Friday, April 07, 2006

Red Harvest

Iraq the Model thinks the suicide attack on a Baghdad Shi'ite mosque may have more serious political consequences than one would expect.

A closer look at the targeted mosque makes me think that the ramifications of this massacre can possibly be much worse than the immediate death and pain this terror attack brought, the Buratha mosque is not an ordinary mosque, it has a special religious value for Shia Iraqis as it's thought to be one of the places where Imam Ali stayed and prayed. But that's not the most important thing because this mosque is of considerable political significance, the preacher in this mosque is Jalal Addin al-Sagheer, a cleric from the SCIRI who was the first SCIRI member to publicly urge Ibrahim al-Jafari to withdraw his nomination for office. This mosque is one of the headquarters of the SCIRI and its clerical wing in Baghdad, even that Abdul Aziz al-Hakeem's son Ammar al-Hakkem preaches occasionally in this mosque when sheikh Jalal is not available.

Omar goes on to speculate who might have done it and comments on the diabolical cleverness with which it was executed.

Let's also take a look at the planning for the attack that is very well studied too, the suicide bombers did not start striking during Friday prayers when the place is usually heavily guarded and security personnel are at high alert but the first strike came more than 15 minutes later when an attack is less expected and after guards felt they accomplished their mission in protecting the worshippers during the main ceremony to be followed by the other two bombings that took advantage of the state of panic created by the first bombing. This in addition to the use of disguise has of course made the breach easier to make.

Apparently Coalition intel knew something was up, but didn't know the specific target. Bill Roggio says:

The attack in Baghdad followed a warning from the Interior ministry that "it received intelligence that insurgents were preparing to set off seven car bombs in Baghdad." The ministry "cautioned people in Baghdad to avoid crowds near mosques and markets due to a car bomb threat." The only good news that can be taken out of this is the Iraqi security forces' intelligence seems to be improving, as this attack was anticipated, but not enough to the point where this specific attack could have been deterred.


It's tempting to speculate extensively but it is probably best to stay on safe ground. The mosque attack may well be connected with the political wrangling within the SCIRI in relation to the formation of a unity government. And it increasingly looks -- "looks" being an uncertain term -- like the shape of the fight is changing away from encounters between insurgents and coalition forces (such as in Falluja) to something that looks like the Battle of Algiers, pre-war Shanghai and Prohibition-era Chicago all rolled into one, but relocated to Baghdad with the addition that some of the gangs have international backing. With the MSM providing the play by play.


Blogger rufus said...

Pass the popcorn.

4/07/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

If only more mainstream journalistic attention - and more op-ed attention - was devoted to the actual political parties, players, affiliations and intentions. This ought to have been far more of a focus - with far less emphasis, when discussed, on "US-backed" this and that - from the first provisional government. A journalistic failing of the first order. And we know how much they love pointing out failings.

4/07/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I can speculate in comments and hope someone who knows more can help out. First, this could be a signal to Addin al-Sagheer that it's bad for his health not to play along with the Sadrists. Like leaving a horse's head in his bedroom, so to speak. Or it could just be an excuse for certain militias to go on a rampage. Or maybe it's a setup. The best thing is to see how it plays because that'll give an indication of how this move is understood.

The problem for the Coalition will be how to act without joining the game themselves. Simply rounding up the probable suspects may in itself be viewed as partisan. But there may be no help for it.

4/07/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Oh, and get me a Bud Light out of the fridge while you're up.

You know, any little league coach will tell you that there comes a time to sit back and enjoy the game. I'm not saying you quit coaching and teaching in the middle of the game, but on the other hand; you can't hit for them, and you can't pitch for them, and you can't run for them.

4/07/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

You see, it's a long season. There will be surprises, good and bad. You won't win every game, and you don't always win the Championship; even if you're the Yankee's.

We've done, and are doing, about all that's possible. The Iraqi military's coming along pretty good considering where we started. The police force is going to take a lot of work. We're getting started on that. We're getting a rudimentary intelligence agency going. We're building up the borders.

Khalilzad has twisted arms, and noses, and ears, and everything else he could get hold of to try to get the politicians going. The USAID guys have been challenged (sometimes by themselves) but they have made some strides.

I'm not saying it's time to quit. Far from it, I'm saying we're doing pretty good, and we should continue doing it. But, there are SOME things that are outside of our control. And those things (like the politics) we'll just have to watch and see.

Got any more of those chips?

4/07/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...


Without a civil war, the ISF and coalition have the manpower to track down the real insurgency like the dogs they are.

Last year, anti-occupation sentiment was being exploited to create "background noise".

This year it is sectarian violence.

This specific act is probably designed to maintain the deadlock on forming a unity government, while simultaneously flaming sectarian violence.

4/07/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Elam Bend said...

Is it sectarian violence if it's Shiite v. Shiite? It's all powerplay now and the big fight is how much influence Sadr/Iran is going to have in Iraq.

4/07/2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Suicide bombers dressed as women, attacking a famous Shiite mosque for maximum casulites.... Occam's razor says this is another al Qaeda action intended to promote civil war (I'm so glad this is happening on the other side of the planet).

4/07/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Remember, they're negotiating for control of $120,000,000.00/Day in oil revenue. That kind of money can get a LOT of people killed in the ME.

4/07/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It matters only marginally to Iran whether the PM is Mr al-Jaafari or Mr Mahdi or facsimile.
The SCIRI is sympathetic to Iran, that's a fact. Most all of the SCIRI big shots found Sanctuary in Iran, when Saddam was in charge.

The degree of sympathy to the Iranians is all that differs.

It has been what, a week, since some in the SCIRI called for a different candidate to represent the UIA.
Still Mr al-Jaafari hangs on, while the Kurds still balk at his re-election.

Time moves on.

Mr Bush's letter to Mr Sistani lies untranslated, the seal on the envelope not yet broken.
Weeks after it's delivery.

4/07/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

The deeper implication that the response of coalition forces is predictable/ineffictive enough for the terrorists to raise the level of violence with impunity. That further implies that the terrorists have inside information, or at least accurate strategic insight, into the thinking of the Iraqi-U.S. command.

4/07/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The US has left the close security of the Shia Mosques to the Shia, since the Occupation began. It became an early bone of contention and US decided to back away.

The response of US after the Golden Mosque was well studied, by everyone concerned.

Could this be what Iraqi power politics is all about. Bombings, executions & book burnings.
Are these are just Parlimentary debates, Iraqi style.

4/07/2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Look, those who had visions of a bright shining democracy transforming the Middle East are probably going to be disappointed when it's all over. A lot of these people are singularly unattractive (politicians, I mean.)

Those who saw impending utter disaster will be proven wrong, also. I think most Americans realize this.

As the months wear on our influence will wane. I'm sure the administration wants to put a bit of lipstick on this pig, do the obligatory small draw-down, and ramp up their ruminations on Iran.

Libya gave up their nuclear program (not that they had a lot of choice, it seems the technicians were all Iraqi,) Lebanon got a little breathing room, women voted Wednesday in Kuwait, and Musharraf is bombing a few Talibani. On top of all that we no longer have to worry about Saddam wrangling loose of the sanctions and threatening our mideast oil supplies with his soon to be nuclear-armed army.

It's been a pretty good start.

4/07/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

And then you have the possibility of "reichstag fires" where people hit themselves so they can "retaliate". Or blowing up an enemy in order to say he blew himself up in order that he could retaliate, so that you can "pre-retaliate" first.

4/07/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Mid-East Politics ain't "Bean-bag."

4/07/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ali-Baba and the Seven Thieves....

4/07/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Insurrection 101
Make the people feel insecure.
Show that the Security Forces cannot protect anyone, anywhere.
Sow distrust of the Security Force amongst the people.

All this is being done in Iraq, as we read & write. Well beyond the scope of the Battle of Algiers, the multitude of players in the Battle of Baghdad makes the French Challenge in Algeria pale by comparison. Depending, of course, on how Victory is to be defined.

The French had a long history in Algeria and minimal language problems when speaking to the locals. These were great advantages the US does not enjoy in Iraq.

4/07/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Remember, too, France won that war. There was an later decision--de Gaulle's--to open the French/Arab Axis (against the anglo/american hegemony) by 'freeing' Algeria.

4/07/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

Yeah, and that was Jacques Chirac's fault. Interesting how everything Islamofascist has him at the root.

4/07/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Do we know who did the Golden Mosque bombing, was it AlQ? The Sunnis would be committing suicide in creating civil war. So, it seems likely it is a "Reichstag fire" by the Shiites, but if they're already in power, why do they need a civil war? Seems to point to AlQ in these cases.

Of course, this conjecture assumes somebody is in charge. Maybe it's the Apocalpse now moment where Willard asks the grunt: "Who's in charge here?" The grunt answers "Ain't you?"


US freezes aid to Palestinian government

4/07/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


"If only more mainstream journalistic attention - and more op-ed attention - was devoted to the actual political parties, players, affiliations and intentions. ... A journalistic failing of the first order. And we know how much they love pointing out failings."

There were expectations that the manuever force that implemented OIF should have adapted faster to the insurgency. Maybe it should have. But by comparison the MSM doesn't seem to have adapted particularly well to covering stories in places where intimidation, disinformation and propaganda ops are not only practiced, but are actually a principal mode of combat.

Maybe the MSM should get more language capability for their correspondents, find ways of operating more securely (perhaps clandestinely) to avoid intimidation; run stringers like agents so they can cross check reports, etc. Perhaps they can realign resources too. I read somewhere that the CBS News Anchor's salary is equal to 50 correspondents. Maybe the MSM simply isn't structured to cover a story like this very well. Just speculating.

4/07/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Katy Couric's total package would pay 50 correspondents $400,000 each. So, CBS could actually field 200 very professional 100K/yr correspondents, and just let the execs--or mail room staff--take turns spending a few minutes reading the teleprompter into a camera, come 6PM.

4/07/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger KierkegaardKTV said...

If Omar is correct, then the implications of this latest bombing are far greater than anyone has yet thought out. Firstly, if Iran ordered Al Qaeda to carry out this bombing (the first ever performed by male operatives disguised as women, in itself a major Islamist inhibition) in defense of Sadr, it means that the demotion of Zarqawi was not due to any 'failures' related to civilian slaughter (since that has just happened again to an even greater degree), but more likely because he disapproved of taking orders from Shiite Iran, a Wahhabist distaste we know he shares with Zawahiri. Secondly, if the first is true, then this means bin Laden, who supposedly directly demoted Zarqawi, has either effected an actual alliance with or is taking orders from Iran. Thirdly, since we know the anti-Shiite Zawahiri is inside Pakistan, this raises the distinct possibility that bin Laden, if the latter is the case, is inside...Iran.

4/07/2006 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

'course if all they can see happening is the Roman Orgy going on in the Green Zone while "desperate, dark faces strain outside to make a few daily dinars", then, why demote Katy? It wasn't about "news" anyway.

4/07/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

wretchard wrote:

"But by comparison the MSM doesn't seem to have adapted particularly well to covering stories in places where intimidation, disinformation and propaganda ops are not only practiced, but are actually a principal mode of combat.

Maybe the MSM should get more language capability for their correspondents, find ways of operating more securely (perhaps clandestinely) to avoid intimidation; run stringers like agents so they can cross check reports, etc. Perhaps they can realign resources too."

I read this and I keep nodding my head, but that is primarily because I keep substituting CIA/Intel in place of MSM. From my perch (armchair) it appears that our Military intel is not much better then the MSM's.

4/07/2006 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


"I read this and I keep nodding my head, but that is primarily because I keep substituting CIA/Intel in place of MSM. From my perch (armchair) it appears that our Military intel is not much better then the MSM's."

You are probably right about that. Or were right about that. If things have improved it will have been as a result of being in contact with the enemy. Information is one of the things that comes from contact. Nelson's revolution at Trafalgar was not entirely about tactics. It was about information. "Nothing is sure in a Sea Fight beyond all others ... But, in case Signals can neither be seen or perfectly understood, no Captain can do very wrong if he places his Ship alongside that of an Enemy."

The biggest downside to withdrawing from forward positions in the War on Terror is the loss of information. You pay for information one way or the other. By losses in combat. Or by the surprise of not having it. Being in Iraq versus experiencing a surprise 9/11 attack.

I think the biggest reason the US hasn't had another attack since September 11 is not because Homeland Security has kept the terrorists out. It's because US forces are in contact with the enemy. Pinning them down yes; but getting information, more importantly. Apparently there are thousands of intel documents, gleaned by contact, which haven't even been translated. No peacetime espionage operation would have come close to getting that trove. There are apparently quite a number of officers and enlisted men who are on their second or third tours. They've learned some language, customs. Made contacts. How do you value that?

Some won't. They'll take the last helicopter out. Disengage all along the line. Everything will be peaceful for a while, but only because intel will have gone back to the status quo ante.

4/07/2006 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Everyone's Intel in the Region is bad, excempt for the Natives.

