Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Surge and Counter-surge

The car-bomb attack on a US patrol base in Diyala which killed 9 soldiers is the first of two adapatations the Sunni insurgency to the Surge. As Max Boot wrote in the Weekly Standard before the attack, the insurgents have responded to the crackdown in Baghdad by moving elsewhere, not only to preserve their forces but to exploit places where the American presence has thinned out in order to provide forces for Baghdad.

Although initially cowed by Coalition efforts, they have begun fighting back with a vengeance. Al Qaeda terrorists are suspected of responsibility for the April 12 bombings that killed at least one Iraqi member of parliament and destroyed one of Baghdad's bridges, as well as the April 18 blast in the Sadriya market that killed more than 100. Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army is suspected of responsibility for a series of rocket strikes on the U.S. embassy compound in the Green Zone. (I happened to be inside the embassy during one such attack--talking with a general, ironically enough, about improvements in security. We were interrupted by a loud thump outside and an ominous voice on the public address system telling us to "duck and cover--get away from the windows." "You were saying . . . " I said.)

But the bulk of terrorist activity has been moving outside the capital. That is not a bad thing: Controlling Baghdad, home to a fourth of the country's population and to its most important business, media, and cultural entities, is more critical than controlling the hinterland. But instability in the "Baghdad Belt" stretching from Salman Pak and Iskandariyah in the south to Falluja in the west and Baqubah and Taji in the north exacts a heavy toll. The mass-casualty attacks that are happening with greater frequency in these places obscure some of the progress being made in the capital.

The attack on the American patrol base is the second adaptation. One of the principal innovations of General Petraeus has been to move US forces out of heavily defended mega-bases into smaller outposts they share with Iraqi Army and Police units. This redeployment into the field has three advantages. First, it overcomes the problems inherent in a dual chain of command caused by an American force operating in a legally sovereign country. Second, it shortens the decision cycle. Third, it reduces the dangers inherent in route marches from the mega-bases to the area of operations. Unfortunately, outposting American troops to smaller patrol bases probably means that each outpost is individually weaker than the mega base. The dual chain of command and the deployment into Iraqi communities is described by Fred Kagan, also writing in the Weekly Standard.

The new strategy resulted from a combination of Iraqi proposals and discussions within the Bush administration and among American commanders. The collaborative nature of the plan led to the creation of dual chains of command: American forces report to Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I), and from him to Petraeus. Iraqi forces, both army and police, report through their own commanders to one of two division commanders (one on either side of the Tigris River, which divides Baghdad). Those commanders report to Lieutenant General Abboud Gambar, commander of Operation Fardh al-Qanoon (Enforcing the Law), the Iraqi name for what we call the Baghdad Security Plan. Gambar reports to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. This bifurcation of command poses significant challenges of coordination, but Generals Petraeus, Odierno, and Gambar have developed tactics that mitigate them.

The new plan pushes most U.S. forces out into the population. Americans and Iraqis are establishing Joint Security Stations and Joint Combat Outposts throughout Baghdad. U.S. and Iraqi soldiers eat, sleep, and plan together in these outposts and then conduct mounted and dismounted patrols continually, day and night, throughout their assigned neighborhoods. In Joint Security Stations I visited in the Hurriya neighborhood, in the Shiite Khadimiya district, American and Iraqi soldiers sleep in nearly adjoining rooms with unlocked and unguarded doors between them. They receive and evaluate tips and intelligence together, plan and conduct operations together, and evaluate their results jointly. Wherever they go, they hand out cards with the telephone numbers and email addresses of local "tip lines" that people can call when they see danger in the neighborhood. Tips have gone up dramatically over the past two months, from both Sunnis and Shiites, asking for help and warning of IEDs and other attacks being prepared against American and Iraqi forces. People have also called the tip lines to say thanks when a dangerous individual was removed from the streets.

