Saturday, October 15, 2005

The End of the Beginning

In a situation rich with irony, voting was heavy in the former rebel stronghold of Fallujah, secured by the USMC in November 2004. Most of the Fallujans chose to reject the proposed Iraqi constitution, though the nationwide results are expected to heavily confirm it. US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad didn't seem to mind whether people voted for or against the proposed constitution, so long as they voted.

With hours to go before the polls closed Saturday, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad made his first trip to Fallujah since he took over the post in July. ... Khalilzad congratulated residents on their participation but cautioned them against being consumed by "nostalgia" for the past. 
"The past is finished," Khalilzad said.

Despite the widespread description of an Iraq on the 'brink of civil war' beset by 'a widening insurgency' and 'descending into chaos', the Times of London reports it was an "almost a peaceful day as Iraq votes".

Amid unexpected calm, millions of Iraqis turned out in the sunshine yesterday to vote on a new constitution whose advocates claimed it would unite the country in a progressive democracy but whose critics warned that it would ultimately prove divisive.

Naturally, some observers regarded the ratification as only another signpost on the road to a total American defeat in Iraq. Even the 'unexpected' peace was attributed, not to the Iraqi Army but to the insurgents who granted it as a boon.

... critics warned that it would ultimately prove divisive ... Sunni insurgents appeared to have made surprisingly little effort to disrupt the voting, however. Following threats of slaughter at the polling stations, American Humvees roared through the streets of Baghdad and helicopters hovered in the skies as voting began at 7am.

But it seems clear, despite the consistently dire predictions of the press,  that the Iraqi constitution will be approved and that before the end of 2005 Iraq will have a new and regular government. In the words of the Guardian, after the ratification process:

Iraqis will choose a new parliament in national elections to be held by 15 December. Parliament will then select a new government, which must take office by 31 December. The new administration will be first permanent, fully constitutional government in Iraq since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's rule in 2003.

(Speculation alert) I think most rational observers, however anti-American, must have by now come to the grudging conclusion that the insurgency is a lost cause in Iraq. As Athena at Terrorism Unveiled and Dan Darling pointed out in their analysis of the captured letter from Zawahiri to Zarqawi, the insurgency's terror tactics have been a huge mistake from Day One. Athena puts summarizes Zawahiri's message to Zarqawi eloquently. "His cowboy ways aren't winning him any strategic alliances. And on the sectarian strife among Sunni Muslims, Zawahiri is basically saying 'Drop it.' "

If Zawahiri is now looking for a Mr. Nice Guy, however, Zarqawi is probably the wrong place to start. But it doesn't matter. Any realist must guess that we are now moving into the post-OIF era. While there will continue to be fighting in Iraq and many challenges remain, the ultimate outcome is no longer a mystery. One hint this is understood by Washington is a New York Times sourced article (hat tip DL) describing the hitherto hidden border fighting with Syrian soldiers:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 - A series of clashes in the last year between American and Syrian troops, including a prolonged firefight this summer that killed several Syrians, has raised the prospect that cross-border military operations may become a dangerous new front in the Iraq war, according to current and former military and government officials. ... 

In a meeting at the White House on Oct. 1, senior aides to Mr. Bush considered a variety of options for further actions against Syria, apparently including special operations along with other methods for putting pressure on Mr. Assad in coming weeks.

American officials say Mr. Bush has not yet signed off on a specific strategy and has no current plan to try to oust Mr. Assad, partly for fear of who might take over. The United States is not planning large-scale military operations inside Syria and the president has not authorized any covert action programs to topple the Assad government, several officials said. 

The timing of this release suggests that Syria's participation is now an issue which Washington is prepared to publicly discuss. While the situation in Iraq seemed doubtful, the US could not credibly address the Syrian issue because its Iraqi commitments precluded any action against Damascus. Now the Assad regime knows that US forces will not long be occupied in Iraq they are sweating bullets. Ironically the availability of US forces means that they will probably not have to be used in Syria. Newsweek Magazine claims that the US had considered launching cross-border operations against Iraqi insurgent targets Syria on October 1 -- another publicly released telltale that US policy is ready to come out of the closet -- but were dissuaded by Condoleeza Rice who argued that "diplomatic isolation is working against al-Assad, especially on the eve of a U.N. report that may blame Syria for the murder of Lebanese politician Rafik Hariri". Diplomacy would not have been enough while the insurgency tied down America. With the insurgency fading fast, diplomacy may be enough.

Just as the ouster of Saddam by OIF touched off a wave of changes in Libya, Lebanon and the entire region, the impending defeat of the insurgency will paradoxically enhance the ability of diplomacy to address many of the remaining issues. Saddam's defeat confirmed what many military analysts knew from Desert Storm, that it was impossible for any conventional army to stand up against US forces. And that modified the behavior of many rogue states. Yet there remained the hope that the terrorist model of warfare, forged in Algeria and refined against Israel in Lebanon, would bring America to a halt: that rogue regimes acting discreetly could operate within that strategic shadow. Now, for the first time since Algeria, a terrorist force of the highest quality, supported by contributions from oil-rich countries, in the heart of the Arab world, with sanctuary in a friendly regime across the border and eulogized as "freedom fighters" by dozens of major international publications is on the verge of total and ignominious defeat. There are no more strategic shadows.

Victory is arguably the most perilous moment for any great power. In that instant it can be goaded into the destructive path to hubris, or if it is wise, go on to attain real greatness. The fruits of freedom throughout the region may not always be congenial, as the example of the voters in Fallujah showed in microcosm. But that is what the mission set out to attain all the same: Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Blogger Boghie said...

Wretchard is in full throated gregoriant chant!!!

He might not be the fat lady - but he's the best we got!!!

10/15/2005 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

"Victory is arguably the most perilous moment for any great power."

Admiral King - after the defeat of Germany, but before the defeat of Japan:

"For out of this Total War,
Must Come Total Victory..."

Japan had to be completely destroyed so it would not regenerate itself.

Our current adversary is an enemy that must be destroyed - not treated with.

I do not want to go back in twenty years - after another deadly attack...

10/15/2005 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

More and more it is being shown that speaking softly and carrying (more importantly showing you are not afraid to use it) a big stick is very important in the world outside of the ivory towers. How is that for a cliche packed paragraph?

The fact of the matter is though bad guys like little boys do not stop until they provoke a less than gentle response.

Our forces are much less involved with force protection and instead focused on licking the enemy (and doing it). The Iraqi army and police are now much more well trained and motivated, they are taking over much of the work to stabilize their nation. What does this mean? We will have large numbers of unemployed infantry unless some bad boys do not start behaving.

10/15/2005 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

This is the painful, smashing, humiliating defeat the left has sensed from the beginning might come screaming at it, out of this war.

Too bad.

Funnily enough, their fear about this was the sole aspect of the situation about which their analysis has proved at all grounded in reality.

10/15/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...


You are thinking like an American...

Rejecting THIS Constitution is the right of the Iraqis. If THIS Constitution does not fill their needs it should be rejected. That is part of the process they are going through. I cannot see a democratic rejection of a founding document to be a forshadowing of a defeat to a Democracy.

An ambiguous result would probably lead to amendments of the Constitution. We were not able to get ours 'through committee' without ten of them.

The act of deciding their own fate, in an environment of growing GDP, will force progress.

10/15/2005 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Three cheers for our military. What a heads-up job they have done and continue to do.

Better wait till the vote count comes in and is made official before I get all teary.

This is a watershed.

The (relative)quiet of the country is a harbinger of things to come I think.

Does anyone see any Biblical prophecy being fullfilled here? I've looked and nothing jumps out at me.

God bless all you guys (believers anyway).(Don't want to offend the Ayn Rand, Old Rock Little gods crowd.)

10/15/2005 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Amen to Boghie's post.

If we got the killers on the run - run them down.

But, on a balanced note, I agree with most of what Wretchard projects. I believe the killers were making all the wrong moves for almost a year. They have shown themselves to be hideous sadistic apes and even their top dog Dr. Z at al-Qaeda's HQ knows that. The terrorists will be driven out - it will not be instant but it will happen. Our military (up and down the chain), our President and our allies have done a good job - they deserve the recognition.

As to the Constitution, it looks like it will be ratified. Now, has I have said in the past, even if it's not ratified, I believe TAL will suffice until it does get ratified (the game is about over). The level of operations will significantly decline. But, that doesn't preclude some unexpected event or the need to do some urban renewal within that entire area. Or, it could be similar to the Korean conflict. I think we should take it one step-at-a-time.

10/15/2005 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Defeat is an orphan, but victory has a thousand fathers. Simon Jenkins of the Times of London is now sniffing good news in the air. He suggests the sudden reversal of fortunes is due to an American willingness to do things the British Way.

"The American policy of helicoptering half-hearted Iraqi battalions from distant provinces to 'crush the insurgents', usually for a week or two, is counter-productive. Iraq needs the old British way: seek out the most powerful local sheikh and give him more guns."

That is a classic example of MSM analysis. Victory had nothing to do with Iraqi force generation, the campaign along the river lines, the battle for the borders. Nothing to do with logistics, strategy or tactics. It sprang out of the sudden application of a Public School lore. But no matter. Maurice Thorez, the leader of the French Communist party who had fled to Moscow during World War 2 managed to characterize the liberation of Paris in the same terms as a wife chasing her husband out with a broom:

"Paris is free. The people of Paris have chased out the Germans. The people of Paris have put a term to the activities of the traitors. Paris, ardent and tremulous rose up against the occupiers at the call of the Conseil National de la Résistance and the Comité Parisien de la Libération. Paris has liberated Paris."

In his remarkable broadcast over Radio Moscow, he managed to describe the entire German collapse without once mentioning the role of the Allied armies.

When people are vying for credit it's a sure sign that the enemy is on the ropes.

10/15/2005 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Brett L said...

Interesting, ain't it, that on 1 October a fairly public discussion took place about the US policy towards Syria takes place, and days later the Syrian Minister of the Interior 'committed suicide'. (Probably shot himself twice in the back of the head. Amazing how facist government officials have the ability to do that.)

Perhaps Assad got the message. It will be interesting to see if he allows Syria to continue to be a staging area for a now obviously doomed insurgency, or if Syria starts to 'play nice'. To me the question is whether Mr. Assad feels he has more to fear from the US than Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda.

10/15/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger blanco said...

keep up your speculation alerts, wretchard. they are a welcomed oasis in a desert of msm "analysis."

as for these words...

"Victory is arguably the most perilous moment for any great power. In that instant it can be goaded into the destructive path to hubris, or if it is wise, go on to attain real greatness,"

...what will "real greatness" look like? what are some paths to that?

[and hello, everyone. been reading everyone's comments without one of my own for a long time.]

10/15/2005 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

*Wet towel mode*

The Sunnis have never shown themselves as the types who'd pack up their bags merely over an election. That's why they never allowed them in the first place. I'd wait to see if they accept the result as legitimate before declaring victory.