Betcha Mr Sistani and Mr al-Sadr shared some Intel when they met, last week. Or perhaps they were just coordinating Mr al-Sadr's next Regional Tour. Mr al-Sadr declined comment, after the meeting.
Mr Sistani still calls for the Shia to speak with one political voice in Iraq. So far, for Mr Sistani, that voice is Mr al-Jaafrai's.

Perhaps these bombings will change that, perhaps they just reinforce Mr Sistani's decision.

Mr Sistani cares little for the words of Mr Bush, that's for certain.

4/07/2006 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger nowhere girl said...

This is probably a minority position, but I'll guess that al Queda had no part in this. The tactics look like al Qaeda, but they've been around long enough for others to look and learn.

My bet is on Sadr, which (probably) makes this intra-UIA "politics." I see only two possibilities, really; either this is about preserving Jafaari's nomination, or it's about blocking all political progress entirely.

SCIRI's reaction will tell us a lot. If the next attack is on someone outside UIA, that will tell us even more.

4/07/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

W wrote: Apparently there are thousands of intel documents, gleaned by contact, which haven't even been translated.

We should only be translating the ones that are most useful, translating everything first is a huge bottleneck. We don't need to translate docs to determine which are most valuable. Here's how it should be done, if it's not already being done, and I haven't read anywhere that it is being done this way.
1. Scan the docs to get them into digital form;
2. Use Arabic OCR (optical character recognition) to create Arabic text;
3. Put Arabic text documents through "connect the dots" software like Able Danger used;
4. Finally, only use our precious translators on the most valuable docs which have been sifted out of the piles by the above process.

All of the above uses COTS technology.

4/07/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Peaktalk has a very interesting post which summarizes key testimony at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Islamist Extremism in Europe. Testimony is from Clinton era officials, academics and current administration people. But they are nearly all of them agreed that Europe is facing a huge problem. Here's Daniel Benjamin, former Clinton NSC:

"A Europe distracted by intercommunal tensions and violence will make a poor partner for America in many areas, not least dealing with the global threat of radical Islam. As we all know, pressing broad reform agenda in the Muslim world will, over the long term, be a vital part of a strategy for rolling back the jihadist threat. Yet if European countries become absorbed by strife within their borders, their willingness to work with the United States on a more global approach could well decline."

The current world crisis is not an invention of neocons, as events in Europe independently show. How can one remain engaged with the Old Continent in the face of Islamic extremism and yet be committed to taking the Last Helicopter out of Iraq? I know there are some who will argue that Europe's Islamic troubles are all caused by Iraq. Or was that Palestine? Or Algeria ...

4/07/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

...might add to Wretchard's that the locals are also learning much about the best of our own people, too, via the prolonged everyday contact. May or may not be providing a dividend, but my guess is yes, emphatically, it is.

4/07/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I tend to agree with Eggplant and KKTV - The suicide bombers makes this look like Al-Qaeda. I doubt that Al-Qaeda will take credit but maybe they just carried out their first major operation since reorganization.

KKTV's points about Iran are very interesting and I'm reminded of the short-lived AP article about the suicidist recruiting seminar held at an Iranian University some weeks back. The Iranian professor/recruiter boasted that he had over 400 martyrs lined up.

Some good detective and forensics work is definitely in order but do we want to make such a link right now?

4/07/2006 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Re: US freezes aid to Palestinian government

If only. Look closely, "while increasing humanitarian aid to the Palestinians through U.N. agencies, the State Department said on Friday."

How clever of Dr. Rice. And on a Friday afternoon. Not just another pretty face.

Yesterday, Abdul had to worry about beans OR bullets. Thanks to those compassionate conservatives, he only has to worry about bullets, today. Sweet.

4/07/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

I agree with Buddy. The Iraqis are interacting with some very fine people from the coalition countries.

They are learning that they were fed lies about who we are and what we value.

Perhaps this has influence elsewhere in the ME. The soviet approach, which was to ban everything American, is not likely to work in an environment based on fuzzy borders and under the table transnational deals.

How long before the average syrian knows that he's being lied to about America?

As for this bombing, what a sad event. but I believe that there are some upsides:

first, as Wretchard points out, the enemy is engaged in Iraq. if this is Al q' or iran or whoever, they are spending time and resource planning attacks in Baghdad, not Boston.

further, the civilized world is getting a long hard look at some truly evil people. People who would perpetrate this type of crime to advance an agenda are not to be ignored or treated lightly.

finally, the failure of the elected officials in Iraq to get something going is costing them legitimacy. This is an Iraqi issue and a response will require a functioning Iraqi government.

4/07/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I just answered my own question. Yes, we would love to be able to link Iran to this atrocity. It's likely though that if the Iranians are behind it, the dead jihadis are of a different nationality.

4/07/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Buddy, I really don't think they experience 'the best' of US by interacting with our military in Iraq. What they most probably will experience is the view of a nervous soldier peering through his sites as he is all 'prickly' on patrol or the wakefulness one is forced to as a patrol searches your home get the idea. For further clues as to what the Iraqis experience from our forces reading some of the soldiers blogs can give some clues. Unfortunately redalpha2 took his blog down but I came across

yesterday. An excerpt:

I know this is being EXTREMELY unfair to a lot of Iraqis who take their jobs seriously and truly want to make their country better… but every time I drive through a checkpoint and the guys manning it smile and wave at me, especially around here, I wonder about it:

“Tee hee hee! You think I’m smiling at you because you think I appreciate you being here and like you, but in reality I’m smiling because I just let some guys embed a huge IED half a mile down the road! You’re going to fucking die! Praise be to Allah! Tee hee hee hee hee!”

Looking at it from my point of view, it’s hard to even TRY and differentiate the corrupt Iraqis from the respectable ones. They all look the same! When we drove “through town” my interpreter would tell me what police stations were corrupt and which ones were full of good, upstanding Iraqis. I can’t tell which ones give fuck and which ones would shank me if given the chance. So now whatever line of distinction you had is totally blurred. Then you start thinking about how whenever you drive around Iraq you see a bunch of people sitting around on their asses doing nothing. Every time I see that, which is everyday, I want to put my head out the window and yell the following:"

Anyway, in short I don't think this the is best way for our two cultures to get to know each other.


I've got problems with "forward bases on our war on terrorism". I seems to me terrorism is much more amorphous then that and the fighting in Iraq that we are mired in seems to have terror as a tactic but it hardly seems like we are squaring off against AQ there just seems to be so much more involved then US against them.

4/07/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Skipsailing said:
"finally, the failure of the elected officials in Iraq to get something going is costing them legitimacy. This is an Iraqi issue and a response will require a functioning Iraqi government."

Good Point.

The Iraqi people want security and will soon be blaming those who aren't providing the needed stability. It will be interesting to be if the Iraqi politician resort to the ME playbook and blame the US for security failures in order to deflect criticism.

4/07/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Some people seem to have a hard time understanding the nature of the threat, the strategy of inducing a paradigm shift or the concept of "low-hanging fruit."

4/07/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ash, not to dump on a long post with a drive-by, but your point (1) is anecdotal ("cherry-picking") and runs against a vast amount of counter-anecdotes--as well as data--per coalition "helping hands" and follow-on appreciation. Your point (2) is solipsistic; to say that if it's meaningless to your knowledge and experience, then it is objectively meaningless.

4/07/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

I find much of this beyond comprehension:

First, think of the cowardice this represents, i.e. a moslem man dressed as a woman in a burka using a suicide belt to kill other moslems in a mosque on the moslem sabbath. Wow!

Secondly, think of the amazing hate this represents, i.e. the suicide bomber committed murder against innocents in a way having almost no hope for redemption in his imaginary afterlife. Wow!

How can a mere human have such insane hate?

4/07/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Re: How can a mere human have such insane hate?


4/07/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – An Iraqi Army soldier allegedly shot and killed a U.S. Marine on a coalition base near Al Qaim April 6. The Iraqi soldier was also wounded in the incident. He was evacuated to Balad and was listed in very serious condition. The incident is under investigation.

4/07/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

my first reaction to the blog text of that link to the senate euro-muslim commission: please, Please do not encourage euro-muslim/US-muslim relations. Please stop being so goddamn stupid and applying the ridiculous Marxist "we did it to them so we deserve it" stupidity. Please start deporting people, improving your armed forces and intel, joining te United States, forcing Russia to join the United States, and start, with your supposedly categorically superior cultural sense and ability, Start Publishing the Actual History of the Muslim World and the History of Islam. In all this time, with all this bleating, with the "party of intelligence" arrogating every intellectual and moral virtue to itself, including an amazing prescience, We Have Not Had Any "Who Are They?" to go with the supposedly urgent "Why Do They Hate Us?" It would be increasinglyu less or not at all gratifying at this point to find ourselves in Robert Conquest's "You F*cking Fools I Told You So" position.

Europe: shut up, sit down, and listen. You are in danger. This is Real.

4/07/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

eggplant asked:
"How can a mere human have such insane hate?"

It's so simple even the morons can do it.

Step 1:
Indoctrinate the children in the misogynistic, intolerant theology of the death cult. This indoctrination may be initiated at a very yound age beginning with cartoons and coloring books. The real payoff comes in the fine secondary education afforded by madrassas for the footsoldiers or various Saudi universities for the expediters, handlers and finaciers.

Step 2:
Identify and cultivate potential death cult martyrs. Potential martyrs may be loners, shamed women, sisters of prior martyrs, the mentally retarded, etc. Occasionally, it may be necessary to convince a martyr by puting his family in "protective custody."

Step 3:
Await orders, record martyrs video, escort martyr to target and if necessary, detonate.

Of course, The Palestinians perfected the process.

4/07/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hey I wonder if CSPAN's going to run this soon...

Also, I think this latest attack is a 'Chinese exclamation point' perpetrated by Sadr/Dawa vs. SCIRI and the anti-Jafaari. Jafaari, obviously a bafoon, is not the issue, the issue is how the pro-Shia party of Ancient Islamic Pride can control the democratic process.

4/07/2006 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Does anyone have any comment on the veracity of the Mitrokhin files and the books - The Sword and the Shield - based on them? If so, M's info on USSR's relations with its Muslims and the character of Muslims - in detailed specificity - is seriously different from that presented in this US State briefing and is actually much more recognizable to us through this GWOT lens. The Pakistan-USSR-Central Asia stuff, for example, is fascinating, and shows a very clear, suggestive continuity. Just curious if anyone has any comment.

4/07/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Interesting how they keep refering to Turkey as "Europe." Now that's an interesting innovation. Or wait, what's the Muslim word for that?

4/07/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Karensky said...

Well if it ain't Al Q and it is Sciri VS. Mookie the it looks to me as if Sistani is having himself a grand old time with the two Iranian puppets shooting each other up. One of the groups sent a little Najaf vbied Sistani's way earlier this week maybe Sistani is having the last word. Get Sciri and Mookie and the boys going after each other, give them both a little help, sit back and munch the popcorn. All is well for Iraq in this scenario.

4/07/2006 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

We agree...I'm burning my bra right now!! Somewhere down the scroll you mentioned having the MSM get better language skilled reporters, use disguise etc , to ferret out their pieces. (hope the summation suffices) I agree. More eyes and ears the better.
It just bothers the Right to no end that 90% plus of the MSM is liberal, thus tainting their stories. But great point
As for US Intel, especially HUMINT, you can easily trace the blame to Jimma Carter and Stansfield Turner who decimated our Operations Direcortate, believing that satellites and ELINT could cover all the bases. It ruined us for every decade since and we're paying for it today in spades. Skoal!

4/07/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Most people at Belmont are aware of the situation in Europe but this is a particularly sobering assessment of the problem.

4/07/2006 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


Turkey is Europe as Mexico is USA. 'k?

Serious question: did I miss the memo on who was responsible for the last mass mosque murder under the Golden Dome in Samarra?

In most murders, atrocities and genocidal acts the perpetrators are clearly identified. It's been six weeks, someone must have a clue by now. How black is this hole if we can't clearly say who done it?

4/07/2006 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Yes, Doug. I know my 3:48 post is riddled with typos and grammatical errors.

Sorry, will endeavor to improve.

4/07/2006 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Are you an Atzlander, at heart?

Because much of the USA was once part of Greater Mexico.

Much as what is now Europe was ruled from Istanbul, I mean Constantinople, no before when it was Byzantium, a Greek city.

So if the Greeks are Europeans, then yes, Turkey is historicaly European.

Just as Santa Fe, El Paso, Los Angles, San Diego, San Fransisco, Tucson and Los Cruses were all Mexican towns, founded before there was a United States.

4/07/2006 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

No one's trying to make bogus distinctions, any more Tony. Al Quds, Al Queda, Hezbollah, Mehti Army, The purple gang, Murder Inc., the "MOB."


4/07/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Allen at 2:37,

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funds programs that help people living in the West Bank and Gaza lead healthier and more productive lives.

Since 1993, Palestinians have received more than $1.7 billion in U.S. economic assistance via USAID projects - more than from any other donor country.

