Friday, May 11, 2007

Ear to the Ground

Westhawk looks at Bing West's latest trip report from Iraq. Bottom line: Iraqis on the ground are increasingly doing well but Iraqis at the top are screwing up. One reason why diplomatic solutions sometimes fail is that higher levels of abstraction are achieved at the price of losing information in detail. This problem is solved in data-mining situations by allowing the user to "drill down" and rediscover the detail. But that presumes you have a drill. This loss of information is especially acute in countries where national systems do not have an adequate correspondence with actors on the ground. Whatever the shortcomings of the US involvement in Iraq might be, especially under the strategy where troops are fielded in community-based joint security stations or patrol bases, is that it has resulted in a "bit bang" or information explosion which mutually influences operations on the ground on both the Iraqi and American sides.


Mr. West’s post at SWJ suggests a possible strategy that might emerge after the September “blowup” in Washington: a decentralized, “bottom-up” approach wherein American advisors work exclusively with local security units (the one part of the security equation that seems to work), while ignoring the dysfunctional central government (which doesn’t work).

This is not to say that an American presence on the ground is required indefinitely, but maybe it is rational to argue that the last four years in Iraq have bought a lot of information and capability that would otherwise not have made it into the military system at all. Based on what I have heard, the State Department is far, far behind the Defense Department in the game of having an "ear to the ground", which is really ironic because while it is the job of career diplomats to be the best informed about conditions in foreign countries they are sometimes the most dis-informed because their natural operating environment is at the level of leadership, which in Iraq might be a nest of intrigue comparable of world-class proportions.

62 Comments:

Blogger ADE said...

"that higher levels of abstraction are achieved at the price of losing information in detail

and if your abstraction is in conflict with the detail, then your abstraction is wrong, and will lead to grief.

I work in the area of bringing cultural change to organisations seriously adrift. It usually results in the wipe-out of top and middle management. It is a two-stage process:

(1) wreck the existing culture

(2) rebuild.

There can be no compromise, it is life or death, and to be successful you need to have:

(a) A new strong leader who is ruthless, but without direct personal gain (eg, not placing cronies as permanents, although he/she will need a group of about three like-minded people to run shotgun in the short-term), and who is going to go after a short period.

(b) Convince the quiet majority that the old days are all over, and never coming back. They'll know anyway, they just can't say it.

(c) Break the group-think and the related mantras of group membership. ("What have the Romans ever done for us"). You do this by installing foreign bodies as new middle management. This breaks the groupthink, and forces decision making onto the basis of evidence - the data mining level to which W refers. The best example I have of this is where the head of a large IT department (which was Non-American, white, male, sports mad) was replaced by a black American female. Conversation became strictly business - mirable visu).

(d) Force out the people who cannot change.

(e) Replace them with outsiders aligned to the new regime, but where it is clearly understood that the outsiders will be leaving eventually, and will be nominating their successor.

(f) work on the evidenced-based level with those below middle management.

Having said that, of course nobody got murdered because they were a change-agent.

So some of what is happening in Iraq is aligned with the above. The strong leader, sadly, is in doubt.

Anyway, when we win in Iraq, will it be the change agent so desperately needed by the Arabs?

ADE

5/11/2007 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger some said...

ADE,

Whom do you think capable of pulling off that sort of change to State or CIA?

5/11/2007 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger ADE said...

some,

The issue has to be existential for the organisation. In short, a customer and a competing vendor.

Let's outsource State and CIA.

ADE

5/11/2007 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Unclassified Interview with LTC Yingling

A failure in generalship

H/T Small Wars Journal

***

5/11/2007 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

ADE,

I've seen your work. Some ass (who doesn't know anything about the business) comes in, slashes and burns everything down, populates desks with lesser asses and destroys the group cohesion of those who know the business. The asses depart with bags-o-cash. The business falls on it's ass and the work is outsourced to Mongolia (which is what the owners wanted to do in the first place). Possums gotta eat too I guess.

5/12/2007 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger ADE said...

lugh, lugh, lugh,

populates desks with lesser asses and destroys the group cohesion of those who know the business

The whole point is that they don't know the business, or else they are lackies of those who pretend they do.

Bugger group cohesion! There is no cohesion, there's just you and me. One of us is right, the other has to change their view. The whole point of Western civilisation is the Right/Wrong issue.

It's easy to be cohesive about the wrong thing - flat earth comes to mind.

If they know the business, why is it failing? Why is Islam dead? Why is the ME dead? Why are non-Islamics being blown up? Just leave the asses to continue BAU, you reckon? 'Spose they know their business, though.

See allen's links. They're on the button.

ADE

5/12/2007 01:14:00 AM  
Blogger R said...

You can spend time writing a lot of words trying to express thoughts on how to keep this dead horse alive. However, when one looks at this "horse" really hard; well, it's dead. This is a new time in the history of warfare, and this administration along with our congress has failed to come to terms with the new parameters of modern warfare. These suicide bombing, foot washing, bearded 13th century peoples have stymied the greatest and most powerful nation on this earth for over 3 years. With all the brain power we have...

Sorry, I forgot who we are. Yea, gas is now over $3.35 a gallon, booming ecomony, etc. My fault, we are great, we're gonna win, just hold on till we learn more...blah blah, blah.

We've elected nothing more than some of the 60's finest narcissists to run our world. I, for one, am very tired of these clowns. And when I think of those 6000 plus souls who have died since 9/11 and the thousands who have been injured...I seem to have lost my patience to read more garbage on how we just need to tweak this game a little more: Put your sons or daughters in that rat hole while you try to "tweak" this game! Narcissists are no good!

5/12/2007 03:46:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

The funny thing is the culture in Washington DC is just about as clueless as the one in and around the Iraqi central government. Glenn Reynolds linked to a column by Morton Kondacke which was about a strategy for winning badly in Iraq by allowing Shias to ethnically cleanse Sunnis.

The whole thing is based on premises which were true 1 year ago but not now. The premise is that we are losing the war with Sunni insurgency. For the last few months the Sunni tribes are helping us fight Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Why we would want to stop that and withdraw is beyond me.

