Saturday, January 13, 2007

Call and Raise 2

The explosively formed projectiles referred to in Call and Raise said to have been supplied from Iran to Shi'ite militias are specially designed to attack armored vehicles. Essentially, these devices consist of an explosive designed to deform a block of metal and shoot it forward, still molten, in the direction of the target vehicle. It is like firing incandescent shot at extremely high velocity toward a target. This technology has been used by the US to create top-attack warheads against tanks. The principle has been adapted by the Iranians to attack the vulnerable aspects of armored vehicles.


But it is not simply the weapons themselves, which are profitably employed only against armored vehicles, which betrays their anti-American intent. The explosively formed projectile weapons supplied by Iran are, from what I can gather, also matched to tactical doctrines and methods explicitly designed to counter American countermeasures. The triggering devices are too complex and expensive to be sensibly used against civilian targets. These weapons have only one logical target. Americans.

If detonated correctly these Iranian-supplied weapons will definitely kill or maim Americans as they were designed to do. Passive defenses, like adding armor, are of limited utility. Perhaps one of the most effective counters to the explosively formed projectile, and to IEDs in general, is to abort the attacks by taking down the IED cells. Just as the Israelis found that it was better to intercept the suicide bomber rather than to rely on stopping him at the point of attack, it is possible that the battle against the IED really takes place offstage. The night raid, the pinpoint attack, the snatch -- killing the killers -- this is the counter to the IED. Little has been said about this, and little should be. It is a war in the shadows against the shadowy enemy. But enough can be deduced from open sources to understand the principles involved.

In some ways, the fight against the IED resembles the Allied campaign against the U-Boat. Just like the Battle of the Atlantic, it is a fight against a stealthy foe, who if he can get into position, can launch deadly salvoes. Not of torpedoes, but of explosives or incandescent, supersonic projectiles. If he can get into position. And just as in the Battle of the Atlantic instead of PBYs overhead to keep the U-boats submerged, there are UAVs which scout on ahead in order to deny the enemy the time window he needs to set up his deadly mines. There is a Wizard War between the combatants. But to carry the analogy further, it was not passive defenses but the destruction of the U-Boat lairs and its transit routes which finally ended the Nazi threat. The U-Boats were "intercepted" in transit, such as in the Bay of Biscay. And finally the U-Boat pens themselves were taken and the Nazi naval threat was ended forever. This is what must happen to IED threats like the explosively formed projectiles and their associated targeting systems. You can't keep bailing the water. You have to turn off the faucet.

If Iran insists upon sending U-Boats -- pardon, explosively formed projectiles -- to attack Americans, it is effectively opening hostilities on the US. That politicians in Washington choose not to regard it as such is not really Teheran's fault. One can accuse the Ayatollahs of many things, but creating American indecision cannot be blamed on them. That is the result of politics along the Potomac.

99 Comments:

Blogger wretchard said...

Thomas Ricks at the Washington Post says getting tough with militias may mean that US troops will soon be in combat with both Sunni insurgents and Sadr's men.

Ricks may be right in thinking that, if the enemy and his supporters don't back off, the US may find itself returning to heavier levels of combat. The conceptual problem with the Surge was always that it is ostensibly designed to focus on security, but it has left the strategic sources of insecurity off the target list. Antiwar politics has taken the victory option off the table and the Surge undertaken under those conditions is essentially an attack which has been ordered not to win, but just to gain time and space.

But I disagree with Ricks' emphasis on the mere troop numbers. The essential question, is does the US intend to win. In my view the President does not clearly intend to win and the Democrats clearly intend to make sure America loses. That is the context in which the Surge seems to be operating and the Iranians, in sending their self-forging explosive projectiles, appear to know it. I hope I'm wrong but that's the way it looks.

1/13/2007 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Once more reality rears it's ugly head, and the dems must either acknowledge or ignore it. I pray they get it right! Interesting call, and the posted deductions as to the ultimate target of these devices seems spot on. Kudos, again, w.

Vigilance!

1/13/2007 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Michael Ledeen has taken from the President’s speech a question to which I shamefully admit having paid scant attention.

DID WE JUST DECLARE WAR ON IRAN AND SYRIA?

While the President's words may be nothing more than additional empty rhetoric, what if he is serious?

1/13/2007 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Whatever one might personally think of the President's actions, it's questionable whether the nation can go to war against Syria and Iran, however justified it may be, with half the country opposed to it, as represented by their political party.

Sometimes people vote to let themselves get slapped around. Remember 1979? The Iranians seized American territory and held diplomats hostage. But the President was Jimmy Carter, and whatever one may have thought of him, he was the President. And if the politics of that time decided the Cambodians should die, in their millions, well die they would. And die they did.

Deep in my heart I think that remaining in the Middle East -- because America must remain there -- as a loser is not a very intelligent thing to do. But decisions are made by elected politicians. And I wonder whether President Bush is going further than the public will let him.

1/13/2007 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

We should also note that being able to intercept and decrypt their communications was critical to countering the U-boat threat.

1/13/2007 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger warhorse said...

Although I don't have much doubt that the EFPs are intended for use against American troops, in fairness it should be pointed out that the Iraqi army does have a few hundred tanks and APCs. No doubt this will be used as a fig leaf by the bad guys if it seems useful to do so. It's a shame so many of the bad guys are a part of our political process ...

1/13/2007 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Wretchard,

Whether the public likes them or not, wars have lives of their own. Were the Democrats entirely comfortable with their public pronouncements, they could cut off funding tomorrow, in special session. Ace of Spades has some points to make on Democrat fecklessness - posted earlier at TigerHawk: Link

1/13/2007 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Wars do have lives of their own, but what those life histories will be is contingent on how things turn out.

I never was much of a gambler. But in this case, if the President is "doubling down" then he is really spinning the wheel. From an expected value perspective, his play looks like a long shot. But then, in the nature of things, you never know.

All one can really do is see where the little bouncing ball winds up.

1/13/2007 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Lord Acton said...

Wretchard,

Re: spinning the wheel.

Despite all of the omniscient commentary on the web, our president and his military leaders damn well better have a lot more knowledge about what cards we and our enemies are holding than we do. Even in this age of leaks and feckless media, I think our military and intelligence communities can keep secrets and spring surprises.

1/13/2007 07:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If Iran insists upon sending U-Boats-pardon, explosively formed projectiles-to attack Americans, it is effectively opening hostilities on the US. That politicians in Washington choose not to regard it as such is not really Teheran's fault."

Washington again ups the military stakes against Iran, as US secretary of state Rice arrives in the Middle East Saturday....

For the first time, the Pentagon released the figures of US and British casualties in Iraq from the extra-lethal explosive devices manufactured in Iran: 198 dead and more than 600 wounded. These devices are smuggled in through the southern marshes and along the Tigris River.

The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress Friday that Iranians are now on the US target list in Iraq. He spoke of an “aggressive ground campaign” against Iranian networks operating inside Iraq. The Pentagon has also referred to possible cross-border raids into Iran, but so far none has been approved. The stakes have been rising since Wednesday, Jan. 10, when the US president vowed to seek out and destroy Iranian and Syrian networks disrupting US operations in Iran and fomenting violence.

Attempts to disrupt these networks combine with the decision to send a second aircraft carrier, the USS John. C. Stennis, to the Persian Gulf as a warning to Iran plus a Patriot air defense missile battalion to the Middle East and the deployment of a large number of warplanes in the Turkish base of Incirlik. A US military spokesman has said the two carrier strike groups will not just be showing force but actively involved in combat operations and providing air support across the region. Thursday, US forces detained five suspected Iranian Revolutionary Guards members operating out of the northern Iraq town of Irbil in Kurdistan.

All these actions are raising the ante of the conference Condoleezza Rice will lead in mid-week in Kuwait of Arab foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan. She will try to build a pro-American alliance by selling the argument that an American failure in Iraq would pose an existential threat to all their nations. She launched her Middle East tour Saturday in Jerusalem, meeting Israeli defense minister Amir Peretz and foreign minister Tzipi Livni and talking to Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Sunday, on the assumption that some progress on the Israel-Palestinian front would help bolster her case.

Saturday night, Pentagon sources were not holding out much hope that American military preparations would deter Iran from meddling in Iraq or reduce Iran-backed networks’ attacks on US and British forces.

(DEBKAfile)

1/13/2007 08:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warhorse,

The new Iraqi army is a Shiia army, and like the current Shiia government, it is a proxy of Iran.

Re Iranian supplies. Iran is anticipating our next move, that's all.

1/13/2007 08:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Tehran is able to anticipate moves that are soon to be made, then our military thinkers are too transparent in their thinking, or sensitive plans are deliberately being made known to Tehran to bait the Iranians into making precipitous moves. Or Both.