10/15/2005 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

...but of course, unlike so many of our political opponents, I would love to be wrong.

10/15/2005 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

I think one of dangers to the international political system is American dominance. Apart from the "obvious" risk of centralizing decision-making, the hidden downside is that the US is being relied on to provide another public good to the world.

For nearly half a century it has provided the public good of keeping navigation of the oceans free; in the last ten years it has also served to make cross-border agression (at least in Europe and Northeast Asia) a thing of the past. That's why European armies are now so small. I am afraid GWOT success will also increase "international" reliance on the US to manage the consequences of chaos in the Third World. In a way it would have been better if the US had failed in Iraq, because it would have forced other nations to step up to the plate.

The more subtle consequence is that Washington will become the target of lobbying from all over the world because it is where things ultimately "happen". And that can be corrupting. Maybe the wise way is to find a way to rebuild the international system in ways that distributes responsibility more equitably. Otherwise we will have a global political welfare system.

10/15/2005 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger blanco said...

agreed that a more equitable power distribution seems wise at first blush. but (with no guile or judgment in my mouth) history has shown that certain socio-religious modes of political/governing thought tend to lend themselves more to compassion versus others that tend toward fatalism.

10/15/2005 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger PSGInfinity said...


Yes, the twits' influence should decline, but the screaming we'll have to endure will be enough to plant thoughts of a purge in our widdle heads...

Also, one wonders how long the Left will continue to alienate the military. And is there a way to subtly nudge them into putting a sock in it?

10/15/2005 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Wretchard, your post 10:24 is extremely prescient. I've been worrying about the same thing myself.

At the same time, to be fair, during the 1990s it was people in the Democratic Party who were the primary promoters of allowing international competitors. Unfortunately, I'm always suspicious of their motives, fearing that they see it as a way to handicap the US, rather than to aid it.

The biggest problem I see is that there's so few potential partners to work with. Can we trust the Chinese? Europeans? Japan's a demographic timebomb. India is perhaps the obvious choice, so far as size and political orientation is concerned. But it is a long history, mixed with solely American traits, that allows the United States to play the role that it does. I fear we're irreplaceable, and that it is going to kill us.

I think we've already been corrupted by it. Leon Blum once called the French Communist Party the "foreign nationalist party," I think too much of the Democratic Party's establishment and intelligentsia resembles something similar. Transnational-progressivism is our biggest weakness.

10/15/2005 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"Further to Wretchard's concern over American predominance: American success in this GWOT will mean that more and more real power will drift to its own Armed Forces.. already they are extremely impressive... while American business and intellectual elites box themselves into power dead ends, along with the rest of the transnational twits."

Also important. I know there's someone who comments on this board who floats the idea that we'll be a Spartisan military state by the end of it. I know someone else who thinks we'll wind up authoritarian due to unfortunate political realities.

10/15/2005 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Wait, wait, wait. Whoa, just a minute!

Let's not bury the American military just yet. I'll grant you victory in Iraq seems imminent, but we've still got those pesky mad mullah's in Iran to deal with, not to mention the religious maniac Wahhabi's in Saudi Arabia, AND that nut case in North Korea. AND, the dreadful Palestinians who will be killing both themselves and anyone who steps within range for the foreseeable future.

In other words, even if Iraq is settled down and under control, I do *not* see suicide bombing jihadist Muslims will be going away any time soon. And the only successful way to deal with a jihadist bent upon death is to give it to him.

I think the American/Brit/Aussie military have all proven quite proficient at that, and if the Aussies and the Brit's think we're going allow them to bow and then leave the stage, they're nuts.

When England had its empire, it was called the "white man's burden", and until we have somehow convinced the Muslims to re-interpret their Koran to get rid of the "death to the infidel" parts, we're going to have to be killing them.

There's that whole roiling Indonesia/Phillippines Muslim thing, too, that it would probably not be a bad idea to get under control.

I don't think you're going to have to worry about American dominance in the foreseeable future, while all these global outspots are breaking out, and froot loops can still strap on a dynamite belt an make an explosive nuisance of themselves.

Except on the internet. America *will* remain the dominant force in charge of that, and we're prepared to get quite snarky about that as an issue, too.

10/15/2005 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I don't suppose we'll ever get to see a ceremony where Zarqawi hands over his dynamite belt in surrender to who-ever the top general in Iraq that day is.

Maybe we could lop a few years off of Saddam's sentence if he agreed to be the official surrenderer in a televised and otherwise heavily publicized "official event".

10/15/2005 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/15/2005 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Oops, didn't mean to endorse the idea that we've won the WOT yet, moreso the idea that American dominance is corrupting our political spectrum. Course, I'm a wannabe isolationist at heart. Insane foreigners, just let me get fat in peace.

10/15/2005 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"B. Two years overdue, and possibly too late to matter - the world and the American public may wait to believe it when a fresh President is in office, Bush finally had the balls to admit this isn't a global military-only involved war on the tactic of terrorism. It is a war of ideas between radical Islam and the progressive ideas of the modern world."

Bush never shied from condemning radical Islamics, he merely kept the WOT neutrally named. From the beginning he treated this as a war on the pressive ideas of the modern world, which Scheuer does not agree with. Scheuer believes that this is a war over political objectives. That is why he believes it is able to capitulate/negotiate w/regard to the demands. What Bush did do was minimize radical Islamic influence and numbers.

"D. Scheurs emphasis on the Israel-Palestinian final border being paramount to overall ME peace is accepted by Condi Rice and it appears Cheney is moving away from his neocon days and agreeing too, with Rice, Blair.."

And this is a change how? "Road to Palestinian peace is through Baghdad"? Oslo through the 1990s? The point is it isn't practical because the Arabs are generally insane, not that we don't want it.

"2. With less troops needed in Iraq, we can once again have our best out trying to mop up resurgent Al Qaeda and Taliban elements in Afghanistan and refocus on turning the screws on Pakistan, which backed off the hunt after the vehement reaction of the Pakistani people against the Iraq invasion."

Pakistan backed off the hunt before our invasion of Iraq for its own domestic reasons. It is true that we are less able to intimidate them, but we don't want 100,000 troops in Afghanistan anyway, and the odds we're actually going to physically force Pakistan to move are low.

"C. Scheurs dismay about the lack of diplomacy, strategic communications, and ability to translate is noted and finally being acted on."

"4. Wretchard worries about US dominance. We are constrained by being diplomatically isolated until we finish the worst of Iraq, stop favoring Israel, and Bush leaves office. We are also constrained by being turned into the world's largest debtor nation. The 2nd is our biggest excuse NOT to have to intervene in every global conflict - "Sorry, but unless it affects a vital American national security interest - we simply can't afford to - and our Chinese, Japanese, and Saudi moneylenders agree with that assessment"

Our difficulty with C, and our diplomatic isolation are partially due to our dominance. We're playing a losing hand in the public relations game because everyone resents us from the start. France and the EU, and China [/Russia?], are the long awaited attempts to balance American power. Various outlets and supposed transgressions, such as Israel, are used to justify their resentments and balancing.

Frankly, they can stick a sock in it. The poor Palestinians are supported to the hilt by everyone but us, so shove the "neutrality" and "even broker" bit.

10/16/2005 12:59:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

so they can shove the "neutrality" and "even broker" bit.

10/16/2005 01:03:00 AM  
Blogger erp said...

From the Guardian, "The new administration will be first permanent, fully constitutional government in Iraq since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's rule in 2003."

Is the implication here that there was a fully constitutional government in Iraq under Saddam Hussein?

10/16/2005 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Well said, and I hope, truly predictive.
But the insurgency's terror tactics were not a "mistake." I am afraid that is like saying that the Nazis would have been Okay if they had kept the freeways and continued development of rockets and not started the death camps and done all those invasions.
If they had done things that way, they would not have been Nazis.
The terrorist philosophy is part and parcel of the ideology that uses it.
Heather: I have thought for some time that much of the anti-war movement was driven by just what you describe. Because of who they are they feel smbarassed and diminished by the success of the U.S. Military.
Both the Islamic Terrorists and the anti-war group are what they are because of who they are.

10/16/2005 04:24:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

By the way, the voting percentage in TIKRIT has been quoted as 73%.
I think we can assume that the Tikriti thugs they voted "No".
But does not the fact that they voted indicate that they know they have lost?
They embrace democracy in order to defeat democracy.
Isn't that like holding a race to protest the cost of gasoline?

10/16/2005 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As I said months ago, with Victory in Iraq,, the WoT will become a kissin' cousin to the War on Drugs.

There will be no US assualt on the mad Mullahs of Iran. We will not attack our money lenders and Japan's oil providers in the KSA. Syria, a mior plater, will come around under soft power pressure or covert operations or not at all.

As long as the Russians and Chinese support Iran's nuclear program, they will have a nuclear program. Get used to the idea.

Do not think that Israel will strike, preemptively, at the Iranians with the clandestine nukes the Israelis have built. Have NO doubt that the Russians would strike back, Iran still being their Nuclear client state. The Russians would reestablish their Major Power designation, by destroying Israel, an outlaw country that had used Nukes in a preemptive strike against a peaceful and lawful country, Iran, killing many Russians in the process. It is still a MAD MAD world.

The US is not at war with Islam or Mohammedans. Perhaps we should be, but we are not. Bush has said so, often and loudly.
Get used to the idea.

The only page left unread in the WoT story has Osama's name on it.

10/16/2005 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Exactly, in Tikrit, Fallujah and across Iraq, the folk have chosen the "Strong Horse".
Maj Gen Bob Scales reported on FOX News, the other day, about an IA Division commanded by an Iraqi General with over 30 years in the IA Army. His troops were reportedly 75% veterans, as well. Gen Scales reported these troops were actively engaged in combat with the Insurgents.
If Gen Scales reporting is accurate, there is no reason to doubt it, then the IA is moving forward and the Insurgency is doomed.
Without Iraqi Insurgents the aQ operatives will sufficate, like fish out of water.

10/16/2005 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

What too many people (C4 include) mistake diplomacy for is idle chatter.

The UAE is diplomatically engaging Iran to get some islands in the Khaleej al Araby (Arabic Gulf or more widely known as the Persian Gulf). Iran is of course obliging the UAE by talking but has no serious intention of surrendering those islands. It wasn't diplomacy that Iran used to kick the UAE off of those islands and it isn't diplomacy that will get them back.

There was a lot of diplomacy involved in all of this (and continues to be involved) what the left and Admin opponents don't like is it wasn't just crystal glass & champagne diplomacy.

10/16/2005 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

PSGInfinity said: Also, one wonders how long the Left will continue to alienate the military. And is there a way to subtly nudge them into putting a sock in it?

Perhaps a good start would be to get Richard to stop quoting the BBC and New York Times.

10/16/2005 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Levin has been a Democrat for so long, he thinks losing IS winning.
In every defeat they find some slim excuse for claiming a "moral" victory. In every victory they find some reason to discredit the victor, or the process.
It does not change the outcomes. It just soothes the shattered egos.

