Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Showing his colors

Maliki rejects American pressure to shut down Shi'ite militias: The Iraqi PM publicly denounced American calls for a timetable to shutdown militias and decried US operations against death squads, including operations against Sadr City. "We expected it," US officials said. (AP/Breitbart)


Maliki has nailed his colors to the mast on this issue at least. Legally Iraq is a sovereign country, which the US must treat it as any other country from the perspective of US national interest. Theoretically Maliki is under no obligation to obey Washington, which  is correspondingly  under no compulsion to support Maliki. While America would prefer to see a stable government in Iraq that is ultimately a task that cannot be delegated to Americans indefinitely. So expect some hardball to be played as this is the way of relations between nations. That said, Maliki's statements imply he values American support less necessary than the goodwill of his Shi'ite base. Or that he perceives Shi'ite support as so important that he's willing to risk American goodwill. How solid that Shi'ite base will prove is open to question. The Badr Brigades and Madhi Army have continually clashed as they strive to control the Shi’ite areas and its valuable oil resource.

Although enmity between the two militias dates to the 1990s, it is now rooted in the desire of their political sponsors to dominate Iraq's Shiite community. They focus particularly on the Shiite heartland south of Baghdad, a region stretching over nine provinces that is home to Iraq's holiest Shiite shrines in Najaf and Karbala and much of the country's oil wealth.

The rivalry could shatter the unity of the Shiite community at a time when many of its members feel threatened by the Sunni Arab-led insurgency and are alarmed by what they see as a gradual shift of U.S. support away from them and toward Sunnis. The Sunni Arab minority oppressed the Shiite majority for decades before Saddam's ouster.

A Shiite official who has regular contact with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's top Shiite cleric, said al-Sistani was discreetly trying to defuse tensions between the Badr Brigades and the Mahdi Army.

The Opinion Journal has a letter from a sergeant in a US Army intelligence unit which argues that despite the fact that Iraq is legally a "sovereign nation", in reality it is now a bag of murderously opposed factions. If this analysis is correct, Maliki isn't really the prime minister of a country so much as the spokesman for a coalition.

This breakneck pace with which we're trying to push the responsibility for governing and securing Iraq is irresponsible and suicidal. It's like throwing a brick on a house of cards and hoping it holds up. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)--a joint term referring to Iraqi army and Iraqi police--are so rife with corruption, insurgent sympathies and Shia militia members that they have zero effectiveness. Two Iraqi police brigades in Baghdad have been disbanded recently, and the general sentiment in our field is "Why stop there?" I can't tell you how many roadside bombs have been detonated against American forces within sight of ISF checkpoints. Faith in the Iraqi army is only slightly more justified than faith in the police--but even there, the problems of tribal loyalties, desertion, insufficient training, low morale and a failure to properly indoctrinate their soldiers results in a substandard, ineffective military. A lot of the problems are directly related to Arab culture, which traditionally doesn't see nepotism and graft as serious sins. Changing that is going to require a lot more than "benchmarks."

In Shia areas, the militias hold the real control of the city. They have infiltrated, co-opted or intimidated into submission the local police. They are expanding their territories, restricting freedom of movement for Sunnis, forcing mass migrations, spiking ethnic tensions, not to mention the murderous checkpoints, all while U.S. forces do . . . nothing. ...

The problem is that there's nothing to give stability and support to. We hollowed out the Baathist regime, and we hastily set up this provisional government, thrusting political responsibility on a host of unknowns, each with his own political agenda, most funded by Iran, and we're seeing the results.

The intel sergeant's solution is to go back to the very beginning and start again.

We need to backtrack. We need to publicly admit we're backtracking. This is the opening battle of the ideological struggle of the 21st century. We cannot afford to lose it because of political inconveniences. Reassert direct administration, put 400,000 to 500,000 American troops on the ground, disband most of the current Iraqi police and retrain and reindoctrinate the Iraqi army until it becomes a military that's fighting for a nation, not simply some sect or faction. Reassure the Iraqi people that we're going to provide them security and then follow through. Disarm the nation: Sunnis, Shias, militia groups, everyone. Issue national ID cards to everyone and control the movement of the population.

Reasserting US sovereignty over Iraq and attempting to build a unitary nation will prove very difficult and probably impossible to effect. It may just be possible if a bipartisan commitment to Iraq can be found. But this is doubtful. Many have written about how wonderful it would have been if the old Saddam crowd had simply been left in charge, but it is questionable how stable the basically unstable imposition of Sunni majority rule would be. It would not last forever. And like it nor not, Sunni rule is irrevocably broken, largely due to US power and the rise of the Shi'ite militias is evidence of that. In one sense, the US defeated Saddam's Army and the Sunni insurgency too well. Is that to be regretted? Another letter writer at Opinion Journal argues that Iraq would have remained a problem, maybe a worse problem, if Saddam had been left in charge.

It is possible--I'd say likely--that had we not removed Saddam, we'd find ourselves in a much worse place today than we are. At the time of President Bush's decision to remove Saddam, U.N. sanctions were crumbling. Shortly thereafter Saddam would have had piles of money to spend on weapons, suicide bombers and bribing Russians, Chinese, the French and various U.N. factotums. If Saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction then (a dubious proposition even now), he would have imported and built a stockpile by now.

The United States' credibility as a serious world power would be nil. Threatening Saddam for more than a dozen years (through the Bush and Clinton and Bush administrations) without once following through on those threats would mean we'd have no influence in any crisis whatsoever. Our position now is certainly not a good one--but had we not followed through on our threats, we'd be in a much worse place than we are.

It's always a mistake to see the world as it is today and mistakenly compare it with the world as it was on a day in the past. It's harder to do, but infinitely more useful, to try to compare today's situation with that in which we'd find ourselves if we had done nothing.

It's probably fair to say that America has swapped on set of threats for another. There is no more Iraqi threat to Saudi or Gulf oil fields; no more need to worry about an Iraqi nuclear program; no more need to station the Navy in the Gulf. But the load has been transferred to the ground forces. And in place of the threat represented by Saddam, there are a new set of threats that may lurk in the dogfight that is emerging among the different ethnic groups.

