejectionists, as Mr Bush calls them, have quit rejecting. Voter participation is high, final results will be known in a month, or so it is said.

Hopefully this is a sign that the Sunni's legitimate resistence is over. If it is, really, there will be no reason to keep US troops in Iraq much longer than the UN mandate calls for.

Our friends in the KSA are pragmatic, if they are anything. After helping Mr Reagan defeat the Soviets, by maintaining artificially low oil prices for years and bankrupting the Soviets, they may seek a way to counter balance to a Shia dominated Iraq. They may also support pruning Iran's wings.

As the Wizard told Dorthy and the MSM repeats to US, ignore the men behind the polling curtain, their votes count for nothing, they've moved the Goal Posts, again.

12/15/2005 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Wretchard writes: "America's position resembles Britain's vis-a-vis early 19th century Europe, when it held the balance of power on a continent racked with rivalries, switching sides to maintain the equilibrium."

This is very much true within the context of post-Saddam Iraq.

In operational terms, the balance of power game means keeping Kurdish ambitions for independence in check (thus keeping the Turks out), disarming Shiite militias (thus breaking Iran's key internal leverage over the new government), and punishing Sunni Arab locales when they host Al Qaeda while preventing Shiite and Kurdish vengeance against their former overlords.

If the Sunni Arab insurgency has become unimportant, it is not because it is on the verge of collapse (though it might be). It is because the challenges posed by the Kurds and Shiites now loom larger in the equation that the United States must balance.

Of the three main communities, the Kurds need the United States more than the Shiites or Sunnis do. The Kurds are friendless without us, but the Shiites have Iran and the Sunnis have the rest of the Sunni Arab Middle East to fall back on for support (at least in their minds).

The Bush Administration believes, with considerable justification, that strategic necessity compels the United States to move beyond the Cold War "realist" obsession with balance of power politics in favor of democratization for the entire Middle East, friend and foe allike.

But in Iraq, the administration has no choice but to play the old realist game, to keep the country from flying apart, while facilitating the emergence of an alien form of government.

Some might call this state of affairs ironic, but it is where we are. The key question is how much American military power on the ground will it take to maintain that balance as the process of democratization goes forward.

12/15/2005 05:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

a quidk aside, Gill Roggio is on site and reports that in He starts the article with this observation
"... Turnout has been heavy; over 2,000 Iraqis have entered the polls by noon Iraqi time. During the referendum on the Constitution in October, about 2,300 total votes were cast in the city. ..."

12/15/2005 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Report from Ollie North on FNC this morning, where in one of the most dangerous cities, the mosque there put out repreated calls to the effect that it was a duty to vote and then that Allah would reward you if you voted. By 1500L the polling place there had announced that it had almost run out of ballots.
I don't feel yet as I did that night when Pres Bush announced that our bombers were off alert and that half our ICBM force was going to be off alert immediately. And I sure don't yet feel the way I did that Christmas when they took the hammer and sickle down from the Kremlin for the last time. But we are getting there.
The next thing to wonder about is what happens if the newly elected Iraqi govt states they have a problem with Iran and Syria and could we please blow those guys up for them as soon as possible.

12/15/2005 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Salt Lick said...

I don't feel yet as I did that night when Pres Bush announced that our bombers were off alert and that half our ICBM force was going to be off alert immediately.... the way I did that Christmas when they took the hammer and sickle down from the Kremlin for the last time. But we are getting there.

I know what you mean, but I'm only a fraction from being there. I remember, immediately after 9/11, how people like Andy Rooney were saying they feared a global war between Christianity and Islam and that it would result in blow to civilization. It seemed a legitimate fear. I and millions of others were asking themselves, "How the hell are we going to get out of fighing billions of Muslims? They all hate us."

But in the past four years the Bush adminstration has managed to place the U.S. on the side of the Arab "street," as an ally supporting their voice in governance. I bet most Jordanians hate Zarquawi worse than they do George Bush. To my mind, moving us from "The Great Satan" to even being seen as just a sometimes-ally would have been an amazing piece of strategic and political ju-jitsu.

I don't know what the future holds, but nothing will be as bad as having the entire Muslim world against us.

12/15/2005 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

From a Reuters report:

"Eager to weaken the power exercised this year by an interim parliament of Shi'ite Islamists and Kurds, Sunni militants said they would defend polling stations in cities like Ramadi against groups, such as al Qaeda, who vowed to disrupt the vote."

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyid=2005-12-15T141749Z_01_FOR344623_RTRUKOC_0_US-IRAQ.xml

12/15/2005 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Ray said...

"Was this good? Was there a choice?"

IMO-

1. Was there a choice? Regarding choices, there were just unpleasant choices and and less unpleasant choices that would have medium to long term disasterous outcomes. The less unpleasant choice (to American sensibilities, that is) was to leave the situation to fester. That would have meant continued sufferring for the Iraqi people and the eventual resumption of WMD production. Eventually Saddam would either use those weapons (maybe through 3rd parties) or his dictatorship would collapse (accidental death, coup, illness?) and Iraq would descend into chaos, letting the WMDs loose for the taking. Thus the only real choice in the post-end-of-history 9/11 world was to intervene, despite the risks, since the risk of doing nothing was greater.

