Sunday, March 19, 2006

A reason to believe

Iyad Allawi, the former Prime Minister of Iraq, is being quoted as describing Iraq in a state of civil war.

"It is unfortunate that we are in civil war. We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more," Allawi told the BBC. "If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is."

Jalal Talabani apparently rejects this assertion.

"One can completely rule out the threat of a civil war," Jalal Talabani, the president, told reporters after a meeting of political parties discussing the formation of a unity government. The Iraqi people cannot accept a civil war. We are passing through a difficult period right now, but the attachment of Iraqis to their country will prevent such a war," he said. "We are a long way from a civil war and we are working towards a formula for a national accord."

The British Defense Minister says that Allawi had said something rather diferent to him just shortly before his BBC interview.

While visiting British troops in Iraq on Sunday, Defense Secretary John Reid said Allawi's remarks to the BBC contradicted what the former prime minister told him during a Saturday meeting.

"Every single politician I have met here from the prime minister to the president, the defense minister and indeed Ayad Allawi himself yesterday said to me there's an increase in the sectarian killing, but there's not a civil war and we will not allow a civil war to develop," Reid said.

Commentary

So what's the truth? The principle in determining truth should be to apply the factual indicator test. A civil war is a visible event whose indicators includes the insubordination of armed units, mass refugee flows, the rise of rival governments, etc. The test is whether those events are being observed. What famous individuals say about a situation is a shortcut for encapsulating a factual assessment; it describes reality as public figures see it but is not the reality itself. That remains a mystery until developments unfold. One interesting indicator of how the US military sees the situation are its plans to turn over large parts of the country to Iraqi forces. Bloomberg reports:

March 17 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. hopes to hand over 75 percent of Iraq to Iraqi Security Forces by the end of the summer, the second-ranking U.S. commander in Baghdad said. ``All indications are that we will make that,'' Lieutenant General Peter Chiarelli, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, said from Baghdad during a briefing televised at the Pentagon today, adding that he didn't ``want to be so precise as to put myself in a box.'' ...

Since the bombing, Iraqi security forces have performed well ``without regard for their religious or tribal affiliations,'' Chiarelli said. ... He estimated that Iraqis currently control ``somewhere under 50 percent'' of the nation, adding that ``there are large areas out in al-Anbar where that is not the case.'' Insurgent violence is centered in al-Anbar, a Sunni-dominated province west of the capital. ``We are finding that Iraqi units, with our support, can be used in just about any operation we do in a counter-insurgency role,'' Chiarelli said, speaking via a video-link from Baghdad. ``They are particularly well prepared and well trained and have the ability to do that in just about any area.''

This apparently innocuous statement contains a wealth of implication. It primarily suggests confidence, but it also admits that while Iraqi forces are coming along, they are not yet decisive without the assistance of US forces. The insurgency in Anbar, though contained, has not yet been stamped out, though sometime between now and the end of summer more inroads will be made upon it if Chiarelli's statements are any guide to events.

Politically what's interesting is how the narrative has changed. Nobody is talking about the Sunni insurgency succeeding any more. Even the press hardly makes the claim of an insurgency on the brink of success. As late as November 2005, the Daily Kos was boasting: "The occupation is exacerbating terrorism in the country. America is losing, the insurgency is winning. Maybe we should say, 'has won.'" But by the December 2005 elections this view could no longer be held by anyone with the slightest regard for the facts. Juan Cole said: 

The guerrillas are really no more than mosquitoes to US forces. The casualties they have inflicted on the US military, of over 2000 dead and some 15,000 wounded, are deeply regrettable and no one should make light of them. But this level of insurgency could never defeat the US military in the field.

Cole forgets to remind the reader that mosquitoes did for the French in Algeria, the Russians in Afghanistan and even pushed the Israelis out of Lebanon. The enormity of the victory against the insurgency was never a given. In some respects the US achievement was historical. Whatever else happens, this should be remembered.

Cole also rejected assertions that Iraq was in Civil War.