A few posts ago I remarked that the closest historical analogue to Iraq was the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, also a former ethnically mixed Ottoman state. That experience provides a benchmark against which to measure the length and duration of the challenge that Iraq represents as well as to understand the incentives of ethnic politics. The debate over how to handle the Yugoslav wars revolved around those who wanted to let the "ethnic cleansing" happen on the way to a more stable set of boundaries and those who wanted to keep the old Yugoslavia a multiethnic place. To some extent those are also the issues in Iraq now. The current Iraqi constitution, with its provision for federal states, reveals a preference for devolution among at least some Iraqis. But it is important to remember there were always a large percentage who believed in Iraq as a country; who thought of themselves as fundamentally Iraqi. Even surveys recently taken show a surprising support for a united Iraq. But the hope of achieving such a unitary, multicultural society is slipping away. And the terrible possibility emerges that the new Iraqi government is part of the problem and not part of the solution. While on the subject of comparisons with Yugoslavia it may be useful to remember that the architects of its civil war purposely stirred up trouble with the idea of grabbing pieces of the disintegrating state. It's certainly plausible to imagine Iran and perhaps Syria licking their lips at the thought of picking up the pieces of Saddam's old domain. For them unrest is not a bug; it's a feature; disturbance not an aberration but an opportunity.

One solution to an Iraq divided by tribal and religious loyalties is to let it divide in a semi-orderly way yet manage the separation so that one doesn't finish up with a dozen Somalias but a number of stable areas. The problem, as the fighting between the Badr Brigades and the Madhi Army shows, is that some way of dividing up the oil resource still must be found. Without some kind of central government to ensure that revenues are shared the seeds for future regional war will be planted. One simply remembers why Saddam went to war against Kuwait. It was for oil.

The task of managing peaceful devolution -- if that goal is not changed by unforseen events -- requires resources. It may require the half million men that the intel sergeant  mentions or it may require less. One officer writing from Iraq to whose reference I've forgotten believes that only "unconventional solutions" will work. No massive armies of occupation, but more Lawrences. I hope he's right. Lawrence's greatest talent was his ability stir up ethnic unrest. He achieved no Arab state. But whatever the mission, it will require something. And that something will not be provided without a bipartisan commitment to midwifing the successor Iraqi state or states. More importantly, it will require an agile national leadership which can act opportunistically within the framework of a strategy rather than simply to implement a fixed vision. Perhaps the real flaw in Iraq was not a lack of force but a lack of imagination. From one perspective Iraq provides an opportunity perhaps of historic proportions; certainly Iran and neighboring countries with far fewer resources have treated it as such. The last three years have shown how ill equipped, politically and operationally, America has been to make use of that opportunity. That needs to change, a change should begin with the way Washington's bureaucries do business under any administration. Washington is not the seat of empire. It's the seat of local politics with the reach of empire.

52 Comments:

Blogger Bon Air said...

Regardless of who "wins" this upcoming election in the US, the winds of change are blowing strongly. There will be significant movement in Iraq in one way or another.

no one can seriously have the MNF simply pack up and leave but "stay the course" is no more an option than cut and run.

Maliki can say whatever he wants but things will change whether he likes it or not.

Time to kick ass and take names Iraqis; or languish in your blood bath by yourselves.

10/25/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Kill them all - Sadr, Maliki, Saddam, whoever. Just shut and start shooting. Make them cower, harangue them about their barbarity, install a military governor, give Ramadi the Hama - not the Fallujah - treatment. Enough. They have been given every chance, and exploited every chance for their own miserable little gains. They are cruel, venal, incompetent and stupid. The rest of the country will thank us for it, and if they don't too fucking bad. Stop managing the problem and solve it.

10/25/2006 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

This is a get out of jail free card for President Bush. You guys like it the way it is...great! See ya later. In no time flat the Sunni's would defeat the Shiites and deal with Mr. Maliki with the serrated kitchen knife formula.

In fact that might be the thing to do. Let them go at each other for a few months meanwhile our troops stay in Kuwait and wait. When a winner emerges we will see who they are and see if they are friendly and if not go back in and start fresh. Why can't we be resourceful?

I just had a beer maybe it is affecting my judgement.

10/25/2006 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

If it can't be "stay the course", and it can't be "cut & run", how 'bout "stay and cut" or "run the course"?

10/25/2006 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

How about, "Cut a new Course". It sounds very positive and and Barakobomish, which will give everyone a hard on.

10/25/2006 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/25/2006 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

This is strictly speculation. But my guess is that there is more adultery than murder in the USA. While in Iraq there is more murder than adultery.

That the Mahdi and the Badr gangs are fighting means things are getting safer for the shia. They don't have to worry so much about the sunnis.

They do have to worry about US troops. I think there will be more US attacks on shia militia as there was after 1st falluja. At that time things were much more unsettled than they are now.

I don't think US force levels will change so much.

10/25/2006 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I am not willing, as a taxpayer, to backtrack and devolve to step one because the damned Iraqi's are too stupid to grow up and be adults.

I *am* willing to continue funding the killing of terrorists, and if some of those terrorists prove to be Sadrists or ex-Baathists or current Maliki supporters, then that's fine, too.

I don't think we need to pull out of Iraq, but this bullshit of "winning hearts and minds" by re-building their backwards little country for them, installing sewage systems for them, and trying to keep their electricity running when they insist on stealing the copper cables has got to end.

Like everything else about the War on Terror, we'll be making this up as we go. Certainly it will be neither Vietnam nor the Marshall Plan after WW2. But I think it's instructive to take note of the plaintive complaints and demands coming out of South Korea now that we're preparing to withdraw: they REALLY don't want us to go.

Betcha if the Iraqi's saw us packing our bags because they've just been too rude and stupid and we're fed up to here with their antics, it might at least give them a momentary pause in their torture and beheading schedule.

10/25/2006 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger quantum said...

