Thursday, February 15, 2007

Do We Have Momentum?

Bill Roggio's sources believe the "aide" killed in a firefight which wounded Zarqawi's successor, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, may have been his chief of security, though this is unconfirmed. Roggio recalls that one of al-Masri's senior aides was captured last week by Task Force 145. Earlier coverage here.


Commentary

When the Surge was first announced the first historical comparison which came to mind was Operation Linebacker II, which was essentially the the brief time -- and possibly the only period -- when America actually fought the Vietnam War. Briefly, it consisted of momentarily unleashing the USAF after Nixon had been stonewalled at the "peace" negotiations. It was tremendously effective but strategically futile.

Recent events in Iraq and Iran suggest that Washington has made up its mind to remove some of the restrictions on striking at the enemy. Since then, a series of unfortunate reversals have overtaken previously "invincible" enemies, now shown to be "invincible" only because they were cloaked in political, rather than operational protection. Will the Surge be another Linebacker II? A tactical victory to smooth the way to a defeat mandated by domestic American political forces? Or will the momentum build and the enemy routed from the field? Time will tell.

50 Comments:

Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Well we shall see if this is a change. There is no doubt that the US Military can accomplish any goal as long as the political establishment has the will power to demand that goal. So far it has not had the will power...or more correctly only Bush has shown the will to attack. Even he though seems to have limits and I don't think limits work with this enemy.

War with limits??

2/15/2007 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger summignumi said...

It would seem America has turned the clock back to 1972 by putting the chicken hawk Democrats in control, The Chicken Hawks support the troops but wont keep’m supplied or safe while stopping the Administration from pressuring the real American solider killers “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that President Bush lacks the authority to invade Iran without specific approval from Congress, a fresh challenge to the commander in chief on the eve of a symbolic vote critical of his troop buildup in Iraq.” I guess Nancy’s feminist plan is to kill off as many American males as she can so there are less to come back and upset her vision of the future where her and Hillary rule.

2/15/2007 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The really maddening thing about all this is that the Surge hasn't really arrived. So maybe it wasn't about numbers at all. What's the difference between Then and Now? Why is Sadr hiding for all he's worth in Iran? Why are there rumors that al-Qaeda is evacuating Baghdad? Why is al-Masri all shot up? What has changed? Nothing material. Maybe it was, as Napoleon put it, the "moral" element.

I think Nancy knows. Or suspects. Though God knows she may be wrong, but the thought has occurred to her that the manacles may be off. And it terrifies her. For that reason her first reaction is to say you have don't have my authority to go into Iran.

I hope the politicians make up their minds. Say what they want. Say what they mean. If it's run then run. But if it's stay to win, then win.

2/15/2007 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

A Jordanian blogger asks, "are Americans bribing Arab journalists" by sponsoring "familiarization trips" to the United States. In principle I sure as hell hope they are being bribed; and I hope the enemy is being attacked. That's the name of the game, and it's shocking, shocking that the feeble, bumbling giant can strike back. This was not supposed to happen.

But how can this be a bribe? Who wants to visit "George Bush's America?"? Doesn't everyone want to go to France? Or Cuba? Or North Korea? Maybe Venezuela, where there are now food shortages? How can anyone want to visit Hell on Earth? The Left should be consistent. Workers Paradise Good; America the Great Satan. Therefore sponsoring these trips should be classed as torture.

But at the same time I'm disappointed. Is this all we can offer? Package tours. The enemy offers money. Cold cash. And Cold Steel. They can do that and be cheered on. Just like Paletinian kids can be encouraged to be suicide bombers. And be cheered on. America is not supposed to sponsor trips. Or give Sadr a menacing phone call in the middle of the night. Now suppose America actually began to pay the enemy back in his own coin. It would make sense, since it has plenty of JDAMs; plenty of money. Perish the thought it should occur to it to use them.

2/15/2007 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

We have some momentum building. Still challenges.

Cultural Marxism

2/15/2007 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

you know what they say when you kill a terrorist?

NO... NOT THAT CRAP THAT A 100 TAKE THEIR PLACE!

ONE DOWN.... Pass the ammo, next...

2/15/2007 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Personnally,

I would not want to be the blokes waiting out Bush's term...

My generation doesn't have fond memories of Jihad. My generation leads the military.

Even a pull-back will be horribly slow. I can see al-Whatever counting the months, days, minutes. A very long time. And, if a spine forms in Congress for whatever reason - or Bush just ignores them - than I would not enjoy returning experience. It is a very good thing that we can pull Patreaus back to train the next cadre and set tactics for the next battles and then return him and his personnel. The Germans and Japanese kept their aces at the front - where they eventually were killed... Our aces instructed the next aces...

2/15/2007 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Wretchard wrote, "Will the Surge be another Linebacker II? A tactical victory to smooth the way to a defeat mandated by domestic American political forces?"

Are you talking about those political forces within the military and/or the administration? During the past four years, US setbacks have come from these quarters, not from a Democrat controlled Congress. As Lincoln’s ’64 campaign proved, the best antidote for copperhead venom is victory in battle.

2/15/2007 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

Roon Poopeel has given us some great products that have added jobs to the economy and made life more fun at the same time.