USA Aid $1.7B to Palestinians since 1993

This means Condi cut their dole in half, based on their recent long-term avg.

4/07/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Tony - PR is that al Qaeda did it.

Does anyone know of any resource - official, anecdotal, whatever - of the character and modus operandi of these political militias? They're always refered to, and yet there's no news on them from which to make any but cursory inferences. For example, I remember that we early established contact with and managed to calm down te Badr Brigades within the first months after OIF.

4/07/2006 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Good question, tony. We never hear any followup on ANY of these atrocities. "X# Bodies Found In Baghdad" says the headline. Who were they? Do they have names? Is there a family somewhere mourning?

Maybe if we saw faces and names, as Time/Life made sure we did, and ABC, for US KIA in VietNam and Iraq, the somnolent see-no-evils in this country and others would face a little soul-searching, and then maybe develop a little righteous anger. Maybe a "screw root causes, STOP it, ya crazy bastids!"

4/07/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

To a Mohammedan it would be apparent that Turkey was part of Europe. It is a secular Government, with the Army standing as the enforcer of moderate Islam in Turkey. It has been attempting to enter the EU, which it feels deserving of, as part of Europe.
Also to be factored in is that most of the Muslims in Germany are ethnic Turks. So Turkey extends into the center of Europe, demographicly, from a Mohammedans viewpoint.

Just as 13 Million illegal Mexican migrants, when added to the 45 Million or so ethnic Mexican US citizens means that Mexico has encroached on US. Reclaiming ground lost in the last cycle of US expansion,
that's from a Mexican flag waver's perspective

4/07/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

From the BBC:
In his Friday sermon, radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr blamed US troops for Thursday's bomb attack at Najaf, the agency added.

"This is not the first time that the occupation forces and their death squads have resorted to killings," the cleric was quoted as saying.

He's the rat.

4/07/2006 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

You might want view George Packer's Lessons for Tal Afar slideshow. Your impressions will be appreciated.

4/07/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Back in 03, when I was first learning about Islam, I read a book written back in 1970 by Raphael Patai, The Arab Mind . I had to get it on interlibrary loan as our podunk library didn't have it.

For those of you who have not read it. (BTW Robert Spencer recommended it). Read this review of his book, then if you would, get a copy and read it.

Part I: The Arab Mind

I think after you do, you will decide that: Us westerners trying to figure out what, why and how concerning Iraq and the Iraqis, Iranians and other ME Arabs and subsets is like the average American trying to determine actions and/or understand the primates that live in deep jungle.

We will continue building our Megabases in Iraq and continue to sharpen our blades for our next fights. Not withstanding what happens in Iraq today, tomorrow or even the next several years.

Papa Ray
West Texas

4/07/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

George Packer wrote a book called Assasin's Gate. I listened to Packer's slide show with ambivalence. He obviously admires what happened in Tal Afar but can't seem to credit it to anything but insubordination. "Speaking truth to power".

Packer says Tal Afar is "an exceptional case" and maybe America should prepare to leave. But on the other hand he sounds like he is trying to convince himself to reject the evidence of his own eyes. Is Packer right? Listen to the slideshow and weigh in.

4/07/2006 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


When the bus broke down and I got stuck in a junkyard in Thessaloniki for a couple of days, I felt the change between Europe and Asia. Even Greece gives you the feeling that Europe is far behind, as the alphabet on the signs change, and a head nod means "no" not "yes."

When we crossed the barbwire border into Turkey, everything changes more drastically, and while we could barely make out the signs in Greece, we can't do the same when we get to Istanbul.

It was fascinating to see the city filled with cars from my childhood, somehow living a second life decades later as cabs, clogging the streets and broad circles. The fact that they could keep our ancient discarded technology alive was something I saw all across Asia, to the startling 3-wheeled Harleys they used for cabs in Delhi.

Sort of like Tijuana.

4/07/2006 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


your 5:25 PM

Does that mean that Abdul will only have half the bullets he might have had otherwise? That will make all the difference in the world to his victims, probably women and children if he stays true to form.

4/07/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, in an attempt to get a real feel for Mr Mahdi and the SCIRI I had to check out the DEBKAfile.

"... On March 17, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources in Baghdad revealed as a result of a discreet scan that almost 130 of the 275 candidates the Shiite Alliance posted for the December election were connected in some way or other with, or on the payroll of, the Iranian bodies pulling the wires of Iraqi politics from across the border.

Six Iraqi lawmakers elected on the United Iraqi Alliance ticket were identified as undercover “amid” officers – brigadier-generals - of the Iranian revolutionary guards and intelligence service. They used political fronts to disguise their undercover missions on behalf of the Islamic republic.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly reveals the names and functions of those six Iraqi politicians-cum-Iranian brigadier generals.

Abu Muchtabi Sari – former secretary general of the Iraqi Hizballah.

Abu Hassan Al Amari – the last commander of the Badr Force at its base in Iran.

Abu Mahdi al Muhandis – former Badr Force officer.

Rajah Alwan - former Badr Force officer.

Dager Moussawi – Head of the Lord of the Martyrs Movement, which Iran’s military intelligence established in the Shiite regions of central and southern Iraq. (Lord in the Shiite sense refers to the holy Imam Hussein)

Tahsin Aboudi – a high-ranking Iraqi interior ministry official, under which cover - and as an Iraqi member of parliament - he is aan undercover brigadier general of Iran’s external intelligence service, which is operated by the foreign ministry in Tehran.

Given the subversive nature of the high and mighty of Shiite politics, it is hardly surprising that obstacles are being piled up against the formation of a Shiite-led coalition government. The problem runs a lot deeper than sectarian disagreement over a prime minister. Most of the key players know exactly whom they are dealing with, behind the facades of Shiite Iraqi politicians and officials. Their resistance is not just focused on prime minister Jaafari, but aimed at thwarting the rise in Baghdad of a government that is a stooge of Iranian intelligence.

It is no secret to Baghdad’s political insiders that the Iranians are in the middle of an artfully contrived program to exploit Iraq’s democratic process for the capture of positions of political influence in Baghdad and the southern Shiite regions of Iraq. ... "

So Mr Mahdi, Mr al-Jaafari, six with one, half dozen with the other.


" ... The US military command in Iraq dispatched large-scale Marine forces with armor, tank and helicopter support to the two Shiite shrine cities south of Baghdad before dawn Friday, April 7. DEBKAfile’s military sources report the action followed a threat by radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr to overrun the Shiite cities and Baghdad’s Shiite suburb, if the Americans force the Iran-backed interim prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari to step down.

Armed Shiite tribesman have smuggled senior Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and his staff out of the city and harm’s way, amid fears the Mehdi Army may take him hostage. The tribes have taken him under their protection.

While US forces took control of central Najef, they are keeping to Karbala’s western suburbs; Sadr’s men occupy the center and are building military positions.

In the summer of 2004, US and Iraqi forces crushed a rebellion staged by Sadr at the head of his militia. DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal that since this defeat, the Mehdi Army has developed into the strongest and best equipped armed force in Iraq, outgunning its two Shiite rivals, the Badr Force and Wolves Brigades. The buildup is entirely the work of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and undercover agents.

Saturday, April 8, formal talks aimed at breaking Iraq’s political stalemate begin in Baghdad between a US delegation headed by ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and an Iranian delegation. Jaafari’s refusal to stand aside is the main hurdle in the way of a unity government. ... "

Not always the MOST reliable source, but these seem reasonable.

4/07/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Re: This means Condi cut their dole in half

One other thought, may we say that Dr. Rice's policy is only half-immoral, like being a little pregnant? Again, the victims will appreciate the fine ellemosynary porclivities of State.

4/07/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Rufus - No one's trying to make bogus distinctions

I wish!

That's the good thing about the USAF, they're not expected to make these fine distinctions. That's why the libs loved the Clinton Air Wars. At the end of the video everything turns to smoky static.

Do the libs and Arabs want us to go back to that?

This thinking drives me back to the conviction that we should have acted fast and dramatically, before the sun ever set over the smoke in Manhattan on 9/11/01.

None of our enemies, neither the Islamofascists nor our liberal brother defeatists love us any more for this do-gooder nation-building approach.

There was no anti-war movement during Clinton's cynical air wars.

No one's trying to make bogus distinctions

4/07/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


Yasir Arafat was Clinton's most frequent "head of state" guest to the White House. C'mon dude, we're making progress.

4/07/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Re: Arafat - White House

I had never considered the connection to Mr. Arafat's demise. What was the cause of Abu's death? Arafat - White House. Real food for thought here.

4/07/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Shocking news! San Francisco is not part of the United States! Who would have thought?

"San Francisco Refuses To Enforce Any New Immigration Laws."

4/07/2006 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"We will continue building our Megabases in Iraq and continue to sharpen our blades for our next fights. Not withstanding what happens in Iraq today, tomorrow or even the next several years."

- Papa Bear

Wonder if they've had that tacked up in hallways and offices in the Green Zone over the past coupla years? It would explain a lot.

4/07/2006 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


"eleemosynary proclivities"

4/07/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...


"(W)ho knows what a successful strike against Iranian nuclear facilities might portend? We rightly are warned of all the negatives — further Shiite madness in Iraq, an Iranian land invasion into Basra, dirty bombs going off in the U.S., smoking tankers in the Straits of Hormuz, Hezbollah on the move in Lebanon, etc. — but rarely of a less probable but still possible scenario: a humiliated Iran is defanged; the Arab world sighs relief, albeit in private; the Europeans chide us publicly but pat us on the back privately; and Iranian dissidents are energized, while theocratic militarists, like the Argentine dictators who were crushed in the Falklands War, lose face. Nothing is worse for the lunatic than when his cheap rhetoric earns abject humiliation for others."

No comment.

4/07/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Wretchard, Re: Packers commentary:

Obviously he admires the soldiers and what they accomplished in Tal Afar. I didn't hear him praising the 3rd Cav for insubordination but he did call Colonel McMaster a maverick and unafraid to make waves. He refers to McMaster's book about officers speaking "truth to power" but he didn't say how this relates to the 3rd Cav's actions in Tal Afar.

He stresses Lt Colonel Hickey's "long hard effort to build a relationship." Packer is saying that there is no short cut in rebuilding a society. He is pessimistic that the US is committed to doing what is needed to rebuild a functioning society and nation.

Packer says that there are no "short cuts" and we need to determine whether Iraq is worth it in the long run. If so, we need to really commit. If not, we need to figure out how to leave.

He is pessimistic about the stability, he thinks Iraq is very fragile and could collapse in an instant.

It may be that the answer is three separate countries: Kurdistan, Iraq and a Shiastan in the south. I think that ultimately, it's up to the Iraqi's to decide their own future. They just want us to cover their backs for a while.

4/07/2006 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I was going to warn you about Debka then I saw your caviat about their reliability.

Who are those guys anyway?

4/07/2006 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Whit said...

"I was going to warn you about Debka then I saw your caviat about their reliability. Who are those guys anyway?"

A few years ago, when I first read Debka, I thought they were some sort of front for Mossad doing agit-prop. However Mossad wouldn't be that transparent (a real Mossad group doing agit-prop would be based in some place like South Africa or the Cayman Islands and have no obvious Israeli connection).

I now think the Debka people are scam artists trying to fob themselves off as security experts. My theory is they know some Arabic and maybe(?) have distant relatives connected with Israeli intelligence. They listen to Arab radio stations and read Arab websites and newspapers. Based upon this information, they cook up plausible fantasy and then misrepresent it as priviledged information. The objective is to scam suckers into buying access to their website.

Debka's stories are useful as "possible scenarios" but should never be regarded as accurate.

4/07/2006 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

to read something definitely encouraging, link thru Austin Bay's summary to the National Journal's assessment of the Western Alliance.

(snip) "When the history of the long war with Islamic extremism is finally written, it may reflect that in this period of disorder and uncertainty the alliance of democracies rediscovered some common strategic ground, at least for a time."

4/07/2006 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

I have read the many comments preceding this and agree with most and disagree with a few. It is obvious that events in Iraq as insane as they appear make sense to someone. But do they make sense for The US? We have no natural ally in any of the three internal parties. The Kurds are a liability in our relationship with Turkey. They can have as much affect on US policy as Portugal. The Sunni Baathist sect is antithetical to our stated policy of nurturing democracy in the ME. They have learned to survive by the ruthless exercise of disciplined thuggery. The Shiites do street dances beating themselves to a bloody pulp with bicycle chain. Is it a surprise that we are perplexed trying to understand Iraq? All the people that understand Iraq advised us to take up another hobby. The stated goal of democratization of Iraq is neither in our interest (democratization did bring Hamas to Palestine) nor is it attainable unless the Iraqis want it. American interests are security, stability and accountable governance. Ideology was the stated goal of winning the Cold War. I have a beautiful proof silver US dollar that proclaims " The Triumph of Democracy". It is slipping. An objective look at the world shows a retreat in Latin America, a resurgent Soviet Russian sphere and a very dismal Islamic world. We better rethink our goals and stated strategy. If something looks like a chaotic mess, it probably is.