2. Was this good? The deposition of one of the worse tyrants of the 20th century, the disposal of his psychopathic sons, the precipitation of democratic stirrings across the Arab world and the unfreezing of a pathological political glacier - all these things are good. But as has been observed here before, the definitions of defeat and victory have become elastic and somewhat divorced from reality. So only time will tell HOW good this was. I am an optimist and believe that one year from now the magnitude of the victory will be clear as a unified Iraqi state is built that does not crush any ethnic/religeous group and that gives rights and responsibilities to all. What a concept! Howard "victory is impossible" Dean will be lampooned by Leno (Did you hear Dean say that WWII is unwinnable because we have not been able to capture Hitler?), and those who deny that "this was good" will shrink to an electorally unimportant minority.

12/15/2005 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

In regards to Ray's post I would say that I think a problem that the Left has is that they've been prone to constant emotional outbursts and predictions of doom about this situation from the very beginning. The slightest misfortune has been blown out of proportion, all the way back to Peter Arnett's interview on Iraqi television where he triumphantly concluded that "the war plan has failed."

After the fall of Baghdad and the rise of the insurgency, there was constant talk about "quagmire" and now we hear tales of a "broken military" and all the rest. All the drama, invective,and other emotive language by critics is, most likely, just going to continue to backfire. I'm sure we'll hear plenty about how this election today was a "sham" and all sorts of other nonsense. Simpy put, the Left needs for this entire adventure to be a defeat on every level. And they have certain sought to present it as such. The bad news for them is that if things don't go as bad as they've predicted (hoped?) they'll just look ridiculous. They are now in a position where they risk losing if anything comes out better than they have predicted, and that's not exactly challenging.

On a personal note, I find myself struggling with the idea of OIF as a great victory. I've not been happy with much of what I've witnessed of the administration's handling of things. Has this entire venture been worth the cost, both in money and in lives? Will the US arrive at a position of strategic value that made OIF these best investment in those resources? I'm really not sure. However, it's pretty clear that talk about "we shoulda done ___" gets us totally into the realm of fantasy land and hypotheticals in a strategic theater so huge and with so many actors that such talk is probably rather useless.

For myself, my feelings of doubts and criticisms towards the administration never led me to be sympathetic towards the Left for one simple reason: they weren't interested in victory for the United States or for the Iraqi people; they were only interested in defeat for GWB, and it seemed clear that it didn't matter to them how many people would have to die for them to see that.

I suspect that my outlook is or will be shared by many other Americans. Doubts about the wisdom of OIF, doubts about the administration's competence, but in the end finding the Left's drama and theatrics to be dangerously self-righteous, selfish, and concerned with only the immediate rhetorical value of what they are spewing.

12/15/2005 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

ffe said:
"Of the three main communities, the Kurds need the United States more than the Shiites or Sunnis do. The Kurds are friendless without us, but the Shiites have Iran and the Sunnis have the rest of the Sunni Arab Middle East to fall back on for support (at least in their minds)."

Although I agree with your statement, the plight of the Palestinian refugees in places like Jordan and Lebenon should speak volumes to any group expecting help from their Arab brethren.

salt lick:

They obviously don't realize it yet, but each of these groups would do well to cozy up to Uncle Sam - in the long haul, he's the best friend they've got.

12/15/2005 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

How many virgins do you get for voting?

12/15/2005 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The choice was and always will be to do nothing. We got near 8 years of that with the Clinton Administration. The internationalists can keep any discussion fresh and running for years without any results… or, more likely, reign over a worsening situation.

The question has been, is there any power in the world that is capable of projecting power and enforcing international might by bringing it right into Ahkmed’s living room. The question has been answered. This is good.

12/15/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

I write only to praise and re-emphasize Salt Lick’s brilliant 6:46 AM post, in which he/she said:.

“immediately after 9/11, … I and millions of others were asking themselves, "How the hell are we going to get out of fighting billions of Muslims? They all hate us."

But in the past four years the Bush adminstration has managed to place the U.S. on the side of the Arab "street," as an ally supporting their voice in governance. [This will have been] an amazing piece of strategic and political ju-jitsu.

I don't know what the future holds, but nothing will be as bad as having the entire Muslim world against us.”


To this I would only add that such a stealth strategy requires – note: requires – that it NOT be explicitly stated as such by the administration. That would explain a great deal, and answer a host of criticisms.

12/15/2005 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

re: the effect of our influence.

Without going too far into it, evolutionary game theory suggests that our presence will provide the system with the redundancy it needs to avoid a total defection from the ethic of democracy.

The determinative factors for stability in a reiterative system of interactive players are the relative costs and benefits of defection versus cooperation. If the costs are low for defection, or if the benefits are high, over time there will be a total defection from cooperation and a complete break down of the system. Equilibrium for such a system is chaos.

If, on the other hand, the incentives are adjusted to greatly favor cooperation, each new iteration of the system will error correct for the last, and equilibrium will stay firmly within the parameters defined by cooperation. These parameters define the upper and lower limit of defection.

