Sunday, November 26, 2006

To be scorned and shunned

Michael Totten trembles as the New York Times threatens to unload its ultimate weapon. Trembles in laughter, most probably. The NYT warned Syria that it would pay a price for its aggression. And what a price.

Damascus must also be told that it will pay a high price — in scorn, isolation and sanctions — if it is found to have ordered Mr. Gemayel’s death, or the deaths or maiming of a half-dozen other anti-Syrian politicians and journalists. Hezbollah must be told that it will be shunned if it tries to grab power through further violence or intimidation.


But it is Russell Berman who points out that 'scorn' and 'shunning' are all that are left now now that we have foresworn the old policy of confronting tyrants in favor of the new one of "engaging" them. The mid-term elections of November now turns out to have been a referendum between the GWB's policy -- poorly articulated though it might have been -- and a policy which kept itself in the shadows, hat pulled over its face, but is now striding into center stage to claim the prize.

The policy vision of a democratized Middle East is now relegated to the dustbin of history, dismissed as a Wilsonian illusion strangely in the hands of a Republican president, now to be replaced by the older and wiser formula of a system of stable states, secure in their sovereignty and therefore committed to preserving order. It won't be democratic but at least (so they promise) it will be quiet. After the revolution: Metternich (which is why we suddenly have to listen to Kissinger again). More specifically—so the plan may go—if the US begins to "talk" with Iran and Syria, the axis-of-evil member and its mini-me might stop making trouble and become engaged in the establishment of order in Iraq.

Berman argues, along with the Belmont Club, that the new policy of "realism" must substantively exclude the Iraqi government. In that post I argued:

Again we hear that it is not in any of the neighboring country's interests to destabilize Iraq. And on this premise we base the hopes of the conference. But that is not enough. It is almost as important to declare the process of "staying the course" dead. And here perhaps is the reason why the Iraqi government is given such short shrift. It is entirely the product of "staying the course", the end result of countinsurgence, elections, constitutional ratifications and parliamentary governance of the last three years. To include the Iraqi government in a conference would be to legitimize it, and by extension the Bush policy of the last 3 years. And that must on no account be done.

In particular it would be awkward if talks with Iran and Syria were constrained by the provisions of the Iraqi constitution. What would be the point of convening an international meeting to decide the affairs of a nominally sovereign government unless it were possible to decide it? Berman puts a similar thought very eloquently.

The regional version of realism which places the emphasis on an arrangement with neighboring states tends to minimize the significance of domestic Iraqi concerns: which is exactly why it involves dismissing "democracy." Instead of pursuing the establishment of domestic Iraqi institutions, this strategy implies ceding influence to Tehran and Damascus, in order to "solve" Baghdad. (As if the Yugoslav wars could have been solved by "talking" in Budapest and Athens.)

Berman notes that the policy of "engagement" with Syria and Iran implicitly identifies the fundamental drivers of violence in Iraq as emanating from those two countries. Were this not the case, the "realists" would be twiddling the wrong knob. But he wonders whether involving Syria and Iran will actually bring peace to Iraq. He notes that many of Iraq's problems arise from its own historical composition -- ironically the result of an earlier "international" conference and whose boundaries were defined by Sykes and Picot. Why will encouraging more foreign intervention -- and from Syria and Iran at that -- be a formula for peace in the region. Where has it been a formula for peace in the region? 

But Berman reserves his loudest guffaws for the New York Times editorial -- the editorial that Michael Toten laughingly cited threatening the fires of scorn upon Syria -- not simply because of its fatuousness, but because the NYT actually believes the process of "engagement" can be extended to pacify the whole region, ensuring all the while of course that Damascus does not escape the authority of the United Nations.

The United Nations took an important step this week, approving the creation of a tribunal to prosecute the killers of Rafik Hariri, a former prime minister. The only question there is which top Syrian official gave the order. This page believes that the United States needs to begin a dialogue with Syria, about Iraq and regional peace. But President Bashar al-Assad needs to understand that neither the tribunal nor Lebanon’s independence will ever be on the bargaining table. Europe, Russia and all of Syria’s neighbors need to join Washington in delivering that message.

In this editorial excerpt New York Times rises to its full height clothed in the panopoly of Moral Authority. Except that by some Wardrobe Malfunction it has donned the garb of both Judas and Pontius Pilate. Berman comments on the bankruptcy of the whole NYT position:

In other words: talk with Syria while denying its key policy objectives. Hardly realistic. The NYT advocates selling out democracy (in Iraq and elsewhere), while trying to keep its hands clean, presumably hoping to be able to leave the dirty dealing to the State Department. (The suggestion that the Europeans might carry this message is almost as hilarious as the suggestion that Putin will talk tough to Assad. What is that editorial board smoking?) ...

This critique of realism is directed at two distinct addresses, an unholy alliance of anti-democrats. First, there is the foreign policy establishment, looking for a Metternichian resolution of the region. In this arena, democracy is no particular desideratum: it's all about stability. Fair enough, one might comment: there is no interest in democracy, and no democracy will be encouraged. At least there's no hypocrisy. The problem is that a stable outcome is even more unlikely. ... The critique of realism is also directed to the left. If one reads the midterm election as a repudiation of Bush foreign policy that is leading to this new realism, then one can only conclude that the electoral victory of the left in the US means counterrevolution in the Middle East: ending democracy in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

Berman reminds us what intellectual company the NYT is keeping, and I thought I was cruel to mention Judas.

From London, where George Galloway "celebrated" Nasrallah during the summer, to Berkeley, where Judith Butler anointed Hezbollah as part of the international left, the anti-imperialist camp has made its allegiance quite clear: siding with Hezbollah and the forces of dictatorship against any westernizing or liberal democracy movement. Perversely the left's attack on "unilateralism" and the realist's suspicion of democratic idealism have converged—but only rightly so, since the left has its own anti-democratic legacy, while for realists, the name of the game is negotiation in which "unilateralism" is out of place. Butler and Galloway in bed with Baker and Kissinger—not a pretty picture.

"Not a pretty picture" is one way of putting it. But that's an aesthetic condemnation. An operational judgment might be closer to the way I characterized what was unfolding on the day Rumsfeld was unceremoniously dumped. It is a rout. To think otherwise is to accept the illusion that accommodation with Syria and Lebanon will gain any respite other than the time it takes to digest the sold-out Middle Eastern democracy movements.  And in any case there's always the existence of Israel to keep the pot bubbling. Syria has already asked for the Golan in exchange for "helping" in Iraq. The hard-nosed objection to "realism" is that it is not; that is unlikely to deliver the stability it seeks. On the contrary, the new policy may spread unrest by empowering the very centers of subversion in the region. And lastly, in case anybody still cares, it will destroy any belief in the advantages of trusting America, which unlike the UN must come begging for legitimacy. This classic NYT editorial ends:

We would urge Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to go immediately to Beirut, except we’re not sure she would be welcome after President Bush’s failure last summer to restrain Israel’s disastrous air war. Ms. Rice might still do some good if she brought with her a large group of European and moderate Arab foreign ministers. That is a sad admission about the limits of American influence. But Mr. Siniora needs all the help he can get.

The New York Times thinks that Syrian aggression will be punished by it being scorned and shunned by the "international community". They have it entirely wrong. That is a fate reserved for America the loser. That's "realism".

122 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wretchard cited:

"...Damascus must also be told that it will pay a high price — in scorn, isolation and sanctions...Hezbollah must be told that it will be shunned..."

And Iran must be told that they carry out its promise to destroy Israel with a nuclear attack, they will endure the ultimate retaliation from the Western intelligentsia, a collective frown.

11/26/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Meanwhile back at the ranch, "Saudis threaten to cancel contract for UK new fighter aircraft." Could this help explain the impotence of the West?

___"50,000 British jobs at risk if vital defence deal is lost"

___"Ministers have been told to brace themselves for a potential economic
"disaster" in the wake of an explosive behind-the-scenes dispute with one of
Britain's most influential allies."

___"The Saudis have threatened to pull out of a massive GBP 76 billion contract
with BAE Systems to provide new fighter aircraft unless a long-running
bribes inquiry by the Serious Fraud Office is wound up."

___"The SFO has been looking into the BAE corruption claims for three years.
Money paid in "kickbacks" has allegedly gone towards buying luxury holidays,
rented apartments in European capitals and even a gold Rolls Royce."

The Care and Use of a Big Stick

Link

11/26/2006 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

Let's see if I can get this right:

In 1967 Gammel Nasser, President of Egypt, declared the destruction of Israel, and launched the 6 day war.

In 1973, Anwar Sadat, Nasser's successor, declared the destruction of Israel and the launched the Yom-Kippur war.

