Friday, April 21, 2006

The shift in power

There's an interesting article in the Strategy Page about the shift in power in Iraq from Sunni to Shi'a and its consequences.

It's now the Sunni Arabs who are calling for American troops to remain, for the Shia Arab dominated police and army are strong enough to defeat any Sunni Arab militia. Only the Americans are able to protect Sunni Arabs from attacks by vengeful Kurds and Shia Arabs. Such is the disdain for Sunni Arab military force, that much of the current violence is between Shia Arab factions. The Badr and Sadr militias, in particular, are often battling each other for control of territory. The fighting is rarely in the open. The more traditional methods involve intimidation. This takes the form of verbal or written threats, followed up by kidnapping, arson, drive-by shootings or murder. Criminal gangs use the same tactics for their extortion or turf protection operations.

That shift in power was occasioned by two developments: the US defeat of the Sunni insurgency and the buildup of the Iraqi Army. After nearly two years of combat the once formidable Ba'athist apparatus has been worn down, despite any assistance they may have received from sympathizers across the borders. But their place has not yet been filled by a democratic successor government. Instead, it is outfits like the Badr and Sadr militias who want to replace old criminal empires with their own and substitute one domination with another.

Michael Yon, in a much misquoted article entitled "Of Words" tells us when he first noticed the contest for power: "More than a year ago, I wrote from the 'Sunni Triangle' that Iraq was in the midst of a civil war, words that received little attention then." About a dozen paragraphs later he explains that the Iraqi civil war was already under way before OIF.

The Civil War did not start subsequent the invasion; it was already underway. The former Iraqi regime had slaughtered unknown thousands of civilians and buried many of them in mass graves that are still today being discovered and catalogued. If anything, the previous Civil War has merely changed shape, the advantage has clearly shifted, and now that Americans and Europeans are in the combat zone, the war gets more complicated.

The gassing of the Kurds. The destruction of the southern marshes and their inhabitants. Saddam's persecution of the Shi'a. Even the Iraq-Iran war. All the atrocities the George Galloway's buddy is being tried for were to anyone with the wit to see it part of the civil war that Michael Yon found underway. But with the arrival of the US Saddam and his successors finally found an enemy they could not defeat. And their arrival tipped the scales of war to produce this shift in advantage -- the decline of Sunni power and the ascendancy of Shi'ite factions -- many of  more or less equal criminality, that is the underlying reason for the fear now gripping Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad. It was probably why soon-to-be ex-Prime Minister Jaafari's clung so grimly to power. Never had his faction been so close to standing over their foes. The Strategy Page describes the resentment among Shi'ite factions over Jaafari's forced departure.

Yaqubi, Jafari, and others, are increasingly open in their opposition to Coalition efforts to "reach out" to Sunni leadership, and some are openly suggesting it's time American forces leave, a call which radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has been making openly for some time.

But as Michael Yon says, America is in Iraq for its own reasons. Saddam was a threat, though we have forgotten that now. To listen to some in the press, everything was better under Saddam. Still, Jafari's interests are not American interests. And since it was American power, not Sadr's pathetic militia that ground down the Sunni forces the way forward must be on American terms, not Jafari's.

When it came to invading Iraq, as persuasive as I found those official statements about WMD, I also knew some things that the average American would not be in a position to know. Every Iraq-experienced Special Forces veteran that I spoke with before the latest invasion of Iraq—every one of those veterans—opined that Iraq would devolve into chaos and civil war. But when I asked those same veterans if they thought the former regime was a threat to world security, they all agreed that it was, for they knew well the evil of the former Iraqi regime. Tough choices.

But what America will do next with that power depends on whether it can count it successes and remaining challenges accurately. And accounting correctly is dependent on seeing things clearly through the spin, which is hurled more or less continuously in the viewers face, where even overoptimism is peddled as an antidote to chronic defeatism.

When people were told a year ago that the insurgency was in its dying embers, or when they were told that the same people who failed to show up for the rose petal parade our troops were expected to receive, would now show up and build a democracy overnight, those statements were retorts to the growing reports of Iraqi on Iraqi violence. The gloss over’s were meant to assure us that what was being reported as a growing threat to the stability of the region was actually a miss-read of the facts.

Our top civilian leaders, the ones with their hands on the cockpit controls, predicted swift and easy victory. The failure of that promise, coupled with the bargain basement reporting that substituted nightly body counts and recycled car bomb footage for insightful coverage, is what has made the statements I made a year ago suddenly reach so many ears with so much controversy. ...

We are not getting the truth through our media, or our civilian leadership. Yes, Iraq is in civil war, but there is no doubt in my mind, not the slightest doubt, that the new Iraqi security forces are becoming stronger all the time. It’s not certain if they are strong enough to hold back the enemy on their own or if we need to increase the efforts of our military in a coordinated measure. But the fact that an American general recently invited me to see that progress is an indicator that our top military leaders are confident. An Army general would not have invited me back to Iraq to see a fiasco, and the mere fact of his invitation is a ray of hope.


On the last day of March I wrote a paragraph in Pretty Pictures which I can't better. And I repeat it here. It expresses in my own klunky way some of the ideas which I think Michael Yon was getting at. Important victories have been won, but there is a long way yet to go. Yet the worst of it is that we've been consciously blinded by the very institutions whose job it is to help us see.

A realistic assessment should include what has already been gained and what is left to gain. Some people think the Belmont Club is guilty of unwonted optimism simply because it is willing to accept what Zarqawi has practically admitted: that the Sunni insurgency is militarily beaten -- and that the struggle for the political outcome is now underway. And some readers may believe that I've gone all "gloomy" because I think the political outcome still hangs in the balance. But that is nothing more than stating a fact. Yet the essential difference is this: it's in context. Those who have done some rock climbing know that while it is important to grope for the next handhold along the line of climb it is equally important to remember the footholds you have already won. Forget where you are standing and you are lost. Unfortunately, much of the regular media coverage is almost designed to conceal where where we are standing and where we have to go. There is no context, as Bill Roggio once put it on a television interview. For most casual listeners of the news the US is trapped in a featureless and starchy soup, with no beginning or end. The War on Terror becomes portrayed as a shapeless shroud from which it is imperative to escape at all costs.

And that's sad because as Baron von Richthofen said, "Those who are afraid to take the next step will have wasted their entire previous journey."


But we will see all the same.


Blogger desert rat said...

But we will see all the same?