In this type of system, individual defections last for a finite amount of time; actors return to cooperation after the benefits of defection have degraded. The trick is to make sure that such degradation of defection benefits, or alternatively accrual of defection costs, is inevitable and unignorable. The goal is not to inform an actor's rational decision in the future, but to punish or reward a decision, rational or irrational, made in the past.

The Middle East has long been short on cooperation, precisely because the political systems were ones with only ephemeral benefits and constant costs for cooperation. Now, with American presence in the region, all the rules have been stood on their heads. The incentive for cooperation is at an all time high, the costs of defection are too. We have already seen several iterations of this new system, and signs of vitality are high. If there is one thing we can all agree on, it is that instead of a flight to defection, we have seen exactly the opposite. Initial defection in the first iterations, followed by a slow a steady slide towards cooperation.

It is the Comrade slope, and as long as we are there, it will remain slippery and well-traveled.

12/15/2005 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger noprisoners said...

Wretchard,

I was struck by your comment regarding the Saudis "making nice" with Israel. I think that this is a very realistic possibility. Consider a nuclear-armed Iran with influence in Iraq. Consider that Israel has the nuclear muscle to deter Iran. I could imagine an instance of the old "nuclear umbrella" linked to "mutual assured destruction" much like the U.S. umbrella protecting Europe from Soviet invasion and deterring a nuclear attack with the certainty of being wiped out if anyone tried it. Strange no?

12/15/2005 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

James K said,
"For myself, my feelings of doubts and criticisms towards the administration never led me to be sympathetic towards the Left for one simple reason:
they weren't interested in victory for the United States or for the Iraqi people; they were only interested in defeat for GWB, and it seemed clear that it didn't matter to them how many people would have to die for them to see that.

...in the end finding the Left's drama and theatrics to be dangerously self-righteous, selfish, and concerned with only the immediate rhetorical value of what they are spewing
".
Well said.
(Makes me long for another JFK2 run for CIC)

12/15/2005 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

ex-dem, 8:30 AM,
Agree, it is a policy that is easy to lose proper respect for in the day to day political and real wars.
---
You go on to say:
"To this I would only add that such a stealth strategy requires – note: requires – that it NOT be explicitly stated as such by the administration. That would explain a great deal, and answer a host of criticisms. "

I would add that it also requires a steadfast and resolute pursuit of a plan driven by something other than passions like revenge and desire for supremacy.
...something which, especially during stressful and dangerous times, most of us find hard to remain content with.
(how satisfying would it have felt for many of us to sing "Onward Christian Soldiers" and see what happens, come Hell or high water?)

...at least we get to see it acted out on the beach in Sydney!
(I guess that would be Hell, High Water, ...and Firewater.)

12/15/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

noprisoners and Wretchard: I recall what Harma Karzi of Afghanistan said some time back:
"We see eye to eye with Israel on the proper response to terrorism."

12/15/2005 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristedes,
"The goal is not to inform an actor's rational decision in the future, but to punish or reward a decision, rational or irrational, made in the past."
How do we explain that to those on the left that say
"who are we to judge?"
Aren't you treating them like rats?

12/15/2005 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(how I wish I could pull that on a certain local Southwestern Rat.)

12/15/2005 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

rwe,
So we reject harsh treatment of prisoners, and let Israel handle the heavy lifting?

12/15/2005 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

"We should be thankful for small mercies."

I agree with Wretchard. However NPR this morning handed in a hostile and bitchy assessment of the election (helped I'm sure by Ann Garrels' icepick voice); for an organization that specialized in tracking Iraq bomb blasts NPR couldn't bring itself to mention the lack thereof. No mention of hope or optimism - not one short "Time Out" for simple human relief. Of course the report emphasized that every single Iraqi voter wants the US out of the country. Bush has essentially stomped on the whole NPR worldview and they are not taking it well.

Then just walking through the living room I catch Wes Clark on Fox saying that the Middle East has been full of elections...why Saddam held elections and got 99% of the vote. Huh? (The interviewer yuks it up and agrees with him.) That Americans and others died to bring about this las election is lost on Clark. Unbelievable. Clark has got to be a small small man if he cannot cede Bush credit for bringing a free election to Iraq.

12/15/2005 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Clark/Murtha '08

12/15/2005 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

I have to ditto the comment of Doug and James K:

"they (the hard left) weren't interested in victory for the United States or for the Iraqi people; they were only interested in defeat for GWB"

I think one would have to go back in history to President Abraham Lincoln's struggle against the Copperheads (northern democrats sympathetic to the Confederacy) to find a situation approaching what G.W. Bush has gone through with the lunatic left and MSM.

12/15/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Ex-democrat said:

"To this I would only add that such a stealth strategy requires – note: requires – that it NOT be explicitly stated as such by the administration. That would explain a great deal, and answer a host of criticisms."

For many reasons, OIF represented a strategy of amazing depth and cunning.

I await with baited breath for a strategy of equal cunning against Iranian nuclear weapons.

12/15/2005 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Democrats lost another election today.

...this time in Iraq.