In both cases Syria's military was destroyed and Egypt weakened.

In 1981 Israel, tired of Yasser Arafat's PLO (bent on the destruction of Israel), invades Lebanon, destroying Syria's military again, and forcing Arafat into a slow boat bound for Tunisia.

One of Hezbollah's stated goals is (surprize!): complete destruction of the state of Israel.

There seems to be a reoccuring theme in these dramas.

It used to be the Soviets who armed Israel's enemy's directly. Now the Russians are all too willing to sell weapons to Iran who in turn gives them to Hezbolla.

No longer is it the plight of the Palestinians, but just outright hatred of Israel that is fueling the fight.

Seems like Islam, "the religion of peace", is slow to learn.

Meanwhile, the American media spins it's alternate reality.

11/26/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Wretchard said . . .

Berman argues, along with the Belmont Club, that the new policy of "realism" must substantively exclude the Iraqi government. . . To include the Iraqi government in a conference would be to legitimize it, and by extension the Bush policy of the last 3 years.

Wretchard, what you seem to continually overlook is that Iran and Syria are already well represented . . . within the Iraqi government. SCIRI was based in Iran during the Iran/Iraq War and Dawa had offices in both Iran and Syria. The intelligence and sub rosa ties run deep and wide between these countries and the revolutionary organizations they sponsored. As you know Dawa's "Jihad Office" was run out of Damascus by Nuri al-Maliki!

It was only in September that this fact finally reached the President, part of the reason why he at long last began the process of purging Rumsfeld. The military campaign could get nowhere within a political context already dominated by Syria and Iran!

The slow severing of formal ties to the the official Dawa/Sadr/Badr government in Baghdad will come about not because of efforts to undercut Bush's foolish campaign to "legitimize" it, but because that campaign has been too successful. Bush, with new advisers, is only now realizing that backing away from Maliki is in his best interests. Why talk to the agent when you can talk to control?

Sure, go ahead. Stick with Maliki and Sadr and the Badr brigades, and see how radically different their agenda is from that of their patrons.

11/26/2006 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Pascal Fervor said...

I know that you are, at times, given to understatement Wretchard.

But how about going back just this once? Change from

Where has it been a formula for peace in the region?

to

Where has it ever been a formula for peace in the region?

Yes, I know it's redundant.

But given the blockheadness in evidence (and that's being charitable), do you really think this should ever be underemphasized?

11/26/2006 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

'Tis a strange critique of "realism" that overlooks how badly neoconservatism has messed things up. Sure garbagemen stink when they come to clean up the remains of the party, but then, so does garbage.

Before one gets too carried away with blaming "realism", I'd ask, what if the two highest ranking CIA administrators went into the office of a "realist" like Brent Scowcroft (or Colin Powell) and said that a terrorist attack was imminent. What if they did everything except "put a gun" to the head the National Security Advisor, and he did nothing? Outrageous, you say? Then why does Condoleeza Rice get a free pass? Yes, let's blame "realism".

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/30/AR2006093000282.html

On July 10, 2001, two months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then-CIA Director George J. Tenet met with his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, at CIA headquarters to review the latest on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Black laid out the case, consisting of communications intercepts and other top-secret intelligence showing the increasing likelihood that al-Qaeda would soon attack the United States. It was a mass of fragments and dots that nonetheless made a compelling case, so compelling to Tenet that he decided he and Black should go to the White House immediately.

Tenet called Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, from the car and said he needed to see her right away. There was no practical way she could refuse such a request from the CIA director. . . .
Tenet left the meeting feeling frustrated. Though Rice had given them a fair hearing, no immediate action meant great risk. Black felt the decision to just keep planning was a sustained policy failure. Rice and the Bush team had been in hibernation too long. "Adults should not have a system like this," he said later.

The July 10 meeting between Tenet, Black and Rice went unmentioned in the various reports of investigations into the Sept. 11 attacks, but it stood out in the minds of Tenet and Black as the starkest warning they had given the White House on bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Though the investigators had access to all the paperwork on the meeting, Black felt there were things the commissions wanted to know about and things they didn't want to know about.

11/26/2006 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

reocon,

"the Syrian and Iraqi governments are already represented in the Iraqi government"

If true then it is superfluous to call for an international meeting. What would be the point of engagement unless you are already engaged? The proposed "regional" settlement must bring something new, something additional to the table.

Similarly Iran and Syria are already represented in Lebanon, via the Hezbollah if nothing else. But that's obviously not enough for those who believe they ought to be "engaged" some more. The perfect formula then, is wherever Syria and Iran have their dirty hands can be declared a place where they are already represented; why not then bring them in openly under international color.

It is not that calling a conference is bad; not that diplomacy is bad. But it is hard to ignore what the substantive object of that diplomacy is in this instance. This whole process may wind up being nothing but a method for legitimizing international aggression. Nothing more, nothing less.

11/26/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

The question about "realism" must revolve around the "realistic" consequences of actions.

If something is far away and remote from our interests and if the consequences are not likely to have any impact on us, it may be "realistic" to accept something which is morally disgusting -- China's invasion & occupation of Tibet, or Darfur today, come to mind.

However, if something is close to our interests and the consequences of failure could be very damaging to us, perhaps "realism" and morality converge.

Cutting & running from Iraq would not stop Islamists targeting the US, nor would it protect the fuel supplies that the NYT needs to publish its opinions, nor would it bolster US options for dealing with future problems. We may have to do the right thing, because doing the wrong thing would be so harmful to ourselves.

11/26/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

What is it that has so convinced the NYT-type mind that America is invulnerable? Is it the NYT's own invulnerable fecklessness?

11/26/2006 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

And so the New York Times editorial page and The Onion continue on their path to convergence.

11/26/2006 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger StoutFellow said...

To include the Iraqi government in a conference would be to legitimize it, and by extension the Bush policy of the last 3 years. And that must on no account be done.


Exactly. The new solution must be born of all the criticisms of the Bush doctrine and the Bush doctrine totally abandoned. To wit, there were no WMDs, Saddam didn't support terrorism and his imperial lust for Kuwait's and other's oil fields was eliminated by Gulf War I. By this logic, Saddam may have been a bastard, but at least he maintained law and order among Iraqi ethnic divisions, kept the Iranians at bay and so could be viewed as a force for stabilizing the region. This would represent a return the old policy of supporting despots who maintain stability while receiving large sums of money and materials from the US. Next thing you know someone is going to suggest that we bring back Saddam . He's a bastard, but at least he'll be our bastard. And it will totally negate all the efforts made under the erroneous Bush Doctrine.

THE DEBATE about Iraq has moved past the question of whether it was a mistake (everybody knows it was) to the more depressing question of whether it is possible to avert total disaster. Every self-respecting foreign policy analyst has his own plan for Iraq. The trouble is that these tracts are inevitably unconvincing, except when they argue why all the other plans would fail. It's all terribly grim.

So allow me to propose the unthinkable: Maybe, just maybe, our best option is to restore Saddam Hussein to power.


Hat tip NewsBusters

11/26/2006 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Actually, none of this is really happening, since what really happened is that Bush appointed Bolten as Sec of State, and Powell and Rice never stepped foot in the WH.
Also, Karen Hughes didn't really seek Muslim Outreach with CAIR and other assorted Terrorists, but advocates like the Canadian Lady that stands for human rights for Muslims, even Muslim Women.

Instead of outreach to the Black Community via Jesse Jackson and the like, Bush utilized Michael Steele, Ward Connerly, and others.

He also made vouchers mandatory, abolished the Federal Dept of Education, and gave the money to private Black Schools.
At the University level, David Horowitz was put in charge of seeing that faculty and curricula remained politically neutral.

Likewise with Hispanics, he sought out Citizens that advocated assimilation, not multiculturalism and La Raza.

He also treated allies better than foes at home and abroad, and citizens better than non-citizens.

That's what he did, honest.

11/26/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger GG said...

Reocon,
If Tenet thought this meeting was the "starkest" warning, why has he never brought it up before? We've had years of investigations and hearings, many opportunities. What "action" did they request? And there's no indication WHAT Al Qaeda was planning! Tenet has consistently gotten away with covering his ass over 9-11 by throwing everyone else under the bus. This man is the single biggest failure the government has employed over the last decade. He headed the CIA throughout the planning of 9-11, and assured the President that Saddam had WMD. But he has gotten a pass from our press! Rumsfeld and Cheney are always called out, but never this charlatan. Why? Now he comes again to blame the whole failure on Rice, and the WaPo dutifully reports it. This man was head of the CIA during the two worst intelligence failures of the decade; why do his words have so much credibility with liberals who hate this administration?