I must disagree.
It will be there to be seen, but perspective will make for each witness a different event.

As it is now.
The sweetness of Victory, is also the bitterness of Defeat.
'cause the Goals are ambiguous.

Victory, in Iraq, if attained under present Policies will not be complete nor acknowledged by US.

How could it be, when we concratulate ourselves on hidden tactics that promote combat in city streets.
When the Enemies are only allies we have not vought off yet. When our Allies are really Enemies.

Iraq is no longer a threat to US, if it ever was. I believe it was, many do not, but that debate is over.
Iraq's Army can secure Iraq, or it cannot be secured to our Standard, ever.

As to needing US until they are "viable" and tales of how long US toook to Unify, I say this:

The French did not Garrison Philidelphia until the US Constitution was Ratified.

4/21/2006 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As to the "Civil War", Mr Talabani said the US intervened in Iraq's Civil War, he thanked US for it.

To not accept his thanks is rude, to say he was lying, worse.

4/21/2006 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Russia underlines opposition to UN Iran sanctions
By Gareth Smyth in Tehran
Published: April 21 2006 12:54 | Last updated: April 21 2006 12:54

Russia on Friday maintained its opposition to United Nations sanctions against Iran over the country’s nuclear programme unless proof emerged of a diversion into weapons.

“One can speak of sanctions only after the appearance of concrete facts proving Iran is not engaged exclusively in peaceful nuclear activities,” Mikhail Kamynin, the foreign ministry spokesman, said.

The RIA-Novosti news agency quoted Nikolai Spassky, deputy head of the Kremlin Security Council, saying: “There is no such issue (of sanctions) for us - we are not discussing it.” ..."

From the Finacial Times

Without Sanctions, first, there will be no UN Authorization to use force against Iran. Guarenteed.

4/21/2006 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

"... At Friday prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani stressed Iran had no intention of backing down.

“For [the sake of our] independence, economy, dignity and credibility, the Iranian nation will in no way retreat, not even one step,” he told worshippers. ..."

4/21/2006 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

From Time, which many dislike, but has Tony Karon on the ground, in the Zone.
"... ...Former U.S.-appointed Prime Minister Iyad Allawi suggested on Iraqi TV last weekend that Iraqi political leaders, despite being marginalized by the Iraqi electorate, might have to create an extra-constitutional “emergency government.” One of his key allies, acting speaker of parliament Adnan Pachachi, told reporters that such a government would not be based either on the constitution or on the election results — results, he claimed, which didn't necessarily reflect the true will of the Iraqi people . Such a move would likely provoke a violent Shi'ite reaction, if not full-scale civil war, which the moderate Sistani would be anxious to avoid. ..."

Speaking of Mr al0Jaafari replacement

" ... ...If the Shi'ite bloc drops him, it's unlikely to choose the U.S.-favored Abdul Adel Mahdi as his replacement. Not only is there resentment created by U.S. intervention in the political process, but Adel-Mahdi is the candidate of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the arch-rival of Jaafari's major backer, the radical cleric Moqtada Sadr. More likely is the emergence of a weak compromise candidate to preside over a fractious government facing divisive issues ranging from revising the constitution and oil revenues to dealing with the militias responsible for growing sectarian strife. ... "

4/21/2006 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...


I don't think the Sunni are asking our help because they have been defeated. I believe that any group in Iraq will accept US fighting for them as long as we are advancing their interest. As soon as we oppose their interest they will oppose US. The US is being played by every side at every opportunity.

4/21/2006 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger MikeHoskins said...

I somehow think, more accurately have a gut feeling, that we are navel gazing. A step back may be helpful.

A possible more global view is that, for the first time since the Ottoman's captured Constantinople, the ME (and by extension Islam) are under intense global scrutiny; for better or worse.

I have faith in the long term macro decisions created by the sum of the micro decisions created populations persuing their own self interests.

4/21/2006 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Art V said...

Is Sadr Madr than Badr?

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

jeez, art, you're mad as a hatr.

4/21/2006 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

well when the NY Times thinks it's a "good thing", then lists the requirements for the new "far from ideal" nominees to fulfill.
It is a set up for failure.

" ... The most likely replacement nominees now being talked about are far from ideal. But the only conceivable path to a better future than civil war and chaos in Iraq is lined with distasteful compromise and leaps of faith. No one believes that success is certain.

A new prime minister will at least have a chance to make a fresh start and begin undoing some of the costly mistakes Mr. Jaafari has made since taking office last April. These include, most prominently, his willingness to allow sectarian militias, death squads and torturers to infiltrate the security services and his failure to insist on professional management of the oil industry and other essential economic sectors. ... "

The NY Times is callig for a Dictator, not a PM of of a weak central Iraqi Federal Government.

The NY Times see's "A Glimmer of Hope"

We know they will see the outcome of these coming events quite differently than many here will.

4/21/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

...the same people who failed to show up for the rose petal parade our troops were expected to receive, would now show up and build a democracy overnight ...

It boggles my mind that a significant percentage of Americans believe this same group of fairy-tale people will rise up in Iran and over-throw the Mad Mullah's and their madder (madr?) President. WHY is "working for internal change through diplomacy" ever considered as an option?

(Or that Mexicans who inhabit the same diplomatic fairy-tale will quit swarming over our borders merely because we ask them to, as one civilized nation to another ...)

4/21/2006 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

doug's favorite, WSJ has some advise for Mr Bush concerning Iran.

" ... The task now for the President is to begin speaking publicly about why a nuclear Iran is, as he calls it, "unacceptable." Far from preparing for war with Iran, the Administration has barely begun to confront the tough choices at hand. The reasons for this reluctance are easy to appreciate: The future of democratic Iraq is far from assured; Mr. Bush's approval ratings are in the tank and his political capital is depleted; and the military options against Iran have their own limitations and risks. But Mr. Bush remains President for 33 more months, with a Constitutional responsibility to ensure our safety. And there is no more clear and present danger than Iran's nuclear programs.

Our point today is not to advocate any specific course of action. But the Administration can't postpone any longer a candid discussion about the nature and urgency of the Iranian threat. That discussion must include the Congress; ... "

"... Above all, the President must begin to educate the American public about what is at stake in Iran and what the U.S. might be prepared to do about it. Until he does so, he will be hostage to a series of increasingly distressing Tehran "announcements," the pace and timing of which will be dictated by the clerics and zealots who wish us ill. ..."