And bravo to Bing West, what a great man. Thirteen trips to Iraq, in a league with Michael Yon.

5/12/2007 06:14:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Sometimes you gotta' find the upside. I took another look at Thomas Barnett's stuff (Pentagon's New Map) and although I think he is way too optimistic about the willingness of other countries in the Core to chip in on future post-conflict reconstruction, I do think he has it right about the necessity of having a competent post-conflict structure.

No matter what else you have to say about our experience in Iraq this is the first time that this kind of mission has been attempted. We defeated the Iraqi army in short order but never conquered the country to make the population feel defeated.

Great Britain had a colonial administration structure during its days of empire where people were educated and trained for life long careers in the colonies. They knew what worked and exactly what they had to do to maintain order in the colonies and to make them productive. Although you cannot parallel it to today's environment GB's colonial administration is the historical precedent for today's post-conflict structure.

The colonial administration policed the colonies and more importantly built the indigenous institutions (courts, civil administration, banking) necessary to allow the colonies to function as a semi-autonomous civil society.

After many false starts, and in-course corrections, and regardless of the immediate outcome, what the US will take out of Iraq is a competent core of post-conflict administrators who can write the book and train tomorrow's professionals. This is a hard lesson but the experience will be invaluable in future conflicts.

5/12/2007 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger R said...

For Peter Boston: "Here's your upside"

Thousands of Americans have gone to Afghanistan and Iraq, and elsewhere wearing a US military uniform. They have come from active and reserve units from all over this land. They have seen the faces, the cultures of those who are breeding enemies seeking to destroy western societies.

Our military personnel have been able to look back at the United States and watch how our major institutions (like the media, etc.) have supported, or not supported their efforts. They have come to know how their elected government has behaved toward their needs, and how politically they have been undermined.

They have experienced the deaths of fallen comrades; the pain of those who sit in hospitals wondering if, when he or she returns to civilian life, society will shun them, or embrace them?

Yes, we have thousands of our citizens who have learned some life alternating experiences who will become a part of our social fabric, perhaps our voting citizenry. Some of them might choose to enter the political arena and work for change, etc. Others, in different ways.

Who seeks this wisdom? Peter, might you sing a different tune if your feet ever hit the ground that our warriors have walked and fought over?" I suspect so.

The only upside of this fiasco is life, and you are lucky if you still have yours!

Shame on America's politicians for allowing so many of our citizens who wear the uniform of this country to be supported in so poorly a manner in this, the 21st century!

And shame on us, its citizens, for not demanding a more effective way to counter this onslaught by those we label terrorists! We are not evil, yet we have allowed evil to enter far too deeply, in too many ways, into our world, our daily lives, our very existence!

If we're not careful, we just might reap what we've sown; sooner, rather than later!

Here's your upside: America is composed of every culture and society that exists on this planet. We extol liberty. We struggle to live such a life: "My Country 'tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Liberty!"

We need someone who can remind us of this and tell the rest of planet Earth's peoples just who the real and true American is! Maybe, from this group of veterans, we will find such a person and others to support a true and honest effort. I certainly hope so. I'll bet you do too. Let's work together on this.

5/12/2007 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

re: If the U.S. gave up on defending the central government, while U.S. forces shifted their attention to a local advisory effort, conventional U.S. forces might be able to pull back from their own patrolling. It would not matter that much what would happen to the central government if the U.S. was able to increase its influence in the provinces.
___Westhawk

So, rather than an integrated Iraq or tripartite Iraq, the US should work to create potentially hundreds of provincical, tribal, and/or localized Iraqs? This looks a lot like the Pakistani autonomous regions.

5/12/2007 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger ADE said...

Two very nice posts r

They have experienced the deaths of fallen comrades; the pain of those who sit in hospitals wondering if, when he or she returns to civilian life, society will shun them, or embrace them?


allen, in his second reference above, refers to Von Clausewitz and the three Ps of a successful project, the first P being Passion.

After the bombing of New York, the Pentagon, where's the passion? Is America the new patsie for the world?

Who's culture needs changing?

ADE

5/12/2007 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

To me, the bottom line is becoming "making the Iraqi people responsible for their own behavior". I don't care if they're Sunni or Shiite -- torture, beheading, laziness, and greed are *not* behaviors that should enable anyone to get ahead in life.

I think we tried ADE's theory initially by coming in and taking out top and middle management in Baghdad, and trying a new system to show the Arabs how it *could* be done.

To date, the Iraqi's have shown a distinct preference for reverting to the "System of Saddam", with Maliki and Sadr being absolute failures both as human beings and as 21st century leaders.

I don't know that we can teach a bunch of barbarians how to be human beings. At this point, I'm thinking not, and it's an evolutionary leap they will have to make on their own. Or fail to make, because that's the way Darwin predicted species like the dodo bird would turn out.

I also don't see that a bunch of 13th Century savages have defeated us. What they *have* done is to cling stubbornly to their 13th Century mindset to outwait us, and then go back to their germ-like swarming. After all, the 13th Century savages have not been able to bring their behavior or their philosophy into our country; there is absolutely no concern at all that should they land tomorrow in New York or Los Angeles, they would immediately be overcome and killed ... or laughed out of town.

I think there needs to be a third option besides "winning" and "losing", and that would be "creating instability". The Muslim world has been teetering along for decades praising Allah, starving to death and killing each other. They have now been introduced to new concepts such as "police", "law", "elections", "women's rights" ... and I have to believe that those concepts will percolate under the surface until the Arabs people themselves decide to rise up and demand their implementation. With or without accompanying "allah u akbar"s.

And if the Iraqi people do NOT choose to embrace the gifts we have presented to them, then they will die. Which is what nature likes to see germs do.

I just don't see where this advancing to embrace civilization concept is our fight any more. If they want to stay savages, fine. Just stay there in your Arab hellholes while you're being savages. If Arabs want to join the rest of us in the 21st Century, that's equally fine -- but they need to rise up on their own and earn that right. Freedom isn't free, no matter how many times you claim the rights of victimhood.