11/26/2006 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger Mastiff said...

Reocon,

It is strange indeed to see you characterizing Condoleeza Rice, the favored protegé of arch-realist Brent Snowcroft, as a "neocon."

It is far stranger that you think there is anything "realist" about what is going on in the minds of James Baker et al. If I am not mistaken, the ultimate goal of a Realist foreign policy, according to Morgenthau, is for each state to maximize its own power at the expense of all others.

I see no evidence that the present debacle is about maximizing American power.

11/26/2006 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Don't hang Saddam--crown him KING! Then lend him our Air Force and Navy for a year or so.

11/26/2006 08:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So allow me to propose the unthinkable: Maybe, just maybe, our best option is to restore Saddam Hussein to power.

Sure, he can be dictator of Sunnistan, consisting of various and sundry towns in the Sunni triangle, noted for being poor in oil. Saddamland will remain a no-fly zone, of course, and I'm not talking about insects. This time it will be the Kurds and Shi'ites who have the helicopters.

11/26/2006 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Don't anyone interrupt me, now, I'm going to sit right here and scorn and shun Syria hard right up until my next trip to the fridge.

11/26/2006 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Promethea said...

Buddy Larsen . . .

You said: "What is it that has so convinced the NYT-type mind that America is invulnerable? Is it the NYT's own invulnerable fecklessness?"

This sense of invulnerability is probably at the core of so much nonsensical thinking by the media-types who don't both to study Jihadism and Islam.

A blogger or commenter once said that affluence leads to softness, softness leads to decadence, and decadence leads to extinction.

The NYTimes and other fools are well into the squishy softness stage.

11/26/2006 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What if we have a Global Shun-In for Peace?

11/26/2006 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Desert Rat at the Elephant Bar:
---
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance
C'mon
Ev'rybody's talking about ministers,
Sinister, Banisters
And canisters, Bishops, Fishops,
Rabbis, and Pop eyes, Bye, bye, bye byes
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance
Let me tell you now
Revolution, evolution, masturbation,
Flagellation, regulation, integrations,
Meditations, United Nations,
Congratulations

11/26/2006 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Maybe next, the crusading NYT will insist that further state-assassinations be less obviously a giant middle finger stuffed in our face.

"Whatever happened," the editorial page could ask, "...to the good old days when dictators cared whether or not everybody on the planet knew precisely that they were murdering their critics in foreign capitals?"

Scorn, scorn, more scorn. Yes, that will fix 'em!

11/26/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger a guy in pajamas said...

stoutfellow: "To include the Iraqi government in a conference would be to legitimize it, and by extension the Bush policy of the last 3 years. And that must on no account be done."

Exactly. The new solution must be born of all the criticisms of the Bush doctrine and the Bush doctrine totally abandoned. To wit, there were no WMDs, Saddam didn't support terrorism and his imperial lust for Kuwait's and other's oil fields was eliminated by Gulf War I.


The new solution must be what works. The defense or criticism of the Bush Doctrine makes an idiotic foundation for policy decisions. Also, Saddam certainly had WMD programs ready to go back into production, certainly supported terrorism, and never lost his thirst for empire -- he'll carry that to his grave.

... Next thing you know someone is going to suggest that we bring back Saddam . He's a bastard, but at least he'll be our bastard.

Saddam was never "ours," nor would he ever be.

11/26/2006 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger a guy in pajamas said...

Buddy, I'm right there with you.

Doug, I kinda like your Global Shun-In for Peace. We could have T-shirts made or something. Could we get a march going?

11/26/2006 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

we can save a fortune on those T shirts--just buy off the rack, and leave 'em white. The better to snatch off and wave overhead five times a day.

11/26/2006 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Well, now that we're all French, where are all those Parisian babes? Oh, that's right--stuck at home, their cars burnt up.

11/26/2006 08:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buddy wrote:

we can save a fortune on those T shirts--just buy off the rack, and leave 'em white. The better to snatch off and wave overhead five times a day.

Ouch. The truth hurts.

11/26/2006 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Workin' my way through The Looming Tower in my (little) spare time. ObL's mentor was "a charismatic Palestinian scholar and mystic named Abbdullah Azzam", who set up shop in Pakistan 25 years ago to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

'His (Azzam's) slogan was "Jihad and the rifle alone; no negotiations, no conferences, no dialogues."' -p.95-

ObL and crew have had 25 years to meditate on that. Shunning will get real far...NOT!

Slaughter now or slaughter later. Slaughter later = slaughter more.
To choose surrender is to choose the subjugation of the women and slaughter of the Jews for their mere being.
We did not choose this.
We must choose to end it.

11/26/2006 08:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buddy wrote:

Well, now that we're all French, where are all those Parisian babes? Oh, that's right--stuck at home, their cars burnt up.

How romantic. The city of petrol-fire light.

11/26/2006 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger richard said...

But WHOM should we slaughter? Syrians? They are not al Qaeda, and your quote from the superb book Looming Tower is foolish. Syria is not Al Qaeda. Syria can be isolated and contained and controlled. This is one of the most exasperating aspects of discussing terror with you guys. It's all one big pot of soup with nary a shade of nuance or distinction.

And for the record, to woman Catholic above, Iran never "promised to desroy Israel with a nuclear attack." How can there be so much ignorance and sloppy thinking on one web site??

11/26/2006 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Yep, guard your Gene Kelly DVDs--them daze is over--

11/26/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

wretchard said...

If true then it is superfluous to call for an international meeting. What would be the point of engagement unless you are already engaged?

Wretchard, I believe you answered your own question when you wrote:

The perfect formula then, is wherever Syria and Iran have their dirty hands can be declared a place where they are already represented; why not then bring them in openly under international color.

Such a conference would be the open admission of Iran and Syria's undue influence upon the elected government of Iraq. An acknowledgement both depressing and immanently "realistic". Now we have to deal with an Iraq in which the most powerful coalition (Dawa/Badr/Sadr) is deeply allied with our regional enemies. We have our brief Wilsonian fever to thank for this present disaster.

GG said...
Reocon,
If Tenet thought this meeting was the "starkest" warning, why has he never brought it up before?


He claims he has and Rice's office has admitted to the NYT and Wapo that the meeting took place. And it's not just him, John McLaughlin also backs up Tenet's account as does Cofer Black. In fact Black says, at the bottom of the WaPo article:
Black later said, "The only thing we didn't do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head."

The GOP Congress should have dragged Rice into a Committee hearing back in '04, now the damned Dems may do it. I think her inaction worthy of an indictment for treason. She's a failure as both Nat. Sec. Advisor and Sec. of State, and no one within the conservative movement loves her.

Mastiff said...
If I am not mistaken, the ultimate goal of a Realist foreign policy, according to Morgenthau, is for each state to maximize its own power at the expense of all others.

Realism, as an academic discipline, also makes normative claims; especially when it comes to avoiding imperial over-reach, and ending up on the wrong side of balance of power and balance of threat equations. In that, the entire academic "realist" community wisely opposed the Iraq War. Check it out here at the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy:

http://www.realisticforeignpolicy.org/

I'd recommend the two petitions under "signatories".

Doug said...
Desert Rat at the Elephant Bar:
---
All we are saying is give peace a chance,


Hmmm, with apologies to Edward Luttwak, how about if we pull out and "give war a chance". Can't be a worse suggestion that bringing back Saddam.

11/26/2006 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I googled [iranian threats israel]

11/26/2006 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger StoutFellow said...

pj,
The new solution must be what works. The defense or criticism of the Bush Doctrine makes an idiotic foundation for policy decisions

Tell Jim Baker. Tell the Democrats and other leftists. It is their 'new initiative' of engaging the Syrians and Iranians that I am deriding. I was agreeing with Wretchard that any new approach to the Iraq problem by them would exclude anything from the Bush approach. Happily though, by going with the old he's a bastard but he's our bastard approach, they didn't have to come up with any new ideas. A real bonus.

Saddam was never "ours," nor would he ever be.

I do believe he was "ours" to some degree, especially when he was fighting the Iranians. I do not believe or hope that he will be "ours" in the future. That wish belonged to New Republic editor Jonathan Chait writing in the LA Times that I linked.

11/26/2006 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Plane crash kills 28 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard...
---
At least there are SOME good things about the Sovs supplying the Mullahs.
(NeoSovs?)