1/13/2007 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

I think the Iranians have tested the political resolve of the American people and have found out what they knew to be the case all along: we are not united as a people and are not willing to fight this to a successful conclusion. The problem has not been political leadership, vascilating as it has been at times. The American people have put 9/11 behind them, and all the other manifestations of Islamic jihad against us since 1979 behind them. They want to return to the world as it was the way they perceived it before 9/11. They don't want to face this and will only face it at such time as the enemy exacts a terrible toll against us. There is no way to make the nation move energetically if it is enervated. As far as most Americans are concerned, Islamic terror is a criminal matter, not a manifestation of war. Therefore, they want our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, they want the Patriot Act removed, the NSA and CIA reigned in, Gitmo closed, and subservience to the U.N. mandates restored.

I do not in any way share those views, but I am in a distinct minority and will only be proven right at some point in the future when Iranian nuclear missiles are falling on Israel and Iranian agents are successfully using blackmail against the United States and Western Europe. And the only way this nation will be truly more free to act aggressively against our Islamic enemies will be in about 20-30 years when the bulk of the Baby Boomer Generation (The Worst Generation)is pushing daisies and no longer in a position to effectively stonewall the application of what remains of American power.

1/13/2007 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

The President is making a monumental wager, predicated to a considerable degree on the trustworthiness of Mr. Maliki. If he loses, I would be surprised to see him survive his term of office. The Republicans will have more interest in being rid of him than the Democrats.

The United States need not occupy Iran in the entirety to bring down the regime. Driving the Iranians from that territory west of the Zagros Mountains down to Gulf would suffice.

As to either the American or Israeli use of tactical nuclear weapons, that is not necessary at this time; the nuclear facilities being of secondary importance to defeating the Iranian regime. Conventional strikes on key civilian infrastructure would suffice. Given the sectarian/religious/ethnic/demographic divisions within Iran, it is unlikely the regime could long survive the loss of its electric, telephonic, water, petroleum/gas, and transportation centers.

Because I do not believe it possible for a man to escape his character, we needn’t be overly concerned about rash, bellicose behavior from Mr. Bush. Consequently, I have grave reservations about the as yet defined outcome of this venture. But, because I think it essential to national security to maintain a robust military presence in Iraq, I am on board, personal doubt notwithstanding.

1/13/2007 08:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

:our president and his military leaders damn well better have a lot more knowledge about what cards we and our enemies are holding than we do. Even in this age of leaks and feckless media, I think our military and intelligence communities can keep secrets and spring surprises.

This is a good point by Lord Acton. The US mil has been very impressive the past few years at thinking 2-3 steps down the road.

I have the sense that the US mil does a LOT of watching before acting. They sit and watch and record intel, and analyze, and watch some more, and then they make large, fast coordinated assaults that devastate the enemy.

Now the US mil announces that Iranian agents have helped kill 198 of ours, and the Iran consulate in Irbil was seized...Hmmmmmmmmm.

1/13/2007 08:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"we are not united as a people and are not willing to fight this to a successful conclusion."

Events are fluid; numerous Iranian actions could cause a paradigm shift.

The consequences of US strikes are enormous. Tehran has several retaliatory options:
• Retaliate against US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan overtly using Shahab-3 missiles armed with CBR
warheads
• Use proxy groups including al-Zarqawi and Sadr in Iraq to intensify the insurgency and escalate the attacks against US forces and Iraqi Security Forces
• Turn the Shi’ite majority in Iraq against the US presence and demand US forces to leave
• Attack the US homeland with suicide bombs by proxy groups or deliver CBR weapons to al-Qa’ida to use against the US
• Use its asymmetric capabilities to attacks US interests in the region including soft targets: e.g. embassies, commercial centers, and American citizens
• Attack US naval forces stationed in the Gulf with anti-ship missiles, asymmetric warfare, and mines
• Attack Israel with missile attacks possibly with CBR warheads
• Retaliate against energy targets in the Gulf and temporarily shut off the flow of oil from the Strait of Hormuz
• Stop all of its oil and gas shipments to increase the price of oil, inflict damage on the global and US economies

(Anthony H. Cordesman & Khalid R. Al-Rodhan)

1/13/2007 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Did we just declare war on Iran and Syria?

Several anti-war senators jumped on Bush's remark and said they didn't think he had the "authority" to cross the border into Iran and Syria. Under questioning, Bush's Secretaries of State and Defense said this means that the US will take action against Iranians who are taking anti-US actions within Iraq, but will not cross the border into Iran. They were careful to state that we are not trying to gode Iran into war. General Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that we could remove the threat by acting in Iraq and not going into Iran.

A few hours after Bush's speech US troops arrested some Iranians in Iraq who were believed to be smuggling weapons, and who worked in an official Iranian diplomatic site. One source said some were military men, Revolutionary Guards.

Bold text from another washingtonpost.com article:

White House press secretary Tony Snow yesterday addressed what he called the "urban legend" of pending U.S. action against Iran and Syria. He told reporters that there is no intent to go to war with either country, and that the administration is committed to diplomatic efforts to stop Iran's nuclear program.


On a different level of the conflict, President Bush recently sent a second air craft carrier to the Persian Gulf and appointed an admiral, Fallon, to command US forces in the Middle East in what many said is a focus on Iran.

Admiral's Skills

Quote in bold from the article:

Fallon, who flew F-14 jets in strike missions off the deck of a carrier during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, understands the long-standing role of the Navy in maintaining the flow of Middle Eastern oil through the Strait of Hormuz, officials said.

"Iran is the most powerful military force in the region" apart from the United States, and it has a navy capable of blocking the strait, Abizaid said in September. Iran also has a "substantial" missile force, an army that is training for guerrilla-style attacks, and a "robust terrorist surrogate arm," he said...

Indeed, with [US Secretary of Defense] Gates calling a U.S. military confrontation with Iran a "last resort," analysts said that Fallon's diplomatic skills are likely to be more important than his war-fighting experience when he assumes the Central Command post, his fourth as a four-star commander. "With Iran and the Middle East, you need to establish relations that will not lead to combat. Fallon will be the first to tell you that," said Pietropaoli, who worked under Fallon when Fallon was vice chief of naval operations from 2000 to 2003.


On a third level of the conflict, President Bush continued to be the worst communicator of any war time President by staying silent for two months while the anti-war forces tore apart the plan he was working on (and which his team leaked to the press), then only giving a short 20 minute speech (cut that day from 40 minutes).

Opposition to Iraq Plan

Quote in bold from article:

...the storm [about Bush's plan] was exacerbated by the slow, leaky way that the White House reached a decision. The policy review stretched two months after the election and the essence of the plan became known long before Bush announced it, making it a political pinata for opponents.

Without Bush making the case for it until last week, resistance hardened, and aides now harbor no hope of winning over Democrats. Instead, they aim mainly to keep Republicans from abandoning him further.


As the article says, and I observed, the Democrats were clearly relieved that the President's speech missed so many opportunities, and left so many questions unaswered which voters had asked. Quote from article in bold:

Democrats believe that Bush made a fundamental mistake. Had he embraced the Iraq Study Group, or even made a show of embracing some of its elements, he could have called the Democrats' bluff about wanting to work together, party strategists said. "That would have really jammed us," said a top congressional Democratic aide.


In fact the President did adopt some parts of the ISG, and briefly mentioned it in his speech. The President also could have shielded himself from much criticism by pointing out that his new approach was tied very closely to the US Army / Marine Counterinsurgency Manual. That would have meant the Democrats would have had to argue that the US Army's approach would fail. Instead Bush never mentioned it, so the next day anti-war opponents were able to (falsely) say that Bush's plan had no strategy (when it was really based on the US Army 282 page manual), and claim that it would never work.

Another subtle point President Bush could have explained is that the extra 20,000 troops to Baghdad would join with those already in Iraq, and would enable the US to perform what the US Army Counterinsurgency manual says is the most important task in the war, to protect the population. Instead anti-war opponents, such as the one in the article Wretchard linked to, were able to falsely claim that 20,000 troops wouldn't make the difference. The AEI plan which Bush's plan is based from explains in great detail why the number of troops would be adequate for the mission.

The Bush Administration said they didn't spent much time on the speech because the war is what will change the voter's minds. That same attitude led the Bush Administration to be silent for the last three years, while the anti-war crowd and the media pounded on them relentlessly. The anti-war case is actually a pack of lies, from top to bottom, but it is the only thing the voters hear. It is amazing that an administration so focused on military threats seems totally unaware that in this country ballots give the same power that bullets do elsewhere.

The result of Bush's poor communication is that Republicans have lost both houses of Congress, and the public has totally lost the 9/11 attitude. Instead the Congress and public seem more anti-war than in decades.

Bush will probably get his extra troops just because of the mechanics of it, since he already has enough money to send them. However, the Democrats are already talking about putting hundreds of restrictions on the military in the next budget, including shutting down Guantanamo! Republican Senators are already starting to shift, with 10 or so expected to make a symbolic vote against the extra troops. Within 6 to 9 months the election campaigns will start and if polls don't turn around and favor the war, Republicans will have to run away from the war. All Democrats need is about 1/3 of the Republicans to join them to make enough to override Bush's veto (as happened in Vietnam). Then they'll be able to do anything they want, including setting a time table to end the Iraq War, preventing troops from entering Iran & Syria, cancelling the Authorization of Force laws the President is using to fight with, etc.