If this is the only way to "victory"

Reassert direct administration, put 400,000 to 500,000 American troops on the ground, disband most of the current Iraqi police and retrain and reindoctrinate the Iraqi army until it becomes a military that's fighting for a nation, not simply some sect or faction

then it seems that victory is impossible. we're not going to send 1/2 million americans into Iraq. I also doubt that "reindoctrination" of the Iraqi army will work either. There is no Iraq. There is merely a collectiion of tribes and sects. That is the big discovery of the last few years, IMHO

10/25/2006 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

I believed in 2003 that after the fall of Saddam that there would have been a period of serious retribution going on in Iraq. That it didn't happen may be the reason we are dealing with this situation. I have begun to believe that the Iraqis need a blood letting to get all the pent up anger and frustration from the days of Saddam and probably beforehand out of their system. None of this will end until then. I'm all for pulling out of the center of the country, guard their borders against Saudi, Syrian, Turkish and Iranian mischief and let the Iraqis "sort it out" among themselves. America needed 600,000 dead on the battlefield and half of the country in ruins before it truly became one nation instead of the competing states and regions it was before the Civil War. Perhaps Iraq needs the same thing. Maybe only when they wake up to the horrors of all out civil war that the different factions will agree to end this mindless violence. Of course, the MSM and liberals would scream bloody murder that Bush needs to do something to stop the mayhem. Of course, my scenario will never happen and I'm sure the next President will be dealing with this mess when he or she is running for re-election in 2012. A tar-baby situation without a doubt.

10/26/2006 12:21:00 AM  
Blogger HK Vol said...

Let's call for at least a 1/3rd success. Let's demarcate and recognize Kurdistan for what it is - a separate nation. Let's build an embassey. Sign a long-term agreement with them for a couple of military bases. Help them with their electricity, water, and sewage. With their courts and rule of law. With their oil rigs and pipelines. Let's show them how the people benefit if they cooperate with one another and with the US. Peace! Safety! Higher living standards!

In the rest of Iraq, read them the riot act. Grow up and place nice (no fighting in the kindergarten class children) or we'll just leave and let the best bully win a la Gaza. Perhaps then you start to see more Balkanization with certain areas actually wanting to partner with the US.

I admit, the only problem is not with leaving them to deal with their own issues, but how to deal with a meddling Iran and Syria, who would just love to come in and create satellite states just as the USSR did with Eastern Europe for 50 years. Is that really what the southern 2/3rds of Iraq really wants?

10/26/2006 03:03:00 AM  
Blogger HK Vol said...

Let's call for at least a 1/3rd success. Let's demarcate and recognize Kurdistan for what it is - a separate nation. Let's build an embassey. Sign a long-term agreement with them for a couple of military bases. Help them with their electricity, water, and sewage. With their courts and rule of law. With their oil rigs and pipelines. Let's show them how the people benefit if they cooperate with one another and with the US. Peace! Safety! Higher living standards!

In the rest of Iraq, read them the riot act. Grow up and place nice (no fighting in the kindergarten class children) or we'll just leave and let the best bully win a la Gaza. Perhaps then you start to see more Balkanization with certain areas actually wanting to partner with the US.

I admit, the only problem is not with leaving them to deal with their own issues, but how to deal with a meddling Iran and Syria, who would just love to come in and create satellite states just as the USSR did with Eastern Europe for 50 years. Is that really what the southern 2/3rds of Iraq really wants?

10/26/2006 03:03:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Fen said...

One of Bush's stated goals at the beginning was to get the Jihadi fighting each other. Well, we're getting there. Sunni vs Shiite, Tribal Leaders vs Al-Qaeda, Badr vs Mahdi, Hamas vs Fatah.We need to get a Hizbollah match up and rebill Taliban vs NATO as Taliban vs I don't care as long as they are Jihadi. Hatred needs an "other" and as long as the Jihadi look outward, we will be the "other". Turn that focus inward and we at least get some breathing room and maybe get an opportunity to defeat the Jihadi in detail.

10/26/2006 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Wretchard said . . .
Perhaps the real flaw in Iraq was not a lack of force but a lack of imagination.

I'd say it lay in too much trust and a preference for illusion over facts. Wretchard, why did you have any trust in Maliki's government in the first place? For Jaafari's? Did you not know that the Dawa party and the Shiite Islamist coalition of the United Iraqi Alliance were . . . well, Shiite Islamists?! You and many other commentators called the purple-fingered elections of January '05 a victory, and they were, for America's enemies. The '05 elections were as much a victory for "Iraq" as the 1990 elections were a victory for "Yugoslavia". The outright ignorance of what Shiite Islamic parties were after is evidenced by those who are only discovering their "colors" now.

The entire Iraq War was premised on the LIBERAL fantasy that Iraqi society was secretly liberal, secular, progressive and eager to embrace democratic values. How do we backtrack from that error? Wretchard has cited a quote from Rumsfeld saying that the American military would steadily lose power to influence Iraqi society. Are we close to that point? Can we really gain more capability to shape a significant portion of Iraqi society through military means?

Nahncee's post was right on IMO, and points to a solution that I've advocated for months. The Shiites in Iraq are not our friends. The Sunnis are not our friends. Pull back to Kurdistan and let the two slaughter each other into enlightenment.

10/26/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger R2K said...

: )

10/26/2006 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

The Shiites in Iraq are not our friends. The Sunnis are not our friends. Pull back to Kurdistan and let the two slaughter each other into enlightenment.

The oil in the Basra area makes the Shi'ites our friends. It is the Sunnis who are attacking civilians and Americans and the Shi'ites who are retaliating for the death of innocents. The Tripartite solution is starting to float around now, but of course the bleeding hearts are going to make sure the Sunnis are rewarded for their intransigence by giving them 1/3 of the oil, when there is no oil on their land. I say fine, promise them a share of the oil, but for every market bombing or police station bombing, a chunk of that oil pie goes to the ethnic group they attacked. I have no doubt they are too stupid to make the connection, and they will soon bomb their way to having no oil revenues, but that's fine too.

10/26/2006 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Cruiser said...

I wrote the text below in response to Wretchard's "Crunch Time Again Post on March 29, 2006. I think it stands up pretty well and is also responsive to this post.

"It is gloomy in here. I think I agree with PeterBoston and 2164th, at this point and with DanMyers also.

But, I think we should recognize that the Bush administration had to try this "Nation Building/democracy" thing - even knowing that it might not succeed. If it had succeeded (or succeeds - I am not ready to give up hope yet - I do think that the current violence is mostly internal politics by other means and may get resolved for the better for us) - I do think it would have spread throughout the middle-east to our benefit.

However, at some point I think we need to make a call whether the "signs point to yes" on this experiment and act accordingly.