WSJ from the RCP site.

4/21/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger Doug Santo said...

I respect and admire Michael Yon. I agree with much of his commentary. I disagree with his statement that follows:

“Our top civilian leaders, the ones with their hands on the cockpit controls, predicted swift and easy victory.”

This statement is clearly and demonstrably false. Our top civilian and military leaders consistently and repeatedly said that the Iraq war would be long and hard. This includes the President, the Vice President, the Secretaries of Defense and State, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. That Yon makes the statement indicates that he, Yon, was himself affected by what he later describes as “bargain basement reporting”.
Yon’s next statement is also demonstrably false:

“The failure of that promise…”

That promise being “swift and easy victory”. There was never a prediction of swift and easy victory from any top civilian or military leader. There was; however, “swift and easy” military victory. Military victory was achieved in about three weeks with very low casualties.

The problem came after the swift and easy military victory when the US failed to react with overwhelming force to the incipient terrorist insurgency. There is plenty of blame to go around for that failure to act. Many pundits today claim they knew the insurgency was going to happen and if only they were in control they would have crushed it before it got off the ground. Hindsight is always 20/20. Many pundits made similar statements about Eisenhower and Bradley’s failure to recognize the German build up prior to the Battle of the Bulge. History will judge the insurgent aftermath of our swift military victory in Iraq in about 20 to 30 years.

Yon gets it right in the following statement:

“…bargain basement reporting that substituted nightly body counts and recycled car bomb footage for insightful coverage, is what has made the statements I made a year ago suddenly reach so many ears with so much controversy.”

Bargain basement reporting is indeed a major factor in American dissatisfaction with the current situation in Iraq.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

4/21/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No, nahncee, not spontaneously raise up, though a nice fantasy, that.

But paid for Mercenaries, of Kurdish or other Iranian subject peoples, could easily be disrupting Iran, today.
Just as there is disruption in Iraq.

As shown in Afghanistan, tupperware boxes full of money can buy US some "friends" and the Mohammedans some Enemies.

There is a Way, just no Will.

4/21/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Personally, I'd rather nuke 'em -- Iran, that is. They've still got some pay-back coming from the embassy take-over.

4/21/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Doug Santo: You are half right.

What "top civilian leader" said just before the start of OIF:

"This thing is going to be over in a flash."


As I have said before, people react to general "feellliiinngggs"
rather than hard facts - in the same way they drive depending on how it feels as part of the traffic flow rather than the actual speed limits, capabilities of their automobile, or the road conditions.

They "know" in the back of their heads that a "top leader" said it was going to be quick and easy, and they assume it much have been Pres Bush or the SECDEF or someone - not the former president, who you would tend not believe if he said "Good morning."

I am convinced that perhaps our most pressing problem is that so many people know things they have not learned.

Also, I am surprised to hear that Bill Roggoio said some time back that the Iraqi Civil War started well before OIF and consisted of Saddam's thugs making war on everyone else. I said that, in a Belmont post, a few months back.

4/21/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger cjr said...

Doug Santo said... :

If your are talking post-April 2004, after the Fallujia I battle, when, then you are correct.

However, if you are talking April 2003 to April 2004, then you are not correct. In April 2003 the expectation was that there would be no insurgency and Iraqi institutions would remain intact. The initial plan for occupation(April 16,2003) reflects this pretty clearly. The plan was to bring in 4 multinational divisions and then draw down US forces to 1 division of 30,000 troops by September 2003. This plan was abandoned in July 2003 when a new plan that included 120,000 US troops. In Feb 2004, the expectation was that the war against the insurgency was almost won, so that a drawdown to 105,000 US troops was started. This was abandoned in April 2004 after the Fallujia I battle showed a strong insurgency that was not going to be easily or quickly quelled.

It was only after April 2004 that you have official statements about a long war.

4/21/2006 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

the odds of that, nahncee , are less than hiring an Insurection, much much less.

No matter what Mr Hersh reports, on either subject.

That was what Mr Talabani said, well over a year ago, rwe, that the Civil War was ongoing, prior to the Invasion.

4/21/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Doug Santo takes exception to Michael Yon - “Our top civilian leaders, the ones with their hands on the cockpit controls, predicted swift and easy victory.”

This statement is clearly and demonstrably false. Our top civilian and military leaders consistently and repeatedly said that the Iraq war would be long and hard.

No, they said the "war on terrorism" would be long and hard. Iraq was projected by the Likudnik neocons as "a cakewalk". Rumsfeld orginally wanted to go with only 7,000 Special Ops soldiers and Iraqi exiles to "liberate" the "noble Iraqi people". Wolfowitz testified in front of Congress that the war would be short and quick and that "It would not be unreasonable to expect the lowered global cost of oil after victory (oil was then 34 bucks a barrel) to pay for the War.

Back when Beloved Maximum War Leader's approval numbers were 60%+?

Then when in the "post-liberation" "blowing off a little steam" changed to "a few die-hards and Al Qaeda killing our guys"? Then all the Sharansky "freedom-loving, purple-fingered democrats" showed Iraqis were just like Americans? Back when the idiot Ledeen was still on his "Faster, Faster. please!" chant exhorting Americans of less wealth and privilege than his family to take out Syria and Iran soon to make the of .....Americans..yeah, Americans..better.

Then we finally admit a huge Sunni insurgency existed, not a few die-hards or "foreign fighters" and now think 90-95% of our whacked and maimed troops were done so by everyday Sunni Iraqis? So we put enough firepower into the field at a cost to the US taxpayer of 250 billion so we can suppress the Sunnis enough to give us time to train and arm the Shia and Kurds better?

Kurds aside, because they have been decent to us, now we have shithead Shia whacking our guys and stalling on Gov't formation so their death squads have more time to get ready. And now we are told we may have to have our guys die to protect the Sunnis who were butchering us from the Shiites and Kurds that have stood by and watched cheaper (to them) American lives and treasure expended to weaken and soften up their Sunni foe.

Now we are told by the remaining geniuses (the neocons have pretty much left or crawled under rocks) to "stay the course" and not permit a Civil war that would "undoe all the great things American troops have accomplished".

Sharansky is raging that democracy always works except with Palestinians. And the Settlements should stay and the Palestinian elected gov't boycotted.

Meanwhile, along with Michael Yon, I think the long-awaited Civil War that other countries in the region told us was coming, the Iraqis told us was coming...but the Bushies ignored because they believed in Muslim gratitude, the peaceful nature of Islam, and the pro-Westernizing transformative power of purple coming soon.