10/16/2005 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...


"In a way it would have been better if the US had failed in Iraq, because it would have forced other nations to step up to the plate."

Don't we know that world already? Didn't Vietnam lead us down that path? I'm not sure I noticed the Europeans acting more responsibly about any threat other than the one right on their doorstep (and often not even then).

I don't think you can get around the fact that the Europeans' comfort zone on security issues over the post 100 years, for whatever reasons, has meant taking positions which time and again cost them their entire frickin' countries. As Americans we are quite rightly just not willing to go there.

This fact alone appears likely to enforce a continuing asymmetry on who bears the costs of global security.

10/16/2005 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Desert Rat: You have a worrisome point there. When the War started I said that our real problem would not be the enemy, which we surely could defeat, but the "reasonable men" that would arise.
"Be reasonable," they would say "You cannot - invade a nation without permission from the U.N. -- kill so many people, even in battle - lock up suspects indefinitely - continue with Iran and Syria and North Korea in same manner you have with Iraq..." etc. And what is amazing is that so many more come out after a victory that proved them wrong. They don't need logic, they are "being reasonable."
The Pentagon is full of "reasonable men" and across the Potomac in D.C. that is about all that is left anymore.
Michale Mc: Close, but the Left also goes so far as to say that the nature of the tactics (terrorism) proves the rightness of the cause, because it is usually employed by the underdog, who is never personally reponsible for being "under".

10/16/2005 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Terrorist type movements have been defeated and crushed in the past. The lefties want us to forget it because these movements were typically leftist in nature.

10/16/2005 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Russia becoming the Soviet Union was definately a case of "terrorism" successfully bringing in a new Power Structure. That Structure enduring for multiple generations of Leadership. They lost their power when they became unwilling or unable to wield terror, effectively, as a weapon against their captive States.

Mao in China to a lesser extent, gaining Power through regular military means, but excercising control through Terror.

The Romans were successful for centuries, wielding terror in Europe and the Middle East. Again losing their Empire as they became reluctant or unable to continue utilizing Genocide as a political tool.

Mugumbe in Rhodesia is still successfully utilizing terror, as are the Mohammedans of Sudan. In Uganda, Idi Amin ran a successful Terror State for years.

In Burma the terror continues, today.

10/16/2005 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

On taking Iran to the Security Council, I'm trying to envision exactly what "going to the Security Council" would consist of. Sadly, all I can come up with is that it's a Machiavellian ploy to put another knife in the back of an already-mortally wounded UN.

What I think is going to happen is that Iran will refuse to back down (REALLY dumb move on their part, but since no one's done anything to them so far, they're probably feeling cocky -- they need to go have a long heart-to-heart chat with Saddam on the wisdom of going toe-to-toe with Dubya).

So Iran will refuse to back down, and Bolton will take it to the Security Council. There will be the normal yadda-yadda discussions, which we already know pretty much how they will turn out and who will vote for what. Although it will be interesting to watch to see how France votes, if Les Frogs have the spine and the stamina to go another round with the Great Satan.

My prediction is that the Security Council will vote to study the situation. Or to send in Hans Blix to talk to the Mad Mullah's. At most, they'll vote on one of those ephemeral many-worded proclamations similar to what they voted on for Iraq: "Do it or VERY BAD THINGS might maybe possibly happen to you." I would be surprised if they actually inflict any sort of international sanctions on Iran.

After the vote, Bolton and the White House will issue many very sad statements about how difficult it is to actually ACCOMPLISH anything in the United Nations, which has a long long history of never doing anything about anything.

And then after a week or so of UN-bashing, so the whole world is aware of how really really hard we tried to be civilized about the Iran question, we'll nuke 'em. Just do it.

Essentially, it will be a replay of everything that went on in the lead-up to Iraq, except this time France will be a non-player because no one cares any more what France has to say, and it's dribbled away what was left of its prestige in the past three years. We, the US, this time also won't need anyone's permission to fly over their ticky-tacky little countries, nor walk soldiers across their actual dirt. We'll just do it.

And then sit back and watch to see who has what to say, and how shrilly, about anything. Because you KNOW that no one - not Russia, not China, not India -- is actually going to *do* anything once the Mullah's are staggering around in their blowed-up nuclear labs, whining and crying and cursing. As a poster here noted, Russia might do something if it was Israel, but there's no way Vladimir is gonna go one-on-one with Dubya.

And frankly, underneath all the certain-to-come anti-American hoo-haw, there will be mass heaving breasts of relief that the Iranian nuke question has gone away. And from what I can read out there on the internet, that relief will also be felt by all the Middle East countries with the possible exception of Syria. Although certain editors and bloggers will feel compelled to write some sturm and drang pieces about American arrogance and hubris, and oh by the way, the world doesn't love us any more and we've squandered our image as good guys before the rest of that most-righteous world.

But it seems to me that what we're seeing is the slow unfolding of a deliberate plan which will encompass both the end of Iran's nuclear aspirations and the UN's world domination inclination. And just because it *is* slow doesn't mean it's not happening.

The whole Condi thing is just a dog and pony show, pre-choreographed to lead into the eventual final bullfight as Bolton teases the previously wounded and bleeding UN to charge --- or to walk away -- one last time before it is finally dispatched and put out of its misery with a slashing sword's blow to the neck. I suppose it would be too much to ask that one of Kofi's ears be hacked off to signify the successful completion of the plan, just to flash a clue to watchers around the world (such as myself) that "it's over".

10/16/2005 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

We need to nuke Iran? Umm.. Why? Because they are the kind of state that might nuke another state without provocation?

10/16/2005 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

exactly james
Then the US would be the world's most powerful pariah.
What a concept. What a legacy. Doubt if it would ever happen, pray it does not. Violates every one Bush's core principles in the call to freedom campaign.
No, the US will huff and puff and stand down, the Iranians have been informed we have over 300 targets, within Iran. Their Nuke Program is that decentralized, learning from Saddam the dangers of centralization.
If the Mullahs were not replaced, concurrent to an attack on their Nuclear Program, world war could likely be the outcome. A US invasion of Venezuala on a coordinated time schedule guarenteed.
Not the legacy Bush wants to leave to posterity.
A problem to be kicked, like a can, down the road. To some other President, at some other time.

The CIA reports the Iranians are at least a decade away from an operational weapon, but then they thought finding WMD in Iraq was a "Slam Dunk".

10/16/2005 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/16/2005 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

what does victory look like?

Well first you have the dream and then you have the reality.

the key technologies needed for a successful 21st century are cheap energy and water--water and energy so cheap that all the world's deserts can be turned green by sticking pipes in the ocean, desalinizing the water as it passes into the pipes and then pumping desalized water 1000 miles inland with hydrogen cracked out of the water itself. Even 1000 miles inland the desalinized water would be cheap enough to make farming profitable.

This will become possible in 5-10 years. All the research tools to accomplish this task are available now. The work is going forward at a very brisk pace. (though most of the original research work is being put into killing the cost of hydrogen production and storage--the research strategies for killing the cost of desalination are very similiar.)

The people who cultivate the green earth have to also own it. why? Because today there is a great imbalance of power between property owners and capital owners. (in part as a consequence of the immense upfront capital costs of oil.)

while cheap water and energy is the consequence of the current generation of research tools-- an outcome in which property ownership is widely spread to all the desert countries of the world is not as likely an outcome. Though the defeat of pharonic communism and jihadist islam augers well.

blanco said
"Victory is arguably the most perilous moment for any great power. In that instant it can be goaded into the destructive path to hubris, or if it is wise, go on to attain real greatness,"

...what will "real greatness" look like? what are some paths to that?

Michael McCanles said...

An interesting series of posts so far: they illustrate the point made by W. and others, namely, that once a major victory is achieved, there is going to be some wandering of attention in various directions as people try to re-calibrate their hierarchy of "the next things to be done."

10/16/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Desert Rat wrote: "a problem to be kicked, like a can, down the road. To some other President, at some other time."

A great point to keep in mind. It's useful to consider that in fact no action may allow us to sit back satisfied thinking that "it's over." Especially as people continue to die from radiation sickness and cloud of radioactive fallout slowly moves over a continent.

10/16/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There are many strategies that could be employeed against the Iranian Mullahs. There is no need, yet, to contemplate war, especially nuclear war, before any of those strategies are attempted.

Our success in Iraq coming not so much from force of arms or destruction, but from the strength of ideas. While I have advocated greater use of force in Iraq, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

The newly liberated Shia of Iraq will be more destabilizing to Iran than the Mullahs will constitute a threat to political freedoms in Iraq.
That idea, that Freedom is contagious, is at the core of the US program. A greater threat to Iranian Mullahs than the avian flu.

10/16/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Given the decrepit state of the Iraq's oil industry during Saddam's reign, and given that that state of affairs is now coming to an end, it wouldn't surprise me if the US decides to blockage Iran's shipping ports and have the lost oil supply from Iran replenished with increased production quotas in Iraq.

10/16/2005 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Wretchard, you wrote:

I am afraid GWOT success will also increase "international" reliance on the US to manage the consequences of chaos in the Third World.

If the management remains organic in the way Kaplan describes, there is no reason to be afraid. Americans don't want to control, they want to deal. Plus, from my point of view the alternatives are much, much worse.

I was delighted to read Condi's assessment of Assad. I've always maintained that Bush's vehicle for change will be the UN, that victory in Iraq will strengthen our diplomatic hand against Syria (perhaps Iran is a different beast, but we shall see). The new Iraqi Constitutional Government is a wild card, and its presence at the UN will play a decisive role in arguing both our and there cause in front of the security council. Bush will be able to play the supporting role when Iraqi demands are made. Such a dynamic will substantially improve the likelihood of international pressure on Syria, and such pressure will spell the end of Assad and perhaps the end of a Syrian autocracy.

The issue remains of leadership, dominance, and hubris. I don't think anyone would argue that OIF was a lesson in dominance. Many would argue that it was also hubris, but I don't think it was. Dominance is the ace in the hole that must occasionally be played, and in Iraq we played it. But as you say, our victory paradoxically weakens the utility of dominance in the near future. We are entering a stage where leadership, true leadership, will be of paramount importance. Until leadership once again issues its diminishing returns, dominance will move into the background for the time being.

Michael Jordan was both a leader and a dominant player. His maturation came when he accepted that only a team could win a championship. His greatness came when, with all on the line, he stepped up and became something more than a leader. But without a team those moments would have never come.

And so it is with America.

10/16/2005 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I agree. That will become a viable alternative in the near future. There are many other options, short of an embargo, that we can begin to implement. Iranian people are far from rock solid in their support for the Mullahs. There may not be many that wish to start an insurection, but there is substantial political discontent.
As freedom establishes itself in Iraq, the fallout will drift into Iran. Nasty stuff, fallout.

You have to know which way the wind blows. Today, at least, Freedoms sails are billowing, spinickers flying...all ahead full.