If we decide that it will not work, I think we should revert to our 1980s stance of pitting Shiite Iran against its Sunni neighbors. In that event, we should work out long term basing rights in the Kurdish region in Iraq and support the creation of an independent Kurdish state under our protection. Then, we will need to reestablish our deterrent credibility by taking down one or more middle-eastern governments (primarily with airstrikes and with no overt effort to rebuild the nation). This action would need to be taken with significant world objection - to ensure that the message is sent that we will not be stopped by UN machinations. Iran is the best target because of its nuclear program. Further, airstrikes will weaken it so that it will be more vulnerable to the surrounding Sunni nations. The point is to make sure that Iran is too busy trying to survive to do much else."

10/26/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Cruiser said...

I also add that I think the Maliki statement is yet another indication that "signs point to no" and that I am very close to giving up hope on the experiment.

More importantly, I think the American populace has overwhelmingly given up hope that it will succeed (if they ever had hope in the first place).

10/26/2006 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

1st step. cut power/fuel & food to all troubled areas.

2nd step. allow the mass exodus of women and children

3rd step: talk less, shoot more.

black ops. pinpoint the bad guys, plant a car bomb.

it's simple really.

10/26/2006 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger JAF said...

I favor the nuclear option, bad neighborhood by bad neighborhood.

It only takes once, to show that we are serious.

10/26/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

"Pull back to Kurdistan and let the two slaughter each other into enlightenment"...

Enlightenment, the Kurds, our new best Islamic friends?
I can't take much more of this. The enlightened Kurds are one of the most ardent users of"Honor Killings". Bet the farm on the Kurds and see how well that works for you.

10/26/2006 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Let's play Risk! Since our team is known as the Imperialist Aggressors despite our having given PC sensitive war to the world, we might as well really bully and mess with the global gameboard:

Post election, maybe after all the recounts and lawsuits are settled, we can cite casus belli (won't matter what it is- the press and Dems won't buy it, anyway) and launch simultaneous decapitation and mil/nuke facility strikes against Iran and Syria, while our forces take out troublesome Iraqi militias, secure Iraqi oil production and brace for Iranian incursions, and the Israelis hit at Hamas (and Hezbollah?) harder this time with their own "unrelated" cause for battle, (denying coordination between the Great and Little Satans.)

In the aftermath of the strikes, there'd be no American help in re-building, unless we're paid and welcome. The whole idea would be to show our displeasure, our power, and to knock-out factions working with each other across the region so that their command and resources can't be shifted as happens when only one of them is targeted.

What would happen in the ME, besides incurring diplomatic displeasure and disorienting and slowing down the violent resistors? The region would probably lie low out of caution and disarray, rather than seethe and rise up in arms against us. For a while. We'd have to worry whether the Mullahs' regime could recover and reconstitute its terror network quickly to attack our interests in Iraq, the States or elsewhere, but it's already doing that and aiming for worse, anyway.

Domestically, either "naive" or "Zionist" neocons would be blamed for taking on too much, or out-for-blood-and-a-show-of-force critics assuaged, depending on short-term results. If we could guarantee Iranian oil flow to Hu, Persian rials to Putin, and a lot of nothing to Chirac, maybe they wouldn't go on alert. We can count on them to continue to undercut us, since they're reliable that way.

Guess oil prices and supply issues and retaliatory terrorism would make this strategy a complete loser, along with the good chance that resulting power vacuums would be filled with same evil-doers or worse. But it would almost be worth it to watch Kim and Chavez squirm and sweat and the EU spit and sputter on the other side of the table before we had to concede.

Almost.

10/26/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Cruiser said...

"I think we should recognize that the Bush administration had to try this "Nation Building/democracy" thing - even knowing that it might not succeed. If it had succeeded (or succeeds - I am not ready to give up hope yet - I do think that the current violence is mostly internal politics by other means and may get resolved for the better for us)"

Keep in mind that Saddam was a particularly vicious tyrant who terrorized the Iraqi Shiite majority for several decades. The current murder rate in Iraq is probably less than the hidden murder rate in Saddam's prisons and torture centers while he was in power. What we're observing now is "payback" from the formerly oppressed Shiite majority upon Saddam's Sunni supporters. Presumably the violence will end after most of the guilty Sunnis are either dead or cowed into subservience.

Failure is not really an option. 9/11 demonstrated that Islamic culture is dysfunctional and requires correction. If we can not break the cycle of violence in the Middle East then nuclear war as a scorched Earth tactic eventually defaults as the only option.

Cruiser also said...

"More importantly, I think the American populace has overwhelmingly given up hope that it will succeed (if they ever had hope in the first place)."

Remember again that the MSM was against the Iraq War from day one. We have been repeatedly told Goebbels style by the MSM that Iraq is a hopeless quagmire. I don't think it is, but the MSM's message through shear repetition is sinking in. When hearing this repeated lie about how hopeless things are in Iraq, one should remember that we suffered 12,520 deaths in the Battle of Okinawa alone. Compared to a "real" war against a very capable enemy, our casulties in Iraq have been limited (attribute this to a cowardly enemy, better American fire power and kevlar body armor).

Finally keep in mind that the LLL and the extreme left of the Democratic Party hate Bush more than they love our country (why?). Causing harm to President Bush by forcing failure in Iraq has always been their very public agenda.

10/26/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Rhy0lite said...

Why is everyone taking Maliki's comments at face value? Do you think he privately tells the Bush administration what he says at news conferences? He has multiple constituencies. Do you think he is going to stand up and say he'll get right on that timetable? He needs to appear to be independent of Washington. I bet that he even discussed his response and tone with the US ambassador before the news conference. This is politics -- it's even more fake than "reality" TV shows.

10/26/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Lost in the conversation over Iraq is the central issue of our time.

Do we husband our values, or do we export them?

If it is true that a Healthy Set of Beliefs and Motivations is one that enables a human being to assimilate into higher and higher organization (this, I think, is intuitively obvious), then it is vital to our long term interests as free individuals that we spread those realities that facilitate complex bonding potential and flexibility, i.e. the values of the Declaration of Independence and Rawls' Theory of Justice (in its fundamental abstraction, not as it manifests itself in redistribution).

In Iraq, we are seeing the consequences of a infertile mental substrate. The culture of Arabia is stuck revolving around its own Lorenz attractor of stagnant beliefs and practices. Only intervention or massive war will break the generational transfer of these detrimental values. That is, for me, still the issue in the War on Terror.