[Myth:] Iraq is already in a civil war, so it does not matter if the US simply withdraws precipitately, since the situation is as bad as it can get. No, it isn't. During the course of the guerrilla war, the daily number of dead has fluctuated, between about 20 and about 60. But in a real civil war, it could easily be 10 times that. Some estimates of the number of Afghans killed during their long set of civil wars put the number at 2.5 million, along with 5 million displaced abroad and more millions displaced internally. Iraq is Malibu Beach compared to Afghanistan in its darkest hours. The US has a responsibility to get out of Iraq responsibly and to not allow it to fall into that kind of genocidal civil conflict.

Instead of insurgency the talking points have changed to how Sunnis might soon become victims of an ethnically hostile Iraqi army in a Civil War. Going from a boast of conquest to a portrayal of victim is usually an indicator of something. In my view, the shift of meme from the "insurgency" to a "civil war" is a backhanded way of admitting the military defeat of the insurgency without abandoning the characterization of Iraq is an American fiasco. It was Zarqawi and his cohorts themselves who changed the terms of reference from fighting US forces to sparking a 'civil war'. With any luck, they'll lose that campaign too.

54 Comments:

Blogger sirius_sir said...

With any luck, they'll lose that campaign too.

With all due respect, sir, I don't think luck has anything to do with it.

Determination and continued commitment is 'all' that is needed.

3/19/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

There is a usefull definition in FM100-20

CIVIL WAR - A war between factions of the same country; there are five criteria for international recognition of this status:

- the contestants must control territory,

- have a functioning government,

- enjoy some foreign recognition,

- have identifiable regular armed forces, and

- engage in major military operations.


Considering that the insurgents meet NONE of those five criteria, semantically it is certainly not a civil war (yet). A Kurdish v Iraqi government war would qualify, this current situation does not.

Given the Arabic cultural trait of exaggeration in speaking, is it not true that the use of the hyperbolic "civil war" may be better interpreted as an expression of the seriousness of the sectarian violence / civil strife / insurgency?

3/19/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Elam Bend said...

Unless it is being grossly under-reported, I cannot recall a single city or village that Zarqawi is said to control right now (having set up an "Islamic Republic"). There have even been rumors that Z is in Iran. He has been strangely quiet lately (I'm not convinced that he was resposible for the shrine bombing).

Yet, we hear nothing of this in the press. No, "Zarqawi on the run" headlines. The Persian-fed sectarian conflict is now the real danger in Iraq and is rightly focused upon, but Wretchard is right, this comes with a tacit acknowledgement that Al Queda has been defeated in Iraq (though they will likely remain for a while). Even Al Quedas activity and pronouncements signal this, as they now seem to be focusing on Afghanistan and Palestine.

3/19/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Elam Bend said...

The real shame is that it is now when Americans seem to have the least amount of faith in the project.

3/19/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Dick Morris (yeah, I know, I know. But, he does know politics) says that the "Sectarian" violence is a Middle-Eastern way of negotiating for control of oil revenues.

I think he's right.

3/19/2006 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

American Civil War (1861–1865)
Battle deaths (Union) 140,414
Other deaths in service (nontheater) (Union) 224,097

5,000,000–9,000,000 - Russian Civil War (1917–1921)

2,300,000–3,100,000 - Vietnam War (entire war 1945–1975)

2,500,000–3,500,000 - Korean War (1950–1953)

1,700,000–2,300,000 - Khmer Rouge (1975–1979)

1,300,000–6,100,000 - Chinese Civil War (1928–1949) note that this figure excludes World War II casualties

550,000 - Somali Civil War (1988 - )

500,000 - Angolan Civil War (1975–2002)
500,000 - Ugandan Civil War (1979–1986)
360,000–1,000,000 - Spanish Civil War (1936–1939)
300,000 - First Burundi Civil War (1972)

at a rate of 50 - 70 persons a day in a country of 26 million we need (uganda being close at 27 million) about 8000 days of this level of killing, so I'd suggest that in order to make it a true civil war, the groups need to kill about 700 people a day for the next 2 solid years, otherwise, the death rate of 50-70 a day is LESS than under mr saddam love festival...

3/19/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

The reporting on the three year anniversary of OIF in my local birdcage liner was appalling.The war was an unmitigated disaster.There were never any WMD.There were absolutely no ties of any kind between Saddam and AQ.
Interesting this is at a time when the documents are at least making a plausible case for WMD's and strong Saddam-AQ ties.These reporters are either inept boneheads or flagrant liars.Their writing is so poor I won't let my dogs crap on it.