1/13/2007 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

The Iranians have brilliantly played against the fears of all comers. The day the regime challenges the United States in war will be the day of its demise.

1/13/2007 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> we are not united as a people and are not willing to fight this to a successful conclusion. The problem has not been political leadership, vascilating as it has been at times.

It is the fault of President Bush and the Republicans, not the people. The people still support Afghanistan. The problem is that anti-war people have attacked the Iraq War for years, and the Bush Administration refused to answer. Usually if one party tells a lie, the other party objects. But now Cindy Sheehan or Nancy Pelosi can make up any lie, and no one on the Republican side will ever say anything. They are too busy fighting wars overseas.

A lot of it is the raw arrogance of President Bush (which is one reason why he won't communicate to anyone). Voters see that in the Commander In Chief and they are scared that the troops are dying for political reasons. The Iraq War is complicated enough as it is, and voters are afraid to take a chance of leaving our soldiers in the hands of this President.

Reagan was the Great Communicator, while Bush is the Un-Communicator. Bush will fight any war anywhere on earth except politics in the US.

1/13/2007 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

The gradient of the Iraqi battlefield is shifting in some significant ways.

The following statement can be found on Iraq the Model.

Perhaps the most important headline in the papers yesterday was of the statement Sistani made after meeting with the national security adviser al-Rubai'i where he said that weapons must be only in the hands of the official security forces.


Another significant event happened. Prime Minister appointed an obscure military officer, Lieutenant General Abud Qanbar to command Baghdad. I am not sure what this means, but I suspect we will be hearing a lot more about Lt. General Qanbar in the next few months.

Once upon a time, there was a prisoner who was sentenced to die. He asked for clemency from the Sultan, telling him he could teach the Sultan's favorite horse to talk. The Sultan decided to give the condemned man a reprieve of two years to see if the man was telling the truth. Afterward, the prisoner was asked, "Come now. Do you really think you can teach a horse to talk?" The condemned man replied, "In two years, many things can happen. I may die. The Sultan may die. The horse may talk."

The President may have looked like a condemned man last Wednesday and victory in Iraq may seem to be as improbably as a talking horse, but strange things do happen. The horse may talk.

1/13/2007 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

A blurb on the new Iraqi general:

Within hours of Mr. Bush’s speech, American commanders were meeting with their Iraqi counterparts in Baghdad to work out the details of a new command arrangement that would give Mr. Maliki a direct role in overseeing the new crackdown. The Iraqis named a commander for the operation, Lt. Gen. Aboud Gambar, a Shiite from southern Iraq who was a top general in Saddam Hussein’s army until the American-led invasion in 2003.

General Gambar will report directly to Mr. Maliki, outside the chain of command that runs through the Defense Ministry, which the Maliki government has long viewed as a bastion of American influence, and, because the defense minister is a Sunni, of resistance to Shiite control.

1/13/2007 09:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The US mil has been very impressive the past few years at thinking 2-3 steps down the road."

Sunni/Shia conflict in Iraq, Fatah/Hamas in Palestine; and in Lebanon....

What happened to the Shia refugees fleeing from Israeli precision strikes? What effect did demographic upheaval in South Lebanon have on Sunni, Christian and Shia relations in Lebanon?

Mount Lebanon Mufti Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Ali al-Jozo ridicules the 'divine victory' Nasrallah claims to have achieved during the last war and scorns the political crisis he has caused. Al-Jozo has called the attempt an actual coup.

This week al-Jozo referred to Hizbullah as 'occupiers' in Beirut and its surroundings: "They occupied different areas like the Beirut airport, built mosques, hospitals, gas stations and tourist sites alongside the way. Recently they have taken the Riad El-Solh square (where Hizbullah loyalists gathered). Maybe they thought to build a resort village there. There are the 'divine victories' achieved by Hizbullah."

Al-Jozo is not the only one attacking Hizbullah. Lebanon mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, ....the supreme Sunni authority in the country, shares al-Jozo's sentiments.

"There is an attempt to overthrow the Lebanese regime by spreading a general chaos throughout the country and an attempt to overturn the Taif Agreement," Qabbani told Kuwaiti newspaper al-Anba. "If the current government falls, there will not be a new government… We stand by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, for the national interest," Qabbani said.

1/13/2007 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

wu wei,

The failures of this administration are solely the fault of this administration. Victory cannot be hidden, even by a hostile press. Madame Pelosi has had no control over the Departments of State and Defense.

The public will support a winner. Mr. Bush has one more chance to save his administration from ignominy by bringing to the public an acceptable victory. More to the point, he has one opportunity to save the United States from a strategic error of potentially fatal proportions.

I will remind all that in 1864 the North was not a united people. Had Sherman failed to gut the South, Mr. Lincoln would, in all likelihood, have lost the election and the Union would have been divided into a plethora of warring states.

Great leaders make decisions based on principle/interest, not on the emotions moving the Circus on a given day. We will soon find whether Mr. Bush is such a man. Personally, I have my doubts and precious little respect for Mr. Bush. But the life of the American Republic requires of me the suspension of doubt.

1/13/2007 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Bush essentially has nothing to lose. He has two years and then he's part of history. He hasn't lost yet in Iraq but he certainly hasn't won. It's very hard to know from his speech what he really intends to do. I doubt that bombing Iran any time soon is in the plans. On the other hand, really clamping down on Iranian agents inside Iraq seems like a requirement for winning. Maybe it will happen.

Overall the surge itself isn't the point. The point is the change in strategy and tactics. If there are sufficient changes victory is possible. If the only real change is a few more soldiers then it's not going to work.

Regarding the shaped charges being sent to Sadr I assumed from the text of the article that this referred to RPG rounds, not IEDs, but I guess it was a bit vague. While shaped charges are intended to be used against armor they work well against Hummers, APCs, tanks and so on. I would assume that Sadr wants these to protect himself against any attacks, from US or Iraqi forces. The Iraqi military has Hummers and other vehicles that they got from us. I'd assume at this point that Sadr isn't going to shoot unless first fired upon.

1/13/2007 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sunni and Shia in Iraq...

Looking at HotAir

“Its not a good time to be a Sunni in Baghdad,” Abu Omar told me in a low voice… He was more despondent than angry. “We Sunni are to blame,” he said. “In my area some ignorant al-Qaida guys have been kidnapping poor Shia farmers, killing them and throwing their bodies in the river. I told them: ‘This is not jihad. You can’t kill all the Shia! This is wrong! The Shia militias are like rabid dogs - why provoke them?’ ”
Then he said: “I am trying to talk to the Americans. I want to give them assurances that no one will attack them in our area if they stop the Shia militias from coming.” This man who had spent the last three years fighting the Americans was now willing to talk to them, not because he wanted to make peace but because he saw the Americans as the lesser of two evils. He was wrestling with the same dilemma as many Sunni insurgent leaders, beginning to doubt the wisdom of their alliance with al-Qaida extremists.

That conversation happened in October; Abu Omar has long since disappeared, according to the author, but the second-guessing remains. A new local jihadi commander told him that U.S. troops are now allowed to pass through Sunni territory unharmed unless they have Iraqi army (i.e., Shiite) troops with them. “The jihad now is against the Shia, not the Americans,” he says.

“If we go into Sadr City...We will find ourselves in a full-scale, very bloody operation, which probably will look something like Fallouja.”

Mahdi Army militia members have stopped wearing their black uniforms, hidden their weapons and abandoned their checkpoints in an apparent effort to lower their profile in Baghdad in advance of the arrival of U.S. reinforcements.

The decision by al-Sadr to lower his force’s profile in Baghdad will likely cut violence in the city and allow American forces to show quick results from their beefed up presence. But it is also unlikely in the long term to change the balance of power here. Mahdi Army militiamen say that while they remain undercover now, they are simply waiting for the security plan to end.

Can the Mahdi Army militiamen remain undercover if Iranian interests/targets are attacked?

1/13/2007 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Great leaders make decisions based on principle/interest, not on the emotions moving the Circus on a given day.

After making a decision, great leaders convince the people to follow them. Every war time leader since the invention of radio has tried to rally the people to support the war, except President Bush.

There really is no such thing as a quick victory in this war, in fact one of the problems is that no one knows what victory means. But even if there were some quick victory, it wouldn't fix all the political problems. It's too late.

The Administration likes to compare this to Desert Storm, where polls went from low before the invasion to very high after. That is comparing apples to oranges, but in any case, they don't mention that Bush Sr.'s approval rating tanked after the temporary Desert Storm boost, and he lost the election to Clinton.

The bottom line is that President Bush simply isn't doing half of his job. He calls himself "the Decider", but he doesn't communicate.

1/13/2007 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Jihad Now Vs. Shia

Here is the full article mentioned above, Shia vs. Sunni.

It is interesting but some of the details sound fictionalized, or at least hard to believe. If much of the Sunni resistance has ceased fire on Americans, then why don't the statistics show a drop in number of attacks? I think the reality is that the Sunni Resistance has always had two targets, US & Shia. It has been killing both since the early days of the war, and hasn't let up.