Our technology will continue to find its way to the mal-prepared. Preparation qua memetic evolution is the only way out of the coming slaughter, yet most ignore it. It's all about how to manage Iraq's dissolution, or how to bring our boys home, all the while the real problem--the problem that brought us 9/11 and will continue to do so--is forgotten.

10/26/2006 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

2164th said...

Enlightenment, the Kurds, our new best Islamic friends?
I can't take much more of this. The enlightened Kurds are one of the most ardent users of"Honor Killings". Bet the farm on the Kurds and see how well that works for you.


I wouldn't bet the farm on the Kurds. But they do need us far more than we need them, we have, after all, walked away from them before. The Kurds need a powerful patron in a very unfriendly part of the world, and I think we're the only one who could keep off the Turks, Syrians, Iranians and Iraqis. The Iraqi Shiites have the patronage of Iran and the Sunnis the patronage of Syria, KSA etc.

That said, I'm ambivalent about the defending Kurdistan. If they want to make it worth our while then maybe something can be worked out.

Rhy0lite said...
Why is everyone taking Maliki's comments at face value? Do you think he privately tells the Bush administration what he says at news conferences?

Maliki has had death squad leaders sprung from American captivity multiple times. Do you think he worked that out with the Bushies ahead of time to? Kinda defeats the purpose of our confused mission, doesn't it?

RhyOlite, what do you know about Maliki and his Dawa party? What does Dawa mean, what are its goals? Where was Dawa stationed during the Iran-Iraq War and where was Maliki? Why did Dawa enter into an electoral alliance with Moqtada al-Sadr, who had already killed 100 American soldiers in two uprisings? These are basic questions about this Islamofascist party and its hack frontman and you should be able to answer them.

Do five minutes of research on the internet then ask yourself if this lousy Khomeneist farce of a government is worth one American life. It's more than obscene -- it's treasonous to support the Dawa/SCIRI/Sadr alliance. They're playing us as the fools we are.

10/26/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/26/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/26/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Let's admit that giving savages the opportunity to live as free, autonomous, and rational men was doomed from the outset to fail.

The US can win any 'war' but we cannot implant a liberal soul into beasts.

F>>ck em!!

10/26/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, chris, seems your position is out of Administration's thinking. Both Mr Rumsfeld and General Pace met with Cal Thomas and said the following

Rumsfeld said, "there will be no conventional wars in the near future and no way the military can win or lose a war."

I asked him what he meant. He replied, "We're socialized into believing the American military can go find somebody and kick the hell out of them, or find a battleship to sink, or an air force to shoot down. You can't do that in the 21st century."

Noting the length of the Cold War, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - who was also at the luncheon - agreed the terrorists can be deterred "if the American people will just give us the time."


So now Deterence is the play, because the US Military cannot win a War in the near future, as per the SecDef & the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

10/26/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Causing harm to President Bush by forcing failure in Iraq has always been their very public agenda.

What do you mean forcing failure in Iraq? Did Congress defund OIF when I wasn't looking? When has Bush been denied anything he asked for?

10/26/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Teresita said...

"What do you mean forcing failure in Iraq? Did Congress defund OIF when I wasn't looking?"

I was talking about the LLL which was clear in my post. I anticipate if Pelosi becomes Speaker that defunding OIF will happen shortly after they begin impeachment proceedings. We're looking at 2 years of gridlock and moonbat political theater (Osama will be laughing himself stupid). In the end, all this means is the pendulum swings back harder and more people get killed.

10/26/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Cruiser said...

Eggplant,

You said:

"Failure is not really an option. 9/11 demonstrated that Islamic culture is dysfunctional and requires correction. If we can not break the cycle of violence in the Middle East then nuclear war as a scorched Earth tactic eventually defaults as the only option."

I'm afraid that failure, unfortunately, is always an option (though not one that should be chosen).

I agree with your second sentence. Which is why we had to try the democracy/reformation route first.

Here is what I wrote on that point at another blog:

"Jonah Goldberg wrote an article yesterday saying that he though the Iraq war was a mistake, but saying that we have to keep at it to try and make the best of it. I disagree. I think the war was not a mistake but that it is now a failure and that we have to radically rethink our goals there. How can it be a failure and not a mistake? I think we had to overthrow Saddam and we (morally) had to try to create a democracy in Iraq because it was the one Muslim country in the middle-east that had the highest possibility of successfully germinating a democracy (relatively secular, middle class, relatively modern). If it had worked and had spread it just might have helped eliminate much of the violence emanating from the region. Had we not tried the democracy route we would have been left with appeasement or a war on Muslims involving horrendous violence. Much of the democracy effort was bungled by trying to do it on the cheap and by not increasing the size of our ground forces so that we could deter meddling neighbors. But at least President Bush tried. We are all saddened by the soldiers and marines that sacrificed their lives in the noble effort. The failure does not mean that their sacrifices were wasted. They died in the hope of saving us (and the world) from a more horrible war.

I don’t know what we should do now in Iraq. I do know that it has become apparent that Iraq is no different from other Muslim middle eastern countries in that it is populated with a critical mass of people who will not hesitate to murder for power, that those people are receiving crucial aid from neighboring countries that are our enemies and that the U.S. is too timid or weak to do anything about it."

Perhaps there is another possible solution to our problems with militant Islam in the near term: to egg on the militancy between the sects and let them occupy themselves killing each other.

It seems to me that that result is preferable to our engaging in a war of annihilation.

10/26/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

- somebody someplace thought al sadr would deal with America better than he would deal with Iran. He should have been killed 2 years ago already.

10/26/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

The SecDef is a problem, Rat. It's common knowledge in mil circles that he's a tech, innovation, and Air Force kind of man who disdains grunts, muddy boot fighting and "heavy, clunky, expensive, yesteryear conventional" tactics and forces.

He's in love with New Paradigms, even though it's old hat to think like that. Modernizing and improving force configuration, tactics and weapons systems using (smart) threat assessments and out-of-the-box thinking are essential.

But believing large standing armies, occupation, and a war-like show of force (and ROE) are no longer so necessary to get and hold ground is a dangerous Rummy conceit. Small footprint fighting seems great at first, politically sensitive and cheaper and all, until the winds blow our tracks away and our presence isn't respected and nearly as effective as we need it to be.

10/26/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But the SecDef stands firmly as the President's man. The Generals that are implementing the Iraqi plan have the President's full confidence. He has said so, often.