3/19/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Hard to pick one subversive fool outta the pack, but I just heard Marvin Kalb on Fox say that "victory is unatainable". I don't mind him stating his opinion--free country--but I think I need to decalare martial law on my ears.

"No Mas!"

3/19/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Shep Barbash said...

'the shift of meme from the "insurgency" to a "civil war" is a backhanded way of admitting the military defeat of the insurgency'

And yet, Rumsfeld in the Post today continues to use the same argument: that to leave Iraq now would be to turn the country over to the ex-Baathists and Zarqawi. Shouldn't the Administration switch gears and say that to leave now would be to turn Iraq over to a chaotic consortium (as described by Amir Taheri in the NY Post) of 11 militias (presumably mostly Shiite) comprising 150,000 men more loyal to their neighborhoods than to their nation? Could anyone direct me to a good analysis of the possible impact on the GWOT of such a 'turning over' of Iraq to the militias? I haven't read any.

3/19/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Defeating the Sunni insurgency isn't the same as winning the War on Terror or even completing the mission in Iraq. It's possible to claim one without prematurely declaring total victory, just as it was possible to say that a Pacific island was taken even if Japan was still undefeated. Even if stragglers still abounded in the jungle it served a good mental purpose to say "next island" and avoid becoming psychologically stuck on it because the focus of the campaign had moved on.

Iraq is probably dynamic in that way. There are those for whom the debate will forever be about whether "there were WMDs" or "did we have enough boots on the ground in 2003" or "was there a good plan in place". But the situation on the ground moves on. I honestly don't think the central problem is about Zarqawi riding to victory in Baghdad anymore if it was ever that. And it's important to recognize that or the whole campaign will be waged in Groundhog day.

3/19/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Could anyone direct me to a good analysis of the possible impact on the GWOT of such a 'turning over' of Iraq to the militias? I haven't read any.


I'll sum it for you in one sentence. Tehran municipality garbage trucks in Najaf. Which is, more or less, the situation today.

3/19/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger khr128 said...


- the contestants must control territory,

- have a functioning government,

- enjoy some foreign recognition,

- have identifiable regular armed forces, and

- engage in major military operations.


With some imagination, one can say that these conditions were fulfilled in Falluja between the first (disastrous and cowardly) recall of marines and the second methodical cleanup of insurgency there.

Let's see:
1. The insurgents did control Falluja as a territory
2. I think they had some sort of authoritarian government there, probably mullahs in mosques.
3. They were galdly recognized by international liberal media and about one half of the USA political establishment, even if tacitly.
4. They did have some sort of an army.
5. They did engage in military activity.

However, their last "engagement" with Marines and Iraqi forces was so conclusive that it's safe to say that that particular "civil war" is over.

My point is that MSM are late again. They start crying civil war when there's not much to talk about anymore.
OTOH, MSM do prefer to talk about non-issues, so it's a good sign.

3/19/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

A civil war is a conflict over who controls the government of a nation. Under this definition the "American Civil War" was no such thing; the CSA had no interest in taking over the U.S. Govt and only wanted to be left alone. Although raised in the place where it all started, I had not realized this perspective until a few years ago.

In Iraq, the Sunnis as a whole, or the minority of them who are part of the insurgency, have no hope of taking over the government. They are outgunned, outnumbered, and. most importantly, outbraved. The foreign fighters have even less hope of taking over; not even the Sunnis would stand for that.

But the Sunnis, or a least a good percentage of them, do indeed want to take over the government. So it is a Civil War - but not like the CSA versus the USA, or the VC versus the ARVN, it is more like an Indian uprising.

3/19/2006 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I hate to keep harping on the MSM, but they need harping, they are deeply hurting the morale of the weakest among us. Today, the NYT devotes a front-page story, continued inside to take up a full page, on a very weakly sourced story about a Special Forces detention camp. The worst thing they can come up with is maybe some of the inmates were shot ... with paintballs.

On the Op-ed pages, we see an editorial blaming the mythical defeat in Iraq on Rummy, and an opinion piece by a recently retired general who served in Iaq that slanders, not just Rummy, but Tommy Franks and most of the chain of command.