4/07/2006 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Hugo Chavez needs an attitude adjustment. Be prepared.......

4/07/2006 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


Who can argue with the proposition that it sucks to be in Iraq? Would it be better never to have gone in? The pre-OIF world of "containment" was a known one we can reflect upon in hindsight. I remember when the Gulf War was called Triumph Without Victory because the US didn't go in all the way. The constant harping on betraying the Kurds, the Shi'ites. The millions of babies "killed" by the embargo. The Navy pinned down in the Gulf. Etc etc. It was primarily the dissatisfaction with "containment" that led to this Triumph of Democracy plan. Now some people are beginning to have second thoughts. You could make the argument that in retrospect things were better then, despite the inspections, no-fly zones, the this and the that. Maybe it was better and we ought to seek some way to return to that world.

But if we do return to that world, what would the new containment look like? Would there be bases in the region? Or would the presence be entirely naval? How would the intel lapses of the past be avoided? Because the worst thing would be to disengage and discover two or three years down the track that we want to go back in after all. Or worse, need to go back in.

Without answering the question either way it seems unexceptionable to suggest some way of measuring the costs and the benefits; find some way of measuring progress or loss. So one doesn't go around in circles.

4/07/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

None of this particular horror would have happened if we'd done what I've long advocated.
During the heavy fighting all mosques should have been leveled, replaced with open air prayer sites/kabob markets.
The next President will be faced with a draft and all hell will break loose here. The Chinese are daily probing our Defense Department communication systems and are building a blue water navy.
Moscow is in tow.
We'd better abandon this fix it all, build our bases in Iraq and reomve 9/10ths of the cars in favor of a bus system ..kabob extra, hold the entrails. Take Syria out with a massive airstrike,massive, not pick this house not that one crap. That problems fixed plus we get the WMD proof. We assassinate uncooperative leaders,Venezuela would be easy. Do that and it's extra kabob all around.

4/07/2006 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger doolz said...

Is Wretchard aka 'the Cat' a Dashiell Hammet fan? I can't remember the plotline, but I'm pretty sure that it was a Continental Op novel.

4/07/2006 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"Containment" was falling apart, our no-fly patrols were burning treasure, wearing out people and equipment, and were being fired on, Saddam was playing the most cynical games with the UN and step-by-step turning it to his own ends, the likes of Hans Blix held far too much power over our future, journalists, suicide bombers, Galloways, and bagmen for G8 government officials were collecting bribes and following orders, a vast domestic torture/murder program proceeded apace with hardly a peep from the world press, and none of these horrors were ever going to come to any good end.

4/07/2006 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

We could always elect Al Gore. He's now completely insane, would come into office ready to push every button on the football the first time anyone looked at him wrong. Talk about 6 billion people walking on eggshells and being very, very quiet.

4/07/2006 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


Yes the title is from Hammett. The novel was set in a nameless town in the grip of a mob and the Continental Op had to set about getting the factions to bump each other off. Totally amoral novel, which includes a lunger (remember TB?) getting slapped around by a statuesque dame and getting sent out to buy the tough-gal dinner of those days: a steak, some asparagus and a bottle of whiskey. Hammett brings you back to a lost world. Steel towns. Mining towns. Pre-gay San Francisco. Sinister fat men getting off steamships or trains and showing up in your living room -- without a key. Narrow, dark corridors of the kind you still find in some cheap New York apartments. A less regulated world. Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

4/08/2006 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Coen Brothers homage to Hammett, "Miller's Crossing" has a good line: "It helps to have a reason."

4/08/2006 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

Wretchard said: "Maybe the MSM should get more language capability for their correspondents, ... Perhaps they can realign resources too. I read somewhere that the CBS News Anchor's salary is equal to 50 correspondents. Maybe the MSM simply isn't structured to cover a story like this very well."

Wretchard, you touch upon several important points here. More language capability would certainly be helpful. And yes the salray multiples are extraordinarily high in this star-driven media industry that we have now. Most important, I think, is your conjecture that the MSM may not be appropriately structured to cover a story like this correctly.

As I see it the incorrect "structures" are two kinds: organizational and cognitive. These are distinct but very much related.

Regardless of how the formal structure got the way it is, a firm's existing physical, financial, human, and organizational resources can always be reconfigured to meet new challenges. New resources can be acquired and new capabilities developed. At least in theory.

As everyone here likely knows from experience, organizational restructuring often fails because of the difficulty attendant to redesigning the structure of managers' and workers' cognitions, particularly the ones about the firm and its place in its industry and in the broader world.

If you want a glimpse into just how difficult this would be in the mainstream media of today, take a look at Molly Ivin's insufferably arrogant and remarkably naive analysisof why major news papers and mainstream media organizations are in such dire straits.

Here are a few choice excerpts.

Molly on Bloggers:

We are in trouble. The Project for Excellence in Journalism, run by Columbia University, has a new report out that finds the number of media outlets continues to grow, but both the number of stories covered and the depth of reporting are sliding backward. Television, radio and newspapers are all cutting staff, while the bloggers of the Internet either do not have the size or the interest to go out and gather news. Bloggers are not news-gatherers, but opinion-mongers. I have long argued that no one should be allowed to write opinion without spending years as a reporter -- nothing like interviewing all four eyewitnesses to an automobile accident and then trying to write an accurate account of what happened. Or, as author-journalist Curtis Wilkie puts it, "Unless you can cover a five-car pile-up on Route 128, you shouldn't be allowed to cover a presidential campaign."

Molly on the future of the industry:

"I've thought for years that newspapers should all be owned by nonprofits. There is a chance something like this will actually happen -- the Newspaper Guild, in alliance with the Communications Workers of America, is getting ready to bid on the 12 KR papers McClatchy has to sell. Eight of the 12 are Guild papers, with combined employment of 7,000 and circulation of 1.3 million. Among the 12 are such outstanding newspapers as The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Jose Mercury News and St. Paul Pioneer Press. McClatchy can't swallow all of them, and so the two unions have turned to a "worker-friendly" investment fund to back their bid. Keep an eye on this: It is a most hopeful development."

The News Guild, you may recall, is lead by Linda Foley, the women who last year claimed that the US military was intentionally targeting journalists in Iraq and who is an avowed advocate of agenda journalism." I wrote about her here and here.

If this is the mindset of even a small number of the MSM's leading lights, expect things to get much worse before they get any better.

But, hey, what do I know? According to Molly, I am not even qualified to offer an opinion in writing. And for that matter, neither are you! ;-)

4/08/2006 12:44:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

starling david hunter,

Thanks for the links.

4/08/2006 12:49:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...


Guilty as charged. I thought it a mistake for Bush 1 not to cross the Rubicon and finish Hussein. I also thought it a grave error for George Hotspur to "complete" the family business. From my point of view it is timing. In Gulf 1, the Iraqis were totally defeated. Armies were destroyed and the pillaging hordes decimated at "the turkey shoot". It was a matter of picking up the keys. One could hope that the civil service in Iraq would have stayed around and there would have been a real Post-Saddaam era. It was the Perfect Desert Storm. We had to be there. Hussein was the perfect villain.

Take two. Hotspur had to find a reason to go. Our good friends, the Turks stabbed him in the ass. Without the 4th ID insufficient number of the Iraq Army were shocked and awed in the North. It was more of a shuck and jive and they strolled home. Lesser minds fired 400,000 men with weapons. They forgot that the mission was to make America more secure. Had they remembered they would have given them a raise and ordered them to return to barracks. Surely 300,000 of them would have been useful in preventing the chaos and stupidity to follow.

That was then. This is now. Situations change, America’s interests do not. Yes Hussein should have been removed. He should have been removed to make a point. The point was that after 911, Bush declared, "you are with us or against us." His removal would have proved to several very un-innocent bystanders that they are "with us or against us." To be against is not a good thing. They would have noticed. Any C- or better student of history knows that any post war occupation has a very short shelf life of good will. Hell, the locals did not like us in Biloxi. We can all agree that the military occupation of Iraq had room on the upside for improvement.

My argument is simple. Politically, diplomatically and strategically we have done nothing to enhance the perception of American power in Iraq. Nothing. We do this in a time where our interests would be better served attending to our greater and urgent interests.

On an unrelated point. This Club of yours is one of the great achievements of the Internet. Congrats.

4/08/2006 03:52:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Eggplant, 9:27
Re: Debka

Exactly my impressions.

4/08/2006 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"The pre-OIF world of 'containment' was a known one we can reflect upon in hindsight."

- Wretchard

And the post-OIF world of containment looks increasingly likely. Almost certain, in fact.

Will some people bitch and moan about GWB's "failure" to unseat any number of scheming, sinister, uncooperative regimes "while he had the chance"? Absolutely. Will any major candidate make that his foreign policy platform? Absolutely not.

4/08/2006 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

wretchard said..."starling david hunter, Thanks for the links."

You're welcome. I added a few more and posted them here

You might find the image interesting. It seems to be from an old pulp fiction novel by the name "Red Harvest." Interestingly, the text under the title reads "Dashiell Hammett's famous story of a city torn apart by murdering gamblers, gunmen, crooked police."

4/08/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

For anyone interested, Mr Seymour Hersh has written again, on Iran.

This is the redeeming paragraph, for me, in that vis a vie Iran the Administration, according to Mr Hersh, has taken my advice.

"... If the order were to be given for an attack, the American combat troops now operating in Iran would be in position to mark the critical targets with laser beams, to insure bombing accuracy and to minimize civilian casualties. As of early winter, I was told by the government consultant with close ties to civilians in the Pentagon, the units were also working with minority groups in Iran, including the Azeris, in the north, the Baluchis, in the southeast, and the Kurds, in the northeast. The troops “are studying the terrain, and giving away walking-around money to ethnic tribes, and recruiting scouts from local tribes and shepherds,” the consultant said. One goal is to get “eyes on the ground”—quoting a line from “Othello,” he said, “Give me the ocular proof.” The broader aim, the consultant said, is to “encourage ethnic tensions” and undermine the regime. ... "

Not that it was solely my idea, as buddy said, it was right out of Mr Truman's working options for fighting the Commies.

Mr Hersh is decidedly anti Mr Bush and his Administration but the article THE IRAN PLANS
Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?
in the New Yorker is interesting reading, none the less.

4/08/2006 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

At the Counterterrorism blog, Mr Walid Phares echos warnings of probable Iranian blowback to any US strike. He believes, however, that the Iranians WILL use their Foreign Assets preemptively. In the US and across the World.

" ... Let’s review the sequences telegraphically: Tehran wants the bomb(s) built and deployed: There are no other options in the Mullahs mind. The US and its allies can’t tolerate this development. Iran knows that. Tehran is preparing for the confrontation. It has ordered all its assets to prepare for battle. Hizbollah, Tehran’s main strategic weapon is on a full steam campaign to “saturate the battlefield” ahead of time.

It is only through this prism that one can understand Hizbollah’s current moves inside Lebanon, in Gaza and the West Bank, in Iraq and across its bases around the world: Elimination of the Cedars Revolution’s cadres in Beirut; deploying units to Palestine; activating its assets in Iraq, along with Iran’s resources; and more importantly readying its cells in West Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America. Hizbollah is not initiating its planning on future chores overseas, including in the US. That is not its logic or modus operandi. Hizbollah has already prepared its resources on American soil and across the Atlantic. By the time the Iranian Navy is showing the world its “fast torpedoes in action in the Persian Gulf,” the architects of the 1983 attacks on the Marines in Beirut have absorbed al Qaida’s experience around the world and here at home. ... "

" ... According to Barbara Newman, a former ABC’s 20/20 producer and a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, cells are omnipresent within the US. In her book Hizbollah: Terrorists on American Soil, Newman warns from the “other army” ready to engage us. In my book Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against America, I not only project a Hizbollah upcoming wave, but I argue that it has already acquired its strategic targets. Like al Qaida, Hizbollah won’t warn America first. If you listen to or watch Nasrallah’s speeches and his Iranian inspirer Ahmedinijad’s, their rhetoric is already a battlefield one. Furthermore, Hizbollah will attempt to paint its future strikes as “legitimate responses to aggression.” Signs of this approach are abundant. Last week, on al Jazeera I shared a panel with an Islamist activist who shouted loud that “America is preparing its massive invasion of Iran by sending its Secretary of State to Baghdad!” The propaganda preparation for “striking the upcoming invasion” is widening. The show of force –and of weapons- in the Gulf is on. The machine is moving. It all depends on when and how will the Mullahs, in consultation with their Jihadi allies, unleash the wrath onto the Kuffars (infidels). Short of a change in Western posture on a nuclear Iran, the collision is bound to happen. ... "


Just remember Club members, we discussed it here, first.

4/08/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The media front of the Culture War has already been lost. Evidence is that organizations like the Newspaper Guild are acting in concert with the Communication Workers of America to consolidate their victory by institutionalizing their control of the MSM and the "Conversation."