Essentially the enemy is counter-maneuvering to oppose General Petraeus by ceding its strongholds in Baghdad and shifting forces elsewhere and by focusing their attacks on the individual smaller joint security stations. By massing their resources against a single security station, the insurgents hope to subject an otherwise unassailable American force to defeat in detail. Each side is dishing it out. Max Boot's article describes the horrible losses inflicted on enemy personnel and cached materiel day and night. These range from clearing operations which kill hundreds of insurgents to nonstop raids. He writes:

An important aspect of this campaign has been waged largely out of the limelight by Coalition and Iraqi Special Forces. Every night, these "operators" stage precision raids based on accurate intelligence that capture or kill Shiite and Sunni extremists at scant cost to themselves. The most valuable targets are "serviced" by a Joint Special Operations Command task force known as OCF-I, commanded by Lieutenant General Stan McChrystal. OCF-I stands for Other Coalition Forces-Iraq, a counterpoint to the common military euphemism for the CIA: OGA, or Other Government Agency.

What remains to be seen is what political countermoves are in the offing. Boot, Kagan and Gerecht all argue that with the arrival of General Petraeus, US policy has moved away from an attempt to straddle the middle between the Sunni and Shi'ites to a conscious decision to throw in with Iraqi government, even though that effectively means siding with the Shi'ites for so long as the Shi'ites behave in an acceptable and democratic way. In an article called On Democracy in Iraq, Gerecht argues that this is the only way forward.

And politically, Iraq is coming alive again. A Shiite-led Iraqi democracy is taking root--an astonishing achievement given the concerted efforts of the Iraqi Sunnis, and the surrounding Sunni Arab states, to attack and delegitimize the new Iraq. The country's obstreperous, stubborn, highly nationalist, Shiite prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, appears increasingly to be a man of mettle and courage. Slowly but surely, he is distancing himself from the clerical scion, Moktada al-Sadr, the overlord of the Sunni-shooting Mahdi Army. Maliki is so far holding his ground after the resignation of Sadr's men in his government.

This distancing was inevitable once the Americans reversed the disastrous tactics of former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and General John Abizaid, which had allowed Sadr and his allies to become the only defenders of Baghdad's Shiites against the Sunni insurgents and holy warriors. Maliki and Sadr are not natural allies intellectually or temperamentally; Maliki's diverse and fractious Dawa party is of a different social milieu from the uneducated young men who give Sadr power. Although Sadr will surely continue to have a significant political following (his family name alone ensures that), his base of support even within Baghdad's Shiite slum, Sadr City, is not guaranteed, provided the central government can bring security and minimal economic opportunity. There are many reasons Sadr has not rallied his men against the American surge, which has already penetrated deeply into Sadr City with minimal resistance. One of those reasons is that Sadr would not be popular with many of the area's denizens if he did.

Readers may want to argue whether Gerecht's assessment is in fact correct, but it is safe to say that Kagan, Boot and Gerecht writing in the Weekly Standard all identify the Sunni insurgency as the primary enemy. Kagan puts the proposition baldly:

The United States and the government of Iraq are at war with a cluster of enemies: Al Qaeda in Iraq, affiliated Islamist groups, and determined Sunni insurgents who wish to overthrow the elected government. In addition, they face a number of "spoilers" who have played an extremely negative role so far and could derail progress if not properly managed: Shiite militias, criminal gangs, Iranian agents, and negative political forces within the Iraqi government. The distinction between enemies and spoilers is important. Enemies must be defeated; in the case of al Qaeda and other Islamists, that almost invariably means capturing or killing them. Spoilers must be managed. It is neither possible nor desirable to kill or capture all the members of the Mahdi Army or the Badr Corps. Dealing with those groups requires a combination of force and politics. Bad leaders and the facilitators of atrocities must be eliminated, but reducing popular support for these groups' extremism, coopting moderates within their ranks, and drawing some of their fighters off into more regular employment are political tasks. American and Iraqi leaders have been using both force and politics to manage these challenges.

That is Kagan's assessment and he is entitled to it. As one of the publicly identifiable conceptual fathers of the Surge it is possible that Kagan's view is also the official view. But the shallowness with which the public debate over the war in Iraq has been conducted by both parties has meant that even at this late stage, it is largely unclear to the public whether "Al Qaeda in Iraq, affiliated Islamist groups, and determined Sunni insurgents" are indeed the primary enemy. But if we assume the truth of this for a moment, then it is reasonable to assume that the enemy will also counter-maneuver against the political component as it has against the military. Kagan comes closest to identifying the vital point that al-Qaeda in Iraq must hit in order to successfully foil the political component of the Surge.