And Wretchard, thanks for pointing out that catching Zarqawi won't be the end of the insurgency in Iraq, just as finding Osama's body won't be the end of the "failure" of Tora Bora.

The MSM and half our electorate exhibit the clear signs of deep depression and despair, and they are going to embrace their despond as long as they don't like the political party in office. As the Pew survey has proven every year since 1972, Democrats are ALWAYS more depressed than everyone else, and the liberals among the Dems are most depressed of all. They have learned to look for wrong in America every where they can find it, and if they can't find it, it's important to make it up. It feeds the depression. Like the guy who's always complaining he doesn't have enough money, because he is too depressed to get a damn job.

Arrrgggggh. Sorry for the rant. At least once a month I force myself to read the NYT on Sunday. Arrrrrggggghhhhh.

Bush's most lasting legacy is going to be his getting us deeply involved in fundamentally changing the malignant conditions in the Middle East. No matter what, they'll never go back to what they were on 9/10/01. And THAT'S a good thing.

3/19/2006 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Tony,

That's an astute observation. (Mainly because I agree. :) But I'll also add that there's a lot of corruption and a lot of baksheesh money that's feeding the defeatist stance of the MSM. An astute lawyer/detective team could be raking billions! going after this corruption. But as d'Rat pointed out, and on more than one occasion, the government's lawyers are completely inept and incompetent.

3/19/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

This global war, this global economy, these global times, the great Liberal Know-Nothing Movement (steering by the Reds), all these things and more, are being handled by this administration about as well as possible, given the very high level of adversary activity. If our Democrats weren't such an amalgam of shoddiness, everything would be going better and faster with far less cost.

This fact ought to put them out of power forever. They can't run anything, not a school system or a union or a city, without it going crooked and topsy and worse than nothing at all.

They're just a terrific impediment to practically everything that needs doing, and the mechanism is this relentless stream of meaningless teacup atmospherics that they continually attempt to puff up into the size of the things the president is doing for the good of mankind.

So much energy spent in this effort to waste the energy that is trying to apply itself to doing the right things. A shame, a damned shame.

3/19/2006 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Buddy:
We can only hope that America sees through the Dem BS. Their behaviour has been boorish at the least and they would have long since been ostracised and ignored by polite company.

We can only hope...

3/19/2006 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Interview on RCTI TV with Yulia Supadmo:

QUESTION: Okay. Now moving on to the issue of Palestine, you canceled your previously scheduled visit to Indonesia when Prime Minister Sharon was ill. Do you think that sends a message to Indonesians that when it comes to shove and push, the U.S. will ultimately side with Israel when it comes to interest between Palestine and Israel?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, in fact, I was unable to come here. I'm here now...

QUESTION: In your meeting with Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda yesterday there as a proposal that Indonesians and mainly other Muslim countries have asked that whether the United States would be more willing to receive Hamas as the ruling government in Palestine, if it were to act more realistically. How have you responded to calls like that?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the situation with Hamas is as follows. Hamas was elected in an election for which we congratulated the Palestinian people...

QUESTION: Secretary Rice, considering so-called radical Islamic movement in Indonesia, which you would obviously consider as a threat to U.S. interests, as well as Indonesian maybe, how far would the U.S. go in neutralizing these elements that are anti-American in Indonesia?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, let me start with -- to whom they're a threat. They are a threat to all of us...

Interview on TV

3/19/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

10-4, Whit. I ought not watch the Sunday talk shows--today was all about impeachment and censure over the NSA. World-shaking events call for a summing up of great national will to finish a job that unborn generations cry out for the doing, and we have to endure this endless series of conspiracies to pretend outrage over silly, made-up issues. Feh.

3/19/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I gave up those Sunday talk shows a few years ago. Pompous talking heads (except Brit Hume) promoting a defeatist agenda. Forget about them. Ignore them, scorn them. They and their fellow travelers should be ashamed but the left knows no shame. So good people must stand up for what is good and true in spite of the "nattering nabobs of negativism."

3/19/2006 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

The "Civil War" meme is the most damaging conjecture that can be drawn from the least coherent set of the facts. Its the Chop Suey made from the left overs of the full meal the MSM concocted that has not yet rotted afer being picked over by the Left.