The problem is deeper than Mr Rumsfeld. His Doctrines permeates the Administration, because it's Mr Bush's Doctrine, as well.

10/26/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Was it for a lack of boots on the ground that we didn't flatten Fallujah (or at least, at a minimum, the neighborhoods holding the nascent 'resistance') the first time around?

I think we have been pussyfooting this thing from the beginning and by now it's become an entrenched habit that no amount of weaponry or "boots" alone will fix. Put a million soldiers in Iraq, give them the same ROE we have now. Who honestly believes anything will change or end up different?

It should go without any need for explanation that if our forces are fired on they will return fire and destroy the offending target. Too bad if it's a mosque or a neighborhood, that's just the way it is. Until we get serious about killing the killers nothing is going to change no matter how much money or how many bodies we throw at the problem.

So put the Sadrs and Badrs on notice. And when they ignore the warning, as inevitably they will, pursue them and kill them. Tell Maliki he has no say in the matter as long as our citizens are being killed by his citizens. Our citizens take precedence with our own, end of story.

For good measure take out Assad. No warning, no reason. Swat one man with a big stick and say not a word of explanation. I'm betting there are enough bright fellows across the border who will be able to figure it out without any more help from us.

Maybe that would help educate a few in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, possibly even N. Korea as well. Who knows what ripple effect one good deed, well done, can have?

If what we are doing, have tried to do isn't working, it may not be because it isn't worth doing but rather because we haven't committed ourselves fully, which, in my estimation means killing the bad guys without compunction.

Slowly, slowly apparently isn't working. Faster, please.

10/26/2006 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Shaun Mullen said...

Sadr is the rump prime minister of Iraq not because Maliki sucks up to him, but because Rummy spent 59 minutes planning the invasion and one minute planning the occupation. That tiny window of opportunity in mid-2003 when the U.S. could have build on the modicum of goodwill was squandered because the neocon cabal never took seriously the notion of nation rebuilding and exporting so-called American values.

Sadr has moved from protecting his political base and Maliki's posterior to out-and-out ethnic cleaning. Don't blame that on centuries old animosities between Shiites and Sunnis, who actually got along fairly well when a certain dictator was running the show.

I know that the Belmont House regulars who believe the only good Iraqi is a dead one won't agree, but the ethnic cleansing is a shameful and direct result of American hubris.

There was a time when the war could have been "won." That was three years ago.

10/26/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Dees said...

An intersting perspective on these killings is offered by Frederick Turner:

Baghdad Vigilantes and the Dark Side of Civil Society

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=102506A

10/26/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

"What do you mean forcing failure in Iraq? Did Congress defund OIF when I wasn't looking? When has Bush been denied anything he asked for? "

The forcing failure has been done more by comments that compare Abu Ghraib under the US military to Abu Ghraib under Saddam, that say the Marines in Haditha killed in cold blood, and similar kinds of comments about Gitmo, the taking of Fallujah, etc. These kind of comments give aid and comfort to the enemies of the US military.

10/26/2006 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Doncha just love posters like Shaun Whosit who are appalled about past history and focused solely on it, and have absolutely NO suggestions for the future?

Betcha he's a fervent Democratic Kerry supporter, never met a soldier who he didn't think was a baby-killer, and drinks a piping big cup of smug "I told you so" Kool-Ade every single morning, as he approvingly reads what his fellow anti-American losers have to say in the NY Times.

Now, Mr. Shaun, if you have nothing to say about what to do starting tomorrow morning (other than "puh-leeeeeze don't commit genocide on the poor little misunderstood terrorists"), just run away and frolic some more in your Kos Kids playground of like-minded appeaseniks.

10/26/2006 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

All of the above analysis would be more interesting if we do not overlook the real bear in the forest -- Iran. To my knowledge Sadr is an Iranian stooge. That some shites won't knuckle under to him is good news.

10/26/2006 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...
Until we get serious about killing the killers nothing is going to change no matter how much money or how many bodies we throw at the problem.

So put the Sadrs and Badrs on notice. And when they ignore the warning, as inevitably they will, pursue them and kill them.


Brilliant Sirius, brilliant! In addition to the Sunni insurgency if we declare war on Sadr/Badr we will be fighting 70% of the Iraqi nation. Just look at the election results from the January '05 elections. Hmmm, would that still be considered a war of "liberation"? A fight against democratically elected political parties? Have you given up on democracy's civilizing influence, Sirius?

I've got a better idea. The Sunni Islamist are our enemies and they want to slaughter our Shiite Islamist enemies . . . who are eager to return the favor. The one impediment to their plans of mutual immolation is us. I say pull out and give (civil) war a chance. The Sunnis may not have the numbers, but they have the organization and the support from their brethren in neighboring states. Even Wretchard is wondering if we erred in coming down too hard on the Sunni insurgency, depriving ourselves of a counter-balance against the Shiite/Iranin alliance. That logic is only a half-step removed from wondering if overthrowing Saddam might have deprived us of a once and future ally against our real enemy in Iran. History will not be kind to this misguided and fundamentally liberal endeavor to create modern democratic citizens out of genocidal Islamists.

10/26/2006 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

What I would really, really appreciate from those of Shaun's ilk is what exactly is this mythical "It-would-have-solved-all-of-our-problems-three-years-ago" plan that the President and the Defense Department should have devised for post-liberation Iraq? Where was being discussed in the run-up to the liberation of Iraq? Who where is proponents? The answer is nowhere and no one.

The MNF went into Iraq on the assumption that it was going to be a fight to the death. Remember the talking heads telling everyone that thousands of body bags would be coming home and there'd be millions of refugees? That the battle for Baghdad was going to be a repeat of Stalingrad? And that when Saddam's back was to the wall that he might use his WMD, which EVERYONE, I repeat, everyone thought he had. What we didn't know at the time was that Saddam had decided to play the "long game", allowing his army to dissolve before the American led assault and blend into the civilian population, squirreling away cash and arms to carry on an insurgency, and go into hiding, knowing that the Shauns of America would begin to wring their hands in despair the moment things got a little tough and cry out "It's a lost cause and we have to leave!" If you have been a long-time reader of this site you will remember Wetchard's excellent "Plan Orange" post that theorized, correctly I might add, that Saddam had planned from the start to play a little Jiu-Jitsu with the American-led forces. He only had to wait out American patience. He knew that the left in America would begin their own insurrection the moment that things didn’t go exactly to plan in Iraq and that political pressure would build for the withdraw of American forces from Iraq. He was right wasn’t he? What he didn’t count on was being captured.