10/16/2005 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

rufus, old boy
Osama was popular in Central Asia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordon, Somalia and a host of other places well before 9-11.
His earliest attacks against US came in '95. He had been an Mohammedan icon prior to that, building a PR legend in Afghanistan against the Soviets. If you think that his charisma and popularity is horse-hockey, well that's for you to decide. The Mohammedan Border Bandits of Warzistan are, most likely, harboring him today.
He is the Frontman, the "Face" of Radical Mohammedanism in the World today.
That's not horse-hockey at all.

10/16/2005 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Indonesia?, perhaps so.
His head on a pike, his body wrapped in hog hide and cremated, sending his soul to Valhalla, were he would not recieve his allotment virgins.
That would be all right with me. Most likely ok with the virgins, too.

10/16/2005 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Where does the Mohammedan's allah find the virgins?
I mean, just whose daughters and sisters are those girls, anyway?
Do the brothers get to honor kill them for their promiscuity, like in Germany? Or is slutish behaviour permitted in Paradise?
Sex outside of the family, if it ain't incest, it ain't right. That is the Mohammedan way, isn't it?

10/16/2005 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

There a lot of good comments. Let me just touch on a few of them.

Brett L: Interesting, ain't it, that on 1 October a fairly public discussion took place about the US policy towards Syria takes place, and days later the Syrian Minister of the Interior 'committed suicide'... perhaps Assad got the message.

Good point. Yes, many be Assad got the message - and maybe it was a token gesture. I believe Abu Nadal [sp?] committed suicide just as Saddam's men visited him over his possible involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Could this be a replay? I don't know but I am suspicious.

Wretchard: of dangers to the international political system is American dominance... the hidden downside is that the US is being relied on to provide another public good to the world... we will have a global political welfare system.

This is the "World Policeman" argument. It's valid but has been going on for about a half a century. Economics and military power go hand-in-hand. After WWII the rest of the world was in shambles. There were many countries ruined and no economic or military power to police the sea lanes and hold hostile states in check. By default it fell upon the US. As certain Asian countries and certain European countries became comfortable with the US playing the global policeman of last resort these countries shifted economic resources from military endeavors to economic endeavors (thus saddling the US tax payer the global security bill). How to rectify this situation is still mater of debate. I don't have the answer.

Wretchard: In a way it would have been better if the US had failed in Iraq, because it would have forced other nations to step up to the plate.

Hum, I am not so sure that would actually happen. There was a lot that could have gone wrong. I feel more comfortable with Bush's method of preemptively fighting the war with the enemy in his back yard (a lot less damage to American cities).

blanco: ...history has shown that certain socio-religious modes of political/governing thought tend to lend themselves more to compassion versus others that tend toward fatalism.

I agree on that.

Cutler: The biggest problem I see is that there's so few potential partners to work with. Can we trust the Chinese? Europeans?...

I agree. There are few partners. The British have been the best partners so far. But, There could be new ones from the emerging European counties. In the short run the US will play the main role.

NahnCee: Whoa, just a minute!

Let's not bury the American military just yet. I'll grant you victory in Iraq seems imminent, but we've still got those pesky mad mullah's in Iran to deal with, not to mention the religious maniac Wahhabi's in Saudi Arabia, AND that nut case in North Korea

Exactly. I say take it one step-at-a-time. We have a distance to go. We still have to get past the presidential elections in Iraq in December. I can just imagine some clever thug putting Saddam on the presidential ballot just for fun. Once this presidental election is done then all of your names above will have to be dealt with in some fashion. It's going to be a long haul.

RWE: But the insurgency's terror tactics were not a "mistake." I am afraid that is like saying that the Nazis would have been Okay if they had kept the freeways and continued development of rockets and not started the death camps and done all those invasions.

Well, terrorists usually terrorize to gain power. But, the only real tactic they performed correctly was the massive propaganda campaign and getting the US MSM on board. The brutal head sawing and splattering of children did not help them gain respect (if they were solely successful in killing huge numbers of American troops they would have projected strength - they did not. The killing children and civilians showed weakness).

Michael McCanles: ...In a way, the terrorist attacks in Iraq in retrospect have something of the "gang-that-couldnt-shoot straight" character of the Taliban actually trying a face-off with U. S. + No. Alliance troops in the trenches in the early hours of the Afghanistan fight. Roadside bombs being the only thing left in Iraq at the present moment, and the retreat of the organized fighting to the Syrian border, tells me that the "war fighting" is seriously attenuated by the vigor of the general Iraqi commitment to an organized political solution...

That's a fair assessment of the situation. And, I agree with most of your other stuff.

MM: What does a "final defeat" of terrorism look like?

I don't know. But, would guess that it would be evidenced by increased tourism in those terror plagued areas and increased industrial economic activity. That would include, modern cities, good housing and urban areas devoid of gun toting gangs.

Vercingetorix: point I ...was that the war on terrorism is like that of slavery or piracy; wars may last for years but some wars last for centuries. The wars against slavery and piracy have lasted over two.

What you can do is establish sanctuaries where you by and large defeat your enemy and then deny your enemy purchase in new territory and encroach on his. By next August, the Iraqis will have another 70,000 troops (270,000 total), and probably have at least 80 battalions reasonably independent where we can withdraw sufficient numbers. With Iraq and Afghanistan reasonably secure, we can isolate Iran and Syria, and the others and begin to deny the battlefield in East Africa

Yes, that sounds reasonable (particulary the thing about the pirates - that played out to their near extinction). Yes, good points. As Col. John "Hannibal" Smith of the mythical A-Team would say, "I love it when plan comes together."

10/16/2005 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

In Al Qaeda letter, a strategic blueprint:

The question is not whether there will be a struggle against Shiites, but when.

"Such insurgents do not have to 'win' in Iraq, at least in any conventional sense of the term," writes Mr. Cordesman in his latest report on insurgent patterns. "An outcome that leaves Iraq in a state of prolonged civil war, and forces a spreading conflict in Islam between Sunnis and other sects ..., would be seen as a prelude to a broader eschatological conflict they believe is inevitable and that God will ensure they win."

10/16/2005 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

What bothers me is that the US is playing both sides. By supporting/not-supporting Shiia and Sunni forces, it allowed both sides keep parity. The US needs to decide which side it wants to support and allow that side to crush its opponent. My personal sympathy will always go to the Iranian/Shiia side, due to their prior great culture and history. Also, the Arabs/Sunnis bring nothing to the table. There's no reason they should be allowed to maintain their position.

10/16/2005 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Rice Interview on Meet the Press With Tim Russert:

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, welcome. Are you confident the Iraqi people adopted a new constitution yesterday?

SECRETARY RICE: I'm confident, Tim, that the Iraqi people went to the polls in large numbers, apparently perhaps as much as a million more than they did in January. I'm confident that Sunnis participated in large numbers, which means that the base of politics has expanded in Iraq.

QUESTION: But you said a few hours ago you thought it probably passed.

SECRETARY RICE: There were some early reports from the ground that the numbers looked that way, but I think -- I underscored when I made that statement that we would not know until we know. And I just want to be very clear.

QUESTION: If it did go down, it would set the political process back significantly.

SECRETARY RICE: Tim, it's an argument I don't understand. If it passes, then democracy has been served. If, for some reason it does not, then democracy has been served. It would be like saying that a referendum in the United States, because it didn't pass, that it somehow was against the democratic process.

10/16/2005 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good to have you back, Fred.

10/16/2005 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Letter a fake?:

Indeed, the text is conspicuous for the way in which it seems to counter, almost point for point, the objections raised by Western critics of the coalition campaign in Iraq, in that:

- al-Qaeda's aims are not confined to "resistance" of a foreign invader;

- the war would not end with American withdrawal but extend to neighboring states and to Israel;

- the "foreignness" of the mujahideen in Iraq may be a de-legitimizing factor;

- al-Qaeda has actually resigned itself to defeat in Afghanistan;

- the organization is experiencing difficulty in communications; and

- funding has become a problem for the organization.

10/16/2005 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

'The Results indicate YES vote for the Iraqi constitution'

According to sam at hammorabi blogspot the Iraqi Constitution has been essentially ratified.

[Sam's numbers]:

The nine southern provinces from Basra to Hila voted between 75-95% by yes.

Baghdad region voted by 65-75% yes.

The three northern Kurdish provinces voted by 70-80% yes.

Kurkuk and Diyala voted for 60-65% yes.

Ramadi is gloomy but expected to vote for no.

The birth place of Saddam Tikrit (Salah-aldeen) voted by 75% for no.

The constitution will be rejected if the majority of votes rejected it which is according to the above results is impossible... The only other way by which it may be rejected is if more than two thirds of the votes in three provinces or more vote for no. This option is very unlikely. Even taking Tikrit votes in account this will need at least another 2 provinces to say no by more than 66%. Even if Ramadi achieved this is not enough. Mosel votes were 643,000 from which until today we got the results of 419,000 ballots counted. Out of this 419,000 there is 75% voted yes. Therefore even if the rest are all no, which is impossible, the final results will not be enough to reject the constitution.

see: hammorabi

10/16/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"What bothers me is that the US is playing both sides. By supporting/not-supporting Shiia and Sunni forces, it allowed both sides keep parity. The US needs to decide which side it wants to support and allow that side to crush its opponent. My personal sympathy will always go to the Iranian/Shiia side, due to their prior great culture and history. Also, the Arabs/Sunnis bring nothing to the table. There's no reason they should be allowed to maintain their position."

I've thought about it, and I've said that I eventually hope we can work with a post-Mullah Iran, but I wouldn't run head first into a centuries old religious feud. Allowing the Kurds and Shi'ites to crush the Sunnis would be an easy short-term solution within Iraq, but it wouldn't fit our long term objectives - considering the majority of the Muslim world and its most dangerous states [Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc] are Sunni.

10/16/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Potential problems with "no" vote:

-It could hit harder on the homefront [with doom and gloom reporting] than in Iraq. It seems to me our shorter time table is domestic.

-There's no guarentee that they'll eventually come to any agreement given even more time. There's a chance it may simply be unworkable within the format given. For example, in Czechoslovakia, where the old Soviet Constitution allowed minorities in both Slovakia or Czechia to cause legislative deadlock, effectively forcing seperation over unworkable electoral procedure. Though I don't think this one would be "Velvet" divorce.

10/16/2005 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Sources say SAS surveilled cop, jail Prison torture investigated:

"The finger of suspicion started to point in the direction of a senior officer inside the Jamiyat," said a senior army source. "We believe victims were strapped into a chair and then the torture would begin. We think it was more to do with intertribal warfare than clamping down on terrorist activity. This is a very corrupt society."

As part of the investigation, two SAS men were ordered to monitor the movements of the Iraqi police officer, but the operation was compromised Sept. 19 when the SAS team became involved in a shootout with four plainclothed police officers just as they were about to withdraw from the surveillance operation.

To try to avoid a shootout with the police, the SAS men decided to surrender.