5/12/2007 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger ADE said...

Great post, nahncee.

If Arabs want to join the rest of us in the 21st Century, that's equally fine -- but they need to rise up on their own and earn that right. Freedom isn't free, no matter how many times you claim the rights of victimhood.



but they need to rise up on their own and earn that right.

Well they won't, of course, rise up on their own. But when they see Seargent Mary Murphy do it, they might get the picture.

Eventually.

ADE

5/12/2007 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Nahncee, our adversaries have no need to abandon their “13th century” tastes, because the West has meekly surrendered the superiority of Western values, claiming, instead, that all cultures have equivalent efficacy and standing. This surrender of the moral high ground goes directly to the passionless responses observed by Ade.

5/12/2007 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

r

I have no clue where you are going to or coming from for that matter.

If anything our experience in Iraq has shown that while our combat power is unmatched and unstoppable that in 2002 we did not have a professional post-conflict structure in place to properly shape the victory. Iraq was a unique mission in an area of the world where nothing similar had ever been attempted. It should neither be alarming nor surprising that we ran into problems. That is the human experience. By the same token no society on earth has ever exhibited a greater capacity to solve the unexpected problem.

My point is very simply that regardless of the immediate outcome that the Iraq experience has provided us with a professional core of post-conflict administrators that did not exist prior to 2002. Iraq will not be the last mini war of the 21 century. Why you would consider that a negative factor I have no clue.

5/12/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

Um yeah Bing, bottom-up will be the ticket. Yesterday a US patrol is stopped at an Iraqi checkpoint, grenaded and machine gunned. Five dead and 3 captured (probably being carved-up alive as we sit here exchanging messages).

This is what you get when you disperse US troops amongst these muck savages. Softer targets.

We're trying to teach donkeys to ball-room dance.

Let us go Roman Legion on these neanderthals. When they start doing Masadas on reports that US troops are coming, we will have them properly calibrated to our expectations.

Otherwise, get the hell out.

It's time to stop fretting about whether they love us, they need to fear us.

5/12/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

When Westerners at Tufts University satirically pointed out some of the distinctions between them (Islam) and us, the University elite attempted suppression and repression.
Some hates are more equal than others

The Gates of Vienna has covered extensively the same sort of abuse by the European elite. Gates of Vienna

If the value systems of the West and Islam are equivalent, why fight? Since they are equivalent in the "minds" of the Western elite, including the present American administration, this equivalency helps fuel the call for withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is good news, as evidenced by Tufts and others: some of the Western public is starting to get it. If those who support the right to free speech will make themselves heard, more of the public will start to get it. Eventually, with a knowledgeable public, the lessons learned in Iraq (per Peterboston) will have great value.

5/12/2007 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

lugh lampfhota said...

"We're trying to teach donkeys to ball-room dance. Let us go Roman Legion on these neanderthals. When they start doing Masadas on reports that US troops are coming, we will have them properly calibrated to our expectations."

We probably are trying to teach pigs how to sing. However we are morally obligated to try.

Read Wretchard's "Three Conjectures".

"Going Roman" is always an option. Unfortunately it's an option that represents failure. The whole reason why we are going through this process is to avoid exterminating hundreds of millions of Moslems.

5/12/2007 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

“The establishment media simply aren't as interested in stories that tell of support for the war or of positive developments from the front.
They have another election to win next year.”
Fixated on Losing

***

5/12/2007 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

allen

I wonder how much influence the MSM really has. They were not able to block GWB from the WH despite a mighty effort. The French MSM, if possible, was even more virulent anti-Sarkozy without effect.

The small percentage of politically aware folks in the USA know who is doing what to whom and just usually ignore what the NYT et al have to say. I suspect the MSM preaches only to the already converted.

It's unfortunate that the media organs with the greatest reach are openly dishonest about so many things, but I think the great unwashed eventually end up getting it right most times anyway.

I suspect that we net denizens also sometimes tend to focus too much on the single incident and use it as the proxy for the whole. Maybe I'm just feeling particularly optimistic today.

5/12/2007 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

PeterBoston said...

"I wonder how much influence the MSM really has. They were not able to block GWB from the WH despite a mighty effort. The French MSM, if possible, was even more virulent anti-Sarkozy without effect."

Where the MSM is unbeatable is in the "constant repetition" tactic, e.g. Abu Ghraib, Bush is an idiot, etc. Also, the use of subliminal propaganda such as the covers of "Time" and "Newsweek" that are always visible at grocery store check-out lines are among the MSM's most powerful tools. Fortunately the MSM's power has diminished due to the Internet.

5/12/2007 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

PeterBoston said...

The small percentage of politically aware folks in the USA know who is doing what to whom and just usually ignore what the NYT et al have to say. I suspect the MSM preaches only to the already converted.

That's an interesting thesis peterboston, one with plenty of evidence to back it up. I wonder though, just how we are to balance it against an administration that has its own blatantly obvious problems with the truth ("no insurgency here," "last throes," "stay the course" etc.).

Let's take an example from the LATimes below. If the reporting is false, I'm sure that Maj. Gen. Mixon could correct it, no? And if there has been no "uptick" in sectarian killing in Bagdhad since last month (Brit Hume certainly asserts otherwise) then why the rather weak defense by Maj. Gen. Caldwell IV?

Rich Lowry once wrote in the National Review, that the MSM, while loathsome, has been largely more accurate on the arc of this misguided war than the Bush administration. That's quite a claim for a conservative, what do you think?

http://www.latimes.com/la-fg-iraq12may12,0,6633774,full.story?coll=la-home-center

THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ: PLEA FOR MORE TROOPS

General says he needs more troops
U.S. commander for northern Iraq cites the growing violence in Diyala province.

May 12, 2007

BAGHDAD — The commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq said Friday that he did not have enough troops to deal with the escalating violence in Iraq's Diyala province, an unusually frank assertion for a top officer and a sign that American military officials might be starting to offer more candid and blunt assessments of the war.

Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. "Randy" Mixon also said that the Iraqi government had failed to help the situation in the restive province and that it has been a hindrance at times by failing to support local army and police forces. Diyala borders Baghdad on the east, and violence in the province has grown as U.S. troop levels have been bolstered in the capital.

Mixon's call for help coincides with a rise in the number of sectarian death squad killings in Baghdad. U.S. officials had heralded an earlier decline in such deaths as a sign of the success of the security clampdown in the capital that began Feb. 13.

Iraq's Interior Ministry said 234 people — men whose bodies were found throughout the capital — died at the hands of death squads in the first 11 days of May, compared with 137 in the same period of April. The tally so far for May is more than half the total for all of April, when 440 bodies were found. That was a decline from previous months.

Calling the increase "very minimal," U.S. military spokesman Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV said that "there has been a slight uptick, and we're obviously very concerned about it."

Mixon, speaking Friday by teleconference from Camp Speicher, outside Tikrit, to a Pentagon news conference, said that he did not have enough soldiers to provide security in Diyala. The local government is "nonfunctional" and the central government is "ineffective," he said.

"I'm going to need additional forces," he said, "to get that situation to a more acceptable level, so the Iraqi security forces will be able in the future to handle that."

5/12/2007 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

peterboston,

re: Maybe I'm just feeling particularly optimistic today.

Hey, we're all entitled to a moment of weakness. ;-)

Your points are well taken.

Although the President's staff give every public indication of being concerned with media opinion (Tony Snow, for example), I note the Vice-President was stridently indifferent earlier in the week. Presidential "tone deafness" has been a favorite mantra of Mr. Bush's opponents. Since the war in Iraq is in its 50th month, despite the almost universal condemnation of the MSM, there is a melody to the mantra.

As someone here pointed out recently (my apology for the memory loss), on the whole the electorate is firmly divided and fixed; thus, media fixation on attempting to sway that small sliver (4%) of independent voters crucial to victory. Of course, the media also can influence "net denizens" and the party activists, likely to be determinative in primary selections.

Returning to optimism, perversely, the Muslims are themselves a cause for optimism. They have NEVER missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War, one has to be optimistic.

5/12/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I don't disagree with what has been said and I do not want to dismiss the usually unhelpful effect of the MSM, but how many people do you know - not otherwise classified as Leftie moonabats - think Abu Grahb was something more serious than a fraternity prank, or that Cindy Sheen actually deserves the air time she gets? Both of these "things" got major, major MSM attention.

I think that what the NYT writes has more influence on a handful of LAT reporters than almost anybody in the middle of that geographical exchange. Maybe I'm just projecting.

5/12/2007 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

If I were tasked with developing the strategy for the next post-conflict this is the area I would explore.

From a critical review of the book Economic Autonomy and Democracy: Hybrid Regimes in Russia and Kyrgyzstan

"McMann's book explores the link between individual economic independence from the state with proclivity to engage in politics in opposition to the state. The author argues, and her findings confirm, that citizens' willingness to engage in 'civil activities that enable institutions to function democratically' (p.183) is determined by the degree of personal economic autonomy, by which the author means 'the ability to earn a living independent of the state' (p. 4, 28)."

I think that regardless of the outcome in Iraq that Al Qaeda has no future there and is going to get pushed into Africa.

That will be a very good thing. The farther the Salafist shock troops are from the ME oil facilities and Arabland the better. That will also change the American focus of the WOT from the ME to Africa. Like it or not if mankind as a whole is going to progress then Africa is going to have to be modernized one way or another.

Hopefully the next time around the victory buzzword will be economics and not democracy.

5/12/2007 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Habu has linked to a Mark Steyn piece that is so apropos to this thread and that preceding that its absence from discussion would be harmful, I think.

Sat May 12, 04:40:00 PM EDT & Sat May 12, 04:45:00 PM EDT
"Zimbabwe to Head UN Commision on Sustainable Devlopment"

“In 2003, their report on the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe found that ‘many anti-Semitic incidents were carried out by Muslim and pro-Palestinian groups’, and so (according to The Daily Telegraph) a ‘political decision’ was taken not to publish it because of ‘fears that it would increase hostility towards Muslims’.”

5/12/2007 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

Eggplant,

I'm familiar with Wretchard's 3rd Conjecture piece. We WERE obligated to try to bring the Iraqi muck savages to civilization. We have performed the experiment and we see the results clearly. We don't owe these barbarians any more.

Failure? This damn war has been a failure since we allowed Fallujah to stand after our guys were roasted and hung from the bridge.

We are being taken to the 3rd conjecture by the long road. The only question is how many Americans have to die before we get there.

5/12/2007 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger gdude said...

nahncee said:

... there is absolutely no concern at all that should they land tomorrow in New York or Los Angeles, they would immediately be overcome and killed ... or laughed out of town.

Been to Dearborn, MI, lately? They have landed...

allen said,

...the West has meekly surrendered the superiority of Western values, claiming, instead, that all cultures have equivalent efficacy and standing. This surrender of the moral high ground...,

No, the West has concurred with Islam that its (the West's) culture is morally inferior ... if it were considered that all were the same, then we would be free to defend our own to the death, just because it was ours, right or wrong. Being morally right is sufficient, but not necessary.

5/12/2007 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

peterboston,

re: I think that regardless of the outcome in Iraq that Al Qaeda has no future there and is going to get pushed into Africa.

You are, I believe, onto something profoundly significant with this comment. Although the administration (and particularly the military) will get no credit from many critics, the ongoing deracination of Islamofascists from Somalia is an anticipatory, prophylactic operation in the direction you foresee.

While little remarked, the United States has forces in 30 countries working the issue. Progress has been made and is being made in preventing the more virulent strains of Islam from infecting future hosts. Obviously, there have been major screw-ups along the way. Sadly, there will be more. That said, this is the first administration, issues of arguable competence notwithstanding, that has made an effort to confront militant Islam, whether Sunni, Shi'a or another of its 57 varieties.

5/12/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

gdude,

re: No, the West has concurred with Islam that its (the West's) culture is morally inferior

Your comment is one to which I will have to give thought. Thanks!