The reasons for the drop in sectarian killings are important. First and foremost, after President Bush's announcement of the surge, both Moktada al Sadr and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and its militia, the Badr Brigade, called upon their followers not to kill other Iraqis. Sadr has remained true to this appeal despite his recent renewal of his longstanding demand for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces. The fact that sectarian killings responded to the orders of Shiite leaders speaks volumes about the nature of those killings. Despite the oft-repeated myth that Iraq's Sunnis and Shiites have been killing each other for centuries, the drop in sectarian murders since January shows that last year's killing was motivated by politics rather than primordial hatred. It was organized and rational rather than emotional, and it is therefore susceptible to persuasion through force, politics, and reason. The idea that Iraq is trapped in a civil war that we can only allow to be fought out to its conclusion is so far unproven and is not a justification for withdrawal.

American political hopes rest on the Shi'ites keeping their cool and resisting any large scale attempts to lash out uncontrollably. There have been simultaneous American efforts to divide the Sunni insurgency by working with the Anbar tribes, taking advantage of the alienation caused by al-Qaeda in Iraq's vicious brutality and unyielding fundamentalism. (This process is vividly described by Outside the Wire.) If the Sunnis insurgents could arrange for Iran to turn Sadr or some other Shi'ite leader into loose cannons, the both could cooperate in politically undermining the US, in the hopes of removing it from the board leaving the field clear for the two Muslim parties to settle differences between themselves later. We have already seen the tactical response of the Sunni insurgents to the surge. But their political response has not yet been been unveiled. Can the Sunni insurgents forge an alliance of convenience with their sectarian enemies to evict a common foe by concluding a 21st century Molotov-Ribbentrop pact? Time alone will tell.

The US operation in Iraq has consciously or accidentally, but nevertheless definitely had the effect of transforming it into the central battlefield of the current world crisis. The al-Qaeda type forces have converged there because there they can attack the hated American in the heart of the Arab world. But that circumstance also allows US combat power to be focused on individuals who would otherwise be scattered throughout the world. But the contest in Iraq is not purely military; it is also political and psychological. What is underappreciated is that the war in Iraq has also forced Sunni Islamic fundamentalism to indirectly take the Shi'ite world and explicitly show the world its political face. A victory in Iraq for either side will not simply be one of arms, but of legitimacy.

Whatever the future holds it is well to remember that we are only in the opening rounds of the "Surge" itself. Kagan writes: "Major clear-and-hold operations are scheduled to begin in late May or June, and will take weeks to complete, area by area. After that, it may be many more weeks before their success at establishing security can be judged. General Petraeus has said he will offer an evaluation of progress in the fall." At the rate things are developing, May is an eternity away.


Blogger Jamie Irons said...


Before reading your excellent analysis, I had already read Boot's, Kagan's and Gerecht's articles; your writing deepens my understanding of what they were contending, and also provides very useful criticism. To a non-expert, non-historian like myself, this war is bewildering. And I think it is the bewilderment of many here in the US that both the enemy (enemies) and the Democrats (another sort of enemy) are counting on to win.

I personally think the "surge" has a chance of succeeding, but it would definitely benefit from a better selling job by the administration.

I read elsewhere (I think it was Michael Barone) that General Petraeus is scheduled to testify before congress, but the Pelosi-Reid types aren't even going to show up.

Jamie Irons

4/24/2007 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Recently the Messopotamian blog estimated the cost of the insurgency to those who bank roll it at 10 billion dollars a year. I think that might be a bit high. Still, that's a lot of money to spend on Arabs killing Arabs--mostly financed by Arabs. Wouldn't they rather spend that money on better Day Care and Community Center suicide murder attacks in the Pacific Northwest (in hopes of making it even more pacific)?

They need to destroy some US units to get their money's worth. But as they engage in "big Unit" operations their command and control will be exposed. Plus, as the insurgency wears itself down attacking the US units the Iraqi Military can build itself up.

Then they will be back to Arabs Killing Arabs at the expense of other Arabs making Arabs and Islam look bad.