11/26/2006 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

(closing para @ WSJ)

In the wake of Litvinenko's death, the West must insist on cooperation from the FSB in finding his killers. If that is not forthcoming, it should be assumed that the murder of Litvinenko was ordered by the Russian regime.
Under those circumstances, not only should Russia be expelled from the G-8 but the whole structure of mutual consultation and cooperation would need to be re-evaluated. This is not just a matter of refusing to trivialize a murder. It is also a vital political obligation. Russians of all types are watching to see whether the West will simply swallow this crime or finally react to the rampant criminalization of Russian society. There are forces in Russia that want the country to be part of the West. But to back them, we need to demonstrate that we have moral values that we defend. To do less would be to abandon Russia to the forces of nihilism and obscurantism.

(author--Mr. Satter is affiliated with the Hoover Institution, the Hudson Institute and Johns Hopkins. His most recent book is "Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State" (Yale, 2003).

11/26/2006 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maybe we can let them in but scorn them alot?

11/26/2006 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That's a great idea! We can indicate our scorn by not smiling much at the various signing ceremonies, summits, and meetings.

The FSB guys won't know what hit 'em!

Or that anything hit 'em!

11/26/2006 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Purpose Driven' Megapastor Rick Warren calls Syria 'moderate nation'...
---
Never did trust that guy, don't know why Hewitt did.

11/26/2006 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Might as well capitalize on the new reality:

"Dhimmi Life Magazine"

11/26/2006 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger possumDieter said...

Habu1 is sort of like a scorn hyper power.

Like his ostentatious Garcia ties gave him some right to wage psyops on whoever he pleases

11/26/2006 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger possumDieter said...

Doug,

You can be a lil harry and david basket of scorn yourself sometimes.

If only Dr. Blix could entreaty you to formally declare the chips on your shoulder, you'd be a happier Matt Damon janitor genius guy.

11/26/2006 11:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What were we talking about again?

Justin Logan's article mentioned that:The real problem in Iraq is not Iran or Syria, it wasn’t Ibrahim al-Jaafari, and it isn’t Nuri al-Maliki. It isn’t the case that a few external actors are undermining an otherwise sound strategy. Bush’s ideology-as-strategy model is the problem.

If the Bush administration had properly predicted the difficulty of the mission in Iraq, it probably wouldn’t have gone in the first place. As ridiculous as it now seems, the original war plan had the U.S. drawing down its military presence in Iraq to 30,000 troops by September 2003.

Now, instead of trying to craft a responsible exit strategy, the Bush administration and supporters of its war policy spend their time trying to find scapegoats for the catastrophe that it has created. For an administration that likes to talk about responsibility, its behavior is quite the opposite.


Playing like a broken record, repeating the problem ad nauseum isn't going to help in solving it.

Instead of searching for solutions, people are looking for scapegoats. If they are truly introspective, then these people would question why they are just as culpable in blaming the Bush administration for going to war (which we've already acknowledged as a mistake, but let's move on) and scapegoating it for every single disaster that has been the diabolical work of al-Sadr and the Iranian mullahs.

Self-determination: Hitler manipulated that ideal, so did Milosevic. Thousands of such expansionist-driven ideologues reside within the Middle East, seeking to create the Shia Crescent. Who knows what the Sunnis have to say about that - do they intend to create a commensurate Crescent/Oval/Ellipse as well?

Don't ask the Kurds - they aren't saying anything (Kurdistan, Kurdistan!).

11/27/2006 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"And Iran must be told that they carry out its promise to destroy Israel with a nuclear attack, they will endure the ultimate retaliation from the Western intelligentsia, a collective frown."

More like a sigh of relief that we can now enjoy peace in our time.

11/27/2006 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"No longer is it the plight of the Palestinians, but just outright hatred of Israel that is fueling the fight."

There's been a nice rhetorical sleight of hand that's been made.

20 years ago, it was the Israeli-Arab conflict, denoting the wide range of problems between the two sides.

Now it has become the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This conveniently hides this much wider conflict behind a pretty picture of weak vs. strong. It is as if Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and any other number of Arab states, have suddenly disapeared from the equation - they of course haven't.

Indeed, the conflict hasn't gotten smaller - it has gotten bigger. Pan-Arabism meant that the Israelis faced all of the Arab world. Pan-Islamism means that they face the whole collective billion, including, for example, Iran and Pakistan.

Yet, all of this is hidden behind the phrase "Israeli-Palestinian conflict," as if they're the only two combatants. If that was a conscious propaganda effect, it was a ingenius one.

that the conflict is much bigger than this big-little, which is actually a proxy war.

11/27/2006 12:30:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"'Tis a strange critique of "realism" that overlooks how badly neoconservatism has messed things up. Sure garbagemen stink when they come to clean up the remains of the party, but then, so does garbage."

How about, 'none of the above'?

Realism is even worse than neo-conservatism in dealing with transnational ideologies and sub-national groups. It often doesn't even recognize them as a serious actor. Even worse, it depends on rationality, when our enemies are not rational as we understand them.

Even setting this aside, the realist "approach" to Syria and Iran depends on them wanting to help us. In spite of the wishful thinking of our elites, they have no reason to.

You can't get anything out of your enemies by approaching them hat in hand while you're at your weakest moment. They're going to take what they want anyway, the worst you can do is to wind up legitimizing their gains.

11/27/2006 12:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that the Palestinian "victim" piece of fiction is getting old and tired, here comes the much-awaited Volume II: Lebanon!

cutler wrote: Indeed, the conflict hasn't gotten smaller - it has gotten bigger. Pan-Arabism meant that the Israelis faced all of the Arab world. Pan-Islamism means that they face the whole collective billion, including, for example, Iran and Pakistan.

Sure, but that doesn't necessarily mean they truly care about their Arab brethren. To the Iranian mullahs, any Arab collaboraters - be it state or terrorist group - are inherently dispensable due to the ideological fatalism that has been nurtured within the cult of death and martyrdom by the fundamentalists.

Perhaps once they threw their weight around the Palestinians, al-Aqsa and Hamas, thinking that that would be the tipping point in its battle against Israel and the West. Now that the Palestinians aren't getting any further with their pseudo-ceasefires and impoverished Hamas government, the mullahs have turned to Lebanon as the new proxy in the war against Israel, a more effective, fresher thorn in Israel's neck - one that threatens to cauterise and puncture the bloodstream of Israeli existence, just like before.

Years down the road, tens of cabinet changes, hundreds of assassinations, thousands of ceasefires and resolutions later, Lebanon might just become another chronic problem just like the Palestinian terrorists.

Those murderous, demented mullahs with their illusions of grandeur are going to try their damnnest to off Israel, and they aren't going to be squeamish about destabilising any regime that seems ripe for exploitation.

Assad had better watch his back.

11/27/2006 01:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Good Lord!
Checked out comments at the Bar, and one by me re: Rick Warren cited above said -
Dhimmi Life Gospel!
I swear I don't recall typing, much thinking those precious words.
...out of the mouths of subconciouses. (sic)

11/27/2006 03:54:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The purpose-driven lie
Maybe Karen Hughes should have him in the Whitehouse w/Baby Doc as part of the continuing warm and fuzzy dictator/"realism" campaign.
---
Joseph Farah:
Rick Warren wrote to me this morning to protest this column. He claims he didn't say anything he was actually quoted as saying by the official press in Syria. However, in a video posted on YouTube but removed today, he says Syria "does not allow extremism of any kind." In fact, Syria is, in many ways, the No. 1 sponsor of terrorism in the world.

For a long time I've held off criticizing mega-church leader Rick Warren, author of the best-selling "The Purpose Driven Life," even though I have been sorely tempted.

When he joined up with now-disgraced National Association of Evangelicals leader Ted Haggard to suggest man-induced global warming represented an impending calamity, I didn't say too much. I questioned it, but I let it go.

When he joined Haggard again in writing an open letter to President Bush urging government action to fight global poverty, I didn't say a word – even though I thought it ironic. After all, it is the church's responsibility to help the poor. It is not government's responsibility...

Previous commentaries by Joseph Farah:
Calling Rick Warren
Rick Warren disciples: Where are you?
Megapastor Rick Warren's Damascus Road experience

'Purpose Driven' Megapastor Rick Warren calls Syria 'moderate nation'...

11/27/2006 04:10:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

How does one surrender to the Russians, The Iranians, and the Arabs, all at the same time? The State Dept needs to get busy and determine the protocol. With James Baker III back as acting shadow Secretary of State, why not bring James Earl Carter back as acting CIC?

I like my dhimmi thick and syrupy; the better it smears all over my trembling face, the better it sticks to my eager, expectant jowls, the more I love it.

New Boss wants it over quick, the better to investigate HALLIBURTON!

By the time Dingell, Leahy, Franks, Rangel, Hastings, Prancer, dancer, Donner, and Blitzen get through with the pogrom, Chavez will be at the Mason-Dixon line, and the Chin and the Rus peoples will be eyeing each other nervously from either side of the Mississippi River.

dosvidanya, m*****-F*****s!