10/16/2005 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Fred, in the long run I'm pretty pessimistic and see things similar to you. I don't know if we're going to be able to beat out so many of their cultural defects in so short a time. I expect a democratic Iraq to wind up anti-American, after all the conspiracy theories and arab scapegoating is done. I also think Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and a number of these places are too reactionary, and the people too prideful, for us to tranform in any short time. But I'm hoping I'm wrong, a victory in Iraq will certainly give optimistic and less bloody solutions a shot.

10/16/2005 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iraqi Constitution Appears Headed For Voter Approval:

Although precise numbers were not released, electoral officials said that Anbar province had voted overwhelmingly against the constitution, a result that was expected and which no one disputed. In Salahuddin, according to election official Salaf Khalid Farag, 81 percent of the voters opposed the charter.

The constitution won approval in the two other toughly contested provinces, officials said. In Nineveh province, 76.6 percent of voters approved the constitution and 21.5 percent rejected it, electoral commission spokesman Abdul Ghani Ali Yehya said. In Diyala, about 55 percent of the 727,000 voters approved the constitution, according to an electoral commission official, Mahir Darwish.

10/16/2005 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Don't you feel sorry for William Knight, condemned to live in whatever dark, dreary, bitter, mean, spiteful and backwards universe he inhabits?

10/16/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...


that the status quo of more land grabs and status quo Occupation repression must continue because "extremists exist wishing to destroy us".

and yet, israel has has returned 99.99999% of all disputed lands, from sinai to the return of BOTH the gaza and additional west bank lands equaling 2x the size of gaza, israel has rejected the status quo, they have unilaterally given back what the arab world doesnt want... self determination... Israel keeps offering 97% of the west bank to the arabs for their own state, and they just cant say yes...

c4, your still rewriting history, israel was created peacefully in the UN, the arab world rejected the 2 state solution, and again after 67 the israeli government OFFERED to return the newly conquered lands, and again were turned DOWN by the arab world, again at Taba, (even if you dont agree) barak offered 97% of the west bank and additional negev land to offset settlements, this too was turned down.

so now sharon, your land grabbing enemy, has unilaterally RETURNED 2 MILLION palestinians to their control lands, what do they do? they murder, kidnap, riot and loot....

nope, there are "land grabs" just not israeli ones of any significance, 20 square miles doesnt add up the arab land grab of the british mandate for palestine for the homeland for the Jews, remember jordan was to be jewish and now 2/3 of historic paletine is Juden free, no jews in 21 nations of the arab world, all 800,000 jews thrown out, their lands all grabbed... Now Gaza and an area twice the size of gaza are jew free, no status quo, those days are gone....

10/16/2005 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Jeremy M. Hodge

Sgt. Jeremy Michael Hodge, 20, of Rushsylvania, Ohio, was tragically killed in the line of duty on Monday, Oct. 10, 2005, while proudly serving his country in Baghdad, Iraq.

A National Guard soldier of Bravo Company, 612th Engineering Battalion, Jeremy was an unselfish, hardworking leader who exemplified honor and duty. He was a 2003 graduate of Ridgemont High School where he was a member of the football and baseball teams and an active participant in swing choir and musicals. He will be remembered as an all-American boy who loved four-wheeling, motorcycles, hunting and fishing, watching NASCAR and rooting for Mark Martin. He dearly loved his family and made his parents, family and the community very proud.

10/16/2005 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Winston Wolfe (played by Harvey Keitel), in Pulp Fiction gave some sage advise that is quite appropriate for this situation. When John Travolta and Samuel Jackson got a little premature in their celebrations he told them, “Well, let's not start ******* each other's ***** quite yet”

Look, there is only one measure of US victory in Iraq, and that is how many troops need to be in theater to maintain a semblance of order. If the number boots on the ground is above that which is sustainable over the long term, then the insurgents are winning. An acceptable long-term manpower commitment for the US would be on the order of 30,000–50,000. Right now we are above 150,000. For the moment, we are losing. If troop levels remain high, sooner or later America’s wealthy elite will lose the ability to both shield their children from actually serving in the war and/or may lose the ability to transfer the added tax burden to the middle and working classes. If either of these two things were to happen, the upper class elite will pull the carpet out from under Operation Iraqi Freedom in a heartbeat. Troops will be withdrawn from Iraq - not because of a lack of military necessity - but because of political expediency. That’s the trajectory we are currently on. When we have three months of relative calm with less than 100,000 troops in Iraq then a strong argument can be made that we are headed towards victory, until that happens, listen to Winston Wolfe.

10/17/2005 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

Spurning America:

"A nation's morale and strength derive from a sense of the past," argues historian Wilfred McClay. Ties to those who came before -- whether in the military, in religion, in general patriotism -- provide a sense of purpose rooted in history and tested over time. Secular transnational elites are on their own, without a useful tradition, in constructing a morality to help them perform their duties.

Most Americans sense they need such ties to the past, to judge from the millions buying books about Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Jeffersonand other Founding Fathers. We Americans are lucky to live in a country with a history full of noble ideas, great leaders and awe-inspiring accomplishments. Sadly, many of our elites want no part of it.

10/17/2005 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger Purple Avenger said...

it wouldn't surprise me if the US decides to blockade Iran's shipping ports and have the lost oil supply from Iran replenished with increased production quotas in Iraq.

This would suprise me a LOT.

Look at the Iranian order of Battle and weapons systems they've been buying the past decade.

They would just shutdown the strait and that Iraqi oil (or anyone else's in the gulf) ain't going anywhere.

10/17/2005 01:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Purple avenger
They could do that for about 2 weeks, after that period of tume the assets they would need to persue that policy any further would be destroyed.
The real fear is not control of the Straits, but the oil infrastructure World Wide that would/ could be targeted.
Both Mexico and Panama are open targets. KAS and Kuwait have poor Security against organized Military strikes. Pipelines across Turkey and Boliva are vulnerable.
These targets are all outside US direct control, but required to sate our thrist for oil.
The Iranians have been prepping for this showdown for well over twenty years, they have successfully attacked both US territory and Armed Forces before, do not doubt they would again. In a manner we are not prepared for.

10/17/2005 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

In a manner we are not prepared for.

Translated, this simply means they will be more barbaric than we can contemplate as a civilized society.

However, it seems to me that given Iran's physical location, an aggressor *against* Iran can be more more flexible, maneuverable and surprising than Iran can be if it is the aggressor pushing out against the world.

In a three-dimensional world, Iran will have to defend itself against all three dimensions. In attacking outwards, the Mullahs will assume they have the dimension of Islam and Allah on their side, but as we have seen repeatedly, Allah tends to not be a very good ally.

Iran may have been thinking about this since Carter was pseudo-Prez, but that doesn't mean they've thought it through accurately. I have to believe that 85% of their plotting is the same sort of wishful thinking that we see in Europe, in Africa, and in the rest of the Middle East. And in the case of the Middle East, the wishful thinking is abetted by deluded science as well.

I just don't see Iran as being a competent bogey-man, nor will it ever have the capacity to be flexible in any real aggressive sense.

10/17/2005 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Iran is not going to stop producing oil to spite us; that would destroy them economically. And we are not going to cut off Iranian oil from the rest of the world, that would have huge repercussions on the world economy. Neither of those options is viable to either side.

10/17/2005 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

On a strictly military level within Iran you are correct. However the Iranian agents are already in place, have been for years.
If the Iranians followed an aQ model, attacking civilians in office buildings and buses, well, that would be insignificant. We could lose tens of thousands of civilians, but militarily it would not be effective.
If they destroyed the Panamanian pipeline, the Persian Gulf loading stations and other oil infrastructure targets, world wide the economic dislocation in the Western World would be, economicly, disasterous.
Their Allies in Russia would be strengthen, their oil worth more than ever, their enemies in KSA would have severe problems when their cash flow stopped.
There are other aspects of power we can use, outside of the Military, in regard to the Iranians, we should utilize those options.

10/17/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/17/2005 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

re: Mugabe's speech and Italian reaction.

I think we must resign ourselves to the negative effects of globalization. Eric Hoffer once wrote that envy and proximity are directly correlated, so that the closer you get to the top the more militant are your grievances. Someone living hand to mouth has no inclination to envy the wealthy aristocrat, for the aristocrat's life is as distant as Saturn for the pauper in the street. But let a man live in a slightly smaller house on the same street as our aristocrat, and his envy for his neighbor can become a ruinous obsession.

We see this phenomenon in racialist movements, feminist movements, socialist movements, etc. The rhetoric of liberation becomes the sophistry of powerlessness, with the latter as disingenuous as the former was sincere. A history of past gain becomes a reminder of present want. A taste of success, and an agitated addict is born.

For the time being we are that aristocrat on the hill, and our presence and power mocks those with lesser means. Amongst themselves the powerless vent their passions, but before their superiors the powerless are polite. We should expect and tolerate the former. If the latter should cease, if politeness should give way to open belligerence while we remain at the table, then worry we shall, and with good reason. In such a way is a Brutus born; in such a way does a Caesar fall.

Until then, vigilance should suffice. Let them believe their tropes, so long as we believe ours.

10/17/2005 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

To choose the Hero that destroyed the Republic and transformed it to a Dictatorship.
How does that bode well for ours?

10/17/2005 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Aristides said...
For the time being we are that aristocrat on the hill, and our presence and power mocks those with lesser means. Amongst themselves the powerless vent their passions, but before their superiors the powerless are polite.
I don't think so. I think the deep question for the US right now is "how do we make the Mexicans rich." That's what the biz about fatalism above was all about.

10/17/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Back on the direct topic
This is an interesting view of the events in Iraq and around the Mohammedan world

We Won... Again!

"... In recent weeks heightened discussion in Washington, and in centers of Islamic debate I visited, such as Jakarta, focused on these claims. Muslims knew the Sunnis would prefer to take advantage of their new right to vote, and would favor a constitutional order in Iraq rather than continued violence. The meddling of the Saudis was considered gross and embarrassing. Muslim leaders I met were more interested in the future of the "Shia-con" phenomenon, i.e. of Iraqi Shias aligned with the U.S. neoconservatives.

What does it mean to be a "Shia-con?" Nothing very different from what it means to be an ordinary neoconservative: bedrock belief in governmental and personal accountability, entrepreneurship, popular sovereignty, and a place for religion in public life. Sunni intellectuals with whom I met pointed out that "neocon" has become a term of abuse in the Muslim world no less than in the West. But when exposed to the foundations of neoconservative thought, they expressed approval.

Nonetheless, moderate Sunni Muslims who tried to tell Western media and government the facts about the probable outcome in the Iraqi constitutional election were ignored. Instead, numerous MSM reporters applied the practice they have pursued since the Sandinista era in Nicaragua: they found radicals and marginal, anonymous grumblers, and presented their clichés as the voice of all Iraqi Sunnis. ..."

10/17/2005 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

re: victory over terrorism.

A tough problem, but not an interminable or impossible one. Terrorism has always been a tactic of the weak, and its success has waxed and waned with the will of the strong. To say that terrorism cannot be defeated is an imprecise statement. Terrorism as a tactic will always be a danger, because there will always be Destructors who care nothing for gain and cherish only the moments of fire purchased with their fetishes.