Now Roon is really stepping up, having announce the introduction of the Mohammad Chia Head.
The special chia seeds will be used to grow the beard of Mohammad while the turban will come with an optional propeller.

It'll be a big item at next years Hajj and pony show. Look for it at your favorite bizaare.

2/15/2007 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

First of all, Nancy displays her ignorance - so I'm hoping that it was a media misquote. Bush the younger can invade Iran in a heart beat and not bother to tell Congress until the next budget cycle. And she should know that.

I personally believe that the US will not do a "Fallujah" this time. It is in the best interest of the US to get the Iraqi government to do the killing instead. It will be less efficient, take longer and there will be more casualties. But the average Iraqi has to see that the hand holding the sword is Iraqi - not American.

Bush the younger rattled the saber. Long before 20K fresh soldiers could arrive, Al-sadr took the hint, and in my opinion is making a huge mistake by fleeing to Iran. Al-Qaeda will be chewed up - by Iraqis.

Back to Pelosi for a moment: She's no rocket scientist, but she has to walk a line between the leftist kooks that totally lack a plan or vision and the Bush Admin that has both. After all, she is a liberal Democrat and she can't heard agreeing with GWB.

2/15/2007 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"What's the difference between Then and Now? Why is Sadr hiding for all he's worth in Iran? Why are there rumors that al-Qaeda is evacuating Baghdad? Why is al-Masri all shot up? What has changed?"

RoE from what I read. Makes all the difference in the World when you let your dogs actually hunt. As noted here recently, sitting in garrison and patrolling is a recipe for failure.

"Locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver" is the way it was taught to me. Anything else is waiting around to die.

For those who do not know, "RoE" = Rules of Engagement.

2/15/2007 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

I hate to say it, but "bagging another biggie arch evildoer!!!!" is just more round of "whack-a-mole".
To be effective, you need to work with tribes to bag a whole network of AQ's, then take them all out in the desert far from NYC human rights loi-yahs. Dig a pit. And fill it. As is, under "catch and release and targeted assassination" tribes would be nuts to work with the US. They turn in AQ, Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch or Ira Glasser of the Soros group gets them released...Next thing you know, they're back in your village - you're watching your sons being disemboweled by Al Qaeda and you're next.
*********************
Will the Surge be another Linebacker II?

No, mainly for the reason that was the exact opposite of the doomed "Surge". No one will do more to rehabilitate Nixon than Dubya. The Master as opposed to the Dunce, the REpublican LBJ. Because by the time of Linebacker II, Nixon had extricated most US troops from Vietnam, had fully implemented Vietnamization and was down to final details at the Peace Table to complete the end of the "honorable intervention" in Vietnam.

He inherited 560,000 troops in 1969. In 1968 14,589 Americans died in 'Nam. By 1971 he had that down to 195,000 in 'Nam a,d 1,381 killed. By the end of 1972, 80,000, with 299 deaths. The Vietnamese Communists footdragged in Paris, hoping the Soviets or the liberal Jews and WASPs of America's Eastern Establishment & Media who detested Nixon - would come to their rescue. They miscalculated Nixon's willingness to whack them hard. He did, with Linebacker II, and concluded a peace.
Nixon of course miscalculated the power of the media and Friends of Hiss - and gave them, with his pretty wrongdoing and coverup, the sword to run him through.
*************************

Pierre - There is no doubt that the US Military can accomplish any goal as long as the political establishment has the will power to demand that goal.

We can't make noble purple fingered freedom lovers stop killing one another or bushwhacking us. In an ideological conflict, the military is just one small part of it. It is not adequate to win against ideas. There must be communications, ideas prevailing, the foe realizing they are defeated on more than the battlefield.

Pierre - or more correctly only Bush has shown the will to attack.

He showed the will to attack for only a few months..then managed to spend 450 billion in nearly 4 frittered away years of lame-brained Bremer/Neocon/Sharansky "nation building", Rumsfeld's "new war strategy", major failure of nerve at Fallujah and with Sadr and sealing the Borders. And playing "catch and release". Bush also totally took his eye off Afghanistan and taking the 10 billion promised to Afghanistan to help pay for the costs of fresh salads at new Iraqi megabases. Our failure to help rebuild that country - and now radicals are resurging and billions in narcoterror funds are coming from a heroin crop we thought less important than fixing the noble Iraqi's traffic signal lights. Now it produces a record drug crop and our puppet effectively controls just the city of Kabul.
***********************
Wretchard -
The mood of the country reflects not so much on "The Surge" as a collapse in the confidence most Americans have in the competence and vision of Bush...after the guy has pissed away 4 years, 500 billion, and 32,000 casualties without showing progress in the stalemate or having any interest in Iraqization until very recently.

If Bush had credibility, so would his Surge.

It is small solace that the Democrats also have no plan and little credibility.

Where are the Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu language schools? The sit-downs with leaders, scholars, and theologians of the Muslim world
with ours? Where are the media fronts that can communicate with the 1.2 billion in the Ummah? Where are the diplomatic efforts for allies? Where are the efforts to communicate with the American public and involve them past just slogans and exorations to enjoy their tax cuts and shop hard?