-Limbaugh

12/15/2005 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

das: Someone should ask Gen Wes "Ramsey-II" Clark how the free elections are going in the former Yugoslavia and when our troops will be pulled out of there.
While they are at it, they can ask him how things are going finding the 100,000 plus mass graves that were used as a justification for his military campaign there.

Doug: My point was that if the freely elected leader of what was the most radically Muslim nation in the world can say that he agrees with Israel on security matters, anything is possible. Of course, both the Afghais and he Israelis have a reason to hate Arabs - the same reason.

Finally, perhaps after today the phrase "Your banners make tyranny tremble" will apply to a new banner: Free Iraq.

12/15/2005 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/15/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"justification for his military campaign there"
---
I thought that was an airshow.
...w/live ordnance.
Just ask the "spectators."

12/15/2005 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

So today the people of Iraq are overjoyed with their first election and rightly so, but there is no joy in Mudville. The mighty Dems have struck out.

How will the defeatists spin this victory? Despite having been proved wrong time and again throughout this war they continue the doom and gloom naysaying. Had it not been for their cunning allies in the MSM they would have long ago bled out what little credibility they ever had on foreign policy and national defense.

12/15/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

I'm not sure about the idea of the Saudis making nice with Israel. I think it would too dangerous to go beyond where they are now. The Wahhabists have been allowed to poison those waters for too long. Anti-Zionism is the thread that holds the various factions together and any Saud trying to change SA policy would be caught in the pincer of al-Qaeda and the Wahhabis.

12/15/2005 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Salt Lick said...

ex-dem -- Thanks for the kind words. I haven't been called "brilliant" since... well, never.

12/15/2005 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Consumer prices plunged last month at the steepest rate in 56 years because of a sharp decline in oil and gasoline prices, the government reported today, adding to other signs that the national economy has largely rebounded from the effects of the recent hurricanes."
---
whit said...
"So today the people of Iraq are overjoyed with their first election and rightly so, but there is no joy in Mudville. The mighty Dems have struck out.

How will the defeatists spin this victory? Despite having been proved wrong time and again throughout this war they continue the doom and gloom naysaying
."
---
Don't forget it's CHRISTmas, also.
Oh the humanity!
Limbaugh suggests a positive alternative:
Just Pretend Clinton is still in office, and be happy!

12/15/2005 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

hey salt lick,
Your humor is...
Brilliant!

12/15/2005 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Evanston said...

RWE, thank you for the comment on the missing "mass graves" in Kosovo. Clark has no shame, and fits every stereotype of an egotistical power mad officer that the Left portrays in Hollywood movies. And he's THEIR guy! Wretchard's balance of power comment echoes what I have been saying since before the war began (I doubt either of us are original on this) because there is an obvious triangulation strategy available. I believe we will need to maintain some sort of presence and the Kurds would be more than happy to let us build an air base in the north. The Iraqi military would like to have the backup, too. I figure the odds are 50/50 for having an air strip. Regarding Wretchard's "options" question, oil-for-food and flyovers in Kurdistan were growing politically untenable. Saddam's confidence in kicking out UN arms teams was not a bluff. Bush had to finish the thing off before we lost out completely in the UN. Cost vs. Benefit? If nothing else, every decade or 2 we need to keep our blades sharp and show our enemies the U.S. is not a paper tiger. We've done that, removed a mass murderer, and shown muslims that terrorism isn't so cute when it happens to you. Overall, OIF has been worth it and it's a bonus that most leading Democrats have ruined their presidential aspirations by embracing defeat.

12/15/2005 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ex-dem:
Better start a blogstorm for a short Salt Lick Sabbatical.

12/15/2005 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

General Clark? General Wesley Clark? Oh yeah, I remember him -that Clinton General.

12/15/2005 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's an idea:
Pajamas hires Salt Lick.
---
Salt Lick might as well be describing MSM as a whole:

"The people that control the Roanoke Times have no respect for intellectual diversity; they don't want it at their newspaper. They've become arrogant and dismissive, insular and narrow-minded, bigoted and hateful. The election of George Bush seems to have pushed them into a region of self-righteous rage where they feel justified in doing whatever it takes to twist the citizens of SW Virginia to their agenda. Roanoke no longer has a newspaper written by real journalists, but only bumf onto which is poured the undiapered leavings of incontinent minds."

His blog on possible source of Tommy Denton's Bush hatred is highly recommended.

12/15/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

yeah, the General that photo op'd with the Yugoslav War Criminal, exchanged hats with him or some such.
Bombed those civilian targets in Serbia into submission. The Occupation is still underway, there in Kosovo. Milosovich is still in the Criminal Dock and Mr Oly Sr thinks he (Milosovich) is a hero in the Mohammedan Wars.

Porker,
Pass me some of the rinds,
Hamas stands in solidarity with their Iranian cousins, which we all knew, but I wonder if this
Meshaal said the expiry of a ceasefire with Israel, which ends at the end of 2005, meant entering a new stage of confrontation.

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Palestinian militant group Hamas will step up its attacks on Israeli targets if the Jewish state attacks its key ally in the region, Iran, Hamas chief-in-exile Khaled Meshaal said on Thursday. ...
... "It will be transition from calm situation to legitimate confrontation," he said. ..."