That's why they hate these walls. They support sociopathic terrorist to direct them outwards. Then they don't want to be walled in with them. The thought that the entire asylum might be left in the care of the most deranged inmates cannot be a pleasant one.

4/24/2007 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

Jamie: "but it would definitely benefit from a better selling job by the administration."

How weary I am of constantly seeing this refrain, especially given its obvious untruth. Very similar to the supposedly disastrous plan developed under Donald Rumsfeld.

How about admitting that we're facing worthy adversaries in Iraq? Among the Sunni and the Shii?

Every prior course of action that could have been taken by the administration, every single one of them, led down dangerous paths that would have been every bit as ominous as the current state of affairs -- or worse.

That's why it was courageous to take action in the face of European opposition and it is courageous to persevere now.

Kurdish Sunni's? Check +.
Arab Shiite's? Check -.
Arab Sunni's? Proper losers.

It couldn't be any other way.

4/24/2007 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

re: Max Boot's article describes the horrible losses inflicted on enemy personnel and cached materiel day and night. These range from clearing operations which kill hundreds of insurgents to nonstop raids.

While publicizing these disasters visited upon our adversaries might “inflame” the Muslim “street”, there must be millions of Americans who would take heart at the news. The popularity of videos showing sucessful American airstrikes, for example, make the point, I think. How the administration hopes to win the PR battle at home, when its public is daily bombarded with bad news only, is puzzling. Let us see the results of these “horrible losses inflicted on enemy personnel.”

While slightly off topic, after hundreds of Palestinian violations, Hamas has called a halt to the "ceasefire" due to Israeli "provocations." There is nothing that works better for the Muslims than a shooting war with Israel, when their backs are to the wall elsewhere.

4/24/2007 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

How does the most powerful nation-state on this planet find itself stymied in Iraq? Every day we can read thoughts on how to win, why we are not winning, what needs to be done, what isn't being done...and we're three years down the road here. If I recall, prior to Desert Storm, Americans were in Iraq, they were helping to undermine Iran, etc. Did our State Department not know about Iraqi society, government, political leaders...good guys, bad guys, real problems, potential problems? Where did all that information go? Yet, three years down this road, with billions of our treasure gone,thousands dead and injured, with no major oil contracts coming from Iraq, we Americans are supposed to hold on while this new General gives it his best? Our lawyer dominated Congress, a true bastion of Passive Aggressive wise men and women, all of them American veterans who know what it is to wear the proud uniform of America, offers great support to those in the field with guns, etc. All we citizens have to do is "hold on" and "trust" our valiant leaders. Sorry, I for one do not trust Harry Reid, nor do I trust Cheney/Bush, et al. any longer. We voted for these jerks, now we are paying the price. Where's Colin Powell? I'll bet Americans would trust the words of this warrior, statesman, citizen--more than any other politician. Let's ask him what he thinks. He had his faced smeared once, maybe he wants to set the record straight, now.

4/24/2007 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Colin Powell? The one who did NOT push through in Gulf War I? The one who was publicly humiliated at the UN by Les Frogs? The one who was even worse at running State than Dr Rice, who also has lost control?

I don't think so. If you want to ask an old army guy at least ask someone who was successful. I'd listen to Stormin' Norman before I'd listen to wussy Colin.

4/24/2007 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Nahncee: Last time I checked, good 'ole Stormin Normin worked for Colin Powell. Gen. Powell stopped the war due to the Highway of Death and stated American goals. Having his faced smeared due to WMDs gives him reason to respond. Most would tell you the State Department is not manned by those who love military people, nor think veterans are smarter than diplomats within State. Clinton had a lot of people staffed at State, and they were not real chummy with Gen. Powell. Besides, would you rather have Gen Powell and Stormin Normin running this war, or those who we have had? Or, why not go around this planet asking other governments who they would believe; and by that I mean if our "leader" said we were going to do something, that those other leaders would believe it. Your line on Powell is only worthy to get him to the podium and ask some serious questions. I wonder if you would open your ears to hear his answers. I would. And I would do the same for Stormin Normin, who used to go to the Jigger shop down the street many years ago, in Lawrenceville.