Some of them may be willing to make a temporary deal with the US, but probably there will need to be a lot more killing before the Sunnis are finally broken. I think they believe that someone will save them, the US while we are there, and Saudi Arabia if we leave.

1/13/2007 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Bush's Jan 10th speech was not inspiring to me. Wondering why, I looked at a text of it at the Whitehouse website and did a count of who he referenced in 20 minutes, and how.

Armed Forces/Troops - 10 times
American people - 9 times
Iraqis - 44 times
Al Qaeda - 9 times
Congress - 8 times
Shia Religion - 4 times
Sunnis - 4 times

If I was trying to rally the American people, I would not make a speech that talks about the noble Iraqi people, their great success in democracy, the small number who resist the wonderful bulk of Iraqis. Not if it mentions the great people of which many are trying to kill us - at 4X the frequency of his mentioning the American people.
I doubt FDR in WWII spent 5 minutes of his fireside chats in WWII talking about the American people and what our stake was and why we should fight and support the effort for every 20 minutes he rhapsodized about the noble Japanese and German people.

Bush doesn't seem to get that the public has utterly missed the "What's in it for us to have 28,000 casualties and 600 billion wasted so far on the Iraqis" connection. Instead he talks endlessly about the Iraqis and how great it is we are doing nice things for them at a time when the average American would see a giant meteor making a crater out of the ME as a favor from God.

Even when he talks to the public it is talk not of our future, but exhort them to care and sacrifice for a people in some distant country that we never cared much about in the past that doesn't seem big into helping us "care
for them" . And how much we "owe them". "It can be tempting to think that America can put aside the burdens of freedom...the advance of freedom is the calling of our time...by advancing liberty across a troubled region"....(we Americans)will deal with. "It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time." (So enjoy your tax cuts and shop more to help in the struggle!)

And Bush does the same drivel with the troops that any leader does in war. Declare that war is automatically sanctified in it's continuence, is deemed "the right thing", based on the limited perspective and opinions of young cannon fodder doing the fighting.

Of Japanese Naval Landing frontline troops fighting American forces in Bataan saying attacking the Philippines was a brilliant idea. The visits to hero Wehrmacht troopers freezing on the outskirts of Moscow confirming everything was fine from their trench perspective. The opinion of valiant young Brits at the Somme that the Hun was being licked.

Bush does the same. Holds that the public should bow to the ultimate wisdom of those 18,19 year olds who for the most part couldn't find Iraq on a map before they got there and a cadre of brass that was telling the Congress & public for 3 years everything was going great and they had all the troops they needed and the Iraqis were also doing great.
"These young Americans understand that our cause in Iraq is noble and necessary --"

How patronizing.
Support Bush, because the troops believe they can win and don't want to quit. Well, duhh, every war is fought by "hero troops" on both sides thinking the same thing.

Bush had 3 years to work on getting national support. He didn't bother much. Disastrous decisions in 2003 and 2004 were not fixed, but smoothed over and denied to be a problem. The collapse of America's diplomacy with the rest of the world was not given priority...a "screw 'em" attitude and "give them all the silent treatment until they crawl begging to us" was our strategy. A Pentagon went into the bag for Rumsfeld (Yessir, yessir! 3 bags full!) rather than speak honestly. The war became all about how America can best serve the noble Iraqi people and Sharansky democracy and Neocon serial war in the ME to "keep our friends safe".

IMO, he still doesn't get it. He was not elected to be the champion of the noble, purple-fingered, freedom-loving, democracy-hungry Iraqis. He wasn't elected to be "run" by the Pentagon civvies or neocons for best serving corporate, other foreign country interests. He was elected to champion the American people and represent them and put them first.

I'm afraid it is too late for him.

1/14/2007 03:08:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Pride...

it's time to exact a payment for Iranian bullshit...

Several cruise missiles (or use what ever shows the smallest footprint) in the middle of the night...

1st target... Iranian's Gasoline Refinery

2nd target... Iran's electic power generation

Karun 3 3000mw, hydro
Godar-e Landar 2000mw, hydro
Upper Gorvand 1000mw, hydro
Karkheh 400mw, hydro
South 2 x 1040mw, combined-cycle (c-c)
Arak 1100mw, c-c
Bandar Abbas 1000mw.
Shahid Raja'i

how about that as an opening payment in kind.

No public declaration. Just a "shrug" and a statement, "karma's a bitch"

we are at war, choose to deal with it sooner or later...

Iraq aint a "civil war" it is the same war since 1979 and it's iranian leader was and is part of it.

1/14/2007 04:01:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

One interesting thing though is that a key Democratic committee chairman said it is "unacceptable" for Iran to have nukes, and he will support Bush bombing Iran.

1/14/2007 05:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WW said, "One interesting thing though is that a key Democratic committee chairman said it is 'unacceptable' for Iran to have nukes, and he will support Bush bombing Iran."

That's funny, Bush said it was 'unacceptable' for North Korea to have nukes, and they are getting ready for their second test detonation.

1/14/2007 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Five Iranians arrested in northern Iraq last week were connected to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard faction that funds and arms insurgents in Iraq, the U.S. military said Sunday...

"Preliminary results revealed the five detainees are connected to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qods Force (IRGC-QF), an organization known for providing funds, weapons, improvised explosive device technology and training to extremist groups attempting to destabilize the Government of Iraq and attack Coalition forces," the U.S. military said in a statement.

1/14/2007 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Republicans in Congress, like me, wanted a Bush speech "that would electrify the public, spur support for victory in Iraq, and ease the war's political drain on Republicans".

But the Bush administration said there was no need for that, so "the speech was designed to explain the president's change of plans, not stir passions." It's just the future of the war on terror, and the issue that will probably decide the next election.

Bush Stands Alone

1/14/2007 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

"The thrust of his nationally televised speech last week was that we can still win."

right there is the problem: the thrust has to be "we will win."

1/14/2007 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

I believe the US has a lot of room to maneuver in the Mid-East right now. So does Edward Lutvak as noted here:

http://opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110009521

Guerilla warfare and terrorism can go on for a long time, but it takes a conventional army to overthrow a government. For South Vietnam to fall, the US had to leave and the NVA had to come in. The Iraqi government can’t fall, either to the Baathist Sunnis, to Al-Quaeda, or to Iran, if it has US close air support. The true amount of US troops and personnel required to keep the Iraqi government in power is much less what it would have taken to keep South Viet Nam free from Uncle Ho and even much less than what we have there now. I bet two or three airbases and 1000 special ops guys embedded in Iraqi military can destroy any conventional force that could possibly come at them, short of the Chinese Red Army.

1/14/2007 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

The problem is that in the view of most Democrat politicians the Iranians are our opponents, but George Bush is the ENEMY...

1/14/2007 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger patrick neid said...

as stated:

"The explosively formed projectiles referred to in Call and Raise said to have been supplied from Iran to Shi'ite militias are specially designed to attack armored vehicles."

WHO CARES !

i'm yawning. tell me something we are going to do something about. stories like this just give all the wordsmiths the opportunity to talk about "huff and puff". we are not prepared to do what it takes to win so we certainly deserve to lose. and we are clearly losing. chumps from iran and syria are eating our lunch and you continue to make excuses why they should be allowed to continue. just read all the comments above. no one is prepared to take these losers out no matter what the cost. we are a spent lot that deserves whatever fate delivers. we know who is raping our wife daily and we make excuses. how pathetic.

1/14/2007 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

Sometimes buying time is a valid military operation. Normally, that is done when the time bought aids the side buying it.
It is very strange to see the side that needs to hurry buying time for it's enemy. I can recall no other instance in history where the stronger side has spent the lives of it's soldiers and it's national treasure to buy time for it's enemy. Does anyone else?

The Mad Mullahs in Tehran have reached the conclusion that there are no circumstances under which the USA will attack them.
I think the are very puzzled by American behavior. They have offerred to accept our surrender several times, yet we don't. They have tried very hard to get America to go to war against them, yet we won't. They don't know what to make of craven cowards who will neither fight nor surrender.

"To seduce the enemies soldiers from their allegiance and encourage them to
surrender is of special service, for an adversary is more hurt by desertion
than by slaughter."
-Flavius Vegetius Renatus

1/14/2007 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

The Kurds are the most deadly element of the Iraqi military--not the Shia. The Kurds are Sunni, but have no love for the arabs--who are considered an inferior race.

It may be time to make a strong move against Iran--not an invasion, that's idiotic. The US is the only nation in the world with the power to project massive conventional force anywhere in the world within hours.

Reduce Iran's oil-producing capacity, and close the border to any traffic but mule-cart. Bomb the hell out of any Iraq military facility and any truck traffic within 50 miles of the Iraqi border.

Send the special forces into Iranian communities that are clearly opposed to the theocracy and let slip the dogs of war.

1/14/2007 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

The US is doing this half-assed, which won't work. You have to finish the job, which means Iran. Once Iran is punished sufficiently, Syria loses its will to fight automatically. Then Bashad may undergo the same conversion process as Qaddafi.