There is already a list of cultural topics which are taboo to the MSM: the possibility that war is a positive instrument of social change, that despite its history of racism that minorities in the United States today are and should be responsible for their own future, or even topics so seemingly obvious such that men and women are different creatures.

If traditional conservatism, the voice of free-markets, is to have any sway at all it will have to be through the alternative media.

4/08/2006 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Good - let Hizbollah bring it. Let us have this out sooner than later. If there is to be a cataclysm, let's get the hell on with it already.

4/08/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Hezbollah has been the premiere terrorist organization since the early 80s. I always wished for the day that the Israelis would turn the Bekka Valley into an abbatoir but it never came.

The real danger with Hezbollah is that the Stalinists will push hard to legitimize it as a political party outside of Lebanon. The proper outcome is to put a Dead or Alive sticker on each and every swinging richard in the organization and deal with them individually and completely.

4/08/2006 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger woof111 said...

-----Galloways, and bagmen for G8 government officials were collecting bribes and following orders, a vast domestic torture/murder program proceeded apace with hardly a peep from the world press....

Another thing to keep in mind is that we did learn that in addition to Galloway, the number 2 political official in France, and bigs in the Russian government got Oil for Food money. Why have we not heard about American politicians getting any? Sadam's money has not all dried up, where does it flow now?

4/08/2006 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Two articles, both reference recently translated Iraqi documents are at the Weekly Standard's site.

Putin Vindicated by Dan Darling is interesting but the killer...

"... ... We are engaged in a difficult war. It matters a great deal to the country how the Iraq war relates to the broader war on terror--just as it matters whether President Bush was honest in making the case for the war. The administration's timidity in taking on its critics, openly and publicly, is self-defeating. It's awfully hard to win a political struggle without fighting.

-William Kristol ..."

When even Mr Kristol wants the President to Show Your Teeth the lack of Offense is apparent to all...

4/08/2006 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

This is currently being reported by the BBC.......John Sawers, a Foreign Office high-flyer who is currently the political director met Mr Blair on a trip in May and one memo headed "Iraq: what's going wrong?" dates from the same month.

He wrote about the US administration in Baghdad led by retired US General Jay Garner: "No leadership, no strategy, no coordination, no structure and inaccessible to ordinary Iraqis... Garner and his team of 60-year-old retired generals are well-meaning but out of their depth."

He criticised just about everything, calling it an "unbelievable mess".

His current views on Iraq are not publicly known. Mr Sawers is a discreet diplomat and is anyway now grappling with another problem which is proving intractable - Iran's nuclear programme.....

I would not be too anxious to put my trust in this administration on an Iranian venture. Lack of success is one thing , lack of accountability is quite another.

4/08/2006 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger KierkegaardKTV said...

A few further comments:

Dr Raphael Patai is one of my most admired scholars, one of the few I actually read for pleasure. I particularly recommend 'Hebrew Myths' (co-written with Robert Graves) and 'The Hebrew Goddess'. I should like to point out, however, the limitations of 'The Arab Mind'. Aside from being extremely dated in its generalizations (educated young people in Cairo today are in many ways little different than those in Calcutta or Canton), it also overlooks the vast differences that have always existed among the various ethnic groups which define themselves as 'Arabs'. Moroccans, for example, see themselves as the wise, supple, and tolerant descendants of the Moors; Algerians and Lebanese see themselves as half-European; Egyptians pride themselves that they are the heirs to the old's worldest and most enlightened civilization. Moreover, many of Patai's observations were made even earlier by TE Lawrence, whose erotic obsession with 'Arabism' became a contagious disease within first his country's Foreign Office and later our own State Department. But the famous (and overworked) metaphorical elephant is largely missing from the works of both authors--all the noted fatalism, the sense of predestination, the wordiness, the tenuous grasp of facts begs the essential unifying fact of being an Arab; a complete intellectual and social subservience to Islam, the most basic, intrusive, and elitest belief-system ever devised by mankind. That it has its virtues cannot be denied; that, like Marxism or Christian Theocracy, it produces stagnating cultural side-effects after many centuries cannot either.

Regarding DEBKA: I've been told by Israeli friends that this began as a joint venture by a group of disaffected 'right-wing' journalists, the majority of whom have now withdrawn from the project. Its accuracy over the years has always hovered around 50%. That it is the occasional beneficiary of government leaks there can be no doubt, and it handicapped the recent Israeli elections (or more accurately 'anti-elections') better than anyone else. But most of all, it is in monitoring Iran that DEBKA is most useful; there are somewhere between 15,000-50,000 Jews and 'secret Jews' still living inside Iran, and some of these, apparently, continue to provide the site with useful (and unique) information.

And finally, regarding my speculation about Iranian ties to Al Qaeda Iraq: a number of sites, including Geostrategy Direct, are now reporting that the CIA has become convinced that the two are cooperating heavily. Of course, if you believe the Agency merely to be a sort of Betty Ford Clinic for victims of Cold War blowback, you might tend to doubt its judgement on such matters. I would never dream of saying such a thing.

4/08/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

If Hezzbollah is already locked and loaded inside western nations, what should our response be? Step aside and let the Bomb be built & deployed? Would this stand-down the cells?

How much new international political power will accrue to the Bombed-up Mullahs?

Would they then not continue to intimidate via the cells, and to an even larger degree?

Will not the cells be given the "go ahead" piecemeal, per the 80s/90s, anyway--and now behind the new nuclear umbrella (and 'umbrella' is not the right Mullah Bomb image--more the Sword of Damocles)?

Is a Nebraska Beslan more likely with a Bombed-up Mullahs, a de-fanged Mullahs, or No Mullahs?

Just wondering what we're looking at here.

4/08/2006 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

re: George Packer and Iraq

I would say the most obvious implication of Packer's commentary is that we had way to few troops in Iraq.

The theory of Rumsfeld and the generals--that one had to balance between security, on the one hand, and appearing as an occupation force on the other--is compelling, but is it right? Are that many Iraqis so sensitive that an increased American presence would have pushed them into the insurgency?

Our success in Tal Afar argues otherwise. Of course, we don't know whether rampant insurgency in the city was a pre-condition for local acceptance of American oversight, but I would say Tal Afar, on the surface, is exhibit 'A' against Rumsfeld and the generals.

If it is true that there are no short-cuts, that quality of police trainees must come before quantity, then it follows that what we needed in the interim was absolute American control of territory. That takes troops.

With an overwhelming presence from the beginning, using the oil-spot strategy advocated by Krepinevich, it's a defendable position to think we could have accomplished a hell of a lot more in Iraq than we have to-date. Controlling the cities and unapologetically eliminated behavior we deemed harmful or unproductive could have, over time, stabilized what is now a boiling cauldron of bad actors.

The next implication of Packer's commentary is that it is now too late to go back. We've already turned Iraq over to the Iraqis. We no longer have the freedom to impose anything on anybody without first acquiring permission. Furthermore, it is now politically impossible to substantially raise the level of troops in Iraq.

Instead of being the forge, our strategy now is to be the vice and the shield: the vice to hold the whole thing together while the glue sets, the shield against any outside interference. Whether this is enough for success remains to be seen.

In sum, it is very plausible that, because of decisions based on theory, we missed a golden opportunity to occupy, cultivate, and in the end transform Iraq without this irresponsible dependence on the civic virtues of Iraqis. That is what I took from Packer's reporting.

4/08/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Rummy is facing this question continually, and has distilled his response to (paraphrase) 'unless people have forged it themselves, they will not support the government'.

It IS easy to see how an American installation would lack the propaganda power to stave off the 'lapdog' charge from everybody from NYTimes to AQ & the Mullahs.

Conversely, whatever emerges from the current process will be unassailable as anything but the real thing.

4/08/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

And I agree with that, too, Buddy. The problem lies in the knowing: both strategies had pay-offs, but which was the highest?

4/08/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

I may be entirely wrong--I am about 50% of the time--but I think people may be overestimating the potential for terrorist stikes in America. If something does come though--or a wave of somethings--and I hope nothing does--it may be well if it can be traced back to coming up from Mexico. That will close the border if nothing else does--a course of action I've advocated all my life, from way before all this latest mid-east madness began in earnest.

4/08/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

that'll be an interesting debate question if we win the war, and a ghastly one if we lose.

4/08/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

sorry--that was to aristides' post--

4/08/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I'm curious to have someone explain, though, how more troops would've exactly changed things. Moreover, would more troops have been logistically possible? Cost-effective? Much more abrasive to Arab pride? And so on. I suppose there isn't great publicly available analysis on this subject beyond "oh if I had 1.5 million troops I could control Bagdhad..." given the political sensitivity of the question. This seems like a petty, bad faith sentiment. Why, exactly, is it politically impossible to inject 150,000+ extra troops into the country for any reason? We wouldn't need to draft them. Presumably they would be put to some good effect, considering their astonishing competence. Obviously we've proven we're not Nazis, and the Iraqis seem to want more US-provided security, not less. The politically-untenable part would probably come in the form of Islamist-with-militia professional grievance, which those 150,000+ troops would presumably engaged to dismantle anyway. I don't see it. Every day there's a micro-scandal or non-scandal or supposedly we're-all-getting-Nazified mega-scandal. Scandal is routine; nuclear politics is routine. Ye gods! Exploit it!

It strikes me that I can't understand almost any of the counterfactual exercises proposed in either good or bad faith in this war, in fact. We're not even doing patrols that often any more, apparently. And we're not engaging presumably known redoubts of Mahdi, Badr and other militia. Is the argument that these are a function of insufficient troop strength?

For example.

And I still sense in Packer the same irrational impulse to, at whatever cost, save the anti-war, anti-administration narrative. There is a fundamental incoherence in his article. Of course, I'm often guilty of the opposite impulse and the same incoherence, but I don't get paid to write, either.

4/08/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I agree with bobalharb--should the Mullocracy be suddenly decapitated, might not many cell-members just forget to check their email, in favor of disappearing into our suddenly relieved and attractively joyful population?

4/08/2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

We went from 10,000 to 50,000 and then the term was "fifty thousand more" in Viet Nam. We got to 550,000. At no time did any extra troops project strength. It was incremental and was always reactive. Each addition made the US look weaker in world opinion. Certainly not to the NVA or VC, but in the context of politics we got worse with more. The same thing would happen if we added more troops now. The Russians did the same in Afghanistan. You get one good shot at being right.

bobalharb said...
"I may be entirely wrong--I am about 50% of the time--but I think people may be overestimating the potential for terrorist stikes in America."

I think he is probably correct. But just in case we need to demonstrate that we will remove regimes that support terrorism and agression against US interests. That is our best defense. It is direct, brutal and gets us out of what is happening in Iraq. The longer we stay, the more difficult it will become to muster support for future engagements regardless of merit. To parrot the opinion that everything depends on a certain goal being achieved in Iraq is both nonsense and counter productive to our interests.

4/08/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yes, buddy, if the Mullahs were suddenly gone. But there are few scenarios where that is the outcome.
Suddenly is the sticking point.

As Mr Hersh wrote we now have people in Iran, passing out day money. Have no doubt that the Iranians have day money distributors in the US, as well.

4/08/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, bobalharb, of all the scenarios available, the success of the 9-11 attacks and the sheer number of intercepts that were considered "threats" by the NSA, would lead me to believe otherwise.

The flow of infiltrators across our frontier, the prayer blankets found, discarded on the trail from Mexico, lead me to believe otherwise.

The Iranians have had decades to prepare, they will push the envelope, but if they truly believe what they claim to believe.

The economic fallout could be devastating, here, there & everywhere.

4/08/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Tex said...

desert rat: It matters only marginally to Iran whether the PM is Mr al-Jaafari or Mr Mahdi or facsimile.

Recent Iranian blackmail-diplomacy suggests otherwise to me. From

At the preliminary conversations held near Zurich..., the gap between the two positions instead of narrowing widened out to a chasm. Tehran’s negative attitude came to the fore when it stiffened prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari’s resistance to stepping down, thereby derailing all efforts to form the Iraqi unity government...

On April 2, Washington tried to cut through this Gordian knot with the dramatic, surprise joint arrival in Baghdad of US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and UK foreign secretary Jack Straw. Jaafari was unmoved by their appeals to step aside. He dismissed the two officials’ visit as ill-timed, counter-productive and “naked intervention.”...

...the Iranian side will stick to Jaafari as Tehran’s nominee.

Tyrants do everything for a reason. The mullahs wouldn't be turning the screws for Jaafari unless they thought they could use him much more easily than Mahdi.

You know, Jaafari lived 8 years under the mullahs' protection in Iran. He has deep religious and political "connections" with the mullahs. And when powerful, scheming men like the mullahs have connections, you've gotta expect they'll use those connections as puppet strings.

Why wouldn't they?