11/27/2006 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Just fiegned weakness, buddy.
Rope-a-Dope

We may be a bit groggy, but the blows are falling on our arms...

So what the US's publicly declared Mission is a tattered banner, that in Lebanon and Iraq the US allies are aligned against the new democrats.

How many of the Iraqi Army will follow their US Advisors and not their tribal Chiefs?

Have we created a viable US Power Base in the Iraqi Army, or not?

That is really the serious question. If we have there may be a successful way forward, if not put a fork in US, we be done, there, and should leave.

Lack of Performance has consequence.

We'll get back to them, later.
Which has been US Policy in Iraq, writ small. Now all of US will get to see and taste the bitter fruit, not just those of US that closely watched the orchard.

11/27/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

This is deeper than Rope-a-Dope. This is Hope-a-Rope-a-Dope.

11/27/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Bill Roggio reports

" ... The Anbar Salvation Council was formed in September of 2006 and has made progress in working with the U.S. military in Ramadi and throughout western Iraq. Several foreign al-Qaeda have been kiled and captured.

In an effort to counter the Anbar Salvation Council and Iraqify the jihad, al-Qaeda formed the "Mutayibeen Coalition," which is comprised of al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Mujahideen Shura, six Anbar tribes and some minor insurgent groups. ..."


Now one wonders, we obviously know which six tribes are allied with the aQ. Why are we not clearing and holding the areas controlled by those tribes, then destroying their holdings?

When that is seen, the tide could be turning. Until it is seen, the announcements and proclamations from DC or Baghdad will carry little wieght.
Just smoke to conceal the withdrawal.

11/27/2006 06:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

richard said:

And for the record, to woman Catholic above, Iran never "promised to desroy Israel with a nuclear attack."

Except when they did. Connect that dot that with Ali Khamenei's "Israel is a one bomb state" and you start to see the picture.



How can there be so much ignorance and sloppy thinking on one web site??

Indeed.

11/27/2006 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Back-to-back, belly-to-belly, at the Zombie Jamboree!

11/27/2006 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Damascus must also be told that it will pay a high price — in scorn, isolation and sanctions — if it is found to have ordered Mr. Gemayel’s death, or the deaths or maiming of a half-dozen other anti-Syrian politicians and journalists. Hezbollah must be told that it will be shunned if it tries to grab power through further violence or intimidation.

Yes, many recall that day in early 1944, when Adolph Hitler strode into his favorite restaurant in Berlin, only to find that his usual table was not ready. indeed, there were no tables to be had at all. He would have to wait - and it was possible that he might not get served at all. The place was so busy, you see, Mr. Hitler, I mean, Mein Furher. There is a convention in town. Perhaps tomorrow? No, probably not. Next week perhaps.... "Danke..."

Gradually, as he walked away, it dawned on Hitler that the owners had likely read the New York Times editorial that said that Nazism was on its way out - and its leaders should be shunned. It was the beginning of the end.

But in reality, what is recalled is that morning when a USAAF bombing raid appeared over Berlin escorted by the new P-51 Mustang fighter. The head of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Goring looked up, saw the Mustangs and said "We have lost the war." It did not matter if there was a table waiting for Hitler in the restaurant or not. Soon the restaurant would no longer be there....

11/27/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DR wrote:Now one wonders, we obviously know which six tribes are allied with the aQ. Why are we not clearing and holding the areas controlled by those tribes, then destroying their holdings?

The same reason why US troops haven't stormed Sadr City and flattened it - by dispersing the enemy, it makes it that much harder to distinguish them from the civilian populations.

To quote wretchard quoting Mao, the insurgent is a fish among the masses. Now that the enemy is comfortably localised in that geographical position, it makes more sense to whittle them down through precision strikes rather than bomb the entire place to smithereens ala de-Talibanisation in Afghanistan.

11/27/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Exactly, harrison, but such a 10, 20, or 50 yr war will require something apparently undeliverable by our current political powers.

Nah, best you prepare yourself for far higher energy costs, and a lowering standard of living, as the world's capital transfers from west to east.

What did we think would happen, as we broadcast Madison Avenue into a billion mud huts?

11/27/2006 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

harrison,
After three years we have "finally" gotten the "Enemy" whittled down to SIX tribes in a reasonably contained geopgraphic area of Iraq.

Mr al-Sadr IS the Iraqi Government, he sustains it in power, at least as much as the US does. His power, politically in Iraq, seems greater than ours, actually.

Democracy being what it is, Mr al-Sadr has organized his voting bloc best. The militias a natural outgrowth of the culture and practicle necessity. There are, according to the US Army, 28 independent Armed Militias operating in Baghdad alone. All suppossedly required for self defense against the Insurgents.

The US being unable to contain the Insurgent activities of the aQ and the Six Enemy Tribes of Anbar.

Rather than promote interTribal Warfare, a Civil War in Anbar so to speak, the mass of the US military should, with the help of their Iraqi Army allies, crush the SETA and aQ.
Do not allow the civilians to disperse, like fish in the sea, no, contain those civilian populations in camps, then destroy the Insurgents infrastructure.
There is historical precedent for this type Campaign to succeed, while no precedent for the current course has seen success anywhere at any time in the past.

Allow for those in the camps first dibs on Saudi & UAE financed reconstruction jobs.

11/27/2006 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi will open the House for the first session of the 110th Congress on January 4, 2007.

11/27/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And so fall the sands of time

11/27/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Enjoy the war.

The peace is going to be terrible.

11/27/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Now one wonders, we obviously know which six tribes are allied with the aQ. Why are we not clearing and holding the areas controlled by those tribes, then destroying their holdings?

Because that way won't work in a counter insurgency war. The reason why it is down to six tribes supporting Al Qaeda is because the other Iraqi tribes gradually turned against A-Q. Before they turned, it was "whack a mole", with new terrorists coming in as fast as they were killed, and the Iraqi tribes protecting Al Qaeda. But once the Iraqi tribes turned against Al Qaeda, then A-Q had no where to run, nowhere to hide.

This is just like the Army book about fighting insurgents, that the center of gravity is winning the population over, which is even more important than killing insurgents.

11/27/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

(h/t Maggie) Meanwhile, back on the western front, France has mapped her in-country enemy citadels (aka "zones of urban significance"):

11/27/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buddy larsen wrote:

Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi will open the House for the first session of the 110th Congress on January 4, 2007.

In the first 100 hours she is expected to usher in the following 10 point agenda:

1) All handgun owners must deliver their piece to the local police station within five days. Rifle and shotgun owners must comply after the current hunting season.

2) Government-funded high school field trips to Mecca to complete the "Haj" element of the Five Pillars Of Islam cirriculum, which fulfills the Social Awareness credit required for graduation.

3) Federal law raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour, even for lettuce-pickers, and lowering the maximum wage also to $10 per hour, even for doctors.

4) Mandatory draft for all men and women ages 18 to 21, unless they are accepted in a Feminist Studies or Journalism program at a major East Coast university.

5) Basic military training to be replaced with Fundamental Nation Building Skills training in all branches of the service.

6) All current residents of the Federal and State corrections system to be discharged and enrolled in voluntary anger-management courses. Prisons to become re-education facilites for hate crimes, such as calling Rosie a "fat annoying dyke".

7) All vehicles getting less than 35 miles per gallon shall pay an annual federal Excise Tax not less than 10% of the Kelly Blue Book value of the rig.

8) All freeway lanes except the far right lane are to be designated HOV lanes for cars carrying at least four persons, automatically enforced by computer cam.

9) Comprehensive health care, broadband porn, home heating oil, and government cheese are all basic rights to be given to the American people for free.

10) Allahu Akbar to be inscribed in Arabic on American currency, replacing the current hate slogan "In God We Trust"

11/27/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well the w.w. the new and improved rewrite of the old book is wrong.

Because we have not dealt a blow to the Insurgents and their base population, as was done in Malaysia and the Phillipines, the natural counterweight, the Shia Militias have grown out of control.

In '03 the Militias were a moderate annoyance and the Badr Brigades, well regulated by the SCIRI. Now they are the newest out of control concern of the US.

We discussed disarming them over two years ago, but it was to dangerous then, now the challenge has compounded itself.
Under US management.

By waiting for the "people" to shift, which is not what has happened regardless, is beyond foolish.
The Tribal Chieftains have made a decision, based on their best interests, there were no Tribal votes on the matter.
They have marginally allied themselves with the Federals, but are not Iraqi Federalists by any means.