Bomb all Iranian military facilities (not Iraqi). Bomb to the bottom of the sea any Iranian naval ships and facilities.

Cripple Iranian oil production, but don't halt it altogether.

1/14/2007 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps we are at war with Iran and we just don't know it?

If we acknowledge that the new principles of war are no longer just "using armed force to compel the enemy to submit to one's will," but rather are "using all means, including armed force or nonarmed force, military and non-military, and lethal and non-lethal means to compel the enemy to
accept one's interests." This represents change.

There's no getting around the opinions of the Americans when it comes to discussing what means
and methods will be used to fight wars. This is not simply because the U.S. is the latest
lord of the mountain in the world. It is more because the opinions of the Americans on this question really are superior compared to the prevailing opinions among the military people of other nations.

Precision warfare, which has been dubbed "non-contact attack" by the Americans, and "remote combat" by the Russians, is characterized by concealment, speed, accuracy, a high degree of effectiveness, and few collateral casualties. However, the phrase that really demonstrates some creative wording is not "information warfare" or "precision warfare," but rather the phrase "military operations other than war" (MOOTW). MOOTW, may be considered simply an explicit label for missions and operations by armed forces that are carried out when there is no state of war. The former concept, "non-military war
operations," extends our understanding of exactly what constitutes a state of war to each and every field of human endeavor, far beyond what can be embraced by the term "military operations." This type of extension is the natural result of the fact that human beings will use every conceivable means to achieve their goals. These include trade, financial, ecological, psychological, smuggling, media, fabrication, and economic aid warfare.

The goal of this kind of warfare will encompass more than merely "using means that involve the force of arms to force the enemy to accept one's own will." Rather, the goal should be "to use all means whatsoever--means that involve the force of arms and means that do not involve the force
of arms, means that involve military power and means that do not involve military power, means
that entail casualties and means that do not entail casualties--to force the enemy to serve one's
own interests."

Unrestricted Warfare
Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui

1/14/2007 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But in this case, if the President is "doubling down" then he is really spinning the wheel. From an expected value perspective, his play looks like a long shot. But then, in the nature of things, you never know.

Fate favors the bold.

1/14/2007 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We will direct every resource at our command — every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war — to the destruction and to the defeat of the global terror network.

Now, this war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV and covert operations secret even in success.

We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest.

And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism."

1/14/2007 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The U.S. involvement in the battle of the Atlantic began when U.S. ships began reporting on the location of U-boats to the Royal Navy. The German response was to state that given that, they would assume that any U.S. ship they sighted had sighted them and was reporting them to the RN, and thus they would attack any U.S. ships they encountered. The U.S. response was to state that any U-boat sighted was assumed to be preparing to attack and thus would be attacked on sight. And this was in the summer of 1941, when both countries were "at peace" but were following a shoot on sight policy. We may be entering such a period right now.

Also, here is the closing statement from any article at the 14 Jan Opinionjournal:

"The Iraq war has indeed brought into existence a New Middle East, in which Arab Sunnis can no longer gleefully disregard American interests because they need help against the looming threat of Shiite supremacy, while in Iraq at the core of the Arab world, the Shia are allied with the U.S. What past imperial statesmen strove to achieve with much cunning and cynicism, the Bush administration has brought about accidentally. But the result is exactly the same."

I.e., The good news is that we can't lose because we are on both sides. The bad news is that we are on both sides.

1/14/2007 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Part of the opposition to any further American activity in Iraq is the belief that President Bush is not the man to win it. That his race record indicates that to bet on Bush is to back the losing horse. That at any rate, America will be back so better to be back with another team.

America will be back. It can't leave. Jimmy Carter tried to do back off in 1979. In 1990 there were half a million troops fighting in Kuwait. Clinton left Somalia tout de suite. Well America's back. So the reasoning goes that if we leave Iraq, we leave it with the losing team. But there's going to be a rematch because America is the perennially in the featured bout.

Fair enough. But the argument cuts both ways. Since America is chained to the Gulf region by its strategic and energy interests, then it might as well stay to win. If you can't leave may as well make yourself comfortable. The Democrats want to withdraw from Iraq. Withdraw to where? Kurdistan says Andrew Sullivan. At least Murtha wanted to pull back to Okinawa.

It's a safe bet that if the US does pull out and things go up in flames the very same people who are now calling for a withdrawal will be wailing on the talk shows that America has to do something. Especially if oil hits $100 a barrel. Then the troops go up the same ruts they pulled back on, over the same territory, with a little less credibility and minus all the officers and NCOs who have quit in disgust. One way you can look at the President's gamble is that the doors of the Casino are locked and won't open till dawn. So it's win against the Vampires or get et.

1/14/2007 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We’d need to take a loss to these things and leverage the evidence to convince Americans that this is not a civil war before Congress would look the other way at attacking the source. Unfortunately, that kind of salesmanship is proven to be beyond Dubya’s ability. We’re stuck facing them in Iraq.

1/14/2007 01:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“And if the politics of that time decided the Cambodians should die, in their millions, well die they would. And die they did” -wretchard

The difference is that we have no plausible deniability of Arabs genocide like had with Cambodians. We predicted that result and have the Cambodian example to support it. I think that neither party is willing to gamble that they can survive the repercussions of that responsibility if they retreat. More likely we’ll escalate the war or "stay the course".

1/14/2007 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Lets all of us that are alive in 2020 come back here and see if what I have been saying for years proves correct.

"We are going to be in Iraq for a long, long time".

We already have started building our Mega-Bases and we will be operating out of them long after the "Iraq battle" is done.

Iraq is just one of the starting battles in this war against the Islamic forces on this planet.

And this planet is vast, much bigger, but at the same time, much smaller than we understand right now.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

1/14/2007 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

"It's a safe bet that if the US does pull out and things go up in flames the very same people who are now calling for a withdrawal will be wailing on the talk shows that America has to do something."

Few recall how Joan Baez wailed about what Pol Pot was doing after the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam - and fewer still recall that Jane Fonda responded that her friend Joan was a traitor to The Cause as a result.

And even fewer saw Joan Baez stand up at her concerts in the 1980's and shout "Free Lech Walenza!" - and at the same time crticize Ronald Reagan, "the Teflon Cowboy," who was proceeding with his plan to free not just Lech but everyone in Poland along with all of Eastern Europe.

"This brave new world with such people in it." And to Hell with them.

1/14/2007 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Walter Cronkite should have been tied to a pole and shot summarily. We suffer his minions to this day.

Reach Baghdad signal a right hand turn and drive on. At Afgahnistan stop for a break and phone ahead to Waziristan for accommodations. When arriving in Waziristan explain to Zawahiri that he has an appointment with the media in Cuba, ask Special Services Officer to arrange transportation. Start tenure as 800 lb. gorilla.

1/14/2007 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Otherwise, when declaring defeat, stick butt high enough to replicate simian posture of subservience. The enemy will appreciate that gesture.

1/14/2007 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Following talks with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Ahmadinejad stressed that both countries had 'common interests and common enemies.' (Deutsche Presse-Agentur)

Must be a lot of Sunnis in Nicaragua.

1/14/2007 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Democrats want to withdraw from Iraq. Withdraw to where?

Not all Democrats want to withdraw all the troops. Their party leadership never states their position, because that way they get more voters on their side. There are more than two options, not just choosing between doing it Bush's way, or pulling every single American troop out of Iraq.

One option is to treat Iraq like we treat other countries. That would be to use the host government and US Special Forces to fight terrorists which are a threat to us. That is how we currently deal with terrorist threats in Somalia and every other Muslim country besides Iraq & Afghanistan.

More realistic is a middle ground option where we maintain troops in Iraq mostly to fight global terrorists, but also would protect against external invasion and back up the Iraqi military in extreme situations. This is what President Bush wants starting in November! The White House is saying that all of Iraq will be turned over to Iraqi military control in November, and if that works we can withdraw some troops. That is what is somewhat ironic, that there is so much smoke & fire, and yet the Bush Administration is talking about "phased redeployment" without using the words. In many ways, both sides are talking about the same thing, with a few months difference.

> Part of the opposition to any further American activity in Iraq is the belief that President Bush is not the man to win it.

I think that is very true, and the reason why is the lack of leadership by the White House. There was an interview today with Vice President Cheney which shows the problem where the president "decides" but does not "lead". Quotes from the article are in bold, and my comments after them, showing what I believe to be the problems.

Bush: I have decided

Bush: I fully understand they could try to stop me from doing it. But I've made my decision. And we're going forward

Cheney: "He's the guy [Bush] who's got to decide how to use the force and where to deploy the force," Cheney said. "And Congress obviously has to support the effort through the power of the purse. So they've got a role to play, and we certainly recognize that. But you also cannot run a war by committee."


First of all, there is a contradiction here. Bush talked to his aides and Cheney before deciding, so wasn't that "running a war by committee"? Couldn't he have talked to key Republicans Senators the same way before deciding?