Some more background on Jaafari, from Jude Wanniski:

...Jaafari is an Iraqi only nominally. If you look into his past, you will find he, like a great many Shiites from the south of Iraq, literally considered themselves “Iranians.” It was in 1972 that Saddam, on a visit to Basra, was shocked on a walk through the bazaar to find few of the people there speaking Arabic. They spoke Persian and looked to Tehran with their loyalties. This is when the Ba’ath Party began a crackdown on sectarianism, with many thousands of those Shiites pulling up stakes and emigrating to Iran, where they knit together politically in their new Dawa Party. Dawa undertook what we would have to call “terrorist” activities against the Baghdad regime in the years following, with atrocities galore. The new prime minister, Mr. al-Jaafari, was a leader of Dawa.

Now, I have no problem with Iraqi Shiites having strong connections with Iranian Shiites, per se. We're all God's suffering children, and so forth. But I do have a problem with a pro-Iranian PM appointing like-minded Defense and Interior ministers, thereby handing southern Iraq to the mullahs.

On a plate. :-/

BUT! I see the US has just sent the Marines back into Karbala and Najaf, putting them in position to slaughter Sadr's milita if they try to force the isssue. (Iranians screw, we counter-screw?) Looks like the US ready to go to the wall on this one. Do you see the same?

whit: "Menace in Europe"

Thanks for the link. Quotables:

In brief: Europeans are lazy, unwilling to fight for anything and willing to surrender to anyone; they are fascinated by decadence; they favor the bureaucracy over the corporation; they are unable to assimilate their immigrants; they no longer have children; they no longer produce much of cultural or scientific significance; they have lost their religious vocation and they no longer hold their lives to be meaningful.

Which would be rich food for schadenfreude, except, "Since when has Europe ever kept its problems to itself?"


4/08/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Iran's support of Mr al-Jaafari is one of the things that make Mr Mahdi more palatable.
Mr Mahdi also spent years in Iran, so if that creates "strings of attachment" Mr Mahdi is puppetized as well.

I'm surpirised it is even much of an issue, Head Gaming 101 is easy to see through.

Anyone that believes that Mr Mahdi and the SCIRI ruling Federal Iraq is more advantagous to long term US interests, in the Region, than to Iran's are kidding themselves.

4/08/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Desert Rat--I defer to you, Sir--you are there, I'm not--"the prayer blankets found"--I hope I am right and you are wrong--I'm just sitting here in north Idaho trying to follow things. If we get hit from the south, the border closes, I think I must be right on that much.

4/08/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

It took a political genius to get us in a position to contemplate Mr al-Jaafari or Mr Mahdi as the results of our efforts at establishing Democracy on the Euphrates

4/08/2006 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Ms Rice and Mr Straw are under great pressure to "move things along".
Mr Sistani is unavailable, but demands Shia vote as a Bloc. He is still obeyed.
The Bloc voted for Mr al-Jaafari, he is their and the only Candidate for PM.

I have read of Deadlines of acceptance demanded of him, he refuses to budge, as does Mr Sistani.

When or if another Candidate forms a Government or when Mr al-Jaafari finally does, both the UK & US will rejoice.
The theology or ideology of the "winner" will be little discussed, just that "consensus" has been obtained in Iraq.

If debka is to be believed, then the Iraqi Government is and will be riddled with Iranian agents, regardless of whom is chosen PM.

So it truly matters little, but by degree, to the Iranians. They may have a preference, but their fallback position is secure, regardless.

Our preference, Mr Allawi is not even in the running.
That is telling, I'm afraid.

4/08/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Rat, right, "suddenly" is the sticking point. But dig deeper--the psy effect is front-loaded. We don't have to've finished the job--for that effect--if we start it right.

I'm too ill-informed to have any confidence in my opinion re Iranian capabilities. I'm just reflecting generally on human nature and stimuluis/response. The jihad was back on its heels hard until USA began the 2004 election debate. In a way it is still back on its heels (no more 911s). The Mullahs are pouring on the intimidation because we are still by choice in the zone of intimidation.

There's the chance that if we emerge on the war side of that zone, the Mullahs will fold their tents for now. Goal one is stop that nuclear ballistic missile program.

Another thing that may stop concurrent with that program is the assault on Iraq, as the Mullahs may face the old disengagement problem of a petered-out attack.

We gotta look at these upsides, too. Luckily, we apparently have some time--the Bomb isn't ready, world opinion as expressed by the UN is turning against the Mullahs, and despite the horrible random bombings in Iraq, the politics are still politics.

The trick will be too get American public opinion ready to topple the Mullahs--it's the only way to avoid at some point in the future having to actually do it.

4/08/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

I'd like to ask this question--if USA makes strikes against Iran--we would not do it with carrier task forces in the Gulf--as being too vulnerable--but a tip off might be the removal of whatever big naval assets we have in the gulf?

4/08/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As I said a couple of days ago, the drums will be beating all summer.

If the Public responds and the Republicans hold their own come Fall, perhaps.
But if the Dems can gain either body of Congress, then it'll really be a "long hard slog" for Mr Bush to convince US of the necessity of another Preemptive War, in the face of electoral setbacks.

Mr Hersh's description of a massive air strike campaign against Iran may do the trick, or it may strengthen their resolve.

I know what reaction a direct Iranian attack on the US would result in. A strengthened resolve of the US Public.
Why that would not be the case in Iran is arguable, at best.

4/08/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

It's going to happen. GWB's historians are going to observe that he's a lame duck with nothing to lose politically (at 30% approval ratings), and the New Fascism clambering out of its cradle (like circa the 30s), still killable at a cost always less than it will be tomorrow--if indeed it will be killable at all tomorrow.

4/08/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

(1) We're not going to strike Iran = We're going to pull out a lot of troops

(2) We are going to strike Iran = We're going to pull out a few troops

Any Questions?

4/08/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That was Mr Hersh's feeling as well.

That although Mr Bush and folk speak of a Diplomatic Solution, there is tacit admission that since the Mullahs are not to be trusted, no Diplomatic agreement can be, either.

Which is why the counterterrorism blog link's idea that Iran will act preemptively, as they've decided War is inevitable, is outside the box of my previous thinking.

All four of us come to the same conclusion.
Why would the Iranians wait, would we?

4/08/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Guys, the last election was the pivot point. It's winding down, now. Nature will take it's course.

For those thinking about such things, it's Iran. Iran, all the time. Iraq is so, 2005. Ya know?

4/08/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

we could pull out large numbers of troops, leaving their equipment behind, prepositioned.

The troops could be in the tanks and rolling, flown in from the States almost as quickly as predeployed troops. We practiced this in Europe for decades.

It is not manpower that will be needed, if Mr Hersh is accurate, we plan on bombin' the bejeezus out of 'em.

4/08/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Rat, I was thinking about protecting the remaining troops from counter-attack. Of course, you're right, it will be an air operation.

4/08/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Look Guys, Iraq was all about the oil. The oil is safe from Saddam, now. We spent an extra couple of hundred Billion to make it look good. It's over.

That leaves a nuclear-armed Iran. Unacceptable. BUT, it's a stickier wicket. Elections coming up. Bad intel on Iraq. What will the voters go for? By extension, what will congress go for?

4/08/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Rufus-12:18-right, but we get the carriers out of the gulf--right?

4/08/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

We get the big Carriers out? yeah. Probably. We would have to bring the smaller ones in. The Essex, Belleau Woods, the ones that carry the Marines and their landing craft. They'll have to be ready to secure the Straits.

4/08/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

That having been said, Bobalharb; the chances of them sinking on of our big carriers is Awfully Damned Small. If our Big Boys stayed on the Western side of the Gulf it would be a one in a hundred shot.

4/08/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I'm curious to have someone explain, though, how more troops would've exactly changed things. Moreover, would more troops have been logistically possible? Cost-effective? Much more abrasive to Arab pride? And so on.

Those are the right questions. Nobody knows for sure, but the supporters of the "more troops" line assert that too few troops precluded the clear and hold strategy that was so successful in Tal Afar. With more troops, we could have created oases of security and rehabilitation which, after a while, would have provided the propaganda-by-deed that we so desperately needed: life with Americans equals x, life with insurgents equals y.

2. I have heard arguments for and against the logistics here, and whether a substantial number of troops was plausible. I assume it was.

3. The cost in the short term would have been substantially higher, but in the medium and long-term the gains in terms of time and treasure would have been immense.

4. The Arab-pride question also has advocates on both sides. Some assert that the Arab is so prideful as to be unique among the races. Others have observed Arabs to be much more controllable when it is clear to them that there are no other options. Insha'allah and all that. The diehards would still be diehards, but they would be easy to exile and eliminate with 100% control of territory. In the meantime, the Arabs who just wanted life to stabilize would truck through with hurt pride but full bellies (not to mention other amenities).

This is the (incomplete) argument for more troops, and I have no way of knowing if it is right. It may be, as it often is, that all options were bad, and that victory always depended more on will and adaptability than initial strategy. My gut feeling is that the "more-troops" argument, tempered with Krepinevich's oil-spot strategy, would have made our job easier, but would not, in the end, have been determinatve.

4/08/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

bobalharb, look into management of Germany's High Seas Fleet post-Jutland. Ship are expensive as hell, navies with no chance to win, will protect rather than risk the unaffordable losses.

Look for Iranian command-control to break up as soon as it starts, with some high brass throwing in with the new order.

Our Carrier Battle Groups are unparalleled at force-protection. Iran's stuff is just going to be target practice. All of it, and then some. The narrow waters work both ways, and favor offense in the same way as defense.

I hope.

4/08/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Rufus, etal--hope you are right--but they have Exocets,Silkworms--I read somewhere that a jet or cruise takes two minutes to cross the gulf.

4/08/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

(1) We could have lengthened the rotation to 18 or 24 months.

(2) We could have instituted a draft.

(3) We could have used 80% Guard and Reserve; or,

(4) We could have done it the way we did it.

There's only 100 pennies in a dollar folks.

4/08/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Bob, the silkworms and exocets are useless against our Carriers. There only possible hope would be to get one of their diesel submarines close enought to put a couple of torpedoes in extremely propitious places. It's a long shot. It's a "REAL LONG" SHOT. It's, actually, a Real, Real, Real Long Shot.

4/08/2006 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The less troops argument being that the smaller footprint made for less targets.
It was the tactics in Tal Afar, as well as use of ISF troops that made it a success.
More US troops would not have "secured" the Country. It was not a lack of manpower that kept Route Irish unsecure for years.

It was the overall stragey and RoE, which regardless of the number of troops deployed, would have remained similar to those used.

There are 40,000 troops garrisoned between Camps Fallujah and Anaconda, alone. They have been garrisoned for well over a year, now. There were "enough" troops, they just were not utilized as well as they could have been.

Check Mr Rumsfeld's old quotes, when he spoke of having all the wrong "skill sets" deployed to Iraq, oh, about 18 months ago, now.

The "More" troops would have had the wrong "skill sets" as well.

A better, but less discussed option, less troops sooner, would really have been perferable. That almost 2 years went by, before we started to stand up a viable ISF was a major error.
One that even Mr Bush admits to.

If we had started that training sooner, they'd have been ready, by now.

ah well.

4/08/2006 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

rat, your "why would they wait?" question: because there's the American public opinion factor. They'd rather Bush without it than Bush with it.

The best thing the Mullahs could do for an admin that has already made up its mind, is grant a proximate pretext. Something with pictures, more immediate than a Bomb off in the foggy future.

4/08/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I don't know if Dubya really gets down on his knees every night; but, if he does, I'll betcha anything that somewhere in that prayer there's a line that goes something like this: "And, please Lord, let that silly, mad-hat, crazy sob attack just one of our ships, shoot at just one of our planes, lob just one teensy-weensy mortar round over the line that I can "Prove."

4/08/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger servius said...

Here is an interesting article about military outsourcing:

4/08/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

that's always been my mindset, that the Iranians would be reactive to US.
Mr Walid Phares believes otherwise, that the Iranians may take the inititive. That scenario always seemed a loser for the Iranians, from my perspective.

But it does make some, arguably bad, sense. Perhaps more from the Mullah's perspective.

4/08/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Tex said...

desert rat: Mr Mahdi also spent years in Iran, so if that creates "strings of attachment" Mr Mahdi is puppetized as well.

Yes, could be. And could you post some good links on this, especially deep biographical material?

Just for ref, from a bio at

[Mahdi] was imprisoned for political activism and fled to France in 1969. Trained in politics and economics (in which he obtained a doctorate), initially espousing Maoism, and serving as head of the French Institute of Islamic Studies. His four children all have French nationality. Served as SCIRI's representative in Iran from 1992-96, and as the deputy member for 'Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim on the Governing Council.

So he lived in Iran for 4 years, to Jaafari's 8, is that correct?

My question is - and this is a real question, not rhetorical - why would Iran risk military and political assets in Iraq by pressing for Jaafari as PM? (I just don't understand the reference to "head gaming 101" here.) I would suspect Jaafari to be the greater risk, in actuality, if:

1. The US strongly preferred Mahdi as the new PM.

2. The mullahs strongly preferred Jaafari as the continuing PM.

3. The Kurds and Sunnis would rather torpedo the federal government than allow Jaafari to continue as PM.

4. Iranian agents began murdering Mahdi's supporters.

These things I see now -- or think I see now. These things make sense, in the context above. And again, I don't see why Iran would risk military and political assets in Iraq at this time unless they really wanted Jaafari in the PM's chair.