While were on the subject of plans it is pure Monday morning quarterbacking to be saying in late 2006 that if only the Administration had “thought out” the occupation in 2003 and had a “plan” that none of the difficulties we currently face would be occurring.
If there is one thing consistent with the left is their love of plans. Be it the five-year plans of the old Soviet Union (which never worked out, btw). To John Kerry’s “I have a plan!” (the details of which have never been revealed). I have no doubt that going into Iraq the Bush Administration had a plan for post-liberation Iraq, one based on the successful occupations of Japan and Germany, one based on the assumption that the Iraqi Army and the Baathists would fight and be crushed on the battlefield, one based on the assumption of thirty-plus years of war, tyranny and oppression that the Iraqi people would embrace freedom and democracy, and one based on the assumption that the left and Democrats would support and cheer the liberation of 26 million people from a brutal tyrant. That none of those assumptions came true is whose fault? Everyone starts out, whether it’s a job or a war, with assumptions what the task is going to require and what the results should be. More often than not, especially in war, those assumptions don’t work out. Then you adapt. Which the Bush Administration has done from day one. Have they made mistakes? Yes, they have. Without the benefit of an all-seeing crystal ball they were bound to.

Are we losing? No, we’re not. Not by any stretch of the imagination. The President correctly stated over a year ago in Philadelphia, “The only way for us to lose this is if we leave. If we lose our nerve.” The forces in the ME aligned against us are counting on the Shauns of the United States and the other MNF nations to force a withdraw of the American-led forces. It is the ONLY way they can win, and the only way we can lose. They can’t defeat us on the battlefield. Period. So the question for the Shauns of the world is, “Is you blind hatred of a good and decent man trying to make a new life possible for the long suffering Iraqis worth the defeat of your nation’s national interests?” A free and peaceful Iraq is in the self-interest of the United States, and the world. Why many can’t see this is beyond me. Yes, Iraq is frustrating and infuriating at times. But no one said it was going to be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is.

10/26/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

Well stated, Tarnsman.

10/27/2006 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger Shaun Mullen said...

Nahhhnceee, dearest.

So good to hear from you! As fate will have it, I had put up a lengthy post on my blog Thursday before reading your screed. It includes the views of some of the best and brightest on how to get out of Iraq. Try not to choke on your self-righteousness before you get to my solutions at the very end. And by all means share yours.

Love and kisses, Shaun

The URL to the post itself is too long to patch into this comment, so go to . . .

http://kikoshouse.blogspot.com

. . . and scroll down to "Light At the End of the Tunnel Roundup."

PS: You insult me and all other Vietnam veterans with your baby killer blather. Yes, I've been in one war and covered a bunch of others, so when I open my yap hole I do so with some experience. How about yourself? Having the crock pot explode on your stove doesn't count.

10/27/2006 04:35:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, it's great to come here and read how the US has a way to Victory. Especially when the SecDef and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs do not believe it.
According to Mr Cal Thomas.
So get a grip guys. There is no Vidtory foreseen in the Mohammedan Wars, the Goal is Deterence.

He repeated that thought at lunch and added that the United States is somewhat at a disadvantage because the terrorists don't have a media that challenges their policies, they have no hierarchy and they "get to lie every day with no accountability." Speculating again about the future, Rumsfeld said, "there will be no conventional wars in the near future and no way the military can win or lose a war."

I asked him what he meant. He replied, "We're socialized into believing the American military can go find somebody and kick the hell out of them, or find a battleship to sink, or an air force to shoot down. You can't do that in the 21st century."

Noting the length of the Cold War, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - who was also at the luncheon - agreed the terrorists can be deterred "if the American people will just give us the time."


"... no way the military can win ..."
So there you have it, from the President's main man in Defense, and his Generals.

Deterence is not Victory.
Mr Rumsfeld admits it.

10/27/2006 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Reocon, 70% of the Iraqi nation? Are you sure you want to concede that Iraq is a nation and not just a hodge-podge of backward (and backstabbing) tribal entities?

Sure, we can pull out tomorrow and just let hell have its way. I know that's your 'solution'--you've stated it often enough, you must think it's brilliant.

But tell us, please, what fills the vacuum that comes after? What reason do we have to believe either that Iran or al Qaeda or some as yet unknown other deadly entity won't take over, plant its seed, sprout and flourish?

70% seems like an awfully large number. But still, surely you don't mean to concede that maybe 30% of Iraqis are not our committed enemy? And even if that is the case, so what? Just leave them to the tender mercies of the killers, I suppose.

Frankly, I like my idea better. Kill the killers and let those who want to live in peace live in peace.

10/27/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...
Reocon, 70% of the Iraqi nation? Are you sure you want to concede that Iraq is a nation and not just a hodge-podge of backward (and backstabbing) tribal entities?

It's a nation the same way that Yugoslavia was a nation. That's why I put "Iraq" in quotes in my 10/26 6:22AM posting. Tsk, tsk, Sirius, you weren't trying to catch me out on something were you?

But tell us, please, what fills the vacuum that comes after? What reason do we have to believe either that Iran or al Qaeda or some as yet unknown other deadly entity won't take over, plant its seed, sprout and flourish?

The "seeds" from al-Qaeda and Iran are already there, Sirius, haven't you noticed? What comes after our withdrawal is a very bloody regional and inter-religious war, perhaps one similary to the Thirty Years War in Europe. No one side is going to completely wipe the other out quickly, owing to the partonage of their respective co-religionists. From this long horrorshow will come either:
A) A single Islamic victory.
B) An uneasy stalemate
C) A peace based on hard earned lessons of religous tolerance.

Results B and C will vitiate if not terminate an international jihadi movement aimed at the West, and result A will make things both clearer and a lot easier for us.

Now tell me, what results do you see from us staying in between this unholy crossfire?

70% seems like an awfully large number. But still, surely you don't mean to concede that maybe 30% of Iraqis are not our committed enemy?

Perhaps you've heard of the Kurds? Have you forgotten them already? Pity the Kurds if they've such amnesiac allies.