Also, both Bush & Cheney talk about "deciding". But the real topic is "leadership", which includes deciding and a whole lot more. Communicating with people before and after the decision does not prevent the leader from deciding.

"They have absolutely nothing to offer in its place," Cheney said of Democratic leaders. "I have yet to hear a coherent policy from the Democratic side."

Yet many Republican lawmakers, too, have begun to criticize Bush's war management.


The Democrats probably are just playing politics, as Cheney says. However there were some pro-military, pro-GWOT Republicans Senators who wanted to talk to the President before the decision was made. There hasn't been time for those Senators to create their own plan, and they don't want to. The whole point is that they want a coalition working together, not to try to take away commander-in-chief power.

"This [war on terror] is an existential conflict," Cheney said. "It is the kind of conflict that's going to drive our policy and our government for the next 20 or 30 or 40 years. We have to prevail and we have to have the stomach for the fight long term."


And doesn't a good wartime leader do everything possible to make sure that happens? In a democracy which has elections every two years, how can we fight for decades without the support of the people?

"They're [terrorists] convinced that the United States will pack it in and go home if they just kill enough of us," Cheney said. "They can't beat us in a standup fight, but they think they can break our will."


That is only a part of the truth. The people could turn against a war for a number of reasons, not just because of broken will or weak stomach. There are some people who believe our war on terror resources would be better spent by going directly after Iran, for example. Some believe that we should fight Al Qaeda in Iraq, but use our other troops in areas like Afghanistan and Somalia rather than fighting an Iraqi civil war.

There are also dangers in a leader who believes that everyone who disagrees with them has some flaw like a weak stomach. The other possibility is that the leader's decision could be wrong.

1/14/2007 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

This is what must happen to IED threats like the explosively formed projectiles and their associated targeting systems. You can't keep bailing the water. You have to turn off the faucet.

Yes. But you have to turn off both of the taps - hot & cold, sunni & shia.

The sunni militia are carrying out jihad against the shia, slaughtering civillians over the past 12 - 18 months, instigated and backed by Al Qaeda. The lack of action against Iran only mirrors the lack of action against the backers of Al Qaeda.

the fight against the IED resembles the Allied campaign against the U-Boat. Just like the Battle of the Atlantic, it is a fight against a stealthy foe, who if he can get into position, can launch deadly salvoes.

Al Qaeda is currently defined as a nebulous group with no religious basis that is funded by unknown sources. Think of it as the battle of the Pacific where a large attack occured, carried out by some people probably Asians and aircraft were involved.

And yet to defeat them requires the exact same methods as you advocate against Iran, hurt them until they stop or are unable to continue. Destroy their base.

1/14/2007 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

After thinking this over, I believe that Bush is taking an approach that will lead to losing Iraq rather than winning. It's because the only way we could be forced out of Iraq is by politics, not combat. Also, what really matters to us is not who wins the day to day battles between Iraqis, but the things in Iraq that impact our security.

So there are really only two ways in which we could lose the Iraq War and that is if the American people turn against the war, or the Iraqi government orders us out. Yet the Bush Administration seems to totally ignore those possibilities, and instead focuses only on the battle field.

The Bush Administration's answer would probably be that by winning on the battle field, they will get the support within the US. I think that is too cynical, and also rather unlikely given the short time frame the current political situation gives them. But in any case, there is no reason for the Bush Administration not to do both.

Indeed it seems almost insane for them not to. If Cheney is really willing to invade a country just because it has a small chance of seriously hurting the US, then why would he totally ignore the political battle in the US, allowing the Democrats to win both houses of Congress? It seems that if someone truly believed that the US might get nuked by terrorists, that he would use all tools available to prevent that.

1/14/2007 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Also, as a military tactic shouldn't we just let the Shiite government beat the Sunni Insurgency into giving up? We are better off letting the local government kill insurgents instead of doing it ourselves.

Unless the Sunni Insurgency has secretly told Bush that they will stop fighting, I don't see why we would do this, jump in the middle of two sides shooting at each other.

Did everyone make a deal? That's what I keep thinking about. Publicly, all the insurgent groups keep saying they'll kill us and want us out of Iraq, but I wonder. Did Al Sadr promise Sistani that if the Sunnis ceased fire, he would too?

One thing that might hint there is a deal is that the fatality rate for this month is very low, at 1.14 per day. That compares to 2.06 last January and 3.81 last month. That could be just a coincidence since we're only two weeks into the month.

1/14/2007 03:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Papa Ray said, "We already have started building our Mega-Bases and we will be operating out of them long after the 'Iraq battle' is done."

What happens if the duly elected leader of Iraq tells us to scram? The President says we serve at their pleasure.

1/14/2007 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Here's one bit of good news: the rules of engagement will allow terrorist leaders like Al Sadr to be targeted.

Article quote in bold:

Street Fighting

A senior defense official said he does not expect pitched battles against militias in Baghdad when additional U.S. forces move into Iraq.
Instead, the fighters are expected to follow a tried and true battle method -- improvised explosive devices and intermittent small arms attacks, followed by them disappearing into the neighborhoods from which they came...
Senior leaders of militias and death squads, both Sunni and Shiite, will be aggressively targeted, the senior military official said.
"One way to erode them it to get at the leadership," he said. "I expect that extremists leaders on both sides ... will be targeted."
He said a number of such leaders have been politically "off limits" to U.S. or Iraqi forces. The Iraqi government's growing realization that the groups must be stopped has yielded a promise to lift all artificial restrictions on who can be targeted and in what neighborhoods.

1/14/2007 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Wu Wei: "Also, as a military tactic shouldn't we just let the Shiite government beat the Sunni Insurgency into giving up?"

Read this:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110009521

The article says that or plan is to have the Sunni help us beat the Shiia (Iran) and the Shia help us beat the Sunni (Iraq, Syria, and pretty much the rest of the Arab world).

In the Iran Iraq War we provided aid to both sides. We wanted both sides to lose - and they did. The Left's reponse to this was to go into hysterics over Iran/Contra and then swing neatly into hysterics over the miniscule aid we provided Iraq when that suit their purposes.

Remember: a couple of years back
the MSM/Left was assuring us that a combined Sunni/Shia Insurgency was about to drive us into the sea. Seems rather more than absurd, now, doesn't it?

1/14/2007 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Db2m said...

During the first year of the GWB Prez'cy, it seemed to me that the WH domestic agenda began to fizzle and unravel as the twins started making underage drinking news. Was this the start of a former problem drinker's pity party?

And then he drifted along pretty aimlessly until 9/11 woke up the Marlboro Man in George that the US sorely needed, and he came out smokin', and things started happening in Afghanistan.

I just wish somethin' less dramatic could wake up ol' George again.

1/14/2007 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

rwe,

Nice article. Good strategy, to achieve sustained conflict.

The Iraq war has indeed brought into existence a New Middle East, in which Arab Sunnis can no longer gleefully disregard American interests because they need help against the looming threat of Shiite supremacy, while in Iraq at the core of the Arab world, the Shia are allied with the U.S. What past imperial statesmen strove to achieve with much cunning and cynicism, the Bush administration has brought about accidentally. But the result is exactly the same.

Only minor problem is that someone has left 200,000 light infantry in the country doing foot patrols, whilst engineering (by accident) a civil war in which they are fuelling both sides. The idea is to get both sides to shoot at each other, not create a war where both sides are shooting and you're standing in the middle.

1/14/2007 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger John Samford said...

Me wi, your understanding of the way the US government works is more academic then real. It is unconstitutional for Congress to interfere with the way a President is running a war. All they can do is cut off the money, and after the President uses money from other parts of government, all they can do is impeach the President. That won't change anything in their favor, even if they could get a conviction, which they can't since it takes 66 votes in the Senate. If they did find 66 votes (or is it 67?), that would leave them with Cheney as President. Trying to impeach Cheny would lead to civil war. 70% of the Military and 75% of the police would support Cheney. Plus ALL the food the blue staters eat comes from Red States.
That means the democrats would get very hungry while avoiding the attention of the Police and Army.
Remember when Gore was trying to steal the election. A bunch of Americans entered the counting room to keep the Democrats from counting funny. A Democrat asked the cop watching to throw thwm out. The cop said "NO!". The November election was the result of the Diebold machine and the MSM spinning the Corruption issue. It was NOT about the war on terror.

"The key issue is no longer WMD or even the role of the U.N. The central issue is America's credibility and will to prevail."
-Goh Chok Tong, the former prime minister of Singapore.

1/14/2007 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

"We are going to be in Iraq for a long, long time". -Papa Ray

Yes. It'll be somewhat like Germany, Korea, Japan and so on. It's a fact.

RWE brings up the Atlantic U-boat war. It's very true that we can wage a war without declaring it a war. And we might have to do so.

The job at hand is to cut the supply lines from Iran.

A lot can be done in Iraq but if we are serious about getting the job done it will mean hitting supply points in Iran (and probably trucking and shipping routes).