3/19/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Brit Hume is a great newsman. It's not just that he straightens out the lies, it's that he tells the truth, straight up. His theme today was how the left is pretending that the illegality of the NSA program is a "given". Not so, not by a long shot, he made clear.

It just kills the America-haters how successful FoxNews is. Good. Hope they get bleeding ulcers.

3/19/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Buddy,

They don't need bleeding ulcers, if there was a way of being more miserable, one of their liberal friends would have "shared" it with them by now.

Either for open-minded or "typing practice" reasons, I correspond regularly with the other side. (And no, I don't feel like I'm John Kerry meeting with Ho Chi Minhions in Paris while still in the Navy.) My poor friends are bound and determined to be sad, and I noticed they started being mad, at me, for pointing it out.

So now, to make them "happy" I send them things about the new American Theocracy and Dominionism. Some people send jokes, some send dirty pix, some send super depressing delusions. When in Rome, if you want your liberal friends to write back, send the worst views of America you can find. They'll thank you for expanding their self-loathing with more proof and detail.

You don't want to cut off your communications with your liberal fellow Americans. You just need to talk to them in their language: despair, defeat, in a word: Life sux and then you die. And it's your fault.

3/19/2006 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The truth is in the eyes of the beholder. Allawi wants to be heard and as such must follow the rules. Give the media the sound bite they are looking for or be mute by a better reported inaccuracy.

Allawi wants to be heard he must first be listened to. Such is the perverted nature of modern entertainment.

Conversely, the US has made it abundantly clear of late that if Iraq was to descend into sectarian violence, that certain remedies aside, it would cede the predicament, intact to the newly created government. There are no innocents left in Iraq, as there are no more of worthy note left in Palestine. It is in this sense that the US hopes to act as a catalyst in it’s war efforts, that it would effect change but not be consumed in the resultant chemical reaction or in other words to be a “substance that alters the rate of a reaction without being consumed by the reaction”.

Allawi, like John McCain would like to be that catalyst. Both war hardened men in their own manner of exile, except that John thinks that CCR wrote songs about him.

I suspect that the game will be called when the Iraqis have complete control, which by relative standards will be around 51%. As GHB was faulted with drawing the line short beyond Highway 80, GWB will be faulted with drawing the line shorter of a democracy of 80%.

3/19/2006 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

War Tapes

3/19/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

Wretchard,

Hope you're right about this.

Note: I learn more at Belmont Club than in the regular news...Your outstanding commentary is always worth the read.

3/19/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger Shep Barbash said...

Regarding Wretchard's response to my comment, I agree with you, but this leaves unanswered my question as to why Rumsfeld et al persist in naming the Baathists and Zarqawi as the likely ones to step into the vacuum created by a US departure. Indeed he has said this so often over the last year it leaves the impression that HE is waging the campaign on Groundhog day, which I'm sure he isn't. So my real question is: why no change in the Adminstration's rhetoric to match the changes/victories you rightly point out--ie. the islands we have taken?

3/19/2006 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Cheney denies Iraq in civil war:

Cheney attributed the administration's "aggressive, forward-leaning strategy" in going after extremists since the September 11 attacks as one of the main reasons the United States had not been struck again at home.

"I think we are going to succeed in Iraq, I think the evidence is overwhelming," Cheney said.

Cheney

3/19/2006 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

It may not be a true "Civil War" but it is a true "Propaganda War."

3/19/2006 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger reverend@onlineblessings.com said...

Have you inspired someone? Have you touched them spiritualy? You can do both with a blessing from www.onlineblessings.com.

3/19/2006 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Al Qaeda's hand in tipping Iraq toward civil war:

Iraq has become a magnet for radicalism as it heads toward fragmentation. The situation for the US military is increasingly dangerous.

For Al Qaeda, everything is going entirely according to plan.

Civil War

3/20/2006 12:14:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

The author of the article to which Sam linked is: Abdel Bari Atwan, editor in chief of al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper in London, is the author of "The Secret History of Al Qaeda."

3/20/2006 01:26:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Pork Rinds for allah has it just about right on the civil war killings.
Of course my preferred way to kill Muslims is nuclear or at minimum many many C-130 dropped MOAB's...a real attention getter.
Post colonial Africa, the Arabian Peninsula have been train wrecks since forever, and they're spreading like a noxious weed.
We need all the Malthusian depredations visited on them and war is a great starting point.
So things here get economically tight, big deal. It just means the fat kids playing video games instead of doing physical work will have to do more. The Boomers will have to have one TV and a car.
Muslims, kill 'em, kill'em all.