If I was a Pesh Murga or Shiite, I would have let America bleed, while they trained and gave us weapons..until situation permitted payback.

Once it starts, will America stay, blow more hundreds of billions and more mangled bodies to protect our butcherers in Sunni areas? Or will we withdraw and try and stop the Sunni - Shiiite bloodshed from infecting other Arab lands with more troops? And what about the "Faster, Faster. Please!" remnants that want us to "surgically bomb" Iran while the noble, democracy-hungry Iranian people cheer and throw rose petals welcoming their liberation as the bombs drop?

I think it is fair to say there is a growing lack of confidence in the competence of the Bushies.

4/21/2006 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

No WMD, No Saddam, No United Democratic Iraq. We did what we came for, were unsuccessful for what we hoped for. Mission accomplished. Bye

4/21/2006 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug Santo said...

Cedarford, 9:24 am


A long anecdotal, emotional, and dissembling tirade.

I wish I had time to respond in full.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

4/21/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

C-4 is correct if memory serves me well. The entire action was to be paid for with the revenue from Iraqi oil.
I thought I saw Hotspur land on a carrier. I must have missed the banner that said The Mission Has Just Begun.

4/21/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Doug, we're confusing victory with success. To paraphrase, 'We've got a long way to go, baby' till success.

4/21/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger putnam said...

Bin Laden says "given the choice between a strong horse and a weak horse...". It would appear that the Sunni's picked the weak horse.

If nothing else, this would be a very big loss of face for the Sunni Arabs. Perhaps this is related to why the Arab Sunni's have take a back seat (in the MSM at least) to Iran's and Badr's Shia in the last couple of month

4/21/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anyone have any information on new PM candidate al-Maliki? According to Yahoo, this is the last missing piece; the other officers have already been chosen.

I wonder whether, with all this ethno-religious factionalism, it wouldn't be a good idea to consider permanently enshrining the ethnic divisions in the officer structure according to the available demographics, as in the post-civil war Lebanese constitution. The shortcomings and disadvantages of doing such a thing are pretty apparent, but the drawbacks of allowing these conflicts maximum fluidity by leaving such things unassigned in this execrable negotiation culture have just been demonstrated. Just a thought.

Also along these lines, I wonder whether it wouldn't be possible to figure out some way to create two basic parties, as we have, since proportional representation fosters extremism.

4/21/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

putnam, what would lead you to believe the Sunni bet on the wrong horse?

They have established their Militia as one that could fight the US to a standoff, across entire Regions of central Iraq. Bet that town with the sand berm is still isolated and unsecure. Ramadai is not a hotbed of Federalist fervor.
The Sunni have stood their Militia down, beat on perhaps, defeated, doubtful.
They have been listening to US, accepting the bribes and are now waiting.

Federal Iraq will be Politcally impotent, regardless of the PM's name.
The only force of consequence that could be reliable is the ISF, if the Iraqi Generals see the wisdom of the Turkish Model.

Mr Allawi's threat of some type of coup would be a disaster for US, politcally, in the Region, unlessed backed by the Army. A Coup before the purple election ink was barely dried.

No, the Sunni have bet on themselves, the only horse they can trust.

4/21/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

On a 'shifting sands of time topic'--WSJ 4/21/06--'Fear of China' by Robert Kaplan--"Ultimately, what is going to allow us to adapt to Chinese military expansion will be new political and economic ties with countervailing powers, especially India and Vietnam. Vietnam, once its aging leadership passes from the scene, is poised to become a U.S. military ally. It has been historically and geographically threatened by China..." Sunnis now seek U.S. protection. Yesterday's foe, today's friend, same old world.

4/21/2006 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Shaun Mullen said...

Wretchard hit a very big nail squarely on the head in his original comment on this. I too would not change a bloody word.

Many -- too many -- people who responded to this post and respond to Belmont Club posts generally seem unable to see with their own eyes and think with their own brains and instead view everything through what some muttonhead writes at the N.Y. Times.

I cannot think of a better way or stiffling thought. Knock it off!

4/21/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Jawad al-Maliki, deputy leader of a Shiite Muslim religious party, was confirmed as the sole nominee to become prime minister in Iraq's first permanent government since the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

This is a short bio, from an unverified source

"...Jawad Al-Maliki: A prominent Shiite legislator and a leading member of al-Jaafari's Dawa party. He left Iraq in the 1980s and settled in Syria. His real name is Nouri Kamel, according to Dawa members, but he goes by the name Jawad al-Maliki. He is seen as Dawa's favoured choice for the position if al-Jaafari steps down. However, some critics consider him too sectarian, according to alliance members. ...
QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA is the name of the author.


4/21/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

" ... ...Jawad al-Maliki, a deputy to Prime Minister Jaafari's Dawa Party, accused the American command of committing "an ugly crime" that "has dangerous political and security dimensions intended to ignite the fire of civil war." ... "

Reporting for this article was contributed by Khalid al-Ansary, Hosham Hussein, Qais Mizher, Abdul Omar al-Neami and Razzaq al-Saiedi from Baghdad, and an Iraqi employee of The New York Times from Mosul.

printed in the>International Herald Tribue 28 March 06

4/21/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Seems with Mr Jawad al-Maliki we've come up with a real winner!

The NY Times will all be a flutter with this "Moral Compromise".

This fellow who thinks that a US & Iraqi raid on al-Sadr's Mahdi militiamen was an attempt to "ignite the fires of Civil War", there in Iraq.

He'll fulfill that NY Times list of objectives, just wait and see.

Yes indeed, a WINNER!

4/21/2006 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

Vita Brevis, Ars Longa. History is even longer. If we are to succeed in Iraq we will need another 20 years. Think about how much time it took to turn South Korea into a functioning, prosperous, democracy.

There is no reason to think we will be able to succeed in Iraq any faster.

4/21/2006 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The Sunni and Shia have been living together as Sunni and Shia for about 1,500 years. The Kurds, Arabs and Persians for a few thousand years more.

Sometimes they fight among each other. Most times they don't. This too shall pass.

4/21/2006 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

So it looks like, instead of a Iranian returnee PM or an US returnee PM, we will get a returnee from Syria to be Iraq PM.

So now Iraq will have a PM with deep Syrian loyalties, that's choice.