If thing really get hot then al fin's idea of, "Bomb[ing] all Iranian military facilities (not Iraqi). Bomb to the bottom of the sea any Iranian naval ships and facilities. Cripple Iranian oil production..." may have to be done.

Returning to RWE post. In war you use the resources at hand and if that includes both Sunni and Shia to achieve our goals then so be it.

1/14/2007 08:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was Revolutionary Guard guru, Hassan Abbassi one of those arrested in Erbil?

Iran Press News reported that based on unconfirmed received reports from reliable sources in Iraq, Hassan Abbasi was among those who was arrested in the Thursday, January 11th early-morning raid in the Iraqi town of Erbil.

Hassan Abbasi known by his friends as "The Dr. Kissinger of Islam," is the guru of the Islamic Republic's revolutionary guard corps which puts volunteers and recruits through rigorous training in four camps funded and run by the Revolutionary Guard. The boot camp includes physical training, ideological indoctrination, building explosives, code-cracking classes, and finally foreign languages classes, specifically Arabic and English as well as many other 'useful' languages.

Abbasi has been among the highest ranking members of the Islamic regime’s terror operations for many years, acting as Khamenei’s foreign policy and defense advisor. Abbasi has had an active voice under not only Khamenei but also Rafsanjani and Khatami as well. The Martyrdom Brigades of the Global Islamic Awakening is controlled by Abbasi. A while back Abbasi was heard telling a crowd of Basijis about Iran's secret plans, which include "a strategy drawn up for the destruction and eradication of the entire Anglo-Saxon civilization."

Among others, Abbassi works very closely with Muqtada Al-Sadr in running the Mahdi army and other insurgency groups.

1/14/2007 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Here's a link to the transcript of the 60 Minutes interview of President Bush. The thing that stands out the most is how stupid the media are, and how anti-Bush & anti-war. They've always been liberal, but this is the strongest they've been in many years. Since at least six months before the election the media have been relentless in knocking down Bush, and trying to get Democrats elected.

Bush Interview

1/14/2007 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

From the NYTimes:

But the signs so far have unnerved some Americans working on the [surge] plan, who have described a web of problems — ranging from a contested chain of command to how to protect American troops deployed in some of Baghdad’s most dangerous districts — that some fear could hobble the effort before it begins.

First among the American concerns is a Shiite-led government that has been so dogmatic in its attitude that the Americans worry that they will be frustrated in their aim of cracking down equally on Shiite and Sunni extremists, a strategy President Bush has declared central to the plan.

“We are implementing a strategy to embolden a government that is actually part of the problem,” said an American military official in Baghdad involved in talks over the plan. “We are being played like a pawn.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/world/middleeast/15baghdad.htm

1/14/2007 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Sadr supports the Baghdad plan? Shiites say 60% chance of failure. They will hit militias even in mosques.

Quotes from article in bold.

Baghdad Plan

Shi'ite officials said Sadr supported the plan.

"This is the last chance. The Americans will give up on us after the seven months," one senior Iraqi official said.

"If this plan fails other options will be weighed, among them the United Nations coming into to run Iraq with a government of national salvation," he added.

The Shi'ites including Sistani are worried from what will happen next if this plan fails...

Another senior Shi'ite official said: "We now have 60 percent chance of failure. This plan is our only hope. We as Shi'ites have no choice but to stand behind Maliki and strike hard at whoever wants to spoil our achievements.

"Those militias have no other choice but to give up... We will not accept any more games...The militias will be hit even if they hide in mosques."

1/15/2007 05:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WW quoted, "Those militias have no other choice but to give up... We will not accept any more games...The militias will be hit even if they hide in mosques."

If the enemy turns a mosque into a bunker, what makes it so special? Did we ever say in World War II, "The Nazis will be hit even if they hide in bunkers" ?

1/15/2007 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

A few Democrats like John Murtha are still saying that they don't want to hurt or withdraw the troops already in Iraq, but want to stop new ones from being added.

Offense is sometimes the best defense, so there's no way they can pretend that having more troops couldn't reduce casualties or that fighting new battles like the one in Baghdad to kill insurgents couldn't reduce casualties in the long run.

But even more amazing is that they would leave our troops out in the field with no chance of reinforcements and no chance of winning, but just being out in the field taking casualties.

If the Democrats really believe that the war is wrong and unwinnable, then they should pass a law to withdraw all troops from Iraq by a certain date. That's the power of Congress, to start & stop wars. Everything else like limiting troops is command-in-chief work.

1/15/2007 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Saw the EFP’s at a defense conference more than a decade ago. They looked like a Jiffy-Pop tin stuck in the ground similar to a Claymore and were remotely detonated. The high explosive against the tin formed a projectile that looked roughly like a golf ball in a metal sock. These things are cheap and concealable enough that you could put one on every power pole on the highway to Tehran.

1/15/2007 01:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wu Wei said, "But even more amazing is that they would leave our troops out in the field with no chance of reinforcements and no chance of winning, but just being out in the field taking casualties."

All Bush is doing with the troops he has there now is he sends them between the Green Zone and the airport on "presence patrols" as human IED detectors. The Democraps are saying if Bush wants to beef up the numbers of these human minesweepers he should use some of the ones he's got in theater now just buffing the hallways in the Wahabbist madrasses or rebuilding the Iraqi's own power grid after the Iraqis blow it up every night.

1/15/2007 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> The Democraps are saying...

Bush at least thinks he can win. The Dems say winning is impossible with what we have now. If they refuse to let us break out of the "quagmire" by making changes, then why keep troops in Iraq? To make this the Iraqi Alamo, fight to the last man in a doomed battle?

> All Bush is doing with the troops he has there now is ... human IED detectors.

Bush isn't the brightest bulb on the tree, but at least he realized that he was wrong. His new approach, the Army / Petraeus "protect the population" strategy, is a proven winner. I'd be confident if we had 100k more troops and Iraq had a real government.

1/15/2007 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/15/2007 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

My theory is that most of the militias and insurgent groups have agreed to a cease fire in Baghdad. This means that the "surge" operation would be a cake walk, with only a few rogue groups to deal with. Al-Sadr has agreed to this as well, and his militia will not be targeted unless he breaks the deal.

I also believe that part of this deal is that the US agreed not to have a permanent presence in Iraq. The US Commander mentions that our US charter runs out at the end of this year. Another article which I can't find quotes the Secretary of Defense as saying we won't keep bases in Iraq. Perhaps we granted al-Sadr's & the Sunni Insurgent's condition that we name a date for leaving Iraq.

(1) The most direct evidence comes from the top US commander on the group, in an article dated today.

But according to Odierno, the effort to defeat the extremists will involve more than just a military effort. He believes a large percentage of the militias will be absorbed by the Iraqi reconciliation process. "It'll be that small number of extremists that we have to deal with."
...
Citing the cleric's participation in the political process, Odierno said that al-Sadr is not a focal point of the joint Iraqi-American effort to target sectarian extremists. "Bottom line is Moqtada al-Sadr is part of the political process. He is head of a political party." At the same time, Odierno warned that the United States could treat him differently if "he moves away from the political framework and starts participating in extremist activities, then we will deal with him as warranted."


Top Commander

(2) An Iraqi blogger says that terrorists are pouring out of Baghdad into other cities, including al-Sadr's group.

Terrorists cut & run

(3) An article I mentioned earlier says that "Shi'ite officials said Sadr supported the plan." It also mentions that all Shite leaders including Sistani are highly motivated to make this work, thinking it is their last chance.

Baghdad Plan

(4) As I said in the posting above, we know who the players are, and the Iraqi government knows them even better, so it doesn't make sense that we would do this unless there was a cease fire deal.

1/15/2007 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

The U.S. doesn't have to declare war against Iran in order to cut off their agents in Iraq. When Iran sticks a hand into Iraq it should come back minus a few fingers, and occasionally not come back at all. There is no reason for Iranian military or irregulars like the Quds Force to be in Iraq. Any found in Iraq should be arrested and interrogated without mercy, just as the kindly Iranians would do to Americans in Iran.

1/15/2007 07:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wu wei wrote: But even more amazing is that they would leave our troops out in the field with no chance of reinforcements and no chance of winning, but just being out in the field taking casualties.

If the Democrats really believe that the war is wrong and unwinnable, then they should pass a law to withdraw all troops from Iraq by a certain date. That's the power of Congress, to start & stop wars. Everything else like limiting troops is command-in-chief work.


Agreed. If we somehow “lose” Iraq, it would be interpreted by the Sunnis not as a triumph of Arab/Islamofascism over civilisation/West, but rather more painfully, as a harbinger of Persian hegemony, as an insult to Arab pride. Similarly, if we “won” Iraq, it would be regarded as a victory over Iran by Sunnis, not that of us over Arabs/Islamofascism. How could Arabs ever allow us to claim victory on our terms? One can always count on them to paint their own triumphs – even the 1973 War of Attrition was depicted as a victory for the Arabs over Israel.