Terrorism as a political tactic, however, can be discredited through attention, ability, and will. Movements have goals, however fantastical, so our success will be determined by how certain we can make terrorism and hopelessness, as ideas, intertwined. When the world knows that to speak one is to speak the other, our war will end.

In this respect Iraq speaks loudly for our cause. Hopefully we need not impose another example, but we must be ready and willing if we do.

Persons will always be ready to kill at random for no reason at all. It is on the level of peoples where we fight this war.

10/17/2005 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Aristides, I think your last sentence should be modified to say:
It is on the level of ideas where we fight this war.

And your post speaks accurately of the need to discredit their ideology so completely that even they know it is a lost cause.

10/17/2005 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Desert Rat,

A limited analogy, to be sure. We do not have to be Caesar incarnate to be stabbed in the back.


I agree that Mexico needs its own riches. But if and when she gains them, she will be less inclined to be our friend, culturally. Politically she will be shrewd enough to avoid open belligerence, but the envy will fester deeper in her people as they dream less and compare more.

The negative effect of globalization is the rhetorical animosity and material envy it engenders. It is to the last that we must be resigned, and the former where we must be vigilant.

As long as we reign supreme, we can expect speeches like Mugabe's, and receptions like Rome's.

10/17/2005 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

"it has been an utter waste of energy, time, and money for the rest of the world."

On the contrary, it has given the "enemies of freedom", and other nations who are simply jealous of the U.S. (specifically the Communist nations, and the Middle East and African dictatorships/Islamic societies, with France, Russia, et al falling into the latter category) a very cheap means to keep themselves in power/minimize American influence.

10/17/2005 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Military commitments and obligations should become part and parcel of economic alliances and partnerships. You can't be our Free Trade partner unless you contribute your full military share towards maintaining the system. This should be made very clear to countries like Canada and Mexico that have been freeloading their security obligations by taking advantage of the America's military umbrella. There's no reason for the US to shoulder all the expense in keeping the world safe for commerce. The US should make that clear to all its trading partners when it negotiates trade agreements with them.

10/17/2005 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

I'm not sure what to do about the UN other than use its recent scandals and failures to spur reform. Ultimately its worth lies in the cover it gives to American foreign policy. When it ceases to provide that function, or when it starts to work actively against us, it ceases being useful. But we should only quit it when remaining carries more cost that leaving. I don't think we are there yet.

Iran could very well be the final test for the UN. I sincerely hope it is not. The UN's authority is an illusion, but it can be a useful one. Much better to have it available when you need it than to not have it at all. I think Bush recognizes this, and will seek to restructure the UN to be more advantageous for us and less so for Mugabe and Chavez.

10/17/2005 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Aristides said...

I agree that Mexico needs its own riches. But if and when she gains them, she will be less inclined to be our friend, culturally. Politically she will be shrewd enough to avoid open belligerence, but the envy will fester deeper in her people as they dream less and compare more.
the problem is that US policy towards Mexico has long been in the hands of one worlders like council of foreign relations. The US could have stopped illegal immigration over the border in a heart beat long ago. They didn't. Why? Its not just that the republican elites are looking for cheap labor or that democratic elites are looking for cheap votes. It is as well that the overarching vision of the one worlders is that the way to go about creating a one world (unaacountable) government is by creating large blocks of nations first and then later assembling the blocks. The illegals coming over the border are a way of implimenting this policy. Already Mexicans running for government in Mexcico are coming north of the border to campaign for votes.

The whole logic of the political drift last half of the 20th century was that either the US southwest would be broken off from the USA or that north america would be grouped together into one superstate.

I am in favor of neither eventuality.

10/17/2005 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"I point out the numerous previous predictions of success made by right-wing pundits that have been simply...wrong."

How so? How have these predictions of success been wrong?

Specifically, how was:

Apr 2003: Fall of Baghdad... a failure?
Dec 2003: Capture of Saddam... a failure?
Jun 2004: Iraqi Interim Government... a failure
Nov 2004: Fallujah Campaign... a failure?
Jan 2005: Iraqi Elections... a failure?
Oct 2005: Iraqi Constitution... a failure?
Dec 2005: Iraqi Elections!... a failure?

Please feel free to elaborate, William.

10/17/2005 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Dan and WK: As someone not a child of the "elites" and who entered AFROTC at a time where open distain and being splattered with red paint was a normal experience for someone in uniform on a American college capmpus - and someone who spent 25 years in active duty in the USAF - I can tell you that no one in the military gives a rat's rump whether they serve alongside the children of the "elites." Rather, I think we all generally regard military service as one of the few things in our society that separates the men from the boys. Let them cruise around in their Learjets; I'll be freezing my butt off working in the bomb bay of an F-111. Let them show off their new toys at a night club; I'll be working all night to overhaul some F-105 fuel tank pressure regulators so that the Wild Weasels can deploy on time to Europe. Let them invite their friends over to see their new plasma screen TV; the TV screen I'll be looking at is at a launch complex where we are getting ready to put up a new NRO satellite.
And I will feel damn good about it all.
Let them laugh all the way to the bank. I'll cheer all the way to glory. They were born elites; we proved ourselves to be elite.
And by the way, highly paid famous athelete Pat Tillman knew what was important. He gave his life.
And rather than celebrating him as an elite that did not have to go but did, the anti-war crowd jeered at him over it.

10/17/2005 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Jakester said...

Thanx Wretchard
You are one of the most intelligent conservatives on the web, most seem to spend their time whining about the media and the UN and how victimized they felt because someone criticized I.D.

10/17/2005 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Sirius Sir, Verc,

We are talking about two totally different types troop numbers here. The high figures (those critics who say we don’t have enough troops) represent the estimated number of troops needed to affect a Germany / Japan post-WWII type occupation. The 30,000 – 50,000 troop numbers I cite are the number of troops the US could sustain long-term (assuming no other major international incidents). The fact that these two numbers are so widely different, far from being a positive sign, is a serious problem.

10/17/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Jakester said...

The bloody fact about the insurgency is that that Iraq is surrounded by enemy jihad friendly regimes with tons of money and willing kamikazes, as well as a jihad religion, exhorting the crazies, that is not going to vanish to soon. I support what we are doing but let's be real, we are still in for a hard fight when the Pentagon admits only 1 Iraqi battalion is combat ready and trustworthy. Sure, we can win militarily, that is a foregone conclusion, Saddam's army was always third rate. But before we start crowing about just how mighty we are, the US's successes against first rate forces were long bloody affairs that included many setbacks. It's incredible about the utter lack of hubris so many conservatives evince, usually the same ones who complain about how victimized they are.

10/17/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good grief people,.. each one of those events was clearly predicted to be the beginning of the end of the insurgency by numerous right-wing pundits, including, ..Wretchard).

I read you clear. I'm still waiting to hear from you why these people were wrong. Why these events did not signal "beginning of the end" for the "insurgency". And btw, that's not what Wretchard wrote. Wretchard wrote this was The End of the Beginning.

10/17/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Jakester said...

William and KStagger's dialogue highlights what I have been saying for quite a while. We need more people like William and less like KStagger, who thinks any criticism and skepticism makes one a traitor. He reminds me of the yahoos at LGF & the A.I.R. who go ballistic at any doubt or criticism.

10/17/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...


The New Iraqi Army has -- at last count -- 80 combat effective battalions.

This has been covered here at the Belmont Club already.

Check prior musings.

10/17/2005 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Jakester said...

I'm not for withdrawl, we are in way to deep to cash in our chips. Anything we can do is better than Saddam. I don't want another Vietnam cut and run op. But there is plenty of meat for naysayers and jihad cheerleaders. Since so many people love to use WWll models: Both Churchill and FDR took great pains to co-opt their domestic opponents and win over fringe allies. Meanwhile, during this war and record deficits, we have a leader who wants more tax cuts, in short, war with no sacrifices.

10/17/2005 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...


So I take from your comment that, if or when push comes to shove, and the insurgency in Iraq lasts a few more years, and as a result we are forced to ask our wealthy elites for their children or their treasure to help bring Democracy to Iraq; you are confident they will enthusiastically (or even grudgingly) say “YES!”

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

BTW I threw my TV away years ago and I can assure you that I hate the MSM (and therefore boycott it) far more than you can imagine.

10/17/2005 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Jakester said...

If there are 80 effective battalions, they why are our guys still needed? I may be wrong about just one, but no one can tell me the Iraq army is very effective.

10/17/2005 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William wrote:

" I take the trouble to call out the blatant errors of the right wing precisely in order to attempt to reverse the ruinous course that my own nation has been following."

I'm skeptical of this, William. If that is indeed your motive with your posts here, you appear to be failing miserably. I don't see that your posts here are in any way leading to a reversal in the course of your nation's actions. You seem to be unable to convince anyone of your sincerity, let alone a different course of action.

Perhaps it's just due to the intransigence and thickness of people here that you're unable to get through. But whatever character or intellectual flaws we would wish to project upon them, it still equates to a wasted effort. If you are really so concerned about victory and changing the course of action, it would seem that an intelligent fellow like yourself would have no problem finding a forum that would offer you a more productive use of your energy.

Additionally, I don't detect much sincerity in you. Insults, provocations, and various charges of things such as "hypocracy" seem to be your primary object. As I pointed out in a previous thread, this generally isn't very persuasive and doesn't really seem to provoke effective communication - if we define effective communication as convincing anyone of anything that would change the "ruinous course" you believe our nation is on.

Nevertheless, I'd like to hear the course of action that you'd recommend.

10/17/2005 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...


I can report the Pentagon's count. I can't speak for their utilization.

I suspect that the better formations are constantly being exploited for new cadres. So that on the one hand a unit is rated highly. And on the other hand Patreous (LtG) won't commit it to combat: it is to be twinned up with a new formation.

I am presuming this based on America's rapid formation of the WWII US Army. I have to believe that is the model.

Linear growth in numbers -- in war time -- triggers an exponential increase in combat power.

It seems plain that the priority is to increase the size of the new Iraqi Army, only later to use it.

I expect the IA to clear Rahmadi almost solo on the ground before December 15.

10/17/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...


I totally agree. That's what my main point was, if we are able to at some point reduce troops to near a sustainable level, then we can talk about victory. As it stands, we are not there yet, which doesn't equate to defeat, it only means victory celebrations are premature.

10/17/2005 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

James K wrote: William....
Nevertheless, I'd like to hear the course of action that you'd recommend.

Still waiting for this William...

10/17/2005 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...


The best numbers I have seen come from The Fourth Rail, October 7:

80 Army battalions in the fight total
35 Iraqi Police battalions

36 out of 115 combined were rated #2
1 out of the 115 was rated #1
another 78 the balance was rated #3:

in the fight but only alongside coalition forces

LtG Petraeus did not break it down further in his off hand remarks.

10/17/2005 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...