4/21/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

first question:

how come all these guys get to make up new names for themselves? What's that all about? if they don't like being youseff hadad they can simply decide one day that they are now Abu somebody or other? What do they do make an announcement in the souk?

next question: DR, is there anybody that you'd actually LIKE to see as PM of Iraq for this go round?

4/21/2006 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Increasingly, it seems to me that in reading posts by Iraqi bloggers who are actually there, the tone is one of embarrassment. There's frustration, of course, and anger over the on-going bloodshed, but there's a realization that as a country they have been handed civilization on a silver platter, gratis, and are unable to get their act together enough to accept it.

I think the Iraqi's REALLY wanted to show the rest of the Middle East that Arabs, too, could enter the 21st Century and pull their own weight along with countries of a similar weight such as Canada or Holland or Germany. And so far all they've been able to do, as a group of Iraqi citizens, is allow themselves to be massacred on a daily basis, and NOT put together a functioning government.

I'd be embarrassed, too.

4/21/2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

skipsailing, not really, the entire escapade is worse than a joke.

Installing a Sadrist as PM, whether his name is al-Jaafari or al Maliki is a disaster. The Sunni call 'em all Iranians, there is sometimes reason for prejudice.

As Mr Rumsfeld said not long ago, it'd be the same as Saddam, if we left. These guys are why.

Same as Saddam.

Should have install Mr Allawi, Mr Talibani and Mr Chilabi as a Triumvirate.
With power vested in the ISF.

The entire Democracy Project has been tried to soon. It is a Project for post War, not a strategy to "win" the War.
As in the great Democracy Projects, post WWII.

But we still cannot decide who our "Enemy" is.
We are giving Iraq to one of them.

4/21/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hopefully the real conflict was not the affiliations of al-Jafaari but the fact of (1) Jafaari's widely complained-of weakness and incompetence and (2) al-Sadr's decisive role in nominating Jafaari. Since Ayad Allawi and Adnan Pachachi are Sunni and not in the running, it is unlikely a candidate with a much different CV would be proposed. But if Sistani forced Jafaari to abandon his obstinacy, and this was an indirect but easily interpretted denial of Sadr's gambit, then perhaps this will be sufficient progress to get to the new Iraqi government proper, in which we will see what we will see. Once the government forms, moves against the militiae will be much more politically, because legally, justifiable, whereas in the political vacuum their spokesmen could complain that we (or whoever) would be interfering with Iraqis' right to protect themselves. This must be obvious to the parties involved, so perhaps this break in the "deadlock" constitutes an acknowledgement that some of the games are over. Yes, optimistic analysis, perhaps.

These guys sure do like to push things until nearly the brink of disaster, though, eh? Hopefully Saturday's voting will go smoothly - and that cabinet appointments have been determined Already. They may not have, though.

Long War, indeed. Nicely exposes one of the actual, non-Marxist justifications for imperialism, however.

4/21/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

Karzai was, then, an anomally? The taliban liked him enough to offer him a gummint job (according to Robert Kaplan)now he's a prominent guy in the post taliban era.

Perhaps there are no really strong leaders available to the Iraqis. Nahncee may be on to something here. What if the capacity to lead is not something this culture can actually produce?

It's too depressing to think about on a warm spring friday. The huge maple outside my office is turned green over night.

the Iraqis, it seems, have a lot to learn.

4/21/2006 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I would think so, of Mr Karzai.

The Taliban had not the purges that Saddam wrought.
In the Minority communities, to be a leader was a death sentence, eventually.
35 years is a long time to cower.
The in '91 we supported an uprising that purged an entire generation of anti Saddam leaders.

All of today's talent pool left Iraq to live in exile. We should have stuck with exiles that chose the US model to live in, themselves.
To have done otherwise was a grave error.

4/21/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

OK I think I understand your point. Let me restate, for clarity:

those exiles who holed up in countries that are our enemies (or at best not our allies) are not to be trusted. someone who lived in syria, say instead of NYC might be less acceptable to us.

but who's acceptable to the Iraqis? Would they accept someone who had fled iraq to live in Miami and only returned now?

What you are saying, I believe, is that anybody with any leadership aptitude didn't last long under Saddam. So a tribal sheik had to learn the limits of his power or get killed by the security apparatus. As a consequence there is virtually no "untainted" candidate.

did I get that right?

4/21/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

the three that we placed in charge, in the Provessional Government:
Mr Alawai, Mr Talibani & Mr Chilabi had all migrated through the US. They were/ are familar with the US System and each had their US champions, Mr Chilabi had many detractors, as well.

The Government functioned well under their diverse leadership.

The Electoral System that was devised could well have been different. Their Constitutional proccess did not have to unfold the way it did.

With a reasonable ruling Triumvirate and a secular ISF in the Turkish model, Iraq could have made the transition to a Federal Republic that we'd be happy with.

It took the ISF to gain parity with the Sunni Militia and break up the aQI cells, not US force.

4/21/2006 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The trio could have ruled until the US's War was over.

4/21/2006 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

we tend to forget how appallingly terrible saddam's regime was. I can see where everything surrounding it is tainted, including those who brought him down.

4/21/2006 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

I'm listening to Bing West's book again and I'm struck by the contrast between Bremmer and Allawi.

Bremmer, it seems to me, lost his nerve when the council he appointed threatened to resign.

Allawi simply shined them on. His attitude seemed to be: You wanna resign, hey go ahead I got a hundred guys who would take your place.

I also think that Iraq needs a truly courageous person and there doesn't seem to be such a man. This first PM will have a huge target on his back, and his chest and his forehead.

Like Moses and MLK, he might not live to see the promised land. But for the interim between the chaos of today and some more stable state it's gonna take a truly brave man to lead.

The problem I have with the triumverate (or troika) is the Arab propensity to squabble rather than act. Given the need for some sort of compromise and the inability of the Iraqis to achieve this on virtually anything, wouldn't a troika be paralyzed from the get go?

4/21/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Every time I drift too close to a cockeyed optimism, Rat, G_d bless him, brings me back to earth.

But I still feel, against all the evidence of my senses and of the newspapers, and that of the more sober commentary here at Belmont Club and elsewhere, that this Iraq project is going to stumble, in the end, toward a more or less satisfactory conclusion, both for the Iraqis and for us.

There is only so much stupidity available to go around, even in the Arab world.

Jamie Irons

4/21/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Possibily, but with Mr Allawi as titular head, Mr Chilabi with a viable Portforlio and Mr Talbani as President and International Spokesman, they were doing okay.