"Legitimate confrontation",
I wonder if he was at the Cairo Conference, along with doug's other anonymous contributors and sources.
Or if he came upon the phrase himself. Perhaps it's a coincidence of translation

12/15/2005 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'm sure Israel's biggest concern about attacking Iran is whether Hamas will step up their attacks!

12/15/2005 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Interesting...


PARIS (Reuters) - French police have seized large quantities of military weapons and explosives as part of a probe into an Islamic militant group said to have indirect links to al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, officials said on Thursday.

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyid=2005-12-15T191306Z_01_BAU568267_RTRUKOC_0_US-SECURITY-FRANCE.xml

12/15/2005 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I think Salt Lick demonstrates why key insights don't always have to come from the Kissingers of the world. Why, despite the occasional nervous moment, comments thread on this site are more valuable than the main post. It's true there are bloopers in the comments and in the main post. But, I'm beginning to realize, the misjudgements are not an order of magnitude more frequent than in official punditry.

12/15/2005 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I was just checking the BBC coverage of the election; they had a decent report on the huge turnout but I had to laugh when I read this:
However, the al-Qaeda in Iraq group denounced the election as the work of Satan and threatened attacks.

12/15/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

19 terrorists kill thousands, in New York, but an entire terrorist organization, of thousands of combatants, is of no concern to the mighty Israelis?

What is the nature of the enemy, doug?
Should we quake in fear, as they do in the subways of New York? Searching every "Profiled" target.
With not one bomb found yet.

Or are the thousands of Hamas combatants to be discounted, the lives of the Israeli children they will kill deemed unimportant to the Israelis or just unimportant to doug?

The risk / reward ratio of possible blowback from an Israeli attack on Iran should not take in the possibilities of some unintended consequences?

The primary Iranian nuclear facilities are buried under large population centers. The civilian casualty count wil be large, regardless of where the blame for those casualties falls.

Is that unimportant as well?

12/15/2005 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

After elections in Iraq we hear about victory and the insurgency being defeated. When anyone calls for a troop reduction however, we hear about how:

Imagine the world our children would face if we allowed Zawahiri, and Zarqawi, and bin Laden, and others of their ilk to seize power and operate with impunity out of Iraq. It would turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was before September 11th -- a haven for terrorist recruitment, training and a launching pad for attacks against U.S. interests and our fellow citizens. Iraq would serve as the base of a new Islamic caliphate to extend throughout the Middle East and which would threaten the legitimate governments in Europe, Africa, and Asia. This is their plan. They have said so. We make a terrible mistake if we fail to listen and learn.

It sure sounds like Secretary Rumsfeld is not yet ready to dismiss the possibility of an insurgent victory in Iraq. In fact, the most likely victors, assuming no other powers intervene –- a huge and false assumption by the way -- in Iraq will be a lethal fusion of Baathism and militant Islam. The Shiites do not look capable of going it alone, they were never able to muster much of an insurgency against Saddam with 60% of the population while a measily 20% of the Sunnis are able to lead an effective low-intensity conflict against the overwhelming might of the US military. A year or two after the Bush Administration cuts-and-runs in time for the 2006 election cycle, a recharged Islamo-Baathist Sunni group will seize power in Iraq.

Because what we are building in Iraq is nothing more than a façade – propped up by the scaffolding of American military might. The higher we build, the more precarious the temporary support becomes, and the more necessary it is for Iraqi forces to start doing the heavy lifting themselves. But our very presence in Iraq keeps many from helping, and others want no part of democracy, they prefer to rule as tyrants. Victory will come when we can withdraw most of our troops without the façade of Iraqi democracy collapsing, in other words, when the façade becomes integrated into the structure of Iraqi society. But hisorically the Shiites have been the underclass, Saddam kept all the top jobs for his Sunnis. Almost the entire office corps of the Iraqi Army was Sunni, and certainly most of the top inteligence jobs too. Right now the Iraqi "government" has next to no control over many parts of Iraq. For the foreseeable future any real withdrawal will lead to the whole project collapsing like a house of cards. But will keeping the troops in make the endgame any different, or will it only delay it?

Wretchard says: My own view is that America's position resembles Britain's vis-a-vis early 19th century Europe, when it held the balance of power on a continent racked with rivalries, switching sides to maintain the equilibrium.

This is exactly what will happen. I have always thought that the only way OIF makes any sense is if we are trying to restart, and expand to regional scale, the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88. The model would be the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union where, if we accept Phillip Bobbit’s Long War theory, the Western democracies were facing totalitarianism and thankfully instead of joining forces, the two evil giants fought and weaken each other to the point where we could finish them off piecemeal. With the West facing the threat of both militant Shiite and Sunni Islam, why not let these two monsters have a go at each other before finishing them off? When the US withdraws, Iran will be sucked in to support the hapless Shiite government. The Saudis will rightfully feel threatened along with Jordan and Egypt. Syria will be the wildcard. Will their fading Socialist-Baathist leadership trade the fading socialist part of their ideology for militant Islam? And on whose side will they fight, being 85% Sunni but lead by Shiites. The job of the US will be to keep the two sides equally balanced, a la Verdun.