I've said this for a number of years, w.w., different players have held your chair, this round of the game is about over, you seem to young to recall "Peace with Honor". You'll get your first taste of it next year.

11/27/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Betrayal: France, the Arabs, and the Jews by David Pryce-Jones

David is on Prager Now!

http://www2.krla870.com/listen/

11/27/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

But...but Rat,

What you describe would mean INTERNMENT of thousands of innocent Iraqis! Ramadi = 400K population.

Will the refugee conditions be like Gitmo or Gaza?

Good idea though; illustrative of what we'll have to do over here in the near future.

11/27/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

We're tasting it already, rat--it just hasn't 'trickled down' much, yet. Since the election, for starters, the dollar has been weakening, foreign money is now trading out, not in, to our financial mkts, there's at least three new probably terror related oil-facility disturbances at this minute (Iraq, Nigeria, Venezuela), KSA is leading a further cut in OPEC production, and gold has risen about $100. Just today, oil is up strong, gas up a full 3% today, the Dow is off today 150 pts, Naz about 50, SP500 about 15 (or over 1%), and retailers are selling off on anticipation of a churlish (read, 'declining confidence') consumer this season.

Not a rout yet, but, the bright shiny sparkly new world of the political change in DC seems to be having trouble lifting off the ground.

11/27/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

BTW, WC, that's a pretty funny ha ha top 10 list--
:-(

11/27/2006 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

In light of the Litvinenko murder, who might have been responsible for the anthrax murders following 9/11? By the way, there is now a report airing that anthrax may have just been found at the Lincoln Memorial.

11/27/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/27/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Exactly, harrison, but such a 10, 20, or 50 yr war will require something apparently undeliverable by our current political powers.

That's why it is good that people are challenging Bush. If he's got a plan to eliminate the terror threat to us by occupying the entire Middle East, let us see it. Otherwise he needs to shift to a counter insurgency war, something we really could sustain for decades.

If Iraq has something to do with the "war on terror", let Bush prove it. So far I haven't seen a single argument that the Iraqi civil war has anything to do with global terrorism. Instead of arguments, what comes back is name calling, that anyone who challenges the war is an appeaser, 193x, blah blah blah.

11/27/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> We discussed disarming them over two years ago,

Link

It's important to remember that the reason we didn't kill al-Sadr is because Ayatollah Sistani wouldn't let us. Al-Sadr was surrounded and as we were closing in, Sistani marched back to Najaf with thousands of citizens.

We were already playing tough with everyone, and we only fought to a stand still; more insurgents sprang up for everyone we killed. That was proof that the get tough theory doesn't work. The Sunni insurgency was out of control, and it took weeks to corner al-Sadr. If we had fought Sistani too, all of Iraq except the Kurds would have been against us.

Right now it is a Shiite majority country, Shiite majority government. We could have the government order us to leave the country, then our only choices would be to either leave or defy the elected government of Iraq and declare war on it.

11/27/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Oh, thanks, ww. Now I'm not worried about the jihad in Iraq anymore. Yes, let's make Bush "prove it", and if he doesn't, well, screw it, the global jihad now dancing in the streets over Nov 07 will just have to go without us, we don't have to play if we don't want to.

11/27/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

Quick! Someone recruit the Knights who say Nee! That'll fix em for sure!!

11/27/2006 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> By waiting for the "people" to shift, which is not what has happened regardless, is beyond foolish.

Does that mean that we don't talk to Muslims anywhere? We must invade and occupy every Muslim country, like Pakistan?

11/27/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

ww, the actual insurgency--the killers--have according to all reports never numbered more than a few thousand.

Over the last few years, say up to and through the last set of Iraqi elections, if this country had sent any message other than the one it did, that is, the "Abu Graib Message" that the out party in congress, the broadcast networks, CNN, the major urban newspapers, the newsweeky slicks, the academy & intelligentsia, and a large halfish chunk of the electorate were willing to say and do practically anything, anything at all, to get out of the war on any terms whatsoever, then we might have had a chance to actually defeat the jihad in Iraq.

You can ridicule that notion all you want.

If I were on your side of the aisle, believe me, I'd be so ridiculing, right now, hard and desperately, with flop sweat all over my brow.

11/27/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I'll give you a little tip for '08, ww.

GWB has had it with "blame Bush".

He's sick and tired of it, and is going to give you guys two years of what you want, what you have been demanding, what you have been playing the terrorists' fondest dream's media game for.

Then, in '08, the voters will have a choice shorn of all the leaking, name-calling, lying, and pettifogging.

If you want the White House, now it's your turn. YOU are gonna have to "prove it" now, whatever it is you've been trying to prove.

11/27/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

The NYTimes is a parody, but a still globally influential, destructive one.

They pretty well screwed the pooch on "humanitarian" interventions with their long list of anti-American activities regarding Iraq and strident advocacy of their ACLU pal's "precious" enemy rights crusade.

We really can't do what many jigoistic Belmont posters demand - truly "unleash" the US military because it is not just a question of Will or shiny new high tech toys ---but of law. The Euro Left and America's powerful secular progressive Jews have constructed a body of International and domestic law that blocks our military power and use of counterinsurgent tactics in all but an existential war where all laws can be ignored.

I have said that the anti-Americans have such power that it will take a lot more blood to flow before the laws can be changed.

9/11 was a small, one-time event as impetus for major wars go, receeding in the past and losing it's emotional power as expected. Bush is inarticulate as a persuader of why we must have this "defining struggle at the forefront of our thoughts". Not when he places a higher priority on tax cuts for the wealthy and determination not to ask any sacrifice of Americans other than government-paid "heroes". Our military power and capability has actually shrunk under Bush. Less planes, ships, subs, fighter jets, tanks, bombers exist now than when he took office. Next on the chopping block is the Stealth Fighter and C-17 logistics transport programs with no substitutes ready.

But the good news is perhaps it doesn't have to be Euroweenie blood or American blood to be shed.

If we are unable to intervene, as the Times suggests, in any conflict where we don't have the moral authority of the UN or Cindy Sheehan behind an intervention...where the US is criminalized for the slightest misstep...where any enemy combatant has more "rights" than any enemy ever...

Then we should be able to watch the Left and the secular Jewish progressives in turn watch the Darfur genocide unfold, the Iraqi Civil War unfold ---with America unable or unwilling to intervene without France, Germany's, Russia, and China's blessing through the UN vote. Or our being unwilling or unable to kill, capture, and otherwise violate the "precious human rights" of enemy Janjaweed or Sectarian Iraqi death squads.

Let the blood flow.

Let Soros, the NYTime's Sulzburgers, Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch, Nadine Stroessen of the ACLU squeal - and political leaders like Kennedy and Feingold blubber all they want about about the rivers of blood.
If they want it changed, change the laws that hamstring America and make our troops poster boy criminals spotlighted by the Left for criminal charges for the slightest war-fighting or detainee treatment allegation.

Otherwise, we should be content to watch Muslim butcher Muslim as a great good lesson in blood that avoids Muslims butchering us infidels to get the same laws changed on account of our blood being spilled.

11/27/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Hopefully, whatever it is, it is more than just that "Bush can be demoralized and beaten".

11/27/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cedarford wrote:

Our military power and capability has actually shrunk under Bush. Less planes, ships, subs, fighter jets, tanks, bombers exist now than when he took office

And those planes, ships, subs, jets, etc, not to mention the men and women who use and maintain them, have been running at such a high op tempo they're about ready to fall to pieces. Bush is doing the exciting "war" part now but he's going to leave the expensive part of restocking our bunkers with shells and bombs to the next administration.

11/27/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

well, why not, WC? that's what incompetent boobs DO, y'know.

11/27/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Buddy Larsen - ww, the actual insurgency--the killers--have according to all reports never numbered more than a few thousand.

If that is true, with 23,000 American casualties, 650 billion pissed away on fighting the "ill-financed" "few thousand insurgents" plus 4,000 coalition casualties and up to 100,000 Iraqi opponents taken out by them.....America on the verge of defeat with no allies left other than "Our Special Friend" and with the insurgents destroying the Parliament of Noble Purple-Fingers....

Might I suggest that the "few thousand" have done one hell of an effective job, if they are only "a few thousand"?

If that is true.

I suspect it is not, given 80% of noble freedom-loving purple fingered Iraqi Arabs of both the Shia and Sunni persuasion say in polls they hate Americans and wish them dead. They also hate Al Qaeda almost as much as the "Zionist puppets". And they hate the heretics of Islam (the other Arab side + the Kurds) enough to want them killed or cleansed, preferably cleansed. A moderate view considering the one they have of Al Qaeda or the "Zionist puppets" (us).