4/24/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

The D-Day invasion of Normandy happened in June 1944, but if General Marshall had had his way D-Day would have happened two years earlier. The problem with Operation Sledgehammer, as opposed to Operation Overlord, is that American soldiers in 1942 were not as good as American soldiers in 1944. Although German experience, armament, and training also increased over time, the effectiveness of American forces increased at a faster clip than the effectiveness of German forces during the same period. The invasion of North Africa was peripheral and the invasion of Italy turned out to be a blind alley, yet the danger of strategic catastrophe would have been greater if the American forces who lost at Kasserine Pass had lost on the beaches of Normandy. The botched invasion at Dieppe and the disaster at Gallipoli a generation earlier gave reason for caution.

Congress has legitimate reason to ask why the strategy and tactics of General Petraeus were not adopted sooner in this war. Congress could also ask why General Casey's tenure leading coalition forces in Iraq was about twice as long as General McClellan's tenure leading the Army of the Potomac. The fact that these questions have not been asked by the Democratic opposition suggests to me that the Bush administration's incompetence would be impeachable were it not eclipsed by the incompetence of its opposition.

That said, the American military today is quite different from the American military four years ago. Unwittingly, al-Qaeda has helped train our forces. The most important metric in this war is whether our forces improve faster than our enemy's forces. Have they?

4/24/2007 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger j willie said...

In the Plame affair, Colin Powell proved himself the equal of any other duplicitous, self-serving politician in DC. Why anyone would hold him up as a beacon of integrity is beyond understanding; it is simply foolish.

4/24/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Alexis, you bring a valid thought to the table. Our forces are learning; however, beyond those soldiers on the ground, "at the tip of the spear" (Hackworth's words), one needs to look at the Rules of Engagement, in my opinion. There is a dynamic fluidity with ROEs and our political leaders. Are you suggesting the audience is leaving before the play ends? Or are you suggesting the play is coming out of summer stock, ready to play broadway? I suggest other events will drive this battle, events beyond our domestic politics. I argue for a smarter politic, leadership class, and representatives who use our military might wisely, while not forgetting our diplomatic strengths. We need a new and refreshing rhetoric that goes beyond narcissitic male/female squabbling, and tries to embolden all to a vision of modernity and opportunity. "My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty" suggests to me that Americans know we are comprised of all who dwell on this planet. To say that we are at war is to say we have failed in our communications. Somehow, I just don't see "compassionate conservatism" reaching out in this way. Nor do I see our Congress acting much better than a bitching wife (stereotype). Our soldiers on the ground deserve better. If we can't give them that, then I say we should take them out of harm's way. Let the children of our political leaders (who we elected) go into the military, then let's bring back the draft, while we are rasing our taxes to greater heights in order to repay and rebuild our military, etc. Here it comes, sooner rather than later, I suspect.

4/24/2007 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Wretchard, That’s the best piece you’ve assembled in months, among many good ones…

I’d only add one suggestion regarding anticipating the Islamist political maneuvers to counter our surge. I think it's unlikely they could align with radical Shiites so soon after provoking them into “civil war”. And because any political adjustment would have to be consistent with their military strategy, the result would be an armistice of some sort. They can’t do that. I would be interpreted as a US victory!

Instead, look for them to turn increasingly sectarian and uncooperative in order to provoke the Shiites into governing in a way that’s unacceptable to all Sunni politicians and tribal leaders. That’s a political adjustment that mirrors their military adjustment with the recent wave of market bombings and mass killings. But I think something much worse will be required to make the Shiites lose their cool this late in the game.

Killer essay never the less!

4/24/2007 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

R, you go to war with the politicians that you have, not the ones that you wish you had. Pelosi et al. merely highlight the conundrum.

4/24/2007 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Anybody unfamiliar with the Democrat Copperheads during the Civil War should read this Wikipedia entry. The parallels to today's Democrat Party are striking. I doubt that history will treat the Reid/Pelosi insurgency any kinder.

4/24/2007 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Brian H said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/24/2007 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Brian H said...

Mike H;
Ain't it the ever-lovin' truth? Well said.

P&R have gone so far down Appeasement Alley that they'll never get out before the walls fall in. Too bad. Not.