12/15/2005 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

uh, 'Rat,
I meant that the crap that will hit the fan in general will make Hama's threat pale in comparison.
Point being we should take their situation MORE seriously and quit discounting their concerns with talk of "the Peace Process" w stone cold murderers.

12/15/2005 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Kevin writes: "A year or two after the Bush Administration cuts-and-runs in time for the 2006 election cycle, a recharged Islamo-Baathist Sunni group will seize power in Iraq."

Just so we're clear: This is a prediction. Not reality.

Yes. President Bush may well have to choose between staying the course and risking the loss of Congress.

He may be even tempted to withdraw some U.S. troops to placate worried voters ahead of the November 2006 elections, even if such a withdrawal were not prudent.

But to suggest that the Bush Administration is suddenly going to sign on to something the Murtha-Pelosi plan for immediate withdrawal is a horrible misreading of political reality in Washington.

The smart Democrats are scared that the Pelosis and Murthas of the party are about to blow it big time for the Democrats in 2006. The reason should be obvious: The majority American people will not vote for a party that counsels retreat.

The Bush Administration is, if anything, engaging in a bout of long overdue expectation management, explaining to key members of Congress, not to mention the American public, that Iraq is far from settled and that further exertions and sacrifices will be necessary.

This theme runs through the four major speeches that President Bush has given on Iraq in the past two weeks.

This type of rhetoric does not coincide with what one might expect to hear if the ultimate, if hidden, objective were to bail out on the entire enterprise.

12/15/2005 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/15/2005 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yes, ffe, but your type of rhetoric does not coincide with what one might expect to hear if your ultimate objective is to always fantasize the worst about and for this country.

Oh, sorry, that's Kev.

12/15/2005 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Anyway, ffe, Kev's point is we have caused INSTABILITY in the region.
Perhaps a job at State is in Kevin's future.
...has that Belgian resume, and all.

12/15/2005 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

...America's position resembles Britain's vis-a-vis early 19th century Europe, when it held the balance of power on a continent racked with rivalries, switching sides to maintain the equilibrium. This is precisely what the Kurds (in the article above) now think Khalilzid is doing when he sweetalks the Sunnis. - Wretchard

That's a fairly good analogy. But, Iraq and ME in general, have used violence as a political tool for so long that it pales compared to American/Britain situation. Maybe a "post Stalin era Russia" would be a better example (as RWE touched on the removal of the sickle and hammer). I am astounded that the parties in Iraq are using politics at all. But, it's a good sign.

As Ray points out:

2. Was this good? The deposition of one of the worse tyrants of the 20th century, the disposal of his psychopathic sons, the precipitation of democratic stirrings across the Arab world and the unfreezing of a pathological political glacier - all these things are good...

Yes, they sure are good. The Saudis put us in between a rock and hard place during Iraq 1 where they insisted that Saddam be left in place to keep Iraq from "crumbling." We ended up spending billions on Northern and Southern Watch while exposing our guys to terrorists attacks. Further, Saddam was paying suicide bomber's families $25,000 to $50,000 to encourage terrorism. I am very glad that GWB had the resolve to take Saddam out.

I agree with this part of JK's statement: I think a problem that the Left has is that they've been prone to constant emotional outbursts and predictions of doom about this situation from the very beginning. The slightest misfortune has been blown out of proportion, all the way back to Peter Arnett's interview on Iraqi television where he triumphantly concluded that "the war plan has failed."

....After the fall of Baghdad and the rise of the insurgency, there was constant talk about "quagmire" and now we hear tales of a "broken military" and all the rest. All the drama, invective,and other emotive language by critics is, most likely, just going to continue to backfire. I'm sure we'll hear plenty about how this election today was a "sham" and all sorts of other nonsense. Simpy put, the Left needs for this entire adventure to be a defeat on every level. And they have certain sought to present it as such. The bad news for them is that if things don't go as bad as they've predicted (hoped?) they'll just look ridiculous
...

Yes, they not only do they look ridiculous the look like callous cowardly power grabbers. I am sure that many service men and their families will not soon forget the dem's defeatists statements.

JK: ...I suspect that my outlook is or will be shared by many other Americans. Doubts about the wisdom of OIF, doubts about the administration's competence...

I have to disagree with that statement. There is just too much evidence that Saddam was a huge threat to the region and to Americans. The list of evidence is too long to recite.

Salt Lick makes a good summation: "immediately after 9/11, … I and millions of others were asking themselves, "How the hell are we going to get out of fighting billions of Muslims? They all hate us."

But in the past four years the Bush adminstration has managed to place the U.S. on the side of the Arab "street," as an ally supporting their voice in governance... an amazing piece of strategic and political ju-jitsu
.

It sure was. Although, many on the left mock Bush as a stupid "Chimp" that just not the case. Anyone who makes it through Harvard Business school is not a dumb "Chimp." Wretchard can probably attest to the fact that making through Harvard is no easy feat.

I think Bush, through his contacts in the ME, knows more about the people than most pundits most give him credit. Bush also used an age old tactic of divide and conquer. He was carefule not to enrage all ME countries and build relations with ones that were helpful. His process was not without its flaws - but it worked.