(Of course, you were quite right to highlight the 130-odd Shiite candidates with connections / strings leading back to Tehran. I wouldn't discount the risk they present. I was just focusing for a moment on the PM, since he's the kingmaker.)

There are many pieces to the puzzle of Iraq's present federal politics, and head games surely abound. So please do add some more material on Mahdi and the relevant unobvious games you see. Thanks.

4/08/2006 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

There's an old expression, "gets my goat", for something too annoying to abide. It comes from horse racing, where an excitable racehorse would be stalled with a goat that the horse had been pastured with since birth. The goat's presence keeps the horse calm and rested. If a rival "gets your goat", he's messing up your horse's chance to win the race, without going too far by harming your horse. You can get someone's goat without even touching it, just stand outside the stall and stare at it and think bad thoughts--the goat will get nervous, and upset the horse. The horse will lose a few steps in race. You can pop a goat in the ass with a paperclip and rubberband, and make it nervous for the night, in an enclosed stall. Nobody might ever know why the horse didn't run true to form.

4/08/2006 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Tex said...

2164th: It took a political genius to get us in a position to contemplate Mr al-Jaafari or Mr Mahdi as the results of our efforts at establishing Democracy on the Euphrates

Heck of an experiment, yeah.

But... if the country's majority Shiite, you have to expect they'll vote Shiite. So one way or another, the PM will be Shiite. It's hard to see how a federal election could be meaningful in Iraq if it precluded that outcome.

And to be clear, I have nothing against Shiite majority in the federal government. I just groan at the thought of these guys selling out Iraq to the Iranian regime -- which they cannot do if the mullahs are dead.


4/08/2006 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Tex said...

buddy: There's an old expression, "gets my goat"...

I was not aware that Ahmadinejad slept with a goat.

But it's good to know. Thanks! ;-)

4/08/2006 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The most disturbing piece I've found on Mr Mahdi comes from this Site from November of last year.

Some took exception to Mr Dreyfuss when I first linked to this, last week, but while they disliked Mr Dreyfuss's politics, they did not dispute his findings.

The Headgame, as I see it, boils down to Iran having multiple players in Iraq.
They publicly support the most disruptive, Mr al-Sadr and by extension Mr al-Jaafari. There may be agents, and assets expended in this publicly viewed support.

Mr Mahdi and his camp followers have also had long term relations with the Iranians. In more "normal" times he would not be considered an "ally" of US. The SCIRI has not been pro US in the past. Mr Mahdi would, normally, be considered an Iranian proxy, as was the entire SCIRI until quite recently. The Iranians and SCIRI both publicly moved away from each other.

To my thinking this is just a facade, a gamesmanship move. It makes someone whom, two years ago the US would not empower, into our newest best ally.

Privately, SCIRI and Iran have conspired to accomplish taking over the new Federal Iraq, from US.
Big prize, worthy of subterfuge

If debka is right, a big if, then the choice of PM matters little, it is window dressing. They've groomed a pig, but it still is a pig.

I could be totally wrong, but I doubt it, alot.

4/08/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Condoleezza Rice on Piano
Her favorite opera is Mussorgsky's epic "Khovanshchina," not surprising, given her expertise in Russian culture, language and history.
It may have special resonance today:
it tells of bloody factional strife at the time of the ascension of Peter the Great, made worse by the intransigence of the Old Believers, a fundamentalist Orthodox group opposed to reform.

4/08/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Iranians provide both the problem, as well as the solution.

Each in a different proxy.

4/08/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I was pretty sure Ah'ma dama dingdong slept with goats; but the rest of that goat stuff(?) I've just gotta check it out.

4/08/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

buddy's right as rain, about the goat in the horse's stall.

4/08/2006 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Okay, but, ..uh.. do you stand outside the stall and think bad thoughts before you uh ..pop it in the ass with a paper clip? Or do you break out the rubber band, and then stare at it (the goat?)

And, what if Ahma dama Ding Dong slips into the stall and slips it to the goat? Does that mean your horse runs faster, or does he just saunter up to the starting gate, and light up a marlboro.

4/08/2006 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

My prose was evidently insufficiently compelling.

4/08/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ya see, I had some good writing in store, but Rufus' post got my goat, and now I'm lacking confidence.

4/08/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"The Iranians provide both the problem, as well as the solution."

See "Mob", Extortion 101. Launder the vig, swag, skim, etcetera, thru the Nymex.

4/08/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Hey, great thread, thanks guys, lots of interesting views and info I'd never find on my own. Appreciate it.

Imho, Iran's recent military demonstrations are acts of desperation, and I was glad to see VDH concur in his recent article. I also think they are advertising a military alliance with Russia, which they could really use. It would be just like the old days, where weak countries could stand up to America because the USSR was standing right behind them. The Cold days are gone, and it's hard to believe Russia would intervene militarily against US anymore than they did in Serbia.

I see the Iranian's recent actions, and the renewed ferocity of the insurgency in Iraq as signs that we are really getting the bad guys' goat.

Since Iran doesn't have Russia behind them, they NEED the bomb in the face of what MUST feel like irrestible, inexorable American aggression. The only way to get there is to buy time and tangle us up in the UN, in the Iraqi insurgency, in American domestic politics (which we got covered for them!).

In the face of all this concerted action by the enemy against our actions in their theatre, you would almost think we had a plan. And it was working, although excruciatingly slowly.

Even so, I doubt we'll ever do it this way again.


As for the smaller footprint vs. 500,000 troops - that was an argument for the beginning of the war. No one thinks we would still have them there now, right? This insurgency ebbed and and then grew again in 05. For the massive presence theory to have worked, we'd have the 500,000 still there. For a number of reasons, we couldn't do that, as Rufus points out.

4/08/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Sorry Buddy. I'm going to go take a nap, now.

I seem to be getting a little out of control.

4/08/2006 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


You were just getting funny, man! The thing with the horse smoking the Marlboro is toot sweet.

4/08/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I see the mullahs sitting around the old hookah: "We got the Great Satan right where we want him now. Directly to our west, directly to our east, directly to our south and directly above. Perfect!"

4/08/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

yeh, nothing wrong with deflating obscuranticismistism.

4/08/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"We got him right where he wants us!"

4/08/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Tex said...

desert rat: The Iranians provide both the problem, as well as the solution.

Said that way, I can understand. And I should hope the players in Baghdad are fully alive to that gambit, if true.

I do know the mullahs have handed out a lot of money, to just about every Shiite group. They're surely angling for influence regardless of which group comes out on top. But the payoff is not a sure thing for the mullahs. We can witness the difficulty all the players have had in getting value for their money in Iraq.


Thanks for the article, though I was hoping for more in the way of revelations concerning Mahdi's hard-to-gauge allegiance to Iran.

desert rat: Some... disliked Mr Dreyfuss's politics...

I can see why. [shudder] Just on a hunch I googled "Robert Dreyfuss" and "Hamas", hitting this January article:

I won't quote it at any length. But in brief, Dreyfuss excuses Hamas' mass-murdering ways by blaming Israel for Hamas' existence, saying "[Israel] started Hamas in the first place." This ignores the proximate cause and root, the Muslim Brotherhood, which Israel tolerated from 1946, perhaps unwisely.

My point being, Dreyfuss will tell a whopper if he feels like it. I'd recommend double-checking his articles on Iraq.

4/08/2006 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

What kills me about Muslims, every damn last one of them, is the total lack of surprise or outrage when Shia or Sunni blow up a Mosque. I mean, sure they are pissed at the deaths and are upset if the Mosque is some specially significant one...but Muslims desecrating Mosques or using them as sniper nests, terorrist recruiting centers, or armories is .....OK. If infidels like Americans ever blow up a Mosque or even shoot at one - well, watch the global protests of the "Angry Muslim Street".

Same with the dread abuse of "Koran desecration". When Americans handle one for a Muslim prisoner, they are required to wear gloves not as a "symbol of respect" but the muslim belief that the direct touch of their filthy infidel bodies to a Koran renders the book itself "unclean" without elaborate cleaning to restore it fit for a believer. But in war, Muslims killing other Muslims invariably find the slain have a Qur'an or certain favorite pages, and that is just treated like other war debris garbage...not worth salvaging...just kicked into pits in the desert or to the streetcurb with other unwanted trash.

And similar drivel with Bush's "Religion of Peace" not fighting on "sacred Muslim holy days", their "right" to specially prepared food, and their overt inamicability towards other peoples being explained as an "attribute to be celebrated" since it shows they have freedom of religious expression.

4/08/2006 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Now you're getting it:
That's why Fox and La Raza are the good guys, and we're intolerant vigilantes in waiting.
(None Dare Say Citizens in Waiting for some reality from DC)

4/08/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


You're right, Cedarford does seem to be finally getting it. But not completely. C sez Bush's "Religion of Peace" when we all know Religion of Peace is foremost a great joke coined by LittleGreenFootballs.

4/08/2006 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I had not heard of Mr Mahdi two months ago, I had not heard of Mr Dreyfuss until last week.

Google is like that.

Google Mr Mahdi, Mr Dreyfuss appears. Google Mr Dreyfuss and he is less than totally reliable.

I think Mr Mahdi is less than reliable

4/08/2006 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Sy Hersh is a major league bozo. His sources are either ficticious or shameless dissemblers. He was fed, or simply invented of his own accord, so much BS on the abu Ghraib/Interrogation story that it's impossible to credit what his anonymous "sources" have to say on the issue at hand - or any other.

Just a friendly reminder.

4/08/2006 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Cedarford said...
What kills me about Muslims, every damn last one of them, is the total lack of surprise or outrage when Shia or Sunni blow up a Mosque.

I never understood the nonsense of American GIs at Guantanamo Bay humoring these people. There should be no prisoners at Guantanamo; they should have been dispatched in Afghanistan. They never should have been given Qurans, as Islam itself is the problem. You cannot desecrate the Quran, as it is a desecration against life, sanity and civilization.

4/08/2006 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

With The Sunday Telegraph reporting that Bush is giving serious consideration to using Nuclear bunker busters against Iran, they say: "The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings among the joint chiefs of staff, and some officers have talked about resigning, Hersh has been told. The military chiefs sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran, without success, a former senior intelligence officer said."

It may help negotiations if three of them would resign next Tuesday. It may clarify some thinking in Mullaland.

4/08/2006 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Sy Hersh has a long record in the leftic brain trust-but that doesn't mean he's not to be read. Always a bellwether.

4/08/2006 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Yeah Trish - I saw him recently on some CSPAN thing yammering on casually to a rapt audience about how the US was just sending death squads into the Sunni Triangle and killing Sunnis and other atrocities (his favorite word). He has the worst case I've ever actually witnessed of that strange disease that causes you to attribute all the most psychotic cruelties perpetrated by his enemy onto his own government. What the hell is that. Reading these Mitrokhin files books illustrates just how eerily the anti-war crowd's accusation vs. USA were actually the modus operandi of the Soviet Union and global Communist insurgency. It's actually pretty entertaining - and laced with epiphanies - the way Richard Pipes' Russia Under the Old Regime is. It's also interesting how much what the CIA seems to primarily do looks just like journalism, or superjournalism.

4/08/2006 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

My thoughts exactly, 2164. That little boom out in Nevada will be heard more clearly in Tehran than in Las Vegas.

4/08/2006 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Random drive-bys

Revealed:the contents of Bush's letter to Sistani:"If you ain't riding a camel you ain't Shiite"

Ash said "I doubt the Iraqis are meeting America's best when they meet our military.."Yeah that's right,if only they could meet some bed-wetting
lice-infested gray pony-tailed hippie for life drooling down the streets of san Francisco...

Desert Rat.If Debka is a source of questionable veracity,what does that make Seymour Hirsch who painted every Viet Nam veteran as a crazed war criminal with his My Lai writings and poisoned the Iraq well with his Abu Graib exposes.He's a leftwing piece of crap.

2164 said the increase in troop strength in Viet Nam projected weakness not strength.Yeah that and a political class who insisted on stacking the deck for the enemy with ludicrous rules of engagement.

Just a few curmudgeonly thoughts after a long drive and a double latte.

4/08/2006 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

And, I'm with you Trang. If those aren't the Best, they'll do until the Best get here.

4/08/2006 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Funny, dan.

My husband's reaction to that is always, "Do we have Death Squads? You betcha." Depends on the definiton of Death Squad. But Sy mentally inhabits, as many of a certain age do, a time and a world that's decades gone now - and which isn't going to be brought back.

But that's a whole 'nother story.

4/08/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

On the other hand, if Dubya isn't seriously considering a nuke bunkerbuster strike, he's doing a masterful job of setting up his bluff. The thirty thousand pounds (or whatever it is) of TNT on the outskirts of Las Vegas is a nice touch, I think.