Could the wheels have fallen off that wagon, also, sure could have.

4/21/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...


That's easy (but very long windedly) for you to say.

For all your 20-20 hindsight, I never see you issue one constructive sentence; just hperbole and anti-semitism.

Instead of constantly ranting about the neocons, what would you do about Iran? You do seem to think it's an important issue.

4/21/2006 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...


I can't find one instance where anyone in the adminstration publicly stated that the Iraqi oil would pay for the war. Some of the Sunday morning pundits said it would be a good idea.

You must have picked-up that rumor there.

4/21/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

OK clearly defined portfolios. That makes sense, for a while.

I just think as Mr Irons does that we'll get there. The Iraqis have just sooooo much to learn and so little time to learn it.

We wouldn't be having this conversation had the newly minted iraqi politicians gotten their priorities right.

4/21/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I supported the Democracy Project, in theory. In practice as well.
It just seems that we put the cart before the horse.
The horse we've obtained does not hitch or drive. The cart could have waited, 'til the horse was broke & trained.

4/21/2006 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That should be
" gelded, broke & trained"


4/21/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Ahhhh, great post, Wretchard. While the great forecasts from the Administration have not come to pass (yet), the great disasters of the next Vietnam have not (never). So, while it's admirable to take the even-handed view, many of still resent more the defeatist, purposeful ignorance displayed in the media and the opposing party.

The predeluvian view of the Iraq of Michael Moore, where happy people flew kites, with women's rights is countered by my favorite nuggest in this whole great post: Every Iraq-experienced Special Forces veteran that I spoke with before the latest invasion of Iraq—every one of those veterans—opined that Iraq would devolve into chaos and civil war. But when I asked those same veterans if they thought the former regime was a threat to world security, they all agreed that it was, for they knew well the evil of the former Iraqi regime. Tough choices.

As imperfect as the situation is now, we are at least attempting to change the world, to do the right thing, which we didn't do in decades previous. It has to be done.

4/21/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


(And I really like that appellation!)

I just think as Mr Irons does that we'll get there...

That's Dr. Mr. Irons...


Jamie Irons

4/21/2006 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I think "civil war" is too strong a word for the internecine fighting and jockeying going on in Iraq. This is more like a low intensity tribalistic feud fueled by the two main factions of the RoP. I admit, it gets rough but imagine bloods and crips with Iraqi numbers.

I suspect that the people want peace, stability and prosperity. It's the Mullahs who want power and control. They must be made to see the error of their ways.

4/21/2006 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

"...Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defense secretary, was even more upbeat before a hearing of the House of Representatives appropriations committee on March 27. "There's a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be US taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people," he said. "On a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50bn and $100bn over the course of the next two or three years."

The same day, Mr Rumsfeld told a Senate hearing: "When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community."

This story was published in the Finacial Times on January 16, 2004.

Perhaps they have misquoted all those folk, but an industrious fact checker could read the transcripts, so I doubt the quotes are wrong.

4/21/2006 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

There will be a shift in the balance of power here in the USA if these gas amd oil prices don't come down. Oil--mid-70's and gas nearly $3.00 and climbing. Also it's killing the farmers.

4/21/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

asymetric 101 and yet a shot to be fired, bob.

That fat's not even NEAR the fire

It has yet to hit the pan.

Imagine the Gulf Coast refineries cut off from Alaska oil for up to a month.

Can do, easy.

4/21/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Gotcha,DRat, and I don't want to think about it.

4/21/2006 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Grey said...

I asked almost two years Will Iraq become a bloodbath -- about Proportional Representation. Voting according to party lists, like Europe, rather than by geographic area, like America (including disgraceful gerrymandering).

Prop. Rep. supports radicalism and separatism; winner takes all supports more compromise. The mixed Palistinian votes failed because, without free speech, there were NOT many different factions.

I've also, thanks to Michael Yon, changed my mind and now agree that Iraq is in a civil war.

One of the main missing issues -- what is "justice" for the many officers, mostly Sunni, who committed horrendous crimes under Saddam. Why aren't more folks talking about the justice issue?

Shia death squads don't seem much less just than unspoken, unagreed, total amnesty, even if the Sunni killers keep killing out of uniform.

Finally, the over-optimistic "things are getting MUCH better" was terrible. Iraq has made huge progress, including this 4 month "true democracy" coalition negotiations, but has far to go.

Iraq democracy can ONLY be created by Iraqis -- it's NOT something the US can "win" for Iraq. What we can win, and did win, was freedom from state murderers; and even this was not complete.

4/21/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I saw that Committee meeting - same one in which Shinseki famously opined, I believe - and well remember the projection w/ respect to oil paying for the effort. Of course, it was a reasonable expectation. What wasn't reasonable was expecting to win points for not killing Sadr or making Fallujah a Gomorrah.

Now, the problem we will next face, I'd guess, is that we will "not be able" to act against the militias without Government invitation; the Government, being composed of militia-backed parties, will no doubt opt for a transitional effort whereby the militias are "integrated into the armed forces" - as the Shia Islamists have been "integrated" into the INterior Ministry, for example.

This will give us a wonderful opportunity to figure out where about 1,000 of the Mahdis or Badrs are hanging out one balmy Saturday evening in chaste Baghdad, and annihilating them, into bloody mist, on the pretext that they started it. Since PR in this part of the world is nothing but a weapon, let us begin to wield the weapon, rather than let it act as the safety on our boys' M-4s. The true hardball is coming.

4/21/2006 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

right, dan, with the expectation, on the part of US Public, that with the "Government" comes stability. It's all part of democracy, you know?

But when, as you say, "the hardballl starts" our folk won't be prepared. 'Cause they believe it's almost over, now that Politics rule the roost.

That hardball, it'll hit the Public like Tet, watch and see.
Even of 10,000 or more Mohammedans died, the Battle itself will signify defeat.

4/21/2006 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Rat, thanks for the "oil will pay for it" quotes from Wolfie and Rumsfeld. In addition to them, Cheney in 2003, while denying the "oil about oil" meme, did wax elequently about the poor state of Iraqi oil production under Saddam and how "pent up demand" for US oil exploration and production expertise contracts signed by the Interim government would lead to a doubling of Iraqi oil production and quick discovery of new fields by American contractors.

Didn't happen. Oil is still at prewar levels.