Therein lies neither “defeat” nor “victory” ahead for us, whatever those terms may mean. Gone is the quest for a glorified romanticism of triumph, or the self-pitying, self-indulgent, self-induced depression of a “loss” abroad: there is only “peace” or “death”. I don’t think even the Democrats will be willing to sacrifice their lives for whatever they stand for (what exactly do they stand for, again?).

My theory is that most of the militias and insurgent groups have agreed to a cease fire in Baghdad.

wu wei, I posited agreement that could possibly manifest between the Iraqi government, Sunni insurgents, Anbar tribes and the majority of Shiites aligned with Sistani, or torn between Sistani and al-Sadr. Interested to hear your comments on this.

Still wary of al-Sadr, but I believe he may consider this to be the only saving throw for him. Any news about the plans for the Sadrists' "surge" should be closely monitored. Of course, once we have most of the neighbourhoods cordoned off and contained, cutting al-Sadr off will be considerably easier.

1/15/2007 08:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Call and raise...

Washington ups the military stakes against Iran, plans deployment of 600 Patriot anti-missile missiles in Middle East. And the White House is making sure that Adm. Fallon has plenty of resources to deploy, a veritable buildup, the second in four months, in the Persian Gulf and other waters opposite Iran.

The USS John C. Stennis strike group is heading for the Persian Gulf with a mighty air arm of 9-10 fighter-bomber squadrons. Saturday, some sources reported that another task force, the USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group, had been ordered out of Sand Diego on Jan. 4 and was heading in the same direction.

Military observers in the US and Middle East noted that the group’s commander, Rear Adm. Michael H. Miller, reiterated: “When we deploy for real-world operations, Carrier Strike Group 7 will be an example of how the Navy is able to carry out our mission any time, anywhere in the world.”

The USS John C. Stennis strike group is heading for the Persian Gulf with a mighty air arm of 9-10 fighter-bomber squadrons. Saturday, some sources reported that another task force, the USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group, had been ordered out of Sand Diego on Jan. 4 and was heading in the same direction.

Military observers in the US and Middle East noted that the group’s commander, Rear Adm. Michael H. Miller, reiterated: “When we deploy for real-world operations, Carrier Strike Group 7 will be an example of how the Navy is able to carry out our mission any time, anywhere in the world.”

The USS John C. Stennis strike group is heading for the Persian Gulf with a mighty air arm of 9-10 fighter-bomber squadrons. Saturday, some sources reported that another task force, the USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group, had been ordered out of Sand Diego on Jan. 4 and was heading in the same direction.

Military observers in the US and Middle East noted that the group’s commander, Rear Adm. Michael H. Miller, reiterated: “When we deploy for real-world operations, Carrier Strike Group 7 will be an example of how the Navy is able to carry out our mission any time, anywhere in the world.”

Iran could launch successive waves of explosives-packed boats against U.S. warships in the Gulf, piloted by "Ashura" or suicide bombers.
The first wave can draw on more than 1,000 small fast-attack boats operated by the Revolutionary Guards navy, equipped with rocket launchers, heavy machine-guns and possibly Sagger anti-tank missiles. In recent years, the Iranians have used these small boats to practice "swarming" raids on commercial vessels and U.S. warships patrolling the Persian Gulf.

A second wave of suicide attacks could be carried out by "suicide submarines" and semi-submersible boats, before Iran deploys its Russian-built Kilo-class submarines and Chinese-built Huodong missile boats to attack U.S. warships. The 114-foot Chinese boats are equipped with advanced radar-guided C-802s, a sea-skimming cruise-missile with a 60-mile range.

Iran's naval strategists believe the U.S. will attempt to land ground forces to the east of Bandar Abbas. Their plans call for extensive use of ground-launched tactical missiles, coastal artillery, as swell as strategic missiles aimed at Saudi Arabia and Israel tipped with chemical, biological and possibly nuclear warheads. The Iranians also plan to lay huge minefields across the Persian Gulf inside the Strait of Hormuz, effectively trapping ships that manage to cross the Strait before they can enter the Gulf, where they can be destroyed by coastal artillery and land based "Silkworm" missile batteries.

Today, Iran has sophisticated EM-53 bottom-tethered mines, which it purchased from China in the 1990s. The EM-53 presents a serious threat to major U.S. surface vessels, since its rocket-propelled charge is capable of hitting the hull of its target at speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour. Some analysts believe it can knock out a U.S. aircraft carrier.

"I think it would be problematic for any navy to face a combination of mines, small boats, anti-ship cruise missiles, torpedoes, coastal artillery, and Silkworms," said retired Navy Commander Joseph Tenaglia, CEO of Tactical Defense Concepts, a maritime security company. "This is a credible threat."

1/15/2007 09:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maker's mark talking, sorry for repeat

1/15/2007 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

I'll call your 2, and raise you one decapitation AND a hanging.

And n'eer an American is sight. Magic? Must be. We don't believe in Allah.

Getting the message, I'm A Dinner Jacket?

ADE

1/16/2007 02:55:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Congress Can't Do It

This is an excellent article about what Congress can and can't do for the war, according to the Constitution.

Quote below:

If Congress believes the war is lost, or not worth winning, it must take responsibility for the consequences of forcing a U.S. withdrawal. Otherwise, it must leave the president to direct the war and to bear responsibility for the decisions he has made and will make.

1/16/2007 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

It looks like the Democrat's are not asking to withdraw all troops from Iraq. Rather, they favor changing the US mission in Iraq "from combat to training, to fighting terrorism, to protecting our forces". That bolded quote is from Nancy Pelosi, Democrat and Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Dems will present a plan sometime around the President's State of the Union address, a week from today.

Quote below in bold from this article:

State of Union

Pelosi said Monday that Democrats will counter Bush’s proposal to send more troops to Iraq with a plan changing the U.S. mission there “from combat to training, to fighting terrorism, to protecting our forces.”

“We are saying to the president, ‘What you are doing, first and foremost, has cost over 3,000 lives, every one of them precious to us,”’ Pelosi said at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech in San Francisco. “The president does not have a plan. Democrats will hold him accountable.”

1/16/2007 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

they favor changing the US mission in Iraq "from combat to training, to fighting terrorism, to protecting our forces".

Next, I predict that the Democrats will favor phasing out the use of bullets in favor of little pieces of streamlined metal going really fast.

As for Pelosi's "Pres Bush does not have a plan." she should talk to the Democratic leader of the Senate, who, last week was asked what his plan was for Iraq in view of the fact that he disapproved of Pres Bush's approach and replied "I am not one of those who has to have a plan."

1/16/2007 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger J.Fred said...

Sadr is cooptible: he is playing Iran against his competion, too.

Iran is not going to fall from an overt U.S. attack. Iran will rise when the instruments of Mullocrat power are compromised in their own beds.

You can say what you like about President
Bush being somehow a dummy, but I really don't think you who say so are very smart. We are stuck in a waiting game but time is on our side. Every quiet increase in force projection will bring us closer to Iranian overextension.

Then Hell's furies, you know...but not until the Iranians are rising themselves. The time is fast approaching.

Long live Azeri nationalism! (At least outside of Armenia!!!!)

1/17/2007 01:57:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Siberry said...

as long as we know what the enemy has and is going to do we can always be one step ahead. the fact we know about the plans puts up in a better situation.

I bet there is a lot of wasteland over there after the war. there will be plenty of vehicle salvage for the Iraquies to make into car bombs, or buildings to scout in, but again as long as we know about the situation we can control it.

1/17/2007 03:41:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

sadr killed saddam????

http://www.iraqslogger.com/index.php/post/761/Sunnis_Allege_Sadr_A_Saddam_Executioner

1/17/2007 07:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know whether the new carrier group assigned to the Straits of Hormuz has a Marine
Expeditionary Force tagging along.

1/17/2007 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger foxenburg said...

Lord Acton posts: Even in this age of leaks and feckless media, I think our military and intelligence communities can keep secrets and spring surprises.

well, your lordship, they sure kept a few secrets and sprung a few surprises such as colin powell's phantom mobile chemical weapons laboratories, etc.

1/17/2007 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists.

1/17/2007 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

This is why the West will prevail against Islamofascism:

They may love to die, but we love to fight -

“Four Royal Marines flew into a battle zone clinging to the outside of helicopter gunships in a bid to rescue a fallen comrade…”'Extraordinary heroism'

H/T to Ace

1/17/2007 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Wretchard,

You OK?

ADE

1/18/2007 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger Griswel said...

Action against Iran need not be direct. Gates, I believe, was part of the Administration which did much in eastern Europe against the USSR without firing a shot.

Among other things, if the Saudis want Iran to lose, then the price of oil needs to remain steady or drop, just as it did in the Cold War, and the Saudis can do that even while proclaiming something else entirely.

Also, a good deal can be done in incidental or accidental ways. Maybe some buildings were erroneously marked as being on the Iraqi side of the border? It's helpful to have Congress's support, but a great deal can be done without it.

Finally, it is true that American support for taking and holding more territory is nil, but American support for blowing up bad guys from far away is still quite high. We could hit an Iranian IED factory and that would be politically tough to oppose.

1/18/2007 10:55:00 AM  
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