Now, if he just COULD talk a couple of the "Right" Generals into resigning in protest against the "direction the administration is going;" that would be "priceless."

4/08/2006 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Tex, 5:17 PM

There was no Israel in 1946.

As to pre-deployment, recall that in mid '05, Israel purchased a vast store of strategic weaponry. While little commented on at the time, Israel had no real use for all this, if the PA was the intended recipient. Although the argument is reasonable that Iran is the target, the Bush administration would not permit this, save as last resort. So, what is to become of the blockbusters etc. now in Israel?

4/08/2006 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Re: "some officers have talked about resigning"

Regrettable, but it may be for the best. For some it might be the first noble act in a long time. Check out any one of the Navy, Air Force, or Army Times for clarification.

4/08/2006 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

I read the test in Las Vegas(outside of, rather) was going to be 700 tonnes. Making tonnes tons that would be 1,400,000 lbs. Can that possibly be right? I may go down there for that. Sort of reminds me when I was with my dad passing through there in the 50's--before the strip had even started, was kind of neat then--and the motel room we were staying in shook from an underground blast. I remember the concerned, quizzical, fearful, questioning look he had on his face to this day. He got me into the Golden Nugget to lose twenty dollars--to teach me not to gamble. Robert, they give away nothing here. Long ago and far away.

4/08/2006 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yes, Sy Hersh is of dubious reputation,
Mr Dreyfuss is of dubious reputation,
Mr Powell is of dubious reputation, as well.
Jimmy Carter does not stand up well in this crowd.

So what.
Debka and Mr Hersh, read 'em all.
Mr Buckley and Mr Kaplan as well.

Insights, stray facts and out there somewhere, the truth.
It's all in the basement of the Hoover building, Agent Mulder has the file.

4/08/2006 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Tex said...

desert rat: I think Mr Mahdi is less than reliable

I believe the Sunni/Kurd block is angling to keep Defense and Interior ministries out of Shiite hands altogether. Probably a good idea.

*** In the back of my mind I keep having these visions of Shiite mobs overrunning Baghdad -- and then I think of Iran today, and how hard it is for the mullahs to control their own provinces in the south. And in Iraq, how Sadr's toughest thugs were unable to resist the Marines; even for a week; even in their home town, where they had every advantage.


I mean, *these* guys? Buuuuhhhhh-uh-uh-huh-huhh. Forget the supercavitating rocket-torpedoes. If these badasses want to go to the mat with Uncle Sam, they're gonna need a crash program in Nitro-Tech Double Chocolate Supreme Power Bars.

Seriously, that's some weak sh*t! :-D

"'s all I'm sayin'."

4/08/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...


Interesting that you bring up Agent Mulder... A character that is chasing down something that only the privileged know exist.

Are you of the bent to believe that there are constant red herrings in our information? What is the information filter? Or better yet, who is the information filter?

Are we better served by the filter, if it exists?

I seem to have more questions than answers.

4/08/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

That was a great series, Rat. Our entertainment through dark Belgian winters.

4/08/2006 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I doubt, tex, that the Shia in general, Mr Mahdi, Mr al-Jaafari or Mr Sistani agree with those proposed assignments of responsibility and authority. That is the real choke point, me thinks, not the name of the PM.
It is a Shia Government, they have the majority, surely they feel deserving of commanding the Army and Police.
Rightfully so, democraticly.

The extra Constitutional Council that Mr Roggio wrote of and I think our Host has mentioned, time limits and deadlines, all were to be the deadlock breakers, yet gridlock remains the only constant.

Try to get a super majority of Congress to endorse anything or anyone.
How many Federal Judges appointed by Mr Bush were held from the bench for that very reason, here in the US of A?

In Iraq, the Shia have won the in the process we helped to design and whole heartedly approved of.

Mr Bremmer says he saw the writing on the wall.

4/08/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

danmyers, 9:03 PM

"the truth is so precious it must be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies."

4/08/2006 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The US Government, danmyers, has released false information to the public concerning USAF aircraft lost in Central America in the early '80's.
Know it, cause I was there and the Public report did not relate reality.

Who ordered the "cover up" of the downing of a USAF plane, I have no idea. As to why, it would have been "difficult" to admit that our planes were being shot down, in Panama. There was no good reason for US to go public.
Especially after exPanamanian President Omar "the Bull" Torrejos was lost in a downed aircraft just weeks later.

4/08/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I all go with the 48 hr rule (wait 48 hr. and more information will trickle out - certain Iraqis must know who did it).

Now, I would guess Omar's first theory that Iran was involved via a proxy (Sadr or AQ) to drag as many parties as possible into the battle is credible. Further, Iran is prime suspect because of the likelihood they will end-up in military confrontation over their nuclear weapons project - thus, they want to muddy the water as much as possible.

It's possible that Saddam and some of his thugs from Syria staged this event including the story the bodies of murdered Sunnis were buried in Buratha mosque. His legal road is coming to an end and a "scorch the earth" tactic would suit his purposes.

Or, it may just be brutal Iraqi politics as they "negotiate for control of $120,000,000.00/Day in oil revenue." (quote from rufus).

I will make to two suggestions:

1) Display pictures the heads of the suicide bombers to get leads on them as they did in the Bali bombings (if it's possible).

2) Institute a temporary policy where women will not be allowed to wear large baggy coverings that could conceal 40 lb. of explosives in large public gatherings (head scarves are probably OK). This "hide the bulk explosive in women's baggy clothing as worked successfully - and it certainly will be tried in the future.

4/08/2006 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Tex said...

allen: no Israel in 1946

Check. Yeah, '48. Only settlers in '46. Thanks.

desert rat: Agent Mulder has the file.

But where is she hiding it?

Seriously though, I've had to read so defensively since 9/11. So many professional journalists are eager to abet the Islamofascists, for whatever reasons -- usually petty ones. The heck of it is, being professionals, journalists know many tricks to fool the reader into buying a line. The form of earnest sincerity is one of the best tricks:

"Sincerity is everything. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made."
-George Burns, from Hundred Best Jokes ( )

We're all reading on the fly, and few of us have time or ability to fact-check stories from Bombistan. So I do encourage you all to pipe up when you catch a journalist pulling a fast one. It's just good mental defense.

4/08/2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

US military reacting to the last few years of crap info?
(from --take a look)

4/08/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger Tex said...

desert rat: I doubt, tex, that the Shia in general, Mr Mahdi, Mr al-Jaafari or Mr Sistani agree with those proposed assignments of responsibility and authority.

Oh, I didn't say they did. What don't the Shiites want? But the Iraqi Constitution doesn't grant everything to the majority. Ministerial appointments are subject to a confirmation vote in the Council of Representatives. And that's just where an all-Shiite cabinet will die, figuratively, if the Shiites don't get over themselves.

Anyway, they'll deal with that, or the Marines will deal with them. It's another "teachable moment" in the history of Federal Iraq, eh?

(So much depends on the resolve of US forces and the US Administration now. It's such a thin line...)

4/08/2006 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger Tex said...

trish: "...just a friendly reminder"

Thanks for the reminder on Hersh. "Bozo". Got it.

That's what I'm talking about. :-)

4/08/2006 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger Tex said...

rufus: You know, any little league coach will tell you that there comes a time to sit back and enjoy the game.

What was that bit from 'Lawrence of Arabia', when Dryden is giving the future Sir Lawrence a wary kind of look:

Mr. Dryden: Lawrence, only two kinds of creature get fun in the desert: Bedouins and gods, and you're neither. Take it from me, for ordinary men, it's a burning, fiery furnace.
T.E. Lawrence: No, Dryden, it's going to be fun.
Mr. Dryden: It is recognized that you have a funny sense of fun.



4/08/2006 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger The Major said...

The Ministry of the Interior in Iraq is probably THE most corrupt department of the government. It is dominated by radical Shias who are just barely disguising their efforts at eradicating the Sunnis...just barely. If Jafaari received intelligence from the MOI about the bombings than only two things are possible: 1. The intelligence was deliberately vague so that the planned attack could not be thwarted. 2. It was a genuine tip and the MOI/Prime Minister had nothing to do with the attack. The guess by Iraq the Model is interesting and could very well be true. Jafaari is a puppet of Iran and Iran is THE most powerful player in Iraq right now, moreso than the far. I am stationed in Iraq now and it is pretty evident. But I am going to have to think about this for awhile before I am willing to buy into the conspiracy.

4/08/2006 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Tex said...

To the major and any others working and fighting overseas: I just want to say that I have the greatest respect for what you're doing, even as I strain to imagine the conditions under which you do it all. May God be with you and see you through!

4/09/2006 01:39:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...


The buzz is growing over the discussion of tactical nukes to be used against Iranian nuclear facilities. The Left, MSM, many foreign pundits and hopefully the Iranians believe Bush is smart enough, dumb enough, crazy enough or reckless enough to do it. There is talk about a bazillion ton explosive test in Las Vegas and members of JCS resigning in protest over proposed nuclear weapon use. This is the background music you would want if the decision were to put an ultimatum to Iran.

The world has heard this song before from this administration. Iran gives no credibility to the EU negotiations. They know the EUros are feckless. They also believe that Bush could do it. They know that Bush is in trouble in Iraq and would like to fix that. De-fanging Iran would take some of the starch out of Iranian leaning Iraqi Shiites. In the ME, strength attracts, weakness repels. Bush does not need a ground presence in Iran to do major damage to Iran. I am no fan of Bush but you have to take him seriously. The Iranians do. The increased tempo of Bush going it alone and as Dr. Strangelove may start some serious negotiations. May, but maybe not.

If not, Bush has the whole world in a panic. He moves forward deployed assets to advanced battle readiness, air assets out of EU bases that may not allow nuclear missions from these bases. Two members of the JCS take an early out "in protest". The Iranians know he is not kidding. Maybe not.


The US takes out all Iranian naval, air, missile and air defensive assets. All conventional. All Iranian nuclear facilities are ignored. The deep underground facilities are untouched. Command and control facilities are heavily targeted. The world takes a deep sigh of relief that neither the nuclear facilities were hit nor TNW were used. Iran has a huge gaping hole in its military structure and will have to pay for and restore that. The mullahs are humiliated leaving some room for indigenous counter regime response. The nuclear option is all still on the table.

I do not know that war with Iran is inevitable, desirable or even necessary. It never was with the Soviet Union and they had steel teeth. I suggest what I see as a possible developing strategy for your Sunday entertainment.

4/09/2006 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

India will vote against Iran at IAEA.

Fast tracking the India-US nuclear cooperation and reducing India's oil imports is another sign the administration is positioning for Iran's takedown.

4/09/2006 05:54:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

What Tex said:

To the major and any others working and fighting overseas: I just want to say that I have the greatest respect for what you're doing, even as I strain to imagine the conditions under which you do it all. May God be with you and see you through!

I second that whole-heartedly.

As for that test in Las Vegas with 700 tons of HE - that's obviously a test to see what X amount of force does to Y amount of rock/structure underground. So, if necessary, we'd know what to dial up the B61-11's to.

The Major's words are sobering, that Iran has that much influence right now in Iraq. Well, it's all one big war, grinding excruciatingly slowly.

4/09/2006 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Did anyone else notice that in his last town hall meeting Dubya referred to Afghanistan and Iraq as "Battles," not Wars.

4/09/2006 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


Re: Only settlers in '46

Some of the "settlers" had been settled in places like Jerusalem since the time of David. When the Jordanians captured Jerusalem, the "settlers" were expelled, their ancient synagogues and cemeteries desecrated, and any Jew with the temerity to return to Jerusalem had the same life expectancy as a Jew discovered in Mecca.

Rulers came and went - Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arabic, Nordic, and Turkic - throughout the millennia; however, there were always tens of thousands of Jews living in Roman Palestine. And when did the pseudo-ethnicity of "Palestinian", applicable to a host of Arabic speaking expats, come into fashionable vogue? Wasn't 1968?

4/09/2006 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


Re: battles not wars

"Theatre" is even better. All in good time, I suppose.

4/09/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Tex said...

eggplant / whit: re: Debka

I subscribed after 9/11 and have found it a good value. I'd say the newsletter speculations exceed 50% success rate, if one uses a modest standard of "proved ultimately to be at least 50% correct". They certainly predicted the current Iraqi political miseries. And yes, their predictions of election results have been especially good, haven't they?

Does Debka go psyop sometimes? I don't know. And that's probably best.

allen: Some of the "settlers" had been settled in places like Jerusalem since the time of David.

And also, yes. In '46, settlers from Diaspora, plus others remaining. (You guys are tough editors. MSM hiring you yet?) :-)

dan: If there is to be a cataclysm, let's get the hell on with it already.

Mm-hmm. Not that any just man wants cataclysm, but if there's no other way out, then yes, I'm with you and Thomas Payne:
"If there is to be conflict in the world, let it be in my time, that my children may live in peace."

4/09/2006 11:19:00 AM  

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