The Pentagon is projecting an additional 70,000 in security forces between now and mid 2006. At least that's what has been tossed in the air.

One might assume that this value reflects the openings in training camp to be available in that time frame. Which in turn implies surging strength in all Iraqi Security Forces.

10/17/2005 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William wrote:

"A hypocrite is someone who doesn't practice what he preaches. Such a person loses all credibility. Would you listen to someone who tells others they should risk their life for something if you knew that person would not do likewise? Would you believe a person who complained of theft if you knew they were a thief?"

The courts do it quite frequently. Hence we have the Witness Protection Program, a program that seems to have the primary function of getting thieves to testify against other thieves. (Although I will grant that undoubtedly there are some decent people being protected by this program.)

The hypocrisy argument is just a variation of ad hominem, nothing more. It's like saying that Bill Clinton had no right to order military action in Bosnia or Somalia because Clinton himself was a draft-dodger or lacked military experience. Constitutionally, it was legal for him to order these missions. But even taking it a step further, Clinton's lack of military experience would not necessarily mean that any argument he could make for or against military action would necessarily have "no credibility."

From Wikipedia:

Ad hominem tu quoque (literally, "at the person, you too") could be called the "hypocrisy" argument. It occurs when a claim is dismissed either because it is inconsistent with other claims that the claimant is making or because the claim is about actions the claimant has engaged in, too.

Example 1:

"You say airplanes are able to fly because of the laws of physics, but this is false because twenty years ago you said airplanes fly because of magic."
Example 2:

"You cannot accuse me of libel because you yourself have been convicted of libel."

10/17/2005 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/17/2005 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...


Simply by pointing out that your charges of hypocrisy are fallacious in no way implies that I believe hypocrisy is meaningless.

But we're not talking about political leaders. We're talking about people posting on Belmont. This subject was brought up in a previous thread discussing the attempts by some governments to establish control of the internet via some UN mandate. Many people posted strong sentiments of disagreement with such a proposal. Your response was to accuse them of being hypocrites.

You could have, perhaps, tried to present some compelling reasons for moving ICANN out of the control of the Department of Commerce.

The reason I'm making an issue out of this is not a compelling need to "defend hypocrisy" so much as it is my intention to bring the point home to you and others that merely accusing someone of hypocrisy rarely advances any kind of dialogue or discussion. In fact, it tends to do the complete opposite. Just because I do not see the utility in you charging hypocrisy and just because it seems to be that it's not helping you advance any particular case does not mean that I'm advocating or even defending hypocrisy.

In general, I find that people who harp the most about their opponents' hypocrisy, integrity, or dishonesty are generally uninterested in a serious exchange of ideas or in being persuasive. Nearly all the time, these kinds of charges are accompanied by various put downs, insults, and other symptoms of grandiosity. It seems the speaker is trying to convince no one other than himself.

Now, again, what were some ideas you had for alternatives to your country's ruinous course?

10/17/2005 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger RichatUF said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/17/2005 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger RichatUF said...

To cederford;

MoH...not quite


"elites" ... "wealthy" ...

hum college/education, work, shrewd investment, creativity

I suppose the GI Bill and Army College Fund just doesn't pay what it used to

Exactly how many "millionares" in the US served at some point in the armed forces of the
US? Or does military service just exclude you from being "elite"


economic hysteria, take an antidote

Long time reader, first post...this has to be one of the best sites on the net
Thanks Wretchard

10/17/2005 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Congrats WK. You just made my list of commentors I now just scroll past because of your incessant whining and pathetic, victim mentality.

You're not fooling anyone.

BTW, we're human. There's a little bit of hipocrite in us all.

10/17/2005 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

"Those are just a few small steps we could take towards restoring the credibility and reputation of our nation."

By taking care of Saddam and liberating the Iraqi people, the US has all the credibility it wants from me.

In contrast, the UN, by its actions and its words, has pissed away any credibility it has with me.

When 'responsible' members of the UN like Mugabe can get applause and hugs, it's time to bug out and clean house.

10/17/2005 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...


I'm unsure if you're playing a semantic game or if a semantic game is playing you.

Somehow you've come to the conclusion that the fundamental defining characteristic of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the UN's desire for control of ICANN to be an issue of pre-emption.

We could grant, for the purposes of discussion, that the UN move is a "pre-emptive" move, but I would regard this as carrying abstraction to absurdity. By this standard, just about anything a government could do would be labeled as "pre-emptive." From installing a stop sign where accidents may occur to handing out condoms. Genocide itself could be considered "pre-emptive."

By this logic, opposing any government's desire to do just about anything could be considered hypocritical. "You don't want us to pre-emptively deal with our jewish problem? Well, you pre-emptively passed the endangered species act!" This is truly absurd.

It seems this whole issue of pre-emption is only relevant to you and you're making it to be the most relevant of all possible issues. I'm skeptical of the UN's move for all sorts of reasons that go beyond whether it's pre-emptive or not. With that out of the way, the parallels between Operation Iraqi Freedom and the UN's current internet obsession seem exceptionally thin. Crying hypocrisy over it seems rather irrelevant compared to more pressing issues as: is giving up control of the DNS servers a good idea for the US and even for the world?

Speaking of hypocrisy and inconsistency, it seems you regard one of the problems with OIF to be that it was a pre-emptive war. In that case, wouldn't you be against the UN's internet grab, as well?

I think you're right that the world watches how we debate issues. And hopefully we can debate and discuss the issue of the surrender of ICANN in a substantive way that leads to a deeper discovery of the relevant issues involved.

10/17/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iraqi Electoral Workers to Audit Results:

Many Sunnis fear the new decentralized government outlined in the constitution will deprive them of their fair share of the country's vast oil wealth by creating virtually independent mini-states of Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south, while leaving Sunnis isolated in central and western Iraq.

If the constitution indeed passed, the first full-term parliament since Saddam Hussein's fall in 2003 will install a new government by Dec. 31 following Dec. 15 elections. If the charter failed, the parliament will be temporary, tasked with drawing up a new draft constitution.

10/17/2005 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

In 1992 the UNPROFOR entered Bosnia to buffer warring factions. The next year saw the most intense fighting since WWII. The final peace agreement between the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina was signed in December 1995. US forces transitioned to the EUFOR at the end of 2004. That is something like 9 years. By that bench mark it can be many years before we call Iraq a failure.

In 1999 the Clinton administration intervened in Kosovo under the aegis of NATO and basically said “Make peace or we will bomb you”. The war was something of a “death from above” campaign that wrought many civilian casualties. The left remained mostly silent because as crypto-fascists, whatever their leaders do is OK and cannot be criticized.

WK said:
“I am not rooting for the enemy. Just the opposite, in fact. I take the trouble to call out the blatant errors of the right wing precisely in order to attempt to reverse the ruinous course that my own nation has been following.”

I know we have been over this before WK but it is clear that you’d put your ruinous self interests before the interests of this nation, just so you can excoriate your enemy, POTUS Bush.
1) One who feels hatred toward, intends injury to, or opposes the interests of another; a foe.

So you’re an American, so was Ted Kaczynski. At least he exhibited some original thinking.

You can have more WK, he is a belligerent jack ass and the two of you should start your own mutual blog. May I recommend that you call it “Circle of Jerks.”

10/17/2005 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/17/2005 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Come on, people... let's all try to be a little more civil. The appearance of an opposition is necessary and helpful to the discussion. Unless someone is being openly abusive I don't think there's any need to insist they go elsewhere. Disagreement is healthy; the trick is in how we voice it and address it.

10/17/2005 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Tribal Ignorance:

When Syrian Baathism implodes, and when the many Arab and Kurdish Muslims it has oppressed take revenge, and when its killers prowl the streets of Beirut as well as Damascus and Aleppo in the hope of saving what they can, will we hear again that this chaos and misery would never have happened if it were not for American imperialism?

Actually, we are already hearing rehearsals of this stupidity. Discussing the possibility of cross-border tussles to deal with Syria's wretched, spiteful sabotage of the new Iraq, the New York Times kept tight hold of its only historical analogy and announced—in a news story, not a sidebar—that this was Cambodia all over again.

10/17/2005 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Now, again, what were some ideas you had for alternatives to your country's ruinous course?

WK answers: Start acting like a responsible member of the world community. Don't appoint people like John Bolton to be diplomats. Elect leaders who are honest, capable and can take responsibility for their actions and for those work under them. Put a stop to complicity in torture via 'special rendition'. Don't detain people indefinitely without due process.

Gee. That's odd. Must certainly be a total oversight that I see absolutely nothing about preventing another 9/11.

Doubtless in this utopian world a la W. Knight, the Mohammad Atta's of the Middle East would recognize our good intentions in turning over a new leaf, and quit trying to get us all to become Muslims, obeying Shariah Law only, or become blowed up.

10/17/2005 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...


A quick review of Congressional Elites regarding children in the Armed Services…

To bad for the Left that three stats stand out:

1.9% of Americans serve in the military that are of age to serve

2.8% of Republican Congressmen have close relatives in service

0.8% of Democratic Congressmen have close relatives in service

So, in reality, given that our Congress Critters are generally in a rather advanced age bracket (meaning that their children are middle aged) we have better than decent representation of these elite families in the Armed Forces.

However, it does look as if the LEFTIST ELITES are statistically underrepresented!!!

Why is that???

10/17/2005 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

William Knight,

I'm still waiting an answer from you. Btw, why call it an "insurgency"? Why not call it for what it is? Why not call it the old IslamoFascistic order trying to maintain its grip on Iraq? If anything, the real insurgency is made up of those Iraqis that just voted the old IslamoFascist order out. Don't you think?

William, I'm trying to be very patient with you. I have not hurled any abuse at you, yet. But if you go on the way you have and do not back up your implied assertions when pressed and called to do so, I might well start and join in with the others.

10/17/2005 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

William Knight

Getting the discussion back to basics:

"Beginning of the End of the Iraq War:

Apr 2003: Fall of Baghdad...not
Dec 2003: Capture of Saddam...not
Jun 2004: Iraqi Interim Government...not
Nov 2004: Fallujah Campaign...not
Jan 2005: Iraqi Elections...not
Oct 2005: Iraqi Constitution...not
Dec 2005: Iraqi Elections!

Wretchard's title is 'The End of the Beginning'. I think he was referencing a Churchill speech made after the London Blitz failed to break the will of the British people:

"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." Speech given at the Lord Mayor's Luncheon, Mansion House, London, November 10, 1942.

I am concerned that you did not pick this up. It is a very, very, very famous quote.

There is a HUGE difference between 'The Beginning of the End' and 'The End of the Beginning'.

10/17/2005 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Warfare wanes and terrorism rises, new study says:

Armed conflicts have dropped 40 percent since the end of the Cold War and those that persist are killing far fewer people, says a three-year study that attempts to debunk current myths about war and peace.

But Ian Levine, program director at Human Rights Watch, said he was concerned that the report's message might be construed as "we need not worry so much."