Let us hope this can limp along until new leadership emerges with other Americans more suited to the task..

2/15/2007 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

"He showed the will to attack for only a few months..then managed to spend 450 billion in nearly 4 frittered away years of lame-brained Bremer/Neocon/Sharansky "nation building", Rumsfeld's "new war strategy",

"The sit-downs with leaders, scholars, and theologians of the Muslim world with ours? Where are the media fronts that can communicate with the 1.2 billion in the Ummah? Where are the diplomatic efforts for allies?"


...If only the Hebrews and Anglos had strategists with such profound insight

2/16/2007 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger summignumi said...

Cedarford, one would never know if you “got the whole network” and “filled the pit” so you would still say it was just another round of “Whack-a-mole” your hatred of anything Bush is shining as bright as the midday sun, also the correlation to “Linebacker II” was the intent to fight a war the way it should always be fought and speaking of “concluded a peace” what peace? The narcissistic chicken Democrats did back then what narcissistic feminist “Nancy the Great” is threatening to do now and that is pull the funding which lead to the US Forces turning tail and running out of South Vietnam, even after the US left the South was kicking ass but then unsatisfied that Nixon’s legacy might be a favorable end to a Democrat disaster (can we say JFK and LBJ) called Vietnam they ensured his black cloud in history by pulling the ammunition out of South Vietnams weapons, which then lead to their defeat by the Blood thirsty North.
As for “Rumsfeld's "new war strategy"” it worked great! It was political pressure that got him canned not his “"new war strategy"” Cedarford now that’s true left wing play book call “Bush also totally took his eye off Afghanistan and taking the 10 billion promised to Afghanistan to help pay for the costs of fresh salads at new Iraqi megabases.” Bush gets the Euro’s involved like the Kerry lovers and Al Gore worshipers have always complained Bush did not do and then when they Fobar the prefect hand over you blame Bush….ain’t ya got any sense of honesty, fair play or justice?

2/16/2007 01:25:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Back in 2002 the public knew relatively little about the real causes of the War on Terror. Both those who diagnosed it as caused by a superficial lack of freedom in the Arab and those who saw it in the classic Leftist terms as poor innocent people fighting big bad America had it wrong. So did those, I think, who saw the world in traditional diplomatic terms of states that could be bought off.

Hence, while the Bush administration objectively made many mistakes in pursuing the War on Terror, it can't be judged against our retrospectively more complete knowledge. Rather, the relevant question to ask is at each juncture in the past, which politically viable alternative was better than the other. Bush's only historical justification is that, in the balance, he was always better than the Democrats. He was the stale sandwich to their reeking turd. Or if you want another formulation, always less damaging than the Democrats to national interest. That didn't mean that he was the best or even good, but only that he was the lesser of the two evils.

In looking at the Surge the same calculus unfortunately applies. When it was first mooted, my first reaction was that is was an exercise in futility with only an outside chance of success as it was publicly characterized. Its only virtue was that it was somewhat better than whatever Obama, Murtha and Nancy Pelosi had in mind.

But I think the public has since learned more on the subject. Some from reading and others by direct experience. And they are no longer happy with the mediocrity served up by their leaders at their best and the arrant nonsense espoused by them at worst. There is in this blog thread none of the enthusiasm of bright-eyed partisans so much as the stoic resignation of diners who have chosen the tough beef over the rancid chicken for the nth time in a roadhouse whose menu never varies and whose cooking never improves.

But however slowly the wheels may finally have begun to move. The public has a clearer idea of what the enemy is. A better view of the long road ahead. A more cynical view of how compromised many of our intellectual institutions are. A reduced willingness to take the politicians at their word.

I don't think the Surge means much in and of itself. But I do hope it indicates that we are coming out of our mental freeze. That we are beginning to realize just what we are up against and what we must do in order to survive. And as always, better late than never.

2/16/2007 03:09:00 AM  
Blogger James III said...

Perfectly said.

2/16/2007 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Next step: appropriate (they have the legal right) every university-level department of Arabic and Farsi (that'll cover Dari, too) in the country. Middlebury's summer school in Arabic ... the whole nine yards.

Same faculty, but DoD determines who attends, and pays the staff. 18 month push to train thousands of speakers. We'll need 'em. And most people can become pretty fluent in a language when trained intensively for 18 months.

There's your follow-on after we've double-tapped most of the tangos.

2/16/2007 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/16/2007 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Whatever may have been Mr. Bush's orgininal plan for Iraq (and we will never know), quite apart from ineptness, there can be no serious question of Pentagon, CIA, and State Department duplicity. Again, the antipathy among the administration's putative allies cannot be laid at the feet of the Democrats.

2/16/2007 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger faeroe said...

Bart Hall said:

Next step: appropriate (they have the legal right) every university-level department of Arabic and Farsi (that'll cover Dari, too) in the country. Middlebury's summer school in Arabic ... the whole nine yards.

Same faculty, but DoD determines who attends, and pays the staff. 18 month push to train thousands of speakers. We'll need 'em. And most people can become pretty fluent in a language when trained intensively for 18 months.