By all means we should let the noble freedom-lovers have at one another. Hopefully in the millions. If it shows the rest of the world just how primitive and dangerous Islam is, how resistant they are to the modern world, it will be worth the body piles, Bush II being reviled as worst President ever, and oil teporarily at 150 a barrel. Time for me to get a wood stove so I can heat my family's house, make popcorn, and watch it happen.

11/27/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat Buchanan thinks Putin is being framed.

11/27/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I used the word "killers" to differentiate between actual shooters & bombers, and the seas of people in which they swim. The peoples whom I believe were actually on the fence for awhile, waiting to see if the Americans could work some magic with their vaunted democracy system.

11/27/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Over the last few years, say up to and through the last set of Iraqi elections, if this country had sent any message other than the one it did, that is, the "Abu Graib Message"

This country supported the president on the war for years, but Bush just couldn't win it. He did it his way, or more accurately Cheney / Rumsfelt fought it there way, and couldn't win.

> If you want the White House, now it's your turn.

I'm a Republican, but like Rush Limbaugh said after the election, I'm tired of carrying water for people who don't deserve it. That's the same way Republicans in Congress felt. Maybe if Bush's friends had pushed him to be a better commander in chief, then we wouldn't have lost the election, and Bush would have cleaned up his act and fixed the war.

Many, many people, including republicans felt that Bush did an awful job of communicating about this war. The country started out on Bush's side, but as polls drifted down year after year Bush did nothing, just said the same sound bites again and again.

11/27/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

And we here in America, C4, with our brutal 24/7 barely sub-violent culture war, do far more than any foreigners ever could, to put clay feet on our own advertised ideals.

11/27/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Buckhead said...

Woe betide the enemy if Cedarford turns his scorn upon them.

11/27/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cedarford wrote:

By all means we should let the noble freedom-lovers have at one another. Hopefully in the millions.

At times like these cedarford reminds me very much of habu1, who has called for the incineration of 150 million Muslims merely to focus their attention.

If it shows the rest of the world just how primitive and dangerous Islam is, how resistant they are to the modern world, it will be worth the body piles...

At least cedarford here recognizes that body piles are a bad thing, justified only by how they would show the rest of the world how uncivilized the Muslims are (as opposed to we humane and enlightened Westerners).

11/27/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> ww, the actual insurgency--the killers--have according to all reports never numbered more than a few thousand.

Three and a half years ago Rumsfeld told us there were just a few "dead enders" left. The Bush Administration itself says that insurgents are coming across the border from Syria and Iran, which means that there isn't a fixed number. Also, al-Sadr's party won 30 seats in the Iraqi Congress, meaning they have more than a few thousand votes.

Most importantly, if there were only a few insurgents, meaning that the Iraqi population disagreed with them, then those insurgents would quickly be dead. It is happening right now as Sunni tribes turn on Al Qaeda. Those AQ members either quickly leave the tribal area or end up dead, either killed by the locals or when the locals give us actionable intelligence.

11/27/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"...Bush did nothing, just said the same sound bites again and again.

Right, ww. Go back and read them sometime, and figure out what he should have said and didn't, or did say, and shouldn't have.

What you really should say--since all those POTUS speeches are on record--is that the man failed to communicate with you, and with many others like you.

And that, when combined with the excellent war-fighting by the enemy, is his failure, in a nutshell.

11/27/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Okay, then "a few thousand killers" was rhetoric. Sorry. Point was, the numbers defeated us less than our own expectations.

11/27/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr al-Sadr is not an insurgent, w.w. He is a Federalist.

Mr al-Sadr stand shoulder to shoulder with the Prime Minister, Mr Maliki. Mr al-Sadrs coalition is the backbone of the Maliki Government, Mr al-Sadr is no Insurgent. He is anti-American, but he suppoerts, for today, the Government.

To describe him as an Insurgent betrays your ignorance of the situation, there in Iraq.

11/27/2006 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That's why we didn't kill him, I suppose--he was affiliated with our best man in Shia Iraq, Sistani.

Can't go willy-nilly assassinating locally respected leaders, not frivilously, anyway. Look at Putin--he's under the gun for a mere journalist. Easy to say, "Kill him!", but not so easy to do, if trying to help form a working government.

Not that it would not have been wise--but that few have any idea of the thinking actually behind the decisions taken at the time they were taken.

11/27/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

woman catholic,

re: Habu_1 and Cedarford

As I recall WC, just last week you favored treating human shields as de facto combatants. Aren't you making a distinction without a difference?

I have my disagreements with both gentlemen, nevertheless, both clearly recognize that Islam is antithetical to the West and must be destroyed. Now, you and we may couch that in the sweetest of euphemisms, but in the end it will mean the deaths of millions. By the way, I believe that both Habu_1 and C4, like me, would prefer those millions killed to be on the side of the opposition. How about you?

Please do not take this as a personal attack and return me to the Codex. The criticism, if it is, is bona fide.

11/27/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

At anytime during the past ten years, any administration could have legally helped arm these folk, with the result of destabilizing Iran. Indeed, had that been done early on, the Iranians might have been less meddlesome in Iraq. So, what happened?

Students Clash With Regime Thugs in Tehran

Oh, to be sure, both the Clintion and Bush administrations were tall on talk, while short on action. This condition seems to afflict any who cross the Potomac for more than a visit.

11/27/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Go back and read them sometime, and figure out what he should have said and didn't,

I did and have posted about it before. Even in his last speech before the election, Bush wasn't saying more than:

we need to win the global war on terror
9/11 was caused by those terrorists
the war in Iraq is part of that same GWOT

But then his opponents started to say:

Iraq has nothing to do with the global war on terror
The conflict in Iraq is just a local civil war
We should continue to allow special forces to kill the few actual global terrorists who in Iraq
But the other fighting in Iraq is taking resources away from real GWOT activities like capturing bin Laden
Bush is fighting the war in Iraq poorly, using the wrong tactics

Bush never answered those charges but let the MSM, Cindy Sheehan, etc. control the propaganda war

11/27/2006 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> To describe him as an Insurgent betrays your ignorance of the situation, there in Iraq.

I don't consider him to be either an insurgent or global terrorist, so I wouldn't target him. however I was responding to an argument that we should have targeted him.

11/27/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

w.w. said to us all

The Bush Administration itself says that insurgents are coming across the border from Syria and Iran, which means that there isn't a fixed number. Also, al-Sadr's party won 30 seats in the Iraqi Congress, meaning they have more than a few thousand votes.

Then, not an hour or so later has the nerve to say he never said it

"... I don't consider him (al-Sadr) to be either an insurgent or global terrorist, ..."

Come on man!
Make up your mind!

Either he is part of the greater Insurgency and his supporters with him, as you said. Or he is a supporter of the Government of Mr Maliki, which is the reality.

Whether or not he is a Global Terrorist is a strawman arguement you added for flavor. But is inconsequential to the debate of Mr al-Sadr being part of the Maliki Government.

Unless you think Lebanon to not be considered part of greater Iraq, as Mahdi Army fighters did transit Syria to support Hezbollah during the 34 Day War.

But such details are daunting.

11/27/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Maybe you're right, ww. Maybe he should've debated Cindy Sheehan. The two of 'em could've tossed assertions at each other for an hour or two, and then all would have been well, the jihad would've been terribly set back.

11/27/2006 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

allen said:

As I recall WC, just last week you favored treating human shields as de facto combatants. Aren't you making a distinction without a difference?

I indicated many moons ago that when ambulance is used as a troop transport, it's no longer an ambulance, and any personnel found within should be considered troops being transported. I also indicated that when a school is turned into a AAA site, complete with fire control radar, it no longer is a school, and any personnel found withing should be considered anti-air gunners. By this principle, when a mosque is turned into a bunker for terrorists, it's no longer a mosque, and if people volunteer to substitute their ass for the concrete that should be protecting that bunker, then we should use the appropriate bunker-busting munitions. In this case some napalm would do nicely.

Please do not take this as a personal attack and return me to the Codex. The criticism, if it is, is bona fide.

There is no more Index, if that's what you meant. At any rate, I do take this as a personal attack, and it is indeed the last one I am willing to take here or on the EB (I know that seems a little repetitive but ::shrug::).

11/27/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Oh, Hot Lips, quit resigning your damn commission.
:-D

11/27/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

To be scorned and shunned, again.

With the results remarkedly, the same

11/27/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> But such details are daunting

Yes, because I am responding to the arguments of various people who think al-Sadr is in the scope of their war, but they never exactly say why.

I also personally believe that even though someone is in the government, they can secretly be an insurgent, that is attacking the government. If al-Sadr were a full believer in the government, he wouldn't kill hundreds with his death squads.