3/20/2006 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

habu_1, your focus on killing lots of muslims, while ignoring economic consequences is short sighted. I am somewhat cold blooded about your views on the killing, because I think we are truly in a clsh between cultures. I would not characterize it as a clash between "civilizations" because in my view their "civilization" hardly qualifies as such. Anyway I have no real objection to their living in any manner they want, though I think it is a pity that they are so stupid.

However the economic consequences you airily shrug off involve quite a bit more than turning off a few TV sets and driving less. You were probably not alive during the Great Depression, if so you don't have the background to know what would be involved. Truthfully I doubt if anyone does, conditions are more dangerous now.

3/20/2006 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is comprised of 70 million Muslims. Russia totals 150 million.

3/20/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

ot

a must read...

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=5342

3/20/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

We're reading the Chronicles of Narnia as a family and we're on "The Horse and His Boy." (We sit down for an hour before bed and read out loud instead of watching tv.)

The Horse and His Boy is all about Islam, and what a great education this is for my kids. The "Calormene" people are deceitful, cruel, and corrupt. (What a glorious movie this would make, and so politically incorrect!)

Yet Aravis is a Muslim girl (er, a Calormene girl) and she is brave, resourceful and smart.

My kids are learning a valuable lesson with this novel, and without becoming bigots in the process. I despise the Islamic religion, but I do not despise the Islamic people. I have great hopes for them, and indeed I think we all have "A reason to believe."

3/20/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

heh, I wonder how many times the DailyKos has linked to the BC?

Buddy re: 4:11p comment--well said.

entertaining in a sad way: Cindy Sheehan one year on

3/20/2006 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Thanks for the g2 on FM100-20 Fp. I wasn't able to get the link to work or find an online copy. I'll continue reading and see if someone else has located.

"Given the Arabic cultural trait of exaggeration in speaking..." Great line. It is a little annunciated fact. Death to EXAGERATION!!!

3/20/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Pork, $40 mil will buy you lots of paper. Given that Saudia is the buyer and Harvard is the seller, you can count on that paper being toilet paper.

3/20/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

AL JAZEERA CENSORS CINDY SHEEHAN

3/20/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

The U.S. public may, or may not, make it past this latest over-hyped 'Tet' moment, brought to us by the media.

The seeming collapse of war support among Beltway conservative punditry is certainly more damaging than the international traveling circus of Clinton-era ankle-biters, nay-sayers and second-guessers.

But then, they all get paid for appearing clever, not necessarily for being right.

It seems the Spring offensive, on the only battlefield which has ever mattered in this war -- that of American public opinion -- is in full swing.

3/20/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

gatewaypundit

The enticing nakedness of peace mother Sheehan was determined to be too sumptuous for the Aljazeera male audience. The innocent, yet weak willed male readers, must be protected from such enticement lest it lead them to transgression.

NeanderNews says it was too hot for Islam.Sparks from the Anvil has put together a Cindy video for your viewing pleasure.

Update: She sure looks happy for having a dislocatied shoulder and concussion.

3/20/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

All Things Beautiful TrackBack Lost In Translation:

"Wretchard goes on to say in what I think is an important must read article:

"Politically what's interesting is how the narrative has changed. Nobody is talking about the Sunni insurgency succeeding any more. Even the press hardly makes the claim of an insurgency on the brink of success...."

3/20/2006 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

We are winning in Iraq.

3/20/2006 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Thanks for that link annoy. Good to see all that stuff in one place.

Best one was about the $6 million makeover for the stock exchange -- certainly befitting the Arab world's most dynamic economy.

Seems war opponents in the media were so sure we'd lose in Iraq that they're anxious to declare defeat and hope no one notices. They seem to be doing a good job on armchair warriors.

Well, it worked in Vietnam . . .

Lee Kwan Yew said this was a matter of American will power. I don't doubt him.

3/20/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger StoutFellow said...

With any luck, they'll lose that campaign too.