Bart,

As a product of the government's best 18 month effort at training in Arabic, being number 1 in my class, I am sad to say that 18 months won't cut it, not by a long shot.

I spent an additional two years at Georgetown, majoring in Arabic, and two years in the Mideast studying Arabic with the supposed cream of our graduate students and I was just at the level of marginally fluent - but not on the street level that is necessary for interrogation.

Arabic, along with Chinese and Korean, is thought to be the hardest language for a native speaker of English to learn. I recall how stunned I was after my success at DLI when I traveled to the Mideast the first time. I knew I did not know a lot, but I had no idea how little I did know.

2/16/2007 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

"I sure as hell hope they are being bribed; and I hope the enemy is being attacked."

This brings to mind a 60 Minutes interview with a KGB General I saw in the early 90's. The poor man was all but sputtering with outrage about what happened in the 80's: "We were being attacked! The Americans went on the offensive!"

Yep!

2/16/2007 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Cruiser said...

We may have momentum, I'm just not sure whether it is forward momentum.

It is pretty sad how excited we get here over small accomplishments (unreliable reports of wounded enemy leaders, Sadr leaving Iraq). Our expectations have been so beaten-down that we hope to divine major trends from any minor event. Just because every once in a loooong while there is a tender piece of meat in the stew, doesn't mean it is getting any better.

Sadr leaving Iraq is actually a bad sign. It means that the Iraqi government has chosen to avoid the militant Shiites rather than confront them. Sadr has gone to Iran in the past - he will return. He has wisely chosen to preserve himself and his forces for future battles when the surge ends.

I am with Bill Quick on his view of the surge. The surge is mostly a PR effort to make it look like we are leaving on our own terms. Sadr and the others are simply waiting us out. The lack of any resistance so far is evidence of this.

The only meaningful recent accomplishment in the war on militant Islam was in Somalia. It was only a success because our politically-hamstrung forces were not directly involved. Our surrogate was free to fight a war with both hands. Unfortunately, there are no such surrogates available to fight our central enemies in this war (Iran, Syria).

There is a clear test of the administration’s will approaching in the near future. The Palestinian "unity" government has met none of the administration's conditions for support (renounce violence against Israel, recognize the state of Israel, uphold PA agreements). In the next two months, the administration must decide whether to withhold support for the government until the (rightful) conditions are fulfilled (and thereby alienate the Saudis who arranged the “unity” deal and the rest of the group of four who will support the unity government) or to cave in and provide support. If the admin. removes the conditions, it is clearly in full and open retreat. If it maintains the conditions, it may not indicate forward momentum, but it will not convey open retreat.

I also would not expect any military action by the US (overtly or covertly) in Iran during the remainder of this administration. Were the US to take any such action (absent an open attack by Iran on the US – of a magnitude far greater than their current warfare), both Secretary Gates and General Pace could be charged with perjury to the Senate. They both have given clear testimony to the Senate that the United States has no plans to and will not take such action in Iran. The administration has removed the military option against the Iranian homeland, absent an egregious provocation from Iran (which they will not provide).

Sorry to sound so glum. I think that this administration was never what some of us thought it was. And, given its bumbling, paralysis and political setbacks, it is now even less so.

2/16/2007 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger samidaly said...

faeroe, when were you at DLI?

I spent 87-88 there in the Arabic program... I also finished #2 in my class and when I was in Saudi in '90 realized how weak my arabic was after 18 months even though I was one of the better talents.

Sgt. Daly
311 MI BN
101st ABN

2/16/2007 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger James III said...

Whatever may have been Mr. Bush's orgininal plan for Iraq (and we will never know), quite apart from ineptness, there can be no serious question of Pentagon, CIA, and State Department duplicity. Again, the antipathy among the administration's putative allies cannot be laid at the feet of the Democrats.

Allen,

Yes, but, many of us are not so sure about Bush's "putative allies" at CIA and the State Department. Those bureaucracies seem to be "graced" by a few paleo-realist conservative holdouts among leftist, "gone native", and isolationist/ non-interventionist Democrats from the intel-diplomat community's ideological turnover of the last couple of decades, especially from the Clinton years. Look at all their agenda “tattle” books, conflicting testimony, leaks to the NYT, Plame game stuff- and that’s just what we know about. Doesn’t take much effort to imagine the subterfuge being played out below the media radar.

From the get-go, Bush and the military have had to struggle against a strong undertow within our own government. Have to concede your point that the Pentagon, which has proved proficient at warmaking, has been less than perfect at establishing peace and the business of winning hearts. But they've lost a lot of people's confidence because their ROE and actions haven’t been nearly harsh enough, in a (counterproductive) attempt to not bruise the sensibilities of other lots of people here and overseas. By contrast, the CIA and State have appeared to act in bad faith on a number of occasions just to make the administration look bad and to frustrate our progress in Iraq and elsewhere.

Bush didn't clean house sufficiently from the beginning. He trusted the advice and motives of the wrong people too much and for too long. So, yes, it’s his and the Congressional Repubs’ fault for not exercising better judgment and oversight. And it looks as if he and most Republicans are giving up on best or even good solutions. Barely OK will do, now. Ultimately, though, too many partisan Feds have undermined our efforts in disloyal fashion, and they should be excoriated at every opportunity.