As for the price of oil - its a function of the ravenous demand of WalMart-fueled Rising China as much as most of the world exporters now have fallen to unstable governments hostile before Bush or made hostile after Bush (Venezuela, Nigeria, Russia, Bolivia) with instability and speculation (led by Western fatcats making a mint off their speculation) driving the rest of the huge run-up since Bush assumed office.

Please don't scare me thinking about the price of oil if we get Alaska crude cut off, or China succeeds in grabbing much of the worlds reserves while Bush fixates on "noble Iraqi freedom loving kinda guys", tax cuts mainly for the fatcat elite, and continues to ignore the bad events happening elsewhere in the world that:

1. Might signal America is a declining superpower with many once-friendly nations aligning on a China-Russia axis.
2. Might make us happy soon for the days when gas was only 3 dollars a gallon.
3. Might make us regret we had let things slip to the point where we had to start a Draft again to deal with the Latin American, Iranian, Iraq, and Indochina crisises of 2008.

4/21/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Re: Tet - I agree, and if it is Rumsfeld who's holding back our own undoubtedly more judicious and capable death squads, then he ought to go.

Can't we figure out to engineer a Chinese exclamation point? Damn - we are too nice, as I've read the Arabs say.

And of course we have that helpful press. Byzantium.

I've read that there were plans to go after Sadr a while ago, but Sistani's aids said "no - leave him to us, he is a special case." Since I believe Sistani doesn't want be annexed by Iran, I believe they are trying to neuter him.

It would be wise, though, I think to consider - along the lines of our "everyone wants democracy" theme - everyone doesn't want to have their neighborhood dominated by illiterate ululators with AK47s joyriding around in Toyotas. Let's also not be SO sure that the "native way" is the best way. We should start spending a little more of our capital, and have some faith in our officers.

Again, though - let's see how this next political round goes. For a little while, anyway.

4/21/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Am reading a report that says that counting for inflation gas prices are still about 20% below the high reached 25 years ago. Small comfort, that.

4/21/2006 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is interesting, but I saw a female talking head babble about Mr Chavez shipping oil to China.
Said it could not happen, 'cause the pipe was full, 24/7 flowin' the other way.

No capacity for Mr Chavez to ship oil west.

Now I'd bet cash money, that a Canal capable tanker fleet was being put together, almost as we speak.
That in the event of a pipeline breakdown, that Fleet would turn a tidy profit, full both ways.

See, in the old days, 'fore the pipelie, all the oil transited the Canal in tankers.
Jumbos from Alaska to the Canal, minis that make the transit, jumbos up to the refineries.

As to China being unable to process Mr Chavez's nasty crude, the Chinese will just build a capable refinery, storing the oil 'til they can refine it.
They are industrious, those Chinese. They also control management of the Canal, now.

Hell, the Chicoms could be building those tankers, today, if the old ones were already scrapped out.

4/21/2006 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

My bad.

Apparantly the adminstration/ Congress didn't follow through on those suggestions. Too compassionate, I guess.

OTOH, if we were taking the oil money, we'd have both Sunni and Shia against us, fighting together.
Perhaps that's the way to get them united?

4/21/2006 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Does anyone know how many (official, effective, big) political parties there are in Japan?

4/21/2006 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Need a chuckle? Read about Greg Mitchell's industrial difficulties.

4/21/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

no doubt about it,
we stay the course,
all for one - one for all.

4/21/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Again C4,

You rant; but no constructive offers. Do you really think a Dem admin will be a better choice given all the dangerous situations you name?

4/21/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Speaking of this stuff, Rat, have you - or has anyone - listened to John Derbyshire's "Radio Derb" for this week yet? The first third is killer - great. Too bad there's no audio interface on blogger.

Also, I haven't mastered the link thing yet. I know, I suck. But if you go to National Review Online it will be obvious.

4/21/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Agree with Tony.Sum up the whole nine yards in "tough choices"Bush staked his presidency on making one.His predessessor did everything he could to risk nothing and gain nothing.Kick the bag of crap down the road for some one else to step in.
W tried to address the social security demographic which will strangle our children.No sale.Can anyone say France's economy in ten years,the road to penury and serfdom.I bet euthanasia will have lots of advocates when the bills come due.But I digress...
Why is it everytime I read Cedarford's posts I want to take a shower after?

4/21/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

...because you don't want to continue your evening with horseshit all over you?

4/21/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/21/2006 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

From the incomparable Merle Haggard:

I wish a buck was still silver like back when the country was strong.
Back before Elvis and before the Vietnam war came along.
Before the Beatles and yesterday when a man could still work and still would.
Is the best of the free life behind us now and are the good times really over for good ?

Are we rollin' downhill like a snowball headed for hell?
With no kind of chance for the flag or the liberty bell?
I wish a Ford or a Chevy would still last ten years like they should.
Is the best of the free life behind us now and are the good times really over for good?

I wish Coke was still cola and a joint was a bad place to be.
It was back before Nixon lied to us all on TV.
Before Microwave ovens when a girl could still cook, and still would.
Is the best of the free life behind us now and are the good times really over for good ?

Are we rollin' downhill like a snowball headed for hell?
With no kind of chance for the flag or the liberty bell?
I wish a Ford or a Chevy would still last ten years like they should.
Is the best of the free life behind us now and are the good times really over for good?

Stop rollin' downhill like a snowball headed for hell.
Standup for the flag, and let's all ring the liberty bell.
Let's make a Ford and a Chevy that'll still last ten years like they should...
The best of the free life is still yet to come and the good times ain't really over for good.

4/21/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...


the reason you want to take a shower after Cedarford post is because most of the shit he spews is true and it sticks to US. In the grand sweep of history what coulda/shoulda been matters squat... what is, is. It does not matter one little iota what Bush hoped for, what Bush intended, what we all wanted, what counts is what happened...and what happened is shit, and it sticks to US. If only a shower were all that were needed to make all well agin'.

4/21/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ah, said it.

dunno if this will open (it's from a subscript site), but it's excellent re backgrounding the PRC mil threat. link

4/21/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But if you listen to his duet with Gretchen Wilson, not the Viacom videp but the her new CD, you'll find even the "Hag" thinks it's time to leave Iraq.

4/21/2006 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As goes Haggard, so goes the Heartland?

4/21/2006 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I suspect we'll begin to see some drawdown.

It could possibly have started already if it weren't for the madman in Iran.

More Haggard:
If we make it through December, everything's gonna be alright. I know.