One area that has not be touched upon is the skill and rapid learning curve of our men and women in the military. I was surprised at how fast our guys adjusted to warfare in Afghanistan. Seeing our guys riding on donkeys was amazing. And, the skill at which they used indigenous people to help destroy the Taliban was stunning.

Iraq was harder but our guys showed the same adaptive techniques. And, finding Saddam in a spider hole in a country the size of California was amazing. Their skill as a fighting team is unmatched. I could go on and on. Those guys are skilled.

12/15/2005 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Ledger,

I agree enthusiastically with your last two paragraphs. The skills demonstrated by the special ops guys in particular, and their ability to improvise and adapt is absolutely impressive. And then there are the Marines who have shown themselves to be absolutely formidable. Particularly in the use of combined arms in urban environments.

I think this is where the dems claim that the "military is broken" is just complete gibberish. The US now has the most experienced armed forces on the planet, with a vast array of units that have been hardened by the test of combat. This will undoubtedly result in the existence of some great NCOs and senior officers in the coming years.

Even further, I've been impressed at the US military's ability to harvest and synthesize knowledge. Vast reports on "lessons learned" with analysis of the performance of every bit of equipment from the handguards on M4 carbines to uniforms to vehicles such as the Stryker. This combined with intense forensic examination of most attacks and engagements creates a powerful knowledge building capability which will only be further leveraged by the number of experienced people in the ranks; people who can put that knowledge to the best use.

There has been talk that OIF has simply served as a "terrorist training ground", and it is undoubtedly true that the other side has learned some lessons and gained some operational skills, as well. However, I think it's pretty clear to any honest observer that the US military's ability to gather and exploit knowledge is far superior to the capabilities of the opposition.

Occassionally I'll hear some blowhard insist that OIF has somehow made the US "less safe." Perhaps. In fairness, I'll say that it might be too early to say. And really, I think that question is still a bit up in the air and dependent on decisions and actions yet to come. But one thing is for sure: the US military has proven itself to be rather formidable and the capabilities they've amply demonstrated thus far will certainly give pause to any potential rivals or states which may be contemplating the support of bad guys.

But that, sadly, is only part of the equation. An ill-timed exit from Iraq due to domestic political pressure could very easily create a situation in which that formidable force is much less feared. And I have no doubt that is something very well understood by the people advocating an immediate withdrawal.

12/15/2005 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

JK, I agree with your assessment of our fighting men. They are great.

You have explained their abilities better than I. As you note: "I'll hear some blowhard insist that OIF has somehow made the US "less safe." Perhaps. In fairness, I'll say that it might be too early to say. And really, I think that question is still a bit up in the air and dependent on decisions and actions yet to come..."

Yes, the future decisions of the Iraqi political structure is the key (as are our own). But they are unknown - we are. Further, during war the future decisions are key - yet unknown. It's the nature of the beast. We are human and cannot foresee the future.

But, I am encouraged by intellectual and well thought-out post from MilBloggers in Iraq (not to mention the success in Afghanistan). It will be a tough road but worth the expenditure.

I read where MacArthur's occupation of Japan was descending into starvation and disorder. MacArthur said: "Give me bread or give me bullets." And, MacArthur got the bread.

Now, it's remotely possible that same situation will occur in Iraq - but it's a remote possibility.

There will be some Iraqi retaliations against groups like the Sunnis and other crimes but this will be resolved as time passes.

The reason that I am confident the out come will be positive is the fact that our Service men and women have good grasp of how to win wars and the politics of wars. The ability to deliver propaganda vis the MSM is quickly fading. And, not only did our guys become proficient soldiers in the ways of war - they have become proficient in the war of politics.

Some of these soldiers will come back from Iraq and enter the US political system. They will know how to counter the "defeatist" crowd and will know how to rid the American political landscape of defeatist and crusty antiwar Vietnam era politicians. They know the stakes are just too high. Our Military guys are good at the art of war and are now becoming good at the art of politics. I think they will be a positive force in this war and a solid force in politics.

How long will are guy be in Iraq? I don't know. But, I think it will be a long time. For the reasons see some of the above posts.
[history of WWII occupation]:
...The starvation concerned MacArthur. He rounded up millions of tons of food set aside for the invasion of Japan and began to feed the Japanese. When Congress balked, he said he would not treat the Japanese as they had his men on Bataan. Besides he feared riots. "Give me bread," he cabled, "or give me bullets."

[excuse the spelling ang setence stucture - I wrote this late at night]

See Part Two: The Politics of War

12/16/2005 01:14:00 AM  
Blogger sf said...

All the outstanding work by the U.S. military in Iraq will be wasted if the Dems win the next presidential election.

And of course, if that happens and the Dems follow through on their intent to pull our troops out of the region, and the bad guys plunge Iraq into civil war, the Dems will claim it's all Bush's fault for going in in the first place.

No matter how much good we see in Iraq, the Dems can turn it all into a U.S. defeat simply by winning in '08.

12/16/2005 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger EddieP said...