2/16/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

'Those bureaucracies seem to be "graced" by a few paleo-realist conservative holdouts among leftist, "gone native", and isolationist/ non-interventionist Democrats from the intel-diplomat community's ideological turnover of the last couple of decades, especially from the Clinton years.'

2/16/2007 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Oooops!! Forgot to say "link added". Mea Culpa.

2/16/2007 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

james iii,

We are in general agreement, I think, although I believe the military hierarchy much more complicit in undermining the effort than you may be willing to admit.

When Mr. Bush won the election of 2000, many "old hands" PRAYED for a house cleaning of the Pentagon brass. Only to insiders could the depth of mediocrity within senior ranks be appreciated. And do not mistake me, this assessment is non-partisan; Bush I had done its fair share to weaken the system. Recall, while Clinton reduced the Army by two divisions, Bush I cut the force by six. In both cases, military leadership was mute to the evisceration of their respective services.

Will the present Democrat Congress improve conditions? Not until Kosher pigs fly at Mach 2. That said, we do ourselves a disservice by concentrating solely on the faults of the Democrats. In some cases, as George Wallace once observed, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties.

2/16/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Elijah said...

Do We Have the Momentum?

Putin seems to think so from his recent statements.

China seems concerned in view of anti-satellite missile firings.

Why Russia Fears Ballistic Missile Defense (by Martin Sieff)...

"It is highly likely that the missile threat from 'problem' states is not the genuine reason for the creation of the missile defense system by the Americans," Barabanov wrote. "The real motivation of the multibillion-dollar undertaking is the desire to expand U.S. military and strategic capacities and constrict those of other states that have nuclear missiles, Russia and China most of all."

Nevertheless, Barabanov argued that "even a limited missile defense system injects a high degree of indeterminacy into the strategic plans of other countries and undermines the principle of mutual nuclear deterrence. With Russia continuing to reduce its nuclear arsenal significantly and China maintaining a low missile potential, the Americans' ability to down even a few dozen warheads could deprive the other side of guaranteed ability to cause the U.S. unacceptable damage in a nuclear war."

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin is pouring unprecedented funds from a treasury bursting with energy-export profits into modernizing Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal, Barabanov struck an uncharacteristically pessimistic, or frank, note about Russia's long-term strategic prospects.

"If current tendencies continue, Russia will be unlikely to have the capacity to maintain more than 400-500 nuclear warheads by 2020. Russian experts have estimated that the U.S. could down half of that quantity with its missile defense system. That would be an especially heavy blow if the Americans delivered a disarming nuclear missile first-strike and the remaining Russian missiles could be eliminated almost completely.

"The first 10 U.S. interceptor missiles in Poland will not make a serious dent in Russian nuclear potential for the first few years," Barabanov acknowledged. But, he continued, "The Russian Army is buying six or seven Topol-M ballistic missiles per year. The destruction of just one of two of them by the American missile defense system would have a high price for Russia. And the placement of a strategic weapons system in Poland, even a defensive one, is a challenge to Moscow by Washington.

"Practically the only way to prevent a slow growth of the American strategic advantage is a significant increase in the purchase of new ballistic missiles by Russia. But the current Russian leadership is not prepared for that, mainly for political reasons," Barabanov said. And that is why, he continued, "Russia's reaction to the news of the possible placement of American interceptor missiles by the Russian border was loud and disorderly, both in political circles and in the press."

...Finally, Barabanov appeared to argue that Russia should rely much more on its strategic clout as the world's greatest energy exporter of oil and gas combined than on its traditional strategic nuclear arsenal to retain a leading role in the world.

"For an 'energy superpower,' it is more important to be able to pump its energy resources westward than to maintain any strategic balances," he concluded.

2/16/2007 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

cutler,

re: There is a clear test of the administration’s will approaching in the near future.

Good post! I would only edit the above "re" by saying, "There is a clear PUBLIC test...” The reality is, as I think you suspect, the administration surrendered to the Palestinian agenda long ago.

2/16/2007 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger dla said...

Wretchard wrote: But I think the public has since learned more on the subject. Some from reading and others by direct experience. And they are no longer happy with the mediocrity served up by their leaders at their best and the arrant nonsense espoused by them at worst.

I disagree. I believe the public has been played via the MSM-tools from the very beginning. The public doesn't know any more about this conflict than they did in 2003. And only the volume of the anti-war crowd has changed - nothing new folks - move along.

We just witnessed a classic bit of manipulation in the runup to the mid-term elections. Have you forgotten: Al-Qaeda fed the tools a regular diet of violence, Democrats get elected, Al-Qaeda gloats that Pelosi owes the terrorists a debt of grattitude.?

The average American's perception of the conflict has been soured - after all, when was the last time the MSM-tools published anything positive? But our perception at home is not reality.

Al-Qaeda, Al-Sadr and other power-brokers in the region know that America, as the world's lone superpower, cannot be defeated on the battlefield. Their hope, their only hope, is to wait it out till Jan 20th 2009. Bush the younger has proven resolute, possessing a spine with a bone density not seen Reagan.