4/24/2007 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

J. Willie and Mike H.: I don't believe I described Gen. Powell as a "beacon of integrity." As to the Plame issue, has Colin Powell been under the spotlight and asked such questions? I would listen. Mike H.: Sure we go to war with those leaders in place, and we change those leaders when the chance arises...just like changing the generals who run a war. As to how history will treat Reid and Pelosi, I don't care: It's what they do today that has my attention. What I am saying is that there were different positions put forward on this war; for Iraq and Afganistan. I want to hear about those who argued against going into Iraq for the reasons we now face. I want to know why those voices were shut down in the decision making process. And I want to know the who and why of this. We've got thousands of souls who just might join me in this desire. I don't want this mass movement coming to our shores. Right now, I think the American voting public is sending such signals to our government. The Democrats certainly don't impress me. The Republicans lost my confidence. As a country, we will be paying dearly for this inept effort for years via higher taxes, etc. I'm looking for real leaders, people of character and foresight.

4/24/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Foliedeux said...

Regarding General Powell: Hearing him speak at public events, and reading between the lines of what he has published, I would say the good General does not have the heart to continue this war. 'Stormin' Norman' does.

4/24/2007 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

People with character and foresight are not going to run for public office in modern America. Who would crawl into the cesspool for a few pennies?

4/24/2007 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The reluctant warrior-statesman would be the one who would enter your "cesspool for a few pennies" as a true leader. The question is: Where is such an American?

4/24/2007 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Let us not forget the counter-surge in Congress.

During the Vietnam War a sure fire way of telling if a particular move hurt the enemy was if the anti-war types in this country yelled louder in response. And it is happening again.

Lock up Harry Reid on a charge of treason, intern Nacy Pelosi in Gitmo as an enemy combatant, and take a firing squad to the Vermont legislature, and the Iraqi insurgency probably will fall apart overnight. It's worth a try, anyway.

4/24/2007 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

r...such a warrior-statesman/leader can be found in business/industry where he can make serious money while not being ripped to pieces by the Marxist MSM.

4/24/2007 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

The importance of this endorsement remains to be seen.

Question: If a tree of liberty falls in a Democrat congress, will anyone hear?

President of Iraqi relief organization calls on Dems to rethink withdrawals


4/24/2007 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Clarice Feldman found This Page which has three people responsible for doing immeasurable damage to this country.
Marc Grossman, Joe Wilson, and Barbara Bodine.

Bodine Torpedoed our top Al Queda expert, John O'neill's investigation into Cole. O'neill ended up being forced out of the FBI, and died in the WTC.
Bodine's superior when she was ambassador to Yemen said she "simply hated his guts" even though he seemed to be doing job, re: O'neill, which makes sense, since he was a patriot, and she was a hippy New Age Arabist working for Clinton.

Grossman and Wilson led parallel careers, and when Wilson was ambassador to Iraq at the time of Desert Storm, Grossman was ambassador to Turkey.

Wilson (the "truth teller") both were Kerry supporters, and although they knew it was Powell's buddy Armitage that "leaked" Plame's name, neither they, nor Armitage nor Powell spoke up as Libby was hung out to dry, even though FITZPATRICK also knew it was Armitage!
Grossman is suspected of writing various diversionary memos to further distort the picture.

So, from Wilson's dope smoking hippy days at UCSB through the Kerry Campaign, to the screwing of Oneill, Libby, the Administration, and the Country these guys have been like peas in a pod.

Patriot Powell had some real admirable allies, and it was unfortunate in the extreme that GWB had Powell at Secretary, and left not only all the Clintonista leaking traitors at Justice, but these three Arabist/Pinko Stooges.

4/24/2007 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(Bodine was slated to take charge in Baghdad for awhile!)
This was then changed to Gen Garner, who was promptly kicked out w/o having a chance to get started.
...at least we got Viceroy Bremmer to oversee the growth of the insurgency for a year, as animosity toward our presence as occupiers grew in parallel.

4/24/2007 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Wilson (the "truth teller")AND Grossman both were Kerry supporters"

4/24/2007 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

August 30, 2006 The Powell-Armitage-Wilkerson cabal
Clarice Feldman
Draw your own conclusions from the fact that Armitage's best friend Colin Powell called Dick Cheney's supporters (including Scooter Libby, Doug Feith and Paul Wolfowitz) the "Gestapo Office" (quite insulting considering that there is a history of relatives lost in the Holocaust among them).