70% seems like an awfully large number. . . Frankly, I like my idea better. Kill the killers and let those who want to live in peace live in peace.

What I so enjoy about our little exchanges is your firm and principled adherence to complete ignorance. Sadr/Badr/Dawa ARE the elected government in Iraq. Examine the electoral returns of the last election, looking at the Sunni religious parties that are pro-insurgent and the Shiite Islamist parties and then tell me whether that 70% is a little high.

Democracies aren't supposed to fight one another, right? Wasn't that part of the magical liberal thinking you've held onto for so long? Maliki won't let the US take down Sadr because he relies on him for his electoral coalition. Badr isn't even on the menu, let alone Dawa's militia. If you want to declare war on the democratically elected Iraqi government, then who do you wish to see rule Iraq? Can you name a political party? After you declar war on the Shi'a while fighting the Sunni, who's left to befriend? Your solution is like the British invading America in 1861 and declaring war on the Union and Confederacy simultaneously.

10/27/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Dear reocon, Yes--and kudos to you for being so perceptive and clever!--I was trying to catch you out a little bit about your "nation" comment. But all in good fun, I assure you.

Actually, I was somewhat more taken by your 70% comment, not really believing you meant to include all the Iraqis who are not Kurds as our sworn enemy. But, your reply has disabused me of the hope that you may have either been kidding or exagerrating. Yes, let's talk a little about ignorance, shall we?

Please go back and read my original comment. I think if you try hard enough you will comprehend I was not advocating war against the "entire Iraqi government." No, I was quite specific as to who I meant--those who are shooting with impunity at our men and women, and innocent Iraqis. Do you believe the Mahdi army members who scurry back to the safety of Sadr City should be given a pass just because they are able to get home free? I don't, and I said so. I'm surprised that anyone, even you, should find such a statement contentious.

But of course you are still stuck on that All the shiites are a monolithic mass meme. I say it isn't so, and we can exploit the differences to our advantage--something, by the way, we can't do if we simply give up and go home. Bill Roggio commented on this matter too, a day or so ago, saying: "Despite the dominance of the Shia population, the UIA only received 47% of the seats. And the UIA contains some very moderate factions, so to intimate it is a unilateral Islamist group is wrong. The UIA formed a government via political compromise. That's all a good start. If the political process continues along these lines, that is a good thing. Coalition governments have a way of moderating extremists in the coalition. They also often produce feckless leaders. Maliki may be one. We'll see. And if he can't provide for Iraq's security - if Mahdi gets so far out of control the unity government dissolves, it will be an important step if the Iraqis can form a new government and transfer power yet again. People want perfection in 3 short years and that's just absurd to me." I think that's more right than wrong, but expect you won't see it that way no matter what I or anyone else might say.


So yes, I do believe in the moderating power of democracy to effect peaceable change, as long as thugs like Sadr aren't allowed to co-op and destroy it through ruthless intimidation and murder. It's no wonder that Maliki is afraid to make a move against him, given the penchant of so many like you to leave him hanging--quite literally, I think--in our dust.

10/28/2006 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

sirius_sir said...
Please go back and read my original comment. I think if you try hard enough you will comprehend I was not advocating war against the "entire Iraqi government." No, I was quite specific as to who I meant--those who are shooting with impunity at our men and women, and innocent Iraqis.

What you said was put: "So put the Sadrs and Badrs on notice. And when they ignore the warning, as inevitably they will, pursue them and kill them." As I'm sure you are aware, the Badr brigade is the militia and intelligence arm of SCIRI the largest organized party in Iraq. Sadr's party is second and Dawa is a close third. I'm also sure you must be aware that though the Mahdi Army has taken the lead for extra-judicial clean up of Sunnis, that Badr and Dawa also have their death squads that don't have time for law or questions of innocence.
So let's apply your standard of fighting the "killers" in Iraq. If it is to mean anything (and you can tell me if it does) it would need to encompass Sadr's Mahdi Army, Fadhila and their militia in the South, SCIRI's Badr brigades, and Dawa's security apparatus (especially in Nasiriyah, where Dawa is king). And that doesn't even begin to deal with the Sunni parties taht are blatantly pro-Insurgent like the Islamist National Accord Front and Saleh al-Mutlak's "National Dialogue Front".

You quote Bill Roggio who writes:
"Despite the dominance of the Shia population, the UIA only received 47% of the seats. And the UIA contains some very moderate factions, so to intimate it is a unilateral Islamist group is wrong."

There are many divisions among the Islamists, given, but moderates? Please. What sort of moderate enters into an electoral alliance with Moqtada al-Sadr, who already killed over 100 Americans in two revolutionary uprisings BEFORE he joined the UIA. Here's a challenge for you Sirius: Find me the moderate parties in the UIA. Go on, prove your point.

Roggio writes:
The UIA formed a government via political compromise. That's all a good start. If the political process continues along these lines, that is a good thing. Coalition governments have a way of moderating extremists in the coalition.

Yeah, the broad coalition of Social Democrats, Cadets, Mensheviks, and Anarchists are really going to curb the worst tendencies of those lunatic Bolsheviks in this new Russian government. Ooops!

I'm sure the Social Democrats, Commies, Catholic Center Partei, Conservatives DNVP, Bavarian Volks Partei and German (Deutsche) Democrats Partei will really curb the worst tendencies of the Nazis. Ooops!

I could also give examples of coalition parties in which the revolutionaries where a minority for Khomeneist Iran and Milosevic's Yugoslavia. I don't think Roggio is too sharp on his historical analogies, and of course, by extension, neither are you.

So yes, I do believe in the moderating power of democracy to effect peaceable change, as long as thugs like Sadr aren't allowed to co-op and destroy it through ruthless intimidation and murder.

Committed fascist and authoritarians will not be moderated through democracy, they will use democracy as a tool to seize power. See the historical examples above.

It's no wonder that Maliki is afraid to make a move against him, given the penchant of so many like you to leave him hanging--quite literally, I think--in our dust.

Afraid? That assumes that Maliki actually wants to move against Sadr. I wonder. Isn't Sadr a troublesome political ally who is doing the dirty work for him? Maliki has had abundant oppurtunity to move against Sadr, so why does he keep having Sadr's men sprung from US custody?

10/29/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

He thinks one of them might turn out to be George Washington returned.

10/29/2006 02:23:00 PM  

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