Bush the younger has made mistakes, and acknowledged them, - the sign of a very good leader. The one mistake that he hasn't delt with appropriately is public education about the conflict. I personally believe that nobody on his staff ever understood it's importance. Al-Qaeda did.

2/16/2007 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

In case we forget, like other Empires that fixated on just one thing that they saw threatening them, it is what is being ignored that can be tomorrow's problem - or the agency that end the Empire.

While we have tunnel-visioned on the "evildoers" who killed 3K of us but aren't an existential threat, "the noble Iraqis", and the hermit kingdom the deluded neocons provoked with regime change talk...what is the ignored menace, or menaces?

1. While we obsess with the ME, the American style economic system has been wholesale rejected in Latin America.

2. We started 2002 with good relations with Russia. Now Putin is ranting hostile and talking about withdrawing from certain parts of SALT - and I don't blame him.
The conservative ideologues betrayed assurances given Russia by Bush I and Clinton that NATO would not expand to Russia's doorstep. We are now building infrastructure in Eastern Europe to support anti-missile missiles. Against what "menace"? , Putin wonders. We are trying to dig into Central Asian bases Putin did not object to us establishing to defeat Al Qaeda. We helped wreck the Russian economy and facilitated Jewish Oligarchs that robbed Russia blind in Clinton's time. Bombed the Serbs at Albright's insistance to save Muslim terrorists. We have allied with the "freedom-loving Chechens". Worse, we have meddled in elections on Russia's doorstep in Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia violating previous assurances, and meddled with what Russia considers the internal province of Chechyna.

3. We have gone from a 120 billion trade debt under Clinton to an 820 billion trade debt in 2006. 230 billion to China alone. We do not have a positive current account with a single major country, and are transferring our high tech jobs and technologies - whole industries - overseas. We are uncompetitive not only with China, but all other advanced nations, in large part because our free traders accepted 20% VAT add-ons and discounts in their dumb-ass negotiations that amount to a 40% overall tariff on our goods.

4. Supply side theory which economists say returns 18-20 cents to the Fed Government for every dollar borrowed from Japan, KSA, and China to hand over to the wealthiest....has added 3 trillion onto the US Debt with 600 billion in Bush's Iraq War carried off the books. Bush has grown the Federal government size by 40%, exceeding even LBJ's Great Society bloat-job.

5. We have failed to address the coming financial crisis of entitlements, particularly the costs of healthcare outstrippeng every other advanced nation in per capita costs by 30-70%. Or the collapse of affordability of health care systems for 1/4 of Americans.

6. While we fixate on "terra-hist evildoer kinda guys", our blithely believed assumptions about China "reforming & democratizing" as they ate our economic lunch are fading like the "welcomed as liberators in Iraq" line did. So convinced are Bushies that China inevitably is freedom loving, democracy hungry noble kinda fellas, they ignore the growing censorship, nationalization, reassertion of Party Control, and rapid military modernization and missile buildup.

7. Despite the strong concern of people, Bush and his ideologues remain committed to Open Borders, mass invasion.

Other problems include the continuing slide of US education compared to other advanced nations, failure of American diplomacy. Other people can add their own idea of major problems ignored while the Bushies focus on 3 nations of pitiful "evildoers" though the Iraqis suddenly became our "noble friends" when Occupation started, radical Islamoids, and working out how to funnel all GNP gains to the richest while saddling "lesser" Americans with the debt.

********************
Less than 2 years to go until a new management team is in. I am just another who had thought Team Bush did a great job 5 1/2 years ago. An awesome job. Then downhill ever since - coupled with a corrupt and arrogant do nothing Republican Congress, and an incoherent or simply raging DEmocrat opposition lacking any proposed alternatives.

Now I just hope we can hang on for 22 months until a new Team comes in to start fixing the messes, and just hope that nothing else urgent & critical comes up for Team Bush to screw up. It will take years and years to fix the failures of the Bush years.

2/16/2007 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Sardonic said...

Well the Democrats expect a big windfall for themselves if George Bush is proved to be a total and complete boob-loser. So they have quite an interest in undermining the war effort and then turning it all on its head and blaming George for the "failure". It's simply a matter of noting the motivational structure of the situation. The democrats will NEVER allow the US to have a victory in Iraq so long as they can help it. It simply does not serve their immediate interests. Oh well.

2/16/2007 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Allen said...

"As Lincoln’s ’64 campaign proved, the best antidote for copperhead venom is victory in battle."

Amen! Our modern day copperheads are doing their best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

dla said...

"Back to Pelosi for a moment: She's no rocket scientist, but she has to walk a line between the leftist kooks that totally lack a plan or vision and the Bush Admin that has both. After all, she is a liberal Democrat and she can't heard agreeing with GWB."

Nancy is no rocket scientist but she's a genius compared to Barbara Boxer. Nancy has a real problem: Her political power comes from moonbats like Boxer. However the moonbats have been politically enabled mainly by a disfunctional and unethical MSM. Take away the MSM and the moonbats have no influence. Nancy knows this. She is obligated to pander to her moonbat base but if she goes to far left then she'll hand political power back to the Republicans.