Factor in that Powell called Doug Feith "a card—carrying member of the Likud Party" and referred to the Likudnicks in the White House controlling policy during his "exit interview with Bush" (see Assassin's Gate: America in Iraq) — thereby showing his support for anti—Semitic conspiracy theorists.

Don't forget that Powell is also joined at the hip with Brent Scowcroft — no friend of Israel and an investor in the Saudi—funded Carlyle Group?

Consider that Armitage felt it was fine for Libby to undergo undeserved torment during Fitzgerald's inquisition and that Colin Powell also knew that Armitage was the leaker but kept quiet about his knowledge when interviewed by the Justice two days after Amitage admitted to Powell he was the leaker.

Remember that Powell's other good friend, and former chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, sees no problem with teaching his college courses at William and Mary and George Washington University using the Walt/Mearsheimer Israel Lobby Paper — and that many have criticized as being anti—Semitic? Wilkerson believes the paper contains "blinding flashes of the obvious."

4/24/2007 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A True Patriot:
Consider that Armitage felt it was fine for Libby to undergo undeserved torment during Fitzgerald's inquisition
and that Colin Powell also knew that Armitage was the leaker but kept quiet about his knowledge when interviewed by the Justice two days after Amitage admitted to Powell he was the leaker.

4/24/2007 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ah, the humor of it all! Plame and Wilson live up the road in Santa Fe, Rumsfled too. Here, we listen to Richardson expound on his talkative talents. Where are the truths to be found? Berger walks, while thousands of our men and women roam the roads of Iraq and Afganistan, among other sites where terror lurks, risking lives on a daily basis, and for some the surrender of life. Reid and Pelosi gamble on our short memories. Bush looks now, totally befuddled. Petreaus wants to win (defined by who?). And most of us on this planet just desire peace and prosperity. Who has a voice to bring us the truth and the wisdom to unite our views to end this carnage? What we Americans do best is create and work. What we have here are different and unique harmonies not in sync. Maybe time will provide the necessary energies to sort this out; we don't seem ready yet.

4/24/2007 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, Libby thinks it's HILARIOUS!
Some of Wilkerson's sources of "blinding flashes of the obvious:"
NPR enlisted one other rabid Israel-hater, Paul Findley. Elated at the appearance of the Walt-Mearsheimer study, he enthused: "You can't imagine how pleased I was." Findley is founder and chairman of the radical anti-Israel group, the Council for the National Interest.

CNI has long cozied up to Islamist groups, including those on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations.
In early 2006, for example, CNI leaders met in Damascus with Hamas chieftain Khaled Meshal as well as with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

A CNI advertisement in the New York Times explained:
"Many Americans do not understand that Hamas is a typical anti-colonial insurgency responding to an Israeli occupation and what amounts to government terror against Palestinian civilians."

Findley's bizarre claims also include his contention that Israel's Mossad was implicated in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But NPR's Deborah Amos introduced this man as simply "a former Republican Congressman" with no hint of his wild theories and charges.

NPR in its pandering to Walt and Mearsheimer did not interview another outspoken fan of theirs – former Ku Klux Klan head David Duke who warmly endorsed their study as "a great step forward."

Had they enlisted the white supremacist, no doubt Steve Inskeep would have introduced him simply as a former Louisiana legislator.

4/24/2007 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

"Sheik Bumpkin have you seen anyone new in your village or farmlands lately."

"American Captain, God Willing, I think Omar of the Palm Grove and his three wives saw six sons of a Syrian camel and an Iranian Goat digging all night in the Tigris Oxbow west of the village."

"Sheik Bumpkin, what were they digging for?"

"American Captain, those six sons of a Syrian cesspool and and Iranian garbade dump were digging their graves."

Initiative has passed back to the Iraqis and the US.

Far from an adjustment, the movement into the countryside is one of desperation.

Now the AIF will be busy moving around, trying to avoid detection by the locals, by the Iraqi Army, and by US Patrols.

Like the Nez Perce, they will be harried into exhaustion.

Telltales will be wholesale surrenders and mass encirclement coupled with very sharp firefights.

This is endgame.