5/12/2007 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

PeterBoston said...
I don't disagree with what has been said and I do not want to dismiss the usually unhelpful effect of the MSM, but how many people do you know - not otherwise classified as Leftie moonabats - think Abu Grahb was something more serious than a fraternity prank, or that Cindy Sheen actually deserves the air time she gets?

I fully concur with you on Cindy Sheehan, but among many the NON-Left Moonbats who thouht Abu Ghraib was a big deal, I'd mention three: Rumsfeld, and Generals Abizaid and Petraeus. Rumsfeld submitted his resignation twice after Abu Ghraib broke, and both times the President denied his request. History has shown that this was a mistake on the President's part, as he later came to call Rumsfeld's strategy a "slow failure".
I know for a fact that Abizaid and Petraeus were very unhappy with Abu Ghraib, especially how it would be recieved by the Arab world and effect our standing with the Iraqi people. Indeed, Petraeus now goes so far to make blanket prohibitions against any kind of tortue or other "expedient methods."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/documents/petraeus_values_051007.pdf

I think that shows that Abu Ghraib was certainly newsworthy. Whether I approve of its media potrayal is another question altogther.

5/12/2007 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

lugh lampfhota said...

"I'm familiar with Wretchard's 3rd Conjecture piece. We WERE obligated to try to bring the Iraqi muck savages to civilization. We have performed the experiment and we see the results clearly. We don't owe these barbarians any more."

It's not a question of owing the barbarians anything. The history of the Islamic world has been very mixed. Had Islam never been invented and the Byzantine Empire conquered by Western Europeans instead of Turks, the world would probably now be a much better place.

What I'm concerned about is our place in history. As we stand right now, I think the United States will look pretty good to historians two thousand years in the future. Our behavior during World War II and the Cold War was for the most part very ethical.

Lugh Lampfhota mentioned "going Roman" with the Iraqis. The Romans were very good soldiers, organizers and civil engineers. However history has judged the Romans harshly due to their misbehavior in places like Carthage and Corinth. Do we want to repeat the errors of the Romans?

So far the amount of damage we have sustained from the Iraq War has been minor compared to what we experienced in the Vietnam War and World War II. People wrongly believe the war in Iraq has been "lost" mainly because the MSM and the moonbats keeping saying so over-and-over again.

We need to be mindful of Wretchard's 3rd conjecture. Excessive force in the Middle East is almost as wrong as cowardly retreat. With perseverance, we can wear down the bad guys.

5/12/2007 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Today is the 64th anniversary of the surrender of the Akrica Korps (minus Rommel). Perhaps it would help to remember that all wars have there ups and downs (Kasserine Pass anyone?), and that victory in one battle or campaign does not mean the end of the war. Iraq is but one front in the GWOT. Victory there will not mean the end of the war. What many of the posters forget is the United States has done this before: the Phillipines. After our Splendid Little War with Spain we spent the nearly fifteen years at a cost of five thousand soliders pacifying the Phillipines. Question is modern America capable of the same effort? I hope so, because a democratic Iraq at peace with its neighbors is in the US' national interests. Like it or not, leave them alone doesn't mean they will leave us alone. 9-11 is proof of that.

"These suicide bombing, foot washing, bearded 13th century peoples have stymied the greatest and most powerful nation on this earth for over 3 years."

R - the insurgents have stymied us because we choose not to descend to their level. Otherwise one Trident submarine (24 Trident II D-5 missles X 8 475Kt warheads each) in the Persian Gulf would solve the issue once and for all. And we have 14 of those bad boys. The Carthage option is one we can do, and not even break a sweat. It is the Arabs and Persians that are playing with fire, not us.

5/12/2007 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

reocon,

Gateway Pundit has up this thread: Largest Iraqi Shiite Party Splits With Iran

How do you read this development? Is it something to write home about, or simply a nice floral arrangement at the funeral?

5/12/2007 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

allen

I don't have any insights into Shia politics in Iraq but as a general matter I do not see any reasonable motivation for the Iraqi Shia political and religious authority to give up its autonomy and willingly cede power to the Persian branch when they can have it all within Iraq. It's not like the Iranian mullahs have created a paradise on earth.

5/12/2007 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

nahncee said:

... there is absolutely no concern at all that should they land tomorrow in New York or Los Angeles, they would immediately be overcome and killed ... or laughed out of town.

Been to Dearborn, MI, lately? They have landed...


There's clumps of them here. There's clumps of them there. They have not taken over in any significant way, except for yellow-bellied dingbat insitutes of higher education giving them footbaths.

They don't have the significant minority in America that they have gained in France and in Europe. And I don't see that ever happening, either.

Most importantly, though, we are armed, and our Muslims "guests" (for they do not behave like citizens) are totally aware of that fact. You can tell the trepidation they feel by the massed ululating for the special privilege of being allowed to stay alive every time the hot light of public attention is focused on them.

THE number one whine among Saudi Arabia, for example, is that they can't get visa's to come to America, and it takes a Presidential intercession to enable their sullen brats to attend our schools. Who keeps talking about "building bridges"? It sure as hell ain't Americans trying to "build bridges" to the Middle East.

There are some here. They are trying to take advantage of our system, as they have elsewhere. And actually rather swiftly, our system is mutating to reject them; see the newly enacted legislation protecting American John Doe's who report activities such as the flying Imams.

I also think that as soon as everyone gets a really good look at who will actually *use* the hate speech legislation that they're trying to pass in the Senate, it will be instantly repealed. Because it will be Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Mohammad Al-Imam, all claiming the very same perogatives of victimhood and special treatment.

It's gonna get real crowded here in American soon, when the Mexicans, the blacks and the Muslims all meet up at the same place and the same time fighting over imaginary perks they think they have earned because of the color of their skin, and the deficiencies of their intellect.

5/12/2007 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Mark Steyn's piece

Mark S

A very worthy piece, as are most of his offerings.