4/21/2006 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Yup, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is precisely what we need to do, in order to get the ball rolling on banning these Pubs from public office in the future.

Bring on Hil and Al and JFK2. No more Rummy, let's have Wesley Scott. Lets get rid of Bolton, too, and get somebody with good manners (Bill?) back in the UN!

4/21/2006 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Ash,I beg to differ,anti-semitism may stick to you,but it doesn't stick to me.
Besides in your worldview America has always been crap except maybe for the glorious four or five days "when we got back to the land" at Yasger's farm or some other leftist utopian fantasy.
I like Merle Haggard's narrative better than some little whiny eunuch like Moby or whatever angst ridden sheman is playing on your ipod.
I was reading Walter Mosley's latest
Easy Rawlins novel tonight.It takes place in the Bay area in the Summer of Love.Mosley nails the putrid hippie tribe.It reminds me of Joan Didion's "Slouching towards Bethlehem" in showing the heyday of the left in America as a cartoon.
This hindsight and analysis of the Iraq war is turning into information overload.Whether Bush meant well ,conspired with his oil buddies,is a fool,sold us out to the Protocols of Zion,sniffed too much fine Peruvian or whatever;at least he made a freakin' decision.I daresay that was more courageous than you and I sitting in front of computers and televisions having it all figured out in 100% crystal clear hindsight.

4/21/2006 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

...after the Impeachment, a New Honcho at the Dep't of Interior:

4/21/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

President Cheney would appoint him?
You jest.

That was when I KNEW Mr Nixon was toast, when Mr Agnew was taken down.
If Mr Agnew had been "clean" Mr Nixon could have rode out the storm.
Imagine, President Agnew, 'stead of Ford, can't hardly do it.
Neither could the folk at the WaPo.

4/21/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

trangbang68 wrote:

"at least he made a freakin' decision."

Is that it in your books??? He made a decision, he is the "decider" and that is all that counts. It doesn't matter if the decision made led to utter shit and many deaths at least he made a decision??? Tell me, in your books, is it better to have gone to war and lost then never to have gone to war at all?

4/21/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I was hoping the Decider in Chief reference would slide on by,
but Ash nailed the slow pitch.

4/21/2006 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

That's deep,the decider reference.What I mean,Ashheap is in my muddled thinking making a decision to fight back against the Islamist throat slitters is preferable to Madelain Albright begging Fleabag Arafat to please come negotiate or Clinton and the craven bureaucrats at CIA and State Department doing nothing while third world madmen slaughter Americans.Contrary to your deep thought processes this war is far from over and Bush's decision will be judged by history not the finely coiffed pinheads on the six o'clock news.

4/21/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Bah - too much despair on the boards lately.

4/21/2006 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

trangbang for head writer when the history is writ.

dan, yep.

4/21/2006 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Interesting that ash finds a natural affinity with C4.

When the one blows, the other remains...

Jamie Irons

(And, hey, no ad hominem intended, really. I'm just kidding both of them. I'm sure they're both decent sorts in the final analysis.)

Jamie Irons

4/21/2006 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

that's my attitude, too, jamie, since they're too far away for me to sic the dogs on 'em.

4/21/2006 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Trangbang68 : Why is it everytime I read Cedarford's posts I want to take a shower after?
buddy Larsen replies...
...because you don't want to continue your evening with horseshit all over you?

No, I think it has more to do with Neocons like the two of you no longer can jerk off the public so you are reduced to jerking one another off, hence Trangbang's need for a shower.

Civil War underway, oil at 122% Iraq prewar levels, spending more in constant dollars per year on Iraq than we did at the peak of Vietnam - with Bush's echo of LBJ guns and butter, tax cuts for the wealthy, and Great SocietyII in the background.

In the interim, while all eyes were on Maximum Beloved War Leader and his "liberating" Iraq, we suffered massive setbacks in global opinion, the failure of free trade and crony capitalism to work well in Latin America and Russia, unguarded Open Borders for the fatcats to maximize profits by depressing workers wages, out of control Republican problems with pork, and Rising China eating our lunch and peeling off former US allies into the Shanghai Initiative.

Now we propose a wider war to Iran, based on "threat to Iran's neighbors".

At this point, the neocons are a shot force, though the Israel Lobby is still potent and money-laden. But the public doesn't buy the "surgical bombing to the cheers of the noble freedom-loving Iranian people just waiting to through rose petals at their liberators after the American Cakewalk".

The neocon/Israel lover cheerleading squad like Trangbang68 and Buddy aside - calling for war with Iran ASAP has little American Public support given the Bushies inept performance and low credibility with the Iraq situation.

The American public would believe something had to be done if the Leaders of France, Germany, and the UK say it has to be done and committ troops to it. Bush alone lacks the "creds" he once had. Especially if Iran's immediate neighbors Turkey, Iraq, KSA, Kuwait, and Pakistan say all or several of them fully support a "take-out" and will join in.

Meanwhile, if Israel can't wait and tells us to act "or else!!" let the Israelis do the "or else" part, and accept the costs of war.

4/21/2006 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

So, you're not gonna vote for Bush anymore, then, C4?

4/21/2006 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Say it's 9-12-01, C4, and you're buried down in the War Room like Dr. Strangelove, planning the response. What do you DO? What do YOU do?

4/21/2006 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Cedarford and Ash are naural allies if you follow the makeup of antiwar rallies,leftish riffraff from college campuses mixed with Al Qaida sympathizers and noble Palistinian sycophants.Cedarford,explain your bigotry away all you want.Its plain to one and all at the root of your thought process is a deep viral strain of Jew baiting and antisemitism.That,Homeboy stinks to high heaven.

4/22/2006 04:55:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That's all true, as far as the natural alliance (the David Duke/Cindy Sheehan alliance is analogous), as well as the near-hate speech--but after all that's the purpose of a 'comments' section--to see the thinking of the spectrum of those motivated to write.

The main lesson as far as I'm concerned is that both ends of the political spectrum, call 'em the Duke/Sheehan "terminals", are stuck, and can't hear the counter-argument, are apparently congenitally deaf to argument.

I guess I (or anyone) could arrange that argument in blocks, and just paste in some number of applicable blocks (ala C4) every time I happen to pass this way and catch an angle. Not a very persuasive method as the rant becomes so familiar after awhile, but if my purpose were just to exhibit the tactics of my brand of politics, that'd do it nicely.

4/22/2006 05:53:00 AM  

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