He pointed to renewed debate on torture and the degradation of prisoners in Iraq. "We feel at the moment we are fighting hard to protect international standards. There is a real danger of going backwards,"he said.

10/17/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

William King,

Admiral King said the following in a situation more analogous of a 'Beginning of the End'.

"For out of this Total War,
Must Come Total Victory..."

There was a movement in America to treat with Japan for an 'honorable and lasting' peace following the complete defeat of Nazi Germany. King, rightly, realized that the totalitarian, fascist, imperial Japan would have to be completely destroyed or it would reemerge... America, and the western democracies, could not live in peace with despotic and aggressive fascists....

10/17/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Syria is very analogous to Cambodia and the "Parrot's Beak" region. I've said so on the site before, often. That is because it is true. The US has allowed it's enemies a Safe Zone, both in Cambodia and Syria.
The NY Times report is quite accurate in that regard. It reports a firefight across/ over the borderline, not US operations designed to destroy Enemy positions or their supplies, material or troops. Just like the "Parrot's Beak".

Mr Knight
Where to start... nah

George Washington & Benedict Arnold, stabbing an old friend and his own honor in the back. A better, American analogy, I think.

I think you are wrong about troop strength and eventual victory. If the aQ forces, just a few thousand individuals, can be isolated from Sunni Insurgents they will be immensely weaken. One of the main recruiting tools for those Insurgents is our troop presence.
As we withdraw, the Insurgency will lose it's premier recruiting tool.
A responsible phased withdrawal should be part of our Victory strategy. As Bush says, "As the Iraqis stand up, we stand down."

10/17/2005 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

One of the main recruiting tools for those Insurgents is our troop presence. 
As we withdraw, the Insurgency will lose it's premier recruiting tool.

I'll have to disagree with you on that, Rat. Mainly because that's an assertion made by Islamofascists and their apologists, like Cedarfart. Also, it would seem to me that by now most Jihadis know that the chances for success against US forces are indeed slim. Whereas against the yet unproven Iraqi security forces, the odds are yet to be determined.

10/17/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


Thanks for making the analogy with Cambodia clear in my mind.

We Won... Again!

For many months, the MSM and their assorted political allies have indoctrinated the world in despicable lies:

· That the Wahhabi terror in Iraq, financed by and recruited among radical Saudis, was an "insurgency" or "resistance" caused by the actions of President Bush.

· That the Sunni Arabs in Iraq backed the alleged insurgency, were uniformly opposed to the constitutional process, and would prevent its completion.

· That anti-Shia blandishments by Saudi and other Sunni rulers would seal Sunni opposition to the new reality in Iraq.

10/17/2005 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Desert Rat,

Concur with all, but far more optimistic...

I think we have a strong blocking force near the Syrian border. It is these forces, no doubt with some SF, that are firing warning shots across Assad’s brow…

I also seem to remember very direct nation to nation threats emanating from the Iraqi leadership toward their esteemed neighbors. I am guessing that an American trained and supplied Iraqi military might present a problem to Syria (which has problems on its other borders as well) that leaves that fine dictator one way out. And, um, there are 140,000 increasingly bored US ground troops stationed in Iraq – even though it will soon be 50,000 (like ‘occupied’ Germany).

On Iran, I see a similar issue. It doesn’t look like a friendly region for them. Also, a ‘embargo’ could simply be long duration safety reviews of foreign flagged oil tankers coming and going to Iran. Miraculously, tankers going to and from other locations might not receive such invasive safety checks. Have to make certain no fanatical Jews or Crusaders abuse their freedoms and sabotage (maybe even with Nukes) a tanker going to, or leaving, Iran. Kinda like what the Japanese do (used to do, hopefully) with our auto exports to Japan.

By the way, aQRD, Iraq has proven to be a rather dismal training Depot. All those disorganized (for the ‘insurgents’) live fire exercises have left many drill instructors, company commanders, and a battalion commander or two rather indisposed.

Wretchard is positing that the carrier Fallujah has sunk, the carrier ‘Qaim Caliphate’ has sunk, the carrier ‘Mosul’ has sunk, and dive bombers have found the carrier ‘Ramadi’ in the middle of rearming its fighters. Rommel has been shoved hard in Najaf. It is the End of the Beginning.

If al Qaeda, and the rest of the Islamofascists, continue to make Iraq central to the GWOT than they will remain in decline.

I do not think Osama has an option to change his theater of operations.

However, as we all know, the battles of Midway and al-Alamein and Stalingrad occurred in 1942/3. That war was not over. This war is not over...

10/17/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Where is doug?

10/17/2005 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...


When folks talk about us failing in the GWOT they should remember that America has yet to mobilize for war. To this point, we haven't had to. This is NOT a first world power.

To date, only 1.9% of the military eligible age group is in the military. We spend 3% of our GDP on the military. We have not adjusted production to build more weaponry. We have not destroyed cities from the air.

We have some space to accommodate conflict progression if our enemy proves worthy. By proving themselves worthy, they will doom themselves. Osama bin Laden now understands this.

10/17/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Sorry folks, in a reply I checked the site to verify a quote - namely 'The End of the Beginning'

Check who this sounds like:

"We did not make this war, we did not seek it. We did all we could to avoid it. We did too much to avoid it. We went so far at times in trying to avoid it as to be almost destroyed by it when it broke upon us. But that dangerous corner has been turned, and with every month and every year that passes we shall confront the evil-doers with weapons as plentiful, as sharp, and as destructive as those with which they have sought to establish their hateful domination."

10/17/2005 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

18 grandmothers arrested at Iraq war protest in New York:

The 18 went to the recruiting office saying they wanted to enlist. They were jailed after they sat down to protest the war in Iraq. Police say the women ranged in age from 49 to 90.

Grandmothers Against the War director Joan Wile says they tried to enter the facility but it was locked. Wile says she saw a head poke from behind a counter and believes those inside didn't how to deal "with a bunch of grannies."

10/17/2005 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...


You are assuming that Islamofascists see allies the same way we do.

Germany and France are not allied to them. At least not not on the part of the Islamofascists.

I think it is likely that Islamic Terror hits France (subway attack that was thwarted) and Germany (where we seem to hear of monthly cell roundups). I think it likely that our adversary makes this mistake.

How bout a militarized Germany as an enemy!!!

10/17/2005 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Uuuhhh, sorry to have to do this...

Churchill is awesome...

And some things never change:

"On top of all this came the great French catastrophe. The French Army collapsed, and the French nation was dashed into utter and, as it has so far proved, irretrievable confusion. The French Government had at their own suggestion solemnly bound themselves with us not to make a separate peace. It was their duty and it was also their interest to go to North Africa, where they would have been at the head of the French Empire. In Africa, with our aid, they would have had overwhelming sea power. They would have had the recognition of the United States, and the use of all the gold they had lodged beyond the seas. If they had done this Italy might have been driven out of the war before the end of 1940, and France would have held her place as a nation in the counsels of the Allies and at the conference table of the victors. But their generals misled them. When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, "In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken." Some chicken; some neck."

10/17/2005 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

'Standing Up' a Constitution:

Garner was talking about putting in ninety days in Iraq and then heading home. ... At dinner in the Hilton restaurant (in Baghdad in April 2003) ... Garner laid out his timetable: reconstruct utilities, stand up ministries, appoint an interim government, write and ratify a constitution, hold elections. By August, Iraq would have a sovereign, functioning government in place. There was a stunned silence. Someone at the table said, "Which August?''

-- George Packer, ``The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq''

When Baghdad was engulfed in the lawlessness and looting that gutted the Iraqi state after Saddam's regime fell, Donald Rumsfeld's response was: ``Stuff happens'' and ``it's untidy, and freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.'' These now-famous words, writes Packer, ``implied a whole political philosophy'' which had what Packer calls ``the purity of untested thoughts'':

``The defense secretary looked upon anarchy and saw the early stages of democracy. In his view and that of others in the administration, but above all the president, freedom was the absence of constraint. Freedom existed in divinely endowed human nature, not in man-made institutions and laws. Remove a thirty-five-year-old tyranny and democracy will grow in its place, because people everywhere want to be free. There was no contingency for psychological demolition. What had been left out of the planning were the Iraqis themselves.''

Which means there was almost no planning. Why plan for what will sprout spontaneously?

10/17/2005 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Link to the above:

10/17/2005 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Sam - your point being?

Or is this your method of ululating in victory?

* * *

Do you suppose the media will ever give up and cede that,indeed, Bush has won Iraq?

10/17/2005 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

ledger -- and where is Buddy?

10/17/2005 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


Ha! Yes, my method. Just doing my small bit in keeping us all informed on how looney it remains out there. Can't help myself.

10/17/2005 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Last I heard Buddy and Doug were spotted somewhere along the Syria/Iraq border in desert camo belly down in the sand peering through night vision goggles and ducking tracer fire ~01:30. This was about a week ago. By now they should be in the dark alleys of downtown Damascus somewhere doing some serious recon I would think.

10/17/2005 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There were no Migs over the Parrot's Beak. if there has been. JFKerry would have shot them down.

I was not comparing the Syrian Army to the NVA. Although I doubt the Syrians would be any more effective than their Viet fore bearers.

I was comparing to Political/ Military Sanctuary being given to US enemies on the far side of a line on a map.

If Air dominance could stop infiltrations of men and supplies from Syria into Iraq, well, we'd have accomplished it already, we have not.

We have allowed the enemy a no fire staging area, in Syria, as we did, preNixon, in Cambodia. I am sure there are always reasons and excuses to be found for doing so, they sucked in the '70's, they suck today.

As in Tal Afar, we'll find the IA to be more effective against the Insurgents & aQ than US. They can speak the language and know the people.
To US all the Arabs look and sound the alike. While to the Iraqis there are substantial differences to be seen and heard.

Hope doug just wanted to see 200 posts, without his input. He and buddy better keep their heads down in Damascus, they'll stick out like sore thumbs.

10/18/2005 03:51:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Touche Verc

10/18/2005 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Again, you miss the point. It is not the volume of traffic, the point is not comparing Ho's Trail to the Rat Line.
The point is local vs. regional war. It is allowing the enemy a "Safe Zone".
The US Congress explicitly rejected the idea of Regional War when drating the Authorization of Use of Force, for Iraq. The idea WAS offered by the Admin. and quickly withdrawn.
We are waging a "limited" conflict against individuals, not nations. The jurisdictions we choose to patrol, smaller than the area the enemy utilizes, both while in Indochina and now in the Middle East.
When we entered the Parrot's Beak the Viets lost their Sanctuary, there. They did not pervail, even while hiding under the triple canopy.

10/18/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I can understand the timing, though I would have gone much faster with destruction and cared a bitless about building. Victory should come before reconstruction, though I understand the arguement for doing things the way we did.
The analogy to Cambodia was the beginnning of the debate, and it is analogous, perhaps not perfectly as to scale but well fitting as to mind set and US Policy.

A line not to be crossed by US

10/18/2005 11:56:00 AM  

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