5/12/2007 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

I think that for most of us our ME studies began in ernest somewhere around 9-11-02. Those who have relatives or friends in the military may have even started earlier. But ther is a book out by Michael Oren, 2007, W.W. Norton & Co. that has to be incorporated into any thinking done on the ME by this country.POWER,FAITH, ADN FANTASY covers this countries entire history with the ME. It must be read to understand things today.

From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com
Reviewed by Robert Kagan
We often hear that Americans know little about other nations; a bigger problem is that we know too little about ourselves, our history and our national character. When it comes to U.S. foreign policy, in particular, we were all born yesterday, unaware of how present policies and attitudes fit into persistent historical patterns. So when a brilliant, lucid historian such as Michael B. Oren does bring the past back to life for us, revealing both what has changed and what has stayed the same, it is a shaft of light in a dark sky.

Today, the conventional view is that George W. Bush took the United States on a radical departure when he declared a policy to transform the Middle East and that, as soon as he leaves office, U.S. policy will return to an alleged tradition of realism, rooted in the hard-headed pursuit of tangible national interests. This is both bad history and bad prophecy, as Oren shows in Power, Faith, and Fantasy, a series of fascinating and beautifully written stories about individual Americans over the past four centuries and their contact with Middle Eastern cultures.

As a historian, Oren is more storyteller than grand theorist, so as a study of the complex and contradictory motives of American behavior, his book is a bit thin. Nevertheless, three powerful themes emerge from his tales: that from the Founders onward, Americans have repeatedly tried to transform Arab and Muslim peoples -- politically, spiritually and economically -- to conform to liberal and Christian principles; that since the days of the Puritans, many Americans have been obsessed with the idea of "restoring" Palestine to the Jews; and that from the colonial era to the present, many (and perhaps most) Americans have regarded Islam as a barbaric, violent and despotic religion. Whether these purposes and perceptions have been intelligent or misguided, based on reality or fantasy, Oren shows that they have been the dominant features of our foreign policy tradition in the Middle East.

Oren demonstrates that suspicion and hostility toward Islam are almost as old as the nation. John Quincy Adams called it a "fanatic and fraudulent" religion, founded on "the natural hatred of Mussulmen towards the infidel."

This was partly religious prejudice, of course, but that prejudice was reinforced by unfortunate experience. In the perilous early years of the republic, the Muslim Barbary powers preyed on American shipping and captured, tortured and enslaved hundreds of innocent men and women. When John Adams and Thomas Jefferson implored the pasha of Tripoli to stop, Oren recounts, the pasha's emissary insisted that the Koran made it the "right and duty" of Muslims "to make war upon" whichever infidels "they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners." George Washington raged, "Would to Heaven we had a navy to reform those enemies to mankind, or crush them into non-existence." And Congress did create a navy in the 1790s primarily to crush the Barbary powers and protect American traders and missionaries. President Jefferson -- so often mislabeled as an idealist, pacifist and isolationist -- eagerly launched the war and ordered the permanent stationing of U.S. nav!

al forces thousands of miles from the nation's shores.

As Oren relates, the modest number of 19th-century Americans who lived in the Middle East largely considered Islam -- in the words of a former Confederate officer hired to improve the Egyptian army -- a religion "born of the sword," one that was "opposed to enlightenment" and crushed "all independence of thought and action." They found the oppression of Muslim women appalling. Being Americans, they thought the best antidote was a thorough transformation of culture and society. Protestant missionaries utterly failed to convert Muslims to Christianity, but they did work to spread the "gospel of Americanism": liberalism, technology and democracy.

Over the next century, American politicians and policymakers repeatedly imagined they could liberalize a people who seemed to them bursting with "democratic aspirations," as one New Dealer put it in 1943. This may have been hubris, but if so, it was an enduring hubris. Oren quotes a mid-19th-century Arab guide warning a missionary: "You Americans think that you can do everything . . . that money can buy or that strength can accomplish. But you cannot conquer Almighty God." Yet a century later, Harry S. Truman insisted, "God has created us and brought us to our present position of power . . . for some great purpose. . . . It is given to us to defend the spiritual values . . . against the vast forces of evil that seek to destroy them."

No act of international social engineering was more audacious than American support for the establishment of a Jewish state in the middle of an implacably hostile Arab world. But this idea, too, had deep roots. The earliest members of the "Israel lobby" were the Puritan settlers, who even before they reached America had petitioned the Dutch government to "transport Izraell's sons and daughters . . . to the Land promised their forefathers . . . for an everlasting Inheritance." Their prominent heirs included John Adams, who imagined "a hundred thousand Israelites" conquering Palestine; Lincoln's secretary of state, William Henry Seward; and, a century later, Woodrow Wilson, who delighted in the thought that he might "be able to help restore the Holy Land to its people." Thus, President Truman felt a deep sense of historical and religious destiny when he recognized the newly created state of Israel in May 1948, comparing himself to the ancient Persian king who also had repatria!

ted the Jewish exiles and helped rebuild a Judean state. "I am Cyrus," Truman crowed. "I am Cyrus!"

Few acts in the history of U.S. foreign policy have been less in accord with "realist" principles. Oren, an Israeli historian whose previous book was the bestselling Six Days of War, shows that U.S. backing for the establishment of Israel was rooted in religious convictions going back more than four centuries. Americans' response to the enormity of the Holocaust helped transform old Puritan dreams into reality. But even so, the essential element here was the rise of the United States to global predominance; it is doubtful that any other country -- including Great Britain, which ruled Palestine after World War I -- would have placed religious conviction and moral sentiment above selfish and practical interests.

Critics from World War I onward warned that American support for a Jewish state would produce unending war, severely damage America's otherwise amicable relations with the Muslim world and, after the discovery of massive deposits of Middle Eastern oil in the 1930s, endanger access to this vital commodity. Saudi Arabia's pro-American first king, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, flatly warned Franklin D. Roosevelt that the "Jews have no right to Palestine" and that Arabs would die fighting to resist a Jewish state. When the typically American president spoke of the horrors of the Holocaust, the typically Arab king questioned the fairness of making "the innocent bystander," Palestine's Arabs, pay for the crimes of others. If 3 million Jews had been murdered in Poland, ibn Saud reasoned, then there was now room there for 3 million more. Many Muslims' sentiments have not changed over the past six decades.

And neither have those of many Americans. Despite all the crises of the past years, including the present war in Iraq, Oren predicts that the United States will continue "to pursue the traditional patterns of its Middle East involvement." Policymakers "will press on with their civic mission as mediators and liberators in the area and strive for a pax Americana." American "churches and evangelist groups will still seek to save the region spiritually." And Americans will regard the region as both "mysterious" and "menacing," as they have for centuries, and will seek to transform it in their own image. Many today may want to disagree, but they will have to wrestle first with the long history of American behavior that Oren has so luminously portrayed.

5/12/2007 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

allen -- until proven otherwise, I'm inclined to believe the break is more symbolic for three reasons:
1. SIIC (formerly SCIRI) has not changed its platform, particularly its belief that clerics should be able to overrule elected leaders.
2. They've not disbanded the Badr brigades, which have worked hand in hand with the Revolutionary Guards.
3. They've not renounced Iranian support. Indeed there might be some fudging as to their sources of clerical guidance: "The party pledged to follow the guidance of the Shi'ite establishment, he said." The "establishment" is far more than just Sistani.

The true test shall be when Sistani and Iran conflict, until then I shall continue to be suspiciou of a known terrorist organization founded, and still professing, Islamofascism.

5/12/2007 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Allen: So, rather than an integrated Iraq or tripartite Iraq, the US should work to create potentially hundreds of provincical, tribal, and/or localized Iraqs? This [would] looks a lot like the Pakistani autonomous regions.


Yes, BUT unlike Pakistan, it is WE who will control who gets the funding, who gets the weapons, who gets the political and diplomatic cover, and who will get a stick up their ars. I made an argument for a similar scenario in an earlier thread, extending the scenario to all the failed political entities contrived out of the former Ottoman Empire.

5/12/2007 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

reocon,

Thanks.

I'm seeing opinions going both directions. As you indicate, the proof will be the pudding.

5/12/2007 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

mat,

There is no question that Iraq is an imaginary country, created by Winston Churchill. It has been and will remain, long into the future I believe, a de facto motley crew of purely parochial tribal and sectarian interests. But it is too late for the United States to simply allow Iraq to devolve into chaos and still appear credible.

Since the Iraqi central government is the creation of the United States, I'm having trouble seeing how the US can finesse abandoning it. I can think of all sorts of good reasons to groom relationships with regional and local power centers but, like it or not, the central government will remain the central player.

As to the corruption and duplicity of the Iraqi central government, this should pose no insurmountable problem, given the decades’ long experience the US has had in “working” with “allies” such as Saudi Arabia, for example.

5/12/2007 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Allen,

Our current approach is all wrong. We should be trying to deconstruct Islamist pan nationalism, not trying to buttress it through support for "Arab" failed states.

5/12/2007 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Allen,

Yes, with my approach we will initially create many alQaeda mini states, but these will quickly fall prey to anti Islamists groups in a process of natural selection. Of course, where needed, we will give mother nature a helping help. :)

5/12/2007 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

From The Sunday TimesMay 13, 2007

Al-Qaeda planning militant Islamic state within IraqUzi Mahnaimi, Tel Aviv
A RADICAL plan by Al-Qaeda to take over the Sunni heartland of Iraq and turn it into a militant Islamic state once American troops have withdrawn is causing alarm among US intelligence officials.

A power struggle has emerged between the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq, an organisation with ambitions to become a state which has been set up by Al-Qaeda, and more moderate Sunni groups. They are battling for the long-term control of central and western areas which they believe could break away from Kurdish and Shi’ite-dominated provinces once the coalition forces depart.

According to an analysis compiled by US intelligence agencies, the Islamic State has ambitions to create a terrorist enclave in the Iraqi provinces of Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Salah al-Din, Nineveh and parts of Babil.

“Al-Qaeda are on the way to establish their first stronghold in the Middle East,” warned an American official. “If they succeed, it will be a catastrophe and an imminent danger to Saudi Arabia and Jordan.”


So let's leave? And let AQ have it?

AQ to take over Iraq

5/12/2007 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

What do they smoke at the Ministry of Defense?

“Defence chiefs are planning to let a camera crew follow Prince Harry during his tour of duty in Iraq.”

Desert Prince

If Prince Harry is not worried, he should be.

5/12/2007 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

habu,

On his second tour of duty in Iraq, SSgt. Darrell Griffin (God’s Hammer) was killed in the line of duty.

While well aware of the chaos all around him, SSgt. Griffin was a soldier.

Duty, Honor, Country

Malleus Dei: The story of SSG Darrell Griffin

Stryker Brigade News & Links

“I miss getting Skip's calls from Iraq. Of late his calls centered on how he understood and loved the Iraqi people…(Comments)”
___Darrell Griffin Sr.

Where do we find such men, and how came we to deserve them?

Godspeed!

5/12/2007 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I'm having trouble seeing how the US can finesse abandoning it.

If Maliki and his government ask us to leave, would "abandonment" be the correct term to use if we take them up on their offer?

So what if AQ *does* take over Iraq? They get a bankrupt country with no infrastructure where no one will do what the terrorists want them to do, and where everyone is stealing all their bullets, and bombs, and missiles.

There's gallons of oil to be had, but so far, no Arab has figured out how to do it without the help of Americans, or French, or Russians. Will Baby Assad or the Mad Mullah's of Iran be able to help AQ with their little oil extraction problem?

I think we should pull out of Iraq and let the bloody terrorists have it. See if *they* can bring any more order to the situation that the Taliban were able to in Afghanistan.

5/12/2007 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

From Reocon's LA Times: Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. "Randy" Mixon also said that the Iraqi government had failed to help the situation in the restive province and that it has been a hindrance at times by failing to support local army and police forces. Diyala borders Baghdad on the east, and violence in the province has grown as U.S. troop levels have been bolstered in the capital.

Mixon later adds the local government, police, soldiers are non-existent. They all ran.