Personally I'm not sure I care whether someone is an insurgent or not because maybe insurgents aren't bad, or at least are equal to those militias who are the government.

I don't see what an insurgency against the government of Iraq has to do with the security of the US.

11/27/2006 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

woman catholic,

Blue Moon! You saw me standing alone...sigh...sigh...

You foxy lady, I'll just have to chase you around the net.

;-}

11/27/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

al-Sadr's group is an insurgent group because they are a government within a government. Like Hezbollah, they will disobey or violently resist any law they disagree with. They take action, including military action, without the government's approval. They don't respect the authority of the government, but are willing to coexist with it for the moment as long as the government lets them alone.

11/27/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Orville C-fourenbacher PopCorn. Catchy.

11/27/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I don't see what an insurgency against the government of Iraq has to do with the security of the US

Keep an eye here, ww, and connect all the dteailed dots.

11/27/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

bad link buddy.

11/27/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

you may have missed a dot.

11/27/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, w.w. it comes down to the definitions of the words. Like what the real meaning of emergence is.

Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime; ...
...
... The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate ..."


So you, w.w., are not the one in need of convincing that the Insurgency has nothing to do with the Security of the United States.
The Congress has already decided, from the first day.
The President must be convinced it no longer matters, your arguements do not sway me, let alone a real Stay the Course loyalist kind of a guy, like Mr Bush.

11/27/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Wu Wei wrote: "This country supported the president on the war for years, but Bush just couldn't win it."

Come, now. If Mohammed & Jesus Christ appeared together and praised President Bush for doing the Lord's work, the New York Times & all the rest of the Lame Stream Media would report that Bush had failed to win the support of Bhuddists & Wickans (if they even bothered to report the event at all).

The real Iraq War was over within weeks. Saddam Hussein and his armed forces were history. Huge victory for our (side.

Where there has been a failure is to define what the US goals are in the aftermath. If it is like Germany after WWII, where the US wanted a stable, peaceful, democratic, disarmed country (with US troops still there a half-century later) -- then the Iraq version of the Marshall Plan has a long way to go. But the same could have been said of Germany in 1949.

But if you want to concentrate on the negative, look at all those who have lost credibility because of Iraq -- starting with the UN, the EU and the Islamists (who pathetically failed to remove the remove the secular Saddam Hussein, and who are failing even worse today to improve the lives of the Iraqi people). Let's also note that the true colors of the Russians & the Chinese are becoming ever more evident.

We live in interesting times -- but likely not any more in peaceful times.

11/27/2006 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

oops--well, it was to any of any number of market info sites.
here's another:

Point of course is that the jihad upper command is waging an econmic war, too, and got a nice tactical victory today, in a 'confidence' sell-off. Nasty economic times are in no wise good for USA's security, to drive the point into the ground and break it off.

11/27/2006 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But the head of the Government, the Prime Minister, Mr Maliki disagrees, w.w. He should know best, better than you or I, to be sure.

No, Mr al-Sadr has Six Ministries of Government in his Porfolio and 30 Seats in the Parliment. He is the Iraqi Government, exemplified and personified.
He is what the US has wrought.
But an Insurgent, not a chance.

He just does not fit your version of "democracy". The two leading countries, those in the vanguard of the Democracy Project, Lebanon and Iraq, the are developing their own Arab "style" of democratic governence. You dislike how some mobilize, but when the Government does not have a monopoly of force, militias form to defend the people.

The US Second and foremost

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Mr Maliki has yet to decide and proclaim that the Mahdi Army is not well regulated.

11/27/2006 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

and, we can rightfully curse Russia and Syria for political assassinations, but be prepared for an equal feeling from all peoples toward all nations who assassinate members in good standing of allied foreign governments.

11/27/2006 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I have read that Mr Maliki's trip to Jordan may be one way. That the trip back would be to perilous.

Just internet rumors, but is there a ring of possibility?

11/27/2006 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Buddy Larsen said...
"This is deeper than Rope-a-Dope.
This is Hope-a-Rope-a-Dope."
---
Be sure not to miss next Sunday at the Mega Hope a Dope Chapel:

The Exalted Rick Warren will speak on the
(Hopefully) Mega Transformational Power of Hope,
when used judiciously in all it's subtlety, glory, and power in the:

Hope-a-Rope-a-Dope

Demons Out!

(The Baby Doc is In.)

11/27/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

It's not just the Protestant Evangelists in play here, doug--the next big flash point is the Papal visit to meet Bartholomew, Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox, in Turkey, to treat for better treatment of Christians in Turkey. This of course will extend the war-slogan to Hope-a-Rope-a-Dope-a-Pope.

The Turk Islamists, of course, are revolting, saying that the visit is a Hope-a-Rope-a-Dope-a-Pope-a-Slippery Slope.

11/27/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cruiser said...

DR wrote: "I have read that Mr Maliki's trip to Jordan may be one way."

You seem to be assuming such an event would happen with the Bush Admin's tacit approval. I think that it is extraordinariliy unlikely for a number of reasons, the saddest of which is that this admin. is incapable of quick and bold moves.

11/27/2006 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You misunderstood my understanding of the rumors, cruiser.
Which is easy to do, being rumors.

But theway I understood it, the Mahdi would withdraw support from Maliki and his Government would collapse. The coups and countercoups when take up the next month or so, with Mr Maliki and the newly indicted Sunni Muslim Scholar fellow cooling their heals in exile. While a new Government formed

Whether of not Mr Bush would approve of such a scenario is beyond my poker abilities to discern.

11/27/2006 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

While my guitar gently weeps,

That rosebud of delight has left us, forever and always. And just when I thought she was really starting to warm-up to me. Was it something I said?

___Catholic woman walkin down the street
___Catholic woman, the kind I'd like my neighbor's daughter to meet
___Catholic woman, I don't believe you
___You're not the truth
___No one can exit as good as you
___Mercy...

___Catholic woman, won't you pardon me
___Catholic woman, I couldn't help but see
___Catholic woman, you look as spiteful as can be
___Come and post right next to me

___Catholic woman, stop a while
___Catholic woman, talk a while
___Catholic woman, give your bile to me
___Catholic woman, yeah, yeah, yeah
___Catholic woman, shot my way
___Catholic woman, flay the hide from me

___Cause I need you
___You'll beat me right
___Come with me baby
___Please be my plight

___Catholic woman, don't walk on by
___Catholic woman, don't make me cry
___Catholic woman, don't walk away
___OK

___If that's the way it must be, OK
___I guess the blog is done, it's late
___There'll be tomorrow night

___Oh hate, why must this be?
___Is she kicking back at me?
___Yeah, she's spitting back at me
___O-Oh Catholic woman.

XOXOXO... ;-)

11/27/2006 05:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DR wrote: [...]how some mobilize, but when the Government does not have a monopoly of force, militias form to defend the people.

Maliki's position in the government is contingent on the Sadrists' support and clout in parliament, and with full clarity on that issue, Maliki's actions are more or less constrained by al-Sadr's opinions about how to run the state institutions.

With Shiite and Sunni death squads running rampant, the consensus among Iraqis is that they want some form of security - Maliki's nationalised army forces have failed miserably not because of their competency or lack of proper arms and training but because of the historical preference for militias. Call it tribal privatisation, or what we call mercenary forces that were hired by the US to protect its installations in the early days of the war in Iraq.

Of course, "consensus" among Iraqis disguises the fact that the majority are Shiites and obviously would not blink at the prospect of legitimising al-Sadr's genocidal cleansing of Sunnis.

Yet this facade of internal security masking pure sectarianism is a thin veneer - it is another legal fiction that the US is pressured to accept: to legitimise Maliki's government is to devolve authoritative power to al-Sadr.

Internal sovereignty has been compromised, diffused through al-Sadr's privatisation of death squads as a direct challenge to the stooge of the US that is the Iraqi army. al-Sadr's Mahdi Army has been murderously efficient and seeks not to supplant its Iraqi counterpart, but retain it as an unpalatable comparison, taking all the blame for the chaos and anarchy.

The Sadrists know that they are the government, and that Maliki serves as a figurehead, a fig leaf of legitimacy that the US has no choice but to accept because it is the genuine manifestation of the Democratic ideal.

al-Sadr has legitimately seized the task of self-defence, to enforce security - the right to wield unlimited power within its borders to enforce security (though his hatred for Sunnis is unforgivable). He has exploited and entrenched his party in parliament, seeking to consecrate majoritarianism through public consensus to marginalise the Sunnis at every attempt - what we would term adversarialism/partisanship.

Wily politician, al-Sadr is.

11/27/2006 06:01:00 PM  

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