It may just be that the anti-war movement is running out of steam. Even though the headlines say "Tens of thousands march against the Iraq war around the world", the counts for specific locations are very low - 200 near New Orleans, a thousand or so in New York, 800 in Japan. There were 10,000 in Oregon but many fewer than the millions worldwide in 2003 and 2004.

Even more telling is the level to which the quality of the slogans have declined. Is this pitiful or what?

No Hurricane for Oil!

Activist Cindy Sheehan, who energized the anti-war movement last summer with her monthlong protest outside Bush's Texas ranch, joined the Gulf Coast marchers in Mississippi on Friday but left early Sunday for events in Washington.

"Katrina only happened because of the incompetence and callousness of the [Bush] administration, just as we've seen in Iraq," Sheehan said Sunday.


I'm inclined to believe this is because more and more people are now connecting the suicide bombers and murderers of civilians in Iraq with the suicide bombers murderers of civilians operating elsewhere, e.g. Jordan, Beruit, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Indonesia etc. etc. etc. Once that connection is made, 'No Hurricane for Oil' or even 'No Blood for Oil' for that matter, becomes a much less compelling cry to rally support against the war to establish a democratic and stable Iraq.

3/20/2006 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Ed Brenegar said...

Wretchard, I appreciate your insight and historical perspective. What the elites of our nation do not realize is that we are at an historic turning point. We are witnessing a level of change that is revolutionary. And what they cannot accept is the fact that they are not responsible for it. This is why they hate Bush, why they are inherently defeatist, and why they are showing that much of what happens in academia and in the media is irrelevant to what happens on the world stage. This is the second act of the demise of the post-World War II consensus. The first was the fall of Soviet Communism. The second is the decline of the viability of global government. The third act is taking place in Iraq, and will result in the spread of indigenous democracies across the globe. Is there an historical inevitibility about these trends? No, but as the elites of government, academia and the media continue their decline, no intellectual challenge to the course we are on seems to be emerging. At the heart of this change are intellectual beliefs that drive people to make the sacrifices to create a better world for their families, communities and nation. Ideas have consequences, and none greater than the idea of freedom. When you stack freedom up against the cynicism of Western elitism, the game is over. Cyncism offers nothing for the individual seeking a better life. As a result, the tide is turning, and the time of freedom is dawning across the globe.

3/21/2006 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

shep barbash:

Why should Rumsfeld change his narrative to respond to the shifting goalposts of the media and/or opponents of the war? That'd provide legitimacy to their point of view, which I doubt he'd want to do. If he were to switch from "The enemy in Iraq is al Qaeda and its supporters" (which is still true and has been all along) to "The enemy in Iraq is instability," it'd be that much easier to make the case that stability is our goal rather than the successful planting of a true, democratic regime (I use "regime" in the sense of "regimen" or "societal philosophy" rather than "puppet government" as I'm sure some would take it) in the Middle East.

I hope he sticks with what he's using. Yes, Zarqawi ought to be careful what he wishes for, but it's as Wretchard said: our victory over the "insurgency" was not assured, and we could still lose, at least in the eyes of the Muslim world (which is a loss that matters - it was Somalia that emboldened bin Laden, etc.), if we were to leave before the Iraqi government is self-sufficient.

3/21/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger oxfordtom said...

D'you know, I really do hope that people follow the link to Juan Cole's blog. That post lists ten misconceptions people have of Iraq, and in eight of them he thinks the reality is worse than people think. Perhaps I should also link to his Top ten catastrophes of the third year of American Iraq? There's no corresponding post for the Top ten successes.

He also seems to think that it is a civil war (though a low-intensity one), since he quotes Iyad Allawi and the Turkish ambassador to Iraq approvingly (see his front page).

Selectively quoting your sources so they appear biased? I would hope no American would do such a thing! Why, it might lead to war....

3/22/2006 01:20:00 AM  
Blogger hubris ante nemesis said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/23/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger oxfordtom said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/24/2006 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger oxfordtom said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/24/2006 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger oxfordtom said...

Followup to my last post: Juan Cole just published an article with the byline "Desperate to convince voters we're winning, Bush is denying that Iraq is having a civil war. But the facts contradict him.". See here. I know it's Salon, but hold your noses.

3/24/2006 06:10:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger