Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Sunnis cash in their chips

Xinhua reports: "Iraq's parliament on Saturday passed a controversial law on reinstatement of former Saddam's Baath Party members to government jobs. The parliament passed the Accountability and Justice bill to replace the de-Baathification law, which banned Saddam's supporters from participating in the public life in the country after the collapse of Saddam's regime by a U.S.-led coalition in 2003. The bill, which was considered by Washington as vital to give a push to the reconciliation efforts in war-torn country, was passed unanimously by 143 lawmakers who attended the Saturday's session of the 270-member parliament."

Reconciliation has been politically purchased by Sunni participation in the Surge. Iraq has come back from the brink of civil war. This development doesn't necessarily mean the road forward is smooth, but at least the bus has been pulled back from the cliff's edge. The new situation created by victories on the ground may engender even further developments. Michael Hirsh at Newsweek writes: "Sorry, Barack, You’ve lost Iraq" to describe the new status of forces agreement (a long term security and basing arrangement) Bush announced recently.

In remarks to the traveling press, delivered from the Third Army operation command center here, Bush said that negotiations were about to begin on a long-term strategic partnership with the Iraqi government modeled on the accords the United States has with Kuwait and many other countries. Crocker, who flew in from Baghdad with Petraeus to meet with the president, elaborated: "We're putting our team together now, making preparations in Washington," he told reporters. "The Iraqis are doing the same. ...

Gen. Petraeus told reporters that he and Pentagon planners were also working on a new "intellectual construct" for a U.S. troop presence in Iraq beyond the planned withdrawal of five brigade combat teams, two Marine battalions and the Marine Expeditionary Unit by the end of July. ...

The upshot is that the next president, Democrat or Republican, is likely to be handed a fait accompli that could well render moot his or her own elaborate withdrawal plans, especially the ones being considered by the two leading Democratic contenders, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Continued success in Iraq has the effect of increasing the size of the pot that an incoming Democratic president must throw away in order to fulfill election promises to the antiwar base. It can be compared to a promise to abandon a business venture, which was easy enough to say for as long as it seemed in the red or marginal. But once it starts turning a profit -- and an increasingly large one -- fulfilling the promise becomes more and more costly. Abandoning a success may in fact secretly delight an antiwar candidate, if the objective is to inflict as large a defeat as possible for the US, but it will come at a political price so great it may cost the election. It would be like getting caught between Iraq and a hard place.


Blogger Bill said...

It doesnt matter to those who want our defeat. Here's how AP reports it:
Iraq to reinstate Saddam party followers

20 minutes ago I just heard some loudmouth on FOX News cheering about how no Iraqi political reconciliation was in sight.

That kind of reporting is what keeps The Belmont Club in existence...

1/12/2008 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Politics aside, as I have stated for quite a while...

We are not leaving Iraq anytime soon.

I was for the war before the war...

i was for the war during the war...

I was for the surge...

I am for long term bases in the middle east...

the ONLY thing that has been lowered as a "hope" of sorts that the islamic & arab peoples of the region could learn to use and understand minority protected republicanism, not mass democratic rule, one vote one time, majority rule (i e hamas).

There will be no Arab Thomas Jefferson or Ghandi, No Martin Luther King, No Jesus or any other civil person to rebase the society on.

But the UPSIDE? From a strategic POV they wll not be a threat to the countries that surround them & Israel.

That is the goal, a non-warlike Iraq...

The INTERNAL suns/shits/kurds equation aint our problem anymore, as long as it doesnt threaten the state.

Is this not a new Pakistan experiment?

1/12/2008 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

It's a good move, but it is one of many things that have to be fixed to undo the damage of the horrifically bad Bremer Decision and the cabal of neocons and Shiite exiles behind him.

It cost the US additional thousands of lives lost, tens of thousands of casualties, hundreds of billions squandered on a full-blown unsurgency that shouldn't have happened.

It meant billions of non-military funding was lost down ratholes to unqualified people - reconstruction was paralyzed for years. It opened the door for Al Qaeda to come in and join Sunni insurgents in inflicting hundreds of thousands of additional casualties on Iraqis, factoring in the Shiite reprisals on innocent Sunni neighborhoods.

Even now, what fixable damage the Bremer decision inflicted will take years more to repair. (You won't bring back the dead or the maimed brains and spines and lost limbs or pissed away hundreds of billions of US taxpayer dollars). Years to come back because while Sunnis are no longer blackballed, many of the jobs have been filled by unqualified Shiites that rather like going from being an illiterate militia commander to being Deputy Assistant at the Interior ministry with 160,000 a year in salary and another 300,000 in kicked back pay from the unqualified Shiite policeman the Deputy Assistan managed to hire and train and pay with US bucks...He will not wish to give up his job to the Sunni he replaced....

Other Sunnis out of a job for 4+ years will try and fit back in to radically different organizations than the ones they helped run, many very well, before the US invasion. Many will have great difficulties. (The Soviets had whole books written by good workers and Party members sent to the Gulag then rehabilitated about the alienation and all the witting and unwitting impediments to returning to normalicy, to doing a good job.) The Sunnis will have many that find they can't fit in or find such hostility from newly hired Shiites that they cannot do their job.

The catastrophic damage to Iraq and to the US done by the stroke of Bremer's pen cannot be undone with a stroke of a pen. Many years will be needed to return to where Iraq was fuctioning before July of 2003 in many ministries and agencies.
That is why when we had better strategic thinkers after WWII, de-Nazification and de-Shintoization took many years and was done slowly and cautiously. Pull a bad guy out, and an organization could collapse into anarchy, pull many out of many organizayions before good replacement alternatives existed and the whole country could collapse. That is why some Nazis and Jap militarists stayed years in office, and why some in critical posts in industry, spy agencies, medicine, police, ministries were NEVER replaced.

Even the N Vietnamese managed their staffing replacements of conquered S Vietnam more intelligently than Bremer and his cohorts did, ableit more brutally, it was still effective...

Same with the Germans and the apparachniks and state industries managers they got when they absorbed E Germany.

And of course the damage of Bremer extended far beyond Iraq to the failed domestic intitiatives of a failed President, lost money opportunity costs for real changes America urgently needs, collapse of US clout and prestige overseas, neglect of the Taliban, and 100 a barrel oil and a collapsing dollar.

1/12/2008 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Towering Barbarian said...

Your record is pretty much the same. The senseless lyrics were never that great to begin with, and the music is scratchy now that we're in endgame and America is winning in spite of the Left's best efforts, but it's got a beat so I suppose leftist fools can still continue to dance to it if they want. Doubt that anyone sensible will join them though. ^_^

1/12/2008 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Nice to know there is still one Bremer defender out there, Towering Barbarian!

Defenders of "Rummy, Hero of the War on Terror" and the mothering abilities of Brittney Spears, exist as well.

Define how Bremer set us on the road to winning in other than Pyrrhic terms.

When I was an officer, I was told that someone who committed a disastrous strategic or military decision would be held accountable. "Winning" did not matter if the cost was made higher than any reasonable person found acceptable due to rank incompetence.

The British won WWI. But the memory of the generals of the Somme and the admirals of Gallipoli is only summoned up now only to spit on their idiot, mass-slaughtering bloody souls.

1/13/2008 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

It is a myth, created by Bremmer's lies, that there was no plan for post invasion Iraq.
A complete, workable plan was in place, but on Bremmer's arrival, the heart of the plan was eliminated by Bremmer disbanding the Iraqi Army.
While Bremmer claims everyone agreed with his decision, the video below shows that almost no-one did, from General Garner, Powell, and Armitage, to Col. Paul Hughes, who was tasked with keeping the army together and on the payroll.

Col. Hughes also puts the lie to Bremmer's claim that there was no practical way to keep the Army together, the Col already had
ONE HUNDRED THIRTY SEVEN THOUSAND on the payroll when Bremmers order converted many of them into unemployed insurgents in waiting.

Widows and Orphans were also denied the benefits they had been receiving, further alienating many with this cruel and pointless act.
A very convincing video!

This remarkable video shows an impressively wide range of people, including Armitage, Gen Garner, Col. Paul Hughes an ambassador, and several others, all in agreement that Jerry Bremmer's account of what transpired rarely coincides with the reality of the events that they were all a part of.
A very convincing piece of work!

A rebuttal to claims made by L. Paul Bremer III that top American officials approved the decision to disband the Iraqi army.

...and, of course, the decider in Chief was intimately involved a,long with a few cohorts, to the exclusion of everyone else, those who had the plan and expertise to do the job well.

1/13/2008 01:42:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Watched the video again:
It doesn't mention Bush, but hard to imagine the President was completely out of the loop, wonder if we'll ever know for sure?
Sloccum, Bremmer, Wolfowitz, and Perle.

1/13/2008 02:02:00 AM  
Blogger VA Gamer said...


If you were indeed an officer, you are aware of the saying that no plan survives the first bullet. Show we a war in which no mistakes, no strategic or tactical blunders were made. For all of the errors made in this war since the beginning, look at how amazingly low the casualties are.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. It is easy after the fact to pick apart the plans and actions of those in charge. Yes, of course mistakes were made. However, we learned from them and adapted. Things are starting to look more optimistic. The Iraqi patient appears to have stabilized and is ready to leave intensive care.

1/13/2008 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Does anyone think it odd that the very people who cry so loudly for engagement, seeking out the assistance of other countries, better use of our NATO allies and so forth seem to be so horrified at the idea that we are doing exactly that in Iraq?

And while the new ally that we have created in the Gulf region may be more demanding than the likes of Belgium and France, it is also far more likely to be useful for something of interest to us.

The people who think that Germany and France are the only “good” allies are the same ones who go into hysterics when the DoD chooses to close a base originally built to fight the Indian wars of the 1800’s or one designed to beat back the forces of Imperial Japan a century later. And they are also the ones most likely to urge us to Move On.

1/13/2008 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

What would we do without our occasional dose of Cedarford? And Doug, had we left that Army in place it would have played directly into the foolishness planned by Russia and Iran. The kind Nahn-Cee still can't seem to figure out concerning the original Fallujah attack -- which was completely a baited trap, set up and planned through the outrage of burning and displaying the bodies of our military contractors.

They wanted a combination of Civil War -- and don't doubt for a minute the Baathists left in place in the Army would have certainly complied, feeling no choice but to go after the Shia militias -- they wanted that combination and world outrage at so-called atrocities committed by American troops. Which the Iranians and Russians would easily have been able to stage.

We denied them both "presumed" certainties!

They were left with nothing but phony or trumped up scandals. Most Americans know that Abu Ghraib was a joke and that worse things occur every day in jails throughout the Arab world.

Stay the course, Cedarford, for there will certainly never come a time when you won't be able to bitch and moan about SOMETHING.

1/14/2008 04:30:00 AM  
Blogger DougLoss said...

Point of information. While Jerry Bremer was appointed by George Bush, he was and is a long-term member of the permanent government, which has been working diligently to subvert the desires and initiatives of the current administration. What I have never understood is why George Bush didn't dismiss him just as soon as he threw away the post-invasion plans and essentially fomented the insurgency single-handedly. Read Ken Timmerman's "Shadow Warriors" if you'd like to see the depth of treasonous actions these people have done.

1/14/2008 07:01:00 AM  

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