Meanwhile the Noble Purple-Fingered Freedom Lovers in the Green Zone are still planning their 2-month vacation. No doubt many are prepping their refugee applications so that they and 20-3- assorted family and friends can get into America as "true friends of the Decider in Chief". Just in time for the Great "Freedom Seeker's Amnesty".

Reocon - Rich Lowry once wrote in the National Review, that the MSM, while loathsome, has been largely more accurate on the arc of this misguided war than the Bush administration.

Its an absolutely disgusting realization. All that BS happy talk, all the lying neocons, Pentagon civilians, generals lying in lockstep for 4 years about "substantial progress."

Eggplant - So far the amount of damage we have sustained from the Iraq War has been minor compared to what we experienced in the Vietnam War and World War II.

Bullcrap. This is now the 3rd most expensive war in US history, behind only WWII and the Civil War in present-day dollar value. The diplomatic damage, global loss of prestige and credibility is worse than Vietnam or Jimmy Carter's weakness he revealed to the Iranians and Soviets.
Domestically, it ripped us up, may have partially destroyed the Republican Party, and paralyzed the political process from dealing with anything but our "valiant Iraqi friends".
The Governors are charging that half their Guard equipment has been sent over to Iraq and not replaced. The Reset on replacing that soon to be abandoned equipment is put out by two bipartisan Governors acting as spokesmen is 90-110 billion. Adding on to the official Army Reset of 120 billion - all while the Bushies have cut new Navy spending for subs and ships to the bone.
Add the 230 billion to the 520 billion spent and the Chinese/Saudi/Japanese finance charges of 160 billion when the bills come due when Dubya leaves office - all on the war against 20,000 insurgents America had to borrow money to fight.
And VA costs for the maimed and disabled of 110 billion.

Yep, just a minor defeat upcoming that only cost us 1 trillion 20 billion.

But what price can you put on the gratitude of the noble Iraqis??

5/12/2007 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

nahncee,

If the Iraqi government is a Frankenstein, it is one of our own making; therefore, we are responsible for either its maintenance or its destruction.

It would be foolish, childish and detrimental to the interests of the United States, I believe, to add irresponsibility to the host of other complaints made in reference to Iraq.

General Barry McCaffrey, in an e-mail to Michael Yon this morning, placed the cost of the Iraq war at $400 billion, to date. One assumes General McCaffrey's knowledge is reasonably well grounded.

Although I am sure you know the difference, the willful abandonment of our duty would not be the same thing as the Iraqi government requesting our exit.

5/12/2007 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Illegal Immigrant Success Story

Success

5/13/2007 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"One reason why diplomatic solutions sometimes fail is that higher levels of abstraction are achieved at the price of losing information in detail."

Perhaps the highlighted portion should read: "impenetrable bureaucracy interferes"

5/13/2007 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Speaking of ears and hearing, what does the 3 piece band at the local Greek Festival riff between songs? "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Play dat Funky Music". Best Gyros around and pastries I could eat 'til I fell over. Yumm!

5/13/2007 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

I will say again...Yingling is naive.

5/13/2007 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Allen, I have to believe there is a difference between "staying the course" and "banging your head against the wall because you can't think of anything better to do".

To me, the sensible idea to have is "if it's not working, change it". Given the total inability of ANYone to define what "success" or "winning" would actually consist of, I think we should declare success on what we said we were going to do when we went into Iraq, and let the Iraqi's put in place their own definition of success.

I am irrevocably opposed to creating and imposing downtown Springfield USA on Baghdad. I'm also opposed to using the American military to create an infrastructure for these barbarians consisting of 24/7 electricity, air conditioning, education and medical facilities, and indoor toilets, which would be rewarding them with a much nicer life than they've ever had, in return for them having been determinedly stupid, backwards, greedy and murderous.

When I read someone who says, essentially, "we broke it so we must fix it", that tells me that that person is either lacking in imagination, or is so stubbornly determined as to be heroic. While there *have* been stubbornly determined hero's in America's history, sometimes they end up at the Alamo instead of successfully damning the torpedo's and going full speed ahead. To me, America's success is hugely built upon the ability to be innovative and creative, or in other words, stop beating your head against the wall and change it.

Just consider: as long as we're in Iraq trying to educate that whole benighted country on what it means to be civilized, we can't do anything about the BIGGER threats next door.

5/13/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Mastiff said...

Cedarford,

I would be interested in seeing you compare the cost of the Iraq occupation with the cumulative cost of our deployments in Germany and South Korea.

The nominal cost is less important than our ability to sustain those costs. Politicians being what they are, I am confident that Congress would have blown the money that would not be spent on the war on some damn-fool thing or another that did nobody any good, and simply increased our domination by the Federal government.

5/13/2007 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Don Meaker said...

It is important to note that cost is relative. We lost 3000 in a single day in WWII. We lost some 50,000 in the several months of the Battle of the Bulge (aka the German Ardennes Offensive).

By comparison, the losses in all of Korea were less than that. The losses in the entire War on Islamic Terrorists are much less than that.

And then, when US losses are less than that which one would expect from history, what is left but to assure that the US military and civilian leaders are incompetent compared to the wonderful leaders of long ago who turned in much higher casualty rates and numbers.

Odd scale that people use, isn't it?

5/13/2007 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Don Meaker said...

George S. Patton Jr. said the important thing to keep track of is how many second lieutenants are dying. If you don't have enough, then a division is not fighting. If you have too many, then the attack is not working.

By any historical measure, our number of second lieutenants are being lost at a very low rate.

For comparison: During WWII, the Soviet Union lost over a million Second Lieutenants.

5/13/2007 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Bing West has added an addendum to the work cited above.

“Many of the TTPs in the COIN manual do apply. But no country has written the manual for eradicating the virulent disease of Islamic…”



***

5/13/2007 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

5/13/2007 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

What you want, and what I want, and what George W. Bush wants, and what the Iraqis want doesn't make a damned bit of difference. The Republicans in the United States Senate are "Through."

And, that, boys and girls, is the Ball Game.

It's "Election-Time."

5/13/2007 11:04:00 PM  

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