Joe Biden essentially said from Iraq yesterday that he was happy for the elections, and now was the time for the Iraqis to fish or cut bait. He said that they have six months and by next June the US is making significant cuts in manpower whether Iraq was ready or not.

Hell, we can't confirm a Supreme Court judge in 6 months. The new Iraqi government isn't going to be up and fully operational for a while yet and there are tremendous internal issues to be worked out.

Just more cut and run from bloviating Biden.

12/16/2005 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Kevin,

I think your predictions will not come to fruition, but only time will tell.

As for this:
The Shiites do not look capable of going it alone, they were never able to muster much of an insurgency against Saddam with 60% of the population while a measily 20% of the Sunnis are able to lead an effective low-intensity conflict against the overwhelming might of the US military.

umm, you think that might have something to do with us not using the full might of our military? Or maybe something to do with Saddam's willingness to wipe out whole villages where we will not?

I'm quite certain if we didn't care about fostering a stable democracy, or innocent civilians, we could end the insurgency tomorrow.

Toss a few babies out of a helicopter, chop off some arms and hands, maybe throw a few hundred Sunnis into a plastic shredder in Falluja square, then top it all off with a couple of chemical and biological weapons 'demonstrations' and I bet things would get 'stable' pretty quickly.

But there are other considerations, which you must have momentarily forgotten about.

12/16/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Paul,

Did the Soviets fail in Afghanistan because they were too shy to use the full force of their military. The French in Algeria? The US in Vietnam? The Israelis in Southren Lebanon?

Or maybe something to do with Saddam's willingness to wipe out whole villages where we will not?

Fallujah looked pretty wasted to me after the Marines were done with it.

Toss a few babies out of a helicopter, chop off some arms and hands, maybe throw a few hundred Sunnis into a plastic shredder in Falluja square, then top it all off with a couple of chemical and biological weapons 'demonstrations' and I bet things would get 'stable' pretty quickly.

The Sunnis would pay you real big money if you could get our military to do just that. They’d be laughing all the way back to power. That’s their whole game plan – and to some extent they’ve achieved a good part of it.

There is this whole idea that somehow we can scare people into submission. Yes, sometimes, with certain groups, it works, like Saddam did with the Shiites in Iraq. It’s called a slave mentality; they would rather be alive and slaves than dead and not. This is my whole point. The Sunnis are the former ruling class and they feel they have a divine right to rule; they would rather be dead than proven wrong about that. No, it doesn’t make much sense to me either but neither did the Vietnamese willingness to lose 2 million souls to conquer South Vietnam.

If the Chinese invaded Los Angeles tomorrow and they took the bottom 60% of population from the barrios and ghettos and put them in power, how long do you think it would take, after the CHinese left, before that former top 20% ruling class of the most educated and wealthy took back the reigns of power and sent the pretenders scampering back to their ghettos?

12/16/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

We could have used nuclear weapons in Vietnam, so yes we were shy about using the full force of military.

Did the tide in the Russian/Afghan war turn before or after the US got involved and armed them with stinger missiles?

I'm not sure LA is the best hypothetical, those top 20% would include lots of Hollywood actors, writers, producers and agents. Somehow I think if the gang members that would comprise much of your bottom % from the ghettos were put into power by force of the Chinese, they would find a way to hold off the insurgency of Tom Cruise, Ted Danson, the mayor, or any collection of CEOs that would make up your top 20%.

But now I've turned this discussion silly.

You seem to be saying that what we are doing now, is not sufficient to defeat them (insurgency). However, if we become even more ruthless, then we play right into their hands!

If those assumptions are right, well then, I suppose the insurgency is... invincible.

12/16/2005 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The enemy of the USA always is in Kevin's World.
That's why he's so comfy in Belgium.

12/16/2005 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Paul

You seem to be saying that what we are doing now, is not sufficient to defeat them (insurgency). However, if we become even more ruthless, then we play right into their hands!

but in the comment before you said:

umm, you think that might have something to do with us not using the full might of our military? Or maybe something to do with Saddam's willingness to wipe out whole villages where we will not?

I'm quite certain if we didn't care about fostering a stable democracy, or innocent civilians, we could end the insurgency tomorrow.


We agree!

The US’ grand strategy of trying establishing a democracy, among other reasons, does not allow us to take the ruthless steps necessary to wipe out the insurgency. We both know the only way to really smash an insurgency is to slaughter one hundred innocent civilians for every soldier shot at. There is no way to do a triage within the local population between civilians and insurgents, so you have to do what the Nazis did and wipe out the entire village. That’s what’s going on in Darfur as we speak. But the US is unable to employ such tactics in Iraq. Therefore...

BTW, good point about the LA example! It also totally contradicts my usual spiel about how useless our upper classes are.

Doug,

I’m no where near as comfy as you are in balmy Hawaii right now. It's cold and snowing here

12/17/2005 12:34:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Finally:

“This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies. Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country.”

Is it just my imagination, or does there seem to be a cadre within the intelligence community now in full-scale revolt against its own government? In wartime, no less.

Capitol Hill may traditionally be the most prolofic source of leaked classified, but it's not presently the most damaging.

12/17/2005 11:29:00 AM  

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