4/24/2007 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Red River: I could go for your supposition. Winning is always better than losing, even when married!

4/24/2007 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

They should take a tip from the Nez Perce. Settle down, go into the casino business, sell cigarettes and fuel, no taxes. They would do well.

4/24/2007 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

r, I understand that the impetus is to change things every five minutes but allow me to relate a story concerning change. One morning at two I was driving down the east side of Fourth of July pass. It was winter going on spring and the roads were laden with black ice and I was in a 40000 lb straight truck. I hit the bottom curve at 15 mph and lost traction. My choices were to continue driving with a slight adjustment and try to keep from being flipped over the median or have a panic and try changing everything at once. I figured that I might have my panic at the bottom of the hill and drove out of the slide. At the bottom I found that I didn't need the panic. The public didn't need their panic during the Civil War they kept Lincoln.

4/24/2007 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Wretchard writes: "the [Sunni] enemy will also counter-maneuver against the political component... If the Sunnis insurgents could arrange for Iran to turn Sadr or some other Shi'ite leader into loose cannons, the both could cooperate in politically undermining the US."

This political counter-maneuver--a 21st century Molotov-Ribbentrop pact--has always been the "united front" proposed by Sadr himself.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq, however, appears to embrace a different political strategy that is ALREADY based on the allegedly pro-Shiite politics of the surge: attack US-aligned Shiites, provoke Shiite retaliation against Sunnis (this part turns Sadr's ranks into "loose cannons" aka "Shiite death squads"), and mobilize the Sunni masses into a (sectarian and anti-occupation) war against the US-Shiite alliance.

Every Sunni bomber that attacks a Shiite neighborhood, mosque, or market is already putting into effect the political counter-maneuver.

Nevertheless, your reading of the "Shiite tilt" being promoted by Gerecht and others fits very well with my own interpretations of the Right Zionist agenda being promoted. I, too, am not yet certain that it is "official" policy, however.


4/25/2007 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Mike H.: Years ago, I was riding my Kawasaki bike up to Madrid. While approaching a totally blind S curve, I realized my speed was too excessive. I had three choices: 1) dive to the inside track (which was to my left) exposing me immediately to oncoming traffic if any were to come around the curve, 2) attempt to take the turn within my range of expertise where a crash would have the asphalt grind off my flesh should I not make it, or 3) go to the outside, off the asphalt, into the "soft stuff" and take my chances while laying down the bike. I choose #3. When I awoke 35 yards down a steep embankment, I realized little of me had been broken, just cut with one possible finger fracture. I crawled up, hitched a ride back to town, got the bike later that nite, and slept knowing how lucky I had been, given my poor judgement in riding that day. Two weeks later, I had a chance to replace this bike with an exact model. Instead, I choose to end my street bike riding days. It wasn't panic that helped me make my decision, more like common sense: Motorcycle riders only have three types of accidents: 1) rider show off, 2) rider inexperience, and 3) "Officer, I never saw him coming"...only #3 awaited for me. So, panic versus common sense...sounds like a normal dance to me. The question has always been,which is to lead?

4/25/2007 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

The US operation in Iraq has consciously or accidentally, but nevertheless definitely had the effect of transforming it into the central battlefield of the current world crisis. The al-Qaeda type forces have converged there because there they can attack the hated American in the heart of the Arab world.

Wretchard over emphasizes the hatred of Americans, it is not the core motivation for Al Qaeda. Theirs is a struggle for a revivalist political system and against modernity/accomodation/democracy. Even if the Americans were not there any modernity in Iraq would be a definite target.

And not only a target for Al Qaeda, modernization runs counter to the interests of all of the non-democratic regimes in the region. The regimes were always going to disrupt this. Thus Al Qaeda is now growing as it offers a vehicle for attacking the unwanted modernity and/or Shia power that Iraq has become from behind a smokescreen of Al Qaeda terror. The regimes are using Al Qaeda as the lesser of two evils.

But that circumstance also allows US combat power to be focused on individuals who would otherwise be scattered throughout the world.

Yes, but without the circumstances these individuals might well have chosen another career. For without the circumstances Al Qaeda would not have the funds to recruit many of the forces they are using in the confrontation.

4/25/2007 06:38:00 PM  

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