Samidaly said...

"I spent 87-88 there in the Arabic program... I also finished #2 in my class and when I was in Saudi in '90 realized how weak my arabic was after 18 months even though I was one of the better talents."

I spent 81-82 studying Arabic at university and got straight "A"s (classical Arabic is a very interesting and logical language). I then got a job in Germany and had to learn German (a better language than English, IMHO). Now when ever I try to fetch up an Arabic word, all I get is German.

Someday I'd like to relearn all of the Arabic that evaporated out of my ears. In šaʾ Allāh (إن شاء الله).

2/16/2007 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger James III said...

Re: your 8:42

Good points, Allen, but may I revisit the impression of that military cutting math? Bush I cut six divisions, while Clinton cut an additional two to make eight total fewer divisions in his grand scheme of things. They started from different baselines. Look at it this way- after Bush I cut, the military was larger than after Clinton hacked at it some more.

Butchers all :)

2/16/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Momentum? Momentum towards what specific goals? If its momentum for the sake of strenghten the Shiite Islamist gov't of Maliki then what, really, is the strategic endgame? It's fascinating that Wretchard continually tries to avoid the very basic political reality that SCIRI/Dawa/Sadr constitute the largest political and social forces in Iraq and the US has not been able to constitute an alternative order.

Aside from commentators like Cruiser, people seem to be forgetting that Sadr's value in the United Iraqi Alliance was that he used to be anti-Iranian. He was the indigenous rage who used to castigate Sistani and all the other Persians loyal to the mullahs next door. That is one of the primary reasons why the Bushies supported Maliki over Jaafari. Jaafari was seen as too beholden to SCIRI and Maliki was perceived as having more room to manuever with Sadr in his corner. No longer. It will be fascinating to see just who jumps into Sadr's place during his little vacation. Will SCIRI again take the helm, or is the Tehran hiatus just a show, a "trip to the mattresses" while things cool down. We backed Maliki to lessen the influence of SCIRI and now we're back to relying on SCIRI? Surely the Iranians are snickering while quoting from Wretchard's favorite arcade game: "all you (political) base belong to us!"

As to the strike against Quds in Iran, all the evidence I've read points to the Sunni terror group, occasionally linked to AQ, called Jundallah, not some sort of CIA op. If you want to see more Shiite on Sunni violence of this sort, then why stand in the way? Wretchard used to be fond of quoting Rumsfeld that the US had diminishing leverage in Iraq. That was back when the goal was to get out as soon as possible. Is it no longer true or more salient now than ever?

Momentum? Momentum without direction. What matters if we gain velocity or temporarily surge, if we're only running circles in the sand? Think not? Then please tell us all why we should be strengthening a pro-Iranian, por-Hezbollah, Shiite Islamist gov't whose hierarchy is riddled with terrorists who have shed American blood?

2/16/2007 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

james iii,

Your point is well taken. I just have a problem with partisans who insist on seeing a black kettle as preferable to a black pot. And, indeed, they are "Butchers all".

From Gay Patriot, this link to Peggy Noonan may speak volumes to questions raised by this thread.

“Maybe the candidates would do themselves good by leaving the trail a few days and trying to sit quietly in a room, by themselves, with no distractions, and think about big things, such as who they are.”

For a Pot of Message

***

2/16/2007 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger samidaly said...

eggplant

I had 2 years of german in highschool and my biggest issue with arabic was wanting to use the german prepositions.

I like how structured arabic is.. at least MSA. but once you get on the street its a whole new story.

I've been using rosetta stone to refresh my arabic.. hearing and reading come right back.. but speaking it again is so hard.

2/16/2007 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

reocon,

If you have not seen this interview, you will find it interesting, I’m sure.

Pace not sure on Iranian Govt Complicity

***

2/16/2007 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

The surge is taqiyya. The real operation started before the gun went off. Hopefully we won't see the metabolic processes in action, only the fact that the runner crossed the line.

2/16/2007 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Cruiser said...

Does anyone else wish that the President would announce that, given the congressional votes against sending more troops to Iraq, he has decided that he must withdraw troops from Iraq beginning immediately. He could go on to say that without the support of the most powerful branch of the government for additional resources to succeed he must expend no further American lives on the effort.

At least then Congress could not avoid its portion of the responsibility for the impending catastrophe.

As it stands right now, the effort in Iraq will fail (by any measure) simply because our enemies know that only the short-timer President stands between them and the warm embrace of an appeasing Congress. They will run out the clock. Bush and the remaining true Republicans will get all of the blame for the aftermath and the congressmen who vote against further effort will get off scott-free.

I know that his is not a real option. But, I can daydream can't I?

2/16/2007 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

allen said...
reocon,

If you have not seen this interview, you will find it interesting, I’m sure.

Pace not sure on Iranian Govt Complicity


Allen, thanks for the link. I found this to be quite relevant:

Iranian policy in Iraq is to give proper training and support to Iran's natural allies in Iraq in order to influence their political positioning in post-occupation Iraq.

Indeed, the Maliki gov't has been overtly inviting in tons of Iranian influence: banks, medical personel, contruction and engineers. Is the Maliki gov't, composed of Shiite revolutionaries, really worth fighting for?

Sure the surge may roust Sunni insurgents from Baghdad and calm things down for a spell . . . all for the benefit of a Shiite Islamist alliance. Crazy.

2/16/2007 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Fighting Iran in Iraq:

http://2164th.blogspot.com/2007/02/fighting-iran-in-iraq.html

2/16/2007 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Buzz said...

what do you think of This ABC News report re. AQ and Iraq pre Bush
HT Powerline

2/16/2007 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Elijah said...

"Momentum? Momentum without direction. What matters if we gain velocity or temporarily surge, if we're only running circles in the sand? Think not? Then please tell us all why we should be strengthening a pro-Iranian, por-Hezbollah, Shiite Islamist gov't whose hierarchy is riddled with terrorists who have shed American blood?"


...Perhaps you just do not know what you are seeing and your time frame for success is too rushed...

If the goal is Iranian Shia nukes acutely and Saudi-sponsored Sunni Wahhabism chronically, the strategic tactic is to turn the enemy one against the other, such that they deplete their resources fighting one another, lessening each side's ability to attack the West.

It has failed so miserably?...

Bush's surge is perfect if the template is divide and rule. The Battle of Sadr City will divide the Shi'ites into a pro-US "elite" (SCIRI and Da'wa) and a guerrilla force of the damned (the Sadrists). It will divide the Shi'ites from the Kurds(peshmergas from Kurdistan killing Shi'ites in Baghdad). It will keep Shi'ites and Sunnis bitterly divided (the other battle front in the surge is against the Sunni Arab resistance). Hakim may consider himself the winner. But Zawahiri, of course, will also love it, confident that his emirate in al-Anbar - led by Abu Hamza al-Muhajir - will ride the storm. Like the White House/Pentagon, al-Qaeda after all insists on also fighting a two-pronged war, in al-Qaeda's case against the Americans and the Shi'ites.

February 16, 2007 -
(MEMRI) London-Based Syrian-Born Historian Mahmoud Al-Sayyed Al-Dugheim on Al-Jazeera: Iran Established Global Shiite Government, Operating in Accordance with the Protocols of the Mullahs of Qom, to Annihilate the Sunnis

February 9, 2007 -
(MEMRI) The Middle East on a Collision Course (4): Saudi/Sunni-Iranian/Shi'ite Conflict – Diplomacy and Proxy Wars
By: Y. Mansharof, H. Varulkar, D. Lav, and Y. Carmon

February 2, 2007 -
(Arab Times, Kuwait) Iranian and Syrian Leaders ‘as Foolish as Saddam’ “With Iran and Syria getting carried away by their illusory power, the United States has no choice but to act against them the same way it did against Saddam.”

January 29 - February 4 issue
(Tunis Hebdo) As U.S. and Iran Joust, it's Iraq's Sunnis Who Pay

February 02, 2007 edition
Shiite-Sunni conflict rises in Pakistan Attacks on Pakistan's Shiites echo rising sectarian strife in the Mideast.

Islam's Sunni-Shiite split
A look at the historic divide within the Muslim world - Dan Murphy

2/16/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Cruiser said...

Allen, thanks.

I agree with your suggested change. The great thing about the test is the adminstration can't hide the decision.

2/16/2007 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

samidaly said...

"I had 2 years of german in highschool and my biggest issue with arabic was wanting to use the german prepositions."

The language analogs between Arabic and German are interesting particularly since German is IndoEuropean while Arabic is Semitic. For example, the use of gender in the grammatical structure, placing the verb in the beginning or the end of the sentence, the use of the idaffa, etc. These analogs probably reflect some deep aspect of how humans process language. One can not see this in English because our language is such an irregular hodge-podge.

Samidaly also said...

"I like how structured arabic is.. at least MSA. but once you get on the street its a whole new story."

Writen Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and classical Arabic with all the diacritical marks included has an almost mathematical rigour to it (it is my understanding that Hebrew is the same way). Unfortunately the Arab newspapers always leave the diacritical marks off so the written language becomes vague with a mnemonic character. I'm sure this has a subliminal effect on Arabs where they compare the Koran/Qurʾān which is written very precisely with the diacritical marks versus the vague nonsense an Arab reads everyday in the newspapers.

2/16/2007 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

cruiser,

re: the adminstration can't hide the decision.

My friend, that is why G-d invented "conservative" blogs.
;-)
The administration will not want for electronic cover. Contrary to popular belief, the "libs" have no monopoly on "50 cent" shills.

At some point the Israeli public will awaken from its Europhile fixation and grasp the seriousness of its potential fate. Under proper leadership, Israel's nuclear arsenal's earth-binding potential could be used to garner real security. Nothing seems to scare the markets so much as a loose cannon.

2/16/2007 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger faeroe said...

Samidaly - '86-88 at DLI. Would it be Brendan?

2/16/2007 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

"bending" isn't bad either

2/16/2007 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger samidaly said...

faeroe

yes it would.

Now you have the advantage of me!

2/17/2007 12:12:00 AM  

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